THE WEDDING GUIDE. Practical Planning for an Extraordinary Bride

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1 THE WEDDING GUIDE Practical Planning for an Extraordinary Bride

2 Congratulations, you re engaged! This Wedding Guide is designed to prepare you and assist in creating your special day so that it s everything you imagined. It takes you through a timeline of what needs to get done from engagement through honeymoon. It covers all the wedding basics to the extra little questions you ll want to ensure you have the answers to before your big day. Planning a wedding can be stressful and time consuming, but don t let it ruin your excitement. The Wedding Guide is a tool designed to ease the stress that may come along with wedding planning and ensure you re equipped from beginning to end. You ve started at the right place, now it s just time to get to planning!

3 Planning Timeline 9 to 12 Months Announce your engagement Begin envisioning your wedding day which will determine your ceremony and reception venue Style: take into account both your personalities, size of your guest list (intimate or large, formal or informal, etc.) Decide on a season and date Keep in mind you may have to be flexible with your date if the venue cannot accommodate or vice versa. Create a budget suitable for your wedding day. Ref. Pg. 4 Decide on Bridal Party (Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Ushers, Attendants, etc.) Begin putting together a preliminary guest list with number of guests Research wedding professionals Ceremony & Reception Venue, DJ/Band, Florist, Photographer/Videographer, Cake Vendor Plan Engagement Party (if applicable) It s a great way to begin the wedding process and to announce to your family and friends your engagement. It s a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion before the planning begins. Times have changed, but typically the parents of both the bride and groom will host. There may be relatives and close friends that may want to help but should consult with your parents first. Usually limit your guest list to close family and friends who are definitely invited to the wedding. The engagement party is typically planned within the first 3 months of getting engaged. The taste and personality of the couple should be reflected in the event. Create a wedding website if applicable (can be helpful for out of town guests) Book ceremony and reception venues (inquire about contingency plans if outdoors). Ref. Pg. 8 6 to 9 Months Buy your dress, accessories, and bridal party attire Finalize all of your wedding professionals, sign contracts, and give deposits Make arrangements for out of town guests (room blocks at hotels, transportation and any entertainment) Book transportation for you and the bridal party for day of the wedding. Ref. Pg. 14 Select your stationary, wording & design (Save the dates, invitations, rsvp cards, hotel information cards ceremony programs, menus, thank you cards, etc.). Ref. Pg. 13 Create gift registry A tip for this: think past your wedding day, take into consideration your style and how you would like to entertain in the future which will determine the items you select. Finalize Guest List Page 1

4 4 to 6 Months Send Save-the-Dates (include time if possible) Plan Rehearsal Dinner Schedule Dress & Tuxedo/Suit fittings Trial hair and make-up session with your dress and accessories Keep track of how long it takes to get this done to plan accordingly on your wedding day Make honeymoon arrangements and obtain all necessary documents (e.g. visas, passports, traveler s checks, etc.) Begin addressing invitations Shop for and purchase wedding rings Finalize food and beverage details with reception venue/caterer; Schedule tasting of the food. Schedule ceremony rehearsal, ensure officiate can be present Work on ceremony and reception formalities and timeline 2 to 4 Months Finalize details with all wedding professionals Mail invitations Purchase ceremony and reception miscellaneous items e.g. unity candle/sand, ring bearer pillow, card box/cage, guest book/frame, garter, cake cutting set, etc. Decide on and purchase favors Select and purchase gifts for parents, groom and bridal party 2 Months Obtain marriage license and complete any name change documents (if applicable) Finalize and confirm Photographer shots Song list for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception Timeline for ceremony and reception Arrange a kids plan for the reception (e.g. separate kids room with a babysitter and activities for the kids) Finalize and confirm honeymoon arrangements Page 2

5 2 Weeks Give final guest count and guest menu selections (if applicable) to reception venue/caterer Create seating chart and escort/place cards (if applicable) Send out essential information and details to bridal party (timeline with wedding professionals, rehearsal dinner locations, etc.) Pick-up Tuxedo/Suit Begin packing for honeymoon Arrange for someone to take presents and any personal items from reception venue Figure out tips and final payments to vendors (assign to a parent or someone you trust to hand these out). Day Before the Wedding Ensure all wedding day items are packed, laid out, and ready to go (e.g. rings, wedding license, etc.) Get manicures and pedicures Ceremony rehearsal Rehearsal dinner, this would be an ideal time to give out wedding party gifts Go to bed early Wedding Day Allow plenty of time to relax, get ready and get formal shots with your photographer Greet your guests at the wedding (during the reception or receiving line) and thank them for coming Take a moment to appreciate the wedding bliss that you took so much time planning Page 3

