January 15, 2021 /
How to Start Planning Your Kansas City Wedding
So. Let’s be real for a minute. Your boo just proposed. You said yes, obviously. And now everyone is bombarding you with alllll the questions. How do you even start planning your Kansas City wedding?!
“When are you getting married? Where? What’s your color scheme? What will your dress look like? Where will you take pictures? Well you don’t want to serve this at dinner. You HAVE to have a real cake instead of cupcakes. How many bridesmaids are you going to have? When we got married we did this…..”
And on and on and on.
We’re not saying it’s a bad thing. Because we know how exciting it is for you and everyone else (hello, we’ve been there too!).
BUT. It can all be a little overwhelming at first. And while there are a hundred thousand wedding planning to-do-lists out there, sometimes you just need to keep it simple and have someone send some “real talk” your way.
Which is why this blog post came to be. You see, this is our 13th year photographing weddings. Yikes. We’re kind of scared to admit we’ve been around the block for that long. But that also means that we’ve seen a thing or two. Or three hundred. And we’ve seen what has caused the most amount of stress to newly engaged couples.
So, today, we’re tackling a few of those first “key” steps, and breaking it down for you. Hopefully, this helps point you in the right direction. Maybe it will make you feel better about life. Or, just serve as a reminder that you’re on the right path. Long story short, we hope it’s helpful in same way, shape, or form!
How to Start Planning your Kansas City Wedding
So what’s first?
1. Stop, enjoy, and celebrate.
Yep. Before you even start to answer anyone’s questions, take some time for you and your boo and just enjoy being engaged. Those first few weeks of engaged life are so precious, and they fly by so fast. And oftentimes wedding planning can get really crazy and overwhelming really fast. Don’t rush this stage because once you do start planning, things might get a little hectic and everything might become about the wedding. So take some time for you. 🙂
2. Talk about what’s important to you.
Say what? Why is that the second thing? Because this will help you figure out where you want to invest more and less when you start looking at your budget. Maybe photography is most important to you but your boo is all about the dinner. It’s good to know what’s important to each other and both of you as a couple before you start talking with vendors.
This also comes in handy when you’re figuring out how you want your wedding to feel. Are you shooting for a super-modern casual wedding? Or something that’s a little more rustic and low-key? All black-tie and elegance or a little boho and urban? You might think you know where your honey stands, but it’s still a good idea to hash it out and decide together. Plus, the vibe that you’re going for will also come into play with budget and décor down the road.
3. Come up with a budget.
Ugh. Nobody likes to talk money. Especially when you’re not sure who’s going to pay for what. And asking for money? We’re 100% sure no one likes to do that. BUT. This is a super important step in the planning process before you start to book your vendors.
How do you go about setting a budget? Be realistic. That overflowing floral table runner picture you’ve got pinned on Pinterest? Probably several thousand dollars for just the one piece. Websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire, and even Zola have budgeting tools and averages that you can look to when setting your budget. And keep in mind that everyone’s budget is different.
Remember when we said that you need to figure out what’s most important to you as a couple? Typically you’ll spend more of your budget on that thing or experience. And as long as you’re both okay with that it’s totally cool. For instance, for most of the couples that we get to work with, photography is one of the 2-3 things that is most important to them. Our couples easily allocate about 20% of their budget to our services and artwork.
The other thing about your budget? Don’t be afraid to stick to it. Let the vendors that you’re meeting and talking with know your budget. Some will probably be willing to flex to fit into it if they can. But we can promise that no one wants to lead you down the wrong path when it comes to budget.
And lastly? The more guests you have, the bigger budget you will need. While you don’t need to come up with a full-fledged gust list yet, keep this in the back of your mind while you’re planning your budget. 🙂
4. Hire a planner.
Yep, that’s right. We are definitely, 150% on the pro-wedding planner team. Why? Well, here’s the thing. They can literally help you with EVERYTHING, and take so much weight and so many silly, little details and decisions off your shoulders. They make wedding planning actually ENJOYABLE and stress-free. And really….. isn’t that what you want?! To enjoy being engaged?!
Why should you hire a planner at the very beginning of your wedding planning experience? Because they can help you set up a realistic budget. Make decisions that will help you stick to your budget. Recommend a team of vendors that will fit your style, personalities, and what you want to see from your wedding day. They’ll help you with seating charts, setting up and tearing down on your wedding day, and with timelines. They’ll be there for you, so if a gown rips, or something goes missing, you don’t have to worry about it.
Wedding planners are quite literally angels on earth.
5. Pick a date….or a few dates.
Why a few? Well, to be honest, your one and only date might not match up with your dream venue availability. Venues are always the first thing that engaged couples book, and you might just have to be a little flexible on that date to get your dream venue. It helps to have a few dates in your back pocket, or at least to be flexible on the exact date.
Plus, choosing that date will impact your planning. If it’s July and you want to get married this October, you’re going to be planning in a hurry. Which is totally fine (we’ve seen it done in shorter timespans). BUT, it means that life will be all wedding all the time until the minute you walk down the aisle. A shorter planning period may also mean that you have to be more flexible with the vendors you book. Vendors like photographers and venues can only book 1 wedding per day/weekend. Again, it’s not a bad thing, just have a few others in your back pocket.
If you pick a date that’s longer (most of our couples book us about 10-16 months before their wedding), you’ll have a longer planning period. You’ll also have more options for vendors and won’t have to squeeze everything into just a few short weeks to plan.
6. Book your venue.
Like we mentioned above, the venue you choose will ultimately set your wedding date. Especially if you’ve got your heart set on a specific venue. At the same time, don’t be afraid to tour multiple venues, or ask for recommendations that are similar to the venue you’re looking at. A few times now we’ve worked with couples who thought they wanted one look and feeling, only to find out they wanted something completely different on their venue tour. Totally cool. Follow your heart. 🙂
On your tours it’s okay to ask all the questions, even if they seem silly. Most venues/vendors will have a list of FAQ and will be willing to share alllll of the information with you. After all, this is what they do day in and day out, and it’s only the first wedding you’ve planned.
Our last piece of advice for your venue? Book it before you start reaching out to any other vendors. That thing about your venue ultimately setting your date? It’s a real thing. Many other vendors can’t/won’t let you book your wedding until your date is set in stone, and that ultimately happens as soon as you’ve officially booked your venue.
And when you get to this point? Take a breather, give yourselves a pat on the back, and have a date night. 🙂
Feel like you’re missing something? Check out Raeann and Mike’s Sneak Peek here.