Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Laid Plans - Part I

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Did any of you ladies get an extra special present?

The last two weeks of December is one of the most common times when couples become engaged, so congratulations to all you lucky gals out there who have recently become engaged!

After the proposal and all the celebratory events in your and his honor, the most pertinent thing on a bride's mind is getting down to the wedding planning.

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and often times nerve wracking experiences. What happens if the dress doesn't fit? Will the flowers wilt? Where are those blasted shoes? The best man forgot the rings?

Working in the wedding industry, I am extremely lucky to know the right people to help me get the job done. Here a little wedding planning primer of the fist major issues to help you get started on planning an unforgettable day and remember the wedding golden rule: Earlier is always better!


Set the date: Do you want a Spring Soiree? A Mid-Summer Dream? A Fall Ball? A Winter Wonderland? Just remember that if you're planning on getting married during the wedding high season, March thru September, you'll want to do everything early.

Budget: Decide on how much you want to spend on the wedding. For some of you, it may be a grand affair but for others, you may opt for something a little more simple and chic. Make sure you plan accordingly to your and your fiance's lifestyle and not get into major debt after everything is said and done.

Leaving it to the Professionals: if you decide to hire a wedding planner, now is the perfect time to do so. He or she will know exactly what to do not to mention knowing everyone who's worth knowing. My favorites in the Southern California area are Mindy Weiss and Jeannie Savage at Details, Details.

Which came first, the design or the location? I'm putting down these next two elements in conjunction with each other because you really can't decide one without the other.

Decide on Design: start pulling out pictures from magazines, save visual inspirations, anything that you think you want at your wedding. Then start narrowing down your design aesthetic and remember the big picture. If you're planning a posh party at the Ritz, the mason jars with daisy probably won't work, but you can incorporate it at another event (think of the many brunches in your honor). Often times, I see a miss-mash of too many elements because the bride didn't really define her wedding look. But above all, make a personal statement - don't lose you and your fiance's personalities by what others think is "right" for you.

Location, Location, Location: will your have the ceremony and reception at the same place? Or will you decide to hold the event in two different locations? Keep in mind the most popular venues are booked early so if you're heart is set on The Beverly Hills Hotel or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, book early. While deciding on the location, ask if the venue supplies certain items (catering, chairs, tables, etc.), or if they work with preferred vendors. This will help minimize the costs. If necessary you may have to use some outside resources such as a rental company. Also ask about any deposits, cancellation/refund policies before making any final decisions.

The White Dress: now is the perfect time to start looking for a wedding dress. I've seen brides start looking for their dress even up to a year and a half in advance. Wear some nice underwear, bring some heels and get a little glammed up - you can't really tell if you love a dress if you look like you just rolled out of bed. If you have had your heart set on a divine Carolina Herrera or stunning Monique Lhuillier, know that these dresses take at least a minimum of 6 months to order as a wedding gown is made to order. Planning to go the European route? Those dresses also take about 6-9 months. Make sure you ask before purchasing as you never want to be the bride that gets her dress a few days before the wedding. If you put off the decision of picking a dress to the very last minute, you will be paying very high rush fees to get the dress in on time. And don't second guess yourself - wear something that speaks to you. Ask about in house alterations and what their store policy/contract is so you aren't left in a rut.

And above all else - breathe! This is going to be one of the happiest times in your life and enjoy the moment - it goes by in a flash.

I'm going to revisit this topic as time goes by - there's a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming reading it all at once! And if you're an eager beaver, you can find a complete list in any of the bridal magazines.

Happy Planning!

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