Getting married doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking milestone. Instead, enjoy your big day by planning in advance.
Whether you have an unlimited budget or only $500 to spare, planning makes the ultimate difference between the perfect day and a living nightmare.
For example, a $50,000 budget won’t make up for an inexperienced live band hired last-minute. Worse yet, putting your entire budget in the hands of a sketchy wedding planner is another disaster waiting to happen.
Avoid costly mistakes with these simple steps to planning a wedding.
Create the Best Wedding Budget and Checklist
The first step to wedding planning is setting a budget. A budget sets the parameters. Wedding planners work within these limitations to create memorable experiences that reflect your vision.
However, you don’t need to hire a wedding planner. Plenty of couples plan their own weddings with the help of budgeting tools like Excel.
Start by creating a checklist with the following items:
- Number of wedding guests
- Wedding venue
- Wedding attire
- Food (or catering)
- Decorations and flowers
- Reception details (restaurant booking, etc.)
You also have to think about honeymoon expenses if you’re paying for everything yourself.
Break down all of your wedding expenses, adding each service and product to a separate line. Pencil in the prices on each line, calculating a final total at the end. Highlight the price column in Excel to total all of your expenses without a calculator.
Keep modifying your wedding checklist as you plan, as the number of guests is subject to change. Plus, upcoming storms could threaten outdoor venue plans.
Compare Wedding Services and Costs
Once you have a wedding theme, budget, and checklist, create another shortlist for vendors. This step requires a lot of online research and calling. If you hire a wedding planner, you can skip this step since the planner will dip into their own network of vendors.
You may want to make a list of sub-details for each item on your checklist.
For example, when choosing a venue, you would consider the following details:
- Number of wedding guests
- Venue capacity
- Wedding guest ages and health concerns
- Deposit amounts
- Venue hours
When making final reservations, venues may ask if you’re paying for catering, as exemplified by the reservations page at TheBettyJayne.com. Venues may have additional guidelines on decorations and live entertainment too.
While some vendors list exact prices on their websites, many services require people to call or request a quote. Overall, it’s best practice to gather free estimates to compare wedding services.
Putting the Steps to Planning a Wedding Into Motion
Sending out save-the-dates is the moment your wedding really comes to life. Like your wedding budget, create a separate Excel checklist for your wedding guests. Also, you’ll need to create seating charts once you have all the RSVPs.
Food also becomes more complicated. Buffets are more manageable, but remember to note food preferences next to each guest’s name on the spreadsheet if you’re serving meals.
As you can see, planning will save a lifetime of headaches.
Plan Your Big Day
Don’t stress about your wedding. Plan in advance to make the most of your special day.
Follow these important steps to planning a wedding to avoid preventable mistakes. Don’t forget about all the free checklist tools at your disposal.
The blog is also a great source of information for planners like yourself!
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