Wedding Planning: Step Number 1

Hey guys! Welcome to groom to groom! If you didn’t already know, my name is Zachary and I am the second half of this photography duo. Shelby & I are getting married on August 31st of this year (2019!) After experiencing the wedding planning process, I thought I would touch on a few topics that seem to come up pretty often for us guys.

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing (when I have time, which seems like never..) to you guys. The grooms.

So from one groom to another, cheers to getting engaged, and to surviving the wedding planning process. It’s really not that bad (in fact I loved it), and trust me, the wedding and marriage are worth it.

For my first groom to groom, I thought I would talk about finances. Yup the snoring stuff. Whoops, that was supposed to be boring, (I’m an awful typer), but snoring works even better.

Why do I want to talk about finances? Well, it’s the number one reason you will fight during the planning process. What else is there to really fight about? You probably won’t be fighting over white or ivory linens.. 

 

Whether you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding together, or your parents are helping out, you will come to a disagreement about finances at some point in the planning process, with someone.

How can you avoid this? Set a budget.

This is so important. Find out how much you can afford, how much parents are helping with, and put a limit on the costs. If you don’t, you will easily over spend. By a lot. It all adds up so quickly, so budget before you even book a venue, if you can.

Once you have figured out how much you have for your wedding budget, you need to break that down into categories. Venue, Photographer, DJ, Catering, Rentals, Attire, Video, etc.

Our first recommendation to all of our couples is to come up with a guest list at the beginning. It is hard to look for a venue when you don’t know how many guests will be in attendance. When we first started planning, we thought 75 people would be our max amount because we wanted a smaller intimate wedding. Guess what? We were really cutting back on our guest list to get it down to 120. Yup, you don’t realize how many people are in your circle until you write it down. You also need to cake into consideration your parents friends. Give them a limit (unless they pay for the entire wedding), of how many guests they can invite and add those to your guest list. 

Once you have a guest count, figure out the look you want. Beach, mansion, barn, mountain views, etc. Then start searching for venues that hold the amount of guests you want in that style. Soon you will see how much you need to budget just for your venue and catering for that many guests.

After you find your dream venue, find the next most important thing on your list that you want to budget for. For many of our clients, that’s photography. Some even pick photography over venue! Figure out what style of photography you like, light and airy, classic, dark and moody, etc. and find a few photographers with that style. From there, meet with each photographer, and find someone you connect with. Make sure you love them, not just the photos. Then budget yourself for your photographer.

After you have picked your top three categories and budgeted for them, see what’s left and decide what is a priority and what is not. To us, we wanted nice invitations, florals, a great DJ, and an amazing caterer. We skipped out on a formal seated dinner and did an amazing brunch to save money. We skipped the Photo Booth. We made all of our favors from scratch. We skipped the limo and uplighting from our DJ. We did splurge on photo and video since those are the only things you have after the big day (besides your spouse!). 

Once you have everything budgeted, then you can start booking your top two to three categories.

Trust me, budgeting at the beginning will make a huge difference down the road. In the wedding industry, many vendors ask for a deposit up front and then you pay the rest around 30 days out from the big day. If you do not budget for everything, when that 30 day mark hits and all your payments are due, you will struggle to pay them and cause stress right before the wedding.

If something comes up that you want to get, but does not fit in the budget, then you know you need to do some overtime at work to cover the cost, and you won’t run into an issue down the road.

One more tip, we recommend paying all of your vendors with a credit card. That does not mean charge your wedding until you rack up a huge debt!

Sometimes things go wrong. Venues burn down, caterers and dress stores close shop, photographers move away and don’t reply to their couples (yes we had a couple come to us after this happened, and they did not get a refund from that other photographer!!) Protect yourself by paying with a credit card and READ the contracts!

Go grab a glass of bourbon and sit down for a couple of hours with your fiancé and set your budget. Deal with the disagreements about allocating your budget now while it is all new and fresh. You won’t want to do it later, and it will be too late by the time you do get around to it. This is the hard part. No really, this is it. It’s all fun from here! Soon you will be picking suit colors, deciding on music, tasting your food, and off to your bachelor party! Before you know it you will be toasting to your new spouse!

Cheers,

Zachary

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