Grab a notebook and pen and lets get started!
1. If you haven't already- start saving! Define a practical budget.
This is always one of the first of many conversations I have with my clients in regards to their wedding and their budget. Whether you are coming to New Orleans or hosting in your backyard, weddings cost money. This doesn't seem like much fun to anyone I know, but it must be done and it must be done in the beginning. When working with my clients, a budget conversation up front helps us avoid contracting and dreaming up ideas that are too far out of reach. Speak to each set of parents and get a clear outline of who is willing to graciously contribute to the wedding fund and agree on an amount that works all around.
2. Have a little fun
You've (probably) been waiting for this day for some time now. Take some time to daydream about the type of wedding you want. Make notes of what pops into your head when you envision yourself marrying your better half. My advice to my clients who are just starting out is to close your eyes and imagine your wedding day. When you think of that day, are you on a beach somewhere? Are you second-lining down Royal street? Enjoy this special time of being engaged and dig deep to find the things that most inspire you as a couple. I promise, these little notes will come in handy when we are creating your one of a kind event.
3. Settle on location and time of year.
Once you've had a little fun exploring all the possibilities, decide on a location that your event will take place. It is always best to go in with an open mind about dates unless you have your heart set on a special month and date. When you begin venue research, I advise to have a handful of dates and/or time of year that work best for you and your families. At Belle Soiree, most of are clients are destination weddings and begin planning anywhere from a year to 15 months out. Settling on a location will help you lock down some other details such as when and who.
4. Create your guest list
The next step is probably one of the most important steps second to creating the budget. Based off of your budget, you will need to create a guest list that fits into your cost per person allowance. When you work with a planner, they should be able to give you some insight on what you can afford per person. My advice to my clients is invite what you can afford. The more guest you have, the higher your budget should be. The lower your budget, the lower your guest count should be. Think of it this way- you will need to feed every single one of these guest- so try to only invite who you really can't imagine spending the day without. Speak to both sets of parents and obtain a guest list wish list from them. You can refine later once the expectations of the event are outlined.
5. Start researching venues and hire a planner!
Chances are, you've already beat me to this one. If you haven't already, start looking at venues that your location offers. Decide if you prefer your ceremony and reception in the same location or two separate venues. Here in New Orleans, there are many locations available online and also some that are semi secret and hard to come by. About 50% of my clients have their venue booked when signing on Belle Soiree. We can help you locate and contract that perfect venue or we can pick up where you left off after signing on the dotted line. Either way, hiring Belle Soiree or another planner in your city is the next step and the best investment you will make while wedding planning. Contact us to find out more information on choosing Belle Soiree as your New Orleans wedding planner.