Wedding Planning Checklist

You’ve got the groom, the dress and the bridal party, but is it that simple? We’re here with a big wedding planning checklist so you don’t forget anything.

Most usual engagements are at least a year long. You may be in a spot where you only have a few months to plan or over a year. You can make the wedding planning time less stressful no matter your timeline if you make checklists!

Let’s plan on a 12 month long engagement. The first list on your wedding planning checklist needs to be budget. How much do you want to spend on your wedding? Keep in mind unforeseen costs too and what are you willing to compromise on? Who is paying for the wedding? It’s usually a tradition for the bride’s family to pay, but these days it’s more common for the groom’s family to cover some cost as well. At this point in time, you also will want to make a guest list. This can get tricky with everyone wanted everyone involved so be sure to make your wishes clear.

10 months out you’ll want to start the fun of wedding dress shopping and venue selecting! You may fall in love with the first dress you try on but keep an open mind. Sometimes what you envision doesn’t quite match up to how it looks actually on you. You will want to start looking at invitations and take engagement photos if you want. We’ve put together a wedding planning checklist to keep things easy:

  1. Book hotel rooms/blocks for guests
  2. Send out save the dates around 9 months before the big day
  3. Buy wedding dress
  4. Register for gifts
  5. Select bridesmaid’s dresses
  6. Meet with florist and other rental accessories
  7. Book rehearsal dinner venue
  8. Hire musicians/DJ for reception
  9. Hire Officiant
  10. Book the honeymoon, guest transportation and your own transportation on the wedding day
  11. Buy/rent the tuxedoes
  12. Choose your cake
  13. Buy wedding bands
  14. Hair and makeup trial
  15. Select groomsmen’s attire
  16. Brainstorm guest favors
  17. Select readings (from any religious texts you may want in the ceremony)
  18. Meet with Officiant and invite them to rehearsal dinner
  19. Send out wedding invitations and/or rehearsal dinner invitations
  20. Dress fitting
  21. Marriage license

These are only a few of the myriad of things you’ll want to keep track of. You may find it helpful to hire a wedding planner to help keep everything on track! No matter what, enjoy your wedding day because you’ve certainly worked hard enough planning it!

Autumn Wedding Attire

It’s that time of year again – the autumn wedding! We’re taking a look at what attire to wear to this seasonal event.

For the daytime autumn wedding, we like a cocktail type dress with darker tones. A daytime wedding usually isn’t as formal as an evening one, but you should still make an effort to appear polished. Jewel tones like burgundy, emerald, sapphire mixed with elegant black are always a classic for autumn. You could even re-use a dress in your closet and spice it up with a new pair of heels or cute jacket.

For a later afternoon or evening autumn wedding we suggest simple and elegant. We love a splashy pair of earrings to make a statement or bold necklace. We like looking for dresses than can be dressed up or down. Some people are confused at a later afternoon wedding if they should be more black tie or daytime attire.  You can stash a fun jacket and bold earrings in your purse for the evening reception. Think of it like dating – a day to night outfit change without having to completely switch clothes!

Lastly, we’ve got the festive autumn wedding attire. If your going to a wedding that’s themed and the bride and groom have okayed wacky outfits like costumes, then this is your chance to play! We’ve heard of Halloween themed weddings and as long as your costume is tasteful we love the idea. Even if you don’t want to wear a full on costume, there are plenty of ways to dress up for the occasion. Try a gothic type dress, black lace or high boots!

 

French Inspired Styled Shoot

This French Inspired Styled Shoot brought a magical shoot to life by using a vibrant palette of blush pinks, pure white and rich greenery. Also, subtle details like macaroons and croissants helped create sweet, delicate French vibe. The result was a French-European inspired feel that showcased the love between two people. A perfect reminder for couples that everlasting love is about the small, kind gestures more than anything.

Romantic French Inspired Wedding

Photo Credit: sephoryphotography.com.au/

             Wedding Invitations: @invitationbweddings www.bweddinginvitations.com/

Photography & Concept: @sephoryphotography sephoryphotography.com.au/

Hair & Make up: @suzyselamakeup www.suzysela.com/

Menu & Place Cards: @adorninvitations www.adorninvitations.co.uk/

Stationery Design: Catsy Creative www.catsycreative.com.au

Printing: Inktank Printing www.inktankprinting.com

Flowers: @chloelashay_florist www.chloelashay.com/

Dresses: @raffaeleciucabridal www.raffaeleciuca.com.au/ and by @heleneconstancebride | @berta

Cakes: @maryeatscake www.maryeatscake.com.au

Jewellery: @loveonjewellery www.loveonjewellery.com.au/

Model: @oliviaa.williams from @giant_mgmt

Venue: @montdusoleil

Best Wedding Flowers

When it comes to the best wedding flowers there are quite a lot of choices for you! Which ones do you gravitate towards – roses, lilies, daisies, plumeria, dogwood or lilacs?

