In this time of ours, marriages and wedding ceremonies have become the order of the day. There is hardly a weekend that goes by without one wedding event or the other. As the days go by, planning of these events become a little more stressful both physically and financially. It is true that since the time of old, weddings or marriage ceremonies have always been an event that takes so much time and money but now it is so much more sophisticate, expensive and hectic.
For every wedding ceremony, the level of sophistication is different, the amount spent is different, the time an energy used for planning is different and that is why you can choose what you want and go for it.
You can choose to hire a wedding planner or you can make out time to do it yourself. If you are going to do it yourself, you need tips about how to go about it. If you hire a wedding planner, you still have to know what you want and how you want it. The wedding planner will work in line with your specifications and budget, you still have the final say.
The first thing to put I n place is the church or law court, depending on how you want it. You have to inform your pastor or the law court about your desire to be joined together as man and wife before going all out to make necessary arrangements for your day.
After informing both your family members and your pastor about your desire to be joined together, the next most important step is
Date / Time: I have come to noticed that procrastination becomes the order of the day if you do not have a fixed date for something you really want to do. You start to think “well, there is still time.” The truth is this, there is no time. Fix a date for your wedding and work towards it. Without a date, you find that nothing is done. Why is this so? It is so because there is no time limit and anything that has no time limit will lack the necessary dedication or commitment. If you are serious about your wedding, fix a date / time and work towards it. The fixed date and time will help your family and friends prepare and also show some level of commitment towards making that day a successful one.
Budgeting: I totally agree that the price of goods and services are constantly on the increase. It is for this reason that you should write out a budget. The budget guides you on things that are really needed and how much should be spent on them. A wedding plan, in fact, any plan without a budget is already a failed one. You may end up spending money without really seeing what you spent so much on.
The reason why budgeting is important is because it helps you curb unnecessary expenses. Do not forget that after the wedding, the real marriage starts and if you spend all your cash on the wedding because you didn’t have a budget, how then will you cope?
For a wedding plan, budgeting is the second most important thing to do.
Arranging a Reception Venue: It is certain that the white wedding will hold either in church, your spacious garden, or the court. After the white wedding, reception follows, that is if it’s part of the budget. From experience, I have learnt that it is wise to use a reception venue that is close to the church or court so that invited guests can easily attend. Better still, you can use your garden for the white wedding and also the reception, depending on how spacious the place is. Using your own space is a good way to save cost and still experience a grand wedding reception.
Printing of Invitation Cards / Bulk SMS: Now that you are ready to print your invitation card, you are relaxed about it because already you have a fixed date/time and a venue. Also, you have made a budget and you know exactly how much you wish to spend on designing and printing your wedding invitation card. Without these important information, you cannot print a card.
There is also the convenience of bulk SMS. These will have your names, wedding date, time and venue. It is mostly used as a reminder after sending out the invitation cards.
Estimation of guest: When budgeting for guests, one is never completely sure how many of them will attend because after sending out your invitation, some of the invited guests, friends and family will call you back for three things.
To congratulate you
To tell you whether or not they will be able to make it to your wedding.
To ask how they can help.
Most or half of the other invited guests may keep mute and say nothing but on that day, they will show up with either one or two friends.
So, to have an estimation, add your immediate families, extended families you are very sure of, friends, colleagues, neighbor, group members etc… these list should be compiled with both sides (bride and groom’s side) in mind.
Some of these people you budget for may not come but uninvited guests will surely take their place. If everyone shows up, know that uninvited guests will still come around. This is where you now decide if the invitation is going to be an open one or just for a selected few so that you can plan accordingly.
Printing of wedding program: Since you already have an idea on the number of attendees, you can then print programs that will be enough to go round everyone, not more, not less. Before printing, don’t forget to write your vows because you will need to print it inside the program too.
Nobody should write your vows for you. But if you are not a good writer, hire a good writer and instruct him/her on the kind of wedding vow you want.
Marriage license and name changing document: Change of name applies only to the woman but the marriage certificate is for both the man and the woman. This certificate is usually gotten from the customary court and its important, whether or not you are getting married at the court or in the church. Without the certificate the wedding is incomplete.
Buying of gifts and printing your wedding labels for them: Giving attendees one form of gift items or the other will make them happy. These gifts can be jotters, jogger, calendars, pens, umbrella, ceramic or plastic plates, cups and trays. They can also include hand towels and handkerchiefs etc. After buying these gift items, get a printer to print stickers that you would put on them or better still, customize the items.
