Hints to  Planning a Party

Getting Started

First order of business is to figure out what kind of party you want to have. Is it a birthday party, a graduation party, an engagement party? Consider the following details to help you decide on the type of party it's going to be:

Are you celebrating something?
How many guests will you invite?
Would you like to have a theme?
Will you have it catered?
Can guests bring friends?

Once you decide on the kind of party that you want to have then the first thing you want to do is create a budget. The three biggest things that usually take up the biggest part of your budget are the food, venue, and entertainment. You can save money in all areas, but if you're set on having your party in a location other than your house then you'll need to go ahead and reserve it first. The cost of the venue will help determine the rest of the budget.

When you call the venue to reserve it, ask the following questions:

How much is the rental price?
What time can you go in to set up and what time do you have to be out?
Do they provide any decorations as part of their price?
Do they allow alcohol?
Can you have live music there?
What kind of sound system do they have?
Is there a kitchen onsite?

If you are having the party at your house then you won't need to ask these questions. However, there are other things that you should consider. Think about the following in regards to your own house:

Will you need to borrow or rent extra tables and chairs?
How many people can you comfortably fit inside?
Can your guests go outside and, if so, do you have extra tables and chairs to put out there?
Do you have an entertainment system available?
Are there any valuables or breakable items that you should put up first?
Are there any neighbors to take into consideration?


There are some things that you will want to keep in mind no matter where you have your party. As you're preparing for the event, keeping a running idea of all the things that you will need is a good idea.

For dining, you will want to remember:

Serving dishes
Main courses

If you're having your party catered then the caterers should provide most of this (like the serving dishes and the food). You will want to ask about this, however, and be sure that you understand what you're getting for the price.

You will need to make the decision as to whether you are having a sit-down dinner, buffet style dining, finger foods, or even a potluck party where everyone brings something.

For your entertainment, you'll need to decide if you are having CDs, a professional DJ, or live music. You might even be able to get a friend to change the tunes, especially if you're just having a casual party.

Decorations are pretty simple and don't have to be extravagant but you'll still want to put some thought into them. Decorations can consist of:

Unique light fixtures

Check with the venue and catering company, if you use these, to see if they provide anything.

Of course, after you decide on the date and time of the party you'll want to get your invitations to your guests as soon as possible. It wouldn't hurt to send a reminder a week before the party, just in case, but you should let them know as soon in advance as you can.


Once you have a good idea of where you're having it, when you're having it, and all of the big details then you'll probably find that there are still things that you'll need to do. Here are just a few things that you'll want to remember, although not all of them will apply to your party.

Decide on a theme
Reserve the venue
Send invitations to your guests
Hire a catering company (decide on a menu)
Hire entertainment
Buy decorations
Hire security if needed
Remind guests of party date a week before the date
Hire a bartender if needed
Check local ordinances if charging admission or having party on your property
Buy plates/napkins/utensils if needed
Get in venue 24 hours in advance to decorate
Secure clean up help

Getting Ready for the Big Day

If you're having the party at your house then it will be very important to get some help when it comes to decorating and cleaning up. You don't want to be stuck doing everything by yourself. You also don't want to save everything until the last minute. Do as much as you can in advance.

It's preferable to get into a venue 24 hours in advance, although some venues won't let people in until a few hours before the event. If this is true with yours then you'll want to have everything in the cars and loaded, ready to go. Don't waste precious time loading up.

Make sure that you stay in constant communication with any extra people that you hire, such as bartenders, caterers, bands, etc. They will need to know where to go and when to be there. If something changes, letting them know is critical.

If you're having the party at your house and you're planning on a potluck meal then keep a list of what everyone wants to bring. That way, you'll know what you need (and what you don't need) more of.

Most of all, try to relax the day of the party. By planning in advance and having everything ready, you'll be able to enjoy it more.



Wedding coordinators are wonderful if you are not into details, possess a lot of creativity or just have a busy lifestyle and want to leave the plans up to someone else.  Planning a wedding can be stressful and very time consuming project.  Hiring wedding coordinators can also allow the soon-to-be bride and groom with a lot of free time to plan the rest of their lives together.


The bride and groom should both meet with the wedding coordinator so that he/she can get to know you as a couple and speak with you about your wishes for the big day.  Coordinators will often convey their ideas during the first meeting and they may also go over a few pricing plans.  The most important thing to keep in mind is to spend within your means.  It's tempting to go overboard and order the biggest cake, the prettiest flowers and forget all about the price.  But, after the wedding is over and the cake is gone, the bills will still be there.  So, set a budget and speak with the coordinator about your guidelines.  Let them know that you already have an amount that you wish to spend and ask if he/she can put together a nice, memorable wedding ceremony according to your budget. 


Wedding coordinators take care of every detail, including booking the location, catering, ordering the wedding cake, designing and ordering the invitations, ordering and arranging flowers, seating guests, etc.  After hiring a wedding coordinator, the only thing that is really required of the bride and groom are to get their tuxedo and gown and arrive on time, ready to say "I do"  It's important to enjoy being engaged rather than spending that time combing through thousands of details and trying to make sure everything is handled properly.


A wedding should be about the bride and groom, their own personal taste and wishes.  Coordinators need to know what you want for the big day so that they can make it happen in a way that will be memorable for both of you.  A wedding should be a personal event that reflects upon both individuals.  If she likes romance, perhaps a Valentine's Day wedding is in order.  If he likes sports, perhaps the marriage proposal was made at a sports arena and the reception somehow incorporates his love of athletics.  Discuss individual interests with each other before relaying them to the coordinator.  Put your heads together and come up with something that you both will enjoy.


