How to Plan a Wedding Like a Pro
Hey lovelies! As you all know, your wedding will be an important event in your life, where you will celebrate love and realize your inner little girl’s dream. Thus, there is no surprise, your big day should better meet if not exceed your expectations, otherwise you will be disappointed and there is no way I would allow that to happen to you! Now, although it may seem not too complicated to organize a wedding, trust me, it did not become a full time job by accident. From your “save the date” design, selecting the best date, finding and booking your favorite vendors (while respecting your set budget), making your timeline, running order, menus and placing your guests to specific tables, there are a hell of a lot of elements and items that seriously take a lot of time to think of and which need to be carefully considered and planned until you and your special person will happily exchange your vows under a gorgeous floral arch. So in this post you will discover how to plan a wedding like a Pro.
Now, if you have decided that hiring a Wedding Planner would be too expensive to fit in your tight budget, you will quickly realize that organizing your own wedding without a professional can feel overwhelming and pretty stressful. Thus, you have two options; you can either send me an email/leave a comment below asking me how I could help you by customizing a cheaper package that suits your specific needs (Uniquely Wedding Styling and no Planning for example), or, you can try to follow and apply my secret “stress-free tips” below to plan a wedding like a Pro. My secret tips in this post are free, so give them a try if you are willing to organize your wedding on your own and want its planning to be smooth sailing, and more enjoyable thanks to my expert events planner’s eye.
Plan a Wedding Like a Pro:
♡ Set & Stick to Your Budget
Overspending on your dress or flowers? That’s ok my dear but ensure you are cutting back from another element on your budget list. I know it is not really fun to drastically keep an eye on money, so allow yourself some flexibility by prioritizing the big and imperative spend items first on your budget. By imperative I mean you dress, the venue, the food and the drinks, not the super expensive pair of Louboutin you will only wear once in your life. 😉
In order to plan a wedding like a Pro and to easily separate what is imperative from what is more part of your “wish list” items, just create a “T” account when you first start to draft your budget. This will be of a great help and will keep your head on your shoulders.
♡ Create your Wedding Timeline
Now that you understood how to easily manage your budget, the next step to plan a wedding like a Pro is to create your timeline. This latter is one of the most important element to plan your wedding like a pro. Your first mission here is to develop your wedding timeline and map out due dates on your calendar. I personally have a template I use for my couples, so if you need it, just leave a comment below and I’d be delighted to share it with you. Otherwise, you can stay tuned and visit the blog again soon to discover our checklists and timeline sample. Once it will be up on the blog, ensure to carefully follow our timeline when planning out your own wedding timeline. Don’t forget, you’d better be too early than sorry if you seek to plan a wedding like a Pro!
♡ Give some love to your Excel Sheets
I know, Excel isn’t the sexiest thing on this earth but as a planner, I always work in excel, but to plan a wedding like a Pro, if you prefer the old school way of writing down on your diary every expense you are paying for an event, t’s up to you. Here my secret tip to you is for you to ensure to daily track all your expenses in order to make your planning efforts run smoothly and not forget any little expenses you might think is insignificant. Because trust me on the long run these left over expenses can easily make you exceed your set budget and cutting of something last minute you really need would be pretty upsetting.
♡ Pick your Venue & Vendors early
Now that you know how to plan out your wedding budget and timeline, it is time to start planning the most important details, starting with you wedding venue. My advice to you is to first decide on how many guests you will be inviting in order to know how much money you will be spending per person. No rock in science here, the smaller your wedding will be the more money you will have per person.
Once your guest list is ready, add about 10 extra spaces for any guest you would have forgotten to count at first, then move on to selecting your wedding venue, the date and your theme.
The great thing when hiring a Wedding Planner is that we often have lists of venue suggestions or we would be the ones finding venues and then you select. However, if you cannot or don’t wish to hire a planner, you will have to meet with various venue owners. Once you are with them, make sure you get a list of what they provide and do not provide on the day of the wedding such as; Table wear, catering, direction signs, sound system, light effects, alcohol license, music till early morning, and so on. Then ask your potential venue’s owners to send you a formal quote. Also it is imperative that you find out on which dates your preferred venues are still available. My advice to you to plan a wedding like a Pro is to avoid any bank holiday dates such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter and so on as on these dates each single of your vendor will ask you for a consequent surcharge fee.
Once you received the offers from the vendors and venues’ owners, review all the contracts before signing them. Additionally, ask the venues’ owners if you can stop by when they have an upcoming wedding celebration so that you can project yourself more easily by getting a clear idea on how the venue looks like with wedding decoration and when it’s full of guests. As a planner I always ask the venue owners to show me their event space in full action before I decide to show it to my couples.
