Choose the type of wedding you want

Formal or informal, intimate or large, summer or winter, indoors or outdoors?

Every wedding plan starts with the big picture. Test your imagination and review your wedding dreams as you discuss with your fiancé the ideal way to celebrate your union.

  • Talk about the weddings you have attended, what you enjoyed, and what you would want to avoid.
  • Discuss your faith.
  • Consider what role you want your family and friends to play in this important event.
  • Then make a list of what you consider the most essential elements for a great wedding.

If each of you makes such a list, you can then compare and start the process of planning together. If you have never thought about such an occasion before, you might want to check out some movie videos with great wedding scenes to get the ball rolling, or buy a bridal magazine or two so you can have a look at some of the scenes and styles of contemporary weddings.

Planning a wedding provides an opportunity to express yourselves to your friends and family. Once you have written out a wish list for your dream wedding, try to set priorities. Throughout the planning process, keep in mind that an ideal wedding is often built on a series of compromises.

Wedding videos

If you need some ideas for weddings or need to take a break and watch other people attempt to tie the knot, rent a movie with a great wedding scene in it.

  • Four Weddings and a Funeral has terrific wedding triumphs and disasters.
  • Father of the Bride (the Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin versions),
  • The Sound of Music,
  • It Happened One Night,
  • Arthur,
  • The Philadelphia Story,
  • Camelot,
  • Love Story

all have notable wedding scenes. Search Netflix for more new wedding titles.

Create a budget

This is the first reality check.

  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • Can you afford the wedding you envision?
  • Who is going to pay for it?
  • Are there competing uses for this money?
  • Are you prepared to spend that kind of money?

Wonderful weddings can, of course, be had at one-half and even one-tenth that price. Write down the amount you think that you, your fiancé and your families can spend, or would like to spend:

You have now determined your bottom line for total expenditures.

It is difficult to gauge how much you might spend before you know what anything costs. In general, about 50 percent of your budget will go to food and drink at the reception. Allow another 10 percent for flowers, 10 percent to 15 percent for music, 20 percent to 30 percent for photography and 15 percent for various purchases, fees, and attire. You might call two or three local reception sites to get an idea of what it costs to rent them and what the range of catering costs are.

You will quickly learn that one of the largest variables in the cost of any wedding depends on the number of guests you invite. Catering, invitations, and wedding cakes are all priced on a per person basis. The fewer guests you invite, the smaller the reception site, and the less food, drink, flowers, and favors you will need to purchase. On the other hand, the cost of buying your dress, and hiring a photographer and band will not be affected by the number of guests who attend.

This exercise of dividing up your proposed wedding expenditures serves as a means to help you set priorities. Review your wish list and decide what you might have to do without, or have less of. It is easier to jettison some of the luxuries you had hoped for now rather than after you have gotten used to the idea of them. You will have many opportunities to revise this budget, but it is always a good idea to set out with one in mind.

You will need to get finances straight before you can start planning a wedding. Reception sites and many professionals as well as retailers of wedding attire will more likely than not demand a 50 percent deposit when you reserve their service. You could end up spending a large percentage of your budget as much as nine months in advance of the actual wedding. Ideally, you can set up a separate checking account for wedding expenses, and you, your fiancé, and your family can deposit the available and agreed-upon wedding funds in it now. This system makes it easier to keep track of total expenses and ensures that money for deposits and bills is there when you need it.

Pick colours and theme

Do you see yourself in white and the groom in black? Can you envision the color scheme that might tie the visual aspects of your wedding together? White and peach colors, vivid primaries for a mid-winter celebration? Greens and blues? See if you can settle on an overall color scheme. If you can envision it now, it will make later decisions about decorations, flowers, attire, and maybe even food, easier to make. You may, however, want to wait to think about colors until you pin down your ceremony or reception site, or until after you choose your dress.

Some couples desire to have a wedding with a theme that ties together some or all of the following elements: their attire (and perhaps that of the guests), the music, the food, the ceremony, and even the location. These themes might reflect an ethnic tradition, a time period, or something more playful a Renaissance wedding, an African celebration, a My Fair Lady affair, or even a Disney extravaganza. You might also think in terms of a look or style art deco, say, or country garden. Again, if you can identify a color scheme, theme, or style now, many of the decisions to come in the next few months will be easier to make.

How to talk about money?

From the first mention of the word “wedding” you need to be prepared to talk about money Be honest and open about your finances. Don’t expect both sets of parents to see your dream wedding through your eyes. If you feel comfortable asking them to participate, begin by asking them what they can contribute rather than telling them what you need Invariably, the more money parents provide, the more they expect to be involved in the many decisions a wedding involves. If this is true in your case, decide if you welcome that input and control or if you would rather scale back your plans but keep them under your own control by paying for your wedding yourself.

Never be ashamed of how much money you have to spend, and don’t work with people who imply that you should really be spending more. Be up-front right away about how much you can or want to spend on such items as food and flowers. Then let the caterer or florist tell you what they can do for that amount.

Announce your engagement

Perhaps you are surprised that this important moment is not at the top of the list! Once you announce your engagement, in addition to receiving wishes and kisses, you will begin to receive a lot of advice on wed dings as some members of your families and even some friends will try to influence your plans. Take some time and talk over wedding plans with your fiancé before announcing your decision to get married. Of course, sometimes the urge to spread the word is too powerful to resist, but be prepared!

When you are ready to tell your family and friends of your decision to get married, know that such great news travels quickly. It is traditional to tell both sets of parents first, before they hear it from anyone else. You probably will want to make personal visits, if possible, to your parents before telling others. Make a list of the other members of your family, friends, and colleagues to whom you want to formally announce your engagement, and decide how you want to tell them (in person, social media, formal printed announcement, telephone, e-mail, engagement photo shoot, etc.).

If your families haven’t met, arrange a meeting even if geography means that the meeting will be by phone. If your family plans to help you pay for your wedding, or if you plan to ask them to assist you in paying for it, be prepared to begin discussing initial ideas about the event and the amount of money you are hoping to be able to spend.

Your family or friends may decide to throw you an engagement party. This will be the first of many events that are given in your honor.

Gifts aren’t to be expected and, unless everyone brings one, don’t open them at the party. A nice way around the gift issue is to have the reason for the party be a surprise. Be sure to write thank-you notes for any gifts you receive as soon as you can. Keep all the congratulation cards you receive in one place—they are the start of the many wonderful wishes for happiness you will receive, and you will want to keep them forever.

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