How to Plan Your Wedding

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A meaningful wedding requires planning and creative input from both partners and family members and friends you’ve decided to include in the planning. Wedding planning can be a wonderful part of life but it can also be very challenging and stressful. Indeed, you can be assured that some plans won’t go as you’d like them to, so plan for that eventuality too! The key is to stay organized, to stick to a budget and to give yourself plenty of time to achieve everything.

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Set a Budget. It’s important to stick to a budget and to keep your wishes realistic. While this is a very special day in your life, it’s not an excuse to be wildly extravagant with money you don’t have. Remind yourself when you feel like fretting that you still have many wonderful days ahead and you don’t want these marred by paying back an unplanned overspend.

Size Of Your Wedding: Remember to talk this over with your fiance. A dream wedding for one may not be right for the other. You’ll need to know how many people are going to attend for the purposes of venues, catering and invitations.

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Choose The Venue: The sooner this is done, the better, so that you know you have the place you really want. Check out the spaces offered, the catering deals, the marriage fees, the ability to decorate a church or synagogue, wedding space, etc. Find out whether the prices quoted cover everything or whether you’ll be expected to pay for extras.

Date

Set The Date: The factors in choosing a date include the availability of your venue, friends and family. Think about who you must have at your wedding, and try to set the date with their availability in mind. Most people will do their best to accommodate a wedding, so unless you know this person has major surgery or a competing wedding in their calendar, you should be fairly right with directing their calendar.

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Choose a Theme: It doesn’t have to be anything really specific, but a successful event tends to have a consistent feeling throughout. Choose a theme that is easy to plan and decorate. Everything should be consistent with the theme.

  • You can usually hire someone that will decorate your wedding, but it can be expensive to do so.
  • Visit the venue and take pictures of how the area looks. You may want to measure the dimensions of the room or area, to allow you to plan where you want everything go and to know if you have enough space..
  • Match decorations to the color theme for best overall appearance.

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Send Out The Wedding Invitations: Research into the design of your wedding invitations when you still have around 10 months to go, and work on purchasing or ordering their printing when there are about six months to go. Leave plenty of time if you’re making your own and always have lots of spares, as making a mistake now and then in writing or making them is inevitable.

  • Be creative; you can make your own and add a personal touch or go to a professional.
  • Send out invitations around two months prior to the wedding; this should be sufficient time if you’ve already sounded out your guests and sent them “save the date” cards. (If Jewish, make sure to get kippots made.)
  • Make wedding programs. As with the invitations, you can you have your programs professionally printed or make your own. It’s not recommended that you print your programs much more than a week in advance in case there are any unexpected changes, such as changes in ushers or candle lighters. If possible, have your officiant proofread the ceremony portion of the program.

Officieant

Choose Your Officiant: For a faith-based wedding, you’ll be looking for a pastor, priest, minister or rabbi. If they don’t charge a fee outright to perform the ceremony, be courteous enough to pay a generous gratuity for their time. For a secular based wedding, choose a wedding officiant, judge or person with authority to marry people who is both available on the date and amenable to any particular special requests you have by way of vows and ceremony.

  • Attend pre-marital counseling. This may take a large time commitment, but it is often worth it in the long-run. Be honest about your desires and expectations for marriage. Both faith-based and secular-based counseling is available.
  • If on a 12 month timeline, this is usually begun when there are about eight months to go.

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Wedding Dress: Around the mark of nine months to go, start researching your wedding dress ideas. Are you having one custom made, altering an heirloom dress or purchasing off-the-rack? Whichever way, you’ll possibly need several fittings and adjustments to perfect it. Alternatively, make your own or steer clear of traditional wedding dresses and buy a dress that you simply love and know you can wear again after the wedding. You don’t have to stick with tradition or spend a fortune on something you’ll never use again.

  • Select a wedding veil if you’re having one. And don’t forget the shoes––from flip flops to diamond encrusted satin slippers, what’s your preference and do they need special effort or will you buy them ready-made?
  • Decide on bridesmaid’s dresses at the same time. Are you paying for them or will they pay? You have less say over their choices if they pay but they’re more likely to be happy with choosing their own style within your color choice.
  • In some religions, it is traditional that the mother of both the groom, and bride comes to find the dress, as well as the maid of honor. This varies widely depending on where you live and what your faith is.
  • Get tuxes and groomsmen clothing sorted and ordered about four months prior to the wedding. Send tux measurement forms to groomsmen a month before fittings.

Wedding Rings: This is a fun task to do together, and symbolizes your devotion to each other. Most couples get matching rings to show that they complete one another’s soul. If you’re having rings specially made up, leave plenty of time and be prepared to get to learn more than you ever cared to know about gold and the origins of it (as in, whether or not it has been sourced equitably and so forth). Make the right decisions by doing your research.

  • Wedding ring selection should take place around five months before the wedding, with collection of the rings occurring about one month in advance of the date.

Photographer

Photographer And/Or A Videographer: Consider using a professional for this special occasion, and make sure that this person is reliable so that you don’t have to worry about him or her forgetting your wedding or stuffing up the photos or filming. There are just too many stories of relying on friends or family to photograph or film a wedding followed by years of regret about the fuzzy, out-of-focus shots or no footage at all because the photographer got carried away doing something else…

  • Ask for recommendations from friends who have married recently who they’d recommend.
  • Ask to see portfolios at the business premises. This will give you a good idea of their abilities and style.

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Pick a Cake: Before settling on a cake it’s best to have a tasting first. Also look into a cake that will match your theme, and please both the bride and groom. Sample cakes around eight months before the wedding and select the design at this time.

  • Check in on the baker again a few months prior to the wedding to be reassured that your order is still on the books and ready to go as planned.
  • It’s best to have the cake delivered directly to the reception venue. Relying on a family member to do this places too much pressure on them and should it be dropped by anyone other than the responsible bakery, you have no recourse to a quick solution!

Gifts

Gifts For Wedding:This gives guests plenty of time to check your list and get the gifts.

  • Be realistic about gift pricing. Acknowledge the breadth of wealth by including very affordable through to more expensive items as part of the gift list. And also allow for non-gift list choices; some people really do not appreciate being forced to use one.

Transport

Choose Suitable Transportation: If you have multiple venues, plan how you will travel from the ceremony location to the reception location. Some couples may choose to rent a limousine or ride in a classic car. Others like horse-drawn carriages. If it’s popular with other people, book early. If it’s your own cars, book them in for cleaning and detail a week before the wedding.

  • If there will be alcohol at the reception, do you have a safe way for you and your bridal party to get home? You may want to ask a friend or relative to be a designated driver for the night.
  • In some families it is traditional to decorate the couple’s vehicle, so if you have a nice car, you may want to keep it at home in the garage!

Honeymoon

Honeymoon: Many couples book a honeymoon suite the night of their wedding to begin the feeling of a honeymoon before leaving the town or city of the wedding, while others simply get going straight after the wedding. The choice is entirely your own.

Cosmopolitan and fashionista editor of livintotal, blogs about different aspects of lifestyle and endows reviews of different movies, gizmos, places and style

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