A wedding is a wonderful time in an individual’s life, but it can also be fraught with worry and stress if a timeline is not used. Due to the complexity involved in planning such an event, 12 to 16 months should be devoted to completing all the plans then finalizing details. This is a time in every couple’s life when love and happiness should be the dominating factors, so the less stress the better!
12 Months Prior
During the first couple of months of planning, a wedding date and budget should be established, the formality of the event should be determined, and the location decided upon. Venues are often booked far in advance so if you want your choice of where and when, be sure to jump on this! You should also start dress shopping early, usually by around 8 months prior. You want to assure that you have enough time to find your dream dress, as well as for all of the necessary alterations and fittings. Now is also the time to start tying down your vendors, from the caterers to the photographers to the entertainment.
6 Months Prior
By the sixth month prior to the wedding date most of the key elements should be finalized. This is a good time to send your save the dates so that your guests can make the necessary arrangements to attend your wedding. Now is also the time to start searching for your bridesmaid dresses. Stores like David’s Bridal are a great option for finding dresses that fit your color scheme and for finding several different style dresses in the same color. Your bridesmaids may not all find the same style dress flattering so this will save you a hassle. Florists should also be looked into at this point. Because florists are able to serve more than one client in a day, you have a little more flexibility in selecting one compared to some other vendors. If all this has been done within the timeline, tasks remaining will be much less stressful and easier to accomplish.
2 Months Prior
Now that the vendors are booked, dresses are ordered, and the guest list is finalized, the final months leading up to the wedding are more detail oriented. Two months before you should send the wedding invitations, finalizing plans for the wedding. Invitations often hint at the theme of the upcoming nuptials so it’s a great idea to work with a custom design service like Grace Announcements to assure that your invitations reflect you and your partner as a couple, as well as your wedding. Things like getting the blood tests required for the state in which you live, selecting the menu as well as flowers and cake design, renting or buying tuxes, ordering wedding favors, and selecting the wedding bands and gifts for the bridal party are also tasks that should be accomplished at this time.
The goal is to have everything scheduled, paid for, and finalized well in advance of the actual wedding date in order to ensure that during the last month every visit, party, and gift can be enjoyed to the fullest. Planning a wedding may feel overwhelming but breaking it down into phases will make it a much less daunting task. The first phase is the “big picture” followed by the “details, finalizing plans, and bringing your dream to life.” Lastly, all you need to do is sit back, know you did everything possible to get ready well in advance, and enjoy your moment in the spotlight with the love of your life.
Guest Post: Priti Patel is a writer with a love for everything weddings. Having been a bridesmaid in several weddings, she hopes to use her experience to one day plan her own wedding!
Traditionally, bridal showers have been put together by the maid-of-honor, but times they are a-changing! These days, the entire bridal party typically pitches in, and oftentimes other close friends and family members become involved as well. This is great because it divides the responsibilities and costs among many people, and makes for a better bridal shower experience! The most important part of putting together a successful bridal shower is planning ahead and operating on a timeline…here is a loose schedule to follow to ensure a stress-free party planning experience!
Eight Weeks Before the Shower
Bridal showers typically take place four to six weeks before the wedding. About eight weeks before the anticipated shower date, start putting together a checklist of what needs to be done for the party. This will help you keep track of budget, who’s taking care of what, and miscellaneous tasks that will need to get done. At this time, you should also set an exact time and date for the shower. Consult with the bride about who she would like to invite, and try to get some insight into where she would like the shower to take place.
Six Weeks Before the Shower
Contact a caterer (this site is a good resource to check out) and plan the menu…showers typically include an informal brunch or lunch buffet of small finger foods that allow your guests to eat easily while mingling. A fun, budget-friendly idea is to ask guests to make their favorite dishes for the buffet and bring the recipe along for the bride’s recipe box! At this time, invitations should be sent out, and the location should also be booked.
Two to Three Weeks Before the Shower
Call your vendors to confirm the party reservations…this includes the venue, caterer, and musicians. If your guests are bringing food, confirm what they are bringing to make sure that there will be an even spread of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Pick up any beverages that you anticipate having at the party, and don’t forget champagne for the toasts! If the shower will be taking place in someone’s home, ensure that there are enough dishes and utensils available, or pick up paper plates and disposable utensils. This is also the time to purchase decorations, bridal shower games, and bridal shower favors…all of these things are available from online retailers like American Bridal. One fun idea is to buy a disposable camera for each table at the shower, and allow the guests to take pictures at the party. Have all of the photos developed and put them together in an album for the bride, as a supplement to her wedding album.
The Day Before the Shower
Get to the venue EARLY. You’ll need at least two hours to decorate, set up tables and chairs, and set out the food and favors. Remember to bring a pen and notepad for documenting who brought which shower gift, and don’t forget your camera. Also, keep in mind that showers are supposed to be casual and fun! If something doesn’t go as planned, remember that this day is about celebrating the bride, and no one will notice if the spinach and artichoke dip gets lost along the way!
This guest post was written by Leslie. She likes to explore popular trends and creative ideas for every stage of planning a wedding. Along the way, she has picked up many tricks of the trade, and enjoys sharing them in freelance articles that she writes for various wedding blogs.
Making the decision to get married sets you on the path to arranging one of the most logistically complicated events of your life. In order to enjoy the process and celebrate the experience, you should take things slowly and carefully weigh up each decision along the way.
Before you can make any decisions regarding the type of wedding venue you’d like, you need to ask a few fundamental questions. Firstly, consider the budget you have for the wedding and the type of wedding you’d like. For instance, do you want to get married locally or would you prefer a destination wedding? Would you like a formal occasion or do you prefer something more casual?
You also need to think about how many guests you will have and if you prefer to hold the ceremony and reception at the same place or whether both parts of your big day will take place in separate locations.
Having answered those first questions you’ll have a better idea of the kind of venue you’re looking for. The next stage is to do some research.
If you’re planning a local location you may already have somewhere in mind that would provide you with the perfect wedding venue. If you’re planning to get married in a location that is more distant from your home, you may need to do some additional research to find the perfect venue.
Search online or browse through bride and wedding magazines. Ask among your friends for possible suggestions or search through directories for possible venues.
Another important part in this stage of wedding planning is to formulate a list of questions to ask the venue manager.
The questions on your list should include such things as pricing and payment arrangements, the catering services and choices of menu offered. For evening events, you may also want to know what kind of lighting is used and if you’re planning a dance or disco, what the sound quality is like and how large a dancing space they have.
Armed with your shortlist of possible venues and your list of questions, the next step is to arrange to visit each venue so you can see first-hand the type of space available and determine whether or not it suits your needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify any points you’re not sure about and ask if it’s possible to adapt or rearrange any spaces that are almost suitable but not quite perfect.
Be prepared to negotiate. For example, if the venue offers something in a package that you don’t require, it may be possible to get that item taken out for a reduction in the cost.
Take a camera along with you to photograph the interior and exterior spaces you will use for your wedding. You may think you will remember the small details, but when you are visiting several venues it’s easy to mix up what is available at each individual place.
Give yourself plenty of time to arrange a wedding. Wedding venues tend to get booked up well in advance, so you may find that you need to be flexible on the date of your wedding if you want to hold the ceremony and reception at a particular venue.
Although it can be a stressful time, try to enjoy the planning. Organizing and arranging is part of the experience. It is a process that will lead to one of the most memorable days in your life.
This guest post was written by Francesca, a freelance writer and blogger who lives in the UK. She currently writes on behalf of the University of Liverpool, who can provide the perfect Liverpool wedding venues.