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How to Plan your Wedding

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          So you are engaged to be married. Congratulations! This should be the happiest time of your life. Getting married and starting a family is one of the most important parts of a couple’s life. It can be a scary process to plan your wedding as there are so many things you need to consider before getting married. It will be very overwhelming at times trying to plan for your wedding date especially if you are having a wedding not too far away. There are things you can do to make the process a little easier on yourself and your spouse during this stressful planning stage. Luckily there are many resources out there and many people you can leverage for advice and help in planning your wedding. Wedding planning is a large and lucrative business with many people out there looking to rip you off and charge exorbitant amounts of profit so be careful in your quest.


Step 1

Determine what your wedding date is going to be. This is probably the most important step in planning your wedding. Your wedding date is important because the shorter the time between your engagement and your wedding the much more difficult it is going to be to plan your wedding. Typically weddings are planned for one year away or more in the United States. There is no set length but the average tends to be one to one and a half years. Planning a wedding anything less than six months away can be an absolute nightmare. There is so much work to do and so many things to work out that it can be a full time job trying to plan your wedding. So when deciding how far away your wedding date should be make sure you take into consideration all the work you have to do to plan for your wedding. Do not rush the wedding because it will add too much stress in planning. A good rule of thumb is one year away. Even with one year away you will still have a lot of work to do to plan your wedding.

Step 2

Start early creating your wedding list, the list of people you are going to invite to the wedding. Do not worry at this point about who will sit with whom. This exercise is so that you will get a general judge on how many people you are going to invite to your wedding. You will need this general number whether its 50 or 350 to aid you in the wedding planning process, when dealing with wedding planners and on all kinds of cost information like how many floral arrangements are needed, how many plates of food will be at the wedding, seating, church size, etc. The best way to do this is to put it in some kind of electronic format like in excel for example. You can make a spreadsheet with different tabs for different sides of the family on whom to invite to your wedding. You can also separate into columns to make the process easier for yourself such as making separate columns for 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, college friends, older friends, coworkers, etc. The classifications are endless. The point is do not just sit down and write them out by hand. Also make an electronic copy on the computer because it will help you later on.

Step 3

Once you have an approximate ballpark on the number of people you want to invite to your wedding you can start making other arrangements. Remember that this number will most likely increase as you get closer to your wedding and think of more people to add. This is usually the case and it is a good rule of thumb after you have come up with your magic number to add a buffer of an addition 10% of the total number of people to the list for estimation purposes of cost. For example if your wedding number comes out to 300. Then add 30 to that number and budget for 330. Many times the final number is more than 10% above your original estimate however keep in mind that not everyone will be able to attend your wedding and may RSVP to not attend so you will lose some people that way as well.


Step 4

Consider hiring a wedding planner if you can afford the cost. Trying to plan a wedding entirely yourself without the aid of a professional planner can be devastating if you have no experience at planning a wedding. On the other hand if the wedding is small and you are very familiar with the venue and church you are going to use then it may not be that difficult. If your wedding is going to be very large however you will probably definitely need a planner or two. A wedding planner will be your liason between all third party wedding even preparers such as the cake maker, venue hosts, photographers, florists etc. They can negotiate cost for you and set up all the peripherals of your wedding. Your job will be to aid them in determining what you want for tastes, color preferences, decoration styles, etc. Sometimes wedding planners charge a flat fee for their services, by the hour, or as a percentage of total wedding cost, or any combination therein. When selecting a wedding planner be sure to interview with a few different ones and compare their experience, cost, and the general feeling you have meeting with the person. Remember your planner is going to be spending a lot of the next year with you meeting with you, communicating with you continually. So you will have to be comfortable with that person.


Step 5

Determine what venue and church you want for your actual wedding. Now that you have your number of people you want to invite to your wedding you can begin to start making other arrangements. If you want your wedding in a traditional church of your religion one of the options that many people pick is using the church that they attended when they grew up. Otherwise you can select a church that is nicer or more ornate on the inside than your regular church. If you do not want a church as your venue you can have an outdoor wedding which is lovely. Some people who have money even have weddings in vacation locals such as Hawaii on the beach. All these choices will be determined by your budget, religious affiliation, and of course your fiancé’s input. Venue choice will usually be more difficult than the church choice. Venue’s can be anything from a function hall, to a lodge, to a special reception hall or even outdoors in someone’s backyard. You can be creative with the function hall.


Step 6

There are too many details to expound upon here as each one requires its own section. But in general either with or without the help of the wedding planner, after you have booked the function hall for your date you need to get involved with a wedding photographer, cake maker, florist, designer perhaps for the venue, and eventually set up wedding dress fittings, tuxedo fittings, and gift registry wish lists.



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