Hello all you gorgeous brides to be and a BIG congrats on your engagement. Isn’t love grand? I’m a total sucker for love stories. They just give me all the feels! So many amazing and beautiful moments are headed your way. I would love to hear all about your sweet love story in the comments.
I’m so thrilled you landed here with me! I can’t wait to help you navigate this exciting (and probably overwhelming) time too. Lets take a deep breath together and dive right into all the questions that are most likely swirling around in your head. But first….Disclaimer 1: time is your friend in the wedding game. Really! The more you pace yourself, do the research, ask all the questions, have all the important discussions with your partner, the easier and more relaxed everything will flow. Promise! Disclaimer #2: this is YOUR day. Everyone is there to celebrate YOU. What’s important to the both of you? Grab a coffee or dinner with your love and have this exact conversation. Talk it out thoroughly (and politely!) so you are on the same page. Then the planning excitement (yes I said excitement!) begins. Woohoo!
Ok ready? Lets dive right in.
What do I need to do first? Set a budget! This is SO important. For your sanity and all the vendors who will be working with you to make your day special. Everything revolves around your budget. That budget also helps you narrow down who and what you can afford. Weddings can add up very quickly and not everyone can afford a wedding where the “sky is the limit”. This set budget helps your vendors do their job within a strict parameter. They will thank you and appreciate you for this. And you my friend will save yourself from any wedding scope creep.
2nd most important to do: Choose your venue. This will eat a decent amount into your budget (about 30% to 50%, including catering too) and not all venues are created equal! There are many factors to consider in venue choice. Some venues offer all inclusive package options, including catering, tables, linens, chairs, decor, day of coordinator, and much more. While this does simplify your vendor selection, the price tags can get pretty high. Other venues offer facility rental only, which means you will be responsible for bringing in all vendors. Note: venue location, guest count, whether they offer all inclusive packages, and will the venue host the ceremony and reception, are factors that can affect the overall cost. Make sure you research each venue’s options and also contact them for an in person walk through. I recommend bringing a list of questions to ask each venue and take great notes.
Wedding planner, coordinator, or designer/decorator? Who do I really need? This can be a little confusing and sometimes there is an overlap of duties offered by these vendors. Here is a simplified breakdown for you:
A wedding planner is all about logistics! They will be with you from the very beginning of the planning phase, make make vendor suggestions, handle contract negotiations, and manage vendor communication. Their job is to keep you on schedule and budget. Some planners also offer design services, but not all do, so make sure to verify with them. Keep in mind that wedding planners have lists of vendors they like to work with, BUT you should not be tied to any of them. Make sure you ask this question in case there is a specific vendor you are wanting to work with.
A wedding coordinator is usually used for day of coordinating and sometimes offers month of coordinating as well. A wedding coordinator will do final vendor confirmations, create a timeline, and manage the load in and load of the wedding day. If you have hired a Wedding Planner, most will cover this with their event management services. The big difference is a Wedding Planner will have an active part in the planning process leading up to the day. A wedding coordinator is not involved in earlier planning or consultations. Their focus is strictly managing the final logistics for a smooth wedding day.
A wedding designer/decorator specializes in all the aesthetics and style of your big day. They will create a design that is truly reflective of you as a couple. Their specialty is to really hone in on your vision and bring it to life! They will collaborate with your vendors to ensure the overall design and style is cohesive and flows seamlessly. They are the bells and whistles, the icing on the cake, the ooh la la of your day 🙂 Sometimes florals are included in a designer’s pricing. However most of the time, florals will fall under your actual florist budget and the designer will collaborate with your florist for a cohesive style.
**If you need logistics and design help you can either hire a wedding planner and designer separately (like me!) OR source a planner that also offers design services.
Now that you’ve set your budget, secured your venue and hired a planner/designer/decorator: Give yourself a giant high 5 because that’s literally the hardest part! If you’ve hired a planner (which I highly recommend!) they will have valuable resources for photographers, DJs, florists, bakers, and so much more! Added bonus they will keep you on a serious timeline management. Just make sure you are realistic with them about your overall budget.
Photographer: You want to make sure you have amazing photos of your wedding day. In my professional opinion, this should be one of your top budget items. Really price shop around to see how much bang you can get for your budget. Make sure you see their work in person to get a sense of their quality and photography style. Compare your own research results with any that your wedding planner might recommend too. They have to feel and fit right with you 🙂
Florists: are amazing! Just know that this is one area where price can easily skyrocket. Are you wanting florals everywhere and anywhere possible? Count on a hefty price tag for that! Some important things to consider to help save on cost: 1. Almost all florists have a minimum and that price can vary greatly between florists. Make sure you research to see who is the best fit within your budget 2. In season flowers will always be cheaper, so do your research and find gorgeous flowers that are in season. If a florist has to source out of season flowers plan on spending a pretty penny 3. Use flowers in places where they have the most impact like for sure your gorgeous bouquet!, aisle entry (or down the aisle), any ceremony structure, and your special sweetheart table. Have your heart set on table flowers too? Small bundles of flowers in textured vases of varying sizes is a stunning and inexpensive way to add some floral design to your tables. Bigger isn’t always better and remember large scale florals will increase your costs.
Whew we made it through to the end! Yahoo! Still reeling? No problem. Here’s a concise recap for you:
I hope that I’ve helped reduce any stress and given you a clearer direction on the important steps and order of securement.
I would LOVE to design and decorate the wedding of your dreams. Afterall, beauty is in all the little details! and I happen to specialize in them.
Remember to enjoy the journey and the decisions that YOU get to make for your once in a lifetime day. Best wishes on your next chapter in life!
Much Love and Joy,
April 13, 2023