How to Plan A Wedding for Dummies
Updated: Feb 16, 2018
So you just got engaged, now what?! First off, get excited! You’re about to marry the love your life. It’s such an exciting and joyous time that you’ll never forget. But once the excitement has settled down it’s time to prepare for (as I recently saw referenced) 12-18 months of logistical hell (lol).
Let’s be real, planning a wedding is difficult. Yes, it’s so exciting and I’m sure you’ve planned it all out in your head since you were 7 (or maybe that’s just me). But when it actually comes to finding the right vendors, timing, and logistics, it can become a nightmare. Granted, I am no pro. I haven’t even had my wedding so all of this could totally be irrelevant! But for now, this is what I have found works and I hope it works for you too!
Literally 48 hours after I got engaged I had already created a Google Drive Folder that would contain anything and everything related to our wedding. I divided the massive “Wedding Planning” folder into subfolders: Guests, Venue, Honeymoon, etc. Each folder contains relevant documents or spreadsheets. I also downloaded the Google Drive app so that everything would be accessible from anywhere!
This has probably been the biggest help during the entire process. I feel like I’m constantly remembering random things and instead of trying to remember them later when I’m home or near a computer, I can quickly jot my thoughts down within a document on my drive. I’ve also saved all of our contracts, invoices, etc. in there so they don’t get lost as well.
But to take it one more crazy step forward, I also have a physical binder. Here I have anything and everything a vendor has ever handed me. Sample menus, pricing, quotes; you name it, it’s in there. I also have random things like Save the Date samples, veil swatches and the like. Having both a digital and physical binder isn’t necessary but it helps me keep everything organized in my crazy brain.
Research, Research, Research.
This is one of the biggest things you should do when deciding on vendors. The best resource for me was The Knot and Wedding Wire. Both sites have pages for local vendors around you and each vendor has real reviews on their page. So when researching vendors I would put in my location and then just start going down the list. Most vendors actually have a rough cost on their page which can help narrow down your list as well.
After you decide on a handful of vendors, set up meetings or phone calls with them! Trust me it will be the best thing you do. We had been torn between two different florists. One had incredible reviews, beautiful flowers and was less in price. The other also had great reviews and beautiful flowers but was a bit more expensive. But when I met with Florist #1, she didn’t want to listen to anything I said. It felt more like she was going to do whatever she wanted with my flowers and that I had no say. We then met with Florist #2 who was the sweetest woman I ever met and wanted to do anything and everything to make our day perfect! So obviously, we went with #2! Just goes to show you that not everything online can be true.
The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings was also helpful as well! It really helped me to see what exactly goes into wedding planning and gives you a whole timeline! I read it all once we got engaged and now just use it for reference time to time.
Speaking on budgets… you have to set one. Whether you’re paying for the wedding, your parents, your significant other’s parents or a combination; you have to sit down and figure it out. Money talk can always be uncomfortable and difficult but you can get yourself in over your head if you don’t lay some ground rules.
This one was extremely important for me. In college, I interned for an awesome wedding photographer in Philadelphia. They were a top tier photographer and went to some of the most insane weddings! Therefore my expectations were set pretty high. So when I discovered how much a wedding costs and how much some of those brides had been spending, I almost threw up. So yeah that Four Seasons extravaganza with hanging flower arrangements, custom lighting and crystal chocolates was not about to happen.
If you can't keep that dream venue out of your head, a big piece of advice is to keep other dates in mind! We had our eyes on this incredible venue but they had no more Saturdays open for the rest of 2018. We both decided we couldn't wait 2.5 years to get married so we settled for a Sunday! It ended up being cheaper and we got to pick the exact time of year we wanted. Don't rule out Sundays or even Fridays!
Biggest advice: Keep yourself in check. It can be hard when you see your dream wedding on Pinterest. But trust me the debt is not worth it for one day. When it comes down to it, this day really is just about you and the person you love, not about the crystal chocolates.
Keep Your Cool.
Through it all, you have to just breathe. You don’t want to be a bridezilla. It will only stress you and the people around you out even more. When something doesn’t go right, don’t instantly freak out, think of a solution. The date you wanted already booked? Pick another one. The flower you love won’t be in season? Have your florist find a similar one. It’s all relevant and in 30 years the small details won’t matter. You’ll want to remember your engagement as a blissful experience and not a nightmare.