February 21, 2009

For Stress Free Wedding Planning, Treat It as a Project

Ask most married couples about what lessons were learned while planning their wedding and you'll get an earful of stories about what worked and what did not. Mostly what you'll find could be summarized into a list of things to watch out for. But what if we could ensure that the wedding experience was great without any costly mistakes?

The trick is to approach your wedding as a process. A project or process that has a clear start and end and to schedule out all the project tasks with deadlines. If you never managed a project before - fear not. Here are the tips for planning your wedding day.

Start by beginning your wedding and reception preparation as early as you can. And while some of the wedding planner software is very cool, all you really need is an inexpensive monthly planner that you can put note paper in. An ample purse or tote that you carry with you at all times is a good idea as well. That way you can place the monthly planner and pictures or other visual items in it and have them with you at all times.

Next, calculate how much you can afford. Most weddings these days run over $25,000. A good rule of thumb is that a traditional wedding with a formal meal, drinks and music at the reception, you will spend at least $125 per attendee. Of course there are methods to reduce that number by half or more. For now, start with setting your budget. Then you'll work out the rest later.
Having set what you'll spend you now need to set a date. The funny thing is that the date will be determined primarily by where you get married (e.g. the church's availability) and where you hold your reception. You'll need to check the availability of each place and since the reception hall (if they also provide the food and drink) will be the biggest impact on your budget, you can see why you needed to set the budget up front. In no case book a reception (with food and drink) that will end up being more than half of your wedding budget.

Keep to your plan. This is harder than it sounds. You'll be tempted with every purchase to outspend the budgeted amount but you need to approach this with firm resolve. Keep an open mind and you'll be surprised at how much you can save and still have the wedding of your dreams.

Don't forget the fun factor. Yes weddings can be stressful but if you have the plan done up in advance and don't spend more than you can afford, you'll be amazed at how much more relaxed and in control you are as compared to the thousands of 'bridezillas' who have gone before you.

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