Wedding Tips
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Questions to Ask Photographers and Videographers  
What to Wear for a Portrait 
Beauty Tips for Getting your Photo Taken 
The Wedding Dress 
Accessories: shoes, veils and headpieces, gloves, bags, jewelry, handkerchiefs, hats, and hosiery 
Wedding Checklist - What You Need to Do and When 
Your Wedding: Who Pays for What 
100 Things to do Before you Say "I Do" 
Attendants' Duties - Tells you What Everyone Should be Doing 
The Groom's Checklist 
Reception Checklist 
Reception Schedule: When to do What 
Wedding Hints and Tips   
Questions to Ask Wedding Consultants 
Questions to Ask Potential Caterers 
Questions to Ask Potential Florists 
Questions About Hiring Your Band 
10 Things You DON'T Want To Do Before Your Wedding 
10 Things You'll forget to do    
Wording Wedding Invitations 
Tackling those Thank You Notes 
Traditions and Symbolisms  
Questions to ask Photographers and Videographers
With contributions from Leslie Barton, a longtime photographer from Los Angeles, California, who specializes in covering weddings. 
Are you the one who's going to be shooting our wedding, or will it be one of your colleagues? 
Make sure the person whose book you've seen is also the one who takes the pictures. Not only should you meet the photographer in question, but his or her name should be clearly indicated on your contract. This is not to say, the photographer shouldn't have an assistant to help out with lighting, reloading the cameras and getting everyone ready for the respective shots. 
What percentage of your pictures are candids, as opposed to posed? 
This is going to be important if you prefer formal portraits to spontaneous shots, or vice versa, or want a mixture of both. 
How many rolls of films are you going to shoot? 
The more pictures your photographer takes, the more shots you'll be able to choose from for the final prints. You'll also want to find out whether pictures will be in color or black and white, or both, and whether you can pick your own album and number of pages. As a general rule, the more flexible your photographer-and the greater the options you're offered-the greater the likelihood that you'll be pleased by the final outcome. 
Have you shot at the selected wedding and reception sites before? 
Photographers should be aware of the various rooms' special lighting needs, or specific restrictions regarding picture-taking or, say, the use of flash equipment. If they're not, you should find out whether they will visit ahead of time to familiarize themselves in all these areas. 
When must I put the deposit down, and when is the balance due? 
Costs are tricky, and you should establish ahead of time what is owed when, and whether it is refundable (rarely!, says Barton) if you decide to cancel. You should also find out whether there is a charge for overtime, if you can hold off payment until the proofs are ready, when the albums will be delivered, and whether you can hold onto the negatives in case you--or other loving members of the family--keep coming back for more! Also, see if there is a lower price for making two or three albums; maybe your Mom or your Mom-in-law would like a small yet professional album. 
What to Wear for a Portrait
1. Avoid severely high necklines. People with heavy necks look better in V-necks. Long necked people should avoid narrow, low oval necklines and deep V-necklines. They should use high necklines or a wide boat type neckline. 
2. Avoid sleeveless dresses, particularly if arms have a tendency to look heavy. 
3. Bring several outfits, complete ensembles. 
4. Avoid loud. busy designs that detract from your face. 
5. Clothing of material that wrinkles easily should be put on at the studio. 
6. Careful pressing of clothing is more important than how new it is. Photographs do not show the age of the clothes, but they will show wrinkles. 
7. For daytime clothes wear "basic" clothes with a minimum of accessories. 
8. Bring along your favorite hats. You will enjoy the variety in mood that a hat can create. 
9. Also any favorite sports equipment, clothing (uniforms, etc.), or hobby stuff. 
1. Simplicity and good taste is best. 
2. A sweater, suite, blouse, shirt, or conservative party dress should be worn. 
3. For engagement announcements wear a blouse, shirt, suit, or dress. 
4. Avoid clothes with large or bold patterns'. 
Men & Boys 
1. Bring several changes of clothing as well as the accessories or "props" that are apart of their individual personalities such as rings, glasses, books, sports equipment, hobbies, or anything else that will help portray the "real" you. 
2. Avoid loud, busy designs that detract. 
1. Children look best in simple outfits. 
2. As a rule, avoid loud, busy designs, and dark clothes, particularly for very young children. 
3. Dress children in white, pastels, or solid bright colors. 
4. Bring several outfits. 
5. Bring favorite toys. 
6. Consider including pets, dog, cat, hamster, goldfish, or parakeet. 
Beauty Tips for getting your photo taken
It's a fact: The pictures taken on your wedding day become the official record of that fabulous event. Naturally, you want to look your best in every single shot. Professional photographers, and hair and makeup wizards know just what it takes to accentuate the positive in front of the camera's lens. Here, several experts share their advice on how to look great.  New York City Beauty Pro, Robin Schoen, works magic on wedding-day hair and makeup. Try her tips:
1. Remember to match your foundation to your neck color. Choose a yellow-based color for warmth-avoid those that are too pink or orange. If you're the type with flawless skin, then skip the foundation and simply dust on powder.
2. Always go for a matte finish in colors that are soft and neutral. You may want to try shades that are just slightly darker so that your skin tone will read normally on film.
3. Avoid using bright colors on your eyes and cheeks because the light will vividly pick up everything in your pictures. And hard lines that are not well blended will only be accentuated.
4. Look for matte lip colors. Stat away from glosses, but apply a moisturizing conditioner if lips are very dry.
5. Keep in mind that outdoor light tends to make you look washed out, and direct sunlight can cast shadows and create lines. Shady light is the most flattering. Warm indoor lighting is also a good choice for pictures.
6. If you're also having black-and-white photos done, take your color shots first since the makeup you'll need for each is quite different. Pastels that look fine in color-peaches, pinks, baby blues-read as white or hardly at all on black-and-white film. After your color photos have been taken, add to your makeup a brownish-red based lipstick that will show more visibly in black-and- white shots. And note: Reds, coppers and bronzes read darker on black-and-white film, and true in color.
7. Make sure eyebrows are wel-groomed for close-up shots. If you need to fill in your brows, uniformly apply an eyeshadow instead of a liner for a softer effect.
8. Fix eyes that are red or irritated on the morning of your wedding with one drop of an over-the-counter eye product in each eye before applying makeup.
9. If possible, remove eyeglasses at least one half hour before photos are taken so there are no indentations left on your nose.
10. Think "simple" when styling your hair-if it's too overdone you won't feel comfortable. For example, long hair worked into a chignon with tendrils is a classic, pretty look. And don't use too many styling products-your locks may give out by the end of the day.
11. If your hair is curly, be sure there are not a lot of spaces between the curls. Those gaps can create a sparse look in photos, even if your hair is thick.
12. Balance your hairstyle and headpiece. If you choose an elaborate headpiece, go for a simple hairstyle and vice versa.  
Photographer Yitzhak Dalal of Los Angeles, California, has this advice for perfect wedding pictures:
13. Hire a professional hair and makeup artist who is familiar with what translates well onto film. 
14. Request that your makeup artist stay for the first three hours, if your budget allows, to do touch-ups in case of wind, high temperatures, etc.
15. Hire a photographer with whom you have a good rapport. It makes a difference in how you respond to the camera.
16. Have fun, act naturally and interact-it's what sets you apart from other couples.
17. Be totally relaxed because any stress will show in your face and posture. (A massage the day before is a great idea.)
18. Bustle your train so your look isn't static and you're able to move more freely.
19. Choose a smaller bouquet style that won't overpower or compete with your face.
20. Avoid selecting a hat to wear with your wedding gown. It can cast a shadow on your face when a flash is being used.  
Hans Jonas, a photographer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recommends the foolowing:
21. Talk to your photographer about your beauty strengths and weaknesses so he or she can plan flattering angles and poses. One example: If you're an avid swimmer and have broader shoulders as a result, a photographer might turn them diagonally to the camera, or create a soft-focus effect around the print so attention is drawn to your face.
22. To accommodate a very short or very tall bride, a photographer should be able to choose a spot with a continuous background and no horizon line so attention isn't called to your height.
23. A bride's best features should be highlighted with proper lighting and positioning. I always determine her "good side" for the camera.
24. Ask your floral designer for a bouquet that is a replica of the one you'll carry at your wedding if you are having a formal studio portrait.
