Newly engaged? Congratulations! There’s much to look forward to and do in the coming months, as you begin planning the details of your big day. Not quite sure where to begin? Here are five tips from The Officer's Club's wedding coordinator to help kick off the wedding planning process with ease.
1. Set a Wedding Budget
Though it may be the least “fun” aspect of planning your nuptials, it certainly sets the tone for all that is to follow. Ultimately, setting a budget creates the opportunity to determine your venue, guest size, catering options – and everything else!
To start, consider drafting up an estimated guest list. After all, the guest list determines a large majority of wedding-associated costs: venue size, food and beverage amounts, seating needs, favors, and more. Though you don’t need a list that’s set in stone quite yet, having a rough estimate of how many attendees you expect will be helpful when budgeting for wedding expenses.
Once you’ve determined the size of your wedding, you can hone in on what feels most comfortable from a spending standpoint. Pro tip: Be sure your designated amount feels extra comfortable. Chances are, you’ll end up spending a bit more here and there, so having some extra flexibility in your budget can be a major stress-saver down the line.
2. Define Your Wedding Guest List
Remember that guest list we recommended drafting up? Here’s where the fine-tuning comes in! We suggest going through your rough draft with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak. It’s likely that you may have forgotten a guest or two, need to add in a plus-one here and there, or you may even end up scratching off a few extra attendees.
While it may seem quite early in the planning process to be defining your guest list, it’s likely going to be one of the first questions potential venues and vendors will be asking. In fact, it can even be the deciding factor between venue options! For instance, a more intimate venue may have a 100-person capacity size, meaning your guest count of 115 won’t quite make the cut.
Not to mention, you’ll want to send out Save The Date cards once your venue and date are finalized, so you can’t go wrong with tackling this step early on.
3. Decide on a Wedding Date
Are you a bride (or groom!) to-be that can hardly wait to walk down the aisle? Or, would you prefer to soak up the engagement stage and take your time planning the big day? Whatever the case, get that potential wedding date - or two - slated on your calendar.
Having an idea of when you’ll want to get married is a necessary step when it comes to determining the availability of your ideal venue – and this is where having a few dates in mind can be extra helpful. Don’t forget: It’s often more cost-effective to hold a wedding on a Friday or weekday, rather than a Saturday. If you’re open to a weekday wedding, your venue will likely have greater availability, too.
Another important factor to consider when deciding on a date is if you envision an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. While some venues (including The Officer’s Club) offer both indoor and outdoor options, others don’t have flexibility in this area. If that’s the case, you’ll certainly want to keep seasons and weather patterns in mind when solidifying this part of the planning process.
4. Select a Wedding Venue
Once you’ve set the budget, created a guest list, and selected your ideal date, you’re able to explore all that wedding venues have to offer.
Wondering where to begin your search? Consider a few important factors: Do you need easy airport accessibility for guests? Would you prefer to have a hotel on-site? Are you hoping for a full-service venue? Do you envision a casual or upscale feel?
While there are many factors to consider when selecting a place to host the big day, these questions can get your search started off on the right foot. Keep these considerations in mind as you begin touring options in-person, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
5. Create Your Wedding Vendor List
From creating a memorable catering experience to including breathtaking floral arrangements, choosing your vendors is truly the icing on the cake (pun intended!) for a magical day.
As you create your ideal list of vendors, you’ll want to pay extra attention to your budget. Are you set on having a photo booth for guests to enjoy? Then you may have to be a bit more conservative on the dessert bar or wedding favors. Having a list in mind of which wedding details are most important to you and your partner will help immensely as you narrow down vendors and pricing options.
As a reminder, choosing a venue that offers catering packages or provides table, chair, and linen rentals can be a major help when it comes to cutting down costs.
Ready to dive into the planning process? We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! And if you’re in search of a flexible, indoor-outdoor wedding venue in the Sacramento area, don’t forget to schedule a private tour of The Officer’s Club, located in beautiful McClellan Park.