Planning a Wedding Tips

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What items should be on a wedding planning checklist?

Wedding Timeline

Wedding planning is arduous. The proof is in the details and if you want to keep track of the details you'll need a wedding planning checklist. If you hire a wedding planner, he or she will have his or her own wedding planning checklist to go over. In the meanwhile, please find a sample wedding timeline below to help your wedding planning. If you are setting up your own portfolio for wedding planning, this wedding planning checklist should go at the very front of every wedding planned in order to verify that you are getting everything done and checked off in a timely manner.


12 Months Before:

  • Book Ceremony Venue
  • Book Reception Venue
  • Determine and Book Liability Insurance
10-11 Months Before:

  • Book Caterer
  • Book Musicians
  • Book Photographer
  • Book Videographer
8-9 Months Before:

  • Book Florist
  • Book Cake Designer/Baker
  • Book Transportation
6-7 Months Before:

  • Book Rentals (i.e. chairs/tables etc as needed)
  • Review All Vendor Contracts, Update Timeline
5 Months Before:

  • Order invitations etc.
  • Order Flowers
  • Provide Music/Requests to Musicians
4 Months Before:

  • Meet with Caterer for food tasting (w/Bride & Groom)
  • Order Wedding Cake
3 Months Before:

  • Have Bride Book her Beauty Appointments for hair, makeup etc.
  • Provide Caterer with menu and beverage selections
  • Have Bride/Groom meet Officiant to review ceremony
  • Verify with Printer that Invitations, etc are ready
2 Months Before:

  • Contact all book vendors to confirm arrangements
  • Pay any balances to booked vendors
  • Prepare information sheets for bridal party and vendors
1 Month Before:

  • Provide photographer with list of desired photos
  • Provide guidance for videographer
  • Confirm Music and Arrangements with Musicians
  • Confirm transportation
  • Confirm flower orders with florist
  • Confirm rental requirements
  • Confirm drop off times
2 Weeks Before:

o Confirm With All Vendors One More Time

1 Week Before:

  • Make sure Caterer has final RSVP numbers for reception
  • Make sure vendor bills are collected to make final payment
Day Before:

o Oversee the decoration of the ceremony and reception venue

Day Of:

  • Oversee and coordinate with all vendors
  • Pay Vendors their Final Checks


Dos and Do Nots

Do - Spend some time with your spouse checking out the places you want to register and making lists of the items you really do need.

Do not - Just add a toaster oven you know you won't use so guests will have enough of a selection.

Do - Register at more than one store. There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to register at one location only.

Do not - Choosing items that are really expensive because you know you won't be able to afford them in the first year of marriage isn't fair to your guests. Instead, choose a wider price range selection.

Do - Discuss your options with different stores, online sites and even handmade facilities. You'll be surprised by how many places feature registries this day.

Do Not - Feel limited to asking for only household goods. If you are already set up in your house and don't need a lot, ask for some things you ‘might' like to have or even items like movies, CDs and more.

Are you planning a wedding ceremony?

Planning for the Venue

Planning a wedding always begins when the question is popped. Most people know the type of wedding they would like to have, but when you add another person's dreams, aspirations and religious feelings it can require some discussion. The couple are an important part of planning a wedding and whether it's the parents of the bride or the groom or a wedding planner, the wishes of the couple have to be taken into account. This is especially true of the type of ceremony that the couple decides on.

Determining whether the wedding will be a religious, civil or other type of ceremony will play a part in determining the venue. The couple usually has an idea of where they want to have the wedding. Your job as the wedding planner will be to contact the venue and verify all information with regard to booking it for the day in question. Be sure to have a standard contract available that you use for negotiating a venue. At bare minimum you will need confirmation on the following:

  • Contact Person?
  • Location of Utilities?
  • In-house staff?
  • Clean-up responsibility? Yours? Theirs?
  • Parking?
  • Entrance?
  • Dressing Room?
  • Fees?
  • Rehearsal availability?
  • Piano? Organ?
  • Rules about Photography (specifically in Churches)
You will want to confirm a booking of the venues at least three to four months ahead of time. In many cases, it's better to settle on the venue in the first hours of planning wedding because much of the rest of the planning will center on the location. Planning a wedding is like setting up dominoes, each decision helps you make another one. The first domino is the question, the second domino is the type of ceremony and the third domino is choosing the venue and it continues from there.

What's involved in planning a wedding?

