WHEN?! AND HOW?! WHAT IF I FORGET SOMETHING! OR SOMEONE! I CAN'T FIND MY SECRET PINTEREST BOARD! I CAN'T BREATHE! I'M DYING, I THINK I'M ACTUALLY DYING! HELP! MOM!

TAKE A BREATH.

The most important thing to remember now, in the middle of planning, on the big day, and through the stress and thoughts of murder in between, is that you want to be married, to each other and spend the rest of your lives together. That’s the point, not if Karen is being a complete loser face and won’t be in your wedding because she can’t afford it right now, or if your florist is color blind. It about the two of YOU, and how you want to spend the day of the biggest leap of faith you will take in your life.

YOUR VISION, GUEST LIST & BUDGET

Choose what you like, not what celebrity wedding designers tell you to pick, these are your lifetime memories, not theirs. A wedding can simply be that, wedding or marriage, it doesn’t have to be an overthought, overdone, over the top and in your face theme. More often than not, intimate simplicity is best. It should be true to your personalities and true to the venue’s environment. We’re not saying an empty room and a Pandora list playing is all you need, we’re saying remember what is truly important at the end of the day. And if all else fails, candles, everyone looks good in soft lighting.

We know Pinterest, and the 15 bridal magazines your mom signed you up for are saying that you must start with your theme, your colors, your flowers, your shoes, and creating a magical send off that you see in the movies. WRONG.

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Your guest list is going to dictate a large amount of your budget: costs, venue, food, drinks, travel, rental items, the list goes on and on.  And remember, not everyone you invite will be able to attend your big day.

Under 50 invited: 90%+ attendance
75–100 invited: 75–90% attendance
100+ invited: 70–80% attendance
150+ invited: 65–75% attendance

Guessing attendance, is just that, a guess not a scientific equation. When creating a budget, consider the near future of family life i.e. home buying, upgrading cars, savings for a growing family, etc. Don’t make important decisions when you are tired, stressed, or hungry. This will only result in a “come to Jesus” moment before it’s all said and done.

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VENUE & DATE

Start searching for a venue. Religious ceremony? Be one with nature? Indoor? Outdoor? Both? Your venue type and location will most likely have a large effect on the style of your wedding and color choices. Before you start running all over the place do some research online or through friends about venues. Sometimes you can get a great tip about a hidden gem of a venue location from a friend or a friend of a friend rather than the old standby. To narrow things down a bit more, look into things like price, time restrictions, food & beverage restrictions, availability. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you hate the less than tasteful tile choice in the bathrooms, it doesn’t matter you aren’t moving in, you're hosting a wedding. What to do if your dream venue doesn’t have your dream date? Don’t be too stubborn to change your date, or venue. Don't rush to a date, do what feels natural for your relationship. Ask yourself what’s more important to you, the perfect venue or being married?

Find it, embrace it, pick a date, book it. Move forward.

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PRIMARY VENDORS: CATERING, RENTALS & PHOTOGRAPHY

Some venues will offer catering, rentals, and suggested vendors. Some will only strictly allow certain vendors. Some just want a check and will let you do what you please. Take note of this in your venue search. Booking these 3 vendors is necessary and you should have some urgency in doing so. Remember, your are not the only bride on the planet, and vendors can book up quickly! Make sure you enjoy the food, menu tastings are a great way to spend time together in an otherwise stressful time and get your partner involved in the planning.

Be mindful of your guests, are they dancers or conversationalists? Do you need lots of chairs or lots of dancing room? Linens and lighting are small details that pack a big punch, don’t overlook these! Renting versus buying items, in the long run, is much more budget friendly & less stressful than purchasing everything yourself. You're paying for a convenience, one less thing for you to worry about or provide for the day. At the end of the day it's worth it. What would you do with 30 ivory table linens & all those lights after your wedding? 

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Budgeting is your key to success, and while saving money as many ways as possible is vital, photography is not something you’ll want to skimp on! Your photographer is there to capture your future memories in real time. Develop a picture list plan with your photographer, pictures with your grandparents, close lifelong friends, siblings, etc. Candids are a true interpretation and a great reminder of the fun you had!

 

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SECONDARY VENDORS: FLORIST, OFFICIANT, MUSIC & ATTIRE

Booking a florist early on is a smart move! To make your vision a reality, be sure your personality and your florists understand each other, keep an open line of communication, pictures are great tools as well.

Don’t wait until the last minute to find your officiant, again you are not the only bride on the planet!

Your music choice will depend on what you like, maybe you want it live and interactive with a great band. Or maybe you want to pick all the songs to be played by the DJ, either way it’s up to you. Sometimes you can get a great 2 for 1 deal with a band and DJ combo!

Begin the quest for your perfect dress before you start diving into bridesmaid’s dresses. Be sure the styles coordinate. Groomsmen can wait a bit later to make a decision, they don’t require quite as much fitting and altering.

DETAILS: STYLE, INVITATIONS, CEREMONY & TIMELINE

Are you worried about Stephanie being washed out by the wrong color bridesmaid dress? The color of the monogram on your napkins? Does my reception look as good as Beyonce's? No one, but you, will truly care about these things. Most wedding guests are interested in a few key things: seeing a happy couple & enjoying their company, being fed delicious delights, plenty of liquid courage, and that the music is fun! They know you aren’t millionaires, and they won’t remember the intricate details of your centerpieces. They are there to celebrate with you and have fun!

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With that being said, weddings do need some color, but there are tons of ways to bring in color without squandering your entire savings. How do I choose my wedding style? How do I pick a color? What if it’s not on trend? Look at parts of your everyday life, your home, your wardrobe, your phone case. What types of colors are you drawn to? Have you always dreamed of bright bold yellow bridesmaids dresses, then do that. And yes, varying shades of neutrals count as colors. If you like beige, use beige, glam it up any way you want!

Your invitations should reflect your wedding style and color choices. Or keep it simple and traditional. Be sure to include travel & accommodation information, as well as your registry. And for Pete’s sake, be sure all the names are spelled correctly!

The ceremony is generally dictated by your officiant, depending on what you have chosen, most will allow you to add a bit of personal touch.

Creating a day of timeline is crucial for everything to go off without a hitch! Just kidding, something will always come up at the last minute, but having a guideline is your best bet to avoid hiccups! Start with the moment you wake up that day, or if need be, the night before at the rehearsal dinner. Moving a large group of people (your bridal party & family) in sync is not always easy, it's more like herding cats. Make sure everyone is on the same page!

LOOSE ENDS: MARRIAGE LICENSE, PAYMENTS, TRANSPORTATION & DAY OF TASKS

To say a marriage license might be the most integral part of your wedding day would be an understatement. Apply for it as soon as you are able, check it off the list and move forward. And don’t forget it at home!

You will be continually budgeting throughout the entire time, be sure to have payments secured away for all your vendors!

Don’t forget about transportation for yourself and well as the rest of the bridal party! Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead!

Dictating day of tasks is important. Having a gopher the day of your wedding will be one of the biggest reliefs. Have someone you trust to run around for you the day of. You can’t be everywhere, especially while you're primping. Last minute details will always pop up, this person is your go to for this.

AT THE END OF THE DAY

It all circles back around to the important things, the two of you, spending intentional time with family and friends, taking in the small moments of beauty throughout the day, and living in the moment of your day, because it goes fast!