There are very few days in life, if any, that are more sentimental, more special, and more beautiful than your wedding day. The sight of tears dripping down Mom and Dads cheeks, as the bittersweet moment of seeing their daughter for the last time as their own, embraces them; the gorgeous white roses scattered throughout the church floor, and the sight of a newly married couple as they cling together and gaze into each others eyes during their perfect wedding song, culminate the perfect day.
However, the planning involved in coordinating such a memorable day can be extremely stressful and demanding. With a tremendously immense agenda of things to arrange, it is very simple for one piece of the puzzle to go missing. Every detail to your wedding is extremely important! Compiled below, in no particular order of importance, is a list of the 25 most important details to make your unforgettable day priceless!
1.) The Rings. The engagement rings and wedding bands are two of the most important investments you will ever make in your life. The rings are the symbols of a marriage. They are the visible images that represent the unification of a man and a woman as husband and wife. There are so many factors to weigh when choosing rings; such as type of stone, type of metal, and type of diamond arrangement. Since she is most likely going to be flaunting her engagement/wedding ring for the rest of her life, you’ll want to pick a ring that is timeless and represents great quality.
2.) Location of the Ceremony. There are a couple things to consider when a couple is debating where to get married. First off, you must decide whether you want to be married in a church, at a ranch, in your backyard, or wherever it may be. Secondly, you must come to a decision of whereabouts you are going to tie the knot, such as a church. Lastly, you must settle on which church you will be getting married in. You must narrow it down until you find one site that you BOTH agree upon. Pleasing both parties is extremely crucial! The location of your ceremony may also be the place of your reception, and vice versa. If you choose to utilize one location for both uses, that is also a very smart way to keep your budget to a minimum.
3.) Location of the Reception. Like mentioned above, the location of your reception may be the same venue as your ceremony. However, if it is not, the size of the reception room or site depends on the size of your wedding; the more people attending your wedding equates to a bigger site. If you have the luxury of being able to use a backyard, such as your own or your parents are kind enough to host your reception, this is a great way to keep a lot of that hard earned money in your pocket and not on a bill.
4.) The Bride and Grooms Court. These individuals are normally best friends and/or immediate family with the bride and groom. The bridesmaids normally assist the bride in whatever way possible before and on the day of the wedding. In the court is the maid of honor, if she is unmarried, or the matron of honor, if she is married. She also plans and organizes the bridal shower as well as the bachelorette party. Just like the bridesmaids, the groomsmen are headed by the best man. His main responsibility is to be in the charge of the rings during the ceremony. He too would plan the bachelor party and be in charge of any of the organizing and operating functions the groom would request.
5.) Dresses and attire. If you look beautiful, you feel beautiful. A soon to be bride must be confident about the way she looks, especially on this day more than any other. There are a couple categories on this list where spending some extra cash are only going to be wroth it, no not for your budget, but for her; and this is one of those categories! Men, you’re not going to be happy with this next piece of advice, but give her the opportunity to buy the dress of her dreams! Women must be in love with their attire, and trust me, they adore their wardrobe, and there is absolutely no exception for the dress she is going to wear on the day she has dreamt about since she was a little girl. With that being said, the bridesmaid dresses are just as important as her wedding dress. Allow the woman to choose the color, pick the style, and select the type of shoes that she and her court are going to wear. Because honestly, what do men know about women’s clothing?
6.) Tuxedos and attire. Looking good and feeling good is not just a quality of women. A groom to be is just as important as a bride to be. The tuxedo, or chosen attire, must fit properly. How many times have you seen a man in a three piece suit where the shoulders of the jacket are too broad, the pants way too baggy, or the collar of the dress shirt too tight? Of course with the bride wearing a white dress, almost any color tuxedo will match. However, the color of the tie and/or vest that the groomsmen wear should incorporate the colors of the bridesmaid’s dresses. Let’s say for example that a bride and groom are adamant that they both wear white, the groomsman wear white tuxedos, and the bridesmaid dresses must be a light canary yellow. White and yellow are two colors that mesh extremely well because they are very light and soft, yet are subtle enough where they do not detract from the focal point of the wedding, which is the bride and groom. All the groomsmen would need to do in order to make the court look beautiful is to wear a yellow tie or vest and maybe a small yellow rose boutonnière.
