November 6, 2023
As a French wedding planner, I have accompanied many couples seeking to create their dream wedding in France. If you are embarking on the same adventure, we would like to share some crucial insights on how to start your wedding planning journey right and avoiding disappointment and hassle further down the line.
One might initially immerse themselves in dreamy blog pages, envisioning the perfect wedding day – the venue, the décor, the ambiance. Dreaming is the first step, and it’s undoubtedly an enjoyable one. However, transitioning from dreams to reality demands a practical approach.
When I say “starting right,” I emphasize making informed decisions from the get-go. Before delving into venue options or exploring the latest wedding trends, it i strongly advised to ground your dreams with practical considerations: your guest count and your budget.
Estimating (realistically) your numbers: How many family members and friends will you send an invitation to? How many will realistically make the trip? Just like selecting a home without acknowledging the necessary number of bedrooms, choosing a wedding venue without this fundamental figure can lead to complications and extra spent later.
Knowing your budget: Once you have drafted your guest list, the next task will be to figure out your buget. There could be 2 figures there: you ideal budget (the one you are most comfortable with), and your max budget (the one you could be OK to spend if that meant you could then afford some extras tha are important to you and that your most comfortable budget would not cover).
While you discuss budget, it is a good idea to get a sense of how much things tend to cost. Research the approximate costs of everything you would like to have on your special day – catering, florals, photographer, videographer, live band, fireworks, pre and post-wedding events,… Evaluate how these costs align with your initial budget. Is it comfortable, is it tight? Make sure to count in a margin for any expense you may not have thought of.
Simultaneously, while you’re in this phase of exploration and consideration, begin scouting potential venues. Inquire about their availability, pricing structures, inclusions, and any additional services they provide. We recommend to fill in a detailed spreadsheet to keep a clear picture of your options.
Remember, the key to a successful wedding journey lies in taking the right first steps. You may fall in love with one specific venue, and although this is great, I have seen many couples getting in trouble because they fell in love with a beautiful property, and didn’t realize or didn’t want to see that it was in fact not suited to their needs, for whatever reason. Your venue will dictate almost everything else (surroundings, budget left for food and entertainment, decor needs, and more) so be sure to make the choice that is right for you!