A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget

Bride's Guide to Wedding Budget

When you first get engaged, it’s all about the beautiful dress, the hunt for the perfect venue and deciding on your wedding party. The last thing you want to do is have to think about a budget. Unfortunately your budget is an important part of the wedding planning process. That’s why I created A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget!

A wedding budget will ensure that you’re spending wisely and that you and your fiancé don’t need to have any awkward conversations about money later on. Plus, the more you can save, the more money you’ll have for an amazing honeymoon. 

Many brides also tend to think that creating a budget means you’re never going to be able to have the wedding of your dreams. The truth is, having a budget forces you to think out the box, get more creative and stay on track at the same time. This is something that every couple is thankful for after their big day. 

A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Budget

Below are a few tips that you can use to stay on track financially as you create the budget for your wedding.

Bride's Guide to Wedding Budget

Chat about the details

Before you can start putting a budget together, you and your fiancé will need to chat about your vision for the day. Start making a note of all the expenses that you know you’ll need to factor in based on the type of wedding you’re looking to create. This includes everything from the cake and outfits to your transport and the venue. 

Once you have everything in a spreadsheet you can start deciding who is going to pay for what. Remember to include any contributions that your parents might be making too. Now that you know what your budget is, tick off the items that are a priority and mark the items that might need to take a backseat or be removed completely. Make sure that you use this spreadsheet to keep track of all of your expenses so that you can stick to your budget.  

Speak up

As you start researching and enquiring with various venues and vendors, chat to them about your budget and what options they have that would fit in with what you can afford. Ask as many questions as you need to so that you’re not signing up for something that might come with added expenses later on.

Work with a buffer

Working with a buffer is one of the best ways for you to stay on track.  Try and work with a buffer of at least 5% so that you still have some budget leftover for any last minute expenses and splurges. For example, if your wedding budget is $50 000, work on a budget of $47 500. 

Pay sooner rather than later

The sooner you can start paying venues and vendors, the better. Knowing that expenses are already taken care of can really relieve some of the planning pressure. Remember to use your spreadsheet to keep track of all payments that you’ve already made so that you know how much you’re still able to spend. 

Cash in on credit card rewards

Before you start making payments towards your wedding, try and find out about any credit card reward offers that you might be able to take advantage of. Many credit card companies offer clients points that can be exchanged for cash or vacation miles, something that will really come in handy when planning your honeymoon. 

I love getting 2% cash back on my Discover Card!! CLICK HERE to become a Discover Cardmember and get a $50 Statement Credit when you make your first purchase within three months. Then, earn rewards with every purchase after that.

Wedding Planning Checklist

Wedding Planning and COVID-19

Old Union Baptist Church Wedding

We are in this together!

So much has changed so quickly in our wold and nation in the last week. Wedding planning and COVID-19 has produced so many questions and uncertainty as we are encouraged not to gather in groups of 10 or more and to practice social distancing.

The world as we know it has changed. And spring weddings have been impacted. I have been on the phone with several brides this week rescheduling all the March, April and early May weddings I had booked. My heart breaks for every couple who is faced with postponing the big event they have been planning and looking forward to for so long!

Our Biblical Response to COVID-19

While our church and ministry have suspended all larger gatherings in cooperation with government requests, we are continuing to observe our Biblical Response to COVID-19 by checking on our neighbors and meeting needs as we are able. This will not change.

Staying Informed

As so much false information circulates on social media, it has become more important than ever to stay informed through reliable sources. We are keeping up with Fox News and the Mississippi State Department of Health for reliable information as the virus progresses.

Wedding Planning and COVID-19

As we navigate this together, I wanted to share a few tips:

Communicate with your wedding vendors

Communication is KEY as plans are changing rapidly! If you need to adjust your plans, or even reschedule all together, it is important to maintain clear communication with all of your wedding vendors. Make sure your vendors send you contract addendums to confirm and clarify all changes.

Communicate with your wedding guests

Do you have a wedding website? FaceBook Group? Or email list? If not, then now is the time to set it up. You can create a FREE Wedding Website using one of the beautiful templates on Minted. This is a great way to keep wedding guests up to date on your changing plans.

Offer virtual attendance to your guests

Do your new wedding plans include keeping your upcoming wedding date, but having a small family only ceremony? Include your guest via the web! FaceBook Live and YouTube Live are two options to provide guests a way to attend your wedding virtually!

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

As we enter uncharted territory, my encouragement to each of us is to pray without ceasing. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Do not allow fear or worry to dominate your thoughts and decisions! Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Download our free Psalm 91 NLT printable to post in your home and declare over yourself, your family and community! Let’s pray without ceasing and see this virus defeated in Jesus’ Name!

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Top Tips for Planning Your Reception Tables

Disney Inspired Wedding at Old Waverly

Your reception tables will play a big role in the overall atmosphere of your wedding day. There are various shapes and sizes for you to choose from, each option adding a unique touch to your reception area. The shape and size that you choose will depend on your specific wedding style and the space that you’ve chosen to have your reception in. 

Here are the options that you have available to you. 

Square or Rectangle Tables

These shapes are best for events that are taking place in unconventional areas such as under a tent or on a lawn and are a great way to create borders in your reception area. This doesn’t mean that you need to line them up perfectly either. Square or rectangle tables can be placed at different angles to create a unique look and feel. If you will be using this table shape, be sure to use an even number of chairs and quality linens to soften any edges. 

Round Tables

Round tables are used most often for events because they work in just about any space. If you do want to make things more interesting though, try using a few tables of different sizes. Beautiful chairs, cutlery, linens, and flowers can really bring these classic tables to life. 

Banquet Tables.

