Wedding Tips and Lists

Wedding Planning Timeline:

12-18 Months:

  • Choose the date of your big day.
  • Reserve ceremony location by calling The Regency Conference Center at (618) 624-9999.
  • Interview and choose your wedding officiant.
  • Interview and choose your reception location.
  • Interview and choose your photographer and videographer.

9-12 Months:

  • Interview and choose your caterer.
  • Interview and choose your entertainment.
  • Schedule bridal attire appointments.
  • Visit at least 3 bridal stores
  • Mail the Save-the-Date Cards

6-9 Months:

  • Order bridal gown.
  • Decide on bridesmaids’ dresses and order.
  • Interview and choose transportation.
  • Interview stationer and order your stationary.
  • Rent and reserve tuxedos for groom and wedding party.

3-6 Months:

  • Interview bakeries and order cake or dessert.
  • Follow up with ceremony location about your reservation.
  • Meet with reception venue or caterer for a tasting of cuisine.
  • Finalize menu with your reception venue or caterer.
  • Discuss the wedding service with your officiant.
  • Confirm rental equipment for ceremony.
  • Complete the guest list for headcount.
  • Order flowers.
  • Mail invitations.

2 months:

  • Update headcount and confirm the menu.
  • Give your live band any requested songs they might need to learn.
  • Schedule the first dress fitting.

1 month:

  • Finalize and confirm all ceremony and reception plans.
  • Finalize and confirm details with the photographer and videographer including a list of your must have shots.
  • Arrange transportation for out of town guests.
  • Schedule your last dress fitting and a possible pickup.
  • Finalize tuxedo alterations.
  • Call any guests that have not responded.
  • Plan seating arrangements for reception.
  • Make table, menu, and place cards if needed.

1-2 weeks:

  • Confirm with all vendors.
  • Give final headcount to caterer.
  • Provide a song list to your musicians or DJ detailing songs you want and do not want played. Include song requests.

Questions to Ask Your Wedding Vendors


Questions to ask your Officiant:

How long have you been performing weddings?
Do you have sample ceremony readings to choose from?
Can we specify details such as readings and vows?
Are you open to personalized readings and music?
Are you availabile for a rehearsal?


Questions to ask any musician?

Do you have a demo tape or can we see you perform?
Are you familiar with our site?
What fees will be charged? What kind of deposit will be required?
What is the overtime charge?
What equipment are we expected to provide?
How much space is needed?
How much set up time is needed?
What will the musicians’ attire consist of?
Will we be expected to provide meals and beverages?
What happens if a musician or DJ is unable to play at the reception, as in case of emergency?
How far in advance do we need to sign a contract?
Do you have liability insurance?
What is the cancellation/refund policy?
Will the DJ or band leader also act as the emcee making announcements?
Does the band charge a flat fee or per musician?
Does the band take requests?
Does the band interact with the guests at all?
What would the fee be for a band to learn a particular song?


Questions to ask your photographer?

What is your primary style of photography?
Do you shoot in color, black-and-white, or both? Does it cost extra to have black-and-white or both?
Can we tell you ahead of time what shots we definitely want, or do you pick every shot?
Are you the person that will actually take the pictures? If not, can we meet the person who will?
Can we meet any of the assistants who will be helping with the wedding?
How many weddings have you photographed?
Do you have any references?
Do we receive a CD of all photos with our paid fee?
Do you have an emergency photographer back up plan?
How much do you charge if I go over my allotted time? Are there overtime charges?
Are you familiar with our ceremony and reception locations?


Questions to ask your videographer:

What is your videography style? Is it straight shot with no editing, documentary (storylike with interviews), or more artsy (special effects, music, photo clips) or a mix of all 3?
How many weddings have you shot? Do you provide samples?
Are you a member of any videography associations? Have you won any awards?
Do you coordinate with the wedding photographer?
Have you ever shot a wedding or reception at our site?
Will you be shooting our wedding? If not, will we be able to meet with the person that will?
How many camera’s do you use?
What type of lighting do you use?
What is your cancellation/refund policy?


Videography money saving hints:

Pick a package that only includes one video camera with no editing of the footage.
Limit the number of hours you have the videographer at the ceremony or reception.
Some photography studios also include videography services. You may be able to get a discount if you purchase photography and videography from the same location.


Questions to ask your florist:

Are my preferred flowers in season? What flowers are in season during my wedding date?
What are the average prices for my choices of flowers?
How many floral designers do you have?
Which designers did which arrangements in your portfolio?
What happens if the designer I choose leaves your company before my wedding?
How far before the wedding date do you work on arrangements?
Do you charge for delivery? Set up?
Do you have rental supplies?
Do you have a limit on how far you will travel to a location?
Are you familiar with my ceremony and reception locations?
Can you give me an itemized quote?
How far in advance do I need to secure a date? What do you need from me in order to secure my date?
What is the average cost of wedding flowers for your clients?
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
What is the deposit? Will I get the deposit back or do you subtract it from the final cost?
May I make partial payments? When is the final payment due? Is the gratuity included?


Money saving hints for the florist:

Caution when scheduling during holidays: Flowers in demand mean higher prices especially during Valentines Day weekend and Mothers Day weekend.
Choose flowers that are in season for lower prices.
Take a seminar and design some of your own floral arrangements to cut down on cost.
Limit the number of arrangements.


