You fail to plan, you plan to fail. This full resource for wedding planning will make your wedding day a breeze.
We sat down with Spellbound weddings to discuss wedding planning.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START PLANNING?
12 months before:
Decide on your wedding date, wedding venues and guest lists
8 – 10 months before:
Think and gather ideas for your wedding, start sourcing for your vendors and send out your wedding invites
6 – 8 months before:
Book your vendors and order your wedding items
2 – 4 months before:
Have your wedding photoshoot, finalise details with your vendors
1 month before:
Finalise your guest list
2 weeks before:
Come up with a programme schedule, seating plan, run-through with your vendors, finalise vows
WHAT SHOULD YOU START WITH?
So, you’ve gotten proposed; you’ve gotten engaged, now what? There are so many things on your mind right now – when should the wedding be? How should I plan the wedding? Should I have an outdoor or indoor wedding? And the list goes on and on…
Here are some key things that can kickstart you with your wedding planning. Although the list is not fully comprehensive, these things are the important things to start with your wedding planning process.
1. Choosing your wedding date
The first most important thing for you to do is to set up a wedding date with your partner. It might seem like a simple task; I mean all you’ve got to do is to just pick a date, right? But think about it again, here are some things you may want to consider before scrolling through the calendar and pick the date where your finger stopped at.
a. Auspicious Date
As much as young couples nowadays do not believe in auspicious date, but old folks can be very particular about this. You can check out more about the auspicious date and wedding feng shui in this link.
b. High in Demand Dates
Weekends especially Saturdays are the most expensive and thus can choose alternatives such as Friday or Sunday to save cost. December period is also very high in demand and should book in advance if you have to have your wedding in the December period.
Venue rental usually cost more on the weekends, as previously mentioned, weekends are usually higher in demand compared to weekdays.
d. Close Family and Friends
If you have loved ones staying overseas and would love to have them over at your wedding, you may want to consider their availability first before setting the date. Due to work constraints or school matters, consulting them when would a convenient date to fly over to the wedding would be highly encouraged.
Also, Saturday weddings would be a typical day as they have enough time to fly over on Friday and leave on Sunday to reach back on time for work on Monday.
2. Setting your budget
Wedding is once in a lifetime, and everyone has a dream wedding inspiration that they wish for. However, one main restriction of your ideas would be your budget. How much money will you be able to put aside for your wedding? It is important to know what is your budget right from the start so that you can plan your wedding according to your budget and not overspend. The last thing you want to have as a newly-wed is to end up being the stress of finances due to overspending at your wedding.
There are many things you have to spend on your wedding, from small details like invitation cards to your venue rental. With so many things in mind, it is vital to know what you like and would like to prioritise. It could be food is the most important thing to the couple, and thus would set aside a bigger portion of the budget to food and beverages. Or it could be the couple really treasures memories, and hence would set aside a bigger budget to engage in a popular photographer/videographer.
Hence ultimately, budgeting boils down to what you and your partner would like to prioritise. There are some traditions that you and your partner see no meaning in having it, and can just forgo them.
However, here is a general guideline as to how much you should spend on each element in a wedding:
Venue and Catering: 40%
Flowers and decorations: 20%
Music and entertainment: 10%
b. Ways to Save Cost
Guest List: the most common way to save cost is to downsize your invitation and have a more intimate wedding.
DIY: You can save a lot on your spending by doing up your decorations. Such as hand-weave a macramé backdrop or homemade cookies for gift favours. This can also add an extra touch of sincerity and meaning to your wedding.
Non-Peak Dates: as mentioned previously, peak dates such as Saturdays can be significantly more expensive.
Skip the Traditions: just because there are common practices in a wedding does not mean that it is necessary to have them if it has no meaning or purpose to the couple. For example, it is skipping the wedding cakes and wedding car.
Friends are your to-go: we often have friends are freelance musicians or emcee, or simply just have the passion or hobby to take photos. If you are not extremely particular about the quality of experience, you may consider roping your friends in for help during your wedding. You can save cost significantly from hiring an emcee which cost at least $100/hr.
