Congratulations on your engagement! Navigating the waters ahead can be tricky, but with planning and a sense of calm, you'll arrive at the alter without any bruising. Promise.
Here is a quick checklist that should get your mind wrapped around the journey ahead. If you are like me, and you need to plan a wedding quickly (we had a close family member who was terminally ill), there are some tips tucked in for you to help things go as smoothly as possible.
So, grab a glass of something sparkly and away we go.
- First: Set your budget. Perhaps it's just you two paying for it, or maybe your parents or your fiance's parents will contribute. Having an open and candid conversation is difficult but necessary. Get together for dinner and chat about what is possible. From there you will know exactly what you can (rehearsal dinner is on them - yay!) or cannot (no release of the doves - darn) do.
- Get your date nailed down with all of the important people in your life. No, you won't be able to please everyone, but you and your partner should put your guests into two categories: 1) absolute must-have guests and 2) hope they can make it attendees.. Try to keep your absolute must-haves to just the essentials (you'll quickly see why that is important for your sanity). If you have a tight turn around, ask your preferred venue for "hot dates" that they are looking to book and often do so at a reduced rate. You might have to be flexible, but you could save a bundle by doing so. Once you have a date that works for you all, move on to Task #3.
- Location Location Location. Get your ceremony and reception nailed down next. Don't be afraid to go for a Friday night (who doesn't love kicking off the weekend with an awesome gathering of family + friends), or an other non-traditional day/time. If they don't have your #1 preferred date, be ready with 3-5 more days & times so you can keep them on the phone and quickly figure out if they're in or out.
- Ask your favorite girls and guys to be in your wedding. If you want a little something special to give to your girls, pop in to Christy's Bon Bon Belle and check out our "ASK PACKAGES". We have Ask Her gifts ranging from $25 - $50, wrapped beautifully and ready for you to pick up and go. They also serve as great Thank You gifts for your girls. There are 3 price points to choose from, and a few of the items can be personalized.
- Lock up your photographer/videographer, band or DJ, caterer & cake, florist, and finally your Officiant, Pastor, Rabbi, Priest, etc. Get them all locked in for your date with a deposit and a contract (signed by both you and them). Ask if you can get a discount if you pay in cash up front. Before you part with your cash however, make sure they are in good standing on various wedding websites, ask them for referrals, etc. (a.k.a., don't be left in the dust after you give them some green).
- Go shopping at Christy's Bon Bon Belle (well of course we had to say that). You need to find your gown next so that your vision starts crystallizing. Once you have your gown, choosing bridesmaids dresses will get a bit easier but know that takes time, too. We offer all of your girls (bridesmaids, moms, flower girls, etc.) a discount if you buy your bridal gown at our store. We have a file for the entire wedding party and can track all of your shipments, have everything steamed the week of your wedding, and be your one stop shop for everything related to your girls. And it doesn't matter if your girls live all over the world. All we need are their bust, waist and hip measurements. Then, you choose the dress and color and we order the dress in their size. Again, we'll have it all steamed and ready to go for your big day. We help you keep it simple, calm and easy. Get all of your dresses ordered and take a deep breath and smile. You have now crossed off all of the major aspects of your wedding planning. Again, if you are planning a wedding just a few months away, ask what gowns you can buy right off the rack or sale rack. Some gowns can also be rushed for a fee. Our experienced consultants can guide you through all of your options.
- From here, you'll need to order and mail your invitations, pick out what the guys are wearing (head over to Burlington Menswear to rent tuxedos or suits - then you don't have far to go to return them), attend a menu tasting, cake tasting, write your vows, secure out of town accommodations, and meet with your Officiant. Of all of these last remaining items, writing your vows can be the most time consuming but doesn't have to get done until right before the wedding - so don't sweat it.
- Fittings: Make sure that you, you girls, as well as your Moms and Grandmas all have dresses ordered in plenty of time so that you don't rush the alteration process. We have terrific and talented seamstresses to refer you to, but if you are getting married in the most popular wedding months of April, May, June or October make your fitting appointment(s) early so that you get on their schedule. They book up early and good quality alterations take a while to complete. Just give yourselves a healthy window for multiple iterations. Ask prices, check referrals, and don't forget you must get a bustle for your bridal gown so that you can truly enjoy dancing the night away.
If you need help with anything, call us. We are veterans and happy to help. We always do what we can free of charge, but also offer a full suite of planning services should you need the full kit and caboodle.
We are here for you. We love getting to know you and will work tirelessly to help you bring your vision to a reality.