Wedding Planning Advice

The coming of the new year marks the beginning of a new season. No, I am not  talking about duck season or rabbit season. I’m not even talking about NASCAR  season. I am talking about the wedding planning season. The time of year when  thousands of brides, oftentimes dragging their reluctant grooms, travel out and  about to bargain shop, meet vendors, attend bridal shows, and visualize what  elements are important to their ceremony and reception. With all the advice that  is shared from vendors, family, friends, and the hundreds of wedding planning  books and websites, how is a bride to know what she should expect and want when  planning her wedding? This article attempts to diminish the fears and stress of  planning by sharing true expert advice from the people who really know and  empathize with the modern day bride…former brides.

The Challenges

According to most brides, the hardest challenge you will face is having to  plan the wedding on your own. If you do not have family and friends in your area  readily available and willing to help, you may have trouble coordinating the  event. Even if you do, you may run into a similar situation as Amber Bahnak  whose wedding occurred in October 2008, “Sometimes people want to help, but are  afraid to do something you won’t like so they shy away from offering  suggestions.” She states that “Communication is key. Let people know when you  are open to and really need suggestions.”

Other brides look for professional help. Danielle Lux, whose wedding was also  in October 2008, suggests hiring a professional planner. “They really help you  with each step and remind you to look at things you may have overlooked  otherwise.”

Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming task. If your budget doesn’t afford  a professional planner, or you do not have access to a relative or friend  experienced in planning events, make sure you hire other vendors that match your  personality, will listen carefully to your vision, and offer suggestions that  can help to achieve those dreams.

Beach Favors

The Budget

Did you know that according to, the average wedding in the  United States of America in 2008 costs $28,704? Your budget may be in this range  or could vary greatly, but one fact remains, how you divide your budget will be  the most important determining factor towards the success of your wedding.  Overspending in areas that have little or no impact on what you or your guests  remember could lead to you not having enough money for the elements that are  important to you.

The first step to budgeting for your wedding is deciding what elements are  the most important to your vision of a successful reception. Choose three words  you would use to describe the reception. Whether they be fun, elegant, magical,  or romantic, these words will be important when making decisions on where to  spend your money.

Anna Story, whose Tango-themed wedding was a perfect fit for her guests in  October 2008, gives these words of advice, “Don’t over spend…keep it simple.  What makes a good wedding is the entertainment and the food. Decorations are  secondary. Choose a theme and make it simple.”

Mike and Mary Gifford, who married in beautiful Pensacola, Florida, in 2008,  gave their advice on budgeting stating, “Don’t sweat it if a few things go over  the budget, because most of the time there will be something else that will cost  less.”

Nicole Meredith, married June 2008, advises taking your time in planning. “Do  your research on DJ’s, reception halls, flowers, and catering. Gather referrals.  Our DJ was fabulous! He was interactive and fun. He was the best in the area and  was definitely not cheap. We spent the extra money and it was well worth  it!”

By now, you’ve read several magazines and online articles probably offering  tips on saving money for your wedding by taking shortcuts to making your  reception a success. The key number in budgeting is the guest list. Every  wedding reception can save an average of $50 per person by cutting down the  guest list. Remember, you pay by how many guests are expected, not by who  actually shows up. So, if you want to let your long-lost Uncle Buck know that  you are getting married, send an engagement or wedding notice instead of an  actual invite. You never know, he might just show up! Cut the list as far as you  can if you need the extra money for something else. Once you have accomplished  this emotional task, look at the little details. It is true that the little  details can sometimes matter most, especially when you examine little details  such as favors, appetizers, bouquets, and flower arrangements. Once you  determine the necessity of each item, find creative and alternate ways to have a  similar effect. These little things could matter most in making the most out of  your budget.

What matters most to the success of your wedding reception? That depends upon  the elements that are important in your vision. If the food is your determining  factor, then spend more on food. In the wedding business, it really is “you get  what you pay for.” Capturing Moments

What will your guests remember about your reception? According to the survey  results from St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine, 2003, 81% of guests said they  remember the entertainment and whether they had fun. How can you guarantee that  your guests will have fun? Hire the professionals that match your personality.  YOU are the party! Your reception should be a reflection of you. The vendors you  choose will be responsible for making your reception a success, and they will be  the same vendors who keep your guests engaged and participating in the  celebration. If your guests leave one hour early because they are not engaged in  the celebration, you have just lost an average of $4,784/hr (assuming six hours  total for ceremony, cocktail hour, and four hour reception). Your choice of  entertainment is the most important factor in creating a successful  reception.

Amber Bahnak suggests to make sure your vendors work together to coordinate  the event. “Our vendors were fantastic. Everyone wanted to work together and  help us with the planning details. The DJ even went to the wedding site on his  own several months before the wedding to check things out.” Not all vendors are  alike. Some have personalities that are less than easy-going, so coordinating  between the vendors does not always take place.

Nicole Meredith warns that “if you are planning over the phone as I did, and  if people are rude to you, they are most likely going to be a bear to work with.  Find someone new. There are too many people in the wedding business to ‘sweat  the small stuff’.”

Once you have your vision in place, hire the professionals to capture the  important moments. Photographers are a must. But Lindsay Forseth, Catering Sales  Manager at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA, says her biggest regret about her  wedding was not having a videographer. She says, “I didn’t think I wanted one at  the time, but now I wish more than ever that I could go back and watch a video  of the whole day. It goes by so quickly that I would love to go back and watch  it over and see what I missed.”

Your wedding will truly fly by. Hopefully you’ll sound like Danielle Lux who  wished, “it could have been longer, I know this sounds silly, but it flew by. We  didn’t even do the bouquet/garter toss because we were busy having so much fun  with everyone.”

Problem Solved

The daunting responsibility of planning a wedding should never feel like it  is all on your shoulders. Hire professionals who match your personality. Whether  you have the budget to hire a wedding planner or not, make sure you hire  experienced vendors who can create your vision. This means that you must have a  dream. By dreaming, you can begin creating the experience that you and your  guests will never forget. Hire those vendors who can make those dreams come  true. Ask them questions, find out the creative ways they can bring energy to  your reception. Your budget is important, but not as important as how you divide  that budget. Determine your budget by finding the average costs in your area for  the different vendors, not by an arbitrary number. Make up your budget by  considering the elements that you feel are important to your particular wedding  reception. Remember, you really do “get what you pay for.”

Two last pieces of advice from Amber and Lindsay

“Stay on top of things, but relax. Things will get done and everything will  be beautiful. Don’t forget to let your fiance know how much you care during the  process. After all, the event is about professing your love in front of your  friends and family.” – Amber Bahnak

“Enjoy the whole day. Being with all of your friends and family is the best!  It will be the best day of your life!” – Lindsay Forseth

–Thank you to all of the brides and vendors who were so generous in giving  me their time to write this article.–

References: – great source for some valuable information about wedding  budget trends

St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine, 2003. Sources include: Simmons, 2001;  USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service,

2001; The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001.


Eric Herod DJ/Owner Eric Herod Entertainment (540)  419-2534

Article Source:

Article Source:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

Sponsored Affiliate

Learn & Master Photography

12 Wedding Tips