There’s so much to do before the big ‘I Do!’ Once you’ve chosen those big ticket items, like the venue and photographer, getting the rest of the details in order tends to fall into place. But what about before? Knowing just where to start is where most get stuck, so here are the 3 “D’s” to consider before booking the big vendors…
1) The Date
Most weddings take between six months to a year to plan, so it’s important to give yourself and your fiancee some time to get everything together. Many venues don’t even take reservations before a year out and the same is true for ordering a wedding dress– it can take up to six months or more. Case and point, wedding planning takes time. If you know you want a Spring wedding, with plenty of florals and a light palette, but your beau popped the question in late January, it’ll be a tight squeeze to get hitched right away.
It’s also important to consider what time of year will work best for your dream wedding based on your region. Weather is a very important factor in deciding if you want a Winter Wonderland or Spring Fling. If you know you want a Mountain backdrop, for example, it’s best to check weather warnings before putting down a deposit on what will be a snow bank.
Finally, you should consider if there’s a very special date that means a lot to you and your soon-be-spouse. Maybe it’s your dating anniversary that you’d love to use as your wedding date or perhaps your first date. What better way to start your new lives together than to celebrate when your relationship began! Whatever your hopes for the timing of the big day, remember that choosing a date is the first step.
2) The Dress
You might think it is counter-intuitive to get the dress before the venue, but believe me when I say the dress dictates more than you can imagine! As I said, dresses can take up to six months or more to order, not to mention tailoring. If you have always dreamed of that big, beautiful ball gown that makes you look and feel like a princess, remember that they take up quite a bit of space– you’ll need a spacious aisle (and a large bathroom stall!)
Remember too that wedding gowns are HOT, figuratively and literally. Layers upon layers of gorgeous lace or satin will make you sweat, so before you book your venue, you’ll want to check that it’s cool enough for you to enjoy your prince charming and all your guests. Let’s say you want a gorgeous slimming sheath-style dress; if you’ve already booked a cathedral, you might seem a bit underwhelming in the space, not to mention cold.
The dress also dictates the veil, accessories, and shoes. If you need a gorgeous heel, your beach wedding with have to be sans the sand. If you know you need to wear your grandmother’s necklace, you’ll have to pick a dress that showcases it. Choose the dress that makes you feel like a goddess and pick then pick the space that can accommodate and compliment your magnificent frame.
3) The Design
The design of your wedding includes the atmosphere you hope to create along with any family traditions you know you want to participate in. The best way to choose a design or theme for your wedding is to choose three specific adjectives that you want to describe your wedding day. Your words might be ‘Fun, Whimsical, and Classy’ but these words are too broad; they won’t help you choose the vendors that will bring your dream wedding to life. Be specific. One great example of a set of design words is “Woodsy, quaint, and simple” which helps you choose a color palette, venue, the number of guests, and the style of your details.
Choosing a design also means deciding on what family or religious traditions you want in your wedding. If you want a Bahamian Junkanoo band to play at your wedding, you’ll need a space that will accommodate it. If you plan on having a traditional Orthodox wedding, you’ll need a church that will suit your vision.
Similarly, if you only want a small number of friends and family, you’ll want to create a design for your wedding that makes the ceremony and reception feel cozy, but comfortable, without looking empty. Or if you plan on a larger guest list you will need to make sure the venue can accommodate for parking, seating, and feeding your desired guest list. At The Orchard, we have venues for all guest list sizes. Our Arbor and Pavilion is perfect for under 75 guests while our Reception Hall can host up to 400 guests.
Knowing your wedding budget and your guest size is the most important part of the design of your wedding. Once you’ve chosen the type of atmosphere you want to create and any special traditions that are essential to your big day, you’re ready to go shopping for vendors.
The date, dress, and design are all you need before booking the big ticket items, like the photographer and venue. Now that you know where to start, enjoy the journey!
For more wedding planning tips and help on staying organized check out Wedding Wire’s Wedding Checklists!