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First-wedding
5 simple steps to planning your wedding

Weddings in Hawaii are a giant affair. Generations of friends and family, detail after detail, and skyrocketing costs are just a few considerations needed to be made. To help you focus on what matters (you and your soon forever-to-be), here are some general guidelines.

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1. Decide who’s paying

This is the important first step to any wedding. You have to get a sense of who is willing to contribute and how much they are willing to spend. You may have one person wanting to pay for your engagement party, one for the ceremony and one for the dress. Establish this first, since it will impact how you go about budgeting and planning.

These kinds of conversations can be uncomfortable, but knowing who your contributors are is essential to figuring out your bottom line.

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2. Estimate a budget

The big question you need to answer here is “How much can you afford to spend?” Take into consideration your monthly income, and the state of your finances after the wedding.

It’s important to give the event the respect it deserves, but if it puts a strain on you or your family, then it hurts the very thing it was designed to celebrate.

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3. Make a list... together

The cost of a wedding is based directly on the guest count. So, take the budget you just estimated and work backward from there.

So, think of this as a “per-person” expense. The banquet hall, caterer, table and chair rental, invitation, and even party favors are all priced this way. So, work with your spouse to get a crystal clear idea of how many “have to” be there.

You may have to adjust the per-person price of your event, scale down the even to a cheaper venue or *shudder* invite less people.

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4. Set some boundaries

Weddings are stressful. They can be a source of strain on even the happiest of couples. To avoid battling over all of the small details that come up during the process of planning a wedding, set some boundaries.

Ask yourself before planning “what’s the most important thing to you?” or “what are the things you can’t live without at the celebration?” Knowing this about each other can lay the groundwork you need to build the event.

When it comes to the smaller details about the event stick to this rule, whomever cares the most wins. It’s simple. Whoever cares the most about a particular item should get to choose. Most of the time one of you feels much more strongly than the other. By focusing on the feelings of your spouse rather than the need to be right, you can breeze through things like colors, table settings and party favors.

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5. Shop around

There are so many moving parts in a wedding, that it’s easy to get lost. Educate yourselves about “hidden” costs in all of the services you will be using. There are a range of providers for every part of a wedding. Get advice from family and friends, compare their experiences and choose which options are best for you.

Also, know the price of an events varies based on the location and season. Obviously a wedding at a hotel ballroom in Waikiki is going to cost more than one at your uncle’s house near the beach. Same goes for hosting your wedding on a Saturday in June versus a Wednesday in March. Do your research on the type of wedding you want, be honest as to whether or not it fits into your budget, and adjust your plan accordingly.