25. Get a good night's sleep before the portrait session. Being well rested is the very best beauty advice.
The Wedding Gown:
Formalwear Styles
There are no hard and fast rules so far as wedding attire is concerned. The outfitting of your wedding should be determined by your personal preferences, taking into consideration your budget. 
A formal wedding can be had at any time of the day, but is particularly appropriate if the ceremony and reception are planned for the evening. The bride is ordinarily attired in a full-length gown and the groom in black or white tuxedo. The bridesmaids’ dresses and the groomsmens’ suits should complement the attire worn by the bride and groom.  
A semiformal wedding is, as the title implies, less traditional than a formal ceremony. The bride’s gown may be of any length desired. The groom and his groomsmen may wear suits or black tuxedos. The formality of the attire worn by the bridesmaids and groomsmen may be reduced accordingly. 
An informal wedding offers maximum flexibility. The bride ordinarily will wear either a traditional gown or a tailored suit. A suit is appropriate for the groom. In the final analysis, the decision regarding attire is yours. Do not feel bound to follow the rules set down by others. It is, after all, your wedding day.
Bridal Gown Information
You have thought about this day for your entire life, and it’s finally about to happen. Finding the perfect wedding gown can be both challenging and pleasurable. Wedding gowns come in many styles, fabrics and price ranges. Gowns vary from simple, informal types to elaborate puffy productions with intricate beading and long trains. Below are a few thoughts to keep in mind while searching for your perfect gown. 
Searching out the ideal wedding gown can be a demanding task, because there is so much to choose from. It’s best to have some idea what you are looking for before you begin to shop. Wedding magazines are a good source of ideas 
Wedding gowns are very personal and should be chosen based on your individual style preference, the type of wedding you plan to have, the place you are being married and your budget. Almost anything is acceptable - - - so remember, this is YOUR day. Do it YOUR way. 
Where To Look?
There are many sources available for bridal gowns: bridal salons, discount warehouses and outlets, resale or consignment shops, and custom designers. Call these merchants in your area and find out what they have to offer. Many of the boutique bridal shops require an appointment or have limited hours. Many, but not all, bridal stores have knowledgeable sales people, who can assist in selecting the right gown for you. If your choice is a new gown, allow at least four months for fittings, manufacture and delivery. Allow extra time to guard against the possibility of something going wrong - - - for example, delay in delivery of the gown, delivery of the wrong gown, or delivery of a damaged gown, which will require repair. 
Reputable Source
It is not difficult to imagine the chaos that can result if, on the appointed day for delivery of your gown, you discover that the person or firm with whom you are dealing is no longer in business. The best protection is afforded by dealing with a firm which has long been established in the community, a store with national affiliation, or a shop which has qualified as an "authorized dealer" or representative for a nationally recognized product line. The reliability of the merchant with whom you are dealing is particularly important in the field of specially manufactured wedding gowns, because a non refundable deposit is almost always required at the time the gown is ordered. A quality firm will also be able to assist you if problems are encountered in the manufacture or delivery process. 
Ask Questions
Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by the salesperson who is assisting you. Feel free to ask questions about anything you are unsure of. Be sure to satisfy yourself that there are no additional or hidden costs, such as for steaming or final alterations. 
Put It In Writing
Insist that all of the essential terms of your agreement with the salesperson be in writing. Do not proceed on the basis of an oral agreement or understanding. Unfortunately, should you and the salesperson later disagree on the terms of your agreement, the salesperson will have a distinct advantage in the negotiation process, since he or she holds your gown and, in all likelihood, you will not have sufficient time to make alternative arrangements, such as purchasing a gown from another shop. 
Bridal Gown Tips
When Choosing Your Gown
There are thousands of gown fashions to choose from. Brides can choose a gown with traditional embellishments like the bell-shape skirt with lace and a train, or a modern form-fitting gown made of satin and decorated with sequins. Whatever the bride may decide, she will eventually have to visit some type of wedding gown dealer. 
Selecting Your Gown
When you visit the salon of your choice, make sure that you have a clear vision of your wedding's theme. Do not hesitate to let the salon know what you have planned for a budget. Bring magazine clippings of gowns you like, and see if they have those styles or something similar. Keep in mind that with most bridal salons, you get some consultation for free. Take advantage of the advice you receive. The consultant will be able to offer suggestions on fit and style based on your age and body type. A gown may look wonderful in a magazine (and most do), but it may not look good on you. Your consultant will help you find the right gown at the right price. You should visit a bridal salon even if you do not plan on purchasing your gown through one. The advice you receive will more than pay for your time. 
The Costs
Don't purchase a gown that is out of your price range. Bridal gowns can range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Take some time to think about your selection. It may help to sleep on the idea and make a commitment on a different day. Remember that bridal gowns come with many unforeseen expenses. Don't spend all of your allotted money on the gown itself. Save a little for alterations and accessories. Plan to spend approximately 5.5% of your total wedding budget on your gown and accessories. 
Get Fitted For Your Gown
When you go to get fitted for your gown, make sure that you bring your mother or maid of honor with you. If neither of these people can be there, take a friend whose opinion you trust. If nothing else, this friend can provide some moral support if you are in doubt. You should plan on at least six months to decide on and fit your gown. It will take at least three months for your order to be placed and your gown to be made by the manufacturer. Then you can plan on three fittings. The first when your gown arrives. The second to correct any mistakes, and the third to verify that everything is perfect. You should expect your gown to be perfect. After all, you will only wear this gown once. If you do not have six months, relax. You can still get everything done in time. It will just cost a little more to rush your order. 
Your final fitting should take place a few weeks before your wedding. The last thing you should worry about on your wedding day is whether or not your gown fits. So make sure your gown is ready early. Your salon should hold your gown until the week before your wedding. They are better equipped to store your gown than you will be, and proper storage is essential to prevent your gown from wrinkling. 
It would be a good idea to bring your maid of honor to your fittings. She will be able to learn her responsibilities for the wedding day. Sometimes, small emergencies come up right before the wedding is about to begin. Your maid of honor should know your gown, and she should also know how to perform small alterations in a pinch. If your mother would handle this situation better than your maid of honor, you might want her at the fittings as well. 
On Your Wedding Day
Your wedding day is going to be very hectic. Allow yourself at least two hours to get ready before your wedding is scheduled to begin. If you are planning to have photographs taken before your ceremony, start getting ready two hours before your session is scheduled to begin. These last few hours are stressful enough, don't add to the stress by running late. Take your time when getting ready, and enjoy the company of those around you. Bring an emergency kit. This kit should have sewing supplies, extra makeup, extra hose, and tissues. You should also bring a pair of comfortable shoes such as flats with you. During the wait before the wedding, you will not want to be running around in heels. Your feet may never forgive you. 
Naturally, the selection of your wedding dress comes first, but the shoes, veils and headpieces, gloves, bags, jewelry, handkerchiefs, hats, and hosiery you wear with it are next in line. 
Shoe In
Your feet will really get a workout on your wedding day. So what should you look for in a shoe? Style, for sure--but comfort is also key. 
Try not to make a drastic change from the heel height you're accustomed to. If you can generally be found in flats, chances are that a high heel may spoil some of your fun. If you do choose a different heel, make sure the shoe fits well. 
Also, make the right choice for your venue. If your wedding is outdoors, for instance, you might have trouble getting around on a grassy lawn in too-high heels. And it's best to buy your shoes soon after you've bought a gown. That way, you'll have plenty of time to break them in around the house, and can wear them at dress fittings. 
Now for the style part. Shoes may be made of satin, brocade or silk and display details such as soutache (a type of narrow braid), ribbons, bows, braids, beads and jeweled ornaments. Shapes range from Victorian lace-up boots to sleek slingbacks. Pumps can have square toes or round, skinny heels or the Louis kind, with a curve in the middle and a wide flare at the bottom. 
Finally, wedding shoes are one purchase you may be able to use again. Transforming dyeable shoes into basic black (or another needed shade) for future events is a great idea--and a money saver. 
When picking shoes, it is better to think about function over fashion. You will be on your feet nearly all day, so pick out your shoes with this in mind. Pick a medium to low heel which will enhance your silhouette and be comfortable dancing the night away in.
Fabric shoes are usually embellished to create a fancier appearance than leather ones. Satin and silk shoes are available with a wide variety of colors. Shoes may also be dyed to get just the right color; or embellished to get just the right texture. Elaborate dressed do not require elaborate shoes; simpler dresses are greatly enhanced by more elaborate shoes. Shoes that are silted create a slimmer looking foot and leg.
