The very thing that has simplified the wedding planning process has also made it extremely more complicated. What is this you ask? Information and the availability of information. So many of our brides come to us completely overwhelmed with Pinterest ideas, friends’ suggestions and suggestions from other vendors that they, simply, do not know what do to with all of it. We hear it constantly and it is a very stressful situation for the brides. They have a 1000 or more great ideas and don’t know where to begin because they like all of them. At least 75% of our first conversations with brides start with the bride stating, “I’ve never done this before and have no idea where to begin.” Here’s what we tell them:
Start with your budget. What is realistic to you? Who is contributing to the total wedding bill? Make a list. Have conversations with those who will be contributing the most before you contact any vendors. All weddings have the potential to be amazingly beautiful. Weddings with healthier budgets allow the bride more flexibility in specific details and elaborate details. It is important to realize that you don’t have to have a Princess Kate wedding to have something that will be an incredible time to remember.
Define your Total Budget.
Ruling out the super budget weddings and super expensive Princess Kate weddings, the average wedding cost for this area falls into the $20,000-$35,000 range. We’ve done full weddings, defined as all of your expenses from venue to dress to food and details, even at the super low $3500 level that were magazine and Pinterest worthy. However, staying within this budget level is extremely difficult and requires the bride to be extremely flexible on all areas of the wedding, including wedding venue and wedding date. A more realistic budget wedding would start at around $8000-$10000 for Central and Southern Arkansas, and even those are somewhat difficult. Often venues will have discounted rates for weekdays and for off-season weekends. A Thursday in February is often much less expensive than a full weekend in June or October. Consider hiring a planner that you can afford on your budget to help with all of the details and to help keep costs down. Tell your planner your budget, upfront, and ask what they recommend for your budget. Know your limitations when it comes to DIY. Expenses add up very quickly even with small purchases.
Define Your Style and Communicate Your Style with your Vendors.
Flip through the magazines and sort through Pinterest. Start a board with a few ideas- but then, STOP. Show your planner (or florist, stylist, or photographer) your ideas for inspiration, only. These vendor-types are creative. As long as you communicate your style clearly, you will be happier with the end result if you let them use their creativity to complete the design. You may need to ask for style alternatives that would work for your budget. (Remember, the stricter your budget, the more flexible you will need to be.) Not all vendors will perfectly match all styles and all budgets.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
If you effectively communicate with all of your vendors and bridal party, you will have a much greater chance of being happy with the results on your wedding day. Part of this communication is reading your contracts. It sounds so easy- but so many brides overlook this step. Know what you are purchasing and the details. Also, be realistic about communication. Often brides will text or email vendors late at night and on weekends and get panicked when they don’t come back right away. One bride texted me in a panic when the DJ for her wedding 5 months out didn’t respond to her voice mail left on Friday night at 5. When she realized he was working two events that night, she relaxed. All of your wedding vendors work other weddings- which are primarily on weekends and late nights. Follow up if you haven’t heard back during the week during regular business hours- but don’t panic if you don’t hear back from a late text or voice mail.
Most Importantly- Enjoy your Day!
Remember the reason for your wedding day is to celebrate the love of two people and the joining of their families. Your wedding is a time for celebration. Relax and enjoy it. This and that may go sideways but, if it does, brush it off and relax. This is your day. Enjoy!
Photography by Snyder Weddings