A Plan for Planning

Planning for a wedding during the time of uncertainty is undoubtedly more difficult, but days march on, and so must you!

Use this sheltered time to your advantage. Here are a few tips for you to start planning today.

Studies show 90% of planning is mostly done online. Regardless of what others say, it’s very common for most couples to start planning from anywhere between 12-15 months before the wedding day. The top 3 starters are finding a venue, a photographer, and the most important; saying “yes to the dress.”

There are multitudes of wedding websites and apps to assist you in EVERY aspect of the planning process. This is the time of “discovery” so let your fingers, and your imagination, go wild!

While you’re at home it’s also a great time to create your “wedding book!” You’ve seen those brides who carry around a big notebook (usually glittery) stuffed with papers, cards, and photos. (The ones you always make fun of…) well, those couples have the advantage because it is difficult to start from scratch and you will inevitably alter some of your ideas once, or thrice, along the way. Cost, availability, and logic are often to blame for these changes.

It’s also an excellent time to create a wedding websitePinterest page, and to start following your favorite vendors on social media. For example, @peterochoa_brideguy on Instagram, one of the most influential, if I say so myself. You’ll find close to 500 photos of real weddings & receptions hosted at The Bryan Museum!

See what other couples are doing and formulate what your “Dream Day” looks like. Use this time to get creative and to research all things “wedding” you didn’t have time to before.

A wonderful place to start is with The Knot.com. It is considered the “bible” of weddings. They offer an expansive website & app and there’s also the Knot magazine for us “old schoolers”.

Other apps I like:

  • Manage my Wedding
  • Wedding Appy
  • Wedding Spot
  • Wedding Countdown (must check this out!)

When you’re free to roam the earth again then I highly recommend attending as many bridal shows & open houses as you can. That is the absolute BEST way to choose a vendor and pick up great ideas. You can chat with them one on one and see their work in person. It’s the IDEAL opportunity to taste test caterers as well. We usually have no less than 5 diverse caterers at our biannual bridal shows. It saves you time and your taste buds will help you make this difficult decision, usually right on the spot! The same goes for florists, photographers, and décor companies.

If you feel you are still too busy to plan your dream wedding, then you might want to consider a Wedding Planner. That term can evoke both fear and elation at the same time. The question is usually, “can I afford one” or “what exactly will they do”. The answer is surprising, “you often can” and they will do “whatever you want!”

If you think you’d like to hire one, then research, research, research! The best way to find a suitable planner is via a personal recommendation, word of mouth, or first-hand knowledge. Imagine how you would go about finding a family doctor or realtor, it has to be the right fit. I highly encourage visiting their websites and reading their Google reviews. Once you’ve narrowed it down don’t be afraid to “interview” them. This person may become an integral part of your wedding and whether they are with you from the start or are a day-of coordinator, you should feel a connection. You must trust them and feel confident they are going to help you execute your vision. I would look to see if you could cut a little out of the budget in another area if possible, as a good wedding planner can be worth their weight in gold! Their focus should be to plan, execute, and keep your day stress free. But remember, as, with ALL vendors, they work for YOU. Also keep in mind respect is a two-way street.

The last piece of advice I’ll offer is to develop a realistic budget (next week’s Wedding Wednesday forum) and stick to it. It’s NEVER too early to start planning.

Trust me – more planning now – less stress later!

Stay well,
Peter Ochoa
Director of Events for The Bryan Museum