Lastly, remember to break in your shoes before the "Big Day" so your feet don't punish you during your Honeymoon. Shoes really can make or break you. 
Veils and Headpieces
Size is important, it should be an accessory to complement the dress, not to overwhelm it. Take your dress along with you as you shop for your veil, as the two must match well.
If tall and thin, you may desire a larger scale veil. Likewise, if you are petite, you may opt for a smaller headpiece. Your face shape will also help to determine the shape of the veil. Brides with narrow faces may want a veil that adds volume, especially by a airy veil that puffs out at the top. For a rounder facial shape, you want a veil, that by shape or material selection, creates a vertical element. 
Don't cover up a lovely back of a dress with a veil, remember that for the most significant part of the ceremony, your back will be to the audience.
Looking for a great alternative to a veil. For a simpler look, choose a garland of flowers to be worn in your hair. As with veil selection, choose flowers with proportion in mind. You don't want a look of a rose garden in your hair, as much as you wouldn't like to have a few, simple flowers get lost in a natural hair style. 
Glove Story
If you're looking to wear gloves with your gown, just two factors come into play: personal taste and sleeve length. You'll find gloves in a variety of fabrics and lengths. They can be perfectly plain or have maribou cuffs. You can choose--or add--any trims you like. 
Popular styles include the classic opera-length, which extends all the way to the armpit. They look great with sleeveless or cap-sleeved dresses. If you're going with long sleeves, a short satin or net glove is a pretty choice. For sleeves somewhere in between, go with a glove length that looks and feels right to you, from elbow to several inches above the wrist. 
Gloves are worn more often in certain areas of the country, and are a trendy (fleeting) fashion accessory. More than any accessory, the wrong glove can destroy your whole look. Choose them with discretion and usually only if you are wearing a short sleeved gown.
Gloves are usually made from a solid fabric or are crocheted. Crocheted gloves are generally preferred. Glove material should be chosen to complement, not overwhelm your dress. Unlike hosiery, gloves with vertical patterns, usually do not slim arms. Gloves are either long or wrist high. Gloves never go with long sleeve gowns. Pick fancier gloves for simple dresses and more plain ones for fancy gowns. With so many ways to go wrong with gloves, it is always easier to pick a dress with long sleeves and not have to worry about gloves at all. 
Hold Everything (Bags)
There are a few necessities you may need handy on your wedding day--perhaps a brush, lipstick, tissues. And one little handbag can carry it all in style. 
Handbag fabrics include silk, linen, satin, leather, velvet, straw and lace. Trims run from rhinestones to pearls. Silhouettes are also many: check out chic satin pyramids, beaded envelope shapes, jeweled boxes. Look for styles with chain straps, wrist straps or clutches--strap-free and sophisticated. 
The Wedding Globe recommends only a simple gift sack to be carried only at the reception and only if your family tradition allows it. You will know when to have a gift sack. 
All That Glitters (Jewelry)
The type and amount of jewelry you wear should depend on the formality of your ceremony and reception and the style of your dress. 
Pearls are the gems that most often come to mind for weddings. Romantic and traditional, they've been treasured as symbols of purity and modesty since ancient times. Whether a simple strand for a portrait collar, or earrings set with rhinestones, pearls may be just right for you. 
Don't know what to wear with your gown? These guidelines will help: 
A strapless or off-the-shoulder dress--even one with a simple bodice--usually requires a necklace or choker. 
A heavily detailed bodice may look best without a necklace--focus on earrings instead. 
If you're petite, choose delicate earrings, such as drop pearls. Taller brides can pull off a bigger style, such as a large, single pearl or a cluster of crystals. 
With sleeveless dresses that reveal lots of arm, a beautiful bracelet will really stand out. 
Be sure to try your whole ensemble on together before definitively deciding on your wedding day accessories. You'll want to look elegant and truly put together, not over-or under-done. Enjoy your look, from head to toe! 
As with many accessories, the generality of "simpler is better" can be applied to jewelry. Remember that if your gown and/or headpiece are ornate, jewelry may not be able to compete for top billing. To this end, generally simple jewelry arrangements are preferred. As with this rule, though, there can be some exceptions, simple silk dresses may be complemented with brooches to add color and texture.
Here are a few very good tips that apply to almost any traditional wedding attire. A watch can be omitted, why worry about time on your special day. Keeping time is a responsibility of the best man and matron of honor. Rings other than your wedding set are to be avoided by you and your attendants.
Earrings are best if they are simple and do not dangle. The constant moving of the earrings may detract from your more elegant attire. A great rule of thumb, is to use the rule of thumb, choose earrings no larger than the tip of your thumb. Simple pearls and diamonds are great, as are fashion jewelry that matches your, or your bridal party's dresses.
Long strands as well as choker necklaces are less likely to be chosen over medium strands of between 18-20 inches. This length of necklace creates a great V-line at your chest. The V shape creates an illusion of broader shoulders, slimmer waist and a fuller breast. Try as you may, it is very difficult to do better than a simple strand of pearls of 18-20 inches.
As with many ideas presented in Wedding Globe's hints, the ideas presented for the bride are also great ideas for your bridesmaids. You want more complements on your dress than for your jewelry. And you don't want disastrous problems caused by earrings caught in hair, etc. 
Traditionally a handkerchief made from the gown of a family member has been used. It is still a great sentiment and useful complement (also great for the "something old"). These hankies are passed through the bride's family, many times being embroidered with names and dates of use. 
Now where should we put that item. It should be accessible for times when you need to wipe lipstick from well wisher kisses, or dry your eyes or brow at the ceremony. It is neatly hidden in a carried bible, or can be tucked away in a glove or in a sleeve. 
As with many accessories, you want to complement the overall look with your hat selection. Don't overdo it with a hat of contrasting colors or proportion. Hats that are pinned down at awkward, unnatural angles also distract from you by having your guests focus their attention on if your hat will fall off. 
Hats are more common at outdoor weddings. But it is at these events where they are also the most in jeopardy. Many hats have been known to be upset by even the gentlest of breezes. So in these instances, make sure that the hat is securely anchored, or that you can easily swap out the hat for a more accommodating headdress.
Hats are selected by using our formula of contrasting your features. If you have a round face, choose a hat that creates a vertical scheme either in shape or fabric pattern. If you have long, thin facial features, choose a hat with a round shape.
For scale, a hat should fit your size. Petite brides should wear smaller hats, larger brides may be able to wear a larger hat. 
Since it is still traditional for the groom to remove the bride's garter at the reception. It is important therefore, to have acceptable hosiery. And if you're your garter is higher than the top of your pantyhose, read on. 
Hosiery should be white to off-white, with a lace pattern. Many patterns are available with a vertical pattern, which will slim down heavier legs by creating a vertical illusion. Hose with full and semi-sheen should be avoided for brides worried by a heavy leg look. Above other thoughts, please do not wear knee-highs. Knee highs are more comfortable, but they do not all that appealing in photos of your groom removing your garter. 
Who Pays for What 
In the 1990s there are no absolute rules about who pays for what. The following list indicates the traditional assumption of expenses for those who wish to follow these guidelines. Today, however, the groom's parents and/or the couple may offer to share the wedding expenses. 
Meet to discuss this at the beginning of your planning to determine a realistic budget and exactly who will be responsible for which expenses so there are no misunderstandings, or hard feelings later on. 
1. Wedding ring for the groom. 
2. A wedding gift for the groom. 
3. Presents for the bridal attendants. 
4. Personal stationery. 
5. Accommodations for her out-of-town attendants. 
6. Physical examination/blood test. 
1. The bride's rings. 
2. Wedding gift for the bride. 
3. The marriage license. 
4. Gifts for the best man and ushers. 
5. Flowers: bride's bouquet and going-away corsage; corsages for mothers; boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party. 
6. Accommodations for out-of-town ushers or best man. 
7. His blood test. 
8. Gloves, ties or ascots for the men in the wedding party. 
9. Fee for the clergy. 
10. The honeymoon. 
11. Optional: bachelor dinner. 
1. The entire cost of the reception: food, wedding cake, beverages, gratuities for the bartenders and waiters, decorations, music, flowers. 
