Congratulations, you're engaged! This is such an exciting time - but it can quickly get overwhelming once you start to think about your wedding and where to start. Here are our top tips to get you started and set up for success when planning your wedding!
Create a wedding email address
You are going to be sending and receiving A LOT of emails. Having a totally separate email for just wedding stuff is going to help you stay organized. Do this right away!
Create your guest list
Your guest list drives your entire wedding planning process. It will determine what venues will work for you and it will determine your overall wedding budget. Each guest incrementally increases your overall spend. Typically, clients working with us spend $500-750 per guest! I know this seems like a huge number but with catering costs starting on average at about $165 per person upwards to $400 per person having a per guest cost in this range is not a hard feat! Not only are you paying for food for each guest, but also any rentals, larger buses, a bigger venue, more invitations, more floral centerpieces, more EVERYTHING. Keeping your guest list small is the best way to have a wedding with lots of unique details and a really great overall guest experience.
Other tips for creating your guest list
Make sure you have confirmed your guest list with both sets of parents and anyone who will be actively involved and/or helping to pay for the wedding. The last thing you want to do is select a venue and then realize it's too small for your guest count.
Create your wedding budget
This is a lot easier said than done! I get it. There is so much information out there on the internet...and also truly HORRIBLE advice so it is super important to have a realistic budget based on the geographic location where you want to get married! It should be no surprise DC is a more expensive area to get married than many places in the US. Real estate is incredibly expensive here as is the cost of living. Any venue and/or vendor servicing the DC area has to make enough money to actually afford to the rent/mortgage/living expenses of this area.
On average, our couples are spending between $65,000-$85,000 for a standard 100-150 person wedding in Washington, DC. Trust me, we have tried to get this number lower and have had some success with weddings planned in off peak months (January/February) but the lowest budget we have been able to make work is $50,000 for 100 people.
We do offer wedding budget consultations for $250 for couples who may need to better understand how to allocate their overall wedding budget! Trust me, you don't want to lock in a venue you can't actually afford before your understand what EVERYTHING else is going to cost. This is one of the biggest mistakes we see made. With this budget consultation service, we meet with you for an hour to better understand your overall wedding vision, what vendors you prioritize, desired wedding aesthetic, and all of the the pertinent details. With this information we create a complete wedding budget breakdown with all of the categories (venue, catering, alcohol, photographer, etc.) so you can understand how to allocate your money!
Interested in a budget consultation? You can reach out to us here!
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Thank you for stopping by!
Owner & Lead Wedding Planner
Kolena is a wedding planning professional with over 10 years of experience. She owns and operates Blue Sapphire Events a boutique wedding planning firm based in Washington, DC.