Wedding Planning Guide or a Professional Wedding Planner?

Beautiful weddings don’t just happen. They come with a lot of imagination, insight and hard work. Your wedding can be as wonderful as you want it to be. All you have to do is put your efforts into making it so.

When you first become engaged, one of your first thoughts is how to move from being an engaged person to being married. As soon as that ring is set on your finger, your thoughts automatically turn to your dream wedding. Lights, camera, action – it’s all a bit like a romantic movie becoming true-to-life, in just the way you image it to be. Whether you want the ‘princess for a day’ wedding, or you want something modern and elegant, you will have to do the planning to pull off the wedding of your dreams. And like a movie production, there are many details to take care of that go into making the final event picture perfect.

If you are an organized person who knows exactly what she wants, planning your wedding should not be beyond your abilities. But, if you have no idea where to begin or have trouble thinking of all the little details that go into producing a dream wedding, you may need to get outside help, as in a wedding planner. You can get the help you need simply by purchasing a wedding planning guide that will tell you exactly what steps you need to take to make your dream wedding come true. Or you may need to go a step further and hire a professional wedding planner.

A wedding planning guide will steer you in the right direction in what steps you need to take (and when to take them) when you are planning your dream wedding. A good wedding planning guide will give you all the information you need to move forward with planning your dream wedding. It will give you lots of ideas and details you may not have thought of. For instance, when you and your new mate are leaving the church, do you want to do it with pomp and ceremony, like driving away in a horse-drawn carriage or perhaps and open-topped convertible? How about deciding on a theme for your wedding, like a Halloween theme if you date happens to coincide with that holiday? Or perhaps you want a selection of wedding songs that may be appropriate for your first dance, or you want to know who should be paying for the event? All of those things should be covered in any good wedding planning guide.

Of course, a professional event planner is a good choice too, if you want to pull off a spectacular wedding. They will guide you through all the decisions that have to be made with respect to your special day, from choosing the cake to hiring the caterers. They are very knowledgeable and know their business well. But they do come at a price. If you don’t have the money to spare for an entire professional wedding planning package, you may be able to hire someone for just specific tasks while you handle the rest of the arrangements yourself. But if you are on a tight budget, your better choice would be to get a guide to help you make the necessary choices yourself.

Another plus to purchasing a wedding planning guide is that you get to make all the decisions that conform to your own unique vision of the perfect wedding. Perhaps you may feel that your big day should take place with a motorcycle theme in mind, complete with you and your groom riding off into the sunset on a Harley. Only you could pull off a truly unique event like that, with exactly what you want. Maybe you wish for a wedding that might include your dog in the wedding party because you are an animal lover. Would a professional wedding planner see your vision of Fido as a ring-bearer? A professional event planner may not see your exact view as to what you want for your dream wedding.

Remember that your wedding is whatever you want it to be. It is a day to celebrate your union with the special person you love. Since your childhood, perhaps you have had a vision in mind as to what your perfect day would be. It is up to you to plan to make that happen, whether you choose a wedding planning guide or a professional wedding planner.

Take the Stress Out of Wedding Planning With This Simple ‘How To’ Guide

Planning your wedding and getting married should be a wonderful memorable experience. Without great planning, your wedding can be stressful and you can quickly feel overwhelmed by the escalating costs, the family politics and the sheer volume of what you need to do. To ensure your wedding goes without a hitch and you remain sane throughout the process follow these simple wedding planning tips.

Enlist help

Recruit your most creative, organised, enthusiastic friend or family member to help you plan your wedding. This will immediately cut your stress and your workload down by at least half. That is, if you are able to fairly delegate and share the responsibilities.

Use the following ‘wedding planning things to do’ list to help divide the responsibilities between you.

Things to do:

Book the church or wedding ceremony venue.

Give yourself ample time to plan for the wedding and for guests to ensure they are free on the day. Anything from one year to two years is usual for an advance wedding venue booking.

Apply for the licence:

Depending on where in the world you are, the rules re marriage licences will vary. Ensure you are compliant and do whatever is required according to your states laws.

Set the budget:

The size of the budget will determine every other action action you take in planning your wedding, so spend time practically working out an accurate wedding budget based on what you can afford and what you believe is reasonable to spend on this one special day. Parents of bride and groom may offer financial support. Do not take this for granted. If parents do announce they will cover the cost then they will presumably set the wedding budget for you. Ensure you respect the limit imposed.

Once you have the budget you need to divide it up to cover the many costs associated with wedding planning and execution.

Things to consider are detailed below:

  • Guest List
  • Who is coming?
  • How many can you afford to cater for?
  • Should they attend the marriage ceremony, the cocktail hour and the wedding party reception or just the reception?

Some people have only close friends and family for the wedding ceremony and include a larger guest list for the evening reception entertainment which may include work colleagues and casual friends. Children are a consideration as some prefer not to have children at their wedding while others are more than happy to encourage a family wedding environment. If you are including children in your guest list remember to accommodate their needs when catering the reception and planning entertainment.