2. A wedding gift for the newlyweds. 
3. Bride's wedding attire/trousseau. 
4. The wedding invitations, announcements and mailing costs. 
5. The fee for engagement and wedding photographs. 
6. Ceremony: rental of sanctuary, fees for organist, soloist or choir, and sexton (sometimes included in charge for premises, but if not, these people have set fees) aisle carpets and/or canopy and any other additional costs for decorations. 
7. Bridesmaids' bouquets. 
8. Gratuities to those directing traffic as well as parking costs and coat check fees. 
9. Transportation for bridal party to the wedding ceremony and from ceremony to reception. 
10. Bridesmaids' luncheon. 
11. Optional: rehearsal dinner. 
1. Clothes for the wedding. 
2. Any traveling expenses and hotel bills they incur. 
3. Wedding gift for bride and groom. 
4. Optional: the rehearsal dinner or other expenses they elect to assume. 
1. Traveling expenses. 
2. Wedding gift for the couple. 
1. Wedding attire. 
2. Traveling expenses. 
3. Wedding gift for the couple. 
100 things to do before you say "I DO"
For the Wedding
Shop together for the bride's engagement ring. 
Discuss your wedding plans with your families. 
Select a date and time for the ceremony. 
Determine the style of your wedding (formal, semiformal, informal). 
Discuss and research different location sites for the ceremony (church, synagogue, hotel, etc.). 
Check availability of clergy person, rabbi, or judge. 
Confirm ceremony date and time. 
Confirm date and time with officiant. 
Plan a party to announce the engagement. 
Prepare newspaper announcement, if appropriate. 
Send engagement announcement to newspaper. 
Establish a wedding budget. 
Meet with parents to decide who pays for what. 
Determine guest list for ceremony. 
Look through magazines for bridal gown ideas. 
Read magazines for ideas about color schemes, attendants' cloths, flowers, etc. 
Select maid/matron of honor. 
Select bridesmaids. 
Select best man. 
Select ushers. 
Select flower girl. 
Select ring bearer. 
Shop for your wedding dress. 
Meet with bridal party about dress style. 
Decide upon the style and number of guests for the reception. 
Finalize a guest list for the reception. 
Set a reception budget. 
Research location for reception. 
Interview caterer. 
Finalize contract for reception site. 
Finalize contract with caterer. 
Order bridal gown, headpiece, and other accessories. 
Schedule fitting for gown. 
See that bridesmaids and maid of honor order their dresses, headpieces, and other accessories. 
Remind bridesmaids to schedule fittings. 
Talk to printers about invitations and stationery. 
Order invitations, insert cards, stationery, thank-you notes, etc. 
Proofread invitations before they are printed. 
Interview florists about bouquets and arrangements. 
Finalize contract with florist. 
Research bakers for your wedding cake. 
Order wedding cake. 
Interview photographers. 
Finalize contract with photographers. 
Supply photographer with list of shots you'd like taken. 
Interview videographer. 
Finalize contract with videographer. 
Review the vows or choose to write your own. 
Meet the officiant to discuss ceremony details. 
Sign up with bridal registries. 
Hire a calligrapher for invitation envelopes and place cards, if desired. 
Coordinate wardrobe choices for the mothers of the bride and groom. 
Check postage for individual invitations and purchase pretty stamps. 
Mail invitations. 
Shop for wedding rings. 
Order Wedding Rings. 
Purchase or rent attire for groom, best man, and ushers. 
Interview musicians/soloist for ceremony. 
Make musical selection and contract with musicians and/or soloist. 
Interview musicians or disc jockey for reception. 
Finalize contract with musicians or disc jockey for reception. 
Choose musical selections and discuss with musicians or disc jockey. 
Arrange to get a marriage license. 
Make appointment for blood tests and physical examinations. 
Record wedding gifts as they arrive. 
Send thank-you notes for any wedding and shower gifts you've received. 
Schedule wedding rehearsal. 
Plan rehearsal dinner. 
Research and arrange wedding-day transportation (to ceremony and reception) 
Finalize contract with limousine service, if applicable. 
Finalize guest lists; call those who have not responded. 
Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests. 
Make hairstyling appointment. 
Finalize contract with makeup artist, if desired. 
Pick up rings. 
Change name on official documents, bank accounts, driver's license, etc. if appropriate. 
Check wedding accessories (ring pillow, garter, etc.). 
Pick up dress and accessories. 
Confirm that attendants have dresses and accessories. 
Plan bridesmaids' luncheon. 
Purchase gifts for the maid of honor and bridesmaids. 
Confirm arrangements with all service contractors. 
Finalize guests' seating arrangements at the reception. 
Review ceremony seating with ushers. 
Prepare and send wedding announcements to newspaper. 
Get a good night's rest and have a wonderful day! 
For the Honeymoon
Discuss honeymoon preferences with your mate (destination, length of stay, when to leave, type of accommodations, etc.). 
Set a budget. 
Compare work schedules and other commitments with honeymoon time frame. 
Review travel brochures, guidebooks, and magazines for possible honeymoon destinations. 
Select a travel agent. 
Finalize plans and make all your reservations. 
Arrange for passports and other documents, if applicable. 
Pay necessary deposits. 
Shop for your honeymoon wardrobe and new luggage, if needed. 
Shop for any travel necessities. 
Obtain cash and traveler's checks. 
Pick up plane tickets and written confirmation of hotel and rental car reservations. 
Arrange for seat assignments and get boarding passes. 
Pack suitcases and arrange "getaway" transportation. 
Attendants' Duties 
Before the wedding. If asked, help select attendants' dresses, assist in addressing the invitations. Plan a shower or party for the couple. If attendants want to give a collective gift, make the selection with their approval. 
The wedding day. Arrive early to help the bride dress and finish packing. During the ceremony, hold the groom's ring, bride's bouquet, adjust her veil and train, and sign the marriage license. Stand next to the groom in the receiving line, mingle at the reception, and offer a toast to the couple. Finally, help the bride change into her going-away outfit. 
Before the wedding. Offer to do errands for the bride and help address invitations. Pay for attire and attend fittings. Participate in the couple's shower or party. 
The wedding day. Be charming in the receiving line and circulate during the reception. 
Before the wedding. Make arrangements for the bachelor dinner and select his gift. Confirm honeymoon travel arrangements. Provide transportation for the groom to the ceremony and from the reception. 
The wedding day. Arrive early to help groom dress and finish packing. Have car packed for the couple's getaway. Sign marriage license. Hold the clergy's fee and bride's ring. At the reception offer the first toast, dance with the bride and her attendants, and read telegrams. 
Before the wedding. Offer the groom assistance, get fitted for the formal wear, help with the bachelor party and review the seating list. 
The wedding day. Escort guests to their seats - left side for the bride, right side for the groom. Dance with the bridesmaids at the reception. 
 The Groom's Checklist
The Groom
Buy an engagement ring. 
Draw up wedding guest list and have your family make out theirs. 
Invite friends to be the best man and ushers in the wedding. 
Visit the formalwear specialist with your bride and select outfits for you and the men. 
Choose gifts for the best man and ushers, to be given at the bachelor dinner or wedding rehearsal. 
Choose bride's wedding present. Something personal, such as a watch, or other piece of jewelry, is traditional. 
Select the wedding ring. This is chosen with the bride and should be engraved on the inside with both of your initials and the date. 
Plan the honeymoon. This should be done with the bride, in time to assure getting reservations. 
The bride's bouquet; traditionally, the groom pays for the bride's bouquet, going-away corsage, corsages for both mothers, and other close female relatives on either side, plus boutonnieres for himself and the men. 
Apply for the marriage license. Check the state and local rules about the time required. It should be obtained several weeks before the wedding, and given to the best man the day of the wedding. 
Check to be certain you and the bride have all the necessary papers, blood tests, birth certificates, baptismal certificates, etc. 
Make insurance provisions for your new status. This should include life, personal property, household, medical, and fire insurance. 
Give bachelor dinner several days before the wedding. Often the best man and ushers host this. 
Notify your attendants of the hour and place for the wedding rehearsal. 
Provide the clergyman's fee, which is given to the best man the day of the wedding. If not certain of the amount, inquire ahead to avoid any misunderstandings. 
Be sure you and your bride sign the wedding certificate and see that it is safely put away before leaving on your honeymoon. 
Send a thank-you telegram to your bride's parents the next day saying how lovely both the wedding and the reception were. 
