I’ve been dreaming about our wedding 2 years even before Allan proposed so I was excited and confident to plan our own wedding the moment Allan popped the question.
Planning your own wedding is time consuming and stressful but fun.
Time Consuming because you have to spend hours researching online, sending emails and sending FB messages to inquire for Supplier’s rates. You spend time reading wedding blogs, browsing pinterest for ideas, watching wedding videos, joining a community of Brides and Grooms to be and just generally getting all the information you can find online so you can find the best deal in town.
You have to spend time meeting suppliers when you sign up a contract or when you need to meet them up. Time consuming when you have to visit stores, venues, places and even bridal fair to come up with a wise decision.
Stressful because you got to make decisions together. It’s no longer just about you but the two of you. There’s the possibility of arguments, misunderstandings and tampuhan. You’ll be stressed about the budget going up every time you check your excel file. Stressed about unexpected expenses, lack of time, lack of movie dates, lack of social life probably because you’re just too busy with all the wedding preps.
Fun because you get to practice being a wife to your future husband, practice making decisions with him/her. It’s fun to see your vision coming to life. Fun to go out and meet people from the wedding industry.
We didn’t hire a wedding coordinator because it was out of our budget and we have friends who volunteered to help us. (But I still think it’s necessary for you to hire at least an On The Day Coordinator if ever) Nevertheless, our guests thought we had a coordinator because everything went out fine.
Disclaimer: I am no wedding expert but I just want to share to you a few tips that helped Allan and I in selecting our suppliers, collecting ideas, closing deals, managing our budget and just planning our own wedding in general. Most ideas we got online or from people we met, chatted and talked to. This helped us so I’m hoping it helps you too 🙂
**PS: Forgive me if my tips are just random and long. I just decided to write whatever I remember and no, none of my post is sponsored. I just love writing during spare time at the office. Enjoy! :)
- Communicate with your fiance. Most guys are quiet but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a dream wedding. Always ask for their consent before making a decision, discuss ideas with them and be open minded with their ideas too. Allan and I argued a lot but i’m lucky enough that I married a husband who patiently explains his ideas to me even if I look hostile whenever he does 😀
- Agree with a Budget but make sure to set aside an emergency fund. It’s true. It’s super difficult to stick with your budget. Allan and I spent 50K more from our original wedding budget because of expenses we can’t say no to.
- Prepare a Wedding Checklist or probably download one online to serve as a guide. I preferred to create an excel file that Allan and I used to track our wedding suppliers. I print this and attached it to my portfolio. I like to think I’m organized so I compiled all our contracts, supplier’s brochure and checklists in a clear book.
4. Determine your priorities. List down the top three (or four or five, that’s up to you!) things you want to prioritize in your wedding and probably a few things you’re willing to scrimp on. We have to give up a few things that we “wanted” so we can really focus on what we “needed”. Allan and I decided to spend 70% of our budget to Food, Venue, Photo, Video as well as HMUA. On the other hand, we didn’t spend much on the Bridal Car, Flowers, Cakes and Entourage Outfit. Setting up your priorities will help you set a budget amount you are willing to spend on each suppliers (e.g. we can’t go beyond 50K for our photo and video so if we already removed suppliers on our list that are way out of our budget). We also set we can’t spend more than 8K for church and entourage flowers so we had to look for a supplier that can work on our budget. We created estimate budget that was eventually changed thus it’s best to use excel because you’d make a lot of changes along the way. 🙂
5. Make a list of your “Needs” and your “Nice to Have” – Today’s wedding industry introduces a lot of ideas that are soo nice you want to incorporate them all in your wedding. As much as we want to, reality is.. we can’t get everything we wanted so we just listed a few things on our “nice to have list”. We included in the list a Big Flower Arch, Ecuadorian Roses for the Bridal Bouquet, Cupcakes for everyone, Dessert Buffet, Guests Giveaway, Vintage Bridal Car and a DIY Photo booth Backdrop. We decided we would only incorporate this in our wedding when our budget allows us to do so. It was difficult at first but I eventually learned the art of letting go my “kaartehan“.
6. REALISTIC RESEARCH is the key. My love for reading helped me a lot to prepare. I spare hours in the office reading wedding websites, books at home, FB groups. Experience is the best teacher so I sought the help of those who were once a bride. I also joined forums where I get to talk to other brides to be and here are a few of these groups.
Girl Talk – I actively participated in the forum and learned a LOT from my fellow brides to be, I got inspired to do some DIY projects, learned about flipbooks and other process I need to know about getting married.
W@W – I also joined weddings at work because I have seen other bloggers giving nice comments about W@W however I didn’t like the interface of the website thus I didn’t push through. I still suggest you join the forums.
Wedding Blogs – Reading other bride’s blog inspired me to create my own and I hope it does the same to you.
