Your wedding comes with dreams and expectations. And as much as this is your big day, it is also the event that your groom-to-be, parents and future in-laws want to be absolutely perfect. Remember that everyone is dealing with stress and one of the comments we hear over and over again from Ever After brides is to trust the experts and don’t try to do everything yourself.

Here’s a list of tips from our brides, wedding planners and vendors that will help make your wedding one that’s enjoyable for everyone involved:

1. Create an “inspiration book” of ideas for your Big Day. When meeting with vendors refer to your pics and notes to make sure you’re asking for – and getting – exactly what you want. Inspiration Board CollageInspiration Boards by Glamour Weddings Magazine 

2. Determine a budget and add 20-30% for gratuity & taxes. If an open bar is an absolute but the funds are tight, select a less elaborate wedding dress or consider a Friday night or Sunday reception. Splurges are okay as long as you compromise elsewhere. For help creating your wedding budget, check out the Ever After Wedding Budget Calculator. Creating Your Wedding Budget

3. Draft your guest list early on, and edit, edit, edit. Politely tell mom that she can’t invite all the ladies in her office (unless your folks are willing to foot the bill.) If your wedding will be a formal affair, you can bet that kids won’t want to be there anyhow, so go ahead and eliminate all of the nieces and nephews that would have taken up two full tables.Editing Your Wedding Guest ListCeremony Seating Sign Available at: Lily & Val

4. Do you want live music but can’t afford a “wedding band?” Visit local hotel bars or check YouTube for “cover” bands in your area, then negotiate pricing to play at your reception. Contact the music department at a local college to inquire about harpists, violinists and/or opera singers who will be thrilled to perform for a nominal fee at your ceremony. Wedding MusicPhotography and Solo Harpist provided by Heavenly Harps

5. Have the ceremony and reception at the same location. Venues welcome having both events and will likely offer a discount and throw in other extras such as complimentary parking and ceremony set-up. In some cases the manager will offer you the property for the entire day – ideal if you don’t want to share the limelight with another bride or a 13 year old celebrating his Bar Mitzvah.Laguna Beach Wedding Ceremony & Reception

6. Love the idea of eloping? Fulfill your fantasy and make everyone happy with a destination wedding at a gorgeous resort in Las Vegas or at a private estate in San Diego. This turns your wedding into a vacation for everyone involved. Destination Wedding in Las Vegas

7. Delegate! As much as you want to do it all and have absolute control, there are only so many hours in a day, right? Find items on your list that others can handle, such as searching online for specific wedding favors or calling photographers to narrow down who is available on your wedding day. Helpful Hint: If your Maid of Honor & Bridesmaids, Mother-in-Law or Mom are willing, give each of them a small list of tasks to take the pressure off of you. They’re you’re best gal’s- We bet they’ll be more than happy to help! Delegate Your Wedding Tasks to Friends and Family

8. Track payments and vendor promises to avoid headaches on your wedding day. Save all your receipts and get written confirmation from every vendor. Keep all this paperwork in one place, and call or email each vendor at least one week prior to the wedding day to confirm any balances due as well as set-up times at the church and reception site.Save Your Wedding Receipts

9. Your photographer is the vendor you’re entrusting one of the most important jobs to, so make sure he/she is clear on all of the shots you need. You might want to pay extra to have an assistant or two there as well, to ensure you get different perspectives documented at the ceremony as well as priceless photos of relatives and friends.Wedding Photography

10. Don’t leave the rings until the last minute! Take your fiancé on a wedding band shopping date and use this as a day to reconnect in the midst of chaos. Start with lunch at his favorite restaurant or pub, then visit the store where he purchased your engagement ring. Everything up to this point has been primarily about you, so take this opportunity to remind him why you can’t wait to spend the rest of your life with him. Surprise him with the message you’d like to engrave inside his band, too!Hand of the groom and the bride with wedding rings

For more Expert Wedding Planning Tips and help finding your Perfect Wedding Venue? Contact a Venue Expert today: