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Bridal Club Magazine

Wedding Planning Tips

"The first thing you want to do is create a vision of your wedding and be aware that there are going to be some things you just can't control, such as the weather."

But you can be ready for them by keeping in mind these planning tips:

·    Plan a specific budget. Be sure to review the budget with those who will be paying for all or part of your wedding. The budget should be set before any other steps are taken. If you can, allot an extra 5% to 10% of the total budget for miscellaneous expenses. Then in case of an unforeseen event -you will have a little extra stashed aside.

·    Surround yourself with the best your budget can afford. If you do, things will run like a smooth machine. A good tent company will draw up a layout of exactly what will go where and will set things up accordingly. Their tents will have flaps to drop if the weather doesn't cooperate. A good florist will recommend the right flowers or will work with your preferences. A good caterer will plan, prepare and serve the right food.

·    Choose a professional event planner carefully. A good event planner will know which vendors will work best with you and with each other. She'll match personalities to suit you, so that you will be put at ease, and you'll know that you can rely on the service providers to do their jobs well. You won't have to think about anything but enjoying the moment.

·    Try to be flexible. So the Cymbidium orchids from New Zealand that you had your heart set on won't be available. From the flowers to the band to the food to the weather, so long as you are flexible every aspect of your big event can be made just right.

·    Caterers are the key. Good caterers will create a wonderful menu, no matter what budget they have to work within. Whether it's carving perfectly medium-rare prime beef to laying out sandwiches and cheese platters, a professional caterer will ensure your meal is as good as it gets. Whether it's serving hors d'oeuvres with a wait staff or setting up a casual buffet, the right caterer will make your presentation delicious, classy and memorable.

·    Setting the mood with music. Music is a must, but remember to book well in advance - at least six month ahead. Go listen to bands that are recommended to you and talk to them to ensure they can provide the right music and presentation you want. If having a band is too costly, then hire a recommended disc jockey. You can have a blast listening to golden oldies, top 40, jazz, reggae, pop or whatever your heart desires for a lot less money.

·    Can't afford the Four Seasons? You can plan your own great event on a shoestring budget. Get creative with your resources, and you'll do just fine. Think you can't afford any venue for a reception? You could choose to use the clubhouse of a local fraternal organization; they're usually inexpensive, and the club will operate the bar for you. The tables and chairs can be rented from your church.
·    Marking time. There are several details that need to be finalized at certain intervals before your wedding to ensure you get exactly what you want. Since you've already reserved the ceremony and reception site months ago after you announced your engagement:

Twelve-months prior to your wedding day (and during prime season) the caterer, florist, musicians/DJ and photographer/videographer should be booked. Consider holding your wedding on a Sunday or even a Friday to save money.

Four-months, you should order the wedding invitations and other corresponding stationary such as thank-you notes, your wedding gown, wedding cake and complete the guest list.

Two months prior to your wedding, the invitations should be mailed, honeymoon planned, wedding bands purchased, tuxes rented/bought, transportation arranged, marriage license obtained, beauty services scheduled and menu decided upon.

It's OK to cut your budget; just don't cut corners. Leaving out a step in the process is like leaving out an ingredient in a recipe. Don't consider it necessary to have outdoor restroom facilities at an outdoor reception? Think 2000 flushes and then think again. If you really can't afford a band, don't select the least expensive band just to have one. The end result certainly won't be what you want.

Eliza J

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