4 Tips to get your wedding planning off to a great start
It’s engagement season again, the time of year between Christmas and Valentines day when many engagements happen – in fact according to a report by WeddingWire last year 6 of the 10 most popular days to get engaged landed in December. That means its time to start thinking about wedding planning.
“Engagement season starts at Thanksgiving, and it runs through Valentine’s Day, with a concentration at Christmas and New Year’s.”
I’ve been seeing tons of engagement announcements coming up on my Facebook feed, followed by a flood of private messages that usually go something like this:
“Just got engaged! I have no idea where or how to start planning my wedding, HELP!!”
Chances are many of you have never planned a wedding before, and probably have the same question so here is my advice for newly engaged couples to get your wedding planning off to a great start!
Write things down! This is the easiest way to keep yourself organized right out of the gate. Talk with your partner, come up with a list of things that need to be done before the big day arrives. Decide which items need to be taken care of now, and which can be put off until later. You can always re-organize this list as you go.
Consider using a colour coded system. Go out and get yourself a new monthly planner, one specifically for wedding planning tasks, appointments and due dates. Assigning a different colour for each vendor will make it easy to look ahead and see what’s coming up. This may feel like a lot of work but you will thank yourself for it when your agenda starts filling up.
Get started early. Being proactive and getting things started early will go a long way to help reduce the stress of wedding planning. Getting some of the less exciting things done and out of the way early will free you up to spend more time of the fun parts like dress shopping and cake tasting!
Keep your ideas in one place. We’ve all had that experience of seeing a perfect idea somewhere, and then completely loosing track of where we saw it, right? Save yourself that headache by making a dedicated folder on your computer, or a Pinterest board where you can save all of your wedding ideas in one place. Having all of your ideas and inspiration in one place makes planning easy, and sharing your ideas with your vendors couldn’t be easier!
Make a plan to plan. The only way all of this comes together is by actually sitting down and doing it, so schedule time to focus on your wedding plans. This will help keep your plans from getting behind schedule and keeps you from scrambling to get things done at the last minute.
2. Budget, Guest List, Venue, Date
Set your budget first, this will dictate everything and should be done early. (Use Wedding Wire’s handy budget planner for help with this). The next thing you should do is come up with a rough guest list, having an idea of the number of guests will narrow down your venue search drastically. Once you’ve set your budget, and have a rough guest list outlined, you should set a date range for you wedding.
With your budget set, guest list outlined and some dates in mind, you can start seeking out venues. Once you’ve found a venue that fits your vision, a specific date can be set based on when the venue is available.
3. Decide on a Style
Choose the style of ceremony and reception that you and your partner would like to have. Deciding whether you want a formal dinner or food stations, a DJ or a live band etc, will have a big impact on who you hire, so it’s very important to do this before you start looking at vendors.
- Note : There is some debate about whether this should be done before or after you’ve selected a venue. After all, your reception style could be a big factor in deciding which venue you choose, so you may want to have at least an idea of your reception style when looking at venues.
4. Find Your Vendors
This is a big day that you will look back on for the rest of your life, and you want it to be perfect! Achieving this means hiring experts with the skill and experience to make it that much more memorable. In Toronto there are tons of wedding vendors and finding the right ones can be a stressful, difficult task. Here are a few tips to help make finding your perfect wedding vendors easier on you and your partner.
The key to finding your perfect wedding vendors can be summed up in one word, research! A great place to start is referrals from family and friends. Particularly those who have experience planning their own wedding, or hiring vendors for other events. Find out who they’ve used in the past and what they liked or didn’t like about their experience.
Comb through online wedding directories like EventSource.ca, WeddingWire, TheKnot etc, making note of those that strike you. Pay attention to reviews on these sites as this is the best place to look for unfiltered feedback from real clients. Also visit their official websites and social media pages to get an idea of the quality of their work.
Wedding expos and open houses can be another good way to meet potential suppliers first hand. Just remember it’s always a good idea to research them online as well, to see real customer feedback and reviews.
After some rigorous research you should start seeing or hearing the same names pop up over and over. Make a short list, for example 3 or 4 from each service you’ll need and call or email them. After communicating with them you’ll undoubtedly have a few favourites. Discuss with them your plans and expectations, and before long you’ll know who fits you and who doesn’t!
When is comes to weddings, a good vendor is one who knows what to do but is also flexible to your vision, so pick someone who understands you, someone who understands your vision and shares your excitement for it.
It’s been said that knowing who the right vendors are is like picking out a mate. Stick with someone you can count on, can communicate well with, and who will help you reach your dreams.
Thanks for reading, and happy planning!