Below, tips for the
planning. If you are not your own wedding planner, may this advice empower you to keep
your wedding planner on track and working in your best interests.
Meditate on the style and overall tone and energy you want for your
day. High formality? Offbeat elegance? Casual chic?
As you envision your day, dream on your attire -- the inspiration for
so much else.
If you are going to have a bridal party, give your hoped-for attendants
plenty of advance notice, laying out your expectations of them, so that they will have
ample time and information to think it over before they commit. And don't assume that just
because you ask they will -- or should -- say yes.
Next, the guest list. How large a guest list are you comfortable with?
Two hundred? Fifty? Whatever your number, list all the couples and then all the singles,
adding "+1" because no one wants to attend a wedding alone. (For heaven's sake,
if you really want your single friends to come, allow them to bring a guest!) If you
choose to include children in your celebration, make special plans for them. Have a
separate child-friendly menu and special entertainment, possibly in another room. Make it
so that the kids can be kids.
Location, Location, Location!
The Where often determines the When. The
ballroom you have in mind may be booked on your first-choice wedding date -- or perhaps it
is available but the church you desire is not. It's important to secure your location as
soon as possible to increase the likelihood of having your celebration on your first- or
Yes, You Can
but . . . May You?
Find out if any element of your wedding requires a permit. And don't
forget that marriage license! Most states no longer require a blood test, and a license
can usually be obtained in one to three days. Keep in mind that some marriage licenses
will expire if not filed within thirty days. So be sure to read all the fine print.
Book Your Vendors
Contract with all the individuals and establishments you need to make
everything on your checklist happen, from caterer, florist, and DJ to photographer and
make-up artist. Do not dawdle. To secure top talent, you may need to book the person six
months or more in advance. Remember, never, ever sacrifice quality for quantity. If
necessary, scale back the scope of your wedding to get the best professionals your
pocketbook will allow.
Purchase a three-ring binder with indexable dividers, a pack (or two)
of three-hole paper, and a pack (or two) of sheet protectors. Devote one section to each
component of your wedding, from "Bridal Attire," "Ceremony,"
"Reception," and "Stationery" on and on to "Et Cetera, Et
Cetera" and "Budget."
Use the lined paper in each section to log all communications,
decisions, and transactions on items.
Use sheet protectors for the following:
- Clippings and photographs of elements you'd like incorporated in
your gown (the neckline of one couture gown; the bell sleeves of another, for example),
your wedding cake, the reception space, and other aspects of the celebration.
Correspondence, estimates, invoices, and other vendor-related
paperwork. Having a paper trail on everything is a must!