Let’s face it: who should have the final say about everything when planning a wedding? Is it the bride’s family, who may be bankrolling the affair? Or the professional (if you’re employing one), ie the wedding planner?
It pays to listen to advice – but it must be the bride who takes the ultimate decisions.
If that’s you, this is what you will need to consider.
You must list what needs to be done – and by what time. You can buy a wedding book, or create one with a ring binder, say. Ensure you record names and contact details of suppliers.
You could do worse than download (forgive the plug!) my free “Wedding Countdown Checklist” (click here), and you’ll be well on the way.
You need to get on with this early in the process. Choose your maid (or matron) of honour; her main job will be to organise the bridesmaids and support you both emotionally and practically.
As for the bridesmaids themselves, you want people you can count on, so choose carefully.
Don’t forget you’ll later want to show your gratitude to them. It could be a gift presented at the reception or a lunch before the wedding.
Dress and Accessories
It’s also worth starting this process early (you ought to have placed your orders six or more months before the wedding). Your dress is the first priority. Then look for (if appropriate) veil, gloves, shoes, handbag, jewellery and undergarments. You may want to involve your maid of honour or a parent here.
You’ll need to decide on a hair and make-up stylist early. A good idea is to book a trial run a couple of months in advance of the wedding, as well as the ‘real thing’ on the day.
Other suppliers may book up quickly, so do your homework and act on your findings in good time.
You may want to have your engagement ring cleaned and even book a manicure.
Although, as I suggest, the final decisions will be down to you, there is no need to do everything yourself! Nor is there any sense in it, as burn-out would then be a real possibility.
So why not delegate (gently!)?
Your parents or in-laws may well appreciate being invited to participate. Drawing up the guest list is an obvious communal job. They might want to publish news of your engagement or your wedding in the newspaper. Maybe they can book a band for your reception.
Your bridesmaids may well enjoy being consulted about their dresses.
The groom can prove himself useful. (No, really!) Traditionally, he may take on buying the wedding rings, choosing the ushers and the best man (and their attire) and buying gifts for them. He may organise the registrars, the transport on the day, arrange to pay the celebrant and plan the honeymoon. So he needn’t get off that lightly!
In addition, at the start, you will surely visit the venue together. You may want to set the budget, discuss your ceremony, agree/write your vows, share thoughts on whom to invite and which gifts to put on the wedding list.
Your beloved may have contacts and might be able to help organise the catering, florist, photographer etc.
To sum up
The bottom line is: accept help and advice gracefully ; don’t try and do it all yourself; plan meticulously; be the final arbiter; and relish the whole process!