Of course, hiring a coordinator doesn't mean that the bride and groom will be closed off from the decision making process.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  Both individuals will be very much involved in the selection of flowers, the design and wording of invitations, the design of the wedding cake, the location and time of the wedding, etc.  The main difference being that, with the help of wedding coordinators, the bride and groom only make the decisions and do not have to worry themselves with finalizing all of the details.  There will be plenty of decisions that need making in the years ahead, so it's ok to just enjoy each other for now.

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Beauty & Makeup

 Every bride dreams of her wedding day from the time that she began playing with dolls.  Tossing a white pillowcase over her head in simulation of a veil or imagining the perfect day when she would be married are just a few of the ways that young ladies think of their wedding.  As they grow older, they realize there is much more to a wedding and it takes a lot of work to make everything perfect.

 Speaking of perfection, beauty and makeup are just a few of the considerations.  Some brides-to-be make an appointment at a local spa in order to be pampered and relax to let go of the stress from the wedding.  Stress can take it's toll on skin, so make sure to have some relaxation time at every possible opportunity. 


For hair maintenance and styling, many choose to visit a local hair salon for an upsweep hair design.  Many brides make an appointment for the day of their wedding and the salon creates a nice hair style and attaches the veil at the same time.  Photo clippings can be taken to the salon to give the stylist an idea of the preferred design.

 At a wedding, there will be a lot of focus on the hand.  Friends and family will all want to see the wedding rings and a bride's hands should be well-maintained.  A professional manicure can be provided at a nail salon or the bride may be able to create the same look herself using a manicure kit, which can be found at almost any retail store.  Read the instructions thoroughly and practice the manicure several times before your wedding day.  If you are doing the manicure yourself, you don't want to experiment several hours before you say "I do." 


It's true that beauty is skin deep, but everyone wants beautiful skin on the outside as well.  To that end, many people decide to get the perfect tan for their wedding.  This can be obtained naturally in the sun, but this method is risky.  Too much sun exposure or prolonged use can cause premature aging or other skin related problems, so many people are looking for other options.  Tanning beds have gained popularity over the years, but they to have much of the same effects as the sun.  The alternate, and healthy, tanning option is self-tanning lotion and bronzers.  Years ago, these lotions simply made the skin appear orange or with a lot of streaks.  Today, advancements have been made and self tanning lotions are providing a more natural appearing tan.  Whether your skin is fair, medium or dark, there is a custom lotion that will work with your skin's coloring.  The secret to maintaining a perfect tan, using a self-tanner, is blend, blend, blend.  If you think you've blended enough, blend one more time.  This will avoid any streaks or discoloring.  It's customary to apply several layers, but you should wait until the first layer develops so that you will know how dark the tan will be.  If you add to much, it will be hard to remove.  But, if you don't add enough, there's no harm done as you can keep adding more lotion until the desired color is achieved.


Makeup should be natural and not overdone.  If you have acne or problem skin, dampen the makeup sponge before applying the foundation.  This will help the makeup to apply more evenly and conceal a lot better.  In addition, you will be using less makeup and achieving a flawless face at the same time.

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 When you think of an artist, perhaps you think of a winter painting or a sailboat gliding out into the ocean.  But, there are many different kinds of art as well as artists.  A skilled professional may not only be capable of producing landscape art, but photographic art as well.

 Artists come in many forms.  Some specialize in digital creations while more traditional artists concentrate on charcoal, pencil or paintings.  There are many types of art, including portraits, greeting cards, framed paintings, etc.

 A wedding is a special event that should be captured on photo, as well as video.  But, did you also know that an image of the bride and groom can be captured in a painting, as well?  Depending on the desired style, paints may include oil or acrylic.  The happy couple can do a live sitting where they pose for a unique hand-painted photo.  Artists can also create realistic paintings from an actual photograph.  By taking a black and white or color photo and asking for a recreation of artwork, skilled artists can use that photo to create a realistic portrait using nothing more than paint and a brush.

 For the more whimsy natured couple, perhaps a funny caricature would be desired for inclusion on their coffee table.  Caricature artists take unique features about an individual and turn them into a cartoon character, which has similar characteristics as the person being drawn.  It's a fun way to take an otherwise average photo and turn it into a conversation piece. 


If you're not the one actually getting married, but are searching for the perfect gift for the soon-to-be bride and groom, an artistic painting is a terrific way to go.  Artists can provide a wonderful, and unique, gift that can be presented to the newlyweds in a way that they will cherish forever.  Take a photo, professional or candid, and ask the artist to recreate a portrait.  If you don't have a photo of the couple together, take two separate photos.  A skilled professional can take the two photos and make a whole new photo, which will surprise the couple that so much thought went into the selection of their gift. 

 Artists take great pride in their work and a project can take anywhere from several days to weeks.  Depending on the complexity of the painting, several months may be needed to complete the task.  For this reason, whether you are the bride or groom looking to have a portrait painted, or are looking for the perfect gift, inquire early.  This will give the artist plenty of time to get started on the painting without feeling pinched for time.  If possible, select an artist within 3 to 4 months before the finished portrait will be needed.