3. Invitation list
Now that you know you are getting married and have decided on the date and venue, the most important thing you need to do next is to inform your family and friends.
a. How to Choose Your Guest List
Though you want to invite as many people as you can to celebrate this beautiful day together, one of the most difficult parts of planning the wedding is to come up with the guest list as you are being bombarded with issues like your budgetary concerns, family opinions and the type of wedding you want.
Budgetary Concerns: for each guest that you invite, there will be a cost for that person – food, beverage, gift favour and venue rental. You will need to take into consideration the budget that you have set apart for your wedding and decide what the maximum people you can invite is.
Family Opinions: though there are some extended relatives you may not be closed with and see no point in inviting them to your wedding day, parents can be quite adamant about inviting them as they might want to let them know about their children’s marriage. So do discuss with your family first before sending out your invitations, you will not want any family drama to happen during the planning.
Style of Wedding: if you want an intimate setting for your wedding, you will want to limit your guest list to only those who you are very closed with, thus a shorter list. However, if you want a grand and extravagant wedding, and love the feeling of crowd and gathering of friends, you can extend your list to friends that you may not have been in contact for a long time.
Tip: do not be afraid to say no to people. If you are concern about how to explain to someone that did not make it in the guest list, you can just explain to them that you want your wedding to be a small and intimate one, and thus it is difficult to invite everyone as much as you love to. Get them to understand that there is your partner’s side of the family and many other constraints.
Tip: one way to decide whether you are close to someone is to see if you have met up with them or talked to them for the past six months.
b. Invitation Card Ideas
E-Invites: there are many free online websites that can help you create wedding invites and cards; this can help you reduce cost in printing out physical invitations for all your guests. Here are some websites that you can use for your request:
Printing Techniques: there are different type of printing techniques – engraving, calligraphy, embossing/debossing, and each type of printing gives off different vibe and texture to the card. So, depending on your budget, time constraint and style of your wedding, then can you decide on the type of printing for your invitation card.
Alternatives: printing your invitation to balloons can be a fun and interactive way to announce to your guest about your wedding day. Depending on the theme and style of the wedding, you can have unique ‘invitation cards’ that matches your theme.
a. Indoor or Outdoor
Both indoor and outdoor setting of a venue gives off a very different atmosphere and setting. You can consider the pros and cons of the two settings before deciding which you would like:
Pros of Indoor Venues:
- Don’t have to worry about bad weather
- Less work needed
Cons of Indoor Venues:
- Usually the same setting with other weddings, not much creativity
- May have restrictions such as table and seating arrangements
Pros of Outdoor Venues:
- Natural and cosy atmosphere
- Beautiful scenery
- Natural daylight for photos
Cons of Outdoor Venues:
- Concerns about wet weather
- Setting up tents, carpeting, tables and chairs may be costly and troublesome
b. Types of Venues
While sourcing for the venue, it is crucial to keep in mind the budget that you have, the number of guests that will be coming, and your wedding style.
Hotels: one of the most common venue to host your wedding is ballrooms in hotels. It is popular because of its convenience. Hotels usually offer wedding packages for couples that want to host their wedding at their ballrooms, which the packages usually include – stage, FnB, reception cocktail, floral decorations and sound system. Being all-in-one, many couples decides to save the hassles and engage in hotels to help settle a big bulk of their wedding.
Restaurants / Cafes: it is becoming more popular for couples to have their wedding at restaurants and cafes because firstly, it is cheaper than hotels. Secondly, it is more intimate and a different environment.
Some restaurants/cafes in Singapore to host your wedding at:
Churches: for some couples who are Christians, it is a religious act to have their wedding a church. However, one benefit to host your wedding at a church is the cost of venue rental. Churches are much cheaper than having it at hotels or restaurants, and you can consider having a simple lunch buffet at the reception area. For couples who want to have a very simple wedding and is very tight on budget, churches might be a good idea for you. However, there may be some church regulations that you need to follow and paperwork to do beforehand.
