It's a snow day here in Austin so that means I'm working on some wedding planning!! I feel like wedding planning has become my second job...I'm working on it all the time!! And no that's not a complaint just a fact...wedding planning keeps me pretty busy!! I normally think it's super fun but every once and a while I get a little overwhelmed with all of the options....there are like 500 options for every decision.
So with all of these options and decisions...where do I start?? Should I just hire a wedding planner?? How do I even find vendors?? How do I narrow it down?? What are some good resources?? How do I keep everything organized?? How am I going to stay within my budget?? How do I handle the stress?? These are just a few of the questions that I asked myself after we got engaged. So I thought I could help answer some of these questions for those of you who recently got engaged....
Where do you start??
- Just start!! Don't overthink it!! Set up your Pinterest boards and go!! Although realistically, picking a general time frame (season/month) and setting your budget is a good place to start...hahaha
- I would also suggest sitting down with your fiance and answering the following questions together:
- What is the vision/purpose of your wedding? Write down your vision/purpose so that you can reference it later and remind yourself of what's really important.
- What are your top priorities for your wedding? This should help you determine your budget, if food is a top priority then you'll probably want to spend more money on food.
- How will you handle disagreements? Neil and I decided we'd place the options in a hat and pull one out randomly. We haven't done this yet but at least we have a plan that we've both agreed on beforehand.
- How will you delegate the responsibilities? Yes you need to include your fiance in the planning process, it's his wedding too!! Plus you're going to be together forever so it might be a good idea to practice teamwork now.
Should you just hire a wedding planner??
- Wedding Planner = less stress + more money. They definitely do all of the heavy lifting for you but for a price!! I didn't want to spend that kind of money on a wedding planner...I am, however, hiring a Day of Coordinator. I've heard a Day of Coordinator is worth the money to help relieve some of the stress on the big day.
- So far I will tell you that if you're willing to put in the work and you can stay organized then you don't need a wedding planner. Planning a wedding yourself will be a lot of work, but it'll save you a lot of money!!
How do you even find vendors??
- I always start with the Wedding Wire App and The Knot App!! These apps are AMAZING!! I've found almost all of our vendors on these apps!! Sometimes I've used Yelp and Google if I needed more information.
How do you narrow it down??
- Once I have a list of vendors I narrow it down by number of reviews, cost, and response time. Normally that shortens my list by quite a bit!! Then I show my fiance the shortened list and he helps me narrow it down from there. We then set up a meeting with our top 2-3 vendors and from there we go with our gut feeling...hahaha. No that's not very scientific but at the end of the day why stress over it...if you have two good choices then just be happy you found some good choices and follow your gut!!
How do you keep everything organized??
- If you decide to do all of the planning yourself, then you're going to have to be organized!! I use a Google Sheet to keep myself organized. It keeps everything in one place, plus I can look at it on my cell phone!! Here's the template I created: Wedding Planning Template. Notice on the bottom of the sheet are several different tabs for the different types of vendors you'll be needing.
- Create a folder in your email for all of the wedding info you'll receive. I'm not just talking about the info from vendors, everyone you know will want to give you info. Example: One of Neil's coworkers gave us the contact info for her hair stylist. I don't know if we'll use her hair stylist but it was thoughtful of her to share that information with us so it's saved in that Wedding Folder.
What are some good resources??
- I've already mentioned the Wedding Wire App and The Knot App...both great resources!!! I also bought this Wedding Planner & Organizer Binder and I have to say it's a must!! I bought a ton of books, planners, resources, etc...but this is the only one that really helped me!! It gave me a list of questions for each vendor and really helped me feel prepared!!
How am I going to stay within my budget??
- Craigslist has been AMAZING!! I've gotten some pretty great deals on decor off Craigslist.
- Bride to Bride Facebook Group!! A group of brides reselling their wedding stuff but also providing helpful tips/resources.
- Don't forget Google!! I seriously google things like "where can I buy cheap wedding votives?" Normally a wedding discussion board pops up answering all of my questions!! These discussion boards have helped me with "real reviews" on some of the online options available nowadays.
How do you handle the stress?
- Don't stress over the small stuff!! No seriously...why stress over small stuff?? You know how hard it was to find Neil...now that's the hard part!! That took 29 years to find!! Blue napkins verse white napkins...who cares!!
- Celebrate the little things!! Neil and I decided we'd go to the arcade every time we signed a contract!! A nice way to make the wedding planning fun!!
- Self Care!! Don't let the wedding become your life...take care of yourself and your fiance!! If you need to dedicate one night a week as "no wedding talk night" then do so. We decided Tuesday nights was our "No Wedding Talk Night" but we haven't really needed it.
- Don't be afraid to delegate!! Reach out for help if you need it!! Today I called Neil and asked him to handle the details of our honeymoon. We've done a lot of the major honeymoon planning together but I don't have time to figure out which bus we should take from point A to point B. It's so nice knowing that he's there to help and that I can trust him to handle things.
I hope this post has helped answer some of your questions and provided you with some helpful tools!! I know there will be a ton of questions along the way but having a system in place and knowing where to go for those answers can be super helpful!! If you're stuck just remind yourself "Finding the man is the hard part, so don't stress about the rest!!"