13 Wedding Planner Tips You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner
Say “I do” to a no-drama, on-budget marriage with the help of this expert advice.
1. You’re Going to Blow Your Budget—Unless You Stick to a Plan
Any wedding planner will tell you, budget expectations rarely match reality. While a 2014 BMO poll found that most newly engaged Canadian couples initially plan to spend an average of $15,000 on their nuptials, a 2015 survey by Weddingbells found the average total came out to a whopping $30,000. To avoid pitfalls, base your budget on quotes and scrap expensive items you can live without.
2. The Biggest Budget Busters Aren’t What You Think
The largest unexpected costs? Bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Though it’s customary for bridesmaids to cover the cost, many brides pick up part of the tab, especially on an overnight getaway. To reduce costs, stay close to home and keep it simple.
3. Learn to Love Friday
Saturday evening weddings in June are the most popular, and consequently often the priciest. Friday evenings are a good alternative, giving your guests the whole weekend to recover.
4. The Cardinal Rule of Wedding Budgeting: Prioritize
5. Don’t Forget What Happens After the Party
One of the most common mistakes in wedding planning is forgetting about clean-up, says Seifert. Unless it’s included in your venue contract, picking up post-party is your job. “At the end of the night, your feet will hurt, your friends will be drunk, and most of your guests will have left,” Seifert says. Plan ahead, or risk being hit with a cleaning fee.
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6. The Case for Hiring a Wedding Planner
They’re not just for big fancy events! They’ll keep you on schedule and stay until the end to make sure the party wraps up smoothly. A savvy wedding planner might also be able to save you money by suggesting less expensive options than you’d consider on your own.
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7. Make It a Family Affair
For better or for worse, family members will weigh in on your wedding planning decisions. Keep the peace with good communication. “The wedding industry sells the fallacy that it’s all about the couple, but there’s always at least one family member whose point of view matters,” says Seifert. “Have an honest conversation with your partner about who those people are.”
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8. Manage the Meddlers
As for all other well-meaning interferers, keep them out of your hair by delegating small tasks, such as picking up flowers or corralling family members for photos.
9. Be Easy with Your Blooms
Don’t get too attached to certain flowers. What’s affordable around your wedding date is just a guesstimate by your florist. Choose colours and silhouettes instead.
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10. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Better Price
Almost all wedding fees are, up to a point, negotiable, says Seifert. “But don’t start your relationship to vendors off on the wrong foot by lowballing,” she says. “There’s a vendor for every price range; it’s just a matter of finding them.”
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11. How to Say No to the Junior Set
A no-kids policy is within your rights—it’s your day, after all—but give parents a one-on-one explanation of your reasons before invitations go out (and don’t mention the munchkins’ unruly behaviour). Better yet, book a group babysitter and give your parent friends a night off.
12. Destination Wedding? Do Your Homework
A common misconception about destination weddings is that food and drink will be free if you book at an all-inclusive resort. “Private events always cost extra,” says Jennifer Borgh, a Canadian wedding planner based in Jamaica. “If you book at an off-site venue, you’ll get more personalization and won’t be subject to a curfew.”
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13. Don’t Forget About Transportation
Be an ethical host—provide shuttle buses to and from your venue so that no one is tempted to drink and drive. Alternatively, have a stream of taxis waiting at the end of the reception.
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