Tips to Make Your Wedding Planning Easier

Planning a wedding can seem overwhelming, there are many details to bring together.  If the thought of making it all happen at the right time creates anxiety, here are a few tips to help keep you on the right track.

Lists, Lists, Lists
If you are a list lover, this is an easy step for you.  If lists are not your thing, give it a shot anyway. The point is – wedding planning can be a lot to store in your head. Here are organizing pieces that are easier to maintain with a list.

  • To do’s – A planning list on paper will help you see your tasks in order so you can check them off as you go.
  • Vendor list – Create a list of vendors you need to visit with names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. It is a good idea to keep your vendor’s contact information handy, even saved in your smartphone.
  • Guest list – You will refer to your guest list for showers, pre-wedding parties, invitations, and thank you cards.
  • Wedding musts and wishes – As you are planning, write down the MUST happen items for your wedding alongside your list of wishes. Rather than throwing everything in all at once, this will help you prioritize and keep your budget under control. Your wish list items can be included through the process once you determine how your finances align with your preparation.

Hire a Planner
If you have the funds in your budget to hire a wedding planner, DO. It will be well-worth the expense. This person can ease your load by taking on tasks and details for you. She understands the planning process from start to finish and is a great resource for top wedding vendors.

Just Ask
If there is something extra you want for your wedding, ask. Whether is it a vendor, your coordinator, the reception hall, or a helpful comrade; sometimes the answer is “yes” if you simply ask! Perhaps you can expect a simple “no” for special circumstances and become pleasantly surprised to hear that “yes” is a possibility.

Save a Paper Trail
Keep a folder with a copy of all agreements and contracts. Even take note of the verbal agreements and promises to be stored in this file. You never know when this will come in handy. Your records should back up your demands in a crunch.

If you are interested in more planning tips, here is a checklist you can follow.

Tips for Keeping Your Guest List Small

Weddings are an exciting event! We understand your desire to celebrate with the masses. We also understand how difficult it can be to invite everyone you want while staying within your budget. Here are a few tips to trimming down the guest list and making the most of your special day.

Start with the must haves. There are friends and family that simply must be included on your list.  You know who these people are, they have shared pivotal moments with you over the years. Start your list with these names first and make sure it includes parents, siblings, grandparents, and close family that cannot be eliminated. Now that you have created, you’re “A list” it is time to think of co-workers, friends, and extended family you would like to include. As harsh as it may seem, it is crucial to prioritize these names to make sure you do not overextend your limit.

Carefully consider the children you plan to invite. Children bring joy and laughter to any wedding, but if everyone on your guest list can bring their kiddos along, your numbers will quickly double. State clearly on your invitations who is invited. For those guests who seems confused or upset with this decision, a one-on-one conversation may be necessary. Communicating that their precious bundle of joy is not the only child left off the list may help ease any frustrations.

Set expectations. First, understand that it is an honor that people want to celebrate your marriage with you. After spreading the good news of your engagement, go ahead and start planting seeds that you intend to keep the wedding small. If this is well communicated from the beginning, it eliminates a disappointing surprise when an invitation doesn’t show up on a later date.

If you find it challenging to keep your guest list small, remind yourself repeatedly that you are not obligated to invite everyone you know. You and your fiancé should create your list first while taking suggestions from parents and other family second. Also, keep in mind that not everyone you invite will be able to attend.

Am I Forgetting Something? Your Wedding Checklist

There are so many details to consider when planning a wedding which can seem a little overwhelming. For many, managing a checklist is the easiest way to rest assured that no item has been left behind.  Here is a list to get you started.

