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The complete month-by-month wedding planning timeline

Wedding planning

Only a handful of brides have the unbelievable ability for successful short-term wedding planning. However, if you are like most women, you may take a year or more to sort out all aspects of wedding planning.

So, there is no exact timeline to plan a perfect wedding.

Nonetheless, you need a plan! Even if you are an easy-going bride who somehow gets things done in the nick of time.

If you have already planned a wedding, you will need some direction and guidance on what needs to be done.

Don’t you agree?

So, here is a practical wedding planning timeline and month-by-month checklist of all the different tasks that it involves. Use it as such or as a reference to create your own personalized wedding plan and you simply cannot go wrong.

Note: This wedding planning timeline is created for the “average” engagement period, which is a whole year. However, you can adjust it to divide and conquer all the relevant, tasks even if your engagement is longer or shorter.

When you have 12 months left

Wedding budget
Wedding finances

Freshly engaged and still reeling from the thrill of the beautiful proposal? Indulge yourself in the ecstasy of this milestone chapter in your life, for it happens just once.

Have a party, take a holiday; all you need to celebrate! Then, get down to business!

Start your wedding planning process with the following tasks.

Prepare the Wedding Budget

Weddings are expensive affairs, and this is the right time to discuss finances with your fiancé.

Calculate the maximum amount you can afford to spend. Then, divide the funds into different expenses. Some of the important factors to consider at this point are:

  • Who pays for the wedding? Are your families/other generous relatives contributing? If so, how much will they be paying?
  • What are your priorities—venue, décor, entertainment, food, honeymoon?
  • What tools will you use to jot down and track expenses? Do you prefer the pen and paper route, spreadsheets or a budget planning app?

This useful budget planning tool will help you create an estimate and break it down into different aspects.

Plan the guest list

It is never too early to sort out your guest list as the number of guests will determine important aspects like the choice of venue and food. So, you must have at least a rough idea of how many guests will be attending the wedding.

If your parents are contributing, it is only fair that they also get to invite some guests. Compile the lists from your partner, parents and yourself to get a total headcount. If there are more people than you can afford, this is the time to negotiate and arrive at a reasonable number.

To hire a wedding planner or not

Do you think you are better off entrusting your wedding planning or at least certain aspects of it to a wedding planner? If so, this is the right time to find an event planner.

Hiring a wedding planner is expensive. However, it may be the best option if you cannot dedicate time for wedding planning.

So, weigh your options and if you decide to hire someone, do it right away.

Fix the date, plan the theme and book your venue

Good venues get booked fast. So, don’t delay in making your booking.  

You can either choose a theme and tour venues that match the vibe or pick the venue first and then think of a suitable theme.

Don’t worry about the specifics at this stage of wedding planning. Instead, focus on finding a venue that will accommodate your guest list and falls within budget.

11 months left

Wedding decor

You still have plenty of time left. Tackle the following tasks during this month.

Choose your wedding party members

Don’t wait longer to choose your Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, best man, and groomsmen. Then pop the question to them and finalize your wedding party list.

Look for inspiration

You can now start planning the smaller details of your wedding. Turn to Pinterest, magazines and any other sources that can help you with this task. Prioritize the following tasks during this month:

  • Fixing the colors in your wedding theme
  • Narrowing down your décor and food choices

Work on your wedding website

A wedding website is a brilliant resource that will help you compile and share all relevant information about the wedding, with your guests.

You can inform them about the venue address, wedding day timeline, wedding registry information and even photos using such a portal.

Check out this post on A Practical Wedding website for the essential etiquette rules that you should stick to when designing a website.

Plan your entertainment, food, and décor

The following questions will help you with wedding vendor selection:

  • Do you want a band or DJ for the reception? And are there any specific artists you wish to hire?
  • What type of décor would you prefer? More importantly, think of the floral details you want it will soon be time to choose a florist.
  • What type of food should be served at your wedding? Do you prefer a full four-course meal a buffet? Accordingly, find caterers who can deliver to your expectations.
  • What type of photography do you like most? Read up on the different types of wedding photography styles and choose your favorite. Then look for photographers who specialize in your chosen style, contact them for their prices and move on to the next stage.

Start thinking about your wedding dress

Dress shopping is one of the best parts of wedding planning. However, wedding dress orders typically take six to nine months to be delivered. So, you will have to start shopping for your wedding dress shortly. Make the task easy by preparing for it.

