Planning your wedding is like planning a big party, the only difference is that it is for the biggest day of your life, and you might be really overwhelmed (at the beginning) at the mountain of things to do. Which is why our team at TWV created this complete guide to help you organize all those thoughts. No worries, take a deep breath, and we are ready when you are. ;)
Questions to ask yourself before u start planning:
- What is your lead time prior to the wedding?
- How much time do you and your partner have on your hands to plan the wedding?
- Consider getting some help? From your Bridal party or a wedding planner?
- Which do you prefer for your vendors? Are you okay with a one stop vendor service? Or would you like specialized vendors for various services? (You would want to do more research on this when you reach point #9 below)
- What is the overall working budget that you are planning for this wedding?
Resources to Read:
- How to get married in Singapore (by Expat Living)
- The Marriage Process at a Glance (by ROM Singapore)
1. Start by grabbing a wedding checklist, and a few tools
Photo Credits to Buff Bride Before you begin, you would want to grab a few tools that will help you with the documenting, planning and organizing. Technology can really help to speed things up, though I’m a huge fan of paper and pen.
- A wedding checklist (and timeline) is a MUST. It can give you a good idea of the things you need to touch on prior to the big day. Here is one you can download, but there are plenty on the net, and I’m sure you will find one you love.
- Get something for you to pen down all your thoughts and inspiration. This could come in the form of a notebook/planner, a wedding app, or even a file. Kikki.K (they have an outlet at Ion Orchard) has really pretty wedding planners that would be a great keeper of your memories.
- Have a think about how you can better document the entire planning experience. The most important thing is to have fun!
- How to have fun while planning ur wedding
- Do u have the proper mindset when planning ur wedding?
- 10 wedding planning tools you can’t do without
- resources to equip your wedding planning
2. Think about your Bridal Party and the Flow of Events
Photo Credits to ISIWP Most couples tend to jump straight into the process of finding vendors, but I personally think that starting with the flow of events / activities would be a better way because you won’t miss out the things you might need for certain events.
- Start thinking about how are the people you want as part of your bridal party. And whenever you feel comfortable to start, you can approach them to invite them to be a bigger part of your wedding.
- Visualize & outline your wedding day’s events & happenings. Feel free to add in your own unique touch / special segments! You can start off by downloading an actual wedding day programme template here.
Things to think about when choosing your bridal party:
- Who are the people you would want involved in your wedding planning and preparations? Who will be your maid of honor / best man / bridal party?
- How are you planning to ask them to be part of your wedding? There are really pretty DIY cards / boxes that you can make.
Things to think about when drafting up your programme:
- The full programme usually comprises of solemnization, lunch reception and a wedding banquet dinner. Which segments do you plan to include? Do you wish to combine any of the segments?
- Any special segments you want to include? Gate crashing, picking the bride up, performances etc?
- Do u need an emcee for the evening?
- Any interesting activities i.e. lottery draw, audience participation?
3. Guest list
Photo Credits to Walcot Hall Preparing your guest list of (family, relatives & friends) will give you an idea of how small / big your event is going to be. You would then be able to think up the potential wedding venues you can choose from. Additionally, considering your guest list can allow you to tailor your theme and events to suit your guests. If you have many older folks present, it might not be a good idea to blast loud rock music and have a dance off (unless they’re up to it of course!).
- Find a tool to help you manage your guest list & prep a rough version of your guest list up. List the people that you are planning to invite from both bride & groom’s side.
- It would be good to ask your parents for their input on the guests they would want to invite. After all, watching their daughter / son get married, it’s probably their big day too!
- If you’re looking at inviting hundreds of people, a hotel banquet at a grand location might be more suitable. However, if you’re looking at a smaller scale intimate styled wedding, there are plenty of beautiful quaint restaurants to choose from.
- Think about your RSVP timeline
When thinking of guests to invite, it would be practical to group them into “must-invite” & “good-to-invite”, as this can help you decide who to invite for the different parts of your wedding i.e church, lunch & dinner banquet. This would help greatly if you’re limited by space at the venue / limited by budget.