Planning a Wedding Should Be Fun

Congratulations, you're planning a wedding. You may hire some to help out with partial planning of a wedding, complete planning and co-ordination of the wedding or coordination on the day of the service only. Wedding planning revolves around one singular event: the ceremony. There is a great deal of pre-planning and post-planning related to arranging the vendors, the dresses, the tuxes, the site and the reception. Yet all of these components are directly related to the central focus that is the actual ceremony.

Weddings are a symphony of organized chaos with the wedding planner in the role of conductor. There is a great deal to planning a wedding and the following is just a sampling of what you need to plan a wedding whether you are the wedding planner, the bride, and the mother of the bride or some combination thereof:

  • Ongoing Communication with the Bride and Groom
  • Budget Planning
  • Schedules, Timelines and Checklists
  • Selection and booking of venues for wedding and reception
  • Selecting and booking of the minister or justice of the peace
  • Planning theme and style of the wedding
  • Coordinating design, ordering and mailing of invitations
  • Coordinating selection of wedding attire and accessories
  • Coordinating or Providing vendors (florist, caterer, photographer, musician, beautician, hair stylists)
  • Negotiating and reviewing all contracts
  • Assistance with marriage license
  • Itinerary planning
  • Ceremony planning
  • Rehearsal oversight
  • Direction of processional and attendant duties
  • Planning the reception
  • Wedding Day gift coordination
  • On-hand coordination on the day of the wedding
One thing that people seem to forget in all the chaos and pressure and stress of planning a wedding. Planning a wedding is a lot of fun. It can be fun for the bride and it can be fun for the wedding planner. Take your time and have fun with the process of planning a wedding.


Assume Good Intentions

The first rule; assume good intentions is the most important. Don't assume that someone did something just to piss you off or upset you. If you assume from the get go that they didn't do it on purpose, you will find that there's a lot more room for compromise, conversation and communication.

Don't react when things go wrong. Act. Reacting means you do nothing except respond to the negative stimulus whether it's a misunderstanding or a genuine fight. Getting angry or responding to accusations with retaliatory remarks will only further inflame situations. By making a pact to act on the information, to keep it cool and to avoid inciting a bad situation to worse is a great way to minimize and even avoid fights.

How can I keep organized when planning my wedding?

Purchase a Pocket Wedding Planner

Keeping all of your wedding appointments and tasks organized isn't always easy. Consider purchasing a pocket wedding planner to assist with the details. A pocket wedding planner easily fits in a purse or briefcase so you'll always have it with you and you'll be able to see appointments and activities at a glance. Most wedding boutiques carry these wedding organizers or they can be found in bookstores and online.


Stress Free Honeymoon Planning

You want to stay at a really nice hotel. It's your honeymoon. You will be spending a lot of time in the room so make sure it's what you want it to be. Room service is always a nice perk and if it's an inclusive resort you'll have access to spa facilities, golf courses and more. While these larger, upscale resorts are expensive; they are more than worth it.

Do not schedule every hour of every day of your honeymoon. Unless you are the type of person that thrives on that, you want to have plenty of ‘lazy' or ‘down' time. For example, if you are heading straight to the plane after your ceremony and jetting off to an exotic location, you probably want to spend the first 24 hours after you arrive just relaxing.


Wedding Dress Selection

Regardless of the type of wedding you choose to have, your wedding dress should be something you love and feel good wearing. Consult a wedding dress designer when choosing your wedding dress to ensure the best fit, structure and design for the wedding you're planning.


Wedding Invitation Kits

There are all different kinds of supplies in a variety of colors, styles and price ranges for wedding invitations. If you are interested in creating your own wedding invitations, talk to artistic friends and family about helping you to create the wedding invitation you'd like.

Why should I choose a destination wedding?

The pros of choosing a destination wedding

Destination weddings mean that everything is taken care of at one time.
Usually the wedding planner will handle the flowers, photographer, caterer, musicians and reception area, all with your input of course. In most cases the wedding planner will take care of the marriage license too and all you have to do is send the necessary documents.

How do I choose a wedding date?

Choosing a Wedding Date

Before choosing the wedding date, consult with both sets of parents to make sure there are no conflicting engagements. You might want to have everyone involved get together for dinner or lunch at the same time to hash it out. Ask parents to bring along their social calendars, so there's no double booking.

This is especially important if you're marrying someone who is of another culture or religion. The last thing you want to do is choose a day that is considered bad luck or in poor taste.

What makes a wedding perfect?

