HOW TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING
Start planning your wedding
as far in advance as possible.
You will find that many of the essential components required when planning your wedding like churches,
facilities, photographers, caterers, bands and d.j.s, etc. can be booked a year or more in advance.
An outline of the first components to focus on in the wedding planning process
is included in the
wedding planning timeline guide.
Planning your wedding well ahead of time will allow you a better selection and sometimes (usually)
better pricing than if you wait.
Advance wedding planning will also save you - and everyone around
you - a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress.
Start with the wedding planning basics
Give some thought to the style of wedding you want - and when and where
you would like to be married. Then, determine a list of
key people who will be part of the wedding party and estimate the number of
guests you expect to attend your wedding ceremony and wedding reception. If it is going to be rather
large or very complicated wedding consider hiring an experienced wedding planner
or consultant to assist. See the section on "Wedding Planners and
Consultants" found later in this wedding planning guide.
Make a wedding planning "to do" list or obtain a list of essential things that you will need
to do or select
You will find a
free checklist and "General
Wedding Planning Timeline" later in this
wedding planning guide to get you started.
also free wedding planning lists that can be found in just about every other
wedding publication on the planet OR you can purchase a wedding planner from our
wedding bookstore if you have a burning desire to spend money.
Set up a wedding planning filing system
Keeping everything organized will make the wedding planning process
much easier and there are a number of simple ways you
can easily organize and track your wedding planning progress. You do not need an
expensive wedding planning program to do the job. Free or
relatively inexpensive computer programs are available that will allow you
to keep track of all the details, create guests lists, etc. Odds are good
that you probably have a database program on your computer that can help keep
track of guest lists, seating assignments, prices, budgets, etc. You are also going to need to establish a hard copy filing system to keep track of
wedding supplier quotes, contracts, etc. A simple document file and file folders
with labels will easily do the trick. Also, we recommend that you buy 1
notebook with pockets that you will put all of your written notes, reminders and
wedding planning "to do"
Determine your approximate financial position
Add up the amount of money you can
personally afford for your wedding as well as funds that are available from parents, etc. If you
are planning to save additional money for use for your wedding budget, start saving
money for your wedding now.
In the initial stages of planning your wedding, determine
how much you want or need to save by the wedding date and how much you can
comfortably afford to save by the wedding date. Then, open a bank account to use
for saving money for your wedding budget and start banking a predetermined amount from
Contact various wedding ceremony and reception
wedding suppliers to determine probable costs
associated within each type of wedding supplier.
Make a list of what your requirements are from each type of wedding supplier and
give each wedding supplier the same requirements.
Giving every supplier the same requirements will make the task
of comparing prices and making a final wedding supplier selection much easier for you. If
you don't know what your requirements are, simply talk to several suppliers,
compare notes from those conversations and develop your requirements based on what
you have learned from the conversations. You will find sections about
selecting different types of wedding suppliers later in this wedding planning guide.
Set up your test wedding budget
After you have listed the required supplier types and expense items (a
complete list of wedding expense items can be found later in this guide) for your wedding,
i.e. ceremony and reception facility, photographer, caterer, wedding cake, decor, entertainment, etc.
enter the cost range amounts next to the supplier type. Once you have
entered in the cost ranges for each wedding supplier type, add up the totals to
determine the probable cost range. While you are at it, file all of the
information you have received from the different wedding suppliers so you can refer to it
later when making your final selection. For ease of comparison, try to keep each
wedding supplier category filed individually, i.e. all caterers together, all
entertainment together, etc. You can also make a master list of the suppliers
with the corresponding costs so you can make a comparison at a glance. You
will find tips relating to selecting different suppliers later in this wedding
Compare your test wedding budget against your available funds and modify your
Based on how important specific items are to you, you can usually decrease the
total wedding cost or shift costs from a component you feel is less important to another
component that is more important to you. For example, you could reduce the cost associated with
wedding music entertainment
by switching from a wedding band to a D.J. or you could reduce your food costs by
selecting buffet service rather than a plated dinner service for your wedding
reception. You will
find lots of other
saving wedding planning tips and ideas in the other sections of this wedding
ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT THING BEFORE
you register for anything at a bridal or wedding
send in a postcard to receive a free wedding planning guide,
at any wedding related website to access their latest and greatest wedding gowns or
Consider for just a moment that in many (most) cases
your personal information is going to go on a "lead list" that will be sold to anyone who is willing to pay for it. That means
that you are probably going to receive hundreds of calls, junk e-mails and junk mail for
everything from credit cards - to time shares - to life insurance - and
everything else in-between.
We do not think you should be - or need to be
- deceptive when contacting
individual wedding suppliers. It is highly unlikely that they will give out your personal information without your
permission because they do not want to lose you as a potential client. (The
exception may be some wedding reception facilities and hotels who have been known to
give weekly lists of potential or booked clients to their key wedding suppliers.)
if you are planning to register at a bridal show or a wedding related website or
send in for a free wedding planning guide, here are a few tips that will save
you a world of aggravation and wasted time...
Get a Free E-mail
Account or create a unique email address to use as an e-mail address while you are planning your wedding
Get a Personal Mail Box to use as a mailing address
Get a Voice Mail Box
to use as a contact telephone number rather than giving out your home or cell
By using these inexpensive tools you can easily screen every
e-mail and every phone call PLUS you can simply turn them off when
you want to. If you volunteer your personal e-mail address, address
or phone number and the information gets on the "lead lists" you will be dealing
with unwanted solicitations for years.
After you have selected the wedding suppliers you intend to work
with, provide them with the direct contact information they will need.
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