6 Creating a Budget for Your Wedding Day A budget will be different for each couple depending on their style, taste, and available funds! Our basic budget worksheet is a simple guide to help ensure that you don t forget to budget the smallest detail in. Suggested Percentages Budgeted Vendor Estimate Actual Spent Reception (50%) Venue Rentals (china, lighting, linens, tables, etc.) Food & Beverage Service & Gratuity Cake & Cutting Fees Formal Exit (Sparklers, etc.) Miscellaneous Fees Attire (10%) Gown and Alterations Headpiece and Veil Bridal Accessories Hair and Makeup Grooms Tux or Suit Grooms Accessories Miscellaneous Fees/Vendor Gratuity Flowers and Decorations (10%) Floral Arrangements for Ceremony Flower Girl s Buds & Basket Ring Pillow Guest Sign In (Book, Frame, etc.) Bride s Bouquet Bridesmaids Bouquets Boutonnieres (F.O.B., F.O.G, Groom) Corsages (M.O.B., M.O.G) Table Decor (Votives, Table Numbers, etc.) Lighting Miscellaneous Fees/Vendor Gratuity Total Spent: Total Spent: Total Spent: Page 4

7 Creating a Budget for Your Wedding Day Suggested Percentages Budgeted Vendor Estimate Actual Spent Music (10%) Ceremony Musicians Cocktail Hour Musicians Reception Band, DJ, Entertainment Sound System or Dance Floor Rental Miscellaneous Fees/Vendor Gratuity Photographs & Video (10%) Photography Videography Additional Prints and Albums Miscellaneous Fees/Vendor Gratuity Wedding Rings (2%) Bride s Ring Groom s Ring Ceremony (2%) Site Fee Unity Sand/Candle etc. Officiant Fee or Church Donation Miscellaneous Fees Stationery (2%) Save-the-Date Cards Invitations & RSVP Programs Seating and Place Cards Menu Cards Thank-You Cards Postage Miscellaneous Fees Total Spent: Total Spent: Total Spent: Total Spent: Total Spent: Page 5

8 Creating a Budget for Your Wedding Day Suggested Percentages Budgeted Vendor Estimate Actual Spent Favors & Gifts (3%) Welcome Gifts for Out-of-Town Guests Favors for Guests (Cookies, Mints, Koozies) Bride & Groom Gifts Bridal Party Gifts Miscellaneous Fees Transportation (1%) Limousine or Car Rental for Bride & Groom Limousine or Car Rental for Bridal Party Transportation for Out-of-Town Guests Valet Parking Total Spent: Total Spent: Overall Total: Additional Items to Keep In Mind Engagement Party Rehearsal Dinner Champagne Flutes Cake Cutter Set Page 6

9 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Venue: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How many can you accommodate for seated or cocktail style reception? Do you have multiple spaces for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception? If it s outdoors is there a contingency plan, do you provide tents? What s included? (e.g. tables, chairs, linen, china & flatware, table numbers, day of coordination, food & beverage) Are we allowed to bring in outside food & beverage? If so are there any charges? How many hours are included and can I extend? Do you have a preferred vendors list? Do we have to use your preferred vendors or are we allowed to use our own? Do you offer food & beverage packages or is everything a la carte? Can you customize a menu based on my preferences? Do you have more than one event per day? Are there separate rooms to get ready if our ceremony is on site or a room to store our personal items? Is a day of coordinator provided and do they stay throughout the evening? What are my limitations? Are gratuities included for the staff or do I need to make provisions for that? Would you provide a tasting of the menu selected and how many may attend? What s your clean-up policy and what do you take responsibility for? Are there any areas to do formal photos? How often do you change the décor of the rooms? How far in advance can my vendors come in to set-up? Does all decor need to be broken down that evening? What s your cancellation policy? Page 7

10 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. DJ/Band: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long have you been a professional DJ company/band? Have you ever worked at my wedding venue before? Are there different packages that list what s included? How many hours are included and can I extend? Are more than one DJ present? Do you provide an MC? Can you provide multiple set-ups? Do you take requests? What s your attire for the wedding? Do you take breaks? Do we need to provide a meal for you? What additional items do you include? E.g. TVs, up-lights, monograms, etc. May I visit you in action at another event? If it s a band: what style or genre of music do you play? If it s a band: if you take breaks do you provide music during breaks? What s your cancellation policy? Page 8