 Before signing a contract, or providing a deposit, make sure to ask about previous work.  It's perfectly acceptable to ask about viewing samples or a portfolio.  This will provide you with peace of mind in knowing that you have chosen an artist who does quality work and is serious about their career.  Never hire anyone without seeing samples of previous work, especially when it's such an important project for a wedding.

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 Balloons symbolize a celebration, happiness and are traditionally used at weddings and other special events.  Balloons can also be used at engagement parties, wedding showers and the wedding reception.  They provide the atmosphere with a sense of whimsy and cheer, which is just one of the reasons why balloons are so popular amongst party goers. 

 Balloons come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  When making your selection, consider the appropriate style for the event.  Weddings should convey a sense of love and togetherness, so heart shaped balloons are ideal.  In addition, coordinating with the actual wedding colors or theme is a terrific idea.  For an added touch, they can be adorned with streaming ribbon as they float to the ceiling.  Other uses include decorating the dance floor at the wedding reception, seating decorations and table decor.

 The possibilities are absolutely endless as many balloon manufacturers are now designing custom made balloons by using a photo for added personalization.  Several lines of text can also be added by some designers.  Consider a photo of the soon-to-be bride and groom, along with their names and wedding date below the photo.  This type of accessory will add a real touch of personalization to the ceremony and reception.


If you are shopping for balloons that are already filled with helium, you will want to do so as close to the event as possible.  The same is true if you are filling them yourself.  Some modern designs will hold their shape well, but others may fizzle in a day or two.  In addition, filled balloons can take up a lot of space so it's a good idea to take them directly to the banquet or reception hall where they will be needed rather than storing them in a room of your house. 

 Depending on the number of balloons that you are looking for, there are a number of places to shop.  Party planning stores will certainly stock an assortment of balloons, as will specialty custom-design balloon companies.  If ordered locally, you will have the convenience of seeing the choices in person and discussing quantity and quality with the store owner.  If a special order needs to be placed, the manager will be able to give you an idea on delivery.  If possible, begin shopping two or three months prior to the wedding.  This will give you enough time to select the perfect balloon styling, decide if you want personalization and place the order.  If the balloons that you want, in the quantity that you desire, are already in stock, then you are already way ahead of the game by shopping early.

 Balloons are used at weddings, birthday celebrations, parties, milestones, baby showers, family reunions, anniversaries and other special events.  If there is an occasion that calls for celebration, you can be certain that balloons will be a nice touch to add in the festivities.  It's important to remember that, while balloons are fun and their color enchanting, it's important to watch children who are nearby.  Despite their fun appearance, balloons can pose a danger to children who are left unattended.

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Catering & Food

 During the reception, it is customary to offer catering and food service to your wedding guests.  This can be one of the more expensive parts of the day, so make sure that you hire a qualified catering service and one that does quality food preparation.

 When searching for a good caterer, ask friends or family members for referrals.  If you're still in doubt, ask your photographer or Casino Party/Rentals specialist if they know of a qualified caterer that perhaps they have worked with at a previous wedding.  If you have a favorite restaurant, call and ask if they cater to weddings.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how many businesses are happy to cater, but rarely spend the money to advertise their services.

 When speaking with a potential catering service, ask them about pricing and menu options.  Also be sure to ask if they are available on the date and time that you will require their services.  Explain the necessary details of your wedding, the number of guests that will be attending and inquire about pricing for each person.  It is customary for a caterer to charge a certain amount for each person.  For example, perhaps they would charge $100.00 per person and you have 50 guests attending.  The cost would be $5,000.00.  When discussing price, ask if the price per person is the final cost or is there additional costs for staff and other services.  If you have a favorite food that you wish to have served, let them know and ask if that is possible.  Here are a few other interesting points to raise throughout the conversation:

 ?         Are cleaning services included in the cost?

?         For the price, who long will the staff be available for the reception?

?         What design and color of glassware is available?

?         What type of deposit is required and when is the remaining balance due?

?         Do you have a contract that we can sign or shall we have one drawn up?

?         Can you provide references?

 When hiring any catering and food service, always have an agreement in writing.  The contract must be signed and dated by all parties and you should retain a copy for your records.  Among other things, the contract must outline the date, time and location of your wedding, along with an outline of every responsibility relating to the caterer.  In addition, there should be mention of the required deposit and the final cost.  When making a deposit, get a receipt.  This is especially true if you are paying in cash.  Don't be afraid to ask any questions that you may have.  It isn't every day that you get married, so this will be a memorable event with hopefully no glitches or surprises.

 Finally, when all is said and done, exchange telephone numbers so that there may be open lines of communication in the event of delays or other unforeseen events.  Be sure to call the caterer the day before your wedding to make sure that everything is on schedule and to go over the details one final time.

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Bridal Gowns & Accessories

 When choosing bridal gowns, consider the time of year in which the wedding will occur.  If you're planning to say "I do" during the cold winter months, a dress with more coverage may better suit your comfort.  On the other hand, a summer wedding may accommodate a strapless or other similar design.

 Bridal gowns can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.  If you decide to have a dress custom designed, the price may be even higher.  The good news is that a bride's dress no longer has to be determined by her budget.  Many designers and bridal shops will now allow their customers to put a dress on layaway.  This has traditionally been done in stores, but is becoming more readily available through mail order as well.  For example, you can live in Florida and find a designer or bridal shop in California with the perfect dress.  If you are true to size, then go ahead and inquire about ordering a gown.  If the price is a bit more than you can spare at the moment, ask them if they can reserve one for you with a small down payment followed by a monthly payment schedule until the dress is paid in full.  Once the gown is delivered, any minor alterations, such as hemming or similar changes, can be made by a local seamstress.