Read up on wedding dress trends and familiarize yourself with wedding dress lingo. There is a ton of information online. So, use the resources at your disposal to become familiar with all that you should know about wedding dress shopping.

Also, use this time to shortlist boutiques that carry gowns in the price range you can afford. You can contact them right away and fix your bridal dress appointment in the coming month.

10 months left

Vendor selection
Wedding Vendor selection

By now, you should have booked or at least finalized the venue, decided on the type of entertainment, food, and décor you want and have a headcount for guests. Let us now move on to the remaining tasks.

Hire the wedding officiant, caterer, photographer, and other important vendors

Your officiant, photographer, DJ/band and caterer are crucial to creating great memories of your special day. So, it is important that you are comfortable and strike a good rapport with your chosen vendors.

Since good vendors tend to get booked quickly, make your choices quickly. Book a tasting session with the caterer if necessary. Similarly, ask for previous performance records from your DJ and band. You can also consider getting engagement photographs taken, to assess how good your photographer is.

Do your research, make your final decision and put down the deposit. You can then cross this task off your wedding list.

Work on your wedding invitation and send out save-the-date cards

Wedding invitations come in a stunning variety of styles. You can also have custom wedding invitations, but these involve a lot of time and effort. Decide on your preferences and start looking for suitable choices.

If your wedding is during peak season or it is a destination wedding, you can send out save-the-date cards right now or in a month, so your guests have enough time to make plans.  

9 months left

Wedding dress shopping
Wedding dress shopping

Your wedding is approaching, and it is now time to start planning the bigger (even game-changing) aspects of your wedding day. Let’s find out what they are

Go shopping for your wedding dress

Start your wedding shopping now and you will have ample time to complete the entire process. Not only should you be able to explore your options in different stores but you can also save on rush fees.

If you place your order at least 6 to 9 months before the wedding, you can conveniently schedule alterations and accessories selection. So, book your appointment and get on with it already.

Visit this post for all that you need to prepare well for the task.

Set up your gift registry

Your guests will begin thinking about gifts as soon as they receive your invitation. So, it will be helpful if your gift registry is set up by then.

To decide what should go on your registry, discuss with your partner about your personal preferences, hobbies and how you expect your lifestyle after marriage to be. Accordingly, plan your wedding registry and register yourself at your chosen retailers.

Also, add your registry information to your wedding website. This is a smart way to pass on the information to your wedding guests.

8 months left

Bridesmaid
Bridesmaid

You are nearing the half-way mark and you should ideally have tackled most of the time-sensitive tasks by now. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of work left to do.

Book rooms for out-of-town guests

Your guests will appreciate it if you can help them plan their stay if they are coming from far. Hotel rooms tend to be full during peak season. So, book your rooms well in advance.

Since your guests will be paying their own bills, it is a good idea to look for hotels in different price ranges. Share the details with them and block the rooms as soon as they confirm.

Contact rental companies

If you must need tables, chairs, music systems, lighting or anything else at the venue, this is the time to take quotes from rental companies and book their services.

Time to look for bridal party outfits

Now that you have placed the order for your own wedding dress, move on to outfits for the rest of your wedding party. Consult your bridesmaids or go with your instincts to choose the color, style, and other details.

Do your research on the places where the dresses are available at reasonable prices. Then book an appointment to explore your options.

Once you shortlist the dresses, you should take your bridesmaids along to see how they look in these dresses. You can then go ahead with placing the order.

Plan your honeymoon

Before you know it, you will too busy to plan your honeymoon. So, plan your honeymoon budget without delay and select a suitable location. Book your accommodation and travel, so that is out of the way.

7 months left

Florist
Florist

Here are the tasks to tackle this month.

Book the rehearsal dinner venue

Now is the time to plan the rehearsal dinner. Consult your fiancé to find a convenient venue for the wedding. Also, decide whether you want it to be a casual-style dinner or a formal setting.

Meet your wedding officiant

Some couples prefer to hire a professional officiant to oversee the wedding ceremony. Others keep it casual by asking a family member or friend to do it.

Either way, you should meet with them prior to the wedding and map out the ceremony. Also, check whether all the legal documentation is sorted out.

