You’ve just gotten engaged and are in a headful of bliss, excited about the future and what it brings. But really, you’re more excited about the lovely wedding you’ve been dreaming about for years. Either that or you’re in tears at the insane amount of planning and money required. Regardless, planning out one of the biggest starting financial commitments of your relationship needs to be thought out well. Our new wedding experts, The Wedding Scoop, share some insights with us on what is really important:

Congratulations! You’re deep in the heady bliss of being engaged and it’s time to take some first steps towards planning a beautiful celebration that reflects you as a couple. Following these first guiding steps will help to ensure that you are on the right path and hopefully make your planning a piece of (wedding) cake!

Joseph and Joanne’s Shabby Chic Wedding at Nosh, photo by Ivan Tan Photography.

We’re very lucky to have spoken with Caroline, the expert planner from The Wedding Stylist, who shared some advice about how to get the initial process rolling.

1. Have a vision for the wedding and decide what to prioritize

Caroline: Every bride and/or groom has a vision of how they want their wedding to look or feel like. It may not always be a picture in your head but it could be a feeling. For example, couples have described that they want their wedding to be intimate, relaxed or casual, that they will be able to chat to their friends and enjoy the day with the people that matter most to them. So that is a vision and you can start to piece things together and come up with ideas for the wedding. Or you might have a more specific vision with colors or a theme. Note these ideas down and start researching blogs or websites to get more inspiration for them. Your vision of the wedding will likely play a deciding factor on the venue(s). Once you have that, you can start prioritizing your wedding list of wants and must-haves and figuring out what’s important to you (designer outfits, good food and drink, an experienced photographer and so on).

It may also help to think about aspects of weddings that you don’t want at your wedding and listing those out. For instance, perhaps you’re not that keen on the traditional Chinese bridal fetch/gatecrash or would like to wear just one dress rather than having several outfit changes.}

2. Research vendors and set a realistic budget

Caroline: Start researching vendors based on their reputation (through word-of-mouth, directories, ratings on Facebook, forums), their works (blogs and websites) and their price range. This will help you and possibly your parents and family to set a realistic budget. It is always great to get a recommendation from friends who have used a caterer or a make-up artist, for example, so they can share their experience with you. Once you have narrowed down people you might like to work with, do make an appointment to meet them in person and have a list of questions to ask. It is important to meet your vendors so you get acquainted with them and it will also help you get to know them and their works better. From there, you can select your top choice based on who you feel most comfortable with.

{TWS TIP: Remember to book your venue(s) (ceremony and reception sites) and photographer well in advance. As it gets closer to your wedding date, it will get harder to secure your first-choices as they tend to be booked a year or more ahead.}

Caroline: The million dollar question is really about the budget. How much does an average wedding cost and how much more above this cost can you spend to customize the wedding and make it truly yours? A realistic budget is something that you can afford at the time of engaging the wedding vendors, and not something you think you will be able to afford by including what you may receive from any pows and such. You should always spend within your means.

Lincoln and Calista’s Sumptuous Wedding at Mandarin Oriental, photo by Yu Hsin, Tinydot Photography.

3. Select possible dates

Caroline: You need to know which date(s) you are holding your wedding on before checking the availability of venues and vendors.

{TWS TIP: Select several possible dates, then check with your venues, officiant, and important guests before finalizing.}

4. Draw up a guest list

Caroline: Who to and not to invite can be a sensitive subject but deciding on the guest list and estimated numbers will help you narrow down venues and also give you an idea of how the wedding will be. For example, intimate or elaborate? Sit down early on with your partner and family members where appropriate to jot down your list.

5. Decide where to marry and what type of venue

Caroline: Are you getting married in Singapore or would you prefer a destination wedding? With the availability of cheap flights around the region, destination celebrations have now become more affordable and accessible! We love venues like Bali and Phuket! Do have an estimated budget before you start hunting.

{TWS TIP: If you’re getting married in Singapore, read our article about top wedding venues HERE or pop over to our Directory for a comprehensive listing of hotels, restaurants, and other venues.}

6. Give notice to Registry of Marriages (ROM) or Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM)

Caroline: This typically needs to be done 3 months before your wedding date.

7. Send Save the Date Cards

Caroline: Save the dates are a great way to gently announce your wedding. These are typically sent to guests 4 – 6 months before the wedding date followed by formal invitations about 2 months before.

8. Get inspired

Caroline: Pictures say a thousand words! We love looking at wedding blogs and websites like The Wedding Scoop, Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink and Martha Stewart Weddings.

{TWS TIP: By signing up for their newsletters or following them on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, you will be able to find inspiration, possible ways to make a wedding unique and create a day that truly reflects you both – classic, whimsical or contemporary, the list goes on!}

Dreamy and Rustic Wedding Picnic Inspiration, photo by Guan Hui, Bloc Memoire Photography.

9. Start a planning folder

Caroline: We recommend getting an old-fashioned clear folder with sleeves so you can cut and put in magazine pages, print photos from the internet, organize them into different categories and bring them when you see vendors to chat about styles and ideas.

{TWS TIP: A planning folder may include key administrative sections such as RSVP list, dietary requirements, vendor quotes & contacts, signed agreements and expenditure to date.}

10. Hire a planner

Caroline: With the busy schedule of today’s couples, a wedding planner can help by organizing the wedding for you. The scope of a planner can vary and it starts with styling the wedding or helping to coordinate the wedding day to working on the wedding from scratch with you. Before hiring a planner, it is important to know why you want to hire a planner and what scope you would like them to partake in. Packages can be customized according to your needs and therefore, it is important to meet a few planners for a chat in order to decide which one suits you the most. It is absolutely important that you both are on the same page regarding expectations and communication is key.

{TWS BONUS STEP: Ask your friends and relatives to be in the wedding party. When choosing a wedding party, choose people who are sporting, committed and are willing to dedicate time and energy to your special day as you will probably come to rely on them a great deal.}

About Caroline
The Wedding Stylist is founded by Caroline Tan-Reed, a masters graduate from the UK. After being a corporate drone for long enough, she decided to finally take the plunge and pursue her passion in wedding planning.

Caroline is a certified wedding planner (Dip WP) with the Institute of Professional Wedding Planners, UK and has experience planning events since 2005. Having lived abroad for more than 7 years, she brings a fresh perspective and unique style to the plate.

Do you have any tips for couples planning for their wedding from your experience? Share them with us here!

source: MoneySmart blog