You’ve finally decided to get married but a myriad of thoughts are starting to overwhelm you: where to start to plan a wedding at its best? If there is one thing that working as a wedding planner has taught me, it is that it is precisely the first steps that send couples into confusion.
Planning such an important day, you know, is not easy, but patience and criterion are the qualities you will need to arm yourself with from the start. Within this article, I will help you sort out your ideas through simple guidelines to follow, to avoid mistakes and not lose control of the situation.
PLAN THE PREPARATIONS
While it is advisable to start preparations at least a year in advance, the truth is that even a few months can be enough to plan a wedding as long as you follow a logical order.
After making a tentative list of people to invite, you need to choose the location that will be the setting for your big day. Try asking yourself how you envision your wedding, and the answer you give yourself will help you design your dream! Immersed in the countryside or on a beach, inside an elegant historic mansion or within the walls of a romantic castle? The solutions are many but what is important, is that the choice of location reflects your taste and has enough space to accommodate you all.
Another aspect that should not be overlooked is the distance between the place where the ceremony will be held and the location where the reception will take place. The travel time should not be too long, and it is preferable to move along easy roads-your guests will certainly not want to spend hours in the car, nor will they want to get stuck in traffic. To make it easier for everyone to move around, you could think about chauffeured transfers or choose a location that includes a consecrated chapel or is recognized as a community house. In this way, the guests would already be ready for the celebration at the same place as the ceremony and without having to take the car back to move.
At this point, you can proceed with the choice of photographer, who is often also a video maker, and entertainment services. Music is an essential element and will accompany you at different times of the day: during the ceremony, during and after the wedding banquet, at the first dance, and at the cutting of the cake. Like every component of the wedding, the musical accompaniment will convey the mood of your wedding. Once the mood and style of the event have been established, you move on to choosing the gowns, floral arrangements, and designing the wedding stationery with the help of a capable graphic designer. Wedding planning continues with the search for a make-up artist and a hair-stylist: these are key figures to enhance the beauty of each bride without forgetting that the make-up and hairstyle must be in line with the dress, personality and style of the wedding.
By now it is clear to you: choosing a style is the starting point for selecting the right vendors, so as to create a harmonious connection between the elements and visual details of the wedding. What I will never tire of repeating, however, is to avoid mixing styles and colors that clash with each other or with the context that will surround you: the atmosphere you create will be the frame of your day and will speak about you to your guests.
DEFINE THE BUDGET
Planning your preparations must go hand in hand with setting a budget, but how much does it cost to get married? In Italy, a good wedding with a hundred guests is estimated at about € 35,000. This is not a “rule” since the overall budget depends on multiple factors: first and foremost, the number of guests to which the cost of the wedding banquet, the amount of “wedding stationery” items to be printed, the size of the location to be set up, and the number of wedding favors are related. In addition to variable costs, however, you will also come across fixed costs that will remain so no matter how many people you invite: this is the case with the cost of dresses, wedding rings and the hiring of most suppliers.
On this topic I will return with a dedicated article but, for now, my advice is to establish an indicative and realistic budget range, based on the wedding you want. During the wedding planning daydreaming will come naturally to you however, if you want to keep your expenses down, try to keep your feet on the ground by imagining striking but not overly scenic arrangements and prioritizing the guests you really care about. Then avoid going in search of the “bargain” and rely only on professionals with good quality/price since, in some cases, one wrong vendor can ruin the wedding.
CHOOSING THE LOCATION
The location you choose should have an outdoor and an indoor solution, both large enough to comfortably accommodate the same number of people. Having a plan A and a plan B in one location is the basic requirement for organizing the space in the best possible way, considering, of course, the areas designated for the band and the dance floor. To this day, moreover, it is still unthinkable to plan a wedding without taking into account the anti Covid-19 rules. That is why, once the number of guests is defined, the choice of the location will also be closely related to its capacity in compliance with safety distances.
It is often the case that some venues, when contracting, avoid inconvenient topics that may cause clients to prefer other facilities. Carefully visit all venues and discuss any doubts and critical issues, even if you seem to be asking tough questions: one of them is about the presence of a power generator in case of a blackout! Finally, ask if it is necessary to guarantee a minimum number of guests to take advantage of the same price treatment: when signing the contract make sure that the time frame within which you can make changes to the number of guests initially communicated is indicated. One suggestion I would make is to provide an approximate number 10% lower, than the attendance you expect. This is because no facility will have a problem meeting you by adding a few guests even a couple of weeks before the wedding, as long as it is a small number that does not disrupt the organization of staff and space.
The success of a wedding is decreed in large part by the team of vendors you choose who should embody the wedding of your dreams. The array of professionals to choose from is truly vast, and the challenge may seem quite daunting. From the very first consultation, it is essential to establish a relationship of complicity and trust with the vendors you meet: in addition to professionalism, watch out for their propensity to listen since it is only by letting you talk and accommodating your requests that they will prove that they put you first. In addition, you can always check suppliers’ skills and approach by referring to word of mouth but, most importantly, to reviews left by customers or other wedding couples.
You will happen to choose vendors who have never worked together, but if you choose true professionals, working together will be a pleasure for everyone. Finally, you might consider drawing up a timeline to turn over to all your vendors a few days before the wedding. This is a timeline outlining the stages that will characterize your day and one that I also prepare for all my wedding couples. A detailed timeline will inform your vendors in advance of what will happen during the wedding and will encourage a smoother course-remember that you will be the “hosts” and should do everything possible to make the wedding planning run smoothly!