HOLY COW!!! I am over the moon excited for you to start planning your wedding day and make it into reality. I say screw having a stressful wedding planning process and Heck yah! into starting a fun journey.
If you are sitting there unsure of what you want, I want to assure you that you are not alone. A lot of brides and grooms are excited to get married but have a vague understanding of the kind of unforgettable wedding day that speaks true to who you are as a couple.
Planning a wedding is scary and daunting, just the word “wedding planning” can trigger anxiety. Let me guarantee you that after reading this blog you will come out having a clear vision of your wedding day.
Ditch the idea of perfection
With the wedding industry wanting you to have “the perfect day”, it can put a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress on you. Perfection is not real, and if you’re trying to achieve something unrealistic you’ll never be happy. Your wedding day won’t be the one and only defining moment of your life. It’s the start of a new journey, one that also holds many more equally amazing moments. Knowing that puts things into perspective. I’m not saying your wedding won’t be amazing or you shouldn’t care about planning something great – Focus on what’s important to you as an individual and as a couple.
Through this guide, We are going to dive deep into what really matters and asking the hard questions now. Moving forward you won’t be sending time and money on little details that won’t matter in the future.
This will be a jam pack blog post full of information, questions and ideas. I suggest bookmarking this page to your browser for easy access in the future.
I’ll be walking you through different prompts and questions to get you on the path in figuring out what type of wedding would ultimately make you happier. Don’t skip the questions and take the time to answer them!!!
Note: Make a date night out of it. Answer each question individually and compare notes, ask questions and understand each other’s perspective. You both might go through this super fast or it might take a few sittings to answer some questions. Take your time and break it up into sections.
Let’s sit back, grab a drink and get right into it.
Phase one: Wedding Planning, Building your foundation
Begin with the end in mind and you’ll be sure to create a wedding that is truly meaning for both of you
Q: What about getting married are you most excited about? what does marriage mean to you? let’s go back to the core reason for having a wedding.
Let’s strip away the wedding altogether and just focus on your life afterwards. What is it about being married to your partner are you the most excited for? Is it spending the rest of your life with her/him? Waking up in the morning next to your partner? Is it making meals together? Building a family? Buying a house? Travelling together? Getting a dog? And a cat? etc…
Don’t be afraid to write the details you might think are silly, this is a time for you to get excited and daydream about the amazing future you will have together.
Q: On my wedding day I am most excited about?
Some examples to get the wheels going are; saying yes to the love of your life, throw the best party of your life, having all your loved ones in one place, the union of two separate families becoming one, decorating the place, having a destination wedding, reuniting with friends or family you haven’t seen for years, wedding dress, speeches, honeymoon, etc
Q: How would you want to feel on your wedding day?
Do you just want to feel relax, calm, happy, loved, excited, etc
Q: without thinking of anyone else. “I want to have a ___big ___small or a “just us” wedding.“
Big wedding: +100 guest
small/intimate: 20-70 guests
elopement/”just us”: you, your partner, officiant, photographer and a couple of witnesses
FOMO (fear of missing out) is very relevant in our lives, with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I would be lying if I didn’t get sucked into it more than I wish to admit. I am close to my family and can’t imagine getting married without them there. But that’s not the case for everyone, a huge amount of the population have a complicated relationship with their family. Right now, being honest with yourself.
Would you be more comfortable with a tight-knit group of your closest friend and your immediate family or have you always dreamt of throwing a big badass wedding party or stripping all pressure and expectation away and having a “just us” wedding instead.
There will be more exercises below when it comes to the guest list that we will dive in later in the blog.
Q: I am nervous about _______
What are the things that your nervous/ scared about when it comes to planning a wedding
Q: What is the memory/experience I am trying to make on my wedding day?
To wrap this section out, bringing everything together. what memory/experience you want to make/create?
COMPARE NOTES: Now that you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to compare notes with your partner!
Don’t freak out if you and your partner are not on the same page, it’s common and normal because you’re both different people with different points of view and experiences.
