How to go about planning your wedding.
Wedding planning can be a stressful, time consuming, detail-oriented affair. If you are not organized from start to finish you may find yourself not enjoying it as much as you thought you would. That said, your experience is also highly dependent on your personality.
A few years ago my best friend got engaged and wasn’t quite sure where to start. I sent her a messy letter (which made sense in the chaos that is my organisational system), which provided some guidelines. While there is no correct way of planning your wedding, this article might just help with the logic of putting together your special day – some indispensible pointers to assist along the way.
Start with your guest list.
Your venue (and budget) will depend on the amount of people attending your wedding. It is no help to book your dream venue, only to find out it can only accomodate half of your guest count. Start with the important people in your life – those that will still be in your life even if you moved 1000 miles away.
If you are on a tight budget (or simply don’t see the need to spend on people you don’t even know, like I do!), then give the ‘plus one’ a skip. You really don’t want to look back on one of the most important days in your life and think: ‘Ah, the people I love most in the world…and this guy.’ Singles can mingle. I am also not a fan of kids at a wedding (they can get noisy and busy), so you could easily cut your list (and expenses) by not having adults bring their children.
Create a budget.
A ‘general’ budget. This is just a place to start – an amount that you are willing to spend. Once you have an amount, you can distribute your Rands accordingly. If you know what you are willing to spend in total, and the amount of guests you have, you can start budgeting items such as venue, catering, dress, flowers & décor,cake, etc. When budgeting, you’ll need to cut and paste some Rands – compromising a few Rands at one item to rather spend on something more important.
Set a date. Tentatively.
Set a date on which you would like to get married. But be sure to check out what else is happening on or around this date, especially in the town/city you would like to get married. Also, note that sometimes the venue you really want may already be booked for that specific date, so be flexible. If you are set on a date and not a venue, then never mind.
If you have people coming from afar, note that a long weekend or holiday will be most suitable (and maybe more expensive). On a tight budget, many venues have cheaper rates for weddings on Weekdays – Fridays included. A date will let you create a timeline for planning and getting tasks done.
Choose a theme or colour palette.
I know, not everybody finds this amusing, but I am a firm believer in themes – even if the theme is romantic pink. This will help you keep everything tied together – from the ceremony entrance to the dessert. An event where a central theme is present comes accross much more elegant and organized, even if it is an informal wooden vibe in the Kalahari Dunes.
Themes and colours will bring life to your wedding, so be sure to fit it with the season and environment. They also assist vendors in getting to know you and what you like, which helps them to make your wedding day a magical one.
Book a venue.
When booking a venue, first find out what is included. This can play a big role in your budget, as well as the general organization of the day. Make sure to go through all the terms & conditions, and other rules, regulations and inclusions of the venue.
Book bridal accommodation.
If you are getting dressed at home this is not applicable, but if you are getting dressed at a hotel or other destination, be sure to book the accommodation either on premises or close by. It is so much better for the photographer and videographer not to be driving kilometres between sites, and saves them a lot of time that can be spent capturing details.
Book your vendors.
Items not included in the venue such as: catering, decor & flowers, DJ, photographer, hair and make-up, etc. should be booked once you’ve found your venue. Be sure to do thorough research on vendors and get reliable feedback and reviews on their services. You want professional services so that you can be comfortable on your day, knowing that they have everything under control.
Photographer/Videographer: Choose someone that suits your style. View their work beforehand so you’ll know what to expect. Also have discussions with them as to what exactly you would like them to focus on and capture. Their willingness and knowledge will also assist with your decision-making in choosing a photographer/videographer.
Hair & make-up: MUST DO – a trial! Make sure your stylist knows exactly what you want and how you would like to look and feel on this amazing day. Do a trial so that you know you are on the same page and the stylist is able to do what you expect.
Send out ‘Save the Dates.’
Save the Dates are a good way to inform your guests about your wedding. It will also assist in your guest count and cost saving, as you can use the Save the Date replies to count out all the guests that will definitely not be able to attend your wedding. Send out electronic Save the Dates to save costs.
Once people have (provisionally) replied on the RSVP, you can send out your actual invites. You can save costs by not sending invites to people who have replied to the Save the Date that they will not be able to attend.
A lot of details will now follow: the dress, the decor, the cake, just to name a few. Here, personal style and planning are key. This is your time to create your dream.
Wedding planning is all fun and romance (and a little stress, yes) that we often forget the administrative side of getting married. Do not leave the marriage contract and other legal/administrative tasks for the last minute.
For further assistance in creating your dream wedding and staying organized throughout the entire process, you can make use of wedding checklists, apps, calendars, etc. Find these on the internet and choose the ones that work for you. Happy Planning!
Sieglinda vd Westhuizen
Wedding Planner & Bloggist
This lady is a:
Foodie, artist & optimist.
A wife, daughter, sister & friend.
Traveler with too little miles on
her passport and a planner
of pretty parties.
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