Checklist for Things You Need for a Wedding

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An engagement conjures up images of a happy couple flipping through the pages of bridal magazines, walking through possible venues and generally enjoying time with one another while planning their big day. Planning a wedding is a one-of-a-kind experience; it requires enough time and patience to avoid last minute frustrations and errors.

Booking Vendors, Photographers and the Officiant

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For your wedding, a florist, photographer, caterer, entertainment and an officiant are needed, unless the venue provides catering. Browse the different types of flowers that are in season about six months in advance. Meet with photographers to browse through their previous work. Keep contact information on hand when deciding who to hire. At least a week before the wedding, take the photographer with you to the venue to decide on ideal areas for photos. For entertainment, make a list of songs you want played as well as songs to avoid. For certain parts of the event, such as the ceremony dinner or to kick-off dancing, specify which song you want placed. Finally, book your officiant.

Early Planning

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Planning a wedding is likely a thrilling experience for any bride-to-be. Unfortunately, however, the process is not exactly cut and dry. Putting together such a special event requires advance planning to prevent unnecessary rushing and stress in the months prior. Put together a binder filled with inspiration from magazines and books focusing on weddings, fashion, food options and decor for the ceremony and reception.

Choose the wedding party and write who's invited to the event. Headcounts are important when planning a wedding so that you may have enough space, seating, food and favors. Create your wedding budget based the headcount and you and your significant others' contributions as well as the contributions of both families. Although it's tough, reducing the headcount is a simple way to cut costs.

What to Purchase

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At least nine months prior to the wedding, purchase a dress. Dress shopping at least one year before the ceremony to ensure that can attend fittings and have your dress tailored to your needs. A veil can wait and may be purchased at least four months prior to the wedding. If you have guests coming in from out of town, reserve hotel rooms. Invitations should be purchased at least eight months prior and sent out eight weeks before the ceremony, but "save-the-date" cards should be sent six months in advance. While addressing the invitations, tell guests to RSVP at least three weeks before the date. Purchase shoes and begin dress fittings 5 months in advance. Schedule your hair and make-up appointments 5 months in advance. Lastly, purchase your rings in advance to change sizes or have them engraved.

For the Venue

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After booking the venue, take a stroll through the area and visualize how you want it to look on your wedding day. This gives you an idea of what type of decorations and flowers you need. Decide how many tables, chairs, lighting components and portable toilets you'll require for your guests, if needed. Arrange transportation for yourself and guests. Reserve the venue for your rehearsal dinner and finalize cost and menu options.

Emergency Checklist

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Organize a wedding day emergency kit just in case something goes wrong. For attire, include static guard, needle and thread, instant stain remover, chalk or white-out for dress stains, shoe polish, black marker for groom and groomsmen (if they scuff their shoes), green floral tape (for bouquet mishaps), hair spray, boutonniere and corsage pins, crochet hook, flats or flip-flops (for dancing at the reception in comfortable footwear), lint remover, fashion tape, masking tape and safety pins. Beauty needs should consist of nail polish (clear and colored), nail glue, file, mirror, comb, curling iron, portable hair dryer, brush, hair pins, bobby-pins, baby wipes, blotting sheets (for sweat and shine), baby powder (oily hair), make-up kit, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, mouth wash, perfume and a moisturizer. First-aid needs consist of band-aids, scissors, tweezers, aspirin, anti-inflammatory, acid relief and alcohol swabs. Extra items you may need include an energy drink, cell phone, insect repellent (for outdoor weddings), hand sanitizer, tissues, sanitary needs, a light snack and bottled water.