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Three Must-Do’s Before You Begin Wedding Planning

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Education, Weddings

Three Must-Do’s Before You Begin Wedding Planning

Congratulations, you’ve got the ring on your finger and you’re ENGAGED! I know you’ve been planning your dream wedding for years on secret Pinterest boards, but planning the real thing is a whole other story. There are tons of decisions to make and opinions to consider, and it can feel overwhelming. Fear not, sweet bride!

As a former bride myself, I encourage you to pause and breathe for a moment. There’s a few crucial steps to take before you spend a single dollar, email vendors, or even ask your bestie to be your maid of honor.

Create a total wedding budget

Sit down with your fiancĂ©, parents, and anyone else that may contribute financially and determine your total wedding budget. Don’t worry about categories yet, just get that final number in black and white. It’s so important to understand the full picture of what you’re working with from a financial perspective, and that’s why it’s step 1! Looking for ways to bolster the budget? You could consider a longer engagement to give you more time to save, or perhaps take on a side hustle to add to the bottom line.

Determine your non-negotiables

This is where your plans will begin to look less like a spreadsheet and more like a wedding! With your fiancĂ©, write down the aspects of your wedding that are absolutely non-negotiable. Again, we’re not talking about categories of vendors yet! Instead, think of how you want your wedding to feel and what you value most. This will look different for every couple. Perhaps you can’t imagine not getting married in your childhood church and celebrating with a ballroom reception downtown and 250 guests. Or maybe, you’re dreaming of an intimate garden wedding with no more than 50 people present. Perhaps there are tangible items that are important to you: a live band instead of a DJ, or a professionally designed wedding album.

Take this list of non-negotiables and physically write them down. They represent your wedding values and goals, and it’s important to keep them front of mind in all aspects of the planning process. It’s so easy to let others’ opinions sway you, especially when it comes to wedding planning. For example, my non-negotiables list today would look like this:

  • a fun, stress-free experience for me and my loved ones
  • a small guest list of no more than 100
  • one venue for getting ready, ceremony, reception, and lodging (ie, no need to plan for transportation)

You could also make a list of things that you know are not a priority to you. These are your “wiggle room” areas, where you could possibly cut back to make room for the non-negotiables as needed. Mine would look like:

  • rings (ours came from Amazon!)
  • a super elaborate, expensive meal
  • decor

Research, research, research!

Now that you’ve determined your budget and what’s most important to you, it’s finally time to start researching vendors! The venue should almost always be the first vendor you book, followed by with any other vendors that contribute to your non-negotiables, so that you know they are appropriately accounted for in the budget. I recommend contacting no more than 3-5 vendors per category, in order to avoid overwhelm. Be sure to check out their website, reviews, and social media to get an idea of their personality.

Pay attention to how prospective vendors treat you before you’ve booked. Are they prompt and responsive? Do they seem like they genuinely care about you and your wedding? If you’re sensing red flags or a personality mismatch before booking, trust me, that won’t improve once they have your money!

I hope this list has helped! If you’d like to chat about having me as your wedding photographer, simply click HERE to get in touch. I’d love to hear more about your plans!

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