One of the main things I miss about being a wedding coordinator is the initial planning stages. I loved nothing more than meeting with newly engaged couples, who were taking their first steps with their wedding planning. The excitement, the seemingly limitless options, it was intoxicating, and what led me to prefer weddings over other events in the first place. Although I don’t plan weddings any longer, I have experience in those initial planning steps and wanted to share these in this post.
Decide on a Date
Although it might be tempting to jump in head-first and start looking into suppliers and venues right away, it makes sense to have at least a rough idea of what date you are looking to get married, as this will affect many of your decisions, especially if you have your heart set on a specific date. Bear in mind that many suppliers such as hair/makeup and photographers can get booked up years in advance, so if you are thinking of a date that might be more popular, such as a Saturday during peak wedding season, it may be necessary to consider a different year, if you have your heart set on a certain company. Once you have an idea of the date you are looking at, you can then start talking to suppliers.
Work out a Budget
Another really important factor to consider when you are first wedding planning is whether you have a budget you need/want to stick to. It is always a good idea to have at least a rough budget in place, even if you have a comfortable amount of money put aside for your big day, as it is easy to get carried away. Having a budget allows you to plan within your means, and keep track of your spending throughout the process. As well as deciding on an overall budget, it is also a good idea to break this down into different areas such as photography, food, venue, outfits, flowers etc. You can decide on this based on how important you both find each area of the wedding, for example, you may not be that concerned about the flowers but want to hire the best photographer you can find, so it is a good idea to go into things with this in mind.
Once you have decided on a date and budget, start to visit venues (unless you have opted to get married abroad, and this may not be possible, or take some further planning in advance). A good idea is to have a list of what you want from a venue, as well as questions to ask them when you visit, and start looking online first to find venues in the area you are looking, that fit some of the qualities you both want from a wedding venue, so that you don’t tire yourself out visiting too many places initially. There are quite a few sites available that group together wedding venues, broken down into areas of the country, which can be a big help when you start planning and might feel a little overwhelmed with all the choices.
My biggest advice though? Enjoy it! This is the best stage, in many ways, when you are working out what you both want from the day, and you embark into the world of wedding planning. Have fun, remember it may only be one day, but is your special day, and it should be about what the two of you want, as a couple.