I asked my gal pals (and Charleston wedding planners), Francesca and Blake of Pure Luxe Bride to help us out a bit. With the recent wave of newly engaged ladies in search of how to kick off their Lowcountry wedding planning journey, we thought it was necessary to have them share a few tricks of the trade. They whipped up the their top 5 things every Groom and Bride-to-be need to accomplish to enjoy their engagement and the entire wedding planning process. Ladies, take it away….
We are so thrilled to be writing this guest blog post for A Lowcountry Wedding, and what better topic to discuss than how to get that wedding planning ball rolling?! After some serious Pure Luxe brainstorming, we came up with the five most important steps to help you get started.
1. Do your research
The very first step in planning your wedding must include research. It is very important that you weigh all your options when it comes to venues and vendors, price ranges, and of course, planners. To get married in coastal South Carolina or the church your parents were married in? An indoor or outdoor ceremony? How much does a wedding cake typically cost? These are all very important questions that your research can help you answer.
2. Discuss your budget and stick to it
After you've begun your research, you'll become more familiar with the pricing of all things weddings. You'll learn that getting married on a week day or in the off-season could cost exponentially less than a Saturday wedding in March. You'll decide whether you and your spouse-to-be prefer a band or a DJ to help you dance the night away. Discussing a budget and sticking to it is the most important aspect of wedding planning - hands down. Get your finances in order and figure out the best allocation of your resources for your special day. Unfortunately, you can't spend money that you don't have BUT you can do a lot with the money you do have. Figure out what number works for you and do your best to stay within it. Everything else will fall into place with the help of your planner and vendors.
3. Be realistic
Creating a budget is a difficult task in itself, but creating a realistic budget can be even more difficult. Your dream wedding is within reach; it just requires a creative spin and a few adjustments here and there. The worst thing to happen in your planning process is when reality becomes a distant memory, and the ideas of draping the entire tent emerge. If details like this aren't in your budget, don't even go there! A bride who's dreams become bigger than her budget makes for a disappointed bride and the last thing we want is for our brides to be disappointed!
4. Think about your guest list
One way to combine your research and budget in a realistic and all-encompassing fashion is through a tentative guest list. Discussing who the essentials, probably's, maybe's and definitely not's are ahead of time can really help you manage your budget. A huge amount of your decisions and costs will be based upon how many people will be invited/attending your wedding. Small pricing details also come into play once you're familiar with your guest count such as save the dates/invitation pricing, escort/place cards, favors and more.
5. Work as a team
As exciting as planning your wedding can and will be, it is very easy to get caught up in the craziness of all and forget the real purpose behind it all. Remember that you and your future-hubby are a team and your decisions should be joint. Include him not only in the big decisions such as guest count and catering choices, but also in the smaller details like the color scheme and florals. Chances are, he'll leave these decisions to you but he'll love that you included him and wanted his opinion. Most importantly, make sure to just simply spend some time together, sans wedding details. Have a movie night, take a cooking class, or just sit on the couch and catch up - whatever you do, make time for one another.
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