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Wedding Planning Survival Guide Part 1

Aug 17, 2007
So you've chosen your rings and you set the big date. Now how do you make your wedding happen without ending up in a padded cell?

Many brides do not get the luxury of enjoying their wedding day because of all the stress. We're here to tell you how to get through this so you can "enjoy" your special day.

Here are some important survival steps that you must make before you tie the knot!

Planning Your Wedding

Till death do us part. That may be true for your wedding, but not for your hard earned cash!

Fact: The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $22,000.00. Average age of the groom is 29 and the average age of the bride is 27.

1. Plan it well. Get out a calendar to organize things so that you can flow along and on schedule. The calendar will cover every thing from start to finish.

According to experts, here are the "must hit deadlines"

1. One year ahead: Announce your engagement. Begin booking vendors, caterers and wedding planners. Make sure you book your site at least a year out. If your DJ or band is really popular, you may even need more than a year.

2. Nine months ahead: Finalize the guest list and by now, you should be selecting your wedding gown. If you are hiring a consultant, now is the time to finalize the contract.

3. Six months ahead: Register for gifts. Order your wedding cake and flowers. And send out your "save the date" cards, but make sure they only go out to people you know will definitely make the guest list.

4. Four to five months ahead: Plan your honeymoon. Grooms should be picking out their formal wear.

5. Two months: Buy your wedding rings and arrange for the transportation.

6. One month: Confirm the guest head count and call all the guests who have not rsvp'd.

7. Two weeks: Confirm, confirm, and re-confirm. Check on all the details of the reception, the ceremony, the flowers and everything else. The seating chart for the reception should also be finalized at this stage.

Budgeting

Not everyone can afford an expensive wedding, but regardless of the cost, here are some basic know hows as to what percentage should be spent on what.

1. 50% of your wedding should be spent on the reception.

2. 10% should be spent on flowers.

3. 10% on clothing.

4. 10% on music.

5. 10% on your photographer or videographer.

6. 10% on favors, invitations and gifts.

The three advantages to hiring a wedding consultant are:

1. Experience

2. Contacts

3. Assistance

Wedding planners can tie up all the loose ends and be in charge of the day so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding. However, wedding planners can add $5,000 to $15,000 to your wedding costs, so if you want one, make sure you hire a good one.

Tips for locating a good wedding planner:

1. Do they appear organized? Can you look around this wedding consultant's office and see organization in detail? Or are they just someone who thought they did a good job on their cousin's wedding and therefore they now call themselves a wedding consultant? Anybody can print up some business cards and call themselves a wedding consultant.

How do you avoid running into an inexperienced consultant? Contact professional groups like the Association of Bridal Consultants. Most wedding industry groups have these sorts of organizations. There's even an American Disc Jockey Association.

But what if you are the take charge kind and you would rather spend all that money on a nice honeymoon? One of the benefits of doing all the planning yourself is that you will be involved in every aspect and if you enjoy this kind of thing, it can be very fun. Keep in mind though, that you can split the difference. You can do part of it yourself and hire a consultant for just the wedding day which is what a lot of brides are doing today. This way you can plan the wedding and be totally free to enjoy the day of the wedding.

Wedding day coordinators run around $800 - $1000 for the day of the wedding only. And while you're walking down the aisle, they are running around making sure the DJ shows up, the centerpieces are right, etc.

Who to Invite and How

The Reception:
What about that annoying uncle your mother says you have to invite? Sometimes guest lists can take on a life of their own. Before you know it, you have twice as many people on the guest list as intended. Experts say " be ruthless". If you haven't sat down with someone for a meal or visit in the last two years, then they probably don't belong on the guest list.

When inviting people from your work, follow this rule of thumb: For an office size of about 4-5 people, invite them all. In larger offices, just ask your best pals.

The guest list myth: Perhaps you have heard that you should over invite by 10% to make up for "no shows". This is a big no no. You could be surprised and everyone shows up - its not all that uncommon.

Once you've narrowed down the guest list, how do you let everyone know? Well, you have a lot of choices. The sky is the limit for creativity for your invitations. For the average wedding about $500 - $700 is spent on invites and stationary. Make sure your invitations make a statement. The invitation is the first thing the guest will see and will give them the spirit and the style of the wedding. So you want to make sure your invitations reflect the event that is about to come. Keeping the envelopes to standard sizes will save on postage.

When receiving the rsvp's, lots of people sometimes forget to put their name on them when they send them back. A great tip for this is to put a light number on the back of each card. Keep a record of who goes with what number and you'll know exactly what rsvp belongs to who.

Addressing invitations can be tedious but it doesn't have to be. Have a party with just the wedding party. If all of you sit down together and do invitations, you can have them done all in one night. You can offer drinks and appetizers and have fun doing it.
About the Author
Evelyn Whitaker writes articles for German Toasting Glasses http://www.german-toasting-glasses.com which specializes in custom engraved wedding gifts.
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