The first thing you have to accept is that no wedding day ever is perfect. No matter how much planning goes into the event, something will either go wrong or not quite as you wanted. Even the Hollywood star’s weddings, which are planned by the top Professionals have a glitch happen during the day. That said, let’s go over some of the things that need to be done to reach near perfection.
After you, the new Bride-To-Be, accept the engagement ring, it’s time to consult with both families and decide on a tentative time and place for the wedding and reception. You should also start to make up a guest list to have an idea of how large your reception hall should be. Then it’s time to talk to your priest, minister, or Rabbi to choose a firm date and time for the ceremony. You also want to check on any restrictions that may apply to your individual situation.
Then it’s time to start the actual planning. You really should allow at least a year in advance to do this, if at all possible. Many churches/synagogues, caterers, entertainment, and halls are booked that far in advance during the peak wedding season which normally runs between Mid-April to mid-October, depending on the part of the country you live. Some Brides will seek out a wedding planner/coordinator to help with suggestions and a lot of the leg work. That is another option. Whether you plan this yourself or hire a coordinator, it would be a good idea to make an outline, on paper, of all the things you want to accomplish and put a tentative date for completion next to each one. Go to an office supply store and get a couple of legal pads and an expandable file folder that has at least 5-6 pockets in it. This way you can label each pocket with the major items and keep them all separate and organized. Label the pockets for things like the Gown Shop, reception hall, caterer, entertainment, accessories, and miscellaneous. Use more if you need it. This way when you need to find a contract, notes you made, etc., they are right there. Believe me, this one step will save you so much time and headaches in the future.
Next, start budgeting for the various things you will need, such as the reception location, food, clothes, honeymoon, flowers, music for the ceremony, entertainment, photographer, limousine, wedding cake, etc. See our “Budget How To” page for more help with this. Also, check out “Who Pays For What” for additional help.
As soon as you have set the wedding date, start reserving your restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, your hall for the reception, your entertainment, etc. For a group of two hundred people or more, reservations should be made at least a year in advance. For a smaller wedding, the hall should be reserved eight months to a year in advance depending on the time of year.
Your computer is an invaluable tool to find a lot of what you are going to want. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can find passages for wedding vows, wording for your invitations, wedding gown, bridesmaids gowns, tuxedos, limousines, flowers, caterer, DJ, and any other needed service, from the comfort of your home or office. When you find a site you like (like ours), save it in your “favorites” list. This will enable you to remember what you saw and take you back to it.
Naturally, some items require an in-person visit, such as the venue for the reception, wedding gown alterations, and tuxedo fittings. However, a great deal of the time and effort can be saved by finding the styles and colors of gowns, tuxes, the types of invitations, and more in the online world.
Take your time with all the planning and try to relax by taking a break, even for a day or two, in the process. Involve your families, the Groom-to-be, and your bridal party members in helping with certain tasks. Don’t try to do it all yourself. It’s guaranteed to drive you nuts if you do.
Here are a few insider tips you may not think of to help make the day go more smoothly…
- Practice wearing your wedding shoes before the big day.
- Select a pretty handkerchief to tuck into your bouquet for those sentimental moments.
- Pack a small emergency bag for those unexpected needs– a small travel iron, needle, and thread, hair spray, aspirin, nail polish, safety pins, extra pantyhose, etc.
- If you’re having an outdoor wedding, have a colorful supply of umbrellas on hand to help ward off the possibility of inclement weather
- Arrange in advance for a relative to transport gifts that are brought to the reception.
- If you’re planning on having candles, be sure to appoint someone to light them.
- Send a romantic note to your fiancé just before the ceremony.
- On the morning of the wedding, allow time to take a warm bubble BATH. Soak for at least 15 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how smoothly the rest of the day will go.
- It’s important to have a light snack before leaving for the ceremony to keep your energy level up.
- And try to get a good night’s sleep before the wedding. You’ll be glad you did!
If you have a cell phone, make sure the battery is charged AND you have it with you on your wedding day. Give it to the Best man or Maid of Honor before you leave for the church. Make sure you have programmed in the phone numbers of ALL the vendors, the reception hall, parents, etc. If the vendors have cell phones (and most of them do for their own emergencies) ask them for that number so if there is a problem on the day, you can reach the necessary person. Use the cell phone only in an emergency, car breakdown, running late to/from the church, etc. Also, be sure to give YOUR phone number to the caterer and DJ so you can be reached if they need you in an emergency at your reception site.
Be sure you or your Groom-To-Be has extra cash on them for little things that might crop up, such as a quick stop at a drug store on the way, extra last-minute fees that might come up, overtime for the entertainment, etc.
With the cost of a wedding today, many brides consider buying wedding insurance. Most policies range in cost from around $150.00 to $400.00 but the peace of mind they offer can be priceless. Wedding policies normally reimburse all non-refundable deposits if you have to cancel or postpone the wedding due to illness, damage to the wedding or reception site, weather catastrophes, or if a vendor is a no show.
Most important, do not let little things grow into big ones. Try to handle each one individually and don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help from your family, friends, and especially the professionals you hire. They are a great resource for problem-solving because they do their work on a day-to-day basis. You are doing this once so take advantage of their expertise. This brings up another point. You may have decided exactly what you want and how you want things to go on your big day. Just remember, not everything is doable from the standpoint of how it will be perceived by your guests. Let your professionals make alternate suggestions to accomplish what you want but perhaps in a different order or look. Be somewhat flexible with your ideas. Go for MEMORABLE rather than perfection!
Be sure to look over all the topics here on our site. That’s why we are here, to help you. If you have any questions about the things you see here, don’t hesitate to contact us by email. We’ll get an answer for you if at all possible.