|VIA STELLA MARRS|
Research the costs. Cost of Wedding (http://www.costofwedding.com/) has several tools that allow you to research the actual costs of a wedding in your area and help you set a realistic budget. Of all the wedding budgeting sites out there, this one comes closest to the budget that we prepare for our clients. Fun fact: The average wedding in the DC Metro Area costs between $30-$50K; however, most couples spend between $10-$20K.
Manage expectations. Sit down with all the power players (the people footing the bill) to determine your must-haves, nice-to-haves and needs to come up with a figure and a plan that works for everyone. Manage expectations right from the start for a smoother, more joyous process and no simmering bad blood long after your wedding day is over. I can't express this enough. See real life example here.
Avoid ‘guesstimating’ the guest list. Create your guest list before you start looking at wedding and reception sites. Too often couples book venues that are too small or too large for their wedding. Feeling cramped or feeling lost in a large space puts a damper on the festivities.
Start dreaming. Create a virtual pin board, Pinterest is the most popular, and visit the blogs – Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, One Hundred Layer Cake, One Wed and many more. Just try to resist copying every wedding idea that you pin. Try to focus on the things that are truly an expression of your style and taste.
Hire a planner. Most wedding planners offer a Getting Started or Hourly Consultation service. It is a great opportunity to assess the benefits of a planner before committing to one. A planner’s worth is usually undervalued even though the time and stress we save clients is priceless.