Planning a wedding is never easy, and it certainly does test your patience and organizational skills. Whether you’ve hired a wedding planner or are taking on the task with an army of amazing bridesmaids, there are some tips that could really change the wedding planning process for you.
1.) Check out potential blackout dates. As you go through potential wedding dates, make sure each doesn’t fall on an important day in the area that could affect hotel room availability or traffic. This includes holidays, music and art festivals, conferences, and charity events. The Knot publishes a list of wedding dates to avoid in 2017 and 2018– use it as a steering guide during your planning.
2.) Book your dates in advance. This is especially important if you’re choosing between wedding venues in Los Angeles or are in other metropolitan areas that tend to book fast — sometimes years in advance. Contact each wedding venue to see if your date is available before you visit the place in person. In some cases, certain venues will allow you to put a refundable deposit down to hold the space for an allotted amount of time. If you can, try to do this as you look at other places. If not, do your best to move swiftly with your decision-making in this area. For example, rather than spread out site visits over the next few weeks or months, try to take off some time from work and visit as many wedding venues as possible over the course of a few days.
3.) Don’t be afraid to narrow down your guest list. This is one of the easiest ways to trim your budget. Begin by separating your list into A and B columns. Put guests you are certain you are inviting (like immediate family members and lifelong friends) and those you are unsure of. Begin to weed the guest list with questions like, “How close I am to this person?” and “When was the last time this person spoke to me?” Another idea is to exclude college and/or high friends who you haven’t seen in a long time and will likely not see them for much longer, if ever.
4.) Design a menu that works for your taste buds and budget. A common added expense is feeding your vendors. To offset your costs on this, have a separate menu for the staff that’s less expensive but also just as hearty. Let your caterer know in advance what they’ll be fed and how many people to expect. Additionally, don’t forget to have this reflected in your catering contracts. During your estimate, consider the band and their roadies, the photographer and their assistant, the makeup team, etc.
5.) Investigate hotels and room releases. Once you’ve picked a date, check out different price points for hotels. Choose those that allow you to reserve rooms for your guests via a wedding block and reduced rate. This way, prior to your wedding, you can release rooms that won’t be filled and won’t be responsible for unoccupied room costs.
6.) Bring at least one person with you to try on dresses. Once you’ve tried on a certain amount of dresses, they can all start to blend in, and it can be harder to remember the dresses you tried on before or which styles you favor. You’ll also want someone there to take the best photos photos of you. Take someone with you who truly understands your style and is honest with you.
7.) Cut three things from your to do list when you’re closer to your date. As you approach your wedding, there never seems to be enough time for you to accomplish everything on your list. Look at what you have left to do and pledge to cut three things that won’t make a huge different to your wedding, like baking cookies for your guests or hand painting a “Just Married” sign. Opt to either forego them altogether, or delegate them to a family member or someone in your bridal party who has the bandwidth to help. Small cuts like this will lighten the load.
8.) Choose wedding gifts that won’t get tossed out the next day. If you’re spending money on it (favors should occupy no more than three percent of your overall budget), then try to make it memorable. Ask yourself, is this something I would want in my home? Consider practical or edible gifts. Your favor wrapping will also make a huge impression; check out Pinterest and wedding sites for unique wedding favors and wrapping inspiration.