The Wedding Department Wedding Planning Guide.
The Wedding Planner.
Try as we like we were unable to locate a wedding planning site we wanted to recommend.
That is not to say that there aren’t some good ones out there. So instead of recommending one we decided to put a guide together and let it go at that.

We planned and produced our wedding party ourselves and it worked out fine. We are still married after more than 25 years.

Hiring a wedding planner
Planning a wedding is not for everyone.
If yours is going to be an extravagant affair or your time is valuable, or you just don’t feel you are up to the task then you probably want to enlist the help of a qualified wedding planner/coordinator in your area.

By hiring a local planner you will be able to interview them in person. This can be very important when you want to be sure they can deliver what they promise. You will also want to know you can work together before, during and after the event.

There are a few questions you will want to ask at the initial interviews.
1. How long have they been in business.
2. What happens if they fail or one of the contractors fails to preform as agreed.
3. Ask for references and check them out.
4. How do they charge and who pays for what.
6. What exactly will they provide for example will they be there to make sure everything goes according to plan, etc..
5. Make sure everything is in writing down to the last detail. Very Important!

Obviously you will want them to be computer literate.
Talk to a few and take notes.
So you want to plan your own wedding.
For those who want to plan the wedding your self’s there are some must do’s that should not be overlooked.

The very first thing you must do is get a 3 ring binder at the stationary store or some type of folio that you can use to store notes and papers. While you are there pick up some pocket folders to fit the binder and some lined writing paper. A 3 ring binder works well because you will probably be adding and subtracting to the plan as you go. Its much easier to add and subtract pages from a binder than from a spiral note book. The paper is for notes and the pockets are for storing papers like entertainment contracts or any other important documents.

It is very important to keep every single scrap of paper, every note, every contract, everything in the binder. This will be the game plan for the event and you need to be sure this is in order. This way when and if a problem arises you will have plan a and plan b in black and white. What would happen if the venue for the meal has a fire in the kitchen. Its happened. What happens if your entertainment is a no show. Again this has happened.

You can save your self a lot of stress if you have back up plans in place. That’s not to say go out and rent 2 banquet halls, but look around for a place you could get in a hurry. Have the numbers of several disk jockeys or bands which may be available at the drop of a hat. You may not prefer it but having a so so disk jockey come in at the last minute is better than no entertainment at all. As before don’t hire extra entertainment, just have a few numbers in your book, just in case.

The point is if your contingencies are put down in print you will not have to think about what to do in an emergency. Just get out the book and if you have planned well the answer to your problem will be there. One more thing, get a small pocket sized notebook and have it with you at all times during the planning. When you have a brilliant idea, put it down in the notebook so you will not forget it later. You would be surprised at how easy it can be to forget things, especially when you have so much on your mind.

Where to begin
To begin with you might want to employ the assistance of some one else, not your partner, whom you can trust to help as the “coach” on “game day” If you were to hire a full service planner chances are they would be there the day of the event as a choreographer of sorts making sure every thing is in the right place at the right time.

Even thought you have planned in advance some one needs to be aware of what’s going on in both the broad sense and as to details. You may not want to be burdened with being distracted from you day with worrying about if the cars are ready. By the same token if you enjoy putting on a party you might find this great fun. Either way it is not a bad idea to have as much help as you can.

Start out by thinking in a broad sense how you see the chain of events coming together. Break it down into separate parts or “flaming hoops’. And always remember, “one flaming hoop at a time”.
Focus only on what you need to be doing.

There is bound to be a shower, but this probably will be planned by some one other than the bride.
There may be a rehearsal dinner and this may also be planned by some one else like the grooms family.
Start by thinking about the wedding day first. Sketch out a basic outline of how you see the day progressing from waking in the morning to the end of the day. This might include getting getting dressed, getting to the church or the venue for the ceremony, the ceremony its self, photos, maybe a party afterwards and then perhaps a honeymoon or trip.

Make a separate piece of paper for each action. This way when you think of more things to do you can insert them where they belong and this keeps the plan in chronological order. If it seems like too much detail don’t worry. Later on you can distill the plan to fit in a smaller “game” book, keeping the master book on hand for reference. The game book will be used the day of the wedding and should be entrusted to whom ever you have chosen for the coach. By looking at the day you will be able to discover a important pieces of information.

You need to know where the events will happen and how many people you need to be prepared for and the reason you need to do this well in advance is to get the invitations out ASAP. People now a days plan time tight and they will appreciate as much notice as they can get especially if they are coming from out of town. If you are inviting out of town guests some thought as to lodging may be in order.
Since all wedding would be different it is not possible to conceive of every possibility here you will need to think the day through and then maybe work backwards to be sure everything is considered.

How many people do I invite?
How many do you want? How many can you afford? How many toasters do you need?
There is no formal rule. In our case we had immediate family for the wedding, which was a civil ceremony, and then we invited extended family and friends to the reception.

If money is an issue you will probably need to have an idea of how much you want to spend and what do you want to spend it on.
The question is often asked “how soon do I send out my invitations” 6 to 8 months is not a bad idea.
The simple answer is; The wedding invitations will need to be sent out with as much advance time as possible.

Just remember the sooner you have the RSVPs back the sooner you will be able to plan things such as menu and food portions, seating and so forth.
By the way many people seem to have forgotten what stands for. R.S.V.P. comes from the French expression “ripondez s’il vous plant”, which translates into “please respond”.

More and more people do not understand that it means respond if you are coming or not. I suppose in this day and age you could put a little post it note on the RSVP saying please respond even if you are not going to attend. If you decide to make your invitations your self whether the reason is to save money or you are creative and want to add a personal touch remember that invitation are usually a collection of envelopes and cards. Look a few online or in a stationary store to see how they are put together. First there is the invitation proper which is the piece of paper that has the invitation information printed on it.

For example the couple or the brides or grooms parents or both are inviting so and so to the wedding. It used to be the bride parents but that no longer is a rule.
You might want to be very specific as to who is invited. The whole family? Kids?

Also included would be some kind of clue as to if there will be a party and where the party is. You may want to include the address of the church and if there is to be a party the address for that.
Normally you would include the RSVP card that the guest fills out and sends back to you. This card is usually smaller and might have a place for the guest to write in the number attending.

If there is an RSVP card then there should also be an envelope to send the card back to you.
This envelope should be addressed to you and sufficient postage should be affixed.

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