Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to Plan a Well-Organized Wedding and Rehearsal

One of the most stressful things--for brides, and for those attending their weddings--is a poorly organized event. Nothing makes the wedding weekend crazier than a bunch of people running around asking each other questions with no answers. This is especially true for DIY brides, but even those with a wedding planner will need to sort out the details. So do yourself, and everyone else, a huge favor and take some time to thoroughly organize your big day with these tips.

Start Early

Regardless of how much time you have to plan, get started early on deciding what you do and do not want included in your wedding ceremony and reception. Think through who will be doing what, how you envision the day transpiring, and what elements are important to you. No one else will know just what you want, and if you leave it up to others to decide, you may end up disappointed and they'll end up stressed.

Do keep in mind that even though you're planning everything out now, things may change, and the day may not go exactly as planned. But, having thought through the specifics in advance will help you relax when your wedding weekend comes.

I know some brides don't care as much about the little details, but do keep in mind that someone will. Whether it's the officiant, your family, or the wedding planner, at some point someone will ask what you want. Help out those involved in your big day and plan those details. This will save them from the stress of wondering, "What does the bride want?" Plus, it will help cut down on the questions you will have to answer.

Map it Out

As you begin your early planning process, start a document on your computer or tablet where you can type up your plans. As you determine details and specifics, map out where they fall, both in the timeline of the weekend and in terms of responsibility. It will help you worry less as you'll have the details in writing, and it will help you distribute responsibilities among your bridal party, coordinators, and attendants.

Your map should include all the information your bridal party will need--different events and their locations throughout the weekend, pertinent contact information, etc.--as well as a breakdown of responsibilities for the big day--who will direct the bridal party as they walk down the aisle, who will help bustle your dress, who will be responsible for collecting your gifts and cards. It doesn't hurt to be thorough in writing out instructions.

As your wedding weekend gets closer, continue editing your map until it is ready to go. Provide a copy of it to anyone who may need the information, including your officiant, your wedding or ceremony coordinator, your attendants, and your bridal party. You can also give people individualized lists if they don't need all the information.

Rock Your Rehearsal 

The best wedding rehearsals I've been to have been planned out in advance. The really good ones included a printed breakdown of exactly who was doing what and when. You should meet with your officiant (and coordinator if you have one) before the rehearsal to talk through these details. Your officiant or coordinator may prepare and print a breakdown of the rehearsal for you, but if they don't, you can create one yourself.

The breakdown should be like a more detailed version of your wedding program with clear instructions for everyone involved. Make sure to include details for the officiant, ushers, bridal party (including the ring bearer and flower girl), family members, musicians, and anyone else involved. Everyone will need to know when it's their turn to participate, where they need to go, what they need to do, and what song will be playing. Make sure you have enough copies for everyone involved, and a few extra just in case.

Besides giving everyone thorough instructions, the printout will also help when people aren't paying attention (shocker, some people will talk through the instructions). These socialites can refer to the typed document when they realized they missed the part that was for them.

Don't Stress

Once you've finished your map and assigned responsibilities, try to relax. People will most likely still have questions, so don't feel like you failed if that happens. If the answer is on the map, kindly refer them there or direct them to an attendant who can help. This is your day to enjoy, so relax and tell yourself it's time to reap the rewards of all your hard work.

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