The Perfect Wedding: Civil or Religious

The perfect wedding exists in the minds and hearts of the bride and groom. Planning a wedding, a perfect wedding requires the bride and groom to communicate their love, their expectations and the customs they want to embrace as a part of their wedding perfection. There are many twists and turns on the road to planning for that perfect wedding. It's important to understand that the style of ceremony will dictate different types of customs to be followed. There are expectations associated with each one and it's up to the bridal couple to help narrow the field down.

A religious ceremony is considered a very traditional wedding. It would take place in a house of worship such as a church or synagogue. It would be officiated by a rabbi, a minister or member of the clergy. Traditional religious ceremonies usually call for formal wear with a number of attendants and very traditional music.

Civil or non-traditional ceremonies can be held anywhere such as on board a yacht, on a cliff top, on a beach or even in a family backyard. The officiate is a Justice of the Peace (including relatives or friends who have been certified). There is no set theme for a civil or non-traditional ceremony. Bridal couples can wear beach clothing, renaissance faire garb or even get married on horseback.

The differences between the two are the rigidity of form associated with the first and the freedom with the second. The bridal couple will determine what their priorities are and the type of ceremony they want to have. Familiarity with traditional themes and ceremonies are important when dealing with religious weddings. A sense of adventure and fun can be explored in civil and non-traditional weddings.

Become aware of the wide variety of options available to couples in their wedding choices. The key to planning the perfect wedding is found in truly listening to each other. Be open to hearing each other's thoughts, their dreams and their expectations.

Can I make my own wedding invitations?

Wedding Invitation Kits

So you want to make your own wedding invitations? There are numerous ways to do this and many of them are very simple and direct. You start by looking into wedding invitation kits that have been created for use in a home computer printer. Most kits come with thank you notes, invitation cards, note cards and envelopes. These kits make setting up your wedding invitations exactly how you want and print them out, fold and stuff into the envelopes for sending.

The really creative individual might want to design his or her own reception cards and wedding invitations. Check out various print shops and specialty paper areas in order to purchase lined paper, high style paper, parchment and more in order to create your wedding invitations. You can use laser graphics on your computer or create them by hand and scan them in. You don't have to create your own wedding invitations. It's important to avoid feeling pressured about making them yourself, create the wedding invitations only if you want to.

What qualities make a good wedding planner?

Want a Career as a Wedding Planner

Have you thought of becoming a wedding planner? Choosing a career in planning weddings is not a career for everyone. A wedding planner is a person with a unique variety of skills. Among those skills most useful to a wedding planner are:

  • Organizing Parties is your forte
  • You are very organized.
  • Attention to detail is important to you.
  • You leave nothing to the last minute.
  • You plan ahead
  • You build and maintain schedules.
  • You can juggle a lot of responsibilities simultaneously.
  • You make a list for everything.
  • Multi-tasking is a way of life and not stressful.
  • You are creative.
  • You are a romantic.
  • You enjoy people.
  • You communicate well.
  • You have good intuition.
  • You possess good interpersonal skills.
Being detail oriented and able to keep your cool under pressure is paramount to your success and happiness in this career. The rewards and benefits of wedding planning are commensurate with the workload. You will wear many hats for many different people. You will be constantly honing your skills and you will learn from each and every wedding that you plan new skills and ideas to help you with the next one.

How important is selecting the wedding dress?

Wedding Dress Selection

There are many options for brides when it comes to choosing their wedding dress. The stages of planning a wedding include, but is hardly limited to, deciding on a wedding theme, a wedding tradition and finally the wedding dress.

Some brides may choose to wear their mother's wedding dress. Some brides may choose to buy their wedding dress new. Some brides may even elect to have their wedding dress designed for them. While the traditional color of the wedding dress is white, wedding dresses range in color from stark white to black.

Whether you are planning a beach wedding at sunset or a Sunday morning church wedding with a 10 foot train, choosing your wedding dress is an important factor of the day.

What does a wedding planner do?

The Role of a Wedding Planner

Wedding planning is a growing profession. Traditionally, wedding planners were friends or family members who took on the burden of managing your wedding details. Once upon a time, the bride's parents were in charge of paying for and coordinating the wedding. The bride's mother was and often still is the de facto wedding planner. However, modern wedding planning is a direct result of the expanding family living miles apart from their immediate family.

When engaged couples live so far away from their immediate families, the benefits of hiring a professional to handle all the details and coordinate their wedding can save you time, money as well as providing you with enormous stress relief in the months, weeks and days leading up to the event itself.

