Planning Your Wedding Like a Professional

If you’re a newly engaged bride just starting the wedding planning process, you may want to read carefully. Most brides embark on their wedding planning adventure with a lot of ideas, but little understanding of how it all works. If you’re looking to gather a few secrets and plan your special day without the use of a professional wedding planner, read on!

Be sure to read (and write!) the fine print

While trust is certainly something you want to have with your intended spouse, it certainly isn’t something you want to plan on when it comes to contracts. Be sure that when you are planning your wedding, get everything you are offered and everything you agree to in writing.

Be sure the contract you organize with the venue, the florist, and even the bakery has all the details in order before you sign, including minor changes like times set aside by your venue for the event, the specialty drink you’ve ordered from the bar, and the amount of time your DJ plans to play. Even if you’re paying by check or credit card, it’s always a good idea to protect your investment by ensuring that deposits and payment schedules are also written down.

Be sure to choose vendors you can work with

While there is nothing wrong with keeping your budget tight and cutting a few corners, be sure that you hire vendors that you can easily and effectively communicate with. Hiring your neighbor’s brother to be your videographer might sound like a good idea if he’s willing to do it at a discount, but make sure you check his portfolio and recommendations before signing on the dotted line. Even your helpful Uncle Barney might be willing to step in as DJ, but if he’s going to play the music he wants (and believes he’s entitled to do so because you aren’t paying him much, if anything!), you might want to reconsider.

A good rule of thumb is to decide in advance what elements of the wedding are the most important to you and your spouse, and then invest your money in those before earmarking funds for other, less important details. Always be sure that the people you are hiring, regardless of how you came to know them, are trustworthy and capable, and most importantly, are clear about what you and your spouse want, need, and expect from them on the day of your wedding.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

There’s nothing wrong with splurging a little on some items, but you may want to think twice about having expensive champagne glasses engraved with “bride” and “groom.” Instead, choose flutes that are engraved with your initials so that they can be used in your new home or saved as heirlooms. After all, if you’re going to spend the money, why not have something you can use forever, rather than on just one day.

Maybe you’re thinking about ordering a special pillow for the ring bearer. Why not take grandma’s embroidered hanky and having it made into a special, one-of-a-kind cushion that can be used for the wedding today and maybe turned into something for a cradle or crib somewhere down the line.  There are lots of ways to reuse sentimental items in a wedding or repurpose household items in unique and interesting ways for your wedding decor, ceremony, and reception.

Watch that wedding list

It is good etiquette to ensure that those who are asked to attend engagement parties, wedding showers, and bachelor parties are invited to the wedding. It is very poor wedding etiquette to invite someone to a pre-wedding activity and then exclude them from the big day. So be sure to think about that wedding list from the get-go to avoid hurt feelings and difficult conversations as your wedding day looms.

And speaking of wedding lists, it is necessary for you to invite your third cousin twice removed that you’ve never met in person? While it may sound exciting to plan a wedding for 300 guests, the logistics of it are far more difficult than you can imagine. Keep your wedding to close friends and relatives, and you will find that you have more time and energy to enjoy everyone during the wedding ceremony and reception. A wise bride once said, “If my husband or I can sit next to them on the bus and either not recognize them or not know how to strike up a conversation with them, they don’t need to be at my wedding!”

Not everyone wants to shop til they drop

More brides than ever are recognizing the importance of involving their bridesmaids in the wedding planning and preparation process. For many attendants, being a part of things means helping to choose a dress that fits with the wedding palette and style, but still looks good on them. While traditional brides used to choose “the” dress and the girls just ordered it in their size, the contemporary bride also considers a variety of styles that flatter individual body shapes.

Additionally, not all bridesmaids want to go to several different bridal shops and try on an infinite number of dresses.  A bride may choose to utilize a site like Azazie that utilizes a try-at-home feature to find the perfect bridesmaid gown. This might be especially important if your attendants are not all living in your city.

What advice do you have for planning a wedding like a professional wedding planner? Feel free to make your suggestions below.

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