The Winter holidays tend to be the busiest time of year for engagements. There are parties, family gatherings, New Years Eve fireworks and lots of other festivities that make the perfect backdrop for popping the question and still allow for the element of surprise. We always see an increase in planning and design inquiries over the months of November, December and January. Most clients have the same question. Where do we start? Here are some helpful tips to get you on your way to planning your perfect day:
Set Your Budget - The most impactful factor in the entire planning process is your budget. Sit down with your fiancé to discuss what you feel comfortable contributing to your wedding. Decipher who will be contributing. Will parents be chipping in or are you doing this all on your own? If parents are assisting with the costs, make sure that clear guidelines are discussed and you know exactly how much they will be donating. This avoids any misunderstandings and is extremely helpful in alleviating stress as there is no gray area.
Decide on a Season - What time of year do you envision for your wedding? Do you envision a Summer wedding or an Autumn wedding? Are you Winter lovers? It's more important to discuss season than a specific date. Some venues are only available during certain months. Certain activities and decor choices are only available during specific times of the year. If you choose a season this will help guide you in the beginning stages of planning your wedding.
Select Your Venue - Your venue has the biggest impact on your event. It determines what vendors you'll need to hire like outside catering, bartenders, chair and table rentals, etc. It also determines the overall look and feel of your wedding day. Venues that include onsite catering and staffing services also tend to have a food and beverage minimum. All of these details will be very impactful on your budget so selecting your venue should come early on your list. Your venue will also determine your date. I always advise that the venue is more important than the date. If the venue is a perfect fit for you try to be flexible on dates as you'll be thankful you selected the best location for a seamless day as opposed to the opposite.
Decide on the Important Details - Sit down with your significant other and really hash out what is important to you about your wedding. Is it atmosphere? Do you just want a killer dance party? Is the design and decor important? Or maybe you're foodies and really want to splurge on a renowned chef. My advice is to pick the 2 or 3 most important aspects before you get too deep into the process. This gives you a good foundation for decision making.
So you're probably wondering when I'm going to throw in the "hire a planner" spiel? We understand that not everyone wants or feels that they need a planner, especially at the beginning stages. If hiring a planner/designer is in your budget then I would recommend researching and hiring them first. They can be integral in making sure you select quality vendors that are the right fit for you. They can also assist in making good decisions in terms of venue, decor, timing and generally steer you in the right direction for all of the different aspects of your wedding. Much of the value I offer as a planner is guiding my clients in making smart decisions and alleviating costs where they aren't necessary and avoiding booking with vendors that may not be a good fit.
After you have these important steps taken care of the fun really begins! You can start researching and booking your other vendors, making design plans and start dreaming about how you want the day to unfold. Happy planning!
Photo Credits - Beauty Board Media