Planning a Wedding Party: The Details

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If you have followed the steps outlined in Planning Your Wedding: Your First Steps, you have the big tasks on your checklist completed and you are ready to move on to the details of planning your wedding party and other events.  Here are the main items to put on your next checklist:

  • Other parties? Determine any other parties you will be having and who will be responsible, if not you.  These could include an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, next-day brunch, weekend events for out of towners.  The choice is yours and you don’t necessarily have to do any of them.
  • Interview and book vendors.  These include a photographer, videographer, dj or band, florist or other decorator, and additional entertainment (such as a photo booth).  Bridal shows are often a good way to get ideas, other than the internet of course.  Once you have negotiated with your vendors, you can start planning the specific details of your wedding with them.  Your wedding planner and/or decorator can drive much of this, keep it organized, and help guide you in negotiating contracts.
  • Choose  your invitations.  There is no end to the options here, from do-it-yourself to full-blown invitation videos.  Just don’t forget about getting thank you notes as well.  Nothing replaces a hand written thank you note for all those gifts. You can even get invitations and stationery that coordinate with your personal wedding website.
  • Start shopping!  If you haven’t already started, get moving. Hunt for your wedding dress and shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmens’ accessories, bridal accessories, gifts for your wedding party, wedding favors, decoration details, and anything else you want for your special day.
  • Book your honeymoon.  A critical detail that you and your fiancee can have lots of fun planning.  Often the groom deals with the honeymoon planning, but that certainly doesn’t have to be the case.  
  • Sign up for a wedding registry.  Everyone will be asking you where you are registered and what they can get you for a gift.  Save them and yourself any extra aggravation by signing up for one or more registries and posting that information on your wedding website, if you have one.
  • Flowers, cake, menus and more.  Choose your flowers, your wedding cake, and your menu.  Peruse all the gorgeous photos and ideas on the web, and then work with your decorator and caterer (or bakery) to work out the details.  Get a sketch of the cake and a sample of the flowers so that you really know what you will be getting.  The same goes for food.  Taste the cake and taste the food in advance.
  • Decide on your music.  This includes things like the ceremony, the cocktail hour, your first dance, and the reception, depending on what you are doing.  Just make sure that your DJ isn’t going to play the one song that you absolutely hate.  In the same vein, telling the DJ or band exactly which songs you want played and whether people can make requests will also help create the atmosphere you want.
  • Write your vows and speeches.  It is never too early to get started on these.  You don’t want to have to stress about it the night before.
  • Set up your timeline.  Make sure you have a detailed, printed timeline for the last couple weeks before the big day, and the day of the wedding itself.  Assign specific responsibilities and very specific times, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute.  Make sure that you have sorted out transportation details for anyone that needs them, including yourself.
  • Last minute details.  Plan out the last minute tasks that need to be done.  These include getting final bills from vendors and making sure you have the cash and/or cashiers’ checks to pay them.  If you have a wedding planner, he or she can deal with handing out tips and keeping track of all these last minute details.  One less headache for you.

Don’t feel too overwhelmed looking at this list.  The sooner you get yourself organized, the easier it will be to just relax and plan.  Most people get stressed out because they don’t feel in control of what is happening and they don’t know what they need to do next.  If you create your timeline carefully and list all your tasks, you can enjoy planning your wedding.  The process of planning your wedding should create good memories, not feelings of dread.  Enjoy!

Here are few other articles to consult for help:

The Knot Wedding Candy Store!Wedding websites from eWedding.comShop Wedding Accessories at American Bridal

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