Are you on the same page, discuss any differences if there is any? Talk to each other about why you answered X, why is that important to you and vice versa
If you are leaning into a just us wedding aka an elopement and arent sure if this is the right choice for you. Check out my blog about 5 reasons why you should elope. BUT if you already know eloping is your jam, finishing phase 1 will still drastically help clarify your dream elopement. Your photographer can also play a big part in helping you look for your elopement location and other vendors. Contact me to plan your elopement
What are your requirements
If I haven’t said this enough I have created a pdf for you and your partner to fill in if you would wish to do so. Download wedding guide
Q: What things that are NOT directly vendor-related about your day do you care about? This is certain things that will be a game-changer
For example, the season, being around nature, having a fun day, having your closest pals around you, an eco-friendly wedding, having a destination wedding, saying custom vows, having breakfast together in the morning, Onsite lodging, easy to get to, huge dance party, your guest experience, having alone time throughout the day, having your grandparents apart of the day, one on one time with guests, etc
Compare notes: Do you notice any reoccurring themes and take note of them. Go into the why? Why does it matter to you? Have an open conversation with your partner! In Phase two, prioritize your location around these items and find vendors that align with your vision and values.
Q: Top three wedding day priorities
For example, my one couple wanted to have a relaxing day, to be in nature & spend one on one time with each guest. They settled on having a weekend wedding, they had their wedding at a campsite in front of a lake and spent 2 whole days with their close family and friends.
Prioritize the aspects of your wedding
Mark from 1-10 which aspects are the most important/ requirement for your wedding day.
__ VENUE / LOCATION
__ PHOTOGRAPHER and VIDEOGRAPHER
__ FOOD / BEVERAGE
__ DECOR (florist, tables, signage…)
__ DJ / MUSIC
__ WEDDING ATTIRE
__ WEDDING PLANNER
__ TIME OF THE YEAR/ DATE
COMPARE NOTES: Are you on the same page, discuss any differences if there is any. Talk to each other about why you made X a priority and why is that important to you.
Q: What are your top 3 MUST have vendors?
Now that you both know each other’s list, together figure out what are the top 3 non-negotiable vendors. The ones you are willing to spend a little more cash on just to make sure that this vendor is the best match for your wedding.
The guest list dilemma
Far more than anything it’s probably the guest list that is the most difficult obstacle for a lot of couples. Unless you forgo and decide to have an elopement instead and take all the hassle out of figuring out who to invite and who to not invite. But not everyone wants that so lets talk guest list.
Q: List a 5-10 you CAN’T get married without.
Q: List some of your closest family and friends
Don’t get ahead of yourself here! The guest list is a whole new beast to tackle. Just do the question and then after you have done the budget we will come right back into figuring out your guest list. Your budget will drastically impact how many people you can add to the rest of your guest list.
What are your Wishes
Q: What would you wish to have on your wedding day?
These are things that you can live without but it would be great if you have the budget for it.
The B-word – aka BUDGET
A lot of couples delay spending time figuring out a budget because you might feel uncomfortable talking about money. Here is some tough love. Get over it, talk about it, set the budget and move on. Once you get through the budget and the guest list it’s all uphill from there.
Money, money, money. It’s a taboo subject but you’re getting married. Your money & debt becomes your partner’s responsibility and vice versa. It’s a scary subject and with good reason, if you weren’t raised in a family that is comfortable talking about money, or have overwhelming debt.
It’s a difficult and uncomfortable topic to bring up. But there is no way around it, you have to go through it, you’ll have to sooner or later have the talk. I do hope for both your sake that it’s soon.
SHORT BREAK. Sometimes it can all get just overwhelming, am right?! Just the thought of planning a wedding gives me the chills. Is it just me? Comment below.
A simple calming breathing exercise.
1. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.
