Wedding Budget Checklist

Engagement season is over and that means there are a lot of brides out there getting started on their wedding plans. One of the first things you should do after getting engaged is find out what your budget is. This will determine how many people you can invite, the venue and the vendors. To keep you on track view The Budget breakdown for guidelines on how to split up your budget. You can use the spreadsheet below to help visualize the expenses on the horizon.
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Wedding Planning Checklist – An infographic by the team at Aussie Wedding Loans

What is your photography style?

Before you go for your search for the perfect photographer make sure you know what you are looking for. Its important to know what type of photos you want and the kind of photography you plan to have at your wedding. Each photographer has their strengths and their own personal style.  Make sure your style matches theirs. Don’t hesitate to communicate that before you decide on one. Not sure what style is right for you? Here are the basic styles of photography.

Traditional Photography

This type of photography is what you would normally have seen in your parents or grandparents wedding photos. It’s very formal and it’s also what most people are comfortable with.  In most situations the photographer will arrange and pose you for a majority of the photos.

Contemporary Photography

This is similar to a traditional approach but allows for a more informal and relaxed feel. Think walking down a bridge or lounging in a field.

Documentary Style

This type of photography is growing in popularity. It has a more hands off approach than more traditional photography and allows the photographer to simply document the day and focus more on candid shots than posed.  One great thing is that you never know what you will get. Its all about capturing the look, feel and emotion of the day. Keep in mind any particular formal shots you do want. If your mom is set on a family photo let the photographer know that will need to be arranged before the big day.

Artistic Style

This type of photography can be either hands on or hands off from the photographer depending on their style of work.  One thing to keep in mind is that you may get more artistic photos you may also lack the more formal traditional group shots of family and friends.

No matter what style is right for you knowing what you like can help you pick a photographer who has the experience and the talent to give you the photos you will cherish for the rest of your life.

5 Tips to Cut Your Guest List

Ah the dreaded guest list. Creating the guest list is by far one of the most stressful things you will do when planning your wedding. There are lots of feelings involved in deciding who will be there to witness one of life’s major milestones.  Once you get to this point follow these 5 tips.

1. Budget & Venue

When looking at your guest list first determine what is important to you and the groom. If your budget is non negotiable decide if you would prefer to have a more casual wedding in order to accommodate more guests. Think about  how many people your venue will hold.  If the church holds less than the reception site think about inviting a smaller amount to the wedding and a larger amount to the reception.  Once you factor in these variables you can decide how many people you can reasonably have on your list.

2. Bride/Groom Ratio

Decide if the guest list will be split 50/50 or 60/40 depending on large families or mutual friends. This will help you decide how many each family can invite and give you a solid number for your future mother-in-law or your own parents in order to keep the list reasonable. Don’t forget to factor in your numbers as well to save room for your important guests, it is after all your wedding!

3. Cut by Category

Put each guest in a categorize such as A, B or C . Those in category A are absolutely invited. Those in category B will more than likely be invited, category C are a maybe and so forth. You can be more granular if you want it’s all about helping you pin point who should and shouldn’t be on the list. Once you have your list created start by count out the A’s to make sure your wedding budget and venue can handle the amount of people who without a doubt need to be invited,  continue on down until you have to start make touch decisions. Some people who may not make the cut? Maybe you decide to cut out co-workers or young kids.  The choice is completely up to you and your family, your wedding venue and what your wedding can afford.

4.  Focus on the Present

Don’t feel obligated to invite people from the past that you no longer stay in touch with. Just because you were invited to their wedding 5 years ago does not mean your relationship is the same as it was 5 years ago. Focus on those who are part of your present life and know you as a couple. If your wedding budget and list permits start adding those people who played an important role in your past that you would like their not just feel obligated to invite.

5. Stick to Your List

Once you have some boundaries created make sure to stick to them. If non-couples guests can’t bring a date, or young children are not allowed, try not to make exceptions in order to keep from offending loved ones.  It makes it easier also when someone asks you can let them know the guidelines you and your fiance have created. It makes it easier when everyone sticks to the guidelines that everyone has agreed to.

This should be a first step to cutting down your guest list. Of course there will always be some tough decisions but just try to focus on what the day is really about. It’s about celebrating your love for one another with those you care the most about and support you the most.

