Ashley's Top 10 Wedding Planning Tips

Have you ever wondered how to plan a wedding? Where do you start? How much does it cost? Who do I contact first? These are all really common questions and I am going to list the 10 basic steps to planning the wedding of your dreams. It really is not that complicated. Don't become Carrie Bradshaw and "let the wedding get bigger than Big." 

Don't let this become you. Follow these 10 easy steps to successfully planning the wedding of your dreams.  Photo credit: Sex and the City

Don't let this become you. Follow these 10 easy steps to successfully planning the wedding of your dreams.  Photo credit: Sex and the City

Step 1: This might be the most critical step of all... Make sure you are in a relationship. HA! I have had clients book me and plan their weddings before they were actually engaged. Don’t get me wrong, they had picked out a ring and were just waiting until the groom-to-be popped the question. I've also had a bride purchase her dress before she was officially engaged. While this might be a little unconventional, it works for some people. Other clients wait until they have their sparkly rock and reveal to their loved ones that they are on a new life adventure. In whatever order you decide to plan, just make sure that you are getting married in the near future. Nothing sends up red flags faster than a potential client try to book a wedding planner before they are in a long term relationship. (trust me, it has happened!)

Photo credit: google images

Photo credit: google images

Step 2: Now that we have made sure that a wedding is indeed over the horizon, discuss with your fiancé what time of year (season) you would like to have the wedding. If you love the idea of a magical winter wedding, then perhaps booking a wedding in between Thanksgiving and New Year sounds like a good fit. Maybe, you have always wanted the warm summer sun providing natural light during a beautiful outdoor ceremony, so a summer or early fall wedding would be a better fit. Take into account what your priorities are or how you could potentially save costs by utilizing existing holiday decor.

How gorgeous is this winter wedding?!? Photo Credit: Mayden Photography 

How gorgeous is this winter wedding?!? Photo Credit: Mayden Photography 

Step 3: After making sure you are actually getting married is the second most important step in planning a wedding. Everything, literally all decisions is hinged off of the budget. How many guests can you invite? What type of meal do you serve? What venue you select? How many bridal party members do you have stand with you? All of these decisions come down to finances. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an endless budget when it comes to the details. Can you afford the custom walk up ice bar during cocktail hour? Would you be better served with having a DJ vs a 10 piece band? It is important to have honest (read: hard) conversations with your significant other and anyone else who is contributing towards the wedding regarding the finances for the day. Having these conversations early will allow for a more unified front and make decisions *hopefully* easier. One sure fire way to manage the finance question is to individually list both you and your fiancés priorities and then compare. If you both share priorities, spend more money in those areas. If you differ on certain things (need to have beer coozie favors or releasing doves at the ceremony) you can discuss these ahead of time and avoid meltdowns in the checkout aisle of Michaels.

Ladies, figure out those budget details!! Photo Credit: Ann & Kam Photo

Ladies, figure out those budget details!! Photo Credit: Ann & Kam Photo

Step 4: With a budget in mind, now you can purchase some wedding magazines and browse Pinterest. I like to preface using Pinterest cautiously. It is important to discover trends, likes and dislikes. When a bride wants to replicate an entire wedding found on Pinterest, it can become a slippery slope. One image might cost $5,000 to replicate. Perhaps that wedding was a styled shoot with vendor collaboration and not an actual wedding. Perhaps that wedding had a budget three times what your budget is. Use Pinterest like you use Google. Discover what your vision looks like and get ideas, but don’t copy. No one likes an unoriginal thought. Be unique. Be you!

What style do you love? What is your vision? Use Pinterest and Wedding Magazines as inspiration to get to your true self. Don't copy someone else. Be you! 

What style do you love? What is your vision? Use Pinterest and Wedding Magazines as inspiration to get to your true self. Don't copy someone else. Be you! 

Step 5: Now is the time to back away from Pinterest. I know, I know...I just told you to soak up all it has to offer. Visit your secret pin board (I’m looking at you...you know you have one) and look at the overarching themes you have previously pinned. Do you have a lot of deep saturated jewel tones or more light and airy neutrals? Look at your pins, consider your budget and close the app. Take your vision and work with real human beings to bring it all together. Don’t rely on others great ideas to provide you an easy out for your day. Work with your fiancee, your girlfriends or your mom to take your vision and turn it into a reality.

This was a real wedding that a client came up with. After she got inspiration from Pinterest and magazines. Stunning!  Photo Credit: Studio Finch

This was a real wedding that a client came up with. After she got inspiration from Pinterest and magazines. Stunning!  Photo Credit: Studio Finch

I couldn't give all of the 10 secrets away at one time! Check back next week for the remaining 5 key steps to planning a successful wedding. As a recap, here are the first 5 steps: 1. Get engaged. 2. Discuss with your fiancé what season you both want. 3. Discuss your budget. 4. Use Pinterest to find your vision. 5. Back away from Pinterest and narrow down your vision. Happy Planning! 

Happy planning! Check back next week for the final installment of my top 10 tips to planning a successful event! See ya next week!  Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Happy planning! Check back next week for the final installment of my top 10 tips to planning a successful event! See ya next week!  Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography