After shooting over 100 weddings, working with a few wedding planners and planning my own wedding, I have developed a certain expertise on wedding planning. Here are my tips on planning a celebration. Watch the video below and read the text for more details.
Start shopping before you decide on a budget. It will help you to make a more realistic budget. If you never planned an event before, you probably don't have a clear idea of the prices in your region so it is a pretty good idea to shop before discussing the budget with your significant other.
Determine what's really important for you. Some couples want THE venue of their dreams, others want a gastronomic diner, other brides want that perfect wedding dress, other couples rather invest in their decor. Which ever it is that really matters to you, it will influence your planning. So make sure that it is discussed and agreed upon from the very beginning of your planning process.
Start your guest list ASAP. It is a big factor for a lot of elements. Planning a party for 50 people and planning a celebration for 500 people is not the same. Having an idea of the number of your guests will help your options in term of venue, the dinner (catering or other) and mainly your budget.
Determine a style. When a girl gets engaged, usually the first thing she does is go on Pinterest to get inspired and it is a very powerful resource but you have to keep in mind that there is a lot of logistic behind those perfectly curated photos.
Involve your partner. This one is very important. We all have that idea that a wedding is planned by the bride and the groom is an accessory. You would be surprised by how many opinions grooms have on wedding planning and on their wedding day. Listening to him and valuing his opinion is only going to make your Big day richer and more personal.
Determine a budget. This step is probably the most stressful. If you actually followed the first few steps, the process should be easier. Also, keep in mind that the budget is going to evolve and change the more you get into the planning process. Review your budget every time you make a payment or sign a contract, it will help you keep everything in perspective.
You really don't need a crazy budget. If you want a small wedding, it is very easy to keep a decent budget. What really matters is how personalized your day is. Keep in mind: Simple is beautiful.
Shop around, take your time and meet your vendors before committing. Every wedding professional is different, every one has a different business model; hence different prices and different ways of working. Also, make sure you and your vendor are a good personality fit, I can't stress this enough. It makes an enormous difference on your wedding day to have somebody that you get along with by your side.
Keep in mind that deposits are non refundable and that contracts are legally binding. So be sure of your decision before signing that contract and sending the deposit. Do not settle for the first vendor, look on Instagram, on Google, on Facebook, on WeddingWire. Ask your friends for suggestions, sleep on it before taking a decision.
Give a chance to a starting professional. Experienced professionals make a big difference in the experience of a couple getting married but it also come with its pricetag. Make your research and find beginners you might be surprised with the result. One mistake to avoid is to expect the results of a vemdor who has been doing that for years from someone who is only starting. Treat them well, show them that you trust them and you'll be blown away by the results.
Go with smaller packages, discuss with the vendor. Most photographer offer partial coverage, most planners offer partial planning, you don't need flowers for all the bridesmaids. Focus on the elements that matter the most to you and compromise on the others.
I hope all of this helps, if you need more help don't hesitate to hire a planner, you can find my favorite list here.
Here are a few photos to get inspired for your wedding planning:
Hosts - Danielle Aisling www.danielleaisling.com + Mary Calotes www.marycalotes.com
Venue - Signal Brewery - https://www.signal.beer/event-booking
Gowns - Sinders Bridal + Jolicoeur from Sinders https://www.sindersbridal.com/
Planning + Decor - Weddings by Brittiny - https://www.weddingsbybrittiny.com/
Decor Rentals: Plate Occasions - https://plateoccasions.com/
Cake + Desserts - Killa Cupcakes - https://www.facebook.com/CupcakesByKilla/
Calligraphy + Signage - Avi Scribbles - https://www.aviscribbles.com/
Florals - Madison Quinn Florals - https://www.facebook.com/madisonquinnflorals
Makeup - Jacquie K - https://www.itsjacquiek.com/
Hair - There She Glows Hair - https://www.theresheglowshair.ca/
Decor Rentals + Setup - Blossom by Shannon - https://www.blossombyshannon.com/
Retreat In-Home Catering - By MmmChef - https://bymmmchef.com/
Models - Amanda + Jason // @theingdex
Amy + Steph // @amy_scarlett_ + @twiddydarling
Tatyana + Jesse // @tatyanasylla + @jessy_mathers