Planning a wedding may feel like walking a budget tightrope. Even the most low-key celebrations involve an overwhelming number of details, and the costs can add up quickly.
Chelsea Steffek, owner of iLove Wedding & Event Design in Austin, offers five important tips to help make your wedding plans run smoothly:
1. Decide how much you want to spend. Everything stems from the budget, Steffek says. Call prospective vendors to discuss your needs and their rates. Some vendors also have pricing posted on their websites. Once you decide what you want, create a spreadsheet to keep track of costs and deposits.
2. Get out the calendar. Figure out booking deadlines and when various tasks should be completed. For example, Steffek suggests you mail save-the-date cards four to six months before the wedding. Vendors also require that deposits be paid at various intervals. Maintaining a calendar, whether on paper or online, will help you keep everything straight and on schedule.
3. Select and book the primary vendors first. These include the wedding and reception venues, caterer and photographer. Many places and service providers need to be booked nine to 12 months in advance, Steffek warns. The wedding venue in particular "is one of the first things to go pretty quickly," she adds.
4. Stay organized. Collect all your wedding information, including samples, ideas, contracts and receipts in one place. Consider creating a binder with separate tabs you can carry around. "It may be packed, but you'll have everything in one spot," Steffek says.
5. Keep your expectations in check. It's easy to let your expectations get out of control, especially with websites like Pinterest® showcasing all the amazing things you can have at your ceremony, Steffek says. Stay on track by determining your budget and sticking with it.