1. Announce Your Engagement & Wedding Choose a date even if it is not firm. This will set all the timers in play. If you change the date, the timers will austomaticall adjust. Then contact all the newspapers in the towns of both the bride & groom. It is customary to submit the announcement to the newpapers eight to twelve months before the wedding date. Click on forms to access a handy guide that will help you remember all the details. List the web sites of all the newspapers in the "Notes" section to the right. You can print a copy of the completed plan to carry with you.
2. Planning the Engagement Party This is an opportunity to celebrate the good news. Whether it is held in someone's home or a public restaurant, take the time to send out invitations. Check out the ones offered on our site and be sure to order for enough in advance to meet your deadline.
3. Creating the Guest List for the Engagement Party This event is usually limited to the wedding party and immediate family on both sides. Sending formal invitations is expected so use the attached forms to organized your list and mail the invitations.
4. Create a Budget Everything starts with the budget. Without a budget, none of the suggestions can be implemented. Click "Budget" to the right and begin filling in the blanks. You do not need to complete the entire busget now. By implementing the suggestions listed below, you will have the opportuinty to piece a budget together. As you enter costs, Wedding Panner will keep a running total of both your vendors bids and the balance due.
5. Wedding Consultant You may want professional help with planning your wedding. Consultants are easy to find but take the time to conduct a thouough interview. Ask for references and then call those references. Use the attached worksheet in the "Forms" field to the right to make sure all the details are covered.
6. Pre-Wedding Checklist Having a check list is always helpful. As each task is completed, check the box to indicate that function has been handled. The system will ghost out completed functions, leaving the unfinished taks in bold. If you uncheck the box, the text becomes bold again.
8. Choosing Your Bridesmaids Try to keep an equal number of Bride's Maids and Groomsmen. As a rule of thumb, you should plan on having one groomsman for every 50 quests. Give plenty of notice to the people you want in your wedding. This will give them sufficient time to save the money needed to participate. It will also provide you with sufficient time to find a replacement should someone not be able to participate. Click on "Forms" to access a handy guide.
9. Choosing Your Groomsmen The same issues apply here as with bridesmaids, except the groom usually does the picking. Take the time to walk him through the process. Another "Form" is available to help.
10. Attendants Duties To avoid overloading one individual or creating unneede competition, it is best to assign specific duties to each member of the party. Unfortunately, we do not have a worksheet to help with this process. However, we would welcome you input. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Gifts for the Wedding Party You should consider a small gift for all the members of the wedding party; including parents and helpers that are not part of the wedding party. Click on the "Forms" link for a helpful guide. Be sure to review the many products featured on our web site or enter your "Zip Code" for a list of gift shops in your area.
13. Guest Accommodations Some of your guests may live out of town, so you will need to arrange for lodging. If you can arrange for free accommodations at the homes of friends and family that is great, other wise you will need to provide list of recomended hotels. Discuss discounts for putting everyone together but keep in mind that guests wil have varying budgets so you will still need to provide a list of hotels. Try to keep the hotels near each other so guests can interact. Click on "Forms' to the right for a handy worksheet.
14. Guest Transportation There are lots of ways to provide transportation; bus, limo, rented cars, public transport, sharing personal cars. Give some consideration to what is best suited for your community. For example, public transportation may not be available. To help make these decisions, and keep track of the costs, we have provided the attached form.
15. Managing Your Gift Registries Every department store and big box retailer offers a gift registry. One is available on our site. The challenge is keeping track of them. You can add links to the Wish List options on our site so interested parties can be directed to just one site. Then they can move to other registries from this same site. Use the attached form to keep tack of all the registries you use.
18. Planning the Bridal Shower While the Maid of Honor usually handles this responsibility, it is wise to provide input and a framework to insure that things meet your expectations. Afterall, it is your wedding. We have provided a few forms to help you organize things, including costs.
21. Planning the Batchelor Party Because batchelor parties cost money and many couples share the cost, we have inculded a space for planning the event and then tracking the costs. While many guys are less than formal, it is not inappropriate to plan a structured party, including written invitations. The task of organizing the party usually falls to the Best Man so offer him help and use of the attached forms. This time honored event usually takes place within two weeks of the wedding.
22. Creating a Guest List for the Batchelor Party Sending formal invitations serves everyone's best interests. It helps the members of your wedding party (usually included in the event) and other attendees to schedule their time. Use the attached forms for the mail and include email reminders.
23. Planning the Batchelorette Party The Maid of Honor usually handles the details of this favorate event. As with the batchelor party, provide the attached forms to plan and then track costs. Holding this party around the same time of the batchelor party will ad fun and ease the strain on schedules for the entire wedding party.
24. Creating the Guest List for Batcheloretteette Party The same thoughts apply for the Batcheloretteette party as did for the Batchelor party. Sending formal invitations serves everyone's best interests. It helps the members of your wedding party (usually included in the event) and other attendees to schedule their time. Use the attached forms for the mail and include email reminders.
