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Congratulations, you’re starting to plan your wedding day and now you need to get everything organized, booked and well, maintain your budget!.
Before you get overwhelmed by the choices, costs and innumerable possibilities, read these tips that every couple should know, to help you with the planning process.
Remember to also follow me on Instagram where I share tips, ideas, trends all while keeping you within your budget. @reverendfrancesca
Set the date!. Investigate the best dates and times to get married. Remember Brunch Weddings are more cost efficient as well as Weekday weddings!
Outline a budget. Set the budget so you know what you’re working with from the get-go and don’t surpass it.
Consider time of day. Early Weddings are most cost effective. Later in the day costs more for staff, venue’s and food.
Wedding Party. New Trend is MOH and BM. Although some humans are still having large wedding parties which can be challenging.
Research Vendors. Do your homework on Instagram and see who is awesome in your neck of the woods! (PS. I am awesome! send me a message on my Contact Page.)
Officiant. Contrary to what people believe, you should really reserve you Officiant after you book the venue. We are “bussay ya’ll”. Did you know we officiant anywhere from 2-4 weddings per weekend. There is not enough of us to serve all of you. (Just saying, book me ASAP)
The Guest List. Make sure the people that are important to you are invited for ceremony + dinner. If you have a large friends list, invite them for the after party to keep costs down.
From here to there. Consider travel distance between ceremony and reception. (so important). Try to find a venue that has both. Saves money and travel time.
Back up plan. Outdoor venue? Consider the time of month you are getting married due to the weather and always have a “Plan B” as you may be disappointed not to have a garden ceremony.
Décor. Décor not your thing? Find a beautiful venue that already has a look you love. (Cost savings here)
Florals. Choose florals in season to keep your costs down. Remember Greenery is just as expensive. Try artificial as well or rent them. (Cost savings here)
Book in advance. Many venues book up very far in advance. Narrow down a short list and make visits as soon as possible!
Seasonal décor. If you’re getting married near a holiday or other special time of year, make sure to ask if the venue will be decorated in a special way. (Cost Savings here)
Food and drinks. Ask about banquet permits and alcohol license needs. Don’t assume anything! Serve mocktails at cocktail hour. This is where the majority of your alcohol budget is spent.
Consider room flow. You will want a space where you will be able to mix and mingle with guests easily.
Accessibility. Make sure the venue has accessibility features for those who have walkers and wheelchairs. They want to be part of the festivities.
Hire a Coordinator. Trust me on this. The Venue Coordinator works for the venue and has their timeline they need to follow. Hiring a separate coordinator helps to deal with all the details, vendors, issues and last minute hiccups and guests who are having too much fun.
READ your Venue Contract. I can’t stress this enough. Read all the details (contract). If you are unsure, asks. Did you know that venues charge $5.00 per slice of cake to the guests? (check on this as pricing may have gone up by the time this Blog comes out)
Talk about it. It’s a conversation to have early on with your fiancé. Establishing a guest list can get VERY complicated if you don’t set parameters.
Traveling guests? Consider how many out-of-town guests you will have to plan for and always have a welcome basket in their room at arrival. (the hotel can arrange this if you drop them off)
Lots of out-of-towners? Consider setting up activities for the weekend or couple days surrounding your big day so they can meet others and visit.
RSVP’s: An online sign up will help you coordinate weekend events & collect RSVP’s in advance!
Save the drama. Handle family issues with grace. Have conversations with those that may need to be reminded to put personal issues aside for one day.
Keep people in the loop. Set up a wedding website where you can post important details that guests will need to know.
Hotels. It’s always nice for the couple to set up hotel options and block rooms for guests at discounted rates.
My Tip: If you think your guest list could benefit from knowing who’s staying where, set up a hotel sign up sheet where people can make notes and connect.
Discuss budget EARLY. Planning a wedding can get expensive and you will need to set parameters.
Who’s contributing? Give family members the chance to help financially however they feel comfortable.
Prioritize. Decide what is most important to you and your fiancé. Plan your budget accordingly so you don’t blow too much of it on a low-priority item.
Leave some reserve funds. There are always little things that will pop up later on, so don’t plan your initial budget estimates down to the very last dollar.
Tip your Day of Vendors. Plan in advance for vendors that you will need to provide a tip to for day-of services.
Wedding Planner. Having trouble with your wedding finances – look no further. Connect with me and ask about my “Special Wedding Planning Package” that is sent to your inbox with all the deets, spreadsheets and budget tips.
Select an officiant/pastor. I recommend you connect with an officiant who understands your needs, wants and above all is inclusive and diverse. (That would be me, just saying. Read my Bio and my “Love Notes” from clients on my website and my Instapage)
Marital counseling. I recommend this to all couples, regardless of how long you have been together. Remember planning a wedding is stressful (That would be me again. Check my services for deets)
Get your marriage license. That’s kind of important, err, necessary, and the ceremony won’t happen without one.
Timing. Length of the ceremony may be something you want to discuss with whoever will be marrying you. (Typically an organic ceremony runs about 15-20 minutes)
Vows! Discuss with your fiancé if you will be exchanging traditional vows or writing your own. (I write many for my couples, it’s ok, ask away)
Kids or no kids. If you would prefer guests not bring children to the ceremony, make sure this is clear. You may even want to have childcare available.
My Tip: Send out an online sign up to have guests reserve a space for childcare far in advance and then you will know how many babysitters you will need on hand that day.
Does your caterer… cater? Whether you’ll be providing a sit down meal or hors d’oeuvres, make sure your caterer has options for those with diet restrictions.
Music sets the mood. Create the atmosphere you desire by choosing you music option with care. Will a DJ help to get the party going or is a live band more your style? Some may even opt for an iPod with a playlist.
Who’s directing traffic and flow? Make sure you hired a Day of Coordinator to be the point person for the reception activities. It is helpful to have someone keeping things on pace. (That would be me, see my website under planning)
Favors. Opt in or Out it’s up to you. Remember to give favors that reflect you both. (ie. honey jars, dessert favors, coffee beans, tea leaves)
My Tip: Send out an online sign up to have guests reserve a space for childcare far in advance and then you will know how many babysitters you will need on hand that day. for the reception to give those parents a well deserved break)
Plan ahead! Make sure things are done prior so you can actually enjoy your wedding day! (Hire that day of coordinator…Me)
Stay grounded. Keep people close to you that can provide a sense of calm through the chaos and who can help you make good, quick decisions if need be.
Make time for the special people. Set aside specific time for those you are close to during your wedding weekend or the weekend will pass before you realize you didn’t get that extra time.
Express yourself. Exchange a card or letter to be opened the day-of the wedding – write something truly from the heart to the special person you will be sharing the rest of your life with.
Be thankful. On your wedding day, pause from time to time and take in all the love that surrounds you!
Save the Last Dance. I ALWAYS tell my couples to close down 10 minutes before the time is over at reception and have the last dance together to close the wedding night.
That’s a wrap!~ xo Reverend Francesca