Finally the question has been popped and you have decided that this person is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. And so, the planning begins.
Planning one’s own wedding is somewhat normal in South Africa society, as one is able to stick to the budget and get the anticipated dream wedding. However, it is always wise to get advice from those who work in the industry and have reputable contacts for the various elements needed to create the wedding.
“For many hotels, hosting weddings is part of the offering and like Granny Mouse, we pride ourselves on hosting special functions such as these. Due to the nature of events, we in the business know the important elements that need to be included within a wedding and have many tips and tricks under our belts to share with new brides. Our aim is to make the dream come true,” says Veronica Sookdin (Banqueting Manager at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa).
All brides should consider at least a 12 months plan to not only “save” for the big day, but to be able to ensure all the boxes are checked for a smooth wedding day.
Tick, Tick, Tick!
This wedding planning checklist is all dependent on the time frame from engagement to big day. One should start at the top of the list and works one’s way down to meet each criteria one by one.
First things first: Announce your engagement to family and friends right away. You may also want to host an engagement party about a year in advance and ask for monetary gifts to help towards the wedding costs. You should also put a budget in place and start sourcing suppliers and getting quotes. (Tip: the more advance you do this, you are likely to get a discount).
Decide on the month you want to wed and then source venues to check which dates are available. The wedding date should then be set, ceremony and reception venue booked and save the dates should we sent.
Around this time, one should also inform the bridesmaids, groomsmen, best man and maid of honour that they are the “chosen ones” to help you make your wedding a success.
You may also consider attending bridal shows to gain suppliers contacts etc., unless the venue has a preferred suppliers list for you to use.
9 months prior: Go for wedding fittings and decide on a dress. This will also give you time to sort out alterations and perhaps pay off your dress if it is expensive. (Tip: opt to hire a dress or purchase a relatively inexpensive dress as one is hardly able to regain the expense by selling their used wedding dress). This is also the time to get bridesmaids dresses and groom and groomsmen attire. Also, the bridal couple will need to source a marriage officer who is legally certified to perform your ceremony. It is also the time to book a wedding band or DJ, photographer, videographer, caterer and florist, however many wedding venues cater in house. (Tip: To cut cost, opt for paper flowers or source flowers directly through a local florist as they are experienced to provide information on what flowers are ideal for your big day and they are likely to give discount on larger orders. Ensure they send pictures of what they have done prior to delivery). Create a rough guest list.
6 months prior: Select and order or make your wedding invitations. Select and purchase wedding favours. Purchase any ceremony and reception decorations – such as unity candles, vases, aisle runners, etc. Now would also be the time to visit Pinterest and get inspiration for your wedding cake and book at a bakery. (Tip: Some hotels offer an in house pastry chef who can create a wedding cake for a nominal fee. Get a quote and get ideas from them as to what kind of cakes they can create).
Book your honeymoon and verify all necessary travel documents including passports and visas, unless you are travelling local. Book a room for your wedding night, however hotel such as Granny Mouse Country House & Spa offer a honeymoon suite as part of any wedding package. Book hotel rooms or arrange other accommodations for out-of-town guests.
Finalise the guest list and send out invitations. Reserve transportation for you and your wedding party.
2-4 months prior: Meet with your caterer to discuss the menu and your bar/liquor needs. Meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony details, wording and wedding vows. Select wedding readings. Select and purchase wedding rings.
If need be, contact party rental companies for tents, tables, arches, etc. if necessary and book any other specialty services -photo booths, etc.
1-2 months prior: Follow up on RSVP’s. Have ceremony programs printed. Purchase a guest book, pen and other wedding accessories including toasting glasses, cake knife, ring pillow, etc. Book your hair and makeup stylists and schedule a trial for both and then book for the day. Get thank you gifts for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
2 weeks to 1 month prior: Create a seating chart for the reception and make table numbers and place cards. ontact your caterer with a final guest count. Print out a timeline of events for your wedding party and vendors. (Tip: provide contact information and cell phone numbers) Meet with the photographer to finalize your wedding photo list. Contact your florist to confirm your final flower order (bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc.) Contact your DJ to finalise the music. Pick up wedding bands and make sure they are the correct size. Schedule a final wedding dress fitting.
1 week to the date: Contact all suppliers to confirm. Pick up your wedding gown. Confirm transport. Pack for your honeymoon and confirm travel arrangements (if travelling).
A few days before: If you are having a rehearsal dinner, then host it now.
A day before: Tend to any minor details and get a good night’s rest,
On the day! Wake up early. Set aside some time to share gifts with your bridesmaids/groomsmen. Eat a healthy breakfast and enjoy the day you have prepared for!
To view the wedding packages on offer for a country wedding in the KZN Midlands, contact Granny Mouse Country House & Spa on 033 234 4071 or visit www.grannymouse.co.za.