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Planning the Perfect Wedding

Now it’s time to plan the “big event” – your wedding day – and you want it to be as unique and special as the person you’re marrying.

From setting the date and creating a budget to choosing flowers and booking your honeymoon, planning your wedding can be exciting, fulfilling, overwhelming and completely time-consuming. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, keep you focused, and help you maintain your sanity until the moment you say “I do!”

Whether you’re planning an intimate wedding for your immediate family or an extravagant gala with 500 of your closest friends, you and your betrothed need to be honest and informed about the money you are willing and able to spend on your wedding.



The first step, according to the experts, is to sit down with your fiance (or fiancee) and anyone who has offered to help with your wedding expenses and talk openly about what they can contribute. Once you determine the total amount you have available to spend, then you can begin to really plan. Be sure to check out popular “wed sites” like WeddingChannel.com and TheKnot.com. These interactive sites offer budget calculators and planning checklists to help you keep track of everything that needs to be done before the big day, and also help you remember all the different facets of a wedding – from flowers to favors and bands to booze – that need to be factored into a budget.

Once you’ve figured out the particulars of the budget, it’s time to decide who will be invited to your wedding celebration. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind here is that the biggest drain to any wedding budget is the number of people you ask to your nuptials – the more people eating and drinking, the higher the tab. Unsure how to pare down the list? Peter Helburn of Just Ask Peter, a special event planning company in Aspen, suggests inviting only those people whom both the bride and groom have met. He says, “This gives you a reason not to invite all the frat boys and every single sorority sister.”



In the excitement of wedding planning, it’s easy to get blinded by the extravagance and details of the reception, and thus overlook the particulars of the ceremony. Your wedding vows, for example, “may very well be among the most important words you will ever utter,” say the experts at WeddingChannel.com. Your officiant will have to review at least three different photographers, according to wedding planner Carlevato, who owns Rocky Mountain Celebrations (mountainweddings.com). “You might look at one on the low end of the price scale, one medium priced and one you think might be beyond your budget.” She adds, “You may be surprised at how much you like a higher-priced photographer, and choose to cut costs elsewhere.” It’s key to find a photographer whose personality you really like.

“This is the person with whom you’re going to be spending the most time on your wedding day,” says Carlevato, who has planned hundreds of destination weddings in the Breckenridge area.

“You want to be comfortable with this person.” If you do need to be cost-conscious with your choice of photographer, consider hiring a photography student with whom you might negotiate a deal; an eager student may charge you only for film in an effort to build up his or her portfolio. Another option: Put together your own photo album full of proofs after the wedding, rather than having the photographer do it for you with expensive enlargements.

To stay within your budget, choose flowers that are native to the area where you will be holding the wedding celebration and try to use flowers that are in season. Colorado-grown wildflowers and other blooms that have that “wildflower look” are among the most popular arrangements brides ask for here in the Rockies, according to Lynn Bader, owner of The Flower Mart in Glenwood Springs. “We use a lot of colorful delphinium, astilbe, micro-daisies and larkspur,” she says. “Of course the traditional white-on-white look is popular, too.”

Bader offers other ways to save money on flowers: Think about small flowering plants in terracotta planters for table centerpieces; this is something even a helpful bridesmaid or aunt could arrange. And consider carrying a small clutch of the same-kind flower (like tulips) down the aisle, rather than a large bouquet of various blooms. To ensure that you get the flowers – and florist – you want, Bader suggests visiting with potential florists about six months before the big day. Early planning will give you plenty of time to decide on the types of flowers that will be used, and it will give the florist adequate time to order and arrange your bouquets.


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