Get­ting Or­gan­ised

Bride & Groom - - WEDDING PLANNER -

Once the big ques­tion has been popped it leads to a whole se­ries of other ques­tions, and by an­swer­ing these, you’re on your way to plan­ning your wed­ding. So dur­ing the ini­tial stages you should dis­cuss the fol­low­ing:

the date

This may seem ob­vi­ous, but know­ing how much time you have to work with could make all the dif­fer­ence to the way you plan your wed­ding. The time of year you choose to marry will im­pact on your bud­get and the avail­abil­ity of re­cep­tion venues and other ser­vices. You may like your wed­ding to co­in­cide with a visit from over­seas fam­ily mem­bers or to fit in with your hec­tic work sched­ule, so be sure to talk this over.

the size of the wed­ding

Do you see it as an in­ti­mate af­fair with just close friends and fam­ily, or had you en­vis­aged a large wed­ding with 150 guests or more? Do a quick head­count – it might sur­prise you.

bud­get

This is di­rectly re­lated to the size of the wed­ding. At this early stage, it’s hard to know how much you might have to spend, but by throw­ing around some fig­ures you will soon re­alise if your ex­pec­ta­tions match those of your part­ner. Wed­dings can cost any­where from $2000 to in ex­cess of $80,000, so es­tab­lish a ball­park fig­ure now. (You can al­ways re­vise it once you’ve done a bit more re­search.) The ar­eas where your bud­get will be spent are fash­ion, rings, sta­tionery, cer­e­mony, flow­ers, trans­port, pho­tog­ra­phy, video, mu­sic, re­cep­tion venue, cake, cater­ing, al­co­hol, wed­ding-night ac­com­mo­da­tion and the hon­ey­moon.

who’s pay­ing

If you are pay­ing for the wed­ding your­selves, then it re­ally is your wed­ding and you can call the shots. Things get slightly trick­ier when par­ents chip in or pay for the en­tire thing, as this will ob­vi­ously en­ti­tle them to a say in how the money is spent. Another op­tion is for the par­ents to pay for one el­e­ment of the wed­ding, such as pho­tog­ra­phy or the band. This way, you can make the ma­jor de­ci­sions for your wed­ding, while ac­cept­ing some fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

style

Wed­dings are as in­di­vid­ual as the cou­ples who plan them. The venue, at­tire, en­ter­tain­ment and menu will all hinge on the style you choose, so keep this in mind. You may al­ready have a clear view of how you see the day un­fold­ing. De­scribe it and see if it matches your part­ner’s ideas. Dis­cuss what you liked and dis­liked about friends’ wed­dings to see if you’re both on the same wave­length. Look through past is­sues of Bride & Groom (avail­able on­line) and search the in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion.

re­li­gious or civil cer­e­mony

You prob­a­bly know where you stand on this ques­tion. Also dis­cuss your par­ents’ ex­pec­ta­tions and whether or not they will im­pact on your de­ci­sion.

the wed­ding party

Six brides­maids may not be his idea of the ul­ti­mate wed­ding party, yet she may have se­cretly se­lected them years ago. Like­wise, his pick for best­man might leave her gasp­ing, so it’s im­por­tant to dis­cuss this now. If you dis­agree, try to talk it through calmly, ex­press­ing why you think they might not be suit­able. But re­mem­ber that these are your part­ner’s friends and they may have a his­tory that pre-dates your re­la­tion­ship by many years. This could be one area where com­pro­mise is the only way.

Once you’ve es­tab­lished these key fac­tors, it’s time to get or­gan­ised. Start a wed­ding-plan­ning file in which you keep all cor­re­spon­dence, ideas, quotes, con­tact de­tails, sam­ples etc. If ev­ery­thing is in one place, it’s less likely to get lost.

Based on your re­spec­tive skills and in­ter­ests, de­cide who should take care of plan­ning the var­i­ous as­pects. It will be much eas­ier if you share the tasks. Be­fore book­ing any­thing, get writ­ten quotes and then dis­cuss which op­tions suit you best. See our Wed­ding Count­down on page 160 or on­line, as a guide and time­line to help you stay on track.

It’s a good idea to open a spe­cial bank ac­count for wed­ding ex­penses into which you (and your par­ents, if they’re in­volved) can de­posit money and pay bills from. This will help you keep tabs on what you are spend­ing, as will set­ting up a spread­sheet.

wed­ding-plan­ning wis­dom

Work out your pri­or­i­ties. Start early. You can never be too or­gan­ised. Learn to com­pro­mise. Have fun. It’s not sup­posed to be a chore. Del­e­gate tasks to peo­ple you can trust. Ac­cept help when it’s of­fered. Plan­ning the wed­ding in­volves you both. You don’t have to spend a for­tune to have a great day. Stick to your bud­get – if you over­spend on one area, cut back on another. Don’t take too long to make ma­jor de­ci­sions. Once you have set a date, book all your sup­pli­ers. Do your re­search. Get all your quo­ta­tions in writ­ing. Sub­scribe to Bride & Groom mag­a­zine. Use our on­line check­lists.

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