Wedding Planning 101: How To Survive (And Thrive!)
As the flowers begin to bloom and the air takes on a new warmth, you can’t help but notice that springtime is well and truly upon us. Aside from perfect weather, baby animals, and blossoming trees, you may have also noticed that another season is back in full swing; wedding season, of course!
Sure, it can be fun as a guest, but for those embarking on the wedding planning journey themselves, (I, for one) can say it’s a whole new experience! From scouting venues and choosing bridesmaids, to saying yes to the perfect dress, there’s a lot to take into account in preparation for your big day.
While it can be both exciting and stressful to plan a wedding, there are thankfully a number of helpful tips and tools to keep you sane. I’ll be sharing some of my favourites to make the process of planning a wedding much easier!
Setting Yourself Up For Wedding Planning Success
As with most things, it’s important to have some sort of plan in place before you begin organizing your wedding. Not only will this allow you to keep all of your ideas and inspiration in one place, but it also reminds you of where you’re at in the planning process and what still needs to be done!
It seems as though there are hundreds of things to think about when planning a wedding, so it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed. While elements such as the wedding theme, guest list, and budget won’t organize themselves, these tasks become a whole lot easier by using the following tools. The best part? They’re all free!
Get Inspired On Pinterest
It’s hard to imagine how brides-to-be arranged their visual inspiration in the lead-up to their big day before this platform came along. Pinterest lets you create folders which can then be filled with your favorite imagery found anywhere on the web. Whether you choose to publicize your folders or keep them secret is entirely up to you, but I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a girl who hasn’t got at least one wedding-related board.
Use the free platform to keep your dress, venue, theme, color scheme, and cake inspiration all in the one place! This makes it easy to refer back to your imagery when you’re discussing your vision with vendors.
Nail Down A Budget With Easy Weddings’ Budget Calculator
If you’re not much of a bookkeeper, then planning and keeping track of your wedding budget may be enough to strike fear into your heart. Rather than letting it stress you and your partner out in the lead-up to your big day, I recommend using Easy Weddings’ Budget Calculator. This app lets you itemise all of your wedding expenses, including quotes, actual costs, and payments. Additionally, you can enter your estimated budget and the expected number of guests to have the app create a personalised break-down of costs, letting you know how much you can spend and on what. Being able to enter your own categories and budget items also makes the process fully-customizable.
Get Organized With The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Checklist
Remember how I said it seems like there’s a hundred things to organise when planning a wedding? As you know, weddings don’t come together at the last minute, as they are the result of careful planning that’s been going on for months, if not well over a year. It can be extremely difficult knowing where to start and one of my biggest fears is that I’ll actually forget about little details (such as ordering boutonnieres or arranging the playlist) in the lead-up. This is where The Knot’s Ultimate Wedding Checklist is a must-have, and it can be accessed on iPhone, Android and TheKnot.com.
It covers everything from the moment you get engaged to your post-wedding to-do’s.
Make Moodboards With BeFunky’s Collage Maker
Like many, I’m an extremely visual person and I find it hard to communicate my ideas and visions without a handy moodboard in front of me. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, as they say. While Pinterest is perfect for saving your ideas, it isn’t the best way to visualize all of those ideas at once (without the need to scroll, of course). This is why it’s extremely helpful to grab your best pins (the ones that really speak to you) and collate them neatly into a Moodboard using BeFunky’s free Collage Maker.
I loved creating a separate Moodboard (or collage) for each aspect of my wedding, including the venue, bridal party fashion, grooms party style, and reception theme. Having these moodboards to show to vendors also makes meetings a more streamlined process.
Plan A Headcount With The Knot’s Guest List Manager
As soon as you begin planning a wedding, one of the very first things you’ll want to do is organize your guest list. This is because the number of guests you have will determine not just your budget, but also the size of the venue and the amount of food and drink you’ll need. It can be a little daunting sitting down with pen and paper to map it all out, but The Knot also has a handy Guest List Manager that allows you to do so much more than keep your list in the one place. It lets you seamlessly collect all of your guests’ information, as well as manage the guest lists for multiple events (such as for the bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties). You can also manage your RSVPs digitally and track the gifts you receive from guests. Too easy!
