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Steps to Planning Your Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement! Your head is filled with colors, flowers, vendors, and dresses. You are working on a style and color scheme for your wedding. But is that where you should begin your planning? Not really. As you plan your wedding, your colors and style will emerge naturally.

First Step - The Budget

Once you have gotten over the excitement of becoming engaged, creating a wedding budget is what should be first on your list of things to do. Too frequently, couples start planning the wedding and hiring vendors before setting the budget. Budgeting after you have started spending money can often lead to disappointment. You realize you have spent so much on your venue that now you can only afford half of the flowers you would like for the reception area.

Deciding on your wedding budget can be confusing if you've never planned a significant event. It's challenging to nail down a dollar amount if you're unsure how much bang you can get for your buck. Sometimes the wedding a couple wants doesn't align with what the couple can afford, and that's when the trouble begins.

Everyone paying for the wedding day (bride, groom, and parents) needs to sit down and look at the entire wedding budget. This might be your first experience budgeting with your future spouse as a team.

Discussing candidly and honestly about how much you can spend on your wedding is going to lay the groundwork for a successful marriage.

Talking about the budget is not just about how much money you can spend on the total wedding but talking about how much you should spend in each area. Breaking the total wedding budget into categories and figuring out what percentage to devote to each is important.

Following is an example of how you could break down each section:

Reception: 55%

Ceremony: 12%

Photography: 10%

Wedding Planner: 10%

Dress and Tux: 8%

Miscellaneous/Cushion: 5%

Take time with your fiancé to decide on your top three must-haves for your wedding day. They can be practical or frivolous—whatever is meaningful to you. You can come up with your wish lists individually or together, but make sure you sit down and decide what you both want. Let that idea formulate your budget.

Second Step – The Guest List:

After you have set your wedding budget, your first decision needs to be your guest list and the number of people you plan to invite. You would not want to book a venue that is not large enough for the number of guests you are expecting. Many of your decisions and costs are going to depend on the number of guests you are going to invite. Your guest list will consist of the collection of smaller lists; family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, attendants. Each of the couple's guest list should be close in number. The parents will add the list with friends or family they would like to invite.

Third Step – The Venue:

Once you have finalized the guest list, you are ready to start your search for a venue. This is important because popular venues get booked fast. So you want to get on the calendar as soon as possible. There are two main ways to narrow your search. Choosing the location and the style of venue. Save some time and do some research before you go to visit the venue. Find out precisely what the venue includes in the price; tables, linens, set up, take down, caterer on-site or not, venue coordinator, etc. You don't need to be totally in love with your venue; you are not going to be living there just getting married. If you can see yourself saying "I do," but the chairs or tiles in the bathroom are not exactly your style, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Finally, the Rest!

Now that you have your budget determined, your guest list completed, and your venue booked, you can start thinking about colors, flowers, music, menu, and all the other decisions. But don't let those decisions stress you out. Keep it simple. It can be colors that you like or colors that would look good with the bridesmaids' dresses. If you are not sure what kind of flowers you want, talk with a florist, look at flower galleries, read real wedding blogs to find something that you like. If the flowers in the pictures are out of your price range, let the florist know that is the color you want and have them suggest flowers that are more in line with your budget. You can choose the music and the food by picking something that you and your fiance like, enjoy, or has a special memory.

You have a dress you love, a centerpiece idea, foods that you want, personal music; now you can build your wedding out from there.

I wish you happy planning!!


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