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This is a time that you have been waiting for your entire life. You have met the right person. That Mr. Right has proposed. You actually have a ring on your finger. You have practiced signing and saying your new married name. And, now the date is set for your wedding. If you are fortunate, you have months to a year to get everything together as well as a lot of help from your family, friends, and professionals.
Although there are a couple of things that are obvious about how to plan a wedding and the problems that arise, let’s focus on getting the top seven taken care of before another moment of wedding planning time passing us by.
Whether you are traditional, untraditional, or a fashionista, other than who you have chosen as your to-be spouse, the dress is the most important. It is your wrapping paper for your special day and new union, whether you choose white, cream, or a vibrant color. Many brides-to-be shop in groups to make the best decision, but always the final decision has to be up to you. The higher-end, designer wedding gowns can be valued as much as a nicer car, but you don’t have to spend a pretty penny. You can find deals on wedding dresses from your favorite stores. Many brides select a family heirloom from a grandmother, mother, or aunt. Others opt for designing a sundress or prom dress into the perfect, customized wedding dress.
This is part that will take thirty-forty minutes of your lifetime, but you want to make it right. You have options as to who is going to perform the ceremony, where you will have it, and if you will involve family, friends, and community members. You can have a large, church ceremony, a by-invitation-only destination wedding, or an intimate and very private, home service. However, as this is an crucial time to have people you trust, opt for someone that has done many ceremonies in the past, close to home, and choose a select, tight-knit group of friends and family members that you can count on in crunch time to help with the last-minute details, reading and music selections, and even wedding jitters.
3. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
You’ve picked who to spend the rest of your list with but who is going to help you with this milestone. Picking your Maid of Honor or Best Man can be tough. Many friendships have been tested through this difficult decision. You will be pulled in different directions because of family members and even friends, but it’s your wedding. Pick the best person that will support you when you are feeling nervous and scared. Select the one that best suits you. Choose the one that will make you laugh when something goes wrong as it will do. There is always someone that drops the ball on the big day, whether the caterer, DJ, or the florist. That’s why it’s important to have your group of friends that can pick up the slack and be great emotional support.
You know the old adage about a picture is a thousand words. Well, when it comes to wedding photography and videography this is true. Whether you decide on a destination wedding or staying close to home, you will want to document your day, the beginning of your new life. Even though the ceremony may be a portion of an hour, the wedding preparation, ceremony, and reception is an all-day event. You will want to select a wedding-specific photographer who knows the best ways to capture cutting the cake, your first dance as a couple, and the precious moments when your nieces and nephews sit on grandpa’s lap.
Although most wedding photographers have a good idea of what are the highlights, your wedding day is once in a lifetime. Make a list of some unique to the two of you shots that you would like to capture before the day comes. Some example shots are of your rings, your exit from the ceremony as man and wife, the toast, your first kiss, and leaving the reception in your just-married vehicle. On the wedding day, you will be excited, but exhausted. You’ll just want to get to your table for the meal. You’ll be hungry and ready to take off your shoes.
Probably the most pictured morsel of food in your entire life is your wedding cake. It is the centerpiece of the reception. You are now man and wife. You have danced your first dance. Maybe the two sides of the family have become friendly. Everybody from grandkids to great-grandmothers have danced a bit. Maybe there’s an uncle or two that have told bad jokes. Also, there’s always one (not your family) that has had a bit too much to drink. Now comes the time to cut the first slice of cake. The trends from year to year change from beautiful white cakes to cupcakes to even chocolate fondue fountains. However, this is where you set a style and flavor for you as a couple. Favorite flavors are chocolate, strawberry, and white, but you can go wild with caramel, ganache, and even ice cream.
For your first anniversary, if you remember to save it from the wedding, you will eat the top layer as a celebration of your union. Don’t worry if you misplace it with all of the presents and moving parts of your wedding day. Many bakeries specialize in making mini-duplicates of wedding cakes for anniversaries. You may decide to replay your wedding photos, video, and/or playlist while you and your spouse share your wedding cake on your subsequent anniversaries.
6. The List
The list of invited guests to your wedding is probably one of the most difficult decisions as a couple. You have a couple of decisions depending on your budget and venue. The easiest way to not ruffle anyone’s feathers is to invite everyone. However, budget and venue restraints may not allow for all hundred of your first-cousins to come to your wedding. As a good tip, make sure that both the bride’s side and the groom’s side have somewhat equivalent invited guests. You don’t want a dozen on the bride’s side and then two hundred on the groom’s side. The list will be a source of inspiration for your planning, but also a sore point. Don’t be worried if you disagree with your close family members about wanting a certain friend, neighbor, or colleague to come to your wedding. This has been a source of family disagreements for centuries. Take advice, but the final decision is yours as a couple.
7. The Reception
The ceremony is the legal and spiritual union. However, the reception is where your two sides really connect. It is also where you get to showcase your uniqueness as a couple. From the table decor, menu, and music, make your mark from day one with a great reception. You will be too busy to organize the reception, but having a great wedding planner or a DJ that facilitates the activities is essential. While you are greeting family members, trying to eat your meal between photos, and sneaking away to go to the bathroom with the help of your bridesmaids, your hired organizer will get the cake cutting, first dance, and bouquet toss all lined up and ready for you both. Invest in a great DJ and/or wedding planner for a hassle-free, fun reception that will be talked about for years to come.
Getting married is a big decision, perhaps one of the biggest decisions of your life. You have found someone you want to walk this earth with forever, ‘til death do us part. However, planning the wedding can put some pretty big bumps in the road for even the most seasoned and caring couples. Be ready for disagreements, tifs, and confrontations. You may even have to hire a professional wedding planner to take some of the details and time-sensitive issues off your plate. With flowers, attire, seating charts, music selections, appetizer menu, and the like, there’s a reason why you are only getting married once.
That’s why the finale to the list of seven wedding planning tips is a bit of a secret. The secret to a great wedding is time alone with your new spouse. That’s why it is imperative to plan a honeymoon for the two of you without your family, friends, and all the invited guests, cherish your new union. You don’t have to go far for your honeymoon. Whether you decide to go to a far-off beach resort and pamper yourselves or stay close to home, choose a place that allows you both to recharge your batteries from the ceremony and connect with one another. The ceremony and reception took it out of you both. Adding some out-of-the-normal activities to your honeymoon like taking a cooking class, going to a wine tasting, or taking a hot balloon ride will foster new ideas for anniversaries and milestones to come.