Wedding Planning: Let’s Get Down to Business

Way down the road into your happily ever after, you and your spouse will both look back at your wedding and reminisce – and not just about the big day, but also about all of the big moments leading up to it. So why not get this year started off with a bang of productivity in order to reduce last minute stress and allow yourself to enjoy every second?

Nail Down the Weekend-Of Logistics

You’ve already made major headway into planning – dress? Check. Honeymoon? Booked. Obviously, you tackled the fun stuff first. But now is the time to discuss the general flow of the day with your hubby-to-be. For example, deciding whether or not you’d like to do a first look or not may seriously impact the day’s timeline, and could mean you need fewer (or more!) hours for the limo rental and photographer. Will you have a lot of out of town guests? If so, keep in mind that for some venues, securing a block of hotel rooms nearby can be surprisingly difficult, so make sure to get on top of that pronto.

Start a Journal (if you haven’t already!)

With every decision comes ten more nitty-gritty details too. Feel like you’re forgetting everything? Find a small journal or notepad you can carry around in your purse for the next few months. That way, when you’re out for drinks with a girlfriend and the perfect phrase for your bachelorette t-shirts strikes, you can jot it down. You can also keep important dates and vendor phone numbers all in one place without having to dig four months back into your email’s inbox. Check out this Kate Spade bride2be notebook – it’s absolutely adorable, and you won’t believe how cheap it is!

Figure Out Your Money Sitch Now

Do chardonnay and a calculator go together? They do now. Grab both, and set aside a few hours to really wrap your head around all of your wedding expenses. Getting on top of your finances early is so important. For example, knowing that you’re going to have to pay both the photographer’s deposit AND the balance of your dress in the same week could save you lots of stress when it comes down to crunch time. This Wedding Cost Estimator can be a really helpful tool – and eye-opening if you’re still in the early stages of planning.

Of course, weddings are insanely expensive (especially if you and the fiancé are paying for most of it yourselves), but make sure you can stomach the amount you’re charging on your credit card. Otherwise, maybe consider rolling back a few add-ons. Meaning, do you really need the “ultra-deluxe lighting package” from the DJ when your venue is already stunning on its own? Also, vendors that let you order samples before shelling out any major cash are a huge plus. You can order a variety of free samples of Save the Dates and Invitations from Exclusively Weddings here.

Checklists, Calendars and More Checklists

Now, we don’t want to steal the spotlight from your big day, but chances are that you probably have *at least* one or two other weddings this year to attend besides your own. That’s a few weekends that you can kiss goodbye to using for planning your own wedding, especially if you’re involved in throwing the bridal shower or attending the bachelorette too. Did your wedding just get once month closer in terms of planning? Don’t freak out! You’re going to accomplish SO much during the next few weeks, remember?

Our tips:

  • As long as you set mini-milestones for each month, you’ll totally be fine and motivated to keep making progress
  • Post a calendar just for wedding planning on your fridge as a visual reminder you’ll see every day in order to stay on top or your tasks
  • Don’t leave anything you can do ahead of time for the 30 days leading up to your wedding. Stuffing welcome bags for hotel guests? Addressing envelopes for invitations? Who cares if the wedding is still eight months away, get that stuff done now! That way, when your dress finally comes in and you need (surprise!) three extra fittings and more alterations than you expected (hey, just being realistic here), you’ll be glad to have all of the easy minutiae done with way ahead of time

Still feeling overwhelmed? Get our free wedding countdown planner checklist here to help keep you on track.

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30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 9

Our series, 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, is about to be completed soon, but we still have some great money-saving ideas to share! This week’s tips include using candles to decorate your reception site, choosing an easy-to-match wedding color, and options to consider when shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses.

Tip 26. Use Candles to Decorate Your Reception Site. When you are planning your wedding budget, you are likely to find that your reception expenses are about 50 percent of your entire wedding budget. So, there are a lot of money-saving opportunities to consider for saving on this part of your wedding day. One way to save is to use candles instead of floral arrangements on your reception dinner tables. Read More . . .

30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 8

In this week’s post in our series, 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 8, I will share three more money-saving tips: Choose a Location That is Free, Have a Signature Cocktail Instead of an Open Bar, and Get Wedding Help From Your Close Friends.

Backyard weddingThe location for your wedding and reception can end up being a large part of your wedding budget. For example, if you have your reception in a ballroom or hall you will likely be obligated to buy their “package” that would include food, beverages, etc.

You can save quite a bit of money if you have your reception at a location that is free, so that you can choose your own vendors. Read More . . .

30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 6

We’re half way through our series, 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, and I still have lots more great tips to share with you. This week I’ll cover choosing an “off season” wedding date, having your wedding during the Christmas season and using student musicians play at your ceremony instead of professionals.

January-MarchTip 16.  Instead of getting married during the typical wedding months, choose an “off season” date.  You may recall that Tip 15 covered having your wedding on a weekday or Sunday instead of Saturday. Tip 16 goes a little further to suggest that you consider choosing a date that is during the “off season” of November 1 through March 31.

The cost savings during this period is due to Read more . . .

30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 5

In 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 5, I will share three more money-saving ideas: One location for both the ceremony and reception, pom-poms for inexpensive pizzazz, and choosing a day other than Saturday for your wedding.

Tip 13. One Location for Both the Ceremony and Reception. Having both the ceremony and reception in one location can be accomplished in several ways. One way is to choose a venue where you can have your wedding outdoors and reception indoors or vice versa. Or you may want to have both the wedding and reception indoors or outdoors in separate areas of the venue. There are definite cost savings to using one location. Read more . . .

30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 4

In the fourth post of our money-saving series, 30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, I will share ideas on cost savings by having your wedding during a time when a meal is not normally served, choosing a simply-styled dress dress and adding pizazz with a statement necklace and rather than serving champagne, have guests toast with what they are already drinking.

Tip 10. Choose a time for your wedding when a meal is not usually served. When you have your wedding during a typical meal time your guests will expect to be served a full-course meal. But if you choose a Read more . . .

30 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding for Less, Part 3

This is the third post in our series of money-saving wedding ideas and its three tips will focus on using fruit with the flowers in your wedding centerpieces, having an autumn wedding to take advantage of seasonal decorations, and the benefit of having a friend be your chauffeur instead of renting a limo.

Tip 7. Using Fruit in Your Floral Centerpieces. By adding fruit to your floral centerpieces you can create a lot of “wow factor” and your guests won’t even notice that you have used inexpensive flowers!  There are so many ways to use fruit to embellish your centerpieces. Read more . . .