I was having coffee with wedding planner Tracy Adams of Adams and Events the other day when the conversation turned to what to do first when planning a wedding. I made the point that so many brides start planning their wedding by choosing a dress but that I thought the most important decision to start with was the venue.
From my point of view, the venue and its setting has a huge impact on what the rest of the wedding is going to look like, right down to the type of wedding gown worn. The venue can be one of the most expensive items on the wedding budget, aside from catering and bar tab. And it has to be right for the size wedding a bride is planning along with being in the right location and setting for the couple and their family.
I recommend drafting a guest list as one of the very first things a newly engaged couple should do in order to know what size wedding they think they will have and can afford. Many venues have minimums and 100 guests seems to be a common minimum I’ve come across here in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.
If a tight budget is a concern, many couples will try to cut down on the number of guests in the hopes of lowering wedding costs. But be aware that small guest counts can eliminate some venues with high minimums.
Once you have a guest estimate, the next consideration is location. Do you plan to wed locally or are you dreaming of a destination wedding? Outdoors or inside? In a church or at an all-in-one venue? In our area, the choices range from a grand hotel ballroom to a lush garden to a rural barn to a chic downtown restaurant and more.
Reviewing your options and choosing a venue that fits your style and budget will go a long way towards pulling off the wedding of your dreams!
And the dress? Choosing a gown that reflects the setting of your wedding and embodies your vision of your big day is important. So important, in fact, that Tracy says some brides really need to choose what to wear before they can know where they will wear it! If you need to see yourself as a bride by choosing your wedding gown first, you’re not alone.
Bottomline—there really is no right or wrong way to start planning your big day. What is important is to focus on what works best for you as a couple and as part of two families that will soon be joined together!