Getting Married? The First 3 Wedding Decisions Before Choosing The Date

Getting engaged is an exciting time in a couple's life. Most women have been planning their wedding since they were little girls. The thrill of turning those plans into reality can also be stressful, which is why many couples hire a wedding planner. If you have chosen to do it all on your own, you may wonder where to start. Here's a guide to help you get going.

1. How Much Do You Want To Spend?

The very first step is figuring out your finances. Virtually every decision you make after this will always come back to the wedding budget. Naturally, some couples have more disposable income or will receive financial assistance from their families. Others may be on a tighter budget.

According to a recent survey, couple spent over $33,000 on average for their wedding and honeymoon. That doesn't mean a wedding can't be done for far less, of course. The important thing is to come up with a figure you can actually afford, and both agree on. When financial troubles are a common source of strain in a marriage, you want to be sure you're not going to start married life deeply in debt.

2. Research Venues

Now that you have your budget decided, it's time to research venues. Have a rough idea of how many guests you will be having. You may have an ideal date in mind, but chances are that will have to change. Popular wedding venues are typically booked far in advance, and there's only so many Saturdays during the most popular wedding months.

The venue, along with the food and alcohol, is generally the largest part of the budget. Some venues only allow the food to be catered by them while others allow an off-site catering company. Some venues have all-inclusive packages while others do everything a la carte, with even the table linens being billed separately. Call each venue you are considering and see what dates they have available for a room large enough for your maximum guest list size. 

In addition to availability and price, you will want to ask about catering, the time slot allotted, any decorating restrictions or if the room will be available early to decorate, any restrictions on entertainment, and a list of which things aren't included in the quoted price. Once you have found a couple that would work, schedule an appointment to see the venue in person and go over the details in-depth.

3. Cull Your Guest List

It's natural to want everyone you know to celebrate your special day with you, but unless you have an unlimited budget, it's just not feasible for most couples. Each person you invite is going to up the catering bill, so you want to be sure you each pick the most important people in your lives. A smaller guest list will also enable you to spend more quality time with each of them. With a budget, venue, and finalized guest list in hand, you can start planning for the other fun stuff, like your dress, decor, theme, food, entertainment, cake, honeymoon, and more. 

For more information on choosing wedding locations, contact your local wedding planner.