Are you starting to plan your wedding day details? Congrats! This is a super exciting time! But, it can also be an expensive time, as wedding costs can start to add up pretty quickly. In fact, the average wedding in 2018 cost more than $44,000, which was up quite a bit from (just?) $27,000 in 2017. Yikes!
Even though that’s the average, your wedding budget may look less like a Meghan Markle and Prince Harry showstopper and more like a “let’s try to DIY as much as possible” type deal. Even if you’re trying to save money, it isn’t going to be possible (or even advisable) to do everything yourself. Certain things are definitely worth splurging on! There are certain roles that you won’t want to take on, simply because you’ll want to be in the moment and soaking up every single second of your day.
Sitting down and laying out which things you can (and want to) do yourself and which things you want to hire someone to help with is a good first step in the planning process. In this blog, I thought I would give you a few things to think about — and a few questions to ask yourself — so you can get started on the right foot!
Do It Yourself
Let’s start with a few things that I think couples could do themselves if they want to save some money in their wedding budget.
Whether you’re doing a candy bar or more traditional wedding favors, this is definitely something you can DIY ahead of time. Some popular and easy ideas are personalized can koozies, little seed packets, or a local treat like honey, maple syrup, or jam. Since you can get started on this way before your wedding, this makes it a great candidate for the DIY column.
This kind of depends on the venue and style of your wedding, but you can definitely DIY at least some of your decor. If you’re feeling crafty, you could tackle the centerpieces, table numbers, escort cards, signage, and even your arbor or arch. I would recommend leaving the florals to a professional unless you are going for a more casual or rustic vibe. In that case, you might be able to even DIY bouquets and arrangements using flowers from the farmer’s market!
This one will really depend on the venue, but if you’re having a backyard or barn wedding you can definitely DIY your beverage station. It’s super easy to make a huge batch of punch and let guests serve themselves. Or, you can just get big buckets of ice and fill them with a variety of bottled beverages. Just as much fun, and no bartenders required!
Do Not Do It Yourself
Now for the things I think you should definitely leave to the professionals… not just because they’re difficult, but because you really want these things to be unforgettable.
Food & Cake
Trust me, even if you’re a professional chef or the best baker in town, you are not going to want to spend the day before your wedding preparing food for your guests. You also don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen on your wedding day making sure the food all looks good and is ready to be served. Let’s leave this for someone else.
I know many couples who have tried to DIY their wedding music… with varying degrees of success. It’s one thing to queue up a playlist for your dinner music, but it’s another thing to have to worry about whether someone’s going to hit “play” for you as you get ready to walk down the aisle. For your speeches, having professional audio equipment is a must (you want everyone to be able to hear) and of course, you want your dance music to sound amazing, too!
I mean, you probably knew this one was coming. Yes, your friends or family members can take photos, but if they don’t have lots of wedding photography experience or the right equipment, the photos aren’t going to turn out at all like you’re expecting. Not to mention, you want everyone to just enjoy being guests at your wedding! Photography is the number one way you’re going to remember your wedding day, and it’s definitely worth hiring a professional.
Alex and Liz were my first wedding of the year, and they started the season off with a bang! We had our first real spring day with warm summer air and the beginnings of flowers on the trees. They both got ready at the Publick House, where the ceremony and reception were. They decided to do a first look, so that they could spend their cocktail hour with their guests….you all know how much I love first looks! Alex and Liz’s first look was adorable, I love their reactions to one another. Their bridal party (which was SOO much fun) had a Man of Honor, and groomsmaid….I love seeing couple’s use untraditional roles in weddings! And I happen to be a groomsmaid for my brother’s wedding this fall 🙂
The ceremony was so sweet, with lots of tears and laughs. And the reception was amazing…seriously, this group was so much fun! Liz and Alex took the cake cutting to the next level with some smashing of it in each other’s faces!
I couldn’t ask for a better start to the 2019 wedding season!
Maybe you never envisioned a big, formal wedding. Maybe you are planning an elopement. Maybe you just got engaged and you don’t want to wait to marry the love of your life. There are many reasons a summer wedding might be your dream scenario, but one thing’s for sure… summertime will be here before you know it.
I want to help you plan your wedding quickly, but without sacrificing the things you want most. You absolutely can have a beautiful ceremony and reception with just a few months to plan. While you may not have time to plan everything in the bridal magazine, your guests will still have a great time and you will remember the day fondly, because it will be exactly what you wanted. Plus, you won’t be too stressed to enjoy it. Now that’s a HUGE perk!
So, without further ado, here are five tips to plan your wedding quickly!
#1 – Priorities, Priorities
Since you only have a few months to plan, it’s important to sit down and prioritize your wedding day wishes. You probably won’t be able to go big on everything, but you definitely can go all out on one or two things. I’m guessing since you’re the kind of person who is more spontaneous, you probably won’t mind letting go of a little bit of control.
