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HOW TO: Plan a successful wedding

Anyone can get married, have a wedding and even plan.

However, planning a successful wedding, where you stay within budget, limit your stress and enjoy the actual day takes a great deal of planning, purposeful actions and knowing exactly what to do.

In this blog I really want to address some key 'how to' points that will help you in the planning process.

The goal is that every bride has a successful day, a successful planning process and try to get as much joy and excitement during this special time.

1. Don't procrastinate!

I always say, it's never too early to begin getting ideas, putting concepts together and begin initial planning.

If you know that a wedding is on the horizon, then you should start planning. You can never begin too early. If you are going to have a very long engagement, then you will have plenty of time to plan but if you want to shorten things along, it's never too early to get started. (On a side-note: if you're ready to say yes to the ring, then you're ready to say yes to the wedding, to the man, to the marriage.Don't use your engagement season to make sure that you are ready, and you're certain about the person that you were wanting to spend the rest of your life with. There is nothing that will take the joy out of this process then a bride who is uncertain. Make sure you're ready before you ever say yes. If you move forward in this way then the planning will be an enjoyable process, hopefully drawing you two closer together as you're prepared to commit yourself to one another.)

Depending on the time-frame that you have to work with, begin planning as soon as possible. If you are two years out, then you have plenty of time.

There is nothing more that will add stress to the planning process then procrastinating and having a mindset of 'I'll do this later' because before you know it, 'later' will be here.

Most of the time, brides underestimate how long it takes to do little side projects. Try to knock most of that out as much as possible. The reality is, two weeks before your wedding you are going to be done with the entire process! There is a reason why most people don't ever want to do a big wedding again, it takes it out of you! So get as much work done. Do all of your mini projects, all the different plans that you want to do, get it done well in advance.

The sooner you get these things done, you will feel peaceful about all the other things that you will need to do. If you eliminate all the side project/small projects, believe me, you will have plenty more things to do in the final days.

2. First things first.

Make sure to prioritize what you do first. If you're on a time crunch, take care of things that are time sensitive so that you can add less stress to your already full plate. If you aren't on a time crunch then the main things that will need your attention is your date, place and dress. Those are the three big factors to most brides that make them feel stressed.

Once you get those things out of the way, begin building the look and feel of your wedding.

Make a decision on theme, style and then get realistic about what will actually work for your budget, your venue, and the workload. So often brides don't have a direction, and they go to the store and buy this trinket, buy that item, buy that decoration piece and before you know what you've spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on stuff that you aren't 100% sure that you will use. Rookie mistake!

If you are very budget conscious, then spend wisely. Spend where it counts, spend were your guests will see. Such as Decor/flowers/overall atmosphere of the evening. And buy ONLY what you need!

I highly recommend that you put together a theme prior to purchasing anything. So often, Bride's have so many ideas, so many themes, so many styles and they end up purchasing a little bit from each category and just have a smorgasbord of decorations, supplies and are unsure what to do with it. When you don't have a place for your decorations, wedding items and supplies it can easily overwhelm any Bride and it can add a great deal of unnecessary stress.

3. Be realistic.

Please. Be. Realistic.

The likelihood of your wedding day being absolutely perfect, getting everything that you want, for the prices that you want and all the details exact, is unlikely. Unless you have a very large budget and a ton of staff to take care of it.

If you are on a limited budget, then spend where it's most important to you. And be OK with the fact that things may not go perfectly. You may have to downsize on certain things, and compromising a little bit. (Side-note; please don't compromise too much. Be certain, to purchase the things that are most important to you. If it's your wedding dress, your venue, your floral, the atmosphere – whatever it is. Invest in it or you will have regrets after everything is said and done). Another thing to be realistic about, is time frames. Give yourself enough time, enough tools to get the jobs done that you need to get done. Often people have great expectations, don't have a realistic idea the work it's going to take and how much it's going to cost. Especially, if you are trying to DIY, it's so important that you are realistic. So be reasonable, realistic and set yourself up for a win!

4. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Planning, is never a bad idea. Planning for different situations, different budget options, worst case scenario's is always a great thing to do.

Planning your ceremony & reception so that things go the way you want them to, it's always a great idea. Most of the things that go well are planned. Organizing the days events, when and where everyone should be at what time to make things go well is a must! I certainly recommend hiring a planner, at least for the day. If you have a friend, who is very organized and can help keep everyone in check and on time, ask them for help! If you are not going to have an official planner, create a wedding day timeline beginning with hair and make up, give yourself plenty of time to get these things done and just have someone execute this timeline.

Plan when you're going to do something and where. For example, if you can bring your decor and wedding supplies the day before to the venue and have them keep it in a room, that will help you. Chances are that you will have plenty of things to gather together and bring as you head to the venue. Getting your items together ahead of time so it's all together, ready to go will save you both time and stress. You don't want to forget things, and if you put them off you most likely will!

5. Be Smart about the actual day!

Try to outsource as much as you can for the day of. The last thing you want is to stress and to be running around like a headless chicken trying to tweak the final touches!

I highly recommend having somebody to oversee the day of. The stress of making sure everything goes well, is not work it. Hand it over to someone else. Not your friends, not your family and definitely not yourself.

The same goes with decorations, if you can get stuff done the day before, that's wonderful but on the day make sure there is someone who can help you with this, or hire out the help. Try to prep and make things easier for whoever is going to be helping with this.

