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How to plan your wedding

Planning your wedding, whether you have two years or three months to do it, can be stressful, even if you have a great wedding planner. Organising a perfect wedding is a huge project. New couples who just started their journey can be very frustrating as you probably know where to start.

In this post, we will try to provide you a wedding-planning checklist, hopefully can make your journey more fun and less stressful.

Determine Your budget

It’s time to do the math and crunch some not-so-fun numbers. Before you can start anything, you have to figure out who’s paying for what and determine your wedding’s bottom line. From there, you’ll want to break down said budget—what’s a priority? What’s not?—and start allocating funds accordingly. (A little market research here comes in handy.) And since these numbers will change as you plan, it’s smart to start a detailed spreadsheet from the get-go. This will help you keep track of your spending and make it easy to adjust numbers along the way. It’s also a good idea to set a hard upper bound of your budget as you can be overwhelmed what you can achieved after you talk to your planner or supplier.

Make a Guest List

If only you could invite any and everyone, right? Chances are, you can’t, which is why you have to put a cap on dishing out invites. When deciding your head count, consider your budget (how much can you afford?) and your venue (how many people does it fit?). Also, who’s paying for what? From there, figure out how you’re going to divvy up the list.

Hire a Wedding Planner

Again, this will depend on your budget. (Fair warning: Most everything will.) But if your funds allow—or if your peace of mind depends on it—now is the time to tap the manager of your big day. This person will be your right-hand woman (or man) and will guide you in all decisions, from selecting a venue to tracking your budget and handling all the logistics. THE 8TH DAY STUDIO also provide premium wedding planning services, talk to our specialists for more details!

Decide Formality and Overall Theme

Now’s the time to sit down and have another heart-to-heart convo with your significant other. After all, the vibe of your wedding needs to be a mutual decision between the two guests of honour. To get the conversation flowing, pour a glass of wine/water/tea and ask yourself: What’s important to you and why? What do you value? Also, know that your venue—more on that below—is going to affect all of this. (Because, in most cases, we’d argue against a glam, black-tie theme for a barn wedding.)

Select the Venue

Okay, you know who you’re marrying. Now the real question is where? Trust us: Choosing the venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make right now. Seriously, the location affects almost everything else, from how many people you invite to what kind of flowers go on the table. Chances are, it’s also the biggest chunk of change you’ve put down, like ever. That’s why you want to explore your options, visit the top contenders, and ultimately select a place that fits your guest count, style, and budget. 

Select the Caterer

Your wedding is the best (and largest) dinner party of your life. So how exactly do you feed 150 of your nearest and dearest? Well, start with hiring people you trust to deliver—whether that’s the venue’s in-house caterer, a preferred caterer recommended by your planner, or even your favorite taco truck. And don’t be afraid to get creative with your menu. Your guests will enjoy tasting your favorite cocktail as much as they will your grandma’s blueberry pie.

Choose a Color Theme and Start Thinking of Overall Design

Pull up your Pinterest boards, people. It’s finally time to gather inspiration, select a color palette, and create a mood board. If you’re struggling for inspo, we recommends taking a step back to look at things that are already in your world—like what you are liking on Instagram, our wedding portfolios, etc.—and draw inspiration from that.

Hire Vendors Who Book Up Quickly, Including Your Photographer, Band, DJ, Wedding Florist, Stylists, Videographer

These are the people who will make your night fun—and all those memories last forever (aka, they’re important). You may need to consider the following vendors:

  • Wedding florist and stylists – the design of floral arrangements and styling determine what beautiful scene of your wedding, so make sure check their past portfolios
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Celebrant
  • Cake supplier
  • MC or DJ
  • Brand
  • Makeup artist

Shopping for Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress will make you shining on the special day. Shop or rent your wedding dress that matches your wedding theme and makes you shine like a princess!

Book Hotel-Room Blocks for Guests

It’s a thoughtful gesture to block out rooms (and secure a discounted rate) for your guests. Talk to your wedding venue for more details.

Take Engagement Photos

Now is a great time to practice being in front of the camera, talk to your photography if they include a session in the package.

Start Looking at Invitations

The wedding invitation is a guest’s first impression of your big day. That’s why you want to put your best foot forward with a personalized preview. Talk to your planner or stylists of your idea and make it happen. Alternatively, you can design your own and find printing services to make it.

