Updated: Feb 15, 2020
1. Set a Budget
Budget planning may not be the most enjoyable part of wedding planning, but it’s definitely the most important. The last thing you want to do is start your marriage in debt. Be honest with yourself and have clear communication with your partner, parents or other potential contributors. Never assume someone else will take full responsibility for the cost of your wedding. A Brides of America Study was done in 2018 shows “27 percent of couples said they'd fully paid for their wedding, while 42 percent handed off that responsibility to their parents. Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed contributed to their own nuptials.” After you have a set amount that you are planning to spend consider what your priorities are. Start going down your list of wedding services or items and designate a set amount for each service or item. Your numbers may change and that’s okay. However, a list will give you flexibility in knowing that you can spend more in one area but that just means you may have to make sacrifices in other areas. The Knot Real Wedding Study 2016 shows the average wedding costs per state. This shows a breakdown of the main services/items purchased and gives the average price for the state of Oklahoma.
2. Start your guest list and pick out your wedding party.
For some couples the budget is the main determining factor in the guest list. Once you know how much you have to spend you’ll be able to determine how many guest you can comfortably afford to invite. According to the Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study the average wedding size is 136. The trend is showing the guest count continues to get smaller as the price per guest continues to go up. Knowing your guest count will not only significantly affect your budget but it can also help you plan things such as your venue and catering company. You'll also want to use this time to choose the people who will stand beside you on your big day—your wedding party. So, go ahead and select your bridesmaids and groomsmen and ask them to take on this important role. According to the Brides American Study done in 2018 “Brides usually pop the bridesmaid question to 5.4 bridesmaids, while there are 5.3 groomsmen in the average wedding.”
3. Schedule tours with your top venues.
Now that you know your budget and guest list its time to start looking at venue options. A good place to start research is The Knot or Wedding Wire. The most popular months for weddings in Oklahoma are April, May, September and October. The busiest month for weddings is October. When looking for venue options its best to have a few dates in mind just in case your dream venue has limited availability. Venues start getting booked early and the most popular months book quickly so it’s important to make finding your venue and setting a date a priority in the beginning stages of wedding planning. Shutterfly did a study including 500 brides to find the average length of time for an engagement. Their study shows that “41%, opted for an engagement of 13 months or longer.”
This study gives couples an idea on how early most couples start planning for their wedding and booking venues. It’s beneficial to consider days other than Saturday. If your partner and family are available this option might have more availability and it is usually less expensive.
I hope these three tips get you off to a great start. Most importantly, enjoy your engagement! There are so many expectations when it comes to wedding planning. Remember this is a celebration between you and your partner. Have fun! Continue to lean on each other and grow through this process.
Happy Wedding Planning!