The Value of Hiring a Wedding Coordinator

Now that the proposal has been accepted, what’s next? It’s time to create your signature wedding.
What exactly does that mean? It means that from this day forward, until the day of the wedding, you will spend 75% of your time thinking about how to create a wedding that will be like no other. You may not have given it much thought, but most couples have thought about this day for many years and envisioned their wedding in their minds a thousand times. Both of you are about to embark upon what could be a wonderful journey… or a nightmare! The choice is yours. Why leave it to chance that everything will go according to plan? Instead, implement a fail-proof plan. How? By hiring a wedding coordinator

Consider this idea as the first and one of the most important decisions you will make as a couple. Hiring a wedding coordinator will give both of you reassurance that you are making the right decisions about your choices; help bring your dream to fruition; and maintain a peaceful, loving, relationship in the process.

Although most couples enjoy the idea of designing a wedding, they often find that the planning is much more work than they imagined. It takes time and experience to address every detail. Let’s face it, some people just aren’t planners. Planning your wedding doesn’t have to be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. Organization and careful planning are the keys to a stress-free, fun-filled event. Hiring a wedding coordinator will ensure a much happier experience for you both!!

A wedding coordinator will not only help coordinate the details of the wedding but, more importantly, will help to make the process fun, reduce the stress and ensure that you have the wedding you desire. You will not have to worry or become stressed during the planning process. Instead, you both will enjoy planning the wedding.

Don’t misunderstand, you both will still make all the decisions, but consider leaving the details to the experts. Most couples truly enjoy the journey and, even if they don’t, the coordinator will be there to guide them. Trust me on this one, by hiring a wedding coordinator, your life will be happier, because everyone will be happier and less stressed.

Wedding coordinators are trained professionals who know the industry. Couples should understand that they are not just paying for a coordinator to manage the day for them; they are also paying for knowledge, expertise, skills, services and, ultimately, peace of mind.

Wedding coordinators provide a higher level of comfort for everyone. They are able to recommend the right professionals for you. Professionals enjoy working with other professionals. Are trained to handle difficult scenarios and unexpected occurrences at weddings; Are familiar with the latest trends and have the best resources; Know the best locations and services for each couple’s particular needs; Have access to exclusive locations that couples would otherwise never hear about; Can recommend the right wedding professionals for all aspects of the wedding; Are trained to help create a budget, keep expenses within that budget, and protect couples from making costly mistakes; Can save couples time in researching options. They already know what works best and why.

Now that you understand the various roles of a wedding coordinatoe, it’s time to start getting the important questions answered. Setting the budget first is the key! You and your fiancée should agree on the expenses before you begin the planning process. The budget must accommodate the size and style of the wedding. Write down your wishes and desires and compare notes. Distinguish your “wishes” from your “must haves”. Your coordinator can create a budget based on the most important elements of YOUR wedding. He/She can help prioritize which areas are most important to you.

Remember there is always room for compromise. Target more money towards the areas that are most important and reduce the areas that are less important. Your wedding coordinator will show you how to make changes without changing the feel of the wedding. Is it more important to have great food or a great band? Do you want an extravagant cake or beautiful flowers? You can have all of the above with proper planning. Whichever you choose, remember to stay on track with the expenses as you move forward. The budget is one of the most important areas where your coordinator can assist and it’s the start of making financial decisions together, a very important part of marriage. Open and honest communication is the key.

In a post-wedding survey, couples were asked, “If you had it to do over again, what would you have done differently?”
Number 1 Answer: “I would have hired a wedding coordinator – someone to ensure that all of the details were handled so that I could have enjoyed my day without worry.” Coordinators provide this reassurance on the wedding day! It is worth the investment to have peace of mind.

A wedding coordinator is able to provide: Peace of mind while planning the wedding; A great experience on the wedding day; and Wonderful wedding memories that will last forever!

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Invitations customarily begin with:

Host(s) name
The request line
Name of Bride and groom
Date and time
Address Line
Reception Line
R.S.V.P.

Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the wedding and their names appear on the host line. However, with blended families, couples marrying later in life and varying economic situations, the hosts may not be the bride’s parents but a combination of hosts so follow the circumstances that fit your wedding.

