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Home Wedding Planning

Planning your Wedding

The wedding countdown has begun…a daunting task? Try and stay on track with this helpful calendar:

Planning16-12 months before the wedding:
Set the date for the wedding, and start discussing the kind of wedding you would like with your fiancée. A good idea would be to think back to all the weddings you've been to and determine what you've liked and disliked. Once you've decided on the style and setting that best suit you, you must start looking for a suitable venue. These can get fully booked up to 18 months in advance. Avoid disappointment.

At this stage a budget meeting should be arranged whether you will be paying for the wedding yourselves, or arrange it with the help of parents. It might be a good idea to phone around and get a few quotations for florists, photography, musicians, etc. before such a meeting. In this way you will have a better idea of the going rates, and will hopefully be able to set up a realistic budget. Knowing what you can afford, you can now start setting up meetings with wedding co-ordinators, or you might prefer taking care of the arrangements yourself - it is part of the excitement after all!

Make appointments with various dressmakers, and try on different styles, and colours. Give attention to the advice from experts. Beware that the cost of your dream dress does not exceed the cost of the entire reception.

Interview florists, bakers, photographers, videographers, musicians and/or discos, and sign contracts with these vendors well in advance - once again to avoid disappointment. It is always comforting to know that the specialists you choose come with good referrals from satisfied friends or relatives.

Be sure to look at different photographers' work, and try arranging your meetings with them all in the same week. In this way you will have the detail of their work fresh in your memory. Compare the price and quality of work and then make your decision. You also have to be comfortable with the photographers that will be spending such a big part of the day with you. But remember: You are planning your wedding day, and not a photo shoot. Your photographers should document the happenings creatively, and tell the story of the day with spontaneous moments captured.

It is of utmost importance that the photographer and videographer understand each other and not get in each other's way, especially seeing that videographer’s often make use of tripods and big spot lights. As with choosing a photographer, it is essential to look critically at the videographer's work:

· The video must be edited.
· The image must have the right contrast and the focus must be sharp.
· The sound must be clear.

Before making your choice of flowers and the colours thereof, you should look at the availability of flowers for the time of year. A good florist should give the correct advice regarding the type of flower for a specific style of wedding. The florist should accompany you to the church and reception area, know your preference of confetti, and also see the style of your dress. An overall picture will enable them to give you accurate advice and quotations.

Just as with the rest of your wedding, your wedding cake should fit in with the theme and style of your wedding. There is a wedding cake to suit every personality - be it grand or simple. Also consider the season and local climate.

The music on your wedding day should be high on your list of priorities and also be a priority as far as the budget is concerned. Music creates atmosphere, which in turn will make your special day memorable.


3-6 months before the wedding:

Meet with the pastor or priest to discuss your ceremony and any pre-marital counselling required. Select music for your ceremony during a detailed meeting with your chosen musicians. Compile the guest list, along with the bride and groom's mothers, and considering your budget.

Order the wedding cake.

Order the invitations. Some couples do however enjoy making these themselves. Make sure that every word on the invitation is spelt correctly. Do careful proofreading and ensure that the printing is done neatly. Remember to have a few extra invitations printed. All young adults above the age of 18, should receive their own invitations, even if they come as part of their family.

Make honeymoon plans and reservations. Choose and order wedding bands.

Have a marital contract set up, and discuss life insurance, and a will.

2-3 months before the wedding:

Address the invitations. Visit a formal wear specialist for the groom's outfit.

Purchase gifts for the bride's maids, flower girls and best men.

Ask friends or family who are not in the wedding party to do special readings during the ceremony. Arrange for the master of ceremonies during the reception, as well as the different persons responsible for toasting the bridal couple and their parents. It might also be a good idea, at this stage, to start setting up a list of all who need to be thanked for the various parts they played in creating your dream wedding.


Select all the extra little things such as a tiny gift for each guest on the dinner table, a guest book & a ring pillow.

And don't forget: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!


Planning24-6 weeks before the wedding:

Mail your invitations.

Have programs and menu's printed.

With the reception in mind, you might want to consider dance lessons, and start thinking of your favourite love theme song for opening the dance floor.

Choose a hairstyle that compliments your dress, and schedule a trial make-up session with a make-up artist. Your photographer would often be able to suggest the best professional for this specific job.

7 days before the wedding:

Notify the caterer of the final number of guests. Remember to make provision for the musicians, disc jockey, videographer and photographers.

Review final details with the florist, photographers, etc.

Have your gown delivered.

Arrange transportation for the bridal couple from the church to the reception area or where the photographs will be taken.

Confirm the complete schedule of events with all the parents, bride's maids, flower girls and groom's men.

Write as many thank you notes as possible before the wedding and thank the relevant parties in person. In this way the groom can keep his speech short and sweet.

See your hairstylist for a last-minute trim, colour or tint.

1 day before the wedding:

Pack everything you need for the church.

Pamper yourself with a massage, manicure and pedicure.

Maybe you have out-of-town guests to greet or fetch at the airport.

Just enjoy a relaxing day.

Your wedding day!

Enjoy a magnificent day!


Carla Nel Photography