I have been receiving a lot of inquiries and questions from 2010 brides getting a jumpstart on their wedding plans. One question that I seem to help a lot of couples with is the wedding PLANNING timeline. You know – “what should we be doing at this stage in the planning process” type of questions. Obviously there are plenty of resources out there to help you keep pace, but I will point you all in the direction of a few of my faves that I feel are pretty accurate and applicable for anyone planning a wedding.
The Real Simple Checklist is simple and straight forward with most bullet points offering a short explanation as to why you should get that item done at that time, or what you need to do additionally with each item. This may be a favorite general list to work from.
I am a fan of the following interactive wedding planning tools as well:
So what would I suggest as the top 5 things to accomplish first when planning your wedding here in NE Ohio?
- SET A BUDGET!! It’s difficult to make ANY other decisions until you know what amount you can spend and are willing to spend. This step coincides with Step 2.
- Decide on a tentative guestlist. Get an idea of who is inviting who, and determine a best-guess as to what your headcount will be as early on in the process as you can. A large chunk of your vendors bills will factor in the total guest count: from cake quantities, to catering bills, to even floral/decor needs based on the number of guest tables requiring centerpieces at the reception. Determining a guest count early will also be your deciding factor on what venues you can even consider. Having a guest list surprisingly grow halfway through the planning process has left many couples scrambling for larger venues that will accommodate the ever expanding guest list, and the new guest list totals can easily becomes a budget buster.
- Begin your venue search and book them! In my opinion, I don’t think it’s ever too early to find your ceremony and reception venues. Depending on the season and the popularity of a venue, some locations will book 1.5 years to 2 years in advance, while other times and places you may luck out with an open date with 1 month to go. In general, I would recommend narrowing down your choices and selecting your venues 9 months to a year out from your desired wedding date. Without your ceremony and reception locations booked for your wedding day, it’s difficult to commit to any other plans or vendors .
- Begin your additional vendor searches. Especially in NE Ohio, I have noticed that photographers especially are booking – and filling up quickly – up to 1-2 years out. With only a few dozen “warm weather weekends” happening a year here in OH, the majority of OH weddings occur May through October, so start this process early! DO, however, take time to do your research to narrow down the best vendors that fit your style and tastes.
- IF you are ready to make decisions regarding your wedding plans, locations, and vendors – why not book them soon and get 2009 pricing? You could save some cash in the long run by being proactive now!
This is not to say that a wedding cannot be planned in just a few short months, however, to ensure your top choices of venues and vendors are available for your wedding date, and to save some money in the process – start early!
Happy Planning –