Arrange transportation

Plan and arrange transportation to and from the venue. Contact cab operators to hire a limo, vintage car or any other form of transportation. This is also the time to look for mini-van rentals, individual cab services or bigger vehicles if you plan to arrange transportation for your guests.

Meet your florist

By now, you should have a good idea of how your wedding décor will be. You should also be aware of the individual bouquets you will need for yourself and the bridesmaids. Share this information with your florist and ensure you are both in agreement regarding the plans.

6 months to go

Wedding rings
Wedding rings

You are the half-way mark and with very little time left. There is no time to lose!

Order your wedding rings

Shop for wedding rings with your partner this month. Remember that you will be wearing these rings all your life. So, make your decision wisely.

If you would like to have them engraved or custom-made, you still have plenty of time. Also, opt for durable and reliable choices that are not high-maintenance.

Shop for your groom’s suit

Remind your fiancé to go shopping for his wedding day outfit. Whether he is renting or buying, he will need time to go around and find the best options.

5 months to go

wedding invitation
Wedding Invitation

With just a few more months till D-day, it is time to get on with the more important aspects.

Collect and start addressing invitations

You will have to send out your wedding invitations next month. However, they will all have to be addressed before posting. This is a time-consuming task. Get on with it while you still have time to breathe. Simultaneously create an RSVP list, as it will help you to mark your guest replies later.

Time for premarital counseling

If you are getting married in a religious setting and premarital counseling is necessary, schedule it for this month. Even if it isn’t compulsory, attending a pre-marital session is often helpful. So, give it some serious thought.

4 months left

Wedding cake
Wedding cake

We are nearly there and there’s still so much to do.

Go shopping

You need to buy more than just your wedding dress. There are accessories, make-up and undergarments to shop for. You also need outfits for your rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party and honeymoon. Finally, you should get gifts for your bridesmaids. Don’t wait for the last minute.

Create a shopping list and schedule shopping trips for all that you need to buy.

Order your wedding cake

The wedding cake is a very important aspect of the wedding. And you have so many options to choose from these days. Selecting the wedding cake can be a demanding task since you not only have to choose the right flavors but also pick the design for it.

Get recommendations from friends and family and find a professional wedding cake. Remember that you will have to find time for cake-tasting sessions. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

You will also have to attend a meeting or two with the caterer to discuss your design expectations and sign-off on the chosen design.  

Sort out the groomsmen’s outfits

This is also the right time to start looking for groomsmen outfits. If they will be renting their tuxes, they should make the booking now.

Plan the guests’ favors

You want to tie the wedding favors to the theme of the wedding and find those that fit your budget. Explore your options and start negotiating with vendors to find the best choices for your budget. Then place your order.

Some brides prefer DIY wedding favors. If you plan to take this route, remember that it will take time. Dedicate reasonable blocks of time in your calendar to the task, so you don’t end up overworking yourself at the last minute.

3 months

Wedding food

You are nearly there. So, let’s pick up the pace.

Finalize the menu

Now that you are so close to the wedding, you can inform your caterer of your final menu choices. You may also like to look at the seasonal ware to decide the best menu options.

Write your vows

If you will be writing your vows, it is high time to start thinking of it. Here is some help to come up with memorable and impactful vows. Once you complete it, you can also practice them. This will help you fine-tune it till it is perfect for when you must say it aloud.

Check on your vendors

By now, you should have everything in place for the wedding. You should have hired entertainment, photographer, caterer, florist, transportation, and cake. Confirm your bookings and make sure that there is no confusion regarding the date and schedule with each of them.

Send out invitations

Mail invitations at least six to eight weeks before the wedding. Also, set the RSVP date a month before the wedding. This will leave you enough time to plan the seating arrangement and also to accommodate for any last-minute changes to the guest list.

Create your schedule for the remaining days

You will have your wedding dress fittings, bachelorette party and meetings with vendors in the coming months. Avoid getting overwhelmed with all the activity by setting up a timeline for yourself where each activity is properly spaced out.

2 months to go

Wedding party

We are counting down now. Few more tasks to go!

Send out rehearsal dinner invites

It is just a few guests at the rehearsal dinner. Nevertheless, you want to get it right as it is a practice for the actual reception. Invite all concerned parties to the event and inform them of how formal it is.

