You're engaged! It's one of the most exciting times in your life and I couldn't be happier for you! There's just something so exciting to know that you're going to be starting this journey.
Planning your own wedding can be so fun and rewarding. I truly believe every bride deserves a wedding planner, but I know it's not always possible. I really hope that through these blog posts I can help out all brides!
The first step I suggest in your planning process is setting a budget. It is one of the least exciting parts of planning (at least for most people), but it's one of the most important. You can download your free budget planner worksheet here, then I'll walk you through filling it out below! Get a binder and three hole punch these worksheets each week as you download them so you can reference them easily!
Like I said above, planning the budget isn't always fun, but I hate to have my brides fall in love with a venue/dress/florist and then find out that it's out of their budget. If you start with a basic outline, you can always tweak your budget down the line as you begin to get deeper into planning.
First, sit down with whoever is helping to pay for the wedding and discuss your overall budget. I love involving your family in the wedding planning process, especially if they are helping you pay for it, but I still believe that it is your day (you and your fiancé's) and you should be the ones making final decisions on the details.
Once you have the overall budget determined (and noted at the top of your worksheet), sit down with your fiancé and rank the vendors starting with #1 as the most important. I think its so important to talk through the list with your fiancé and determine what is most important to both of you. I know when planning my own wedding, my husband wasn't always the most excited about the planning process and all the details, but at least find out what he's excited about and work these into your list.
Breaking down your budget by vendor isn't always exact at this point, but do a little research on average costs of each item in your area so you have an idea of where to start. (I suggest using pencil on this so you can adjust if you end up originally planning 90% of your budget on your top 3 items.) Make a second copy of this so once you actually start booking your vendors you can write in your final amounts.
It's really eye opening to see where your budget is going and if the top expenses match up with the most important vendors on your ranking list. I promise you can have a beautiful wedding on a small budget, but it's important to break everything down before you start booking vendors. You don't want to book something and then find out that because of the pricing on it, you can't afford to have three or four other items on your list.
Make lot of notes as you are filling this out so you can look back at it and know exactly what you were thinking. I know most of you have full time jobs that don't allow for unlimited hours of wedding planning each week, so it may be awhile before you need to pull this back out!
Next week we'll start by researching vendors and I'll have a vendor comparison chart you can download. I know sometimes you know exactly who you want to book, (and depending upon their popularity, you may want to book them right away) but other times research is key to finding a vendor that would be perfect for you! Edit: this will be in two weeks! I want to help you plan your style first!
I love connecting, so let me know if you have questions! I do offer online wedding consulations with brides to help you get started!