Since banquet tables are longer, they generally work well in larger reception areas. Banquet tables work well when organized in U or L shapes but you could also place them in rows.  Using décor of different heights and sizes helps break these larger tables up; candle holders and vases being some examples. Use runners of different textures or square plates to add some character to the tables. 

Remember that while you need to choose the right table for your unique space, the tables act as a base for your reception area and can be used to create any style and atmosphere you want on your wedding day. 

3 Types of Photo Shoots Every Bride Should Know About

When it comes to wedding photography there is more to consider than just your wedding day photos. There are other wedding photo sessions you will want to consider that can help take a lot of stress away on the wedding day. You’ll be nervous and focused on looking your best. Having to make sure you are always photo ready can just add to the anxiety. Here are three additional photo sessions you may want to consider.

1. Engagement Session

Some couples may consider skipping the engagement session but this is a great opportunity to work with your photographer prior to your wedding. An engagement session is a great way for you to become more relaxed while working with your photographer. Plus, you will get a lot of great images that you can use for save the dates, thank you cards, guest book, gifts and much more.

Building a relationship with my couples during their engagement session is so important, that all my Meridith Lee Brides and Grooms receive a complementary engagement session when they book me to capture their wedding day!

2. Pre-Wedding Bridal Session

This is not one many brides think about, but it can be highly beneficial. A pre-wedding bridal session is more of a dress rehearsal for the bride. You get to see how all the accessories and details of your bridal attire work together before the big day, which means you have some time to change what you might not like and even notice alterations that need to be made. This can be a huge stress relief because on the wedding day you will not be anxious about looking picture perfect or making sure all the little details are captured since you know you already have a wide range of stunning images of you in your dress.

A Bridal Session is also a great opportunity to have

3. Day After Session

Day after sessions were a huge trend a few years back where brides would let loose in the wedding dressing, it was referred to as the ‘trash the dress’ session. A day after session can serve as a great way to have a little more fun in your wedding attire without the constant worry that if it gets a little dirty your wedding day will be ruined. These sessions are also ideal for those who have unfavorable weather on their wedding day or for those who schedule an evening wedding.

5 Reasons Why Every Bride Needs a Wedding Planner

Wedding Planner, Mississippi Wedding Planner, Jackson

Your wedding day is naturally one of the most special days of your life. It consists of all of the little (and big) things that represent your love as a couple, a day for all of your friends and loved ones to enjoy and one that you’ll remember forever. There are so many aspects that you need to focus on in order to bring it all together, which is why this can also be such a stressful period for brides.

Hiring a wedding planner can make this joyful time a little easier on your nerves. Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a professional planner: 

  1. You’ve never done this before

Chances are you and your fiancé haven’t planned a wedding before. Even if you have, there are always new and exciting trends, venues, and vendors popping up so it’s never the same. Some brides feel that they can plan their own weddings because they’ve helped a sister or best friend plan theirs, but planning your own wedding is completely different. A professional wedding planner is the best person to guide you through this intricate process.

  1. The stress is getting to you

Planning a wedding is harder than it looks and if you are already losing sleep over your massive to-do list, hiring a wedding planner can really make the entire process much more manageable and enjoyable for you. You should be excited about your big day, not stressed and tearful.

  1. You’re unsure about the costs involved

If you’re in the process of putting a budget together and would like some more guidance on what to expect based on your unique preferences, a wedding planner can be your guide. A professional wedding planner can offer you great insights on industry norms and trends and what you can expect. They can also really help you stick to your budget.

  1. You need a push start

A wedding planner can help you get the ball rolling so that you can start making all the important decisions. They’ll help bring your vision together and put you in touch with vendors and suppliers who can help bring your day to life.

  1. You’re under the impression that your photographer will help with the planning

Yes, a photographer can give you some guidance on the timeline, but your photographer will be busy capturing all the details and will not be able to fully assist you with any other coordination or wedding planning. Your photographer will be able to tell you what time to start getting ready and how much time they will need for family shots but they won’t be able to assist with the clearing of the reception hall for décor shots, bustling your dress before you walk into the reception, or making sure that the men’s boutonnieres are pinned on properly. This is where a wedding planner comes in. A wedding planner is there to make sure that your photographer can do his or her job on the day of the wedding.

Why You Should Consider Having A “First Look”

Wedding First Look Bride Groom

The first look is a highly popular addition to many weddings day timelines. The first look or sneak peek is the moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. No guests, no distractions. It is a very special moment that the bride and groom share that the photographer(s) capture with little to no interruptions.

Unlike the traditional reveal of the bride walking down the aisle as being the time when the couple sees each other, the first look is a more intimate moment shared between just the bride and groom. You can actually look into each other’s eyes, which only makes the moment more genuine. The bride isn’t worried about not tripping as she walks down the aisle. The groom isn’t trying to hold it together in front of all their guest. It is a moment when the two of you can really take everything in and savor the moment of seeing each other just before you say “I do”

The first look captures the initial reaction of the bride and groom and allows the two to act naturally when seeing each other for the first time. You can cry, laugh, hug, kiss and just simply be in the moment without having all your guests around. This not only yields beautiful one of a kind images but will also leave you with some spare time to capture a few more Bride and Groom images just after this tender moment.

The first look is ideal because you both will be looking your best. Your hair and makeup is still perfectly in place and gives you time to do any touch-ups before the ceremony. Including a first look in your timeline also allows the photographers the opportunity to focus on capturing the reactions of some of the guests as the bride makes her way down the aisle during the ceremony, which is often missed because the focus is usually on the bride and groom’s expression and reactions to one another. Finally, the first look is one of the best ways to eliminate wedding day jitters. Since you already have the emotional part of seeing each other for the first time earlier in the day, you are more relaxed and calm walking down the aisle and saying your vows.