TOP 5 WEDDING PLANNING TIPS
Even the most enthusiastic bride can be overwhelmed by the demands of planning a wedding. Typically, the most challenging part of the process is simply getting started. Here, guest blogger and local expert and owner of Planning Forever, LLC, Chalonda McDonald, offers a straightforward framework for planning your big day. Her Top 5 Tips for Wedding Planning take you from overwhelmed to got-a-plan in less than 10 minutes. You'll be glad you started here.
TIP 1: BUDGET
When deciding a budget, consider sitting down with both sets of parents or any major financial contributor to get a realistic number for planning. Next, define your priorities. Determine what things are non-negotiable. For example, are you set on a specific venue? Maybe you need to adjust the budget to accommodate getting your dream venue. Just how much should you spend, and where? Here’s a practical breakdown.
Bar & Beverage 10-20%
Bridal Attire 6%
Grooms attire .5%
Décor/ Rental 2-5%
TIP 2: EMERGENCY KIT
You never know what might happen on a wedding day, so it is best to be prepared. We’ve got you covered with this easy DIY Emergency Kit. (Pro Tip: Let your future mother-in-law make this up for you. She’ll be thrilled to have a job, and you won’t have her bugging you about the reception menu!)
Make-Up (concealer, mascara, powder, lipgloss)
Tide to Go Pen
Extra Copy of Vows and Schedule of Events.
TIP 3: CEREMONY SCHEDULE
Every ceremony is unique, and most brides are overwhelmed with putting it together. Here’s a straightforward schedule you can use as a springboard to customize for the perfect nuptials.
Seating of Family
Flower Girl/ Ring Bearer
Exchanging of Vows- (Pro Tip? Read them out loud several times before. )
Exchanging of Rings
Pronouncement of Marriage
Presentation of the Couple
TIP 4: CREATE A WEDDING BINDER
When planning for a wedding, there are so many different aspects to review and contracts to sign, it is easier when everything is in one place. Consider creating a wedding binder to keep everything organized, so you can make sure you do not miss out on any major details. Sure, you can purchase one, but the truth is that a simple 3 ring binder will do the job just fine. Include the following tabs:
Contracts, payment plans, and any notes
Note if you are renting items, if the Venue is providing items, or if you purchased and need to assemble the week of or day before.
Make a list of every photo you want and consider printing poses from Pinterest.
For ceremony and reception
Keep track of guest responses (Wedding Websites are great for this!)
TIP 5: PICKING VENDORS
When picking a venue, it is best to choose a venue with that offers quality bones. It is often less expensive to choose a venue that does not require a lot of additional décor to achieve your vision than choosing family property without considering added cost of renting restrooms, tents, generators, etc.. This can cost you a lot more in the end. Make sure to consider all factors of your day into consideration when picking a venue.
People are often surprised to discover 30-50% of the budget is allocated to catering. Interestingly, data indicates the food can be the most memorable part of the wedding for the guest, so the preparation should be seamless. If you opt for Aunt Bertha to do the honors, make sure she is adequately prepared with little details like chaffing dishes, warmers, additional volunteers to help on the day of. Often, a full-service caterer may appear to cost more, but in the end, can save you a great deal of money.
Absolutely review prior work of any photographer you consider. Just because a family friend can do it cheaper than anyone else does not mean you are going to get the quality you desire. These are the memories you will look back on for the rest of your life, so don’t be afraid to prioritize a skilled photographer.
When it comes to entertainment, word of mouth testimonies can be really helpful. Don’t be afraid to post on social media asking for recommendations people have seen in action. Photos on a vendor website do not show the excitement or personality of a band or DJ. Remember music should enhance the day, not be a distraction, so make sure you choose entertainment that fits your vibe.
When choosing a florist, consider showing them an inspiration board of ideas. This will help them understand your desired look. Read reviews; make sure they offer what you are looking for. For example, make sure they will deliver and/or set up the flowers or set up the swag over the archway.
Find a wedding planner that can wear many different hats. If the make-up artist does not show, is your wedding planner willing and able to step in? Again, just because a family friend can do it cheaper than anyone else does not mean you are going to get the quality you desire. With this said, this person will be your main point of contact throughout the process, so make sure it’s someone you like and works well with others. Once you’ve chosen a planner, send them your Pinterest board and let them help guide you to your goals.
Interested in procuring Chalonda for your big day? Reach out to her on facebook or instagram. Bonus: She offers a 10% Military Discount!