Send Save the Dates

Let everyone officially know when and where you’re making it official. And remember: Everyone who gets a save the date gets a wedding invite. No exceptions.

Thinking about Guest Gifts

A good wedding gift takes the good memory with the guests. Thinking about gifts that express your personality. The 8th Day Studio has some special workshops to create handmade gifts for weddings.

Select the Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Schedule Fittings Within the Month

After doing your initial research, ask your bridesmaids to come shopping with you. It will be helpful for you to see them in the dresses, and you could even ask how they feel in the options you’re considering. (They do have to wear it in front of a crowd of hundreds, after all.) With that said, we’re all about the trend of selecting a color palette—like yellow, grey, burgundy, or white—and letting your girls choose what they want to wear.

Order Rental Items, Such as Specialty Chairs, Linens, Draping, Lounge Furniture, White Dance Floor, Etc.

If you are doing styling by your own, you need to order rental items. Discuss your supplier about the delivery and collect time.

Buy or Rent the Groom’s Suit

The groom walks out first, remember? Make sure that first impression on your guests is a good one. Step one is choosing between a tux or suit, based on the formality of your wedding, and then deciding whether to buy or rent. When selecting the actual ensemble, focus on fit and function. A well-made outfit will be flattering, but also allow your groom to show off any and all embarrassing dance moves without fear of splitting any seams. Finally, if you’re going the renting route, avoid these five mistakes groomsmen make when renting a tux or suit.

Lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)

Don’t forgot the most important thing, lodge a NOIM form at least one month before your wedding!

Have Your Final Tasting With the Caterer

Now it’s time to taste what they’re really made of. The tasting has become increasingly important as more and more couples choose to customize everything from their signature cocktails to their desserts. If you’re nervous about heart-eyes obstructing your taste buds’ judgment, bring your planner or consultant. They’ve likely attended dozens of tastings, and will be your clear-eyed troubleshooter—paying attention to the detailing of the food and the attentiveness of the service.

Choose Your Cake

Now, you and your partner should settle on a look and flavor profile you both love. Don’t stress about pleasing every one of your guests. This is your cake as a couple; it’s about expressing you guys. Find a reputable one who’s available on your date, and happy to take on your dream design for an equally dreamy price.

Buy Wedding Bands

Does your fiancé (or you) know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding band? Wedding band is the expression of your love, choose and buy the wedding bands with your budget and taste.

Hair and Makeup Trial

Help your stylists help you by researching some particulars before you come in for your trials. Look back at old photos of yourself so you can find something that’s worked before and ensures you still look like yourself. Next, feel free to search social media for other inspiration; just don’t delude yourself with highly-filtered Instagram expectations.

Bring photos and be as specific as possible about what you want and don’t want.

Order the Invitations and Hire a Calligrapher

There are a few ground rules when it comes to ordering your wedding invitations: Order enough of them and account for some mistakes, make sure they will arrive in time, set up a system for recording RSVP replies, and confirm all addresses and spelling. But when it comes to design and wording, the options are endless. Need a little advice to rein it all in? Keep reminding yourself that the theme of your invites should match the vibe of your wedding and express you as a couple. If you commission a calligrapher, here’s everything you need to know about calligraphy. Make sure your calligrapher knows it, too, and can prove it before booking him or her. The 8th Day studio collaborates with talented calligrapher to design and create beautiful invitations.

Create or Plan Your Menu

Once you’ve undergone a successful tasting, you’ll have a good sense of your caterer’s style and offerings, so you’re ready to finalize your food. Maybe you’re the couple who’s hand-selected every hors d’oeuvres, main, side, dessert, and drink situation. Or, perhaps you just told your chef to “handle it” and called it a day. Either way, now is the time to stamp your approval on a completed menu that fits your budget, tastes, and timing.

Brainstorm Guest Favors and Gift Bags

You don’t have to do favors or gift bags, but now’s the time to decide. But we can help if you do!

Book a Photo-Booth Rental

Photo booths have become a reception staple, but if you’re hoping for something with a little more pizzazz than your standard step-and-shoot.

