Christmas is fast approaching! Between the holiday shopping and decorating your home, it really is a magical season filled with family celebrations and get-togethers with friends. It’s a time when people are naturally brought closer together and look favorably towards the future. Therefore, it only makes sense that it’s also the time of year when more couples get engaged than any other month.

Newly engaged couples will rejoice in the holidays and be eager to share their good news with family and friends. People will admire the ring, and for most couples, they get caught up in the excitement and will want to begin planning their big day right away. Unfortunately, with all that enthusiasm, many couples make some costly wedding planning mistakes by making decisions and commitments before they are really ready to do so.

Here are some ideas from our expert team to help make the wedding planning process go much smoother.

1)  Determine The Budget: How much money do you have to spend? This is the first and most important question that needs to be answered before you do any wedding planning, or worse yet, put any deposits down on venues or vendors. When do you want to have your wedding? What are you realistically able to save for your special day between now and then? Are parents going to be helping out, and if so, how much are they willing to contribute? The amount of money you have to spend is going to serious shape the way your wedding is going to look and feel. You don’t want to get locked into a venue that you can’t really afford or overspend on your dress so you have to cut back on everything else.

To figure out your budget, begin with the following:

  1. Start with when you want to get married and count how many months that gives you to save.
  2.         Multiply the number of months by the amount that the two of you are able to contribute and save each month to determine your wedding fund.
  3.         Add to that any money that your parents are willing to contribute or any savings you have that you want to use towards the wedding.
  4.         Subtract at least five percent of that amount for overbudget items. (You also have to remember about the GST!)
  5.         Voila! You have your wedding budget!

2)  The Guest List: There is no point of planning an intimate family celebration when Mom and Dad’s initial list of attendees of immediate family and close friends is over one hundred and fifty. Sit down together with both sets of parents and begin creating a list of potential guests. This isn’t the final version, but it will give you an idea of how many people will be in attendance. Once you have this figured out, this will also help you determine the size of venue you need and how many people it will need to accommodate. it’s also a quick way to figure out catering costs and whether or not you really want that big wedding, as big weddings usually equate big bucks! (Hint: Choosing to have a smaller guest list may mean you have a little more to spend on some of the “fun” details like your dress, décor, flowers, entertainment, etc.)

3)  Create Your Vision: Sometimes your wedding vision is a work in progress, but you need to at least start with the look and feel you want for your wedding. If the idea of getting married in a garden in your parent’s backyard sounds appealing, you will want to find an intimate reception venue that will match. As well, you will want to make sure that your wedding is scheduled for mid- to late-summer, allowing the flowers to bloom and for the garden to look its absolute best. Some types of weddings are really dictated by the time of year and/or the venue selected. It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you both want your wedding to be like in order to make other decisions that will ensure your wedding plans match your vision and ideas.

4)  Hire A Wedding Planner: There is nothing wrong with planning to do a lot of the work on your wedding yourself, but one of the most common things I hear from people in general when I tell them what my occupation is, is that they wished they had hired a wedding planner when working on their own nuptials. While it used to be considered a luxury reserved only for the wealthy and celebrities, the fact is that with so many couples both working full time and busy with their careers, having someone there to guide them through the wedding planning process has become a necessity. Another important point to consider is that for most couples, they are planning a wedding for the first time. They have no experience doing an event on this large of scale and are trying to sort through all the vast amounts of information. Have a wedding planner who has the experience, the contacts, and the expertise can be a lifesaver. She cannot only save you time, but also suggest ways to save money, making it a “win-win” situation for everyone involved. Your planner’s knowledge of details and how things work can also help prevent you from making costly mistakes or misunderstandings related to limited understanding of event contracts and vendor expectations. Having her on your side right from the beginning ensures that your wedding will be a success. (Hint: Just make sure your planner is experienced! This is not the time to hire someone who just got married themselves and thinks being a planner could be fun.)

If you don’t think you can afford full wedding planning services, recognize that most planners offer partial planning programs or Day Of Coordination (which is more like Month of Coordination). Many also offer a la carte options in the form of hourly consulting so that the planner can help keep you on track, make suggestions for you to follow through with on your own, help you with your budget, provide vendor referrals, and still give you some of that expert advice that will make planning your wedding so much easier. Also consider talking to a planner to see if is possible to design a customized planning program that might not include everything, but only the components that you require assistance with.

Getting engaged is such an exciting time! Make sure it’s a process that you both can enjoy from beginning to end by making sure you take the first few steps in the right direction.

If you need assistance in planning for your upcoming wedding, or just want some advice along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-403-619-0528 or (And yes, we do do customized programs, partial planning, a la carte options and hourly consulting!)