by Monica Blaze
As I sit down to write my first formal piece of advice to brides, without even writing so much as a single word, I am already jarred and unsure what to say. There are so many elements that go into a wedding — how will I find a place to begin? While I’ve given advice to hundreds of brides, writing down the advice is an unprecedented challenge. The hardest part is getting started.
With the emotion of uncertainty and the question of, “What do I do first?” rolling around in my head, I accidently stumble into the same emotion that every newly engaged bride faces: I’m engaged — now what? Indeed, the hardest part truly is getting started.
For brides, planning a wedding can be a scary place of uncertainty. Starting the process can be the most daunting task. Brides can start their planning off in stride, by taking my advice on getting started with these four critical steps:
Make a Budget
Your budget should be considerate of the amount of money you feel comfortable spending on your wedding, while ensuring that you are contracting the vendors and venues that will most accurately match the quality you desire. The first thing to decide when making the budget is the overall amount of money you are able to spend in total. From there, begin researching average costs of all the elements of your wedding, from the dress to the venue to the décor and the photographer. Being realistic about your budget may mean making sacrifices on certain elements. Prioritize what is most important to your event experience and slightly adjust your budget based on priorities.
Create a Guest List
Creating a guest list can also help fine-tune your budget and will help you communicate efficiently when it is time to begin contracting venues and vendors. Knowing whether or not you will need to have eight centerpieces or 28 centerpieces, which is dependent on your guest count, can help you be realistic with yourself and ensure that your budget is still align. The guest list will also lay the proper foundation to begin finding venues that will be the right size to fit your needs.
Select a Date (or Two)
When it comes to contracting your wedding, selecting the venue will become the most important element to secure. Before you can select a venue, you need to select a date. However, be sure to have back-up plans. Some dates will suddenly become less appealing for a plethora of circumstances or some venues will be unavailable, so you will need to have a Plan B (or C). Side note: Be sure to have a signed contract with a venue before arbitrarily picking a date and immediately sending out Save-the-Dates.
Make a Timeline
After completing the first three steps, you will want to begin making contractual decisions and signing agreements with vendors and venues. Before you hit the ground running, research a variety of different suggested timelines and create your own modified version based on your preferred wedding dates and what will specifically fit your personal schedule. This will help you stay organized and decrease the amount of obstacles in availability you may run into down the road.
While it may be difficult to figure out where exactly to begin, it is important to lay the proper foundation with these four crucial steps. The hardest part may be figuring out where exactly to begin, but rest assured, the momentum and excitement will only continue once the anxiety of starting is conquered.
Monica Blaze is the executive meeting manager at Fairfax Marriot at Fair Oaks, selling love for a living. From helping brides envision a ballroom layout, to creating custom menus, to calming the nerves of the anxious couple, Monica represents the Fairfax Marriott, selling the romantic idea of weddings that focus on love.