I Dos and Don'ts: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | Tracking Your Vendor Payments

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Business Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

Andi recently shared info and worksheets on organizing your vendor contacts; this month, she's designed a user-friendly spreadsheet for keeping track of payments and deadlines.

Planning an event--namely, your wedding--with so many moving parts can be overwhelming. Because you’re working with so many vendors and making so many purchases within a short amount of time, we highly recommend getting everything out of your head, onto paper. That way, it’s simpler to really see what you’ve done and what still needs to addressed.

On that note, this printable tracker is designed to help you keep track of all your vendor payments. Assembling your wedding day dream team is so much fun, but after initial thrill wears off, it’s key to keep good records of whom you have paid, when you did so, how much you still owe, and if you would like to give them a gratuity.

Happy Planning!

Click to download your copy of the Vendor Payment Tracker.

Click to download your copy of the Vendor Payment Tracker.


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Don'ts: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | Organizing Your Vendors + Downloadable Contact List

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Business Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

We've talked vendor interviews and booking before in this series. Now let's get you a system for organizing them. 

As you're working hard researching and interviewing vendors, signing contracts and paying deposits, it's so important to keep track of everyone you've hired. By filing in all the vital contact details, you'll be able to find your photographer's phone number when you need it, or have your floral designer's address at your fingertips when it's time to write the final balance check.

Don't forget to keep all of your contracts in one place, preferably a binder or folder. Whether a coordinator or a family friend is running your wedding day, the info you provide will let them know exactly what is expected of each vendor. 

Download your free copy of our Vendor Contact List, covering everything from initial bookings through post-reception arrangements for you and your new husband, right here.

Happy Planning!


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Don'ts: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | The Booking Phase of Your Engagement

ANDI COMPTON

 

The booking phase is one of my favorite parts of wedding prep because after all your initial dreaming, you finally get to assemble a team to bring your vision and all your plans to life.

If you’re following the phase approach to wedding planning suggested in this series, you’ve already solidified many budget-related matters. As you move forward into booking, bear in mind that “affordable” is not a number. I see lots of requests online for brides seeking an “affordable” florist/coordinator/photographer, and frankly, affordable means something different to each couple.

Know how much you are willing to spend for each vendor, and be honest and up front when asking for recommendations. It’s much easier for a friend or coordinator to give you a recommendation when you ask “Do you of any local wedding photographers who cost less than $3,000?” than “Do you know of any affordable local photographers?”

Here are three tips to guide you as you research, interview, and hire vendors:

Order matters.

Certain categories of vendors tend to book a year or more in advance. This is generally limited to vendors who can only handle one event per day, or to those who are extremely popular in their area. Examples might include reception venues with only one event space or independent wedding photographers who are not part of a larger company. Prioritizing a particular order helps you focus, so you can assemble your dream team one vendor at a time.

First Priority:

Church

Reception Venue

Wedding Coordinator

Photographer

Caterer

Wedding Dress

 

Second Priority:

Videographer

Rentals (chairs, tables, linens, lounge furniture)

Florals

Ceremony and Reception Musicians

Bridesmaid Attire

Stationer

Cake/Dessert Baker

Hairstylist

Makeup Artist

Menswear

 

Third Priority:

Transportation

Seamstress for Alterations

Lighting Designer

Bartending Service

Rehearsal Dinner/Morning After Brunch Venue

Keep in mind an exception to this list: if there is a vendor in any category that you really want to work with, prioritize them in your budget and book them as early as possible.

Scroll down for download link. 

Limit interviews.

Limit yourself to interviewing 1-3 vendors per category. By all means, research as many individuals as you’d like, but only take the time to meet with those who are within your budget and whose product or service you truly like. It can quickly become overwhelming to interview 12 different photographers and try to remember each of them and the communication you’ve had. For some, the constant need to research and meet with vendors can become addicting, so strive to be aware of the possibility, know yourself, and slow down if you find yourself obsessing over anything. Click here for Elise's suggested interview questions for major vendors.

You aren’t booked until you sign a contract.

