Tips for Making Your Wedding Planning Easier

We are in the heart of engagement season, my friends. It seems like every day, I see a friend showing off her new bling on Facebook or Instagram. I read the other day that 30-40% of proposals take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. That seems like a craaaaazy amount, but I believe it. We have three of the most romantic, nostalgic, memory-making holidays on the calendar back to back to back. Some girls may find an engagement ring under the Christmas tree, others might say "Yes!" as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, and of course Valentine's Day is the most love-centered holiday of them all. If you are one of the new engagement season fiancés, CONGRATULATIONS! 

When you first get engaged, you have that completely blissful few weeks of calling your significant other your "fiancé" for the first hundred times, and you get lost in wedding magazines and Pinterest scrolls. Once you start looking at venues and pick a date, some of the stress starts to set in. It seems like a million decisions are suddenly riding on your shoulders; I mean, is it really that big of a difference if your bridesmaids wear blush gowns vs rose petal colored??

Take a deep breath and pour yourself a drink or cup of tea. I know a thing or two about easy, breezy wedding planning. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Making Your Wedding Planning Easier:

1. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER. I can't stress the importance of this enough. In Northeast Wisconsin, we are fortunate enough to have a number of great planners with years of experience, like Liz Walker, owner of From This Day Forward Wedding Planning. Check out her vendor feature on the KLEM Studios blog and email her today to see how she can be the hero of your wedding planning dreams.

2. STAY ORGANIZED. Whether you purchase a physical wedding planning book or opt to create a spreadsheet, keep all of your ideas, notes, and payments in one place. That way you won't be scrambling to figure out when your next payment is due, or searching for that perfect centerpiece idea you jotted down from Pinterest.

3. KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES. Sit down with your new fiancé and talk about the aspects of your wedding that mean the most to you. Maybe you have your heart set on booking the best photographer you can find, and he really wants to bring in craft beer for the reception. Put all of your ideas and opinions on the table so you both are heard and you can keep these thoughts in mind as you continue planning. 

4. BUDGET. It's hard to know what your exact budget is when you first start planning your wedding. Maybe you have a nest egg you've been growing for this special occasion, or your parents have generously offered to make a contribution towards your nuptials. I encourage couples to have a ballpark budget in mind, but also allow for wiggle room. When it comes to choosing your wedding vendors, you almost always get what you pay for. As a photographer I'm biased, but I've also worked with a lot of other high-end vendors. Let me tell you, they absolutely deliver. The heightened experience is worth the investment.

5. INTUITION. When I meet with a couple that is interested in booking KLEM Studios for their wedding journey, I always end the initial conversation by telling them to trust their gut. When you're selecting hugely important vendors like your venue, wedding planner, photographer, videographer, DJ, etc, it's crucial that you feel a connection with them and you feel like you can trust them. You are going to be working with these vendors all through your planning process, and you want to be in good hands. Choose vendors that resonate with you and that make you feel cared for. They will look out for you throughout your process, and they will give you an experience you'll never forget. 

6. READ REVIEWS. Take this one with a grain of salt. For years, I worked in the hospitality industry and was sometimes flabbergasted by the things people would write reviews on (you didn't like your server's haircut, so you gave your experience a 1-star? Please...). But there are valid positive and negative reviews mixed in there as well. Pay attention to what former clients say about the actual experience they had, how the vendor communicated with them, the impression they were left with after the service was complete, etc. Weed out the trivial comments that could be chalked up to just a bad night (we hope it never happens in an industry where you invest so much, but it does, vendors are just simple humans) and listen to the reviews with some validity to them. Ask your friends and family for reviews about the places they worked with, they're more likely to be upfront and honest with you. Some vendors have a Preferred Vendor list they give to their clients. There's nothing like a stamp of approval from an industry colleague to make a great first impression (KLEM Studios has a Preferred Vendor Program, feel free to ask me my opinions!).

7. ALL-INCLUSIVE. If you want to make as few decisions as possible, look for vendors that offer more options in-house, like a venue that provides tables and chairs and linens, or a photographer who offers save-the-dates and guest books and wedding albums. To take even more stress off your plate, hire a wedding planner (yep, I'm saying it again). Or book a destination wedding and bring me with you!

8. TRUST YOUR VENDORS. If you've invested in quality vendors, let them do the work for you. That's what you hired them for, right? Look for vendors that are clear communicators and will outline every step of their process.

9. CONNECTIONS. Think of people you already know that can help you fill in the blanks. Is your cousin a wicked harpist? Ask them if they'll participate in your wedding celebration, and cross "ceremony and cocktail hour musician" off your list. By working with people you have a connection with, you'll make your wedding journey an even more personal experience, one that people might talk about for years to come.

10. DELIGATE. Similar to #9, think about the lovely people that make up your bridal party, or your parents, or your other close friends. Does your maid-of-honor practice calligraphy on the side? Do one of your dads make their own beer? Is your mom a master seamstress? Let them know how much you appreciate them and ask them to help you out. You are surrounded by so many talented people, and you don't need to take on the burden of all the wedding planning by yourself. Get creative with who can help you with what, and feel the stress melt away by the seconds. 

Those are my top ten tried and true pieces of advice for making your wedding planning process easier. Former brides, was there another tip or trick that made your planning a cinch? Comment below, I would love to grow the list to help all the future brides! Have questions about wedding planning or how the KLEM Studios photography experience is different? Shoot me an email, I would love to chat one-on-one with you.

Until next time,

Wedding TipsLauren Grier