Use a Wedding Checklist
Have a Wedding Budget
If you are planning to get married and want a big wedding, you are going to have to start well in advance with a wedding checklist, and get very organized. Even if you are planning a small wedding, it is a good idea to have a checklist, so that you do not forget something crucial … such as hiring the minister or ordering the cake.
There are so many little pieces that come together to create a fabulous wedding. Large or small, whether you are on a tight budget or not, you will want to make sure you plan as many of the details as possible well in advance. Below are some of the items that you will want to be sure to include on your wedding checklist:Credit: www.morguefile.com
As Soon As You Set the Wedding Date
Get organized by setting up a notebook. This will help you keep everything in one place. When our last daughter got married, our plans eventually filled a three inch thick binder. Don’t start out with a tiny binder or folder and think it will hold everything. Weddings are much more complex than you may think.
Begin looking through bridal magazines and on websites such as theknot.com. These magazines and websites will help you envision the colors and styles that you want for your wedding. Begin cutting out photos of wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, floral centerpieces, wedding cakes, and anything else you think you might want to include. Be sure to include the brand name and style information for any dresses that you select. It will make life a lot easier for you when you head to the bridal salon to begin trying on dresses.
Plan your budget. How much can you really afford? Websites like theknot.com have a budget planner. You put in the amount you have to spend, and they come back with a budget that tells you exactly how much you should spend for different items. If you don’t need to purchase certain things, because someone else is providing them for you, you can eliminate those items and the budget planner will recalculate for you. This is a very handy tool for staying within your budget.
If you wish, you should also plan to insure your engagement ring.
Send an engagement notice to your local newspaper, along with a photo of the bride.
During the Six Months Prior Your Wedding Date
Plan your wedding date and choose your wedding venue. These two steps go together, because your preferred wedding venue may not available at the exact date and time you first choose. You will have contact your church, as well as locations for your wedding reception, well in advance in order to work out a date. In fact, in some popular locations, reception halls may have to be reserved as much as a year in advance! Once you have arranged a location for your reception, you will have to sign a contract and give them a deposit.
If you decide to hire a wedding coordinator, do so as early in the process as possible. They will be very helpful in getting everything organized, and taking some of the pressure off you. In many cases, they may even be able to negotiate discounts for some of the services that you will need, especially if they have used a particular florist, limousine service, or DJ in the past.
Interview caterers, and decide what kind of food you want to serve. Do you want a buffet, or a sit down dinner? Do you want an open bar? If you have already arranged for a location for the reception, you need to include them in the decisions you make about the food. They may not allow outside caterers. They may not allow certain types of alcoholic beverages to be served. Make sure you understand their requirements before you sign an agreement with them. Begin planning your reception menu. Your caterer will have you sign a contract and give them a deposit.
Getting Help With Your Wedding Celebration
Decide who is going to perform the marriage ceremony. Are you going to use the bride or groom’s favorite minister? Or, is there someone else that you would both prefer? Again, you need to contact them well in advance to make sure they are available on the preferred date.
If you decide to have an engagement party, decide on a location, set the date, make up a guest list, and send out invitations. This can be an informal event, and can be hosted by a family friend or relative a few months before the wedding day.
Begin working on your wedding guest list. Now that you have decided on locations for your wedding ceremony and the reception, you will have an idea of the maximum number of people these venues will hold. You should also have your budget by now, and will know how many people you can afford to serve. Using these numbers as your guide will help you control how many people you invite. However, you are blending two families and there may have to be some give and take in working out the numbers.
Choose your wedding attendants. You and your fiancé will need to pick out the bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as a flower girl and ring bearer. You can also ask other family members to have special roles in the wedding as readers during the ceremony, guest book attendants, or candle lighters. It is nice to include as many close relatives and friends as possible. Some brides have a “house party,” or a group of their close friends who are not bridesmaids, but are informal attendants to the bride.
Shopping for the Wedding Day
Shop for your wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses. The mother of the bride usually assists with this. However, it can be thoughtful to invite the groom’s mother to come along on the shopping trip, too. When looking at bridesmaid dresses, you may want to ask one or two of your future bridesmaids to help you make the selection. They are likely to be paying for their own dresses, and you will want them to feel pretty in the dresses and happy with the selection.
During the months prior to the wedding, you will also have to order your floral arrangements, and centerpieces. Order your wedding cake. You will need to select a photographer. If you are going to use a limousine service, you need to make these arrangements weeks in advance, too. All of these services will require that you sign contracts, and send deposits.
More Advance Wedding Planning
If you are going to have out of town guests, arrange with a nearby hotel to have a block of rooms set aside. They will usually agree to hold them until a few weeks before the wedding, giving your guests ample time to make their own reservations. Any unused rooms will eventually be released by the hotel so those rooms be available to their normal guests.
If you and your fiancé are not leaving for your honeymoon on your wedding night, book a special room for the two of you to stay after the reception.
Hire a DJ or a reception band. You will need to sign a contract and send them a deposit.
Order the invitations. Mail the wedding guests a “save the date” card. Hire a calligrapher, if possible, to address all the invitations. About six weeks prior to the wedding, mail out the invitations.
You and your fiancé should head to a couple of department stores and register for wedding gifts. Both of you should choose some things that you want included. It is not usual for some young men today to even register at stores like Sears for tools and similar items.
These are just the arrangements that you need to make months in advance. You will need another checklist to cover the events that will be taking place during the weeks leading up to the actual wedding. However, once you have handled all the items on this list, you should feel organized and well prepared.
For more wedding ideas, you may also be interested in reading some of the articles listed below:
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