If the groom’s parents are co-hosting the wedding along with the bride’s parents, it is customary for the bride’s parent’s names to appear first and the groom’s parent’s names to follow.

If the groom’s parents are not co-hosting the wedding but the couple wishes to acknowledge them, their name appears after the groom’s name.

In a situation where the couple is paying for their own wedding, I suggest the following:

Together with their families
Miss Mary Jones
And
Mr. John Smith

Names and spelling for wedding invitations etiquette

Titles are not spelled out, instead use the abbreviations for Mr., Mrs. and Ms. The title Doctor should not be abbreviated.

If the bride has the same last name as her parents, then only use her first and middle name.

The groom’s complete name is used with his title, Mr., Doctor, Captain.

In a situation where there is a divorce the parent’s names should appear on a separate line without the word “and.” If the Mom is remarried use her married name. In years gone by it wasn’t proper to include a stepparent’s name, however, if the bride or groom wishes, they may add their step parent’s name.

In cases where a parent is deceased and the bride or groom wants to include their name, they should make it clear that the person is deceased by including the word “late.” An example of this wording is John Jones and the late Mary Jones. Omit titles as they would appear awkward.

If the ceremony is being performed in a church, synagogue, mosque or any house of worship then the phrase “the honour of your presence” is used. There are many variations of wording that are acceptable and proper for the couple to choose.

Additional tips and ideas for wedding invitations etiquette

When the ceremony and reception are in separate locations, then a separate reception card is customary.

If you are inviting some guests only to the ceremony, then a separate reception card is necessary.

Some couples are choosing to have a scaled down party after the ceremony. This is perfectly acceptable however; it’s courteous to inform your guests of such. You may phrase your invitation to read, “cocktails to follow” in place of, “reception to follow.”

Couples wishing to have a reception with casual attire or a black tie affair, they should place that information on the reception card or on the lower right hand corner of the invite.

Bridal registry information should not be placed anywhere on your wedding invitation.

Wedding Invitations Etiquette for Additional Guests

A bride is obligated to invite engaged friends, and relatives with a guest. This is also true for guests that have a live in romantic partner.

If your friends or family members are just dating it is not mandatory to include a guest for them.

If your guest is in a long term relationship then the decision is up to you; you do need to be careful to be consistent with your invites as not to insult any of your friends or family members.

Some unmarried guests may be insulted if they are not permitted to bring a guest, so be prepared with a stock answer. Something in the line of, “I’d love to have everyone bring a guest but it just isn’t possible because ….. ” and then give your reason. Perhaps your church or reception room is too small, or too costly, or if I permit you to bring a guest then I will have to allow so and so to bring a guest also.

Couples are not obligated to permit their bridesmaids and groomsmen to bring a guest, however it is a nice gesture since they are doing so much for you.

Hand written envelopes are a must; please do not use labels to address your invitations. You may handwrite your own, have a friend help you or if your budget permits, hire a calligrapher to address the wedding invitations.

Wedding Invitations Etiquette timeframe

It is best to send all your invitations at the same time.

Tradition has it that a bride should send her invitations about six to eight weeks before her wedding, with an R.S.V.P. date of three to four weeks before the wedding.

If a guest lives out of town or in another country and you would like to give them more time to respond, then send them a letter ahead of time. This way you won’t have two sets of invitations going out giving your guests the impression that you have an A and B invite list.

Wedding invitations etiquette is a little tricky so in addition to this blog you may wish to consult Martha Stewart’s or Emily Post’s web sites for further information.

How to trim your list

So how do you handle it when your wedding budget won’t allow you to invite the college roommate you haven’t seen in ages or your (favorite) third cousin from Topeka? Be gracious. And be organized.

Be judicious with save-the-date notices. Everyone who gets a save-the-date card gets an invite. So skip the cards altogether or send them only to the people you absolutely must invite. That way, if the guest list shrinks or plans change, you don’t have an etiquette emergency on your hands.

