Your Wedding Planning "Top Five"

The single greatest piece of wedding planning advice I received when I was planning my wedding was: 

In order to stick to your budget and minimize headache, select a “Top Five” with regards to your wedding day priorities. Your top five can be anything: dress, photographer, DJ, videographer, coordinator, food, ceremony space, flowers, cake, etc. Take some time discussing with your fiancé about what is most important to you and choose wisely, because you should not change your top five at any point during the planning process. Once you and your fiancé have a top five it will allow you to focus on getting the things that really matter to you, and will prevent you from blowing your budget on the things that don’t.

Trust me, it is so easy to get wrapped up in every little detail of the wedding planning process.  And some people are really good at expressing how much you NEED an upgrade for your table linens, or explaining how every table just isn't complete without a chocolate fountain centerpiece.  Having a Top Five makes it easy for you to sift through the BS and stick to the stuff that you're excited about so that when you are presented with the "ESSENTIAL UPGRADES YOU MUST HAVE OTHERWISE YOUR WEDDING WILL SUCK AND NO ONE WILL LIKE YOU", you don't even waver, you just thank that nice vendor for their time and stick with the ivory table linens and orchid centerpieces.  Unless chocolate fountain centerpieces are in your Top Five, in which case, can I have a seat at table nine?

Here is an outline for creating your Top Five.  Use it to start the conversation with your fiancé about what matters most!

1) What are five things I always notice (and LOVE) at other weddings I have attended? music? food? dress? flowers? photography? programs? unique venue?

2) What are five things I want to focus on that will make our wedding unique and will highlight our personalities?

3) What are five things I can't imagine not having at our wedding?

4) What are five things that are invaluable to me? Why are they invaluable?  Make sure they are invaluable because they add PERSONAL meaning to your wedding, not because your mom can't FATHOM you wouldn't want to blow your budget on floral arrangements (hey mom).

5) If I found out I had to go without these five things at my wedding, I would be pretty sad.

Do you see where I am going with these questions?  Your Top Five should be five things you are excited about, things that add value to your wedding day, and things that are irreplaceable in your eyes.  Here's the one caveat-you and your fiancé may very well have different Top Fives.  So go into the conversation flexible and lighthearted because lets face it, your wedding day is about you two celebrating the start of your marriage!  At the end of the day, all the two of you really need to do is show up and you have yourself a perfect day.