7.) Wedding Planner. A wedding planner is obviously not needed if you are on a very restrictive budget; nor is it needed if you want to coordinate and do all of the organization for your wedding. Either way, if you are fortunate enough where money is not an obstacle and you refuse to consolidate the details for your wedding, wouldn’t it be nice to alleviate most of your stress and anxiety and place it on the shoulders of someone else? That sure sounds nice to me! Even if you are on a very tight budget, you can still hire a wedding planner to coordinate all the events the day of your wedding or to receive their input regarding location, décor, or attire. This will be money well spent I promise! A wedding planner, depending on the contract you agree upon, is your mediator and your facilitator. They work for YOU! They will formulate the events for that special day of yours, but don’t lose track of the fact that you are the ultimate decision maker. Every final decision is yours and the beauty of having a wedding planner is you just have to say yes or no. The planner will do the work and encounter the stress. All you have to do is say I do/don’t like this.
8.) Guest List. It is never too early to start finalizing your guest list. However, the ball can’t get rolling until you have set a budget, booked a ceremonial site, and rented out a reception room. Once you have set a budget, you know how much you will be able to invest in both locations. After that is established, you will know how many people can attend the ceremony and finally the reception. There are other things to consider though, which of course you both must agree on. Do you envision a wedding of 40 people or a wedding of 200 people? Would you rather have a larger guest list with a casual dinner or a more restricted guest list with fine dining? Once these questions are answered, then you can really narrow down the guests you want and ultimately formulate the perfect guest list.
9.) “Save the Date” Invitations. These types of invitations have become much more popular. This is not the wedding invitation; this is just a friendly reminder to keep the date open. The invitation itself most of the time contains just the date of the future wedding and most couples have chosen to put pictures of the proposal on the invitation or just a random picture of the couple who is to be married. It is just a very polite way, which I highly recommend, to say we are engaged so mark your calendars, because you are going to be invited to a wedding!
10.) Wedding Invitations. This is the formal invitation that every future wedding has, which follows up the “Save the Date” invitation. Typically it is recommended that you order the invitations about 4 weeks before you are planning on sending them out to future guests. This way you are able to review all the details and make sure everything is correct. It also gives you plenty of time to do a reprint of the invitations if necessary. Once you are sure that everything on the invitations is correct, be sure to mail them out about 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding. Anything sooner than 6 weeks before the wedding may bring you more stress, but this also gives your guest’s time to RSVP by the deadline and make travel arrangements. On the flip side though, if you send them out too early the date may be so far away that people may not bother to mark it down in their calendars and planners or the invitation could be lost. You need to find that middle ground that works for you as well as your friends and family.
11.) The Photographer. After the preceding 10 steps are set in stone, the photographer is the next most important commodity at your wedding! This is another major detail to where an extra 500 bucks would be money well spent. Your special day will be remembered by the memories you have made and the pictures that are taken. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a photographer that has proven his/her worth in the past! If you can, try to glance at a couple wedding books that your photographer has pieced together. This would be ideal because your wedding book is going to be the most priceless item that you will cherish for the rest of your life, so make sure that you are completely satisfied with the photographer you hire.
12.) The Videographer. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but videos portray a timeless memory. Many people will ask friends or family to try and record bits and pieces from special events and wedding. However, once you begin to review the tape, the quality of the video more often than not, is not very high and you may find yourself disappointed. Hiring a videographer will ensure that you have a great composition of a memorable day. Also if you were to ask a family member or friend that is attending the wedding, then they are focused on filming and not enjoying the event. It is another visual representation of the most important day of your life that you will treasure forever.