Have an “A” list and a “B” list. The “A” list includes must-invite family and closest friends. They get invitations first. The “B” listers, organized by priority, are the people you’d love to invite, but might not be able to. If a member of your “A” list, say, Auntie Esther, can’t make the wedding, you immediately send an invitation to the first guest on your “B” list, and so on.

Keep expectations low. As you’re talking to people about the wedding, mention up front that it’s going to be a very small gathering. Also, make sure those who will be invited don’t blab about it incessantly. Mention to people on the guest list to scale back the chit-chat so others don’t feel snubbed.

Consider excluding by category. Often, if you invite one person from a particular group, you have to invite them all. In that case, difficult as it may be, you may decide you can’t invite any of your co-workers or, say, members of your book club. If you’re particularly close to a couple of them, it’s best to explain your decision directly. You say, ‘If I invite you then I have to invite the whole department. I hope you understand.’

When figuring out the guest list, remember you must invite spouses and partners. It’s a huge faux pas not to invite significant others to a wedding. It’s not a business conference, it’s a social function, and you’re invited to social functions with your spouse.

Oh, and one more thing. . . If you don’t get an invitation, be kind to the bride and groom. Don’t make it harder on them. Guest lists are difficult to compile in the best of circumstances, and these days, even harder. Put aside petty grievances and wholeheartedly wish the couple well.

Wedding Guest Book

Even the little things (like where a guest book is placed) can result in little glitches (like a slow moving line) on your wedding day. So, I’ve compiled some wedding guest sign in books tips. If even one of them makes your reception or wedding day run a little smoother, my mission is accomplished!

  • Make sure your wedding guest book is located somewhere where everyone who enters will see it and sign it. This seems obvious, but unfortunately, I’ve been to weddings where half the guests never saw the wedding sign-in book because it was placed in an “out of the way” location. The resulting lack of signatures was…well, depressing. I’ve found that having the guest book in plain site might not be enough either. It might be a good idea to catch your guests as soon as they enter. If the book is located somewhere away from the entrance, many guests might see it, and intend to sign it eventually, but end up forgetting. Another option is to have a member of the wedding party circulate the wedding guest sign in book around the tables during dinner or entertainment.
  • Remember, it will take people time to sign the guest book, so if it can be positioned so guests can sign-in while they wait in your receiving line…all the better! If you don’t have a receiving line, make sure you place the guest book in a location that’s easily visible from the entrance, but doesn’t block the flow of traffic.
  • Choose the right kind of pen or marker for your wedding sign-in book. Make sure it will last. Choose a tip that will be legible. Choose a color that compliments your book, and is easy to see. Consider the type of paper your wedding guest book has (glossy, etc), and choose a pen that won’t smear or leak through the pages. How the pen writes is more important than how it looks! (What good is a cute feathery pen if it ends up making all your guests’ signatures look like smeary blobs?) I often suggest having a friend or family member sign the guest book in advance for a pen test run.
  • Think about your reason for having a wedding guest book. Is it to add a unique detail to your reception? Is it to preserve the names of guests in attendance? Is it to ask for advice or messages from guests? A combination? Make sure the guest sign-in option you choose fulfills your reason for having a guest book. Make sure it’s quality and will last if that’s important to you. Make sure it’s something you’ll want to display around your future house if storing it in a closet isn’t what you have in mind. Make sure it’s well-thought out and…YOU!
  • Make sure your wedding sign-in book has enough pages for everyone to have room to sign.
  • Remember, your wedding guest book can play a key role in setting the tone for your guests. It will be their introduction to your wedding’s colors, theme and personality. Let it tell your unique story!

Wedding Stress

Wedding planning means stationary decisions, guest list debates, color choices, music picks, attire searches, and more.  Let’s face it, wedding planning can take over your life and it can be really stressful… but it doesn’t have to be!

Sure, if you let them, the barrage of choices and decisions awaiting your opinion can occupy your every waking moment, but it’s not necessary!  Wedding planning should be fun; and it doesn’t need to take over your whole life.  All the planning will eventually lead up to a special day, and although important the event is just that — an hour, day, or weekend of celebration honoring the commitment you and your spouse plan to make to one another. The real work begins after the “I Dos” are uttered, and nobody likes the sight of a ragged bride, so keep the stress to a minimum during the planning process!  My advice?

