PICK YOUR PRIORITIES

You can totally "have it all," but I don't recommend it.  Planning a wedding comes with many, many, many choices, and many, many costs.  I'm guessing that you, like everyone, will start with a budget, and a great starting point is to pick your top priorities at the beginning and know where you're willing to splurge - maybe it's the dress, or maybe it's your invitations, or a really great photographer.  

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WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET?

This is most likely your first (and only) time planning a wedding - do some research about wedding budgets, but be realistic and true to yourselves.  If you're struggling to make ends meet already, plan an awesome elopement vs. entertaining your every acquaintance with an open bar.  There are plenty of resources around for budget spreadsheets and planning guides, but I really like The Knot's guide because it breaks-down some costs by percentage.  I really like this spreadsheet by Real Simple, but advise re-creating it in Excel or Google Sheets so that you can see your total as you plug-in real numbers.

Either way, figure out what is realistic and appropriate to spend, and what kind of wedding that will afford you.  Stay organized and focused - these numbers can run away from you and things will try to sneak-up throughout your engagement, so the more organized you are, the better your chances are of getting surprised by forgotten costs closer to your wedding date.

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PICK YOUR TOP PRIORITIES

Most people don't have an unlimited budget when planning their wedding.  I chose 2 things that were important to me : my invitations and my photographer (duhh..).  I knew I'd be willing to "get creative" (= cut costs) elsewhere, but those two things I was okay splurging on.  If you're travel junkies, maybe the priority is the location - you get yourselves and a few favorites to a dream destination and let the rest of the pieces come secondary.  Maybe you've always imagined a black-tie formal wedding, so you keep your guest list small and spend a little more on each of the people who make the cut.  

 

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find your match

As I talk about when I describe my approach, I've learned that it's really important to find the right vendor for you.  My style and pricing won't fit every couple's expectations, and that's okay.  There will always be vendors that charge much more than you're comfortable paying and much less - it's a matter of finding the people you see eye-to-eye with, because those will typically be your kind of people.  Those will be the folks that you want to hang out with - the people you trust to make your day as great as it can be and to do their job without taking advantage of you.