How to "I Do": Planning the Ultimate Wedding in Six Weekends or Less


You have your prince, the ring, and plenty of time to plan the perfect wedding, right?. . .Wrong!

You and your fiance don't have time for your lives to be dominated by caterers, florists, bands, and photographers. Never fear?whether your wedding is a year away or much sooner, you can plan your dream wedding in six weekends or less! Experienced wedding planners Holly Lefevre and Christine Cudanes plot out ...

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You have your prince, the ring, and plenty of time to plan the perfect wedding, right?. . .Wrong!

You and your fiance don't have time for your lives to be dominated by caterers, florists, bands, and photographers. Never fear—whether your wedding is a year away or much sooner, you can plan your dream wedding in six weekends or less! Experienced wedding planners Holly Lefevre and Christine Cudanes plot out exactly what you need to do and give you:

  • advice on setting priorities and a budget
  • resources from bridal magazines, bridal shows, and the Internet
  • tips on getting help from your family and the wedding party
  • dozens of useful checklists and worksheets.

Weekend 1: The guest list, location, and caterer

Weekend 2: The bridal gown, groom's attire, wedding party's attire, and photographer

Weekend 3: The invitations, florist, wedding cake, officiant, and entertainment

Weekend 4: The gift registry, honeymoon, wedding rings, hotel for the guests, and guests' addresses

Weekend 5: Hair and makeup, outlines for the ceremony and reception, meeting additional vendors, and sending the invitations

Weekend 6: The marriage license, rehearsal dinner, gifts and accessories, and final dress fitting

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060988166
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Edition description: SPIRAL
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 6.87 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Lefevre is president of Everything But The Groom, a wedding and event consulting firm. Her wedding planning advice has been featured in national and regional wedding publications such as Bridal Guide, For the Bride by Demetrios, Southern California Bride, and New York Bride. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband.

Christine Cudanes is a journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for E!, Extra, and Inside Edition. Her wedding planning advice has been featured in national and regional wedding publications such as Bridal Guide, For the Bride by Demetrios, Southern California Bride, and New York Bride. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Organize, Organize, Organize

With an engagement comes a buzz of excitement, a whirlwind of activity, a zeal to jump right into the planning -- but you must not overlook the importance of getting organized! In the weeks and months leading up to your wedding date, it will be easy to get lost among the fabric swatches and menu selections. It is not uncommon for brides to wonder how they will manage it all. The answer is to establish an organizational system early on. Such a system will become your new "best friend," as it will save you time, headaches, and frustration.

There are many ways to keep accurate records and track your planning progress. Outlined in the following chapter are effective organizational methods that are easy to establish and maintain. it is helpful to use a combination of these methods, as each has a different purpose. For example, you should keep permanent records of original contracts and paperwork in the At Home File System, travel with the Wedding Binder, and log appointments and payments on the Calendar.

The Wedding Files

The At-Home File System

Establishing an At-Home File System is one of the first and most important steps in your wedding planning, as this system is used to house the original paperwork and contracts you sign throughout the planning process. It is important to keep these files at home in a safe place, not only for the sake of organization but because you do not want to lose or misplace the original contracts or agreements.

This basic organizational system is more than worth the small amount of time it takes toget it established. Setting up the At-Home File System requires the same equipment you would need for any office filing system: file folders, labels for the folders, and some type of filing unit.

  1. Use the following steps to set up your At-Home File System:

  2. Label the folders by generic categories-locations, photographers, florists, etc.

  3. As you meet with vendors, file their information in the proper category, keeping each vendor's paperwork stapled or paper clipped together.

  4. Once you begin making your final decisions and signing contracts, create individual folders for each of these vendors, and file the folders alphabetically.

  5. Remove the other vendors' information from that section, and create a "rejection" file. Keep the rejections in a separate section of your At-Home File System. Do not throw this information out quite yet, as it may prove helpful down the line.

You may want to include other particulars in your file, but this is a list of the "must haves":

  • Original paperwork or brochures from vendors or from wedding-related products.

  • Your original copy of the signed contract, as well as any supplemental agreements made after the original contract was signed.

  • Any other paperwork the vendor provides you, or you provide them, such as special rules for the reception location.

  • Any special information you would like to share with them, or have passed along to them previously, such as magazine photos of a particular cake, bouquet, etc.

If you will be making most of your wedding planning calls from home, keep a phone log directly on the corresponding folder, or attach a separate sheet inside the folder for this purpose. Include the date, time, and purpose of the call. On the front of the folder, you may also want to list your deposit amount, amount still due, and the due date of subsequent and/or final payments. With this information in place, you can easily keep abreast of the status of your account.

The Calendar

In addition to the At-Home File System, you may want to purchase a large desk calendar. These calendars have plenty of room to write notes and messages under particular dates, and can be used to keep track of appointments, wedding-related activities, and payment due dates. Keep this calendar at home and in easy view so that you are aware of upcoming events, and so your fiance and/or parents can also refer to it.

