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Our experts share nine tips to keep in mind when preparing for your big day.
1. Set a budget
Before booking a venue, florist and caterer for your big day, first consider budget. "That will alleviate much stress in the planning process," says Douglas.
"Once the budget is finalized, focus on the areas that really matter to you," says Rebecca Chan, owner of Rebecca Chan Wedding and Events in Toronto. You don't want to waste money on things that won't make a big difference. Ensure that "you're happy with every element you spend money on," she adds.
2. Consult a wedding planner
"A wedding planner will do all the budget work for you, including pricing, quoting and vendor research," says Douglas. Even if you don't want to hire a professional to oversee the planning process, consider a consultation or hire a wedding planner only for your big day. That way, you can focus on enjoying yourself, while someone else deals with the logistics.
3. Create a checklist on your smartphone and sync it to your computer
Organization is key to alleviating stress. Create a checklist to keep track of complete and outstanding tasks. Douglas suggests using your smartphone and syncing it to your other devices, like your iPad and computer, so that lists are always accessible.
4. Follow wedding-themed boards on Pinterest
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration when it comes to planning. “If you find and follow the right type of people, Pinterest can help you hone in on the theme and atmosphere you want for your wedding," says Douglas. She also recommends keeping a close eye on blogs and websites that are dedicated to weddings, such as Green Wedding Shoes, 100 Layer Cakes, Style Me Pretty and Every Last Detail.
Pinterest is also great for sharing your ideas with wedding vendors, says Danielle Andrews Sunkel, cofounder and president of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada. She recommends this tool for all aspects of the planning process.
5. Have a wedding-specific email address and create a website
A wedding-specific email address will help you keep track of correspondence with vendors. Creating a website is also helpful if your wedding is out of town, or when "more information is needed than what can fit on the invite," adds Douglas.
A web extension called .wed helps engaged couples create websites and email addresses for their weddings, says Andrews Sunkel.
6. Purchase custom pre-inked stamps or labels with your wedding details
Effortlessly provide your name, wedding date and contact info to vendors with custom pre-inked stamps or labels, says Andrews Sunkel. A customized stamp with your address also makes a unique addition to wedding invitations.
7. Attend open houses at wedding venues
Some wedding venues offer open houses, which allow you to see available design and décor options and the staff in action," says Andrews Sunkel.
8. Don't leave DIY elements until the last minute
A great way to add personal touches to your wedding is to do it yourself, but don't take on too much—especially if you’re pressed for time. It's best to start your DIY projects early to avoid scrambling to complete them last minute.
"If a DIY project cannot be completed a month before the wedding, do not attempt it," warns Andrews Sunkel.
9. Work with professionals
You may have your budget set, but don’t save money by skimping on service. If there's anything worth spending on, it's experienced, professional waitstaff and photographers. "Never, ever let your friends or family work at your wedding," says Andrews Sunkel. Your loved ones should be celebrating with you, not providing amateur service.
Get inspired with special tips, expert advice, recipes and crafts in our weddings feature.