2. Hold your breath for 3 seconds
3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw and stomach. (anxieties .nd)
Do this exercise a few times until you feel centered again. Remember that this is not a sprint but a marathon. You don’t need to get everything figured by yourself and right away! You have your community of people that can help you throughout this process. Remember, if anxiety and work are getting out of hand hire some help.
Did you do it? I hope so. Whenever you start feeling overwhelmed, panicky or anxious which I guarantee that you will at some point lol this is a little trick that can help you.
Q: Find your target budget range
Get your finances together.
Don’t forget parents or grandparents that saved up money to contribute to your wedding funds. Talk to each set of parents/family separately and have an open conversation, ask them if they are planning to contribute to your wedding, if yes, ask the specific dollar amount and add that to your wedding budget. Or you can ask each set of parents to help on a certain part of the wedding day celebration (ceremony, food, venue, honeymoon)
While you are having a conversation with family members it’s also good to know if they have any requests. If family members do decide to contribute it’s safe to say that they have the leverage to use on you. They might bring up inviting their friends at your wedding or they have a condition that you get married at a certain venue, whatever that might be. Making sure each party is clear on expectations. This will save you from all the drama down the line.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
They key to a successful event
TIP: Have an “oh shit” aka just in case money for your wedding day because last-minute things always come up or something might be more than you expected and it’s good to have this buffer for any accidents or last-minute purchase you weren’t expecting. Have rules around this and only touch it if it passes the “oh shit!” rules you both created. This is usually 5-15% of your wedding budget.
Time for a video break: Check out Valerie’s Youtube Video on what wedding costs in 2020 and how she breaks down how your money is going to get allocated. go watch the video and come back when you’re done.
Are you back?? WELCOME BACK!
Let’s rewind and dive deep into your GUEST LIST
It’s time to fully dive into your guest list, I had made it so that you are slowly getting introduced to this idea earlier on the blog but now its time to buckle your seat belt and figure out your guest list.
Refer back to your answer above. Are you thinking of a big wedding? Small? Or ‘just us” weddings. When you know roughly the number you want and you think you can afford it makes this process easier.
I am not an expert at this so instead of BS you through this I’d rather you get expert advice. These links will cover a whole lot of questions when it comes to tackling your guest’s list. From who to invite, to having a plus one or about having kids at your wedding, etc
A good thing to note is that there are some points that are contradictory, but that’s just the nature of opinion/ experience-based information: different people have different experiences and ways of thinking, take each piece of advice with a grain of salt. It’s your day, your memories and your call to make.
Tune in to episode 009: Your wedding guest list: who’s in and who’s out? Youtube: Who you should invite!? Guestlist do’s and don’ts
Youtube: Who gets a plus one at your wedding?
That wraps up Phase 1 of your wedding planning. You have built the foundation that will help you move forward more at ease as you plan your wedding. Keep the answers close to you and every time you are about to make a purchase refer back to this.
If you design your wedding with the experience and memories you want to make (having your end goal in mind) you create a model and vision for a wedding day that will be meaningful to you and your partner.
This removes all the guess works from every decision in order to create the most fun and memorable wedding day. You end up minimizing the stress of wedding planning because you are not feeling pressure to add all this stuff that doesn’t mean anything to you.
- Figure out the memory and experience you are trying to make
- what are the requirements/ your must have, this are certain things that are a game changer
- What are your wishes, things you can live without but would love to have
- The B-word, wedding budget
- Tackling your guest list
If you’re still on edge and overwhelmed, maybe you’re just not the planning type and would rather have someone else deal with hiring trusted vendors for you. I think it’s time to consider hiring a wedding planner. They are amazing human beings and a godsend, they know everyone and anyone in the business and can help remove the stress and guesswork on planning the perfect day for both of you. Don’t think that hiring a planner is only for the rich, they help work with your budget and figure out how to make your dream wedding into a reality.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s the relationship, emotions, and memories shared that will long be remembered.
If this blog helped you get clearer on whats ultimately important to for your wedding day, I would love it if you shared this post to other brides. Lets spread the love and help each other out.