10 Wedding Planning Tips from a Pro Wedding Planner
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. Today, she shares her insight on dealing with vendor cancellations as part of the Becoming a Wedding Planner series.
When planning a wedding, there are many things you wish you knew. Unfortunately, it’s usually after your wedding where you learn them, and at that point it’s too late for a “re-do”. Today I share some wedding planning tips to get you started and to make it as stress-free and cost-effective as possible.
1. Hire a wedding planner
If it’s in your budget, this is essential to do. Wedding planners are worth the expense. Their expertise and experience will make the process seamless. If it’s not in your budget or you’re a DIY bride, definitely consider a day-of or month-of coordinator. They can pull all the details together and you can enjoy your wedding day knowing someone is behind the scenes looking after everything.
2. The not-so-scary “B” word – Budget
Having and setting up a budget is essential before you start the planning process. You need to know early on how much you have to work with. The scary part of the budget process is sticking to it. Don’t forget to add all those little extras that add up and are overlooked. Everything from taxes, gratuity, bridal party gifts, beauty treatments and wedding dress alterations.
3. Trim the list
The easiest way to cut your budget is to trim your guest list. The more guests you have, the more money you will need to spend. If you’re on a tight budget, then eliminating some guests early on can save you plenty.
In the initial stages, discuss with your partner on the priorities for your wedding. If your priority is stellar photography, an open bar and a band for the reception, recognize that early on. No matter what your wedding priorities are, allocate more of your budget to these must have items so you’re basing your decision on quality versus price. Anything that is a priority, book those vendors early on to avoid disappointment. Especially if it’s a vendor that has been on your radar for a long time! You don’t want to lose out because you waited too long.
If you have your heart set on a certain date or even a certain venue, be flexible. It may not be available for your date, but may be for another time. If you have always envisioned yourself getting married at a certain hotel but it’s out of budget during peak summer months, look at other dates or even a weekday to see if it’s within budget.
It’s never too early to start wedding planning. Have a clear plan and giving yourself time, so important things are not missed. When you’re rushed, you’re usually not thinking through your decisions and that can be overwhelming and very costly to do.
7.Lists and more lists
When you have a million things on the go, it’s imperative to stay organized and have lists for everything. Having the tasks that you need to do, lists of vendors, payment due dates, invite list, meal selections for RSVP’d guests, music list and an up-to-date spreadsheet of your budget is imperative.
No matter how much you plan, you always need to consider a Plan “B” especially if you plan to do your ceremony or reception outdoors. Mother Nature is unpredictable and it’s always recommended to have this plan in place well before the wedding day. Having a tent or alternative indoor location will come with a price tag and it’s best to have this captured in your budget and in place, just in case.
If you decide to have a bridal party, think about your choices instead of getting caught up early on and making a drastic decision. These are the people who will be your support system and this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whether it’s your sibling, a longtime friend or your distant cousin you rarely hear from, think it through to see how they fit into your wedding plans. The larger the bridal party, the higher the cost.
You should also determine which costs you would be covering for your bridal party early on. Being in a bridal party is a big commitment and can take on a considerable financial toll.
10. DIY to save
If you’re crafty and love DIY touches, then plan these in the early stages. Anything you want to craft should be done in advance since you won’t have much time closer to the wedding. Pinterest has many options for basic to advanced DIY-ers. It can be everything from signage, to table numbers, to party favors, to save the dates or photo booth props. DIY can be cost effective if planned early on.
You love to craft and having those personal touches are important to you both, but this isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re not crafty or limited on time, please skip the DIY projects since they can be very time-consuming and create a lot of sleepless nights.
Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be! Consider working with an expert. As you plan your dream wedding, set your budget early and remember to be flexible. Working with a tight budget may mean having to cut back on certain expenses. It’s essential to stay focused on the bigger picture, which is getting married and embarking on this new journey as newlyweds!