 If you order your dress in enough advance, you can make a reasonable down payment and convenient monthly payments.  This saves you from having to pay a lot of money out of pocket all at once or putting the entire balance on a credit card and paying it off with interest.  Knowing that the dress is reserved for you and layaway payments will make dress shopping much more convenient and a lot less stressful on the pocket book.

 Pearls are the classic jewelry accessory for every new bride.  Depending on the neckline of the bridal gown, a delicate pearl strand necklace may be worn to compliment a classic pair of pearl button stud earrings.  In addition, pearls make your teeth look whiter and every bride wants to have the perfect smile on her wedding day.

 Many brides choose to wear opera length gloves if they wear a strapless gown, but others opt out so that the ring ceremony will go smoothly.  Shoes are an important part of the bridal wardrobe, but will they be strap sandals or pumps?  One characteristic that any shoe must have is comfort.  You don't want to take a tumble during your walk down the aisle, so make sure that the shoe is comfortable.  If you have trouble standing in regular heels, look for a wider or stacked heel.

 When it comes to a veil, there are many different styles to choose from.  Some cover the face while others simply fit as a hairpiece and are used more as an accessory.  In addition, many modern bride's are choosing crystal-studded tiaras as their hair accessory in place of a traditional veil.

 A bride is classic as is her bridal gown.  A carefully selected set of bridal accessories will enhance the bride's beauty as she glides down the aisle with all eyes gazing upon her.  With each guest that she passes, a smile will cross their face as they share in her happiness.  It's that same emotion that should come across in a wedding ensemble and the bride who wears it.

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Wedding bands are a special group of people who are capable of playing a variety of music.  They don't just specialize in any one style, but rather a large assortment.  This is important if the bride and groom have a love for different types of music.

 If you are thinking of hiring a live band to perform at your wedding, contact the person or agent in charge of booking.  Be sure to inform them of the date, time and location of the wedding before getting too involved in the conversation.  It's important to know immediately if the band is available because, if not, you can begin looking at other options.  Because bands have scheduled concerts to attend, begin making calls at least six months prior to the wedding.  This will improve your chances of getting the music that you want and avoid the disappointment of finding out the band is already booked up for that date.

 If you don't yet have a band in mind, there are several ways to find one.  Surfing the internet is a great way to find out about anything, so browse the world wide web for bands in your local area.  You can also check the telephone book or ask family and friends.  Almost everyone knows someone who is in a band, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get a few good leads.  The tough part will be selecting the right group to perform at your wedding.  The music should appeal to both the bride and groom.  In addition, the band should be able to adapt to the style of wedding involved and should act professional in front of a large crowd.

 When interviewing prospects, ask for a demo tape or a video that you can use to determine their live sound.  Some music sounds great after being mixed in a studio, but how do they sound live?  You can also ask for a brief live performance.  Once you've determined that you've found the perfect band to perform at your wedding, ask for a written contract or create one on the spot.  Creating your own contract can be tricky, but it's not impossible.  A good contract will contain the date of your wedding, the location and the time.  It will also outline the location, date and time of the reception and reference the fact that the band is being hired to perform at a specified location for a specified length of time.  This is all very important to discuss and agree on, so make sure that it's in writing.  A contract should also contain the number of songs the band will perform, what type of equipment they will be using and how much, if any, are you required to provide.  It should also outline the full cost for the performance, including a note about any required deposit toward reservation of that date.  The contract should also reference cancellation policies, fees, etc.

 Generally, if you reserve the services of a band, they will ask for a deposit in order to reserve the date in their schedule.  This means that, as long as your deposit is made and a contract is signed, they are legally obligated to appear and cannot reschedule another event at that time.

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Bakeries are an excellent source for wedding cake designs and selected pastry.  The wedding cake is a very important part of the reception and is the centerpiece for the reception.  Many couples opt for the traditional three tiered wedding cake while others go for more formal options, including fountains and other decorations.  Wedding cakes can be designed from very casual to very extravagant depending on the wishes of the bride and groom.


Much of the choices will depend on the budget.  The more upscale the design, the larger the price tag.  When visiting bakeries, always ask to see photos of previous wedding cakes they have designed.  In addition, ask if they have any samples that you can taste in order to select a favorite cake flavor.  If you are looking for a customized wedding cake, ask if they can accommodate.  In many instances, bakeries offer certain designs that can be slightly customized for the ceremony. 


Because your wedding date will already be decided, it's very important that bakeries be able to complete the job according to your schedule.  It would be disheartening to learn that, on the day of your wedding, there was no wedding cake.  For this reason, be sure to get your order in early and make sure that the designers are aware of the date of your wedding.


If you are concerned, ask for references and follow up with their contacts.  You can also ask family and friends for referrals.  If you have a friend who was recently married, ask who designed their wedding cake.  If you are looking for accessories, ask bakeries if they supply such things as fountains, pillars, cake toppers, stands, cutters, etc.  If they do supply them, will there be an added fee?  If so, how much?


