I always tell my clients that wedding planning is essentially a large puzzle, except a living breathing one with many moving parts. Also: if you’re trying to plan your own wedding, it’s like you’ve never seen a puzzle before in your life. Or, maybe you’ve seen a puzzle before (been to a wedding, or even been in one) – but now you’re missing the box, and the finished picture for that matter.

So, what’s the easiest way I’ve found to distill the planning process down to people who’ve never seen the puzzle before? I explain that unlike what you’ve read in wedding magazines or found floating out there on the internet, real weddings never come with a built-in ‘perfect’ planning timeline. That’s simply because no two weddings are alike. Period. So instead of a linear path, I picture wedding planning like dominoes. Hence, ‘The Domino Effect.’ Decisions made during the planning process lead to others, and thus the dominoes fall in a certain pattern.

The old formulas of “12 months out you should do this”, “at the 6 week mark you should do that” don’t really hold up anymore in our current world. The Internet, Social Media, email, cell phones (!) and the plain old increase in the number of people and wedding professionals have made certain aspects of planning much faster. Adversely, too much information and too many ideas (I’m looking at you, Pinterest!) have slowed the process in other areas simply because making choices takes time and thought, and now there’s just more to think about.

As with Dominoes, however, things do have to happen in a certain order. For example: It doesn’t do any good to go looking for a venue before you’ve decided how many guests it will need to hold. The flow chart below is a great way to visualize how decisions need to flow to make the most of your time, money and effort.

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You’ll notice some things live outside the timeline, like your honeymoon and registry. Definitely give these things some time, but they aren’t tied to anything else. Additionally, not every single little thing is mentioned, this is just an overview. Menswear can be decided with the bridesmaids’ dresses, etc. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is this even this chart is an oversimplification of the process, which is why the biggest box on the chart is the one that says ‘planner’, which leads to so many other parts. It’s not just us tooting our own horn; it’s how all the other boxes come together smoothly.

Keep in mind that even with The Domino Effect there are definitely things that have specific dated reasoning: Invitations, rsvp’s, dress ordering and tailoring. More on that later! But for now, just keep in mind that planning is based on you and your wants/needs. A wedding can definitely be planned in 2-3 months, don’t let anyone tell you different – but it will involve sacrifices, inflated costs and the work of a very skilled planner. You just have to decide for yourself + your partner what you want to get out of the experience. Revisit our last few posts on help figuring that out – and all this month we’ll have tips for the all the beginning aspects of planning: mood, location, invitations, websites and registries! Can’t wait to share!

 

 

 

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We’ve all heard it: the early bird catches the worm. Well, the same principle is true in wedding planning. Kinda. Not planning early so much, but rather planning ahead. What’s the difference, you ask? Planning ahead is all the small steps you can make in the beginning of your planning process that will save your time, money and sanity down the road. Check it:

Figure out a social media plan. No – that’s not the same as a marketing plan or anything quite as involved. It simply means decide how much you plan on sharing, who you’ll be sharing it with, and why. For example: If everyone at work follows you on social media, but none of them will be invited to the wedding, perhaps keeping wedding posts to a minimum will help you avoid awkward conversations down the line. Things on social media are hard to unsee, keep that in mind.

View More: http://brianmosoff.pass.us/brianna-bryan-wedding

Setting family + friend boundaries early makes the wedding go ‘round. We’ll have a whole slew of posts dedicated to the inevitable family + friend issues that arise during wedding planning, but we’ll begin with saying that deciding how involved your loved ones will be from the start will be super helpful. It can help avoid arguments with your partner, and headaches for yourself when people feel disappointed down the line. While you’re at it, have a talk with your partner about your own wedding planning boundaries. It can be easy to get caught up in planning, and let it bleed into all aspects of your life. It’s kind of a part-time job, with tasks and meetings and decisions to be made. If you’d rather designate certain days or a specific amount of time per day or week to spend on it, talk it over now.

Make a wedding-specific email account. You can thank me later, when you’re not bombarded with wedding-related emails 5 years into your marriage. Share your actual email (and the one you plan on having after you’re married if your name is changing, etc.) with your planner and photographer however, so you’re sure to get all the follow up emails.

Get a joint checking account. If you don’t have one already, this will be a great starter that can transition to your main joint checking after the wedding. If you already have one, think about getting a separate account just for wedding needs, as it will be so much easier to track money coming in and going out from one dedicated pot.

Here’s our case for why everyone needs a planner. Not that super organized friend or cousin you have, and not your mother – an actual professional who does this for a living. Even if it’s just a day-of or month-of coordinator, you need someone who has done this a few times to run the show so everything runs smoothly. A good planner will save you more money than you pay them, I promise. Whether through vendor partnerships, knowledge of your local market or just trial and error – they know where the bucks are to be saved. You’re (hopefully) only getting married this one time – don’t try to figure it all out on your own. That’s like trying to make a cake with no recipe: I’m sure with a few tries you could get it right, but you’ll definitely burn one and another will taste terrible on your learning curve, and you only get once chance for your wedding day. Better to hire a baker (or a planner in this case), that does it all the time. And be sure to get the skinny on what exactly that venue coordinator does – Lauren from Every Last Detail has a great blog post on the difference HERE.

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((The single best on-site photo ever taken of me. Thanks Dee!))

So there you have it – our best advice on little things you can do right now to make your wedding planning journey that much easier down the line. Brides, any other great advice? Comment and let us know below!

 

Credits // Bridal Party Photo: Brian Mosoff Photo. Margaux On-Site Photo: Shutterdee Photography.

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