If something is really important to your partner, but not as important to you, feel free to let them handle that part of the planning. Similarly, if your mom or your future mother-in-law indicates they want to help, find something that’s lower on your priority list and hand over the reins. Keep the stuff that really matters to you for yourself so you can make sure it’s exactly how you want it.
#2 – Lock in Your Vendors
Finding people whose work you adore is definitely one of the first things you’re going to want to do as you plan your summer wedding. If photography is important to you, find your dream wedding photographer first. If you just want to serve your guests an amazing meal and throw a big party afterwards, you might want to start booking appointments with caterers.
This will probably be the most time-consuming part, but once you have your preferred list of vendors, you can start signing contracts and really get started on the planning phase! Most of your vendors will also be able to help you by either referring you to people they’ve worked with in the past, or they can give you tips and advice as you plan the rest of your wedding.
#3 – Choose Your Date
The reason I didn’t list this higher up is because many vendors book out a year or more in advance. Since you only have a few months until your wedding, you may need to pick your wedding date AFTER you talk to your vendors to make sure they all have availability on the same day. If you’re open to a Friday or Sunday wedding, you will probably have more luck finding great vendors who still have openings.
Make a list of the dates that your favorite vendors still have available. As you continue to make calls, cross out any that aren’t going to work (e.g. with your venue or officiant) and any dates that are left standing are the ones you can choose from!
#4 – Send out Invites
Your wedding day is only a few months away, so you don’t really have time to send out Save the Dates. Instead, you’ll want to get your invites in the mail as soon as you have the details nailed down. This will give people enough time to plan and make travel arrangements if necessary.
Typically, invitations go out about 6-8 weeks before the wedding, or sooner than that if it’s a destination wedding. Many wedding calligraphers offer a semi-custom option, which is faster because you don’t have to wait for them to be designed. If you’re crafty, you can even DIY your invites or send a digital version!
#5 – Special Little Details
Now that you have your vendors, date, and invites taken care of, you can start thinking about the little details that will make your day truly special. Maybe you want to come up with some signature cocktails or get to work crafting the perfect dinner playlist. If something speaks to your heart or really showcases what you and your partner are passionate about, be sure to turn it up a notch.
These little details are what your guests will remember years later when your wedding day comes up in conversation. Making sure your personality shines through is so important and you won’t regret spending a little more time on these details!
Planning a wedding this summer and looking for a photographer, email me to see if I have your date available!
Traveling is so near and dear to my heart, I feel like it has been ingrained in my bones since before birth. Both of my parents backpacked around Europe and Africa for months. I make a point to travel to somewhere new every single year, now that I have kids and a more limited budget….these trips are usually to National and State Parks. I am a total National Park geek and lover! After a decade in the wedding world, I have gotten to photograph in so many unique and beautiful locations but I would always love to photograph some rad humans in love in some specific destinations! I thought about what my dream wedding destination bucket list would be, and I compiled this list to share with you all!
- Zion! My family and I traveled to Utah in 2018 and visited all the national parks in the area and Zion is hands down my favorite park! I loved how the lush landscape looked in juxtaposition to the red rock. The wild variety of wildlife and plants were just amazing!2. Cadillac Mountain in Acadia, I grew up in the middle of Maine and spent many summers in Bar Harbor and now as an adult I love bringing my kids to Acadia every year. We camp in the Mount Dessert Island campground and spend all of our free time in the park or swimming in the freezing cold coastal Maine water. Who doesn’t adore the views from Cadillac Mountain?!3. Savannah! One of my absolute favorite southern cities. My brother is getting married in Hilton Head Island this year, and the lowcountry amazes me every time I see it! I love the sweeping coastal grasses and the most gorgeous sunsets! 4. Iceland….oh my goodness! This is the top of my personal bucket list; I am dying to hike the mountains and hippie van across the green country! I would absolutely love to photograph an elopement there!
5. Switzerland, my kids and I traveled there back in the early 2000s and got to stay with friends. I was floored with the raw beauty that the country had to offer, the tall mountains, frigid glacier streams, and the gorgeous wildflowers.
6. Antelope Canyon or pretty much anywhere in Arizona…I stinking love the west. There is something about the desert that just speaks to my soul!
Are you planning a destination wedding, elopement, or vow renewal?! I would love to chat with you about your plans and see if I might be the photographer for you 🙂
My brother is engaged, woohoo! I don’t know what I am more excited about…his engagement or getting to be a guest at a wedding 😉
We decided to do his engagement photos in New York City, which holds a special place for both Eddie and Wes. We hit up Central Park and attempted to avoid the crazy holiday crowds. I had the best time photographing two amazing humans that I love dearly and can’t wait for their wedding this September!