Questions to ask your Cake Designer:

Do you have a portfolio/picture gallery of the wedding cakes you have designed in the past?
Can we have a tasting of the different kinds of wedding cakes and fillings?
Is an appointment or wedding cake consultation appointment required for a tasting?
Are there set designs we have to choose from, or will you custom design a cake if we provide a picture or drawing?
How do you price your cakes? By the serving or slice? Is there an extra charge for filling? If we want a more complicated design, is there an extra charge? Do you have a price list?
Do you have or can we rent stands, cake toppers, tiers, and cutters? How much extra are those?
If we choose fresh flowers, will you coordinate with my florist, will you provide them, or will we need to get the flowers to you?
Do you provide groom’s cakes?
What kind of ingredients go into making the cakes, filling, and icing?
How far in advance are the cakes prepared? How long will it take to prepare the cake?
How many cakes does the bakery do a weekend?
Do you deliver? What is the delivery charge?
Will the person delivering the cake set it up for us or do we need to coordinate set up ourselves?
Can you provide references?


Money Saving Hints for the Cake Shop:

Because cakes are usually priced by the slice, go for a smaller cake that is designed to perfection and have sheet cake in the same flavor. When the caterer brings the cake to the kitchen to cut it, they will use the sheet cake to serve guests, and no one will ever know.
If a close friend or family member makes cakes for a living or for a hobby, ask for that as your wedding gift and cut costs significantly.
Choose cheaper ingredients, especially for the icing. Fondant can be much pricier than traditional buttercream.
Opt for a plain cake with fewer designs and dress it up with fresh flowers or fresh fruit.
Borrow cake-cutting knives or toppers from friends or family.


Questions to ask your Transportation Provider:

Is the vehicle we want available for our date and times?
What are the model, make, year, size and colors of the vehicles we are renting?
How long have you been in business?
How many drivers do you have?
If we decide to book, may we have the driver’s name and phone number?
Will someone be on-site at your facility the day of my wedding in case of questions or emergency? If not, what is the name and number of who I can contact that day?
How many years of experience do your drivers have?
May I see a list of your testimonials or references?
Does your company carry liability insurance?
Are you affiliated with the Better Business Bureau?
What is your payment/cancellation policy?
Do you offer special rates or discounts for different days of the week? Combination packages?
What is included in the price? Do you offer specials for weddings such as champagne toast, flowers or other décor, signs, photos, interior color changes, etc.?
What is the starting time for our rental? (Usually it is time of pickup)
Do you charge travel time if you are too far from me?
Do you charge overtime?
What gratuity do you charge?
Upon hiring you, will I receive a detailed contract? What does that generally cover? Can you guarantee make, model, and color of vehicle?


Money Saving hints for Transportation:

Limo prices are higher in the spring because of prom season and you will need to book one year ahead versus the usual six months for that time of year.
Weekdays (including Fridays) are less expensive than weekends.
Off-peak season (usually November-March) is less expensive than peak season.


Questions to ask your stationer:

Are you a catalog or custom stationer?
How long have you been in business?
How long once we order until we receive our invitations?
What is your guarantee if there is a mistake?
How much do we pay upon ordering?
Will you print the envelopes, too, and for what price?
Do you offer a proof to check setup and typestyle?


Questions to ask your calligrapher:

How long have you been doing calligraphy for wedding invitations?
How much do you charge? Do you charge by the set or line?
What styles do you offer?  Will you do a custom style?
Can you match my invitation font to the envelope font?
Do you charge for redoing mistakes?
Will you stamp, seal, and stuff the invitations? Is there an additional fee for this service? (Some companies will even mail them for you.)
How many extra envelopes will we need, if any?
May I have a list of references?
Do I need to sign a contract?


Money saving tips for invitations:

Use only one color of ink, or even more savings cut out colored ink all together and use black.
Use a reply postcard instead of a card with envelope to save on postage.
Use thermography instead of engraving, the traditional type of printing. Thermography is half the cost.
Beware of thicker, oversized, odd shaped, square, charmed, and ribboned invitations because of the cost of postage.
Check with your groom’s attire store for discounts on invitations if you order from them.
Weigh a complete invitation at the post office for exact postage needed. This will save you expensive returned invitations or mismatched stamps from adding extra postage.
Check out computer programs for “do it yourself” stationary invitation choices.


Questions to ask your Bridal Boutique:

What dresses, designers, and sizes do you have to try on?
If you don’t have the dress in stock I’m interested in, can you order it for me to try?
What is the price of the dress I am interested in?
Does it come in my size?
What are your hours?
Do I need an appointment?


Once you have decided on a dress:

Does it have a matching headpiece or accessories?
Can it be ordered with different train, neckline, or sleeves? What is the price difference? If I want to change these once it arrives, how much will that cost?
What other colors does it come in (white, ivory)?
How long will it take to come in once ordered?
Will it look exactly like the dress I tried on?
Do you do the alterations here? How much do they cost?
Will I work with you again when I come in for fittings?
Can I get a discount on my dress, bridesmaid dresses, or alterations for ordering bridesmaids dresses here as well?
Do you offer discounts on any other of your products or services?
What is your payment policy?
Does the contract or receipt list the designer’s name, size, price, color, fabric, manufacturer, style number and delivery date?


Questions to ask when renting a Tuxedo:

Are you offering any specials or discounts?
Are alterations included in the price of the rental?
Are the accessories (tie, shoes, cuff links, etc.) included in the price of the rental?
How do you handle out-of-town groomsmen?
What is the pickup and return policy?
What are the late or damage fees?


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