Once you get engaged it’s smooth sailing, right? Wedding planning can be IF you have a discussion about the important details before you start the official planning. A short conversation with your fiancé and family can eliminate a lot of drama once the hard core wedding planning starts, and get everyone on the same page. Once you’ve started the discussion, keep asking the hard questions until you have these essential details set:
- Budget. Why is budget at the top of the list? Because it influences every other detail as you plan. If your parents or other family members have expressed interest in helping paying for your big day, talk to them now and find out how much, or what expenses they want to cover. Don’t forget to say thank you. This is a big gift for you as you and your fiancé start your lives together. If you and your fiancé are going to be paying for most of the expenses, start your marriage off right by making sure you are on the same page about expenses and who is paying for each cost. Set your budget higher than you expect—incidental costs often come in higher than you anticipate.
- Venue. If you have your heart set on a particular venue or destination, contact them for a list of dates that would work. With couples planning weddings years in advance, your ideal date may be taken.
- Location, location, location. Setting your wedding venue is in some ways a lot like buying your first house. You need to consider what area suits your guests and you as a couple. Then take your planning a step further. Consider not only the geographical setting of your ceremony and distance to your reception site, but also the geography of your guests. If you have guests coming from out of town, consider a venue close to a hotel. If you’re having your ceremony and reception at the same place, consider the location of each event. Is there enough room for each? Will your guests need to wait for break down and set up? Visit your ideal venue to get your questions answered and a tour of the reception hall, ceremony site and dressing rooms.
- Who you are as a couple. What is your vision for your wedding? Your fiance’s?Is it elegant? Historic? Vintage? Understanding what you both want now, so you can incorporate both of your styles—and your common interests—into a wedding that fits with who you are, and your background.
- Number of guests. Many a bride has shed tears over a guest list. Once you’ve set your budget, and discussed what your ideal wedding would look like with your fiancé, sit down with your family. If you and your fiancé want a small wedding, explain what kind of wedding—and how big of a wedding—you want with your family. If budget is a consideration, talk to your wedding venue coordinator to make sure you have a list of all your expenses, and what the cost per guest is. Remember to include the cost of drinks into your budget planning.
- Handicap accessibility. If you have friends or family with mobility issues, keep them in mind as you choose your venue. Thinking about handicap accessibility now can ensure that everything goes smoothly on your wedding day.
When your discussion is over, and you agree—or agree to compromise—on the major wedding details, start your wedding planning by contacting venues to visit throughout Milwaukee. The venue is key as you continue planning, playing a major role in your invitations, how much food you need and what caterer you use. If you have a caterer in mind, search for venues with an open vendor policy. An open vendor policy allows you to bring in your caterer (as long as they are a licensed, insured caterer) for your big day.