How Do I start my wedding preparations- 10 wedding tips that answers your questions

" I am getting married but don't know where to start my  preparations from"
This statement  is usually one out of many  of most  brides to be 's litany.
They are excited about their upcoming nuptials , yet at the same time overwhelmed by the many  plans they have to make.
If you fall into the above group, Best wishes, dear, you do not need to fret.
Really there is no need to worry, just try to answer the following as best as possible and you will discover the plans come together as well as you want them to be.

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1. Have you set the date and budget  yet?

 The date and budget are the two most important considerations for any wedding to take off, the date can be changed , but at least there should be a period fixed , setting a date  makes your pending wedding ceremony seem more real, now you have  a timeline to work with . The budget also helps in making realistic expectations, no one wants to finish with the wedding and goes hungry after or starts looking for house rent to pay, so the money at hand, that can be saved or realistically sourced should determine how much will be spent on the wedding.  Never rely on one uncle's or aunty's or cousin's money somewhere that was promised to you, if eventually it comes, it should be an added bonus, not the main crux that the whole wedding is hinged on.

2. Have you picked your wedding colors?
Choose colors you are most comfortable with , consider yours and your spouse favorite colors, colors of the season, what is trending, the accessories and wedding theme, all these have considerable influence on the final colours you choose.

3. Have you booked the venue where the main ceremony will take place and a  nearby location to host the reception?

Determine whether you have to reserve or book ahead the  rental equipment, chairs, sound system, marquee, hall . How accessible is the venue for guests in terms of location, finding transportation, is it easy to find directions , are there restrictions, in house security, parking space, touts? Does the venue  allow food and drinks to be brought fin from outside or is inside catering? Is there constant electricity or alternate power source, what is the duration of hours allowed for your ceremony? Do you pay extra charges for extra time spent, decorators setup? Is the place soundproof, open space or indoors?

Your preference and the venue's benefits will determine your choice of venue.

4. Which vendors are you using or you trust the judgement of the event planner  ? 

Food and drinks, music, wedding compere, photography, drivers, decorator.

Have you booked to have that particular caterer you've heard wonderful stories about, before someone else, makes her unavailable on your day? Discuss your menu with her/him. Is she/he going to be baking your cake or will you just order a beautiful one? Oh, also check in with your vendors: confirm arrival and delivery times. Also, do not forget to make arrangement for people to serve and maybe ushers too. Yes, they're different.  Dont hire a vendor in the hope of him/her taking on more than the job(s) you signed him/ her for. Have clear contract and agreement written out stating who is responsible for what. 

What about your MC, a DJ/live band, a photographer, a videographer? Give a list of important shots to take, to your wedding photographer. You get the drift-- colleagues, school mates, association members, family and so on.
Who's gonna decorate the hall, the cars?  The ambiance really matters, choose a special wedding theme and let it form the basis of the venue styling and design.

Confirm which cars (2 or 3) and drivers, will be taking you, your groom, your train and maybe parents , to all the venues. Someone might need to coordinate the parking at the venue's parking lot too.

5.  What about the guest list   and  how do you want to invite your friends and family?
No matter how  small low key a wedding is , guests still need to be informed. Are you doing word of mouth, sms , sending emails or printing invites. How will you get them across? Ensure you inform your guest early to avoid late rush and disappointments.
What does your guest list look like? D'you think more than a 100 or 1000 people will show up? Or are you going to make it strictly-by-invitation, to help you impede chaos, even better? How are they going to sit? Just anywhere? This is when ushers will be of great advantage to help you sort out the seating arrangement and assist guests.

Would you need to hire hotel rooms for out of town invitees? Get the names and costs of  nearby hotel rooms.

6.  What does your religious  / local marriage institution require of you? Have you done them yet ?
  • Wedding vows - Either you get creative and write yours or  you adapt pre written vows for your own use.
  • Blood and genotype tests
  • Court affidavits
  • Marriage license application
  • Birth / divorce/ age declaration certificate
  • Wedding announcements in local papers or media
  • Change of name 
7. What will  your guests be wearing  and what do you intend to give them ?  
This part is actually optional. People can come and dress the way they want and turn up, giving of gifts is not also a do or die affair. 
Are you going to sell aso-ebis?
 For Bride's and Groom's sides, for both the trad and the white wedding? Determine how many aso ebis you want to get , also who are those who will be on your bridal train, inform them early, to know how many outfits you will be getting. When setting the price of aso ebi and  bridal train outfits, remember the crop of friends you have and class of guests you are expecting. You need to consider their pockets. Never go overboard. Start thinking  whether to find a local fashion designer or to buy ready to wear outfits for the groomsmen and ladies in waiting. 

8. Who is handling your looks? 
Looks means style, fashion and beauty. 
Your  own wedding attire(s), Are you certain they meet the dress code of the institution (church/mosque) as regards sleeves, low neckline, color....?? Of course, Do-Not-Forget-To-Buy-Wedding-Rings!! And don't forget to hand them over to the ring bearer or best man, on that day too - to take to the church or wherever.
Who's going to do your make-up , make your hair, tie your head you dress? Get professional help, this is not the time to allow a mum, aunt, or baby sister use you for experiment except they have also been trained or exceptionally good at it. 
Get your outfits ready, sewn/altered, and ready to wear at least weeks before the wedding, don't forget the shoes, bags, perfumes, lipgloss, gloves, new underwear , hair spray e.t.c. 

9. How much time will you spend with your spouse in the days leasing to the wedding? 

To pray, read together, review plans, make plans, enjoy each other's company. There should not be a gap or lack of communication between both of you .  
Focus on you and your groom on the days leading to the wedding.  Be more attuned to yourselves. Dont be swept off by  so much activities and overwhelming pressure . 
Practiced your dance moves? Don't get "served" by your hubby on that day. People must "spray" you money. Which of your trusted friends/family members , even an usher  will help you pick them up and keep them safe, until after the whole event . 
 Where will you retire to, on that very day, after the ceremony? Honeymoon's where? Flight tickets? Be Prepared!  

 10. Do you want to do the planning all by yourself  (Like  a diy wedding) or get a professional to handle it ? 
The latter   is a lot easier, no room for trial and error experiments with your wedding, after all you pray you do this only once and get it right. Moreover, it saves you cost in the long run , eliminates stress and saves you time to focus more on yourself and getting prepared for your special day.

P:S Remember to keep mementos of your wedding, at least a copy of your Invitation card, church program for you and your spouse, the wedding souvenirs like jotter, calendar or any thing that was customized for the wedding for keepsake and to keep the fond memories of the happy moments. Stay happy all through, dont over work yourself, get into unnecessary arguments, and have lots of beauty sleep.

To help you with the planning, get a notebook, or on your ipad, save your answers to the above questions and add your notes as you review them.

Best wishes, dear!