Dreaming of a big over the top wedding or a small intimate ceremony with just a few friends and family? Maybe you want something a bit more in the middle? The options for how to celebrate your love are absolutely endless and can be completely tailored to your specific needs and wants. Planning a wedding can not only be one of the most amazing bonding experiences that you and your partner do together, but it can also be one of the most frustrating. With all of the decisions that go into planning something so perfect and magical, its can be hard when you start to align your wants with what your budget and time will allow. This is something that we at Blackstone Rivers Ranch understand perfectly, as we help couples to navigate what works best for them on a daily basis.
One of the first decisions is your budget. Not a fun topic...but a necessary one. Is anyone contributing to your wedding? Grandma and Grandpa? Parents? If you aren’t sure, ask. Don’t worry about it being awkward either, just be sure to maintain a respectful disposition and be prepared for family and friends that just aren’t able to help. By understanding just how much money others will be contributing to your special day, you can then focus on what you and your partner can afford to spend - realistically and comfortably.
Now that you have a rough estimate of what you can afford to spend on your dream wedding, you can begin to look at your guest count as the two go hand-in-hand. Often the wedding venue is determined by the number of guests that you want to attend. So, guest count is extremely important. A good rule of thumb is to look at your wedding as a “per person” expenditure. Aside from the obvious food and drink cost per person, guest count will also determine the number of items you’ll need to obtain for each guest: invitations, table and chair rentals (which we include at no additional charge with every package!), dining ware, wedding favors, etc...which can add up quickly. That’s not to say that you can’t budget for every single person you’ve ever met in your entire life, but...determining guest count will help you determine what kind of wedding you want.
With the two biggest aspects of your wedding out of the way, you’re now ready to tackle your must haves! Brides and grooms are rarely 100% in sync with their visions of their wedding day, and that is completely okay. Typically, there is just that one or two things that each one has determined should be top priority. Maybe he needs an open bar and she has her heart set on a specific DJ. Perhaps she needs a 5 course gourmet dinner and he needs endless dessert. Whatever your must haves, it is extremely important to figure this information out early on in the planning process, as it will not only help keep you from overspending down the road but also from regret.
Did we mention the “hidden” costs of a wedding? While there are a great many obvious costs associated with having a wedding, there are a number of hidden fees as well. Deciding on a wedding venue is great. Congratulations! While we’re absolutely certain that you stuck to the budget you already allocated for the venue, did you consider venue insurance (ours typically costs between $100-200 for the day)? What about setup and breakdown charges? If you are renting a lot of extra décor, the rental companies you inquire with should be able to walk you through all your options. That’s just the beginning. Feeling a little intimidated? We get how daunting it all can be especially when you consider how easy it would be to go waaaaay over your budget. So, do some research, you don’t want to be blindsided last minute by fees you hadn’t even considered. This is where your wedding planner can help navigate all of these intricacies for you. They will take away any and all stress in this department!
Now that you’ve gotten a pretty detailed picture of what you need and want for your big day you need to also consider your time. DIY is great for saving a little money, but it also comes at a cost: time. How much time do you have to allocate to undertaking not just the planning but also the small projects for you wedding? Will there by pictures of the two of you scrolling across a screen as you walk down the aisle? Are you doing the wedding signs by hand? What about the centerpieces? The last thing any bride or groom wants is for their wedding to come and they are too exhausted or overwhelmed to enjoy the festivities.
Don’t let these questions or others overwhelm or frustrate you as they are designed to give you a clearer picture of what exactly you want in your dream wedding while also balancing what you can realistically attain. The important thing to remember is that no matter the kind of wedding you envision, there are a number of options to help you achieve your dream wedding.
Photos by: Cedar and Pines Photography