When ordering a wedding cake, or other pastry, inquire about the ingredients used.  Less expensive ingredients may save money, but the more expensive ingredients will taste better.  Ask about icing flavors and make sure to order the exact flavor that you want.  When it comes to selecting decorations, do you want icing flowers or natural petals?  If you prefer natural flowers, will you need to provide them?  If not, make sure that the bakery knows what type and color of flowers you will be using at the wedding so that the cake will coordinate perfectly with the theme.


A final thought to consider when speaking with bakeries is regarding their delivery policy.  Do they deliver and, if so, how much will they charge?  You will also need to ask when the cake will be prepared.  Because of their complexity, professionally designed wedding cakes take several days to prepare.  With that being said, the closer to your wedding that the cake is made, the fresher it will be and the better it will taste.  Without putting the bakery in a pinch for time, ask if they can prepare it as closely as possible to the ceremony so that it will be fresh.  If they delivery, make sure that they have accurate information regarding the wedding, including location, time and date.  If the reception is being held at another location, that is the address they will need. 

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Florists & Flowers


Flowers are an important part of any wedding ceremony.  They're everywhere.  Flower girls deliver lightly tossed petals along the path of the bride, who carries a beautifully arranged bouquet.  In addition, flowers are found on wedding cakes and along the guest seating. 



When searching for a florist, look for one near your hometown so that you can easily communicate.  If you have a friend who was recently married and you admired her bouquet, ask which florist she used and give them a call.  If you're still in doubt, ask family and co-workers if they can offer referrals. 


When visiting local florists, speak with the owner about your upcoming wedding and express your desire to do business with them.  Have the name of your wedding flower, and preferred color, in mind when you speak with the florist.  If they need to order a special assortment for you, let them know the date of your wedding so that your flowers will be delivered on time and ask if they can accommodate.  Use this technique as your shop around with different florists until you find one that you decide to work with.


When you finally select a florist, call and set up an appointment.  During your first official meeting, you will want to discuss a realistic budget.  Let them know upfront how much money you can spend on flowers and ask if they can provide you with a quality arrangement according to your means.  It's a good idea to bring along several photos of your favorite flower arrangements so that the florist can get an idea of your taste.  When ordering, think of the bouquet and how many bridesmaids and groomsmen will be present.  Will there be a flower girl and how many petals will she need?  Will flowers be used for the wedding cake and/or the reception?  All of these things will need to b discussed during the first meeting in order to get a realistic cost estimate.  You may also want to ask the florist if they will be able to deliver the flowers to the church or other location, as well as take care of the decorations using the flowers. 


Once a budget is confirmed, the florist will need to see a photo of your wedding dress and, if possible, a fabric swatch from the bridesmaid's gowns in order to get a perfect color match.


Another thought to consider is whether you will be using fresh or silk flowers.  Fresh flowers are beautiful, but may present a problem for allergy sufferers.  Many brides do not consider this fact right away, but it soon becomes obvious as they are faced with the sniffles.  These days, silk flowers are created to look much like fresh flowers.  They are beautiful and the bouquet will last forever, so the lucky lady who catches it will have a treasured memento for years to come.  The most popular flowers to be featured in a bridal bouquet are roses.  They are beautiful and romantic, which is everything that a wedding should be.  Various colors may be used, along with streaming ribbons incorporated into the bouquet.

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Invitations & Printing


Invitations are an important part of your wedding plans because they will let potential guests know about the time, place and details of the upcoming ceremony.  There are a variety of wedding invitations to choose from and include styling from the most casual of wedding to the most formal affair.  Before ordering invitations, all date, time and location plans should be finalized in order to avoid any problems.


An invitation should be welcoming and sincere.  It should let the recipient know that you truly request their presence and how honored you will be if they are able to share in your special day.  Always hand address your wedding invitations so that they are personable and non form-like.  The recipient's address should always be written by hand, but it is acceptable to have the return address either handwritten or printed.  The return address should be located on the back flap of the envelope.  The majority of printing companies offer self-adhesive seals to match the invitations, so be sure to inquire about those as well.


Along with the wedding invitations, many couples decide to send response cards.  These cards, if returned, will give you an idea of who is and is not planning to attend the wedding.  This will be helpful for a variety of reasons, including seating and catering orders.  Along with the response card, a pre-addressed stamped envelope should be included for the guest's convenience.  The response card should be addressed to the person handling the wedding's guest list, which may include a parent or other close family member.


There are a number of invitation printing companies that can be found online.  These companies specialize in custom designed invitations and can make ordering a breeze.  Local printers are often more convenient because you can view invitation styles in person, feel the paper weight and see a detailed list of lettering options. 


When selecting a printer for your wedding invitations, always shop early.  Printing takes time and, depending on the time of year, it may take several weeks or longer.  Spring is the most popular time for weddings and, if that's your goal, it's best to get your order in early. 


Traditional wedding invitations generally speak of the time, place and details only.  A detailed, more personal invitation may include a brief poem or other sentiment conveyed from the bride and groom.  The wording should always reflect the feelings of the couple and not be chosen simply because of tradition.  Feel free to speak with your printing company about customizing your invitations so that both of you will be happy with the results. 


When ordering invitations, have a detailed list so that you will know how many are required.  Be sure to order a few extra just incase you need them, including one for your wedding memory book.  Avoid the temptation to order more than you need just to get a bulk discount.  If you have several dozen wedding invitations left over, they won't do any good.  You would be better off to save the extra money for a honeymoon souvenir and order only what you need.

