Before preparing for your wedding, you should finalise the date and time of your ceremony. Once you have done this you will then need to choose the priest or anybody recognised by the law to officiate your wedding.
You can then make a decision on the venue of the wedding ceremony and reception, make sure that both venues can accommodate the number of guests you wish to invite and also the possibility of unexpected guests arriving on your wedding day. If you wish you can also check that the reception venue has accommodation and if there are any special rates for your wedding guests.
When planning your guest list, include the most important and special people both to you and your fiancé; your family, relatives, friends, and work colleagues. You do not have to invite everybody you know, just those people who are very close to you.
Once the guest list is final, you can begin to think about your invitations. There are many companies that will make personalised wedding invitations, announcement cards, thank-you cards, programs, and table place cards to make your wedding special. It is better to have a reply card attached to your wedding invitation to know who among your guests will be available to attend your wedding day and the number of wedding favours that you will need to order.
Next on your list should be your wedding dress. There are wedding boutiques everywhere which gives you plenty of choice but try a number of different boutiques to make sure that you get the best deal on your special dress. When choosing your wedding boutique, be sure they provide important services such as alterations, fittings and cleanings. When choosing the style of your gown, keep in mind the type of wedding you and your fiancé have decided upon. Will your wedding be very formal, formal, semi-formal, or informal? Also consider the time of day of your ceremony and the season of the year. Your bridal professional will help you to narrow down your choices, depending on your style of wedding. Choose a dress that complements your colouring as well as your figure type. Take your mother or a close friend along when trying on gowns. You will need the opinion of someone who has your best interests in mind. If you’re lucky enough to be able to wear your mother’s gown or headpiece, be sure to have the dress properly cleaned, restored, and altered if needed. The laces and fabrics may have turned colour slightly over the years.
Once you’ve chosen your gown, you may decide on the headpiece and veil. These should complement the dress as well as your hairstyle and face. If your gown has beautiful back detail, you may want to go with a shorter veil or a sheer longer style allowing your dress to show through. Always try the headpiece on with your gown before purchasing to ensure a perfect look, and be sure to style your hair as you will wear it on your wedding day.
Next you should decide on your shoes. When choosing your shoes, comfort should take priority. Consider the design and fabric of your dress and keep your shoe material as close to that of the dress as possible; choose satin shoes for gowns of shiny fabrics, shoes of crepe for gowns with a matte finish, and lace-covered shoes for a lacy gown and look for ornamentation or beadwork that also matches or complements your gownIn addition to the gown and veil, you will need the proper undergarments. These can include panties, bra or bustier, slip, petticoat and/or crinoline, stockings and garter. Purchase your undergarments prior to your first dress fitting so you can be sure that they compliment your dress style.
When choosing dresses for your bridesmaids, keep in mind colour, and style Opt for a style that will complement your gown as well as the girls in your bridal party. The length of the bridesmaids’ dresses need not be the same as your gown, but should never be longer. The maid of honour’s dress is usually a different shade from the rest of the bridal party, although it doesn’t need to be. Take your bridal party along to your wedding boutique and ask for their opinions. If you are having a flower girl, she may dress like the bridesmaids or wear a similar style in the same or complementing colour. Another option is a white or off-white dress trimmed with ribbons or bows of the wedding colours.
Compared to selecting a wedding gown, the choice of attire for the groom is far more straightforward, dictated largely by the season, time and formality of the wedding. The groom’s attire should complement that of the bride and the people in the bridal party. For a formal daytime wedding the groom should were a cut away jacket, or a tuxedo, and a white wing-collar shirt and ascot or tie completes the look. The groom may also choose a top hat and matching gloves.
For contrast, the ushers’ formalwear should differ from that of the groom. This can be achieved by changing the colour of the bow ties or by having the ushers wear a completely different style or colour of tuxedo. To complete your wedding, consider the ring bearer’s attire. He can match the groom from head to toe, or simply dress him identically to the ushers. If a flower girl is to be his partner, you may wish to have his accessories match her gown.
A few months before the wedding you will need to purchase your wedding rings. Be sure to have them professionally sized, especially if you are wearing a ring that is a family heirloom.
Once considered part of the background scenery,
flowers have moved into the foreground of wedding planning. The trend is
toward flowers that are fresher and in season, and more of them — for
decorating the exterior of the ceremony site and even on the wedding
cake. The first step is to find a reliable and experienced florist. Get
recommendations from family members and friends. Ask the church or
synagogue’s wedding coordinator, your caterer, or bridal consultant for
suggestions. Before meeting with a florist, work up an accurate list of
the number of bouquets and arrangements you will need. In addition to
your bouquet, you will need flowers for the attendants, flower girl,
mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, guest book attendant, female greeters
and readers. Boutonnieres will be needed for the groom, groomsmen, ring
bearer, fathers, grandfathers, male greeters and readers. For the
reception, you may need arrangements for the head table, guests’ tables,
buffet tables, parents’ table, ice carvings, wedding cake (including the
knife and table), a toss-away bouquet, entrance vestibules, and
restrooms. Of course, this may change as you hear new ideas and get
estimates of everything you want. Set a realistic budget before meeting
with a florist, but don’t let your budget limit your imagination. A
creative florist will be able to modify designs to suit your imagination
as well as monetary constraints. Remember that while you can get most
flowers year round, buying flowers in season will save you money, and
ensure quality and availability. (See the flower chart on page 124 to
help you choose your flowers.) NOTE: Remember that florists experience
heavy demand for flowers on certain holidays (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s
Day). There are many details to consider when choosing bouquets and
arrangements. Obtain fabric swatches from all gowns and dresses. Try to
get enough fabric so you can leave a sample with the florist for
matching flowers, ribbons, tulle, and other accents. When choosing
arrangements for the reception, keep in mind the colour of the walls,
and height of the ceilings. The trend is toward smaller vases to allow
open conversation around the table. The room’s lighting may also
influence floral design. Dimly lit and large rooms benefit from drip-less
candles, votive lights or small table lamps.
Wedding Trivia: Queen Victoria started the Western world's white wedding dress trend in 1840 - before then, brides simply wore their best dress.