  1. Enlist the help of family and friends.  You can’t do everything on your own, nor should you.  Sharing the workload is sharing the excitement, too! Bridesmaids, siblings, parents and friends can help out if you let them, so practice those delegation skills, bride!
  2. Take time off. It’s not realistic to think you can plan your wedding 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Make sure you make time during the crazy planning process to exercise, keep up hobbies or activities you enjoy, hang out with friends just for the fun of it (not to try on bridesmaid dresses!), maybe get a massage to unwind and relax, and most importantly… spend quality time with your fiance! Designating specific blocks of time for wedding tasks and setting “free” time aside for other activities is a good way to ensure you don’t neglect the non-wedding parts of your life.  Giving yourself a break from your “second job” can do wonders to help refresh your energy!
  3. Don’t get lost in the planning. Your big day is very important to you, and those who care about you; but that doesn’t mean you can prioritize your upcoming nuptials above everything else going on in life.  It’s hard to believe sometimes but yes the earth is still spinning even as you’re counting down the days till you walk down the aisle; and once your wedding and honeymoon are over you’re eventually going to need to rejoin reality.  Help make that transition less painful by keeping a foot outside the “wedding zone” at all times.  For example, perhaps you have some family and friends going through important or tough times themselves who may need your support or attention.  Or maybe you have a job that you’re letting drop to the bottom of your priority list below wedding chores — will you regret that later if you miss a promotion or raise due to your underperformance at work? Yes, wedding planning is fun and exciting, but there are other things and people in life that need your energy and attention too — make sure you keep things in perspective!
  4. Time management. There are lots of to-do lists out there, that tell you which tasks need to be completed by which time benchmark.  Use them, they’re helpful! Just as not every decision needs to be made the week of your engagement, you shouldn’t leave everything till the last minute either.  Managing your time and spacing out the large tasks you need to accomplish throughout the process will help keep the stress to a minimum.
  5. Money management. There is nothing more stressful than watching your debt climb as the clock counts down to your wedding day.  Do yourself and your marriage a HUGE favor and do not hold a wedding you cannot afford.  Sit down and have a serious conversation with your fiance and any other potential contributors (e.g., parents) at the outset about what you can realistically afford and – here’s the catch – make sure you stick to it!  Track any and all money you spend on deposits and purchases in real-time is vital to preventing yourself from over-spending.  Remember, your wedding is one day – you should not be paying for it for years to come.

Yes an engagement starts the countdown clock to the big day, but your engagement period is very special apart from the planning process and you should enjoy every minute of it!!!  Your engagement period will fly by and before you know it you’ll be married, so cherish that time before it’s gone!

If it feels like wedding planning is taking over your life or you feel tense, take a deep breath and try to follow these 5 basic tips.  Just remember, we’ve all been there and although it’s an exciting time in life the process can sometimes be stressful.  You have to keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let the stress get you.

Your Wedding Rehearsal

This list of tips and advice should help you make the most of your rehearsal time. They are based on real-life experiences from having performed wedding ceremonies and coordinated rehearsals. You are sure to find it useful.

The purpose of the wedding rehearsal - This gives you the opportunity to figure out all the tiny logistical details of entering, exiting, which way to face, handling the rings, handling the bouquet, etc. Having all these minute details rehearsed in advance will make your wedding ceremony run smoothly so you and your parents can be proud. When we coordinate a wedding rehearsal, we always go through the entire ceremony two times to be sure everyone is comfortable with what they are supposed to be doing. The first time is always a mess – don’t worry about that. It gets better each time.

Who should attend the wedding rehearsal - All members of the wedding party including bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, readers, mothers and fathers. Everyone should arrive on time because we will start on time.

10 Tips

#1 - Know in advance of the rehearsal where any large decorative structures (wedding arch, ferns, pedestals, etc.) are going to be so we can avoid the area.

#2 – Have a few chairs set up to represent the front row, so we can judge the amount of space needed and also because we will practice seating the mothers.

