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You’re newly engaged…or you’re just sitting down to plan your wedding…and the #1 question I hear is: WHERE DO I BEGIN? When there are SOOOOOO many details to planning a wedding, the starting point may seem lost in the bunch. Here’s my advice:
Look at who will be the vendors with the least availability
There are vendors who will service only one to three weddings a day. Those typically are locations, wedding planners, photographers, videographers, florists, cake artisans, caterers, officiants and music professionals for example. This is usually limited by the number of staff that they have and their capability to provide an excellent level of service. That means that these vendors must be booked EARLY — read as FIRST THING. Don’t worry about figuring out what flowers you want to order, or what photographs you want to have on your must-take list — this stuff can be figured out later. Right now, you’re simply securing their services for your event. (And that usually means down payments are involved, so be prepared!) This will make the next bullet point of importance…
Know your date & the size of wedding that you want to have
If your date is chosen for sentimental reasons (ours was August 12, 2000, exactly 6 months from when we started dating (February 12)) — then you want to act early and FAST. In Wyoming, limited venues and professionals = limited availability. We started booking our location, photographer and DJ two years ahead of time so that we could be sure that we got the date that we were dead set on. In fact, here’s a side story: I was working in a flower shop when we were engaged, and one day we were doing a consultation for a wedding that was going to be held on August 12, 2000 (our upcoming wedding date). The bride started complaining that she wanted the same venue I had, and the same photographer I had, but “this chick booked this stuff like two years ago and now they’re unavailable!” I reached across the counter, stuck out my hand, and said “I’m that chick. Nice to meet you.” I told her I was sorry I caused her any grief, but that date was essential to us and I acted as fast as I could. She was SO embarrassed that she had been bad-mouthing me — but — she said that really, she knew I was smart about that and she couldn’t blame me. Funny story.
If your date isn’t as big of a deal, have a few dates in mind, and be prepared to fluctuate.
If your location is the big item, consider odd times of the week. My husband’s brother and his wife were married on a Monday, because when they called the place that they wanted, weekends were all taken. Since most of their guests had to travel here for the wedding, they decided a Monday wasn’t a big deal for a destination wedding for their guests. Some guests that were locals complained about it, but overall, it seemed to work. Same with if you have one photographer that you MUST have, or another vendor of limited availability.
Size of wedding is important. Are you going to have a big wedding? Make sure your venue can handle the load. A small, intimate affair? Do you absolutely have to have a giant venue then, or do you have some flexibility? There are so many options when it comes to picking your venue — be honest with yourself, your budget, plans and expectations, and move forward confidently! You never have to apologize for making choices that create YOUR special day.
Once those big and limited items are secured…
You’ve got the date set, the location booked, and the officiant, music (ceremony & reception!), photographer, videographer, caterer, cake artisan and florist booked… YAY for you! Now it’s time to go dress shopping. Give yourself plenty of time on this one — if alterations are needed, or if you’re having a dress specially made for you, you’ll want plenty of time. Another side story — I ordered my specially made wedding dress, then became very sick and lost 40 lbs while it was being made. I went from a size 5/6 when I ordered it to a size 2/3 when it arrived. But, because we had given ourselves enough time, we were able to have the massive alterations done to make it work out well. If you’re planning on losing some weight before the big day, make sure you do it the healthy way, and make healthy lifestyle changes so that you can keep at your new desired size up until your wedding date. Visit with your wedding attire professionals about how to work weight loss into your wedding gown purchase process. Some great selections: Mountain Valley Bridal in Laramie…. Hart’s Tux & Gown in Casper… and Special Occasions in Sheridan!
Well, now that you have the big headaches out of the way, have some fun with picking colors, flowers, decorations, invitations, etc… Depending upon your time schedule, you’ll have a little wiggle room to look for inspiration and get ideas. And if you’re looking for a list of those items to be done, visit our digital version of our wedding planning guide and our timeline checklist items — click here — and ask questions! We’re more than happy to help!
YOU CAN DO IT!!!
‘Til Next Time…
Kati Hime, Editor