Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting Married??

Please visit my website at http:www.e-eventplanning.com

Hello, my name is Ms. Elana Walker and I am a wedding consultant in the Raleigh-Durham and surrounding areas. I wanted to start this blog to help provide people with the proper tools and perspectives involving wedding planning as well as etiquette (both wedding related and non-wedding related). Wedding planning consists of a lot of little details adding up to create something beautiful.

When 2 people decide to become engaged, it can be the most exciting time in their lives. Deciding on your ceremony depends on the couple’s religion, family, culture, budget, etc… Typically, to plan a wedding, you need about 9-12 months. To help you get started, here are some questions to review together. By answering these questions, it will help you as well as any assistant’s you may enlist, with the basic foundation of the type of ceremony you want.

1) What is your budget?
a) $5,000 and under
b) $5,000-$10,000
c) $10,000- $15,000
d) $15,000- more

2) What formality would you prefer?
a) Informal
b) Semi-formal
c) Formal

3) What date or season would you like the ceremony in?
a) Winter: date:
b) Spring: date:
c) Summer: date:
d) Fall: date:

4) Approximately how many guests’ do you think will attend?
a) 50 or less
b) 100 or less
c) 200 or less
d) 200 or more

5) Where do you want the location of the ceremony and or reception?
a) Church or another religious based facility
b) Home or backyard
c) Non religious facility: Convention center, Banquet hall, Lodge….
d) Unique location: rose garden, museum, beach

6) Who will finance the wedding?
a) You and your fiancé?
b) The brides parents
c) The brides parents with the groom or the groom’s parents help
d) The groom’s parents

Do you need a wedding consultant?
The purpose of a consultant can vary between someone who organizes and designs the whole event, someone who only orchestrated on the day of the event, or someone who you can just bounce ideas off of. A professional wedding consultant can assist you in finding the best deals in addition to the highest quality of items needed to make sure your event goes as planed. They also can be a great time saver due to their experience and knowledge of where to find what you need for your special day. Their prices can range between an hourly rate ($20-$300 and hour) or a flat fee. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if it will be beneficial and affective to use a wedding planner.

1) Do you want more than 100 guests to attend?
2) Is your budget over $5,000?
3) Do you want a formal or semi-formal ceremony?
4) Are you planning to marry in a facility that you will have to rent or isn’t a full service venue?
5) Is your bridal party larger than 4 people?
6) Do you have at least 12 free hours in your day to dedicate to the planning and organizing of your event?

If you answered yes to just 2 of these questions, you might want to speak with a consultant to see how they can benefit you. Experience, knowledge and business connections are why using a planner is a smart choice.

Below is your 12-month checklist, to get you started.

 Announce your intention to marry to BOTH sets of parents.
 Determine type (formal, semi-formal, informal), style and theme of the wedding.
 Make a list of what is important to you for your wedding; this will help you determine your budget.
 Sit down with your fiancé and ALL parents and discuss the wedding budget, and who will pay for what.
 Get or make a wedding organizer (a 3 ring binder with pockets works great). Use it to store all your information, contracts, ideas, photos, etc.
 Speak with your clergy/officiant and review synagogue/church requirements.
 Come up with 2 or 3 possible wedding dates and start looking for ceremony and reception venues. If a venue you like is available on one of your chosen dates, book it immediately; many venues will often be booked up to 2 years in advance, so have several choices in mind beforehand in case they are already booked.
 If you are using one, start looking for and book a wedding consultant.

Engagement Etiquette
A long engagement is un-necessary as well as a stain on all involved. An engagement shouldn’t happen until the couple is ready and confident about marring each other and the engagement shouldnt be any longer than 12 months. Traditionally, the man asks for permission from the woman’s father. If her father’s position is absent, a close male relative such as an older brother, uncle, or stepfather will work. Of course, this is something that was done more so in the past than today but it is still a great way of introduction to trust, courage, responsibility and honesty on the soon-to-be grooms part. Once the proposal and acceptance is made, the parents should be verbally informed first. Next, if applicable, the children and the ex or if widowed, their parents. Once the parents know, it is customary for the groom’s parents to contact the bride’s parents to express their happiness and arranges to formally meet. One thing you don’t count on is your parent not approving. If they don’t approve or if you think they wont, still tell them first. The child of the disapproving parents should try having a private conversation to investigate why they disapprove. If they still cant be convinced then give them their distance however, still invite them to the wedding. Hopefully they will put their child’s happiness first and attend the ceremony.
Engagement Party and Announcing.
The bride’s family should give the engagement party, usually a cocktail party or a dinner, and the majority of those invited should be relatives and close friends. The news may be told by the bride herself or by the mother as guests arrive. The groom-to-be should be standing or seated by the brides family as guests arrive to signify him joining their family since they are the host’s of the party. If the bride to be and her mother are having a dinner party, then an announcement by her father (traditionally) or a father figure should be formally made introducing him and the news of the engagement. If you don’t want it verbally announced items such as a cake, balloons, place cards, or an announcement board with the couples names on it will suffice for the announcement.
For family and friends who live far away and couldn’t attend the engagement party or just as memorabilia, you can have professional announcements made with a picture of the couple announcing the engagement and wedding date. These should be sent out 6 months before the wedding date.
A new paper announcement provides a public notice 2-3 before the wedding is to take place. Generally, the parents of the bride and/or groom places the announcement in their local newspaper providing details such as where the fiancé who is marrying their child is from, his career field, his parents name’s, etc:

Mr. Paul and Mrs. Kathy. Jones announces the engagement of their daughter Laura S. Jones to Tim Griffin Esq., son of Dr. Richard. And Mrs. Erica. Griffin,. Of Chicago, IL.
Ranging from magnets to websites, people are finding more and more ways to get creative with announcing their engagement. The more creative you get, the easier people will remember the date of your special day.

Behavior of the engaged couple.
When deciding to marry each other, you have moved into a different phase of your relationship. To be engaged is a serious step that should be respected with behavior that complements your decision of exclusivity and fidelity. This is a subject that will vary per couple but here are a few etiquette rules that should apply across the board.
Engaged men and women shouldn’t show interest in a person of the opposite sex. This is something that is not only disrespectful to their soon-to-be but, it also make’s you look bad in the company of other’s.
For instance, if the groom-to-be passes an attractive woman, he shouldn’t show any verbal or physical interest.
When the couple is apart, they don’t have to be confined to their home, however having two-some dates with a member of the opposite sex is inappropriate. It is best, if you want to spend time with your friend of the opposite sex, your fiancé should be there as well. Joining together through marriage also means, joining together and becoming 1 in every other aspect as well. Her friends should become your friends and vise versa. If not each other’s friends, it shouldn’t be a strain to have them around each other. If there is conflict between your fiancé and friends, you’re starting off with 1 strike against the union to be.
Communication on everything is the best way to ensure a great relationship. Most of the time, the woman plans the wedding according to what she wants and this can make the man feel obsolete. Make sure to ask for his opinions and idea’s on the ceremony details. Encourage him to meet the wedding planner (a good wedding planner, will want to meet with the couple, not just 1 person.), take him cake taste testing, in the long run, he will appreciate it.

Congratulations. I hope that this has been able to assist you in getting started on your path to planning your perfect wedding. Planning a wedding isn’t easy and it almost never goes without some stress but, in the end, it will be worth it. This is just the tip of a big iceberg and if you have any questions or comments, or want to seek further detailed advice on planning or etiquette, please contact me at or 919-753-8624.

Next week: Tips on Green-Weddings