Planning a wedding is both an enjoyable and stressful experience, but then again, so is everything when you do it for the first time!
In 2019, only 27% of couples hired a wedding planner to run the show for their special day. The rest planned it all themselves or rounded up a nuptial squad to spread out responsibilities.
Personal wedding planning might as well be a part-time job. Alas, we rounded up the best tricks of the trade to smooth out the process, and have you sipping champagne rather than on hold for 40 minutes with your local DJ.
To save you time, we divided these dos and don’ts into three categories:
- Money-Saving Tips
- Stress-free Suggestions
- The Don’ts
Wedding Planning 101: Money-Saving Tips
The budget comes first. Sit down with your partner and realistically discuss your musts, would-likes, and could-do-without staples of your wedding day. Once you have a set budget, you’ll be less stressed about the price tags.
The best way to save money on your wedding day is to simply not be emotionally attached to any outcome. Sure, definitely have expectations, but you must be flexible. If not, be prepared to shell out an extra 5-10k on venue, dates, and assortments.
While this seems non-negotiable, allow us to explain…
1. Months are price competitive.
Fall months are, by far, the most expensive months to get married. The weather is perfect for any attire. The trees are colorful and bright. Everything smells like autumn, and you’re ready to get hitched!
There’s no doubt that fall weddings are magical, but the prices? *cue sad violin music*
The cheapest months to plan your wedding are January, March, April, and November. However, if you have your heart set on a particular venue, it’s best to check if they offer off-season pricing before you book for the winter months.
2. Any day but Saturday.
Of course, Saturday is the day of choice when planning your wedding. All your coworkers have it off, family can fly in from out of town, and nobody’s worried about being hungover for work the next day. It makes total sense.
Booking your perfect day on a weekday or a Sunday could save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you’re less likely to have to compete for the dates in mind. Fridays aren’t a bad alternative!
One added bonus is that flights and hotels are normally cheaper on weekdays than weekends. This means your family will also save a chunk of change- cha ching!
3. Timing is everything.
One little-known tip of the industry is the timing of the vows and ceremony. A majority of couples start their wedding festivities between 11a-1p.
If you’re looking to save on cost per plate, consider a morning or afternoon wedding. Dinners are the most expensive meals of the day, and your guests will expect them for weddings after 4p.
Breakfast weddings are so in right now! We’re talking 9-10a starts, mimosas, and brunch. Sign us up!
4. Check your invites.
Although you may care if your wedding party invite is printed on cardstock, filtered papyrus, etc; trust us, your guests couldn’t care less!
They’re here to celebrate you!
According to Statista, couples spend an average of $590 on wedding invites! Now, this can range due to personalization, paper type, envelope style, and artwork. Using a template that suits your aesthetics is a low-cost way of spreading the happy news without racking up unneeded costs.
Canva is amazing for this! For only $12 you can design a whole line of wedding invites, create your own logo, and color match the art to your wedding colors.
Don’t forget- everything is online now. Setting up a wedding website takes less than an hour and allows guests to see your wedding wishlist, bridal shower celebrations, RSVP, and keep all the little location details in one space.
HelloPrenup Bonus Tip: Direct traffic to your website with your wedding invite using a discreet QR code. It’s so small and modern, it won’t distract from your elegant invites in the slightest.
Wedding Planning 101: Stress-Saving Suggestions
Reality shows have made wedding planning symbolic of losing your sanity, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t be this way. No bridezillas or groomzillas here- you got this covered!
1. Set an RSVP Deadline.
Expert wedding planners recommend setting a deadline for your guests to RSVP no later than four weeks before your wedding date. You’ll have to communicate numbers to the venue, caterers, and anyone else needing a headcount- this gives them ample time to make the necessary preparations.
With this being said, it’s vital to invite only the people you want to be there. Over-inviting is just adding fuel to a fire, and some venues can’t just add a few more chairs due to fire hazards. Never nix a small, intimate wedding!
2. Don’t be late.
Making such advanced plans for a wedding that is months away can seem scary but it’ll save you heaps of mental energy in the long run.
Here’s when to book your wedding vendors:
- 12 months: Venues and wedding planners
- 10 months: Photographers, videographers, florists, caterers
- 8 months: DJs, accommodations, an officiant
- 7 months: Wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, the cake, makeup artists, hair stylists
- 5 months: Men’s tuxedos, groomsmen attire, transportation to and from the ceremony
- 2 months: Wedding bands (The fun part!)
Say no to micromanaging.
Your vendors are professionals in what they do- which is why you pay them to handle their side of the event.
It’s only going to cause you unnecessary stress and labor to harbor over the caterers, DJs, photographers, etc.
During your initial consultation, ask questions, express your and your partner’s wishes, and let them know how to show up best for you. After that, sit back and let them do their job while you give your valuable attention to other wedding planning duties.
3. Ask for help.
Friends in the wedding party have an unspoken agreement to help you with wedding planning tasks.
Now, don’t go assign them a week’s worth of work- they have their own lives to attend to. But, speak up!
It’s not a problem to ask family and friends to help with designing invites, helping browse venues or addressing invites. Just make sure you’re assigning duties that don’t require your personal attention or else it won’t be up to your standards.
Wedding Planning 101: The Don’ts
Alright, now you know exactly what to do to make your “I dos” run as smooth as the frosting on your wedding cake. What about the Don’ts?
Here are four big Don’ts for your wedding day- avoid them at all costs!
1. Don’t do it all yourself.
You’re a bride or a groom- not the wedding planner now. Today is your day and it’s a time for celebration, enjoyment, and love. Feel free to delegate last-minute tasks to your planner, friends, or bridal party. They’re here to help!
Refrain from treating your bridesmaids as maids. There’s a prefix to this job title, and they’ve already heavily invested their time and money in making sure your perfect day goes according to plan.
Another glass of wine? They got it covered.
Your bouquet? Your maid of honor will snatch in a second.
Celebration time baby!
2. Don’t keep your guests waiting forever.
The time between the ceremony and reception seems like hours for your guests. If you haven’t brought out the bubbly and appetizers to keep your wedding party at bay, this in-between hour will drag on.
Minimize your time in between the ceremony and reception by having your photographer and videographer capture moments prior to the vows. That way, you’ll only need a few additional snaps in full bridal garb before you can entertain guests and get the party rolling.
HelloPrenup Bonus Tip: If your ceremony location is more than a 30-minute drive from your reception spot, it’s thoughtful to provide transportation or a chill area for guests. Don’t have your ceremony at 9a, and your reception at 4p. Keep your guests in mind.
3. Don’t bow to outside pressure.
At the end of the aisle, it’s you and your fiance (plus all your friends and an officiant, but you see our point). Neglecting your partner in the midst of planning all the wedding ruckus is a major no-no.
Parents love to have a say in the guest list, dinners, etc.- but it’s your day. You aren’t inclined to invite anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
4. Don’t skip a run-through.
Your wedding party will thank you when they don’t look like toddlers running down the aisle aimlessly.
It only takes 30 minutes to practice walking down the aisle with your wedding party, walking out to the reception, and seating arrangements. This means no micromanaging when the time comes and everyone will feel comfortable knowing exactly what’s expected of them.
Sound the Bells!
Wedding planning isn’t easy, but with proper planning, it’s not hard either.
Just remember you got this!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].