The Journey to Your Wedding Day

Wedding CalendarFrom the moment you say “I do”, time speeds up drastically and the wedding planning process begins. Even if you aren’t having for wedding for a year or two, a newly engaged person will start to see wedding details in every object they see. If you’re like most brides, the journey to your wedding day will be very strange and new, plus you’ll want to make everything perfect for your special moment. There are a lot of things that need to get done; so much so that it can seem overwhelming, but just going through the steps one after another can prove to be the right process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process of getting to your wedding day starting from the moment you’re engaged.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do is make an announcement to your friends and family. Often times you can place a wedding announcement in the local paper for free, but you also need to call everyone that’s important and tell them personally. Once that’s done, you’ll need to sit down with your significant other to discuss the initial details of the wedding.

This discussion should be quite in-depth and include topics like what you want out of your wedding day experience, where you want to get married, how much money you’ll be able to spend, and when you want to set the date. These initial stages are all very important because the rest of the wedding planning process will take shape around the choices that you make together.

Guest List

Once you have some of the initial details roughed out, you’ll need to compile your wedding guest list. This can be a tough moment in the planning process because every person you add to the guest list is another chunk of expenses. The best way to go about this is to start with your friends and family, then work out from there. Don’t invite a bunch of your work friends or people you haven’t seen in several years; just try to keep it to the important people in your life right now so the list doesn’t get out of control.

Choose Your Venues

Once you know when you want to get married, the budget that you have to work with, and an estimate on the number of guests that you’ll be inviting, you can start to look at wedding venues. This is probably the biggest decision you’ll make regarding your wedding, so make sure you take your time and look at all of the options that are available. You’ll need a venue for the ceremony and a venue for the reception, but if your budget is tight you can consider a single venue that will work for both.

Hiring Vendors

Hiring the right wedding vendors can be tricky, especially if you are on either a time or budget crunch. The best way to ensure you are hiring the right person is to extensively research their reputation online and find real couples that can give you a testimonial about their work. The term wedding vendors is a blanket term for every professional you’ll hire for the wedding such as your wedding photographer, the musicians, florist, caterer, and more. This will be a very long and tedious process to choose the perfect candidates, but all of your hard work will pay off huge when your wedding ends up perfect.

Dress Shopping

Shopping for your wedding dress can be both fun and stressful all rolled into one. There are few events during the wedding planning process that are more important, and that can lead to second-guessing and stress. The best tactic to achieve success is to choose a practical dress with as little emotion involved in the choice as possible and then never look back from your decision. This can be easier said than done, but you will be very happy on your wedding day if you just go with your first instinctual choice of wedding dress.

Invitations

Your wedding invitations can be one of those things that end up eating up way too much of your time. The best choice is to choose something simple, elegant, and to the point, and remember that pouring too many resources into a piece of paper that will eventually be discarded is just a waste of time. You want to send out your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding date.

Being Well-Rested

One thing that many brides forget to do in the days leading up to their wedding is to take care of themselves health wise. To look your best on your wedding day and alleviate any potential stress, make sure you get good rest for at least a few days leading up to your big day. You should also try to do relaxing activities with your bridesmaids such as a spa day or a girls’ evening out. Though it may sound obvious to some that you want to be rested, hydrated, and in a good mood entering your wedding day, you’d probably be surprised at how often this isn’t the case.

Finding Your Perfect Wedding Ceremony Location

Wedding Ceremony VenueFinally walking down the aisle with the person you love may seem like a dream come true, but as you start planning the details of your wedding you’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot more work involved than fun and games. One of the first things you’ll need to choose, and it’s one of the most important things, is the location of your wedding ceremony. Your wedding ceremony is going to be the heart and soul of your entire wedding day, so it all starts with the proper location that will set the perfect tone for how the rest of your wedding will unfold.

There are a lot of different places that couples choose to have their wedding ceremony. Some couples choose a traditional venue such as a church, while others simple head down to the Justice of the Peace to sign their paperwork with very little fuss. If you’re starting from square one in your ceremony venue search, you have a long path ahead of you; but even it you know where you want to get married because of a religious affiliation or you just have your heart set on a particular venue, there are some important details that you need to figure out before you can start planning the other details of your wedding.

Availability

The very first thing you need to find out is if the venue is available for your preferred wedding date. If it’s not available, you’ll need to find another venue for your ceremony or consider switching dates.

Size

It’s always good to know the approximate size of your guest list before shopping for wedding venues because each one will have a maximum capacity. If you choose a ceremony location that isn’t big enough, you’ll need to cancel or make tough choice on who you invite.

Officiant

Does your wedding officiant require couple’s counseling ahead of time or special classes? If so, are you willing to accommodate those requests? Are you comfortable with this person joining you in marriage? Can you bring your own officiant if you choose to do so?

Music

You’ll want to find out if the venue you have chosen provides ceremony music or if you need to make your own arrangements. Some churches require that you use their organist while other venues require you supply your own musicians.

Photography

Though it is rare, there are some venues that either don’t allow photographers or require that you choose from a pre-approved list. Make sure you’re comfortable with the wedding photographer options that a ceremony venue offers.

Ceremony Services

Does the venue that you’re renting offer any services such as pew or chair decorations and aisle runners? Do you need to clean up the venue afterwards or is that included in the fee? You’ll need to know what services are covered so you can make other arrangements if needed.

Total Cost

You will need to find out how much the ceremony venue will cost to rent, but you also need to factor in the other small expenses that come along with the booking. Does the officiant get paid? Is there a permitting fee for the venue? What about parking and clean up fees? Knowing these answers in advance can make budgeting your wedding a whole lot easier.

Timeframes

Knowing when you can start accessing your ceremony location can be very important, especially if you need to decorate it yourself. Knowing things like when the florist can get in to setup flowers and when is appropriate for your rehearsals to take place are important things to consider.

Weather

Considering every aspect of your wedding day will be important, and taking into account the weather is very important. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, make sure you have a safe location in case there’s a storm. If you’re having a summer wedding, you’ll need air conditioning and heat if it’s in the winter.

Securing the Location

If everything goes well and you’re happy with a location for your ceremony, you’ll need to put down a deposit to secure it for your date. It’s always good to know what their cancellation policy is in case the date needs to switch for whatever reason. If their cancelation policy is somewhat lax, you can even continue looking at other venues knowing you have a good one already lined up. After you’ve locked down your ceremony location, the next step is finding the perfect wedding reception location.