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!


For those who have just joined us, by clicking the link you can find part one of Wedding Planning: Where to start.

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.


Three Months Before

          •  Finalize the menu and flowers.
            -You’ll want to wait until now to see what will be available, since food and flowers are affected by season. Of course out-of season food and/or flowers can both be ordered but you will pay a premium for this service.
          • Order favours, if desired.
            -Some safe bets: monogrammed cookies or a treat that represents your city or region. If you’re planning to have welcome baskets for out-of-town guests, plan those now too.
          • Make a list of the people giving toasts.
            -Identify and invite those people would you like to speak at the reception.
          • Finalize the readings.
            -Determine what you would like to have read at the ceremony—and whom you wish to do the readings.
          • Purchase your undergarments.
            -And schedule your second fitting. No time like the present.
          • Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception.
            -By staying organised it will be less likely for problems to occur on your big day.
          • Print menu cards, if you like, as well as programs.
            -No need to go to a printer, if that’s not in your budget: You can easily create these on your computer, or ask a close friend to do this as a favour.
          • Purchase the rings.
            -This will give you time for resizing and engraving, remember some resizes can take up to 6 weeks.
          • Send your event schedule to the vendors.
            -Giving them a first draft now allows ample time for tweaks and feedback. Not only does this help proceedings it will create the impression of a well organised event planner.

Two Months Beforemarried in two months

                          •  Touch base again with all the vendors.
                            -Make sure any questions you or they had on your first draft have been answered. If you have any burning questions closer to the time make sure you don’t leave them until the night before the wedding.
                          • Meet with the photographer.
                            -Discuss specific shots, and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you. Now is also a good time draw up a rough list of group shots, remember keep the number to a minimum.
                          • Review the playlist with the band or deejay.
                            -Though you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should come prepared with a wish list. One song you need specify is the one which will cover your first dance.
                          • Send out the invitations.
                            -The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date. You can increase the return rate by including self-addressed, stamped envelopes.
                          • Submit a newspaper wedding announcement.
                            -If you’re planning to include a photograph, check the publication’s website: Some have strict rules about how the photo should look. A good idea would be to also ask the publisher to hold a copy of the article for you to pick up at a later date.
                          • Enjoy a bachelorette party.
                            -Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honor. But if she hasn’t mentioned one to you by now, feel free to ask—for scheduling purposes, of course!—if a celebration is in the works. If by chance no celebration is planned, take the impromptu option and kidnap all those that are close to you and hit the town….no excuses!

One Month Before

                          •  Enter RSVPs into your guest-list database.
                            -Phone people who have not yet responded can then be identified. If need be, send out the heavies to get a straight answer.
                          • Get your marriage license.
                            -The process can take up to six days, but it’s good to give yourself some leeway. If you are changing your name, order several copies as in the future every man and the bakers son will want to see copies of your marriage license.
                          • Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.
                            -There will always be one person who forgets about the rehearsal. You can send a gentle remainder by text message or even better plan the event on an online calendar such as Google calendars and share the event with all those invited.
                          • Visit the dressmaker for (with luck!) your last dress fitting.
                            -For peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly. At this point in time you don’t need any last-minute hurdles to try to jump over!
                          • Stock the bar.
                            -Now that you have a firm head count you can order accordingly, or if your budget doest stretch that far pay for the bar to stay open.
                          • Send out as many final payments as you can.
                            -If possible pay of as many vendors as soon as you can, this way you have no debts looming over you after the big day has come and gone.
                          • Confirm times for hair and make up and all vendors.
                            -If possible follow this up with a quick courtesy call.
                          • E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles.
                            -This gives the chauffeurs ample time to navigate a route, it should also mean there you wont be chauffeured to a round about as the driver isn’t sure of the exit..
                          • Assign seating.
                            -Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without re-sketching the entire setting.
                          • Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.
                            -You’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner, or if time doesn’t permit another convenient time.
                          • Write vows, if necessary.
                            -Some couples would rather use traditional vows as opposed to other who like to personalise their own.
                          • Get your hair cut and coloured, if desired.
                            -Its wise to have use a well known salon, one which you have already test driven.

Week of the WeddingWedding Reception

                          • Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.
                            -Make sure there are no issues with vendors turning up, if so they should have a contingency plan.
                          • Delegate small wedding-day tasks
                            -Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor.
                          • Send a timeline to the bridal party.
                            -Include every member’s contact information, along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise.
                          • Pick up your dress.
                            -Or make arrangements for a delivery, make sure you know where the dress will be delivered to.
                          • Check in one last time with the photographer.
                            -Supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film, now is a good time to fire off any last minute questions.
                          • Set aside checks for the vendors.
                            -And put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event, this isn’t necessary but a welcome tradition.
                          • Book a spa treatment.
                            -Make an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too). By mentioning that you’re the bride to be you will most likely get special deals.
                          • Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events.
                            -Typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance. Its wise to cater for 5% extra, this allows for those last minute, unexpected arrivals from distant relative. Its also thoughtful to provide sustenance for the Photographer as he will be one of the only vendors to spend the entire day by your side.
                          • Break in your shoes.
                            -Don’t ever turn up to your wedding in fresh of the hook shoes, blisters are a brides worst friend.
                          • Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets.
                            -This can also be left to a maid of honor of other important member of the bridal party.
                          • Pack for your honeymoon.
                            -This only needs to be done if you are planning to leave for your honeymoon immediately after your wedding day.

And that’s a Wrap! I think this quote is befitting of the situation: “If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!” If you have last minute butterflies or maybe your planning isn’t going as well as you had hoped then please head on over to Clemmie Robinson’s – Bride to be : Time to panic!



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