Planning a wedding is very exciting and challenging at the same time. You need to submit documents to the registry office on time, choose the most beautiful dress and the best photographer, make a fiery party for friends and family and do not forget to have fun yourself. We figure out how to independently organize a wedding and take everything into account.

How long does it take to prepare for a wedding

Masha Shilova-Maryagina

Wedding planner

If the wedding does not imply a serious observance of traditions and national characteristics, and the young people do not have special requirements for decor and clothing, you can meet within a month. A light buffet, a good DJ and presenter is enough. Get a relaxed wedding party.

To organize a more traditional holiday, it will take four to six months. During this time, you can carefully choose a venue for the wedding, organize the arrival of guests from other cities and countries, think over the images of the bride and groom to the smallest detail, conduct a trial photo shoot, and make a unique decor.

If the wedding is scheduled for the “hot” season – from May to October, it is better to start preparing about a year before the celebration. So you will have time to choose the best wedding specialists and take a good platform. Banquet halls near the water and parks are usually in demand.

How to plan a wedding

Think about the concept of the holiday

If you want a holiday with friends and relatives, you need to think about how exactly you will celebrate the celebration. There are several formats.

Classic banquet. Many guests are usually invited to the banquet. They sit at tables lavishly laden with treats. In the center of the hall there is a place for the dance floor. Guests are seated so that they can see the impromptu stage. So they can participate in the holiday program or just watch it. This is the most popular way to celebrate a wedding. The disadvantage of a classic banquet is that it is expensive.

Buffet. A compromise banquet format that allows you to save a little. All treats are put on the common table. Each guest, on their own or with the help of waiters, serves their favorite dish. Guests can sit at tables or walk around the banquet hall. This format is good for mixed companies. Guests of respectable age can habitually spend the evening at the table. And the youth – to have a quick bite and have fun.

buffet. This format does not include solid food, only drinks and snacks. There are no tables either. Guests move freely around the banquet space, gather in groups and communicate. The buffet table will help to accommodate many guests in a small room. But keep in mind that it is quite difficult to organize a classic entertainment program in the buffet format.

Cocktail. Relaxed and usually time-limited reception. After registration, guests are invited to congratulate the newlyweds and drink a glass. Light snacks are usually served with drinks. They are carried by waiters or put on a serving table. You can have a cocktail during the day, and in the evening arrange a chamber celebration for your loved ones or go on a honeymoon trip.

Chamber wedding. A small holiday for a narrow circle of guests. It can be held in a restaurant, in an open area and even at home. Usually, a host and a DJ are not invited to a chamber wedding. The feature of such a wedding is in warm, easy communication.

Select date

The more popular the day, the higher the demand for banquet halls and wedding specialists. Special excitement is caused by “beautiful” dates. Therefore, it is worth considering that a wedding on Valentine’s Day is symbolic, but at the same time more difficult to organize.

Having decided on the date, you need to submit documents for registration. This can be done in person at the registry office or MFC or online through the public services portal. The application is submitted at least one month and maximum one year before the wedding day. If the date is popular, it is better not to delay and take time in advance.

Solemn registrations are usually held on Fridays and Saturdays. The rest of the week you can just sign. Sometimes newlyweds register their marriage on weekdays, and to celebrate the wedding they arrange a beautiful, but not real, exit registration.

Create a wedding budget

It is important to decide in advance on the amount that you are willing to spend on organizing a wedding. And based on it, plan the budget. The main items of wedding expenses:

  • banquet;

  • bride and groom clothes;

  • photographer and videographer;

  • wedding procession;

  • decor;

  • other little things (invitations, souvenirs for guests, etc.).

Usually the most significant item of expenditure is a banquet. It takes about 40% of the budget. Therefore, it is better to start planning with him. Costs will depend on the chosen venue, the number of guests and the format of the wedding. For example, a buffet table involves only snacks and light alcohol, and therefore will be cheaper.

However, an individual wedding budget may differ from the traditional one. For example, for one bride, the most significant item of expenditure may be a designer wedding dress, while another will choose an outfit from the mass market. Or newlyweds can invite a famous and expensive photographer and save on a banquet, decor or entertainment for this. One way or another, it is important to immediately paint the planned costs at least approximately. And lay about 5% of the budget for contingencies.

How to start preparing for your wedding

Book a venue

To make an informed decision, visit several places. Make a comparative table with the pros and cons of each site. Remember that in addition to traditional restaurants and banquet halls, you can consider loft spaces, art galleries and photo studios, which are often rented out for events.

What to look for:

Hall location. It is good if the gathering place of the bride and groom, the registry office and the place of celebration are not far from each other. You will be less dependent on traffic jams and will not spend extra money on a wedding procession. If you expect a lot of visiting guests, pay attention to the restaurants at the hotels. There they can spend the night.

The capacity and layout of the banquet hall. It’s good when the spacious dance floor is visible from anywhere in the hall. Please note if the restaurant has adjoining party rooms. Guests from a nearby party may disturb you.

Expenses. Immediately find out the cost of the banquet, the size of the corkage fee (surcharge for the opportunity to bring your own alcohol) and other additional services. Specify when you need to report the exact number of guests. And does the institution recalculate if there are fewer guests.

invite guests

It is better to invite guests in advance – for example, a couple of months before the celebration. This is especially important if you are expecting friends and relatives from other cities and countries. They will have time to plan their trip, apply for visas and buy tickets.

If you have not yet decided on the place and time of the holiday, you can send invitations in the European manner Save the date – “Write down the date”. And closer to the celebration to clarify the details.

Invitations can be traditional paper ones. But keep in mind that this is additional money and time for sending. You can go modern (and greener!) and make digital invitations. It can be not only a postcard, but also a one-page site with a feedback form or a short video. In the invitation, indicate the date, time and place of the holiday, as well as the format of the party. This will help guests plan the day and choose the right clothes and shoes for the occasion.