13.) Florist and Décor. Decorating your ceremonial venue and your reception location can be extremely enjoyable and also very special. It gives the bride and groom the opportunity to incorporate some of their favorite colors, ideas, and style into their wedding. Try to make it unique and have it represent your taste as a couple. Obviously the flowers that you choose will give the wedding a lot of decoration and life, and that is what many couples rely on to decorate their sites. However, that doesn’t mean that you can not add little touches and details of your own. I have been to a decent number of weddings and I have noticed a couple objects and items that I would highly recommend implementing into yours. Consider having a chocolate or caramel fountain at your wedding. They are very entertaining as well as delicious! Another piece of décor you could integrate is an ice sculpture. Whether it displays the bride and grooms name, the date of the wedding, or is crafted into a fountain, ice sculptures are an extremely beautiful object to decorate your reception room.
14.) Stylist. This is mainly an entity for women, unless by chance one of your groomsmen wants a manicure, his eyebrows plucked, or his hair styled by a professional. The benefit of hiring a makeup artist, a hair stylist, or both is that you are alleviated from the stress of doing it yourself. You are able to show or tell them exactly what you want your hair to look like and exactly how you want it done. Another benefit of having it done by a stylist is that they your hair on your wedding day may require a bit more TLC than a friend or yourself can provide. There is no difference with a makeup artist. They specialize in what they do and they know the colors that will photograph well with your skin tone and your complexion. It is the safest route if you are worried about looking your utmost best on your unforgettable day.
15.) Music/Performer/Entertainment. You can’t have a wedding without music. That’s just a fact. If there has been one without it, I would love to know how it went, or what guests did the entire time. Most weddings consist of a DJ who will be responsible for playing music and trying to encourage guests to get on the dance floor. However, the reception will last a couple of hours and if you want to spice it up a bit or make it a little more unique, you can always hire a performer or band. Depending on the average age of your wedding guests, may help you decide what type of entertainer you want to hire. If the couple getting married is in their mid-50’s, maybe you want to invest in a cover band or performer that plays a lot of classic Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, or some 80’s Joel music. You’re probably not going to hire a rock and roll band that plays heavy metal if the average age of your guests is 50. Be sensible in your investment obviously, but I highly recommend taking this route.
16.) Event Caterers. Depending on the type of season you are having your wedding in, may increase or decrease the amount of equipment you need to rent. Tables, chairs, place settings, and a dance floor are the most common items needed for weddings. If you are having an outdoor reception in the winter or fall, you may need to rent some propane heaters. If you are having a summer wedding and want to rent a big tent, you may need to also include some air conditioning units or some big industrial fans. There are a lot of things to consider when hiring a catering company, and like I have mentioned before, if you can somehow take advantage of seeing one of their parties or events, that would be ideal.
17.) Food and Drink Caterers. The type of food that you have at your wedding most likely will depend on your guest list and ultimately the budget you can work with. Obviously the more guests you have, the more expensive the catering bill is going to be. In addition, the more elegant the food is that you provide, will ultimately make the bill more expensive as well. Almost guaranteed, there are going to be children under the age of 21 at your wedding, so providing non-alcoholic beverages other than water is a must. If the catering company that is providing your food also provides non-alcoholic drinks, this works out very well so that you don’t add another bill to your tally. In addition to the non-alcoholic drinks, I would suggest buying some of the Martinelli’s sparkling cider that kids absolutely love! Not only does it come in a bottle that looks identical to a champagne bottle, but it is something for them to pour in their flute glasses when a toast is being given. This way, they feel very involved and as much of a part of the wedding as everyone else.
