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Emily Post's Wedding Planner for Moms
By Peggy Post
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Peggy Post
All right reserved.
Your Daughter/Son is Engaged!
The Organized Mother
Maybe your child lives in another part of the country and has asked you to lead the wedding planning process on the home front. Or perhaps the couple is spearheading the planning but is looking for your advice and feedback on certain matters. Either way, if you really want to be helpful to the bride and groom, you need to be supportive, empathetic—and organized. The best place to start? In the words of one mother of the bride, "Keep copies of everything." This applies to your own wedding-related duties in particular. In addition, offer to keep a set of backup records for the bride and groom—including copies of the master guest list, contracts, invoices, and contact information for service providers. This way, the couple will know that an extra copy of their key wedding information is just a phone call or an e-mail away.
Top Tips—From Mom to Mom
In putting this planner together, I solicited advice from a number of mothers who weathered their daughter's or son's wedding with grace and aplomb. They shared the following top tips:
- Work with the bride and groom to create a master to-do list, preferably in time sequence. The Master Timeline on page 3 will give you an excellent starting point. In addition, the"Planning at a Glance" checklists throughout this book can help form the basis of your master list.
- Maintain a comprehensive contact list for all service providers, containing the names, phone and fax numbers, and street and e-mail addresses of every person or company you and the couple are working with. As vendors are selected, you can store all of this information conveniently in the Address Book on page 136 at the back of this planner.
- Compile a master wedding guest list of every guest invited to the wedding. A good idea: Create a computer spreadsheet for ease in recording all RSVPs, counting and sorting guests who are attending, and mailing lists to and from the couple. If you are less than computer savvy, your daughter or son might teach you some basics. Or you can compile the list using the "Wedding Guest List" worksheet on page 119.
- Keep copies of guest lists for any wedding parties, including engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaid luncheon, post-wedding late-night party or next-morning brunch. (See page 120 for a "Party Guest List" worksheet that can be copied and used for any wedding-related event.)
- Keep careful records of all shower and wedding gifts, including a full description of each, who gave it, and whether a thank-you note has been sent. (You can use the Wedding Gift Record on page 121 and the Shower Gift Record on page 122.)
- Set up an easily accessible master calendar for entering all wedding-related appointments and events.
- Keep copies of all contracts and invoices along with any pertinent items—such as fabric swatches, photos of gowns, photos of locations, table measurements—in separate file folders or an accordion file folder with multiple pockets.
- Keep notes of all wedding-related phone calls and copies of all wedding-related letters and e-mail received and sent. Print out hard copies of key e-mail correspondence and keep them on hand for quick reference.
- Check off completed "to-do's" as they're accomplished. You'll feel great as you see the number of check marks grow!
- Keep the lines of communication open with the bride and groom by staying in touch on a regular basis.
Mom's Wedding Planner Master Timeline
The following timeline is a summary of virtually everything that needs to get done in the weeks and months leading up to the big day. Each section includes a checklist titled "Just for Moms," containing specific items that you need to be aware of, as well as a "For the Couple" checklist covering the overall wedding planning process. This master timeline will allow you, the couple, and any other interested parties to stay on top of the planning process. (For convenience, you may want to copy this outline and share it with the bride and groom.)
Of course, this timeline is just an estimate. Some couples get engaged and married within just a few months—compressing the planning process into a much shorter time frame. Others take up to two years—or more—to plan their celebration. Each couple's to-do list is unique to their own situation. What you'll find below are the most typical tasks involved in planning a wedding. Note, too, that many couples will ask their mothers to help with various items in the "For Couples" sections. Planning a wedding is the couple's prerogative—but they will be more than glad to know that you stand ready to help!
First Steps: 12 to 24 Months in Advance
Just for Moms
- Send an engagement announcement to the newspapers if desired (this is traditionally done by the parents of the bride).
- Arrange a meeting or, at the very least, a phone call between the two sets of parents; in the past this first contact was traditionally initiated by the parents of the groom, but these days it doesn't matter who calls whom first.
- Discuss the general wedding plans with the couple, including size and division of guest list, budget, and division of expenses.
- Begin thinking about whom you'll want to include in your portion of the guest list.
For the Couple
- Decide on the date and time of the wedding, and send out "save the date" notices if desired.
- Choose the style of the wedding—formal or informal, traditional, theme, destination, civil or religious.
- Determine a budget and discuss the division of expenses with your parents.
- Decide on the size of the guest list and the number of attendants.
- Select an officiant or clergy member to perform the ceremony.
- Choose locations for the ceremony and reception.
- Investigate legal requirements for obtaining a marriage license.
- Select your attendants, both female and male.
- Decide if you want to use a professional wedding consultant; if so, interview and hire the consultant.
- Interview and book wedding professionals, such as the caterer, florist, photographer, videographer, and musicians.
- Research honeymoon options and destinations.
Excerpted from Emily Post's Wedding Planner for Moms by Peggy Post Copyright © 2007 by Peggy Post. Excerpted by permission.
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