Even if a vendor has sent you a proposal, to which you’ve sent an enthusiastic response, you have not officially booked them until you’ve signed a contract and put down a deposit. Vendors often have many couples seeking their services for the same date. Depending on their policies, some might offer a few days to make your decision; others work with whatever couple submits their contract and deposit first. When in doubt, ask what a company’s booking policy is!

As our gift to you, we’ve created a free printable checklist for the booking phase to keep all your vendor details in one location. I highly suggest keeping a two inch binder with these sheets, along with a hard copy of each of your contracts.

Happy Planning!

Click here to download the Booking Checklist.


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party, where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Dont's: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | Stewardship and the Practicals of Working Out Your Budget

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Business Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

Today, Andi breaks down an essential part of early wedding planning--creating and allocating your budget--and has created two worksheets to share with your fiancé and your families to clarify what each party values most for your wedding and to identify each of your financial contributions. They're beautifully designed, comprehensive resources we're thrilled to offer you!

As a wedding coordinator, I take wedding budgets very seriously. They represent a huge commitment of time and money from the bride, groom, and often both of their families. Sometimes it’s the largest event any of them have hosted! 

It’s easy to overspend if you don’t take time at the very beginning of the planning process to set a reasonable budget everyone is comfortable with, and to constantly update it and make sure you're all on the same page.

As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us, including our finances. Luke's Gospel asks us, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.'” (14:28-30)

The same principles apply to planning any kind of party. We start with our not-so-glamorous budget and offer it up to God. And from there, we can move on to making the fun decisions and indulging a little in the perks of being a bride.

I share the budgeting tips below with my clients and really, with anyone who wants to talk weddings with me:

Prioritize.

I’m going to say something I’ve never heard another wedding industry pro say: aside from your nuptial Mass and marriage license, everything else in this process is optional. Everything.

You don’t have to send out paper invitations, eat cake, wear a white dress, carry a bouquet, or even have a single photo taken to become man and wife. All those things are wonderful traditions that are fun to choose, but they are not what binds you to one another for life.

So here’s what you do: prioritize. Separately from each other, write down the top 3-5 wedding elements that are the most important to each of you, and the 3-5 that aren’t very important to you, i.e. categories in which you wouldn't mind spending less money or deferring to your beloved's choices.

Here’s a little sample:

Her High Priorities: Music for Mass, Wedding dress, color scheme for reception, Invitations, coordinator
His High Priorities: Readings for Mass, style of Tuxes for me and groomsmen,  good food at reception, photographer/videographer, good Cake
Her Low Priorities: Music for Reception, Reception Bar, Limos
His Low Priorities: Transportation, Flowers, Bridesmaid dresses, invitations

As you talk and discuss these together, come up with your own unified list of priorities to focus on. Categories with higher priorities get booked first and generally have a larger amount of money spent on them. Categories with lower priorities can be done by friends and family, delegated to parents or family to decide on, or omitted entirely.

Leave a little wiggle room.

When planning a big event with lots of moving parts to it, things happen. A pair of shoes gets forgotten 100 miles away and you dash to the mall for another pair. You’re suddenly starving and make a Jamba Juice run for the bridal party between the ceremony and reception. You decide to go overtime with your reception vendors and add an extra hour to the party because everyone is having so much fun. Additional, unexpected situations arise, and it’s best to leave at least 5-10% of your budget open for these possibilities.

Accept.

Another shocking fact: no one gets everything they want. Even couples with a $100,000 budget still have to pick and choose what matters and make compromises to stay on budget. Yes, that might look like skipping a 10-minute firework show and choosing to have your guests wave sparklers at the end of the night instead. But ultimately, no couple gets every single element they want unless they have unlimited money. Learning to accept that compromise is a part of life, and sticking to your budget is excellent practice for marriage!

Thank those who have contributed to your day in any way. 

