I’m newly engaged and i want to start planning my wedding. but the thing is a have no idea where to start. anyone have any ideas as to how to get started? what to do? anything? i’m in over my head here. anything would help. thanks. Congrats! First of all, talk with your fiance about setting a date and figure out what your budget will be for your wedding and reception and who will be footing the bill. Depending on who is paying, your parents and/or your fiance’s parents may want to add to the guest list. If they’re paying, the etiquette is that they can invite whomever they want to invite. If you and your fiance are paying then it’s totally your decision who is invited. Once you know who is paying, you’ll have a good idea of the budget and what venue and vendors you can afford. Many popular venues require a year to reserve in advance. I made my own wedding planning book using a binder and printed a photo of us for the cover sleeve, the word “Our Wedding Day” and our wedding date. Inside had tabs for venues, caterers, flowers, photographer, DJ, centerpieces, favors, attire, jewelry etc. I kept their contact information and any detailed information that I needed as well as pictures. In the back, I kept folders for all contracts and receipts. It’s very important that your KEEP ALL YOUR RECEIPTS.
I used a wedding planning checklist from the back of a magazine and kept it in my binder crossing off items as they were done. You can also find such check lists on theknot.com Just make sure you do everything on your list. I kept a small notebook dedicated to the wedding to take notes whenever I needed to do that. Keep a list of any items you order online and their expected arrival date. Give and all the necessary people such as vendors your phone number and email address so they can get back to you and keep in touch. I also made an Excel spreadsheet of our budget to keep track of all expenses and to compare between packages at 3 different venues. Be sure to order your gown at least 7-6 months in advance. Here’s a good bridal gown guide: http://www.shopwiki.com/wiki/Wedding+Gow… and send out your invitations 6 weeks before the wedding. Theweddingtracker.com is a great tool also for your wedding website and keeping track of R.S.V.Ps. You can also set up your table seating there. After the R.S.V.P. deadline, split up your “nonresponses” with your bridesmaids, groom, mom, etc. and start calling to verify attendance. Give your groom a TO DO list. A good TO Do list for the groom will include: – Making sure the groomsmen have purchased/rented their suits and accessories in time. – The groom is also responsible for purchasing his groomsmen’s gifts. – Another thing on this list a groom can do is to coordinate with a friend to look after your home while the two of you or away. -Purchasing wedding insurance. – Planning the honeymoon! The day of our wedding we had a day of coordinator to keep things running smoothly that day.
If you’re planning your own wedding, that’s the time to relinquish some control so that you can enjoy the day. You can have a BEAUTIFUL wedding on a budget and no one would be the wiser. GUEST LIST: This can be you biggest saver. Keeping your guest list small will cut your expenses immeasurably. Make a list for your side of the family and have your fiance make one too. Once you have an idea of the total number, you’ll know how large of a space you’ll need. My second tip is DIY, DIY, DIY! There are so many items that you can diy for your wedding if you have time and it becomes so personalized. You can get your wedding party to help you too. You can create save-the-dates, invitations, aisle runner, guestbook, bouquet, boutineers, ring bearer pillow, pew markers, programs, menus, escort cards, table numbers, simple centerpieces, favors, etc. Check out theknot.com for ideas or google “DIY wedding.” CEREMONY: Low-cost places the beach public park (call and ask about any fees) fire station hall local swim club local church RECEPTION: Venue costs can vary. Our banquet room was $700 to rent. I’ve read of others being $1400 – $4,000. Costs can also depend upon the day your reception is held. Saturday evening receptions are usually more expensive than daytime Saturday, Friday, Sunday, or any other day during the week. Low-cost places for reception: – Community center – Lodge – College center – American Legion Hall (I went to the one here for a dance recently and was shocked to discover how big it was and with an all hardwood floor perfect for dancing.) – Church reception room or fellowship hall (may not allow dancing) CATERER: The cost of a caterer can vary.
My venue offered catering for about $65 per person for a dinner buffet and an open bar. That was excellent. Some can be more expensive. Some can even be cheaper. Some venues will allow you to bring your own alcohol and this can reduce your cost. Tip: One friend of mine negotiated getting charged per drink instead of per person per hour for her alcoholic beverages. That also helped with the cost. Another option for drinks is to do just wine and beer or don’t serve alcohol at all. I don’t recommend a cash bar because that’s considered tacky. They are your guests, so you don’t want them paying for anything. If you want to go the inexpensive route for food, you can have a brunch or lunch instead of dinner. Sit down meals can be more expensive than buffets or food stations. I prefer buffets/food stations because they are usually less expensive, the food is hot, and I like choices. Sometimes when a waiter brings you a meal at a sit-down, the meal can be cold.
Tip: Another option is to just serve cocktails and appetizers around 6pm if that’s what you can afford or you can just serve cake and punch around 3:00pm. You could try a restaurant for the reception. However, some restaurants can be just as costly as other venues. Alternatively, you can have a pot-luck reception for a casual informal wedding. Everyone will love displaying their best dish. You would just coordinate who’s bringing what so that you don’t have duplications. CAKE: Research and book a bakery or cake baker after attending a cake tasting. You can have a groom’s cake if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Some couples use Publix, Walmart, or Sam’s Club for low cost wedding cakes. Tip: Some couples use a dummy layer in their cake to look good for photos and have a sheet cake in the back to serve. You can have a baker make a simple frosted cake for you and purchase parchment flowers, sugar paste flowers and/or shells, fresh flowers, or silk flowers, and decorate the cake simply yourself.