I always love when Nancy Liuchin posts something new on Brown Bag.

Recently, she wrote an extensive post on cost saving tips for flowers. Topics include: Modest Flowers In Abundance, Let Vendors Help You, Be Within Reason, Downsize and Value Size, and Avoid Pricey Shipping.

As always, Nancy is helpful, thorough, and creative!

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Here’s a list of things to do in the weeks heading up to the wedding. Most of them should be delegated to people outside the wedding party and immediate family and some you’ll have to do yourself. For my wedding we delegated as much as possible and it made the day itself so much less stressful because I knew I didn’t have to think about any of it!

To Be Delegated:

  • Go-to person for the Ceremony – this person should help participants with the timing of the ceremony. Sometimes ceremony/reception facilities provide this person for you.
  • Ceremony Participants – make sure you have people to usher, monitor sound equipment, and clean up after the ceremony.
  • Bridal Party Nourishment – everyone (especially the bride and groom) needs to stay hydrated and should have plenty of snacks available throughout the day. This is especially important during the photo session! I got married at 1pm and my mom had the forethought of making sure we all had lunch to eat – I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it through the day without that since my husband and I didn’t get anything to eat at the ceremony! Along these lines, make sure there’s someone who will take all the left overs or goodie bags from the caterer so that you’ve got dinner for later.
  • Drivers – as the bride/groom, you will probably have the responsibility of organizing carpools and drivers, but ultimately, you shouldn’t be doing any of the driving!
  • Gift Supervisor – unless the reception facility provides someone, you should make sure there’s a person who keeps an eye on all the gifts. I was recently at a wedding where the bride & groom were told they had to hold on to all the cards themselves! This person should also be responsible for getting all the gifts to the correct location at the end of the day.
  • Guest Attendants – sometimes there’s a friend or family member who needs a companion for the day.
  • Bride/Groom Attendant – find someone to make sure you stay hydrated and get something to eat during the reception…no need to get sick when you’ve spent so much time planning the event.
  • Clothing Emergency Person – usually a bridesmaid, someone who’s got enough bobby pins, needle and thread, and Tide-To-Go for everyone!
  • Guestbooks/Driving Directions/Programs – find someone not in the wedding party to make sure guests have what they need and know where they’re going.
  • Vendor Contact – while you’ll need to confirm with all the vendors, select someone you can trust to be their contact person on the day of, just in case. That way you don’t need to worry if the florist is stuck in traffic or the caterer forgot something!
  • Wedding Party Scheduler – if you don’t have a wedding planner, you might want to appoint someone to keep track of the time, make sure the wedding party has directions and a schedule, and deal with anything else. On this note, make sure you type up a schedule and directions for your wedding party – we forgot to do this and waited for 30 minutes for some of the bridal party to show up at the picture location!
  • Baggage Handler – you’ll have your wedding night and honeymoon luggage packed, but you certainly don’t want to be responsible for it. Give them to one of your attendants and rest assured that it won’t get left somewhere.
  • Post-wedding Bridal Person – make sure someone knows they’re responsible for taking your gown/shoes/jewelry/etc. home.
  • If you’re planning on keeping the top layer of your cake, make sure someone freezes it in an air-tight container.

And if you’re really bored, get a head start on all those Thank You cards! You’ll be so glad that’s one less thing to do once you get home from your honeymoon. However, etiquette dictates that you have one year to complete them, so there is no rush.

The best thing you can do to enjoy your wedding day is to decide not to let things bother you. As stated above, we sat around waiting for some of our bridal party to get “un-lost”, I locked all of my bridal accessories and car keys in the car, and a few other things went sour, but we decided to just relax and had a wonderful and unforgettable day!

Victoria With Roses just announced a workshop with New York based Private Receptions coming up on June 14, 2009 at the Plaza Hotel. Find out more information here. It’s a bit expensive, but if you really need to sit down and talk to someone, without paying for a wedding planner, it might just be worth it!

