>> April 28, 2009
1. Book everything in advance. In fact, you should be making bookings almost as soon as you've fixed the date for the wedding, particularly if you've chosen to tie the knot in May or June. This is because during “wedding season” all of the best caterers, photographers, and venues are busy and may not be able to accommodate any last minute bookings. Things you'll need to reserve in advance include the church, the reception venue, the hairdresser and bridal makeup artist, and the photographer. You'll also need to order the flowers, the wedding car, and the dresses.
2. Get help. Planning a wedding can be very complex, depending on how large the affair will be. Even if you're planning a small gathering of family and friends, there's still a lot to do, from creating the guest list and delivering invitations to reserving the venue and getting the dress ready. It's a lot for a young bride preparing for her first (and hopefully last) wedding to manage on her own, and can be equally hectic for those with prior experience. Whether it's the mother of the bride, the maid of honour, or a wedding planner, get as much help as you can with planning and arranging for the details.
3. Settle on a budget. Too many weddings leave the happy newlyweds near bankruptcy because they splashed more than they could afford on the trimmings of the wedding. Set a realistic budget, preferably budgeting for each expense individually, and stick to it religiously.
4. Select the rings. If you do this in advance, it gives you time to shop around for something you really like or to get the best prices on rings with detail. Even if you've settled on a plain gold band, be sure that the ring is sized and ready at least a day in advance.
5. Choose a dress from a store or a catalogue well in advance. Altering a dress to fit you or having one made from scratch can take months depending on the availability of the seamstress.
6. Choose the special wedding song that you and your spouse will dance to at the reception. Make it a song that has meaning to you as a couple.
7. Make the arrangements for the rehearsal dinner in much the same way that you would for the actual wedding.
8. Create a guest list with your fiancé and family according to your budget, factoring in the cost per head being charged by the venue.
9. Set up a wedding gift list at a number of stores or online retailers with items that can fit all budgets so that guests will know what things you need. This also reduces the likelihood of getting five toasters, three lamps, and so on.
10. Relax and enjoy it. The planning stages of the wedding are an important part of the wedding experience, and you will remember these days for the rest of your life. Unwind at the end of each day, and let it be an experience worth remembering.