Wedding Planner: How to Choose the Right One for Your Wedding

If you watched “Father of the Bride” with Steve Martin, the wedding planner played by Martin Short was a hilarious interpretation of a job that many now consider serious business. “Frahnk” (or Frank), as he was called, flitted about managing all of the details of the elaborate wedding. But, a real wedding consultant or planner can be an invaluable tool in making your special day a real joy instead of a real headache. Some people opt for a wedding planner in book form which outlines all of the necessary tasks to plan a wedding and gives you a timeline, but it will not do any of the jobs for you. A wedding planner can take care of all of the legwork for you so that you can go on with your work, school and other responsibility.

How do you shop for a wedding planner? Just as you should do when you look for any type of service professional, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. If you can get a word-of-mouth referral, this is better than all of the advertisements and glowing referrals provided to you by the wedding planner. If you don’t know anyone who has used a planner, you can always look in the phone book or the classifieds in the newspaper.

Once you have a few potential leads you will need to interview the wedding planner candidates. You are hiring them for an important job, and you need to have confidence that they share your “vision” for your special day. See how willing they are to take suggestions and see what they will do with the ideas that you already have. Do they have doubts about their ability to fulfill your needs? This is a yellow flag, but see why they have concerns before you make a judgment. Once you have interviewed a few planners you are ready to make your decision and get to work.

Most wedding consultants charge a fee of around 10 percent of the cost of the wedding. This is standard-and it is worth it for the peace of mind it will give you.

12 Great Tips For Buying Your Dream Wedding Dress

1. Set a price limit on how much you’re willing to spend on your wedding dress.

Wedding dresses come in a broad range of prices, from just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. So it is always a good idea to set a budget before you start looking. When you first approach bridal boutiques, quote them a figure around 10-20% less than your intended budget. Sounds crazy, but sales personnel will often try to tempt you with more expensive gowns at prices slightly higher than the figure you have given them.

2. Know your figure shape.

When you look through bridal magazines you are presented with images of glamorous, ultra slim models who look amazing in anything. Remember that in the real world we can’t all look fabulous in every style of wedding dress. Take some time to research your body shape & the styles that will suit you. A good bridal boutique should be able to guide you, but it is always a good idea to know yourself which shapes will flatter you & which ones won’t.

3. Ask for bridal shop recommendations.

Word of mouth is vital to any business & people will talk about good & bad experiences they have had with vendors. If you know someone who has recently got married, talk to them about the bridal boutiques they visited & the service they encountered. Another option is to do some research online. There are a lot of websites out there that will offer consumers the chance to rate businesses they have used & wedding forums may be able to gleam you some information about certain vendors in your area.

4. Shop during the week.

If you can, choose a weekday to go shopping for your wedding dress. Weekends are always busy & you could find it impossible to get an appointment when you want one. Having the full attention of the sales assistant for as long as you need it is important. Another choice would be an evening appointment as some bridal stores will stay open later on some days.

5. Fib about your wedding date.

At some point you will be asked when your wedding date is. It is a good idea to lie & give a date about 4 weeks prior to your real wedding day. This will give you some time to ensure the gown arrives & all alterations can be completed satisfactorily.

6. Bring a buddy with you.

Taking a friend or family member with you is always a good idea. They can give you their opinion on what suits you best & stop you from blowing the entire wedding budget on a designer wedding dress. It is all too easy to get carried away or be coerced by the sales assistant into spending more than you have or into buying a dress which is simply hideous on you. Make sure whoever you take has a cool sensible head on them!

7. Take your time when choosing a wedding dress.

Your wedding dress is a vital purchase. Every time you look back at your wedding photographs & video your will see it. Each time you do you should be as blown away by it as you were the first time you saw it in the shop. With this in mind it is important not to rush into a purchase but take your time & make sure you pick the right gown. Remember the dresses in the shop are samples & the one you choose will be made especially for you to your size. So unless you are buying a sample sale, you will not miss out because someone else got there first. Try to narrow your choices to 2 or 3 gowns & then take some time to review your notes & even compare them online. When you think you are ready, go back & try them on again.

8. Ask the store lots of questions.

Bridal stores can have many hidden fees & policies that you may not be aware of until it comes to purchasing a wedding dress. Make sure you ask lots of questions about how they operate & how you will get the gown of your choice. Here are some important things to find out:

a. Who’s the manufacturer of the dress?

b. How long will it take to get the dress in?

c. What kind of payment policies does the shop have?

d. How much of deposit is required? Can you pay by credit card?

e. What is the store’s refund & cancellation policy? (get it in writing!)

f. What are the costs of alterations? (get a written estimate)

g. Are there extra shipping fees? Size fees for extra large sizes or petites?

h. Are their rush order fees? (if you have to have your gown sooner)

9. Bring a vinyl tape measure with you.

You will need to be measured at the bridal store & you should check that they measure you with a vinyl tape not a cloth one. Cloth tape measures will stretch giving inaccurate measurements. Take a vinyl tape in your bag just in case. The measurements they should take will be your bust, waist, hips & from the hollow of your throat to hemline (for length).