The Best Man Should
Take charge of the ushers; brief them on special seating arrangements during the rehearsal. 
Get the wedding ring and guard it with his life the day of the ceremony. If there's a ring barer, the best man sees that he carries out his instructions properly. 
Have marriage license and clergyman's fee the day of the wedding. 
Help the groom get ready for the wedding, making sure that his bags are packed. The best man usually takes the couple's luggage to the checkroom or car they will use, and the groom's going-away cloths to the reception place. 
Check tickets, reservations, train connections, etc. for the honeymoon, and be sure tickets are in the groom's pocket after he has changed cloths. 
Call for and accompany the groom to the wedding. You should be there at least 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. The best man may choose to present the clergyman's fee during this waiting time, or just after the ceremony. Following the ceremony, he sees that members of the wedding party leave in the proper cars. 
Be toastmaster and timekeeper at the bridal table during the reception. Help couple get away. 
The Ushers Should
Be at the site on hour before the ceremony. Boutonnieres should be there for them. 
Have a typed list of guests occupying the reserved pews. Ushers stand at the door and ask each arriving female guest if she is a friend of the bride or groom. In turn, each usher gives his right arm to the woman and escorts her to seat on the left side if she is a friend of the bride; right side for the groom. If there are more guests on one side than the other, seating may be mixed. 
The groom's mother is escorted in just before the white carpet is rolled out. An usher escorts the bride's mother to the front left-hand pew just before the procession. 
The Groom's Parents Should
Call on the bride's family before the engagement is officially announced. If the bride lives elsewhere, write her a note welcoming her into the family. 
Send a note to the bride's mother expressing happiness about the couple's engagement. 
Give a personal guest list to the bride, to coordinate with hers. 
Give a rehearsal dinner if they wish and the bride's family is willing for them to do it. 
Reception Checklist
There is a myriad of details to investigate before committing to contractual agreement for your wedding reception services. Once you've checked off all these points and made your decision, get in writing everything you expect. 
The Location
Proximity to the ceremony site 
Date availability and discount days to consider 
Rental fee and what it includes 
Time allowed to decorate the space for the day of the wedding 
Using the location for a ceremony as well, if desired 
Whether there will be other receptions that day 
Number of guests the space will accommodate comfortably 
Terms of liability insurance 
Ratio of staff to guests 
Overtime charges 
Postponement/cancellation refund policy 
Gratuities and taxes 
Escalation clause 
Availability of valet parking 
Coat check accommodations 
Clean restroom facilities 
Number of security personnel 
Room for changing 
Means of handicapped access 
The availability of a nursery or babysitter 
Food and Drink
Meal options, from a seated dinner to a dessert-only reception 
Special meals to accommodate restricted diets 
Price per guest 
Method of payment 
A date for a tasting menu and tour of the site with a wedding in progress 
Dessert table policy 
Availability of nonalcoholic beer, wine, and beverages 
Top-shelf wine and alcohol vs. house brands 
Cost of open bar vs. one/two hour cocktail service/or host's per-drink tab arrangement 
Possibility of bringing in your alcohol and amount of corking fee 
Supplier of the wedding cake and cutting fee 
On-site wedding coordinator 
Cake knife/server 
Food for band, etc. 
Wedding guest book 
Gift table 
Seating plans 
Place cards 
List of photos 
Basic Rentals for Off-Site Locations
Table skirts 
Dance floor 
Serving trays and dishes 
Heaters and/or air conditioners 
Restroom facilities 
Electrical outlets 
Bar equipment 
Reception Schedule: When to do What Do you toss the bouquet before you cut the cake? Who gives the first toast? And when do you dance with your dad or mom? If you're like most brides, you could use a schedule. A wedding consultant will surely keep you on track, but if you're going it alone, be sure you know the sequence of events. For one, it'll help your party escape costly overtime billing by the reception site; and two, you'll be able to visualize the event and rest assured that nothing has been left out. 
Below is a basic run-down of reception events following an early evening ceremony. Keep in mind, it's only a timeline! (Your own affair doesn't need to be as detailed and rigid.) The key to planning is being aware of your own needs and those of your guests, so feel free to innovate! 
6 P.M. Guests arrive; bride, groom and attendants are having pictures taken elsewhere. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres are served as background music plays. 
6:30 Bride, groom and attendants join the reception. 
7:00 Cocktail reception ends; everyone enters the dining room and find their seats  
7:15 Benediction, grace or other blessing of the meal Toasts are made 
-Best Man first
-Others from the wedding party
-The floor is opened to guests  
7:30 First course is cleared; best man proposes a toast, then he (or other specially designated person) announces the newlyweds' first dance. 
After their song is over, parents dance and also cut in on bride and groom. Groom then dances again with bride and all guests are invited onto dance floor. 
7:45 The entree is served. 
8:30 Entree is cleared; more toasts and dancing; bouquet toss. 
9:00 The cake is cut and bride and groom are toasted all around; coffee and dessert are served. 
Dancing continues (the whole mob jumps in to get jiggy!)
9:45--? Guests gradually leaves and the band plays on. Bride and groom get to start their honeymoon!  
Of course, an emcee can be named to keep things running seamlessly. DJs and bandleaders are most microphone-savvy. However, a reliable-and willing-family member can lend intimacy to the reception and perhaps more peace of mind to you.  
One final note: Been-there brides encourage you to wrap up all the formal group photos early. That way you'll be quicker to cut loose, knowing that your only remaining responsibility is to have fun. And voila, you're married!  
Wedding Hints and Tips
Good Things to Know
Your guests will begin arriving 30 minutes before the ceremony, and 10 minutes after it's scheduled to begin. 
It's difficult to get people's attention, so plan to cut your cake, toss the bouquet and garter, and have your first dance one after another. 
Red frosting tastes bitter. 
Rented tux shoes are really uncomfortable. Invest in a pair of Dr. Scholl's foam inner soles for all the guys. 
Plan to have comfortable shoes to slip into at the reception. You don't have to use them, but you'll be glad to have them if your feet start to hurt. 
Reception lines take a long time to complete - about 45 minutes per 100 people. Consider having just the two of you or you and the parents only. If you'll be having sit-down food at your reception, consider walking from table to table instead of having a receiving line. It's more fun for both you and your guests, and takes less time over all. (Plus you can take a break anytime you want.) 
Important Things to Know
Don't Rush It: We know - you've got a schedule to keep. High School, college, marriage, babies. And then what? Get to know yourself before you try to link up with someone else for life. That's a half century plus of being with the same person as together you experience sickness, money problems, family stresses, and watching each other get heavier bodies and thinner hair. Choose your life mate based on similar outlooks on life ( religion, money, child rearing, lifestyles ) rather than common interests ("...we both like action movies"). Be friends first, and lovers second. If, when you're together, you become more productive, creative, and laugh a lot, that person is a potential keeper. The early twenties is a time of personal growth and experimentation. In short, of gaining maturity. By the late twenties, you have a firm sense of who you are - a fine time to begin thinking of marriage.
Plan a Long Engagement: This may sound funny to put in a list of hints and tips, but it's really the most important. We've found that dating for at least two years and then having at least a year-long engagement is the minimum amount of time it takes to really get to know if you will have a successful marriage. Remember - you're not going to change the other person into what you want after the ceremony. The person you're dating now is the same person you'll be spending the rest of your life with. Trust us on this!
From a logistical standpoint, you often need to book your ceremony and reception locations at least a year in advance in order to get your first choice. The same holds true for your photographer, and the gown can also take several months to get. And even before all this, you both need to do research on everything before committing to anything. From a practical standpoint, a year-long engagement will allow you enough time to build up savings specifically for your wedding. If it's not enough need a longer engagement!
Finally (and we've saved the most important for last) a long engagement will give you time to see how you function as a couple when you're making momentous financial decisions together. As you plan your day you'll discover several areas of disagreement. How you deal with them will give you a preview of your relationship in marriage.
Plan Everything As A Couple: People sometimes think of the wedding as "The Bride's Day", but nothing could be farther from the truth! This is an event that affects you equally; both from a personal and financial viewpoint. Talk about everything, beginning with why you're having a ceremony in the first place. (A justice of the peace would be legal; why do you want a ceremony?) How important is the reception? What would be the important elements of a perfect wedding day? How will you pay for it? Create your own day together based on your combined desires; don't simply accept what is commonly done. Make it personal. Make it memorable. Above all, make it enjoyable!
