You’ve made your dream list without or mostly without regard to budget. As totally not glamorous as it is to look at the bottom line, that’s where you need to be looking before doing any more.
Who’s contributing? One set of parents, or both? Will you and your intended be taking it care of it by yourselves? Or is it going to be something of a mix, with every subset shouldering certain responsibilities?
There was a time when the Bride’s family took care of the wedding. The Groom’s parents arranged for the rehearsal dinner. The happy couple saw to the rings. Anymore? Not so much. The traditional wedding is changing, and the budgeting process has too.
And when a parent or other contributor gives you a number, consider it firm. Playing with someone else’s money is a waste of time and emotion, even if you manage to get your way. Just sayin’.
Once the budget is set you can look to what is most important to you as a couple.
Where is the bulk of the money going to go? The dress, the venue, reception? Perhaps a four star dining experience for your guests is what you most want.
Once you have a feel for that you can decide on whether or not you can afford or want a Wedding planner. A good one can save time, money, and emotional breaks. Do your homework, ask friends and check references before you decide to hire a professional. It might serve you to hire just the one and work with the others who work in concert with your planner.
Why? Well let’s look at what’s involved in putting together an event such as a wedding.
Venue – church or hall, both? Decorations for the venue. Will you need to rent chairs, tables and other props? Such as dinnerware and linens?
Are there Unions where you’re going to get married? They have strict rules about which one can do what and they don’t budge on these boundaries.
Who’s going to marry you?
Do you need a caterer? or does the venue provide that?
The cake. What bakery? How big? And how is it going to get where you need it to be?
Flowers – live, silk, paper? A mixture? Does the florist deliver and set up?
Music? For the service, is there an organist you can hire from the venue? Do you want someone to sing your service music? These folks all need to be booked and paid. The reception-live band, DJ or someone’s iPod? Does the venue have equipment you can use or do you need to rent or bring in your own?
Photographer, are you going to have one on site for the service or do studio portraits? Unless you have a professional photographer for a friend, please make room in your budget for a REAL photographer. Novices, make novice mistakes and it could mean not having the photos you wanted.
I think you begin to understand where a planner to orchestrate these, seemingly endless, details could be very helpful. Or maybe elopement is starting to look good. At some stage of the process I think every couple wonders if they should have just run away.
If no planner is in the budget, take each task as it’s own to keep things organized. Divide and conquer can and does work, please delegate what you can to a trusted friends and family members.
Take the time to consider, with your partner, what cannot be cut or trimmed. Go into the process with priorities and it will make it much easier for all involved.