Few tasks seem as daunting as wedding planning. From dresses to decorations, cakes to caterers, invitations to thank you notes, every detail needs to be perfect. After all, you want your special day to be memorable. We’ve all seen the reality shows where the stress reduces brides-to-be to monsters, and no one wants that. Don’t worry though–there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the stress so you can focus on having a perfect wedding day.
SETTING A WEDDING BUDGET
It’s important to remember that you can have a great wedding regardless of your wedding budget. You don’t have to spend six figures or go into debt to have a great celebration. As you plan your budget, here are some things to keep in mind:
- When is the wedding? This will affect how long you have to save.
- What is our income? This will affect what you can spend.
- Are we getting assistance from our families? Most people can’t pull off a wedding without it.
Make sure you’re accounting for all of your costs. At a minimum, you’ll need to budget for:
-Dresses and tuxedos
-Gifts for wedding party
-DJ or band
If you’re traveling, you will also have to account for your travel and lodging costs.
When choosing services, it’s a good idea to ask friends for suggestions. Social media has made this a very simple task. For example, when planning my own wedding, I just posted on Facebook: “Can anyone recommend a good photographer for wedding pictures in Western Pennsylvania?” Within a day, I had plenty of recommendations, including contact info, sample wedding pictures and pricing estimates. This was especially important to me because I was planning the wedding from 900 miles away, so I would not have had the opportunity to meet with any photographers locally.
Another way technology can help is in fitting dresses and tuxedos. I was in Minneapolis along with one of my groomsmen, another was in Kansas, and two others in Pittsburgh. In the old days, getting everyone fitted for rented tuxedos would have been a logistical nightmare. But now, the groom can just select a chain store, and the other members of the wedding party can pop into a location convenient to them for measurement, with the suits all to be picked up at a shop near the wedding location.
Another idea is to think about friends who are able to provide these services. When looking for a wedding cake, I recalled that a co-worker’s wife was a professional baker. When looking for entertainment, I called a high school friend who works as a DJ. Leveraging connections like this can help keep your costs down, but more importantly, it saves you the stress of cold-calling strangers to obtain essential services.
If it’s in your budget, hiring a professional wedding planner is a great way to shift the stress so you can focus on your own special day. With a wedding planner, you won’t need to worry about the logistics of hiring a DJ or a caterer. You can still take part in the selection, of course–you’ll want to peruse any potential photographers’ portfolios to make sure you’ll be satisfied with your wedding pictures, for example. But the wedding planner will take the burden of the details on so you can focus on the big picture. A good friend of mine told me that hiring a wedding planner was the best decision she ever made. “It was great,” she said. “I didn’t have to decide on a thing. I just wrote one check and told her to take it from there! All I had to do was show up!” While that’s an extreme case, it’s an example of one way a professional can help you ease the stress of wedding planning.
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Best of luck with your wonderful wedding.