The Busy Bride's Essential Wedding Checklists

The Busy Bride's Essential Wedding Checklists

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by Sharon Naylor

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The perfect planning tool for busy brides.See more details below


The perfect planning tool for busy brides.

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DJ or Band? Entertaining
Your Crowd
You might already know whether you want a DJ or a band as your main entertainment for the reception. There are pros and cons to each-such as price package differences, hiring one person vs. hiring twelve and having to feed them as part of your catering bill. There are stylistic differences you may consider, such as the elegance of a twelve-piece orchestra vs. the hip, club-hopping environment provided by a great DJ. But first, think about which other kinds of musicians you might want for your cocktail hour or for other spotlight performances during your reception (and after-party!):
Jazz band
Ethnic musicians
Guitarist (or guitarist duo)
Singer(s)-soloist, a cappella group, Doo Wop group, opera singers, etc.
Where to Find Musicians
You'll find great musicians, bands, and DJs through the usual channels of referrals, but you also could find the ideal performers at the most surprising of locations. Here's where to start your search and collect the business cards of experts you'll audition:
Referrals from recently married friends and family.
Expert referrals from your wedding coordinator and site managers. (They may have a concert pianist on staff!)
Through a professional musician association. (Check out if you're in the New York City area, and look for federations like these in your area.)
Performances at bridal expos and showcases.
Hotel lobbies. (Their pianists, harpists and cellists often work weddings as well.)
Bookstores and cafes. (Guitarists and musicians often make extra money on the side by booking these appearances.)
University performing arts departments or musical academies. (Your wedding would be great for a talented student's resume and portfolio!)
Other (One bride found a terrific guitarist performing in a city park.):

Setting Up Auditions
Once you've narrowed down your list to possible experts who will play on your day, it's time to audition them. They'll come in, set up, and play for you the kinds of songs they'll perform on your wedding day, and you'll get to see them in action-not just for their talent, but for their sense of style and how they would interact with your crowd. Remember, DJs and band leaders can create a great atmosphere with their energy level, how they speak to your group, the way in which they take requests, and their general friendliness. So if that DJ seems to be a pompous, self-important jerk, cross him off your list.
Special Songs to Be Played:
Here is where you'll record any special songs you'd definitely like played at your celebration:
Cocktail hour:
As the wedding party enters the room:
As bride and groom enter the room:
First dance song:
Father-daughter dance song:
Mother-son dance song:
Spotlight dances by request:
During the bouquet toss:
During the garter removal:
During the cake cutting:
As we make our exit:
Additional party songs we love:
For Each Musician You Hire:
Make sure you have a rock-solid contract with all details spelled out. Record when deposits and final payments are due, the exact hours they are to perform, and you can even write into your contract what you want them to wear (as in, tuxedos to match your crowd, all-black outfits, no sequin-studded jackets.)

Bridal Luncheons
and Brunches
Use this worksheet to share your preferences, or to make your own final plans for the party:
Sample Ideas:
Lunch out at a fabulous restaurant, eating al fresco on their garden terrace.
An elegant brunch at a restaurant or hotel, with a lavish buffet spread, free champagne, and a pianist providing the mood music.
Breakfast at home, with bagels and paninis-plus an assortment of fillings and toppings-on the do-it-yourself menu.
Afternoon tea at a restaurant or hotel's well-appointed lobby.
An excursion to a cultural restaurant, such as Thai food, Indian food, Mexican, Japanese, German, etc.

Location website:
Site manager's name:
Site manager's contact info:

Theme or style:
Who's hosting this party:
Dress code:
RSVP date:

Invitation plans:

Invitation send-by date:



Cake or desserts:




Rentals needed?


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