Thursday, February 17, 2011

Location, Location, Location

Two weeks into wedding planning, and I already have a spreadsheet that is 30 rows long and looks like this:

Names not included, to protect the innocent
 M says I'm obsessed; I say thorough.  When you're on a budget, you have to investigate every possibility.  And if you don't keep track of the details, you'll waste time trying to find information and re-tracing your steps.  Yes, I have emails from most of these locations that have all the same information as this spreadsheet, or links to websites where I could look it up again, but it's easier to have it all in one location so that I can compare, sort, and make decisions based on all the information that's important to me.

If you're wedding planning, and haven't put together some kind of organizational system for tracking prospective vendors, I highly recommend it!

The other reason M says I'm crazy is because there are places on my list that I'm not even considering.  Meadowlark Gardens, my dream location, is on the list, even though I know that at $8,000 their reception hall is way over our budget.  I don't keep it on my list because I love to look at the pictures and dream about "what if"...
Okay, maybe a little...  [Source]
 I keep it because I can use it to compare values and figure out what an $8000 location would get me over a $1000 location.  Also, I know that if I ever need to look them up again (we're still considering having our ceremony there and the reception elsewhere) all the information is easy to find.

So where are we looking?  Good question!  This weekend we're visiting three sites, all of them about as far away from my "dream" wedding as possible (this might be an overstatement).  Of course, no wedding is perfect, but it helps to write down these kind of goals with your beloved early on in the process.  M and I wrote several lists the first week we were engaged:
  1. Priorities:  We wrote what our top three priorities in a wedding were (aka: where should we splurge in our budget), the lowest three (what we could cut out or skimp on), and the three things we'd be willing to put in some elbow-grease and DIY.  Our answers matched up pretty well, so we have a better idea of where we're going to spend our budget.
    And speaking of budget....
  2. Budget:  Okay, not technically a list, but this was easily the most important thing we put together.  I'll tell you more about it an another post.
  3. Goals:  When I read $2000 Wedding's post about creating wedding goals I immediately sat M down to write our own list.  While it doesn't look anything near Matt and Sara's list, it does look like us, and that's the most important thing.  I'll share this later as well!
With those three important decision-lists in hand,we can can make confident compromises.  Having an outdoor wedding is important to us, but staying within our budget is important, too.  We decided that an indoor reception was okay as long as our ceremony was outdoors (with a rain contingency), if it helps us save money. 

What kind of decisions did you and your honey make early on in the process?  Did they change as your wedding planning went on?  How are you keeping track of the data overload that comes with wedding planning?

And as the three places we're seeing this weekend....?  Check back Monday for a full review and details!  ;)


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