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Advice to Brides regarding Wedding Planning.

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Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 8, 2005
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40,198
We''ve got a great bunch of people on here... and collectively we''ve got YEARS of wedding planning experience. So I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread to refer people to... almost like a FAQ thread... to help brides and lurkers out as a reference.


So... what have you learned that might help other brides with their planning?

For me the most important thing I would like to share regards contracts.

Many people when presented with a contract assume its unchangeable, and that they have to put up with the terms in order to get the vendor they want.

This is simply not true.

Whether you are dealing with a large venue or a small one person show, please take the time to read and understand the contract to make sure that a) it reflects you understanding of what''s been agreed to b) doesn''t have any terms that are harmful.

I got the Mark Hopkins Intercontinetal to alter their contract for me... as well as any other vendors that I contracted with.

Contracts are wish lists. Nothing more. Negotiate favorable terms, because you will be bound by them.
 

anchor31

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
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7,074
Something important I''ve learned is to do your homework and ask questions!

I was told early on in my planning that I couldn''t expect to pay less than 15k on a 100-guests wedding, even if it''s a low-key event... My budget is MAX 8k.
I decided to not believe that and I started researching. Right now I''m looking at around 7k (rings and honeymoon excluded)!!

Bridal fairs are a great place to start, since you get to meet so many vendors and you get to compare them. If we hadn''t gone, we wouldn''t have found our photographer, who has exactly what we need within our budget (the others were not!), or our singer, who also is exactly what I wanted UNDER our budget!

Research also helped me find netbride.com, and I''ll probably save almost 500$ through them for my dress and the BM dresses. Having a lunch reception at the sugar shack instead of a dinner at the hotel will save me 5000$ (and it''s an even better location)!!! E-bay is good for the wallet too, as well as in-season flowers. I''ll also be doing my stationary, pew bows and veil myself. My mom and I are very crafty and it''s save us a bunch. I''m stitching a bridal portrait so we don''t have to pay for a photo shoot, and I''m having tons of fun doing it!

Also, talk to the people around you. I have a friend who''s putting a pro brass quintet together for my ceremony for free, and another friend will make my cake. Another $$$$ saved there...
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
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40,198
That''s great advice Anchor!

The "wedding'' tacked onto anything adds a $$ premium. For example Wedding reception, Wedding phtography, Wedding invitations, Wedding gown...

For example, if you order a single BM dress is any color other than white or ivory... you pay the regular price. But if you order ONE white or ivory BM gown you will likely be charged extra by the designer for the EXACT same dress because they want to make an additional profit of budget brides buying BM gowns, instead of wedding gowns for their day.

Thinking outside box is important in order to save money.

Also, remember that since you ARE paying a premium, you are within your rights to expect a level service and quality that reflect that permium.
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
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2,216
Look for package deals, and try to get someone else to do all the heavy lifting.

I''m getting married at a resort with a wedding coordinator, so for just over $3k I''m getting a decorated ceremony site, a nice officiant, bouquet and leis for 10 people, music, a good photographer with a 50 pics, a 2-tiered wedding cake, an appointment with an on-site marriage license person with the fees covered, romantic turndown with petals and champagne the wedding night, a romantic private dinner for two the next night, and the services of a wedding coordinator! All I had to do was pick colors and approve things!
 

larussel03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Messages
1,747
Even if your parents are paying for your wedding, buy your own dress.

Just in case you decide later that you want a different one, so you don''t have to worry about ruffling any feathers...
 

chickflick

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
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312
Don't sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day the result will be the same- you'll be married to the man you love and no matter what, your wedding will be memorable and special simply because it was your wedding!! Enjoy every second.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
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11,242
*bump* for more bridal advice! (PS, can we make this a sticky?
)
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
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40,198
Thanks Musey!
I'd love it if more people would contribute.

There is so much helpful advice on here... I just thought a guide would be helpful.

Here's what I'd like to add to emphasize chickflick's post: The wedding is an EVENT, the marriage is the commitment of two lives to each other. Keep that in perspective when you want to kill each other over the right font for the invitations.
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
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7,485
Decide as a couple what two or three things are really important, finding THE dress, great food, music, etc., and focus on those. (When I started to worry about something I always asked myself "Will this matter in 10 years?" if the answer was "no," which it almost always was, I let it go)

Involve your families in the planning process, especially if they are helping you pay for the wedding (or footing the whole bill). Ask them to help out with the things that aren''t on your top priority list.

Make sure you choose clothing that makes your bridal party feel good about themselves.

Have "no wedding planning discussion dates" with your SO, family and friends. As exciting as it is that you''re getting married not everyone(except maybe your mother) wants to talk/hear about it for a year straight.

ENJOY!!!! This should be a fabulously fun and excited time in your life, make sure your attitude contributes to it being so.
 

surfgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
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4,438
indiejones, can you share with us where you''re getting such a great deal from? Thanks!
 

ponderer

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 10, 2006
Messages
233
1. Have your contracts with you the day of the wedding incase of a disagreement between you and a vendor.

