LongIsland.com

Planning Your Wedding

Written by wedding-planner  |  10. June 2003

If you are reading this article you are probably newly engaged-so Congratulations!!! What an exciting time for you and your soon to be spouse. Planning your wedding can be fun and stressful at the same time. This article is intended to give you tips on how to stay organized and on schedule so you can have a successful wedding. First thing first-do yourself a favor and purchase a wedding planner organizer and keepsake book. Buy one with pockets to store contracts, receipts, brochures, fabric swatches and business cards. A good planner will contain a detailed checklist of everything you need to do and when. It will have a budget section, timelines, explain traditions, list responsibilities of all bridal attendants and have a 12 month calendar. Keep all receipts and have everything in writing. You can use wedding planning software as well. Once you are engaged, you should tell the bride's parents and then the groom's parents. Then you are free to tell the world, you friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. You should decide on the budget with everyone who is contributing towards the cost of the wedding. Have all parties come up with guest list so you can compile one big one? This will dictate many things and force you to stay on track. Will the wedding be ultra-formal, formal, semi-formal or informal? Set the date and find out if your desired ceremony site is available. Keep in mind family commitments, holidays, special events, and location. Send your local newspaper an announcement. Start calling various service vendors to compare prices. You should interview at least 3 per category. Attend bridal expositions. The first area you will research is reception places. This can be catering halls, gardens, the beach, on a boat, at a university, museum, castle, home, mansion, Church, Temple, or historic building. Just be sure to consider set-up and clean up, rental charges, permits required, catering, toilet facilities, sound and electrical advices, lighting, parking, handicap accessibility, etc. Destination weddings are becoming very popular. Advanced notice must be given to guests-consider save the date cards. You will probably use a photographer, videographer, stationery store, musician, baker, florist, decorator, transportation company, bridal consultant and more! Ask your catering hall for in-house referrals. Try to book them at least a year in advanced and be sure you are seeing the work of the person who will be working your wedding. Ask for recent references and make sure you understand everything in your contract. Book people who specialize in weddings and remember to include the cost of taxes and tips. Most ceremony locations charge you a fee, on top of the officiant fee. Don't forget the guest book and pen, ring bearer pillow, and flower girl basket. Consider writing your own vows to personalize the ceremony. Ask special friends to do a reading or sing. This is when you should look into local marriage license requirements. Start gown shopping as soon as possible as it may take a while to find your dream dress. Dresses come in a wide variety of style, materials, colors, lengths and prices. Keep in mind time and money for alterations, the slip, headpiece and veil, gloves, jewelry, stockings, garter, shoes, hairdresser, make-up artist and manicure and pedicure. Men can usually rent a tuxedo for the day, shoes are included. Look for a special such as rent 5 get the groom's free. You can have your gown preserved so you can treasure for a lifetime. Order your invitations at least 4 months before your wedding. There are so many differing options in regard to paper type, color, printing method, and wording. Decide on your music. Options include organist, guitarist, pianist, harpist, violinist, band, or DJ. Select songs to be played at the prelude, processional, ceremony, recessional and postlude and reception. Choose the first dance, father/daughter song, mother/son dance, bridal party dance, cutting the cake song, last song, etc. Wedding cakes can be ordered form a caterer or from a bakery. You can decide on the flavor, size, shape and color. Don't forget the cake cutting knife, cake top, and toasting glasses. Find out what the set-up and delivery fees are. Flowers add a special element to the day. Start by selecting the color and shape of your bouquet. Your florist will be able to show you the different styles. It is best if you give them a swatch and photo of your gown and the bridal party attire. Of course they should complement the season. You will want a tossing bouquet, bridal party flowers, flower girl basket, corsages for moms and grandmothers, boutonnieres for the men, dads and grandfathers. You will want decorations for the main altar, aisle pews, head table, guest tables, buffet and punch table, and cake table. Many flowers can be reused during different times of the day to save money. Look into preserving your bouquet. You can also opt to use silk flowers if you prefer. Most brides like to arrive in style in a limousine, horse and buggy, vintage car, luxury car, or even by trolley. Most companies will provide the aisle runner. Outdoor weddings require a lot more planning. Tents are a must incase of increment weather. If the ceremony is to be held outside of the church or temple, you must remember the kneeling cushion, and arch or chuppah. Receptions require a dance floor, tables, chairs, linen, tableware, heaters, coolers, lanterns, trash cans, gift table, adequate parking and toilet facilities, and much more. Many couples give their attendants gifts as appreciation. The bride gives the groom a gift and vice-versa. Their are many parties-such as the bridesmaid luncheon, bachelor and bachelorette party, bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. It is popular to give favors at your reception as a thank you for your guest attendance. This article just touches upon the many items involved in planning a wedding. If all this seems overwhelming, I highly recommend hiring a professional to help you. You can hire a Wedding Day Director to make sure things run smoothly on your special day. You can also hire a coordinator to contact all your service vendors and help you plan all aspects of the wedding or you can have a bridal consultant give you etiquette and planning advice. Just remember to not get too caught up in the all the details and to just enjoy it. Good Luck and Best Wishes!

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