If you’re anything like me, you’ve been planning your wedding on Pinterest since before you met your fiancé. But now that the day has come to start making real plans, you’re completely lost.
Honestly, wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. So I’ve written up 5 tips that I wish I would have known when I started planning my wedding.
1. Decide what kind of wedding you want
I’d been planning my wedding in my head for so long that I never let myself consider alternative options. If I could do it over again, I would do it differently. So make sure to take a little time and figure out what kind of wedding fits you and your fiancé best.
Do you enjoy attention and want all friends and family, distant and close, to celebrate with you? Or are you and your fiancé more private people who enjoy the company of only immediate family and close friends? Do you enjoy adventurous trips or being close to home? What is the most important part of the day for each of you, aside from getting married? Is it to be surrounded my friends and family? Is it to have some bomb food? Is it to have the perfect photographer? Is it to have beautiful scenery?
Questions like these are important to ask yourselves before making any concrete plans.
2. Set your budget
This was in the very back of my mind when I started planning my wedding. I jumped right into looking at venues without sitting down with my parents to determine a budget. I ended up getting my heart set on this beautiful new venue only to find out that it was lightyears out of my budget.
Who will be covering the cost of the wedding? Will your parents take care of everything? Will you be responsible for certain things? Will grandparents be chipping in?
The easiest way to determine who pays for what is to use an Excel spreadsheet. I have an example I’m happy to send your way. Free, no strings attached.
Figuring out the budget was the hardest part of my wedding planning because my parents are divorced, so I feel you if you’re also struggling. Setting up this Excel spreadsheet was beyond necessary.
3. Find a venue/location
Whether you’re wanting a traditional wedding or an adventure elopement, it’s important to decide on the location and set a date before booking any other vendors.
Google is an obvious tool to use in looking for venues, but remember there are plenty of beautiful places and venues that don’t often show up on Google if they’re a smaller business. One of the best things I did was join a wedding Facebook group in my town. These are life savers. It’s a one-stop-shop for advice, used/cheap decorations, where to find the best wedding vendors, and reviews for the vendors so you know what to expect.
**use the search tool in these groups before asking a question, more often than not you’ll find your answer.
4. Book your photographer
Obviously, I’m biased here but I firmly believe in the power of good photography. If all goes as it should, you will only get married once. The day goes insanely fast, everyone says that but Lordy it is true. It felt like we went to do the first look and then all of a sudden we were doing the sparkler exit. I was SO thankful I hired an amazing photographer and videographer to capture the day for me. They caught things that I had no idea even happened!
Photography was number 1 on my list of priorities for my wedding. Ideally, everyone would feel the same way. Once the day is over, you’ll have your marriage, your memories, and your photos. That’s it. Instead of viewing photography as another expense, view it as an investment. Generally speaking, the more you spend, the higher quality photos you will receive. I read a saying once: “You could hire a $5,000 photographer and have a $5,000 wedding and it’ll look like a $20,000 wedding. Or you could hire a $500 photographer and have a $20,000 wedding and it’ll look like a $500 wedding.” The average for a photographer in the midwest is around $2,000. That average varies depending on location. You could get the same quality photographer for around $5,000 in New York.
Also remember that you will be spending the entire day with your photographer. We’re there when you’re getting ready, we’re there when you’re leaving, and we’re there for everything in between. If we’re not, we’re not doing our job. So make sure you enjoy your photographer’s personality and you mesh well.
5. Designate helpers and relax
There are so many things that go into planning a wedding, and you’re only human. Delegate some of the tasks to your friends and family. Make a list of your top 5 priorities and focus on those. Communicate your vision to your friends, family and wedding vendors (after all you’re paying them because they’re the experts), and let them take care of the little details and things that are not your top priority.
I had such a tight reign on the planning of my wedding because I’m a perfectionist and I prefer to be in control, but once we got closer to the wedding I was so overwhelmed and stressed out I was actually beginning to dread the big day. I finally released my reign and let my friends and family help me and I really believe it improved my physical and mental health immediately.
There is always something that goes wrong at a wedding, there just is. It’s important to remember you are marrying the love of your life and that is all that matters. At the end of the day you’ll barely remember that the flowers arrived late or your usher wore the wrong shoes. If you feel yourself getting stressed or overwhelmed, unclench your jaw, take a couple deep breaths and think about why you love your fiancé.
There are so many more tips to share, I have a whole Wedding Guide chocked full with tips, so if you’re still feeling lost, feel free to fill out my contact form and ask any questions! I’m happy to help even if I’m not your wedding photographer 🙂