The road from your wedding dream to your dream wedding is often paved with uncertainty and lots of apprehension, anxiety and stress. As newly engaged bride and groom, you are suddenly faced with having to make many decisions and probably, don’t know where to start and what to do. So, what should be your most exciting and fun time, could become a burden.
In previous generations, wedding planning was left for the bride with or without her parents. In fact it was customary that the bride’s parents would plan and pay for the wedding
Today, most engaged couples prefer to plan their wedding and pay for it too. That is, today’s grooms do not like the idea of being a guest at their own wedding. Rather, they want to be actively involved in all aspects of the wedding planning and preparation with the obvious exception of the bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses. Therefore, brides and grooms discuss, share opinions, check their budget and decide what they expect their wedding dream to be like.
I wish you a fun, stress free and memory building engagement. Hopefully, this article, tips and suggestions, will provide you with a road map so you will not get lost.
Suggested Wedding Planning Steps to Consider Starting with Your Engagement Decisions:
The Appropriate Order for Announcing The Engagement. In other words who to tell first, second etc…
How to announce the engagement to everyone else.
Pre-Wedding Parties Organizing Tips.
Whoever plans your engagement party should do the inviting.
If you have chosen your wedding date send out save the date announcements.
Before your wedding you will probably have a shower in your honor. Usually the shower is not a surprise party. You need to decide whether it should be a Bridal Shower, a Groom Shower, or a Wedding Shower. That is a wedding shower for both bride and groom.
Setting Your Wedding Budget, Tips and Ideas
This could be the most stressing part of your wedding planning. You need to set up a wedding account and get a “wedding” credit card. Having both, you need to figure out:
Who pays for what? Remember to include any family participation.
Do you want a local wedding or a destination wedding followed by a honeymoon?
Prepare a wedding budget by category after you finish reading this article.
Traditional Roles And Wedding Responsibilities
You must consider who to appoint for various tasks. Before you do so, you must define the Duties of the:
Bride And Groom,
Maid Or Matron Of Honor,
Flower Girl or Boy and their parents,
Ring Bearer and his or her parents,
Guest Book Table Attendant,
Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom or both,
Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom Or Both.
Have you considered having a theme wedding?
Having a theme wedding and choosing wedding colors are very popular. A well thought of wedding theme can save you money.
You need information about:
the 13 Phases of Wedding Planning – Timeline Schedule, Wedding Planning, To-Do And Checklists. Also, you must have a wedding planning – appointment and events calendars, and if possible, you should attend bridal shows.
Wedding Guests -Tips And Ideas
If you do not have the appropriate guest wotksheets and checklists, compile the information you need for the following items you may be lost without it..
About out of town guests – who, how many, preferences, arrival date, accommodations, transportation etc.
Notes and etiquette for guests such as proper attire – black tie formal, garden reception semi casual, barbque casual etc.
Guest Lists – You may need to trim the number of guests to fit your budget.
Invitations sent and replies received. You will need this information for set-up, for catering and for cake serving.
Guest accommodations and transportation – hosted by friends and family, staying at a hotel, transportation from the airport to their lodging destination, transportation to and from your wedding events etc.
Guest table decorations, favors and seating assignments. I personally like guests to sit where they want. Less possible conflicts and no seating cards needed. But this is my preference.
Individual guest cards are needed only if you have assigned seating.
Reception seating arrangements and seating chart – Basically how many guest tables do you need and where and how to place them.
Invitations And Wedding Stationery
To save money, word and print your own wedding invitaions and stationery.
Bridal Gown And Wedding Attire
Before you look for it, you need to decide about the formality of the wedding attire for your attendants and who should pay for it. It is quite common today for the attendants to pay for their own attire. But, be sensitive to an attendant who cannot afford the expense.
Do research to find the perfect gown for the bride and dresses for the ladies – before you purchase or rent. You also need to decide whether you or your ladies should pay for their dresses.
You may consider to gift your ladies with jewelry to complement their outfits.
Things to take into concideration before you chose your wedding gown or dress
- Your bridal attire budget – wedding gowns are priced from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred dollars or possibly less.
- Will you get your attire in a brick and mortar dress shop, a salon, a dressmaker, on the Internet, look for private sellers?
- Shopping on the Internet will save you a lot of money because the sellers do not have the operating expenses stores have. So they pass the savings on to you. However, to purchase on line you need to provide the seller with accurate measurements or dress size.
