wedding planning

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First Things First

Wedding Planning Timeline
How Are We Going to Pay for All This?


Spreading the Word

Choosing Wedding Invitations
Wedding Invitation Wording
Wedding Invitation Etiquette


Keeping Your Sanity

Avoiding the Guilt Trap
Advice from the Bride
Top 10 Wedding Stress Busters



Setting the Mood

Finding a Wedding Location
A Guide to Wedding Flowers
Wedding Centerpiece Ideas


Shaping Up

Get in Shape for the Big Day
Online Personal Training


Dressing the Part

Wedding Gown Guide
Proper Groom's Attire
Shop for Wedding Shoes


Oh, Behave!

Wedding Etiquette Tips
Bachelorette Party Ideas
Bachelor Party Ideas


Eat, Drink and Be Married

Wedding Catering Options
A Guide to Wedding Cakes


'Tis Better to Give...

Wedding Favor Ideas
Bridesmaid Gift Ideas
Groomsman Gift Ideas


Making Your Getaway

Destination Weddings
Honeymoon Planning Tips


Beyond the Big Day

Newlywed Cooking Tips
Financial Advice for Newlyweds


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Finding a Wedding Location


Choosing your wedding and reception location can pose an incredible challenge. In order to save yourself some time and effort, ask yourself the following questions before you begin scouting sites.


Do either or both of you prefer to be married in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship?

If the answer is yes, finding a location for your ceremony is easy. If not, you may want to consider finding a venue where you can hold both the ceremony and reception in order to consolidate site rental fees. Keep in mind, however, that you may be required to pay additional setup fees if the venue is to accommodate both the ceremony and reception in the same place.


What is your budget?

Perhaps the most important question. Don't look at places you can't afford; you'll only end up feeling disappointed.


Do you want to hold your wedding ceremony and reception at the same site?

This may be the most cost effective option, and it eliminates the hassle of caravanning from one site to another.


Do you envision a formal or a casual ceremony and reception?

A beach wedding may sound romantic, but think of the sand and the wind and the sea spray. And a formal wedding may be just what you've always dreamed of, but will you be comfortable making the rounds in a full-skirted ball gown (or a stuffy tuxedo)? These are questions to ask yourself before deciding on the appropriate mood for your big day, and the location that best communicates that mood.


How many guests do you plan to invite? How many do you expect to actually come?

You can't very well select ceremony and reception sites before you know how many guests you have to accommodate. Make sure to get complete lists from both of your parents, as well, so that you aren't in for any unpleasant last-minute surprises.


Do you plan to have the same number of guests attend both your ceremony and reception?

Some couples choose to have a more intimate ceremony and then hold a big reception for all of their friends. If you do this, you may even choose to hold the ceremony and reception on different days so that you can better focus your attention and energy on each event.


Do you prefer your ceremony and reception to be held indoors or outdoors, or both?

Consider the time of year and the potential weather complications. Even on a clear, sunny day, gusty winds can put a damper on outdoor festivities. Also remember that the temperature can drop dramatically when the sun goes down, even in the summer. Make sure that you look for venues with heat lamps if you plan to be outdoors after dark. Find more helpful advice in Planning an Outdoor Wedding.


Do you prefer to hold the event during the day or in the evening?

Many reception sites and catering services are significantly less expensive during the day. And some scenic locations, such as the beach, may be considerably more breathtaking in the daylight. A metropolitan reception, on the other hand, may be lovelier with all of the skyscrapers twinkling in the moonlight.


What time of year do you wish to hold your wedding?

The "off-season" (October through April) is usually less expensive than peak season. Also take into consideration seasonal weather conditions if you plan to hold the event outdoors.


Will you have a live band or a DJ?

Many places have noise restrictions on amplified music, and some don't allow it at all. If you have your heart set on booking a live band to perform at your reception, make sure you look at locations that do allow amplified music. If you're not sure where to begin looking for a wedding DJ, visit


Will you be serving alcohol at the reception?

If so, make sure your reception venue has a liquor license. It may also be wise to hold the reception in a hotel, where guests have the option of booking a room in the event of over-consumption. Keep in mind that you can save some money by holding your reception at a location that allows you to bring your own wine or liquor to be served.


Do you have the time to plan everything yourselves, or the budget to hire a wedding planner?

If so, the sky is your limit in terms of choosing a location. But if you have neither the budget to hire a coordinator, nor the time to plan everything yourselves, you should scout reception sites that offer package deals. It may sound cool to have your wedding and/or reception at a historic landmark, but this may require hiring your own caterer, paying lofty set-up and clean-up fees, renting tables and chairs and hiring security, in addition to any number of miscellaneous fees. Hotels and restaurants are better equipped to handle everything on their own.


Top 5 Planning Tips

1. Get a dedicated credit card for all of your wedding expenses so that you can dispute the charge if a deal falls though.

2 Earn miles toward your honeymoon with a frequent flyer miles credit card from

3. Get the best deal on airfare, hotel and rental cars for your honeymoon through any travel site of your choice.

4. Create your own web page at with information about your wedding date, location, gift registries, and hotels for out-of-town guests.

5. If you plan to take your spouse's name, get a Name Change Kit to ensure you cover everything.

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