Set Your Priorities: Unlimited time and money would be great, but the reality is that you'll have to make some compromises. Once again, you need to discuss this together in order to design a wedding day that reflects you both. Here are some thoughts to get you started: 
PHOTOGRAPHY: Naturally we're strong proponents of placing this at the top of your priority list; but when you think about it, it makes the most sense. No matter what else happens on your wedding day, when it's all over your photographs will be all that remain. Take the opportunity to capture not only the day, but important people as well. It may be the last time your entire family is together in one place at the same time. Be sure to get good pictures of grandparents, your siblings and parents, and special friends that may have traveled a long way. If your budget is limited place your priorities on the people that are there, not the events such as candids and ceremony photographs. 
RECEPTION: Here's where you have the most flexibility. Do you want to have a simple cake and coffee, full-blown sit-down dinner with dance band, or something in-between? What are you willing to eliminate? Where could you cut costs and still be happy? For example, if you want to have dancing or background music, how about a professional DJ instead of a band? Remember that the bigger your reception the more details you'll need to keep track of and the more pressure you'll feel to be the perfect hosts. 
CAKE: A good bakery will help you decide exactly how much cake you'll need for different circumstances. Sometimes you'll find the best plan is to have a moderate-sized wedding cake and one or two smaller pan cakes of different types. We have also found that when alcohol is being served,people tend to eat less cake. 
FLOWERS: Silks and dried are "practical", but nothing adds to the ambiance of a romantic wedding day like fresh flowers. If you'll be having your reception in another location, designate someone with a van to transport them there to do "double-duty". The bridal bouquet gets a lot of handling during the day, so be sure whoever is constructing it understands how to make it so it's not falling apart by the time the ceremony begins. 
Open a Dedicated Checking Account: As soon as you become engaged, open a new joint checking account reserved only for your wedding expenses. It will help you keep track of everything you purchase, as well as where the money came from. After the wedding day it can become your household account.
Establish a Budget: One of the first things to determine as you begin to plan your wedding is your budget. Often when we talk to couples they'll tell us that their budget is "as little as possible". This is an excellent goal, but it's surely not a budget. Deciding on a budget is made all the more difficult since you are about to invest in a number of items and services that you have never dealt with before, and therefore have no idea what they cost. All this to culminate in a single day. No pressure here!
In order to plan your wedding you need to know exactly what resources you have and then decide how you will divide them. Those resources may include funds from parents, savings, and even what you're willing to borrow or put on credit cards; but it should be something specific. If parents are going to be helping, you'll all find it better for them to donate a specific amount (for example, $500 towards photography) rather than just saying they'll "take care of the photographer".
Start a Database: Start keeping track of all guests on a database. It doesn't have to be complicated; Microsoft Works or Claris Filemaker will do just fine. Some useful fields to include are the name on the invitation, how many people the invitation is likely to represent, addresses, gift received, and whose side of the family or friends they belong to. Print out a report with blanks by each name to fill in as you open gifts. As you write your thank you notes you can continue to keep track of those you still need to send. When you're finished, you'll have the beginnings of your new household address book and Christmas card list!
Look at Photography Albums for Wedding Ideas: As you visit different studios to view examples of their work, notice what's happening in the pictures, as well as the photography itself. You can get great ideas for bouquets, cakes, dresses, and wedding events by seeing pictures of other couple's weddings. If the studio has any proof albums, be sure to look at them in addition to completed albums. First, it will give you an idea of how complete their coverage is; and secondly it will give you an idea of what your entire day might be like.
Photography: You're not buying photographs - you're buying a service! Be sure you both meet the person (or in our case, persons) who will be actually be photographing your wedding. The relationship you have is, in some ways, more important than the photographs because your photographer is the only person you'll be seeing before, during, and after the wedding. It's important you both like and trust them as a person.
Each photographer has a different style, so look through samples at several studios to be sure you know what you like in wedding photography. Finally, match them up with your photography budget, and then get the very best (for you) photographer you can afford. Remember that of all the money you spend on your wedding, the photographs are all you'll have left. And they'll be no going back toget pictures that were missed.
Ask Advice: You know lots of married people, both among your friends and family. Ask them about their wedding day. What would they repeat? What would they change? You don't have to do anything anyone tells you, but experience counts! Pay attention to it!
 Wedding Consultants
Before You Go: 
 How do I find a reliable consultant? 
Word-of-mouth referrals are a good source, so ask your friends and family. Whenever you attend a party or wedding that you've enjoyed, ask for the planner's business card. You can also call the Association of Bridal Consultants at (860) 355-0464, the National Bridal Service at (804)355-6945, or June Wedding, Inc. at (817) 983-3596 for referrals in your area. 
 I just want a little help. Can I get it from a consultant? 
Most consultants offer levels of service, from a one-time consultation to handling every detail. You can choose just how much help you need. 
 What--and how--can I expect to pay for these services? 
The amount you pay will depend on where you live, the extent of the consultant's services and the size of your wedding. Where costs are concerned, some consultants may charge a flat fee or percentage of the total wedding bill if asked to orchestrate and oversee all stages of planning. Other may bill an hourly rate, especially if hired for only limited services. Many use a combination of these methods, depending on a couple's needs. 
Questions to Ask: 
How many weddings have you handled? 
Which specific services do you offer? 
What different levels of service do you offer and how do your prices break down? 
What are some ways you might help me to save money? 
Can you give me a list of references? 
How is payment arranged? 
When you hire a wedding consultant, she will help you stay within your budget by negotiating with vendors and keeping track of costs with payment schedules. She's the one who can stand back and say "Stop! If you want this, you can't have that. I know a better way..." 
Wedding consultants are paid for the job of designing a part or all of your wedding. Therefore they can be paid for the event or only for the day of the wedding. Consultants normally charge between 10-15% of the total cost of the event. If paying for the day be prepared to pay about $400. The Wedding Globe recommends choosing a consultant that does not rely on receiving commissions from individual wedding vendors, as this causes a conflict for the consultant. Pay them for their work.
Wedding consultants make a lot of sense in today's market. We are living in a non-traditional time, in which we have little free time. It may be more cost effective to hire a consultant and work overtime to pay for the service. It is recommended that if you are having a wedding out of the area in which you reside to hire a consultant. Wedding consultants will help find reliable vendors outside your area of residence.
When hiring a consultant, Wedding Globe recommends that you use much prudence. Since this person will hire vendors and design your wedding they need to be very attentive to your requests, and be very detail oriented. Consultants learn these traits, and Wedding Globe recommends that you base your decision to hire a consultant by judging their work. It is best to attend an event they are producing opposed to viewing photographs of their work, as weddings are very dynamic and pictures may not be representative of a consultants work. 
Questions to Ask Potential Caterers
Information is courtesy of Antonio Cecchi, special events consultant for Catering by Windows, Alexandria, Virginia. 
 Do you have the necessary health permits? 
This will be vital in terms of hygiene, sanitation and a number of other checks and balances. You will also want to find out if the company is insured for liability and whether it has ever worked at the site you've chosen. 
 Will the menu be full-range or does it practice dietary restrictions? 
This will be important if you want to accommodate guests who prefer a kosher or vegetarian meal. You should also ask at this juncture if you can sample the food ahead of time, whether the caterer is licensed to sell alcohol, and if so, can you nevertheless bring your own. 
 What does your contract agreement cover in terms of basic costs 
In other words, are there any taxes, gratuities and so-called "extras" involved? In some cases you may have to pay a corkage fee for your own liquor, cake-cutting costs, and payments to valet parking and the banquet captain, etc. In others, these will be part of the initial package deal. 
 To reserve the day for my wedding, what type of deposit do you require, when must I make it, when is the balance due, and what if I decide to cancel? 
A deposit of 50% to 75% of the total cost is not unusual, says Cecchi. But before you put any money down, find out also whether the company requires a minimum number of invitations, by what date you must submit the final guest count, and whether there will be an additional charge if you make changes after that date. You may have to commit a number of months ahead of time to ensure that you get the caterer you want. 
 WouldnÆt it be cheaper to hold the reception outside instead of indoors? 
Outdoor weddings can get expensive because, in addition to paying for the labor and the created space, you have to rent everything, including a cook tent with propane ovens, warmers and generators. Cecchi maintains that as a general rule it's better if caterers own, rather than rent, equipment, since the quality tends to be higher. 
