Plannning your Maui wedding ( Part 4.)

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Shop for your dress with an open mind and one good friend.

Go find your dress! Wedding dress shopping can be fun but most places take up to 4-6 months to have your dress shipped to you. This is the last thing you want to worry about. Remember, there are alterations that may need to happen as well. Instead of going to a shop that special orders go to the bridal stores that carry multiple dresses in stock. Try to find a dress off the rack that doesn’t need to be ordered. You don’t have time for constant fittings. Remember that when trying things on. Sometimes that awesome dress seems a lot less awesome when you are dress-less on your wedding day or bald from pulling your hair out.
o Dresses that lace up the back are easier to fit and will require fewer trips to the seamstress.
o You may need to drive to a larger city to find a store with multiple sizes in multiple dresses. Take friends or family who are easy to shop with and won’t make the process more difficult. Take your bra and a pair of heels to check the length. Take a pair of Spanx (stretch under garment to reduce your dress size). If you find a dress that is too tight, try it again with the under-support. Take a camera and get a picture of you in the dress if it is allowed.
o Keep the venue in mind. A Princess Diana cathedral train won’t work in every venue. The smaller the venue, the smaller the train. If you don’t know the venue yet, go with a shorter train and modest dress.
o Don’t be afraid of consignment shops. If the dress isn’t perfect you can always have them remove some of the bulk fairly easily but don’t go for the complete reconstruction unless you’re comfortable with your seamstress.
o Cherish your heritage and ask your mother, grandmother, aunts, etc. if anyone has their dress. Vintage gowns make the event much more special. Chances are good they’d be honored to have you wear their dress and won’t mind you having it altered. Just ask.
9. Decide who you want to be a part of your wedding and then ask them.
o Consider nixing the traditional bridal party. Ask one close family member to stand with the bride and one with the groom. The maid of honor can wear one of her dresses or cocktail dresses and the best man can wear a suit. Even if you have four sisters, just explain and let them know you can only have one. Ask you mother to stand with you. You really don’t need all the maids, junior brides maids, flower girls, ring bearers, etc. Keep it super simple.
o Remember, the more people you ask, the more money and time it will cost in the long run.
o Don’t assume every one of your friends must be in the ceremony. Chances are they’ll be secretly thankful since being in a wedding takes much time and money for everyone. If they love you they’ll still help out and probably be more motivated.
o There is a time crunch involved so be considerate of people who may be traveling long distances to be involved.
o Surround yourself with people who are positive and helpful. You don’t have time for drama queens or emotional vampires.
10. Pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses. Like wedding dresses, these can take several months to come in if you order them and may require your bridesmaids have them altered. Bridesmaids may not be as “attentive” to your time line so try to pick out dresses that are figure forgiving or have laces instead of zippers. They’ll save alteration expenses and the minor details won’t be a major problem if they don’t use a good tailor/seamstress.
o Check out the major department stores and bridal shops for the chance to buy off the hanger. Take your bridesmaids with you so they can try on.
o Don’t be afraid of different style dresses. So long as the color is the same you can use different styles. This could be a great way of finding dresses that fit a variety of body shapes without requiring major alterations.
o Consider going to a department store formal gown department (and not in their bridal department) for your bridesmaids dresses rather than a bridal shop. They will get the dresses faster and can possibly save money as well. Layaway and alterations are sometimes included.
11. Meet with a few different photographers. Most photographers are busy and have limited schedules. But if you start early, your date is more likely to be available. Consider asking a friend whom you know takes great pictures. You may have to sacrifice the posed photos since those take practice to set up.
o Remember that an experienced professional wedding photographer would produce quality images, whatever the weather or regardless of any unforeseen circumstances.
o Ask around at your local camera store if they know of any budding photographers or anyone starting off in bridal work. They may know of someone who is not in the telephone directory who does great work.
o Ask to see all their pictures from a complete wedding, not just the ‘best of’ from several weddings
o The perception is that digital costs less so the overhead will be minimal. Photographers will tell you the capital investment in professional equipment is far higher, and the time spent editing the photographs is far more intensive than the days of film. Weigh the cost with the quality, ask questions and use someone you can communicate with easily.
o You might want to save money by making an arrangement with the photographer and getting a CD of your pictures, and then having the actual photos printed yourself at a local photo shop.
o Remember that the photographer may own the copyright, so ensure that any reproduction of images is permitted in writing by the photographer.
o Add disposable cameras to reception tables. Leave a note telling guests to take photos and leave the cameras. Remind them the cameras are not toys for their kids.
12. Register for wedding gifts at a store offering the service. Most national department stores and discount stores have a bridal gift registry available. The national chains also make it easier for people out of town.
o If you’re having a small and simple wedding you should keep your gift list requests modest and focus on the essentials (towels, casual china, cookware, serving items, etc.).
o If you have a larger budget and can go all out for the wedding and reception despite the short time frame you can go for more lavish gift requests like expensive fine china, crystal and silver.
o Etiquette suggest that everyone invited to showers should also be invited to the wedding and/or reception. The exception is a destination wedding with reception or showers/luncheons thrown by co-workers.
o Guys can have showers too. If the couple needs many items to start off, have a male relative or friend throw a yard or tool party for the groom. Make sure he registers for the items.
o Register at one or two stores. Try to think of stores convenient to friends and family.
o Remember to buy thank you notes and stamps. Send them out as quickly as possible after you receive a gift or if someone helps you with your wedding in some way. You don’t have much time and if you get sidetracked you may not get the card out in the appropriate time frame.