When you hire a wedding planner, you will be hiring a money manager, economic advisor, facilitator, mediator, organizer and artist. The wedding planner will be the director of the fairytale and handle the setting, props and casting. They will hold hands, coax vendors, organize the decorators, offer advice, negotiate contracts, and keep records and track data.

The wedding planner will carry the extra bobby pins, hairspray and even extra pairs of panty hose. He or she will provide mental, emotional and physical support to the bride in a variety of ways. He or she will be there to guide, to protect, and to appropriate and ultimately, to plan the day that many of us consider to be one of the most important in our lives. The wedding planner is the facilitator of the fairytale and their responsibilities are enormous.

The following is a list of some job titles associated with wedding planning:

  • Wedding Director
  • Wedding Consultant
  • Bridal Consultant
  • Event Planner
  • Wedding Planner

What should I do when planning my wedding?

Wedding Notebook

When you start to plan your wedding, get a big three-ring binder and use it to organize and file all the paperwork for your big day: vendor contracts, photographs of wedding gowns, sample menus, etc. Keeping everything in one place and carrying it with you when making trips to bakeries, bridal salons, etc. will insure that you stay organized.

I've already gotten my dress but don't think the date will work with it! We chose October but my dress is short sleeved-off the shoulder. What can I do?

Chilly Weather Worries? Purchase a Shawl or Shrug!

An October wedding is likely to be held indoors, so you shouldn't have a problem with short sleeves during your wedding and reception.
However, you may be cold while traveling from your wedding site to your reception site. If you think that may be the case, then you should purchase a shawl or shrug that matches your dress. You can easily purchase a shawl or shrug online at Bridal People.

How do I schedule my wedding and reception?


It's important that you make every effort to keep the amount of time between the wedding and the reception as short as possible. If there are several hours between the two, then your guests (especially those from out of town) are going to be left at loose ends for something to do. If you can't work around having some downtime, then be sure to have something planned for your guests, either a cocktail hour at the reception venue, or open your home to out-of-town relatives and friends.

How far in advance should we plan our wedding?

Stay a Step Ahead

Always plan the day of the wedding well in advance if you are going to have a big event. Do not take it for granted that your bridesmaids will have the whole day free simply because you think that it it a good date. At the very least, the day`s itenirary should be made up and delivered to each person months in advance so they can plan accordingly.

When should I start planning my wedding?

Start Early!

It's never to early to make arrangements. You will be surprised at the money you can save by spreading your buying over time. Start the planning process immediately, the day after the proposal is not too soon!

What should I ask my wedding coordinator/consultant?

Wedding Schedules

Thinking of hiring a wedding consultant or coordinator? Here are some questions you'll want to ask:

  • How long have you been a wedding coordinator?
  • How many weddings do you do every year?
  • Do you have formal training?
  • Do you have others who work for you? If so, is there a charge for extra staffing?
  • Do we pay you the fee for the entire event and then you pay each vendor or do we contract with vendors separately?
  • Do you charge hourly, a flat rate or a percentage , with wedding planning on a budget?
  • Will you give me a detailed budget?

How can we save money planning our wedding?

Coordinator on the Cheap

Ask an ORGANIZED friend or relative to be your coordinator. Let them know from the start what your expectations are, and be flexible and understanding about their enthusiasm level for your celebration.

How do we choose a wedding date?

Choosing A Date: The Must-Haves

If there are certain people you just can't imagine not being at your wedding, check with them when you're in the process of setting a date to make sure there aren't going to be any conflicts with other events they may have to attend.

What should I take with me to a bridal show?

Wedding Planning On A Budget

There are usually a ton of drawings for free merchandise and services at bridal shows. Come prepared by bringing pre-printed address labels or business cards when choosing a wedding date to save yourself from having to write down your information a hundred times.

How should I plan to attend a bridal show?

Types Of Wedding Ceremonies

When attending bridal shows, bring swatches of material and ribbon in the colors of your wedding, even photos of your wedding gown, to give bridal shops, tuxedo companies, bakeries, florists and other professionals in helping you find items to complement your wedding theme.

What should I do when planning my wedding?

Planning A Wedding

One of the worst weddings I attended was because the bride didn't do the wedding event planning between the wedding and reception well and was also thoughtless when it came to her guests. All of the guests were seated in the reception room at the time stated on the invitation, but it was an hour and a half later before the bridal party showed up, and by then many guests were preparing to leave. It turned out that the bridal party had been riding around in the limo the entire time. Be a thoughtful bride and remember that there are many people taking time to celebrate your marriage, and the least you can do is stick to the schedule that you've given them.

