You’ve emerged from the haze of newly engaged excitement and now the daunting task of planning your dream wedding day lies ahead. Where do you start!? Of course, you could book a consultation with a wedding planner to get things underway but perhaps you prefer the idea of going it alone. Fear not, you are never really alone in today’s world as we can readily access online forums and apps for advice and assistance or head out to the local book shop to pick up the latest wedding planning magazine that will likely have some kind of wedding checklist to get you on your way.
The thing with a check list is it is really just that – a list of things you should do or consider when planning your wedding but unless you know a bit about weddings or event planning you are still likely to have a few questions, especially around what you might expect to pay for things or who the best suppliers are to use within your price range. To help you get started I have put together a few things that I think help a newly engaged couple navigate a wedding planning checklist without too much stress.
- Know what you want from your wedding day
Sit down with your fiancé and discuss the types of things that are important to you as part of a wedding celebration. Perhaps you have been to a few weddings and have seen a few ideas you definitely do or don’t want. Do you have a preferred time of year, location, style, guest list etc. This is also a good time to discuss your budget so you are both on the same page about what you are prepared to spend and can afford.
It can really help to take these initial ideas to a wedding planner for a one off consultation so they can help you put together a plan and budget for you work with that incorporates your wedding ideas. This time with a professional planner can also help to answer any questions you may have or discuss ways to keep your planning stress to a minimum. This consultation can be a real lifesaver to many couples as it sets them on their way and takes away that initial stress of “what am I forgetting”. To keep your planning on track you may like to make a couple of follow up meetings with a planner in the lead up to the wedding to ensure no stone is left un-turned and budget is kept in check.
- Do your research
Before you start making contact with suppliers do a bit of research online and see what you can discover by way of inclusions or pricing that various vendors offer. This research will help you to understand what services and products different businesses offer and the price you can expect to pay; so you can see if you are comparing apples with apples. From your research you will likely be able to determine who you would like to contact for further information or a meeting to discuss your wedding details further.
- Get reviews
You are about to spend a lot of money on your wedding day so you need to know that the companies and people you are hiring are as good as they say they are. The best way to do this is by getting review; and I don’t just mean off the wedding vendor’s website. The power of technology has given the consumer a voice and you can now join local wedding forums and ask others for their review and experiences or take a look at the businesses Facebook or Trip Advisor pages to get a general idea of what the feedback is like. Keep in mind though that one or two bad reviews out of hundreds is probably nothing to worry about. Once you have sought others thoughts and opinions it is time to form your own and decide if you should book them or not. Always go with your gut feeling, if something doesn’t feel right then perhaps it isn’t so don’t feel rushed into booking anything you are not 100% happy with.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Don’t expect to sit down with your wedding checklist and knock everything off in a weekend. Most of these check lists have a countdown to help you progress with your planning over a period of time. You need to get a few of the key ‘ducks in a row’ before you can get into the details – you can’t send a save the date card until you have a date and location!
You may also need time to re-group, especially in the initial stages, if you find your preferred venue is out of your price range or perhaps not available for the date you had in mind. There really is a lot to line up in the first part of the planning process – venue, caterer, photographer etc. You will need to approach all the main vendors around the same time to make sure they are all available when you need them or fit within your budget. Luckily we are surrounded by many wonderful vendors in Canterbury so should your first preference not be available you will likely find another you are equally happy with.
- Make notes
Wedding planning can be a very administrative task and because you are dealing with so many wedding vendors it is really important to keep a track of your discussions and make sure you have a contract with each that is clear about price and services provided along with your responsibilities as the hirer.
You can buy cute wedding planning folders and note books to help you keep track of your own notes and meetings but it is always good to make sure you have a confirmation in writing so there are no dispute closer to or after the wedding.
- Leave nothing to chance
As the wedding draws near you will no doubt be filled with nervous excitement however this is no time to take your eye off the ball. In the few weeks leading up to the wedding you will need to reconfirm all your arrangement to ensure everything is on track and nothing has changed since you made your initial booking.
If you know that you are likely to be highly stressed in the lead up to the wedding you may want to consider hiring a wedding co-ordinator. A co-ordinator differs to a planner as their role is not to plan the wedding, instead they reconfirm your requirements with you and key vendors, make sure your run sheets for the day are complete and carry out the planning you have spent months arranging to make sure you have a wonderful and relaxing day marrying the person of your dreams!