It’s the job of wedding planning professionals to tend to the many details involved in the creation of that perfect wedding. But many couples take charge of those details for their own festivities, and, in a sense, become their own wedding planners. The key to success in this endeavor? Be realistic about the time and effort required, and take a look at the following tips for some helpful pointers.
* When planning your own wedding, make a solemn commitment that you will remain as organized and thorough as is humanly possible. In the process, hold to your heart that old saying about the early bird catching the worm (in this case, the early bride catches the perfect wedding date, photographer, venue, wedding favors, what have you). Toward this end, try recruiting a team, an extra helping hand or two, to help you make the various wedding arrangements. Two (or three or four) heads are most certainly better than one when it comes to planning the many details of such a big event.
* Set your dates. And once you do, make a detailed list of dates and appointments that cannot be changed, especially the wedding date itself (and confirm, confirm, confirm that you have booked the church and reception hall properly). Most other aspects of the wedding will be planned around these key dates and can often be altered if necessary.
* Choose the theme of your wedding as soon as possible, as well as the colors, the type of décor and the overall atmosphere you would like to create. Do you want your wedding to be relaxed or formal? Indoors or out? A beach or winter wedding theme? A fairy tale wedding, or a wedding bathed in calla lilies — or both? Traditional blue or pink, or a trendy retro brown and pink combo? If you have trouble choosing, think about your fiancé and the interests you share and those little details that brought you together in the first place. Remember, too, that the earlier you make these decisions, the more fun choosing flowers, decorations, wedding cake accessories and wedding favors will be, because you can do it at your leisure.
* Book the caterer and the photographer, and choose the menu for your wedding reception early. Such choices often involve interviews both with the various providers as well as other couples who employed them for their weddings. Be an early bird with your wedding invitations, as well. Not only does this give you time to ensure they are printed correctly, it also gives you time to confirm the proper postage (invitations can sometimes require a little extra). Then get them addressed and ready to go long before you need to mail them. And while you’re making that early-bird decision about the invites, consider sending out “Save-the-Date” cards to prospective guests, as well.
* Keep accurate records of everything you have done, would like to do, and still need to do. Establish your own system: a computer, a notebook or even sticky notes… whatever works for you. You certainly can’t memorize your increasing list of details, dates and lists, but put it to paper or computer (with proper and frequent backups for anything done electronically), and it need never be lost.
* Devote yourself to the big picture. Yes, the bride and groom are the core, but successful planning means considering the viewpoint of everyone involved, from bride to wedding party to guests to caterers, photographers and florists. For example, bride and groom together are wise to give careful thought to the gifts they intend to present to bridesmaids and groomsmen. Gifts for her and gifts for him, these quite often are personalized, which, from engraved money clips to picture frames, requires some lead time.
* Never underestimate the power of communication. When planning your wedding, communication is the key to ensuring all your providers are aware of what you expect and when you expect it. Drop the ball, and you may end up facing last-minute obstacles that will increase your stress, undermine all your hard work, and illuminate why professional planners earn every penny they command. But with clear and timely communication, diligent organization, a professional attitude, a current calendar, and a realistic vision of your end goal, you can create a memorable wedding that runs smoothly and seamlessly, and have fun doing it, too!