Story & Photos by Toni Ross
The holiday season has come to a close and some welcomed 2018 with a big, shiny engagement ring. If this applies to you,
you may be asking, what now?
Wedding planning is no easy task, and unless you’re Jennifer Lopez from The Wedding Planner, you probably have no idea where to start. Follow these tips to make your wedding experience as stress-free as possible.
Start early: You will not regret getting a move on things early in the engagement. You should give yourself time to enjoy the planning process without the added stress of procrastination.
Make a list: Make a list of the big things you need: the venue, the dress, invitations, food, florals. Once you’ve finished, tackle one thing on the list at a time. Each step in planning is extensive and very detailed; you’ll get worn out quickly if you’re making decisions 24/7. Barnes and Noble has numerous planning books to help you with your list-making.
Determine a budget: Start small and don’t make an “all-inclusive” budget for the entire wedding. The prices of even the smallest details will sneak up on you. Once you’ve determined a vision for the venue, determine a budget. Research a few photographers and decide your price range. Try not to show interest in making a wedding purchase without first deciding on a set price for it. Vendors will appreciate your research.
Orders: Whether it’s florals or dresses, many things in the planning process will have to be special ordered. Keep this in mind, because these orders may take up to six months in advance. Anything that might need to be special ordered needs to be one of the first priorities when planning. Another thing to keep in mind is that wedding vendors generally charge far more for items and venues than other events, this is known as the “Wedding Tax,” or “Wedding Markup.” We recommend purchasing items under a “family gathering” rather than a wedding if possible. When deciding which orders to place first, consider the bridal party wear. The difference between you and them is that you have prepared funds for this occasion and they have not. You will probably have to send them several reminders to get their orders placed.
Theme: Decide on a theme before you do anything else. Every vendor will need to know this and planning will be a nightmare without it. Themes determine color scheme, location, time, decor and style. Also, keep it unique to you and your partner. Remember, themes can range anywhere from boho to a Disney lover’s dream.
Keep up-to-date: This is the most fun: keeping up with the latest wedding trends. Pick up bridal magazines and subscribe
to everything bridal blogs (Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart Weddings and Green Wedding Shoes are today’s most popular). This makes it so much easier to come up with a vision and most importantly, to see if your partner is on the same page.
Be present: The planning process can be overwhelming, stressful and also completely take over your other priorities. Don’t let it do this to you. Remember, you’re planning your WEDDING! It’s an exciting time to celebrate growth in your relationship. Enjoy it, take breaks when you need to and remind yourself why you’re doing all of this in the first place.
Don’t forget to check in with your significant other.