For the men: You need to decide if they should wear their own suites and button down shirts or tuxedos. When it comes to tuxedos, they are usually rented. Here too the question is: “who should pay the rental fees.”
Like the ladies, the men wear jewelry such as cufflings and tie clips. Since you probably intend to gift your attendeds, gifting them with jewelry is very appropriate.
Destination Wedding and Honeymoon
Destination Weddings are very popular. The main reason is that they leave the attendees with a lifetime of memories.
With the escelating costs of tradional weddings, many brides and grooms choose to combine their wedding and honymoon. Basically they invite only their families and very close friends. So, instead of feeding many peple, some of whom, such as coworkers of their parents, the bride and groom are not even familiar with, they prefer to provide their loved ones with a memorable exprience.
Planning a Destination Wedding is very different from planning a traditional wedding. Once you decide on the location, you may need to hire a wedding planner who knows what is available in their area. However, if you have friends or family in that vicinity, they may be able to coordnate your wedding to your specificatons.
Case in point; My granddaughter who lives in Texas, is planning to get married near Rochester, NY in July. Her future in-laws live there. So, she and her groom provided his parents with instructons, and trust them to plan and execute the wedding. I can’t wait to fly to NY for the wedding.
If you plan a Destination Wedding – Honeymoon, be sure to draw yourselves one packing list for the bride and her needs and one for the room and his needs. Make sure to include your driver’s and marriage licenses, cash and credit cards.
You have to prepare to work with Wedding Vendors, Professionals And Service Providers
To choose the wedding vendors, professionals and service providers who are right for you, you will need to interview them. Don’t be shy! Negitiate with them. They want your business. Before you choose, be sure to interview at least 3. For example: Interview at lease 3 florists. Ask to see samples of their wedding arranements and choose the one that impressed you most with both their work and the price that is most compatible with your budget. When you interview bakers, make sure to not only see samples of their wedding creations but taste a few of their goodies. When it comes to photographers, depend on their work. Photographers are not vendors to save money on. You want the very best! this is the only vendor that will create your wedding memories, to enjoy and pass on to your children and theirs. Be very choosy!
Create Your Wedding Day Schedule!
By the clock. Hour by hour.
By activities both at the ceremony and at the reception.
as a ceremony site you may choose either your place of worship or the location where your reception will be held.
Choose and appoint your officiant to preside over your marriage ceremony. Some officiants may quote you a fee for their service. Others especially within your place of worship require no fee, but expect an honorarium.
You may want to personalize your wedding ceremony with flower arrangements, and family traditions. Add your own touch such as tying a knot, lighting a unity candle, the wine ceremony where white wine and red wine are combined, representing the souls of the bride and groom uniting as they have become soul mates. How about inviting the mothers and giving each a rose?
The order of a Christian ceremony processions is different than a Jewish one. Both are different than a Moslem one. Indian and Oriental are still different. And so on.
You also need to:
- Pick and choose the music you want for the ceremony,
- Readings you want recited,
- Pew seating arrangements for the family. Usually the front row of the sanctuary.
Your wedding reception does not have to take place in a wedding hall or hotel ballroom that are very expensive. Instead, you can get creative have fun and save a lot of money.
You may choose to have a beach wedding, a garden wedding, a wedding at a historical site, an apartment complex club house etc.
Once you secure the wedding reception location, it is time to plan the reception and figure out your costs. Note: The recepion is the most expensive part of the wedding but, you can control the costs.
Your saving depend on the location and the vendors, professionals and service providers. Keep reading and you may get some option ideas.
Most wedding halls provide you with all your reception needs. However, if you choose an alternative wedding reception site you may need to rent chairs, tables, and unless you provide them, table cloths, napkins, dishes, cups, flatware etc. you’ll need to rent them too. If you hold your reception in a garden, on the beach, have a barbeque reception etc. using paper products is acceptable. In fact it makes clean-up easy. But, you may still need to rent furniture. Finding the right rental company depends on their price and whether they deliver, set-up and pick-up.
Every wedding must have baked goods, the most important of course is the wedding cake. Yet there is a way for you to save money.
Don’t be shy! Ask wedding invitees to help and participate in your wedding. Find out if there are any bakers and ask them to bake goodies for your wedding. You may even find bakers who will be able to create your wedding cake. Most will feel honored to be asked and you will save money.
