It’s actually two things, and I’ll tell you why. When planning a wedding, the first two things you need to spend money on are the following:
- Put down a deposit on a reception venue
- Secure your ceremony location.
Can that seem daunting? Yes. Does it have to be? Absolutely not. By this time, you should have a general idea of a timeline (see my previous post on the first five things you need to do) and decided a general idea of where in the world you would like to get married. You also have a budget in mind….. So start looking.
Truth be told, I relied heavily on online reviews and my experience when I called the location (I highly recommend this approach – get someone on the phone for an initial conversation – if it proves difficult, that might be a warning sign. If you can’t even get someone to answer your initial questions up front, imagine when you have more in depth questions closer to your big day).
By deciding these two things up front, it allows you choose vendors with a close proximity to your location (you don’t want your florist driving a million miles with your flowers in the back of his van). It also will determine what type of vendors you will need. For instance, some reception venues only use in-house catering, some are strict about only using their pastry chef. By choosing a reception venue and ceremony location up front, it will help dictate which direction you need to go with the rest of your planning process.
And don’t be afraid to ask those questions when you call. Ask them what types of things they provide in-house, and what you will be responsible for providing on your own. Tip: My reception venue required me to have my own day-of wedding planner, even though they also provided their own coordinator. Stuff like that comes up and it is so much better to be aware of that at the very beginning because this will add cost and more time to find additional vendors.
As far as the ceremony location for us, it was important that it be close to the reception venue since many of our guests were coming from out of town. I did not want them having to navigate a bunch of different spread out places. We also chose a Friday date, which shaved $1,000 off at the very beginning. We chose a Friday because we were targeting August and I wanted an evening ceremony. That Saturday was booked, so that Friday it was. It can save you money if you are okay being flexible. All of our guests were totally fine with a Friday because that meant only one day of missed work, but a long weekend to enjoy California.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some fun ideas for an engagement party!