Advance Planning of your Wedding.

As the wedding date approaches, less and less time will be available for wedding preparations.
You need to be in a position to enjoy the days leading up to your wedding,
as well as the wedding itself.

To do this you must start planning your wedding early,
the earlier the better.
An average wedding is planned at least 9 to 12 months in advance.

Here is a guide to the things you need to plan for your big day.

Up To 12 Months Before The Wedding

Announce your engagement
Set your date -
decide if you want a civil or religious ceremony
and book the church or other venue.
See a minister or registrar to arrange the ceremony
and any paperwork you may need well in advance.

Select your best man, chief bridesmaid, attendants
and other key members of wedding party.

Plan your budget.
This will allow you to establish who pays for what

Draw up your guest list.
Check with your place of ceremony, they may have limits on the number
of guests attending the wedding, fire regulations for example.
You can always invite a lot more to the reception

Select your venue for the reception.
In some cases you might have to book a year in advance.
Check they have a room for you to change out of wedding attire into your going away clothes.

Book your professionals
i.e. Photographer (hopefully me!), Caterer, Entertainment, Cars, Florist etc.

Think about your color scheme for the wedding

3 To 6 Months Before The Wedding

Confirm your booking with the caterer
and select your menu and drinks for the wedding
breakfast and/or buffet for the reception

Select your color scheme
and order your wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses.
Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house,
as this will break them in and make them more comfortable on the day

Decide on what the groom will wear
and clothing for the best man and ushers, normally matching tuxedos.

Confirm color scheme with florist and cake designer.
Organise the flowers for the church and the reception
as well as the bridal bouquet sprays and buttonholes

Go shopping together and select your wedding rings

Decide upon a Wedding Gift Registery List
and place at a store of your choice.
If you are setting up home this is the time to get all the essentials you need.
If you are already have those items, some couples prefer to ask for
cash to contribute towards larger items or towards the honeymoon

Choose a honeymoon destination
and book early.
Apply for a new passport (in your married name ladies!!!)
and inform your doctor, bank, credit card etc. of your change of name

Order your invitations and stationery needs

Decide upon and order your reception favors.
Be sure to order disposabile cameras for every guest table at the reception.
You will enjoy the casual photos that everyone will take.
Leave a little note that the camera should be used freely
and left on the table to be collected at the end of the night.

Help both mothers coordinate their outfits.

2 Months Before The Wedding

Send out your invitations and keep note of all replies

Buy your going away clothes

List gifts as they arrive and write Thank You notes

Book a hotel room for your wedding night

Buy gifts for bridesmaids, best man, ushers
and anyone else you wish to thank

1 Month Before The Wedding

Follow up on invitation replies

Finalise the guest list
and confirm the final numbers with the caterers.

Confirm all transport arrangements

Visit you hairdresser with your headdress
to try out some hairstyles
and ifs worth paying a visit to a beautician for some advice on makeup.

Time to arrange your stag/hen nights.
Stag parties are arranged by the best man and
hen parties are arranged by the chief bridesmaid,
or if you have joint friend have one big party if you'd prefer

The Week Before The Wedding

Have the final fittings for the Bride's dress, bridesmaids dresses,
groom's and usher's clothing

Practice you hair and makeup

Get the packing done for the honeymoon.
Buy Travelers cheques and keep your tickets and passport in a safe place,
so there's no panic at the last minute

Prepare seating arrangements (if necessary)

Make sure your marriage license is in order

Have the wedding ceremony rehearsal

Instruct your wedding party on what they do on the wedding day.
Be sure that everyone knows your plan for photography after the ceremony

Give your best man the payment for the caterers, photographer, etc.

Confirm the caterer in writing the final head count

Check final arrangements with florist to ensure flowers arrive on time,
and confirm your photograph requirements with the photographer,
including any extra ideas you have thought of.

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JMichael Lazarus-Warren

southern california sunset Photo by JMichael