Christmas Eve is a top time for engagements and, once you have stopped staring at your new sparkle (temporarily of course), it's time to jump into wedding planning. But, um, what exactly does that include? When I was newly engaged, I knew very little about planning a wedding. (I did however master the art of admiring my ring and the way it cast dancing sparkles everywhere - careful when driving, it can be distracting!) Now that I have been immersed in the world of weddings for a couple of years, I have a much better understanding of what steps and details are involved. The good news is there are some GREAT sites to help you plan everything. We have listed our favorites below.
1. Zola - www.zola.com Zola has a great set up that allows you to really customize your checklist to your wedding - including religious traditions and customs. This site includes access to a detailed checklist with due dates, website creation, guest list management, registry and more. The checklist offers great tips on items to help you know where to start. One of my favorite Pro Tips - create a wedding email. This lets you keep all of your wedding related emails in one account instead of wading through work, personal and junk email in your other account.
2. Wedding Wire - www.weddingwire.com/wedding-checklists.html Wedding Wire is another great customized checklist. They also give you access to their other tools in the checklist. For example, click on the Budget planning task and you get access to the Budget tool which is pre-populated with recommended spend by category based on your budget goal. You can easily search vendors and see reviews to narrow your search. Wedding Wire also offers a website builder and hashtag generator - it may not offer the most creative options, but it will give you some basics. Manage your guest list and many more items all in one place.
3. The Knot - www.theknot.com A well known name in all things wedding, The Knot is a great resource for planning and inspiration. They have a great resource of information to help you make informed decisions about your wedding. Plus they have a great Style Quiz as you start planning and you can share your style with future vendors.
Hopefully one of these will be a great fit for you as you start planning your wedding day! Let us know what other great sites you use. We would love to share these with other new brides!
Congrats - you're engaged! We know you can't wait to start touring venues, finding the perfect dress, picking out flowers and ... figuring out your budget, right?!? A budget is probably not the first thing you think of while dreaming and planning your wedding, but it definitely sets the parameters for most of your decisions. It's also an extremely overwhelming task when you have never had to deal with a wedding budget before. Should the DJ cost $250 or $1200? How much do flowers cost and how many do you need? What about all these different insurance options - liability insurance, day of wedding insurance??
Websites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire have good budget tools you can use to help estimate what you might spend and then track costs as you get actual quotes. There are a ton of details that go into many options - does your venue include tables and chairs or do you need to rent? do you want to upgrade table or chair options and what might that cost? does your caterer provide plates, cups, utensils? are they high quality disposable or china? do you want to upgrade to china and what is the cost? is cake cutting included with catering or venue? how many hours does your photographer included? 1 or 2 shooters? is an engagement session included?
It's a lot and while we can't cover everything in the breakdown below, hopefully it will give you a basic idea of what you might spend based on your overall budget. Always remember you can shift allowances to focus on what is more important to you and your fiance.
Venue, Catering, Cake and Rentals - 40% - 50%
- Many venues will provide an option including catering, tables and chairs to make it easy to combine these numbers. Some will require you to use their caterer and others are really just the venue. Make sure you understand what the price includes. You guest count is also the biggest driver in this cost.
Flowers, Lighting & Decor - 8% - 18%
- The types of flowers you choose and how many you need (or want) will drive this number.
Photography - 12% - 20%
- Make sure to look at photography styles, turn around time and how you connect with the photographers to find the best fit.
Wedding Attire, Hair and Beauty - 9%
Reception Music - 7%
Wedding Planner - 3%
- Wedding planners and Day of Coordinators will hep you and your family enjoy the day while they take care of the logistics.
Invitations and Stationery - 3%
Officiant and Ceremony Music - 2%
Transportation - 2%
Wedding Rings - 2%
Favors and Gifts - 2%
Plan a 5% contingency fund for items that come us that you missed or to allow you some freedom to splurge on the amazing photographer you have to have! Also, check with your venue on if they require you to carry liability insurance and what that cost might be. We highly recommend Day of Wedding insurance. This covers you financially if something unforeseen comes up that prevents the wedding from happening on your day. It's not something anyone wants to think about, but it's worth the piece of mind.
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.