Here at Robert Tate Photography, Robert has provided a means of helping couples plan their big day through his regular blog posts. The main aim of this blog is to help guide those who are bewildered by the prospect of tying the knot, or even just providing the reassurance that you’re on the right track. Join us every week for more helpful hints and tips. Keep on reading for helpful advice on planning your perfect wedding. From all of us here, live for the moment!

Starting to plan for your weddingWedding Planning

Congratulations if you’ve just got engaged!

Knowing where to start is actually quite a big challenge… Fear not we’ve got everything you need to plan the perfect day.

Planning a wedding involves endless details, deadlines, family drama, and far too often enough stress to make you want to just elope. Use our planning check list, read our budgeting tips, and look into a wedding planner to help you pull it all together.

Whatever stage of wedding planning you’re at, get organised with us today….Time to do the TIME-WARP! (Part one of two)

Sixteen to Nine Months Before

    1.  Start a wedding folder or binder
      -Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.
    2. Work out your budget
      -Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.
    3. Pick your wedding party
      -As soon as you’re engaged, people will start wondering who’s in.
    4. Start the guest list
      -Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)
    5. Hire a planner, if desired
      -A planner will have pre-built relationships with vendors.
    6. Reserve your date and venues
      -Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places.
    7. Book your officiant
      -This may seem trivial but if you’re after a particular date then the early bird catches the worm.
    8. Research photographers, bands, florists, and caterers
      -Keep their contact information in your binder.
    9. Throw an engagement party, if you wish
      -But remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well.

Eight Months Beforeonly 8 months left

    1.  Hire the photographer and the videographer
      -No need to talk specifics yet, but be sure that the people you hire are open to doing the shots that you want.
    2. Book the entertainment.
      -Attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences, then reserve your favourite.
    3. Meet caterers.
      -If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next.
    4. Purchase a dress.
      -You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months.
    5. Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests.
      -Pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.
    6. Consider wedding Insurance.
      -You don’t want to find your self in even more debt before your honeymoon. its always worth protecting yourself.
    7. Launch a wedding website.
      -Create your personal page on a free site such as Facebook. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then send the link to all invitees.

Seven to Six Months Before

    1.  Select and purchase invitations.
      -Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time consuming, so you need to budget accordingly.
    2. Start planning a honeymoon.
      -Make sure that your passports are up to date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any vaccinations you may need.
    3. Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
      -Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.
    4. Meet with the officiant.
      -Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding (these vary by county and religion).
    5. Send save the date cards.
      -Better to be early some people send these 12 months in advance!
    6. Reserve structural and electrical necessities.
      -Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on.
    7. Book a florist.
      -Florists can serve multiple clients on one day, which is why you can wait a little longer to engage one. Plus, at this point, you’ll be firm on what your wedding palette will be.
    8. Arrange transportation (Bridal party and Guests).
      -Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars. (But know that low to the ground limos can make entries and exits dicey if you’re wearing a fitted gown.)
    9. Start composing a day of timeline.
      -Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake cutting, the first dance).

Five to Four Months Before

    1.  Book the rehearsal and your rehearsal dinner venues.
      -Negotiate the cost and the menu. If you’re planning to host  brunch for guests, book that place as well.
    2. Check on the wedding invitations.
      -Ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs.
    3. Select and order the cake.
      -Some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker.
    4. Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings.
      -Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.
    5. Schedule hair and make-up artists.
      -Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results.
    6. Choose your music.
      -What should be playing when the wedding party is announced? During dinner? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want/ do not want to be played.

That’s it for Part one, but stay tuned for part two!


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4 Comments on “WHERE TO START (PART 1)

  1. Choosing a venue was so stinkin’ hard for us because we’re the type of people who can simultaneously imagine holding a reception at a summer camp, in a country club, a trendy loft, a barn, blah blah blah. We’re very easy going and at the end of the day like all those places. What it came down to for us was what we could afford and made out families happy and comfortable. I think NOT having an aesthetic vision has allowed us to put people first. My point: sometimes you feel wrong for not having every detail figured out from the beginning, but you’re right to take Robert’s stellar advice and start with the guest list.

  2. Our planning has generally gone something like this: Is it awesome (and affordable and managable)? Yes? Cool, let’s do it. So when people ask me our theme, I usually just tell them that it will be awesome.

    The guest list was probably the most stressful part of planning for me. We started out by asking both sets of parents to just give us a list, which in retrospect was a bad idea. His mom’s list was really, really long, and when we asked her to try to cut it down, she barely cut anything. We ended up finding a venue, figuring out our friends list, and then giving both sets of parents a number. Once we said, “You have to cut your list down to x number of people or we won’t fit in the venue,” we managed to get a reasonable list together.

  3. When choosing music, As a professional musician, I can tell you that you won’t really be getting much of a deal by hiring college students. They generally charge as much as professional musicians. College is when most musicians start freelancing with professional groups. If you want a deal, my advice is to think smaller. Instead of hiring a string quartet, hire a single violinist or a harpist.

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