I'm Getting Married -- What Do I Do First?
by Stacey Miller
The first thing you should do is decide on a date for your wedding. That is the most important thing to have before you start to even think about looking for possible vendors. Make sure you have more than one possible date for your wedding. Why, you ask? Here are some reasons:
1. If you are going to hire a wedding planner/consultant, they book up fast. Lets say, for instance, that your wedding date is September 2, 2006. When you call a planner/consultant, they may not have the 2nd available, but they may have the following weekend open. So having a little bit of leeway with the date could help you in hiring a planner.
2. When booking your church or reception hall, the date you have chosen may also be booked. Having an alternate date will help you and your planner in booking the venue you want. This goes for other vendors as well.
The second thing you should do after choosing a wedding date is hire a planner. The earlier you do this the better off you will be in general. Most people think that you have to wait until 6-9 months before your wedding to hire a planner. This is a misconception. You should hire a planner/consultant ASAP. Not only does this give you more time to pay for the consulting fees, but it gives the planner extra time to plan your wedding and make sure that you have gotten the best vendors. You can hire a planner anywhere from two years prior to the event to two months prior to the event. However, the shorter time span the planner has will decide how great your wedding will be accomplished. After you have hired a wedding planer, they will keep you up on what tasks have to be done and when. If you hire a wedding planner you don't need to worry about what comes next, but if you are not going to hire a planner you will need the following immediately (in order of importance):
1. Church or Wedding Site
2. Reception Hall/Site
3. Photographer (they book up to at least 1 year in advance)
4. Caterer (they book up to 1 year in advance)
7. Honeymoon (depending on where you are going)
8. Band or DJ Service
9. Cake (some cake designers will allow you to book 1 year in advance, but many don't)
11. Invitations (need to be mailed 2-3 months prior to wedding)
12. Save-The-Date Announcements (need to be mailed 6-9 months before wedding)
13. Wedding Dress (needs to be chosen at least 8 months prior)
14. Bridesmaids Dresses (need to be done at least 6 months prior)
15. Decoration Rentals (at least 6 months before)
Once you have the important things out of the way, you can concentrate on the other things that need to be done, like favors, gifts, hair stylist, et cetera. By this time you should be good and stressed out. This is why it is so crucial that you hire a wedding planner. The stress of planning a wedding can become overwhelming and annoying. Therefore, before you decide to do things yourself, call a planner and get some direction from them. With the stress being taken away you can enjoy your special day.