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.

Don’t Burnout on Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning BurnoutSo you’ve picked out your date and are ready to start planning your wedding, and everything seems like it is going to start to get exciting. The thought of going out to pick your wedding dress and sample different flavors of wedding cake really gets your heart pumping, and you have your eyes on the prize and are ready to get going. But the fact of the matter is that planning your wedding is not all fun and games, there is actually quite a bit of work and stress involved that can quickly make you burnout before you even get moving if you don’t plan ahead.

While it is completely normal to dive in head first and completely immerse yourself in the wedding planning process, it is also very important to keep a fairly normal routine so you don’t take on too much stress at one time. By breaking up the monotony with regular activities, you can keep yourself motivated, reduce the amount of stress that you would build-up, and go into your wedding day relaxed and confident that you have everything set to go. Here are a few tips to ensure that your wedding planning goes smoothly and you don’t burnout halfway through the job.

Exercise Plan

If you already have a good exercise plan in place, don’t stop doing it. If you don’t currently workout, now is a great time to start. Going to the gym on a regular basis can really help you eliminate a lot of the stress and frustration that goes along with planning a wedding, plus it will help you fit into your dress when the big day finally arrives.

Girl Time

There’s nothing more relaxing than blowing off some steam with your friends, and this can be a great outlet while you’re planning your wedding. This doesn’t mean that you need to go and hang out with the girls that will be in your bridal party since the conversation will usually gravitate back to your wedding, but perhaps you can call up some old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Another option is to go out with some co-workers after work to have a drink before heading home. The idea is to distract yourself from wedding planning for a little while so you can keep a cool head and avoid a burnout.

Alone Time

Just like spending time with your friends, spending a little time alone can really help you get your head together. Consider taking a nice hot bath with your favorite book, going for a nature walk, or even treating yourself to a spa day. Whatever it is in life that allows you to relax, find it and do it as often as your busy schedule permits.

Spend time alone: Take a day (maybe on the weekend) or take a mental health day from work and pamper yourself.  Go to the spa, get your nails done, sleep, read a book, drink a glass (or two!) of wine or enjoy a really good cup of coffee.  Relax with your favorite movie and junk food. Do something that you know will completely leave you feeling relaxed and ready to tackle anything.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Brides

Holiday GiftIf you have a friend or family member that is in the process of planning a wedding, then this can be a great opportunity to get them a gift that is perfectly suited to the occasion. Most couples who are planning a wedding are either on a very tight budget or completely racked with stress, so giving her a gift that lets her know you are standing with her can make all the difference in the world. There are many ways you can go with your holiday gift ideas for Brides such as personal treats to practical wedding items. With so many great options available, it can sometimes be helpful to have some choices narrowed down for you. Here are some of the best holiday gift ideas for brides to help you come up with the perfect item for your loved one.

Pampering the Bride

If the idea of giving the bride a special day to relieve her stress and get out of her skin is what you’re thinking, then perhaps a gift card for a complete spa day is the right gift for you. Very few women can resist the idea of a pampering spa day, but this is even truer when the stresses of planning a wedding have gotten the better of her. Giving her a gift that is all about her will not only be much appreciated, it will also be memorable and talked about for years to come.

Wedding Store Gift Cards

Pretty much everything that needs to be purchased for a wedding will cost an arm and a leg, so giving her a gift card to help with some expenses can be a real lifesaver. The best part about giving a gift card is that the bride can buy whatever her heart desires and not end up with something you picked out and she happens to hate. Gift cards can be used for anything she wants, so make sure you pick a store that you know she will love. For instance, if she is into making her own decorations for the wedding, then you may want to get her a gift card to a local craft store. If she is having trouble affording the wedding dress she loves, getting her a gift card to the dress store can make her dreams come true. Find out what will help her most and choose based on that information for the best results.

Personal Chef

When you are in the middle of planning a wedding, the last thing you want to do is go home and cook dinner. Sure, you could just go out to dinner, but most couples planning a wedding won’t have enough for the wedding essentials much less a night on the town. Consider purchasing the services of a personal chef for an evening to put the spark back in their relationship and relieve her stress. Having a delicious meal prepared by a professional will not only be delicious and relaxing, but it will make her feel very special and like she’s the only women on planet Earth. If it seems like the stress of planning the wedding is getting to the bride, nothing turns that around faster than an unforgettably delicious meal.