Think about the image of the bride and groom

As a rule, the outfits of the bride and groom are combined in color and style. This makes wedding shots and the overall look more harmonious. For example, the groom’s boutonniere may echo the bride’s bouquet. Or the man’s tie and the girl’s jewelry are in the same color. There are also more unusual options. For example, the same bright-colored sneakers. Or sunglasses of the same model. Do not forget to take into account the shades of white in the outfits of the bride and groom (if any). The groom’s off-white shirt can visually clash with an ivory dress.

A couple of weeks before the wedding, you can invite a hairdresser and makeup artist to “try on” hair and makeup. So there will be time to correct the shortcomings. And less to worry about on your wedding day.

It is better not to do new beauty procedures – skin cleaning, epilation or teeth whitening – before the wedding. The skin can react with irritation, and instead of a fresh look, you will get additional problems. Habitual care procedures can be prescribed a couple of weeks before the celebration.

The groom, too, can tidy up. It is better to cut your hair five to seven days before the wedding. For a couple of days – to do a manicure. And men with long hair can sign up for styling on their wedding day.

Choose a photographer and videographer

Masha Shilova-Maryagina

The most reliable way to select good specialists is to rely on word of mouth. If you liked the pictures from your friends wedding, ask them about the photographer. Find out if they were comfortable on their wedding day and if they are happy with the result. Ask to see the entire photo shoot, not the top five social media photos.

The second way to find good specialists is to subscribe to social networks of wedding planners. They often post photos of events and tag photographers, videographers, and even the bride and groom on them. If you liked the work, you can write to the newlyweds and find out their impressions.

The third option is to explore popular wedding portals. As a rule, you can find honest ratings and truthful reviews on them. After collecting the information, you can write to the photographer or videographer and discuss cooperation.

It’s a good idea to do a test shoot before the wedding. So you get to know the specialist personally. Find out if you feel comfortable talking. And you will have time to change the photographer if you don’t like the pictures.

It is necessary to sign a contract with the chosen photographer. It should indicate the rights and obligations of the specialist and clients, as well as the timing of the order.

Think over a treat

Prepare food for the day. If the holiday is going to be long, one banquet will not work. You need to think over snacks for the newlyweds and guests. For a long walk, it is better to take food that does not spoil for a long time. Suitable, for example, fresh fruit and cheese. It’s a good idea to put food in a cooler bag. Do not forget to bring not only traditional champagne, but also water.

Take care of guests with special needs. Perhaps among the guests there are vegetarians and people with allergies. It is necessary to try so that everyone finds a suitable dish for themselves. Plan at least one vegetarian main course and a few appetizers. For allergy sufferers, you can prepare a menu with information about all the ingredients used in a particular dish. That way they can choose a safe treat.

If there are many children at the wedding, you can make a separate children’s menu. As a rule, children are happy to eat simple meals. For example, cutlets with potatoes or chicken with pasta. Another win-win option is fast food.

Feed contractors. A photographer, videographer, host and other wedding specialists will spend several hours with you and, of course, get hungry. Don’t forget to feed them. It will be sad if the operator misses the most memorable moment of the banquet, because he ordered a pizza for himself to eat.

Organize entertainment

The traditional minimum is a presenter and a DJ. There is no upper limit here. If the budget allows, you can invite a cover band, dancers, magicians, cartoonists who will draw portraits of guests.

However, you can also save money and do it yourself. A working idea is to ask close friends to prepare small numbers or contests. The newlyweds can also prepare some surprises for the guests. For example, learn a spectacular “first dance”, make a funny slideshow with your childhood pictures, or come up with a quiz with witty questions about everyone present. This will make the wedding memorable and very personal.

Masha Shilova-Maryagina

There are three pillars on which a successful wedding rests.

1. Lead. The atmosphere of the holiday depends on it. If you save money and choose a random person for this role, the wedding can turn out to be boring, not funny, defiant. An experienced presenter, on the contrary, will unite the guests, will not forget to give the floor to his cousin and beloved grandmother, will joke in time and easily gather everyone on the dance floor.

2. Photographer and videographer. Photos and videos are what will remain in memory. It will be a shame to invest a lot of time and effort into the wedding image and the decor of the hall, and after the holiday to find out that the photographer’s battery has run out and the operator has lost his flash drive.

3. Technical support. Even the most cheerful presenter and incendiary DJ will not be able to work normally if the microphone is phoning and the music is turned off at the most inopportune moment. Therefore, special attention should be paid to high-quality equipment. It can be rented for the wedding day.

Last little things in preparation

Prepare for weather surprises

Think ahead about what you will do if the weather gets bad. Choose a beautiful umbrella for a photo shoot. Schedule shooting not only outdoors, but also indoors – in a photo studio, in a coffee shop or in a museum. If the banquet or offsite registration is planned outdoors, come up with a backup plan in case of bad weather.

Collect a cosmetic bag with everything you need

During the wedding day, minor troubles can occur that easily spoil the mood. The nail broke, the head ached, the stocking was torn in the most visible place. To avoid this, put in your purse:

  • the documents;

  • money;

  • lip gloss, powder, matting wipes;

  • dry and wet wipes;

  • nail file;

  • headache tablets;

  • patch;

  • spare tights or stockings;

  • charged mobile phone and power supply.

Think about the end of the holiday

When the bride and groom leave, the celebration does not end. You need to pay off the restaurant, collect the remaining treats and alcohol, follow the dismantling of the scenery. This needs to be thought out in advance. You can ask some of your friends or relatives to take over these questions. Or arrange with the restaurant that you yourself will come the next day.