1. Stick to your Wedding Budget
Most of your wedding planning will revolve around the budget. So set a workable, and honest, budget. Do not make a budget that is unrealistic as that will only create more stress. Great weddings do not have to cost a lot of money.
2. Checklist of Priorities
What is important for you on your big day? There is a LOT that goes into a wedding. And there is only so much budget to spend. So, you need to prioritise what is important and what you want to spend money on. DJ's, for example, vary in price depending on options and services they offer. Some offer elaborate Grand Entrances, customized timelines, and such, while others offer basic DJ services. Some couples will prioritize the DJ higher, while others will prioritise the DJ lower. And there are a lot of things to give priority to. Music, invitation, gowns, flowers, pictures, seat covers, meals, planning, novelties, up-lights etc. Rank the priorities starting at one (and there can only be one 1). Then if you need to cut costs, start cutting corners with the lower priority things.
3. Recruite friends
Planning a wedding can be a big challenge. Recruit trusted family and friends to assist you and assign them tasks, take them shopping to help pick items and bounce ideas off them. And don't forget to ask for your future spouses' ideas... they might surprise you!
4. Be Organized
Be as organised as possible. Use spreadsheets, email, and word processors (Excel/word/outlook) to gather and keep all your data. Keeping accurate and organized records of your ideas, budget spending and vendor info will help a long way to keep your wedding stress free.
5. Guest List First
Create a guest list (or at least an estimate of the number of guests) before looking for a venue. This way you can ensure there is enough space for all your guests and that you will not have to make unwanted cuts to the list later. On average, you will want about 25 - 30 square feet per guest. This will allow space to accommodate tables, servers, and the dance floor.
6. Lighten the Guest List
What is the easiest and most efficient way to trim your wedding budget? Trim your guest list. Half your wedding budget is in the cost of food, space, novelties, invitations and more. If the cost is $100 per person, a trim of ten people would save $1,000.
7. Guest List Priority
When making your initial guest list, make sure you assign them a priority. Immediate family, best friends and wedding party members will be at the top of this list or have a high priority. Followed by extended family such as aunts and uncles, cousins, and close friends. These will be the second most priority. Then list other guests such as coworkers, neighbours, friends of your parents etc. If you have to make cuts, you can start at the end of the list and work your way up.
8. Invite the boy/girlfreind?
If your guest list is about to explode all over, then you may need to look at your "plus one" policy. If you need to trim the plus one for someone, make sure to seat them with people they already know or will get along with.
9. Invite Children?
Children at a wedding can be a touchy subject. Allow them? Don't allow them? Allow only a few? Children can add to the cost of the wedding as well as to the fun. You may want to invite only the kids you are close to, like nieces and nephews, but not everyone's kids. If you plan on an adult only wedding, then by all means put on the invitation that it is adults only. If, however, you plan to invite a few kids, but not others then it is best to leave that off the invitation. Instead, list them as one of the guests in the invitation. If you receive a response from someone who included their kids then you can then inform them that you are unable to invite everyone (and reasons why)
10. Children at the Wedding
Children who are invited to a wedding will undoubtedly get bored at some point in time. But there are things you can do to help prevent the boredom. You can set a room aside for kids to play in or watch a movie and hire a caregiver to watch over them. You can have colouring books and games for them. Invite them to participate in a "kissing" game allows them to participate with the adults. Your DJ, wedding planner and other experts should be able to assist with the entertainment of the kids!
11. Be Heard
Guests need to be able to see and hear the ceremony. This means that if you have a larger guest list, you will require sound equipment to allow your ceremony to be heard. Many DJ's, churches and other ceremony venues will have this capability if you need. But you need to ensure that the equipment is of decent quality and the person running it knows what he/she is doing.
12. Emergency Numbers
Make sure you have a list of your primary contacts for all your key vendors and wedding party people so that you can call or message them quickly if you need to.
13. Do Not Rush Decisions
Do not rush your decisions. If you need time to weigh the pros and cons, take the time. It is best to look at a few options, then pick the one that is best for you.
14. Set up times
Setting up for a wedding takes times. A DJ, for example, could take as long as four or five ours to set up if a lot of options are requested. Ensure that set-up times are scheduled with both the vendor, yourselves (for decorating) and, most importantly, with the venue.
15. Book Vendors You Are Comfortable With
This one is important. Only book vendors you feel comfortable with. Remember, that photographer you hire will be bossing you around all day, telling you where to stand and how to pose so that he/she can get the best picture possible. And the DJ will be representing you the entire night. If you are not comfortable with a vendor, move on.
16. Read Contracts
Read the contracts carefully and ask questions if there is something you do not understand. Ensure that all the details are correct. Your vendor will use this to determine everything, from start times to dates to anything else in the contract. All important items, such as fees, dates, times, clauses etc. should be documented in the contract.
17. Easy to Read and Accurate Directions
Ensure your guest can find your wedding! While the internet and apps like Google Maps and Wayz have simplified this, it is not a guarantee. Keep your directions simple and easy to follow.
18. DYI - Do It Yourself
Some decorations can be cost effective a beautiful, especially if you are able to make them yourself. These decorations can also add a true personal touch to your big day. Of course, do not take on too many DYI projects!
There are a LOT of wedding traditions. But you do not have to do all the traditions. If some feel outdated or uncomfortable or you just do not like them, do not include them. Of course, if there is a tradition important to someone in your family, and it does not harm, you may still consider keeping it.
20. Keep Accurate Records
Keep accurate records of your vendors responsibilities. Ensure all contracts contain any specific requests and try to do any requests for non-standard changes via email or in writing so that you have a record. Don't assume everything a set-in stone if it is not written down. If the person you have been dealing with is no longer working, the new person may not know what they promised. A simple email such as "Confirming that you are brining up-lights for the head table" will allow you to have a record of the request and confirmation of the response.
21. Time of Year
When to hold your wedding can be extremely important. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, for example, hosting your wedding in the cold of an October evening in an unheated tent could be problematic. Guests tend to leave early if they are uncomfortable. Bugs, heat, cold are just a few things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding, and the time of year to host one. Also, remember to have an alternate plan in case of rain and/or snow!
22. Check with Vendors
Looking for a good DJ? On the search for the perfect photographer? Of course, you can do web searches and wedding shows, but one of the best places to find vendors is from another vendor. If you have already hired a venue, photographer, DJ, caterer, or any other vendor, ask them if they have anyone they would recommend. The DJ, for example, may have worked with some great photographers and could suggest one that is exactly right for you!
23. Ask Your Vendors
Your wedding vendors can be a great source of information. Ask them for advice on anything you may need assistance in. They have worked many weddings and have seen things done in ways you may not have considered.
24. Enough Bartenders
On average, one bartender per 75-100 guests can help keep lines minimal. But if you are serving signature cocktails that take extra time to prepare, you will need extra bartenders!
25. Have Fun!
Probably the most important tip to remember is to have fun! It is your big day after all so when your wedding day arrives, relax, and celebrate with all your family and friends.