You’re getting married – Congratulations!
As a wedding planner, we get to see it all… the good, the bad, the ugly… .and the really, really fun parts! You should know this doesn’t have to be stressful . It should be an exciting process, so if you get to the point where you are ready to throw something against a wall, take a step back and go do something you and your fiancé enjoy doing that has nothing to do with weddings. Remember, this is about the two of you – keep alive what makes you good together and don’t forget that in the process of planning your wedding day.
The first thing we encourage all of our brides to do is to go buy a 3-4” binder and about two dozen tab dividers (get the ones with the pockets!), a package of the see-through sleeves and a page you can put into your binder that holds business cards. Or you can visit your local bookstore and pick your favorite wedding binder you find there. The goal is to start off on the right foot and get organized.
Then, before you even start cutting things out, go ahead and sit down and hash out your budget. So many people get scared of doing this. Don’t be. You need it. You absolutely need to have a range that you are working with when you are looking for venues and vendors for your big day. It will say you headaches & heartaches and will actually be a great guidepost for you throughout the process. It will change as you go, but it will help you narrow down that huge task of making 100’s of choices.
Now, you get to dream. Go ahead and dream big. It’s ok. Start tearing out pictures (put them in that binder), taking photos, and gleaning inspiration from things around you. It doesn’t have to be wedding related to inspire you. Remember who the two of you are, use your passions to guide your ideas. That’s what this is all about.
I challenge you to pick two words, yes, just two – that describe the feeling you want at first your ceremony, then two words for your reception. Start with the feeling you want, then later, you’ll figure out the look. This will help you determine location & date which come hand-in-hand, especially here in Oregon. If you must have outdoors, then your choices are going to be limited to certain types of venues or particular times during the year.
When people ask me, which one should I pick first? There’s no hard-fast rule. Choosing your date usually is the first thing you would want to do so that you can get those save-the-dates out. But, if you fall in love with a location and they don’t have your date you are stuck in a not-so-fun situation. We recommend that you choose 3-4 dates that you like, check with wedding party and immediate family to see if those dates work, then go in and start looking at venues with those dates in hand.
Timeline is next – Please don’t try to do this without one. You’ll spend so much of your energy worrying about what’s next that you won’t be able to focus on what’s now. If you have a timeline, you want to make sure its comprehensive and then you’ll be able to just take it one month at a time.
Then, you want to step back and look at what you’ve done so far and get a good idea of where you are heading. Stop for a moment, you have a date. You have a location. You know your budget. You’ve been collecting ideas. Now, pull it all together and create your vision. Take a few weeks to create idea board of things you like – colors, décor, dresses, photos that show how you want the day to feel. But, don’t forget to keep examples of things you don’t want too. This is so often overlooked. You have to tell your vendors what you love and what you don’t like. If you only tell them what you like, then they might inadvertently do something you knew you didn’t want – so communicate both ends of the spectrum.
Once you have something to go to your vendors with, start in on looking for those people who will help you pull your vision together. Don’t let the pressure convince you. You should love each person you choose and you should feel like they understand you. When you find someone you like, put their info into your binder and make notes so you remember who’s who. If you’re having trouble finding vendors within your budget, ask for recommendations or work with a planner.
Your wedding should be one-of-a-kind, and something that doesn’t just follow the current trends but reflects who the two of you are as a couple. This should be about you. Your dreams.