7. Selecting Suppliers – I hear you, I know bogus suppliers do exist and sometimes it’s just so hard to decipher the real ones from the fake. I was also scared of looking for suppliers online but legit suppliers do exist too. Allan and I followed a process in selecting suppliers. Here’s a few things we did:
A. They were recommended by a friend or anyone reliable and we have personally saw their output/product/service/etc CSG Photography was our friend’s P&V Team during their wedding and Harold Lejarde was recommended by a wedding coordinator in Bulacan. Reminder: We still conduct our own research before accepting a friend’s recommendation just to be sure 🙂
B. Look for Reviews Online. Go ahead, ask google! I asked google whenever I’m interested in a supplier. Look for reviews online, on FB, on forums, on blogs. It’s like conducting a background check 😀 (I felt confident with Ty Po Huat because I saw some good reviews online, same with Global Invitations, Alterations Plus, Hearts and Bells and Flipbooks) I told you it’s time consuming but all those suppliers really did deliver 🙂
C. If I can’t see any reviews online, we check the supplier’s portfolio, their length of service, the amount of money at stake and follow our gut feel at the end haha. I didn’t see any reviews about JBelle Flower Arrangement but I was impressed by their portfolio and their FB history says they have been providing service years back so that makes me feel a little confident that they are legit (me and my trust issues! haha). Patio Queen Sofia and Alarcon Catering has no reviews online but they have been in the business for a long time and their name is pretty prominent in Valenzuela so why not?
D. Sometimes, you just have to take the risk haha. The only time we took the risk is when Allan bought his suit in Divisoria. We just met a random girl at a store and we paid a DP of 1K without conducting any research. I was worried sick thinking we have to go back there several times due to incorrect fitting but surprisingly, Allan’s suit turned out really well. He look so gwapo in his suit ❤ We did take a risk.. but it’s a calculated risk since we only gambled 1k as down payment. We didn’t agree to pay the remaining balance until we receive his suit.
Tips: Don’t be blinded by freebies and discounts. Always do the math and think if the freebies would really help you 🙂
Be smart enough but still be respectful. Treat everyone nicely. To be fair, there are a lot of new suppliers that are still building up a portfolio and most of them actually offer better rates. It’s kinda risky but if you feel in your heart it’s right and your hubby agrees.. go ahead and book them. ❤
8. Prepare a set of questions when meeting up with a supplier so those issues can be addressed before you sign up a contract (how long will they stay in the event, what would happen in case of emergencies, cancellation fee, deadlines, how often would they communicate to you, extra charges like delivery charge, out of town fee, additional hours fee, additional staff fee, meal allowance and many other questions) You can find sample questions online like this.
9. Always ask, read and keep a copy of the contract. Example is our contract with Hearts and Bell tells us that we have to make the full payment 2 weeks before the wedding or else our order will be forfeited. READ, READ, READ. Better safe than sorry right?
10. Always communicate with them nicely and professionally. I’m not sure with you but I’m the type of client who likes to maintain a professional kind of relationship with our suppliers. I like sending emails, formal texts and I really avoid communication through FB but if it can’t be avoided I still talk professionally. I just feel like it’s my way of telling them I mean business 🙂 Follow up but don’t send them messages every hour. Don’t panic if they don’t contact you everyday. Check your contract with them and your timeline to see if you’re still on schedule.
11. Oh yeah, create a timeline of activities and an UPDATED TO DO LIST every week. I maintained a notebook where I write our schedule and to do list every week. I created a calendar, printed and posted it in my hubby’s room so he knows our to do list every week (because he seems to be forgetting our appointment all the time) Our timeline suggest that we should be done finalizing our invitations two months before the wedding, distributed it a month before the wedding , confirmed RSVP two weeks before the wedding and send the final guest to our caterer a week before the wedding. Yes, a timeline so I can panic when we fail to do our tasks haha. We also did divide the task at hand to be more efficient so there were days wherein Allan would be exchanging emails to the Souvenir Supplier while I handle other matters.
12. I bet you’d visit Divisoria if you’re a budget bride. I just have to remind you to keep a list before going there and limit your visit so you don’t end up going there 10x before the wedding because it’s time consuming and not practical. I have friends who did this and so I learned from her mistake 🙂
13. Bridal Fairs do help. Allan and I have only visited 3 Bridal Fairs in the course of our preparation and what we liked the most are the ones conducted by Themes and Motifs because of the freebies and the participant suppliers 🙂 Some rates are only available on Bridal Fairs like the 10K for 3 Hours Rate of Flipbooks, the 58 PhP per invite of Global Invitations and 4,500 Rate for our cake.
Tips: Always check the list of Suppliers who will participate in the event ahead of time, conduct a research about them, discuss it with your hubby before going to the event to avoid making on the spot decisions.
14. Prepare a Budget for Meetings. It may not be necessary but sometimes we feel like treating our suppliers a cup of coffee or a decent meal whenever we meet them. Maybe you can avoid this by visiting them directly on their office haha. I’m just trying to be practical of course! Budget Bride here 🙂 Perhaps Allan and I have spent around 10K for our our transportation, going to places, eating out and meeting people but we just imagine we’re going out on a date (in Divisoria haha)
15. Get all the help you can get! Our wedding won’t be a sucess without the help of our family and friends. My mom, sisters and Allan’s siblings helped us with our DIYs. My bridesmaids were always there to accompany me to supplier meetings, they served as my OTD Coordinator for free. Our awesome emcees were our friends. We also got some financial help by getting entourage who are willing to shoulder the cost of their gown and half of the makeup, friends who shouldered the expenses for our free van OTD. Allan’s best man was there to help us from our prenup until the day of our wedding as a driver with his car hihi. Believe it or not, your friends want to get involved too. I can’t even count how many times we had to meet up to discuss wedding details but they were all willing to help thus Allan and I felt how much they love us ❤
16. Just enjoy, take a rest when you need to and start preparing again with zest when you’re ready! Always remember.. Your partner is more important than the decors, music and details ❤