Have your hair and makeup trial

Organize your hair and makeup trial with your chosen hairdresser and make-up artist. It is highly likely that your wedding dress fitting will also be this month if you booked it early. So, plan your hair and makeup sessions in such a way that it coincides with your dress fitting appointment. That way, you can see how the overall look comes together.

Start your wedding dress fittings

You should ideally have your first wedding dress fitting this month and the next one in the coming month. This will leave you plenty of time to get your dress ready in time for the wedding. Confirm your appointment slot and contact the seamstress to schedule your fitting.

Get your papers in order

Six weeks is a good time to apply for your wedding license. If you are getting married abroad, check for legal requirements and ensure the paperwork is taken care of.

Check with your wedding party on their dresses

Your bridesmaids should receive their dresses this month and schedule alterations.

Entrust the task of following up on the progress to your MOH or handle it yourself. Just make sure that nobody is left out and that there are no confusions later.

Finalize your wedding day songs or playlist with your DJ or band

Review the playlist with your DJ or band. If you have any last-minute ideas or changes to make, you can check with them right away.

They should still have enough time to accommodate changes if it isn’t anything major.

Just a month to go

Wedding planning
Wedding planning

In the last few weeks leading up to the wedding, you should be equipped to handle just the final closing details of the wedding tasks. Let us look at what they are.

Plan your seating chart

You should have the complete guest list by the first week of this month. Now that you know who all will be attending, set up the seating chart.

Arrange vendor payments

Whether you will be paying your vendors after the wedding or just before it, make sure that the funds are ready so you can settle the amount as and when necessary. Also, track the expenses to make sure that they are all accounted for and there is no confusion later.

When making payments in cash, entrust the task to a trusted aide who will handle the payment, so you can concentrate on being the bride.

Sort out your accessories

Don’t wait till the day before your wedding to finalize and arrange all your jewelry, accessories and make-up essentials. Put aside a dedicated bag or space in your room where you can neatly arrange them as and when time permits.

This way you will have everything set out when it is finally time to get ready on the wedding day.

Get your emergency wedding day kit ready

Find out all about what your emergency kit should contain in this post. Whether you decide to buy it readymade or collect all the materials yourself, have everything in place at least a week before the wedding.

Attend the final dress fitting and collect your dress

Your wedding dress should be perfect and ready to wear in the week leading up to your wedding. Take your bridesmaid with you to the final fitting, so the consultant can brief her on how to bustle the dress, in case it is required.

Once you collect the dress from the salon, place it in a safe, low-traffic area of your house where it isn’t prone to moisture, insects or stains.

Confirm all arrangements

Cross-check that everything is progressing as per plan with your vendors, wedding party and photographer. Confirm all arrangements and entrust responsibilities to designated wedding party members.

Run the day-of plan with the main crew at your wedding, so they are all aware of when and where to be and what to do.  Also, hand out wedding bands and other items to the responsible members of the wedding party and give them instructions about their responsibilities in this regard.

Pack your honeymoon bag

Since you will most likely be heading off on your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, keep your honeymoon bag ready and packed to go. This should be one of the final tasks to handle, but it is important nonetheless.

Put someone in charge of getting the gown to the cleaners

Your honeymoon cannot wait. However, cleaning your wedding gown cannot wait either.

Assign the task of taking the gown to the cleaners to a trusted bridesmaid, so it doesn’t have to wait till you are back from your honeymoon. Book your cleaning in advance, so the drycleaners have your slot ready. For more details, visit this post.

Make a checklist

It is a good idea to create a checklist for the wedding eve and wedding day and distribute copies to your MOH and best man. Assign relevant tasks to your wedding crew and brief them on their responsibilities.

Make sure that you have very few tasks to handle by yourself, so you can be fully involved in the wedding day activities and enjoy every moment to the fullest.

Break in your shoes and prep for your wedding day

Avoid the discomfort of wearing new shoes by breaking in your shoes during the last few days before the wedding. Also, book yourself a manicure, pedicure and facial to relax, de-stress and look great. This is also the time to touch up your hair color, trim your hair and do all your last-minute beauty prep.

To wrap up…

Follow this schedule when planning your wedding and you will not overlook any aspect. Finally, if things get too hectic or don’t go as per plan, take it easy, sit back and reassess the situation. You will mostly find an alternative solution that works out just as well.

