Puzzled with Planning
The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: Puzzled with Planning
Lena asks: “There are so many details involved in planning a wedding! We have guests coming from all over the country. My fiancé and I live in the Northeast, but in two different states. We’re both in the armed services and would like to have all the trimmings of a military ceremony. We’d want a venue where at least the ceremony and the cocktail hour will be outside, but now I’m worried about bad weather. There are so many details — I feel like I have all these puzzle pieces and don’t know with which one to start. Can you give me some kind of an order of things? I’m feeling really overwhelmed.”
Dear Lena: You are not unique in your feeling confused — every bride knows that feeling. I’d like to suggest that you start by picking a focal point. In your case, which incidentally is where most brides begin, start with the venue. Because you are in the service, the hotel associated with West Point would seem ideal. When you call and then, when you visit, check out the alternative arrangements available to you if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Once your venue is chosen and booked, take a map of the area and draw several circles around the focal point. Start with one at five miles, then continued to 10, 20, and so on. Decide how far you’re willing to see your guests and wedding professionals travel. Make note of the cities and towns that are included in your circles, and then go to the appropriate categories to locate vendors in that coverage area. Some vendors like your florist should be close by. (Unless they have an air-conditioned van, the closer the fresher.) The rehearsal dinner should be as close as possible to your focal point. Other professionals, like your photographer, can be further out of range. Keep in mind that often vendors will need to charge you for travel time, so you may be saving money by hiring professionals close by to the venue you have picked.
Once the venue is booked, I suggest you follow the order we suggest in the HudsonValleyWeddings.com “18-Month Wedding Planning Calendar.” It should help you to organize the details in a way that will work. Of course, this is not a science, so if you want to move around some of the items on the list, by all means do so.
Last, but not least, one thing you should always remember is to delegate. This is a time in your lives when friends and family would be delighted to help you with some of the details — let them! It’s a great way to make people feel like they are in your “inner circle,” and will help to alleviate the stress that tends to creep into planning a wedding.
Where would you start when planning a wedding? Write your comments in the box below, or submit your own question to "The Wedding Guru" by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.