How To Plan A Wedding
So you’ve just gotten engaged and you couldn’t be happier. Depending on the length of your engagement, it may be just a few short months until you go from a blushing fiancee to a blushing bride (or groom). What next? Weddings seem like impossibly difficult events to plan, between feeding and entertaining your guest list and making sure your big day is perfect for you, there’s a reason why an entire industry has been built up around the planning and execution of weddings.
Here are ten basic steps to planning a wedding, from the earliest steps of gathering a guest list to the final touches like sending out Thank You cards and putting together a wedding album, you don’t have to spend tons of money on a wedding planner to have the wedding of your dreams.
1. Set the Date
You can pick your wedding date for any number of reasons. Some people want to get married on a romantic day, such as their first date anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or any date that you as a couple hold dear. Whatever date you pick, make sure it doesn’t run up against another big day. For instance, Election Day or Super Bowl Sunday may not be the best days to have a wedding.
2. Draw Up Your Budget
Deciding on a proper budget for your wedding ceremony should be easy — you know how much money you have to spend. The hard part is sticking to your budget. Figure out who is paying for what (if you have parental support) and set it down in writing. Remember to plan a wedding that is within your means. There’s no use going broke before the two of you ever set foot on a Honeymoon.
3. Put Together a Guest List
You can’t plan a wedding without knowing how many people will be there. That’s why the guest list is crucial before you do any more planning. Everything from reception food to your wedding site are affected by the guest list. You must set the guest list before you buy invitations or make any announcements. There are two main schools of thought for the guest list — either invite everyone in the world or just a select few participants. Sit down as a couple and decide what size wedding you want to have.
4. Make Proper Announcements
The first people you want to call are your personal “A List” of people — best friends and close relatives of both the bride and groom. After you make these phone calls, it is time to decide if you want to make a newspaper announcement and to write the announcement together.
5. Music and Flowers
Couples tend to fight more about the nitpicky details of a wedding than any larger issue. The bride or groom may each have to give in a little when it comes to picking things like music, flowers, food, and the like. The music and flowers at a wedding set the mood and are usually the main things people remember about your big day. Use the music and flowers to express your indivudal style, but don’t go too far off the deep end.
6. Find a Photographer
In recent years, there’s been a movement away from a traditional wedding photographer and toward using a family friend or even cameras handed out to wedding guests for official wedding photos. Photographers are expensive, and the easy access we now have to digital photo technology means an amateur photographer can do an excellent job of documenting a wedding ceremony. Whether you go for a pro or an amateur, make sure they understand what you expect from your photos.
7. Plan the Ceremony and Reception
Sounds simple, right? The good news is, your wedding site can handle many of these details for you. Wedding locations have experience satisfying the needs of a newly married couple, and they know the traditional wedding ceremony routine as well as more contemporary styles of wedding ceremonies. Talk to the wedding site and include both partners in the decisions about the ceremony and reception itself.
8. Find Transportation
Make sure your guests have easy access to vehicles (shuttles, cars, limousines, etc) that get them to the wedding site, otherwise your ceremony could be held up by late or confused guests.
9. Don’t Forget Your Wedding Vows!
You can go with the traditional vows (easy to find on the Internet or in books) or you can compose your own special wedding vows. Either way, don’t let it slip through the cracks.
10. Write Thank You Cards
After the hustle and excitement of your ceremony, it can be easy to forget to thank people for their contributions. Thank You cards go a long way toward keeping the family peace, even if you hated the coaster set your Aunt Martha gave you. If you really want to impress people, send Thank Yous to the photographer, the band or DJ, the priest or other wedding official, and the wedding site itself.
Of course there are more steps to planning a perfect wedding than this, but these items will get you started on the path to a great wedding day. Getting engaged to the person you love should be one of the most memorable moments of your life. What better than spending the rest of your days with someone who cares deeply about you, and who you care deeply about? The first few weeks after the wedding proposal come with dizzy feelings of joy and frightening feelings of anticipation and nervous energy. Remember that a wedding is little more than an official celebration of two people’s love and commitment, it doesn’t have to be an over the top fiasco or a source of tension.
While you are planning your wonderful wedding day, make sure to take time and feel the joy that comes with marriage. Nervous feelings and anxiety are normal — any time you organized an event of this magnitude, you are going to feel a huge responsibility. The long and happy days of your marriage are more than enough payoff for the work you do now to plan your wedding.