Keep in mind that your wedding day will be over before you know it and it will be a pity if you were too busy to enjoy it.

For help with most aspects of your wedding, including the all-important decision of wedding dress selection, visit us at Best for Bride. We will help you celebrate this milestone lifetime event in the perfect dress of your dreams. Contact us today to book your appointment.

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14 valuable tips to do it right when you plan your own wedding

Planning your wedding is hard work! You may plan to be your own wedding planner for budget reasons or because you believe you are up to the task. In either case, let me warn you that it is not as easy as it seems. There are numerous decisions to make, deadlines to meet and several lists to create. Nonetheless, it is do-able.

One thing you should remember is to stay focused, calm and optimistic always, once you make the decision to plan your wedding. As long as you are organized and not tensed about the whole thing, you will be able to tackle the potential challenges without difficulty.

To help you along, we have some useful tips. Keep them in mind and you will be able to plan the wedding of your dreams without much ado!

1.Recognize your strengths and weaknesses

Wedding planning involves a lot of work. You will have to pick and negotiate with vendors, schedule appointments and create financial plans for each aspect. Although you may be great at some of these tasks, it is likely there are areas you have no clue about. Before you start planning, try to get a clear picture of what you can and can’t manage yourself. Be realistic as there is a lot of work and limited time. Analyze the tasks that you have very little knowledge about. You may have to find someone to share responsibilities for these tasks. So, it is better to plan for it in advance, than attempt it yourself and end up with poor results.

2.Begin with a budget

All that wedding planning is going to cost money. Also, it is easy to get carried away or let some numbers slide when you handle finances yourself. To avoid this, set up a budget right in the beginning. Create an estimate of how much you can afford to spend. Make sure it is the maximum amount that you will spend, and that you cannot exceed it at any cost. This realization will help you find solutions that are affordable, when you plan your wedding details. Once you have a total amount in mind, split it among the different aspects of your wedding.

3.Hear what your fiance has to say

You must know at least one bride who feels she is the only one involved in planning her wedding! The funny thing is if you ask the broom, chances are he will say it is because the bride refused to let him in the plans. It is easy to end up shouldering all the responsibilities, and there is no going back once you are deep into it. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, sit down with your fiance before you start anything. Discuss your ideas and take note of his suggestions. It is his wedding too, so encourage him to participate. The more open you accept his suggestions, the more inclined he will be to involve himself in the plans.

4.Create a system to get your wedding plans organized

Some of us prefer the book and paper route, while others are better off with technology. Choose what works for you. You need a system to jot down notes, write down expenditures, note down deadlines and save contacts. The simplest working solution is to set up a folder with a calculator, notebook and diary. Use the diary to mark your planning timeline and detail tasks. You can use the notebook to write all other information. Also note down calculations and all relevant details in it. Use this system frequently and make sure you save everything, and you won’t lose track of the progress you make.

Before you dive into wedding planning, separate the notebook into sections for each wedding planning aspect. This will allow you segregate relevant information about each aspect in the right place. We also recommend dedicating a folder on your desktop for this. Most communication that is shared online can be saved into this location for future reference.

5.Make a master-list and many sub-lists for each category

If you are good with lists, wedding planning will be a lot easier. Start with a master checklist, which you can find online. This will provide an overview of all the tasks you have to do for your wedding. However, each wedding is different, and you may have to edit your list to fit your ideas. Once you have your final master-list, create sub-lists of tasks for each aspect. Note it down and it is unlikely you will forget or overlook any  task. You can even create this list using an online tool. This will enable you to access it anywhere, and check or cross out tasks on-the-go.

6.Make the most of free wedding planning tools

There are several tools that make planning easier. From creating checklists for the wedding timeline and entering your expenses and budget, to sharing pictures with the rest of your team, these technical applications streamline the entire wedding planning process. This makes it easier to tackle. When you set up such an app on your mobile, it allows you to indulge in planning your wedding from anywhere. Some examples include the Knot wedding planner app, Capsule for photo sharing and the Knot lookbook app for wedding outfit planning. You could even update your plans with a simple weather and calendar app from Yahoo to avoid any last minute unexpected changes to plan. For more details on the apps and websites that can be your best friend while making wedding plans, take a look at this post on the Knot website. 

A quick word of advice: If you decide to use any of these apps, make sure you start ASAP! This will help you narrow down your choices to ones that are easy to use. Get used to the method right from the start and the entire process will be way easier.

