A few months ago, one of my brides emailed me this question: "I've booked my venue, photographer, and wedding coordinator. What else can I do to plan my wedding a year and a half in advance?" After clapping my hands with glee, I replied with a couple of ideas. If you are planning your wedding far in advance, first of all, lucky you. You are way more likely to book with your first choice venue and vendors. Here are 5 things you can do to plan early on:
1. Keep a file. Clip favourite ideas from magazines, copy ideas from the internet, and keep them all together in a folder (or computer folder). Every few months, go through your folder and get rid of the pictures that you know you will not need. Over time you will distinguish what elements you would like to add into your wedding. Purchase a wedding planning book or organizer if you plan to.
2. Keep track of receipts. Create an excel document and use it to track your estimated costs, final costs, deposits, and next payments. Play around with your budget a bit. If photography is really important to you but you can grow your own flowers, take some funds from the floral budget and put it into photography. Establish your budget early in planning and stick to it - you'll be happy that you did!
3. Plan the music. Just a few decisions you will need to make for music include songs you want played for the: processional, recessional, special ceremony music, walking into the reception, cake cutting and first dance. When your organist/DJ asks you for a list of songs, it's so easy to draw a blank and forget some of your favourites. Keep track of favourite songs as you hear them on the radio.
4. Hunt for deals. You've got time to check out websites like www.recycleyourwedding.com for great prices, and wait for sales at bridal shops.
5. Book some vendors. If you know you would like a certain venue, the earlier you book the better. Photographers and officiants can also book up really early. If you plan to work with a wedding coordinator, the earlier you start the more help they will be able to provide.