Don’t Miss These 10 Must-Know Wedding Planning Tips
During the wedding planning process, there is no doubt that you will receive planning advice from friends or family members that have already made it down the aisle. A lot of the advice you receive will be “nice to know”, such as “So & So photographer takes exceptional photojournalistic pictures”, or “Stephanotis is a great wedding bouquet flower”. Then there is the advice that is indispensable, and if you haven’t been told about the next few planning secrets, you will be glad you know now! Read on for some important planning tips that will have you thanking us later.
Get a Guest Count First
You’ll need to figure out the approximate number of guests you’ll be inviting before settling on a venue. This will ensure that there is ample space for your guests. Typically you should allow for 25-30 square feet per guest. That may seem like a lot of room per person, but if you account for the space you’ll need for tables, servers, the band and entertainment, and the dance floor, that extra room is imperative. Also, the easiest way to trim your budget is to cut your guest list. The reception and catering bill typically make up nearly half of your entire budget. At $85 dollars a head, cutting 20 guests can save you $1700.
Choose A Date
You can save yourself a lot of money when you choose a date that is not in the prime wedding season. June is the most popular month to hold a wedding. If you choose a month such as January, February, or November, you could save hundreds to thousands of dollars. Also, when choosing a wedding date, know ahead of time if that date falls on the same day as a trade conference, convention, charity walk, or other local event that could affect traffic and hotel room availability.
While it is not advised put the whole cost of your wedding on credit cards, if you are planning on using credit in order to pay for certain bills, take advantage of reward programs. Whether it gives you airline mile, cash back, or shopping discounts, consolidating your wedding-related purchases to a rewards card will help you accumulate thousands of rewards points. In the end you might have accumulated enough points to pay for your honeymoon.
It’s a good idea to ask vendors you have already hired to refer other vendors. If you already have chosen a reception venue, ask the manager or coordinator what florists or bands they recommend. Choosing a vendor that has already worked with your ceremony or reception venue has a lot of benefits. They know where the venue is located, they know how the venue is set up, and they know the policies and procedures which can save a lot of time and hassle.
Before you sign any vendor contracts, check their meal requirements. Some vendors require a meal, whether it’s a vendor meal, or the same fare that you are serving to your guests. A lot of couples forget this expense, which could lead to contract issues. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a few days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed and what you plan them to serve.
Create a wedding planning binder, and compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings and appointments, and photos or pages from magazines that you want vendors to see. Keep a contact list sheet inside the binder with numbers and a name of a contact person for each vendor. Keep all of your contracts in the binder and make sure you bring it with you on the day of your wedding so if a dilemma arises, you have proof of your order or service agreement. You can also set up a special email address dedicated strictly to your wedding so your personal email does not become overrun with inquiries and vendor proposals or spam.
Pad Your Budget
Your wedding budget should follow this formula: 48-50 percent of total budget goes to reception venue, food, and rentals; 8 -10 percent for flowers and decor; 8-10 percent for attire and alterations; 8 -10 percent for entertainment/music; 8-10 percent for photo/video; 2-3 percent for invitations and stationary; 2-3 percent for transportation; 2-3 percent for attendant gifts; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding coordinator, overages, and tips. It’s essential to allocate a part of your wedding budget for surprise expenses like printing extra invitations because of mistakes, additional alterations, and tips and gratuity for wedding vendors.
Children vs. No Children
There are a few ways you can handle the touchy topic of “to invite or not to invite” when considering children as guests. You can welcome children by adding them to your guest list; you can decide to have an “adults only” ceremony and reception; you can have the children in your immediate family take a spot in your bridal party; or, you can hire a child care service or babysitter to provide supervision of guests’ children either at the reception space, in a hotel room, or at a family member’s home. In order to prevent hurt feelings, it is not wise to allow some families to bring their children and not allow other families to bring theirs.
Create a Wedding Planning Timeline
Put together a wedding planning schedule/timeline and proceed to do things one at a time, in a logical order, so you don’t end up taking on too much too fast. Use a search on the internet to find a wedding planning timeline or schedule. There are a lot of great ones available. Look over it first, and remember the first thing you need to do is get an approximate guest count, then set the date by reserving your venues. The venues are usually the first thing to get booked up, and if your favorite venue is booked, you may need to be flexible with your dates. Vendors will require that you have a date set before you book them, so there is no use in booking a florist or band first before you have a date and venue that can accommodate the number of guests you plan to invite.
It is important to check your state and county’s license requirements before you approach your big day. Many locations have a waiting period of a few days to a few weeks before they can issue your license, and some locations require that you use the license by a certain time after issuance. You may even be required to take a blood test or provide proper divorce documents upon applying for your license. You need to make sure you reserve enough time to complete all the requirements and apply for your license leaving enough time where you can receive the license by your date, but not too early where your license will expire by your reach your wedding date.