Whether you’re at the start of your wedding plans or well into them by now, it’s tremendously smart to get your priorities in order. By that, we mean talking with your fiancé about your biggest Must-Haves for your wedding celebration, and finding out what his top priorities are as well. For instance, you might decide together that your dream wedding centers around an outdoor wedding style and you know that you want a stunning, designer wedding gown and the best food any of your guests have ever had at a wedding. You want top-tier photography and videography, and a live band that’s going to keep the dance floor filled all night. These are your top priorities, the parts of your wedding that will get the biggest chunks of your budget.
Your Priority List, ranked in order of importance, would look like this:
1. Amazing catering, full cocktail hour, sit-down dinner.
2. Designer wedding gown.
3. Fabulous band for the entertainment.
4. Top-tier photography and videography.
5. Outdoor wedding.
Your wishes are in black and white, and when shared with parents and your wedding vendors, they can help bring your wishes to life (and, yes, so that parents can forget about the cocktail party-only idea they’re pushing for…it’s not on the list.) This is especially helpful for those who need to visual everything. If it’s on the list, it’s going to happen!
The list gets even more useful, keeping you and your circle on the same page, saving you money by not impulsively splurging on details you don’t need and inspiring additional personalized touches to your wedding when you follow these additional planning tips:
Make His and Hers Priority Lists
Your groom may agree with the top five, but also want a clambake-style rehearsal dinner, a cigar bar at the reception and a sliders station at the cocktail party. You might also want a vintage car to arrive at the church and a wildflower bouquet. There’s no limit to how many things can be on your Priority List, so unless your wishes clash completely, you each get your wish-list items included.
Make Separate Priority Lists for Each Category of Your Wedding Plans
After you list your primary Musts, such as elaborate catering and fine photography, you’ll then create separate sub-lists for each part of your wedding: catering, photography, your gown, makeup and hair, music, invitations, jewelry, décor and everything else that will be a part of your day.
Your catering priority list might look like this:
1. Locally-sourced organic foods.
2. Hand-passed, fresh appetizers…no greasy, fried appetizers.
3. Gluten-free cocktail party and entrée options.
4. Sushi bar.
5. Cheese course, not a cheese platter at the cocktail party.
With each sub-category mapped out, your vendors will love getting a detailed view of your wishes and will help you create your spectacular wedding details.
Encourage Your Parents and Bridesmaids to Use Priority Lists for the Things They’ll Plan
Their planning process will go much more smoothly, too.
Make a DON’T LIST, as well as a WHATEVER List
This way you can cut out certain unwanted elements from your plans, saving on your budget, eliminating The Chicken Dance from your reception and letting parents work on parts of the plans you have no strong emotional connection to.
Don’t Lose the Keepsake Quality of This List
Spreadsheets are fine, and Word files keep your lists neat, but you’d lose the fun of looking back later on your written record of what you almost wanted for your wedding. As your plans evolve, you’ll make changes to your list, so just cross out those initial wishlist items—don’t delete them—so that they stay in your records.
Don’t Treat Your Priority List Like an Iron-Clad Contract
Your groom has a right to switch out a top priority, and so do you. Keep your list fluid, and you’ll both be much happier.