Congratulations! It's a new year, and you're engaged, could there be anything more exciting?!
I know the temptation to rush out and choose every vendor for your day is real. Instead, consider relaxing just a beat and make a few key decisions first.
1. Do you need full wedding coordination or just month-of or day-of?
If you need full planning, this is a crucial first hire. Your planner will be your go-to resource on pretty much everything, and it only makes sense to share your vision and then trust them to help you make that a reality.
If wedding planning is an untapped passion of yours and you only need a little extra help, this can wait until you are a little further along. Consider taking a recommendation from your venue or other professional you have clicked with.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "Well, I thought I wanted a dress like this, but in the end I chose the complete opposite!"
The dress, like the venue, sets the tone for the level of formality and overall feeling of your wedding. Knowing its fabric and cut will help inform other details as to the shape and size of your bridal bouquet.
4. Your next most important item: flowers ;)
Almost everyone works within a budget whether it is 10k or 500k. It is important to order the priority of flowers, music, photographer, make-up, catering, cigar bar etc. and how each item fits within your budget constraints. Once you have decided which one is the most important, start there and continue to choose professionals in decending order.
Hint: When you come to the least important item on your list, do not tell the person you are meeting with that you don't like (fill in the blank). If you do, you are pretty much guaranteeing a higher than average proposal. No one wants to work for someone who doesn't appreciate their craft.
So, you've read this far and are now asking, "Ashley, this is all fine but you haven't told me when I should book!"
To make it a little easier, I will tell you my experience.
Booking a year in advance was the trend for a long time and most of my 2018 brides have been booked for close to that amount of time. The advantage of this is the security of having everything in place and paying your deposit well in advance helps to manage the rest of your cash flow.
When you book this far ahead, however, it is completely understood that you may change your mind about everything from color to flower choice to number of bridesmaids. That is ok! If you have decided to make major changes, you should check back in about two months prior to your date.
If possible, have your florist join you on your walkthrough so you can be in the space together and make sure all of the details are covered.
Booking five to seven months in advance was the average amount of time for my 2017 brides and this was great too. When there is less time between choosing a florist and the actual date, it is easier to make confident decisions.
Two weeks was the shortest amount of advance time I have been hired to design a wedding. If you wait until two weeks out, make sure you have a plan and are ready to sign and book as soon as you get a proposal. All speciality flowers must be ordered at least 2 weeks prior.
I know flowers can feel overwhelming, and for the majority of you, this is the first time that you have ever learned the names of anemone, clematis or dusty miller. Totally fine! If you can find a few good images of bouquets you love and a few photos of arrangements you hate, your florist should have no problem taking it from there.
What I look for in my brides is that they trust me to make artful selections that result in the wedding flowers of their dreams. Nothing makes me happier than to hear, "I wasn't excited about my flowers until talking to you and now it is one of the things I am most excited about." Better yet,"Thank you so much, you have so far exceeded my expectations, I couldn't imagine my flowers would be this beautiful." True statements from real brides and what keeps me passionate about weddings and coming back for more!
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