Write Your Vows

If you’ve opted to write your own promises to one another, start thinking about what those should sound like for you two as a couple. 

Meet With the Celebrant to the Rehearsal

Lots of things to consider when asking someone to marry you, but your main concerns are availability, eligibility, fee, and fit. Can your celebrant of choice lawfully, affordably, and meaningfully help you two become one? Once you’ve chosen, make sure he or she is on the same page as you about your expectations and the overall tone you want for your ceremony.

Send the Wedding Invitations (With RSVPs Due One Month Before the Wedding)

You already did the hard part—the selection process. Now, just print and assemble.

Send Out Rehearsal-Dinner Invitations (These Can Be Included With the Wedding Invitations If You Like)

If your partner and his or her family are handling the rehearsal dinner, make sure you give them an accurate list of addresses, and feel free to discuss the design and overall aesthetic of the rehearsal dinner. You don’t want it to be an exact replica of the reception that will follow the next night, but you may also want to confirm you don’t show up to an “eat with your hands” BBQ buffet in black tie.

Give the Song Selections to Your Band or DJ

Choose the romantic music matches your wedding themes.

Buy All Small Items

Just off the top of our heads, those include table numbers, toasting flutes, cake topper, cake stand, cake knife, guest book, card box, ring-bearer accessories, flower-girl accessories, a cute hanger for your dress, and a garter. Also consider purchasing pashminas, flip-flops, and/or sunglasses for guests to change into at the reception, as well as baskets to hold them. Then, don’t forget your signs (“Welcome,” “Guest Book,” “Dancing Shoes,” etc.).

Assemble Gift Bags

Follow the same guidelines as you did for your DIY projects to ensure this task is fun, not frustrating.

Pay Your Vendors in Full

The last awkward situation you want to deal with right before your wedding day is a vendor chasing money. Avoid that by keeping careful track of when and how much you pay each vendor. If there are some vendors who must be paid the day-of, or you’re distributing tips, give your most trusted bridesmaid or relative a heads-up that come wedding day, you’ll be counting on them to handle the labeled envelopes you’re going to put together.

Create a Seating Chart

You thought the guest list was a pain in the hiney, and now you’ve arrived at the seating chart challenge—another daunting balancing act of relationships, egos, potential, and crisis-management. You’ll want to think about your venue’s floor plan, whether or not you’ll have a head table and who will be sitting at it, and choosing a cool design.

Have a Final Venue Walk-Through

Make a list of questions beforehand, and bring your planner or another close friend or family member to bring up anything you forget.

Break in Your Wedding Shoes

Walk around your hallways. Dance in your kitchen. Do everything in your power to avoid painful blisters on your wedding night.

Final Week

Congratulations! You’ve made it all the way to the final week of your wedding planning. Deep breaths now, most of the hard work is over at this point. Take care of things like:

  • Refreshing your hair color
  • Getting your eyebrows done
  • Manicure/pedicure
  • Getting a massage (why not make it a couple’s massage?)
  • Final dress fitting (a friend or bridesmaid should come with you so she can learn how to bustle if your dress requires it)
  • Pack your bags for the honeymoon (don’t forget your passport if you’re leaving the country), and confirm your travel arrangements
  • Any edible crafting
  • Clean your ring (head to your jeweler to get your engagement ring professionally cleaned so it’s extra sparkly on your wedding day)
  • Chase any RSVP stragglers and deliver the final head count
  • Clear your work to-do list so you can only focus on wedding festivities and take it all in
  • Practice your vows out loud
  • Write your partner a note

Night Before and Day of the Wedding

The big day is finally here. All your careful preparation and creative planning have come to fruition, and it’s time to enjoy the wedding. Here’s what to do:

The Night Before:

  • Eat a healthy meal
  • Pack a clutch or small bag of personal items
  • Drink water
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Put any boxes, suitcases, bags, and survival kits to bring to the ceremony or reception in the car (you’ll thank us tomorrow)

The Morning Of:

  • Stay off your feet as much as possible
  • Eat breakfast
  • Drink even more water
  • Take your dress and veil out of the bag early on and have someone steam them if needed
  • Lay out all the items (rings, invitations, etc.) that you want your photographer to capture
  • Exchange notes with your partner
  • Say thank you to everyone around you

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