30 Essential Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks
Put together a wedding planning schedule and do things one by one, in a logical order, so you don't take on too much too fast and end up with everything snowballing around you. Don't hire any vendors before you've confirmed your date; don't design your cake before you've envisioned your flowers; and don't book a band before you've settled on a space. If your guest list is bursting at the seams, assess the plus-one scenario.
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Do a faux seating chart in your mind, and imagine whom your single pal would sit with. If it's a table of singles that she knows pretty well, then you're all set. If it's a table of couples making her the odd one out or if it's a table of singles where she won't know anyone, consider bending the rules. If asked why you're not allowing single friends to bring guests, size or budget constraints or your parents' never-ending guest list are always good reasons.
As soon as you've picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate. You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.
Make sure guests know where they're going. As easy as online map programs are to use, sometimes the directions are wrong or there's a quicker, less traffic-prone route to take. Ask your ceremony and reception sites for printouts or digital copies of recommended driving directions and even test out the routes yourself. Then include the best directions on your wedding website or email them to your guests to print out if they'd like. Get any nonstandard changes to your agreements in writing or send the vendor a confirmation email saying, "Hello, just confirming that you'll keep the venue open until 2 a.
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You must make sure there's ample time for setup. If you're renting a venue and bringing in outside help, ask what time people can come in to start setting. You can check your state's license requirements online, but confirm with a call to the county clerk's office to see when they're open. Even if it's open from 9 a. Give a copy of your marriage license to your mom or your maid of honor just in case you lose yours during the final days before your wedding. Be prepared—ask the manager of the house of worship or site where you'll be married for the list of restrictions if any. For instance, is flash photography or bare shoulders prohibited?
Or, if you're exchanging vows outdoors, are you allowed to plant tent stakes in the lawn which is often not allowed? Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a checklist of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers and the photographer, and assign a number to each—one being the most important and three being the least. Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. But everything can't fall into the number one category!
For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements. Make sure your guests can both see and hear from their seats.
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If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and a riser. You'll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.
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Keep an emergency contact sheet or phone with your vendor contacts on you on your wedding day—it may come in handy in case your limo driver gets lost or you decide you'd like your photographer to take some behind-the-scenes shots. Don't go dress shopping on your own—all the gowns will start to look the same after a while and it will be harder to recall which style you really loved. But be careful about who you do bring. If your mom or sibling can't make the trip, ask a friend who is truly honest.
This is the time when you really need to know which dress looks best. When it comes down to the last month of your planning and when you're particularly harried look at your mile long to-do list and cut three things. Yes, cut three things. Eliminate only the over-the-top tasks like hand-painting "Just Married" signs, or baking cookies for all of the welcome bags. Cross them off and make a pledge not to think about them again. Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Cover all your wedding planning bases with these expert tips no to-be-wed should be without.
Sarah Elizabeth Dunn Photography. Guests Come First Get a grip on the approximate number of guests you'll invite before settling on a venue. Up Next. Follow a checklist with a breakdown of your budget to make planning a wedding on a budget easier.
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Couples who have their priorities straight stay focused on the bigger picture: the marriage itself, rather than fixating on every little wedding planning hiccup. Planner Maggie Gaudaen , co-founder of Pop! Wed Co. They went to five different taco places before picking one, and she came along each time because it was important to him that she liked the tacos, too. Oftentimes an overbearing family member will make matters tough.
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These are all signs that your expectations are unrealistic and need to be managed. Even the healthiest couples are going to disagree at times. The key is how you manage those points of contention. Do you yell, name-call or stonewall? Or do you take a deep breath and express your feelings in an honest, mature manner? Wedding planning often brings tricky conversations and touchy subjects like family and money to the forefront.
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