1) Have All Events Happen in One Location.
This might sound a bit blasé at first, but hear me out. One person can travel from point A to point B in a relatively consistent amount of time due to traffic flow. Multiply that number and the travel time does the same. This adds to your bottom line. You will need nearly all your vendors longer simply due to travel. Also, with out of town guests, there is the added stress of getting lost, rental car issues and so forth. One location (a hotel works great for your out-of-towners as they can stay there too!) makes things so much easier for all involved. I can’t stress this enough.
2) Keep Your Bridal Party to a Small Number.
I know so many have played an important part in your life, but that is why you are inviting them to your wedding! Right? So those lucky few who stand at your side while to pronounce your life long devotion to that lucky guy or girl, should be just that, a few. When selecting your bridal party (to clear up some confusion, the term “bridal party” includes, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Best Men, Maids or Matrons of Honor, Flower Girls, Ring Barriers, the whole sha-bang) remember what their job is. They are there to help make your day run smoothly, they are not there to be diva’s or show boaters, as this day is yours, not theirs. Team players who aren’t afraid to speak up (there are often speeches involved here) would be the best people to select. A quick note on the wee ones: if you can’t resist the cuteness overload of having a two year old act as a flower girl or ring barrier, go for it, but keep a “plan B” in your pocket if little Susie freezes up and runs off in the other direction. Keeping mom or dad in the wings to help them out is always a good idea, and you will still get the same “d’aww” reaction.
3) Budget Your Money
Yep, this is the thing no one wants to talk about, but let’s give it a go anyway. Writing things down and perhaps having a “want” and “need” list might make things go a bit smoother. Remember to include your partner. This is a joint effort and not including your love of your life in this process no matter how much they say they don’t care is not starting things off on the right foot. If you can both be flexible and not try to stick to “hard numbers” this will help out tons on the stress level. Do yourself a favor and research. Weddings aren’t something that are a daily occurrence (unless you are in the business) so getting an idea on what kind of money you are looking at might help you make some decisions rather than going at it blind.
4) Budget Your Time
Just like money, time is something to consider when the word “budget” comes up. One of the most common things we tell our clients is, “Don’t blink!” With the excitement and joy of the day, time seems to pass far too quickly. Just like with money, my biggest advice would be to be flexible. Work with your vendors to see what kind of time they need. Many will be more than happy to help you out, as it will make their job easier and your day run smoother. It’s a win win! Having a timeline that counts out every minute is a recipe for disaster. Give yourself some wiggle room to take five just to breath. You will thank me later. Also, give yourself some time BEFORE the wedding day. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t wait until it’s too late to hire your vendors. Many will be already booked, limiting your selections to your less than favorites. Typically a year to a year and a half out is a good starting time. You can look as early as you wish, but when it comes to leaving deposits to actually hire your vendors, some may have limits to how far in advance they will accept a job. A helpful hint is to remember that you don’t actually have a date until you actually have a venue. If your dream date and dream venue don’t match, something has got to change, and this might change EVERYTHING! Hire the vendors that have limited availability first then make your way down the line.
5) Have a Plan B
If you plan to have any part of your wedding day occur outdoors, have an alternative indoor location waiting, just in case. A back up means of transportation isn’t a bad idea either, accidents and flat tires happen, even on wedding days. That little flower girl we talked about earlier, if she flat out screams “No!” be ready. Things change, and we don’t always have ways to control them. However, most of the time you will be the only ones to truly know that something didn’t go as planned. Keep smiling and all will be well.
6) Have Fun!
This is the beginning of your forever. Enjoy! At the end of the day, you will have each other, and that is truly what is important.