11 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Flowers: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. Do you have experience with my style of wedding? How long have you been doing floral design? Do you have a photo book that shows previous floral designs? How many events do you usually book on weekends? Do you provide a bouquet for my bridal portrait session? Do you charge extra to pick-up after the wedding or the day after? What floral do you recommend for my budget? Which items can be rented? What s your cancellation policy? Page 9

12 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Photographer/Videographer: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long have you been photographing weddings? How many hours are included in your package? What s included in your packages? E.g. Photo book, bridal portrait, thank you cards, CDs, guest book, etc. Do you have an assistant/s day of the wedding? How long do formals take to shoot after the ceremony? May I provide you with a list of must have photos for the evening? Videographer: How would you capture the sound for the video? How long is your turnaround time? Can we view photos/video on your website? Would you use my wedding photos/video as promotional materials? What s your cancellation policy? Page 10

13 Cake: Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long have you been baking wedding cakes? Do you have a photo book with designs? Have you delivered to my venue before? How long before the wedding will the cake be baked? Will you personally transport the cake and set-up? Are there any charges for platter or cutting/serving utensils? How do you determine a per person/slice cost? What flavors, fillings and décor do you offer? Is a tasting included? Do you coordinate with my florist if I would like fresh flowers on the cake? Do you provide a complimentary one year anniversary cake tier? How would the cake be displayed? E.g. On a platter, cake stand, etc. If I do not want a traditional wedding cake, do you do specialty desserts, cupcakes etc.? Do you charge a delivery fee? What s the return policy on the items you provide? How far in advance do you bring the cake to the location day of? What s your cancellation policy? Page 11

14 Caterer: Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long have you been catering events at different locations? Have you worked at my venue before? Will you, the point person be there from start to finish? What s included? E.g. china, flatware, glassware, linen, chaffers, staff, etc. What s the staff s attire? Can you accommodate an event of my size? Do you need an onsite kitchen? Do you specialize in a certain type of cuisine? How many events do you do per weekend? How do you accommodate last minute requests? What s your clean-up policy and what do you take responsibility for? Are you licensed to serve alcohol? Do you charge a delivery fee? Do you offer event packages or is everything a la carte? How do you accommodate to special dietary needs? Would you provide a tasting of the menu selected and how many may attend? What s your cancellation policy? Page 12

15 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Stationary: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. Do you meet in person for consultations? Do you have full packages or are items individually priced? What type of printing process do you offer? Do you do customization? What are my paper, color, font, packaging, etc., options? Is there a minimum requirement? Can you accommodate a graphic/picture? Can you send a digital file if you design and I print them myself? Once the order is placed, what s the turnaround time? Do you offer additional services, e.g. addressing, ceremony programs, thank you cards, etc.? What s your cancellation policy? Page 13

16 Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Transportation: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long has your company been in business? Do you have my date available? What types of vehicles do you offer? Will you provide transportation to and from my ceremony/reception as well as my formal exit? Do you charge hourly or is everything included in one set price? What s your driver s attire? What s your tip policy? How early does your driver arrive on location? Do you provide any food & beverage products? What s the back-up plan in case of a vehicle breaking down or in case the driver does not show up? What s your cancellation policy? Page 14

17 Hair & Make-Up: Research Wedding Professionals When you are searching for your specific vendors it is always good to have questions prepared and an idea of what you are looking for in each professional. Some key questions for each vendor are listed below to help get you started. Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. How long have you been doing hair and make-up? Will you provide a trial? Are your packages per person or by the hour? Can you do the entire bridal party? Do you travel to my location or is it salon only? Do you have a team or is it just you? Do you do both hair and make-up or just one of those services? What s your cancellation policy? Special Decor: Research or get references which will assist in selecting the style of the location you are interested in. Many of the previous questions can pertain to the below vendors who provide additional services such as: Up-Lights (Adds to the mood and atmosphere of the room) Specialty Linen (Colors and textures can enhance your vision) Furniture (Can create a lounge setting or relaxed atmosphere) Additional WOW Factors (Photobooth, Pipe and Drape, Candy Bars, Food Action Stations e.g. Fondue Chocolate Fountain, Smores) Page 15

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19 the final step... Relax, it s finally your big day! We hope this Wedding Guide has been helpful to you in planning your wedding day. Remember, enjoy and soak up every moment of your special day which you have been planning. We wish you and your spouse eternal love and happiness.

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