Dream weddings don’t happen overnight… heck, they barely happen when you plan them months ahead. So take the time to really figure out what you both want and give yourselves a realistic timeline to do everything. But most importantly – remember to have fun and enjoy the process together.
Now here are 5 things every bride-to-be (+groom) needs to think about:
Figuring out your budget early on is the most efficient way to plan your wedding. For starters, it will help you narrow down your venue search – which is what usually takes up the biggest chunk from your $$$. Avoid the panic attacks (and not-so-fun budget-related surprises) by creating a basic excel sheet. Then list everything that will go under your budget – from the centerpieces to the invitations – and how much you’re willing to allocate to all those items. The simple act of tracking this all down from the beginning will not only keep your spending in check but also save you lots of indecisive decision making.
P.S. – “bigger” doesn’t always mean better (or grander). It’s really all about priorities.
I love using a basic journal for this. But I bet you guys aren’t even surprised lol. (Read my piece: The Art of Being Organized… to learn why I think journaling is awesome.) But really though, don’t let a single thought about your wedding/theme go unnoticed. Ask yourselves, what’s the first thing we think about when we envision our wedding? How do we want that night to feel? What colors immediately come to mind? Do we want classic romance or rustic chic? An overflow of flowers or a more modern decor?
Don’t move forward with your ideas yet. Let them bubble for a while and then make sure they really settle in before you commit to anything. Avoid impulsive decision making at all costs but don’t be last minute either. And most importantly, relay your vision in DETAIL to whoever is helping you make that night possible. Communication is vital!
If you’re new to the wedding planning scene (like me) then extensive research is essential. True, you are literally just hosting a big party – but there’s a lot more that goes into it. And if you don’t take the time to make yourself familiar with the wedding world, then you’re going to remain intimidated by it.
I would recommend subscribing to at least 2-3 bridal/wedding planning magazines and setting aside at least 15 minutes a day to read whatever email/newsletter ends up in your inbox or mailbox. Personally, this is one of the best decisions I ever made – because you’d really be surprised at how helpful 90% of their content is. Right now, I’m an avid reader of Brides and The Knot. The former is great for all-around wedding tips such as experiences from real brides that handled their biggest wedding planning stressors. And the latter is perfect for the actual planning process because of their free online tools such as the personalized wedding checklist, countdown and inspiration for different themes, centerpieces, invitations, etc.
Besides just general info-reading, it’s also wise to be researching different venues, vendors, florists, etc. based on your locality – and READING THE REVIEWS!
I threw this in here with all my fellow Arab-couples in mind and ya’ll know why. Before you go and book your dream venue – make sure you create a raw list of all the loved ones you’ll be expecting so you at least have a rough estimate of your guest count. Remember: guest lists can easily multiply as you get closer to your date – for a variety of reasons – so be mindful of this. Pick an appropriate venue that can accommodate your number of guests.
Venue tip: if you know you’re having a REALLY big wedding, opt for a venue with high ceilings. It will make a difference, trust me.
Even though I just threw a bunch of information at you all – don’t forget it really is just a big party. So don’t fret if something out of your control happens (because it probably will) and focus on the bigger picture. Make sure you and your partner aren’t entirely consumed by the planning process – and just enjoy the experience together. Good luck!!!
Nihal is a Palestinian-American-Muslim from New York with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts + Journalism & Political Science. She currently manages her own blog -- where she talks about modest fashion, lifestyle, and spirituality -- and is a social media consultant. Nihal is passionate about participating in global movements for girls and women through different mediums such as writing and forums. Besides dressing up, she also enjoys convincing others that coffee is a food group and feminism is common sense.