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For Couples

January 30, 2018

The Wedding Planning Series | The Foundation

After taking time to sit back and reflect on the unique features of your story, you may be wondering now where in the world do I even start? You might be thinking, Ok – I’ve taken time to really reflect on our story and have some beautiful inspiration ready for when the planning starts. But I am ready to dive in and start booking my vendors! Maybe you’ve heard that vendors book months, sometimes years in advance. And you are worried you might miss out on booking your favorite people to add to your vendor team! Don’t worry we will have you sending out those vendor inquiry emails soon, but in this second installment of the wedding planning series I am going to encourage you to take one more and in my opinion critical reflective step prior to diving into the planning process.

With the world of wedding planning at your finger tips, where to begin can certainly seem overwhelming to say the least. And you may be tempted to dive in to working on everything at once but I am going to encourage you to take this next step and the discussion it provokes to lay the ground work for the decisions that are to come.   It will shape what the next year of planning will look like.  As I have mentioned previously my hope for this series is to equip you with a powerful planning strategy.  Approaching wedding planning with a well devised plan – yes a plan for the planning process – will allow the experience of wedding planning to naturally flow from one step to the next.

Today I am giving you an insider look into the discussion I have with my full service couples during our first meeting. It’s during this point that we kick off the wedding planning by laying the groundwork upon which all wedding planning decisions will be made. This discussion allows the planning experience moving forward to feel cohesive, purposeful, and well grounded.  It is here, during this first strategy meeting, that we really hone in on what the foundation is for their wedding – thereby allowing all future decisions to be made with purpose and direction. It is during this first meeting that I open the wedding planning process with a discussion of FOUR planning facets that ultimately shape the couples planning experience …

  • TIME & SPACE |I usually kick off the strategy meeting by asking my couples to describe their ideal wedding season, venue style(s), and geographic location(s). We begin by putting as many ideas and thoughts as possible on the table in regards to the wedding weekend the couple envisions. We talk about the season, month, and day that speaks to them and they reasons they feel strongly or don’t feel strongly about a specific month, or day. Its during this discussion that we reference some of the responses from the questionnaire in an effort to hone in on the time of year that is both feasible and one that speaks to their story. We chat in detail about the relationship between the season and the venue location and how it all relates to the wedding day experience they are hoping to have and that which they are hoping to treat their guests to.

Next month we will be diving into how to hone in on your perfect venue after evaluating the general venue styles that you are interested in exploring. Perhaps you’ve always envisioned being married on your families countryside estate as the leaves are changing, or you’ve traveled to the same little beach town for years and a seaside retreat would be the perfect location for a destination wedding. Or maybe you’re hoping for a venue with versatility – where the just-case-there is rain plan is just as breath-taking as plan A. Regardless of the venue you’ve been dreaming of, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to ensure you select the venue that will meet and exceed your wedding day dreams.

  • BUDGET | A candid discussion of your overall budget is another essential component of this first strategy meeting. Speaking with all the parties that will be financially supporting  the wedding planning and understanding/discussing the role(s) each contributing party will have is an essential element of this groundwork. I often recommend that couples identify a wedding budget range – asking them to identify  a budget they would prefer to stick to (the one we shoot for when planning) and then a upper limit that acts as a hard stop. We later break the budget into the specific budget categories in order to really guide the planning.
  • EXPERIENCE | We also speak at length about the overall experience couples are looking to create both for themselves and for their guests. This is one of my favorite parts of our strategy meeting because it gives life to the heart of the wedding weekend and is something that we come back to over and over again. We chat about how each of the touch points a couple shares with their guest should reflect the experience they are hoping to create. I have a fun post planned for next month that covers this topic in detail!
  • BUILDING A DREAM VENDOR TEAM | I then have my couples identify (individually) what they believe to be the most important features of their wedding day (i.e photography, videography, florals, entertainment, etc). We chat about what these elements mean to them and why they would put them in their top three. We discuss how the services that fall within each of their top categories contribute to the experience they are hoping to create and start to brainstorm the vendor team that can bring this experience to life.

Together these discussion points lay the foundation for the couples unique wedding day – they act as the jumping point for all the wedding planning decisions to come.

Interested in hearing more about the components that can help lay the foundation for your wedding design? If yes, I have a fun Instagram Live planned for Wednesday 01/31 featuring a discussion of these! Be sure to follow along there for details on how to lay the groundwork for honing in on your wedding aesthetic! And send any questions you might have – happy to make the discussion fruitful!

Now that you’ve taken time to lay the foundation for your planning experience and reflected the elements and features that tell your unique story, you are ready to take on your planning experience with purpose and joy. By evaluating these important features of the wedding, you’ve established a strong foundation upon which all future decisions will naturally stem. These preparatory steps will be points that you will come back in the months ahead.

My hope is that this series will serve you as a newly engaged couple by demystifying the process, and putting joy at the center of it. Because crafting your unique celebration, should be just that joyful – even in the moments of uncertainty, joy should be there. Until next time friends…

With joy,

Danielle

Photography: Ashley Elizabeth Photography | Venue: Drumore Estate | Hair & Makeup: Unfading Beauty | Florals: Forte Florals | Gown: Lovely Bride Philadelphia | Groom Suit: H&M | Rentals: Modish Design, Liberty Rentals, Barnes Farmhouse Tables | Jewelry: Finch Jewelers | Calligraphy: Prairie Letter Shop | Candles: Creative Candles | Bride & Groom Sign: Everlaser

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