The First To-Dos, Before The I-Dos
Congratulations to all the beauties out there that just got engaged! This is an exciting and special moment in your lives, make sure to take a step back and let it all soak in. To keep this time as stress free as possible, here is a list of my top 5 to-dos, before the I-dos. Follow these to-dos, and you will be well on your way to a relaxed wedding planning experience.
Budgeting can be tough, especially with so many ideas, pressures and opinions on what your wedding day should be. Any experienced wedding planner will sit down with you before jumping in head first and create a detailed budget. This will allow for your planner to refer vendors, venues and designs that are within your budget and avoid potential disappointment later on. Everyone deserves the wedding day of their dreams, but let’s make sure you don’t go broke in the process.
Choose Your Venue
There are venues out there to fit any style and budget. The one tricky thing with venues is that popular and trendy ones book up far in advance. Create a list of both your top three venues and top three wedding dates. This way you have some flexibility and a backup plan if your first choice is already booked.
PRO TIP: There are dozens of hidden gem venues that fly under the radar which can be both more affordable and flexible than the trendy venues of the moment. I recently had a friend tie the knot in a relatively unknown campground near Winnipeg and the pictures looked just as incredible as venues triple the price and the bride and groom could have their wedding on a prime weekend.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Hiring a planner early in the wedding planning process will take a lot of stress off your shoulders, keep the process organized and save you money in the long run. As a wedding planner, three services I offer are full wedding planning, month of wedding coordination, and consultations. Each services fits a certain client’s needs and budget. For example, full wedding planning clients can expect;
- Monthly wedding consultations;
- Creation of a budget breakdown;
- Wedding design and inspiration;
- Vendor management;
- Creation of a day-of wedding timeline;
- Confirmation and coordination of details and logistics with vendors, ceremony speakers and other service providers;
- Collection of small décor for the wedding; and
- Coordination of your wedding rehearsal, ceremony and reception.
As a planner I have worked with a wide range of wedding vendors in the province and would be able to suggest venues, florists, bakeries, officiants, etc. to fit your budget and vision. When you work with an experienced planner, you can be rest assured that you are working with professional, pre-screened vendors who are reliable and affordable (never mind that some vendors often throw in little extras for a bride and groom when the booking is made through a planner they have worked with before).
Hire a Wedding Photographer
There is a wedding photographer out there to meet every style and personality. Similar to wedding venues, great photographers book up far in advance. This is why hiring a photographer is one of my top five to-dos before the I-dos. Feeling stressed about how to pose and position yourself? A great photographer will make you and your fiancé feel at ease and gently guide your through the photo process.
PRO TIP: In the past 4-5 years, many couples have began prioritizing wedding videos before wedding photos. While each come with their advantages and disadvantages, be warned that high quality videographers are far fewer in numbers than photographers and should ABSOLUTELY be booked early to avoid disappointment. While some photographers may claim to also be able to shoot video simultaneously, I highly recommend that you have a separate vendor for each service (I have unfortunately seen the results of a photographer trying to do both and neither product ended up being as good as it could be).
Choose your Bridal Party
Which best pals will you choose to have stand by your side on the wedding day? Ignore the politics and pressure, think of who you are closest and trust most. For some this is an easy decision, but for others can be difficult. If you are part of the latter group, don’t fret – not everyone has a rock solid group who are the automatic choice. Regardless of your decision, everyone in your life will be happy and supportive on your wedding day.
Pro Tip: Wedding parties come in all numbers. I have seen as low as three and as many as seven. Also don’t forget your partners situation and their desires in filling out their roster.
Congratulations again on your recent engagement. Happy planning!