Have you ever met one of those amazing girls who gets engaged and automatically has the entire wedding planned? She knows everything she wants, right down to the table runners, almost as if she’s been planning this event for her entire life. What do I have to say to incredibly decisive women like that? Girl… I am in awe of you!
But for a lot of us, wedding planning can seem incredibly difficult and daunting. If you’re the girl who literally has no idea where you want to get married, what style you want, and how much you can/should spend, don’t fret. You’re not alone! Use the following questions as a starting point, and hopefully after you’ve answered them, you won’t feel as overwhelmed and lost.
- Where do you see yourself walking down the aisle?
First, ask yourself the obvious questions: Are you indoors or outdoors? What time of the year is it? Are there flowers? Lanterns? Delicate snow billowing across the glass-stained windows of a church?If you can’t picture ONE perfect place, that’s okay. It’s alright (and even smart!) to fantasize about different options. Maybe you first imagined a beach wedding- but your fiancé is super pale and hates being in the sun and sand. A beach wedding could be out, but why not a lakeside park instead? Maybe you pictured a gorgeous cathedral wedding, but don’t have a strong emotional connection with any particular churches at the moment. Most churches allow non-members to get married in them, provided you pay a fee. Hotels and resorts are also a great idea for local and destination weddings alike. Try picking three strong location ideas and researching multiple venue options close to you. You may find that with a little research, your options will be significantly narrowed down.
- Just how big do you want this party to be?
The amount of people at your wedding directly corresponds to the venue choice you’re able to make. You can’t have a small garden wedding and invite three-hundred people. Can you imagine all of those bodies crammed into a tiny ivy-covered courtyard? Not practical. It’s unfortunate, but you may have to choose what’s more important to you: Having the perfect setting, or having all of your loved ones attend. But keep in mind- the larger the wedding, the more expensive it will be. Which brings us to our next question…
- So… How much is this going to cost?
It’s one thing to dream about your perfect wedding, (“I want to get married in a castle in Ireland!”) but it’s another thing completely to realistically plan the big day. While it’s traditional for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding, modern couples are less likely to follow this strict rule. If you are blessed enough to have a family who will take care of the tab, you have full permission to do your happy dance! But more likely than not, you’ll be paying for at least a portion, if not ALL of your own wedding. Now, that isn’t to say that Mom and Dad won’t be helping out at all. Be sure to consider your own funds, and also the monetary support of your and your finance’s families. It could be a little awkward to ask your future in-laws “How much money are you going to give to us?!” but it’s important to know what you’re working with sooner rather than later.There are a ton of helpful tools online to assist with planning a budget. The most important thing to do is to get a general number of the total amount of money you want to spend. Once you have that tentative ball park number, you can use wedding budget calculators online which will help break down how much money should be spent on each individual category. Just google search “wedding budget planner,” and you’ll be one step closer to feeling relaxed and in control.
- How fancy are we getting, here?
Now that you have an idea of the venue, size, and available budget, it’s time to start the fun part: Discovering the theme/style of your big day! Think about your day-to-day style. What do you gravitate towards in your wardrobe and home decor? Are you the type of person who loves the care-free bohemian look? Or maybe you’re someone who gets teased because you’re rarely seen in anything but black. Do you decorate your house with intricate antiques, or do you tend to lean towards being more of a modern minimalist? Your personal style is going to be your road map to figuring out the overall theme/feel of your wedding.
While wedding choices are usually made by the bride and her trusty team of friends and family, it’s important to keep your finance’s likes and dislikes in mind, as well. After all, this is a big day for BOTH of you. If your partner-to-be is a competitive bass fisherman, maybe a sparkly pretty-pretty-pink-princess wedding isn’t the route to go. (Or maybe it is, because he just loves the color pink. You hold on to that man tightly and never let him go!)
- Do you like having everything in your control, or would you like some serious help?
If you’re a Pinterest-fanatic-do-it-yourself party planning queen, you’re probably not still reading this article. But if you’re someone like me who could use a little help, consider hiring a wedding planner. They’ll help you make all of the decisions, both big and small, and be able to think of details that usually go over-looked. Not only will a wedding planner help with finding vendors, romantic locations, rentals, invitations, and work within your budget, but they’re also available on the big day itself, ready to step in and fix anything that could possibly go wrong. You may feel like hiring a wedding planner is way too expensive, but talk to a few different agencies. Get recommendations from friends and family. You may be surprised just how affordable wedding planners can be once everything is all said and done.
Whether you plan your wedding alone or hire some help, remember this mantra: Work your way to the small stuff. Start big! Decide on the most important aspects of your wedding, and all of the should-we-have-ivory-or-pearl-white-tablecloths-decisions can come much later. When you’re first starting out, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with the tiny details. And always remember to have fun!