Let’s face it. Weddings are expensive, and at some point you’re going to have to make some compromises to help save some money and stay within your budget. One thing that many couples decide for forgo is a wedding planner. Taking the reins yourself is a lot of work, but it’s safe to say we have a lot of expertise in that area, so we’ve decided to give you some tips and tricks to help reduce some of the stress.

  1. First Things First: Create Your Wedding Guest List – A lot of your choices will be centered around how large or small your wedding guest list is, so it’s important to get a good idea of how many people you plan on inviting off the get go.
  2. Speaking of Guest Lists – Organize & Prioritize – When making an initial guest list, make sure to prioritize it from the most important people at the top to the least at the bottom. When making cuts, you can start at the bottom and work your way up.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Cuts – Your grandma’s second cousin once removed doesn’t necessarily need invited to the wedding. You want the people at your wedding to care about you and your big day, and the person you see once every few years probably could be cut from the list without any hard feelings. Another way of cutting down is the only offer plus ones to people who are in serious relationships.
  4. Research Your Wedding Date – It’s a good idea to be aware of any major events going on the day you’ll be saying, “I do.” This can majorly affect something as simple as traffic to booking hotel rooms for your guests, or wedding venue availability.   
  5. Slow Down – Don’t get ahead of yourself. You may have found the perfect wedding photographer one week after you became engaged, but until you book a wedding venue and confirm the date, you won’t know if that wedding photographer will even be available for that date. Do things one at a time, especially if one decision will affect another.
  6. Planning an Outdoor Wedding? Always be cognizant of weather. And we’re not just talking about rain – Tents in the middle of summer are a perfect heat trap, and it’s possible to book a venue that isn’t properly insulated in the winter. And yes, rain is something you need to take into account too, and not just for backup plans. For example, a tent might keep your head dry, but I’m speaking from experience when I say that lack of flooring and some heavy rains really put a damper on the dancing when everything becomes a giant mud puddle.
  7. Check Your Credit Score – Many credit cards will offer you tons of points and rewards when you spend a certain amount within the first few months the card has been activated. If you put some of your larger purchases on a card that offers airline miles, you could have your plane ticket to your honeymoon paid for just like that. Just make sure you have a plan to pay off the credit card in a timely manner. We’re not trying to go into serious credit card debt here.
  8. Sometimes Vendors Know Best….About Other Vendors – Almost all of your wedding vendors, such as wedding photographers, wedding caterers, and wedding venues have been to hundreds of weddings. They’ve seen it all and probably worked with some of the best (and worst) in the Columbus, Ohio area. Asking the vendors their opinions and suggestions on other vendors is a great idea if you’re still looking around.
  9. Your Vendors Have to Eat As Well – Some of your vendors will be there from the start of the wedding up until after cleanup has finished. It’s okay not to feed them what the guests are eating, especially if it’s around $70+ a head, but making sure they are fed throughout the day is important. Talk to your wedding caterer about alternative options.
  10. Stay Organized From the Start!– Keeping a record of all the correspondences and documents you’ll be signing will only help with peace of mind. It’s also convenient if someone were to question a payment or things that had been previously discussed. If you have proof of correspondence, things will be resolved much easier. Also consider making a separate email account for just wedding inquires. It will be much easier to keep track of who you’ve been conversing with along the way, and both you and your fiancé will be in the loop.
  11. Wedding Websites Will Make Your Life Easier – Any common questions that wedding guests may have for you, or important information that you need to share with those invited can be listed on a wedding website. Directions to the ceremony or venue? Paperless RSVPs? Things To Do & Places to Stay for Out of Town Guests? List it all on there, and if anyone asks you a question, direct them to your wedding website. Problem solved. Or most of them anyway.
  12. Schedule Time for the Wedding Venue Setup – This is especially important if you’re doing any or all of the work yourself and need to recruit help. A lot of wedding venues that are all inclusive will help set up (like us), but some outside vendors won’t. At the very least, you’ll want to help with decorations in some capacity to make sure everything is to your liking. Make sure you set aside time to do this while still allowing time to get ready on the big day for those big moments.
  13. Make a Timeline – Whether you’re trying to plan a wedding in less than a year, or you’re doing an extended engagement, make sure you establish a timeline of when to complete necessary tasks and meet deadlines. There are some things you just can’t complete last minute, and creating a timeline and checklist will make your life easer. Check out our 12 Month Wedding Planning Checklist for some tips!
  14. Talk to Other Married Couples Around Your Age – Hindsight is 20/20 and they are going to have the best tips on what you should and shouldn’t do. When all is said and done, you’ll probably laugh at the things you were stressed out about and realize they weren’t a huge deal to begin with. If someone can give you a heads up about that from the getgo, it’s all the less to worry about.
  15. BUT don’t let other people tell you how you should plan your wedding – It’s okay to ask for advice, but some people think if you don’t do something a certain way, you’re wrong. Well, to be honest they’re wrong. It’s your day, and whether you’ve always dreamed of a large traditional wedding or a small and unique wedding, it’s your day and whatever you choose to do is completely up to you.
  16. Don’t Hire the First Vendor You Speak With – Yes, that wedding venue is amazing, and that is an award winning photographer, but have you really done your research? Have you looked at prices, what’s included with that wedding venue, and if your wedding photographer also offers engagement photos as part of their package? Different vendors have different pros and cons, and you won’t know if you’ve found the right one until you’ve talked to more than a few. And if you still go with your first choice, at least you know you picked the best of the best.
  17. Know the Details of Your Wedding Vendor Contracts – Again, we’re all for avoiding last minute surprises, so make sure you’ve read, and read again, the details of your wedding vendor contracts. How much is the down payment to your wedding venue? When is the remainder due? What happens if you have to cancel the wedding in the event of an emergency? Weddings are a lot of money, and you want to make sure all your bases are covered. Maybe this is a good time to bring up wedding insurance?
  18. Don’t be Afraid of the DIY Project – Purchasing wedding decor is easy, but can also get pricy. If you’ve already created a vision board, I’m sure you’ve already realized a lot of decor can be a DIY project. Just make sure the weigh the pros and cons. Yes, it might be cheaper to do the DIY project, but if it’s going to take you forever and make things more stressful, maybe the slightly more expensive decor is the way to go? It’s all up to you, but we’re all for the DIY wedding aesthetic. 
  19. Don’t Get Hung Up On the Small Details! – When you’re in the middle of it all, it’s easy to get hung up on the small details, but at the end of your wedding day, these are the things you’re most likely going to forget about. Pay attention to the big things and the small things will fall into place. And no matter what, your day is going to be perfect because you’re marrying the partner of your dreams!