Anyone newly engaged, on a budget, and have no idea what they're doing? Yup, I thought so. I was there, in your exact position about 14 months ago. I was newly engaged, excited, ready to get started, on a budget, overwhelmed...and so on. That's why I thought that I would write this post. If it helps anyone, great.. if not that's fine too.
I'm going to give you a little first hand advice in this post. Things that I wish someone had told me when I first got engaged. All my life I thought that being engaged and planning a wedding would be one of the most exciting times in my life. WRONG. It was the worst. It was stressful, nerve racking, and all I wanted to do up until about 3 months ago was hop on a plane with my SO and fly the coop! In hindsight I still don't think that it would have been a bad idea and I definitely wouldn't have regretted it.. but oh well. The wedding is planned and is 28 days away so there you have it.
First things first. If you have the extra money to spend, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER. I will say it again... HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER. I am not necessarily a type "A" person, but I am organized and a little OCD when it comes to details. I thought that planning a wedding would be a breeze for me since I do pay attention to details, I'm organized, and I am pretty laid back. I was wrong wrong wrong. If there is one thing I could do over I would have hired a planner from the beginning. I'm sure the entire process still would have been a little stressful but at least I would have peace of mind knowing that someone else is keeping everything on track. If you don't have the extra money to hire a wedding planning at least enlist in the help of a friend who has planned their own wedding. I would steer clear of Mothers, Bridesmaids, Sisters, Aunts, Grandmas, ect... they all tend to envision your wedding as being their own. Find someone who will help you plan Your dream wedding.. not theirs.
Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system...onto other important details!
2. If you can help it do not pick a date and then try to find a venue to match that date. If you are planning your wedding 2-3 years in advance this may work for you. However if you are planning a wedding a year or less out the chances of you finding a venue that matches the date you want are slim. Make a list of venues you like, visit them, compare them, and find out what dates they have available in the season you like. And go from there.. My SO and I had to change our date 3 times because we decided we wanted this date or that date and then couldn't find a venue we liked with those dates open... our bridal party didn't appreciate it. VENUE FIRST. THEN DATE!
3. Book your vendors as soon as possible. Photographers, caterers, Djs, Cake people, planners all book up about a year in advance. To ensure you get the vendor that you want, book early!
4. Gift Registry. I was entirely too excited about registering for gifts. It was like a shopping spree that you don't have to pay for. It was awesome. The only mistake that I made was registering for our gifts way too early. Our wedding is in August and by January we had already completed our registries. If only someone would have told me that things you register for in January aren't going to be available in June, July and August! Needless to say I have had to remove and replace countless items off of our registry because it has become outdated. I suggest doing your registries no sooner than 2-3 months before your first bridal shower. If anyone wants to buy you something before then tell them to send a gift card.
5. Do Not... and I repeat DO NOT send Save the Dates until your venue is booked. I don't mean "verbally" booked.. I mean check sent in and paperwork completed booked. In our case the date that the venue promised us we could have was in fact already taken by another couple who happen to send their money in before us. Don't make my same mistake and find yourself sending "change the dates"
6. Order extra invitations and envelopes. I don't care how you feel about adding people last minute to your guest list, it's going to happen. You meet new people throughout the year, your parents start to feel guilty about not inviting cousin susies boyfriends sisters kids or unexpectedly you are suddenly under your minimum allowed headcount. Its going to happen, you are going to have to invite somebody last minute. Make sure you have at least 15-20 extra invitations. Besides enough envelopes to cover all of your invitations you should have 10-15 extra blank ones. People move, the post office screws up, or you're 3 looks like an 8. You will get invitations that are returned to you and you'll have to correct the mistake and resend. Have the extra envelops so you aren't going to every Office Max in the city rushing to find ones that your invites will fit in.
7. Make your RSVP deadline at LEAST a month before the wedding. This gives you enough time to call, text, or facebook message the people that can't seem to keep track of their mail. Not everyone is going to send their RSVP back to you so be prepared. Some people won't even respond to your attempts to get ahold of them so after 2 tries count them out. The people that really want to be at your wedding will RSVP in time.
8. Mothers. My mom and I are best friends. However, wedding planning turns all moms into crazy people. Just be prepared is all I'm saying. I'll leave it at that. Try to be nice to them because in the end they really are just trying to help... sometimes you just need to bring them back to planet earth.
That's all I can think of for now but if any of you brides to be have questions please feel free to shoot me an email! Remember, I've been there too!!
I am happy to report that I couldn't be more excited for our upcoming wedding next month. I feel stress-free and ready to walk down that aisle! Keep your head up and your glass of wine full.
Happy planning knotties!