Part 2: Ashley's Top 10 Wedding Planning Tips!

I knew I couldn't leave you hanging for long. Here is the second part of my top 10 tips for planning a successful wedding. Before we dive into the details, let's recap the first 5 from last week. Step 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. Okay, let's dive right in to step number 6!

If your to-do list has got your feeling the blues, consider it might be time to bring in the pros. Photo credit: K+B Photo

If your to-do list has got your feeling the blues, consider it might be time to bring in the pros. Photo credit: K+B Photo

Step 6: If all of the budget creation, vendor research and contract negotiation has got you feeling a little overwhelmed, perhaps it is time to consider hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planners are not just for the affluent. With proper planning, everyone could potentially hire a wedding planner. There are different packages that offer different amenities and come at different price points. Do yourself a favor and don’t assume you can’t afford help. Help might just be your saving grace.

Hi, this is me! We should become friends. ;-) Photo credit: K+B Photo

Hi, this is me! We should become friends. ;-) Photo credit: K+B Photo

Step 7: If you have heeded my advice, you hired a wedding planner. Good for you! If you didn’t, that’s okay. You can still rock this! Take your budget, your vision and your priorities and select your top 3 venues that incorporate what you’re looking for. From these three venues, chat with them to see what options are available, what bundling (if any) can be done and what the guest count would look like at each space. Are you required to use their preferred vendor list for everything? Can you bring in any supplemental desserts? Do they have space for both a ceremony and reception? Where would guests go for cocktail hour? Based on these (and other) questions you review with them, you can narrow down your options to your best choice.

This venue is really awesome and super new. Join the cool kids and check out The Haight. Photo credit: Love & Ink Photography

This venue is really awesome and super new. Join the cool kids and check out The Haight. Photo credit: Love & Ink Photography

Step 8: Once your venue is booked (which should be your first vendor selected) start reviewing all of the other vendors you will need to hire. Why book the venue first you ask? Well, dear friend, because all other vendors hinge on the venue. Can you bring in an outside caterer? Most venues do not have stipulations on photographers, videographers or bakers. Based on what the cost of the venue (including or excluding F&B) revisit your priority list and determine from there where the rest of your money should be allocated. Some vendors include but are not limited to: florist, dj, band, caterer, photographer, videographer, linens, rentals, photo booth, transportation, hotel accommodations and bakers. If you both really value great photography, then clearly you would want to spend more money on a really fantastic photographer. If you maybe don’t necessarily care about linens, go with the house linens and don’t upgrade. Will the standard chairs work for you or do you need to rent prettier options? All of these come out of the specific allocation in the budget. Easy peasy.

What does your budget look like? Are you going to come in over or under budget? 

What does your budget look like? Are you going to come in over or under budget? 

Step 9: At this point, you should be noticing a common theme: budget. I know it is not super sexy, but it is oh, so important! The key to making the budget work is being realistic about your expectations. If you are expecting to feed 200 guests filet mignon, waldorf salad and soup for $3,000 this is an unrealistic expectation. If you could expect this same meal to run upwards of $28,000 this is a more realistic expectation. This same concept applies to wedding cakes, Djs, bands, photographers, videographers etc. If you expect a professional to work 8-12+ hours (just on the actual wedding day) not including all of the pre/post wedding work for minimum wage, these are unrealistic expectations. This is perhaps one of the most important days of your life and in turn, there is extra pressure applied to each of these services as you want it perfect, the vendors also want to exceed your expectations. These services do not come with a dollar store price tag.

Photo credit: Love & Ink Photography

Photo credit: Love & Ink Photography

Step 10: After all of the large pieces have been researched, hired and deposits paid for, it is important to remember why you are doing this. You love someone and that someone loves you. Never lose sight of the why. The wedding day is important, don’t get me wrong. What I am more concerned about is the day after the wedding and the next thousand days after the wedding. Building a life together, sharing in each other’s joys and sorrows is the goal of this entire process. Being a life partner is the ultimate goal and one responsibility as a planner that I do not take lightly.

Congrats! You made it through all 10 of my easy wedding planning steps. If at any point, you think you might need further clarification or help with a specific area of planning a wedding, anniversary, birthday or other special day, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly. Let's briefly recap these 10 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. 6. Consider hiring help. 7. Find a venue that fits your style and budget. 8. Research and secure your other vendors (the good ones book quickly) 9. Be realistic about your expectations and last but not least 10. Remember why you are doing this in the first place. 

Through thick and this, Carrie and Big had their fair share of struggles. In the very end, they realized why they were in love in the first place and happily said I-do in a no name dress. Photo credit: Sex and the City

Through thick and this, Carrie and Big had their fair share of struggles. In the very end, they realized why they were in love in the first place and happily said I-do in a no name dress. Photo credit: Sex and the City