Every couple wants their wedding to be absolutely flawless. Achieving perfection, however, requires quite a bit of organising. Here are a few things to remember when planning your big day.
CHOOSE THE DATE
Consider the day and date carefully. Make sure your closest friends and family members will be able to attend especially if you want a weekday wedding when many people are at work. If your sister is pregnant or your best friend is planning a trip, take that into account in order to avoid disappointment.
DRAFT THE GUEST LIST
Make a list of all the people you’d like to see at your wedding. But, keep your budget in mind as more people mean higher costs. Ensure both sides – bride and groom’s family – are given equal share of the guest list unless it has been agreed otherwise for a particular reason.
MAKE A JOB LIST TOO
List all the things you need to do ahead of the big day and prioritise. Some bookings will need to be made as early as possible others can be left till later. Consider the professionals you will book and who among family and friends can help. Attire is a given but don’t forget transport (wedding cars or other), hairdresser, florist, cake maker, photographer, entertainer, marriage celebrant and, of course, venues.
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS
Book the venues for your ceremony and reception as soon as possible, especially if you’re wedding is in summer. Popular venues are often reserved up to a year in advance. If planning an outdoor wedding ensure there is a room or a well-sheltered area available should it rain on the day; even during the best of summers storms do occur. Book honeymoon accommodation and, if applicable, flights.
SEND OUT INVITATIONS
The earlier you send out ‘save the date’ cards and invitations, the better. While six weeks prior to the wedding was the accepted standard for many years, eight weeks is now more common.
However don’t send out months in advance in case invites are put aside and forgotten or they result in hasty replies with people then cancelling closer to the date. Be sure to ask invitees to RSVP – use an email address for ease of reply. This will also encourage guests to respond promptly. Posted replies are fast disappearing. This is also a good time to designate bridesmaids and groomsmen.
DRAW UP A FLOOR PLAN
Visit the venue as many times as you need to. If you’re planning to hire a band, display a slideshow or organise a karaoke session, confirm that the location allows it.
DECORATE THE VENUE
Get in touch with your florist and decorator to discuss your ideas and ask for advice. If you’re on a tight budget, consider taking care of the decorating yourself — enlist the help of friends and make sure you start early.
CHOOSE AN MC
Who will be the master of ceremonies for the event? Someone you know or a hired pro? Also think about the music.
SHOP FOR YOUR ATTIRE
Start shopping as early as possible so you can find the best deals and make the right choices. Check with your bridal store if gowns can be altered down the track should you lose or gain weight and ensure you know how far out from the wedding the retailer requires this to be done. If a gown is coming from overseas, last minute alterations may not be possible.
Think about how you’ll accessorise your outfit for the ceremony and don’t forget about makeup and hair trials – book your hairdresser early, she may be in big demand especially for Saturday weddings. When shopping for bridal and attendants’ gowns think about the men’s attire at the same time although this may be booked a little later. Also consider the colour of attendants’ attire; will it be part of an overall colour theme?
VISIT A JEWELLER
Choose your wedding bands wisely — after all, you’ll be wearing them for the rest of your life!
CHOOSE THE MENU
Is your goal to please as many people as possible or to step off the beaten path? Do you need to plan vegetarian/vegan options or kid-friendly snacks? Determine what type of meal will be served at your wedding, and don’t forget drinks and desserts as well as canapés to be served after the actual ceremony during the time your photographs are being taken, often elsewhere.
IMMORTALISE THE DAY
Book a professional photographer early, guests may also take photos but these will be less formal and can be affected by lighting, rain or camera quality. Photo-booths and disposable cameras are great for capturing candid memories, but couples usually want an album of creative, professional shots too.