If this is your first time getting married and you’re wondering how you’re going to pull this off alone, don’t worry! We’re going to give you some simple tips about traditionally who does what at your wedding and will give you a place to start when thinking about how you want to plan out your special day.
Don’t stress – this is supposed to be a fun time! You have all kinds of tools at your fingertips; you just need to know where to look. There are several steps you can take to start with when planning a wedding for the first time. Here are our recommendations:
You’ve probably had an idea of what you want your wedding to look and feel like, so make a list of things you want to have (like your favorite flowers, chocolate fountain, live music). Consider the feelings you want to convey – will your day have an elegant, soft, and flowy feel to it, or will it be bright, sassy, and themed? Daytime or nighttime ceremony and reception? Don’t be afraid to write down everything you’ve ever wanted at your wedding. It’s not to say that you’ll use all of these ideas, but at this stage, no idea is a bad idea if it’s what you want.
The next thing you can do is talk to a few married people you know. You probably have friends and family members who are married and had weddings, so write up a list of questions and give them a call. Find out what went well, what didn’t go well, and if they have any recommendations for you on your big day. Write down all suggestions that resonate with you, even if you may not use the idea.
Think about all of the weddings you’ve ever been to and make a list of things you liked, didn’t like, and your “must-have’s.” Things like the flow of the crowd, the first dance, and how the cake is cut and served.
Consider the little personal touches that you want to include, like a photo wall of each of you growing up, then when you met and now your lives together, or leaving a handwritten note on the bottom of your fiance’s shoe, or a personalized invitation. Do your research to find out the personal touches you can add to your wedding day and list your favorite ideas.
Use online resources! There are hundreds of wedding websites that offer lots of ideas in pictures for you to research. See what ideas you find that are fresh or traditional and must be included. Do a search on wedding traditions, and you’ll find lists of ideas that you can (or not) incorporate into your wedding day.
Once you’ve done all your research, you and your partner can go through all of the information you’ve found and put together the day you want for your ceremony. This will act as your guide to the elements you need to put together for your wedding day. Once you have this, your timeline can be put together.
You’re not alone! There are probably lots of people in your life who are more than happy to help you with the planning of your wedding celebration. Once you’ve done all the steps above, you’ll know what you need help with, so the next step is to make a list of all those that are willing to help you.
Here is a list of tasks that traditionally a variety of people can help you with for your wedding:
Maid of Honor: Your Maid of Honor will help you pick out your dress and the dress(es) of your bridesmaids and help you research which vendors to use. She can also be a witness and sign your marriage certificate, research a cake vendor, and give a toast at the reception.
Best Man: Traditionally, he plans the bachelor party. Your Best Man can also make sure that all your wedding gifts make it home with you, be a witness and sign your marriage certificate, and give a toast at the wedding reception.
Bridesmaids: Plan bachelorette party, help with the party favors, attend all pre-wedding events and festivities, and help decorate the wedding car.
Groomsmen: Plan the bachelor party, attend all pre-wedding events and celebrations, help decorate the wedding car, and assist in seating your guests at the ceremony.
Parents: Walks the bride down the aisle, assist you with any pre-wedding tasks you need help with, and share a father-daughter/mother-son dance. Traditionally, they also pay for the wedding, though these days, this last one has changed a bit.
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer: tossing flowers down the aisle before the bride and carry the rings on a pillow after the groom.
Establish Your Wedding Timeline
Establishing a timeline can be a lifesaver! It’s a simple way to keep track of the many elements that will go into the planning of your day. Once you have decided on what your day will include, you can make a list of things that need to be done and when they need to be done to be ready in time.
One of the most important things to do first and foremost is book a venue! A lot of wedding venue locations will be booked six to eight months out and even as much as a year or more out. Unless you’re planning your wedding for an “off day” (Monday through Thursday), this is one of the very first pieces you need to secure.
Once this is done, all the rest can fall into place. When looking at various venues, make sure they have the right feeling for you, they offer the right level of customer service and that there is ample parking. The last thing you want is for your guests to have to search for parking and then hoof it to your ceremony site in their most elegant attire. You don’t want your guests to be stressed out when they arrive, and making sure there is plenty of parking will help them get right into your special day with nothing to navigate before they even enter the venue.
Hire Your Wedding Vendors
Next, you’ll need to hire all your vendors, including caterer, officiant, florist, baker, photographer, linens, and music, whether live or a DJ. Some people hire a live musician or two to entertain guests between the wedding and reception when photos are being taken, so be sure you think of every aspect of your special day when making your vendor list.
Once your vendors are secure, focus on the attire for the wedding party and you and your partner. Think about your color scheme and how you want to incorporate those colors.
Will the tablecloths match the wedding party clothes or be an accent color? How will that look with the flowers you’ve chosen? As you can tell, there are many details to think about when putting together your day!
Each vendor will give you a timeline of when they will arrive and when they will leave. Add those times to your timeline, and be sure to keep an eye on how the day will flow. Some venues offer wedding day coordination and help with event planning, like at The Foothills Event Center. We will work with you from the beginning of your planning through the clean up after the event. It will save you so much time and stress if you don’t have to be the point person for all of your vendors.
Remember, this is YOUR day and the last thing you need to be doing is running around making sure that the vendors have what they need and that they all showed up on time! If you have someone that can help orchestrate the day for you and be your point person, that’s a great solution. Some venues will offer wedding coordination and/or planning, so take advantage of those services because on your big day, you’ll want to focus on your partner, your family, and the importance of your day and nothing else.
Ask for Help!
Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, but this is one occasion that people are usually more than happy to lend a hand.
If your wedding favors are going to be something you put together yourself, have a party and invite your friends to come and help you put them together. If you’re making personalized name tags for seating arrangements, have your friends help! It’s a great way to celebrate with your friends and have a little fun getting ready for the wedding.
If you take the time to do your research, make your lists, plan ahead and enlist help, your wedding day will be just what you want it to be, and you’ll be so proud of yourselves for pulling it off!
Amanda assists with all aspects of the Foothills Event Center’s concerts, parties, celebrations, fundraisers, weddings, and other events. She observes our events as they happen, to ensure the clients and event attendees have a seamless event.