2. Have someone have extra cash with them the day of the wedding incase you want to add or extend something last minute.

3. Finish your planning ASAP. Try not to leave anything until the week of the wedding. Get as much done as possible to reduce stress and leave a day or two before the wedding to relax.

4. The day of the wedding you have to let go and relax. There is very little that is important enough to ruin your day by stressing out over silly details.

5. Do not drink before the ceremony. I myself did not follow this rule, but I am a big advocate of waiting until the reception. I was a BM in a wedding where the bride got sloshed before the ceremony even though she only intended to drink one glass of champagne.

6. I second the suggestion that you need to think about your bridesmaids and what looks good on them and what they wll be comfortable wearing.

7. Stop periodically throughout the day, take a deep breath and think about what a wonderful day it is. It will be over before you know it.
 

griffitk

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
66
Bring comfortable shoes! Your feet will be killing you by the end of the day, no matter how comfy your wedding shoes are. I had to walk barefoot from the car to our hotel that night and I almost didn''t make it my feet hurt so badly!

Don''t be afraid to dump lousy vendors early on. I found that the vendors who were a pain to deal with early in the process were still a pain to deal with the week before the wedding and a pain on our wedding day. (The musicians even called to yell at me during our pre-ceremony pictures for absolutely no reason!) I really wish we''d just cut our losses when we realized a vendor stunk early on and found someone better. We had to change planners when she dumped us a month before the ceremony. I really wish we''d dumped her when she was being a pain 3 months before the wedding. It would have saved us a lot of grief trying to find someone last minute.

Make it fun for everyone! I had my bridesmaids pick whatever dresses they wanted, pick their own shoes, pick their own hair and decide on their own nail color. Everyone was in excellent spirits and we had a blast. I used the same philosophy with my parents, my fi, and all relatives. I loved the lack of conflict on my wedding day. Every single memory is a happy one and I don''t regret any silly battles.

Get a Day-of-Coordinator! Ours made our day perfect. It was great not having to have any of my friends or family setup or clean up for the event. My parents really loved just getting to be guests and no responsible for any of the stuff. It''s the best gift we ever gave ourselves.
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
2,216
Kona village resort, but I do know the rate has gone up and staying there isn''t cheap. But it was worth it to us!

My post-wedding advice:
Always keep in mind the point of this. There is no reason to get stressed out about anything, you''re supposed to be happy and celebrating the most important day of your life to date. So do whatever will make you both the happiest. (that includes ditching bridesmaids and extended family)

Just because you want a few things that suit a more formal and traditional wedding doesn''t mean you need to have a formal wedding. I wanted a decorated two-tier wedding cake, a beautiful dress, and the chance to order pretty stationary. I got my cake, a gorgeous dress, and attractive post-wedding announcements complete with inner envelopes while still having a relaxed beach DW with a groom in shorts and 8 guests.

DON''T DRINK!! AT ALL!! I only have a very fuzzy memory of my wedding cake!
Even though it was a low-stress day I was still pretty worked up. Once we were married I felt so relieved that the wine went straight to my head!
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395

1-dh and I took some “us time” after the rehearsal dinner. Everyone wanted us to hang out/go out/enjoy ourselves with all the other wedding guests, but we declined. We are SOOO glad we did. It was probably the BEST decision we made overall. We changed out of our dress clothes, got into our pj’s, chatted and were us for a moment. This was important because we both felt like we were losing the “normal us” in the midst of the chaos the week before the wedding. After taking a moment with each other, we decided to exchange our wedding gifts that night. This leads us right to #2.


2-dh and I decided last minute to exchange our wedding gifts the night before the wedding in private together, instead of the next day apart from each other. This was really nice because we got to see each other’s reactions. Plus, we got to explain the significance of our gifts right then and there and in person. It was truly wonderful.

3-We had buffers. My cousin who was/is my main support, and our day of coordinator acted like buffers. It was awesome not to be bothered with all the negative details of the day. The flowers were late, but I didn’t know. We went over our bar tab, but I didn’t know. There are other things that happened that we may never know because of the buffers. I highly recommend a buffer, or several.
4-I made lots of lists. During lunch breaks at work weeks before the wedding, I began making lists. To pack for the honeymoon list, to pack for the wedding day list, things to do the Thursday before the wedding, things to do the Friday before the wedding, etc. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t listed everything out. We left for our honeymoon Monday, but we didn’t get to pack until Sunday. By Sunday, we were so tired our brains were mush. Ah ha, but I had my list of things to pack! Same thing with packing for the wedding day. Despite how much I planned ahead and how hard I tried to keep things sane, it just gets hectic - period. But, I had my handy list and forgot nothing. It was awesome.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
I love this thread! Thanks Gypsy! I love everyone''s ideas and we''ll definitely have to keep them in mind. I really love your idea, jcrow, of making time to be together alone, even amidst everyone''s wishes to hang out with others. I''ll be cheking this thread often.
 
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