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10 Amazing Tips For Planning Your Wedding

10 Tips For Planning A Wedding


By Jeffrey House Photography


What scares you the most about planning your wedding?

Is it the cost?  Is it finding great wedding vendors?  How about finding the perfect wedding dress?  Or maybe it's some combination of all of these things.  

In this article, we are going to share 10 tips for planning a wedding.  So, let's get right to it!

82% Of Brides Regret How They Planned Their Wedding

82% of brides regret how they planned their wedding and would do it completely different if given a second chance.   

What happened that caused brides to feel this way?

Planning a wedding is difficult.  There are a lot of expensive temptations and it's easy to want to personalize every detail.  Unfortunately, many brides lose sight of what's truly important until it's too late.  It's not the invitations or centerpieces or even the flowers.  

So, what did brides regret most?

  • Hiring a "cheap" photographer
  • Not hiring a videographer
  • Not hiring a professional DJ
  • Inviting too many guests
  • Having a bridal party that was too large

Brides said they regretted not paying more attention to the details that memorialized their day.  They realized a wedding is really about the story - the love - the once-in-a-lifetime moments, and the people.  

Your Wedding Blueprint

As you sit down to plan your wedding, it's overwhelming staring at the long list of details that need to be addressed.  You're wondering what to do first.  Don't worry - you're not alone - these are very common feelings.  

How much should you allocate towards each detail?

This is one of the most common questions and here's a wedding blueprint to help you determine your budget.  

  • Wedding Venue/Reception (45-50%)
  • Ceremony (2-3%)
  • Attire (7-10%)
  • Flowers (7-10%)
  • DJ (7-10%)
  • Photographer (10-15%)
  • Videographer (7-10%)
  • Stationary (2-3%)
  • Rings (2-3%)
  • Transportation (2-3%)
  • Gifts (2-3%)
  • Emergency (5%)

10 Amazing Tips For Planning Your Wedding

1.  Organization, Organization, Orginization

Many couples don't place much emphasis on organization, but it's hugely important.  You can go visit or go online to Barnes and Noble or Amazon to purchase a professional wedding planning guide. They aren't very expensive and they will ensure your wedding materials are safely and neatly stored.  

I know getting organized can make you feel a little "geeky," but I promise you, it will make your life much easier.  It will also reduce the chance of any major issues occurring.

2.  Determine Your Wedding Date

It might seem premature to select a wedding date at this point, however, the date of your wedding can have a significant impact on your planning.

If you're not sure of the exact date right now, don't worry, but try your best to narrow it down to a specific month.  

Your date will determine whether you're having an "in-season" or "off-season" wedding, and this will have an impact on cost and availability.  If you're having an off-season wedding, you will typically find most details come with a lesser price.  Generally speaking, venues and wedding professionals have more availability, so the booking process can be a little easier.  

However, if you're wedding is taking place during the winter months, obviously inclement weather will be a serious consideration - especially if you have a lot of guests coming in from out-of-town.  

3.  Develop A Budget

Unfortunately, most of us don't have unlimited funds, so developing a wedding budget becomes necessary.

As you begin to develop your budget, you will first need to know where your sources of money will be coming from.  You will essentially have 4 sources of money:

  • The money you and your partner currently have available to contribute to wedding expenses
  • Money you and your partner can save from now until the wedding
  • Contributions by parents
  • A small personal loan

Due to the price of weddings, many families now share the responsibility of paying for the wedding.  If you're faced with needing to secure a small personal loan to assist with expenses, do your best to limit the amount of money you borrow and research local banks and credit unions to ensure you get the best repayment terms.  

4.  The Guest List

A common regret among many brides is having a wedding that was too large.  Many times, guests are invited out of feelings of obligation and before you know it, your guest list has grown out of control.  When you consider the cost per head, it's easy to see why brides wished they had smaller weddings.  Cutting even 5 people from your guest list can save you between $1,000 - $1,500!  

So, what should you do?

Make a guest list and separate it into 2 categories:

  • Must Invite
  • Possible Invite

Once you've placed your guests on the appropriate side of the list, your guest count becomes much clearer.  This is not only helpful for budgeting purposes, but it's also valuable as you choose a wedding venue.  We will further explore this in a second.  

Lastly, remember that approximately 20% of the guests you invite will not be able to attend your wedding.  

5.  Choosing A Wedding Venue

For most couples, talking about budgets and guest lists is pretty boring.  But now it's time to address one of the most fun steps - Choosing your wedding venue!

While this is an exciting part of planning, prepare yourself because it's also the most expensive!

We've already discussed the importance of choosing your wedding date and developing a guest list. We also addressed how they will influence cost and availability.  So, before you set your heart on a wedding venue, you will first need to make sure they have your wedding date available.  If they don't, you will either need to change dates or find a new venue.

Next, you will need to see what requirements the venue has for booking your wedding.  Requirements? What do I mean by requirements?

If you're going to have an in-season wedding, most venues are going to require you have a minimum guest count (i.e.  150 guests) or you commit to a minimum financial obligation (i.e. $20,000).

So, what do you do if you only have 100 guests?  You can still book them, but you will be required to pay for 50 guests that won't be in attendance.  Your other options, of course, are to invite more people or search for a new venue.