Planning On A Budget
Now that you’ve got an army of free wedding plan tools to help you out in the lead-up to your big day, it’s time to talk budget. When you’re organizing a wedding, it seems as though the ‘B’ word gets thrown around a lot, but for good reason too. Depending on how well you stick to your budget, it can either make or break your special day. To help you stay within those all-important figures, I’ve outlined some of the best hacks I’ve been using to stay in the green zone.
Design Your Own Wedding Invitations And More
If you’re not design-inclined, then it might seem like your worst nightmare, but hear me out: BeFunky’s Designer has a number of beautiful, pre-designed templates to help you create your own save the dates, invitations, wedding menus, and thank you cards – all for next to nothing!
With a huge array of fonts, graphics, and other design elements to choose from, bringing your stationery visions to life has never been easier. There’s even some super helpful tutorials below to walk you through the entire design process:
- Your Guide to DIY Wedding Invitations will cut serious costs when it comes to custom invites. Learn how easy it is to customize BeFunky’s design templates and make them your own, and we’ll even give you our best tips for printing.
- Create DIY Save The Dates to help your guests mark their calendars for your big day.
- Ask your best gals to stand with you with these easy-to-make Will You Be My Bridesmaid Cards
- Display your wedding eats with these Customizable Wedding Menus. You can cater them to fit the style and colors of your wedding in a snap.
- Technically you have a year post-nuptials to mail out your Wedding Thank You Cards, but we’ve got a tutorial for making those too when you're back from honeymoon bliss.
Hiring a graphic designer or purchasing things like these can be expensive, so using BeFunky’s Designer for your wedding needs is a wonderful place to cut costs.
Work Out What’s Most Important
It’s important to mention that when planning a wedding, you shouldn’t feel pressured into ‘having it all’. Sit down with your partner and work out what three elements are the most vital. For example, if you decide that the venue, wedding dress, and photography is more important than the other categories, then you can justify spending more money on getting these things ‘just right’. Then, work out what elements of a wedding are either not important or not needed. For example, if your ceremony and reception venues are on the same site, forking out extra cash for wedding car rental may not be necessary. Additionally, you might choose to forego the expensive live band for a custom playlist featuring all of your favorite songs. It really is up to you!
Consider a Winter Wedding
If you’ve stumbled upon your dream wedding venue but have discovered (rather heartbreakingly) that you just can’t afford it, then there is one other option. Many venues offer huge discounts to couples who set their wedding during the winter months, as this is not the peak season.
Sure, it’ll be colder and less flowers will be in bloom, but if you’re someone who doesn’t care much for the weather, then this may be the perfect solution for helping you get your dream venue at a fraction of the cost!
Keeping Yourself Sane
Now that we’ve covered some budget-saving hacks, it’s time to turn our attention to another important element for any bride or groom-to-be. That is, self-care. Organizing what is commonly referred to as “the biggest day of your life” can be stressful. But if you don’t take time out for yourself occasionally, it may even get the better of you (or your relationship – yikes!).
Be sure to schedule regular catch-ups with your wedding squad so you can discuss, vent, or simply have a good giggle with your friends. Because your bridesmaids or groomsmen are part of your big day, they won’t get annoyed with you talking about your plans. In fact, they’ll probably appreciate being kept in the loop! If wedding talk is the last thing you feel like doing, then why not get your nearest and dearest together for a spa day, road trip, or simply a few drinks? Taking time out is key.
It’s also important to take part in activities such as meditation, yoga, or other forms of exercise to assist with stress management. Regular deep-breathing techniques or a sweat-inducing workout can be just the thing to kick any negative feelings to the curb!
Lastly, it’s vital that you delegate tasks when the going gets tough. When planning a wedding, we can often put all of the responsibility on ourselves to ensure that everything is perfect. DIY weddings can be fun for creative types, but they also heavily increase the workload for you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to seek out professionals (such as caterers, florists, or even wedding planners) if you begin to feel overwhelmed or burnt-out.
There you have it – our ultimate guide to wedding planning 101! By taking on this advice and utilizing the planning tools and budget hacks listed above, you too can make organizing your big day as seamless, simple, and stress-free as possible. Click the link below to get started on your save the dates, invitations, menus, and more!