Planning a wedding is a task unlike any other, and knowing how to execute it like a true professional is as sure way to have your day running like clockwork. Apart from shopping for your bridal dress, makeup and other accessories, there are a lot of other important things that need your attention. In full transparency, I have never planned a wedding. I opted for an elopement instead, but I have helped several friends plan weddings over the years. I have also worked professionally as an event planner. I’ve used all of this expertise to compiled the top tips for planning your wedding right here so you can learn some essential tips before planning for the big day gets underway!
How to Plan a Wedding like an Expert Wedding Planner
Spreadsheets are your Friend
Investing time in a planning system will save you hours of panic. You might have your wedding planning guides, bridal magazines, flyers, and hand-scribbled notes all over the house. Don’t forget all of those swag bags with cake crumbs from all of the wedding shows. When planning a wedding, you will have information all over the place. This is where Google is your BFF.
Create a spreadsheet on google that includes the following tabs:
- Progress plan (here’s where you’ll list all of your vendors)
Feel free to add more tabs as needed.
Another thing that will help is creating a color-coding system using a traffic light system:
- Red – Not started
- Yellow – In progress
- Green – Complete
Planning your wedding can be stressful, but staying organized will help.
Consider the Guest List
The first thing to think about when booking a venue is the number of guests you want at your wedding. If you or your fiance have a huge family as I do, you’re going to want to figure out who is going to make the cut. Will you be inviting your extended family? Immediate family? Don’t forget, there is also friends and coworkers to think about. All while keeping in mind that you will need enough room for everybody to move freely, as well as the servers, entertainment, and photographer! A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of 25 square feet per guest. Check out the footprint of all your venue options and compare it to your guest list to see which venue is realistic for you.
Lock Down a Venue
When planning your wedding you need to know how many guests you want and where you want the nuptials to take place. Then, you need to pick a location and date. You should look ahead at your calendar for days where your dream venue might be unavailable. Many venues book out six months to a year in advance. If you’re planning a quick turn around wedding, dates may become even more limited. Other things to consider are marathons, street fairs, and annual conferences. Knowing these dates ahead of schedule will help you avoid disappointment when you go to book your dream day.
Pro Tip: If you’re flexible with your date, consider having your wedding on a less popular day. Everyone wants a Saturday wedding, but if you think it would work with your guest list, consider a Friday evening or a Sunday wedding. An added benefit is that you may also save some money by picking a less popular date.
Create a budget and stick to it
Weddings are an expensive business. A typical wedding in the USA costs an average of $30,000! While your magical day is important, it’s not worth racking up credit card debt over. Have an honest conversation with your partner to figure out what budget works for you. Once you have a budget, discuss what is most important to you. Is it the venue? The dress? Prioritize these things to figure out where to splurge and where to be budget savvy.
Wedding Budget Guide
- 48-50% Reception
- 8-10% Flowers
- 8-10% Entertainment
- 10-12% Photographer
- 2-3% Invites
- 2-3% Gifts
- 8% – Miscellaneous (wedding planner etc.)
Don’t be afraid to DIY
DIY is all the rage at weddings. From Mason jars to handmade centerpieces, Pinterest has and with Pinterest has fueled the world of DIY weddings. I’m quite crafty and would never say no to a DIY, but don’t feel obliged to undertake these mammoth tasks if you’re not savvy with a glue gun. Start off with easy projects that you can do on the weekends. If you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, it’s ok to call up your pals for a crafting party. Who knows, you may even have a bridesmaid or groomsman that enjoying frequent trips to Michaels.
By planning like a pro you will be able to slow down and watch everything take shape. Follow these essential tips to avoid any bridal bad moods and planning panics!
Ask for Help
Getting married is a big deal. You want enjoy the day surrounded by family and friends. You will not have a good time if you spend months stressed out planning, DIYing, and rushing your way to your wedding. It’s ok to ask for help along the way.