Here is a list of Catholic Churches in Singapore to host your wedding at:
Beaches: with the wind breezing through your hair and the sound of waves crashing against the shore, a beach wedding is every nature lovers’ dream wedding: the perfect backdrop, perfect photos and most romantic atmosphere. However, there are many considerations for you to think of before setting your mind on a beach wedding – from catching the right timing for the right weather right sunset and right tides to getting permits from the venue management and government.
Some places in Singapore to host your beach wedding at:
Tanjong Beach Club – have an indoor and outdoor setting
5. Wedding Gowns
a. Considerations when choosing your gown
Formality: the choice of the gown should suit according to whether it is a ‘formal’ or ‘semiformal’ or ‘informal’ wedding.
Styles that you like: there are many styles of wedding dresses – lace, off-shoulder, flair, slip shoulder, halter neckline, spaghetti straps, three-quarter sleeves etc. To add on to it, there are also different dress materials to consider – silk, chiffon, velvet and brocade etc. One tip is for ladies to search up online and think about what kind of dress styles you like so that you don’t get bombarded with the massive amount of choices when you are at the bridal studio.
b. Location of the Wedding:
If your wedding is outdoors, you will want to avoid long sleeves gown. With Singapore’s hot and humid weather, if you have a heavy and thick gown, you will end up sweating buckets as you walk down the aisle. This will end up also affecting the photos taken and your mood on the day of your wedding.
Hot weather fabrics: chiffon, linen, organza
Cold weather fabrics: brocade, faux fur, velvet
All-weather fabrics: satin, silk, tulle
it is crucial to always keep in mind the budget you have set aside for your bridal wear, which also includes your other accessories such as the heels and pieces of jewellery.
6. Food and Beverages
When deciding the menu, it is important to know what time of the day you are serving the food – breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktail and dinner.
Another important thing to note is to check whether there are any food allergies or dietary requirements from the guests, especially vegan and vegetarian.
b. Service style
Pros: cheaper to have buffet style as you save on wait-staffs, more variety of food choices, guests have the flexibility to choose what to eat
Cons: Need to have space to set up buffet lines, maybe messy with guests walking around
Pros: guests will feel more comfortable and pampered getting served, easier to capture guests’ attention
Cons: More expensive, guests may feel bored sitting down for long
7. Photography / Videography
Your wedding turned out perfect just as what you have dreamed of, and you had such an amazing day on this special day. You will want to keep those memories of that day.
Photographs and videos are quintessential keepsakes of your wedding day. Down the road, you are going to look at these photos to remember your big day and showing it off to your children and grandchildren.
a. Reasons to engage in a wedding photographer/wedding videographer
Memories’ Seek: as mentioned, this is your big day, and you will want to have photographs and videos that capture down all the nice and sweet moments you had at your wedding
Let Your Hair Down: you don’t have to worry no one is capturing that once-in-a-lifetime moment during your wedding, be it when your dad is crying at your wedding speech or the moment the groom sees you walking down the aisle. Your photographer/videographer will be your wedding paparazzi, seizing moments down that you may not even notice.
b. Things to look out for in a wedding photographer/wedding videographer
Experience and Portfolio: it is crucial to check out the wedding photographer and wedding videographer’s experience as there are many freelancers out there. If you are particular about having your photos being professionally taken, you may want to consider an experienced photographer/videographer. Also, do look through the Portfolio of the photographer/videographer’s work, as you need to have something you like about their work to engage them.
Connection: other than the wedding planner, the next person you will be spending quite an amount of time with is the photographer/videographer. You should be able to feel close and comfortable with your photographer/videographer, then can you be more relaxed when facing the camera. It is important to be able to communicate well with your photographer/videographer, let s/he know what kind of style you have in mind. The chemistry you have with your photographer/videographer will be shown in the pictures.
IS A WEDDING PLANNER NECESSARY?
There are many couples who decided to just skip having a wedding planner, not wanting to waste time finding a suitable wedding planner and save cost in hiring one. However, is it saddening to also see many couples not being able to enjoy their special day because they are so busy with the wedding preparations that they forgot to enjoy themselves what most couples do not know that hiring a wedding planner is an investment, which can instead help you save time and money? It’s important to not get swept up with all the details of the wedding that you lose sight of what is the purpose and focus of your wedding day.
