When I was driving up for the wedding rehearsal for my first marriage ceremony I noticed this very cool engagement announcement on the side of a barn!!! I thought it was a really good omen.
Plus it reminded me to share what happens after you or your bride or groom says “YES”!!!
So what next??
Make the announcement: If possible, tell both sets of folks in person. If your parents don’t live nearby, put in a special phone call. Then start telling everyone – or take out a classified ad in the Herald.
Delve into dreams: Sit down with your fiancé and talk ideas. Think about the style you’d like, whether it’s a beach bash, silver service in a ballroom or a ceremony on a mountaintop. No talk of money. Yet.
Rough out the timing: While you don’t have to set a firm date now, it’s smart to have an idea of what month or season you want to marry in. Then you’ll know how long you have to get things organized. Because your wedding’s size determines where you’ll hold the party, how much it will cost (prices usually rise per guest) and whether travel will be involved.
Create a guest list: Thiis one of the most important things to do. So make your list; your fiancé and both families should do the same. You can, and likely will, cut later, but this first number will be your base.
Now talk $: It’s rare these days that the bride’s parents pick up the whole bill, so decide on your bottom line. Find out from both sets of parents if or how much they can contribute.
Get organised: Buy a notebook and separate it into sections for each budget category. This way you can write down the amount you want to spend on the item and then note your expenditures. As you near your limits, you can start to figure out ways to cut costs.
Find Your Venue
Ceremony who and where: Find a Marriage Celebrant to officiate and a ceremony site —it may be your hometown, or for convenience a place that’s in between your homes and your parents’. And then there’s the destination wedding; just make sure that everyone you really want to join you and your groom can afford to travel and is able to make it.
The reception venue: Think again about those wedding dreams, and see how they mesh with reality. Perhaps you envision an outdoor garden. Fine, but what if you can’t find just the right place or the weather is an issue? Maybe there’s a quaint hotel with a pretty courtyard that would suit. Some couples find holiday homes in their area to rent. Search the internet, ask friends and family for ideas. Then start scheduling visits.
Hire Your Vendors
Photographer and videographer: The best ones usually book weddings many months in advance, so get on this one early. Get recommendations from friends, then research what kinds of shots you’d like to see—formal portraits and dancing shots or a candid, journalistic format. Always meet in person and ask to see other wedding albums the pro has done. Try not to go with a large studio – they sometimes interchange people so you may end up with a photographer you didn’t meet who turns out to be a disaster.
Tip: Not sure what kind of album you want? Look for photographers with a looser style and many package choices on offer. You don’t have to make up your mind right away. After the wedding, you may even want to get creative and make your own album – there are loads of online photo book options.
Tip: It’s likely everyone will be going snap-happy with their cellphones. To avoid ending up with 300 nearly identical shots, give guests a few ideas (print up a card to place on each table). Suggest one photo of each couple at the table, some goofy dance pics and a surprise shot of their choice—all to be shared later. Candid photos by friends can be really cool and much more meaningful.
DJ or Musicians: Arrange to hear musicians perform before you book them. Make sure they agree to stick to the playlist you give them. Find out how they will dress and how many breaks they will take. Hiring a DJ is usually less expensive than a live band, but not always.
Flowers and décor theming: Once you have your reception venue booked, you can decide on table arrangements and other decorations. A hotel ballroom might be a relatively blank slate, whereas a museum may need little more than simple centerpieces. If you can buy fresh stems at a local farm, ask a talented friend to help put together bouquets and centerpieces. Or ask your florist to incorporate tons of greenery to make fewer flowers look like a lot more. There are so many vibrant props available now – you may not even need the expense of flowers.
Caterer: You want to know how dishes will taste and look and how flexible the caterer is with menus and prices. Don’t be afraid to bargain; you can cut costs by limiting the number and kinds of hors d’oeuvres served at cocktail hour.
Cake Maker: As with your caterer – make an appointment to taste test. Bring along lots of photo references you’ve found on Pinterest or magazines. Cakes are a bigger cost than you think so make sure you find the right cake baker for you.
Choose Your Bridal Party
When naming your attendants, follow these tips:
♥ Explain to prospective bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers etc what the role requires, like planning the shower and paying for their attire.
♥ Tell each person they will need to commit a certain amount of time and energy—and if they can’t, it’s fine to decline.
♥ Choose as many or as few people as you want – although the more people the more help you will have throughout the process and on your big day. It makes a huge difference.
♥ Give your closest friend or relative the key positions.
♥ Include your partners relatives; it’s a diplomatic move that can only strengthen family relations – or in my case ruin them as they were unbelievably unreliable and not really into it which completely backfired! Choose wisely!
Choose ‘The Dress’
Erase emotion: If you were the girl who pinned towels in her hair to play bride, you may need extra help with this step. Pulling the emotion out of the event and remaining level-headed as you shop for your dress will help you stay within the bounds of both budget and practicality. If it helps, bring your mum and an honest friend along with you.