#3 – Many brides and bridesmaids bring mock bouquets made of paper plates and ribbon to the rehearsal. This is an excellent idea so everyone can get used to holding them. The bride may also want to have a mock veil or train if you are going to wear them in the ceremony.

#4 – If there is going to be an aisle runner, decide ahead of time who will pull it out and at what point in the procession it will be done. Traditionally, it was done just prior to the bride’s entrance but recently it changed so that the entire wedding party walks on the runner. It’s your choice.

#5 - Decide if you want the groomsmen to come in all together in the beginning or paired up with bridesmaids. If they are to enter in pairs, decide in advance who will walk with whom.

#6 – If you are going to have a unity candle, we will practice that with the actual candles that will be used in the ceremony. Each unity candle and their holders are configured slightly different, so it will be important to rehearse with the same one that will be used at your wedding. Notice, a unity candle is NOT recommended for outdoor weddings.

#7 – If you are having a rose presentation during your ceremony, we will rehearse that as well. Since this part of the ceremony may be a surprise for the recipients of the roses, plan on just the Bride and Groom remaining a few minutes after everyone else has left and we will rehearse that part separately.

#8 – Bring your marriage license to the officiant at the rehearsal. Traditionally, it is the Best Man that is responsible for remembering this detail.

#9 – Be prepared on the evening of the rehearsal to pay any vendors that are supposed to be paid prior to the wedding.

#10 – It may be convenient to meet with other wedding professionals such as caterers, photographers, decorators, florists, etc on the evening of the rehearsal. Arrange time to meet with each of them separately from the rehearsal time. The rehearsal time should be dedicated to rehearsing.

Making Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding day itinerary – sometimes called a wedding day timeline or a wedding day schedule – is a non-negotiable, must do wedding planning task.

The itinerary is a comprehensive plan for who is going to do what, where, and when on your wedding day.

Even the smallest or most casual wedding is still a production – a lot is happening at the same time on your wedding day that must be managed.

If you have a Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner they will handle the complicated task of creating the timeline for you. If you do not have a coordinator or planner you will need to make a wedding day itinerary, even if you’re convinced you won’t need it. Save yourself the potential grief down the road.

In order to make the schedule, you need some basic information:

  • Find out when your venue will be available to your vendors for set up. Sometimes party rental companies need to deliver tables and chairs the day before the wedding, so make sure this works for your venue. Tents may also need to be set up the day before.

  • Contact each individual vendor – caterer, baker, florist, DJ or musicians, limo, party rentals — anybody providing a service or a product on your wedding day — and work out their arrival times, set up times and any additional needs they may have.

  • Contact your photographer and determine how many photos on your shot list you will take before the ceremony, how many you will take after the ceremony and before the reception, and what photos you need at your reception. Work out with the photographer when he or she needs to arrive (and where) in order to get the shots important to you.

  • Work out when attendants and any family members need to be available for pre-ceremony photos, the logistics of how many different places your photographer will be taking photos, and how the photographer will get photos of both you and your fiancé getting ready, if you want this.

  • If you’ve contracted or borrowed transportation, make sure it’s available when you need it for photos.

If you do not want to miss any time with your guests, plan to have most if not all of your pictures taken prior to the event. This has become much more commonplace.

Put all the above info into a timeline formatted itinerary of the day.

Next:

  • Add info on any personal appointments for you and your attendants, like hair or makeup.

  • Include your ceremony and reception outlines in the schedule if you like, or just your reception outline.

  • Add any additional volunteer help for your wedding to the schedule, like friends picking up out of town guests at the hotel, decorating the reception venue, or delivering furniture or other borrowed items.

Once your wedding day itinerary is done, make a contact list of all the names and numbers (including emergency numbers) for every business and individual involved in your wedding day.

Before the wedding be sure each vendor or volunteer contributor has the numbers for anyone they may need to contact.

Make your preliminary wedding day schedule around a month out from your wedding date.

Expect your itinerary/schedule to be several pages long.

A week before your wedding, use your schedule to send out emails to everyone involved to confirm times, actions, and any relevant contact info.

