Lily, 22, just graduated college and celebrated her accomplishment with more than a graduation ceremony. Her boyfriend, who she met during her freshman year, proposed on graduation day. They’re young, in love and on a tight budget. But like other brides we know, they’re determined to plan the wedding of their dreams in just 12 months. If they work efficiently, that gives them enough time to shop for wedding venues, vendors, bridal accessories, food and cake, as well as learn the dos and don’t of planning this momentous affair. Think Wedding Planning 101. To top it off, Lily’s mom has ideas for the wedding that aren’t exactly in line with hers. Rest assured, there are steps brides like her can take to smooth out the details.
Brainstorm first. Write it all down, including a tentative guest list, possible venues, day or evening wedding, music preferences, wedding theme, bridal gown style, etc.
Set a budget, and stick to it. Become a DIY bride, even if you don’t have a creative bone in you. There are plenty of kits that make it easy to do DIY wedding invitations and DIY favors. A little hard work up front can save in the long run.
Look at the big picture. Prioritize your plan by starting with the big-picture, like the venue and type of wedding. Fill in the details later to see what’s left in the budget.
Stay organized. Search for vendors, setup a website and utilize wedding planning tools on websites such as The Knot.
Make decisions quickly. Being wishy-washy adds stress and can have a domino effect on other plans.
A little etiquette goes a long way. Buy a book on wedding etiquette to easily navigate the process and omit any faux pas. Tips help with everything from the guest list to thank you cards.
Accept good enough. We all want the couture wedding shoes, 2-carat diamond ring and designer bridal gown. But you can achieve the look of luxury without going broke. Pick items that mimic your favorite style and designers. Sites such as The Budget Savvy Bride or The Broke-A** Bride provide useful tips.
Remember wants vs. needs. Do you need it for the wedding or simply want it; paring down this list will cut costs.
Think beyond traditional. Your preconceived ideas may blow the budget, so think outside the wedding box. Marry at a public venue or the courthouse and spend on the reception. Have an intimate ceremony with a larger reception. Combine your ceremony and honeymoon. Serve h’orderves and cake instead of a meal. Skip the alcohol. Rent or borrow a dress. . .
Have a heart-to-heart with mom. Sit down with your mother over coffee and be specific about her involvement in the wedding planning process. Let her know how you feel, that you appreciate her and that your wedding will be different than hers. She loves you and wants the best for you, but you’re all grown up now and this is your wedding after all.