Imagine that you never handle your own wedding before and all sudden after you said yes, there is a lot of things to do and prepare for your special day. Try to find each pieces of puzzle but somehow found that always something missing. You really lucky to prepare 1 or 2 years prior wedding day but often less than 3 months prior wedding day some couples are spontaneous plan. I would love to share some insight from my wedding planner checklist for easy and less stress planning.
The key of success for each wedding that I’ve been through is start from open with any ideas and suggestions. With all do respect for long wish list that some bride have as childhood ‘dream wedding’. In reality some ideas are need to adjust depend on the situations, circumstance, or other outside factor that need to consider.
I am going to break down into 4 factors. The first is the wedding planning itself. The second is how couple communicate and adjust each other to walk through the process. Then maximize bridesmaid or best man to be “real” helper for each stage. The last thing is plan for the unplanned moment on wedding day, remember that always ready for plan B or even plan C if there’s something goes wrong on that day.
Where We Start, a million dollar question
Talking about wedding are always come with long list of things to do. But let’s start with the simple questions below :
– Are you willing to spend your entire saving for only 1 day in your life?
– Do you expect your wedding will be 100% as you plan?
– Are you tend to divorce if on your wedding day a small adjustment from planning happen?
– Will you talk nasty thing to your couple if you stress out during planning?
You may answer with your own but if I may add here that marriage is a journey with one of the chapter is wedding day. A perfect start or good one are only start on long Marathon run.
Here is check list that you have to aware in term of wedding planner
12 months+ prior wedding day
* Decide wedding venue / check, recheck, and triple check for package and inclusion.
Some venue has unclear information and hide with purpose or non purpose which is after couple month confirmed and closer to the date, couple found hidden cost. Make sure that details of package, inclusion, benefits, and every cost written on agreement. Consider to purchase wedding insurance in case unpredictable happen.
* Once wedding venue confirmed, start to explore other vendor / make sure that you find reliable vendor (better with recommendation) to work with.
Vendor such as wedding gown, catering, accommodation, photographer, video person, make up artist, decoration, and entertainment (I will make another page specific for each of vendor things to aware) Don’t choose those vendors base on cheapest one, somehow price is matter of trust.
12 months – 10 months prior wedding day
* Decide all the vendor and settle deposit each of them / Would be great if you can meet them in person and talk for their insight
Each vendor not only has specific skills but also own issue or obstacle during planning until execution, as own wedding planner for your own wedding, better to understand that point of view. Yes, you have right to be center of attention and need to be heard but once again you book them for their special skills, why don’t let them give you suggestion base on their expertise?
* Guest list to be fix and save the date to be sent and following up / Would be ideal if all guests would response soon but somehow last minutes are always happen
You are the master of your own guests, in term of venue or catering better to guarantee fewer guests number than your expectation. It would be good news for vendor to have additional guests rather than decrease guests number. Somehow decrease mean you have to pay cancellation (Please read on the agreement especially relate to cancellation policy)
10 months – 8 months prior wedding day
* Accommodation and Transportation for destination wedding or overseas guests who need to taking care
Destination wedding has own issue that I can share in different page but make sure that if you have guests from overseas or any other guests who need accommodation, you may help them to give 3 hotel alternative nearest and budget friendly. In term of accommodation, you may request group rate to anticipate many of your guests will need accommodation during your wedding day.
* Book and meet with officiant discussing wedding ceremony plan / include ceremony musician need to be fix during this period
8 months – 6 months prior wedding day
* Food tasting / also include for finalize details of wedding cake, finger food, dinner menu, open bar beverage package or a la carte, and after party meal or snack.
Regarding food allergy for each individual guests need to be taken note also parenting guide for kids without alcohol during dinner party.
* Trial make up for Bride / need to test make up artist quality rather than drama happen on wedding day
Somehow if you used to work with your make up artist, there won’t be any issue. But most of the time make up artist that you only know though social media or friend recommendation need to still trial. Yes, it’s cost you more for trial. As I always said, better to prepare rather than sorry.
* Honeymoon destination start to prepare along with ticket, accommodation, either tour or backpacker style.
Some honeymoon recommendation would be highlight in another post
* Finalize stationary, decoration idea, entertainment, and most important rundown of the day
Those all topic I will put in different post especially with rundown of the day that you have to prepare and distribute to all your vendors closer to the date.
6 months -3 months prior wedding day
* Triple check for update guests list / should be complete with allergy and dietary food, accommodation, and transportation if needed
Start update to vendor (wedding venue, catering, decoration) if there any increase guests from information earlier. Accommodation and transportation also need to fix since somehow last minute booking are hardly accepted especially during week of wedding, where everyone need room and transportation.
* Wedding gown and tuxedo, bridesmaid, best man, flower girl, page boy, and other attire should be ready or finalize during that time.
3 months – a months prior wedding day
* Prepare rehearsal dinner with definite guests number
Would be great to have in different venue or ambiance with your dinner reception.
* Finalize ceremony details, reception details, Accommodation and transportation details, ceremony rehearsal date to be fix couple day prior wedding day, song list for both ceremony musician and band song list.
* Final payment for wedding venue and vendors
It may settle closer to the wedding day depend on vendor agreement
Couple Day Prior Wedding Day
* Wedding ceremony rehearsal along with all bridesmaid, best man, flowers girl
If possible to host wedding ceremony rehearsal along with officiant at wedding venue
* Prepare for photo list
Most of the time guests would ask for photo after ceremony completed, to be more organize, it would be great to arrange photo list that you wish to priorities taking picture.
* Finalize run down of the day
Distribute to all vendors with specific note for each of them. Highly recommend hosting a final meeting with all vendors before wedding day to make sure that each of them understand clearly on your wedding day.
Will We are In Same Page?
Most of the time, bride decide almost all details of wedding arrangement. Start from wedding venue until stationary including menu card, name tag, also seating chart. With those load of things to do, somehow bride need a second opinion or decision from her partner.
That is beginning of discussion, debate, and confrontation over decision either budget, vendor or simply style napkin.
Please to bear in mind that at the end of the day, couple need to work together side by side for both of them need most.
And the question will be remain, will both of you are in same page?
Bridesmaids Ain’t Title
I always have a question on first consultation with couple that plan her wedding, do you have a real bridesmaid or best man?
The answer almost similar, told that they have best friend from high school or some of them from toddler, grow together, make mistake together, and always forever. But if I try to dig down and more, I realize that only few of them would be part of planning and most of them present couple day before wedding day.
In order to arrange own wedding, bridesmaid or best man need to be more involve and work as team to make dream wedding come true.
There’s Always Rainbow After The Rain
Lets say all the arrangement almost perfect, vendors are the most experience that you been book. You plan for garden wedding with outdoor dinner. All sudden heavy rain is coming. That’s happen.
You may plan but don’t forget for the unplanned situation. Each aspect need to consider that if that is failed, there’s always alternative.
The alternative should be considered less budget to avoid unpredictable cost. Most important for ceremony and dinner reception venue, you must have back up venue. If there’s no comfortable back up venue, I would highly suggest finding another venue. Somehow if you love the venue, you will emotionally choose and lack of conscious to think in different way.
I keep remind each couple, I do believe that every single wedding need to have additional buffer budget for last minutes and unpredictable situation. Those buffer ideally 30%-50% from total budget cost.
Until Death Do Us Apart?
Wedding planning and all the things to do seems complicated and too many details. Over budget also the other issue to be fix during planning. But always remember that all of it are another stage of marriage life. Don’t let the negative energy during process ruin the foundation for your entire marriage.