February 6, 2017

FREE Planning Tips from a Certified Wedding Planner

If all the information about planning your wedding or event is making your head spin, please contact me! I’d love to help you organize your important day and be there to help coordinate all your vendors so you can be free of added stress and enjoy the party!

BUDGETING TIP

Set up a combined bank account with you fiancé for wedding expenses (only). Once your budget is set, figure out how much to set aside each paycheck and start saving now! Open a credit card with a rewards program. Shop for the lowest interest rate you can find and for one without an annual fee. If you are avid travelers, consider a credit card that will add points to your airline or hotel chain of your choice. Cash back rewards will basically give you a discount on all wedding goods and services purchased on the card. Another bonus is the protection your credit card gives you on your purchases. In the rare case a vendor flakes out after you’ve made the payment, you can have the charge reversed.

SELECTING YOUR BRIDAL PARTY

Sometimes this isn’t as easy as you’d think.  Before you start asking your friends and coworkers, discuss the plan with your fiancé. It’s completely okay to have a different number of bridesmaids and groomsmen as it is to have your pet be a ring bearer. But consider the help you will need from them in planning (are they up to the task, do they have enough free time to help?) and on the wedding day (will they be at your beck-and-call to support you or at the bar when you need them?).

Is your best friend a long-time friend or a new coworker that you enjoy hanging out with? Think about those friends that will still be an important part of your circle for years to come. Also take into consideration new relationships that will be formed from your union (a new sister-in-law or step-daughter perhaps). And lastly, although it really shouldn’t be a concern of yours, will all the participants in your bridal party get along? You don’t want fighting or feuding amongst those that are supposed to be celebrating with you ruining your big day.

 

PINTEREST BOARD TIP

Start saving images on Pinterest to Story Board your wedding ideas from wedding dresses to cakes, flowers, decorations, gifts and special touches. You can add your bridesmaids, your planner and vendors to your board as collaborators.  I’d suggest then making a board with your single, final decision in each category. This will be your personalized wedding trend/theme board that you can show to potential vendors. Hint: The wedding professionals will appreciate seeing your Story Board, but when meeting with vendors they don’t need to see 50 images of what you’re envisioning. Here's an example of a Story Board for a Story Book Themed Wedding.

ETIQUETTE TIP

Whether your wedding is casual or a formal event, there are still many traditional standards you should consider. One area where etiquette is important is the wording of your printed invitations especially now when blended families are common. 

Don’t guess when it comes to formalities. Make sure to get advice on proper etiquette from your Wedding Planning, your printer or from a reliable source like Emily Post.

PHOTOGRAPHY TIP

Schedule an Engagement Photo Session with your photographer well in advance of the event. Not only will you have some professional photos you can use at the Reception and for any Announcements you’ll submit to the media, but you’ll also build a working rapport with your photographer. On the day of your wedding you’ll know how to pose comfortably (one less think to worry about on your big day) and they will know what poses make you look your very best.

Engagement photos don’t have to be taken solely in a studio. They can also be taken in a public park or even editorial-style out “on location” and highly stylized (permits may be required). Many photographers include an engagement session in their wedding packages. Discuss your vision with them and see exactly what they might offer.

 

FINAL DRESS FITTING

Make a list of all the accessories you’ll need to complete your look: bra, garter, slip or crinoline, pumps (and possibly flats), belt (if needed), handbag, jewelry and, of course, your veil (or head piece). When you go for you last dress fitting take your veil, undergarments, shoes, and have your hair and make-up done. You may not have decided on what jewelry and accessories you want to wear, so take all the options and try them out!

Take this opportunity to learn how to bustle your gown. If your maid of honor will be taking on this task (challenge) before the reception, then make sure she gets instruction and hands-on practice. It’s also a good idea to have someone video this on their phone (and then make sure they have it at-the-ready to refer to on the big day).

Schedule a bridal portrait session with your photographer or at least remember to take some photographs while you’re there. With a little planning, your photographer can take a traditional bridal portrait with a modern or contemporary twist right at the bridal store.

 

VOW WRITING TIP

Are you writing your own vows? Talk to your officiant and ask if they will allow personal vows in addition to or instead of traditional vows. If you decide to write them yourself, make them personal to each other. Over the coming weeks jot down memories, funny stories, the exact moment you knew you’d found THE one and how it made you feel. When you sit down to write your vows, refer to these notes. You don’t have to use them all, but they will help you organize your thoughts in to meaningful vows. Keep it short avoiding generalizations and metaphors. Don’t think you can wing it on the big day. The stress of everyone watching is sure to make you stumble on your words. Finally, even if you plan to memorize them, you should give a copy to the officiant just in case your mind goes blank.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIP

Social Media: Love it or leave it? These days guests may post images from your Ceremony to social media while you’re still walking down the aisle! Discuss with your fiancé if you wish to request guests NOT to take photos/videos during the ceremony and leave it up to the professionals to capture the once-in-a-lifetime moment or if you’re okay with your day be unveiled before you’ve even had a chance to see anything.

Two suggestions would be making a sign or printing it in the program requesting “No photos during the ceremony, please” or “Photos are encouraged! Please post with #(customhashtag)” so you can see them all later.

 

RECEPTION MUSIC TIP

Together with your fiancé, select songs for your first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance and any other special dances (grandparents, children or bridal party). The songs should be meaningful or topical and the dances can be formal or choreographed, but it should be fitting of the participants and the wedding style.

Practice your dances ahead of the wedding. Don’t try to wing-it. It won’t come off like you’re envisioning they would. Dances are a great opportunity to make your wedding reception memorable. Keep them short and then invite the rest of the guests to join you on the dance floor.

If there are songs you do NOT want to hear at your reception, it’s as important to give your DJ a list of “Do not play” songs as it is to give him a list of your FAVORITE SONGS! Do this well in advance of the event so they can load up any songs they may not have in their library.

 

SPECIAL MOMENTS TIP

Plan for special moments in your ceremony and at the reception to personalize your big day. Some ideas would be a non-traditional processional song, a choreographed dance performed by the entire Wedding Party, homage to family members who have passed away, family wedding traditions, thoughtful party favors or special activities for kids. Consider the guests that will be attending and plan with them in mind. It is your wedding, but you want everyone to have a great time!

 

CERTIFIED WEDDING PLANNER 

A Certified Wedding Planner will guide you through these and many more traditions, details, creativity, logistics, budget and vendor management and so much more. Make a small investment in hiring a professional that you can put your trust in and you will be able to enjoy your wedding with far less stress. Contact me for a FREE Consultation!

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