OMG! You've gotten THE RING!!!! Ok. Now what?
Most brides do a couple of things first. I've seen brides who run to the store and buy every wedding magazine on the shelf. Some brides immediately start trying on dresses. Others start zipping from one side of town to another to scope out their potential venue.
Hold up. Stop. Breathe.
I always equate wedding planning to shopping for a car. You don't just go to any and every car dealership and say, "Show me all of your cars." You usually have a plan, or at least an idea of what you can spend. You probably don't just stroll into the Mercedes dealership unless you know you have Mercedes money.
With that in mind, we've given you a plan...or at least the first 3 steps:
1. Figure out what your wedding budget is. It's hard to book a venue if you don't know how much money you have to spend. Can you afford the amazing, castle-like venue that has a $5000 room rental fee? Is that luxurious hotel with the $25,000 food and beverage minimum realistic for your budget? Sit down, do the math, determine what you can spend on the entire event before you paint a bulls-eye on your ideal venue.
2. Get an idea of your guest count. I meet brides who say their guest list will be somewhere between 150-250. Again, it's difficult to book a venue without a pretty good idea of your guest count. Some venues might be able to easily accommodate 150 guests, but may be unable to fit 250. Sit down with your significant other and maybe your parents to figure out how many guests will be on the list. Don't forget to include spouses in the guest count and children, if you plan to include them. Also, be REALISTIC with your guest count. Don't make the mistake of estimating that only 150 will come, even though your list consists of close to 300. That's a wedding day nightmare waiting to happen.
3. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!!! Sorry...I hate to yell, but this is kind of important. Stick with me for a second. This is probably one of the largest events of your life and you'll be managing a big chunk of change. I often equate hiring a planner to fixing a hole in your roof. Would you crawl up on your roof to patch a leaky hole yourself, or would you hire a professional? I think we know the answer! And before you say, "I can't afford a planner," consider this: You don't have to hire someone to plan the entire thing. Hire someone who can steer you toward the reliable vendors who fit your style and budget. Or, hire someone who can meet with you on an hourly basis to give you the guidance that only a professional can provide. There are so many wedding professionals who offer affordable services for EVERY budget. Seriously. And you'll be so happy that you didn't waste money on a vendor or service that hadn't been pre-screened by a pro.
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Karen Clark is a celebrity wedding planner who publishes the "Perfect On A Penny" weekly e-zine. Get your FREE audio seminar: "5 Super Secret Tips That Will Save You $5000 On Your Wedding" at www.PerfectOnAPenny.com
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