TIPS based on photographing hundreds of
If you hire a wedding planner, many of these items
will get handled for you.
If you don't hire a coordinator, please read this
will be some terrible goof-ups on your wedding day
--- here's the really scary truth about who will
except you. So relax.
Frankly your GUESTS will
not freak out if the boquet has the wrong mix of
flowers, or bridesmaids dresses are the wrong shade
of lavender, or the shoes won't fit and you wear
white tennis shoes under the wedding dress. Grooms
won't care if lavender turns out to be a shade of
Your guests are there
because they are happy you're getting married.
Period. They don't care if wedding detail number
#42 was messed up. They don't care at all. So
relax. Something always goes wrong. But no one will
location, and budget secrets:
Your first critical
choices are the wedding date and
location. You can't schedule much else until
you know those.
But don't feel pressured
into signing a contract with the first venue you
find. Here's why. If you get nervous and over-spend
there you may not have enough money left over for
your other wedding priorities.
That's why I recommend
writing a simple wedding budget before you sign up
with anyone. If you hire a wedding planner she'll
help with that.
If you're a member of a
church, they'll usually let you get married there
for an affordable fee. If the fee is astronomical,
well... If your church sees your wedding as a
moneymaker instead of a ministry, personally, I'd
start looking for a new church.
There are several
legitimate fees a church needs to charge you --- to
pay for a janitor, sound man, minister's
honorarium, perhaps a church coordinator's time,
and in some cities, security.
When I got married, my
church (Sun River Church in Rancho Cordova at the
time) thankfully charged me only for the janitorial
service, the sound man's time, and a donation for
the minister. The church was completely ethical and
did NOT use my wedding as an excuse to make money.
There are some excellent churches in our area so
shop around or call me for
Decide your own
priorities -- whether they be venue, partying,
photography, clothes, decorations, flowers, food,
travel. If you over-spend in catetory X you could
have nothing left for category Y.
FOR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT
SAVING MONEY see my article here...
Goof-Proof your Wedding Day
Plan your wedding day
timetable in consultation with your photographer or
an experienced wedding planner. It's important to
provide adequate time for group & portrait
On the wedding day,
DON'T LET YOUR CEREMONY START LATE for no
I recommend starting the
ceremony exactly 10 minutes after the scheduled
start time. That prevents most guests who are
looking for a parking place from entering the
church while the bride walks up the aisle (tacky.)
Decide upon a start time
and absolutely stick to it except in a true
HERE'S WHY --- When you
start a ceremony late, you create a cascading set
of problems affecting your photographer, your
caterer, your portrait photos, your reception
venue, your limousine, your guests... Don't let it
The single most common
cause of wedding delays I've seen are hair
appointments for the bride and
Solution: #1: Schedule
hair appointments earlier in the day than you would
have thought necessary.
Solution #2: Make them
finish the bride's hair first, so if delays
happen, it will delay bridesmaids but not the
bride's arrival at the church.
Pick up bridal dress and
tuxedos several DAYS before the wedding. Wedding
dress and tuxedo shops can goof up, of course.
Sometimes they even go out of business. So get the
clothing in your hot little hands ahead of time.
Make sure #1 all the pieces are actually there; and
#2, see if they fit.
Consider doing bride &
groom portraits together before the ceremony. This
will get you turned loose to mingle with your
Work with your
photographer to plan which family members you want
in pictures. DO NOT use that crazy list of
must-have poses from the bridal magazines, they're
too complex to be practical.
Give a heads up to
critical family members that you'll NEED them to be
present for group pictures after the ceremony. Ask
them not to leave for the reception until those
pictures have been taken.
Work with your
photographer or wedding planner to predict what
time you'll arrive at the reception, and when the
chef should have food ready.
...caution! Limousines are fun but brides or grooms
have no clue about how to schedule a limousine
properly. Consult your photographer or wedding
Avoid schedule problems
caused by an overwhelmed maid of
honor: Sometimes you have a maid of honor,
sister or other key assistant who may freak out at
all the responsibility. Come on, you know if that's
going to be the case --- then turn those duties
over to a professional wedding coordinator instead.
all the pro's I've seen lately are good. I do
recommend the following instructions:
1. Plan with him/her a
"don't play list" of
music. Example: A
teenager may request a DJ to play songs with
offensive lyrics or some style you despise. Tell
the DJ which things you DON'T want, even when a
wedding guest requests it.
2. Plan how loud you want
the volume. Do you want it super loud
dancing? Or quieter so non-dancing guests can
talk with each other? It's your event,
and the DJ will appreciate your
If you use a
DJ service which employs multiple DJ's, that's
OK, but the one who shows up at your wedding may
not have gotten the word about banned music and
volume preferences. So please remind them at the
don't have to over spend on
wedding guests will attend because
they're happy you're getting married.
You really don't need to spend $$$$ to
Hiring a professional
wedding planner may save you more money than she
charges. Suppose you pay a planner $2,000 but she
saves you from wasting $4000 on stupid expenses?
That would make her fee a bargain.
On the wedding day itself,
a consultant/coordinator will keep your schedule on
track and shield you from little stresses. So
you'll have more time to spend with your guests and
you'll have better memories of the day.
Note: a coordinator who is
employed by a country club or hotel, instead of by
you, may not be able to give you money saving
advice. (I am not implying they're bad
coordinators -- many are superb. I am only talking
about cost issues here.) Their employer expects the
coordinator to generate income for the
In any case work with your
photographer to make sure your wedding day schedule
will be a realistic one.
"Free" wedding planning
software on the internet can be helpful. Please
understand that "free" software is used to generate
sales leads for advertisers. That's why it's
Another option is to
purchase your own wedding software --- $29
Or if turning yourself
into an organized super woman isn't appealing, why
not hire a wedding planner instead.
If you already have a
favorite photographer (like me) PLEASE inform
your planner! If she doesn't know me, she'll steer
you towards other photographers whom she is
familiar with, instead of me.
confirmations before the wedding day
Be sure and call all your
vendors a few weeks before the wedding --- dress
shop, tuxedo shop, caterer, florist --- everybody.
Occasionally they'll forget about your date and
won't have things ready unless you remind them!
Yes, it happens! And occasionally a storefront
business will go under, so check with everyone.
When I got married, the tuxedo store suddenly
disappeared a few weeks before my wedding.
Many couples now set up
their own wedding websites. It can be fun, can help
your wedding guests find directions to your church
& reception, see fun trivia about how you and
your fiancee met, and view engagement photos. After
the wedding you can post wedding pics
ALL Doug's wedding
pictures will be copyright cleared so feel
free to upload them to your own website.
Although some companies
offer wedding websites for "free" you should ask
whom they'll share your personal information
The Best Thing I
Ever Did While Engaged...
The best thing I ever did
while engaged, was to attend a half dozen
pre-marital counseling sessions with my fiancee and
pastor. Nearly every church offers this and the
programs are similar in content, even at different
The pastor or counselor
asks you standard questions to reveal where your
goals and values are similar & different.
Laying these cards on the table --- will avoid
surprises and arguments in the future.
He'll probably give you a
written personality test. There are four basic
personality types, this is true worldwide, it's
been true across the centuries. It's how our brains
were designed & hard wired.
styles simply think very differently.
Understanding in advance how these differences
affect the two of you will avoid some stupid fights
later. Yes, I highly recommend pre-marital
counseling, you'll be glad you did.
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