Part 2 {What To Know Wedding Wednesday} Top 10 Things to Know Before You Plan Your Wedding!

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Orange Girl Photography

1.It’s YOUR {and your fiancé’s} day.

So many people are going to try and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do for your wedding day! Don’t even entertain these ideas! Ok, that may be a bit extreme….people have a lot of great ideas on how to "do" a wedding and what should and should not be done at a wedding. When your grandma and your mother-in-law start bombarding you with “should” and “should nots,” take a deep breath and a step back! Thank them for the information and let them know you will take it all into consideration. This way you can think about what they had to say, in the quiet of your own mind, while spoiling yourself to a mani/ pedi,  and either dismiss the idea or, who knows, you may fall in love with the concept of at least wearing a piece of your mother’s 1980’s wedding dress, which is currently sitting in the closet, stained with champagne from her wedding toast. At the end of the day, you and your fiancé should be discussing everything and making the decision that works best for the two of you and the inspiration that you have for your day! Limit the opinions from the peanut gallery by thanking them for their suggestion and letting them know you and your fiancé will take it into consideration. That will make the advisee feel loved and honored that you allowed them to have a say in your day {even if you just want to file the idea under “the worst idea ever” section}.”

2. Weddings can be expensive

So you want to throw an amazing celebration, with 200 of your closest friends,  at $80 a plate, and that’s just for the food. We haven’t mentioned, that $4,000 award winning photographer, the $3,500 videographer, the $1,000 photobooth, those stunning gold glitter drop cloths at $150 per piece and that fabulous gold foil letterpress invitation suite that ties your wedding day inspiration in a perfect little bow {coming in at around $12-15 per suite}. We haven’t even discussed the dress, tux rentals, florals, venue rental….the list goes on and on. Yes, weddings CAN be expensive. The most important thing to do when you first get engaged {after you set the date} is to set a budget. Set a budget, and stay on the budget! Prioritize what is most important to you and spend your money on those items.

3. Weddings can be not so expensive

Guest list, Guest list, Guest list! I cannot stress enough how much of a role that this plays in a wedding budget! If you and your fiancé want a sit down meal but only have a budget of $10,000, you will need to limit your guest count to match those numbers. However, if the priority is guest count, then you will want to find ways to save when it comes to food. Take this for example: 2 real weddings in the same town {my lovely town of San Diego}. Both brides wanted 200 guests. Both brides had budgets of $15,000. One bride realized that it was more important for everyone she loves to be present and have fun, the other bride had a different set of priorities {which isn’t bad, it just is a part of the story}. Bride 1 booked a Mexican Taco company to serve fresh cooked tacos at $7 per person {total of $1400 on food}.  The venue had to kick the guests out at the end of the evening because they were having such a great time. Bride #2 chose a buffet from a caterer at $65 per person {total $13,000 and now they only have $2000 left and will be significantly over budget for sure. Their guests had an equally amazing time as bride #1}.

4. Anything goes

These days, there is no such thing as “how it is supposed to be done.” Anything goes with weddings! If you, as the bride, want to wear a black wedding dress and have your groom in a dashing white tux while your guests enjoy cocktails before the wedding and you two sneak away for their very own “first look” photo shoot? Why not?! What about a wedding at a summer camp and instead of a formal, sit down rehearsal dinner, you have a cookout followed by a makeshift outdoor movie theater that plays the couples favorite movie! Weddings have evolved from the traditional church and reception hall style wedding, into events that all the couple to showcase their true personality! How about breakfast for dinner!  Or a waffle cake with a Belgium waffle and ice cream bar? Why not! Get creative!

Kris Graham Photography 

5. It’s not ALL about the wedding day

At the end of the day, if everything goes wrong and the only thing right that happens is that you and your {husband} have said your vows, exchanged rings, and promised their love to each other, the wedding has been a success! Now, if you’re spending thousands of dollars for vendors who mess things up, well that’s a whole other situation {and you should have hired a wedding planner... but that’s a post for another day}. The wedding day should be a celebration of love and as long as love is in the air, then the celebration will go on!