Remember, make sure that all terms are put in writing, and that you understand what they mean before you sign...and bon appetit! 
 Questions to Ask Potential Florists
Finding a good florist is easy. It is your task to find a really great florist, now that's a different story. Florists, as with many of your other vendors need to be attentive and posses style. Again it is preferable to judge the florist's work through photos of their work. You also may want to contact a recent customer of the florist. Florists may also be attentive enough to have prepared examples for you in advance, based on your colors and budget.
The most important statement for you to make is your budget. Flowers may consume 5-15% of your wedding budget. Knowing the amount of space they need to fill, how many tables, your colors and budget, florists can prepare arrangements to meet your need. Remember that carnations are less expensive than lilies; daises are less than roses. The price differences that you see in purchasing flowers for your general use are similar to what the professional wedding florist experiences.
It is usually best to get a florist who will try to re-use flowers from your ceremony at your reception. To be able to move these flowers, you need to make sure that the florist can move them or have another mode of transportation lined up. Wedding florists also tend to do a better job if they are not overly busy at the time of your wedding. Florists who juggle their time between maintaining a storefront and preparing wedding flower arrangements may be busy during holidays, and events (proms), decide for yourself if this matters. If your wedding florist usually does one wedding per weekend but has three planned the week of your wedding may be to busy to manage your event. 
Questions to Ask: 
If possible, try to interview several florists and compare their ideas and estimated costs before making your final decision. You should visit florist at least 4 months before the wedding. 
Are you familiar with the site(s)? If not, will you arrange to visit the site(s) with me? 
May I see photographs of your work, sketches, or sample wedding albums? 
Can you also provide aisle runners, stanchions, candelabra, or any other needs I have that the site cannot provide? 
Are there any restrictions of the kinds of decorations I may use at my ceremony and reception sites (candles-fire laws; colors-liturgical reasons; delivery and setup-conflicts with other services or parties)? 
Are there any limitations on my choices of flowers (bridesmaids' gowns, the decor of the site, lighting or the lack of it, seasonal availability, or budget considerations)? 
Given my locations, time of day, season of the year, and planned reception activities, do I need flowers that are particularly hardy, which will retain their appearance under less than ideal conditions? 
Can you help me enhance a wedding tone or mood with flowers: casual, country, formal, sophistication, dramatic? 
Can you make me a preliminary list of what you think I'll need in numbers of bouquets, arrangements, boutonnieres, and so on? 
When will the flowers be delivered? Is there a delivery fee? 
Who is to receive them? Is there a set-up fee? 
What are your guarantees regarding freshness, availability and substitutions? 
What is the estimated total cost of all my selections? 
What is your payment and cancellation policy? 
 Questions About Hiring Your Band
Coordinated in conjunction with Peter John, vice president of Sound on Sound Music, Inc., of Woodmere, New York, which provides live entertainment for any catered function. 
1. How can I make sure that the musicians I pick are the same ones who show up to perform? 
John says all names should be clearly indicated in any contract you sign. You should also determine whether they rehearse on a regular basis, to make sure they are both reputable-and reliable. You should even insist on seeing them in a live showcase ahead of time-as opposed to a video-since they'll be performing live at your wedding. 
Can you provide us with a list of the songs that you are going to play? 
John says that any good band should know at least 1,000 songs, if not twice that many. The group should also agree to add some of your favorites if they don't appear on their list, as well as honor requests from people in the wedding party. 
How much time does the band take for breaks? 
Of the typical four-hour engagement, says John, your band shouldn't take more than, say, four breaks of 10 to 20 minutes apiece. Some band members rotate during breaks. You should find out what, if anything, will be played in its absence. This would also be a good time to ask if the group has played the reception area you've selected, and if not, whether they will be able to accommodate the hall's special acoustics. 
What are the terms of the deposit and payment? 
Typically, you leave a deposit when you book the band or DJ. This is not refundable but may be credited toward a new date if you decide to reschedule. The balance is generally due the day of the wedding, although some groups will work out a series of time deposits. Also, don't forget to ask about "overtime," if you think your party is likely to run long. John warns, moreover, that price isn't always an accurate gauge, and higher cost doesn't necessarily mean greater value! 
5. Do I have to serve the band members food and drinks? 
Band members shouldn't be drinking alcohol, says John-they're paid to work, not party. If you decide to serve them food, it's at your own discretion, but you shouldn't be expected to pay the same price for their meal as you do for that of your wedding guests. Similarly, tipping is not required, says John, but it's always appreciated for a job well done. Tips can range from $10 and up for individual musicians, to about $50 for a DJ. 
10 Things You DON'T Want To Do Before Your Wedding
1.DON'T start your wedding planning without a budget. One of the most stressful elements to wedding planning usually is MONEY. Make sure you decide up front how much your total wedding budget is going to be and who will be contributing and how much. 
2.DON'T spend more than your budget or what you can afford. Your wedding day is an important day - but it is only ONE day. You don't want to start your new life together by going into "serious" debt from your wedding expenses and being strapped with that debt for the next five years. 
3.DON'T rely upon oral agreements with vendors. Get EVERYTHING in writing! 
4.DON'T try and do everything yourself. Planning a wedding can be a full time job in itself. So, don't try and take on such an enormous project alone -- DELEGATE as much as you can! When it comes to weddings - everyone loves to help (so let them!). 
5.DON'T insist on having it your way all the time! COMPROMISE on the things that are less important. 
6.DON'T skimp on your photography. Your wedding day goes by so fast - and after it's over, all you'll have left is your memories and your PICTURES. 
7.DON'T get crazy over every detail. It can really take the pleasure out of the wedding planning process. I mean, will it really matter that the ribbons for the favors are baby blue instead of ice blue? 
8.DON'T forget to thank everyone involved in your wedding and those that gave you gifts. AND, don't let those thank you notes pile up. Send them out promptly after you receive a gift. 
9.DON'T overload yourself the day before your wedding. This is not the time to put together 200 favors. Try to do only one or two small tasks and leave the rest of the day to relax and pamper yourself. 
10.DON'T expect perfection for your wedding day. Expect a "terrific" day and set reasonable expectations. Never forget the main goal is to get married. 
10 Things You'll Forget to Do
You've given your caterer the final head count, confirmed (and reconfirmed) every single vendor on the list, and handed out timelines to make absolutely sure the cake cutting occurs at 10:05 p.m.-followed by the bouquet toss at 10:13. Think you're ready to just sit back and enjoy the big party? NOT QUITE... 
 Pay the piper. (And the caterer, too.) Write final-payment checks for your vendors a few days before, and give them to a trusted friend or family member to pass out on the big day. (Or better yet, pay everyone in full a few days in advance.) If you're planning to tip, put the checks or cash in envelopes ahead of time, so they can be easily distributed. 
 Do the bustle. To keep your reception from being a total drag, make sure your mother, maid of honor, or another friend will be available to bustle your gown. Give them a crash course in the complicated hook-and-eye configuration before you want to hit the dance floor. 
 Feed Me, Seymour! Ask your banquet manager or your best pal to bring you a plateful of those fabulous hors d'oeuvres and keep your champagne glass filled. During the cocktail hour, you'll never make it to the bar. 
 Get a room. Find out if your site has a separate room for you and your party to leave your bags and change into "going away" clothes. A restroom will serve in a pinch, but you'll probably want a little more privacy. 
 Lose the excess baggage. Put a reliable pal in charge of getting your luggage into the honeymoon suite...or at least into the getaway car. 
 Grab a midnight snack. Have your caterer pack you and your new hubby a picnic basket of leftovers, as you probably won't be able to eat more than two bites of the meal you spent days debating. 
 Feed the world. Tell your caterer what to do with the rest of the leftover food. If your mom can use 15 pounds of patT, break out the economy-size doggie bag. Otherwise, ask your caterer to take the extras to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. 
 Bud out! If you aren't giving your centerpieces to special guests, arrange for someone to drop them off at a hospital, women's shelter or nursing home. 
 Fare well. Ask someone to stay and get cabs for guests who need them, and make sure your valuables-the gifts, cake knife, toasting glasses, etc.-get home safely. 
 Gofer it! Get a few people to take care of the dirty little details the next day. They can take your dress to the cleaners, return your hubby's tux to the rental shop, and make sure your bouquet gets started on the road to preservation, if you're saving it. 
