These days, most brides are working full-time while planning their weddings.
Adding all of the necessary wedding-planning tasks to an already busy life can be a challenge when you’re still responsible for your daily responsibilities on the job. Difficulties might arise when you consider the fact that many wedding vendors might limit their business hours to the very hours you’re supposed to be on the job.
The biggest challenge could easily be to keep from making your co-workers angry. If you’re slacking off on your duties while they’re still working hard, you’ll risk making them feel like you’ve turned into a Bridezilla. An even worse situation would be for your co-workers to take over your accounts, files or clients while you make no effort to do your work, but focus solely on your wedding instead.
On the other hand, some phone calls and appointments must be taken care of during regular business hours. What’s a bride-to-be to do?
1. Be Discreet
If you need to make a phone call to set up an appointment with your baker, florist, caterer or anyone providing services for your wedding, make an effort to do so during your break or at lunchtime. If that’s not possible, shut the door to an office, find a conference room that isn’t being used, or slip outside with your cell phone.
Parcel out your to-do list so that there is less wedding-related work for you to take care of during the work day. Take advantage of the fact that you have a maid of honor and bridesmaids who are very likely anxious and excited to help, and want to see your day turn out splendidly almost as much as you do.
3. Lunch Hour
No doubt, there will be some appointments that won’t bend and must be taken care of while you should be sitting at your desk or taking care of business. For those situations, arrange to take an odd lunch hour. It’s often easier to meet with other professionals mid-morning or mid-afternoon rather than at the very time they, too, expect to take an hour off.
4. Email & Telephone
Handle as much of your wedding-planning as possible via email and telephone prior to making a trip out to meet with the vendors. It’s much easier to conceal the fact that you’re checking your personal email account than it is to hide the fact that you’re away from your desk or out of the office for half of the day. However, it’s a good idea to limit yourself as much as possible to avoid getting caught.
5. Cover Your Tracks
Keep another session open on your computer at the same time and be ready to toggle back-and-forth if there’s a chance you might be caught. Some employers are more lenient than others regarding employees using personal email while at work, so do what you think is best for your situation.
Completely sign out of your personal email account and exit any web sites before stepping away from your computer, even if you’re just stepping away for a moment. Don’t just minimize those wedding web sites – get all the way out of them. Make it a point to frequently delete your computer’s web browsing history file, just in case a ticked-off co-worker decides to investigate to see just how many web sites you’re visiting while on company time.
Better yet, wake up early enough to spend some time checking wedding-related email before you leave for work.
5. Personal Day
If at all possible, take a day off for personal business and get as much done for your wedding as possible. This might take several days of planning before you’re able to take that day off. Line up as many appointments as possible, get up early, and be ready to hit the ground running.
6. Keep it Quiet
Avoid discussing your wedding while on the job. Sure, your co-workers are likely happy for you, but your wedding isn’t as important to them as it is to you. Don’t risk making everyone else think that you’re goofing off while on the clock, while they continue to keep the place running. Another negative possibility from talking about your wedding at work non-stop is the risk of making your co-workers think you’re running wedding headquarters on-the-job when you’re not.
After all, your employer isn’t paying you to plan your wedding, so don’t do anything that might put your career in jeopardy or leave you jobless when you return from your honeymoon.
Used to be, guests would sit in the pews at a wedding with empty hands and no idea about the order of the ceremony, who some of the attendants were, their relationship to the couple, and possibly no clue how to get to the reception site.
Of course, the wedding won’t screech to a halt if some of your guests don’t know how you met your spouse, the sentimental reason you choose Gerbera daisies for your bouquet, what song or scripture is up next, or the fact that your best friend since preschool is your maid of honor.
But wouldn’t it be nice if everyone felt a little closer to you on your wedding day? As a frequent wedding guest, it’s more fun to observe the wedding and finally be able to put faces with the names we’ve heard for so long – the attendants and friends who are standing up with you, the siblings we’ve met briefly but don’t really know very well, members of the family you’re marrying into.
So why not make a wedding program? It’s a great way to keep your guests informed about the day’s events, which means your guests will feel more comfortable and prepared for what’s next. Another benefit of a wedding program is to assist guests who are of a different faith or culture and may not be familiar with the traditions they’re about to be a part of.
Whether your wedding is casual or ultra-formal, a wedding program is a welcome bonus that can be passed out to each guest as they sign the guest book and make their way to their seats before the ceremony.
