Planning a Wedding: Six to Nine Months Before
Less than nine months to go until the big day! These are goals you should be accomplishing before the six month mark before your wedding to stay on track and reduce stress! Be sure to read the previous hub that covers the time after the engagement before starting these tasks.
Select a flower girl and ring bearer
When selecting the little ones that will be involved in your big day you should keep a few things in mind. If the little ones you have in mind don't do well under pressure than it might be best to find someone else. There's nothing worse than a bride that must push the flower girl up the aisle in front of her or a ring bearer who throws a temper tantrum as soon as he sees all the guests.
Also keep in mind that these children will need to be able to take directions from your coordinator. If they can't do that then you may want to find someone else.
To make the day easier on the children you can allow them to sit in the front row with their parents rather than stand during the ceremony. All they need to do is walk up the aisle and sit during the ceremony and then get up and leave afterwards. You can also skip the pillow to keep it from being a distraction. The ring bearers (ages 3 and 4) in my wedding just held hands and walked down the aisle and then sat with their parents until the ceremony was over.
Reserve wedding night bridal suite
Where are the two of you going to spend your first night as a married couple? Be sure everything is arranged and ready so at the end of a very long wedding day you two can relax and enjoy the evening.
Our wedding was held at a Bed and Breakfast so we simply booked the honeymoon sweet and stayed the night at the venue. This saved us so much hassle since we literally spent all day in the same location.
Select wedding day attire for bridesmaids and flower girl
When selecting the attire of the women in you party be sure to remember the time of year and where the ceremony will be held. Will it be on the beach during the summer? Then perhaps shorter dresses with a light fabric would be best. Or will your ceremony be during the fall in a local park? Then longer dresses with a shawl or wrap may be what your bridal party may need.
Be considerate of your bridesmaids, let them have some options when it comes to their dresses. Not all styles and cuts that dresses come in are flattering for everyone, allow some flexibility to make everyone comfortable. A common trend is to choose the color of the gowns and the length but allow the bridesmaids to choose the style themselves. I went with my girls to a nearby shop and had them try things on and vote. They all wore the same dress in the same color but as I said this doesn't need to always happen.
Select and book caterer
One of the most important choices you will make is who will cook the meal for your reception. The meal you provide for your guests will set the tone for the evening. Be sure to know what type of reception you want to have before you select a caterer.
Do you want something low-key and simple? Then perhaps selecting regional comfort foods, or even your favorite foods to serve your guests would be ideal. Mini corn dogs and mac and cheese seem to be among top choices for these types of gatherings.
Are you thinking something fancier for a reception? We had a choice of steak with a wine sauce or chicken stuffed with a cheese sauce.
Remember these tips when selecting a caterer:
1) Try their food! I know this seems obvious but before you book them try their food. Just because someone says they are good doesn't mean they will be what you want for your wedding. If it's possible try something that may be similar to what you would like to serve at your reception.
2) Know what you are paying for. Are deserts and the cake included? Is there a cake cutting fee?
3) Read the contract before you sign! Don't just fall in love with their food and sign because you want them to cook for your guests. Read and discuss the contract with the vendor. Ask questions and clarify things before you sign. After you sign they may be less willing to negotiate details.
Select and book ceremony musicians
Selecting ceremony musicians may be one of the easiest tasks you have ahead of you. Most people know what they want to hear when they walk down the aisle. Is it a piano, organ, or something more unique? Again here you must ask yourself what type of wedding you would like to have.
For our mid-afternoon garden wedding we had a bagpiper, a harpist, and a tin flute to play during our ceremony. While guests were being seated the harp and tin flute played softly in the background. The piper played when the men came into the ceremony and then a harpist and tin flute played while the women entered. After the ceremony was complete the piper played again and we all left the ceremony site.
Also remember to see and hear your musicians before you choose them. Many musicians can send you samplers so you can hear what they sound like. Know what you are paying for and make sure it adds to the day instead of taking from it!
Select and book reception music/entertainment
After the ceremony everyone will gather for the reception to celebrate the new marriage. What type of festivities do you see on your big day? You can choose many options for the reception a DJ, a live band, or some sort of entertainment. Each of these has their own benefits but again be sure to see and hear them before you sign anything. A great review on a wedding website doesn't mean they will be perfect for you and your guests.
Our wedding had a small number of guests and many of them were older so we didn't have music and dancing for our reception. Instead we hired dancers that would represent the various nationalities that we were descended from. We had Scottish, Irish, and German dancers that each performed about 15-20 minutes each. It turned out beautifully and guests still comment on how they had never been to such a fun reception before.
Select and book a photographer
Selecting the perfect photographer for your wedding day is a very important choice and should not be taken lightly. The person who is taking the pictures on your wedding day is responsible for capturing the moments that you will be able to relive every time you look at your wedding album. You want to be sure to have someone that knows what they are doing and avoid someone who just does this as a hobby.
Tips for selecting a photographer:
1) Ask to see an album of their work. Any good photographer will have this available to show potential clients. In this day and age they will even have a website with a gallery to showcase their work. A photographer who can not show you anything is probably hiding something or not as experienced as they would like to have you think.
2) Be sure you meet the photographer to make sure they will make you comfortable on your wedding day. This can be done by arranging to have them take your engagement pictures. This way you can work with them and see what types of pictures they produce before booking them for the wedding. Many photographers offer discounts if you do an engagement shoot and then book them for a wedding so be sure to ask about this and any other discounts they may offer.
Select and book a florist
Having a good florist that is willing to work with you is essential. They need to be willing and able to work within your budget and be able to get the look you want. No two florists are alike, they all have a different way of doing things. Think of your florist as an artist who will be setting the mood for your ceremony and reception.
When we looked for a florist we wanted someone close so we could meet with them as many times as was needed. We also wanted someone who would be as excited about our Scottish themed wedding as we were. We were very fortunate to find a florist that was Scottish herself and was thrilled to bring a bit of the highlands to our Bucks County wedding. She knew Scottish lore and worked in the white heather and thistle into our floral arrangements. We ordered some Gunn clan tartan ribbon to be worked into the arrangements as well. She did this all happily, cheerfully and most importantly within our budget!
Tips to Choosing a Florist:
1) When you meet with them be sure to bring pictures of floral arrangements you like, your favorite flowers you want included, and the colors of your bridesmaid dresses. This will give your florist a good idea of what you want and they will be able to give you a quote for the price.
2) Look through the albums of what they have done in the past. If they don't have an album move on. Anyone in an artistic field that isn't willing to show off their work isn't worth the risk of hiring them to work on your wedding.
3) Shop around. There is no reason you can't compare the price you get at one florist with other nearby. If you really liked one florist but their quote was higher than others then try calling them and negotiating the price.
4) See if they are willing to work in live plants if possible. By using live plants you will have something to keep at the end of your wedding, since in most cases bouquets and center pieces die shortly after the wedding. We had about two dozen live hydrangea plants to decorate the ceremony and cocktail hour areas. We now have those plants in our gardens at our house. Now every spring I will be able to enjoy my wedding flowers!
5) See if they will help you to select flowers that are in season. If you have your heart set on a spring wedding then you should consider using flowers that bloom in the spring and the same goes for weddings that will be in the summer or fall. You will pay more to get flowers that are out of season as the florist will have to have them shipped in from farther away rather than a local nursery or greenhouse. Your florist should be able to give you a good idea of what flowers will be easy to get, and therefore lower the price, during the season you have selected to have your wedding in.
I hope you have found this informational. You now have several tasks to focus on for the next few months. Also be sure to check out my hub on planning a Scottish themed wedding.
© 2011 Aimee