7.Be prepared for challenges

If you have been involved in project planning at some level, pulling off a wedding will be easier. This is because there are numerous things to stay on top of, all at the same time. Things can and do go wrong! So, prepare yourself to tackle the situation with a cool head and also have a Plan B for every scenario. This will help you have an alternate solution at short notice, whenever required. The best way to handle all challenges is to be prepared for worst outcomes. Apart from making a comprehensive checklist for every single thing to do at your wedding, also consider likely glitches. Then have a solution in mind, in case things go downhill.

8.Take time to think before making decisions

When you are on your own, you will have to depend on reviews and word of mouth to choose vendors, make décor decisions and more. So, do not make any decision in haste. List out your options and properly research before you commit to a contract. Make sure you take time to analyze every aspect and are fully sure of every choice, before you confirm. Where necessary, obtain references and definitely contact them. The most reliable choices are usually recommendations from friends and family, who have done it before you. So, try this path first. From picking the wedding date to choosing the cake design and florist, make sure you won’t have to rethink your decision.

9.Segregate your research 

Organize everything neatly and in its right place to make things much easier. Whether you use organization tools like Pinterest or sort things into folders on your desktop, do it in a systematic way. Create multiple folders or boards for each type of information, rather than just amassing it all in one place. This will allow you locate exactly what you want in no time. You can also share information easily when it is organized well, and save a lot of time.

10.Think well before you ask your friends and family for help

Many of your friends and family may seem eager to help with your wedding plans. However, be cautious of who you entrust with what. You need people who will stay objective and follow your instructions to complete tasks. When it is family and friends, remember that you should also maintain your personal relationship with them. This can come in the way of expressing dissatisfaction when you aren’t happy with how they handle things. Also, unless you entrust the job to the right people, there are chances that they will make decisions without consulting you. This may not always be in your best interest.

11.Get things done ahead of time

Don’t set your deadlines too close. It is always safe to have some buffer time for everything, in case there are delays or hassles along the way. When you discuss timelines with vendors, ask them to deliver ahead of the actual time. This will ensure everything is in place on time. Follow a wedding planning checklist to get a clear idea of what is to be completed and when! Stick to it and you should be fine. If you will be doing things like the centerpieces or favors yourself, get them ready as early as is possible. The last thing you want is to spend your wedding eve completing these tasks, because you didn’t get around to it earlier.

12.Get your priorities straight

Wedding planning involves numerous decisions, that you can end up procrastinating and reaching nowhere. Try to stay focused by giving more importance to certain tasks over others. Have a clear idea of how you want your wedding to be, and don’t change it along the way. Set priorities for the tasks you should complete, and handle them in that order. Do the important ones with gusto. Leave the others for when you have time. Also, wisely limit the finer details to what is practical and can be achieved within the given time span.

13.Run your plan by someone who has already been there

Always get a second opinion if you are unsure. You should have someone who can recognize if you’ve missed anything. This is possible when this associate has been in your position before you. Throughout your wedding planning, consult with your fiance and preferably another bride or couple who have planned their own wedding. They can advise you on anything you may miss or overlook. Similarly, make sure you run your list by the person who will be in-charge of your duties on your wedding day, so you are both on the same page. Read ahead to find out more about who that person ought to be.

14.Find someone to take responsibility on your wedding day

Although you can fully involve yourself in wedding planning till the day of your wedding, you have other things to do on this day. You shouldn’t be the one who follows up with vendors or checks if everything is progressing on schedule. Instead, you should enjoy yourself as the bride. So, you simply must find someone to shoulder all the responsibilities on your wedding day. This could be a trustworthy friend or relative. Nonetheless, the person you choose should be reliable, punctual and have the capacity to take charge of everything wedding-related. It wouldn’t hurt if this person is a tad bossy, if necessary.  This trait will ensure that he/she won’t hesitate to get people on track when necessary. If there isn’t someone you know who can take over all this, consider hiring a professional for just the day.

Planning a wedding is a Herculean task, more so when you do most of it yourself. However, a wedding that is done well, is a blissful and satisfying experience. So, involve yourself in all the planning if you must! But don’t stress yourself out so much that you forget to enjoy it. For more wedding planning tips, fashion advice and all things wedding-related, keep visiting this space on Best for Bride.

