In Planning your Wedding – Part I, we gave you a 12-step crash course in project managing your wedding, which covered securing a marriage officer and wedding venue to drafting an ante-nuptial contract and hiring a photographer. In Planning your Wedding – Part Two, we present you with an additional 8-step crash-course to ensure that you will be fully qualified to co-ordinate the very best of weddings…
Step One: Choose the Wedding Parties
The wedding parties consist of those people who participate directly in the wedding service and reception. There is a bridal party, consisting of the Maid or Matron of Honour, bridesmaids and flower girls, and a groom’s party, consisting of the Best Man and groomsmen and pageboys. Choosing the right people can be challenging, particularly as you may upset someone by leaving him or her out! Being in the wedding party isn’t only for show, though – the members have clearly defined duties and responsibilities. It’s best to choose willing participants who demonstrate responsibility and commitment and who have the time to participate in aspects of the planning, as well as the Big Day itself.
The Bridal Party is headed by the Maid (or Matron, if she’s married) of Honour – usually a family member or close friend – who is responsible for organizing the bride’s hens party and for assisting her with other aspects of planning the wedding, such as addressing invitations. The bridesmaids are there to assist the bride on the wedding day. Flower girls should be aged between four and eight and typically carry baskets of rose petals, or other types of confetti, for guests to throw over the couple as they leave the church.
The Groom’s Party is headed up by the Best Man, generally the groom’s brother or close friend. He is there to assist with certain aspects of planning the wedding –for example, fetching the groom and groomsmen’s wedding suits – and organizing the bachelor’s party, as well as carrying the rings, being a legal witness at the service and making a toast at the reception. The groomsmen help the guests find their seats at the service and assist with other practical chores at the celebration. Page boys should be between four and seven years of age and traditionally they carried the wedding ring, a task now carried out by the Best Man.
Step Two: Book a Florist
Flowers are an absolute must at your wedding – they add to the atmosphere, both aesthetically and in terms of mood. If you, or someone in your family, has a flair for flower arranging, you could consider doing your own flower arrangements. It’s a lot of work, though, so with everything else you need to arrange, it might be best to hand this job over to a professional florist, who will not only arrange the flowers but will provide input about what sorts of flowers to opt for, what colours you should choose and how they should be arranged to suit your theme. Good florists will also deliver and set-up the floral arrangements at the wedding venue. Remember, you’ll need floral arrangements for the church, the reception (including the tables) and for the bridal party and the groomsmen. And don’t forget the bridal bouquet! Ask friends and family to recommend you a florist, or look in wedding directories and bridal magazines. Don’t forget to ask to see samples or pictures of their previous work and for cost estimations.
Find a florist.
Step Three: Select the Wedding Music
Music has a way of conjuring up memories; years later, hearing the tunes played at your wedding will take you straight back to that time and place. At the wedding service, you will need to choose pre-processional and processional music and, if you’re having a religious ceremony, a couple of favourite hymns or religious songs. At the reception, music will be used to entertain your guests – you may wish to go with a live band, a DJ or even a jukebox. Get recommendations from people you know, check out their references and ask them to provide you with quotations, before making a final selection. Don’t forger to formalize your agreement in a contract.
See our Music, Poems and Quotes Page.
Step Four: Hand over the duties of organizing the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties to the Maid of Honour and Best Man
For the bride: The Maid or Matron of Honour is responsible for organizing your bachelorette party. Ideas include a traditional kitchen tea, a hen’s night-on-the-town or an indulgent pamper party.
For the groom: The Best Man is responsible for organizing the bachelor party. In days gone by, these parties were wild but, should the groom still wish to have his gal by his side at the church, it’s advisable to be restrained! Ideas include go-karting, paint-ball, shark-cage diving, golf or sky-diving, followed by a night out on the town.
Note: Nowadays, the two parties often spend an afternoon doing their own thing, before linking up later in the evening for a combined bachelor-bachelorette party. Remember, don’t drink and drive – rather, organize taxis for the evening.
Kitchen Tea, Pamper Party or Bachelorette?
Step Five: Book the Wedding Transport
The wedding parties should arrive at the wedding venue in comfort and style. Traditionally, organizing this aspect of the Big Day falls to the groom. There are various transport options – luxury or vintage cars, limousines or horse-drawn carriages, for example. Ask your groom-to-be to browse bridal magazines and wedding directories for ideas and to find service providers. When deciding on a mode of transport, consider the route to your venue, the number of people in your entourage, the weather at the time of the year during which you’re holding your celebration, as well as your budget. Other points to take into consideration are the colour and style of the car or carriage – it should fit in with your wedding theme. Insist that your future spouse liaise with you on the finer details – he may not understand that the vehicle in which you travel should compliment your dress or that it needs to be big enough to accommodate it! Ask for quotations, remember to draw up a contract and book at least six months in advance.
Find a limousine or chaffeur.
Step Six: Consider the Miscellaneous Details
There is so much to consider, sometimes some details can slip through the cracks! Details like who will sit where, who will fulfill the role of Master of Ceremonies, who will make speeches, who will be paying for the bridesmaids’ dresses, hair, make-up and so on…By paying attention to the finer details, you will ensure that your wedding proceeds smoothly and without drama.
Step Seven: Organise the Wedding Favours
Wedding favours are small gifts of appreciation given out to your wedding guests, expressing gratitude for their attendance at your celebration and for their wedding gifts. Traditionally, wedding favours consisted of small boxes or bags of confectionaries. While candies and chocolates will always be popular, a quick look in bridal magazines and at websites will reveal that there are many other ideas out there, from glassware and silverware to candles, bath soaps and mint tins. Remember, if you’re on a strict budget, wedding favours don’t have to be extravagant; it’s the thought that counts. An inexpensive gift, beautifully presented, has just as much impact as a pricey one.
Step Eight: Plan Your Honeymoon
The honeymoon is the cherry on the top! Start planning early, decide on your budget – it will determine where you will go and for how long – do some research on destinations before making a final selection, book well in advance to take advantage of any special offers and organize passports, visas and other paperwork. Remember, use your maiden name on the air tickets and visas etc. – you won’t have time to change the details on your passport and other identity documents, and it’s essential that the names on these official documents and the names on other paperwork match.
See The Ultimate Honeymoon Guide.
Well, that’s it! Now that you’ve completed our crash courses in planning your wedding, the rest is up to you…but don’t forget, there’s a wealth of other information, inspirations handy hints and hot tips to be found on The Wedding Directory…so please do read on!