♡ Wedding Design & Identity
Your sister or her best friend’s cousin is highly skilled at designing and calligraphy? Get her number and ask her for some help to design signs, invitations, programs and your save the dates. Otherwise, feel free to get in touch with me and I can provide you with a list of the top wedding designers I know, whom will ensure your wedding color scheme and theme are consistent and blend perfectly together.
To me, there is nothing greater than to help couples customize their very own wedding. Creativity is key and I like to ensure your couple’s personality is respected and well & strongly represented. After all, no wedding should never look alike, just as no love story ever look alike. So be unique, be you.
♡ Build your “Vendors Dream Team”
I can’t stress this one enough, your vendors are the essence of your wedding apart of course you being deeply in love with your soulmate. Therefore, be highly diligent when hiring vendors. Ensure you ask them for other couples’s referrals and create an excel spreadsheet with all your vendors’ contact info, including at least one if not two back-up contacts (that’s one of your Plan B) for all vendors. As it is your wedding you are organizing, here are some of the vendors you will need to get in touch with; DJ, F&B Caterer, Sound and lighting Systems, Photograph, Makeup Artist, Hairdresser, Décor Agency or Wedding Designer, Photo Booth Company, Florist, Wedding Dress Boutique and the list goes on…
Here my secret tip to you is to set up meetings with all your potential vendors and have follow-up meetings, emails and phone calls. Ensure you always write an email to the vendors after your meeting or phone calls, stating exactly what has been said during the conversation. This is important in order to protect you from any miscommunication or misunderstanding. So always have it written down, black on white. By picking the right vendors, you will feel in good hands and will really feel a strong team bound for your wedding, reducing your level of stress.
♡ Be grateful to your guests
No matter which kind of celebration I am hired to plan, I always go out of my way to guarantee an amazing service that exceeds my clients ‘satisfaction. So even though you are both the couple and the planners in this case, I still recommend you to go the extra mile for your guests and any other person involved in the success of your wedding. So, find a special and if possible unique gift for your guests, preferably one you can customize and that is useful (not a thingy that will either end up in the garbage straight up or one that will be left in a corner of the house, taking the dust). If you need some gift ideas let me know below in the comments and I might write a post about “the best wedding gifts to offer at your wedding”.
Now, other than the gifts for your guests, it is always nice if you prepare a small gift for your vendors too but of course that is only if you feel like doing so.
One of my other secret tips is for you to create welcome bags for your wedding guests who crossed the globe to attend your big day (leave the bags at the hotel reception where your guests booked their rooms). Now, inside the welcome bag, ensure you include the schedule of the weekend activities or directly your big day (add your wedding venue address). Additionally, add the departure times to pick up the wedding shuttle you organized at the lobby, as well as where to go and what to do during guests’ time-off and don’t forget to add some little cute and useful goodies for your guests too. I could suggest you to customize your goodies to cater to the location of your wedding – for example, if the wedding is taking place in the South of Spain or in Thailand where it is super-hot and sunny, include a pair of funny sunglasses, a mini water-refreshing spray, a bottle of water with your wedding logo on it and a customized fan to keep your guest fresh and glam! Trust me, your guests will absolutely love your personalized welcome bags and will feel warmly welcomed. By doing this, you are one step closer to plan a wedding like a Pro and the WOW effect will be guaranteed!
♡ 1 Month left only? Don’t stress. Say YES to relaxation
One of the service I offer to my clients is the 1-month wedding coordination package. This latter allows my couples to breathe and get some well-deserved relaxing time from 1-month before their big day all the way until the end of their big day. If this is a service you wish to know more about, drop me a comment below and I will get back to you with pleasure. In short, this service is also provided to you on your big day, which will ease your mind and guarantee you a happy, smooth and stress-free day, where you can ensure your vendors are greeted and managed by myself in A+ fashion.
Believe me, you will be happy on your big day to be able to count on a planner who coordinates all the little details for you and calmly manages the last minute problems, while you are happily getting ready for your wonderful and happily ever after day, the one you have been dreaming of your whole life!
♡ Smile, you are getting married!
Congratulations! You successfully made it to your big day and you both look absolutely stunning! So now take a few minutes to relax, and enjoy the accomplishment of planning this magical, emotional and unforgettable day in your lives.
Keep in mind that all celebrations take a huge amount of effort, time, work, sweat and energy to be pulled off, but weddings are a unique type of celebration. Weddings take months, sometimes even years if not half a lifetime to perfectly pull together. So being able to see all of your hard work come into shape will make you shiver and maybe even cry a little happy tear.
As a Professional Events Planner and as I happily mentioned more than once in one of my previous post “Wedding Planner: 26 Truths on This Fairytale Job“, weddings to me are a lot of work but can be so much fun to plan and style too. So hopefully my secret planning tips to Plan a Wedding Like a Pro will come in handy for you either as soon-to-be bride and groom, or future wedding planner!