Copies of the wedding day itinerary (with vendor info pulled out) can be handed out to the wedding party and family at the rehearsal dinner if you like, but always back it up with an electronic copy via email.

Your day of coordinator or wedding planner will always carry extra copies of the itinerary and the contact list on your wedding day. If you do not have a day of coordinator or wedding planner designate someone to carry a spare copy or two.

Here’s a sample wedding wedding day timeline– for you to use as a template when you make your own itinerary. This wedding day itinerary is for a 3pm wedding. Adjust your own wedding day schedule accordingly.

Sample Wedding Itinerary:

07:00 AM Wake up & light breakfast
08:00 AM Hair and Make-up begins for bridesmaids (7 ladies 1 every ½ hour)
10:00 AM Florist Arrives at Brides home
11:30 AM Hair and Make-up begins for bride
11:30 AM Photographer & Videographer Arrive at Brides Parents Home
11:30 AM Coordinator Arrives at Brides home
12:00 PM Light Snack/Lunch
12:00 PM Photographer Arrives at Best Mans Home
12:45 PM Bride’s hair and make-up complete – Get Dressed
01:00 PM Formal Dress Shots begin at Brides Parents Home
01:00 PM Coordinator goes to the church
01:30 PM Limo Arrives at Best Mans House to pick up Groom & Groomsmen
01:45 PM Limo Arrives at Brides Parents House to pick up Bridesmaids and Flowergirl
01:55 PM Limo Leaves for church
02:00 PM Bride and Parents leave for church in Rolls Royce
02:30 PM Limo arrives at church
02:45 PM Bride arrives at church
03:00 PM Ceremony begins
03:40 PM Ceremony Ends
03:45 PM Receiving Line
04:20 PM Bubble Exit
04:30 PM Rolls Royce Pictures
04:40 PM Formal Family Portraits In The church Begin
05:00 PM Leave for pictures
05:00 PM DJ and Florist arrive at venue to set up
05:30 PM Head to Venue for pictures
06:00 PM Cocktail hour begins
06:00 PM Bride and Groom arrive at venue and take extended family Pictures
06:30 PM Bride and Groom Retreat to Bridal Suite
07:00 PM Guests seated for reception
07:05 PM Dinner Order Taken
07:10 PM Introductions
07:15 PM First Dance
07:20 PM Parent Dances
07:30 PM Dancing
07:45 PM Dinner Music Starts
07:45 PM 1st Course Served
07:45 PM Uncle gives the blessing
07:55 PM Maid Of Honor / Best Man Toast
08:00 PM Father Of the Bride speech
08:15 PM Dinner Served
08:30 PM SURPRISE – Aunt will sing a song for the Bride and Groom
08:45 PM Dancing Music Resumes
09:45 PM Cake Cutting
09:50 PM Bouquet Toss
09:55 PM Garter Toss
10:00 PM Dessert Bar Opens
10:05 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

Make sure you put arrival and departure times for everyone, including vendors, and time how long it takes to get from one location to another in your wedding day itinerary. Pad the time it takes to travel and to finish tasks like hair, photos and decorating.

Your wedding day itinerary will not look like anyone else’s, or have the exact same timing.

Work with your vendor on the timing for dinner (especially sit down dinners, which take more time), dancing, and traditional events like the cutting of the cake.

No two bride’s will have the same wedding day schedule.

Don’t forget to communicate your wedding day itinerary to all your vendors and wedding day participants!

10:00 AM Hair and Make-up begins
12:00 PM Sage Arrives
12:00 PM Eat Lunch!!!
01:00 PM Photographers arrive at the house
01:30 PM Sage goes to the church
02:15 PM Limo arrives at the house to pick up girls
03:00 PM Ceremony begins
03:45 PM Ceremony Ends
03:50 PM Receiving Line
04:30 PM Formal Portraits In The church Begin
04:45 PM Bubble Exit
04:50 PM Leave for pictures – Location TBD
05:00 PM DJ arrives at GV to set up
05:45 PM Formal Pictures End – Head to Grandview
06:00 PM Cocktail hour begins
06:30 PM Kristin & Jeremy Retreat to Bridal Suite
07:00 PM Guests seated for reception
07:15 PM Introductions
07:20 PM First Dance
07:25 PM Parent Dance (F/D, M/S, SM/S)
07:40 PM Dinner Order Taken
07:50 PM 1st Course Served
08:00 PM FOB speech
08:05 PM MOH / BM Toast
08:15 PM 2nd Course Served
09:00 PM Dinner Served
09:45 PM Cake Cutting
09:50 PM Bouquet Toss
09:55 PM Garter Toss
10:00 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

