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When you are planning one of the biggest days of your life, you want every detail to be perfect. It can easily feel like the biggest errand you have ever had. Having wedding planner essentials at the ready will be your chore for the next few months, or even longer if you have given yourself a long timeline. Enter the world of wedding planner secrets. You’ll take every kernel of information you can get your hands on to make this day a day you will remember with joy for a lifetime. Use this guide in the process and tap into the top 8 secrets to planning the wedding of the century.

Establish a Lengthy Timeline

Planning a wedding takes time, and not just because you have a lot to do. You must deal with availability dates, shipments, and the time it takes to do the things you will do manually. You also have a lot of celebrations to fit into one, including bridal parties and showers, engagement fiestas, and parties for the groom and his attendants as well. Give yourself a lot of time.

The more time you have to prepare, the easier the task will feel. You’ll also have more options when it comes to vendors, venues, and what kind of attire the bride and groom will wear. Many brides undergo multiple fittings to get the dress they want. When you buy a dress, you try on a sample and the dress you wind up with will often be ordered in.

At the same time, you may find your date changes when you learn what is available and what isn’t. Choose your venue before you solidify the dates and send out the official invites or save the dates. Time is one of the key wedding planner essentials when you are creating the biggest day in your life.

Stick to a Realistic Budget

Budget is a key talking point in every conversation you’ll have about wedding planning. It won’t matter how big or small your budget is. That is because everything costs money, and the subject comes up with every item that you plan. A realistic budget is one that you know you can stick to, and accommodates your key wedding planner essentials.

Decide early with your partner what you will and will not spend a lot on. For example, you may want custom wedding rings, and valet service in Fiji. Not everybody can have both. It is more realistic to spend the money on an item you will have forever. While memories last a lifetime, your wedding rings will be something you can look at and hold for life. Most jewelry stores can help you to customize your wedding jewelry within your budget.

Keep a slush fund outside of your wedding budget so that you don’t have to worry about last-minute expenses. You may have to purchase something the day of to replace something that didn’t arrive, broke, or isn’t what you expected. You may also have a lot of last-minute expenses like tipping or transportation for unforeseen wedding mishaps.

Plan for the unexpected with a slush fund of approximately 10 to 15 percent of your wedding budget. If you don’t need it, you’ll have extra money for your honeymoon, or the down payment on your next big life expenditure.

Pick a Wedding Theme and Run With It

Choosing colors is a nice idea when you are planning your wedding. In addition to selecting the perfect hues, create a theme around that. It becomes much easier to find wedding planner essentials when you have a theme.

Going unique is key to every couple’s perfect wedding. You want your day to be a statement of who you are. Themes like Western themes, romantic themes, period dramas, and more, are all fun ways to make your wedding your own. You can knock off a few items on your wedding list by finding the right Western clothing store or party store that can customize your wedding theme to your needs.

A theme makes planning simpler for every element of your wedding to-do list. When planning the big day, and the events like the bachelorettes or bachelor parties, items like custom t shirts will make the day more special. These become easier with a theme in mind and can be very affordable when ordered well in advance.

Before you book anything for your wedding, use social media and boards like Instagram or Pinterest to come up with your theme. Pick the theme that makes you feel happy. That joy will spread through every element of your wedding planning.

Be Flexible With Your Venue

The venue or location of your ceremony and reception will be the biggest thing that everybody talks about after they have attended your wedding day. But it doesn’t matter what they think. It only matters what you and your beloved feel most joyous doing when you are getting married. Be flexible here, and make it about you.

The more flexible you are with your wedding venue, the more options you will have as well. This doesn’t have to be the traditional hotel and church event. It can all happen in a barn if you’re doing a western theme, or a park if flowers and animals are the things that brought the two of you together. On-site weddings are now a trend in wedding planning.

These weddings involve a venue where you don’t have a kitchen on-site, but everything is brought to the venue. A caterer is hired instead of a hotel with food and dishes. Or, you and your family can cook it all if a traditional family-style event is on your mind. Florists can help with wedding planner essentials, they just need a location to bring your décor to.

