So you're not hiring a wedding planner
Here are a few things to consider to ensure everything runs smoothly-
Wedding planning and design fees definitely vary (especially if you’re living in a Metropolitan area), but base packages typically start around $1,500. And depending on the kind of wedding you hope to have, $1,500 could be a good chunk of your budget.
Whether hiring a wedding planner is out of budget or seemingly unnecessary (as you can tell, I have thoughts on this opinion), you still should account for some key responsibilities to be covered. For your wedding’s sake!
If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, here are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that your day runs as smooth as buttercream, baby:
Emails will flood in - especially after you reach out to vendors with pricing and availability inquiries. It’s easy to get things mixed up, or forget where you left off and with who (whom? who ‘em).
Keeping those emails organized will be essential from the get-go. Most planners will handle most, if not all, of your vendor communications….for the sole purpose of keeping things tidy. All of which allows you to steadily check off that planning timeline, one box at a time.
Utilize all those (free!) planning tools available - like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail folders and my wedding planning checklist (below). Some couples even create their own wedding email address to keep things organized.
Work that job
Time is money, baby. If you’re saving pesos by not hiring a wedding planner, do consider that it is a job! It’s a job requiring time, so I suggest you + your partner dedicate a few hours every week (or weekend) to planning.
Perhaps you and your partner have a wedding planning session every Tuesday and Thursday night. These nights pair well with wine and/or specialty cocktails. Do try and avoid saving all your email responses and decisions to 1 day or meeting. This will be very overwhelming, and completely take the fun out of planning. Stretch it out to manageable increments.
Assemble your team (early)
Wedding planners have deep networks of vendors they can reach out to for last minute needs. And when you can’t rely on vendor connections or ‘industry insight,’ the best planning approach is to do everything early.
Get your biggest vendors booked right away - and even ask them who they like to work with! This will help you assemble a supportive team that works efficiently together. Booking early will also help ensure you get the vendors you want, and reduce stress in the months and weeks leading up to the big day.
Review contracts carefully
Most of your wedding vendors will send over an agreement to sign, and even require an initial deposit. Because your wedding is a big investment, make sure to review those contracts carefully. No need to get lost in the legal jargon too much, though. Focus your efforts on payment schedules, non-refundable deposits, cancellations, adding additional hours, clean up services, turnaround times, rights to photos and travel fees.
Hit up your lawyer friends if you’re ever feeling that unsure. Or shoot me an email, and I can answer any questions. Biggest tip of all re contracts is to not let them intimidate you. Strip the scary exterior, and dig into the info that you need.
Designate a wedding manager
I’m going to be honest with you. Things will start to feel a bit overwhelming once you’re at that week-out mark.
Typically, your wedding planner would field all those frantic last minute calls, texts + emails. Perhaps your vendors have some questions about the timeline, or your band forgot they require meals during their set breaks...or your aunt who’s reading during the ceremony needs to have copies of her reading made in 18-pt font. Whatever the panic may be, you really shouldn’t be in the weeds that week.
Forward it all on to your designated wedding manager!
Fine, roll your eyes at me. I know what you’re thinking. I can handle it. I’m sure you can! But why do you want to?? If you’re going to be stubborn, and field all those pesky, last minute messages yourself - so be it. But do yourself a *big ass* favor and designate a wedding manager for the actual day.
Wedding day stress is completely avoidable if you designate someone to handle all of those last-minute decisions on the day of the wedding. Your assigned manager doesn’t need to do everything for you...just some trigger decisions on your behalf. Here are some examples:
The DJ brought the wrong microphone. Should we use the hand-held microphone or a mic stand for the officiant?
Your cousin who RSVP’d no ended up making it to the wedding after all, and doesn’t know where to sit for dinner. Oh, and he wants the vegan option.
The groom's Mom broke his boutonniere when she was pinning it on. What should we do?
There’s no more toilet paper in the women’s restroom.
The bar is out of Aperol. Does someone need to run to the store, or can we get on without offering that cocktail?
Where do you want people to sit at the head table?
Do you have a bobby pin?
Do you have a Tide stick?
Do you have Xanax?
Where should I put the top tier of their wedding cake?
Whether it’s your maid of honor, your aunt or your (organized + direct) good friend, assigning a wedding day manager is in your best interest.