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Planning a Wedding Marriage Guide

Wedding Planning Ideas & Suggestions

Wedding Planning Ideas & Suggestions - Planning a Wedding Marriage Guide - Congratulations! You're in love, you've set a wedding date, and soon you'll be married. Between the romance and the ritual, however, you must survive a potentially life-changing challenge: planning your wedding.  Pulling together a wedding celebration can be a hectic, intimidating and emotionally stressful task, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, newly engaged couples who resist plunging pell-mell into the planning process may be the most successful planners of all...

 

Congratulations! You're in love, you've set a wedding date, and soon you'll be married. Between the romance and the ritual, however, you must survive a potentially life-changing challenge: planning your wedding.

Pulling together a wedding celebration can be a hectic, intimidating and emotionally stressful task, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, newly engaged couples who resist plunging pell-mell into the planning process may be the most successful planners of all.

Planning for the perfect wedding starts with the bride and groom summoning up a clear image of the wedding they want - the image, feel and atmosphere - before they take a single step.

Before rushing out to book a hall, order hors d'oeuvres, and ice down the champagne, sit back and dream a bit. Who are you and your fiancé? Who, and what, is important to you? Take the time to define your idea of an ideal wedding. This will pay off later, helping with the decision-making for your ceremony and reception.

Here is our suggested timetable for the steps you should take in the months, weeks and days leading up to your wedding. Start here to envision and plan the wedding of your dreams.

9 months before your wedding

:: Choose your wedding date. If you plan to be married in a church or temple, clear the date and time with your clergy.

:: Announce your engagement in The Holland Sentinel

:: Set your budget. Take time for a heat to- heart talk with your fiancé about the budget and style of your wedding, reception and wedding-related parties, and who pays for what.

:: Enlist help. Consider hiring a bridal consultant. If your budget won't stretch that far, don't despair. Enlist relatives and close friends to assist you in specific tasks - selecting a dress, interviewing caterers, etc. - especially in areas where you feel you need support.

:: Compose your guest list. Let out-of-town guests know your wedding is in the works so they can make travel plans.

:: Reserve your reception site.

:: Choose your wedding attendants.

:: Select your wedding gown, shoes and accessories.

:: Decide on bridesmaids' dresses.

:: Determine a theme or mood you'd like to establish with food, table settings, flowers and entertainment at your reception.

:: Interview caterers, musicians, florists, photographers, videographers and cake bakers. Get written estimates of their costs. Keep track of your discussions and their bids in a notebook or with wedding-planning software.

6 months before your wedding

:: Choose your caterer. Remember to get a written contract.

:: Choose your musician(s).

:: Book your photographer and/or videographer.

:: Select your baker and order the cake. :: Choose your florist.

:: Decide on your color scheme.

:: Shop for wedding rings with your fiancé.

:: Decide on your honeymoon destination. Work with a travel agent to book your travel and accommodations.

:: Select your wedding invitations. Don't forget to purchase personal stationery for thank you notes.

4 months before your wedding

:: Register for gifts at one or more department stores.

:: Help both mothers to coordinate and shop for their wedding-day attire. :: Select music for your ceremony and reception.

:: Choose readings for your wedding and write your wedding vows.

:: Plan a rehearsal dinner for members of your wedding party, your family and outof- town guests. Reserve the location.

:: Arrange hotel accommodations for members of the wedding party who live out-of-town. Reserve a block of rooms for other out-of-town guests and let them know the rooms are available. Remember to ask for any group discounts or special packages.

:: Reserve your wedding day transportation and any other wedding day rental needs.

:: Make appointments for gown fittings.

:: Check the requirements for a marriage license.

:: Make sure contracts and arrangements are complete with all of your service providers.

3 months before your wedding

:: Carefully prepare directions, including simply drawn maps, if necessary, to help guide guests to the wedding, reception and hotels. For guests who will travel a long distance to your wedding, consider assembling an information package on fun things to do and see in the area.

:: Begin addressing invitations and announcements. Select a special stamp at the post office. Invitations should go in the mail six to eight weeks before your big day.

:: Give the caterer or other food suppliers a close idea of the number of guests you expect.

:: Make sure all reservations are in place for honeymoon travel.

:: Check with bridesmaids to make sure they have their gowns and are getting them adjusted.

:: Shop for gifts for your bridesmaids. Offer to help your fiancé select gifts for his attendants.

:: Select your “going away” outfit and special items for your trousseau.

:: Make an appointment to have a trial run of your hair done. Consider including your bridesmaids in a “day of beauty” with manicures, hair styling, massages and makeup sessions.

2 months before your wedding

:: Mail out your wedding invitations and announcements.

:: Finalize the music selections that will be played during your ceremony.

:: Meet with musicians who will provide entertainment during your reception and orchestrate precisely what you want and when you want it played. Don't be shy to voice your preferences, down to the volume, favorite songs you'd like to hear, or even songs you don't want played.

:: Plan your rehearsal dinner and a brunch or fun activity for out-of-town guests to enjoy on the day following your wedding.

:: Purchase special accessories for your wedding day attire.

:: Plan a luncheon for your bridesmaids.

:: Make appointments for a hairdresser, makeup artist and manicurist.

:: Finalize honeymoon plans. If you're traveling overseas, check again that your passports are current.

:: Gather necessary birth or baptismal certificates you may need for your wedding license.

1 month before your wedding

:: Get your wedding license.

:: Have a final fitting of your gown and make sure your attendants have theirs.

:: Check that your menu selections and service plans are in place with the caterer.

:: Purchase a book to keep track of wedding gifts as they arrive.

:: Keep writing those thank you notes!

:: If you plan a formal dinner for your reception, it's time to draw up a seating plan and make up place cards.

:: Check with your florist to confirm dates and times of flower deliveries.

:: Review your wedding day transportation plans and make sure drivers are clear about addresses, times and number of passengers.

:: Make name or address changes official on documents, including driver's license, Social Security forms and financial accounts. Fill out change-of address forms at the post office.

:: Meet with your photographer to specify formal shots you want taken of the bridal party, as well as specific, candid shots you'd like taken during the reception.

:: Review the video plans with your videographer.

2 weeks before your wedding

:: Keep writing those thank you notes for wedding gifts!

:: Pick up your wedding rings. Make sure any special engraving appears precisely as you wished.

:: Begin packing for your honeymoon.

1 week before your wedding

:: Make final checks with all your vendors: officiant, musicians, florist, photographer, videographer, limousine or other transportation provider, caterer and baker.

:: Ask a friend or family member to arrange for wedding gifts that may be brought to your reception to be delivered to your home or another safe spot.

:: Wrap gifts for bridal attendants and have them ready for the rehearsal dinner.

:: Purchase travelers' checks and reconfirm honeymoon travel and hotel plans.

:: See that checks are written and ready to be handed out to vendors at the agreed-upon time.

:: Inform your caterer of the final number of guests. Confirm that out-oftown guests are set with hotel accommodations, transportation and wedding day directions.

1 day before your wedding

:: Take time to relax and enjoy a massage, manicure and pedicure.

:: This is the day for your rehearsal ceremony and rehearsal dinner. Have fun!

:: Turn in early for a good night's sleep.

Your wedding day

:: Allow plenty of time for dressing, makeup and hair styling.

:: If you plan on photography before the ceremony, allow ample time so you're not rushed.

:: Relax and remember: This is your special day, the result of all your careful planning. Now it's time to enjoy it. Take a deep breath. Savor every moment of this sacred day. Let your joy and happiness shine through. Best wishes!

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