Planning a Wedding – Do these 5 things first!
New York and Connecticut are such a special area to getting married in! From waterfront yacht clubs, historic estates and country clubs to ballrooms and beaches… the options for brides and grooms planning to get married are endless. Eliminate overwhelm and tackle these five things first and then relax and enjoy the process!
- Perform a guest list audit – Request “dream” lists from each family and do the same thing for the bride and groom. Determine who MUST be invited, who SHOULD be invited and who you’d HOPE to invite. The number one driver of cost on a wedding day is the guest list. It’s not just the food and drink per head that add up, each additional table requires another centerpiece, another set of dishes, chair rentals, linens, invitations, favors, etc – you get the picture! You don’t have to cut the list down to size just yet but get a good framework so that when you visit potential venues you can make decisions accordingly!
- Tour potential venues – Now is the fun part! Identify a few of properties that meet your ideal wedding vision and tour them first! Get a feel for each venue and gather all of the information related to the inclusions and costs for each one. Spend time imagining how your guests will feel in the space and if you can picture yourself spending your wedding day there! What will that look and feel like and is it right for you? How does the cocktail hour and reception space “flow” to create an ideal experience for you and your guests?
- Assess the Costs – No one likes to talk about budgets but everybody has one! I recommend setting up a spreadsheet and assign each potential venue a column where you can layout the fixed costs that are set at each venue and then the costs that will vary by the headcount. This is where your guest list audit comes into play – knowing how many people you expect to attend is critical to choosing the right location for your budget. This is the time to gather information from other potential vendors like florists, photographers, planners, and musicians to gauge how much you need to budget for those items as well. Once you know how much your dream wedding should cost, figure out who is paying for what and determine if you need to reduce the guest list in order to pay for your big day!
- Pick your Priorities – Everyone values things differently. Determine what matters the most to you and allocate your budget heavier in those areas over other items. Then you’ll be sure to love your wedding day regardless of how the rest of it comes together. Remember, guests won’t know what you don’t choose – they will only see and enjoy what you did do so don’t overthink it. Candlelight can be just as romantic as large floral displays but a fraction of the cost, for example!
- Book Key Vendors Right Away – Wedding Planners, Photographers, Musicians and Makeup Artists – anyone who can’t provide their service for two brides on the same day should be hired first! Once you have a venue chosen and a date set hire these other critical vendors as well so that you have the structure of your wedding day team locked up! Shopping for the dress, designing the reception and picking out invitations and favors can all be done in the months leading up to the wedding day but if your dream photographer or favorite band is already booked on your date, you’ll be stuck hiring someone else!
Once you’ve nailed down your ideal wedding venue and you know exactly how you envision yourself as a bride – then it’s time to let the magic happen and choose your dream dress!
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