18.) Bartender. Unless you are going to have a dry wedding, meaning no alcohol, a bartender is a necessity. Most often, the hosts of the wedding will buy all the alcohol and keep it stored. If you are holding your reception at your own house for example, you will need to do the alcohol shopping. Some places though, such as a country club for example, will probably provide their own bartender along with the drinks. What many people don’t consider when going through this process though is if the bar is going to have a limit. Limitless weddings where a bartender has more handles of alcohol then he knows what to do with normally get a bit messy. With that being said though, it is better to have more alcohol than too little so first you need to decide if you are going to have an open bar with no limit or vice versa. You can also return any bottle that is not opened so make sure that you provide the bartender with plenty odf supplies.
19.) Ring Bearer and Flower Girl. Utilizing any of these three options is a great way to involve others in your wedding. When I picture a stereotypical wedding, the first thing that comes to my mind is a little girl in a crisp white dress graciously walking down the aisle scattering rose petals along the church floor. If you have the resources, by this I mean children, of being able to implement your kids, a relatives child, or your friends children into the wedding procession, I would definitely do so. Normally flower girls are between the ages of 4 and 10 but there really is no age limit of how old they can potentially be. If you have the services of a flower girl, then getting a male ring bearer would really make the procession look beautiful. The two would create really nice harmony together and make your wedding very lovely.
20.) Cake. Traditionally cakes used to be very lavish pieces of art that were more over the top and more for show than they were for consumption. However, it is becoming more common that the more simple the better. There is no right or wrong flavor, size, or shape, but it is a must that a cake be present at the wedding if you ask me. It has become a tradition amongst Americans that the couple who has been married cuts the cake while holding hands as a sign of unity and togetherness. The cake is just as much of a symbol and an image to the wedding as the venue.
21.) Registry. A registry is a service that retail stores carry in order to allow engaged couples to choose particular items they would like to have in their home. After a couple has selected the items, online or in person, they wish to add to their registry, guests can either find the registry at the store, online, or through the engaged couple. This wish list then becomes eventual wedding gifts for the bride and groom. I would recommend choosing two or three retail stores and compiling your registries there. This will give your guests more options and allow you to create a wish list that entails all sorts of products.
22.) Limousine or transportation services. Having private transportation to and from the ceremonial site as well as the reception site will be a big weight lifted off your back. On a wedding day there is such a massive agenda and such a strict time slot for every little detail and when plans change, having a limousine service and a private chauffer is a luxury. Just like other services, you should shop around and ask other clients that hired limousine services how they performed on the job. Simple questions such as were they on time? Were the polite? Were they cooperative? These will help you determine which company you should hire and who will make your beautiful day as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
23.) Minister. If you are being married in a church, most parishes will provide you a priest or allow you to select a minister that they are affiliated with. You need to choose a minister that you feel comfortable with, an individual that you connect with, and someone who wants to perform the services of your wedding. If you are getting married at an outside location that does not contain a chapel, you will also have to go through the process of hiring a minister. Make sure that you discuss before you hire him what you expect from them and what they expect from you.
24.) Wedding Favors. My cousin recently got married and they were on an extremely tight budget, but wanted to provide the guests with some type of remembrance from their wedding day. They had custom shot glasses made for all 150 guests that had their names, the date, and two interlocking hearts. It was a very clever and creative gift, but it is also something that is durable and will last a long time if your 2 year old doesn’t get a hold of it. Other great ideas I have seen have been a candy bar, custom champagne flutes, and silver engraved key chains of the wedding details.
25.) Honeymoon. Your honeymoon should culminate the perfect wedding day. It is your first vacation as a married couple and it could not come at a better time. For the past 6 months you have been swamped with comprising every little detail to make your wedding day perfect and flawless. When picking your honeymoon destination, you both need to decide how much you plan on spending. Try to find a reasonably priced location that leaves you with enough spending cash so that you can experience the culture of the country you are visiting, as well as pamper your spouse!
Just a final note, please do not lose sight of what you are preparing for! You are organizing and arranging the most important, and what should be the happiest day of your life! Enjoy the process of planning your wedding! Have fun with it! Do not make it a burden because then you will not benefit from it as much as you should. I hope this article has been helpful to you and your family. Now, go plan your perfect wedding day!