This year, we are seeing a lot of orange and butter yellow shades. These flowers compliment both summer and fall weddings. You can use Peonies, Icelandic poppies, Juliet roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, and ranunculus to make a beautiful bouquet or bouquets for your bridesmaids. Add a delicate chandelier and you’ve got a very romantic space.

Another trend we are loving this year is moss! Who would have thought this greenery would replace the lush leaves we’ve been seeing for years? Moss adds a fabulous fairy tale element to your wedding space. Technically moss isn’t a flower, but you can add flowers to it to make it gorgeous.  You can use a moss wall as an indoor ceremony backdrop or place it as a runner down the center of a long banquet table. Different flowers can be placed in the moss to add a great splash of color.

Another flower we love is the arthurium. It appears like a tropical flower but can be placed with more traditional flowers like tulips, roses, celosias, calla lilies and mini gerberas. The arthurium gives your bouquet a very unique look. This flower is especially fun for both summer and fall due to the range of colors it comes in.

Unplugged Wedding

In today’s social media craze it’s hard to put that phone away, but you may consider it for your wedding. There are several ways even the best-intentioned friend can ruin the big day. They may forget to put their phone on silent (that includes no buzzing), obstructing the professional photographer’s view at the peril of taking and posting their own blurry, inadequate pictures on social media.

There are a few ways you can help your guests get “unplugged” for your ceremony. The reception is a better time for guests to be on their phones.

You may have your officiant greet guests and kindly remind them to turn off their phones before the ceremony starts. You could also kindly say that you’d prefer them to enjoy the moment instead of trying to capture it on film – that is what the professionals are there for. If you’re concerned that the photographer or videographer won’t get all the angles and if so, then consider hiring a team of two or three.

It might also be a good idea to remind guests to unplug with signs before they enter the ceremony site or on your wedding website. It is not proper etiquette to print it on the invitation. You also want to avoid confiscating phones. That sends a negative message to your loved ones and it creates more problems than it solves. You may also offer an “altar photo op”. During the ceremony, the bride and groom can turn to face the audience. At that time, you may invite them to take pictures and then put their phones away for the remainder.

An unplugged wedding is a simple way to enjoy the day and not worry about people crowding each other or getting in the way. It might also take the pressure off your guests or family as well. They can relax and have the memory captured for them by professionals.

 

First Look

We discuss today the pros and cons of having a First Look on your wedding day! Most brides don’t let the groom see their dress until the wedding day. Some brides like to let their groom see them just before the ceremony for a great, intimate moment together before they walk down the aisle.

The Pros of having a first look:

  1. If you or your husband to be are feeling nervous before the big reveal it’s nice to have the first look to reassure each other. Not only will the photographer capture real moments, but it’s a great way to spend a little time just the two of you. You can take time to truly connect before the chaos of the celebration.
  2. The time of day can also impact your decision to have a first look. If you’re getting married in the winter the light fades pretty early. So, having a first look earlier ensures you can use natural light for great photos.
  3. Another reason is just practical. A first look gives you time to get those pictures out of the way so you can get to the cocktail hour and reception sooner.

 

The Cons of having a first look:

  1. If you are a traditional couple that can be the only reason needed to skip it. If you want the magic of the moment when you’re walking down the aisle that’s not a problem.
  2. Timing can be an issue as a con as well. If you get married earlier in the day then that means your time table will need to be pushed up as well. You may have to get ready earlier and that also possibly means your bridal party may have to get ready too. Some brides include their party after the first look too
  3.  It’s not as private as you think. The photographer and assistants or videographer may be far away, but they’re still there to capture the moment. If you’re camera shy you may not get the genuine moment you want.
completing your event timeline

Completing Your Event Timeline

Completing Your Event Timeline

As your wedding day approaches, you are putting the finishing touches on months of planning.  Last month, we gave you some tips on filling out your Music Request List.  This month, we want to provide you some guidance when filling out your Event Timeline.

