Advanced Wedding Planning: Ten Tips


By Holly Armstrong-Wiencek, From the author of Wedding Plans Made Simple

Planning your wedding can be a fun and exhilarating experience; it can, however, also be incredibly stressful. To achieve your wedding goals with the least amount of stress there are three simple rules that every bride should learn to live by:

* Planning is everything.
* Execution is crucial.
* Organization is your cornerstone.

As the bride-to-be, you should never underestimate the amount of work that your special day entails. Remaining organized will not only help you save yourself from feeling inundated, it can help you avoid any major catastrophes on your special day. Here are some of the top organizational tips that will help you stay on track without being overwhelmed.

* Purchase a Wedding Planner: A wedding planner is one of the most valuable investments a bride can make. Try to purchase one that is comprised mostly of planning worksheets to help you compare and keep all notes in their respective areas. You will want to keep this book with you at all times so when ideas or reminders arise, like a name you forgot to add to the guest list, you can jot them down at that time.

* Start Early: One of the most common mistakes in planning a wedding is thinking you have "plenty of time." Sitting back and enjoying the sparkle of your engagement ring is wonderful, but time is of the essence when it comes to making arrangements for the special day. The more time you have to plan, the more options you will have for everything. Following a wedding timeline will give you an idea of what needs to be accomplished and what your time frame should be.

* Designate Planning Time. Set aside certain times of the week solely for planning. This will help you accomplish more tasks than if you were to randomly choose planning times. Making a to-do list for your next planning session will help you recollect what has and has not been done and help you utilize your allotted time more effectively. If you are pressed for time, you can always allot an hour or two each day to work.

* Delegate Duties: Trying to conquer this project all by yourself can lead to an overwhelming feeling and possibly discouraged you. Make a list of things to be done and sit down with the groom-to-be and/or attendants and choose who will do what. This is not to say that you will not be involved every step of the way; you will just be getting some helping hands. Not only will this help you accomplish more in a shorter period of time, it will help you enjoy the planning process a lot more.

* Communicate: This point cannot be stressed enough. It is imperative that the bride- and groom-to-be are on the same page when it comes to weddings, and it is also good practice for starting off your marriage on the right foot. You will want to make sure that each of you has expressed your desires and expectations for the wedding. If there are things that you object to — and there will be — make sure your protests are heard and vice versa.

* Compromise: There are going to be a lot of things that each of you will not particularly care for, but keep in mind that being flexible is a must when it comes to planning a wedding, especially if there are certain traditions in each family. Remember that getting married merges two families, and you should be open to communicating with both families about their wishes and traditions.

* Do Your Homework: Browse through bridal magazines and note things that catch your eye. Make sure you bring the magazines with you, so you can show vendors what you have in mind. It is easier for the florist to see that the small, white flowers with the hole in the center are actually stephanotis. With the advent of multicolored post-it notes, it is easy to keep magazine pages organized by color (instead of dogeared), yellow for flowers, blue for gowns, pink for hairstyles, etc.

* Use the Information Highway: Logging on to the World Wide Web can make planning your wedding a breeze. There is a myriad of information out there that can suit any bride's needs. Web pages geared specifically to women have proved to be an essential planning tool for today's bride. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.

* Choose Vendors Wisely: When choosing your vendors, try to make certain this vendor will do exactly what you are asking and that you are comfortable doing business with this person. Changing vendors mid-planning can lead not only to confusion and lost details, but it can be a costly change. Many vendors will not refund deposits without specific reasons.

* Get It in Writing: Be sure to get a contract from each and every vendor for goods and services to be performed. You will want to be sure to clarify all the details specifically stating dates, times, locations and appropriate dress. Spell out everything and never assume anything. Be sure to read the fine print on every contract before you sign it, and make sure you are aware of any cancellation policies and fees. You may want to inquire about a grace period to cancel just in case you change your mind or something drastic happens — you never know! The importance of contracts cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately, there are vendors out there who don't stand by their word, and should this occurr, a contract can give you recourse.

Now that you are well informed about the importance of being organized during the wedding planning process — RELAX! It is easier than it sounds, provided you take the proper steps. Now, go forth and plan, plan, plan.