Really take the time to thank your parents, grandparents, godparents, friends, and anyone who has contributed to your wedding financially or with the gift of their time. They are not obligated to give you your dream wedding, and chances are, they've made sacrifices to give you as much as possible. Sending a kind note, taking them out to dinner or on a fun day trip, or giving a gift at your rehearsal dinner are all beautiful ways of showing your appreciation.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

When the day you've been preparing for spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically finally comes, surrender it to God. Don't stress the details, and be intentional and present. Hire a day-of coordinator if you prefer, or designate a family member or friend be the point of contact for all your vendors so that you can just soak everything in. Your budget will still be there Monday morning after your wedding, and some expenses may not be finalized until then. If possible, it's nice to wait until after your honeymoon to wrap everything up.

My final piece of wedding budget is advice is to never, ever, ever, ever take out debt to throw a party. Do what you can with what you have--another great life lesson.

Now I want to hear from you! What have you and your groom prioritized as most important and least important for your wedding? 

Download the Budgeting resources below:


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Dont's: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | The Planning Phase of Your Engagement + 2 Downloadable Workbooks

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Business Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

Last month, Andi introduced an alternative to a month-by-month wedding planning timeline: the Phase Approach. Here, she breaks down for you the first phase, Planning, and has created two sets of worksheets to help you envision exactly what you'd like for your Nuptial Mass and reception. They're beautifully designed, comprehensive resources we're thrilled to offer you!

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Once the excitement of early engagement starts to wane, and more and more people begin asking, “When is the wedding?” it’s time to seriously begin praying and discerning what your wedding day will be like, and how it will give glory to God.

Every couple has different expectations about their wedding day. Some imagine an intimate gathering of their nearest and dearest at a swanky hotel or art gallery, dining on rich food and dancing until midnight. Others picture everyone they’ve ever known at a casual backyard reception in the afternoon, eating a simple buffet and delicious cake, with lawn games and minimal dancing while they sit and talk to guests.  

The Planning Phase is the time to sit and talk with all the parties who will be contributing to the wedding about their expectations. While, yes, the day is to celebrate the bride and groom, parents are often investing large sums of money into the day. Their opinions deserve to be respectfully heard.

You would be surprised at how many parents, dads included, have a vision for their child’s wedding. During my own planning, I was surprised to find my husband’s family has a completely different approach to weddings than what my family was accustomed to, and my future in-laws had never been to a wedding like the one we were planning. It was also crazy to find out my dad had always thought I’d wear a ball gown (he knows me!) and that my mom always dreamed of elaborate white flowers for me.

So before you meet with any vendors, and even before you start getting numbers together to set a budget, dream big! I’ve created a free downloadable workbook for you that’s full of questions and lots of space for you to write down answers, draw or paste pictures; whatever you need to really dig deep and get to the heart of wedding planning.

The workbook below is designed to guide conversations with your fiancé and families. It has plenty of room for notes and cutting and pasting images from magazines or the internet. So please, feel free to get messy with it and get all your thoughts on paper.

We’ve also created a checklist for this Planning Phase that begins upon engagement and generally ends about 6-9 months before the wedding, depending on your timeline. I've aimed to make it comprehensive, but feel free to cross off items that don't apply to you and to add your own to-dos to the list!

Download the Planning Phase resources below:


 

About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Don'ts: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | Andi's 5 Phases of Wedding Planning

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Public Relations + Vendor Outreach Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

Traditionally, wedding resources break up the planning process into 12 months, the length of an average engagement. While this works for many couples, I’d like to offer a different interpretation of that typical timeline.

Here’s an overview. Instead of a month-by-month breakdown, I divide the planning process into five different sections you can put your own timestamp on.

Phase 1: Planning

This phase is all about setting your expectations, budget and guest list, along with figuring out who the key players will be. The goal is to create a solid, basic vision to use from here on out. Having that solid vision in place before you start approaching vendors is just so helpful for all parties. For example, when you’re able to tell a florist how many bouquets, centerpieces, and other arrangements you’ll need and can provide them with some visuals, your floral meetings are so much more fruitful and clear than they’d be otherwise, and you’ll be able to get the most accurate quotes.

Phase 2: Booking

Now that you have a solid vision and plan in place, you can start looking for and booking all the major players: your church, venue, wedding coordinator, photographer, videographer, dress, florist, stationery, and so on. This phase of planning is where you can expect to spend the most money, because it’s when you’ll be purchasing big ticket items (the dress!) and paying deposits to all your vendors.

