It's all in the planning!

Anna Deans and Colin Lee with their bridal party at their wedding, which took place on Anna's...
Anna Deans and Colin Lee with their bridal party at their wedding, which took place on Anna's family's farm at Ettrick last year. LISA HILL PHOTOGRAPHY
Jo and Sam Sharp, of Invercargill, pictured with their wedding party. They were married at...
Jo and Sam Sharp, of Invercargill, pictured with their wedding party. They were married at Grandview Gardens in February. O'NEILL PHOTOGRAPHICS

Whether the wedding will be a large production or a smaller celebration, planning should begin at least 12 months out. By this time the date and place of the wedding will have been decided and what style it will take. It's now time to get serious. At this stage if it all seems just too overwhelming then a professional wedding planner is the answer.

It should be everybody's goal to see that all details are covered for the big day and any disagreements are temporary. A concept which the bride and groom feel comfortable with is what matters most as it is their day, no matter who pays the bills!

In Otago many churches, celebrants, photographers and venues are booked well over a year in advance. With this in mind, the following is a calendar of some of the more important details to attend to:


* Decide on the budget
* Clarify who is paying for what.
* Choose date, place, time and style of wedding and reception.
* Work out a fair estimate of guest numbers.
* Make appointments to see the religious or independent marriage celebrant and book the church or other venue for ceremony.
* Get estimates for reception from function managers or caterers and make a firm booking as soon as possible.
* Choose style of wedding cars and book them.
* Discuss and order wedding cake.
* Choose and book photographer and videographer.
* Choose attendants and begin planning gowns.
* Decide on honeymoon destination and make reservations if applicable.
* Send a ``save-this-date'' note to distant guests


* Book hire of required equipment such as marquee and furniture
* Book accommodation for wedding night.
* Organise wedding music and book musician, band or DJ if needed


* Choose florist.
* Arrange visas and travel documents, if applicable.
* Choose wedding rings.
* Finish guest list and order wedding invitations.
* Arrange a gift registry


* If going overseas for honeymoon, organise passport in married name.
* Send invitations.


* Apply at district court for a marriage licence.
* Choose presents for attendants.
* Record gifts received and write thankyou letters.


* Check that bridegroom and best man have arranged their wedding attire.
* Arrange seating details at reception.
* Visit hairdresser with headdress to discuss wedding-day style.
* Wear-in wedding shoes
* Arrange date of wedding rehearsal at church.


* Confirm numbers to caterer.
* Make final check with photographer and florist.
* Prepare speeches.
* Get honeymoon clothes organised.
* Have going-away car serviced.


* Wrap gifts for attendants.
* Pack for honeymoon and check all final arrangements for this.
* Have wedding rehearsal.


* Check car if this is to be used on the honeymoon.
* Pack going-away clothes.
* Give attendants their presents.


* Have a good breakfast.
* Confirm cake and flowers are ready to go
* Allow plenty of time to dress.
* Relax . . . and go well!

TIP: If the bride and groom are not going to see each other until the ceremony, some arrange to have a note delivered to their partner on the morning of the big day. Nice thought!

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