Now that we’re done with social distancing, wedding planning is back on!
The next several months can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, so it’s important to keep things in perspective and start planning as early as possible.
Your first step, if you don’t already have one, is to create a binder to keep all related materials in, with a checklist to reference and keep you on your timeline.
Pick a Date or Time of the Year
Unless you have a specific location in mind and you are sure that availability is not going to be an issue, you should decide on the time of year you want to have your wedding, keeping in mind how easy or challenging it could be for friends and family to attend – especially those loved ones coming in from out of town who may have to take time off work, travel and find accommodation.
The time of year you choose will also drastically affect the price of your largest expense – the venue. You might want to start making calls right away as banquet halls and other popular wedding locations are often booked well in advance.
Set a Realistic Wedding Budget
Your wedding budget will determine almost every other decision you make, so it’s important to use a realistic number that makes sense for you financially.
This means knowing how much you have available to you (i.e., if you’re getting any help) and creating an itemized list that includes estimates you get from vendors such as:
|1. The venue operator|
4. Flower supplier
6. Valet parking services
Be sure to add at least a 10-15% buffer to account for emergencies, higher prices than you were quoted, or in case you come across something you hadn’t planned to include but now have to have.
Create a Guest List
Now that you have a budget and an expense list, you’ll know what your guest capacity is, and you and your partner can start figuring out who you want with you on your special day.
Start with both sides of the family and close friends who you are sure will make it to know your minimum head count. If any of them are single, decide if you’re giving them a plus one on the invitation and add them to your current total.
You can then decide if there are others you really want to come, but don’t feel obligated to invite everyone you know or everyone who’s ever invited you to their weddings.
Book a Venue
This should be done as early as possible, but you need to have your total number of guests before a venue accepts your reservation. Also, remember to contact the city if you want to have pictures taken or hold part of the ceremony in a public park.
Have a Vision for Your Wedding
Whether you and your partner have a particular theme you’re passionate about, there’s a certain style that resonates with you, or you’re simply choosing a color palette, having a clear vision for how you want your wedding to look can make your life easier and guide the myriad of decisions you’ll have to make before the big day.
Keep in mind, however, that the esthetic you choose should also fit with the time of year, venue, and your indoor or outdoor wedding.