Make it a White Friday instead, and set your wedding planning intentions

Photo by tshein on flickr, used with Creative Commons License.

Wait! Before you make one more Black Friday purchase, stop for a minute! If you’re recently engaged and hoping to have your wedding in 2012, why not take a little time this holiday weekend to set your intentions around what’s really important for your celebration? A little pre-planning before the plunge of wedding shopping can go a long way.

1. Have your families met yet? Ideally, your families will meet before the wedding day. Figure out a way to make this happen if it hasn’t already.

2. Have you set your budget yet? There are many budget planning tools online, or you can email me with the subject line “I read your 11/25 blog” and I’ll send you the one I use for my full-service clients — free!

3. Have you started on your guest list? Your budget will give you an idea of how many guests you can have. It’s not a perfect rule of thumb, but just to get you started, consider on the casual end (in the Portland, Oregon area), a budget of $50-100 per person; then, a more elaborate celebration will have a budget from $100-500 per person. Reducing your guest list is the easiest way to reduce your budget.

(Of course, all you really need is your intended and the witnesses, but these guidelines should work for anyone hoping to host a celebration with more than a dinner-party number of guests and some kind of food, drink, and entertainment.)

Another way to think about budget is to consider a favorite restaurant whose food you would love to have at your wedding. What did you pay per person the last time you went there on a date and had appetizers, dinner, and a few drinks? Take that number and double it (in order to budget 50% on catering and 50% on the other things like planning, venue rental, entertainment, documentation, printing, etc) and that can be a rough budget for you.

4. Have you discussed your shared vision with your fiance(e)? On The 2000 Dollar Wedding Blog, Sara Cotner discusses how she and her fiance “started with the end in mind”. No matter what your wedding budget might be, this is great advice.

So take a few moments during this holiday weekend to be thankful for this exciting time, and to set your intentions and get your wedding planning started right. Who knows–maybe eliminating one Black Friday impulse purchase will allow you to get something you really hoped for for the wedding.

A version of this article originally ran on The Portland Wedding Coordinator on November 27, 2009.