10. Don’t base your choice on dress size.

Clothing manufacturers vary in their sizes, as there is no standard for dress sizes to be uniformly the same. You may already find that you have to buy clothing from one store in a size larger than clothing from a store down the road. The same is true with a wedding dress, that is why it is important to get a gown made up to your exact measurements to ensure a perfect fit.

11. Don’t put your gown on a layaway plan.

Be careful of paying for a gown in instalments when you haven’t yet received it. The manufacturer could go out of business or discontinue that particular design.

12. Make your own headpiece.

Bridal headpieces, tiaras & combs can cost your anything from £70 to £200 in a bridal store. But if you are creative you can make your own for under £30. There are lots of books available with designs to copy or which can help you get started. Visit online craft & bead retailers for all the equipment & supplies you will need. An alternative option is to rent one from a resale or consignment store.

A Grooms Survival Guide For Wedding Planning

A wedding ceremony serves as the most significant event in the lives of a couple. It stands as a life beacon from which all-future events flow.  The actual wedding day consumes all available energy from family  members. Events spiral toward the wedding magnetically drawing all toward the core ceremony much as a black hole consumes all light. It is however, a day of bliss, of joy and happiness matched only by the Honeymoon in the eyes of the Bride and Groom. That is how it should be, that is how it is.   

This is also, where a professional Wedding Planner helps by taking over the stressful parts of planning, coordination, and simplifies, eases demands on the wedding party. This support provides assurance to the Bride and Groom with hope of enjoying their special day.  

A Groom’s Survival Planning Guide recognizes that a wedding can be a major cause of concern, worry, and frustration. Even if engaging the services of a professional Wedding Planner is not possible, other ways exist to help you move through the maze. It seems as if there are thousands of details to handle and only you to do it.  

Advice for the Groom  

The very first thing you need to do after your Bride to be said yes is to assure wedding planning is in some hands other than yours or your Bride. You really need to make sure that happens. If not, the days leading up to the vows will not be nearly as much fun as you expected.  

As a Groom, much of the planning details go right over your head as points of interest. However, you know that your survival depends on it at least appearing that it does. If your Bride thinks, some detail about the flower arrangement is important that is good enough for you. If she is happy, you are happy.  

Let’s face it you want to get married and are willing to go through all the legal requirements to make this woman your wife. In large part, the rest of the trappings could by all accounts disappear, if they would. That will not happen because a Bride lives for all the other things that make her wedding special, perfect. In large part, it is one of the differences between a Groom and a Bride.  

Remember, the secret to sanity is simple make sure your Bride or her family find a qualified person to handle the wedding plans and details.  It is important you meet with this person without your Bride early in the process for a number of reasons.  The solo meeting is not an attempt for a covert operation, it is your effort for the planner to hear, see you.  If you noticed in the first joint meeting, all attention goes to the bride.  If you offer a comment, a nod might come your way but the acknowledgment goes to the bride.  The reason is simple.  In most cases, the bride or family engages the planner and they want the bride to be happy.  Rest assured they want you both to be happy but they really want the bride to be happy. 

Your goal in this meeting is to win him/her over as you emphasize that you have total faith and trust in them to make your wedding a wonderful success. Secondly, if that meeting goes well make sure you call the planner at least every week no more than two weeks, stressing that you want to any issues developing or potential problems foreseen.  

Maintaining this contact with your planner will keep you effectively informed on the plans that are important to the success of the wedding. The result is you are involved without actually being involved; you will be knowledgeable of the wedding plans. When bridal discussions arise at dinners shared with parents, or soon to be, in-laws you will actually appear involved with the planning. These discussions will come all too often.  

The benefit to you is you have control or at least input into the wedding planning process such that keeping your golf game, fishing trips and travel plans intact can happen.  Also sometimes in the process expect your Bride to ask you about what you are doing talking with the planner. This is the chance to make golden points. Your involvement indicates that you are actively involved to assure a success of this wedding.  Additionally, you become a hero to the one that means the most to you. 

As the Groom, you must understand that the global nature of weddings falling into three categories as listed below. You have options but must pay attention on how the playing field changes depending of circumstances.  

Weddings viewed from experience fall into three types:   

The Grand Affair  

The first is the big, grand, formal, large event affair as briefly described above is most often pictured when we think of a wedding. It is the best, the top, maybe the lasting event. You already know how to work this process to the benefit of all including yourself.  

The Intimate Affair  

The second type is a wedding planned as a smaller, more intimate event and surroundings, attended by only close friends and family. This type wedding has less draining effect on family and friends but showers as much blessing, hope, and joy as a more formal wedding. Some aspects of a smaller wedding allow intimacy between the wedding party, attendees, Bride, and Groom, due to their personal relationships.   

This one is not nearly as damaging to your lifestyle prior to the marriage as the formal event. Depending on the Bride’s family and yours it might not be necessary to hire a Wedding Planner but if things are not going right push for that. Again, with the professional in place your job is easier.   

