Wedding Day Organization

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Wedding Day Organization

A wedding is one of the most important days in any couple’s lives. From engagement photos, to selecting vendors, to making checklists and choosing your wedding party, there are lots of items that need to be planned out in an orderly fashion up until you say those two magical words – “I Do.” Here is an article to explain about how to stage manage your wedding..

GET ORGANIZED 

This is the hardest and most important step.

You need to set up a system for yourself to keep track of the big picture and all the little details. Get a big binder and divide it into tabs for each big part of your wedding. Here are some you might want to start with and what’s likely to go in them. You can use this binder from the get-go and include inspirational pictures and ideas as well, if you want.

  • Important Info
    • Contact Sheet – Name, Cell Phone Number, & Email Address of everyone with a role in your wedding (vendors, wedding party, family members, officiant, anyone needed for pictures)
    • Timeline – Detailed breakdown of what happens, when it happens, where it happens, and who needs to be there – for the entire day, including getting ready & getting home or to the hotel after the party is over
    • Checklist – of everything that needs to be brought to the ceremony or reception, and who is responsible for bringing it
    • Shot list for your Photographer
  • Budget
  • Ceremony
    • Copy of your ceremony text
    • List of your processional/recessional order
    • Anything else related to your ceremony
  • Reception
    • Venue information, including floor/seating plans, and any needed setup
    • Menu List
    • Playlist for the DJ, with special songs (first dance, etc.) noted
    • List of who is giving toasts & list of people you want to remember to thank!
    • Anything else related to your reception
  • Guests
    • In addition to the guest list, you might also keep track of gifts received & thank you notes sent in this section.
  • Attire/Rings
    • Many of you may find this section optional. However, if you are coordinating dresses and/or suits for a large wedding party and/or parents, that could go here.
  • Décor/Floral/Photo/Video/Entertainment
    • Depending on your personal organizational style, you might put any of these in another section.
  • Vendor Contracts
    • All of them. You do have contracts, don’t you?

You probably noticed a bunch of paperwork referenced in that list (Contact Sheet, Guest List, Timeline, Checklists, Playlist, etc.). I recommend you use an online document service (like Google Docs) for these things. That way you can access them quickly from just about anywhere when you think of something that needs to be added or edited, and you and your partner can collaborate easily.

MAKE BACKUP PLANS

Ok, now that you’ve got everything in one place, there are probably some things for which you should have backup plans. Examples are: outdoor events, which should have an indoor location secured in case of inclement weather; flower girls/ring bearers who may be suddenly shy and unwilling to walk the aisle in front of all those people.

HIRE A WEDDING STAGE MANAGER OR SWEET TALK A FRIEND

I think a wedding stage manager is not optional. Not because you need someone to plan your wedding for you, because, obviously you already did that in step 1. But because on your wedding day, you do not want to be setting up chairs and centerpieces before you run back to the hotel to get ready, wearing a watch to keep things happening on time, or talking to the catering manager every twenty minutes about what food to bring out and which tables go where.

Do you have to pay for this? No, you absolutely do not.
But know that a professional has done weddings and events before yours and will help you with or even do all of the steps above for you. If you go with a friend, choose wisely. This is not a job for the social butterfly who makes everyone feel welcome and gorgeous at the party just as soon as she shows up late and without her potluck dish…again. This is a job for that friend who sends out the evites with driving, parking, and public transit directions from three different starting points and can usually be found apologizing for being ten minutes early with an extra bottle of wine in hand.

PRACTICE

I know everyone’s schedules are crazy and it’s hard to get people in the same place at the same time, but even if it’s fifteen minutes the morning of the wedding, try to schedule at least a quick walk through of your ceremony.

RELAX, GET MARRIED

Hand over your binder, your watch, and your cell phone to that person you designated in Step 4 (preferably the day before) and simply be present. Soak up all the moments in the first day of the rest of your awesome married life.

RANDOM BITS OF ADVICE

  • Ask your baker how to cut that first slice of cake. They often place dowels and plates in and between layers so that it doesn’t slip or fall over; it’s better to cut around those, yes?
  • Make a shot list for your photographer. Even if you aren’t doing formal, posed photos, you know there are people you’d be sad about not getting a picture with. Write it down and check it off.
  • Decide in advance what you’re going to eat on your wedding day (before the reception) and the days before. Put someone else (great job for your best person) in charge of making sure you eat. And choose healthy stuff that you know won’t upset a nervous stomach.
  • If you’re having any kind of welcome party or rehearsal dinner in your home, especially if you live in a condo or apartment building, let your neighbors know ahead of time or be prepared for them to throw big hissy fits about it. (I speak from personal experience.)

