When you first get engaged, it can be difficult to know where to begin to get your wedding planning on track. Basically you are now the Chief Coordinator for the largest most upscale party you will ever host. Below are your initial 6 Quick Steps to do to quickly get your wedding planning on track.
1) Get educated
2) Get organized
3) Get your Wedding Toolbox stocked
4) Set your wedding date, style and size
5) Set your wedding budget
6) Generate your wedding timeline
1) Get Educated. You need to get up to speed quickly. Should you buy a 2-inch thick planning guide at the bookstore? Not if you already have a busy life. Those big books are full of lots of fluff that will take days to read and that you simply don’t need. To get educated quickly, grab a Central Coast Bride Magazine for your area (about ¼ inch thick!) and read through the wedding planning articles without the fluffy filler. You can also read these same articles plus view planning tools on our website at www.CentralCoastBride.com. You can still browse through fun wedding style magazines, but to quickly learn what a wedding involves and how to plan one, read our no nonsense guides first.
2) Get Organized. The best way to sanely plan your wedding is to get and stay organized. Buy a 3-ring binder that is 2 to 3 inches thick. Buy clear plastic sleeves into which you can slip brochures, flyers and business cards. Buy index page dividers with the little tabs and create sections for the ceremony site, reception site, photographer and so on. At the front of each section, keep a copy of your contract related to that category. At the front of the binder, keep a summary sheet of names and numbers of all of your contracted wedding vendors plus a calendar where you will enter your milestone dates. That’s it! Now you are organized.
3) Get Your Wedding Toolbox Stocked. We have three Major Tools in helping to plan your wedding: Magazines, Bridal Shows, Website.
- Website. Go to www.CentralCoastBride.com and click on Planning Tools. There you will find a variety of helpful tools like Wedding Worksheets, Checklists and Timelines. You can also search for Local Wedding Vendors in any or all of the five counties in the Central Coast. Or you can request One Click Referrals to find available wedding services. Future posts will give more detailed Website Tool information, but feel free to browse the tools on your own.
- Magazines. Pick up a copy of our wedding planning Magazine and keep it in your Wedding Binder or in your purse. It contains tons of information about wedding planning, including a listing of Wedding Venues by Area & City, a table of Wedding Venue details (like capacity, features, phone numbers) and an index with contact information for local wedding professionals. Each of our Magazines may be viewed online at the What’s Hot Tab, which is under the Planning Tools Tab.
- Bridal Shows. Bridal Shows are fun and extremely useful – more on them in a blog next week. In the meantime, you can read about how to best use a bridal show on our website at the Articles Tab (under the Planning Tools Tab).
4) Set Your Wedding Date, Style and Size. Although Friday evening and Sunday afternoons are options for your wedding day, most weddings are held on Saturdays. And though weddings are held year round, the peak wedding season is the summer months. However, the weather is so fabulous in the Central Coast that our peak wedding season extends from May through October. There are 5 things to think about in picking your date.
- Determine the year for your wedding
- Consider if there a date that has some special significance to you that you want to use? Like your first date, your engagement anniversary, your parent’s wedding anniversary, etc.
- If not, determine the time of year for your wedding
- Within that timeframe, find three dates that works well with you and your groom’s schedules
- See which of those 3 dates work best with the schedules of key friends and family
Once you are set on the date, get your wedding and reception locations reserved as early as possible. These sites can book up to a year in advance. More on booking your Wedding Venue a blog next week.
Wedding Style. Your personal style may be formal or casual, traditional or contemporary, intimate or huge, or somewhere in between these ends of the spectrum. You may want your wedding style to match your personal style, or you may want to go against your personal style. Considering these questions will help you to quickly figure out your wedding style, which will help you to narrow down your potential wedding venues.
Wedding Size. The size of your guest list will depend on the size and closeness of your family, your groom’s family, your friends and your budget. Unless you can find a workable way around it, big families equal large weddings. And the larger your wedding, the more it will cost since many wedding services are based on the number of guests (venue, food, cake, flowers, invitations and rentals). Spend an evening with your groom specifically to come up with an estimate of your wedding size. You will fine-tune this number later, but get an estimate for now. Each of you make a list of family and friends that should be invited to the wedding. List them all – it is much easier to remove names from the list than to add them later. What is the total number of your combined lists? Is it in the ballpark of the size of wedding you would like or can afford? If so, great. If not, start lining-out names that can be cut until you get to a size that seems right for you. Then share your draft list to your parents to see if there is some family that must be added.
5) Set Your Wedding Budget. Determine the total amount you want or are able to spend on your wedding. Then determine the amount of your total budget to allot to each of the elements of the wedding (i.e., Catering, DJ, Photography, etc). There are no absolute rules for this division; however, the traditional percentages are presented in our website’s worksheets.
6) Generate Your Wedding Timeline In the calendar in the front of your 3-ring binder, post your wedding milestone dates starting with your wedding date, then work backwards from that date to today. See the example timeline under the Planning Tools on our website. This timeline will help you to identify milestones that are appropriate for you. As each wedding decision is made, be sure to update your calendar.