You've just gotten engaged, and now begins the task of planning your wedding day! Where do you start? Whether you are the wedding planner, or you are hiring one, it is always good to use a detailed wedding checklist.
First thing's first, announcing the engagement. You can send out engagement announcements, or a save the date card for your wedding. Either way, it is nice to let your friends and family know. You can follow this with an engagement party. An engagement party is not a must, but it is a good way to get everyone together and become acquainted, especially family. The party is usually held at either the brides or grooms house, although traditionally it is held at the parents of the brides house. If the party is held elsewhere, make sure to send a thank you and a gift to the host. Any other gifts you get at the engagement party should be followed up with a thank you note as well. It always helps to think of a theme/style for your wedding.
This helps to tie everything in and makes the decorating a little easier.The colors may match the season or the theme might be a 'green wedding.' Your theme acts as a building block.
You will need to find a wedding location for the ceremony and reception, and book it well in advance. Most weddings are held in a hotel, which is nice because mostly everything you need is provided (tables, chairs, lights, dance floor, etc.). If it is a smaller wedding, you may opt to have the reception at a beautiful restaurants with a patio or courtyard. Outdoor weddings give you the advantage of making it original, but the risk of in-climate weather. If you are having an outdoor wedding, having a backup plan for bad weather is an absolute necessity. For a more intimate wedding you can hold your wedding at home. The only downside of this is that you will need to rent just about everything. All of this adds up pretty quickly, so make sure to keep a close eye on your budget! If you're really looking to splurge for your wedding day, plan a destination wedding. These usually last longer since traveling is required and require a lot of planning. You need to make hotel/flight/transportation arrangements for guests and organize activities for everyone to do during the time that they are there. You should send out an itinerary with all of the information to guests who are attending at least six months before the wedding.
Hiring your officiant, photographers, caterers, and band/DJ should be your next priority. After that tier of vendors, you should find your videographer, florist, cake maker and hairstylist. At this time, wedding invitations/thank yous/save-the-dates should be ordered as well.
It may be easier to order these with engagement announcements so you can order all at once. Don't interview too many wedding vendors per category, with everything that's going on, you will get confused and overwhelmed. Familiarizing yourself with wedding vendors beforehand will help save time. For example, with a wedding photographer you need to know what a fish-eye lens is or a hand-tinted photo. Photography is one of the larger expenses for a wedding and these will be your cherished memories, so spend more time looking into this!
Working with a wedding caterer takes some time as well. You have to plan out a menu and taste the foods. Sounds easy, but there are many things to take into consideration. Depending your budget, you may need to choose lower priced foods. If people have allergies, you need to provide other options. There's also many different types of service; from a sit-down service, to family style (served on large platters) or even buffet.
It is easy to give in to temptation when buying things for your wedding. Almost everyone tends to go a little over their set budget. Plan on going over budget, about 5-10%. One of the best ways to cut the cost of your wedding is to slim down the guest list. One thing couples tend to under-estimate or leave out of their wedding budget are gratuity for the various services. This can range from bathroom attendants, coat check attendees to makeup artists and parking attendant. Some couples choose to provide transportation from the ceremony to the reception, or the reception to the hotel, depending on your budget.
It is important to have signed contracts with anyone that you hire. If the wedding vendor doesn't have a contract, you should make one regarding everything that is expected of the wedding vendor, and you both need to sign and date it.
Don't forget to set up a gift registry before you send out your invitations! You want to give your guests plenty of time to get you the perfect wedding gift. Ideally, three registries is a good number. You want to set up one registry where most of your guests are located, and where they can actually go to that store. Make sure the gifts on the registries have a variety of prices, so all guests are able to afford something. Keep a weekly tab on the registry to make sure there are still a variety of gifts left
Some brides/couples start a fitness regimen a few months prior to the wedding. You can take group classes, train for a race, stick to a healthy diet, amongst other options. It is important not to overwhelm yourself. Make a schedule that balances out your wedding planning, fitness routine, a healthy diet, work and sleep. The last thing you want is a health problem as the big day approaches! Maybe add some yoga to help you stay calm. Set a goal and go after it! Involve friends for extra motivation, maybe your wedding party will join you!
Just reading all of this may seem overwhelming, that is why we are here to help! Wedding.com simplifies the wedding planning process and allows you to sit back while wedding vendors come to you. You can create a profile detailing exactly what services you need, upload a picture, stay on track with our wedding checklist and wedding budget, as well as create your own wedding website for your guests. Wedding vendors in your area can view your profile and submit a bid to you for their services.