When it comes to planning the timeline of your reception, most couples get overwhelmed and are not sure what time each event should take place.  “This is my first (and hopefully) only wedding, and I have no idea what to do.” We hear this time and time again from brides.  First of all, breath easy.  Your DJ and your banquet captain are there to help.  We do weddings every weekend and are very familiar with what needs to happen and when so that your event flows smoothly.  Your wedding night should be a time for you to enjoy and not stress about the timing of each item on the list.

You will meet with the banquet captain and discuss your timeline with your DJ prior to your reception, but here is an example of a standard timeline to help point you in the right direction.  Keep in mind, this is your event.  The following is merely a suggestion based on our experience, but in no way is it set in stone.  Your vendors are there to accommodate you and give you and your new spouse the best experience possible. Completing Your Event Timeline.

6:00 pm – Cocktail Hour Begins

6:50 pm – DJ announces that all guests should be seated and all members of the bridal party meet in foyer to lineup for introductions.

7:00 pm – Bridal party introductions

7:05 pm – Bride and groom cut cake

7:10 pm – Best man / maid of honor speeches

7:25 pm – Blessing

7:30 pm – First course served

8:45 pm – Bride and groom’s first dance

8:50 pm – Bride and father dance

8:55 pm – Groom and mother dance

9:00 pm – Dance floor opens to all guests

10:00 pm – Bouquet Toss

10:05 pm – Garter removal

11:15 pm – Last call for alcohol

11:25 pm – Last dance

11:30 pm – Reception ends

Again, the above is an example of a standard timeline, but you may have a few questions as to the timing of each event.

1)      Why cut your cake immediately after being introduced?  Cutting your cake immediately after being introduced is a good idea for several reasons.  First, it allows the banquet hall to remove the cake early and begin slicing it for your guests in time for desert.  Second, you already have the attention of everyone in the room immediately after being introduced.  Therefore, none of your guests will miss that special moment.  Third, the photographer has an opportunity to take your pictures before you begin eating.  The groom may want to remove his jacket and roll up his sleeves for dinner.  Taking the cake cutting pictures early ensures that you still look your best.

2)      How many speeches should we have?  It is traditional to have your maid/matron of honor and best man give a speech.  We suggest that each speech be kept to a maximum of 5 minutes.  By keeping speeches short and sweet, you retain the attention of your guests and assure that dinner is served on time and hot.  It is recommended that all speeches be given before dinner is served.  Having speeches given during food service can be distracting and draws attention away from the individual giving the speech.  Your DJ and banquet hall will be flexible, just make sure you know in advance how many speeches will be given.  Some family members may want to give “surprise” speeches.  Unless previously scheduled or given the green light for surprise speeches from the bride and groom, your DJ will not give the microphone to guests that are not on the speaker schedule.  This ensures that you reception stays on schedule and allows plenty of time for other formalities and dancing.

3)      What if the bride and groom what to give a “welcome speech”?  Oftentimes, the bride and groom are compelled to thank everyone for coming.  Most couples feel that speaking immediately after the other speeches is appropriate, but we recommend waiting until desert to do so.  Why wait?  First of all, it makes for quicker dinner service.  The less speeches given before dinner, the faster the food is served, which makes for happy guests and happy vendors.  Second, and more importantly, it gives you time to soak it all in.  During dinner, you have a chance to look around the room, see all the people that made it out for your special day and think of what you really want to say in your speech.   These speeches are generally brief, but heartfelt.  “We’d like to thank everyone for coming to our reception….thanks to the Smith family for traveling from overseas….thank you to (bride’s family) thank you to (groom’s family)….enjoy the reception….see you on the dance floor.”

4)      We want to have a video montage.  How long should it be and when should we show it?  It has become popular so show a slideshow during the reception.   A slideshow is a nice way to display your love story to your guests and is sure to draw laughter and tears from those who love you the most.  However, a sideshow that is too long can have an adverse affect and cause your guests to lose attention and interest.  We recommend keeping your slideshow between 7-8 minutes long using roughly 100 photos.  A good rule of thumb is 30 pictures of the bride, 30 pictures of the groom and 15-20 pictures of the bride and groom as a couple.  Selecting one song to be played over each segment provides theme music for each sequence and lends itself well to transitions.  Plan on scheduling your slideshow immediately preceding the speeches or during desert.  If you have a lot of speeches, definitely wait until desert.  Spacing events out gives your guests things to look forward to.  Your DJ will make an announcement prior to starting the slideshow that guests that cannot see the screen may want to move to a spot in the room where they can view the show more easily.

