Whether you’re getting married locally or in a far-flung destination, creating a guest list is an important step that will help your wedding professionals determine how much they can accommodate within your budget. This will also give you a sense of what areas you want to splurge on and where you might need to save.
1. Start Early
One of the most important things you can do as a couple is to be on the same page about budgeting. Having a clear idea of what you can afford to spend will help you avoid unnecessary headaches down the road.
It is also helpful to have a budget in mind when searching for venues, photographers, or other wedding vendors. This way you can narrow down your options by focusing on those that are a good fit for both of you.
Be sure to add a 10% buffer to your budget for unexpected expenses. This will keep you from going over-budget at the end of your big day.
2. Create a Budget
During the first planning meetings couples must set clear expectations regarding budgets and wedding dates. This ensures that everyone is on the same page from the start.
It is also important to discuss what each person is willing to contribute to the wedding. This can be a set amount or a percentage of their savings.
Next, create a list of priorities. These could be anything from rocking music, an open bar, that photographer your cousin’s friend’s sister used, a four-tier cake or late night tacos. By setting these priorities, you can focus your budget on those items that are most important to you.
3. Create a Guest List
Your wedding guest list is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only does it help determine your budget, but it also determines how big or small your wedding will be.
Start by jotting down everyone you’d like to invite. You can include your immediate family members, BFFs and co-workers. This will become your A-list.
Be prepared to have some tough conversations with your parents. They may feel entitled to full control over the guest list because they are paying a substantial amount of money towards your wedding.
4. Book Your Venue
Your venue sets the stage for all other wedding details, so it’s important to book your space as early as possible. Popular venues can fill up quickly, especially on weekends.
You should also consider the location of your venue in relation to accommodation options for out-of-town guests and traffic considerations for those traveling to your ceremony and reception. This could make the difference between a large number of declined RSVPs or an enjoyable experience for everyone in attendance.
Choosing a date also allows you to send out your invitations in advance so your loved ones have time to make any necessary travel arrangements.
5. Schedule a Break
Between engagement celebrations, showers, brunches, and bachelor/bachelorette parties, the number of events leading up to your wedding can be overwhelming. These are all wonderful and fun, but they require time and energy that could be better spent on your to-do list.
If you have a full-time job or school, block off specific times of the week to focus solely on your wedding. Keeping a schedule and committing to it can help you stay organized, meet deadlines and keep stress levels low.
Make a point to spend one weekend doing zero wedding-related activities. This is a great way to recharge and remind yourself of why you’re getting married in the first place!
6. Schedule a Design Consultation
A couple’s initial planning meeting is crucial. It sets the stage for the entire event in terms of expectations and budgets.
It’s also a great opportunity to determine if your client has a clear vision for their wedding, and how you can help them expand on that vision. This may include finding solutions for a problem like a venue that doesn’t accommodate a guest list change or a seating chart that doesn’t work for their family dynamics.
Also, this is a good time to review all vendor contracts. Often, the fine print contains details that can add up and create an unexpected cost.
7. Hire a Wedding Planner
A wedding planner is someone that knows exactly how to plan a wedding. They will think of every little detail for the big day, including backup plans for things like red wine staining the bride’s dress or a guest fainting on the dance floor.
Wedding planners will also make sure that you stick to your budget, as well as helping negotiate with vendors and suppliers. They will often be able to bring in more volume and save you money on rentals, purchases, and services by using their relationships with top notch vendors.