Your wedding day. It’s the day that every woman has dreamed of, ever since they were young girls. But, as little girls I bet it never occurred to any of us how much actually goes into wedding planning! As a young woman that will be getting married in May of 2008, there are so many things to start considering.
Every woman must know the number one rule: Know your budget! Before you start purchasing anything, or booking halls, you must first know the exact budget you are willing to spend on your special day. Did you know the average couple spends almost thirty thousand dollars? (Source: money.cnn.com) The following things are what people spend the most money on: Engagement ring, photography and/or videography, ceremony/reception music, rehearsal dinner and flowers.
One of the things some brides find themselves concerned about is the food. Caterers can be hard to find sometimes, but most are very negotiable, and will be able to compare themselves to competitors. First, you need to know your budget for the food. Would you like to have a buffet, plated or home style service for your reception? A buffet is usually the cheapest, but will all of your guests really want to wait in line for their food? Write down the pros and cons of each service, and figure out the one that will suit your reception best. From which style of service you have chosen, you will have a basic idea of what food you would like to have. For example, the most common for home style service is beef or chicken. A caterer can help you with your food choices as well; some offer over thirty different menus to choose from!
Many caterers offer package deals, most including table decorations and seat covers, but many offer entire package deals, including a midnight buffet, open bar and a DJ. Make sure you research all the options your caterer offers before booking any other services. Most catering companies hold open houses and samplings at the beginning of the season (usually late April to the beginning of May, but this may be dependant on your location) that all brides, grooms and parents are invited to. During this you will learn all about the caterer’s specials, and you can book that day usually with a discount. Of course the company will try to upsell you on everything, but be sure to stay true to your budget, no matter how good the deal. You don’t want to end up over your budget, or that money could come out of your honeymoon money!
Outdoor weddings seem like they can be simple, and in essence they can as long as you go about doing everything right. Make sure you have a professional set up your tent in your desired location. Do you have an alternate location in case of rain, or a storm? Remember, bad weather is usually not classed as an ‘act of God’ with most companies and you may still have to pay for catering services, or a large cancellation fee if the weather makes your wedding impossible to hold. If you are having a summer wedding, make sure the caterers come well prepared to ensure the food at the reception will stay fresh in the hot summer sun. If you have an ice sculpture, expect it only to last about two to three hours in this kind of setting, even with an air conditioned table for it to sit on! An ice sculpture for an outdoor wedding usually isn’t the most ideal, but some people will still select it. It all has to do with preference.
When choosing a photographer, make sure you see sample photos of other weddings the photographer has done. All professional photographers should have this on hand when you go to a meeting with them. Ask about the cameras that they use; how much they know about the equipment they are using can make a world of difference. Ask about their policies; what happens if you come to them with a competitors price? Will they match it? What if by chance some pictures end up ruined? Will your photos be printed by the photographer themselves, or will they be sent to a third party? If they mention a third party, make sure to ask what kind of guarantees that company offers.
There is so much more to know about your wedding, but the number one thing (other than your budget, of course!) is research! Know your caterer, florist, tailor, everyone! You are putting a lot of your savings into this wedding and everyone needs to be on the ball with everything going on for a wedding that will run smoothly. Remember, this is your day ladies and gents, and some things need to be booked well in advance. If you do not think you can pull things together by yourself, bring in a wedding planner to help out if you have the budget for one. There are many things to remember, so a journal or date book is a bride’s best friend!