Assuming the venue has your date and their booking requirements meet your needs, there are some additional considerations.  To help you get started, here is a list of important questions to consider:

  • Does the price of the venue include a wedding cake?
  • Does it include the linens, plates, silverware, and glassware?
  • Does it include a full-service dinner or buffet?
  • Does it include chair covers?
  • Does it include centerpieces and what do they look like?  
  • Does the venue allow you to bring in your own decorations?
  • Does the venue allow you to move things around or do you need to keep everything "as is?"
  • How many people can comfortably sit at the tables?
  • are there any restrictions to how late the DJ/band can play music?
  • Is the venue handicap accessible?
  • Does the venue have professional relationships with local hotels for discounted room rates?
  • Does the venue prepare their food onsite or do they use a caterer?
  • Do they offer a list of reputable caterers?
  • Can they host the ceremony too and what are the additional fees?
  • How many options to they offer for hosting the ceremony?  
  • If having an outdoor wedding, do they have contingency plans for inclement weather?

These are some of the more relevant questions you will want to ask wedding venues.  You should also look online to make sure you address any additional questions that apply specifically to your wedding.

6.  Choosing Your Wedding Professionals/Vendors

Now it's time to research, interview, and book your wedding professionals.  A critical step in the wedding planning process.  "Wedding Professionals" refers to your photographer, DJ, videographer, and officiant.  

Many couples make the mistake of trying to "cut costs" when hiring their professionals and interestingly enough, this strategy usually results in the biggest regrets.  Your wedding professionals can literally make or break your wedding.  Almost everyone has either attended a wedding or knows someone who attended a wedding with a bad wedding professional.  The DJ played horrible music and should have been tackled the minute he used a live mic!  Or the photographer was obnoxious and constantly in your way all night.  

Hiring quality wedding professionals is vital to the overall success and experience of your wedding.  

The most important detail to consider for your professionals is their personality.  They all must have great personalities that are fun, outgoing, friendly, and professional.

The most important detail to consider when hiring your professionals is their personality.  They should have great personalities that are fun, outgoing, friendly, and professional.

Your wedding day is your day, however, it's also an experience for your guests too.  A good DJ understands how to "read" the crowd and keep them engaged to ensure a great event.  You definitely don't want your guests running for the door once the cake has been cut.

Your wedding photographer and videographer are responsible for telling the story of this special day, and capturing and documenting these once-in-a-lifetime moments.  And when they're gone, they're gone forever.    

7.  The Wedding Dress

Now it's time to pick out your wedding dress.

On average, most brides spend between $1,200 - $2,000 on their dress and this also includes the accessories - veil, shoes, jewelry, etc.

Many brides have found their dream dress for less than $1,000.  Ideally, you should allow yourself a good 12 months to find a dress because you want to take your time and ensure you choose something you truly adore. 

Follow this link to learn more about choosing the perfect wedding dress!

8.  Choosing Your Florist

There are many considerations when it comes to choosing a florist and picking your blooms, but the best advice is to know your flower budget, keep an open mind, and be flexible!  

Flower costs can add up quickly, especially if you insist on exotic or out of season flowers.  It's essential that you clearly communicate what you're looking to achieve with your flowers, so be sure to use pictures to convey the overall look and feel you're after.

It's also a good idea to choose hardy flowers that are practical.  A popular bloom among many brides is the hydrangea, but they are certainly not the most practical flower.  Once removed from water, they have a lifespan of about 3 hours.  We want healthy and vibrant looking flowers, especially for your photographs.  

Lastly, book your florist early - Generally speaking, 9-12 months in advance is a good rule of thumb.

9.  The Officiant

The most important part of your wedding day is the ceremony.  It's the moment you and your partner proclaim your love and commitment to one another.  The person presiding over your ceremony will play a vital role in guiding it and helping to make it special.  

Like most wedding professionals, book them early is important - At least 9 months in advance, but preferably 12.  When choosing an officiant, obviously you will need to consider your spiritual beliefs, but it's imperative to select a person that has a great personality and makes you feel comfortable.  

You may find that you want specific language, readings, and/or rituals as part of your ceremony; therefore, it's well worth your effort to find an officiant that values your input.  It's also important to understand that due to spiritual or religious beliefs, they may not be able to accommodate all of your wishes.  Officiants are unlike any other wedding vendor - While you will form a business relationship with them, it's a sacred relationship too, so be sure to respect them and their feelings.  

While most officiants don't use a contract or officiant agreement, be sure to get something in writing that outlines your agreement.  This will help avoid any unwanted preaching or rituals at your ceremony. Lastly, make sure your officiant can legally sign your marriage license.  Some officiants only perform spiritual ceremonies and you're expected to make it legal through some other course of action.

10.  The Bridal Party

Choosing your wedding party is often a surprisingly stressful part of wedding planning.  Much like the guest list, brides and grooms often ask people to be in their wedding party out of feelings of obligation. It may be someone that asked you to be in their wedding or it may be a parent pressuring you to ask a cousin.

Many couples ask their friends to be in the wedding party, but it ends up being a drama filled experience.  You might have that jealous friend that's upset because you're getting married first or you're having a nicer wedding.  The last thing you need is added stress and drama on your wedding day.

Before asking anyone to be part of the wedding party, make sure you first understand your own expectations.  When asking someone to be part of your special day, communicate your expectations so everyone is on the same page.  Let them have a few days to think about it and make sure they understand there will be no hard feelings if they decline.  You want a people in your wedding party are 100% supportive of your marriage and are genuinely happy for you.  

Many brides regret having a wedding party that was too large.  Large bridal parties often lead to more drama and they certainly mean higher expenses.  It's best to limit each side to 3-4 people.  If you're having an exceptionally large wedding - 200+ people - you can consider having 5-6 per side.   


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