August 10, 2011

Wedding Planning: On Track and Under Control

Planning a wedding can really take a toll on a person. Whether you decide to do it all on your own or hire a professional, you need to start planning months in advance.  By allowing plenty of time, you will be more organized, less stressed, and more focused on the little details that will make a big difference.  Here is a guide to help you plan your wedding along the way.  

12-16 Months Before the Wedding
  1. Choose a wedding date: This doesn't have to be the very first thing you do, but it is important to establish a date well in advance.  If you are flexible with dates, you can decide based on availability at venues you are considering.  But remember that it is very important to give yourself time to plan properly.
  2. Get organized: Wedding venues, caterers, florist, rentals, ect will give you a lot of information and it can be hard to remember everything.  Start a file or binder where you can keep all the documents and information packets you pick-up along the way.  Remember, organization is key.  
  3. Decide on a style: The wedding should be a representation of the bride and the groom, so decide on what suits both of you best.  You should also decide on the formality of the wedding.  Do you want a very formal wedding, or a more relaxed atmosphere.  Deciding on the style and formality will also make picking a venue much easier.
  4. Get the word out: Post and announcement in the local paper or online to let everyone know.
  5. Decide on a budget: A well planned budget is of the utmost importance.  Not sticking to your budget can quickly turn your wedding into an expensive endeavor.  Here is another article on how to plan your wedding while sticking to a budget Budget Friendly Weddings
  6. Look to the pros: If you want to recruit a little help and knowledge, you can turn to a professional.  Hiring a wedding consultant can take a lot of the stress out of the planning process.  They will often know more about planning and smaller details that make a big difference. If you do decide to hire someone, make sure the cost is figured into your budget. 
  7. Decide on a location: Deciding on a location for the reception and ceremony is an important early step for many reasons.  First, you should keep in mind that many places are booked over a year in advance.  Booking a location early will allow you more time to plan little details such as seating arrangements and what rental equipment is needed.  Lastly, the cost for a venue is normally one of your biggest expenses.  By knowing the exact cost you can budget the rest of your wedding more accurately.   
  8. Start shopping for a dress: The groom is under much less stress when it comes to his suit or tuxedo.  In some cases, custom wedding dresses can take up to a year to make and can often become a stressful subject.  Allowing as much time as possible will make everyone involved happier. 
8-10 Months
  1. Select the bridal party: You want to make sure that everyone is there for your special day.  Give them plenty of notice so they can make the appropriate plans.  Also, select and order the bridesmaids dresses at the same time.
  2. Interview and hire: There are several people that you will need to hire for your wedding.  You should interview and hire them  early to avoid possible conflicts closer to the wedding.  These include: a wedding officiant, caterer (if not provided by the venue) photographer/videographer, and a band or DJ.  It is also a good idea to have a backup in mind incase of last minute changes.
  3. Begin planning a guest list: Start a guest list early, make sure that you have current contact information for each guest.  Typically the bride and the groom will have their own idea of who should be invited.  So once you each have these lists "combine and refine" them to compile the final guest list.
  4. Register: Who doesn't love getting lots of great gifts on their wedding?  To make sure that you get  gifts that you want and will use, make sure to register.  This will make everything much easier for everyone.  
  5. Engagement party: Take some time off of planning and relax.  Having an engagement party is a great way to get everyone together and celebrate.

5-7 Months
  1. Finalize the guest list: By having a solid final count on the number of guests you want to invite to your wedding, you can order and send out the invitations and stationary.  You can also begin getting an idea of food and rental costs.
  2. Arrange accommodations: Be sure to find accommodations for guests coming from out of town.  Often hotels will offer a block of rooms and special wedding prices to guests of your party.  
  3. Cake: Decide with your fiance on the type, size, and style of the cake you will have.
  4. Honeymoon planning: Start researching and calling travel agents about your honeymoon.  Begin collecting information on prices and locations.  
1-4 Months
  1. Reserve rental items:  Hopefully by now many of your guests will have RSVP'd.  We recommend booking rental items 3-5 months in advance to make sure everything you need is available. Also, you will have more time to tweak your order as the date gets closer.  If your wedding will be outside, a tent is worth every penny.  Tents provide protection from the elements and the design options are limitless.  If your wedding will be taking place indoors, consult the venue to make sure they have enough tables, chairs, staging, and dance floors to cover the party.  You can browse our blog to see the products we offer, or visit Commonwealth Event Company for more information on wedding rentals. 
  2. Licensing:
  3. Check-in and finalize: Make sure to check-in with everyone you have hired.  You should now be able to give the caterer a pretty solid number of guests that will be in attendance.  The bride should have a final dress fitting and meet with the hair and makeup stylists about a month before the wedding.
  4. Gifts: It is now time to shop for gifts for the bridal party.  If you would like and the budget allows, you can even give a small gift as a gesture of appreciation to all the guests in attendance. 
Month of Your Wedding
  1. Touch base with guests: Make sure you get in contact with all the guests who have not responded to their invitations.  The worst thing that can happen is have people arrive unannounced and you are short on food or gifts.  Make sure that everyone has travel plans and a place to stay if needed.
  2. Final confirmations: Give the caterer and venue a final head count.  You should now also finalize a flooring plan, and table accents.  Make sure that everyone is on the same page with times  and locations.
  3. Confirm and prepare for your honeymoon: Making the final confirmations and plans for your honeymoon is often overlooked in the last few days.  It is important to do so to make sure that you 
  4. Double check: Typically done a few days in advance, you should double check with everyone you hired to make sure they are on top of things.  The last thing anyone wants is for something to go wrong at the last minute.
Hopefully these tips will make it a little easier to know when to start planning.  Its no secret that planning a wedding is a lot of work, but with a little organization and help from the right people, it can become much easier.  


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