- Guestlist template
- Wedding day invite sample
- How to DIY your wedding invites
4. Theme, Venue and When
Photo Credits to Twenty Six
Consider your theme & venue together, as it would be best for the theme to correspond with the venues that you shortlist.
Choosing your theme
- Start from the backdrop, then the look & feel of your wedding, followed by the colour scheme. If you work your way backwards the other way around starting from colour, you might just be swarmed with too many options to choose from! (That’s of course unless you have a absolute colour palette favourite.)
- Think about what type of couple you are, what you both love, and the theme can incorporate these elements.
- Keep your eyes peeled for inspiration. The internet is the best place to get started. Sources of inspiration could be Pinterest, wedding magazine, real weddings and youtube channels! Start downloading wedding apps too.
- Do attend wedding events to get to know more vendors as well.
Choosing your venue
When choosing a venue, ensure that the venue can accommodate your guest list. Venues usually will state the rough (seating/standing) capacity they can hold. Check out the Top 10 wedding venues in Singapore here.
- It is important to consider factors such as the scale, the feel of the event. Would you prefer a grand hotel banquet style or a more intimate classy setting of a restaurant?
- Outdoors or indoors? Are you looking to have your wedding closer to nature or would you prefer an air-conditioned indoor setting?
- What type of style are you going for? Traditional, western or a fusion? Also consider the table layout and the type of food you are planning to serve your guests.
- Tips: Use wedding directories to search up potential vendors
When choosing a date, the average time taken for preparation for most couples is about 1 year. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t plan a wedding in a shorter span or time, or take longer at your own time to plan it. Do what you both as a couple feel most comfortable with.
- Do consider that during peak seasons you might face higher quotes from wedding vendors. This is due to the increased popularity for periods like festive seasons, Valentine’s Day or special dates like 10/10. If you’re not particular on the date of your wedding, ask your vendor to advise on the off peak seasons for lowest rates. As the venue contributes the biggest cost, that could mean significant savings for you.
5. Make a list of things you want, and mark out those you actually need
- List down all the things you need (and want) for your wedding, and organize them into your checklist & timeline.
- Some stuff should take precedence (booking venue, getting a caterer) due to timeframe required for the booking), but it’s okay to list them down to the smallest details. The last thing you want is to miss something out on hindsight.
You should star the items that are must-haves, to differentiate them from the “good-to-have”. This will easily help you if you run into the situation where you have to “cut your expenditure” so you don’t blow the budget.
6. Find vendors for the things you need, and consider DIY
- When sourcing for vendors, use a spreadsheet / notebook to jot down your favourite ones. Check out their website, portfolio and social media to see their past works.
- Use a wedding directory and attend some wedding events to find and meet with more vendors
- Draft up an email and include a short brief of your wedding needs.
- Reach out to the respective vendors for quotes.
For each particular service, reach out to a few vendors. This allows you to cross compare between the quotes and you’ll be able to get a better sense of the market rates. Also, you may include a variety of low, medium and high end vendors so that you will get a good idea of the range.
Saving cost is an important aspect when planning, so you might not want to turn to vendors for everything that you may need. Do consider DIY as an option! It can make your wedding special and uniquely yours too. On your wedding list, mark out the things that you are able to DIY. Of course, choosing to DIY depends greatly on your time availability. If you have a tight timeframe, it might not be the best idea to DIY… you might end up getting really frustrated. So be sure to consider your bandwidth before commiting to DIY. If your bridal party / close friends are amazing at DIY, ask them to help out too!
7. Organize Your Timeline into Pre & During & Post
Your timeline should have incoporate a pre-wedding, during-wedding and post-wedding segment, so you clearly know what to focus on at the right time. Prepare your to-do checklists for the relevant segments, and also organize your vendors accordingly.
