So, it’s been a few years into your relationship, or a few months for some, and the person you call “the one”, has popped the question.
Right away you are either over the moon or scared out of your boots. For the former, planning one’s wedding has been a dream since childhood and your “dream wedding” is almost at your grasp.
For many bride’s, planning their own wedding is a must, but for others, putting that trust into someone else’s ability, makes life so much easier. If you enjoy being hands-on when it comes to getting the wedding you want, you may be seeking advice from various sources, including those who have made the leap before you or from reputable sources who have been there and seen that, which usually come from those who work in the industry.
For many hotels, hosting weddings is part of the offering. Those within the planning, banqueting or events departments will have had experience with many brides and through this interaction, have been able to determine that service delivery, quality and attention to detail and a thorough wedding checklist is what brides are truly looking for to make their dream wedding come true.
The Wedding Checklist
It is always a good idea to have a 12 month plan to follow to ensure you are able to not only save for your wedding payments, but are able to ensure all the boxes are ticked so nothing is left out. It is up to you how you want to adjust the schedule, depending on your wedding date.
Here is a brief month-to-month planner of what you should be looking out for when planning your wedding.
Month 1 – Tell everyone. You’re now engaged and you have the right to boast about it. You may also want to host an engagement party to make the announcement to friends and family. At this time is also important to create a budget and start phoning around and visiting properties to get a feel of where you would like to tie the knot and get an idea of how much it would be. Some hotels provide packages which help condense most of the wedding requirements into one fee. Here are the packages Granny Mouse offers: http://grannymouse.co.za/weddings/.
Month 2 – At this time you should have a wedding date in mind. Choose whether you will be planning your wedding yourself or if you will be hiring a wedding planner. If you are determined about a certain wedding venue, then you could also ask for advice from the banqueting manager, as this person should have experience in assisting with the planning of a wedding.
If you have not yet found a wedding venue. Time is ticking. If you have chosen a year timeline, you should be selecting a venue at this time, as many wedding venues are booked out way in advance. Once you have found your location, it is time to book your ceremony venue. If the hotel you choose sports a chapel, then ensure you book, as this is convenient for guests.
The venue you choose will also allow you to get a rough feel of how many people you have the freedom to invite. Some venues may only cater for small groups, but if that is what you are aiming for, then this is perfect. Just remember, if you are selecting a destination wedding it is always better to ensure that there is sufficient accommodation for guests to book, to avoid any unnecessary stress on your big day.
Month 3 – Month 4 – Now is the time to create a guest list. Your guests should be listed with those who are most important and those whom you see most often. If you have extra space, then you may want to consider distant relatives etc.
You should also decide on your bridesmaids, and get your other half to decide on his groomsmen. Then delegate duties to each of them.
If you cannot wait to shop for your wedding dress, then you may start wanting to visit bridal shops. Just bear in mind the season and location you have chosen to get married, and choose a wedding dress that would fit to these elements. If it is winter, then longer sleeves or a warm shawl may be needed or if you are getting married on the beach, go for a more beach-style design.
Throughout the year, you may want to attend bridal shows, so keep a look out for dates.
From Month 5-7 – start creating a wedding registry and ensure your invitations are ready to be sent. This would also be the correct time to sort out décor arrangements, choose colours and start organising bridesmaid’s dresses, groomsmen outfits and flower girl and ring bearer attire.
Month 8 –send out your invites and allow guests at least a month to RSVP. By this time, your dress should be bought and dress accessories should be sorted out.
You should also start searching for an officiant who will perform your ceremony, photographer, videographer, florist, DJ etc and book these. Some hotels may assist in providing a list of credible suppliers which may aid you in finding what you need.
Month 9 – Now is the time to meet with your caterer and finalise catering, numbers of guests, and wedding favours and purchase ceremony and reception decorations like unity candles, have ceremony programs printed, purchase a guest book, pen and other wedding accessories. You will also need to arrange toasting glasses, champagne, a cake knife and ring pillow. This would also be the time to go shopping for your rings.
You and your partner should also start contacting notaries who are able to help you with all your legal requirements including prenuptial agreements etc, should you want to be married out of community of property.
Month 10 – select the type of cake you want and book a baker. If the hotel you have booked at have an in house pastry chef, enquire if that person is able to make your cake. This will help with ensuring your cake will be at the venue when you need it. You will also need to book a hair stylist, nail technician and make-up artist. It is always best to book a trial beforehand.
Book a room for your wedding night and arrange your honeymoon, taking into consideration the time to get passports etc, ready. If you are staying local, then ensure you have paid in advance to ensure your stay is booked.
Month 11- finalise the wedding guest list and get any minor details sorted out. Write your wedding vows if you are reciting your own personalised vows. Create your seating chart, table numbers and place cards.
It would also be wise to contact your caterer with a final guest count, ensure your florist knows when to have the flowers ready and give your photographer a list of photos to be taken. Your DJ should also be given a list of songs that should be played for the first dance, father-daughter dance etc. It would also be wise to apply for your marriage license or ask your marriage officer to assist with this documentation at this time.
A week before – Schedule a final dress fitting.
On the day! Supply contact information and cell phone numbers of those who will be helping with your duties, to the banqueting staff. Eat a healthy breakfast and just enjoy the pampering.
Article information supplied by Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. www.grannymouse.co.za