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With so many things to consider, including the wedding attire, cake, decorations, selection of the wedding party and more, musicians are perhaps the most well hidden treasure of the ceremony.  Without music, a wedding would certainly be different.  Traditionally, a pianist plays while the guests arrive and are seated.  The music changes as the groom and his wedding party enters, which is followed by the entrance of the bride's wedding party.  After everyone is in place, the pianist pauses briefly and the entire room realizes that it is now time for the bride.  At that moment, the music resumes leading into the traditional wedding march as the bride enters the room with all eyes upon her.  Without realizing it, music sets the tone for so many events in our lives.  At graduation, New Years Eve, birthday parties and all other milestones, there is music. 


The largest variety of music will be found at the reception, which is where the bride and groom will have a chance to share their favorite musicians with guests.  Perhaps the preferred style is pop, country, jazz or other type of music.  Whichever the case, a constant stream of tunes will be flowing as guests dance and enjoy festivities with the happy couple.


Musicians range from violinists, pianists, harp players or perhaps even a live band.  Maybe the musicians are relatives or friends of the family.  Some couples have gone one step farther and hired a professional recording artist to perform at their wedding, which is an unforgettable moment but it comes at a hefty cost.


When asking someone to perform at your wedding, always call ahead in plenty of time to make a reservation.  If possible, make plans three to four months in advance.  If you live in a large area, where musicians tend to book up fast, make your reservations even earlier to ensure that you get the music that you want.  When making these types of arrangements, always get all details in writing.  Important notes to include are the date, time, location, costs and cancellation policy.


At some point during the reception, the bride and groom will share a special dance.  Every couple should have a wedding song, which they will enjoy as they share their first dance as husband and wife.  This song will be a staple in the couples relationship forever.  Each time they hear it on the radio or see it's title mentioned in a news article, they will be taken back in time to that special moment in which they shared a special dance.  The song should be full of meaning, hope and love.  It may be the first song that the couple ever danced to while dating or perhaps it was playing on the radio when they shared their first kiss. 


Musicians add a special touch to every wedding that could never be left out.  Everyone needs music in their lives and celebrations in their heart.  On such a special occasion as a wedding, the bride and groom should both share their favorite music with their friends and family.

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Party & Wedding Supplies


There isn't a party or wedding that would ever be complete without the proper accessories and supplies.  These little trinkets make the party fun and keep it entertaining and guests will appreciate the thought.


A wedding is full of romance and love, so it's a cute idea to place a small bell with a romance card at each place setting.  These wedding favors are sold at many locations and reference that the guest should ring the bell if he/she wishes to see the bride and groom share a kiss. 


As is traditional at a wedding, people throw rice at the happy couple as they leave the church.  Guests are also throwing flower seeds and other environmentally friendly products.  In addition, there are little bottles of bubbles with a wand inside that are being made available by most party and wedding supply stores.  These are for guests who would rather blow bubbles toward the newlyweds than throwing rice or flower seeds. 


At many weddings, guests are being provided with small disposable cameras.  This will give each person the opportunity to capture special moments as they see fit.  Perhaps it's a stolen kiss, a meaningful glance between the bride and groom on the dance floor or a whimsy moment of fun while feeding each other wedding cake.  Each wedding guest will have a different view of all festivities and it's fun to see the special moments that they can capture on film.


Let's face it.  Whether it's nutritious or not, everyone has a sweet tooth.  Chocolates are terrific wedding favors and they are another great excuse to personalize.  Candy wrappers or the chocolates, themselves, can be personalized in honor of the wedding.  Wrappers may feature a photo of the bride and groom, their names and wedding date.  The chocolates, themselves, can feature names or a special date inscribed.  Yummy!


If a winter wedding is in store, a sweet little holiday ornament or snow globe featuring the couple's photo is a nice favor to place at each dinner setting.  Your guests will recollect your wedding each time they trim their holiday tree.


Where wedding favors are concerned, the possibilities are truly endless.  Use your imagination and put something together that represents both of you.  If you have a great sense of humor, think of something fun to give your guests a smile. 


No wedding would be complete without a guest book.  This should be placed at the entrance of your wedding location, along with a writing pen.  The purpose of this book is for guests to sign their names so that the newlyweds will always remember who was there to share their special day.  The guest book will serve as a wonderful memory for the newlyweds to flip through in the years to come.


Party and wedding supplies are so broad that stores are specially dedicated solely for their purpose.  Everything from place cards, balloons, confetti and streamers to bubbles and rice will be found easily at every aisle.  If you are planning your wedding, or any other event, a party and wedding supply store should definitely be on your shopping list.


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Many newlywed couples are deciding against the 'Just Married' sign written in their windshield as they drive away from the ceremony.  While classic, this mode of transportation is being phased out by more modern and luxurious ways of travel.  In addition, some decide to arrive at the wedding in a limousine and drive away in their own car.  The combination is really just a matter of opinion relating to the bride and groom's wishes.


The most traditional form of chauffeured transportation is a limousine.  Depending on your geographical area and distance traveled, a limo rental can run between $30.00 to $250.00 per hour.  It's important to schedule limousine arrangements several months before the wedding.  It's a good idea to visit the limousine company and check out their fleet in person.  Often times, they will allow you to select whichever one you prefer out of their entire line.  This will give both the bride and groom an opportunity to see the inside of the cars, their amenities, sunroof and other options.  It will also allow choices in the car style and color.  A deposit will likely be required in order to reserve the service and a contract will be signed.  Always provide the limousine company with detailed directions and instructions.  Call ahead the day before your ceremony to ensure that everything is on schedule and the limousine pick-up is still planned.  At that time, leave a telephone number that you or a relative can be reached at incase the driver gets lost of has car trouble while in route to the destination.  Keeping an open line of constant communication will ensure a smooth ride.