Wedding Theme

Most brides like to have a ‘theme’ for their wedding, even if only to establish that it will be a traditional white wedding theme. When considering a theme for your wedding consider what reflects the personality of you and the groom and what can easily be managed within the scope of the wedding budget.

Popular and trending wedding themes for 2014 and 2015 include rustic wedding, shabby chic weddings, country garden (tea party) style wedding and all things vintage.

There are many resources you can access online and offline (wedding magazines) for ideas on creating the perfect themed wedding. Create a wedding ‘mood board’ with your favorite colors, fabric, flowers to set a tone for the wedding and to help collate your thoughts. If you are hiring a wedding planner, she or he may create a mood board with you.

Marriage Ceremony Venue

Knowing your wedding theme will help determine where you want to get married. Select somewhere that sets the tone for your themed wedding. A small chapel or church for a traditional wedding for close family and friends or an outdoor garden ceremony for a more rustic, country themed wedding. Weather will be a factor as will guest numbers and budget.

Wedding Reception

When deciding where you would like to hold your wedding reception, evening party or cocktail hour consider how your guests might travel from the ceremony venue to the reception and how long they might be at a loose end in between.You may need to budget for transport for guests, allow for ample parking and prepare detailed directions. For guests who have to travel some distance to attend your wedding, you may also need to arrange overnight accommodation or provide a list of local hotels.

Once your budget, theme, venue and guest list have been determined you can enjoy choosing the details that will make your wedding unique to you. These include:

  • Wedding invitations – personalized
  • RSVP Cards
  • Save The Date Magnet or card
  • Wedding Programs
  • Menu
  • Table cards
  • SeatingChart
  • Postage stamps

You can buy a wedding stationery suite that will include co-ordinated items for all the above or you could make your own! There are lots of online resources to help you to create your own wedding invitations. These include wedding invitation templates, printables and craft items. If you are making handmade wedding invitations, allow yourself sufficient time to do so.

  • Caterering including beverages
  • Flowers including bridal boquet, ceremony venue flowers and center table arrangements
  • Decorations for ceremony and reception – ribbons, flowers, bunting, balloons
  • Bridal Dress, underwear, reception outfit, shoes, jewelry, accessories
  • Groom suit, cuff links, accessories, shoes
  • Bridesmaid dresses, shoes, nails
  • Paige boy suits
  • Best man outfit
  • Hair dressing, makeup fees
  • Car Hire for bride, groom, family
  • Wedding cake
  • Bobonierre
  • Wedding favors
  • Gifts for brides mum, bridesmaids, best man etc.
  • Hotel room hire
  • Honeymoon

The wedding planning list can be exhaustive so I have included the main items for you to consider. Do please add anything else in the comments section below to help our brides-to-be plan their perfect wedding.

Wedding Planning Tips – DIY In 10 Big Steps

Plan Your Own Wedding… In 10 Big Steps!!

Congratulations!! You’re engaged and you know the next move is to start planning the wedding. You’re probably on the internet, looking for a way to get started! If you’re a couple on a budget, I would like to help you with planning your own wedding!!

I’ve created a detailed step-by-step system, to get you to your dream wedding and guide you through your planning process. Now… I could have easily titled this article as “10 Easy steps”, but I didn’t because, let’s not fool anyone; No matter how Big or Small you chose your wedding to be, it’s a BIG STEP nonetheless! Think of your wedding as… a 1000 piece puzzle. You know what it’s supposed to look like once all the pieces are put together, you just need to make sure you first have all the pieces and they are well laid out and organized to make sure they fit into place. With my 10 Step approach and a little extra dedication from you (which I’m sure I won’t need to ask for twice), you could have your very own, DIY Dream Wedding planned! So here goes…

Step 1:- PRIORITIZE Everything

This is something you need to remember throughout the planning process. You will constantly be challenged with choices and compromises that you will have to take. When in dilemma, prioritize the job! Give your attention to the more important task / problem / challenge till is sorted or completed. So, as a step one, write down the Top 5 priorities that you and your fiancé want for your wedding.

Step 2:- MAKE THE BIG DECISIONS

It’s easier to work on the nitty-gritty details of any task, after you know what the big picture is supposed to look like. So, decide now on what you both want your dream wedding to be. Sleep on it. Think about it. Talk to each other about it. Research it. Draw it. Write it. Whatever it takes to make it seem and feel real and doable to you both.

Step 3:- ORGANIZE the work

Now that you know what you want the end-picture to look like, start working on creating the puzzle pieces.

