As a Full-Service Wedding Planner, I get it. Doing projects for your wedding can be tons of fun and save you a lot of money. I want to make sure that you select projects and items that will be the right fit for your time schedule and budget.
There are three major things to consider when choosing which projects to tackle yourself.
1) You must be able to create it in advance and make sure it will last until the wedding.
2) It should not be something that you are super particular about, DIY and perfection often do not go hand in hand.
3) Set up or assembly should not require your presence on the wedding day, you have enough to do already.
So, how do you decide what you will and won’t do? The first thing to do is to figure out why you want to do these projects in the first place. Is it because you want to show off your skills? Is it because you want to make something personal for your guests? Is it because you want to save money? No matter what the reason, make sure that you select projects that will allow you to meet your needs and not cause additional stress.
If you want to make something to give to your guests, try making a reception favor that will keep without any special care. However, try to avoid making food items.
If you want to show off your skills, try showcasing them in just a few areas of interest like the guest book table or another specialty table. This is a great was to display your talents, without over committing yourself.
Many couples go over budget and get out of control in their spending during the wedding planning process. However, if the couple stays focused and learns the proper way to plan, this can be avoided.
In the beginning, there may be several things that just don’t seem to be all that important, and they decide to give those items a small budget. However, later on when the couple begins to shop for these items, they can get caught up in the all the details and extras and get off track, resulting in overspending.
Let us take a look at an example of a common item couples go over budget on, invitations. At the start the couple may think, “We don’t need to spend a lot on invitations, people will just be throwing them away.” Then once they begin the actual selection process, their feelings change, and they suddenly are viewing invitations as very important. They start adding nicer font, custom monograms, upgraded paper, ribbons, and jewels. A $3.00 invitation has now turned into a $15.00 invitation and they can’t imagine going back to the original. To the couple, it might not seem like a big deal, just a few dollars. When you multiply it by all of the invitations that need to be mailed and add postage, they just went $1,200 over budget on a 100 person invite list.
Now if this can happen with something they thought was so unimportant to begin with, imagine what can happen with items are viewed as very important from the start.
To help stay on course, we have developed a priority list that can be filled out at the beginning of each planning phase and then it can be referred back to whenever you start to veer off track.
Top Planning Site’s Advice to Begin Your Wedding Planning:
Start a wedding folder or binder.
Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.
Work out your budget.
Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.
Pick your wedding party.
As soon as you’re engaged, people will start wondering who’s in.
Start the guest list.
Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)
Hire a planner, if desired. A planner will have relationships with—and insights about—vendors.
Reserve your date and venues.
Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places.
Envision your wedding and draw up a budget.
Assemble your “planning team.” Consider hiring a wedding consultant.
Pick a wedding date and time. Select several options, then check with your venues, officiant, and important guests before finalizing.
Start planning the guest list.
Look for and book ceremony sites and reception sites.
Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.
Make the announcement: Some couples just don’t feel right if anyone knows their big news before their parents and other close family members do. If possible, tell both sets of folks in person. If your parents don’t live nearby, put in a special phone call.
Delve into dreams: Sit down with your fiancé and talk ideas. Think about the style you’d like, whether it’s a beach bash, a sit-down dinner in a ballroom or a ceremony on a mountaintop. No talk of money. Yet.
Rough out the timing: While you don’t have to set a firm date now, it’s smart to have an idea of what month or season you want to marry in. Then you’ll know how long you have to get things organized. Because your wedding’s size determines where you’ll hold the party, how much it will cost (prices usually rise per guest) and whether travel will be involved, creating a guest list is one of the most important things to do. So make your list; your fiancé and both families should do the same. You can, and likely will, cut later, but this first number will be your base.
Now talk money: It’s rare these days that the bride’s parents pick up the whole bill, so decide on your bottom line. Find out from both sets of parents if or how much they can contribute.
Get organized: Buy a notebook and separate it into sections for each budget category. This way you can write down the amount you want to spend on the item and then note your expenditures. As you near your limits, you can start to figure out ways to cut costs.
I can tell you with over 30 years experience serving the wedding industry that if anyone follows this advice, they will definitely get themselves into trouble.
I wanted to see what help was out there for people planning their wedding. So, I chose the top 3 sites I came to when conducting an internet search for “how to plan a wedding”. I copied exactly what they posted in order of the top 5 or 6 things they suggest to do in planning your wedding.
Normally, I would give credit to a site I was copying the information from. In this case I have decided not too do that. I am not going to give credit to the site, because I actually appreciate their sites for a lot of tools they provide. However, their planning advice is in a large part of the problems couple face today.
Often wedding planning sites are built by well-intentioned people who have not experience in planning weddings and provide information that they think sounds right, but it is not the correct information. I am confident they think they are providing good information. Typically, they borrow information from other resources and rewrite it to make more sense to the writer. The biggest problem is, the information does not usually come from and experienced wedding planner.
You may ask yourself, why don’t they get information from an experienced Wedding Planner? That seems like a no-brainer, right? Well if you think about it, why would a Wedding Planner want to give someone information about how to plan a wedding on their own? People hire a wedding planner to do the planning for them and many of them think if they tell everyone how to do it, then they won’t have anyone hire them. So, they keep it secrets safe. They allow everyone to keep struggling through their planning and getting stressed out.
With this wealth of information out there, you would think planning should be a breeze, but to the contrary, couples now more than ever have more stress and trouble than they ever have. Wedding Planning stress arises from many reasons and all of them have reasonable solutions. At Wedding State University we want to blow the lid off of all these secrets and by becoming a member you will learn how to plan your wedding the correct way and learn all the secrets you need to plan your ultimate stress free wedding day.
Staying true to yourself and your core personality will help you to stay focused on what is important to your wedding.
For this topic, there are four basic types of personalities I want to focus on.
The 1st is the personality type that cares most about sharing this day with family and friends. This couple is fortunate in a way that they understand the true essence of what a wedding celebration was meant to be. This couple will most likely choose a casual setting, comfort food, and focus on the reception and party.
The next personality type cares mostly about being in the spotlight. It is important that the guests ooh and ahh over how amazing everything is. This wedding will focus mainly on decor.
For our 3rd personality type, it is all about the party. The music and the alcohol are top priorities. As long as everyone has fun dancing the night away, that is all that matters.
Our 4th couple will seek a more private affair. The primary goal is that they are married and can share that with only those who mean the most to them. This sometimes means the wedding will be attended by witnesses only.
For the most part, a couple with both share the perspective of what is most important, but there will be cases where they will have to compromise or blend their views.
Understanding who you are as a couple will help keep you focused on what means most to you and will prevent overspending in areas that are not as important.