I compiled this list of top wedding planning tips for a blog I wrote on the Bitterroot Wedding Association page.
10. GET A GRIP ON YOUR BUDGET
We beg you. Please do not even BEGIN spending money until you know how much you have to spend. All those little things add up quickly and before you know it, you're over budget. Autumn strongly suggests using a wedding budget program (her company provides one to clients). To many people, $30,000 is a whole lot of money. But you would be completely surpised at how quickly those funds diminish when planning a wedding! So even if you personally feel your budget is healthy, you should STILL use a budget program to stay on track.
9. MAKE A TOP 3 LIST
Has your family paid for parts of your wedding? Does that make you feel like you "owe" it to them to do what THEY want you to do? We definitely encourage you to compromise on as many items as possible and incorporate the family's wants. BUT, this is also YOUR wedding day. If you're struggling to reach a compromise, the bride and groom should make a top 3 list. Put your absolute MUST HAVES on this list. These will become the "untouchables." These are the 3 things you don't have to compromise on (but we willing to compromise on other items). Ask your family to do the same. Often we find that the issues with compromising spring from miscommunication on wants. The top 3 list really does help!
8. YOUR WEDDING STYLE
What's your personal style? What's your groom's personal style? We love putting together the "5 senses of your wedding." That means you close your eyes, relax, and define how your wedding tastes, smells, sounds, looks and feels. Bride and groom can do this separately for best results. Once your visualize all these categories and then take a step back, you can actually give a definition to your combined style!
7. PLAN THE DETAILS, BUT DON'T SWEAT THEM
Not everything will go exactly according to plan. But that does NOT mean you should panic if something isn't perfect... Event planning is all about handling change. As a wedding planner, we work closely with the bride & groom so we can make decisions in the moment, on their behalf. As an example - one of our brides told us she wanted lots of candlelight in the reception room. She bought votives & tealights for the wedding and then left them at home (5 hours away). As her planner, we spoke with the venue, pulled their votives, and just happened to bring a bag of tealights as a backup. . . problem solved, and the bride never needed to panic.
6. RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
Montana is known for its unpredictable weather, no matter what time of year. So we encourage all of our brides to plan for anything. For starters, never plan an outdoor wedding without shelter! That includes shelter from the heat AND shelter from bad weather. And items like shawls & heaters for a fall wedding are smart to have on hand. When you aren't prepared, it's like taunting the weather to act up. . . and when you plan for weather, you're less stressed when it happens.
5. ALTITUDE = HYDRATION
Remember, we're at a higher altitude here than many other parts of the country. Whether it's supposed to be hot outside, or you're serving alcohol, make sure your guests have access to plenty of water!!!
Make sure you do your research on which vendors are supposed to be tipped and which vendors just charge a flat rate with no expectations of tips. You would tip a server at a restaurant as part of the cost. We understand that a wedding is a huge expense, but that just means you should budget for the tip - not just skip it. CLICK HERE for a great link to who you should tip.
3. LIMIT YOUR ENTOURAGE
When shopping for wedding dresses, visiting the venue, etc., limit the size of your group. Too many opinions can lead to emotional overload. Not everyone has to approve of your wedding decisions. Only invite a few people to attend, who you know would make your appointments ENJOYABLE.
2. WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE WEDDING?
There's no such thing as a bride and groom who WANTS to stay until the end of their wedding to clean it up. If you aren't hiring a planner and you're instead delegating this responsibility to someone else, PLEASE follow these tips.
First, pick someone who isn't going to be so inebriated that they can't get the job done.
Second, have an inventory checklist, so your helper knows which decor is yours, and which belongs at the venue.
Third, whoever is responsible for cleaning up needs to know how to box it up. For example, if you've got a linen on your cake table, you can hide boxes under that table. Mark right onto the box what the contents were so they make sure to get everything!
And lastly, make sure whoever is putting items away understands their job. If linens aren't supposed to be wet or dirty, make sure that person doesn't shove soiled linens into the laundry bag. . . just have a heart to heart with the person you've delegated to, so they understand clearly what you need them to do.
1. ENJOY YOUR RELATIONSHIP - AND THE PLANNING!
You know yourself best. Some people can just power through the "annoying" parts of planning to get to the enjoyable parts. Others need to work on it when the mood strikes them. Do what's best for you. But no matter what, put down the planning every once in a while, and take a break to enjoy time with your fiance. We've seen quite a few brides go through "withdrawls" when the planning is over because it completely consumed all their time. Take a break and enjoy your relationship! It's the reason why you're planning a wedding anyways!