– The first thing you need to do before getting into action is to decide on your budget, and who is paying for what

– Second, I would suggest looking at the big categories of requirements that need attention to plan any successful wedding. Create a flow chart (of sorts) for these categories. These big categories can be:

o [BRIDE]

o [GROOM]

o [GUESTS]

o [STATIONARY]

o [VENUE]

o [MENU]

o [DECOR]

o [ENTERTAINMENT]

o [BAKERY]

o [MoH + Best Man]

o [PARENTS]

o… and there could be others, based on your wedding plan

– Third, create sub-requirements for each main category by itself. Thus ensuring that you don’t overlook anything important. For example, under ‘Bride’ you would have; Dress, Make-up, Manicure, Pedicure, Shoes, Clutch, Bouquet, Headgear, Garter etc…

– Finally, pick a few dates for the wedding and do research about them. Make sure they don’t coincide with any political or social functions. This would also help to understand ahead of time which are the best area’s and what the possible weather conditions could be around the week of your wedding

Step 4:- TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Create a proper time schedule for each and every task that you have detailed above and under each sub-category. This way you can have control of what’s supposed to be happening by when! Put them on your calendar, create a chart or create a presentation, whatever helps you get your head wrapped around all the aspects for the wedding.

This is also about the time that you begin to develop a rough draft of your overall guest list and start working back words, cutting out people who would either not be able to make it or either you or your fiancé don’t think is a necessity to being there. In short, bring down your guest list to your final draft and number and start sending out the invites or the Save-the-Date cards.

Step 5:- DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITIES

Accept the fact; you are going to need help! You both are just 2 people, who have full time jobs and other facets of life you can’t ignore while planning the wedding, so call in the cavalry and start delegating the jobs that need to get done. Make sure they are important people you can trust wholeheartedly and preferably who have a role to play in the wedding! People like, your Parents, the MoH, Best Man, Sister, Brother etc. Don’t ask the neighbours daughter or high school buddy, just because they’re invited and / or lives close by! Give your ‘wedding warriors’ tasks and ‘pieces’ of the categories and schedule that you created. Thus giving them important roles and a guideline by when the tasks have to be done.

Most importantly, whoever you chose to get involved in the planning and executing process of your wedding, don’t forget to follow-up on them to make sure they follow-up on their list!

Step 6:- GETTING IN THE FIELD

Here’s where the heavy stuff kicks in. You have your happy wedding helpers getting things moving for you, but that also means, that you’ll be pulled in all directions every which way. Stay calm and collected, share the responsibilities between you and your fiancé and get into the field. You’ll have to go for sampling, testing, reviewing and fitting sessions for yourself and for others in the wedding entourage. You will have to meet, greet and verify all the different vendors that will come by. You will have to review and decide which one you want to go ahead with and give your final word.

Also, if you’ve already sent out Save-the-Date cards, now would be the time you will have to start sending out invites to all your guests. You will have to chase for RSVP’s and keep updating your wedding guest list. Always remember your priorities when making these big decisions. Your priorities may be around budget, theme, style, culture or other things. So don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and just enjoy the attention!

Step 7:- UPDATES ESSENTIALS

Get back to the drawing board now (or whatever system you chose to organize your tasks) and update your categories and tasks. Check against things done, highlight things pending and take a look at what’s outstanding and what’s overdue! See if there are other things you would like to add on or take off. Again, follow-up on all those who have responsibilities delegated to them and have not completed. Remember to stay calm, no one likes a Bridezilla and you won’t be encouraging them to go ANY Faster in getting your work done! Remember, you need them on your side!!

Step 8:- DOUBLE UP – Follow-up

Wedding vendors tend to be extremely busy and thus, as scary as it sounds, they tend to miss out things. So, you need to do a double take on all your vendors and suppliers. Remember, you are not alone in this. Go back to your wedding warriors and ask them to reconfirm all the contracts signed with everything that was under their list of responsibilities.

By now, you should also have a final guest-list and RSVP list of those coming, so you can begin finalizing your Table name cards!

Step 9:- FINAL COUNTDOWN

Make sure everything for the wedding is set in motion. If need be, have a final meeting with all the vendors to reassure yourself that everything is ready. Keep an emergency kit with someone reliable and who will be around for you throughout the day, like your MoH. Recheck on the Suits and Dresses, the transportation and all the immediate needs that will arise for the wedding day.

Very importantly, do weather check for the day of the wedding! If anything unsure pop’s up, try to make necessary arrangements. For example, if it says it may have light rain and you have an outdoor wedding; make sure everyone in the wedding party bring in an umbrella and give the venue a call to give them a heads up in case things get nasty, that they can make emergency arrangements; or, if it’s bound to be too hot, get the best man and grooms men to go get crates of juice and refreshments that can be kept cold and handy to give the guests on arrival to stay cool!

Step 10:- YOUR BIG DAY

Forget the rest, leave the stress. Just Wake up, Dress up, Show up… And Enjoy your Wonderful Wedding day unfold!!

For further tips on planning your wedding visit my website or read my blog posts.

Till then, enjoy planning and have a fabulous wedding!