 

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

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Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

For some brides-to-be, shopping for a wedding dress can be utterly thrilling, while—for others—it’s an utter nightmare. Regardless of which category you fall into, it is inevitable that you’ll have to shop for a dress. To help make the arduous (and often dramatically overblown) process easier, we’ve compiled some wedding dress shopping tips that every bride should know.

Have a Price In Mind

Always calculate a price range in your mind. Plan to spend about 10 percent of your overall budget on your dress. But consider this number a starting point. If fashion is more important to you than, say, flowers or music, increase your dress spending and scale back in other places. Or, go easy on the gown and shell out for a great photographer or band if those are your top priorities. You’re better off zeroing in on your realistic price point so you can spend more time editing down the amazing options you can actually buy. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in the cost of alterations, taxes and shipping fees, plus your veil, shoes and jewelry, which can add up to Rs.10,000 or more altogether.

Start Early

This is one of the things that surprise everyone. You really need at least six to eight months to get your gown—and that’s if you’re really decisive. If you’re a picky shopper or don’t really know what you want, start looking eight to 10 months before your wedding. Give yourself plenty of time; if you put it off for too long, your selection of dresses could be limited or you might make a quick decision you may regret later. Once you’ve found your gown, give yourself at least eight weeks to make alterations. Custom gowns take six to eight months to tailor on average, and heavily-embellished ones can take up to a year. Why so much time? A muslin version of a custom gown is created before the actual dress to guarantee a perfect fit.

Determine the Dress Code

You may need to consider religious restrictions when shopping for your gown. If your ceremony is in a house of worship, find out whether there are any attire guidelines you’re required to follow, such as covering your shoulders.

Figure Out What You Like

Take cues from your venue, the season and the time of day you’re getting married to help narrow down your dress style. Rule out fabrics and silhouettes that won’t work (a bulky ball gown is probably not the best fit for a midday beach affair) and consider what styles will flatter your shape.

Call in Advance

Just because a salon carries your favorite designer doesn’t mean it’ll have the exact dress you’ve been dying to try on. If you phone beforehand and request a specific style, chances are the salon will be able to call in a sample of that gown especially for you. While you may get lucky and snag a salesperson just by walking in, scheduling an appointment guarantees you’ll get a full hour of undivided attention. Plus, many salons require you to book an appointment in order to try on gowns, so you’ll want to call ahead.

Let the Salon Make Recommendations

Don’t eliminate anything at first glance. If the salesperson brings you something she says you should try, try it—even if you don’t initially love it or think it’s totally “you.” It’s possible to fall for a wedding gown you didn’t think you’d like or want. Not every dress looks great on a hanger, and you might have to let go of some preconceived notions and keep an open mind.

Shop At the Right Time

Taking a half day off to shop on, say, a Tuesday morning is absolutely worth it. Saturday afternoons are the most popular times—which actually makes them the worst. Unless the store is by appointment only, try to target those slower times. Consultants are fresher earlier in the day and can give you more of their attention. A calm store means a more personalized shopping experience, Hall says. If you’re shopping a sample sale, do yourself a favor and skip the first day. Call ahead to ask how many days the sale will run, then go a little later—there will still be plenty of inventory. Another shopping trick: Don’t bring an entourage. It may be tempting to include all your friends in this experience, but any more than one or two adds up to too many clashing opinions.

Buy a Dress That Fits Now

Even if you’re planning on dropping 15 pounds before your wedding, your body type isn’t going to completely change. Besides, it’s a lot easier (not to mention less expensive) to take a gown in than to try and make a too-small dress work.

Read the Fine Print

When you order your gown from a salon, it’s important to triple-check the contract. Read it carefully, so you don’t end up with the wrong size or color, and get the designer, style number, measurements, delivery date, the price of the gown and number of fittings, as well as the deposit amount, all in writing.

