Post # 1
It’s been suggested that I hire a wedding coordinator because I honestly don’t know a thing about weddings, I went to one when I was younger, the rest were smaller not so wedding like weddings. So now that we are planning one of the wedding wedding types, I’m kind of at a loss lol. Can someone please give me some kind of an idea of what’s supposed to go on, like what are the priorities (main things to make sure to do) for the wedding? This engagement party, do we throw it or someone else? Do we even need it? The rehearsal dinner, is it necessary? If so what is it all about? The ceremony, does the flower girl walk after the bridesmaids or before and the same with the ring bearer? Does he throw your garter or do you have one specifically for throwing? What are necessary items for decorations? Necessary food and beverage items? All of that good fun… I am doing everything myself for the most part, I LOVE LOVE LOVE “arts and crafts” as my fiance calls it, I even plan to make my own dress, so naturally I want to plan this on my own, but I’m not very coordinated or organized. I had a wedding planner that ended up on the floor and my dang puppy peed on it! I was so mad! I had thousands of pages of pretty things to make, but no real ideas on what is needed or what to do wedding wise, just things to make so now I’m here… Anything I can’t miss on, anything you wish you didn’t miss or you’re definately NOT going to miss? I want to make sure everything is right and I’m not sitting there “Oh there’s supposed to be cake cutting?” looking all clueless in front of everyone and everything. Mom wants to help but gosh she’s so old fashioned, she’d probably have my fiance wearing a blue tux or something. Any help would be so greatly appreciated 🙂
Post # 3
@pinkgreenandyellow: I’d start by finding a good wedding planning book. A wedding coordinator might be the greatest thing ever for you – or it might end up getting you on the hook for a lot of unnecessary stuff and a huge price tag. I’d say for sure do a little research by reading a book or two before you start talking to wedding planners. That way, you’ll have a little more of an idea of what you do and don’t want, and the clearer you are on that, the better your experience working with a wedding coordinator will be, if you decide to go that route.
A wedding gets as complicated as you make it, or allow it to get. If you decide what your priorities are and are fine with jettisoning the things you don’t care about, it’s possible (although I wouldn’t say easy) to keep it relatively simple and affordable. Relatively. 😉 Wedding coordinators exist in order to deal with complications – and so having one almost automatically increases the level of complexity involved. But if your wedding is going to be complex anyway, then it can be hugely helpful to have one. Only you are really in a position to know – and only after you do some research into the options and some thinking about what you want.
One thing to be aware of: wedding magazines and websites like The Knot are vehicles for advertisers, and so if you use them, take everything they say with a grain of salt. They depend on their advertising sponsors for their very existence, so they are never going to bite the hand that feeds them and recommend genuinely cheap or free wedding options if they would compete with something being advertised in their pages/on the site. Just sayin’ …
Post # 4
yay im lost just like you lol
Post # 5
Before you do ANYTHING and I mean anything at all (including looking for ideas) sit down with your Fiance / family (if they are paying) and discuss a an approximate number of people and a budget. Weddings don’t have to be huge, they don’t have to be tiny. but if you are going to have a wedding, with our without a planner involved you need to know what YOU want before everyone else starts telling you what you want.
Have a budget? have an approximate number of guests? now start thinking of what you want your big day to be. This is, if you need to, you can call a wedding planner in to the mix. but if you pull one in before hand you are going to get what THEY want your day to be and not what you want to be. It doesn’t have to be specific, it can be as vague as “I want a party for 100 of my friends and family with a fancy dinner and live music” or ” I want to have 100 of my closest friends over for a giant BBQ and we will play yard games” it doesn’t matter what it is, but after you determine that you are set to read wedding books, look through magazines, browse the lovely help on the bee or whatever. but make sure you have those things ironed out unless you want to get sucked involuntairly in to wedding vortex of crazy…. it happens to everyone… but try to prevent it as best you can.
Post # 6
My three most important bits of advice:
#1 Pay for it yourself. Even if it means it’s smaller or less fancy than you want. Even if it means you have to wait a long while to actually do it. If someone wants to give you a financial gift, accept it graciously, but be very aware that there can (or maybe WILL) be strings attached: guests that you don’t know or don’t like, taking away seats for your actual friends; specific themes, styles, events, etc. Perhaps the #1 most common rant on this site is “my mother/father/future in-laws/anyone else with a checkbook says I have to invite their work friends/get married in a church/wear a big dress/wear a small dress/100 other things I hate.” When someone else is paying, they get some control. If you can’t afford the wedding you want, then throw the wedding you can afford.