  • Take time to talk with your fiancé. Make sure you and him are on the same page when envisioning the perfect day. Here are ways to get on the same page with your fiancé.
  • Discuss your budget. If you have a total amount of what you can afford before you get started, making decisions with your wedding vendors will come a little easier. Here are some tips to help with budgeting.
  • Coordinate a wedding planner. If are choosing to hire a wedding planner, now it the time to interview and find the right match.
  • Select your ceremony and reception locations. Popular wedding venues need to be secured far in advance. Once you have a date on the calendar, you can work with vendors who are available on the same day.
  • Find an officiant. If you are not getting married in a church, you will need to hire a licensed officiant to perform the ceremony.
  • Select your wedding party. Ask close friends and family to stand beside and support you at the altar.
  • Create a guest list. It is easy for a guest list to get of hand when you don’t want to hurt feelings. If you find that your numbers get out of control, here is how you can trim down your list without hurting feelings.
  • Plan your menu. Take time with your caterer to select your menu options. Make sure you sample! If your caterer is not making your wedding cake, now is also the time to find a cake vendor.
  • Select your flowers.  Be sure to match the flowers to your color scheme.
  • Photographer/Videographer selection. Many photographers include engagement photos in wedding packages. Be sure to ask!
  • Book your DJ or Band. There are pros and cons to both. Just make sure who you select can play and mix your music of choice.
  • Select your wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.  This is always one of the most exciting events of wedding planning. Take a group with you and have fun! Here is some help for choosing the perfect dress for you.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.  Many trips and flights need to be booked in advance. Be sure you allow plenty of time to get to your top destination!  If you are unsure, here are the top 6 honeymoon destinations of choice.
  • Select and order your invitations. It is customary to send your invitations eight weeks prior to your wedding date. If you want to send a save-the-date card, prepare to send those anytime from six months to a year in advance.
  • Organize the seating arrangements. Once your guests begin sending responses to your invitations, you can begin organizing your seating chart. If you are not hosting a seated dinner, now is the time to organize all other seating details.
  • Book transportation to and from the ceremony.  On your wedding day, the last thing you will want to worry about is transportation. Consider if you want to arrange a ride to the reception, to the hotel following the reception, if you want your wedding party to have a ride, etc. Here are some creative ideas to get you started.
  • Coordinate hotel blocks for guests. Many hotels offer room blocks and discounts for large parties. It is easy for guests to add a room under your block and stay close to the other guests.
  • Create party favors. This is not a necessary, but an added gesture to let your out of town guests know that you are grateful they traveled to celebrate with you.

 Maintaining a checklist is a sure-fire way to assure you will not forget any important factor that will make your wedding day extra special. Ask some close friends to help you add items to your list!

Thank You Card Etiquette

Presents are one of the greatest of all wedding perks, but sitting down to write thank you notes is not so exciting.  Even for the less enthused, it is essential to show your appreciation after receiving a wedding gift.  Here is what you need to know about thank you card etiquette.

Organize a list

Create a list of items you receive in conjunction with the person who sent it.  Gifts usually include a note indicating who they are from.  Keep these notes attached until your list is complete.  If the item is from a couple or family, be sure to include individual names in your card to show gratitude to everyone involved.

Consider merging your bridal shower, wedding party, and guest lists into one database to make the process more efficient. With this master list, you can note the item beside the person’s name and add a check mark when you have completed their thank you card.

Timing

Thank you cards should be sent within three months of receiving a gift.  You have been busy planning, and now you are itching to get to your honeymoon destination.  We understand.  But, when you return, just dive in.  Your guests will be happy to receive your card within a reasonable time.  Plus, it strikes another item off your post wedding to-do list.  The longer you wait, the more daunting this task may seem.

What to say

Finally, the most important piece is knowing what to say.  When writing a thank you note, be personal.  Specifically list the item you received followed by how it will benefit you. For example, “I am grateful for the beautiful photo frame.  It will look perfect on our coffee table with our favorite wedding snapshot.” Follow this statement with another reason why you are grateful. “We really love your style, so this photo frame will bring a nice touch to our living room decor.”  End by using a closing statement with meaning. “We look forward to seeing you soon” or “please keep in touch” along with a personal signature suited for the individual.  If you are thanking your parents, sign with “Love, ….” For colleagues, close formally with, “Truly, …”

The most essential element of a thank you card is expressing your gratitude for the recipient’s generosity. A handwritten, personal note goes much further than a generic statement of gratitude.

 

 

How to Trim Down Your Guest List Without Upsetting People

A wedding is meant as a celebration for your friends and family to join in on your celebration of love. However, that does not necessarily mean you want to invite your parents’ coworkers, college roommate’s new boyfriend, or old acquaintances who happened to invite you to their wedding 10 years ago. Sometimes, you just have to say “no” to the extra guests. This can be due to exceptional costs or even just preferring a smaller wedding.

Here are some tips on how to trim down your guest list without any hard feelings.

  • Have a Destination Wedding

Destination weddings surprisingly may end up being cheaper than domestic weddings, usually because guests pay for their own flights and boarding. Since not everyone is willing to pay for a vacation to attend a wedding, it cuts out a lot of people who aren’t super close to you. As an added bonus, destination weddings offer a lifetime of memories with some of your closest friends and family!

  • Not Everyone Should Be Allowed to Bring a Plus-One

Even if you don’t plan on having a small wedding, plus-ones add up spatially and financially. So it isn’t always feasible to allow everyone to bring a guest of his or her choice. To handle this issue, create separate invitations with different RSVP responses for those you wish to not invite a guest. That way they won’t have the option of marking “plus-one” or not.

  • Only Allow Children in the Wedding Party to Be at the Reception

Kids cost just as much as adults when it comes to the reception. It’s perfectly okay not to include them as long as you let your guests know that in advance so they can make other arrangements.