As you fill in your Event Timeline, remember to click “Save My List” as you continue to plan your evening and “Submit My List” when you are done. Your online forms should be submitted 14 days prior to your reception. Your Music By Design DJ will personally call you the week of your event to discuss all of the information you have submitted and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to have a clear understanding of your expectations and work diligently to exceed them. Please visit our Ceremony Music Planning Guide.

Indoor Wedding Reception

Last year we saw a lot of outdoor wedding venues, but this year it’s all about the Indoor Wedding Reception! This is a great option for those brides who want to tie the knot in a season where the weather may not cooperate. Summer can be blistering hot and humid, winter can get snowed out. We have some great indoor wedding reception decorating ideas.

If you choose a venue with tall ceilings we love the draped look. This can be elegant if you stick with a neutral white or pale shade. If you’d like a more jazzy look use a colored fabric or add lights in the drapes. The draped ceiling gives your venue a romantic, soft vibe. The draped ceiling will also work for a rustic indoor wedding reception or if you’d like to dramatically change a plain space.

We also love decorative pillows for your indoor wedding reception. If you want a more relaxed and inviting appeal try getting some comfy and warm pillows for your guests to sit on. This is also works well for cultural weddings where it may be more customary to sit on pillows.

Another way to decorate for your indoor wedding reception is to hang flowers. Your guests may thank you for not putting huge center pieces on the table. Big center pieces may block their view of each other and the bride and groom. This trick is also a fun way to bring the attention up if you don’t like the flooring of your venue. Hanging flowers creates a more intimate space. We love simple and lush bouquets that invite your guests into a romantic landscape. If you don’t want to spend money on all the hanging flowers you can always use a projection and light show – with flowers!

No matter what you choose to do for your indoor wedding reception we love the idea of keeping it all inside! That way you get to control the temperature, sound and lights!

Wedding Dress Trends

You’ve got the date, the bridesmaids and the reception hall all picked out, now comes the wedding dress!  We are loving some 2018 wedding dress trends that really make you pop as you walk down the aisle.

  1. Statement veil. Your wedding dress might be the centerpiece but you can also jazz it up with an amazing veil! You might be a bride who doesn’t want to wear one but think about it for a second – a beautiful, flowing veil that cascades over your dress and trails behind you. We’re sure we are seeing this “dramatic veil” search due to the Royal wedding that just took place. Megan Markle’s veil was stunning and you can utilize her elegant style too! We love the simpler wedding dress paired with the intensity of the statement veil.

2. What else goes perfectly with your wedding dress? Diamonds! This year we’re seeing a lot of stacked rings. You can customize your rings and it’s okay to cross jewelry designer lines. You get to pick the color, cut and style. What could be more fun than the first engagement ring – how about more rings on the wedding day? Some engagement rings also come as a stackable set. So you get to wear the engagement ring first and then it layers beautifully with the wedding bands.

3. Another wedding dress trend we’re seeing is bell sleeves. What’s more whimsical or flirty than bell sleeves? It might be a little retro but give it a try! We think you might be surprised at how flattering these flare sleeves are. The style sleeves can look great on modern sleek dresses, vintage wedding dresses or even mini dresses. There are a lot of variety in bell sleeves so that you can go bohemian or keep it more medieval.

Small Wedding Party

As a new bride it’s tempting to rush out and tell everyone and invite all your friends to the big day but we’re giving away tips on how a smaller wedding party can make your life easier! Just because some friends are not IN the wedding doesn’t mean they can’t have a good time or enjoy the celebration with you.

We aren’t just talking about bridesmaids and groomsmen either. Having a small wedding party in terms of guests will help cut down costs. The average cost per guest for a wedding is $100 so multiply that by 100 guests and it adds up. Keeping your guest list limited is the first way to cut costs.

However, let’s address the small wedding party itself. Keeping your bridesmaids to three or four close friends will save you a lot of headache. For one, it’ll make things easier to stay organized. It’s hard enough to plan an entire wedding so be sure your bridal party makes things easy for you.

It’s easier to take photos after the wedding ceremony as well with a smaller wedding party. You can fit everyone in the same frame and have time to try fun pictures like goofy shots or even use props. Along with photo taking a smaller wedding party allows you to let your bridesmaids have more flexibility with their choice of dresses. If you are comfortable letting your girls pick their own styles the less people makes the “mix and match” look classy instead of messy. You could also give them the option to rent a dress instead of buy. Happy bridesmaids make for great photos!

A small wedding party will both cut costs and allow you more control over your big day!