10 Questions to Ask Your Photographer Infographic

Picking your photographer is a hard choice. Unless you have loads of friends that have gotten married recently who have similar taste giving you suggestions it can be difficult to locate top photographers in your price range. So if you are choosing people within your region and your not sure how to determine the winner start with asking these 10 questions.

Source

Honeymoon Registry?

There are tons of reasons to consider a honeymoon registry especially if you are already established in your home and  don’t have a long registry list. You can always accept cash as a gift most people like to give a more personal gift, creating a honeymoon registry allows people to give you cash but with the peace of mind that its going towards something fun.

If you do decide to do a honeymoon registry there is still  etiquette to conciser.  Follow these rules for your honeymoon registry and you will be all set.

1. Don’t advertise your registry on your invitations. It is never a good idea to include registry information in your invitations. Most people now days include them in shower invitations or send information word of mouth.

2. Create a wedding website. A wedding website is the best way to get all your wedding information easily accessible to all your guests. In here you can include information about your wedding, directions and also registry information.

3.  Let your guests know why. Its not uncommon for brides and grooms to create cash registries. As the average age of a bride’s age increases you find that they need less and less. Most brides have already been out on their own. Let your guests know that you just don’t have a need for a new set of knives so instead offer them an opportunity to pay for a fun trip or excursion.

4. Have a range of prices. Just like a regular registry you want to include a range of prices in your honeymoon registry. Some people can only afford a $25 gift or you have others who will want to pay for a $200 excursion. Give them options, trust me they will appreciate it. 

5. Thanks yous. DON’T FORGET to write thank you card.  Cash should be appreciated and recognized just like any other gift so don’t forget to recognize those gifts just like you would a new set of pots.

You can find tons of honeymoon registries online but here are my favorite.

Most popular honeymoon location spots have registry options for instance Carnival and Sandals offer registry options where you can pay for excursions or spa packages.

The Budget Breakdown

So your wedding budget is $10,000, $20,000 or maybe $30,000.  Doesn’t matter what your budget is, if you don’t have a plan for sticking to you budget having one really wont do anything but make you realize you have gone significantly over and there is no turning back. So how do you stay within your budget? Follow these guidelines when selecting and talking with your vendors, when making plans for your locations, and when deciding what is important to you.

Your wedding budget breakdown should follow into these percentages.

Favors 1%
Transportation 2%
Cake 2%
Ceremony Location 2%
Ceremony Music 2%
Invitations and Save-the-Dates 2%
Hair & Make-up 2%
Groom’s Formal wear 3%
Reception Music 4%
Videographer 5%
Dress 5%
Rehearsal Dinner 6%
Flowers 6%
Photographer 8%
Wedding Rings 8%
Reception 42%

As you can see a majority of your money will be going towards the reception. This includes food, location and drinks. When making plans make sure a majority goes in this direction. What is great about having a budget set is that it allows you to prioritize what is important to you. Lets say your budget is $20,000 and having a videographer is just not something that is important to you. That frees up $1,000 that you can spend elsewhere. Maybe it will allow for you to get those a little too expensive shoes that match just perfectly with your dress or perhaps now you can have a live band instead of a DJ. Its up to you but at least now you know where you can take that money from and focus it on the areas that will make your wedding more you.

Wedding Dates to Avoid

Picking a date can be a stressful event. There are so  many thing to consider, your cousins graduation party, your great aunts 90th birthday celebration, your dads golf schedule. Who knows what obstacles you personally have to be considering when picking a wedding date. Don’t let holidays, religious events and conventions escape your mind when tackling this task.  Here are some dates to try to avoid.

Holidays – Try to avoid planning a wedding right before a holiday Monday off since a lot of people will already have plans.


Martin Luther King Day
January 16,2012 & January 21, 2013

Presidents Day
February 20, 2012 & February 18, 2013

Memorial Day
May 28th, 2012 & May 27, 2013

Independence Day
July 4th

Columbus Day
October 8, 2012 & October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving
November 22, 2012 & November 23, 2013

New Year’s Eve – although this is now becoming a popular wedding date.

Religious Events – You may offend some people by having your wedding on or to close to these important religious holidays.

