It’s happened, you’re engaged. You’ve found the person of your dreams and they want to be with you for forever too––hurrah! You’ve told your loved ones, drank (a lot) of champagne and now it’s time to get down to planning. But where to start? Where do you even begin planning what is supposedly going to be one of the happiest days of your life?
Whether you’ve had a plan in place since you were six, or have absolutely no idea whether you want an intimate destination wedding or a huge bash here in Hong Kong––planning can be daunting. That’s why we’ve sought the advice of expert wedding planner and founder of Marriage Maestros and Wedding Maestros, Evelyn Mills.
Although Covid-19 has put many weddings on hold, with plans still constantly changing, if you're planning a wedding for further down the line, Evelyn guides us through everything from setting a budget to choosing your location, guest list and more.
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It may not be the most exciting place to start, but when it comes to planning, it’s best to be realistic with money from the get-go. Having a cohesive understanding of what you both want––and don’t want––is vital.
“If you’re paying on your own, talk about where you want to allocate your budget and decide what’s important” Evelyn advises. “Are you food and wine lovers, or do you just want a really fun atmosphere and a really good DJ or band? Or is it all about being visually stunning and having great photos and memories? It depends where you want to put your budget and agreeing on it together.”
Continuing, Evelyn states that she always advises couples to be realistic and to talk about the budget openly and honestly, saying “how you do financial planning is vital for the planning process, along with being an important part of the relationship moving forwards”.
As a general rule for couples starting out and setting a budget, Evelyn explains that “the cost of the venue should be about half of the budget––this includes the rental and the minimum spend for food and beverage. If you’re doing a destination wedding, factor in the number of flights and stays you need for the planning process. The next quarter of the budget should be for the invitations, printed items (like menus, place cards and the table plan), guest favours, the cake decorations, props, flowers, lighting and any staging or technical costs; and the last for the photographer, videographer, hair, make-up, outfits, jewellery, the dress––whether you’re renting buying, having just one or multiple. There will also be other small costs to consider such as the celebrant, legal costs and a buffer for anything extra that may be important for you.”
Quoting Warren Buffett, Evelyn advises that “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Continuing, she states that it quite literally pays to find the right people, explaining “it’s worth paying more for what you really want, otherwise you may end up paying more for fixing any mistakes.”
She also adds that “if your parents are involved, definitely respect their wishes and be sensitive as to how you navigate planning and including them. The more inviting you are, the more they will let go.”