We’re back this week with more updates on the wedding planning front!
In case you missed it, we found our wedding venue a few months ago and we are SO excited to be getting married there. The plans are slowly starting to form, and even though we have plenty of time we’re trying to enjoy the process and not stress too much along the way.
Once we found our venue and locked down our date we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and take a little time before picking back up with planning again. Once we started jumping back into things, we were unsure where to start. “What’s next?”
Since we’re doing this without a wedding planner, I’m trying to stay as organized as possible and take in as much advice as I can get. There are resources everywhere you turn, but it can be hard to know what to listen to. We had such a wonderful experience finding our venue on WeddingWire that we’ve been looking to them for advice on everything else we’re starting to research.
Setting a budget is something that everyone advises you to do, even before locking down a venue. It’s important to set expectations and look for vendors within that budget–especially because they vary so greatly by location. I was really excited to learn that WeddingWire had launched a cost guide right around the time that we sat down to budget. It’s unlike anything I had seen and quite frankly, was a game-changer for us in planning.
Without having a planner to set the numbers for everything, we decided to prioritize the things that mean the most to us and work down from there. The tool will give you a range of average costs based on where you’re looking and then goes into major detail on what factors impact the cost the most and common questions to ask.
We laid out all of the key categories (band, catering, photographer, transporation, flowers, etc.) and used the cost tool to give us an idea of what each of those might range–both realistically and a high estimate as well. Once we had laid it all out we went one by one and noted the key questions to ask for each. Here are a few of the most important things we learned from using the tool:
According to this page, wedding musicians are typically among the first vendors that are hired. While the recommendation is to book at least 8 months out we were finding that many of the bigger bands were already taking dates in Spring 2019! We’ve been combing through reviews ever since, watching as many videos and demos as possible, and trying to get a sense of what each includes. We developed a list of questions to ask each band thanks to this info!
Our parents know much more about catering than us, but it was really helpful to understand what’s included other than just the food–everything from the linens to staffing and rentals. This is also one of the first vendors that they suggested you look at as well, so we similarly dove into various vendors through WeddingWire and started reaching out. It’s important to have an idea of what type of dinner you’d like to have and roughly how many people you’re thinking of inviting as those will be the two biggest factors that impact your quotes. We were also encouraged to make a list of things we like to eat to help guide the suggestions we were getting back!
One of the other things I knew very little about were flowers. The list of services that a florist provides was incredibly helpful (who knew that they would give you samples, too!) and gave us a much better idea of what to expect. While it’s recommended to hire a florist at least 8 months out, we have plenty of time to follow up on that and were able to de-prioritize that for now. When the time does come, we have a concrete list of questions that we can start with for outreach and also a private Pinterest board that I’ll share with potential florists to give them an idea of what I’ve found and liked to date.
As we continue to move forward with the planning it’s become an incredible asset to have this guide to refer to for questions, FAQ’s, and general guidance! Looking forward to sharing more with you guys after we lock down the next few items.
What are some of your tips for planning in these early stages?
This post was in collaboration with WeddingWire. As always all of my opinions are my own! :)