Check this off your wedding to-do list
You have found the person you want to spend your life with – this person loves and respects you and you are best friends and partners. Check. What could be more important?
You decided to tie the knot because it will strengthen your bond. What a good idea. Marriage has many benefits, not the least of which is prolonging one’s life. Hey, that’s just science. So you’re planning a wedding. Check.
Now comes the work, and a checklist can really help keep you on track. I’m talking about the ‘let’s seriously get this done’ check list. There’s a lot to think about and more decisions to be made than your ever imagined. Many couples have told me that planning a wedding was much more difficult than they ever imagined. But when that big day comes, its all going to be worth it…. isn’t it? Well that depends. Because remember, it really is just one day in your life. The ‘big day.’ Even I use that term sometimes. That’s a lot of pressure. Can you can keep your sense of perspective? Try checking that one off your list.
One of the biggest decisions is, of course, the budget. How do you decide how much can you spend? How much can you afford and how far are you willing to stretch your finances. But whether $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000, ultimately you have to figure out what matters the most. The venue, food, photographer, music, clothing and of course don’t forget the value of a good officiant! But like any other purchase – a beautiful pair of shoes can cost $50 or $250 – the choice is yours.
The average amount spent on an American wedding is $26,000. There are expenses you may not think of that quickly add up, such as table arrangements, hair and makeup, favors and gifts, a rehearsal dinner, transportation. Even details like dress alternations, postage for those oversize invitations, all keep stretching your budget more and more.
Then there is the question of who to invite? How big is this thing becoming? Decide this early in the planning process, and try not to let family members pressure you about it.
Lots of websites will tell you what to expect to pay for various services. Don’t trust them! Put your money towards the things that matter most to you. People who chose me are clear that they value a meaningful ceremony and are willing to pay a more for that. That is one of their priorities.
Keeping it small is another option. Inviting only those very closest to you, and then treating them and yourselves to the very best is another way to go. I have officiated fabulous weddings for two, or with 12, 25 or 50 guests. They were all great! A small wedding can be very charming and allow you to splurge here and there, or simply just keep it simple. The money saved can go towards something major in your life.
The process of planning a wedding can be a nightmare, or it can actually be enjoyable. If you can afford a wedding planner (and it is a great investment) it will make things go much more smoothly. If you choose a venue that has great service, that too, will make a big difference. When assessing the value of a venue that provides all the details remember that you are paying for those little extras plus all the time that goes into them. Your time is valuable, too. If you think you are saving money by doing-it-yourself, you may be mistaken. And trying to do it all is not a good idea.
Whatever you ultimately decide when facing these choices, remember that first item on your checklist – finding the love of your life – and it will help keep the crazy in check.
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for the gorgeous photos.