So now that we’re engaged, what’s next? It’s time to plan your wedding for the big day!
Imagine your wedding from start to finish. Where will the wedding take place? Do you want a casual, formal, or non- traditional wedding? What will be the wedding theme/colors? What kind of catering options would you like to serve to your guests? You can look at bridal magazines and websites to help create your wedding checklist.
Time to pick a date. For an inexpensive wedding, try to plan off season (any month except June- August). You can also try to have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Another tip is to plan the wedding before a major holiday so that your guest will have that extra day to relax before the next work day.
Create a budget for your wedding checklist. Plan a budget that is inexpensive and cost effective so it leaves room for flexibility. You will need to determine the number of guests you would like.
Next on the wedding checklist; book the wedding and reception sites at least 10 months before the actual date. Start looking into wedding venues, wedding caterers, florists, photographers/ videographers as well as entertainment options. Remember, when negotiating with wedding vendors, be firm about what you would like but be NICE! No vendor appreciates a nasty tone or demands. Be reasonable about what you would like and see how the vendors could help better accommodate you.
Decide who you would like to officiate your wedding. You may want a minister or Justice of the Peace. Be clear about rules and restrictions regarding the ceremony and ceremony site. Check state requirements for obtaining a marriage license, and find out how long the license will remain valid. Make sure that the officiant fees are cost effective to your wedding budget.
Make a wedding guest list. Depending on the budget you may have to compromise on the number of guests attending. Start sending save the date notices either by postal mail, email or create your own wedding site with details about your upcoming nuptials. You can send the actual invitations about 3 months before the wedding date. Make sure that you keep in contact with your wedding guests to confirm attendance. Start planning your honeymoon destination.
Choose a dress and wedding attire for the rest of the wedding party. This should be done at least 8 months prior to the wedding. Order your engagement and/or wedding rings. There are a lot of online jewelry sources that have budget friendly yet beautiful wedding and engagement rings that are cost effective. Also ask friends and family for a reputable jeweler.
Review and finalize your wedding details. Regarding wedding caterers, staff and entertainment, make sure each vendor has a CIT- Certificate of Insurance, to be provided to the wedding/ reception site before the ceremony. Give the wedding caterers the final headcount of your guests; keep in mind that if there are young children at the wedding, discusses meal options as children don’t eat as much as adults. Go over the music playlists with the DJ or band of your choice. View locations with the photographer so that you have an idea of how your wedding pictures will look. Take care of the rest of the paperwork, sign up with gift registries, and contact any guests who have not responded to the invite and start scheduling final fittings for wedding attire.
As the wedding date nears, start packing for your honeymoon. If traveling abroad, make sure all passports have been renewed and updated. Start looking for hair and cosmetic stylists that you would like to provide their services to your wedding. For a inexpensive solution, schedule a make up consultation at your favorite cosmetic vendor and arrange makeovers for all. Make sure the stylists chooses colors close to your dresses and show you how to apply the make-up so there will be no room for errors on the big day!
Last week before the wedding: RELAX! Enjoy your time with your fiance and your friends to help calm pre-wedding jitters. Pick up your wedding dress and suit for the groom from the cleaners. Go over your wedding checklist again to make sure all has been taken cared of. Register for wedding licenses; start making arrangements for name changes on your driver’s license, social security, banks, credit card, etc.
Last but not least:
ENJOY YOUR BIG DAY!
For more wedding ideas, please see Wedding Planning.