Planning a wedding is a difficult task for both the families of the bride and groom and the bride and groom individually. There are so many preparations that must be made, and in many cases, not enough time to do it. It’s little wonder that many resort to paying professional wedding planners to do the job for them. However, for many, that is an added expense they can’t afford or, takes away from the fun of planning the wedding. For those who need guidance concerning planning the wedding, here are some steps you will find helpful.
1. One of the most important things to do, as soon as you set the date, is to decide where you want to hold the reception. This may seem like a backward way of doing things, but the reasoning is that reception halls tend to book quickly, especially in the summer or during certain holiday seasons, such as Christmas. In order to assure you will be able to have the reception at the place of your choice, book well in advance – sometimes you may have to plan as much as a year in advance. Of course, you will need to have a general idea of the number of guests you plan to invite, just to be certain your venue of choice is big enough.
2. If you plan to have a church wedding, your next step is to make plans for the use of the church, minister, organist, and any other church facilities you need. If you already belong to a church, this process is much easier than for those who don’t have a home church. In fact, this should probably go hand in hand with booking the reception hall, since you have to make sure the church is available at the date and time you desire. This is especially important if you are planning your wedding around a holiday season or on a Sunday afternoon.
3. Whether you’re having a band or just a disc jockey, you want to book several months in advance. Again, this will depend on the season, but during Christmas with many parties going on, they will book quickly.
4. Unless you have booked a venue that provides catering, such as a fire hall or banquet hall of a restaurant or hotel, you will also need to contract with a catering company. Even if your parents are paying for the wedding, you and your fiancé should have a say in picking the menu items as long as your choices fall within the allotted budget. Alcohol is optional, and if many of the guests are underage, you may wish to eliminate it, except for the wedding toast. If costs are a factor, a cash bar is an alternative.
5. Once you have booked the reception hall and the church, many of the other preparations can go in any order you choose, since they all need to be started at about the same time. However, most brides like to begin by choosing a wedding gown and dresses for the bridal party. Both of these require one to two months’ preparation in case alterations may be necessary and in case any of the styles are sizes need to be ordered by the bridal shop. Allow enough time to ensure your final fitting and any additional alterations will be ready several days before your wedding.
6. You should order the flowers approximately two weeks in advance to allow the florist time to put the order together appropriately and have time to schedule delivery to the church and reception hall on the day of the wedding.
7. You also want to order your cake a couple of weeks before the big day – preferably even one month, depending on the policy of the bakery. In fact, some may only want a week’s notice, but check with your bakery first.
8. Finally, a few days before the wedding, confirm that everything is in place – all guests have responded, names have been provided to whomever is going to make up the place cards (if you plan to have reserved seating), the caterer is clear on the menu and whether it’s sit down or buffet style, the wedding party (male and female) has picked up their attire, and the cake will be delivered by the bakery to the venue.
Of course, your wedding trip is already planned, and though that is part of the wedding, it is not included in the wedding checklist here since many people choose to do that at a later date or it is booked separate from wedding preparations. The same holds true for house hunting, especially since many couples today either live together or already have a place of their own before the wedding.