Bring Your Accessories

While most salons will have shoes and a slip on hand for you to try on with your gown, you should still come prepared with a nude bra and underwear for the fittings. Also bring shoes with a similar height as what you plan on wearing at the wedding, so you can see how the dress falls with your heels. And try on your other day-of accessories (if you have them), like your veil or cover-up, to get an idea of how your whole look will come together.

Trust Your Instincts

If you have to be reassured that the dress looks great on you, it’s probably not “the one.” If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in it, move on. When you find the right dress, you’ll know—you won’t want to put on anything else. Have some tissues handy; it will be an emotional moment!

 

Wedding Planning

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Wedding Planning

Congratulations if you’ve just got engaged!

Planning your perfect wedding day can be both fun and exciting, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different options out there. Knowing where to start is actually quite a big challenge…

Consult our quick-click guide to making planning your wedding as stress-free as possible!

  • Guests Come First

Get a grip on the approximate number of guests you’ll invite before settling on a venue. This will ensure there’s ample space for your crew.. That may seem like a lot, but it’s not if you count the space you’ll need for the tables, bustling waiters, the band, and the dance floor.

  • Investigate Wedding Blackout Dates

Know ahead of time if your wedding date falls on the same day as a trade conference, charity walk, or other local event that could affect traffic and hotel room availability.

  • Listen to Mother Nature

Heed the weather and other potential annoyances. Guests have been known to skip out early from hotter-than-hot summer tent weddings and improperly heated winter loft receptions. Consider renting pest control tanks to alleviate the problem or including bug repellent in guests’ gift bags.

  • Check Your Credit

Take advantage of the high cost of weddings and sign up for a credit card with a rewards program. Whether it gives you airline miles or great shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related purchases to this card will help you accumulate thousands of rewards points (which could be used for your honeymoon).

  • Pay It Forward

Let one vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photograapher can tell you which florist’s blooms really pop, and your reception manager should know which band packs the dance floor.

  • Get Organizationally Focused

In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see. Set up a special email address dedicated to your wedding, and store important vendor numbers in your cell phone.

  • Leave Some Room in Your Wallet

Your wedding budget should follow this formula: 48 to 50 percent of total budget to reception; 8 to 10 percent for flowers; 8 to 10 percent for attire; 8 to 10 percent for entertainment/music; 10 to 12 percent for photo/video; 2 to 3 percent for invites; 2 to 3 percent for gifts; and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding coordinator. It’s essential to allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of your money for surprise expenses like printing extra invites because of mistakes, additional tailoring needs, umbrellas for a rainy day, and ribbons for the wedding programs.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Your wedding vendors should be your go-to, most-trusted experts during the planning process. When working with them, you should feel free to really explore what it is you want — maybe it’s serving a late-night snack instead of a first course or doing a bridal portrait session rather than an engagement session. The bottom line is that you should feel like you can have an honest conversation with them about what it is you want. Their job will be to tell you what you can and can’t make work given your wedding budget.

  • Wait for a Date

Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer your date, the more bargaining power you have. Since most people book their wedding sites at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings.

  • Prepare for Rejection

Know that as a rule, about 30 percent of the people you invite won’t attend. Naturally, this depends on the location of your wedding (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have annual holiday or summer plans). On the other hand, everyone could accept — knowing your wedding will be the can’t-miss party of the year!

  • Prioritize Your People

Pare down your guest list with the “tiers of priority” trick. Place immediate family, the bridal party, and best friends on top of the list; follow with aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends you couldn’t imagine not being there. Under that, list your parents’ friends, neighbors, coworkers, and so on. If you need to make some cuts, start from the bottom until you reach your ideal number.

  • Take It One Step at a Time

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.

  • Release Rooms

As soon as you have 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.

  • Go Over Ground Rules

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?

  • Classify Your Cash

Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a list 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.

  • Help Guests Pay Attention

Make sure your guests can see — and hear. 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.

  • Write Down Your Digits

Carry an emergency contact sheet on your wedding day. Keep the paper with names and phone numbers of all your vendors in your purse — 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.

  • Call the Fashion Police

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.

  • Be Realistic With Your Time

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. Not crucial things that you just don’t feel like doing, such as picking a processional song or confirming final details with all of your vendors. Eliminate only the over-the-top tasks like hand-painting “Just Married” signs, or baking cookies for all of the welcome bags. Make a pledge to not think about them ever again