Know what kind of shopper you are: Some brides relish the hunt for the ideal dress, and happily book a number of appointments at bridal salons. They like having a salesperson who offers ideas and selects gown styles for them. Others would really love to just slip into a store (a department store, a specialty boutique, a secondhand shop) and find their dress hanging there on the rack. Both ways are possible. Decide which kind of shopper you are, and work accordingly. Online dress buying is an option – just make sure you use a site that has been recommended to you and get your dress measurements accurate – it can be cost effective or go horribly wrong.
Don’t second-guess yourself: Think you’ve found The One? Then you probably have. Look no further—and relax.
Tip: It’s not strictly necessary to know wedding place and time details before you shop. Start shopping whenever you feel pumped—and don’t forget to have your guy buy or rent formalwear for himself and his groomsmen.
No matter what your wedding budget may be, here’s a rough idea of how much is typically spent in each category. Keep in mind that the numbers are not hard and fast. Some couples may, for example, choose to spend more on photography and less on flowers. It’s up to you! The average cost of a New Zealand wedding is around $30,000 for a wedding held in a cost-effective venue with 100 guests.
- Reception: 40%
- Honeymoon: 14.5%
- Photography and videography: 10.5%
- Wedding attire: 7%
- Engagement rings and wedding bands: 6%
- Flowers: 5%
- Music: 5%
- Invitations: 2%
- Miscellaneous: 10%
Smart Saving Tips
Wedding budgets have a way of expanding like a balloon. Keep yours from popping (and give yourself some wiggle room for those unexpected expenses or must-haves) by reining in spending. Here, six smart saving tips:
1) Borrow. Did you totally love the tiara your sister wore? Borrow it for your ensemble! You can borrow jewelry (just like the stars do at Oscar time) and other accessories, honeymoon luggage (no reason to splurge on new suitcases if your parents have good stuff), vases for centerpieces (if you’re doing these yourself) and so on.
2) Use people’s DIY skils. If your aunt is a sewing whiz, she can create a veil or even do alterations on your dress. A skilled artist can create wonderful personalized invitations. A crafty friend can come up with a fun favor. An avid scrapbooker can put together an album for you. Just tell them this is their gift to you.
3) Create a signature drink. If you’re tempted to save by having a cash bar, stop! Instead, cut down on liquor costs by offering one signature drink (like pitchers of a gourmet martini) along with beer, soda and juices. Another idea: Find out if your venue will allow you to bring your own wine – this can save a little bit.
4) Limit the limos. It’s nice to pull up to the ceremony location in a sleek limo or classic car, but consider skipping the rides elsewhere to save money. Instead have your brother or a cousin chauffeur you and your new hubby to the reception.
5) Don’t go flower mad. There are plenty of ways to keep your bill from blooming: Buy flowers wholesale and give them to a florist to work with or create centerpieces that use candles and just a few beautiful blooms. A profusion of blooms looks lush and lovely, but you can get the same effect with fewer flowers than you think or ditch the flowers altogether and go with something unique.
6) Avoid impulse buying. Got everything on your list? Then stop shopping. If you’ve already bought your bridesmaids lovely shawls, and you see pretty handbags that would match…and sparkly earrings…put them down.
Taming Your Guest List
When you pay a caterer by the head, every guest is a $ka-ching$ on the total bill. Here are some ways to keep the list under control:
♥ Don’t invite the whole office—either just ask your boss and your closest friends at work or no one at all.
♥ Don’t dig into your old address book for blasts from the past; stick to those people you see regularly and who have met both of you.
♥ Rein in parents. They can invite their friends, but only the ones who know you too.
Sending Your Invitations
Your invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before the big day, so work backward from there to be sure you order in time. The basic invite announces the hosts of the wedding (whether that’s the two of you, your parents or a combination) and the place and time of the ceremony. It may include a card that gives the dress code, reception details, accommodation options, gift registry info and rsvp details. Get a sample of the invite before deciding to use it— and proofread!
Wedding-Day Beauty Regime
It’s easy to become so caught up in the planning that you forget one simple thing: you! So start now to create and stick to a self-care plan.
Exercise regularly and keep to a healthy diet. Even a 30-minute walk several times a week can be enough to keep you feeling energetic. To prevent fatigue, take a multivitamin everyday, especially if you’re skipping meals. Bring healthy snacks—almonds, a banana—along with you when you go shopping or to work.
Get plenty of sleep. Most brides-to-be find themselves having alot of late nights, but try your best not to skimp on sleep; not getting enough contributes to lowered immunity, and you don’t want to get sick now. Plus, well-rested gals always look their best.
Meet with a hairstylist. If you want to maintain your current cut and/or color, tell your regular hairstylist, and be sure you’re not due for an appointment the week before your big day (you should ideally have your hair cut and colored a couple of weeks prior). If this stylist will do your hair for the wedding, see her for a practice session or two to try a couple of hairdos. (If you’re wearing a headpiece or tiara, bring it along.)
Practice makeup. Smith & Caughey and Farmers beauty counters will give you a makeover; you usually have to book in and pay a fee redeemable against product.
I hope this helps get you on your way and keep you on track to a beautiful and stress-free wedding!