Welcome. We’ll guide you through the art of wedding planning. We understand that every bride seeks actionable advice to turn her dream wedding into reality. In this article, we’ll walk you through the practical aspects of wedding planning, offering a helping hand to brides looking for tangible tips.
So, let’s embark on this journey together, making your wedding dreams a practical and elegant masterpiece.
Photography by Alli Studio
12 – 18 Months to Go
Start by envisioning your dream wedding. Consider your style, theme, and budget.
Venue Love: Your wedding journey begins with securing your wedding date and choosing a venue that aligns perfectly with your vision. This decision is paramount because, as they say, “the first supplier to book is a wedding planner or venue – you won’t be able to secure a band or photographer if you haven’t secured a venue and date!” Furthermore, remember that the venue will likely be the most significant invoice you’ll receive. After locking in your venue, consider the photographer as the second supplier to book, especially if they have international commitments that may require careful scheduling. Remember, when booking, prioritise the venue first, around 12-14 months out, and then turn your attention to photography, caterer, and entertainment, as they tend to book up well in advance. And if you’re planning to have a custom-made dress or suit, it’s a good idea to start exploring options around 12 months before your big day.
Research and Get Quotes: Research vendors and venues thoroughly. Get multiple quotes and estimates to ensure you get the best value for your money. Feel free to negotiate prices or ask for package deals.
Create a Detailed Spreadsheet: Develop a comprehensive budget spreadsheet that lists all potential expenses. Include venue, catering, attire, decorations, entertainment, and miscellaneous costs. Having a clear overview of your expenses will help you stay on track.
Budgeting Brilliance: Determine your financial plan. Weddings demand meticulous budget management. Allocate funds wisely.
Start with a Realistic Number: Begin by having an open and honest conversation about your wedding budget. Set a realistic figure that considers your financial situation and any contributions from family members.
Prioritise Your Must-Haves: Identify your top priorities for the wedding. These might include a specific venue, photography, or a designer gown. Allocate a more significant portion of your budget to these essential elements.
Contingency Fund: Build a contingency fund of around 10% of your budget for unexpected expenses. It’s wise to have a buffer to cover unforeseen costs.
Track Spending: Throughout the planning process, track your spending carefully. Update your budget spreadsheet regularly to ensure you stay within your allocated amounts for each category.
Cut Costs Thoughtfully: If you need to make budget cuts, do so thoughtfully. Consider areas where you can trim expenses without compromising your overall vision. For example, opt for seasonal flowers or reduce the guest list size.
Payment Schedules: Be aware of payment schedules with your vendors. Ensure you know when payments are due to avoid any last-minute financial stress.
Open Communication: Maintain open communication with all parties contributing to the wedding budget. Keep everyone informed about expenses and any changes to the financial plan.
Stick to Your Plan: Finally, and most importantly, stick to your budget plan. Temptations may arise to splurge on certain elements, but staying disciplined will help you maintain financial stability.
Guest List Strategy: Create a preliminary guest list. Keep in mind your venue’s capacity and make necessary adjustments.
Connect with Vendors: Engage with experienced vendors for photography, catering, florals, and entertainment. Ask for recommendations from recently married friends.
Remember that a well-managed budget prevents financial stress and allows you to allocate resources to areas that matter most. It’s a practical foundation for an elegant and opulent wedding that doesn’t break the bank.
9 – 11 Months to Go
Vendor Selection: When selecting your wedding vendors, it’s crucial to aim for top-tier professionals whose services align with your style and budget. Some suppliers require 8-12 months of pre-booking, so starting early is wise, increasing your chances of securing your preferred choices. Never leave this to the last minute. As you approach the 11-month mark in your wedding planning timeline, pay special attention to photography, caterers, and entertainment. These three suppliers should be following on your booking list after securing your planner and venue because they tend to have busy schedules that book out well in advance. Moving forward, consider other vendors such as celebrants, florists, creatives, videographers, and hair and makeup artists 8-10 months out. This staggered approach ensures you can secure the vendors to make your dream wedding a reality.
Dress Hunt Made Easy: Start your search for the perfect wedding gown. Consider custom options for a unique look, or even head to www.reveiled.com.au to pick up a dress only worn once for half the price! If you are going custom, start this process at 11-12 months!
Invitation Magic: Design invitations that reflect your style. Remember to send out save-the-dates to ensure maximum attendance.
Bridal Party Plans: Choose your bridal party and their attire. Opt for options that align with your vision.
Travel and Stay: Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests and plan the honeymoon.
6 – 8 Months to Go
Culinary Creations: Plan a menu tasting with your caterer to guarantee a delightful dining experience.
Decor & Florals: Finalise your decor and floral arrangements. Look for seasonal blooms to save on costs.
Entertainment Extravaganza: Secure entertainment, whether a live band or a DJ, to keep your guests dancing the night away.
3 – 5 Months to Go
Fitting Finale: Schedule fittings for your wedding attire. Arrange for alterations to ensure a perfect fit.
Party Favors & Gifts: Order personalised wedding favours and gifts for your guests. Add a personal touch to make them memorable.
Timeline Tactician: Work with your planner to create a detailed wedding-day timeline.
Seating Success: Create a seating chart encouraging excellent conversations and connections among guests.
Transportation Tidbits: Arrange transportation for the wedding party and guests, if necessary.
Final Guest List: Confirm RSVPs and provide the last guest count to vendors. Keep communication channels open.
1 – 2 Months to Go
Rehearsal Dinner Plans: Plan the rehearsal dinner. Select a relaxed setting for a prelude to the grand celebration.
Payments & Papers: Settle outstanding balances with vendors and ensure all legal documents are in order.
Marriage License Magic: Apply for and obtain your marriage license. Follow local regulations diligently.
Last-Minute Details: Confirm all details, from song choices to vows and speeches. Create a backup plan for outdoor events.
1 Month to Go
Self-Care Splurge: Schedule beauty treatments and spa days to relax and rejuvenate.
Attire All Set: Pick up your wedding attire and accessories, ensuring they’re safely stored and ready for the big day.
Pack for Paradise: Prepare for your luxurious honeymoon adventure. Make a checklist to ensure everything is remembered.
Final Meeting with Planner: Meet with your planner to review last-minute details. Coordinate and confirm everything one last time.
Breath Easy: Take time to relax and savour the excitement. Enjoy the journey, and remember that your wedding begins a beautiful life together.
You’ve embarked on an exciting journey towards your dream wedding, armed with practical tips and a clear roadmap.
By prioritising your budget, carefully selecting top-tier vendors, and staying organized with a well-planned timeline, you’re on your way to turning your wedding dreams into a beautiful reality. Remember, the early bird catches the worm regarding vendor bookings, so don’t hesitate to secure those essential services well in advance. As you plan your special day, remember that this process is not just about creating a remarkable event but also about starting a beautiful life together. So, take a deep breath, savour the anticipation, and cherish every moment of this fantastic journey. Here’s to a spectacular wedding and a love story that’s as practical as beautiful.
Cheers to the beginning of your happily ever after!