What might you include in a wedding program?
• Briefly introduce each person in the wedding party. With or without a photo, it’s a nice idea to state the person’s name, their duties for the ceremony, and how you know this person (sister, cousin, lifelong friend, sorority sister, etc.).
• How did you meet your spouse? Not everyone attending your wedding will know, so share the short version of how your love story began.
• How did he propose? Unless it’s too intimate to share, it might be fun to tell everyone how your husband-to-be proposed.
• The order of the ceremony, from the prelude to the recessional with each piece of the ceremony mentioned. This doesn’t mean you should spell out the entire ceremony, word-for-word, like a script. It can be as simple as stating a word or two for each part of the ceremony, such as Prelude, Prayer, Scripture (along with where the verse may be found in the Bible), Reading (and the name of the poem), Solo (along with the name of the song and who will be performing), Exchange of Rings, etc.
• An explanation of any traditions or rituals that will take place during the ceremony or reception. Many Christian denominations, for example, are used to a short, sweet ceremony, and may be surprised with all of the standing up, sitting down, kneeling, communion, and the length of a traditional Catholic wedding mass. Let your guests know what they should expect next.
• Your new address. Let everyone know where they can reach you after the ceremony. Plus they’ll want to update their Christmas card lists!
• A map to the reception. Everyone will appreciate a map or directions from the ceremony to the reception site.
• Special notes of thanks to anyone who has helped you with the wedding, your families, or anyone else who deserves a shout out.
The program itself can be simple or extravagant. If you are a computer whiz, you should be able to whip up an attractive program in no time, or find a graphic designer to handle the project. The front cover is often a photo of the couple, along with their names and the date. If you have had a wedding monogram or logo created, this would be a great spot to use it. Visit your local scrapbook store or stationery store to find interesting paper, and add a tasteful ribbon to hold the pages together.
You chose your bridesmaids because each one is special to you, right? Let each one know how much she means to you by avoiding impersonal, cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all gifts.
Give each person something sentimental that they’ll treasure forever.
Gifts can range from a business card holder with their name engraved to a spa retreat.
Other great choices? How about a picture frame engraved with the date of the wedding (tuck in a photo of the bride and bridesmaid later), a makeup bag or a Mont Blanc pen.
Younger members of the wedding party will be delighted with gift certificates to their favorite toy store. In fact, gift certificates are always a good choice.
Another option is for the bride to foot the bill for the attendants’ jewelry or clothes, or all the little essentials. If you’re going to insist each person look a certain way, provide their special earrings or whatever unifying object you desire.
Traditional attendant gifts aren’t always the best choices. Some girls have become frequent bridesmaids. How many silver plated bobbles does someone really want to have around to polish? Not everyone needs – or wants – an engraved flask, an engraved purse mirror or a silver bookmark.
Take time and think about the personality of each one of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and then purchase something within the same price range for each one of them. The gifts will be more meaningful if each person’s gift is unique to him or her. Wrap them all in the same (or similar) paper, but make each personal.
To make your bridesmaids’ presents even more meaningful, include a handwritten note inside. Give each young lady a jewelry box to complement her bedroom color scheme. Inside, let each find a handwritten note describing your favorite memory of time spent with her and how much you value her friendship.
A week before the wedding, treat your maids to a leisurely lunch at a tearoom or your favorite restaurant. Tell them how much you appreciate them standing up for you, and their willingness to help with pre-wedding tasks. This is the perfect opportunity to give each one their gift.
Or wait until the rehearsal dinner and present their gifts while telling stories of how you met or something you shared in childhood. Just by sharing something special about each attendant with your friends and family, it will help your families get to know your attendants and help your good friends feel accepted into your new family.
By taking just a few extra steps, you can easily ensure that your guests have a memorable time at your wedding reception.
When you arrive at the reception site, let your entire wedding party take their places at the head table. Traditionally, the bride and groom, their parents and attendants sit at a long, lavish table facing the guests. Begin the reception by taking your seats to enjoy some food and then cut the cake. After that, it’s time for the newlyweds and parents to work the room as separate couples.
Move around and see people, giving each guest some personal time. You’ll have the best experience if you and your new husband remain together as you mingle. That way, you can introduce each other to relatives and friends that your spouse may not yet have met. Plus, your guests want to say hello to both of you, not just one of you.
