Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Check? Check! A handy guide to planning your big day

Wedding of Jasmine and Matthew | Photofactory Bali
Planning a wedding is a big task that can be a costly and stressful without the right preparations. This step to step guide will keep you on track and prepared leading up to your special day. With a range of decisions to make, things to order, items to buy and dates to remember, having a folder and checklist will help you stick to your budget and keep everything organised.

6 - 12 Months prior to wedding
  • Date - set it!
Choosing the date, time and theme of the wedding is the initial step to putting your wedding together.

  • Budget
It is important to do research on reception, transportation, flowers, apparel, stationary and photography to get a good idea of pricing before determining your budget and allocating your spending. Discuss the budget and location of funds either with your bank or family members.

  • Location location
When looking for a location, consider if the season and theme of your wedding is suited to the location. Ask about offer packages in conjunction to accommodation, reduced rates for special event groups and discounts on honeymoon packages. When you have found the perfect reception and wedding location, reserve it!

  • Guest list
It is important to discuss your guest list with your fiance and families. Are you going to have a small intimate wedding or a huge celebration? Keep in mind, the number of guest attending will determine the overall budget. Ask yourself, who can you not imagine getting married without and who should not be welcomed to your special day. Setting these ground rules will help avoid problems later on.

  • Honoured roles
Choose your bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls, ring bearer etc. These are the people who will stand beside you are your future husband to support and encourage you for your special day. You may also decide to choose an MC for the night, some couples choose a close family member or friend not in the bridal party to look after the flow of the reception.

  • Invitations and gift registry 
This area gives you a lot of room for creativity. Start customising and looking at invitations, thank you cards and begin to send out save-the-date cards. DIY wedding stationary can save big bucks and can be fun to do with help from your bridesmaids. Help your guest with giving by signing up for your gift registry online.

  • Reservations
Discuss the honeymoon and select your photographer, florist, caterer and/or videographer of your choice and book them in for your wedding day. Don't be fooled, these are big jobs. Finding the right flowers, choosing your menu, and finding the right photography package should have much thought put into them.

  • Wedding rings
Have a basic idea before you head out to the jewellery stores and allow yourself plenty of time to browse, research and price rings. This will help you make the right choice. Consider the form of your ring; if you enjoy sports or music you should opt for a slimmer ring with round edges whereas if your work is hands on you may rather a solid metal ring without stones. Don't forget to inspect for quality; wedding bands have the manufacturer's trademark and quality mark e.g. 18ct or PLAT.

From the wedding of Alex and Edward | Studio Impressions Photography
4 - 5 Months prior to wedding
  • Order stationary and book transportation
Invitations, envelopes and programs should be ordered and all required transportation should be booked. Start addressing and sending out invitations. If you are planning to have a destination wedding, you should send invitations out ASAP to allow your guess plenty of time to book flights and accommodation.

  • Decor Decisions
Now is also a good time to decide on your wedding decor. Pick your theme or style and decide on how you want your ceremony and reception to look. From glasses to flowers, the devil is in the details.

  • Flowers
If you've made your style choices you'll be able to decide on flowers. Give your florist plenty of time to come up with the perfect arrangements for you.

  • Finalisation
Your guest list, arrangement with your florist, time date and location for the rehearsal dinner should be finalised and, if desired, a wedding announcement can be placed in the local newspaper. You may also want to consider accommodation for your out-of-town guests.

  • Celebrant picking!
Depending on the kind of ceremony you're having there are different kinds of marriage celebrants. Whether you want priest, pastor, or just a friendly face, you'll need to do some research to find who is right for you.

  • Wedding attire
Pick the dress! Take a bridesmaid or your mum along with you for the best advice. Depending on your personal choices, you might find that choosing the bridesmaids' dresses first will help you narrow down your dress selection. Don't forget the men in your bridal party either!

Wedding of Alaina and Mitchell | Peter Chrichton Photography
2 - 3 Months prior to wedding 
  • Cake
You choice of cake should tie into the theme and style of your wedding. From the two tier classic cake with bold colour palette and customised patterns, to a chocolate filled, pearlised finished overflowing cupcake stand, your choice is not limited to the traditional white visioned multi-tiered tower. Don't forget to buy the cake knife!

  • Wedding Vows
Start customising your vows. If you have the heart but not the words to describe it, why not ask someone for help; whether it is your mum, maid of honour or even the internet, outside opinions can help.

  • Legalities
Check thoroughly that you have fulfilled, or will fulfil, all of your state and/or country marriage license requirements.

  • Seating 
When putting together your wedding reception seating, consider the different variables that come into play including families, children, the party animals, those with similar ages or interests, people with special needs and couples.

  • Trials
Your hair and make up along with your headpiece and veil should all be trialled prior to your wedding day to ensure it is secure and exactly how you dreamed it to be.

  • The program
Begin putting together your ceremony program, you will find this is a helpful checklist in itself to make sure you've got all of the nitty gritty details set. Music, speeches then plan the ceremony and reception, make sure your MC is aware of all these details too!

  • Hens & Bucks
You're almost finished, all that's left is to get down and boogie. Traditionally the maid of honour and best man will plan their respective parties, but you'll need to help in choosing the date and other finer details.

From the wedding of Brett and Tianna | Just One Moment Photography
Week of the wedding 
  • Double check!
Check with your major suppliers that everything is on schedule and ready to go.

From the wedding of Brenton and Rachael | Focus Films
Day of the wedding
  • Get Married!
If everything has been checked off you should have nothing to do but enjoy your day and get married!

Moss Flowers

Thanks to our guest contributor, Anna, for helping us out with this post.

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