There are so many factors to consider when planning a wedding, from music and food to guest lists and dresses. Follow these tips to help you stay organized and on track for your special day!
1. Get a Rough Guest Count First
Before you choose a venue, sit down and get a rough count of the approximate number of guests you plan to invite.
You want to make sure there will be enough space for dinner, dancing, as well as your caterers, DJ, and other staff. It is recommended that you allow for 25 to 30 square feet per guest. This sounds like a lot of space for one person, but keep in mind, you also need to account for the space needed for tables, decorations, wait staff, entertainment, etc.
2. Pay Attention to the Weather
While you may have a date in mind, make sure you are planning for the weather that is common for that time of year. The spring season brings rain, while the summer can bring sweltering temperatures and so on. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, speak with your venue to make sure you have a plan B if it’s too hot, too cold, or the rain gets in the way of the ceremony.
3. Get Organized
Before you start signing checks and contracts, set up a checklist, guest list manager, and a budget. Consider using a binder or folder to keep all your notes taken during vendor meetings, communication with vendors, and any photos or magazine pages you are using for inspiration.
You may also want to set up an email account strictly for wedding communication, so nothing important gets lost among your personal or work emails.
4. Prioritize Your Budget
When you start out making your budget, you want to list all the must-haves, like invitations, music, the wedding gown, photographer, flowers, etc. Assign each of these a number, ranking them from one being the most important to three being the least important. You will want to invest more into your ones, and then the threes are where you can cut corners if needed.
5. Have a Meal Plan in Place
An expense you may not have considered is feeding your vendors. While they may not note it in their contract, you should still feed your vendors. You can ask them what they prefer or if they would like to enjoy the same meal as your guests. This should be determined prior to signing the contract.
6. Leave Some Wiggle Room in the Budget
The common formula used for a wedding budget is 48% – 50% of the total budget should be dedicated to the reception, 8% – 10% for flowers, 8%-10% for music or entertainment, 8%-10% for attire, and 10%-12% for photos or video. You also want to have 2%-3% for gifts, 3%-4% for invitations, and 7% for miscellaneous expenses.
You also want to leave about 5% to 10% extra for unseen expenses like extra invitations due to a printing error or extra tailoring needs.
7. Make a Firm Choice on Children or a Child-Free Wedding
You can welcome children to the wedding, have an adult-only wedding, only include children who are immediate family, or hire a childcare provider at the reception venue, hotel, or at a family member’s home. It’s best not to allow certain people to bring their children while others are not permitted to unless the children are in the bridal party.
8. Ask for Recommendations
If you meet with a vendor who doesn’t work in your price range, don’t be afraid to ask them for other recommendations. In some cases, the photographer may have an assistant who will work at a lower price. This goes for all other vendors, such as florists, DJs, etc. They can all possibly make recommendations of friends they have in the industry who do great work within your price range. At Entertainment Unlimited, we have many DJ’s and are committed to making your day special.
9. Reserve Rooms
Once you have picked a date, you can start looking into hotels near the venue that out-of-town guests and those who don’t live near the venue can use. In most cases, you can reserve a block of rooms for your wedding at a reduced rate releasing any unbooked rooms a month before the wedding. Avoid hotels with contracts that include cancellation policies because you don’t want to be responsible for the rooms that don’t get booked.
10. Keep a Record of Everything
If you make any changes with your vendors, be sure to have the changes in writing. A simple confirmation email will suffice in case there are any issues on your wedding day.
11. Keep an Emergency Contact Sheet on Hand
For the day of the wedding, have copies of an emergency contact sheet available that has all the names and phone numbers of your vendors. These lists should be given to the bridal party in case any problems arise.
12. Make Sure the Mic is On
You will want to make sure that all your guests can see and hear you at your ceremony. If you have guests who are sitting 15 rows back, renting a mic and a riser can be very beneficial.
13. Give Accurate Directions
The last thing you want is for guests to get lost. Make sure you ask your ceremony and reception sites for the printouts of driving directions to their venue. You can test the routes yourself before providing them to guests.
14. Take a Friend Dress Shopping
Trying to shop for a wedding dress alone can be intimidating, and the endless sea of white dresses all end up looking the same after a few hours of browsing. Consider taking your mother, sibling, or friend who is honest with you. This is the time where you need a true and honest opinion.
15. Remain Flexible to Change
When you plan your once-in-a-lifetime night, it is hard not to get caught up in the details while working to make sure everything is perfect. While we are still navigating the ever-changing world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, being open to change and flexibility will carry you a long way and provide you with a better experience.
Regulations can change, and business closures can happen at the worst time, but it is important to keep an open mind to any changes you may have to make, and it may also be helpful to have a back-up plan in case COVID-19 regulations affect your big day.
Professional Wedding DJs for Your Big Day
Music is a major part of your ceremony and your reception. At Entertainment Unlimited, we offer professional and experienced wedding DJs to make your day extra special. When searching for “wedding DJs near me,” be sure to choose a DJ at Entertainment Unlimited! You can also read this article about selecting DJ for your wedding. Contact us today to learn more!