--Lisa Milbrand 
 Wording Wedding Invitations
The formal invitation follows certain conventions in wording and order of information. The more formal your wedding, the more you'll want to observe these conventions. Here they are:
Names are written in full using first, middle, and possibly last; never nicknames, never initials. 
Family order is written out, "Junior," or indicated by Roman numerals, "III." 
The word "and" is always written out. 
The words "honour" (honour of your presence) and "favour" (the favour of a reply) take the English spelling. 
"The honour of your presence" is used to invite one to the ceremony; "the pleasure of your company" is used to invite one to the reception; the latter may also be used for a civil ceremony. 
Days, dates, and times are always written out. 
Only "Mr." and "Mrs." and "Dr." are abbreviated, and punctuation is used only after such abbreviations; a comma appears after the days of the week and the city. 
The address of the ceremony location is not included when everyone knows it; the name of the state my be omitted when the city is well known, as in New York City. 
The year is not necessary on the invitations, only on announcements; when it is included, it is spelled out. 
A wedding invitation may include the reception information in the corner: Reception immediately following/location/R.S.V.P., or that may be printed on a separate enclosure card. 
Formal, Standard Wording
Note the order and wording of the standard, formal wedding invitation: 
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anne Marie
Mr. Michael Cook
on Saturday, the fifth of June
at half after six o'clock in the evening
Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church
112 West Palm Street
Clearwater, Florida 
If everyone is invited to the reception, the following may be added: 
and afterwards at the reception
Clearview Country Club
31 Water Road
Wording Wedding Invitations
Modern situations, of course, require modern adaptations of the traditional forms. Use these samples to help guide you. 
The Hosts If the bride's parents are:
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale 
separated, but amicable
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale 
divorced, but hosting together
Mrs. Mary Ann Gale
Mr. John David Gale 
divorced mother alone
Mrs. Mary Ann Gale 
widowed mother alone
Mrs. John David Gale 
divorced or widowed father alone
Mr. John David Gale 
remarried mother and stepfather hosting
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Roy Hammer
at the marriage of her daughter
Anne Marie Gale 
remarried mother and natural father hosting
Mrs. Marc Roy Hammer
Mr. John David Gale
at the marriage of their daughter 
Anne Marie Gale 
both remarried, all hosting
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Roy Hammer
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale
(omit "their daughter"; say "at the marriage of")
Anne Marie Gale 
divorced, one remarried, all hosting
Mrs. Mary Ann Gale
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale
(omit "their daughter")
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Roy Hammer
Mr. John David Gale
If the groom's parents are hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jay Cook
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of 
Miss Anne Marie Gale 
to their son
Michael Andrew Cook 
If the bride's and groom's parents are co-hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jay Cook 
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of 
Anne Marie Gale
Michael Andrew Cook
To include the groom's parents:
Mr. and Mrs. John David Gale
request the honour of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Anne Marie
Michael Andrew Cook
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jay Cook
When the couple, themselves, host:
The honour of your presence
is requested
at the marriage of
Anne Marie Gale
Michael Andrew Cook
When the bride is widowed or divorced but her parents, or his, are hosting, the invitation is worded without regard to her marital history but with her maiden and married name, if she has retained both:
Anne Marie Gale Preston
Another relative hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Patrick Kelley
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their grandaughter (niece, etc.)
Miss Anne Marie Gale
A friend hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. George Tulley
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Miss Anne Marie Gale
Wording Wedding Invitations
There is much discussion about the propriety of women using titles, if they have them, on formal invitations and social correspondence. Some women feel very strongly about this and insist on it; others abide by the more traditional rules of etiquette, which tend to ignore a woman's professional status in deference to her marital status, at least on formal, social occasions. 
You'll have to make your own decision if you are titled or hold a doctoral degree. Just keep in mind that the wording can get pretty cumbersome if your parents are both doctors, and his are both judges, and the two of you hold titles, as well. An invitation, after all, is not a resume. 
Grooms and brides on active military duty use their rank and/or branch of service on the wedding invitation. A groom who has a title uses it in lieu of "Mr.," but a bride who has a title would not use it unless she would otherwise be using "Miss." Married couples traditionally reflect the title of the husband only, as in "Dr. and Mrs. James Smith," even though Mrs. Smith may be a doctor, too. 
Contemporary variations of these rules include (note that the woman's name is always first):
Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. Harry Smith
Dr. Jane Smith and Dr. Harry Smith
The Doctors Smith 
Professional titles:
The Honorable (judge, governor, mayor, U.S. senators, members of congress, cabinet members, ambassadors); The Reverend or The Rabbi (clergy); Dr. (for medical doctor, dentist, veterinarian, and the academically degreed who use that title) 
Military titles, according to rank:
Enlisted personnel and noncommissioned officers: 
James Henry Tucker
United States Army
Senior officers (above captain in the army and lieutenant senior grade in the navy): 
Lieutenant Colonel John Daniel Gray
United States Air Force
Junior officers (title appears on second line): 
Scott David Siegel
Second Lieutenant, United States Air Force 
Write Away: Tackling those Thank You Notes 
There is no way to sneak out of it. Truth is, the sooner you start writing your thank-you letters, the easier it will be to express sincere appreciation-you'll still be thrilled by the gifts and elated from the wedding, and that will come through when your guests read your notes. 
So remember this: 
A phone call does not replace the thank-you letter. 
A heartfelt "thank you" to your guest who is present when you open the gift does not replace the thank-you letter. 
A "thank you for being our guest" note attached to the favors at the reception does not take the place of a written note. 
Pre-printed thank-you cards with little poems inside to which you just sign your names simply don't cut it. 
In addition to writing thank-you notes for wedding gifts, you'll also need to do so for shower gifts. It's important that someone keeps track of who gave what during the bridal shower. An easy way to do that? Assign someone to write the giver's name on a stick-on label and apply it to the gift box.
Traditionally, it was the bride who wrote all the thank you. But these days, most couples report that they split the task: The groom takes his family and friends, and the bride takes hers. If you do it this way, you may sign the letters with your name, but be sure to mention your significant other in the body of the letter. ("Jane and I both love the crystal bowl…") As for shower thank-you letters, if your husband wasn't there, he shouldn't write the notes. (One more good argument for co-ed showers!)
Thank each and every person. If you got a group gift from all your college buddies, each one should get their own thank-you note. 
Never mention that a gift was broken when unwrapped, or that you received the same gift from someone else. If, by chance, the person who gave you the gift knows you received a duplicate, have them assume that theirs is the one you're keeping.
Keep it fun. This isn't a final exam…or a deadly boring chore. Put on some music, pour a little wine and spend an hour or two writing after dinner
Traditions and Symbolisms
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe. 
This good luck saying dates back to Victorian times and many brides try to arrange their wedding attire accordingly. 
Something Old represents the link with the brides family and the past. Many brides choose to wear a piece of antique family jewelry or a mothers or grandmothers wedding gown. 
Something New represents good fortune and success in the brides new life. The wedding gown is often chosen as the new item. 
Something Borrowed is to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed. The borrowed object might be something such as a lace handkerchief. 
Something Blue is the symbol of faithfulness and loyalty. Often the blue item is the garter. 
Silver Sixpence in her Shoe is to wish the bride wealth. 
The Garter. Throwing the garter began in France when pieces of the bridal attire were considered lucky. The bride would throw the garter to the guests at the wedding and whoever caught it could expect good luck. In the United States, the groom traditionally removes the garter from the bride and throws it to the unmarried men. The man who catches it is thought to be the next to marry. At some weddings the man who catches the garter will place it on the leg of the lady who caught the bouquet or they may start the next dance. It is also common for the recipients of the bouquet and garter to have a photograph taken with the bride and groom. 
The Bouquet. At its inception, the bouquet formed part of the wreaths and garlands worn by both the bride and groom. It was considered a symbol of happiness. Today the practice of tossing the bouquet is an offshoot of throwing the garter. The single woman who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next to marry. 
Flowers and their Symbols. Rose is Love, White Daisy is Purity, Gardenia is Joy, Orchard is Beauty, Carnation is Distinction, Blue Violet is Constancy, Forget-me-not is True Love, Red Chrysanthemum is Sharing, Lily of the Valley is Happiness, White Lilac is Youthful Innocence.