As you sign contracts and begin making deposits, make note of them on the calendar. Clearly mark when subsequent or final payments are due and when any remaining paperwork must be completed. If you are mailing these payments out, you may also want to note by which date these need to be sent.

Portable Planning

While many vendors will come to your home or place of work for consultations, there are certain aspects of planning that just cannot be accomplished from either of these locations. For example, when choosing a reception location, a personal visit to the site is necessary to determine if it is right for you. In these instances, it is necessary to take your planning on the road. This part of the organizational system is set up to keep you organized and prepared no matter where you may be.

The Wedding Notebook

The first type of Portable Planning system is a notebook. This does not have to be fancy--just a spiral-bound notebook you can buy at a grocery or convenience store. You will want this notebook to have enough pages to take you through your wedding planning. A 6" x 9 1/2" spiral notebook with at least 150 pages works well. A notebook this size can be slipped in your purse or briefcase and taken anywhere.

Use the following steps to set up your notebook:

  1. Mark "WEDDING' clearly on the front cover, or buy one with a brightly colored cover, so you can spot it easily, and it will not get lost in any other paperwork you may have around the house or office.

  2. Buy a notebook with dividers, or attach self-stick removable notes (Post-It Notes) to the pages as makeshift tab dividers. Leave about a 1/2" overhang and write the section name on this part of the note. Label these sections:

  • Calendar

  • Budget

  • Ceremony/Reception Locations

  • Attire

  • Baker

  • Beauty (Hair and Makeup)

  • Bridal Registry

  • Caterer

  • Disc Jockeys/Bands/Entertainment

  • Florists

  • Honeymoon

  • Ideas/Inspirations

  • Jewelers

  • Officiant

  • Photographers

  • Rentals

  • Transportation

  • Videographers

  • Wedding Consultants

  • Miscellaneous Information (Phone Log, Comments)

Each entry in the notebook should begin with the vendor's name, phone number, fax number, and contact person. Leave a blank page or two for each vendor. Use these pages to take notes as you make the initial phone contact. When and if you decide to meet with that vendor, continue with your note taking, and record any additional information the vendor may give you during this meeting.

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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

The Wedding Files
Portable Planning
Wedding Planning With A Computer

The Real Scoop On Bridal Magazines
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
The Internet
Bridal Shows
Wedding Planning And Resource Centers

Set The Date
Wedding Style.....
Money Matters
The Bride And Groom Budget Wish List
Completing The Budget Worksheet

How To Make Wedding Plans At Work Without Getting In Trouble
Do You Need A Wedding Consultant?
The Role Of The Wedding Party
Get A Little Help From Your Groom Family and Friends
.....The Wedding Consultant "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Bride "In Need" Task Sheet
.....Wedding Party Roster: The Bride¹s Entourage
.....Wedding Party Roster: The Groom¹s Entourage
.....Wedding Party Roster: The Additional Members Of The Wedding Party

Hiring Vendors
Protecting Your Investment

Weekend One Checklist
Create A Preliminary Guest List
Secure A Location For The Ceremony
Secure A Location For The Reception
Hire A Caterer
Obtain Additional Rental Equipment
Send Out "Save The Date" Cards
.....The Ceremony Facility "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Reception Facility (on-site catering) "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Reception Facility (off-site catering) "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Catering "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Rental Equipment Checklist
.....The Rental Equipment "Questions To Ask" Worksheet

Weekend Two Checklist
Select The Groom¹s Attire
Outfit The Groom¹s Entourage
Select The Bride¹s Attire
Outfit The Bride¹s Entourage
Hire A Professional Photographer
Hire A Videographer
.....The Groom¹s Attire Worksheet
.....The Groomsmen¹s Attire Worksheet
.....The Bride¹s Attire Worksheet
.....The Bridesmaids¹ Attire Worksheet
.....The Photographer "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Videographer "Questions To Ask" Worksheet

Weekend Three Checklist
Order The Invitations
Hire A Florist
Hire A Baker
Hire The Musical Entertainment
Hire An Officiant
.....The Wedding Invitation Checklist
.....The Stationer "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Florist Checklist
.....The Florist "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Baker "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Musical Entertainment "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Officiant "Questions To Ask" Worksheet

Weekend Four Checklist
Set Up The Bridal Gift Registry
Make The Honeymoon Plans
Secure Accommodations For The Out-Of-Town Guests
Shop For The Wedding Rings
Finalize The Guest List
Collect The Addresses Of The Invited Guests
.....The Bridal Gift Registry "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Honeymoon "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Guest Accommodations "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Wedding Ring Jeweler "Questions To Ask" Worksheet

Weekend Five Checklist
Address The Invitations
Meet With The Hair And Makeup Artist
Meet With Or Contact Other Vendors
Develop The Ceremony Outline
Develop The Reception Outline
.....The Calligrapher "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Hair And Makeup Artist "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Transportation Company "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Valet Parking Company "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Child Care Provider "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Ceremony Outline Worksheet
.....The Reception Outline Worksheet