26. Attendant's Party It is a nice gesture to hold a party for all the folks that are helping to plan the wedding, not just the wedding party. Use the attached forms to organize and track costs. If you have purchased gifts for them, this is a good time to share them. Check out the products on our site for gift ideas.
27. The Legal Details The County where you live issues the license for the State. They can also direct you to where you can get blood tests. Once both have been accomplished, you will need to have the license signed by the Official that performs the ceremony. Make a copy and mail the signed forms back to the County Office.
28. Changing Your Name? Some brides keep their maiden name because of business reasons. Others replace their middle name with their maiden name. You can even change your first name; the choice is yours. If you change your name there are many institutions that need to know, including banks, insurance companies, and the government. Use the attached form to avoid forgetting anyone.
31. Bridal Formalwear While your gown may be white, you will need to decide on the color of your bridesmaids dresses and their style. Do this as far in advance as possible so participants will have time to get the dresses made or purchased. Don't forget the moms and flower girl. Use the attached forms to stay organized and track costs.
32. Bride's Hair Styling & Makeup This is an important day so most brides use a professional. This also helps to avoid damage to your gown. Use the attached form to track the costs. You may want to get your hair styled more than once to be sure you like the results. Be sure to bring your head piece and vail so you can see how the style will look on your wedding day.
33. Attendants' Formalwear & Accessories Whiile the attendants usuall pay for their own dress, shoes, jewelry, and purses, we have included a form for you to use to track the costs if you are covering those costs.
Again, be sure to choose the color and style of the dresses far enough in advance to allow participants to budget the costs and get the clothes made or purchased.
34. Wedding Jewelry While the engagement ring is usually a surprise purchased by the groom, there may be matching bands available. In addition, the bride may want to wear a necklace or broach. Sometimes these items are family heirlooms that are loaned for the ocassions. Regardless whether purchased or loaned, there are costs to be considered, including insurance. Click on "Budget" to track those costs.
35. Groom's & Attendants Formalwear There are a number of different styles available and the degree of your gown's formality will influence the decision on which style to choose, as will the time of the day for your ceremony. Take the time to review this situation so everyone is on the same page.
Use the attached worksheet to keep track of all the details and track costs if they are shared.
36. Get Your Invitations Here! Invitations, replly cards, and envelopes are all available on our web site. Be sure to include a return address in case the Post Office cannot deliver your mail. Be sure to order all you invitations at least four weeks before your wedding. Also, include a card requesting notice on food alergies so you can plan the food.
37. Choosing Printing Styles You can have your invitations printed by a professional in either thermography or ingraved styles. But todays technology provides you with the ability to print professional looking invitations from a quality lazer printer at much lower prices. If you do not have access to a lazer printer we can print them for you. Please check out our prices.
38. Choosing The Right Words There are established customs for how to word the invitation based upon who is paying for the wedding, religeous affiliation, and the marital status of parents. Attached are samples of each scenario.
39. How to Address The Envelopes For Your Invitations Invitations can be printed on a lazer printer if the font looks like calligraphy, otherwise hand address them. Be sure to include titles like: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Master, and military rank. Invitations sent to children under eighteen should be addressed to parents with the childs name on the second line. And include " & Guest" for single people if you have the space and budget to handle the additional people.
40. Personalizing Your Stationery You may want to personalize the following items: cards announcing your engagement, Cards assigning seats for the events, napkins,and thank-you cards. Use the attached form to track costs and vendors.
41. The Rehearsal This is just a run through to get everyone comfortable. It should take place where the actual ceremony is held, just days before the wedding so that everyone involved can be there, including the Official, without causing a burden on their schedules. Use the attached form to help you organize the event.
42. Rehearsal Dinner Food, frivolity, favors, and fun are the key ingredients for this meal. A time to relax and begin the bonding of two families. If the groom's family is hosting the event, they should have the greatest input about who should attend. But the wedding party is a must, along with immediate family. Use this time to favor you wedding party with small gifts. Check out the gifts offered on our site or you can choose from the gifts suggested by participating retailers. Make the event formal or casual and hold it anywhere convenient to the participants. We have included a worksheet to help you with the list of attendees.
43. Meet The Official This is important in any wedding, civil or religeous. It creates a joint understanding of what is needed and expected. The Official will need to know that all the legal issues are resolved, like a license and blood tests. Expectations on how the ceremony will be handled need to understood by both parties. This is a good time to discuss the fee for the Official, music, hiring an organist/musicians, your vows, and any charges for the church or facility.
44. Vows That Bond Now that you have met with the Official and have an understanding about the parameters of what you can say, take the time to complete an exercise that will help you create meaningful vows. In case the Official does not provide a guide or classes, we have included a work sheet that can help with the process.