#2 Keep your wedding party small. You do not need every female relative old enough to walk to be in the wedding, your fiancé doesn’t need enough groomsmen to start a football team. More people = more money, more stress, more people to disagree on things. Be very selective. It seems like complaints about the bridal party are just as common as complaints about people forcing their opinions on the bride by way of checkbook. (Aside: bridesmaids are really only required to show up, look as nice as they can, and participate in the actual wedding. They may choose and offer to help in hundreds of ways but they’re not required to make your favors, throw you a party, or anything else. Be nice to your friends and don’t treat them like hired help.)
#3 know the difference between a “want” and a “need”, and set some priorities on your wants. You really only need a wedding license, an officiant and a witness to get married. Everything else is a want. Before you commit to anything, decide which things you want the most and which things are just nice to have.
As for the specifics— engagement party, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners— that’s up to you. Although the traditional bridal shower is the one thing that most folks agree should not be thrown by the bride. Everything else…. That’s entirely up to you. You can host those, have someone else host those, or skip them. Whatever you want to do.
Post # 7
There are tons of good hints on here and on other wedding blogs. If you google any one of your individual answers, you’ll find at least a few good answers. The priorities to planning should be 1) budget, 2) guest list, 3) venue. Then things like photographer, music, officiant. Once you have the big things booked, you can work on the details– how you want things to look, the order of the ceremony, what happens when at the reception, what people wear. It looks like you have 11 months to plan, so right now I’d try to nail down those big things before you worry about smaller details. Some venues and vendors can book a year out, so it’s important to figure those out first. Then, just start looking at lots of wedding pictures (pinterest is great for this, and the recaps section here) and see what you like and what is do-able within your skills and budget.
Post # 8
@KCKnd2: Thank you, I guess getting a good wedding book would be a good start lol. Everyone keeps (and has since the moment we got engaged) asking all of these details, I know we’re already behind on the planning but the more questions they ask, the more I feel like I’m lost in this. The day we announced the engagement they were already asking when and where, now they’re asking other details that I didn’t even know existed really. I thought the rehearsal was just to do a general walk through so the kids and wedding party knew when and where to walk (I have watched movies about weddings lol) but I didn’t know it was supposed to be a “dinner” so I have no clue who to invite or anything of that sort. And what my moms role and his moms role is to be and all of that, it’s a lot.
We want simple, we are simple people and I loathe being the center of attention, it’s just not me. I’m a blend in type girl. So I’m trying so hard to stay away from that. We have a violinist (mutual friend) who is going to play the isle music and when I mentioned I didn’t want the “corny” here comes the bride intro (feel like it is too attention getting for my taste) my fiance was floored. Apparently that’s a big deal to him but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. When I told mom he and I weren’t going to do a “first dance” since neither of us can dance, she was floored. She insisted that it’s necessary so we agreed we would play a song instead of dance to it (we are both drummers, he will be singing while I play the drums” she’s settling for that but apparently how I think would work for us is a little too simple for the rest. The only thing I’m insistant on is that we have an actual preacher for the ceremony. The rest I’m willing to go really any way, but my fiance and others seem to expect more. Which is fine, I don’t mind, if I knew what that more was lol.
@lovelymayday: Sorry you’re lost too lol. At least we’re not lost alone 🙂 It’s SO much planning and info and place cards and programs and favors and dances and clothing and it’s a ton of things to get to the “i do”. But in the end we’ll figure it out, you will too and hopefully we’ll all have the wedding right for us 🙂
Post # 9
Also, meant to mention, there are some good planning checklists online that will help you know when to you do things (roughly)
This one’s not bad:
Post # 10
Definitely come up with a guest list and a rough estimate for your budget. Next, prioritize what is and is not important to you for YOUR day. Do not listen to any of your family member’s advice or you will end up having a wedding for THEM instead of for you and your Fiance.
Start planning well in advance, and honestly, don’t fret the small stuff. I did for the longest time up until this past week or so – the wedding is in like 3 and a half days – and I stayed a nervous wreck. But I definitely don’t think a wedding planner is necessary. I’ve only been to what you called “smaller not so wedding like weddings” myself, and I planned mine without a “wedding planner.” Just stay calm and don’t be afraid to have people help you. TONS of family members are helping me to pull together the big day. =)
Post # 11
We do have some things already planned out. Our guest list (of only family) is at 150, and these are only family that we are close to. The only friends that are invited are going to be in the wedding party. Right now I’ve only got two and will likely ask a cousin to fill in for the third. He has 3 groomsmen in line. Since I didn’t have my father in my life, my uncle who helped raise me is going to give me away and I’m going to bite the bullet to do the father daughter dance with him. We also have the date as well as the band. We are musicians so it was pretty nice, his friend who plays easy to listen to music and is a local fave is going to play for our wedding, his girlfriend who plays violin is doing the isle music (although I’m somewhat leary since you know how relationships can die out and could cause drama or a no show for her if they do brake up). We don’t have the location down but he and I both decided on an out door location with a water view. We just haven’t found one that we both really like yet lol. We are paying most of it ourselves, and no real budget, we’re just getting it as we go. Basically every pay check we buy things we will need for the wedding and figure when the time gets here, since it’s after incom tax season and we get a reasonable ammount back, that the rest will be paid with that, but most of it will be paid by that point. I spent my last income tax on the DIYs I’ve been doing, before he even proposed lol. Total we will probably spend about 10-15,000 and I couldn’t believe it would be that much, but when we kind of do it little by little, it doesn’t seem to be that big of a dent in the planning. My mom has offerend numerous times, as his parents have, to help pay for the wedding, but unless we are strapped we plan to do this ourselves because I really don’t want others telling me what I “have” to do as you said. But even though they aren’t paying some are still trying to force the ideas.