Some Brides love to plan all aspects of the wedding, making assignments for what happens and in fact becomes the wedding planner. This is a tough one. You will get your assignments and do not screw the assignment up. That usually means you no longer have an agenda, you must keep the planner’s agenda in this case the Brides. Failing on something before the wedding is just not good form.   

Try to enlist someone to help the Bride, as it will allow moments of sanity, which become all too scarce as the wedding draws near. She may not realize it but the help will be a lifesaver for her and for you.  

The Practical Affair  

The third wedding type often characterized as the “Vegas” wedding takes place with the Bride and Groom and only one or two witnesses in attendance. This last wedding type is the least costly, the least impact on family and friends, and the one that has less financial drain on the marrying couples impending life together.  It is just as wonderful as the two previous types, memories just as lasting and hopes not diminished in any fashion.   

This one is just easy. Your job is to plan the honeymoon and that might include a round of Golf. Well, maybe not but that is the idea. Usually no help needed here. You also have more money to spend on the honeymoon and maybe to get that new car.  

What about Real Wedding Planners?  

So, not being a professional wedding planner, what would I recommend for the aspiring Bride and Groom?   

If this is the first wedding for either party,

If they can afford the expense related to a large wedding:

If the families can endure the stress that comes with planning and execution:

If they can find a place for the ceremony that meets their requirement and have long enough lead-time:

Hire a professional Wedding Planner.  

Go for the big, once in a lifetime wedding. There will never be another event quite like this one no matter what surprises life brings down the road. The doorway to all follows.  Just do not mortgage your future with wedding expenses you cannot afford.  

The other two are where I find my personal heart revolving since the focus is more on the individuals and their lives than pomp and ceremony. These more intimate events focus on the two not the many.   

Putting those thoughts asides there are many places to find Real Wedding Planners. It is after all a major source of business revenue for many and billions of dollars in annual business. The service provided is real, beneficial, and supportive of a total wedding package. However, you can normally select how much, how far and what you want from your Wedding Planner to help with your budget.  

Other Choices  

If your head is spinning and you feel the need to punt, don’t. There are alternatives, there are many books providing help in planning a wedding event without a Professional Wedding Planner. Help in planning a wedding directed toward controlling expense is available from various sources presenting the information in a planning guide format.   

Remember; always place the planning responsibility on someone other than you or your Bride to be. Pick a friend, an acquaintance, possibly a relative but from your brides side of the family. That choice becomes clear when resolving details.  

Regardless of the path, you choose to follow in making your Wedding the best possible ceremony it will be a wonderful occasion.  

Have a long, happy life together on the path chosen to begin the journey.         

Real Wedding Favors

Sometimes it can be more inspiring to find out what other brides have been giving out as wedding favors as opposed to the latest favor trends laid out by bridal magazines. Seeing what other people do for their weddings is a great way to bring together many different ideas to create your own unique wedding style. This works for favors too!

Here is a great selection of wedding favors ideas tried and tested by other couples on their wedding day.

* Homemade heart shaped Welsh cakes were given as favors by one couple who paid homage to the groom’s Welsh heritage.

* Plastic heart shaped containers filled with color coordinated candies/jelly beans.

* Tea lights in pretty frosted glass holders, decorated with hearts and heart shaped Welsh cakes in organza bags.

* Top hat shaped boxes for the male guests and handbags for female guests each filled with chocolate mini eggs for an Easter wedding.

* Donating the favors budget to a cancer charity in memory of the couples relatives who had both fought the disease.

* Simple ivory boxes decorated with brown ribbon to coordinate with the wedding colors and filled with candy.

* No favors – just extra money behind the bar!

* Joker favors to be used in the casino later on.

* Little pill boxes just for the female guests

* Conical shaped boxes to coordinate with a winter wedding theme, tied with teal ribbon and filled with snowball chocolates.

* Simple favor boxes filled with red heart chocolates wrapped in tissue paper. Then tied with ribbon and a name tag to double as place cards.

* A lottery scratchcard in small envelopes complete with a poem.

* Goody bags filled with local produce, a bottle of cider, a book on the area, chocolate, maps and jams.

* A Lottery scratchcard wrapped in pearlized paper and tied with black thin ribbon.

* Donating the favors budget to a charity which helps ill children take a dream holiday to Disneyworld, Florida.

* Pink and ivory favor boxes filled with Cadbury creme eggs.

* Individual chocolate truffle cupcakes.

* Small bottles of liqueur for the adults, goody bags for the children.

* Traditional silver and white sugared almonds.

* Sandalwood fans for the female guests, and packets of sunflower seeds for everyone.

* Wedding bubbles and chocolates in organza bags.

* Miniature bottles of Bushmills whiskey for the men and small bottles of Very Valentino perfume for the ladies.

* Handwrapped turquoise colored candy coated almonds from France.

* Miniature Jagermeister bottles personalized with each guest’s name and the wedding date, along with chiffon bags of handmade chocolate truffles.