The Basics of Wedding Planning

Now that you are engaged, where do you start? Although many women fantasize about their wedding day, there is a tendency to underestimate just how much time and effort is required to bring their dream to fruition.

The key to great wedding planning is organization. It is important that one is very methodical to ensure a flawless wedding day. No wedding is perfect; however, with careful planning, many mistakes are avoidable.

Firstly, the couple should select a wedding date that is considerate of all parties involved. A realistic date is usually six months to one year in advance. When selecting a date, be cognizant of holidays and pricing (venues for May and June weddings tend to be more expensive than other months).

Secondly, start a wedding binder. A binder is a useful tool to keep planning on schedule. Divide the binder into monthly sections and label each month prior to your wedding date. Search the Internet for a wedding checklist to assist with a basic timeline. To keep plans on track, set a goal to accomplish each month. In addition, keep several folders in the binder for receipts, contracts, etc.

Next, spend some time visualizing your wedding day. Think about color schemes, themes, venues, etc. Then, select a color scheme and/or a theme that embodies your vision and coordinate everything around it. This process will assist in determining the components required to make your wedding day fabulous.

Subsequently, the couple should plan a wedding budget. Establish budgetary parameters for the wedding ceremony and reception. Set priorities and decide which elements of the overall wedding necessitate the most money. When planning your budget, take into account the size of the wedding party and guest list. Create a realistic budget and be sure to allocate enough money for each component: reception, photographer, videographer, floral design, disc jockey, favors, rentals, honeymoon, etc. If considering hiring a wedding planner, this would be the time to do so. Also, include their fee in your budget.

Immediately following, book the place where the wedding ceremony will take place.

Then, book the reception venue. Popular wedding venues are booked months in advance, so be sure to book early. The availability of these two venues will dictate the date of your wedding; be prepared to be flexible. The wedding meal and cake should be the next consideration. Ascertain whether or not the venue will provide the meal and the cake or if an independent caterer will be needed. In any case, take time and schedule several tastings with multiple vendors.

Select the wedding photographer and videographer based on referrals and work samples. Use a similar strategy when selecting a band and/or a disc jockey. Ask for references and sample mixed CDs. If possible, attend an event where the band or disc jockey is performing.

Deciding on a wedding gown, bridesmaids’ dresses, and tuxedos is an enjoyable experience. Browse several different bridal shops or the Internet for online vendors. Pick attire that is complimentary for the entire wedding party. Have multiple fittings to ensure proper tailoring. Following wardrobe selections, visit local florists to choice coordinating floral design.

Look for wedding invitations and favors for your special day online or at a bridal store. If you are creative, make your own. Plan ahead so you have plenty of time for preparation. Send wedding invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding.

Lastly, finalize transportation, schedule hair stylist appointments, register for wedding gifts, make honeymoon arrangements, etc. Refer back to your wedding checklist and use it as your guide. Check off completed tasks to make certain no detail is forgotten. To make sure everything stays on schedule, follow up with vendors throughout your wedding planning.

Wedding planning is very exciting and rewarding. Keep your eyes on the prize and those overwhelming moments will vanish quickly. Organization and time management will guarantee a successful wedding day!

Congratulations and Happy Wedding Planning!!!

Get a Free Wedding Planning Checklist

The internet has given brides to access to a wealth of free wedding planning tools and information, the most important of these being the wedding planning checklist. No bride should attempt to plan her wedding without one and over the course of her planning she will find it an invaluable tool.

A wedding planning checklist will detail every task and element that needs to be done when planning a wedding over a certain time frame. They will include tasks such as finding a reception venue, choosing the wedding stationery and collecting the wedding cake. The best checklists will go into great detail including everything from choosing the bridesmaids accessories to having a trial run of your hair and makeup. A basic checklist will include the bare bones such as setting the date through to purchasing wedding favors.

Magazines will often carry a wedding planning section which includes a planning checklist for you to cut out and keep. Often these are fairly generic and will only include the bare minimum of tasks needed to plan a wedding successfully. Should they run a wedding planning special, then the checklist may be more detailed and comprehensive. Wedding websites will offer free checklists which you can download and save on your computer. This gives you a customizable checklist which you then print out and edit as often as required.

Many checklists are generic and will cover an 18 month time frame. You may think they are all the some but they are not so it is important to compare several before deciding on the right one for you. It is also important that you choose one from a credible source because the checklist will be more reliable and will probably have been written by someone who knows a thing or two about planning a wedding. Post a question on online wedding forums asking about good checklists if you are at all unsure of where to look. Other brides are a great source of advice and inspiration and can direct you to the best resources.

