for the 3rd installment of my wedding planning checklist:
last time i talked about picking out your vendors. if you settled on them, great! start signing contracts! if not, you might want to start to narrow your choices down and think about who works best for you (remember that – who works best for you – the vendors should be happy to make your day what you want it to be AND should be welcoming of your same-sex wedding!).
once you have booked a particular vendor, it’s a great idea to keep a copy of the contract in some sort of folder (whether on your computer or on paper), you want to have easy access to these documents. they don’t need to be color-coded or fancy-shmancy organized, but you should make sure you have the basics all together. if you have hired a wedding planner/day-of coordinator, make sure you share those contracts with him/her as well. quite often, they are the ones who handle the vendor interactions on your wedding day, so they should have full knowledge of the details of those contracts. if you don’t have a wedding planner, maybe designate one person from your bridal party or family to be in charge of those contracts so that if anything arises on your wedding day, it’s not YOU who has to deal with it.
some other things to consider for this time period:
- clothing – once you have picked it out, put down your deposit and begin the LOOOONG waiting period for any adjustments/tailoring that needs to happen. this is particularly true for wedding gowns. sometimes the alterations can take quite a few months and you want to have your dress picked out and sent off so that you have plenty of time for last-minute adjustments when you get it back. another thing to consider – many formal wedding dress shops won’t let you take a picture of you in your wedding dress until you have put down the deposit (ridiculous, i know, but i understand their reasons), so if you want to show your dress to your friends, you have to be pretty sure it’s the one! if you are going with a suit, the alterations might not take as long, but it’s still a good idea to be done with them early.
- bridesmaids/bro-maids/support sisters/groomsmen – whatever name you decide to use, you also want to get their outfits nailed down around this time as well. if what they are going to wear needs to be ordered and altered, see above for my reasons why. if you want to let them choose their own outfit but just follow a certain theme, it’s a good idea to give them plenty of time to pick it out. particularly if you are having a summer wedding and it’s now the middle of the winter – it can be hard to find certain styles of summer dress-wear in february!
- engagement photos! – are these necessary, no, are they fun, yes! and quite often when you book your wedding photographer, engagement photos are included in the package. i think they are a great opportunity for you to really get to know your photographer’s style, get a little more comfortable being all smoochy in front of the camera, and get some great couple shots to decorate your home (i mean honestly, how many wedding photos of the two of you can you hang up around your house? ok, ok, my wife and i have about 800, and maybe we look conceited, but we love them! and we loved our wedding day! so now i’m trying to mix in engagement shots, oh and doggy shots because we love our dogs just as much… ok, i digress)! start to think about what kind of style you want for your engagement photos – do you want any “props” or just pictures that really reflect the two of you, or both!
- lodging – if you have chosen your venue already, now might be a good time to scope out local hotels/b&b’s/inns and talk to the owners about reserving a block of rooms for your guests. while their lodging is ultimately your guests responsibility, often when you reserve a block of rooms, they will get a discount of some sort and that’s always helpful. also, if you get a good feel about what sorts of places your guests can stay in, you can provide them with that information on your invitations/wedding website/or just through emails. you never know, some of your guests could be ultimate planners and want to book their rooms early! it’s also a good idea to find (if possible!) a selection of places with a price range – some people may not want to spend $250 on a room, but others may be looking to make a mini-vaca out of it and want to splurge.
- std’s and invitations – once you have decided which route you want to go, it’s a good idea to get your order in now so that you can get your save the dates in the mail. even if you are going all “green” and doing on-line std’s/invites, now would be the ideal time to send out the save the date so your guests can begin their travel plans. in particular, if you are planning a destination wedding of some sort, your guests will appreciate the early notice so they can plan their time easily.
ok now, you’ve done the big stuff. you’ve reserved your vendors, you have your outfit, your location, you know your colors and your theme. now is the wierd-intermediate-i feel like i should be doing something but really i’m not sure what i need to do time! this is the FUN time! relax! the big stuff is out of the way – it’s too early to worry about making your seating charts (you don’t even know who is coming yet!), so now is the time to enjoy just being engaged and dreaming about the details of your wedding. spend this time just looking around on-line, browsing wedding magazines, creating your pinboards, and *maybe* starting some of your DIY details. but this is really the time where you don’t need to do ANYTHING except play around on-line and think about how you might want your table-settings to look or what kind of decorations you might want.
enjoy this time. because it won’t last long!
up next, 2-5 months pre-wedding – the details!