Many cities and historic towns offer an old-time tradition of horse and carriage rides.  This mode of transportation dates far back, but is still much a modern luxury.  Picture your wedding day as you ride to the church in a horse drawn carriage.  Galloping hooves trot on their way as all eyes gaze upon the princess in her beautiful white wedding gown seated in the carriage.  These options, too, book up early and should be scheduled months before the wedding ceremony. 


Less traditional, but very creative, ways to ride off into the sunset still remain.  Perhaps instead of riding off into the sunset, you prefer to ride up into the sunset.  Hot air balloon rides can prove to be a dramatic and memorable exit as you wave to the guests below.  Photo opportunities abound as the happy couple glides away. 


If you choose a beach wedding, check with the local tourism center or boat facility about a boat rental.  Perhaps instead of driving away, the newlywed's sail off into the sunset.


As you see, transportation is truly limited by your imagination.  There are a variety of options available and should be reflective of the bride and groom's personal taste.  Once a mode of transportation is selected, shop around and find the best deal.  Always get a signed contract and keep in communication with the person handling the reservation.  Inquire about cancellation policies, rescheduling, any additional fees, etc.  It may seem like an inconvenience to ask so many questions but, in the end, you will be glad that you did.

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Selecting the appropriate decor for a wedding can be a fun project.  The bride typically selects the wedding colors, which are the base by which the bridal party's attire and accessories are chosen.  In addition, the bridal bouquet often coordinates with the wedding colors whenever possible.


Flowers are a large part of the decor for any wedding.  They are beautiful, romantic and add a touch of happiness whenever present.  Flowers are found in the bouquet, as dinner table accessories, on the wedding cake and everywhere possible.  Some ceremonies feature fresh flowers while others are done in silk, which are crafted so beautifully to look exactly like the real thing.


Additional wedding decor is found in the selection of dinnerware.  An elegant setting is often chosen with classic silverware.  Tablecloths and napkins, napkin rings and place cards are among the many other considerations that a bride and groom must choose for their reception.


It's customary that the bride and groom cut the wedding cake together before sharing a bite.  There are a variety of elegant cutters, which include special custom-made products with the newlywed's names or wedding date engraved.  Wine glasses are often used and labeled 'Bride' and 'Groom' for the happy couple, as well.


Wedding decor would never be complete without ribbons.  They are everywhere from the flowers to the cake and even at the dinner table.  Ribbons are used to compliment flowers, to add pizzazz to wedding favors, on church seating and in some hair styles.  They add a touch of elegance and take an otherwise simplistic design and give it life.


Balloons are an important part of wedding decor, as well.  They are used on the dance floor, on the newlywed's car and can be used in a variety of other decorations.  Because balloons come in all sizes, shapes and colors, there is never a problem finding the perfect design for any wedding.


The selection of decor can be fun, but it takes some work.  There will be catalog flipping to endure, shop browsing and a lot of planning.  In order to find the perfect decor, a wedding theme must first be chosen.  Will the ceremony be traditional or otherwise?  Is it formal or more of a casual affair?  Will the ceremony be indoors or an outdoor event?  The answers to these questions will have a large influence in the decision of the decor.  From wedding colors to music, everything must coordinate and come together to form the perfect day. 


If you are having trouble selecting the decor, a wedding coordinator may be able to discuss several options that you may have never even considered.  They are skilled to know which designs and colors work with one another.  In addition, they know where to source accessories and decorations.  If the task of selecting the theme or decor becomes overwhelming, browse the local yellow pages or do some research on the internet.  Find out what is currently popular among weddings and start from there.  The most important thing is to choose decorations that reflect both the bride and groom.  From that point on, the rest will be a piece of cake


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Formal Wear


Attire is an important part of any wedding.  Traditionally, the bride is responsible for selection of the formal wear for her wedding party, as is the groom.  In addition, it is expected that the bride pay for the gowns worn by her bridesmaid and maids of honor. 


A reasonable budget for formal wear is a good idea.  Take the time to think about how much you can spend and where you will get the most for your money.  Layaway is a nice option if you don't have an unlimited amount of cash to spend all at once.  As is the same with a wedding gown, formal wear can be placed on layaway with a small deposit and reasonable monthly payments.  But, what if you can't find the perfect dress in your local formal wear store?  Thanks to the internet, that's no longer a problem.  Stores nationwide have websites and you can find a listing of dealers at any designer's website.  If the stores do not have websites, there will be a telephone number to call.


Before ordering formal wear for the wedding party, schedule a local fitting.  Measurements should be taken of each member of the wedding party so that you will know what size dress to order.  Once you have this information for each individual, call a dress shop that carries your favorite design and ask about layaway.  Even if they are in another state, you should be able to mail your payments in without any problem.  Once the account is paid in full, the dresses will be shipped.  In order to give you enough time to make comfortable payments, try to make the arrangements at least six months before you will need the shipment.


