Congratulations! You are going to be a proud and beaming bride in days to come. I am sure you must be busy accepting congratulatory messages from friends and family upon your engagement. The wedding date is still far off, so you can just relax and bask in the company of your new-found love. Right? Wrong! If you wish to preserve that smile on your lips and the radiance on your face until your wedding day, then start with your preparations this moment. Why? Because wedding preparation is no child's play and unless you have a team of wedding planners doing it for you, you can not afford to relax. A head start can give you ample time to plan things at your pace and avoid last minutes hassles. So, get your pen and paper and note down these wedding planning and preparation tips.
Decide Your Budget
The whole of our life revolves around money, and wedding is no exception. Hence, the first thing that you need to do is decide upon your wedding budget. A budget will enable you to decide the grandeur of your wedding. The choice of location and the number of guests are the factors that are primarily influenced by a budget. Allocate 25% extra funds to your budget for contingency measures and to cover unforeseen expenses.
Make a Checklist
The next thing that you need to do is make a detailed timeline. This will enable you to divide the tasks according to their priority and the time at your disposal. Important tasks such as booking venue, honeymoon reservations, etc., should be done at least 8 to 12 months prior to the big day. Maintaining a checklist can help you organize your time and will also ensure that you finish everything well ahead of time.
Bookings and Reservations
Make all the important bookings when you still have 6 months to go. These include selecting a venue for wedding and reception, choosing a catering service, hiring a wedding photographer, booking a florist and decorator, hiring a music band, hairstylist, makeup artist, etc. Meanwhile, also make sure you have your passport and other travel documents in place. Make travel and hotel reservations for your honeymoon.
Guest List and Invitations
Make a guest list of people you want to invite upon your wedding. Save-the-date cards should be sent 6-8 months prior to the wedding. Send the invitation cards at least 3 to 4 months before the wedding. Sort the RSVPs and make a final guest list. The final head count of the guests should be made only a couple of weeks before the wedding, since people are bound to change their plans at the eleventh hour.
Shopping for wedding dresses and gifts takes up considerable time in your pre-wedding preparations. You will have to make several trips to the shops until you find a perfect wedding gown. Besides, you will also have to arrange for bridesmaids' dresses and gifts. Attending dress trials and shopping for accessories and shoes is another time-consuming task. You will also have to shop for wedding favors, groom's gift, wedding rings, etc. Make sure you finish all the shopping at least 3 months before your big day.
Last Minute Wedding Arrangements
If you are on time, you will have a very few tasks to do during the final days of your wedding. Double check your checklist to see if you have missed anything. Confirm the reservations of your out-of-town guests, give a final head count to the caterer and supervise the wedding decorations. Pack your bags for the wedding day as well as for honeymoon. Prepare an emergency kit for the big day complete with needles, thread, pantyhose, pins, etc.
Amidst all this preparation, make sure that you take good care of yourself. If possible, get a friend or a sibling to help you with the arrangements. This will take the burden off your shoulders so that you can relax a bit and enjoy the biggest occasion of your life.