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7 things you should know before you start planning your wedding

planning

When you are just engaged and about to embark on the interesting, but challenging task of wedding planning, it’s funny how everyone seems to share wedding planning advice. Well, it is the first time you will be planning something of this magnitude, and so you deserve some well-intended help. You may obtain some very useful information, and then again there is the occasional chance of hearing something totally unexpected or even bizarre. Nevertheless, there are always some things that most brides wish they’d known while they were planning their wedding, but had to tackle as an unexpected and usually challenge.

While it is impossible to foresee everything that will happen on your big day, it helps to prepare for whatever is possible. Plan for everything, collate all the information you can possibly obtain, and execute it with gusto—you can then enjoy every expected and unexpected challenge that wedding planning throws at you.

Here is a list of ten things that every soon-to-be bride should know, before she starts wedding planning. Check it out.

1.Checklists are your friend

Wedding planning is a complex task, and you are probably doing it for the first time ever. There are hundreds of details to plan, tasks to handle and arrangements to make. It is only human to make errors and miss out on certain things , when planning everything.

The easiest way to stay on track is to turn to checklists for help. Divide up every wedding aspect into an individual project and create checklists of tasks to be completed for each of them. This will help you organize your time better, sort out tasks based on their priority and most importantly, make sure that you do not miss anything when planning your wedding.

You can always take the trusted pen-and-paper route for planning your checklists, or if you are a tech-savvy bride, use a tool that will help you manage it efficiently. Evernote is a handy option to keep track and manage your lists with precision on your digital devices.

Now, for the checklists that you will require, you can find a comprehensive checklist on Real Simple. This is divided based on the time by which you should accomplish each task. You may also like to take a look at this interactive checklist on Brides.com. This can be customized to meet your individual needs.

2.When choosing vendors, only go with those you are most comfortable with

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If there is one task that you have to research well, it is choosing your vendors. From your photographer to florist, you will have several options. The important thing is to remember that none of them will be the same. In fact they’ll each be as distinct as you can possibly expect. Every vendor is different in the way they approach their work, in how they interact with customers and how experienced they are in handling specific tasks.

You will be interacting with your vendors a LOT! So, don’t make the mistake of settling for someone who you aren’t comfortable with, right from the start. The personality of the person you have to work with will affect the way you feel about that aspect of your wedding. So, dig a little deeper than just trying to get the cheapest deal. Don’t just go with what others have to say about the vendor you have shortlisted. Don’t hesitate to ask for portfolios, samples or explanations, as is necessary in each case. It is also wise if you do not make assumptions, but clarify your doubts outright, so you can be certain that you and your vendor are on the same page. If you feel that the vendor you speak to doesn’t understand your vision, or cuts you off saying that what you want is impractical, don’t let it be and comply with what they have in mind instead. Keep looking. After all, it is your wedding and there will be someone who can get you what you want, or at least the closest to what you have in mind.

Don’t forego this part even if you are working with a friend or family as your wedding vendor. However close they may be to you, you do not want anything ruining your wedding. So, make sure that you are one hundred per cent comfortable with the decision you make, and you will not regret it later.

3.Disagreements are a given evil

You will be touching several details during your wedding planning, and it is only natural to hit a roadblock once in a while. You may disagree with your parents, partner, vendor or even bridesmaids on some factor or the other. Everyone will have expectations and opinions. Your maid-of-honor may condemn the color you choose for the bridesmaids dresses or your friends may try to convince you that a DJ is a better choice than a live band. If your parents or to-be in-laws are paying for part of your wedding, it is only natural that they will expect to have a say in it. You may also have friends or relatives who may pressurize you into handing over a wedding task to them, when you prefer hiring a professional for the same. There is no easy way out, and you should realize where to draw the line. Accept that there will be disagreements along the way, and you may have to reject suggestions that you simply cannot take.

It is impossible to please everyone, or you wouldn’t have the wedding YOU want! Be prepared to say No when necessary, and it will be a lot easier to handle. As a bride, one of the most difficult tasks is to recognize when it is more important to go with your choice and when it is another opinion that would be a better choice in that situation. Our article on “How to Handle it when others try to take over your wedding” should give you some advice on how to tackle tricky situations in the best possible way. Don’t worry about what others may think of your wedding decisions. Finally, you will regret it if everyone had their way, but you didn’t get to do anything you wanted to.

