Planning a wedding is not an easy task. If you've ever tried to get five people together for any event or activity, then you already know the struggleof accommodating peoples' schedules, organizing meet-up times and locations, and ensuring everyone has what they need to enjoy said event or activity. A wedding is that experience - multiplied! As such, many couples choose to hand off the big organizing tasks to a wedding planner to handle the unexpected and make your wedding perfect.
But wedding planners can be expensive and it can feel too intrusive to hand off so many tasks to an outsider. So if you are considering planning a wedding without a wedding planner, then know you're not alone!
Many brides and grooms choose to plan their own wedding for many reasons, including saving money! but it is important to note that taking on the wedding planning role can get overwhelming at times, and knowing how to stay organized is the key to being successful.
Get started and stay on track with the following guide to planning a wedding without a wedding planner!
Start With a Rough Outline
Just as with any big project, the best place to begin planning a wedding is by sketching out the rough outlines. Sit down with your fiance and make a list containing each of your biggest desires for the wedding event. Think about what you can reasonably follow-through on. Consider the styles you want - a sit-down dinner in a ballroom vs. a beachside bash. Also, decide on a rough two-to-three date window when you would want the ceremony to take place.
Build a Budget and Keep it at the Forefront
Different cultures have different expectations of what each partner and their family will bring to the table. Determine if and how much each of your families are willing to contribute and how much each of you can afford to put into the wedding and honeymoon. Combine these amounts to create a total budget number, and you'll be able to plan out the little details for your big day! Check out dreamOway's article on wedding budgeting, including a free downloadable template!
Determine Your Guest List & Find a Venue to Match.
These two steps are two of the most important - and will largely depend on each other. For instance, if inviting a lot of family and friends is most important to you, then you'll need to look at affordable venues that can handle large crowds without being too expensive. Or if you have a dream venue in mind but it can't accommodate many people, then you'll likely have to start trimming down the guest list.
Be Thoughtful When Hiring Vendors and Scheduling an Officiant.
Photographers, videographers, musicians, and caters should all be the next to-dos on your booking list. A few tips worth keeping in mind here include:
- For photographers and videographers, look for those with multiple packages and who have a portfolio displaying the types of shots you want most (formal portraits vs. candid formats).
- If choosing a band over a DJ, be sure to arrange to hear a live performance by them at least once before booking and ask for wedding references.
- Spend some time looking for a good caterer and don't be afraid to bargain -- In 1987, American Airlines saved $40,000 by eliminating one olive from each passenger's salad; you can similarly save hundreds by simply limiting the type and number of hors d'ouveres offered at the reception.
Be Smart When Buying Your Gown
There are a lot of emotions tied to your wedding gown selection. It's understandable, but getting overly tied to needing the perfect wedding gown can result in a lot of stress and a big chunk taken out of your wedding budget. When shopping for a wedding dress, choose a friend or family member who is level-headed and fashion-minded to go with you. Respect their opinion, but also respect yours and don't second-guess yourself when you find a stunning dress.
Appoint a Bridesmaid to Handle Wedding Day Emergencies.
When it comes to the wedding day, pick one of your bridesmaids and entrust her as being the go-to person. Things will arise -- flowers become wilted, the DJ blows an outlet, your soon-to-be MIL won't stop rearranging the table seats -- Do. Not. Engage. Ask one of your bridesmaids (or groomsmen) to stand up and be the point person to even out these foibles so you can enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime day.
When You Need a Bit Extra, Don't Forget dreamOway!
Remember, dreamOway is there if you find yourself going a bit over budget or want one easy place for friends and family to gift you money for your big day. Download their app on iOS or Android today and make sure to check out more tips and advice for planning your wedding on the dreamOway blog!