45. Formal Or Casual People respond to structure. Whether you develope a plan around traditional pactices or create your own plan that is casual, having a plan takes the pressure off everyone. Simply sharing the plan with interested parties will avoid arguments and provide you with cover.
46. Don't Delay - Find A Recption Site ASAP Facilities book well in advance so you should too! Start looking for a suitable place as soon as possible and try to keep it close to the location of you ceremony. There is a lot to organizing your reception so we have included lots of forms to help organize and track costs. It would also help if you visited the hall during a wedding for someone else to see hwo smoothly things run.
47. Choosing The Caterer The facility you choose may require that you use their caterer. Check to make sure you don't create a problem. When you choose your menu it would help if you had the opportunity to taste their work; it won't hurt to ask. The attached work sheet covers the important issues and tracks cost.
48. To Drink Or Not To Drink This is a serious issue that goes beyond the cost of the alcohol. It is best to limit the amount that can be served to protect the lives of those driving home. You can offer an open bar (charging provides an automatic limit) and let the bartender monitor things. Or you can place a few bottles of wine on each table. Another option is to use servers who will carry wine to the tables and refill glasses.
50. Choosing The Baker The baker's performance can help or hinder the success of your reception so ask for references and if he can be on call if something goes wrong. Discuss schedule and if he delivers. If you want to save the top for your first year anniversary, make sure that portion is made to be frozen and will be edible when thawed. A worksheet is attached for convenience.
51. Choosing The Cakes Whether you choose a layered cake, a flat one, or a filled one, don't forget the groom. The groom's cake is usually simpler and decorated to reflect his interests. Choose your favorite flavor, it's your wedding. You are not tied to tradition, you can replace the cake with pastries.
52. Choosing a Photographer There are lots of horror stories out there that feature disappointment as the theme. So be careful to get everything in writing and donít pay for everything up front; a deposit will do. Ask for references and review his/her porfolio. Check out the list of participating photographers on our site for consideration. Be sure to discuss the negatives and or proofs. Will they be included for the price? Use the attached form to help with the details and track costs.
55. Choosing Your Florist Flowers are perishable so timing is critical. Make sure you get things in writing and stick with a deposit until the wedding is over. Your Maid of Honor can handle the final payment. It would help to have the florist you choose visit the site of you ceremony and reception so the scale and layout of the flowers will fit the environment. Use the attached forms to help with the details and track costs.
56. Save With Silk Flowers It is not unreasonable to use artificial flowers. They can be less costly and you can use them to decorate your new home. Sprinkle them with fresh flowers to capture the scent. Invest in the highest quality and you won't be disappointed. In case you want this option, we have provided a place in the budget to record the costs.
57. Hiring a Limousine Limos are usually hired by the hour and that can be costly. Plus, this industry has a reputation for non-reliability. So take the time to inspect the vechicles and investigate the company. Keep in mind that each trip needs to be a round trip so the cost doubles. Compare the cost of hiring by the day to the hourly rate, it could save you money. Use the attached form to guide you and track costs. Book in advance!
58. Alternative Transportation You may need to hire something bigger than a limo, like a bus, to transport the wedding party and out of town guests that do not have their own transportation. It would help if the entire wedding party stayed in the same hotel the night before the wedding. This assures you that everyone will be there and on time. We have provided space in the budget form to track this expense. Don't forget tips!
59. Transportation For Destination Weddings If you are traveling to a far away, exotic place, give consideration to picking up the extra cost that your wedding party incurs over a local wedding. In addition to transportation, also include hotels. We have alloted room in the budget form to track these costs.
60. Planning The Honeymoon Many brides feel the honeymoon is part of the wedding. Consequenty, we have include some suggestions and forms that should make the planning easier. The first consideration is the cost. You may want to contact a travel agent to help you establish the budget. Bring the attached forms to the meeting to increase the chances that nothing is forgotten.
61. Tips For Foreign Travel If you are planning to leave the country make sure you have a passport. You can get one at most post offices but it will take time. You should allow six weeks to be sure.
Remember the laws are not the same so contact the State Department for details on specific countries. Spitting on the sidewalk can get you arrested in one Asian Country. Plus, the State Department is upto date on which countries are safe.
Don't bring electrical appliances, they may not work. Buying when you get there is cheap.
Check with your health insurance for coverage! Don't forget any medicine you need to take.
Bring a security pouch that you can hide on your person to safegard your passport and valuables.
62. Choosing A Travel Agent Contrary to popular belief, consumers do not pay for the cost of a travel agent. They earn their money as commissioned agents of the places they send you and the carriers that send you there. Use the attached worksheet to help you determine who to use.
63. What To Do On Your Honeymoon There are so many things that you can do on a honeymoon that it is hard to decide. But you should have a good idea in advance about what you like and what is available. The travel agent or the brochures for your destination will provide the later. We have provided a list of activities to spark ideas.