While cruising on the internet looking for ideas about wedding planning in the 21st century, pages and pages of ideas using specialized apps for the bride popped up. It’s not just Pinterest and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that have a bride’s attention. There are numerous apps for cellphones that can help walk a bride through the maze of planning a wedding. But despite all of the 21st century technological perks for today’s brides, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting with a wedding planner and vendors to plan the most important day of your life.
“I prefer to talk by phone or in person first,” said Beverly Moon, owner of Unforgettable Incorporated. “Email is OK, but if you want to talk to me about planning your wedding, call first.”
Moon said she prefers her brides not text her at first as messages could be vague. However, if you are communicating via social media, like email, be specific with a description of what it is that you are looking for. Include your wedding date, number of guests, theme, colors, etc.
If you do initially text, Moon said use that to set up a phone meeting.
Geri Schwartzman of Milestone Memories and Events said millennial brides are leaning toward social media for preliminary planning stages, such as visiting vendor sites, so they can see photos and do price comparisons, “especially on their phone.”
“To the tune that we are charged with making sure our website is mobile friendly,” Schwartzman said. Older brides, however, are still phoning in first, she said.
How weddings are planned may have changed, but the process is still time consuming and detail oriented. While some brides choose to go it alone, having help could make the difference between a stressful or stress-free day.
It’s still best to plan your wedding 12 months out or more, unless you are being deployed and only have a short window of opportunity to pull your big day together.
There are a lot of details to cover from setting the initial budget to exiting the reception to beginning your honeymoon, what happens in between takes time and effort.
Once your budget and date is set, it’s time to start looking for vendors including a caterer, florist, bakery, printer for invitations and hold the date cards, a photographer, DJ or band, and whatever else is on your dream wedding list. Depending on your choices makes an impact on how far out you decide to plan your day.
“When today’s brides realize the final price tag, they are looking out at one to one-and-a-half years to plan,” Moon said. “They have a wonderful choice of venues and more options (with vendors). This gives them time for more viewing appointments and the bride doesn’t have to rush to get her gown. I love that brides plan that far out.”
Schwartzman said eight to nine months out works also, “but it changes the operational tempo drastically.”
“Planning a year out gives brides time to shop around; eight or nine months out works, but then they don’t have time to shop around,” she said.
Having a shorter planning time creates a challenge for a wedding planner because now they have to condense the duties of a nine- to 12-month-out wedding within the parameters of six to nine months out, Schwartzman said. “The longer you wait to plan, prices go up. The further out you plan the better the vendor prices because everyone will be bidding for you.”
Also, by planning nine to 12 months out Schwartzman said you get something you want. The longer you wait, it becomes something you need and brides have fewer options at higher prices.
Whether you go it alone or hire a wedding planner, both Moon and Schwartzman agree that budget matters.
“Never take the first estimate,” Moon said. “Feel if you have a connection to that vendor. If you don’t feel you have a connection, it’s not the right vendor for you.”
Wedding planners are often connected to a group of vendors that offer discounts for their services through the wedding planner.
Also, there is an element of humanity in the planning process, added Schwartzman.
“How do you want to feel versus how much you are spending,” Schwartzman said. “At the end of the day, you are still married.”
Both Moon and Schwartzman work to keep their brides on budget or below it if possible.
So when a bride relies on Pinterest for design ideas, what you see isn’t always what they might get.
“Brides may bring in photos that don’t fit their budget,” Moon said. “We’ll sit down and look at the photo. If it goes beyond budget, I’ll take a look at it and ask them what they think they can do to get the same feel for what they want. There are ways to create similar and cost effective designs for the budget they’ve allotted.”
Moon suggests the bride asks herself what attracted her to a certain image.
“We can go over the design of the photo and custom design it for their tastes and budget,” Moon said.
Planning ahead gives brides time to look around and this saves money. Also, by planning far out, brides aren’t rushed to set up appointments with vendors hoping to find the right one.
Also today, wedding planners like Milestone Memories and Events, and Unforgettable Incorporated, carry their own limited inventory of décor, linens, centerpieces and other accoutrements to create the right atmosphere for your wedding. Brides are not limited to the décor offerings of the planner and can also hire the services of a professional wedding designer as well.