Your Wedding Vision Plan
You have no doubt created a vision plan or statement at work. Business vision plans, statements or boards serve an important purpose. They keep you grounded while keeping your focus on what a goal, what is most important. Doesn't your wedding day deserve the same focus? Are you worried things will get out of hand or even get completely away from your grasp?
So many brides and Grooms fall victim to a sale, a meaningful friend, and even temporary wedding ADHD.
A vision plan is the answer, my friend! If you are engaged, start one, if you are mid-planning, start one, if you are still dreaming of that special someone, you can still start one! I will lead you step by step in creating your vision plan. Please keep in mind that while Pinterest is very helpful, don't rely on it for your entire vision or you most certainly will go over budget.
Step 1: Find yourself a nice spiral notebook or 3 ring binder with plenty of paper and a few folders. There is no need to go out and purchase one of those over priced wedding planning notebooks. If you like the check lists, download a few of those to include in your book. I used only a few of the pages in my $30 wedding planning book and lived with my spiral notebook.
Step 2: Have a good old fashioned brainstorming session with your fiancé and talk about you expectations, your wants and dreams for your perfect day. Listen to each other and start writing down the ideas you come up with. Start narrowing down your list to the things you both agree on and have a special section for "Must haves" that you will need to discuss further. Discussing themes, size, locations and timing are the most important to discuss if you are just beginning your plans as everything will flow from these items. Make a final list with the most important items in order of importance and keep it front and center of your notebook. This is your vision.
Step 3: Find inspiration. Now is your chance to bring out that Pinterest board or start looking at the many fabulous ideas. Just keep in mind, as you look at ideas online, that these are other couples' big days. You will want your own unique day and not a carbon copy of a wedding from 1, 3 or even 7 years ago! Be sure that the ideas you are searching fall inline with your vision. Don't search a barn wedding when your vision is the trendy downtown hotel. Remember that the pictures are ideas for you to branch off from. When you find pictures or ideas that fall into your theme or vision, don't hesitate to print them off and put them in your notebook. As you visit your vendors, you will have a concrete way to describe what feel or look you are trying to capture. Please do not expect your vendor to make a copy of some other person's work, give them the freedom to do what they do best while understanding your vision for that service.
Step 4: Set a budget. Budgets are an important part of wedding planning but when you have a vision for your wedding, they become extremely important. When you know what is most important to accomplish your vision of the perfect wedding, you will have a clear idea of where you need to spend the money and where you can bargain hunt. If your vision is a small wedding in a lavish location, you need to plan on spending more on your location but your per guest food and entertainment might be lower. If you want to dance the night away, finding a great DJ and venue with a nice dance floor is where the budget should go. If you are a foodie, finding a primo caterer is money well spent. Prioritize your wants for the big day and list them in order of importance, look at this list often as you find your vendors to keep your priorities in order.
Step 5: Keep great notes. Take your notebook to every appointment and every wedding planning activity. As you gather information from vendors, use the pockets for brochures and contracts and jot down important phone numbers and ideas. As your day draws closer, trash the numbers and notes from vendors you aren't using (unless you fear you may need a back up). Your plans will begin to overlap and having all your details with you will help you easily supply your linen person matching colors to your bridesmaids dresses and you can easily supply your Dj with the phone number to your hall. As your guests begin to RSVP, you will have the approximate number to give to your caterer at your tasting.
Step 6: Review your notes often, especially the brainstorming notes where you first decided what you wanted in your wedding. Its so easy to get side tracked by a well meaning friend or relative. Many times people will project what they want onto you. Keep a close eye on your notes and if someone tries to change what is important to you, share your plan and let them know these decisions have already been made. Don't fall prey to all of the wedding websites and things you can easily buy and include into your day. Many times these are afterthoughts and are purchased out of boredom or excitement for the coming day. Resist the temptation! I'm talking to you candy smorgasbords! If you wanted a candy bar at your wedding in your initial vision, by all means, make it a priority. If you see the cute jars and color matching candy 2 weeks before the wedding, you should probably revisit your initial plans.
Step 7: Don't forget your partner! This should be easy but we have all become focused on our own agenda form time to time. Remember all the items from the initial vision planning brainstorm? There were a few items that the two of you couldn't agree on so I said to put them in a discuss later page or column. You know the list, he wanted his iguana for the ring bearer and you wanted the Chicken dance. This is the first hard lesson in marriage. Put your spouse first, even if it is sometimes painful or even a little embarrassing. Once wedding planning and budgeting are well on their way and you know where you have some wiggle room, have another brainstorming session. Find out if that Iguana has a special place in your wedding or if he will start an early vacation at the boarder and chicken dance may only cost you some dignity so why not go for it.
Once you have your vision in mind and written down, the key is to stick to it. Your wedding day can be a dream come true with little room for stress or broken expectations. After all, doesn't your wedding deserve it?