often determines the When. The ballroom you have in mind may be booked on your
first-choice wedding date -- or perhaps it is available but the church you desire is not.
It's important to secure your location as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of
having your celebration on your first- or second-choice day.
Yes, You Can but . . . May You?
Find out if any element of your wedding requires a permit. And don't
forget that marriage license! Most states no longer require a blood test, and a license
can usually be obtained in one to three days. Keep in mind that some marriage licenses
will expire if not filed within thirty days. So be sure to read all the fine print.
Book Your Vendors
Contract with all the individuals and establishments you need to make
everything on your checklist happen, from caterer, florist, and DJ to photographer and
make-up artist. Do not dawdle. To secure top talent, you may need to book the person six
months or more in advance. Remember, never, ever sacrifice quality for quantity. If
necessary, scale back the scope of your wedding to get the best professionals your
pocketbook will allow.
Purchase a three-ring binder with indexable dividers, a pack (or two)
of three-hole paper, and a pack (or two) of sheet protectors. Devote one section to each
component of your wedding, from "Bridal Attire," "Ceremony,"
"Reception," and "Stationery" on and on to "Et Cetera, Et
Cetera" and "Budget."
Use the lined paper in each section to log all communications,
decisions, and transactions on items.
Use sheet protectors for the following:
- Clippings and photographs of elements you'd like incorporated in
your gown (the neckline of one couture gown; the bell sleeves of another, for example),
your wedding cake, the reception space, and other aspects of the celebration.
Correspondence, estimates, invoices, and other vendor-related
paperwork. Having a paper trail on everything is a must!
Every time you make a decision, reconcile your budget.
Make That Call to Attend!
The standard mail date for invitations is at least six weeks before the
wedding. For save-the-date cards, at least six months.
Make Your Gift Wish List
If you are comfortable having a gift registry, plan on giving it a full
day, as it is very time-consuming. Fortunately, many retailers now offer scanners so you
can easily select items for your registry. However, you must still comb each department to
personally select your preferences. Also, most retailers offer a limited online registry.
But please do not insert gift registry instructions inside your wedding invitations. I
believe that your guests should still have the freedom to buy you whatever they would like
for your wedding. I always keep wedding registry information on hand for my clients, and
most guests will call and ask. The only exception is when you are asking guests not to
bring a gift. And for heaven's sake, don't even think about asking for monetary gifts . .
. poor taste!
Reprinted from Weddings
Valentine Style: Rich Inspiration for Every Woman's Dream Day by Diann Valentine with
Tonya Bolden. Copyright © 2006 Diann Valentine. Published by Atria Books; February