Finding the right bakery is quite easy especially if you have been to a wedding recently. Ask for word of mouth recommendations. visit and interview at least 3 bakeries.
- See their work,
- taste their baked goods,
- find out if they charge for cutting and serving cake to your guests,
- negotiate the prices,
- calculate additional costs,
- select the bakery you want to hire for your wedding.
Once hired, you will need to provide the bakery with the approximate number of servings.
When it comes to catering, you have lots of options. Some depends on your wedding style, the number of guests, and the time of day your wedding takes place. morning or early afternoon wedding – (lunch can be a catered sit down, light buffet, salads and cold cut sandwiches, finger foods ), afternoon wedding – (light buffet, salads and cold cut sandwiches, barbeque, finger foods or tea time and deserts) evening wedding can be casual (serving a buffet) or formal (serving a catered sit down dinner with a few courses).
If you plan on a catered meal, whether a sit down or a buffet, choose the caterers carefully.
- Make sure that they have a license and are top graded.
- Ask to see their food presentation. You must be impressed to impress your guests.
- Request a menu that you can select from.
- Taste, taste and taste some more.
- Be sure that the food meets youe expectations.
- Compare the presentarion, the food choices and the pricing of at least 3 caterers before you hire.
Your reception food setting
- Have a catered and served sit down lunch or dinner,
- Provide your guests with a catered self serve buffet,
- Serve a buffet with food items you or your family and friends provide. Here you can be creative.
- treat your guests to a tea-time and desert party reception, a barbeque or even a picnic, etc.
The FREE, personalized and printable wedding planning guide you should download from our magazine, offers you ideas for Self Catered Buffet. It includes items and quantities needed for 50 or 100 guests.
You must also decide if you will serve alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks. If you plan to serve alcoholic drinks other than the toasting champagne:
- Will you place a bottle of wine on each table?
- Will you hire bar tenders to serve your guests?
- Will it be an open bar where guests pay for their own drinks? (This is quite common.)
- Will the bar tenders charge you a ‘corking fee’?
Flower selections offer you many options.
You can choose:
- fresh flowers,
- silk flower,
- seasonal flowers,
- flowers to match your wedding colors,
- locally grown flowers,
- imported flowers,
- to have flowers purchased in a store,
- to order fresh flower arrangements from stores like Costco or Sam’s Club
- to have stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby create your arrangements from silk flowers
- Order your flower arrangements from a wedding florist.
A wedding florist will set-up your flower arrangements in your ceremony site and at your reception.
Stores will not. When you order flower arrangements at a store they will have the flowers avaiable for pick-up. You or someone you designate will have to pick the flowers up, deliver them and set them up at both the ceremony and the reception sites.
Yoy will need to provide the florist or your designee with information about delivery and set-up at the ceremony and reception Locations.
Music And Entertainment
Music and entertainment are the soul of a wedding celebration. However you have options.
You can choose:
- live performance, (live band, live singers, live entertaunment) etc.
- a DJ – Master of Ceremonies,
- pre-recorded music, or music right out of your computer. – You will need to set up good speakers.)
- classical selections,
- dance music
- Songs of specific era ( the 20s, the50s, the 60s etc.)
When it comes to a photographer, choose the very best! Do not hire a photographer based on price! Hire the photographer whose work quality is more than superb. The same goes for the videographer. Your wedding pictures will become a family heirloom. They will be handed down to your children and theirs and will tell the history of your family to up-coming generations.
It is most important that you arrange for transportation. The transportation company must be super reliable!!! You don’t want anyone stranded!
You need them to:
- transport out of town guests from the air port to their hotel or other lodging facility.
- you will have to arrange guests’ transportation from the hotel to the ceremony and to the reception and back to their hotel or other lodging facility.
- You will need special transportation for the bride and groom too.
You will need to provid a transportation providers with all the details: Service date(s) event(s) number of guests, pick-up locations, times, etc.
Our Wedding Rings
Budget for your wedding rings and selct them accordingly.wll they be gold, platinum, another metal, with or without diamonds, what shape diamonds?
Don’t forget to budget for:
- Wedding Favors for your tables
- Gifts for your family members and wedding party.
- Tips for your vendors
- Taxes if applicable
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