When you find a checklist you like you will probably have to edit it to fit with you wedding and the time frame you have till your wedding day. Arm yourself with a calendar and make sure you know all the important dates you have arranged this far. Don’t mess about with the checklist too much, it will have be written to ensure that those elements which are time critical such as your wedding catering and cake, are dealt with at the appropriate time. So don’t be tempted to order your wedding cake 12 months before your wedding day – it will be stale by the time the day arrives!

Save a copy on your computer and then print off copies for yourself and other people who should have a copy, such as your groom, your maid of honor, your mom and maybe your wedding planner if you are not using one for your entire wedding planning. Also pin a copy onto your notice board so you can quickly refer to it should you need to.

Free Wedding Planning

Free wedding planning will help you save a sufficient amount of money on planning a wedding. Even though numerous companies and private people currently offer their wedding planning services, these services tend to be rather expensive. Furthermore, even if you find an affordable planner, it might make you feel left out or even out of control, if another person manages the planning of your wedding.

How can you plan your wedding on your own? There are two main approaches: free online or downloadable wedding planning software, or a regular spreadsheet application.

1. Free Wedding Planning with the Use of a Spreadsheet

If you have a good command of any spreadsheet application, you can simply turn it into an excellent wedding planner. Spreadsheet application would help you easily calculate the costs, manage the budget, and manage all other aspects of planning a wedding.

Advantages of this method are as follows: no need to research for free wedding planning software, and no need to install that software on your computer in case it’s downloadable software. Furthermore, this method eliminates any headache that may arise from incompatibility of some applications with some computers (e.g., Mac) or a certain operating system. Furthermore, some tools have a “not very user-friendly” interface, and using a spreadsheet would eliminate the need of learning how to use this new program.

The drawbacks are as follows: since you would not be using a specialized tool, you would need to do all the required research on your own, searching for the wedding etiquette information, guides about wedding ceremonies, the order of events, and hundreds of things- to-do needed for a wedding.

2. Free Wedding Planning with the Use of a Wedding Planning Software

Free wedding software is another easy way to plan a wedding on your own and free of charge. There are many online tools that do not even require installation, allowing for their easy use in any browser.

The benefits of using such a tool are that this is a specialized application, which generally comprises all of the aspects of planning a wedding. In fact, this might be beneficial and negative at the same time, since such a tool may provide you with too many features and possibilities, “making your eyes cross”. However, more is better than less, and you can rest assure that you will find any possible detail of things needed to be done.

The bottom line: you can easily plan your wedding on your own and at no cost, if you simply choose to use a regular spreadsheet application or free online or downloadable wedding planning software.

What is a Wedding Planning Checklist?

A wedding planning checklist is a useful tool for any bride to have when it comes to planning her wedding. It essentially lets her know what she needs to do and when she needs to do it, by means of an itemized list of tasks to be completed at various stages throughout her wedding planning phase.

These checklists are freely available from sources such as wedding websites, wedding directories and bridal magazines. Typically they will follow a generic template which will cover an average 18 month planning period and list tasks suited to a traditional white wedding – either civil or religious.

A good checklist needs to cover each element of the wedding in sufficient detail that the bride can carry out her wedding planning with success. Poor checklists will omit important details and elements or place tasks in the wrong stage of the planning period. It is advisable to look at as many different checklists as possible before deciding on one which fits with your wedding.

Downloading a free wedding planning checklist from the internet should give you the ability to edit it to suit your wedding plans and the period in which you wish to plan your wedding. You could also copy a checklist from a magazine onto your computer and edit it accordingly. Having a hard copy on your computer will enable you to edit it further as you progress through your wedding planning and to print out extra copies as you need them.

Whether you are a seasonal pro at organizing any size of occasion or completely in the dark about what to do first, having a good wedding planning checklist is essential if you are to successfully arrange the wedding of your dreams. Not only will it tell you what you need to be doing and when, but it will also let you know at a glance where you are with your wedding planning and if you are on course to complete everything by the big day.

There is a final benefit as well, as a checklist will also let you delegate tasks to other people such as your groom and maid of honor. Giving them a copy will let them help you with your wedding planning and let them know of any tasks that they can help you with. For instance, if you delegate the arranging of the wedding transportation to your groom, he will be able to see when he needs to do this and when it needs to be confirmed by. Your maid of honor will be able to see when she can organize the bridal shower and baccalaureate party as well as helping you with picking up purchases, making the wedding favors and sending out the invitations.