Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wedding Talk: Getting Started

You just got engaged, you can't stop looking at the diamond on your finger, and you're slightly freaking out because people are peppering you with a million questions about your upcoming wedding.  Did they forget I got engaged just 18 hours ago?!  Don't worry, this is quite normal.  People mean well and hope the barrage of questions shows how happy and excited they are for you.  Planning a wedding is a big deal, and figuring out where to start can be overwhelming.  Here are some of my tips for where and how to start the task of planning your wedding.

1.  Set a Budget.  Decide how much you (or whoever is footing the bill for this grand party) are willing to spend.  This figure should include everything--from stamps for the invitations to grandma's corsage.  TheKnot.com says the average wedding costs about $28,000; that means a lot of weddings cost a whole bunch more (especially in urban areas) and a lot of weddings cost a lot less (especially with the DIY wedding trend).  Just decide what is realistic for you.  It is so helpful to have some sort of guideline as you choose vendors and make decisions for your big day.

2.  Decide what aspect of your wedding day is the most important to you.  Knowing what means the most to you will help you decide where you are willing to spend more money and where you need to try to cut costs.  If you have always dreamed of wearing Jimmy Choos and a Vera Wang dress, then your apparel is what you're willing to spend more on.  If you want to have a sweet dance party, then you will want to book a killer DJ or band and have a big dance floor.

3.  Make decisions that are consistent with what is most important to you.  What I mean by that is this:  make logical decisions about other aspects of your wedding that will help make that most important aspect really be great.  I cared most about photography.  I wanted awesome pictures that I would love looking at for the rest of my life.  Well in order to have great pictures, I needed to have a pretty background in all of my pictures.  Suddenly photography AND a pretty venue were at the top of the list.  The invitations, however, were not going to be in any of my pictures, so were very low on my list.  I barely even remember what they looked like, because I honestly just didn't care.

4.  Pick a theme or a couple of words that you want to describe your wedding.  It might be fun and relaxed, or formal, or fairytale--whatever it is you want to be communicated to your guests about your wedding.  If you have a couple of words in mind, with every decision you make you can ask yourself - is this {insert wedding adjective here}?  It will actually help you, because you will be able to easily rule some options out.  I wanted my wedding to be simple and elegant.  When I tried on dresses, I made sure they were simple but elegant.  When I chose my bouquets, I chose simple and elegant flowers.  You don't want to end up with a wedding that has conflicting messages:   a very formal wedding dress, but retro bridesmaid dresses, and a cutesy cupcake display.  You want all the elements of your wedding to be cohesive and come together nicely.  It was so rewarding to have people tell me at our reception that they loved that everything was so simple but elegant.

February 2011
5.  Get a few bridal magazines and start brainstorming and dreaming about your wedding.  Martha Stewart Weddings and BRIDES were my favorite bridal magazines.  Just mark things that catch your eye - it can be favors or dresses or flowers or hairstyles.  Then when you flip back through and look at all you marked, you will notice some trends: whether it's the same colors, or same style of dresses, or a general theme that pops off of the pages that you marked.  Also rip out the page that has the wedding checklist on it.  This will help you know when you should be booking venues, ordering tuxes, sending out invitations, etc.

There is so much involved in planning a wedding, but if you start with a clear idea of the direction you want to head, you will find that everything will come together nicely and you won't be stressing about all of the decisions.  More Wedding Talk to come!

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