Fallon Carter’s 7 Tips to Remember As You Plan Your Big Day!

So he liked it and he finally put a ring on it! Now what? You've got to plan the wedding of your dreams, that's what! Before you start buying every bridal magazine in sight, take a deep breath and let us help you get organized for you big day! We got a chance to catch up with one of our favorite wedding planners and bridal experts Fallon Carter of Fallon Carter Weddings, a boutique wedding planning company based in New York, and got tips on how to get started on planning your wedding. Check out Fallon's top 7 things to do before you say 'I do!'

Fallon Carter, Owner of Fallon Carter Weddings

1.Create a budget:

You’re engaged and you couldn't be happier. You’ve hit Pinterest, tried on dresses and continuously stare at your new bling. Upon your descent from Cloud 9, it's time to get serious about your planning. Your first step- create a budget! Sit down with your fiancé and identify how much you are going spend on this special day, and who is contributing. My number one tip is to be realistic about your budget and your guest count- the two go hand in hand. I also recommend that couples keep an open mind and consider all options: small, elaborate or destination. And the most important advice is to consider the lifestyle you both want to have after the aisle and how the expenses of the wedding will effect that; i.e. home ownership.

2. Prioritize:

Once you have a budget in mind its time to divide and conquer.  Break down your budget into categories:  Reception, Ceremony, Attire, Photography, Entertainment, Misc. etc. Then identify you and your fiance’s top picks, no more than three.  What are the most important aspects of your wedding day-  good food, great pictures, awesome band? Whatever they are, write them down and these will be your “splurge items.”  Create approximate totals of what you would be willing to spend (consider your negotiating room) on these items and from there you can spread the rest of your budget into the other categories.  As you start to book your vendors you will begin to move money around within your budget.  You may save on one vendor and move those funds over to another category. It is very important to keep track of everything.  Just because you can afford a deposit, doesn't mean you should. Always refer to your budget before making a final decision.

Photo by SunandSparrow

3. Choose your bridal party wisely:

Selecting your bridal party is just as important as finding your soulmate. All too often, brides and grooms just pick all their friends, acquaintances and family to participate. Before asking ANYONE to participate in your big day, really think about who you will want by your side as you say ‘I Do.’ I tell my clients to consider all the duties and responsibilities that will be required from your wedding party members; they will need to purchase their own attire and shoes, travel to the wedding, plan the events around the wedding, give opinions, suggestions and a shoulder to cry on, have the solution when everything is going wrong, AND still carry on with their daily lives. With that kind of job description- your Bridal party should consist of nothing but the best!  Being selective will save you a lot of time and unnecessary stress. So what do you do with your friends that great but that may not be bridal party material? There are TONS of options- Make them a hostess, an usher, a greeter or assign them a reading for the ceremony- if there name is in the program I doubt they will care what their job is- just keep it simple.

4. Hire a wedding planner:

I am slightly biased when it comes to this suggestion- but hiring a planner is the best idea ever! We take the stress out of the researching and awkward vendor coffee meetings.  We have an existing rolodex of vendors that fall into many different categories, budgets, styles and themes. Planners are also able to negotiate deals because we can guarantee repeat business, unlike a bride working on her own. As a planner we have learned how to speak “Bride.”  We understand your hand motions, pinterest boards, facial expressions and even your silence. We turn all of that into real words that we then articulate to other vendors that will help us make your vision a reality.  A wedding planner is your biggest advocate and your greatest resource.  If a full service wedding planner is not an option- then you must have a day of coordinator. We love the stress of a wedding day- so let us worry about the missing ring bearer while you sit comfortably in the bridal suite!

Photo Source: Wedding Concepts

5. Consider the Weather:If you are planning to have an outdoor ceremony-always have a rain plan!!! Work with your venue to come up with a plan b, that will be able to accommodate all of your guests comfortably.  If you are having a destination wedding, check out the farmers almanac. Find out about the sunrise and sunset, average temperature, potential storms, bugs or possible allergens that may await you upon your arrival.  Share any and all information with your guests so that they may pack accordingly.  Its also a good idea to include some fun and useful goodies in their welcome bags, like mosquito spray, Benadryl, battery powered fans and an umbrella- just in case.

6. Read, Research and Ask:

Always read your vendor contracts thoroughly. Ask about anything that you don't understand and sign nothing until the contract and agreement are to your liking. If a Vendor can not offer you a contract-red flag that and walk away. Weddings cost A LOT of money- so its important to know exactly what you are paying for and to protect yourself.  Always know the refund and cancellation policy, and make sure there is an “Act of God” policy that will protect you from things out of your control, like a hurricane. And don't forget the tax, tips and gratuity. 18% may not seem like a lot in your mind- but 18% of $3,000 is $540 dollars (aka a pair of wedding shoes).  To avoid paying tax, ask your vendors about paying cash.

photo source:

7. Plan the perfect wedding for YOU:

With wedding blogs, Pinterest, magazines and reality wedding TV it is very easy to get overwhelmed with ideas, themes, colors and concepts.  Although you may want to do everything, its important to stay focused and visualize YOUR wedding day.  When you close your eyes and see your day- what do you see? Write it down and work from that. Its important to remember that the images available to you are often staged or created with unlimited budgets.  My recommendation is to focus your attention on what you want the mood and energy of the day to be.  Do you want to feel sexy and glamorous and like your guests to be wowed- then consider a old Hollywood glam theme?  Do you want to be easy breezy and have your guests to feel like they are comfy and at home- then you want more lounge sets and comfort food.  Not every bride is the same-therefore every wedding will not be the same- plan YOUR wedding and focus on telling YOUR love story- and everything else will fall into place.

Visit Fallon Carter on Twitter and on Facebook for more helpful hints on how to plan your special day!

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