1. Avoid Wedding Blackout Dates
Based on the popularity of the season and venue in which you choose to get married, it is important to avoid any high-traffic dates. Make sure to check if your wedding falls on the same day as a work conference, charity event, or other big events that could affect traffic or space availability. You do not want to share your celebration in a crowded venue and make it difficult for guests to find their way around (for example, from cocktail hour to the reception). Looking into blackout dates beforehand will avoid problems later on in the wedding planning process.
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2. Keep Track of Mother Nature
Consider the weather when picking a season and venue. You may begin planning your summer wedding in December, so remember the weather will be much different then! Guests may not stick around too long in a scorching hot summer tent or cold unheated reception area in the dead of winter. You definitely do not want your guests to feel uncomfortable at your celebration. Bugs can also be a nuisance during certain seasons. Prepare by renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or make it cute by including bug repellent in guests’ gift bags.
3. Re-work Your Guest List
The easiest way to trim your wedding budget is to cut down on your guest list. Although it may be hard to choose who to invite and who not to, you may find it is not necessary to invite everyone. At least half of your wedding budget will go to food and alcohol at the reception. To make you feel better: if it costs you $100 per person, then eliminating one table of ten people can save you $1,000! If anyone asks why they were not invited, just say you are having a smaller, intimate wedding—they should understand.
4. Make a Meal Plan
Feeding your guests is a must at your reception, but it is also one of your biggest expenses. So it is important to remember your vendors should be included in the meal plan. Before you hire your caterer, determine whether serving the same meal to everyone, guests and vendors, is a requirement. Don’t end up spending extra money on additional filet mignons for your vendors. Choose a less expensive (but equally filling) meal for them instead, like Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Let your caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don’t forget those working under your vendors as well) and what you want them to serve.
5. Keep a Paper Trail
Document everything! If you make any non-standard changes to your agreements, write them down. Also, you can send the vendor a confirmation email stating the change and keep it for your records. For example, “Hello, I just want to confirm that you will open the venue two hours early to allow the DJ and florist to begin setting up. Thank you.” Also, don’t take everyone on his or her word; by the time your wedding day arrives, your contact may no longer be working there to confirm any changes.
6. Keep a Phone List Close By
As nice as it would be for everything to go perfectly on your wedding day, there is always the chance your schedule can hit a bump or two. Carry an emergency contact sheet of your vendors’ names and phone numbers on your wedding day. Keep it in your purse or enlist your maid-of-honor to hold it for the day. It will come in handy if something goes awry and save you from going into bridal panic mode.