Weekend Six Checklist
Obtain The Marriage License
Have A Final Meeting With The Officiant
Shop For The Wedding Accessories
Prepare For The Final Dress Fitting
Make Plans For The Rehearsal Dinner
Shop For The Attendants Gifts
.....The Marriage License "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
.....The Rehearsal Dinner "Questions To Ask" Worksheet
Beyond The Six Weekends

Organize A Complete Itinerary For The "Big Day"
Sample Wedding Day Itinerary
Organize The Rehearsal
Sample Rehearsal Itinerary
The Do-It-Yourself Rehearsal
Sample Do-It-Yourself Rehearsal Itinerary

Confirm The Details
Sample Confirmation Letter
Develop Reception Seating Charts
Beauty Do¹s And Don¹ts
.....The Wedding Party Checklist
.....The Wedding Day Tool Kit Checklist

Chapter Eight: THE BIG DAY
Handling Last-Minute Issues
Wedding Day Nerves
To Tip Or Not To Tip
Checklists Of What To Bring
.....The Groom¹s Checklist
.....The Bride¹s Checklist
.....Wedding Accessories Checklist
Really Know Where You¹re Going
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping
Leaving Home.....
The Journey
Special Touches
.....What to Pack for Your Honeymoon Checklist

Wedding Announcements
Preserve The Memories
Thank You¹s
The Name Game
.....The Wedding Gown Preservation "Questions To Ask" Worksheet

Bridal Publications
Internet Addresses
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
To Our Readers
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Are you ready to make the trip down the aisle? Of course — you found the right guy, he popped the question, and you¹re wearing the coveted ring. Everywhere you go people are offering their congratulations, but before you can even conjure up visions of bridesmaids dancing in your head, reality sets in — caterers and DJ¹s, bouquets and boutonnieres, guest lists and invitations. If the prospect of planning your wedding leaves you wondering "Who has time for all of this anyway?" look no further than How To "I Do".

As recent brides, we know all too well the demands that planning a wedding can bring onto a newly engaged couple. When it came time to plan our own weddings, we were already juggling a myriad of professional and personal commitments, and suddenly were faced with finding the time to plan the weddings we had always dreamed of. Through our own personal experiences as bridesmaids and finally as brides, we learned many effective methods for making every free moment count.

Consequently, we have formulated a guide that will take you through the different stages of planning a wedding, utilizing all of the information we wished we had access to when we were planning our own. How To "I Do" takes the guess work out of weddings, and provides you with a system of planning that fits into your life — without taking it over. In just weeks, you will complete your wedding planning without missing one important detail.

How to Use This Book:
Throughout How To "I Do", we take the busy bride by the hand and guide her through all of the essential elements of wedding planning. This book is truly a "how-to" guide. Unlike other planners, How To "I Do" is written in the order you will need to read it. No more flipping through pages wondering "what do I do first?" The three distinct sections of the book not only tell you what needs to be done, but how to do it.

The first section of the book prepares you for the six weekends of planning that lie ahead of you. We will acquaint you with various organizational methods, direct you to finding the right information, and offer helpful hints on how to manage it all. This section will also guide you in making the stylistic and budgetary decisions that will impact the rest of your wedding planning.

Following is the Six-Weekend Wedding Planner. Here, everything you need to create your dream wedding is broken down into manageable sets of weekend goals - perfect for fitting into a working woman¹s schedule. Each section begins with a checklist of goals to accomplish during a particular weekend, and is followed by a plan of attack for accomplishing them. Everything from hiring a caterer to purchasing the gown of your dreams is covered.

And, finally, the third and last section of the book guides you through the final details and shows you how to "pull it all together." Among other things, you will create a wedding day itinerary and learn how to run your own rehearsal. A complete guide to confirming and finalizing the details is also included. We prepare you, your groom, and your wedding party for the "big day" with checklists and advice. And finally, we guide you on to your "Sweet Reward" — the honeymoon.

With prime locations and vendors getting booked up so far in advance, it is advisable to begin your planning as soon as possible, whether your wedding date is twelve months or twelve weeks away. By committing yourself to six solid weekends of planning (in addition to a few weeks before and after) you can safely accomplish everything you need to do for your wedding, and still have time for your life¹s other activities.

Even though How To "I Do" may look pretty, it is designed for you to use and abuse. Consider it your wedding textbook. Take notes in it, write in the margins, and highlight important information. Special worksheet sections are at the end of almost every chapter and weekend section. These worksheets are provided for you to use to keep track of important information. These can later be photocopied and taken with you as needed. Do whatever works best for you.

There is so much information contained within these covers, that it could seem overwhelming at times, but absorb what you need to, and then move on. This book¹s quick-reading format will allow you to easily skim through the information and ideas - reading as little or as much as you need to accomplish the particular task at hand.

Though the book was written by brides, for brides, there are numerous sections that are meant to be shared with the groom, the members of your family, as well as the wedding party. While you may be doing most of the planning yourself, you can always benefit from the help of the members of your wedding team.

So have fun, relax, and enjoy creating your perfect wedding day. Always keep in mind the true purpose of all this planning — to marry the one you love!

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