I want to make my dress but my mom keeps insisting on taking me to the salon to buy one. She’s saying we will do it in February just 2 months before the wedding. I’m grateful she wants to pay for it but I really want to make it myself. We are also catering ourselves, my fiance is an INCREDIBLE cook, worked it for years, he cooks for me all of the time. We, together created a wonderful bbq recipe we will be using for the food as well as sides (we live in the south, keep it southern 😀 ) with an alternative for those who don’t eat meat. As well as a candy and smores buffet. A friend is making the cake and cupcakes and we also know someone who used to make wedding cakes and will decorate ours for us.
But as far as the “traditional” parts of the wedding, I’m kind of lost. I’m a traditional girl, very traditional, so I want the wedding to reflect that, I just don’t know what traditional is wedding related. Although not doing a “first dance” and not doing the “here comes the bride” music is pretty much as traditional as it gets and we cut it out, for the most part I want it to be the way a wedding is “supposed to be”
Thanks for all of the tips so far, they really have been a big help.
Post # 12
Oh and we also have a photographer that did our e-photos and is going to cover the entire day of the wedding for super super cheap. So I geuss we aren’t THAT far behind, but when it comes to the “traditions” I’m pretty lost…
Date, guest list, wedding party, music, food, photographer, dancing and that’s about it that I can think of.
So much to do. I asked for an 18 month engagement for this, but he insisted on only 12 months. I just wanted the extra time, a month has already passed and I’m feeling like a lost puppy
Post # 13
Let me know if you need help with something in particular. I worked for a caterer/wedding planner for several years and have planned a ton of weddings. I’m in school now so I’m not working but I’m happy to answer questions. In general, this is an overview of a wedding
1)bridal shower- you invite your family and friends, and get gifts. Most brides register for gifts ahead of time. Your mother, sister, maid of honor or someone usually organizes and hosts this.
2) Rehersal dinner- the day before your wedding, you usually go to the venue and walk through the ceremony. This way you have an idea of where to stand what to do etc. Some brides choose to host the rehersal dinner afterwards. The guests at this include at least the wedding party (bride groom, maids, parents etc). If you have a lot of out of town guests its nice to inculde them so they don’t have to look for a place to eat, but its not mandatory.
3)Wedding day- you go to venue. guests sit down. groom and groomsmen enter, ring bearer and flower girl enter, bridesmaids enter, bride enters. Ceremony follows. After ceremony reception follows.
engagement party (if you have one, you or your parents host this. Most people I know chose this when they were having a super long engagemt, as a way to celebrate)
garter toss/boquet toss- Do you have a lot of single friends? If not this may not work. If you do, you throw the boquet to the single ladies. Groom throws garter to single men. (It can be the single garter, some brides purchase two so they have one as a keepsake)Guy who catches garter puts it on lady who caught bouquet. The higher up the leg he puts it the better the luck.
decorations/food and drink- This is where you get to be creative. Pretty much the sky is the limit. You can do almost any “theme” and style food these days.
I think I got most of the questions in your original post but like I said if you have more questions let me know. Enjoy the planning!!
Post # 14
Sounds like you’re in great shape then! I figured you hadn’t planned anything 🙂 The big thing right now would be to find a venue– that will dictate whether you need to rent chairs and tables, what sorts of decorations you want, etc.
Post # 15
If your mom insists on buying a dress from a salon, two months in advance is nowhere near enough time. I bought my dress in April for a September wedding and had to pay $75 extra charge for a rush order. Different salons and designers have different shipping schedules but if you wait till 2 months in advance, you’ll have far less selection!
Post # 16
You can have a “traditional” wedding without completely following traditions. Honeslty, I think I’ve only been to one wedding where the bride walked up the aisle to the traditional bridal march. There are tons of other beautiful traditional wedding songs – I actually thought that I’d walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, but decided to go a more non-traditional route. There’s TONS of choices as far as music is concerned.