Arranging with your caterer / vendors: Go round your vendors or call them to remind them of your needs. The truth is, if these people fail, then your wedding has failed. This is because they are in charge of drinks, snacks, food, cake etc.
Apart from that, you have to let them know the kind of drinks, snacks, cake or food you want supplied, as well as the quantity.
Book ahead for rental equipment: For an open space, you have to consider the comfort of your guests and so, it is wise to rent canopies and chairs so as to avoid keeping your guests in the sun or the rain. If using a hall, you only need to decorate it and make sure the place is presentable. If you happen to be in a region that has no light, make sure you add generator and a cooling van to the list of things to rent just in case the power supply fails. All the same, you can substitute ice block for a cooling van; if you don't have enough cash.
Hiring a decoration expert: Even if you hire an event planner to take charge of everything, you are still the one with the final say about what goes and what does not. So before decorating, make sure you and your partner have chosen the colors you want. Also take time out to look through different hall or canopy decorations on magazines and on the net. It will definitely give you an idea of what you will like to have.
Buying your wedding attire / Ring: I get confused and worried when I see ladies spending so much money travelling abroad to get wedding dresses. If you look around your own country, you will get quality tailors who can design quality wedding dresses for a low fee. I see no sense in spending so much money on a wedding dress that you can get at a cheaper price. You can even get better ones. When my cousin was getting married, she went to her trusted tailor and gave her the design she wanted. The outcome was indeed beautiful. If she told you she went to Dubai to get that gown at $1000 or a little less, you will have no choice but to believe.
Spend reasonable amount of money to buy good traditional and white wedding wears. Being expensive doesn’t make it quality,
Choose your bride’s maid and groomsmen: Choosing your bride’s maid and grooms men is not enough. You have to make sure their wedding attires are in order. Make sure they buy them in time and make adjustments where necessary. This also applies to your little bride and groom.
Get a good makeup artist and hair dresser: While the groom needs a clean shave and good haircut, the bride needs a good makeup and beautifully done hair.
It is necessary to make arrangement for the vehicle that will take you to and from the church wedding/reception. If you intend to use your own vehicle, make arrangement for a friend or relative to drive you to and from the wedding. Making adequate preparation for this is important.
Video and Photography: You can arrange for this to be done either by a family member or a hired hand.
Remember that a wedding without a music band to entertain is sour. Make sure you make arrangement for this too.
If you would use a caterer, then you have no need to hire waiters and waitresses. But make sure you hire an MC or ask a friend to do it for you.
There are guest who will come from long distances. If your budget carries it, then please feel free to make transport arrangement for them. They will seriously appreciate the help.
After your guests arrive, they will need a place to sleep. You can either volunteer yours, after all, it’s only for a short period, or you hire a place for them to rest for the night. It could be a hotel room or a rented apartment.
It is important to cut down on your budget and stick to it because there will always be miscellaneous spending. If you blow up everything you might find yourself stranded when other demands are made.
For the food and drinks aspect, you don’t need to have all types of food. Just make arrangement for something your budget can carry. After all, you are not trying to impress anyone. If you must have a variety of food, then simply encourage your invited guests to cook and bring along something different and delicious.
Furthermore, don’t be scared to cut down on your guest list if your budget cannot carry everyone. If you force yourself to do what your budget doesn’t entail, you will have yourself to blame in the long run.
Finally, make sure that your budget carries the after plans of your wedding. The wedding is just one day but the marriage itself is “till death do us part.” If you blow up every cent on you, how in God’s name are you going to cope? After the guests are gone and it’s just you and your wife or husband, will you have the cash to move on? Or will you both be stranded?
During my cousin’s wedding, he spent so much money because he wanted it to be a grand one. It was after the wedding that I learnt that he even went as far as taking loans. I was disappointed but then, it was already done. Now after the wedding, he and his wife had no food to eat. His salary for the next 6 months was used in paying back loans he took. His saving grace was his wife’s father who decided to help out his son-in-law. Now mind you, not all father-in-laws are willing to help out their son-in-law, unless of course they have established a connection.
Even with the help of his wife’s dad, it took my cousin almost two years to get back on his feet financially, despite being a top man in his company. The paying of depts weighed him down for that period.
My points here are these “cut your coat according to your size” and remember that the actual marriage is more important than the wedding.
I wish you all the best as you move from being single to being married. May your union last for as long as you live. Amen