1. Should You Engage in a Wedding Planner?
a. Pros of a Wedding Planner
Able to advise You on Decisions: wedding planners are very experienced with what goes behind planning a wedding, they can foresee any things that may go wrong and thus help guide you along the way. There are many decisions that you will have to make for your wedding day, and sometimes information on the internet may mislead your decision, and this is where wedding planners who have seen and done plenty of weddings before is able to point out some red flags.
Keep You Stress-Free: the role of a wedding planner is basically to ensure all things are covered for your wedding – from sourcing the best and reliable vendors to screening through your guest lists to ensure no important guests are left out to be the stage manager on that day. Though it also depends on whether you are hiring a full-fledge planner to handle your entire wedding or a part-time planner than only handle a specific part of your weddings such as budgeting or scheduling. But ultimately, a planner will definitely lift off a big bulk of responsibility off your shoulder, allowing you to enjoy your big day.
Time Saver: as wedding planner helps you to plan and organise your wedding, you do not need to spend much time on your end to think about the itsy bitsy details, other than occasional meetups with your planner to keep on the same page. This can be extremely beneficial if you are very busy at work and are very tight on time.
Money Saver: the wedding planner will help to ensure that you keep to your budget. It is often very easy to lose sight of your budget and be led by those glamourous venues and enchanting gowns, which makes the wedding planner extremely important to be sure that you don’t overspend. Also, wedding planners often have connections with vendors, and can help get you discounted rates, giving you cost-saving!
b. Cons of a Wedding Planner
Cost of a Wedding Planner: the cost of a planner depending on the job scope and experience can range from $1,000 – $10,000. Thus, many people may feel that it is not worth it to hire one and turn to their friends for help instead.
Time to Find a Planner: You need to find a planner that you are comfortable with and can rely on, which can take up some time to source for one.
2. What to look out for in a Wedding Planner
Simply put, the more experience the wedding planner has, the more informative and reliable the planner is. You will want to engage one that is able to answer all your questions confidently and give you sound advice. The role of a wedding planner is to make you feel assured that everything is going smoothly, not freak you out more than you already are.
The wedding planner needs to have good communication skills and high EQ as s/he will be interacting not just with you and your partner, but also your family and all your vendors to make your wedding happen.
c. Quick Thinking
Often than not, things will always screw up during your big day. I have heard of stories of the groom being stuck in the lift for an hour before picking the bride at her house and wedding cakes not being able to deliver on time. It’s like murphy’s law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This is when your wedding planner should be able to think quickly and be adaptable, to come up with ways to tackle these issues.
d. Comfortable to be With
You will be spending a whole lot of time with your wedding planner right from the start, and so you will want to be comfortable with your wedding planner, to be able to share your ideas and concerns with.
Tip: do not engage with planners that may be pushy with their ideas. Remember, if you have a vision of your wedding day, stick to it. Do not hire a wedding planner that does not listen.
3. How to plan with a planner
a. Meet Up with a few Planners
Meet with some planners you have in mind and decide on the one that you are most comfortable with. It is only when you meet face-to-face with the planners then are you able to fully assess them.
b. Let Your Planner Know Your Budget
Your planner will need to know your budget constraints before moving on to the other steps of planning. The budget will always be the guideline for the wedding planner.
c. Share The Dreams of Your Wedding
If you have any ideas or inspirations that you have, do share with your wedding planner, and the wedding planner can see how to work towards it. It is good to always have an idea in mind whenever you consult with your planner, and this gives the planner a direction to work with.
d. Be Open with Your Planner
The wedding planner will observe what kind of person you are, what are your likes and dislikes, and what you are good or bad at. Being open and transparent with your planner allows your wedding planner to be able to plan a wedding that is closest to your ideal dream. The wedding planner can also suggest ideas for your wedding based on s/he’s observations.
4. Wedding Planners in Singapore
Here are some wedding planning companies that you can consider for your wedding: