There are so many ways to get married – just have a quick look at Pinterest, wedding blogs or your giant feed of insta wedding inspiration.
If you have a fixed idea already, deciding where and when your wedding should take place and designing how it should look like could be as easy as 1+1 = 2, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration, and realize that there is a vast ocean out there – perhaps you suddenly feel desensitized of what your wedding really dream is – not to mention how to even get there, in the first place.
We have outlined the starting-off process in five steps for you below!
Knowing the practicalities and following a structure will simplify decision making and make planning straight-forward.
We’d love you to enjoy your engagement having as much time as possible, as opposed to measuring up portable toilet rental costs against whats left over for your wedding perfume, or whether you can afford your bridesmaids to bring a guest.
in the end of the day, this is an event not only full of love and laughter – a whole lot of practical thinking lays behind those sweetly scented peonies and moist wedding cake.
Most of us have never planned a party of this proportion before, so chances are that it soon starts to seem like a huge mountain of tasks to climb. It could become complicated if it turns out you are not sure what you want, or if you decide something which later proves not to be that easy to achieve, such as arriving by horseback to a small garden wedding.
There is also the risk that once the wedding vision is shaped, one might become rigid and fixed in those ideas… Of course everyone deserves the PERFECT DAY – but spending an engagement having to fight for it to be exactly the way we thought, is usually not worth it.
Having an open mind is something that will save you a lot of stress. Adapt a flexible mindset early on, if at all possible.
Step one: initiate the decision making process
All the decisions that you and your fiancé are going to make over the next few months are crucial in the outcome of the wedding day. It is not only about how to make it look good, but also how to make it come together practically. The success of your wedding day is determined by the work you do over the next year or so. We at Sheer recommend taking your time and enjoying your engagement as long as it lasts – no need to rush!
Don’t start by announcing your date – there is some research to do before (See step two)!
What is going to structure the next few months the most, is how much you decide to spend on the wedding. Please note: this has nothing to do with how much you can afford, simply with how much you want to spend. Perhaps you could in theory afford a $15.000 wedding. But is that really necessary? We don’t recommend to max out for a one day event, even though it is a special one. Life carries on afterwards, you know.
Once you have a number of how much funds are available, you can begin the next step…
Step two: talk money
Sit down and discuss how much you are going to spend on getting married. Check with any family you think might want to contribute. Remember that you have a long life together after the wedding so don’t splurge unnecessarily. A wedding doesn’t have to be expensive in order to be amazing.
Avoid taking a loan.
Step three: VENUE vs DATE
These areas are absolutely in co-dependency of each other.
There is no specific order of working in these areas, as you will probably have start them more or less simultaneously.
Your vision is going to be somewhat interlinked with your venue, which will be linked to availability, which will then determined the date you could get married. Some prefer to chose a date first, and work it down to a venue a venue available on that date. The budget is of course, the factor than will enable or disable the choice of venue – and the next step which is:
Step three: Guestlist vs Budget
Do you want a fabulous wedding reception with the decor of your dreams and arrival by a pink limousine? Then you might need to reduce the guest list. Some couples want to include everyone including their ex girlfriends sister and her husband, but if you dont, you can feel free to splash that on an amazing grazing table and decadent flower displays. The choice is yours – it is your wedding after all!
Where do you want the wedding to be?
How many guests would you like to invite?
What day of the week would you like to get married?
Which are the super important aspects of your wedding?
Step four: Get really organized
You need a spreadsheet to record all wedding related costs and payments. Download our Budget Tool here – it will make sense of it all.
If you prefer to do your own spread sheet, the allocating percentages we recommend are as follows:
5% floral decor
4% paper goods
10% Unexpected others
Change these totals to suit your priorities. For example, you want to decrease how much to spend on gifts in favour of more expensive wedding dress – go for it!
We highly recommend that you look at our budget tool to get a better grasp and to be in control of your budget. It is a free download and easy to use.
Step five: The VVs : Your Vision and Venue.
You and your fiancé should first of all sit down (or go on a road trip) and come up with a few ideas towards your VISION. For example: a traditional ceremony in your favorite church, then a reception at a glam hotel. Or a farm style wedding in a barn, then reception under the stars. Perhaps you want to elope and get married on a glacier.
Having a vision is a great idea when you look for your venue. Ideally you can get the venue of your dreams – the date will depend on this. How much to spend on the venue and vision is determined first of all in the budget.
Once the initial vision is there, you have a better idea of what venue you would like. Start doing research and book times for a visit. Ask lots of questions. Which ones to ask? Find here
The venue who speaks to you the most should obviously be the one. Think in a mixture of practically, aesthetically and emotionally. Maybe one overrides the other. Is it easy for guests to find accommodation in the area? Does it have capacity for all the guests you plan to invite? Can your must-have officiant travel easily there? Will it allow you your own vendors, or do you have to use theirs? Do you love its ambiance or does the place have a profound and special meaning to you?
The venue might be more important than the date you have in mind, so be prepared to be flexible.
Step six: Choose a wedding date
Some juggling is required between your wishes, venue availability and other peoples availability.
You don’t have to decide a date the first thing you do when newly engaged. Everyone will immediately start to ask, but take your time to first figure out the Vision and Venue you both love. (See other sections)
Decide if you want to get married in spring, summer, autumn or winter (OR first decide how much money you want to spend on the venue).
Check with all the important people: family, close friends, and wedding party to see if they are any dates around the time you are thinking to get married at which they are not available. Remember that your date will to some extent depend on who of your key people can or can’t make it.
Look for a venue, when you have found 2 of the strongest contenders, see when they are available. Good venues might be booked 18 months in advance!
Before deciding, you might want to give your marriage officer a call to see if he will be able to wed you then, if it is important that it is a certain person.
Once you have found a date the venue has available that you are happy with, double check with key people. Go ahead and announce once confirmed.
Budget tips: Consider getting married on a weekday or Sunday – you will find that the cost is significantly less. The least likely is is to be “nice”on your wedding date, (not sunny and warm) the cheaper the venue fee will be. Daytime weddings are definitely less than evening weddings for that same desirability reason. Remember that almost everyone loves brunch – and it is easier to find baby sitters.
Expensive: Saturday wedding in summer with 3 course formal dinner
Cheaper: Sunday tea time wedding in autumn with buffet style snack food
Nothing guarantees the Saturday wedding to be a greater success than the Sunday wedding!