Where to start planning your wedding

Photo By Larry Dalton

Planning your wedding starts with you and the decisions you need to make from the beginning. As frustrating as that can be, a basic plan can make the process much easier and help you keep on track. It will also help you when it comes time to compromise with everyone involved in planning your wedding.

The first thing you need to do is to write down your idea of your perfect wedding. If money were no object, what would happen? Where would your wedding be held? What do the flowers look like, who do you want to invite, what does your gown look like and what will the photos be like afterward? Think of your music (at the ceremony as well as the reception), the person performing the ceremony, the food served at the reception.

Now, go through your list and mark what you have to have as a part of your wedding. If you cannot imagine having a wedding without it, mark it. Do not think about how much it is going to cost.

Keeping this in mind, set a budget for your wedding. After you figure what your available funds will be, you need to ask both sets of parents what amount, if any, they are willing to contribute. Share your list with everyone involved with planning your wedding. This will give them a clear idea of what is important to you.

Once you have a budget, you can decide how much to spend on each aspect of your wedding, determined on where it ranks on your “must have” list.

The next step is to determine if you need outside help with your wedding plans. There are two factors to consider – how tight is your budget and how busy are you? A consultant knows which service providers charge what and knows where to find the discounts. A consultant is also going to save you hours of legwork and phone calling.

Whether you hire a consultant or not, you need to attend every bridal show that you can. This is where you will find the wedding professionals who want your business. It is your chance to speak with them, ask questions, get information and get a feel for what they offer. Bridal shows are also where you find out how much the going rates are for products and services.

There are also books and magazines specifically designed for brides. The national publications are great for getting ideas, but the local magazines and planners are best for finding products and services you will use. Just as with bridal shows, the advertisers in the publications are the wedding professionals most interested in your business.

Of course, the internet is extremely helpful, as you can use it at anytime to find resources.

Throughout your planning process, as you attend shows, speak with professionals and leaf through the publications, keep your list close at hand. In all of the excitement of seeing what your choices are, a reminder of what you want your wedding to be will keep you focused.

—Julia Markel
V.P. of the Association for Wedding Professionals, International

Sacramento Area Bridal Shows - Spring Season

Sterling Hotel Wedding Fair
January 10, 2004
Sterling Hotel & Vizcaya

The Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show
February 1, 2004
Holiday Inn Northeast

Bridal Expo
February 21-22,
2004 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights

The Dream Wedding Show
March 14, 2004
Cal Expo

For a more comprehensive list of bridal shows in Northern California, go online to afwpi.com.

Sacramento Area Publications

JR Publications

Modern Bride, Northern California

The Perfect Wedding Guide

Sacramento Bride & Groom Magazine

Sacramento News & Review

Today’s Bride

The Wedding & Special Event Yellow Pages
415 282 0707

Northern California WeddingPages

Consultant Listings

Association for Wedding Professionals, International

June Weddings, Inc.

Weddings Beautiful