(Closed) Oh my… Where do I start

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1663 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013



I am still early in the process, but here’s how we approached it:


– start with a guest list, since that dictates space.  Include whether you want to invite single people with a guest, or alone.


– Think about what kind of wedding you want.  Day, evening, formal, casual, dinner, apps, alcohol?  Dancing?


– Determine your budget. What do you want to spend?  What can you afford to spend?  


– Start researching venues.  Are they doable with your vision and your budget?  Tools that helped me research venues were WeddingWire, Google, and area-specific websites (ie, I looked up “western NY wedding venue”).  And word of mouth!  Talk to people you know.


Hope this helps!!

 ETA:  If you want a good read, I highly recommend A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene.  


Post # 4
1963 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I never dreamed of my wedding either!  They are crazy complicated though.  First of all, I would focus on the main things (which will help shape/ fill out your budget.)

How much are you willing to spend without going into debt?  Is there a number that makes you feel ill?  Do you feel less ill when you take into consideration rings, photography, etc.- physical things that last beyong one day (I’m talking beyond the marriage!)

Is there a time of year that would work best for you (i.e. over the summer if you’re a teacher/ student, maybe during seasonally slow periods at work?)

How many people will you invite? (this will help determine locations for the ceremony/ reception)

Will the ceremony be religious or not?

This is a good time to talk values/ wants/ needs with your SO.

A GREAT resource for me was the book “A Practical Wedding.”  It’s the only book I didn’t feel was shoving the Wedding Industrial Complex down my throat!  One of the main sanity-saving ideas in the book is picking three things you really want/ like and focusing mostly on those.  For me, it has been photography, the dress, and having enough yummy food for everyone.

Good luck!  Planning can make anyone crazy!

Post # 5
1963 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Almost Mrs.P:  That book is amazing!  After I submitted my post above, I LOL’d at your response!  So much good advice and written in such a down to earth manner!

Post # 6
1172 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

@LetsGoFaster:  If your like me your starting to get overwhelmed and it isnt fun anymore. I decided on an all inclusive venue. Its where they do everything you just have to choose colors and show up. LOL it really is making it easy for me. That being said. Determine a budget and then start calling vendors and getting prices. I recommend calling at least three vendors per each thing. Like photographers, caterers, etc etc.

This will give you a ball park figure of what pricing will be like. Also determine if you want a laid back ceremony, a formal ceremony, or intimate ceremony.

My Fiance said I could have a princess wedding and he would pay for it however Im not going to because I dont want to spend that kind of money. So we are going with a smaller event. 40 people max.

Also there are also discount places that can really help with your budget. I would suggest places locally. Also check the boards for decor that other brides are selling.

There are tons of options. First thing I did was buy bride books. I sat down with Fiance and we narrowed it down to three choices, then we chose colors and went from there. Good luck and congrats on your impending wedding.

Post # 7
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Welcome and congratulations!!

A lot depends on your location and personal preferences, but I would say that in general budgeting $100/head is a good rule of thumb for a minimum figure no matter the size of your wedding. Unless you do an afternoon cake-and-punch style reception it’s very difficult to come in significantly under that. So I’d start by drawing up as complete a guest list as you can, batting around some numbers with your Fiance to think about what seems reasonable to spend (relative to your income, savings goals, etc.) and going from there (i.e., do you want a more lavish wedding with fewer guests, or a larger wedding on a tighter budget?).

Reception costs are going to be your biggest expense. This includes venue, food/catering, rentals (tables, chairs, tents, stemware, etc.), alcohol, vendor tips, etc. Figure that the reception represents 45-75% of your total cost (depending on what you can negotiate for, what elements are most important to you, etc.) and will more or less dictate how much you can spend on other items (photography, flowers, dress/tux, dj, etc.). So once you’ve set an overall budget, get started on finding a venue you like and can afford and just go from there.

Good luck and have fun!

Post # 10
11273 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@LetsGoFaster:  congratulations!! how exciting!!

to be honest, i’d start with figuring out your estimated budget first along with what day/month you are considering.  then guest list and wedding party.  then research venue, food, photographers, flowers, dress, etc.  at this point then go back to see if your budget is reasonable based on your wants vs needs.

check out wedding magazines, online site, etc for ideas for dresses, decor and the look you want.  there are some great planners and budget spreadsheets online that are useful.  i like this one b/c it seems to have everything you need broken down:


good luck and have fun!!

Post # 11
1274 posts
Bumble bee

Congrats! 🙂

I felt really overwhelmed in the beginning too once I started looking online and emailing a couple of venues for prices. I pretty much had a mini heart attack at what some places charged per person. Eventually, my heart stopped racing and we decided on a somewhat all-inclusive venue (hall, all food, cake, bar, decor,all linens/plates etc were covered, and a dj).  

So my advice is: 

I want to ditto the previous posters and say first thing is to hash out a guest list. Even if it is tentative, it’s a good idea of how much of everything you will need. Which leads to…building a budget. If it is 30 -50 people great! Intimate weddings are awesome. Fiance and I first thought “Oh yeah, it’ll only be like 50 – 60 people tops” then we talked to our parents and sat down and wrote a list and oh my, it’s now at 110 with another list of 15 or so that we’d like to invite and are still considering to bump onto the list. LOL. 

Second, go on pinterest. Seriously. Yes it is overwhelming at first too, but be specific with searches, outdoor wedding, or if pink is your favourite colour, then pink wedding decor. Most of the ideas I like the most about planning came from the most random search. 

Talk to others that have gotten married where you live or think you may want to get married. Check out the venue websites. Echoing a PP, a rule of thumb is get info and quotes from 3 at least and narrow it down from there. We did this with a photographer as well and other vendors. 

Don’t be afraid to ask how much or what is your cheapest season. And be serious with your fiance about how much you can afford. No one wants to attend a lavish wedding when they know the bride and groom will be eating kraft dinner for the next 6 months to a year afterwards. 😉 

Post # 12
827 posts
Busy bee

I have no idea what I’m doing either, so I think we’re just going to elope and have my parents host a luncheon in our honor.

Of course, I still have to handle finding attire, an officiant, a photographer, a florist, etc…so I’m just sort of winging it.  I pity my future vendors lol.  

So yeah, I don’t have much advice for you, but just know that you’re not alone in feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing! 

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