Outdoor weddings are getting more and more popular, and affordable. An outdoor venue with a fancy porta potty can be integrated into elegant, or casual, outdoor dining for you and your guests. Visit all of the places that make you feel good about your wedding day, and then, with your partner, select the locale that makes both of your hearts sing. Plant a neon sign under a gazebo that says Just Married and it can still be the greatest day of your life if you are happy.

Research Your Vendors

The key to pulling your wedding planner essentials together will be the list of your vendors. You’ll have a few for any wedding because you need to hire people to help you here. From your officiant to your ceremony and reception locations, and every flower or centerpiece in between, research multiple vendors for every major expense.

Do your research on how to research vendors as well. Search for genuine reviews and testimonials that read as authentic to you. These are companies and contractors that you are going to have relationships with for a large time in your life, for a big event in your life. Price is important. But a good connection with them will make this day go even more seamlessly for you.

A good rule of thumb when choosing vendors is to get quotes from at least three different companies or contractors, and then make your pick. You would do this for a major renovation in your home. Your wedding may end up costing the same. Check for fit and connection, but you also want to check for how they communicate to you. When they want to answer every single question you have, even if they have heard it all before, they are telling you they are there for you.

Make Your Social Media Plan Fun

Today’s brides and grooms have so many more options when it comes to communicating their love to their friends and families. Your online presence can become a critical wedding planner essentials. Social media and wedding websites can help you to keep track of so many things while you are planning. You can use social media to your advantage with wedding planning.

A wedding website or blog is a great way for friends and family to see your romantic journey and get to know you and your partner more. So many people come to a wedding and don’t really know the couple that well. You can show them who you are with a beautiful wedding blog that tells the story of you both. This starts a connection with your wedding guests that you will have for a lifetime.

At the same time, it will give you and your wedding party plenty of ways to communicate and keep track of so many details for your wedding. You can include things like maps, directions, guest counters, and even contests for your guests to increase engagement. Make your wedding fun well in advance by increasing your social media profiles as well, and make lifelong friends on the journey as well as on the actual day.

On social media and your wedding website, you can check to see who needs things like pet boarding babysitting, or extras like that during your event. You may also want to post lists of pet-friendly hotels for the guests who don’t want to leave Fluffy at home for your wedding. If you market a salon for a haircut appointment that weekend, you may be able to get a discount for your own salon services.

For every excuse for the no RSVPs, give them a reason to say yes. Wedding websites are great opportunities to get those little details that everybody is too afraid to ask when they get the big invitation.

Prepare Your Team of Volunteers in Advance

Although you’ll both love to have a wedding party that looks pretty in the pictures, that’s not the only reason people have wedding parties. Wedding parties are supposed to be your team of volunteers for your big day. At the same time, Rome was not built in a day, and 10-12 people may not be enough to help you out. Get into recruitment mode early on and give tasks to your friends and family.

The people who love you will be overjoyed to be asked to participate in any element of your day. Even if you are asking them to glue ribbon onto centerpieces that you are making yourself, they will love that you asked. A wedding is a special event, as stressed as you feel now. Add their names to your wedding planner essentials list and assign them tasks and jobs that you just don’t have the time for. They’ll remember the moment for life.

You don’t need to hire professionals for every single element of your wedding. At the same time, you don’t need to do it all yourself either. The people that love you are there to help. Give yourselves the room to enjoy the day by relying on the people who love you the most, when you need it most.

Plan Your DIY Tasks With Laser Focus

When you are planning a wedding, it can be very tempting to get overwhelmed early. This leads you down the path of, “I will just make it when the time comes and it’ll be gorgeous.” You may be Martha Stewart and fully equipped to do it. But she has a team that helps her with prep. Do the same thing.

Most brides and grooms today think DIY projects are wedding planner essentials. It can save on costs, but it can also make the day more creative, inspired, and about you. Be careful with how much DIY you take on, unless you have planned the logistics of every element of that DIY project well in advance. Give yourself time, and budget, for mistakes in the event you have to replace a DIY project with something purchased.

When you are planning a wedding, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed. This guide offers you all the wedding planner essentials that you need that you won’t always find in a book or map online. With every budget, you and your beloved can find the perfect balance between what you need and what you want on your special day. The people that love you are there to help. Give yourselves the room the enjoy the day by relying on the people who love you the most, when you need it most.

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