Phase 3: Details

Now is the time to work on all your Pinterest projects and focus on the details of the wedding: spend time selecting the readings and music for your wedding Mass. Hire a calligrapher. Start crafting 150 mini rosaries for your guests. Accessorize yourself and your maids. Register for gifts. 

Phase 4: Month of the Wedding

At this point, it’s time to start putting final details together. All DIY projects should be done by now, with the exception of a seating chart and place cards. If you hire a “day-of coordinator,” bear in mind that it’s more like “month-of coordination.” Expect your coordinator to start gathering all your vendor information and contracts and creating a timeline; plan to meet with him or her at least one to two times this month to give them all your information.

You’ll also be packing up all your decor items for the ceremony and reception, finalizing honeymoon plans, and packing for your trip. Lastly, this is an important time to stay on top of your budget because you’ll be taking care of all final vendor payments and gratuities. And, be prepared for any last minute expenses!

Phase 5: After the Wedding

After the whirlwind of the wedding day and honeymoon it’s time to settle into your marriage and savor newlywed life. There is just nothing like it. A couple of big tasks still loom, particularly thanking your guests and changing your name. This is also the time for storing, selling, or passing on wedding-related items (something to consider while you’re purchasing said items).

This timeline is just a framework and a different way of grouping all the to-dos that make up a wedding checklist. In the coming months I’m looking forward to delving deeper with you into all the different decisions that are part of the planning process!


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

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I Dos and Dont's: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | 3 First Steps After Getting Engaged

ANDI COMPTON

 

Andi Compton, our Public Relations + Vendor Outreach Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples. Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life.

So you've given your Yes, your fiat, to your beloved. You may have a million ideas going through your mind, you might have no idea what you're supposed to do to plan a wedding, or you might be somewhere in between. Here's a game plan to give you some direction during these first weeks and months as a bride-to-be.

Instead of creating a timeline based on a calendar, I like to divide wedding planning into phases: Engagement, Planning, Booking, Details, The Month Of, and After the Wedding. Today, I’ll start this series with first steps to take after getting engaged; simple but significant, practical ways to soak in this precious time and prepare for the months ahead.

Pray.

Stop and thank God for the incredible gift of your fiance and for your call to the vocation of marriage. A list of prayers and patrons for your engagement can be found here. Another way to bring Christ to the center of your engagement is to consider holding a formal betrothal ceremony at your Parish.

Tell the world!

First, immediate family and friends are sometimes right there during or right after your proposal, but if not, they’ll be delighted to hear the good news directly from you.

Second, snap a picture and share the news on social media! Tag us with #SBHowHeAsked and #SpokenBride so we can share in your joy!

Third, some families like to send formal announcements, often with a photo. If that’s your plan, either have a friend or your wedding photographer take engagement pictures and order your cards. Another tradition that makes for a special keepsake is a newspaper announcement. Traditionally, these are published in the bride’s hometown paper. Other options include making a print announcement via the groom's family or in publications from your current town or your alma mater.

Meet the Parents.

If your parents aren't already acquainted, this is the perfect time for them to meet--they could all end up grandparents to your children one day! A face-to-face meeting or family meal is ideal, but if that’s logistically impossible, ensure everyone has contact information (names, addresses, emails, phone numbers) and try to set up a video chat so they can get to know one another.

Some couples opt to celebrate their engagement with a quiet picnic or dinner, just the two of them, and some with opulent engagement parties. No matter how you choose to remember the start of this time in your life, know we’re overjoyed for you and hold you in prayer every day.

Even as you enter into these next months of intense planning and spiritual preparation, know that it’s perfectly alright--important even--to just stop and savor this short season of engagement with joyful anticipation before diving in. Even the shortest of engagements benefits from a few days of rest, peace, and celebration.

We love hearing your stories and praying for you by name! If you’re newly engaged, introduce yourself in the comments or on social media. And tell us, how did you celebrate your engagement?


About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST