Monday, 13 June 2011

Top Ten Wedding Planning Tips

Weddings are wonderfully magical. They are also stressful and expensive.

Avoid heart ache in the lead up to your big day and heed my top ten wedding planning tips!

1. Get Organised.

Have a centralised wedding email address, separate from your work and personal accounts. Use this during all correspondence with vendors, venues and guests. If you're a tech savy girl/guy, decide on one online wedding planning tool to use and have one [ large ] notebook / planner. { Keeping it simple like this means all your information is in one place}. I also suggest a Pinterest account for keeping all 'online' picture finds together. And a large scrapbook/ album for the dozens of magazines cuttings you will make over the next few months.

2. Start Early.

Of course you can plan a wedding in any space of time, although the shorter the time frame the more compromises you will have to make, but realistically, anything shorter than a year is too short in my book; 18 Months is ideal. First you will need to give yourself a chance to familiarise yourself with options and ideas, the time-lines in which your various vendors are best booked in and how best to do it, three to six months is sufficient for this. {Most important during these initial 'research' months of planning a wedding is familiarising yourself with costs.} Then of course you get down to the serious business of actually planning your wedding.

3. Watch your budget.

Following the announcement of your engagement and choosing of a wedding date, setting your wedding budget should be next on your list. This can be a difficult task at times, as it can be a struggle between what you can afford to spend and what things actually cost. Its this struggle that can often find wedding budgets spiralling out of control. But if you have 'started early' and used some time to research and familiarise yourself with weddings and wedding vendors you often have a more realistic grasp on things. Don't be fooled by clearly 'cheap'/ under cutting quotes; these often come from 'weekend wedding warriors' who provide an inferior service or product or don't have the required qualifications, licenses, insurance or knowledge to fulfil the contracted task. Be sure to get multiple quotes for everything you are considering for your wedding, and be sure you are comparing like with like and not just total prices.

4. Hire Professionals 

The wedding industry has always been rife with 'weekend wedding warriors', those who work as accountants, in retail, banks etc Monday - Friday and work on weddings at the weekends. Some may have qualifications and experience in their chosen field but often these guys are glorified hobbiests without experience or talent who are out to make a quick buck. Make sure you are hiring a qualified, experienced, insured wedding professional.

Also you might find yourself with enthusiastic 'Friendors' on your hands. These are friends and family with hobbies and talents in areas you might think of use to you. If they are wedding professionals in their area you might have hit the Jackpot... but be clear, are they your baker, photographer, florist or a guest at your wedding? Are you paying them or is this a gift? A contract here will clearly define who or what. If they are not a professional it can be difficult. You don't want to shoot them down out of the bating cage, but I would suggest against using them, decline with grace and possibly suggest they could be a second shoot photographer, do the bridesmaids/ mother's make up or something similar - and again clearly identify what is being offered.

5. Get everything in writing.  


Before you part with any money, be sure that what you want from your Wedding Vendor is down in writing. That you both agree to it and you both sign it. Do not rely on ' you have my word'. Even after an initial contract is signed and you decide to later add or change something be sure to have this written in and changed. If a wedding vendor does not have a contract or says one is not required do not do business with them! 


6. Take out Wedding Insurance. 


It is not expensive and very much worth it. Like with insuring your house or car be sure you get the right insurance for you and your wedding day. Wedding Insurance can include things like a cancellation by you or one of your vendors or venues, accidents, your gifts, your photos being damaged and a whole host of other very important areas.

7. Confirm & follow up.

Once you book a wedding vendor you will of course pay a deposit and sign a contract. If posted, check 1 week after sending that they have been received it. Sometimes you will also have to pay an additional instalment, perhaps at the 6 months mark, this is an excellent opportunity to double check your booking. I would also check/ drop a quick email or confirm a detail with each wedding vendor at 3 & 1 month out from the wedding and again 1 week out. Some wedding vendors will require a call the day before as well depending on what they are providing.

8. Delegate! 

Often a bride takes on the task of planning her wedding herself. But remember a wedding is about two people, not just the bride, include your fiancé[e] in the choices; delegate tasks to him/her. Remember also that bridesmaids are there to help too... choose yours wisely and use them! You might find other willing helpers too and while I suggest delegate, do remember, while your life might revolve around the wedding, theirs does not.

9. Aim for fabulous, not perfection.

You will see countless picture perfect stylized wedding shoots in magazines while you plan. You will see skin perfect, hair perfect, body perfect models in stunning wedding gowns plastered all over blogs and websites. You will become obsessed with chair covers, linens, the right shade of blooms and how perfect it will all look... but stop yourself! Perfection is overrated {and often unachievable}, the reality is, things will go wrong... not big things {hopefully}... my advice- don't aim for perfect {perfect is boring} ... aim for fabulous - your own brand of fabulous!

10. Remember what the day is all about.

Don't bankrupt yourself getting married. Don't fall out with friends and family over seating plans. Remember your wedding day is about you and the man or woman you love declaring your forever love to each other and pledging to be together 'until death you do part'.... nothing else :)

~ o ~


Want to use this article in your blog, E-zine or website? You can as long as you include this complete statement:

This article has been borrowed with the kind permission of Wedding Consultant & Author, Bláithín O’ Reilly Murphy [aka The Wedding Expert], who writes the daily wedding blog; Wedding High. 
 
You can visit Bláithín’s blog at www.weddinghigh.blogspot.com

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