#1 - Develop a Vision
Take some time and sit down with your husband to be, and have each of you paint a picture of the "vision" for your wedding. You may want barefeet on the beach, while he was thinking more along the lines of a soiree in Vegas. Be open to each other's opinions and start to blend them together.
#2 - Organize your Ideas
Sure, it may start with a cocktail napkin and turn into a full blown binder! The trick is to keep everything together. Also, try using dividers with labels like - "Flowers, Attire, Food, etc." so you can find things quickly when a vendor calls asking what flavor of cake you wanted.
#3 - Choose a Date
Look at meaningful dates for the two of you - when you met, your first date, your first kiss. Also, do your research and find out the dates of holidays, family get togethers, vacations, etc. You'll want to try and plan your wedding for a day that "most" people won't have a prior commitment. You can't please everyone, but consult with a few key family members on each side. Also, be sure to find out if you have any events going on locally. You won't want your grandmother paying top dollar for airfare because the Super Bowl's in town (luckily, we won't have to worry about this particular incident for a while!). Pick a few dates, two or three for example, and be flexible! You may have chosen the most wonderful Saturday of the year and you find out that the venue charges half on a Friday. This will give you the opportunity to save alot of green!
#4 - Draft a Guestlist
Consult with each other and both families and determine how many people you'd like to invite. This will influence almost every aspect of the wedding - budget, venue, food, etc. When you do consult with each other's familes, be sure to tread lightly. Keep it very casual, "how many people do you think would attend?" Otherwise they may start telling your third cousin Arty that he will be invited to the wedding, when you were hoping for intimate wedding of twenty. There is no right or wrong on the number of guests, it's what works for you and your fiance.
#5 - Set a Budget
This should definitely be done as early as possible, to discourage irresponsible spending. To do this, you need to determine who is contributing to the budget. Is it just the two of you? Are parents or other family members contributing too? When people contribute their hard earned money to your wedding, they feel like the now have a say in the decisions for the wedding. So be sure to understand this before accepting these generous gifts, otherwise decline them thankfully and graciously.
#6 - Scout Ceremony & Reception Sites
You've got your budget and your guest count in hand, now it's time to find the place where you will exchange your vows. You must be quick about this, venues can be booked more than a year in advance! So, start shopping!!!
#7 - Select a Color Scheme
Remember that vision that you and your husband-to-be disussed? Were there colors in there too? You must take into account your venue. The pink wall of the ballroom may clash with your blue and green color scheme. You can do some great things with lighting and drapery to hide unsightly decor, but if that's not in your budget, then you must take the current conditions into consideration. A great way to develop a color scheme is by selecting from the season you have chosen to marry in. Oranges, browns and reds warm an autumn wedding, while pinks, yellows, and greens can geate the perfect atmosphere for a Spring wedding.
#8 - Ask Your Attendants
You've seen your best friend anxiously squirm in her seat when you are discussing the chandeliers of the site and great color scheme that you've selected, ease her tension and ask her to be your attendant. In the past, the number of guests you're inviting would dictate how many attendants you should have (ie. one pair for every fifty guests). But it's 2009, a year of change! What you say goes, you want 12 attendants for your 50 person wedding, or none at all? The verdict is - whatever works best with you and your fiance! Also, the old belief that you must have an even amount of attendants on both sides is also out the window! Don't ask or not ask someone to be in your wedding to create symmetry! That's just crazy!
#9 - Start Your Vendor Research
Get on the internet, to bridal shows, and start talking to people. Find out who you have a great comfort with. You will be working with these people for a long time so make sure you are happy with them!!!
#10 - Dress Shopping
I know this is one of the favorites! Some girls have been dreaming about their wedding their entire lives!!!! Grab your mom and your Maid of Honor (try to keep the opinions to a minimum) and start trying on dresses. Find the one that makes you feel beautiful and fulfills all of your expectations. Don't settle! Not that it is the deciding factor, but take into account your venue. A large tulle ballgown may become a pain when walking barefoot across a beach!
Well, that should get you started on your way to your most perfect wedding. Just remember to tackle one thing at a time and you are not superwoman! Be sure to ask those around you for help. You may be surprised to find out that your mother-in-law is dying to help you tie 100 ribbons for the favors!!!
For more tips on planning your own wedding or to schedule a "get to know you" session with us to start planning your big day, call us at 813.426.5280 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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