Formal wear for the groom and groomsmen consist of a tailored suit or tuxedo.  There are various styles and colors, so be sure to choose a style that coordinates.  The gentlemen, including the groom and his wedding party, should have a local fitting as well.  The same layaway options should be available for suits and tuxedos, but the majority of these can also be rented at a very reasonable price.  If you decide to go with the rental option, the fitting is still required to ensure the proper garment is chosen.  Classic black is the style most grooms choose for their wedding, but alternate colors may include navy blue or white. 


Formal wear is an important part of the wedding because it is generally chosen to coordinate with the wedding colors.  If a Valentine's Day wedding is planned, perhaps the bride's wedding party would wear a very tasteful red gown to coordinate with the colors of the holiday.  The flowers, which are carried in the wedding party, are generally tailored to match the color scheme as well. 


When selecting formal wear for a wedding, don't forget about Mom!  She will likely want to be dolled up for the big day, as well.  Mom's like to be involved in the planning and selection of the colors, so don't forget to ask for advice on colors and flower selection.

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If you've ever heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, then you will know why having all of those special wedding moments captured in photography is so important.  A wedding is one of the most treasured events in a couple's life and can be preserved for years to come with quality photographs. 


It's a good idea to pass around a  small disposable camera to all of your family and friends, which will allow them to snap their favorite moments.  A photographer cannot be everywhere, so allow your guests to provide you with special memories through their eyes.  At the end of the day, collect the cameras and develop them at a local photo center.


Even with photos taken by your wedding guests, the bride and groom will probably want professional portraits for their frame at home, as well as for their memory book.  Once the wedding is over, the only recorded memories will be those captured in photography or on video.


When selecting a photographer, the bride and groom should both meet with the studio and discuss the ceremony.  It is important for both to be comfortable with the photographer as he/she will be responsible for capturing one of the happiest moments in your life.  It's also important that the photographer understand the theme of the wedding, as well as be informed of the location, date and time.


If you already have a professional photographer that you are comfortable with, that's perfect.  If not, ask for referrals from friends, family members and/or co-workers.  Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and can often save from wondering about the quality of the photography. 


Many professional photographers, especially the good ones, book up early.  Most couples plan their wedding for months, so getting in touch ahead of time will help to ensure that your special day gets captured on film by the photographer of your choice.  Once all of the details are decided, ask for a signed contract.  Read everything carefully before signing and be sure to ask about cancellation policies, rescheduling or other unforeseen event.


When the photographer arrives on scene to begin taking photographs, don't be alarmed if he/she does not show up with a large crew.  Perhaps they will be carrying a single digital camera, which is becoming more and more popular among modern photography.  Many professionals have given up their darkroom and have since gone digital.  This allows instant approval of photos and ordering of prints.  It saves additional time by not having to wait for proofs to be developed.


After the photos are taken and the wedding is in the past, it isn't likely that you will be provided with the negatives of your wedding photos, but you will receive actual photo prints of the wedding package that was ordered.  It's customary for the photographer to hold onto the negatives for several years incase you want to reorder prints.  A large part of the photographer's revenue will derive from reprints, so they aren't likely to hand the negatives over right away.  Each photographer's policy will be different, but you can ask about purchasing the negatives and when they will be made available. 

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Traveling is always fun, but is especially so when the destination is your own wedding.  There are a variety of travel options, including airplane, commuter train or automotive travel.  Of course, if you're so inclined, there is also travel by way of a cruise line.  More important than how you get there is, ultimately, where you are going. 


Whether you are traveling for your wedding or honeymoon, sit down with your significant other and work out a budget.  Call the tourism center for the area that you will be visiting.  Request brochures, maps and also do some research on the internet.  Almost every hotel and resort or bed & breakfast has a website, which allows you to view the property and rates before making any final decisions.  If they do not have a website, they would certainly accept a phone call and accommodate a brochure request or answer any questions that you may have about their facility and amenities.


If either of the happy couple need to request time off from work, be sure to do so in advance.  You don't want a little thing like scheduling to come between you and the wedding of a lifetime.  The next step is to decide how long you wish to stay.  Many places offer getaway packages at a terrific deal, but you need to know the length of stay and exact departure and arrival dates.  For example, if you are traveling for a wedding and honeymoon combination, you will want to leave in plenty of time to get settled in before the wedding ceremony and plan to stay long enough to enjoy a nice honeymoon.  On the other hand, if you are having the ceremony at home and are planning to travel for the honeymoon, when will you leave?  Do you plan to leave on your wedding night or wait until the next morning?  For various reasons, some people even take a honeymoon weeks or months after their actual ceremony.  It may not be traditional but, for reasons of both time and expense, it's sometimes the only option for many couples.


If you're still not sure where to go, consider speaking with a travel agent.  They are in the business to help you get where you need to be and nobody knows travel better than they do.  In addition, a travel agent may have ideas that the two of you may have never even considered.  Perhaps you've thought of a few places that interest you, but does it have everything that a wedding or honeymoon spot should have? 


If you are traveling abroad, you may need to acquire a visa and/or passport.  Some areas, which may not require these documents, may require a valid driver's license as proof of identity and residency.  For this reason, not to mention it's the law, make sure that your driver's license is up to date. 


Once your plans are set and your destination decided, order a travel planner and find out about all of the things to see and do, places to visit and special deals for honeymooners.  Unless you plan to take a taxi, check out the local car rental dealers in the area, as well.  And, most importantly - enjoy!


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