When it comes to planning a wedding, there are many different factors to consider. At times, it can feel overwhelming to remember every detail. As I’ve had the privilege of seeing a plethora of weddings come to life, I thought I’d share my top tips and tricks that sometimes slip through the cracks. Some may seem obvious, while others may give you that moment where things click into place and you think, ah-ha to yourself!
1. Guests Come First
Before you start planning the details of your wedding, ensure you get your head around how many people you intend on inviting. Once you have an idea on how many guests will attend, you can make sure your venue will be able to accommodate everyone. Make sure there will be plenty of room for mingling, dining, and, of course, dancing! As soon as your guest list is sorted, other plans will fall into place.
2. Ask Vendors for Referrals
A lot of the time, your vendors will have connections with fellow vendors. Allow them to lead you to their personal favourites, as they’ve had experience working alongside them. As a wedding photographer, I have my preferred florists, bands, planners and celebrants (you can read about a few of them here). Assuming they’re the right fit, I happily refer them to my brides and grooms, as I feel confident in their abilities.
3. Trust the Experts
You should feel very comfortable asking your vendors questions or telling them exactly what it is you want. Most of the time, they will do everything they can to make it work for you (depending on whether or not it’s within your budget). They will also be able to give you recommendations based on their experience. For example, they might recommend the bridal party photography session before the reception when the lighting outside is just right.
4. Keep Things in Writing
A lot of communication is involved when planning a wedding to make sure everything goes to plan. Make sure everyone is on board and aware of any changes made. I recommend putting any important conversations in writing so you can refer to them in future. For example, if you were to speak with the florists and change the delivery time, follow it up with an e-mail to confirm. That way, you can rest assured that the change is in writing and others within the business can be made aware of it.
5. Leave Some Room in Your Wallet
Generally speaking and depending on your personal priorities, a typical wedding budget will follow this formula:
- 48 to 50 per cent of total budget to reception
- 8 to 10 per cent for flowers
- 8 to 10 per cent for attire
- 8 to 10 per cent for entertainment/music
- 10 to 12 per cent for photo/video
- 2 to 3 per cent for invites
- 2 to 3 per cent for gifts
- 8 percent for miscellaneous items (like a wedding planner)
It’s very important to put aside an extra 5 to 10 per cent of your budget for any surprise costs. For example, you may need to buy umbrellas for rainy days or fans for stiflingly hot days. You might also need to fix mistakes in programs or take in your dress, et cetera. Having that extra money for last-minute items will give you peace of mind.
6. Visualise and Organise Your Tasks
Get yourself some stationary and a three-ring binder. Put all of your communications with vendors in this, along with notes to yourself during meetings. This will make it easy for you to physically cross items off your to-do list or expand on your notes on an ongoing basis. It’s also handy to have everything you need to refer to in one place. It’s also fun to include inspiration from magazines and blogs in here too; tear out pictures of your favourite dresses, invitations and themes.
7. Take It One Step at a Time
Make sure you put a to-do list together and tick things off one by one. Prioritise your tasks in a way that is based on priority and makes logical sense. One job should make the next job easier. For example, refrain from securing any vendors until you have set a date. Make sure you don’t book a venue until you’ve drafted your guest list. Don’t design your cake until you’ve chosen your flowers.
Hopefully these little tips and tricks are valuable to those planning a wedding! This should be an exciting time in your life and shouldn’t be overly stressful. Remember to take the time to enjoy the process by making the planning process as easy for yourself as you can.