If you recall last month I wrote about what you should do first once you get engaged (Set a budget, decide what style wedding you want, and hire a planner.) This month I want to talk about step 2, what to do next! I’m trying to break everything down into simple tasks that aren’t overwhelming. But at the beginning there is a lot to do, so there are a few things you need to think of at the same time. Keeping in mind your budget and style you need to now create a guest list, find a venue, pick a date & book your most important wedding professional. Let me break this down for you a bit more.
The biggest factor in how much your wedding costs is the number of guests you have. Plain and simple. The more people you have attending your wedding the more food, linens, flowers, chairs, ect… you have to pay for. So if your budget is small you really need to be careful about how many people you are inviting. However be sure to factor in the style you want while planning. A backyard BBQ is going to cost less per person than an extravagant secret garden, Pinterest inspired, flowers and candles everywhere wedding. And both are possible on just about any budget depending on how many people you invite. For example (and these are slightly random numbers so don’t panic) for $30,000 you could have a simple backyard style wedding for 100 guests, or you could have a 5 course meal with lush flowers for 20 people. So you need to think about your budget, style and guest list all at the same time!
Once you’ve decided your style, budget and about how many people you will have at your wedding you need to choose a venue. In Northern VA there are TONs of venues! You could look for days and never see them all. There is just about everything you could want, from hotels to wineries, historic estates, parks, country clubs, museums, and private estates. Once you know what you are looking for your planner can help you find the perfect place. Your venue is going to help you choose a date based on their availability. Unless you have a very specific date in mind, in which case you might not get your favorite venue since they could already be booked on that day. I’d suggest being flexible on dates when you are looking unless you have a date that you are very emotionally connected to.
Lastly I want you to think about hiring your most important wedding professional. Now personally, I think that your wedding photographer should be your most important professional… after all the photos are what you will be left with when it is all over. (I booked my wedding photographer before I even had a date or a venue!) But I know not everyone values photography the most. For some people it might be the florist, or a specific band, or caterer (if you really want that 5 course meal) Either way, I recommend talking to your most important vendor before booking your venue and setting your date! Because what if your favorite photographer isn’t available on your date once it is set? That isn’t something that can be fixed. But if you bring them into the discussion before a date is set you can probably choose a date that fits everyone’s schedule.
So go get all of this done and then check back to find out what you should be doing next!