Prepping for Meetings With Your Wedding Vendors

Wedding Vendor MeetingsIf you’ve already started planning your wedding, you’ve probably realized that you need to deal with a seemingly never-ending parade of wedding vendors in order to organize everything you need for your big day. Everything from your flowers shop to your caterers will have a liaison that you need to deal with personally, and the number of meeting you need to schedule and attend just to get everything finalized can seem very overwhelming. Fortunately, prepping for meetings with your wedding vendors can be a fun and relaxing experience if you know what to expect and what to ask. Below you will find some things to be prepared for before you go to your meetings so you can get every detail right without pulling out your hair or going gray.

Know Budget and Priorities

Before you schedule any meetings with your wedding vendors, you need to know your exact budget. This will help you figure out which vendors can take priority financially over others so you can negotiate the best prices. For instance, if your really want your reception dinner to be delicious, you can set aside more budget room for the caterers. If you really like the taste of a fine wine, you can make you alcohol budget a little larger and cut back on something else. Your wedding budget priorities are a personal choice and completely up to you as a couple, but you want to make sure you have the details worked out before you go to your meetings with your wedding vendors.

Shop Around

Before you schedule and vendor meetings, you should get an idea of their prices and shop around with their competitors. The cost of a specific wedding service can vary from vendor to vendor, so shopping around can end up saving you a big chunk of money. Also, don’t be afraid to use a vendor’s competition as leverage to try to get a better deal. Mentioning that their competition offered you a better price can sometimes get them to beat their price or offer you a more inclusive package. Doing your negotiating with multiple prospective vendors instead of price shopping in advance will add unnecessary time and stress to the planning process, so try your best to get this taken care of before you go to your vendor meetings.

Be Detail Oriented

Focusing on the details can not only ensure you find the perfect vendors for your wedding, but it can also ensure that you get the most or your money. Make sure you talk in depth with each of your vendors to make sure that you know exactly what services they will provide you and how much it will cost. The last thing you want is to be expecting something on your wedding day that isn’t delivered because it was never part of the original agreement. The best thing to do with your wedding vendors is to put everything in writing so both side know exactly what to expect when your big day arrives.

Planning Your Wedding in Under 3 Months

Planning Your Wedding in Under 3 MonthsDepending on your personal goals with your wedding, it is not too uncommon for a couple to find themselves in a pretty tight time crunch when planning their wedding. There are a number of reasons this may be the case such as a baby on the way or a spouse being deployed to a military post overseas. Regardless of the reason you are planning your wedding in a big hurry, the stress of a small timeline can add to the rigors of planning the wedding and cause big problems. Fortunately, there are some ways to go about planning your wedding in under 3 months that will save you a lot of time, money, and stress and help your achieve planning the wedding of your dreams.

Set Aside Plenty of Time

If may seem obvious, but planning a wedding can take a lot of time. If you are trying to get everything planned in a short period of time, you are going to need to dedicate more time per day to your wedding than brides who have a longer timetable. You should try to “hit the ground running” in the first week and nail down as much as you can. Overloading yourself in the first week is usually the best time since you don’t yet have mental fatigue from too much planning so your fresh brain can get the most done.

Do the Big Stuff

Another thing you’ll want to do if you’re planning a wedding in less than 3 months is to take care of the major things first. The things you’ll want to lock down right away include your ceremony and reception venues, choosing your wedding dress, and picking out all of the bridal party members. Not only are these the easiest things to consider, they are also the most important and are absolutely required to have any sort of wedding. Also, by choosing your bridal party right away, you’ll have an army of helpers to assist you in pulling all the details together.

Rely on Your Friends and Family

Don’t be afraid to enlist your friends and family to help you plan your wedding. In fact, most of them will actually be excited to help and will have really great ideas to help you along. If you find yourself running out of time and your wedding date is rapidly approaching, you can delegate different jobs to each of your friends and family members to get everything done as quickly as possible. For instance, you could put your mother in charge of the food for the reception, your sister in charge of entertainment, and your father in charge of the open bar.

These are just examples, but the point is that you can save yourself a lot of time and stress by asking other people you trust to take some of the planning tasks off of your plate. You may be pleasantly surprised at how eager your friends and family members are to help you pull off your wedding with less than 3 months of planning and preparation, and since they are each focused on one area they are likely to take a lot of pride in it and do an excellent job.