1. BUDGET. If you have an unlimited budget, congratulations. But most folks don't have that luxury. You'll want to sit down and pencil out how much you comfortably want to spend, and how much family is giving you (if they are giving you something). You don't have to know a headcount, and you don't have to know what things cost. The most important thing is to come up with a budget that is comfortable to you. No wedding should put you in debt. EVER. The average wedding in Montana, for an average number of guests is usually about $250 per person (to help you with your budgeting if you have no idea where to start!)
2. PINTEREST. We love Pinterest. Like A-LOT. We suggest you get on there and start pinning designs and ideas that exemplify your wedding style and what you think you want. Type into the notes what you like about each image. That helps your vendors understand your style. But beware - we suggest pinning only in the first few months. If you stay on there, and continue to pin, you'll snowball into adding more and more ideas to your wedding, costing you money. Use the pinning as a communication tool with your vendors. That's when it's most effective.
3. GUEST LIST. Come up with a rough list. . . but don't tell anyone who is on the list! Sit down with your fiance, and each family, and get separate lists of guests they would like to invite. Go through all your lists, and THEN decide who you want to invite. Once you decide how many people you can accommodate, per your budget, you are ok to verbally tell people they'll be receiving an invitation. But until then, tell your family to keep it under wraps! A large guest count is the #1 reason for blowing through a budget, and it's easier to just not invite people than it is to go back and tell them they're un-invited!
4. HIRE A PLANNER. Contrary to popular planner policy, I don't change my price based on what people have to spend. I'm a flat rate, based on the size & scope of your wedding. That means, I'm able to work with a variety of budgets. So don't be afraid if your budget is teeny, or if it's huge! You CAN afford a planner no matter what! And the rumors are true - I end up saving my clients money, which typically more than makes up my fee. I just love to work with folks who know how many people they'll have, and what they want to spend. It makes my job easy! I step in and help finish up the designs, based on your pinterest board, and what your budget is. And after that, we can start figuring out which vendors are best to accomplish the job for the right price.
5. BOOK YOUR VENUE. This is the biggest mistake I still see clients making. Only AFTER you've done numbers 1-4 are you ready to book your venue. We've had lots of clients who do this step first, because they're afraid to lose the space. It never fails. They always end up booking a venue that eats up a huge chunk of their budget. If you don't do this for a living, you don't understand just how much money is needed for all other aspects of the wedding too. Although your reception is typically 40% - 50% of your budget, the venue is only about 20% of that. So we recommend taking a few days to figure out 1-4, and then take care of this step.
Money is often a senstivite subject in any relationship, whether you have very little or even if you have a lot. My method of planning makes you talk about the not-so-fun activities right away (such as budget and guest list) to help relieve the stress that money can cause. Entering into a marriage without debt is always my goal, and I've been very successful using this method. I hope you find it helpful as well!
|Every wedding has a budget.|