6. Wedding planning should be fun

“Should be” is the key word. The reality of it is though, it’s not fun for everyone. And that’s OK! That’s why God created wedding planners! Wedding planners were created to LOVE wedding planning and to help those brides who would rather pull their gorgeous locks out of their head than get pricing from another vendor! If you find yourself in this position, you should probably hire a planner. If you are a budget bride with at least a $10,000 budget, she needs a planner! If you have a $5,000 budget, you need a planner as well, however, a planner would take up the majority of your budget, so unless you have some additional funds, get creative! Do you have a sister or friend who has always wanted to plan a wedding? Well here is the perfect opportunity! Treat her to a spa day as a thank you and let her have at it!

7. If its cheap, it’s probably not worth it. If it’s expensive, you may be wasting your money

Sounds pretty contradictory yea? Well let me elaborate a bit. If you are looking at 4 different photographers, one is super cheap, two are medium of the road and one is super expensive, there is a business system in place to handle this. Take the low and the high bidder and throw them out…then deal with what you have left! This can be used in wedding planning as well as in the purchasing world {yes, I was secretly a buyer for a top 10 company, in my 2nd life}. Chances, are, the person who is the cheapest price is cheap for a reason. Have you ever heard the saying “it’s on clearance for a reason.” Meaning, there is something wrong with it? Either the vendor is unprofessional or just does a low quality job. Regardless, they are cheap so that they can actually book someone. You DON”T want that someone to be you! DO NOT fall into the cheap vendor trap! The highest priced person MAY be worth it! However, here is a bit of insider information on vendor pricing. Vendor’s will raise their pricing as they book up. So, while the most expensive vendor may be better quality, you will want to compare them with the medium priced vendors to see if their quality is actually better, or equivalent. Don’t catch yourself throwing money away on “name brand” vendors when their work is mediocre! This is NOT to say that expensive vendors are mediocre! That is NOT what I am saying AT ALL! I am just warning your to do your homework and be careful before selecting someone simply because they cost more! Sometimes you get even better service from the medium priced vendors who are stay-at-home mom’s trying to make ends meet and can not risk a bad review as opposed to the vendor who is so busy that they CAN charge a lot but never respond to emails and can afford one bad customer review.

8. Sometimes you have to spend $$ to save $$

Sound contradictory? Well, it’s really not. Sometimes doing too much DIY or hiring too many “frendors” can cause issues on the wedding day causing you to either have to hire a professional last minute. Last minute hires can force you to spend money you didn’t plan on or even pay more for the vendor than you would have six months ago! There is definitely a fine line and a balance to this! I’m not saying that you should only go and spend all your money on vendors and it will save you money in the end. However, I am saying that for the things that are absolutely the most important to you (i.e. photographs), spend a little more money to get exactly what you want up front so you don’t have to worry if your Uncle’s best friend who is wanting to start his own photography business flakes because his team is in the championships.

Kris Graham Photography 

9. Communication is the key

COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! I don’t think I can say this any clearer! In order for a vendor to give you exactly what you need, it is so important to be in constant and effective communication with them! They will not know if you do or do not like something unless you TELL THEM! So many brides are afraid of hurting a vendors feeling’s by not letting them know what they want or what they do or do not like. But the vendor cannot read your mind and they wont be offended! I promise! I’ll tell you what will make the vendor upset, not communicating until AFTER the wedding what you really wanted!  So SPEAK UP!

 

10. Be realistic

Probably the best piece of advice I can give any bride who is starting this wedding planning journey is to be realistic. Be realistic in everything. In your budget, in your guest count, in your expectations for your bridesmaids. If you are realistic and understand that not everyone can have that wedding that makes the front page of Style Me Pretty, then when your wedding does hit the newsstand covers, you’ll be completely humbled and honored by it, but if it never does, that’s ok. Because you were realistic, you understood that the reason behind the day was to celebrate the forever union of two people before God and their families.

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Blog Content Written By: Crystal Netherland: Owner/ Lead Planner Grace and Lace Design and Events // Photography: Orange Girl Photography, Kris Graham Photography and Yes, Dear Studio