Wedding Planning 101

Chances are, that unless you’re in the event management field or accustomed to throwing huge parties, your wedding will be the first large-scale event that you will be responsible for hosting. During the engagement phase, most brides are so euphoric that they think they will be able to dive right in and plan the wedding, in the twinkle of an eye!

A few months and probably several headaches later, reality sets in and many brides are flooded with thoughts like: “Why is everything so expensive? Is this vendor’s price fair? How will I schedule everything? How can I ensure everyone is punctual? Can I rely on my family members to help me co-ordinate everything? When will my rented items be delivered? What if the food is late? Who will help with the speech writing?” and the list goes on…

Whether you choose to hire some wedding planning help or you want to DIY (do-it-yourself), the best place to start is by deciding on an overall budget.

After this, you can start allocating how much you’d like to spend on each service or element. Some of the larger cost categories would be:

  • Reception venue
  • Ceremony venue and officiant’s fees/donation
  • Attire
  • Food and beverage
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Music
  • Florals
  • Décor
  • The wedding cake and;

Other categories could be: wedding co-ordinator/planner’s fee, engagement photo shoot, live streaming, specialty rentals, tents, special effects, spa treatments, transportation, Master of Ceremonies’ fee, wedding favours, entertainment, professional ushers, hair and makeup and reception accessories.

At this point, you can now start the process of meeting wedding vendors and doing site visits, in order to get quotations. This will be followed by booking vendors, signing contracts and paying deposits.

Many brides nowadays are embracing the DIY movement, not only because of financial constraints but also because they want to share their creativity with their guests and be original! There are some aspects that are easier to DIY and there are some that wedding professionals advise not DIY-ing at all!

Some of the areas where I would recommend that you should leave it up to a professional are: photography, videography, catering and hair and makeup. Areas that are ideal for DIY projects are: assembling or making wedding favours, invitations and some décor elements.

Brides who are short on time because of work commitments, who are planning a large-scale or complex wedding or those who simply want to ease their stress level, will willingly acknowledge that they need a Wedding Planner. However, it’s important to recognize the degree of help that you need!

Here are some options and the types of brides who need them the most:

  • Full-service wedding planner – This is most suited to the bride who has a vision of what she wants but doesn’t feel the need to micro-manage the wedding planning process. This type of arrangement requires a great deal of trust on the part of the bride towards the Planner. The Planner has the bride’s overall budget to work with; and gets quotations, does site visits and reviews suppliers’ contracts, in order to make recommendations for each type of wedding vendor, for the bride. The bride is charged a co-ordination fee by the Planner, which is part of her wedding budget.
  • Bridal Consultant – Brides who prefer to do most of the leg-work during the planning process but who may still need some guidance or brides who do not have the budget for a full-service Planner, will benefit most from using a Bridal Consultant. This type of service allows brides the flexibility to get a paid consultation, based on the hours of assistance needed with wedding planning. A few examples might be a bride who is unsure about which wedding vendors to choose or how to analyze wedding vendor contracts. Consultations could even happen in terms of assistance with gown shopping, invitation/programme wording or theme development. To access bridal consultations, you can visit this link:

Both Planners and Consultants have contacts and experience that are aimed at saving you money and time. They also have a good rapport with many wedding venues, which can give you an added advantage when it comes to issues such as: giving you extra add-ons and leeway on access time to the venue prior to the wedding.

  • “Day of” Co-ordinator – A “day of” Co-ordinator will be there on the day of your wedding to ensure that all the elements you’ve planned, come together seamlessly. In order for this to happen, however, the Co-ordinator often works anywhere between 2-4 weeks with the bride, prior to the wedding, to work out schedules and follow up with wedding vendors. This arrangement usually suits the do-it-yourself (DIY) brides, since they can have a large input into the wedding planning but still be cost-conscious.

If you’re still unsure which type of Planner/Co-ordinator suits you best, please drop our Editor a line at