4.Plan to spend on the most important things

There is no rule book that specifies how should get married. Like we said earlier, you will hear suggestions and receive advice. Nevertheless, it is your wedding, and you should get to pick what is important, so this day is special for you. Split your budget accordingly, and splurge on the things that are most important to you. Don’t worry about the rest.

Think of what you will find most memorable about your wedding day. If it is where it will be held, set aside the greater part of your budget for the venue and décor. If it is how you look, it should be your wedding outfits and accessories. If both of you favor food, make sure the wedding menu is given due importance. If you have a penchant for the finer details, it could be the smaller things like your tableware, party favors and statement pieces that you should focus on. Some couples prefer to spend a major part of their budget on the photographer. If fashion photography or elaborate scenic settings are what you want, so be it.

5.Your wedding planning is hard work, irrespective of the style you choose

Whether you plan to host a casual or a formal wedding, it will be hard work either way. Remember that even though you needn’t choose the classic centerpiece flower design if you are having a casual affair, you will still have to decide what you want instead. Every decision has to be yours, and every single aspect arranged under your supervision. This simply means that you will need time, organization skills and effort to plan everything. We think wedding planning is a difficult task, as almost every married woman will agree. When you handle every aspect of it yourself, it becomes even more tedious. A wedding planner can relieve your stress to a considerable extent, and so every bride should at least consider a day-of planner to get some breathing space.

Wedding planners can direct you to the right vendors who can meet your requirements, and they can also follow-up and ensure everything moves as per plan. This in itself, is a huge stress-buster. Nevertheless, there is always a point in time when a bride suddenly feels overwhelmed and tends to buckle under wedding planning stress. The best way out is to realize the extent of effort that goes in and be prepared for it. Time is a valuable entity, so make sure you have plenty of time and divide your tasks so you have sufficient bandwidth to complete it all on time. Also, don’t forget to catch much wanted breaks, when you spend time away from everything that is wedding related.

6.Everyone has their own interpretation of terms

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Almost every term in wedding lingo is highly subjective. When you say romantic, you may have a color palette with peach, gold and gray in mind. You may envision your wedding to be at a casual, romantic outdoor setting such as a resort or garden. At the same time, the same term may give your mother an entirely different idea. She may consider your getting married to your prince charming in fairy tale style romantic. She may expect it to be held in an elaborate ballroom setting, with a four course plated meal to complete it in classic style. The same goes for your dress selection, choice of wedding cake, entertainment and almost every other aspect of your wedding.

In the world of weddings, a word that is thrown around a lot is “classic.” Take a look at this page on the Knot, with some Real classic wedding examples.  You will soon see how one couple’s idea of classic, is entirely different from another. So, the term classic can mean anything by itself.

So, make sure that you elaborate on what you mean, wherever necessary. Specify what you mean, especially to your vendors, instead of using vague terms or those that are prone to varying interpretations. If you have pictures to convey your ideas, that is the best option of all. When the concerned person can see what you mean, there is no scope for confusion. You can thus be certain that you will get exactly what you envisioned.

7.You will have to spend a lot of time reading terms and conditions

Once you shortlist your vendors, it is necessary to sign contracts with all of them, so the terms and conditions of service are documented. This will ensure that both of you know what is expected, and it is done properly. Unfortunately, many couples simply sign the vendor contracts that are drawn up by the vendors themselves, without really going through it in detail. This can cause many unexpected hassles on the day of the wedding.

For example, you may not have noticed the part where your photographer’s contract mentions that you will have to pay extra for every extra hour he spends at your wedding, or that he will be available only for so many hours. Imagine running up a bill that goes beyond what you anticipated, or worse, not having a photographer for the crucial exit moment of your wedding!

Make sure that you read every single sentence on your vendor contract, and have it modified to meet your needs, so you actually get what you expected to. If you are unclear about any of the terms, make sure to ask and clarify before approving it. You can always negotiate and discuss the terms and modify the contract, before you sign it. This will save misunderstanding later, and also allow you to make alternate arrangements when required.

At Best for Bride, we can help you realize your vision of the perfect wedding and help you plan every single detail to perfection. Visit our store online and check out the various wedding services we offer. Trust us to make your wedding dreams come true