  • Invite Only Current and Consistent Friends

Just because you’re friends on Facebook does not mean you’re good friends in real life. When it comes to inviting people to your wedding, you should obviously invite your best friends as well as more recent friends you see often. When it comes to older friends, invite them if you keep in touch with them throughout the years.

Good rule of thumb is to consider whether they will be offended if you don’t invite them to your wedding, and vice versa if you would feel offended if they didn’t invite you to theirs’. You may also consider if the non-invitation will seriously impact your relationship.

  • Co-Workers Don’t Need to Be Invited

Just because you see them Monday through Friday, doesn’t mean they deserve an invitation. Unless you are actually friends with your co-workers and spend time with them outside of work, it is okay to skip the invitation.

We understand you want your wedding to run as smoothly as possible but you shouldn’t include those you feel obligated to invite. You should only Include your special friends and family to help you celebrate!

Planning The Perfect Wedding – A Checklist

We get that wedding planning is one of the most stressful and overwhelming periods of your life, why not make it easier with our checklist? Step by step to-do lists will help you keep calm, tackle each task individually, and see the big picture coming along.

16 to 9 Months Before Your Wedding

Gather Inspiration

Create a wedding folder, binder, or Pinterest page with any wedding ideas you’d be interested in incorporating into your wedding. From there, you can decide on which color schemes and themes you want to move forward with!

Determine a Budget

Budgets determine the rest of your wedding planning, so put some thoughtful consideration into this step. Consult with everyone involved with paying for the wedding and create an excel sheet outlining how much you should spend on certain items. You’ll be thankful you created a budget in the long-run, trust us!

Find Your Perfect Venue

Now that you know what kind of wedding you prefer and how much you are willing to spend, you can determine where exactly you want your venue to be. It’s best to do this step so far in advance because you can for sure reserve the space. Don’t wait until the last minute and settle for anything less than your dream venue!

Create Your Guest List

Since you’ll know the type of wedding and the size of the venue, you can easily figure out who and how many people to invite. This includes the wedding party, so also plan announcements for who will be your bridesmaids and groomsmen!

Hire Your Vendors

From catering to music to photographers to officiates, there’s a lot of third-party vendors involved in making your special day! Do your research on who you’d like to hire and get them booked!

8 Months Before Your Wedding

Wedding Dress Shopping

One of the most fun parts of getting married, hands-down. Find a date for your bridesmaids to come with and help you pick out the perfect dress to walk down the aisle and dance the night away. Later on, decide on another day to get your bridesmaids’ dresses.

Reserve Hotel Rooms for Out-of-Town Guests

You want to make sure your out-of-town guests will have somewhere to stay, and be able to easily access the venue. This consideration goes a long way for your guests and is best to get done soon in advance.

Create a Registry

Try to register at a minimum of 3 places to allow your guests some flexibility based on their own locations and budgets.

6 Months Before Your Wedding

Start Planning Your Honeymoon

Travel plans are usually booked out 6-8 months ahead of time, decide with your significant other on your ideal honeymoon location and get to planning!

4 Months Before Your Wedding

Order Your Cake

Meet with a baker to taste flavors and decide on designs that go with your wedding theme.

Order Favors

Send your guests off with a little something to remember your wedding day with!

3 Months Before Your Wedding

Organize Day-Of Timeline

This step is a huge help in the planning process to ensure everything on your wedding day runs smoothly. This includes scheduling hair and makeup, determining the order of the ceremony and reception, make a list of those expected to give toasts, and determining the final menu and courses.

Buy the Wedding Rings

This step doesn’t take much processing, so it can be done closer to the date.

2 Months Before Your Wedding

Send Out Invitations

The date is set, venue booked, guests lists made – now you just need to inform everyone of the details!

1 Month Before Your Wedding

Organize Your RSVP List

This includes reception seating and possibly an personalized favors.

Get Marriage License

Can’t be legally wed without that!

Send Out Directions/Necessary Information

You want everything to run as smoothly as possible, so make sure your guests have all required information.

Final Dress Fitting

Make sure the seamstress makes all necessary final adjustments to ensure the perfect fit.

1 Week Before Your Wedding

Confirm Everything with All Vendors

Arrival/delivery times, preferences, song choices, and send them the final guest lists.

Pack for Your Honeymoon

Don’t worry about the stress of packing the day before your wedding, get it done sooner so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Delegate Small Tasks

Each member of your wedding party can help with any small tasks that you shouldn’t have to worry about. Think of the smallest details and assign them to someone.

Break in Your Shoes

You don’t want to be breaking them in the night of your wedding, that’s just a recipe for disaster.

Lastly, enjoy your big day! This checklist will help you organize every step of your dream wedding and ensure that everything runs smoothly. So breakout the notepad and wedding magazines and get to it!