Palm Sunday
April 1, 2012 & March 24, 2013

Easter Sunday
April 8th, 2012 & March 31, 2013

Rosh Hashanah
September 17, 2012 & September 4, 2013

Yom Kippur
September 26, 2012 & September 14, 2013

Hanakkah
December 10, 2012 & November 27, 2013

Christmas
December 25 2012 & 2013

Kwanzaa
December 26 – January 1, 2012 & 2013

Additional Events to Consider – These events may not be religious holidays but they will definitely impact your big day.

Valentines Day – This can cost you a good chunk of your budget if you try to do floral arrangements on valentines day.

April Fools Day – This may make the perfect sense for you and your fiance but if you aren’t into jokes and pranks maybe consider another day.

Mother & Fathers Day – Most people have traditional plans for these days and may not appreciate your day falling into the mix.

Halloween – I have seen plenty of TV shows where people intentionally want to have a themed wedding that is fun and unique. But if you aren’t going to have a Halloween themed party I would keep in mind that this is another day where people may have traditional plans.

Super Bowl Sunday – Plan for a lot of distractions from your wedding from a majority of men and women if you choose this day.

March Madness – If you have a lot of sports fans on your guest list I would also steer clear of this Month.

Events in the area – Check your cities calendar for any big events in the area that might make it difficult for your guests to get rooms or park.

Keep these dates in mind before your date in stone  it will help keep you from headaches later.

Not All Registries Are Created Equal

That’s right not all registries are created equal. Many registries now offer incentives to register with them. Take a look at the registries below that provide benefits to not only you but also your guest.

1. Bed, Bath & Beyond -

  • Free gifts for registering for select brands
  • 10% off everything left on your registry
  • Guests can use 20% off coupons to purchase your gift

2. Kohls -

  • Free announcement cards that include a 15% off discount
  • 15% off everything left on your registry

3. Macy’s -

  • Bonus gifts for registering for certain brands
  • Automatically added to the Macy’s reward program that gives you point (cash) for every gift that is purchased on your registry.

4. GiftRegistry360 -

  • Combine all your registry items into one simple list
  • Register for items at stores that don’t have registries

5.  eRegistry.com -

  • Guest purchase WishCards which can be used as cash
  • 30% off purchases in their online mall

6.  Give Artfully -

  • Register for all hand made unique artwork
  • 5% of proceeds are donated to the non-profit of your choice

7. The Man Registry-

  • Let your guy be part of the registry experience
  • Provides Groom 101 articles and vendor lists

8. JC Penny-

  • Free Engagement Portraits
  • Free Shipping for your guests
  • 10% off everything left on your registry

9.  William – Sonoma-

  • In-store guidance
  • 10% off completion discount

10. Wishpot.com

  • Get notified when an item goes on sale
  • Allows your guests to contribute to a large gift together

Hopefully these gave your some ideas for making the most out of your registry, now go have fun!

You’re engaged! Now what?

Well first off let me congratulate you! This is going to be one of the most exciting times of your life. Your engaged and you want to shout it from the rooftop and then you realize how much you have to do and you think to yourself  “what do I even do first?”.

Here are the top 5 things to do first.

1. Spread the News- Tell your friends and close relatives the big news preferably in person or over the phone. One of the biggest taboos is letting close loved ones find out via Facebook or other social media channels. I know your excited but this is big news, share it the right way.

2. Discuss Your Budget – Not just what YOU want your budget to be but what you and your family can realistically afford. The average wedding is now costing $26,000. So before you start making any plans make sure that you have your budget bracket selected. This will help you make the right choices for vendors.

3. Get a Manicure – Everyone is going to be wanting to see that ring and you will also want to be showing it off. So why not give make sure the rest of your hand wont be a distraction from your new bling.

4. Pick a Date & A Place – Selecting a date as well as where you are going to get married and where you will be having your reception is something you want to get started on right away. Trust me it will only get easier from here.  By now you should already have your budget set so it will guide you into deciding what location is right for you and your wallet.

5. Guest List – It doesn’t have to be set in stone but you should have a rough estimate of how many guests you want to invite. You may have a set number in your head but once you start adding up all the distant relatives, college friends and your parents acquaintances the list can expand before you know it.  So take some time to sit down with both of your families to draw up the guest list. If your dream wedding location only fits 100 people and your guest list is over 200 you may have to rethink your location or cut your list.

That’s it. The top 5 things you need to do first. Once you have this list completed you can rest a little easier and really get started on making your wedding a reality. Happy planning!