1) Set a budget and stick to it
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and get carried away with your spending. A planner’s less emotional approach leaves less room for letting extras chip away at your wedding fund, but planning your own wedding is a whirlwind of emotion. Your best weapon: set a realistic budget and hold yourself to it. Remember there are hundreds of ways (and at least as many websites and idea boards online) to achieve everything you envision if you’re willing to get creative and be a little flexible.
2) Define your priorities.
The truth is you’re going to encounter some curveballs while planning your big day. A venue will get booked out from under you or a photographer’s bid will come in significantly higher than you anticipated. Working with your fiance to define what matters most can help you make adjustments to overcome whatever obstacles you encounter. If the venue is your biggest priority, maybe another date will work. If the photography is the piece of your wedding day that you’ll treasure most, know that you’ll need to trim in other places.
3) Make yourself accountable to deadlines.
The timeline may just sound like a fancy way to say “to-do list,” and in some ways that’s true. But a timeline carries an important distinction: the recognition of when not just what must be done. Create your timeline with every major planning category (transportation, cake, etc.) and every step and corresponding deadline (research limo companies, secure bids from limo companies, book limo, confirm limo reservation, etc.)
4) Expect exceptional service.
Wedding planners have experience vetting and weeding out subpar vendors, and while you may not have the luxury of practice on your side, you can still set the bar high. A friendly but professional approach will take you far, as will an organized and decisive mindset. Avoid growing too chummy, but conversely, avoid bringing out bridezilla-like demands. Layout your expectations determine whether the vendor can adequately meet or exceed them, listen to your instincts, and solicit references to verify your impressions.
5 ) Set your inner OCD free.
Planning a wedding is the perfect time to indulge any obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Create a binder to keep track of all your wedding planning. It’s a great place to store photos and magazine pages of looks you like so you can share them with vendors, but it’s also the spot where you can accumulate all of your contracts, receipts, contact information, and other documentation. When a guest or vendor calls with a question, you can put your hands on the information you need in mere minutes, keeping stress at a minimum all around.