Valentine's Day is just past and thoughts of love are still in the air as excited couples are planning spring and summer weddings. But sometimes the excitement of planning a wedding can get lost in a myriad of details.
"Brides are very excited," says Gina DuQuenne, social event planner and catering manager with the Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland. "They've got their ring, they buy the dress and choose a venue "¦ and then get bogged down. It's all the little things they forget about." With over 30 years experience in wedding planning, DuQuenne knows the details that can pile up around the bride-to-be and advises, "Don't get the top three and stop."
Something both Shirley Johnson and Gina DuQuenne mentioned is that many people today do not understand the etiquette of weddings, and sometimes that can lead to difficulties. Who pays for rehearsal dinner? What colors should the mothers wear (and not wear)? Do the shoes really have to match?
"Brides have never done this before," points out DuQuenne and to help answer some of these questions, the Ashland Springs Hotel is hosting a wedding etiquette and planning seminar featuring DuQuenne and other wedding professionals, Saturday, March 14th, 2009. "We're going to share our expertise, have a Q&A and have happy planning," says DuQuenne.
Other seminars around town may also be coming up before the summer months so keep an eye out in the bridal section of your newspaper.
So here are some things that can be done now to prepare for your wedding:
1. "Save the date" cards
Your guest list is one of the first things your families should begin to assemble once you are engaged, says Shirley Johnson, owner of Shirley's Bridal Salon in Phoenix. "You need to know that number to choose your venue," says Johnson. While the actual invitation doesn't arrive until six to eight weeks before your wedding, both DuQuenne and Johnson recommend "save the date" cards as a courtesy to your guests, particularly those that will have to make travel arrangements or book vacation time to attend. From a simple phone call to a printed postcard, these can be inexpensive but thoughtful reminders.
Along with the bride's gown, it is also time to be sure your attendants and mother-of-the-bride or groom have their dresses purchased and tux rentals booked. "By the time you get married," says Johnson, "your best friends are typically scattered across the country." Shopping early allows time to ship dresses if necessary, and allows each attendant extra time to pay for their gown. Be sure, too, that you understand your salon's time line for alterations, pressing and custom dying.
When looking at your wedding budget, be sure you understand what your caterer will supply and what extras you will be providing. "That's where a lot of money goes," reminds DuQuenne. A full service caterer can typically provide everything from the menu to the tables, chairs, china and flowers, but be sure you know exactly what is included.
DuQuenne recommends that you schedule a walk-through at your venue four to five months ahead with all the photographers, DJs, caterers and other business professionals involved in your wedding. It's a time, says DuQuenne, when "our brides can have undivided attention from their vendors" before your vendors also become caught up in the busy bridal season. It's your chance to be sure everyone is familiar with the facility.
5. Bridal Registry
"A bridal registry can be an all day thing," says DuQuenne, so take your mom, maid of honor or even your groom and make a day of it.
6. Finish your wedding wear.
Many brides do not realize that before they begin alterations they need to have the bra, shoes and slip they will be wearing already purchased. "That affects the bodice and the hemline," reminds Johnson, so take time now to find just the right accessories for your outfit.
Not sure what else to do? Contact a wedding planner, visit a bridal show or consult many of the wedding resources available to be sure you are well prepared. "Our brides can plan with joy in their heart, can still love their fiancée and family and not lose sight of the purpose," reminds DuQuenne. "The more you put the big things in place "¦ the sooner you can be a guest at your own wedding."