Wedding planning is a momentous task for any couple; the meetings, the quotes, notes, dream journals, inspiration boards, the list is endless and can be a very daunting concept.
However, thanks to the digital age, planning does not have to be as overwhelming, with wedding planning websites and apps as well as online wedding supplier directories, the modern-day bride and groom can keep all their planning confined to one digital place that can be easily accessed through a range of electronic devices.
Where to start and when to start planning are the two most frequently asked questions of members of the wedding industry. Even if you do not realise it as a bride, the minute that your partner proposes, you are already beginning the wedding planning process.
There are a few tips and tricks that you can utilise to stay in control and organised throughout the wedding planning process:
Creating a Task List
There a no rules about the way in which you should plan your wedding. However, there are some tasks that cannot be started without first completing other tasks. For example: You cannot book a venue, without setting a date and cannot buy bridesmaid dresses without choosing and asking your bridesmaids to be part of your wedding.
A chronological task list will be key in ensuring that you stay on track through your wedding planning journey.
First step, you need to go through and write down all your wants, needs and wishes for your wedding day, this can include everything from booking your venue, right through to creating the place cards for the reception.
Second step, create a task list in sequence of when things must be completed. Setting yourself timeframes to complete the tasks will also help you keep on the right path. It is important in this step to understand how far in advance certain suppliers book out. Venues, Celebrants and Photographers can in most cases do only one wedding in a day and can book out in some cases over a year in advance.
Budget, Budget, Budget
Creating a budget is very important early in the planning process. The average wedding cost is $54,294, and not all couples can afford such expenditures.
Utilising tools such as budget calculators can greatly assist with the planning process. Budget calculators will allow you to create your own categories, to estimate costs and allocate the amount you would like to spend. Most importantly you can monitor your actual expenditure and reallocate any remaining funds.
Centralise Your Planning
Research and select a wedding planning app or online wedding planning website that suits your needs. Take advantage of the digital age, and the easy of accessing your plans from any electronic devices, while keeping all plans in one centralised place. Wedding planning apps will allow you to store and record quotes, possible suppliers, guest lists, time lines and to do lists as well as much more.
Social Media such as Instagram allow you to save, share and search for inspiration from users and suppliers. While Facebook allow you to create groups or group messages to communicate with your bridal party, eliminating the need for snail mail, phone calls and emails. This is also key in ensuring your bridal party are getting the exact same information
Keep Supplier Contact Lists
There are a multitude of online wedding directories that showcase the talents of wedding suppliers. As you work your way through these directories, expos and your own research keep a digital list of suppliers. Include the key information such as the business name and contact details. As you are collecting supplier contacts, send off quote requests. This will give you a spectrum of suppliers to work with and allow you to have choice, of who you want involved in your day. Do not be afraid to meet with as many suppliers as it takes to make your choices.
Once you have made you choice create a contact list of you key suppliers, go into more detail with this list, you may want to add website details and/or like social media pages. This is a great way to keep in contact with your suppliers but also draw inspirations from other weddings they are taking part in while you are in your planning stage.
A supplier contact list will be key if bridesmaids, or parents would like to assist with the planning, although different people involved in the wedding may be talking to the supplier if they follow your contact list you can ensure the same contact has the key information
Make time to Plan
Planning is key, it is scary how quickly the big day will come around. If you do not plan properly, you may find yourself scrambling at the last minute to secure key items for your wedding such as make up artists, or wedding favours. You should be setting aside some time in your calendar to dedicate to planning, this can be on your own, with your partner, or with your planner, a few hours a week can be enough especially if you start planning early. Early on there also may be some weekends that will need to be put aside to view ceremony and reception venues.
It is imperative to understand that even though you have set some times aside to dedicated planning there will be some extra time that will be required to meet with suppliers.
A tip to remember: most suppliers meet with clients outside work hours’ weeknights as they are booked on weekends to conduct weddings.
Work Together, Split the Tasks, Get your Dream Results
Wedding Planning is a substantial task. There are countless tasks that need to be completed and with some team work can be completed seamlessly. As part of the to do list you create, it is recommended that you put a name next to the task that you think you can complete or that your partner can complete. Most girls love to do invitations and their bouquets, while most grooms love the cars. It is important to delegate, it allows for responsibility and excitement throughout the planning process as your partner may come forward with an idea you did not think of yourself. It also allows for communication and sharing of thoughts when it comes to joint decisions such as food and drinks lists as both members of the relationship will feel their opinions are valid and considered.
Seek the Help of a Professional
Do not be afraid to enlist the help of a wedding planner or stylist. These professionals have seen almost every problem from torrential rain to chairs not being delivered right through to the unwanted guests. It is not a bad idea to leverage on there contacts and their reputation to help get the planning done, remember they do this as a profession, they can save weeks on your planning time. There are a number of planners and stylists that offer full services and will plan your whole wedding with you right through to a short consultation just to make sure you have everything covered off. This can put your mid at ease if you are fearful of forgetting to plan or book something.
Searching for Inspiration
Inspiration is great, it allows you to see photos, videos and read others experiences. Some people believe that the idea they have is the best idea but upon reading reviews may reconsider. Inspiration can take the form of social media, magazine subscriptions, expos and supplier websites.
Many wedding planning apps, online wedding planning services and/or wedding directories do have functionality to save things to your own profile inspiration board. This will allow you to contain everything in one easily accessible area.
Request and Keep Accurate Records of Your Agreement with Suppliers
You may be planning you wedding for months or even years, and booking suppliers can span this entire time. Keeping accurate records of payments, quotes and bookings are key. You may be dealing with a number of employees throughout your planning and it is important to be able to provide accurate information, as the employee of the supplier may not have encountered you before.
Keeping accurate financials will also help with paying off suppliers by accurate dates. Your budget calculator can come in handy in this situation.
Remember you will be meeting with a number of suppliers, always ask for what has been discussed in a quote to refer back too. Also make your own key notes on what you liked and did not like about the supplier. This will help you make a accurate choice when the time of booking comes.
Keep Calm and Plan On
Planning does not happen over night, and not everything will go according to plan. Pull on the expertise that you have surrounding you, many suppliers will have their own ‘friends’ lists of suppliers they have worked with an recommend. This can give you a good insight into where to start looking for certain suppliers.
Plan early. This will minimise the stress and maximise your choice in suppliers.
If something doesn’t work out, look for new opportunities, this could be a blessing in disguise.v