How can I plan my wedding and work full-time?

Working Brides

If you work full-time and are also planning your wedding, use your breaks to make calls to vendors, update your wedding calendar, address a few invitations, etc.

How can I get ready for my wedding day?

Planning A Simple Wedding

* Purchase dress, headpiece, shoes and accessories. By the six month mark, you should have purchased the major components of your bridal ensemble. * Start your weight maintenance program...after all, now that you've bought the dress, you have to fit into it. A regular "maintenance" program will also work wonders to relieve the stress of your wedding planning tips. Buy and use yoga tapes, walk your pet, take an aqua-fit class or any other fitness routine that you find relaxing. Try to do this for 20 minutes a day at least every other day. * Purchase your going away outfit. You should also purchase your wedding day lingerie as you are going to want to wear it at all of your future dress fittings.

What should I bring to the Bridal Show?

Wedding Event Planning

Bringing preprinted labels or Business Cards with your Name, Address and Wedding Date can be a helpful thing for the suppliers at the show. If you had to write your information at each booth, chances are your handwriting would become harder to read as the day goes on. With preprinted labels, the suppliers can be sure their information will arrive at the correct address.

How can I get the wedding I want?

June Brides

June Brides, remember that competition breeds inflated pricing. With the popularity of this month for weddings, you must start early to ensure availability of your desired venue and services. The sooner you begin the more control you will have over the pricing. Make sure that you get all quotes and contracts in writing!

How can we make sure everything goes on schedule?

Super Scheduling

If your wedding activities are going to take place over a few days, it's a good idea to type up a schedule of what's taking place when and where---you may want to include maps on the back. Pass them out to guests and the bridal party so everyone gets to the right place at the right time.

How should I plan to spend my time at a bridal show?

Bridal Show Timing

When you attend a bridal show, plan to spend half the day there. Allow enough time for the fashion show, which will last about an hour, and time to view exhibits before and after the show. When you arrive, go first to service providers who have what you need the most.

How do we choose a wedding date?

Choosing A Wedding Date

If you're planning a wedding on a tight budget and are counting every penny, consider having your wedding in an 'off' month such as January, February or March. Prices for flowers are lower, as can be venues. Also consider foregoing a Saturday wedding for a Friday or other weekday ceremony, since rental fees for many venues and other services can be considerably lower.

What can I do if I don´t have much time to spend planning my wedding?

Wedding Planner Guides

If you have a very busy job or a very short time in which to planning a simple wedding, or if you're getting married out of town, you may want to consider hiring a professional wedding consultant. They can help alleviate the headaches of making lots of phone calls and take care of other details you don't have time for.

What should I take with me to a bridal show?

Bring it to the Bridal Show

When you attend a bridal show, bring swatches of material and ribbon in the colors of your wedding, even photos of your wedding gown, to give bridal shops, tuxedo companies, bakeries, florists and other professionals in helping you find items to complement your wedding theme.

How do we choose a wedding date?

Wedding Schedules

Are you an incurable romantic? Do you know how to pick a wedding date for the first time you saw your fiance? When thinking about setting a wedding date, you might consider having it on the same date that you met, or became engaged, or had your first date.


Want to Become a Wedding Planner?

Do you have a natural love of weddings? Does the magic in the air entrance you? Does the excitement and rush of getting things organized for big events invigorate you? Are you in love with love? Well if any of these apply to you then a career in wedding planning could be right up your alley. A wedding planner is a professional who organizes weddings, including all of the financial and social situations, in order to alleviate brides of the obligation. There are many ways to become a wedding planner, here is one of them.

Get Your Education

A wedding planner should have a well rounded education. There are no "Wedding Planning" degrees but having a diploma in a related field like Marketing or Hospitality Management will help out immensely. These degrees will show that you possess the proper skills to match what you are offering to paying newlyweds.

Get Certified

Now that you have a solid background of education it is time to attack actually getting certified as a wedding planner. While the certificate is not required to become a successful wedding planner, it will certainly help. Finding an organization near you that offers these certificates can be as easy as a search on Google. In order to earn this certificate you will be expected to take a handful of classes concerning all of the different aspects that involve a wedding.

Get to Work

The final step down the road to becoming a successful wedding planner is to simply get working. Being a wedding planner means becoming your own business. You will have to research your market, your demographic, and all of the other financial decisions involved. You will need to market, work hard, and connect with potential clients.

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Guru Spotlight
Shirley Tan