ACCESS TO EVERYONE
Another option, rather than going from table to table, is for you and your new spouse to stand in a spot that’s easily accessible to everyone at the party. For example, you could position yourself on the dance floor or in front of the bridal party table. Don’t block doorways or stand in the corner; this will only create havoc and result in guests missing their opportunity to speak with you.
During dinner, small talk may be less awkward for your guests based on how you have chosen to handle seating arrangements. If you’re allowing guests to choose their own seats, they have the option of sitting next to someone they’re already acquainted with for comfortable conversations, or they can enjoy meeting someone new.
If part of your wedding planning will include toiling for months, creating a floor plan of the room, then be sure to consider personality types and how guests might get along with others, and then meticulously assign them to specific tables.
Keep in mind eight to 10 people can sit comfortably at each table. Just be careful to anticipate guests’ needs – don’t sit Great-Aunt Harriet right next to the DJ’s biggest speakers.
One way to break the ice at your guests’ tables – and add your own personalities to the affair – is to throw away table numbers and name the tables. Give them names with meaning to you and your fiancé. Perhaps the characters from the movie you saw on your first date or landmarks from the alma mater you share.
As you visit with your guests, it’s important is to let them know you’re glad they are a part of the day. These people have come at your invitation, with many of them rescheduling their work and traveling a distance, and it’s your obligation, as hosts, to make sure that they each get their fair share of time.
Before you choose a gown or decide on a menu, there’s one task that you must begin as soon as possible. A well-thought out guest list can save time and money as you plan your wedding.
Many prenuptial arrangements can’t be made and checks can’t be written until you’ve prepared a meticulous guest list. Invitations, postage and deposits for ceremony and reception sites, caterer, baker and rental of tables, chairs, linens and place settings all hinge on the length of your guest list.
Get started on your guest list as soon as the diamond goes on your finger, and refer to it often as the weeks progress.
Start with a mini file box full of index cards or create a spreadsheet. Either way, you’ll be set to stay organized as you receive RSVPs and gifts. Keeping track of the thank you notes you’ve sent will be a breeze if you make notes as you go, plus your efforts will provide a head start on future Christmas card and baby announcement lists.
Keep track of the guests’ names, address, phone number, email address, and number of guests for that address. As they RSVP, everything you need to know will be at your fingertips.
Ready to begin your guest list? It’s easy as A-B-C! An A-B-C list, that is.
The A list is family, the B list is long-term friends of five years or more, and the C list is people you’d like to invite if your budget allows.
As you get along in the planning and it looks like you can only afford 75, cut it at the B list and leave it at that. Move on. Or, as you receive regrets from people on your A and B lists, begin sending invitations to those at the top of your C list. If you’ve planned ahead and mailed your A and B invitations early enough, your C list invitations will arrive in mailboxes with time to spare – and your C list people won’t even realize they were on the C list at all.
How many guests do you anticipate from your side of the family vs. your fiancé and his family? Start out on your road toward marital bliss by deciding early on how you’ll divide the invitations. Should your family send out half and his family the other half? Or maybe you’ll divide the stack of invitations into fourths, keeping a portion for yourself and giving the rest to your fiancé, your parents, and his parents.
How many guests should you expect? Each invitation usually represents two people. However, that doesn’t mean 200 invitations will yield a crowd of 400. Most brides end up with fewer guests than originally expected. There will always be a few guests who send an RSVP but don’t attend for whatever reason.
Will children be welcome at your wedding, or had you hoped for an adults-only affair? The best time to make this decision is while honing your guest list – not when your distant cousin with screaming triplets shows up at the ceremony.
The best way to let guests know whether kids are invited is by writing on the invitation’s inner envelope only the names of those who are invited. Instead of “John, Mary and family,” write “John and Mary.” Whatever you do, don’t state, “No children, please” on the invitation or the envelope.
To make sure certain guests are in attendance, send save-the-date cards. They’ve gained popularity in recent years, and are an especially thoughtful way to provide out-of-town guests plenty of time to schedule time off work and make travel arrangements.
Feeling pressured to invite your entire company? Invite immediate co-workers and those you interact with each day. Others will understand. If necessary, pass the word that the hall only holds so many people.
Bottom line, invite those who will be honored to attend and will consider it a compliment to be part of your day.
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