Wedding Planning: Step By Step

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Wedding Planning:

A Step By Step Planning Guide To A Stress

Free Day

One of the most important days of your life is your wedding day. A day that is a promise of joy and happiness can also be one of the most stressful days and events in your life. For many, this is the case due to not being prepared or as planned out as they thought they would be.

The problem most people face is the assumption that everything will go off without hitch or that everything, and everyone, is fully available at your last minute beckon call. Only to find out, this is not the case.

Whether you are planning your beautiful traditional wedding in Hawaii or anywhere else, follow the below planning guidelines to assist you in making your special day one of joy and happiness, and not one of stress and misery.

12 Months Before Your Wedding

• Announce your engagement.
• Decide on what kind of wedding you want to have. Whether it is an outdoor or indoor wedding? How formal or informal will it be?
• Select the date for your ceremony. However, be prepared to be flexible if the location is important to you, as it may already be booked for the date you had in mind.
• Select the location for your ceremony. However, be prepared to be flexible if you have a special date in mind, as it may already be booked for the date you had in mind.
• Select a location for your reception.
• Set a budget for the wedding and reception.
• Decide if you want to use a wedding coordinator. If you are getting married in Hawaii, it is best to select a Hawaii-based consultant. They will know all the do’s and don’ts of getting married on the Islands.
• Decide the size of your wedding party. Select attendants. If you are traveling to Hawaii for your wedding, keep the cost of airfare and lodging in mind when asking friends and family to accompany you. (Note: Some consultants believe it is proper for the bride and groom to cover the cost of lodging for their attendants where “destination weddings” are concerned.)
• Shop for a wedding dress and accessories. If you are traveling to Hawaii for your wedding, it may not make sense to wait until you arrive to shop for an outfit. To make things easier, consider shopping with Hawaii‘s fine retailers online for either formal or informal attire.
• If you are not using a wedding consultant, begin shopping for vendors. These include photographers/videographers, musicians/disc jockeys, florists and caterers.
• Determine who will be officiating your ceremony.
• Enlist your wedding party to help you fold 1,001 tiny origami cranes. (NOTE: This is a local tradition of Japanese origin, though brides of many ethnicities have adopted it. The folding of 1,001 cranes is expected to bring good luck.) The cranes are then flattened, mounted and framed as a good-luck keepsake for the couple.
• If you plan on registering with a bridal gift registry, do so now.
• Order wedding invitations and stationary.

6 to 10 Months Before

• Establish a guest list.
• If you are traveling to Hawaii for your ceremony and want family or friends to travel with you, send invitations now to those people, allowing them ample time to prepare financially and otherwise.
• Select and order attendants’ gowns. (Note to non-residents: Keep Hawaii‘s tropical climate in mind when selecting gowns. Long sleeves and heavy fabrics may not be appropriate. Also keep footwear in mind if you are planning a beach wedding; wearing high heels in sandy areas is downright dangerous.
• Get fabric samples to match shoes.
• Select and order men’s attire. Again, keep Hawaii‘s climate in mind.
• Make reception plans; discuss details with vendors and the manager of the reception facility.
• Shop for honeymoon travel deals and make reservations.

4 to 6 Months Before

• Order a wedding cake.
• Arrange a car, limousine or other transportation.
• Arrange Hawaii accommodations for out-of-town guests.
• Schedule a consultation with a hair and make-up stylist.
• If you are traveling from another country, make sure you have a passport.
• Make arrangements for a rehearsal dinner. (This is traditionally the responsibility of the groom’s family.)

3 Months Before

• If you are a resident and your guests live in Hawaii, send wedding invitations now.
• Choose gifts for attendants.
• Arrange for special musical selections during the ceremony and/or reception.
• Schedule hair and make-up appointment for wedding day.
• Write thank you notes for gifts as they arrive.
• Open a joint checking and savings account, if you do not already have one. (Note: Some couples prefer to keep separate accounts.)
• Name your fiancé as beneficiary to your insurance policy and will, if appropriate.
• Plan a bridesmaids’ luncheon. If you would like to do this in Hawaii, find a good Hawaii restaurant.
• Finalize all travel plans.

2 Months Before

• Schedule final fitting of bride’s gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.
• Confirm details with all vendors.
• Meet with, e-mail or call your officiant to discuss ceremony details.
• Make transportation arrangements to the airport for the day you leave and for when you come home.
• Take care of all business and legal affairs. Make appropriate changes to insurance policies, medical plans, wills, bank accounts and credit cards.

3 to 4 Weeks Before

• Contact guests who have not responded to the invitation to more clearly determine the head count for the caterer.
• Notify caterer of final guest count.

2 Weeks Before

• Get necessary forms to change names on driver’s license, etc., if either bride or groom will be changing surname.
• Gather all necessary documents for travel: airline tickets, hotel and car rental reservation documents and vouchers for wedding services. Put these in a safe place where they will not be forgotten. (Tip: Pack these in your carry-on bags, in case your luggage is lost or delayed.)

7 Days Before

• Make a final check with vendors and officiant.
• Pack for your trip. You may want to carry your wedding attire onto the plane to avoid problems associated with lost luggage.
• Put wedding rings in a safe place. If you’re traveling to Hawaii for your ceremony, make sure to pack the rings in your carry-on.
• Arrange head table seating.
• Reconfirm honeymoon/travel arrangements.
• Make certain attendants and others helping out have instructions and are prepared with any special readings or performances they are expected to give.
• Pick up wedding gown and attendants’ gowns. Make sure all attire fits.

3 Days Before

• If you’re arriving from out of town, be sure to obtain your marriage certificate

1 Day Before

• Have your nails manicured.
• Attend ceremony rehearsal.
• Greet out-of-town guests.


• Have hair and make-up done.
• Allow at least 3 hours to dress and relax.
• Enjoy your special day!