Essential Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks
When planning your wedding, there are items that are nice to know, and there are things you need to know–advice so essential any bride who is fortunate enough to hear it believes, “I’m so glad someone said that!” If you are wondering whether there’s something that you might have missed (or even if you’ve got everything under control), check out our indispensable planning secrets below.
1. Guests Come First
Get a grip on the approximate number of guests you will invite before settling on a place. This will ensure there is ample space for your crew. As a guideline, allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest. That may seem like a lot, but it’s really not if you count the space you will need for your tables, bustling waiters, the band and a dance floor.
2. Investigate Wedding Blackout Dates
Know beforehand if your wedding date falls on the same day as a trade conference, charity walk or other community events that could impact traffic and hotel room availability. Here is a handy list of potentially problematic wedding dates coming up in the calendar.
3. Listen to Mother Nature
Heed the weather and other potential annoyances. Guests have been known to skip out early from hotter-than-hot summer tent weddings and heated winter attic receptions. Bugs (gnats, deer flies and mosquitos) also swarm in certain areas during certain seasons. Consider renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or including bug repellent in guests’ gift bags. And if you would like a sunset ceremony, ensure to understand when to say your vows by assessing SunriseSunset.com. Oh–and always, always have a Plan B for unexpected weather snafus.
4. Check Your Credit
Take advantage of the high cost of weddings and sign up for a credit card with a rewards program. Whether it gives you airline miles or terrific shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related buys to this card can help you accumulate thousands of rewards points (which could be utilized to your honeymoon).
5. Pay It Forward
Let 1 vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photographer can let you know which florist’s blooms really pop, and your reception supervisor should know which group always packs the dance floor.
6. Lighten Your List
The simplest way to trim your wedding? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it’s costing you $100 per individual, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000.
7. You Might Receive
Request another hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line. Most sellers prefer to secure the reservation than nickel-and-dime you early on (which may turn you off of them). Later on, though, they may be less inclined to meet you halfway.
8. Make a Meal Plan
Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Prior to signing the contracts, be sure you’re not needed to serve the same meal to your sellers that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Pick a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You’ll need to let your wedding caterer understand a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you will need to feed (do not forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to function.
9. Get Organizationally Focused
In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with sellers, notes that you make during meetings, and photographs or tear sheets from magazines that you want vendors to see. Set up a special email address specializing in your wedding, and save important vendor numbers in your cell phone. For on-the-go planning that keeps everything in one place, download The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner app to keep all of your planning info digitally on-hand at all times.
10. Tend to Your Bar
Typically, you want one bartender per 50 guests to keep the line at a minimum. But if you are serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made beforehand (or in large amounts ), consider adding more server designated to this undertaking.
11. Leave Some Room in Your Finances
Your wedding budget should stick to this formula: 48 to 50 percent of total budget to reception; 8 to 10 percent for flowers; 8 to 10 percent for attire; 8 to 10 percent for entertainment/music; 10 to 12 percent for photo/video; 2 to 3 per cent for invites; 2 to 3 per cent to presents ; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding planner. It’s essential to allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of your money for surprise expenses like printing extra invites because of mistakes, extra tailoring requirements, umbrellas for a rainy day and ribbons for the wedding programs.
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Your wedding vendors need to be your go-to, most-trusted experts during the preparation process. When working with them, you should feel free to really explore what it is you want–maybe it is serving a late-night snack instead of a first course or performing a bridal portrait session as opposed to an engagement session. The most important thing is that you should feel as though you can have an honest dialogue with them about what it is you want. Their job is to let you know what you can and can’t make work given your wedding budget.
13. Wait for a Date
Sometimes, last-minute preparation can work in your favor. The nearer your date, the more bargaining power you have. Because most people reserve their wedding venues at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two weeks prior to your preferred time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.
14. Manage the Mail
Of course, you want the ideal stamps for your wedding invitations. But not all stamps are widely available at every post office, especially in massive quantities. Save yourself scouting time by ordering them online at USPS.com. And make sure to weigh your invitation and all the additional paper products before you ship them out so that you can attach the right amount of postage. Consult your stationer about the need for extra postage for oddly shaped envelopes.
15. Prepare for Rejection
Know that as a rule, about 10 to 20 percent of the people you invite won’t attend. Naturally, this depends on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have yearly holiday plans).