Yeah, yeah, yeah, you don't want to think priorities; you want to revel in dreams! Sorry, sister- if you don't wake up, you'll become mire in bills without really knowing why (um, who thought the Rolls Royce rental was a good idea?!).
Start with a realistic overall budget (which will involve planning meetings with your fiancé). Then list, in order of "gotta have it," your wedding details.
2. NOT REAING THE FINE PRINT
Don't skip reading anything an if you have questions; ask immediately, especially about payment terms. You want to know exactly when payments or balances are due; if there are any minimum charges, corkage fees for wine, cake cutting fees- or any other possibly pricey unknowns. If your wedding is a year or more away, be sure that you block in guaranteed prices on catering and liquor.
Never sign any contract on the spot; take it home and read over everything and make note of any questions and concerns you may have. If a vendor pressures you to sign before you're ready, that's your cue to move on to the next vendor. Nothing is so urgent that it can't wait at least overnight.
3. LEAPING BEFOR YOU LOOK
You walk into the first reception venue on our list, fall in love and decide to write a deposit check. Sometimes that works fine; other times, it doesn't. A week later, you may hear about a place that costs less and offers more.
Investigate. If you're the spreadsheet type, plug in details-cost, services, extras, terms- for every vendor you consider. Even if you en up going back to that love-at-first-sight place, you know you did your due diligence.
4. FALLING PREY TO PEER PRESSURE
So you just went to a weeding that feature free-flowing champagne, lobster and filet mignon, an a fabulous ban. Stop right there- and refuse to try to keep up with those particular Joneses. Why? They may not have actually paid for all those bells and whistles (credit cards, anyone? wealthy parents perhaps?). An anyway, even if they could afford to pay for every detail themselves, who ways that will make them happy? More importantly, who says copying them will make you happy?
Repress the urge to impress other people, says Lilly. Imagine that you're in a safe little bubble, where you're unaffected by others' choices. You'll be far more likely to stick to a budget you can actually afford.
5. GETTING STUCK ON "SHOULDS"
You must have pricey favors. You need napkins that match the fancy silk tablecloth overlays that, of course, you must have. But to quote the song, all you really need is love. (And a wedding license, right?)
Consider whether you'll care about the particular detail in the future. If you're convinced you'll be upset to think back on a wedding without a videographer; then by all means hire one. But if you realize that a two-minute ride in a snazzy car is unlikely to mean much to you later on, skip it.
6. NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU BOTH WANT
Ever go food shopping, without a list, when you've skipped lunch? You probably spent too much on staff you didn't need. Same thing with wedding: When you're unsure what you want, you're susceptible to sales pitches, to vendors pushing for more expensive choices, or to someone who insists ou need, sy, engraved invites.
Figure out what you really must have. After that, financial decisions come easier.
7. LETTING YOUR GUEST LIST GET THE BEST OF YOU
IT's a simple math equation: More people equals more money. But it's tempting to be generous.
Figure out how many guests you can actually afford. Split your list among your own guests, your groom's an your parents'. Then have everyone chop form the bottom and create a "B" list.
8. STUFFING YOUR GUESTS
We get it: You're so afraid that your wedding will be the one where guests go home hungry or unhappy that you overorder food or try to dazzle everyone with a seven-course dinner extravaganza rather than a more modest but perfectly adequate three. Rest assured, no one at your wedding will starve: Your caterer won't underestimate how much food you'll need. And keep in mind that the more choices you offer, the higher the cost.
Let your caterer know what your budget is, and what kinds of food you want to include in the meal, an then let her work out what she can produce within your parameters. Since you're paying her for her expertise, you need to trust that she'll come up with lots of creative options.
9. NOT THINKING CREATIVELY
Let's say your sister had long stemmed red roses in tall crystal vases placed on every table at her wedding reception. Must you follow suit - especially since you know full well that this option is rather pricey? Maybe it isn't the best idea. While doing exactly what your sister id may be safe, it probably isn't economical.
Be imaginative. Choose local blooms in season. Or ask a florist to create one centerpiece that you an your friends can use as a template for making the rest yourselves. You'll save on the costs of the labor that the florist would have put in.
10. TRYING TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF
OK, so you're a superwoman. But trying to handle every last detail can end up costing you because you don't have time to do all the research to find the most economical choice.
Enlist help. Though wedding planners come with their own costs, hiring one might save you money. Or delegate jobs to friends and family. Also, many brides who have talented friends ask for their help with decorating, invitations or flowers. People are usually happy to contribute to the success of a friends' big day.