Make sure that your prep is done, and you have done everything that you could for the day, so you can as the bride, relax, enjoy getting your hair done and your make up done and just take some time before you get married.

Closing thoughts

Try to enjoy this process as much as possible. For the things that stress you out the most, hire someone. You can't put a dollar amount on stress, well rather, no stress. Try to get things done ahead of time.

If you have the budget, hire out as much as possible. Especially a planner, who can help you get everything situated, booked and organized.

If you plan to do it yourself, then make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Try to do as much as you can as soon as you can and pace yourself. When you are doing things ahead of time, it will minimize stress leading up to the day and it will help you feel more organized and eliminate forgetfulness with having too much on your plate.

Do what you can, and what you can't do, get help. Whether you hire someone or have a friend do it.

Be realistic with yourself, know that stress will come, frustrations at times, but just roll with it. After all, once the planning is said and done what happens on the day it's just memories, so make sure you are spending your mind and thoughts on the beautiful things happening around you. The love you're celebrating, and the joy you are experiencing with close friends and family and people who love you. Happy Planning!

Love & Bliss


For money saving tips here are some excerpts from my blog On '10 Money saving tips'!

1. Hire a wedding planner. Say what?? Yes. You read right. I know this sounds crazy, pay someone to save money? Absolutely. I cannot count how many times I have seen brides overspend greatly just because they don't know what they need they don't know how to capitalize on what they have. Most brides have several ideas, Liking different styles and wanting to have several different themes for their wedding. Often they don't know what to choose and they find themselves buying, buying and buying more.

Wedding planners have the expertise and know where you should to purchase your wedding decorations, supplies etc. some wedding planners even have decorative items that they could loan you or that come included with packages (like,,,Elena Events). Wedding planners know good vendors and have years of experience working with budget brides. We are not shy about negotiating and haggling with vendors to get you the best deal. We are also aware of the work it takes, the money it takes and can help you navigate the crazy world of decor and planning to make sure you get the most for your money and you know what you need and what you don't need. You might find that hiring a wedding planner will save you from buying too much stuff, being cheated and take a load of stress off of this entire process. Now that is something you can't buy. Enjoying your wedding day is priceless and trusting someone to take care of things is also priceless.

2. Prioritize. This is something I always ask my brides about. I ask, 'what is most important to you about your wedding?'

So what is most important to you about your wedding? Is it the ambiance, the decor, good photography, creative video, the food? Is it the band? Is it making sure that everything goes smoothly and you don't have to stress? (If that's the case, you ) So many brides spend a lot of money on things that are not really important to them and their wedding budget runs out quickly. It's very important for every bride to take the time and think about what really matters to them. So prioritizing your budget is key. It's important that you invest in the things that matter because truly, after everything is said and done you are going to look back and remember what was important to you. It's important to eliminate regrets and you can do this by prioritizing the things that matter to you most.

3. Be smart about your venue. Go with a venue that looks beautiful where you don't have to do so much work to make it pretty. Often those decorative pieces cost a lot more money than a bride anticipates. For example, it's easy to look at something and just say yeah, we can add some Christmas lights, maybe some fabric and drape it, a few chandeliers, easy. However, when you're purchasing fabric it's $15/yard and you need 35 yards of fabric to accomplish what you were wanting and 20 packs of Christmas lights. This is a very vague example, but to make a point that there are so many expenses that you don't anticipate when you're just looking at things in that way. When it comes to decor, there are many things that are easy and inexpensive in theory but can add up very quickly. If you don't have a clear vision and direction I would encourage my brides to go with a prettier venue where you you might spend a little more but you're going to save on the overall budget and decor. If you go with a venue that requires a great deal of work it will not only cost you money but it will cost you so much time and energy.

4. Ask your friends for help. If you have a friend who has skills in a certain area, see if they'll help. Ask people who've already gotten married if you could borrow some of their decorations. If you have crafty friends maybe you can do a girls night and surround yourselves with great music, finger foods and champagne and take that night and create your wedding favors and other craft projects. If you have a friend who has a knack for organization, maybe you can put a timeline together and ask her to be the wedding coordinator or if someone has a knack for decorations maybe they can help. Also, ask friends if they know someone who knows someone that you can get a great deal for their services. If you don't have these options I would highly suggest finding a wedding planner who can become a helpful ally and get you things you need and help you with the things that you find stressful.

5. Date is very important. Off-season, non-Saturday both of these will help you with the cost of venue. Prices tend to be a little lower during off-season. If you're getting married on a Friday or a Sunday you could also negotiate a little bit better with the venue to try to bring the price down. This is very important if you're wanting to save. Don't be afraid to look at different venues and compare pricing Also see what's included within that price and compare. Feel free to go to your desired venue and show them the pricing of another venue and see if they would match it for you! Most venues would rather be booked at a slightly cheaper rate than not booked at all. If this overwhelms you, hire a wedding planner.

6. Be smart with floral seasons. When choosing your flowers make sure that you're in the right season, it will be cheaper and it will help a great deal with the cost of your wedding. For example, I remember ordering hydrangeas in November, during that time the price was very high you're looking at 6–7 dollars per hydrangea. Also consider flowers that are large in size so that they would take up more space and you would need to order less. Be creative with your floral decisions. Also, if you create bouquets using the stems instead of having yourself or florist use the typical floral foam, it takes up more space which means, you use less flowers! Consider using branches and greenery from your yard? Or if you grow flowers, use your own. Anything can help cut cost.

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