8. The Budget and Financing your Wedding
The reason why I placed budget this way down below and not right on top, is because if it’s your first time planning a wedding, it’s going to be hard to estimate a budget right at the beginning as u will need to get the quotes from the vendors, and they have seasonal prices too. Of course, that being u must have an idea of how much savings u are putting aside for the wedding for a working budget. Secondly, this flow doesn’t constrain your ideas when planning. It’s the biggest day of your life, the most significant milestone of your romance, it’s not a time to skimp on the works. But that doesn’t mean senseless splurging either.
I’ve found the best method to be, first, think up your concept. Next, find the various suppliers / vendors, and from there you can do your budget cuts / compromises / DIY alternatives from there. This method will help you find a way to have the perfect wedding you wanted, without budget being an issue. There are many ways to cut costs without cutting corners. ;)
How to set a budget for your wedding:
- First, set an overall working budget for yourself.
- Based on the quotes received, you can get a good estimate of the market range, and you can evaluate which are the more reasonable quotes.
- Use the given quotes to guide you in allocating your budget to the various services needed. The services that you place in higher priority and want higher quality i.e videographer, you can allocate a bigger % of your working budget to it.
- After budgeting, consider how you both are going to finance the wedding, and how much should each party contribute. Such discussions should take place at this stage before you proceed into booking & making deposits. Though some couples might say that the “red packets”, a chinese tradition might offset the banquet costs, do not be entirely sure that it will offset entirely. Always give yourself some buffer with regards to financing. Over budget, but under spend.
- The date of your wedding can have an effect on the cost. During peak seasons like valentine’s or christmas, or popular dates like 10/10/10, it could easily be 50-200% more. Ask your venue vendor / wedding planner for advice on this.
- Having a lunch wedding is definitely cheaper than a dinner one. Weekdays are also cheaper, but you risk much of your guest list not being able to stay late / attend.
- You might want to consider checking out a one-stop service for an all-inclusive wedding package, it might be more economical as compared to having several specialised vendors for each section.
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to negotiate for better prices ;)
9. Schedule meetings with your vendors
Photo Credits to Pinterest After considering budget and financing, shortlist your vendors, for those that have packages at the right price that you are looking for. Set up meetings with them to find out more about what they can offer. Meeting them in person will also allow you both to get to know them better, and see if they would make a great fit with your wedding.
- Start with the most important vendor (or the ones that need the most lead time).
- Prior to the meeting, request for their portfolios , for other real weddings they have done. This will give you an idea of their experience, style, and could potentially give you inspiration for your own wedding!
- Prepare a list of questions you want to ask before meeting up with your vendor.
Some vendors might not have a fixed pricing packages, so be sure to meet up with them to find out more before confirming. Negotiating for a better price is also best done face to face. Be sure to always ask for the best price they can offer. Also, if you are not sure what wedding planners / coordinators can add to the table, feel free to arrange for a meetup with them. You may be surprised how much they can value add to your entire process of wedding planning.
10. Making decisions, Lets get started
After the first meet ups, choose your favourite vendors. It can be based on selection factors such as value for money, availability, reviews, style or simply because you feel comfortable working with them. Some factors might take higher priority than others, so be sure to work it out with your other half. It would be a fun activity to evaluate the vendors together, and a chance to get both of you on the same page.
- For more significant vendors i.e wedding venue / food caterers, you might want to rope in the opinions of your other loved ones such as family / close friends / bridal party. Of course too many opinions can be pretty confusing, so do be selective on which you’d want to ask for.
11. Making the bookings
Once you have finalized which vendors you’re going for (and done negotiating), go ahead to finalize the budget for each of them, and make the bookings in sequence. Most vendors require a booking fee / deposit in advance, so be sure to have enough cash on hand.
13. Leading to the Big Day… The Nitty Gritty
Photo Credits to Wedding Photography After the bookings, it’s time to pay attention to the smaller details, such as preparing the invites, the decor, your playlist, outfits and more. Don’t forget to leave enough buffer time within your timeline, in case of any delays. I hope this guide has helped you prepare yourself for the big day! If there’s anything that we might have missed out, do drop us a note or comment below! :)