|Photo by Jason Tench, Blue Mountain Photo Works|
So many times I hear from brides, I just got engaged, bought my dress and have a reception site picked. What should I do next? Ok, there are several things wrong with this statement. After he slides that ring on your finger and you have informed all the family members of the upcoming event, the next thing you do NOT do is go out and buy the dress or pick a reception site.
Let me explain. First things first, ask those people that are most important to you to be in your wedding party. Discuss possible dates you have chosen with them and see if one of these dates will work with everyone. You don’t want to already have your date chosen and then find out your very best friend in the world is not going to be available on that date to be your maid of honor. (Side note: Be sure you are picking people for your wedding party that you can rely on and trust to do the things that need to be done.) Remember the bigger the wedding party the higher the cost. I always remind brides, that the more attendants you have, the higher your flower budget. All those bouquets, corsages and boutonnières are not cheap.
After finding a date that will work, then start on a guest list. The number of guests you plan to invite affects everything, the size site you can use, the amount you will have to spend on food and alcohol, even down to the cost of ordering and mailing invitations. The more guests the higher your expense. If really good food, good flowers and alcohol are important to you, watch that list closely. Cost per guest adds up really quickly. I have many a bride that wanted a particular site only to figure out that it will not hold the amount of guests she wants to invite or is too expensive once everything is added up. It would be a tragedy, if they had already paid a large deposit and then figured this out.
After you have a good estimate on the number of guests you want to invite, and a site picked, then you start searching for your dress. The dress needs to reflect the formality or informality of the site. You don't want a ball gown if you are getting married in a barn. The colors at the site may also affect the choice you need to make in colors of your dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses. Also, at this point you will have a better budget idea of what you can spend on your dress. Many brides have learned too late, that they spent a large portion of the budget on the dress and now can’t afford the extras they dreamed of having.
The florist will need to see color samples or pictures of the dress and bridesmaid dress before he or she can help you decide on flowers. The baker will need to know how many guests, what the site looks like and details from your dress to help you decide on the perfect cake.
And one more important note, plan ahead, way ahead of the date you want to be married. The best sites and vendors in Greenville book a year or more in advance in most cases.
So as you can see, to have a beautiful, affordable wedding, you have to understand how all your choices affect each other and this is something that your wedding planner can help you understand.