Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now where to begin?
Wedding planning can be fun, exciting, and we won’t lie, sometimes downright stressful. For many couples, planning your wedding is the first large event you have had to plan, and while focusing on wedding dresses, colors and flowers, and the guest list is agreeably more fun.
However regardless if you are getting married in Maine, having a wedding at an exotic destination, or eloping, starting with these five decisions first will save you time, money, headaches, and even heartache.
Knowing your budget before making any contractual or big spend decisions allows you to better plan and prevent unnecessary stress.
Having good communication as a couple upfront also increases your chances of a better marriage. So rip off the bandaid, sit down with some drinks and snacks, include family members who might be contributing, and talk it out!
Weddings can be a very expensive purchase, with the average wedding in Maine equaling around $30,000. Which is right on par with the national average. Weddings in more metropolitan settings like Boston are generally more expensive averaging around $45,000 or in Manhattan, which averages around $95,000. After that getting married in Maine seems like a great steal!
Now, a wedding does not need to cost this much, and a wedding should not make your new union start out in mountains of debt. We like to remind couples that a wedding does not make a marriage, and that is really the entire point- to celebrate your love, and start your new adventure together.
So before you start seriously considering dates and venues, working on the guest list, and looking at dresses, come up with a budget that you both can work with.
Expert Tip: Not sure where to begin with budgeting? A planner can help with that. And even if you do not think you need to work with a planner, many (ourselves included) will work with couples on a consult bases for budgeting.
There are unfortunately a lot of misconceptions about wedding planners thanks to Hollywood. The key to a good wedding planner is finding one you enjoy talking with, one that makes you feel relaxed, and one you trust to execute your vision. Working with a planner allows you to lean on an expert who knows how to work with vendors to match your style and budget. Planners know what elements make an event unique, and where to just let things be.
It generally takes a couple not working with a planner 200-300 hours for an average size wedding over the course of a twelve to eighteen month engagement. Because of some careers, location of the couple, and their vision working with a planner can save you time and money in the planning processes.
Additionally, one of the biggest benefits of working with a planner is that we take care of all of the logistics, set up, and troubleshooting on day of the wedding celebrations. This means you and your family (mom and dads we are talking to you) have more time with your guests and are able to relax!
Expert Tip: Reach out to a planner you are interested in working with and ask for a quick chat. It is important that you feel comfortable talking with them and that they communicate well with you.
Your venue really sets the entire tone for your celebration and the experience you and your guests will have: Modern? Rustic? On the ocean? Number of guests can it accommodate? Is there lodging on site?
Typically venues only host one wedding per day, and some only host one wedding per weekend. In turn the number of celebrations a venue books per year is very limited. Prime venues book far in advance. During the COVID-19 pandemic many venues had couples move their wedding dates from 2020 to 2021 meaning inventory for the upcoming summer is even more limited.
Expert Tip: We know that shopping for the dress is a big part of the experience, but speaking from a design perspective, choosing wedding day attire before selecting the venue can mean that they do not coordinate well with each other. We recommend booking your venue first, then choosing what you will wear to be enhanced by the space.
The element of your wedding that you will celebrate, cherish, and gift over the years is your wedding photos.
Finding a photographer that matches your style is so important to how you remember the day. Photographers range greatly in cost, experience, and style. Just like with venues, a photographer’s availability can be limited.
Photography and we like to include videography into this discussion as well, should be your #1 splurge item for your wedding. Follow photographers to get a sense of their style. Check out #maineweddingphotographer on instagram.
Expert Tip: Have the photographer for your wedding also take your engagement photos (or if you already had engagement photos schedule a mini life style session. This helps breakdown nerves of working with your photographer and allows for more natural photos on your wedding day.
Working with a professional officiant can help make sure your wedding ceremony goes off without a hitch, well except you getting hitched, of course!
Officiants are like the director of your ceremony if it were a movie. They know who needs to go where and when, they help calm nerves, and ensure that your paperwork is filled out and filed to meet all of the legal obligations.
An officiant will help you craft a wedding ceremony that reflects you as a couple. They can supply vows or help you create your own. Officiants also serve as the director of your wedding rehearsal.
Expert Tip: Just like with venues and photographers, good officiants book early. Once you have settled on your wedding date you should book your officiant. In Maine, officiants can conduct weddings anywhere within the boarders of the state. Meaning if you know you are getting married in Maine, you can book one even before you have confirmed a venue.