10 Big Mistakes Brides Make On Their Wedding Day

1.  Timeline – so many brides either don’t make a timeline for the day of their wedding or they create one that doesn’t work.  the number one thing to remember is to put time buffers in your timeline.  For example, if it takes 15 minutes to drive to the church give your self 25 minutes.  If you really think it is going to take 1 hour for photos and you have 16 people in the wedding party, give yourself 1 1/2 hours.  This way when you are over on time, you can say, “it’s ok!”

2.  Shoes – wear them, wear them, wear them.  Make sure you start one month before the wedding wearing your shoes for 20 minutes at a time 2-3 times per week.  Walk outside, inside, on wood floors, carpeting, stairs, etc.  Your feet will love you at the end of the night.

3.  DIY – Please do some DIY projects, it is what makes a wedding yours and not cookie cutter.  But, don’t do each and every DIY project you see online, in a magazine or on tv.  Limit yourself, create a list, sit down with some of your girls and figure out, with their opinions, which ones are realistic.

4.  Wedding Party – So you have five really close friends, but you have two sisters and your fiance has two sisters.  Do you really need to have 9 bridesmaids in your wedding?  I big trend these days is to either choose 1 maid of honor or siblings.  Keep it simple and keep the costs down, for you and your wedding party.  Your five friends will still be at your wedding.

5.  Wedding Dresses – Your dress is going to be on your body for about 10 hours, yes 10 hours.  For your dress, consider how you are walking in the dress, sitting in the dress and most important dancing in the dress.  There needs to be comfort on your wedding day.  What about a knee length or tea length dress and shoes that match your attendants color dresses?

6.  Attendants Dresses – choose a color that is flattering.  But let them choose a dress that is comfortable.  So many designers now have created a line of dresses that are very similiar but yet can be suitable for different body types.

7.  Guest List – The days of 300 guest weddings is just about over.  Chelsea Clinton said it perfectly, “if I don’t know them, they don’t get invited.”  There is nothing worse than trying to create a seating chart for people you don’t know.  Meeting people for the first time on your wedding day is just not fun.  Tone it down and don’t be afraid to tell your parents that this is no longer the 60′s and that the budget just doesn’t have room for the 4th cousins 7 times removed.

8.  Hiring Professionals – Please, please take this one to heart.  Never, ever hire a friend or family member to work at your wedding.  There is a very clear line between a friend or relative and a professional.  Do you have a comfort level in telling a friend to get back to work, don’t drink, stop eating?  No, well then hire a professional.  Let the friends and relatives help with the wedding, but never have them do what a professional can do.

9.  Dinner – One important item with dinner is the amount of food and courses.  The more courses you include in your dinner the less time you have dancing.  Now for some this is fine and is a desirable choice.  But if you are spending over $7000 on your band and they only play waltzes or big band because there is another course coming to the table, don’t complain to the band.  having more than three courses for the reception is just a waste of food and time.  Tone it down, your guests will not starve.

10.  Honeymoon – So many couples just can’t wait to go on their honeymoon.  I don’t blame you.  Crystal clear water, sugar beaches, tropical drinks.  But, the last thing you want to do is get up at 4am the morning after your wedding and drive to the airport and fly to 2-8 hours.  Take 1-2 days off after the wedding to decompress.  Don’t pack before the wedding, do it the next night after the wedding.  Sleep in the day after your wedding, relax, hang out with friends and make it a weekend.  You will enjoy your honeymoon and your wedding so much more if you just take your time.

For more advice and information about how to make your wedding stress free contact Hudson Valley Ceremonies, 845-266-6076, www.HudsonValleyCeremonies.com