I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!!
G and I have finally set a date — June 6, 2020!
As some of you might know, planning events is my thing! Therefore, hiring a wedding planner didn’t make any sense for us.
At first, wedding planning can seem overwhelming as there is SO much to do and it is most likely something you have never done before, but rest assured, it is really not that hard if you stay on top of things and have access to the right information. If you are not the type of person that enjoys planning things… consider a wedding planner. Wedding planning should be fun, not frustrating!
When we first set our date back in January, I got super excited. The overwhelming joy caused me to make a shit ton of mistakes! I have therefore decided to share my entire wedding planning journey on my blog and prevent you from repeating my mistakes!
With that being said, here are the first 3 steps I recommend following when getting started with your wedding planning along with the mistakes I made.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional wedding planner — I am sharing my personal experience hoping to help other brides out there!
STEP 1: FIND OUT WHO WILL PAY FOR THE WEDDING
When I started my research in January, every single blog/forum/YouTuber stated that setting a budget is the first thing you should do — that is exactly what I tried to do!
Problem is, when you’ve never planned a wedding before and don’t know anyone who has recently… it is IMPOSSIBLE to figure it out! I mean, I had absolutely NO CLUE how much venues, photographers, food and everything else cost. There were so many things I didn’t even think of adding to my budget at that stage. G and I spent weeks trying to figure it out… until we decided it was a waste of time.
In my opinion, the first thing to do after getting engaged is to find out who will pay for the wedding and a have a rough idea of the budget.
Are your parents chipping in?
- You might already know the answer because you’ve already discussed it or you know they’ve paid for your siblings’ wedding… but if you don’t, it is time to ask. Start by discussing the fact that you have started wedding planning and that you are soon going to put together a budget. Hopefully, they will give you an answer without you even asking, but if they don’t and you’re comfortable asking, go for it!
Think about the budget
- There is no point in trying to determine a specific budget at this stage. You don’t know the size of your wedding, the style, the location, etc. What you should know is in what “category” you’re going to fall under:
- Limited Budget: whether you have a tight budget or are simply not looking to spend loads of money on your big day, you will need to keep that in mind when drafting your guest list in Step 2, and choosing a location in Step 3.
- Average Budget: If you Google something like “average wedding cost in Canada”, you will find out that on average, Canadians spend around $30,000 on their wedding (including the honeymoon).
- Non-restrictive budget: If you know your budget is higher than average, you don’t need to worry as much when it comes to wedding size, location, etc. It is important though to keep that rough estimate in mind.
STEP 2: DRAFT A GUEST LIST
Now that you know who’s paying for the wedding and what budget category you fall under, you should be drafting a guest list to estimate the size of your wedding.
Who do you want at your wedding?
- Start by jotting down a guest list with your family, fiancé’s family, friends, family friends, etc. Knowing the size of your guest list will save you some time when budgeting and looking for venues.
- Remember, this is a first draft. Do not start collecting addresses, emails, phone numbers, etc.
Have your parents review your first draft
- Once you have that list, call your parents (and fiancé’s parents) and ask them if they were thinking of inviting anyone else.
The first mistake I made was looking at venues before knowing the size of my guest list. We initially thought we would have 120 guests. We started looking for venues that would accommodate a maximum of 150 people, but when my mother saw the guest list, she came up with at least 30 names of extended family members I wasn’t planning on inviting. Since our parents are paying for the wedding, we wanted to make sure they had a say in who is invited. If that is not the case for you, invite only those you truly want present. Your wedding is YOUR special day. Having extra guests is expensive so therefore, don’t add people to please others.
STEP 3: LOCATION
Ahhh location, location, location! This one is tricky!
We’ve all fantasized of our dream wedding by the beach or in Europe somewhere, but reality is… destination weddings are expensive and they most likely will reduce guest attendance as not everyone will be able to travel.
Is a destination wedding possible (budget-wise) for you?
- Even though I don’t recommended putting together a budget just yet, it is important to discuss the possibility of a destination wedding. If you’ve completed Step 1, you should have an idea of who will chip in to pay for the wedding. If your parents are paying and made it clear their budget is limited, a destination wedding probably won’t be the best idea, unless you’re planning something very intimate. It is therefore important at that point to be realistic and determine what the limitations are.
If a destination wedding is not something you want, determine within what distance your venue should be
- To do so, refer to the guest list you drafted in Step 2. Think about how far your guests will be willing (or capable) to travel. For example, if you absolutely want your grandparents at your wedding, having them travel 5 hours might be impossible. It is therefore something worth considering early on to avoid disappointment.
I’m sure you guys all know, but G and I currently live in Barbados. We were therefore very interested in getting married here! Unfortunately, the idea was not super popular when we started asking family members. My father made it clear that the venue had to be within a 45 minutes drive from our hometown. We found a couple venues we liked within that range, but after visiting them, we realized there were none that we loved. After discussing it with our parents, we decided to look further. We kept looking until we found something that was perfect for us, 2 hours away from our hometown.
I could go on with the list, but reality is, you already have a LOT to do with these first 3 steps! If you’ve read through and have already completed the above, head over to PART 2.
*** I encourage you to resist the urge of signing up for websites like TheKnot or WeddingWire. Those websites are AMAZING! They will ask you a series of questions (budget, style, etc.) to understand what you’re looking for and that is the issue. I urged to sign up, filled in the questionnaires based on my personal opinion, before even discussing budget or style with my fiancé. It resulted in me having to delete my account and start a fresh one when we were truly ready. Those websites are a lot of fun, so be patient and when the time comes, I’ll tell you all about how to sign up and use them!
Hope you lovelies are getting excited!!! Comment below any wedding planning subjects you’d like me to cover in detail!
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