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The Secret to Stress Free Wedding Planning

Every extravagant event requires exceptional amounts of coordination. We understand the stress that all brides face when considering their upcoming event, with so many guests, decorations, and outfits to decide on. It’s easy to become overwhelmed throughout the process, forgetting about the most important aspect of this journey - enjoying every second of it. 



Luckily for you, the internet provides dozens of methods and programs for smoother wedding coordination and planning, many that are budget-friendly and easily navigable. To make your researching process just a bit easier, we’ve compiled this list of steps and websites to help your scheduling go as smoothly as possible.



Step 1: Budgeting

This first step is crucial in outlining how you’re going to proceed when making decisions about guests, entertainment, and location. Establishing an overall budget, then dividing that into different categories is key to maintaining an organized and affordable wedding day. This also depends heavily on your guest count, which is important to decide on during this time. 



Don’t feel the need to nail down each exact guest, but create a rough estimate or range to set guidelines for how much you’ll need to spend to accommodate a certain number of attendees. Common budget breakdowns are sliced something like this (via Vogue): 

Ceremony

3%

officiant, seating, ceremony music

Venue

40%

location, catering, rentals

Photography

12%

wedding photographer & videographer

Entertainment

10%

reception music (DJ or band), alcohol

Stationery

3%

formal invitations, save the dates

Rings

2%

wedding bands

Attire

9%

bridal gown, black tie attire, wedding shower outfits

Decor

10%

lighting, floral arrangements, etc.

Favors

2%

desserts, custom trinkets, etc.

Cake

2%

custom cake decor, other reception snacks

Transportation

2%

couple's getaway car, transportation to venue(s)

Emergency

5%

in case of hidden charges/unpredictable costs

These estimates are flexible for each bride and their priorities. You can always easily adjust your percentages based on what's most important to you, as it’s not necessary to stick strictly to these preset ranges. If you save in one area, feel free to splurge in another.


Not sure how to keep track of all these expenses? We suggest utilizing a wedding budgeting program. Many keep track of almost everything on this checklist and more, and by keeping the details in line and tracking expenses as they’re incurred, you can ensure nothing falls through the cracks.


The best part? These budgeters are all free of charge, so you don't need to dip into your emergency fund just yet.



This full wedding planning program includes checklists, wedding registries, and a content collector in addition to their budget calculator. But, in terms of budget management, their navigable layout makes it easy for non tech-savvy brides to manage their accounts easily.


Keep track of each category, from preliminary estimates to paid off expenses, never missing a payment with preset reminders. Zola’s software also automatically integrates with their list of vendors, making the research process easier and less arduous on you. Create your free account now!



The Knot’s wedding binder and planner is also fully inclusive, incorporating all the necessary aspects of event planning through a highly visual and organized software. The budgeter specifically includes useful equations, cost-cutting ideas, and a comprehensive list of any wedding expenses so you can write down the estimated and actual costs. 


This is particularly useful for preliminary ideas, allowing you to compare your original prices with actuals, making sure each is balanced (if you go over in one category, make sure to save with the other). Read more about the Knot wedding planner here.



This tracker is particularly useful for monitoring your costs and analyzing the breakdown of your wedding spread.


Pie charts and sections for vendor details make it easy to do both a general glance-over and look more closely at specifics.


Their software also makes it easy to seamlessly manage RSVPs and update your guest list, alongside creating a flexible seating chart from your list of confirmed attendees. 


This program is also unique through how it allows you to schedule payments, reducing necessary stress by automating future transactions, so you can focus on one thing at a time. Sign up now online, free of charge.


Step 2: Creating a Wedding Planning Timeline

Now the real planning process begins: when you take your ideas and start bringing them to life. We’re sure you’ve already set a date and know approximately how long you have till your wedding day, so this process is more about splitting up your time as efficiently as possible.


The steps we’ve mentioned in this guide are very preliminary, setting the baseline for how you’ll proceed in the next few months. Next up, however, are the many details you might need to consider. Here are a few different timelines to guide you along - depending on how fast you have until your big day.


Twelve Months Out:


Six Months Out:


Three Months Out:

These aren't necessarily comprehensive schedules, as we're sure you have a lot more on your plate. But hopefully, these suggestions can help you get an idea for when you'll need to make certain reservations or consider a few details you might've forgotten.


Step 3: Prioritizing and Finding Inspiration

Diving straight into the details of your wedding might seem intimidating at first, so it's important to establish your priorities initially.


It’s fun to browse for inspiration on Pinterest, but you also have to acknowledge that those luxurious ideas might not all be achievable within your budget. 


Nail down a few deal breakers for your wedding - whether that be a flower arch you’ve always dreamed of having in your ceremony photos or a champagne tower to start off your reception.


Be careful to not get carried away with all the glamorous wedding trends, that's something we all fall victim to. This process is about balancing expectations with reality. 


Once you’ve decided on these factors, you can start looking into the nitty gritty of ordering, planning, and pricing. Including these in your budget early on is what ensures they’ll happen - without disrupting the other expenses of your event.


Step 4: Start Contacting Suitable Vendors, Photographers, and Venues

A lot of high-quality services get booked months in advance, so you’ll want to get ahead of this step. Organizing the nitty-gritty with your groom and your wedding party is undoubtedly simpler when big things for the day have already been established, like location, so make this a priority. 



Looking for Southern Florida/Miami wedding venue suggestions? Check out this blog post for venues at every price point, or this blog post for some wedding photographers we love. All dresses pictured are custom made and fitted in the Miami based Hanna Gotz Studio, with the highly flexible customization process fitting into any of the timelines mentioned in step two - click here to learn more now!


We hope you're feeling a little more prepared as you embark on this complicated process and keep some of these tips in mind when you're starting to get overwhelmed by all the considerations. If you're looking for some other bride tips, make sure to check out the Bride Guide for other useful articles or our Pinterest for some wedding day inspiration.

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