Step 1 Guest List & Budget Discuss with your fiancé what do you both envision for your wedding, do you want a destination wedding for just 50 friends or a grand ballroom dinner for 1000 or both. Sit down and realistically work out the guest list, don't forget the “plus-one guests” and the size of your wedding will form. Decide how much you want to spend on the wedding and who is paying for what. This will help you in your planning, right from the start. The number of people and budget plays a vital role in your planning as it shapes the complexity and overall atmosphere you will have.
Step 2 Theme & Concept Now that we’ve gotten the guest list and budgets, let’s talk about theme & concept. Have you always wanted a fairy tale wedding complete with a horse carriage or you a swanky modern wedding at a posh ballroom or did you want a laid back fun for all beach wedding. Go back to your roots, your history together and what you both are like. The wedding should be a representation of the both of you and what you like, if you can’t stand mosquitoes and sun then perhaps a ballroom is the way to go. Research online, check with friends who have gotten married, you will see photos of similar themed weddings. The first impression you get from that particular theme should shout out to you, trust your instincts. If you are planning to get a wedding planner, this is the time so that the wedding planner can help you “bring out the drawing board” and conceptualize your ideas.
Step 3 Venue Now let’s look at venues, think about locations, logistics and price. Location: If it's a destination wedding, think about a locale that your friends and family can easily get to. See if it can accommodate the number of people comfortably, check on their previous track record and recommendations. Logistics: If you have disabled guests at a venue full of steps or if it's a long drive or in a remote area. Think also about the facilities of the venue from parking, lavatories, electricity, water, linens, furniture and even mosquitoes. Price: Check the inclusions, whether there is a time limit or any other surcharges. Some venues may even have a corkage fee not only on alcohol brought in but also on external vendors brought in.
Step 4 Your Dream Team Venue sorted, we need to start on your dream team. Your dream team is the vendors that will be working with you for your big day, from the florist to the photographer; they will help make your (as cheesy at it may sound, its quite literal) dreams come true. Check out websites, speak with friends and family, get recommendations and see their work for yourself. You need to gather a dream team that shares the same vision with you, so that you can be rest assured that once you have put your trust in them, you could relax and have a good time.
Step 5 Gown & Attire We need to make you beautiful, think about the different events you will be having and what type of attire you will need to acquire for you, your fiancé and the bridal party. Some bride’s are blessed with already having a design in mind; some need some inspirations thru fashion shows and magazine. Whichever type of bride you are we are here to help. Keep an ear out for wedding gown sales, check out local designer fashion shows and be inspired by designs you see on the web and in magazines. From there make appointment to meet with the designers and be honest about what you like and dislike, if possible try on some gowns just to get an idea of what shapes suit you. When you go gown shopping, go with someone that can give you an honest opinion and don't bring an entire football team along, the final decision should be yours and not everyone else’s.
Step 6 Invitation Cards The first impression to your guests is an important one, the invitations set the formality of the events and guests can gauge what to expect from the wedding festivities. Decide whether you want couture invitation cards or run of the mill type. Start on this early in your planning because there are many details related to invites that you need to decide on (e.g. fonts, paper, color, envelopes, text). While working on the invitation cards, you can start cleaning up your guest list with addresses and proper names. You will then realize how many of your friends you don't actually have the address to.
Step 7 Wedding Cake Have your cake and eat it! Literally! Traditionally wedding cakes were suppose to bring good luck to the couple and their wedding guests, but in recent times most wedding cakes are just there as a centerpiece and is not even served. So, decide if you want to serve your wedding cake, let guest take home or whether its just there for decoration. This will determine the size and complexity of the cake. Think about designs to suit your theme and concept, then meet some bakers and try the cakes. If you are planning to serve the cake make sure it blends in with the dinner menu. If your menu is already very heavy, you might want to think of a lighter fruity cake.
Step 8 Entertainment The size of your wedding normally dictates how elaborate an entertainment you need to have. For a small cozy wedding, even an I-pod will do but for a grand ballroom a live band will do the trick. Try to find a balance between the music genre’s you like and what is generally accepted (not everyone like’s heavy metal music). Then visit the band when they are playing at an event or check out their demo DVD.
Step 9 Legalities Find out what are the procedures for the legal portion of getting married; prepare the forms, photos and information way in advance to avoid being stressed out at the last minute. Some locations will allow assist with the applications but most countries the couple themselves need to submit and apply personally.
Step 10 Details, details, details You’re almost there, fit in the little details that make the wedding you. If you caught the “Bride-zilla” bug you will probably be way ahead of this step. But if you are the carefree bride, think about special touches that you may want to include in your celebrations. From a special gesture to include a grandparent who may not be able to attend or a welcome basket for guests who have travelled from a far. Not every detail is difficult to undertake nor expensive, it just requires a little bit of imagination. Phew … half way through You've done your research; you've booked your vendors, now its time for action, getting your planning in order so that proper execution can be carried out. If you've got a wedding planner, sit down and run thru the scheme and flow of things.
Step 11 Program Work out your program in detail, plan the timing, and plan who will do speeches to who will help receive presents. After you’ve planned your program, take a step back and check to see if the program is overwhelming for the guests or too empty, you want to have a nice balance of entertainment and good company.
Step 12 To Do List Work out a to do list for your helpers (if you don't have a wedding planner) and brief everyone concern so that everyone knows their duties.
Step 13 Vows, Speeches, Readers, Announcements Start preparing your vows and speeches, remind the other speakers to do the same so that you will have plenty of time to run thru what you want to say and not leave anything out.
Step 14 Religious Details Confirm with your religious representative’s on the documentation they may require and the logistic arrangements on the day itself.
Step 15 Honeymoon Confirmed One of the most important event - the honeymoon. Don't forget to plan a getaway that the both of you will enjoy, relax and unwind. It a holiday you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Step 16 Seating Arrangements As RSVP’s come in, start planning your seating arrangement. Try to group guests who have similar interest together so that there will be conversation during dining.
Step 17 Pack your Emergency Kit Pack an emergency kit for last minute hiccups, just so that you know you are prepared. An emergency kit generally has: - For Clothing 1. Sewing kit with needles, thread, buttons, and safety pins 2. Toupee tape (for keeping clothes in place) 3. Scissors 4. Stick-on instant hemming tape 5. Clear nail polish (for runs) 6. White chalk (for masking stains) From the Pharmacy 1. Breath mints 2. Bandages 3. Blister protection 4. Antacid 5. Pain reliever For Touch-Ups 1. Blotting papers 2. Cotton swabs 3. Tweezers 4. Emery board 5. Lip balm 6. Tissues 7. Hand lotion 8. Bobby pins 9. Comb 10. Lipstick 11. Powder 12. Small mirror 13. Nail polish in the shade you're wearing
Step 18 Delivery, pick-ups and logistics Reconfirm delivery, pick-ups and arrangements. Don't forget you need a driver for your wedding car and someone to carry the gifts to the car.
Step 19 Hen's / Bachelor Party Handover the planning of your last wild night to your maid of honor/ best man and enjoy the moment. Party on!
Step 20 Spa Day Plan a day of massages and pampering just for you and your fiancé, with the entire planning you may have been stressed out but trust me, you’ve also stressed out your fiancé. So enjoy a day of relaxation together.
Step 21 Relax, why don't you Relax, you have done your very best to ensure you have a picture perfect day. Now to complete the perfect picture we need a smiling and relaxed bride. Enjoy every moment because time flies by and you know you deserve it.