Guest Blog Post by Neha Goyal, Marigold Events.
Each year a number of couples enter marital bliss. So once you hear the wedding bells, what does it take to plan a wedding? What does it take to have a wedding that you dreamed about since you were a little girl? Where do you start from? There are many decisions that will have to be made and it can all seem like a daunting task.
Small or Big Wedding: Start planning a wedding by deciding if the wedding of your dreams will be small and intimate, or extravagant where you want to wow your guests. Once that decision is made, you can estimate your budget and the number of guests and vendors accordingly.
Picking a Date and Venue: The importance of picking a venue earlier in the wedding planning process can’t be stressed enough. It can be hard to get the venue on the exact date if you don’t plan properly. Try to book your venue at least 8-12 months in advance.
Making vendor choices: When looking for wedding vendors, it is important to research them thoroughly. Whether you come across the vendors on the internet, yellow pages or word of mouth, it is essential that you have a meeting with them face to face before signing a contract. Don’t get rushed into selecting a vendor just because they say that they are providing you the best deal. Often they will have some catch in the contract which you may overlook in the rush of locking them in. There is no lack of competitive vendors who you will be able to negotiate with. Make sure that the vendor you select is able to provide services to your exact specifications. Also, specify in vendor contracts that a competitive replacement will be provided in case of a health emergency.
Staying Organized: Keeping on top of your wedding planning can be simple if you get in the habit of documenting your research. Record your appointments on your calendar. Google calendar is very helpful as it sends appointment reminders to your email. When you go for a vendor meeting, take meticulous notes. Tabulate your notes in a spreadsheet so that you can compare different vendors easily and make an informed decision. Also, have a binder with wedding magazine articles, pictures of cake/decor etc. and print outs that you find while doing your research. There are three essential spreadsheets that every bride should have:
1. Budget Spreadsheet: Once you have estimated your wedding budget, list your known expenses. Determine how you would like to structure your budget; which categories you would like to spend more on etc. Based on that and market research, come up with realistic numbers. This would be your estimated cost. Keep an actual costs column to track when your costs are higher than estimated.
2. Wedding Planning Checklist: Make a things-to-do list for the period of your wedding planning. Come up with a list of key events and tasks and make a schedule for them. Strike them off once you are done with a task as this will help in boosting your morale as you know that things are getting done.
3. Wedding Timeline: Don’t wait till the day before your wedding to make your wedding timeline. Start working on it once you have your vendors finalized and refine it as you go along. Make a list of the important events and the scheduled times for them for the wedding day. Record the names, contact persons and phone numbers of all the vendors in that spreadsheet. One week before the wedding, circulate the timeline to your vendors, family and bridal party.
Fiance, Family, Friends and Delegating: Involving your fiance in the wedding planning process cannot be stressed enough. You can do with all the support and encouragement from him during this hectic period. Dealing with family and your bridal party can also take a toll on you at times, but the key is to maintain your cool and be thankful for their help. Their excessive attempts at helping you can seem intrusive and can be an added stress. However, if you are able to politely communicate to them that you will ask them for help when you need it, then you would avoid a lot of heartache. Once in a while, it is important to delegate and ask for help. And when you do that of your family and friends, not only will they appreciate it, but will go out of the way to do the task well.
Planning a wedding can be a wonderful and enjoyable experience or an overwhelming one. You could be an organized or agonized. When starting a new life, having a pleasant wedding planning experience will not only ensure that you have a great wedding, but will also bring you closer to your partner.
Image Courtesy: Matt Andrews Photography