Check out the Private Receptions Blog as well!

There is an article written by Claire Zulkey of The Frisky on CNN  about making your own rules about the weddings. She suggests which wedding etiquette and rules are essential to keep and which are more disposable.

(Original article at CNN.com)

The following is merely a preliminary checklist of things I have brainstormed…entries in the future will have lists based on topic.

Photographer

  • Be sure to know what style you’re looking for
  • Offer the photographer a list of shots you really want
  • Have a list of all the people you want to have pictures with
  • Will they give you prints or a cd?
  • Do they assemble your wedding book?

Florist

  • Colors
  • Types of flowers
  • Style
  • Ribbon or accents on stems
  • Exposed stems?
  • Size
  • Look through websites and magazines to find examples of what you like
  • Who gets flowers/boutonnieres/corsages?
  • Fresh or silk flowers for decorations?
  • Center piece size, etc?

Caterer

  • Type of food
  • Served?
  • China/plastic
  • Beverages
  • Dessert?
  • Hors d’vours

Ceremony

  • What is the focus?
  • Who are the people/audience?
  • What kind of music?
  • Who is involved?
  • What are the requirements of the church/location?
  • What media is involved?

Reception

  • How many people?
  • Cocktail hour?
  • Sit down dinner?
  • Dancing?
  • Length?
  • Activities?
  • Schedule?
  • MC?

Ceremony Decorations

  • Fresh/silk flowers
  • Candles?
  • Aisle runner?
  • Pew bows?

Reception Decorations

  • Center pieces
  • Cake table
  • Gift table
  • Search photographers’ websites for ideas of design

Cake

  • Colors
  • Type of cake/filling/frosting
  • Design
  • Shape
  • Layers
  • Decorations (flowers, etc?)

Dresses

  • Casual, formal, etc?
  • White/ivory bridal gown
  • Try things on you don’t think you’ll like
  • Buying all the dresses at a place like David’s Bridal brings discounts
  • Match bridesmaid dresses to style of dress (formal, casual, etc)

Tuxes

  • or suits
  • discounts at Men’s Warehouse, AfterHours, etc.

Accessories

  • jewelry
  • hair accessories (veil?)
  • Shoes
  • ties

Invitations

  • printed or handmade
  • formal, casual, style?
  • directions
  • reception information
  • hotel information
  • RSVP cards and stamped envelopes

Favors

  • yes or no?
  • candy/food
  • small gift
  • pictures

Bridal Party

  • Pictures/Wine/Ties/Jewelry
  • Make sure they all know the plan for the day and have directions to every place

General

  • Who will be responsible for decorating?
  • Who will be in charge on the day of?
  • Who will take care of problems when they arise?

Venue Questions

  • How many people?
  • Length of time included in rental fee.
  • Own minister allowed? (for ceremony venues)
  • Deposit amount? Refundable?
  • Any decorations included? Other extras?
  • What are we allowed to bring? (some places don’t allow candles or open flames)
  • Tables/chairs included in rental fee or separate?
  • What does the rental fee include?
    • Set Up/Clean Up?
    • Music or Sound Equipment?
    • Bridal/Groom Suite?
    • Amount of time?
    • Venue representative for day of?

So this entry is a bit hurried, but it’s something I thought of as I was falling asleep last night. One of the greatest tools to not going completely insane while planning a wedding is to stay organized! I kept all of my email conversations with vendors in an online folder, contracts in a paper folder, and a constant check list of things to do on hand. As a friend said recently, the checklists in books can be daunting. I found the checklist on theknot.com helpful sometimes, but many of the items were completely irrelevant to us. What I plan on doing for a future post is to come up with a preliminary list of “to-dos” and “to-haves” depending on the aspect of the wedding: flowers, caterer, transportation, people, ceremony, decorating, etc. As time passes I hope to make it fairly detailed. Please feel free to add and amend the lists!