He asked. She said, “Yes!” Now the wedding planning begins. Weddings have a lot of moving parts and you will have many decisions about which wedding venue to book, what the menu will consist of, the color palette you will be using, etc. but don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Before you get to specifics, it’s best to start more general because the general decisions you make will impact the more specific ones. It is best for both the bride and the groom to come to an agreement on each point. That way, expectations are clear and there are no surprises from each other in the planning process. There WILL be surprises but you don’t want them coming from the one you love and see yourself spending the rest of your life with.
When I say “agreement”, I really do mean agreement. Different people have different conflict styles. Some are conflict-averse, others embrace it. The funny thing is that opposites do tend to attract. Commit to being honest with each other throughout the wedding planning process. Also, future grooms: this is not your cue to just abdicate all the decisions to your Future Bride. If you haven’t read my Get In The Game blog, check this out…
With all that said, here are the first four things you need to do when beginning to start planning your wedding in 2020.
1. Select a two-week time period
Unless you have a reason to select a specific date, I would encourage you to shoot for a time block instead. It gives you more flexibility with the venue you want, and it also opens up your options slightly. Keep in mind of any major holidays because if you pick a date too close to holiday, some of your guests may not be able to attend if they have a regular family trip they always go on or, if you’re having a destination wedding, some guests may not be able to get off of work if the weekend is close to a major holiday. It may be best to either get married on the weekend of a holiday or provide enough space between the holiday and your date.
2. Pick the location
I don’t necessarily mean venue here unless you already know which venue you are going to choose. Are you going to get married where you’re from (or not far) or will the wedding be a destination wedding?
3. Come up with a rough budget
Money makes the world go ‘round, and it also impacts which wedding companies you will be able to afford. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but weddings tend to be much more expensive than some couples expect. Here is a rundown of what the average costs for a wedding with 100 guests in the Florida Panhandle will usually cost (courtesy of Every Last Detail):
FOOD AND BEVERAGE: $8,000
FLORALS & DECOR: $6,100
PAPER GOODS: $1,200
ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC: $1,550 (CEREMONY MUSIC AND RECEPTION MUSIC)
Triple this if you want a live band instead of a DJ/MC
HAIR & MAKEUP: $300 (BRIDE ONLY)
CEREMONY COSTS: $550
Yes. That is a lot of money. However, just because they are the averages for each individual category that doesn’t mean you will ultimately spend that much. But
4. Decide what is important
This is tricky but it is ABSOLUTELY important. Looking at your budget, you’re going to want to start deciding what parts of the wedding rank higher than others. Are you adamant about having a specific photographer (my wife was)? Is there a specific place that is the dream location for your wedding? Do you know you will need help planning your big day and booking a coordinator is a must? Is a band or DJ your must-have for the reception? Understanding the priorities you have for your wedding will help you prioritize where your budget will go to and will also help you see how much you are able to spend on the different aspects of it.
I realize this might feel somewhat overwhelming if you are just starting but I’m sure anyone who has had a wedding, as well as other wedding professionals, will agree that these four points are extremely important to decide before moving forward with any decisions regarding booking anything. Were there any parts that surprised you? Feel free to add a comment below. There is a Part 2 but I feel that what I have covered so far is more than enough for you both to discuss and start making decisions that will set you up for planning success! Once you’ve made your decisions outlined in Part 1, head on over to Part 2. We will start to get more specific on action steps.