After the initial thrill of getting engaged subsides, you now realize that there's some planning to do! This time can easily feel overwhelming as friends and family barrage you with questions: Have you set a date? Where will the wedding be held? What's the theme? Where should I get a hotel room? !!!
Fear not, there's actually a pretty organized system for thinking through the steps to planning a wedding that I can share with you in a few sentences. And no, it doesn't start with setting a date! Read on...
Phase One - Design, Budget, and Team << START HERE!
The first phase of planning is for you to sit down and figure out how much you are willing to spend on the services needed to put on your ceremony and reception. Once that is done, you decide on a "look and feel" for the wedding - the wedding design. Only then can you start looking at venues and dates, and the vendor team who will provide the services and physical elements to make your vision into reality. Phase one is over when you have booked each vendor entity and/or assigned all major services to someone in your group.
Phase Two - Refining the Design
So you successfully completed Phase One and have your venue and vendor team together. Most of them will have had an initial contract that you signed that commits them to appear on the day of, or to provide a service during planning such as making the invitations. But what invitations? Which fonts and colors? What paper type? Detailed decisions must be made all the way down, for every vendor. Your second phase of planning is all about pushing each vendor or entity doing something for your wedding (including friends and DIY!) from the initial idea/contract to a final product or final order. Yes, you selected the florist, but don't stop there. Now it's time to pick out which flowers, which colors, and how many of each. It may seem daunting, but a good vendor will walk you through this process so you definitely won't be on your own.
Phase Three - Wedding Day Coordination
By about 2 months before the wedding, I'm hoping you've completed the first two phases (That's what we do for all of our clients!). At this point you should have everyone hired (or friends selected for any DIY services) to do each and every task needed for the big day. You should have the menu picked out, the flowers selected, the flatware and linens selected, the music picked.
Now is the final phase of making sure to remind everyone of the overall vision and what the big day should look like. You need to put together a contact list of everyone working on the day of and all of their mobile numbers and emails. As well as a schedule of the day, from rehearsal time to setup times/ vendor arrivals all the way through ceremony/reception organized activities, and through cleanup. Finally there should be a checklist of all of your setup items and a description of each. Once you have this document and share it with everyone involved and reconfirm it, you are on your way to a relaxed and smoothly-running day!