Top Ten Tips for Planning Successful Weddings

Planning weddings can be both exciting and rewarding. Weddings can also be very stressful. As a wedding professional Alice knows what makes a wedding a success. Consider these Top 10 Tips as a starting point for planning your wedding.

1. Plan early

Start at least eight to ten months in advance if your preferred wedding day is a Saturday in the summer or choose another day or season to wed if you only have a three to six month lead time. There is high competition for services and venues for summer Saturday weddings. Be creative with your scheduling to get a wider selection of wedding professionals to hire.

2. Know your service providers

Referrals work well as the reputation of the service providers you choose is important. Avoid unpleasant surprises on your wedding day by selecting professional service providers with a depth of experience. Emailing works great but close the deal by telephone with a written agreement to follow.

3. Get it in writing

Your quoted prices should include all the details as agreed. Verbal agreements at weddings get lost in the excitement.

4. Be methodical

Keep copious notes and plan achievable goals in a weekly task list. Revise your overall action plan regularly as you progress. When feeling overwhelmed midway, look back to see all your successes to date.

5. Know your desired outcomes

Be clear as to the outcomes you want and articulate them well. People cannot please you if you do not know what you want. Wedding professionals create magic if they know what "works" for you.

6. Your social rules apply

You set the social boundaries for your event, not etiquette nor obligation. Invite only the people you want to your wedding and no more. Social obligations dampen many a special day. Choose to be surrounded by people who love and care for you. Opt only for the ceremony conventions that have meaning for you and create your own significant moments that work best for you.

7. Prioritize your budget

It is very easy to spend large sums. There are so many wonderful choices available but many are secondary to your immediate wedding needs. Separate the "must haves" from the luxuries and your spending priorities become clearer. Do not go into to debt simply because of social obligations.

8. Tact

The bridal couple and their families should all enjoy the wedding and be proud of it. This means you being open to hear the expectations of those around you. If you disagree with their ideas, speak about it calmly and tactfully until an understanding is reached as to what will be in both yours and their interests. See Tip #6 if there is no agreement.

9. Confirmations

Follow up two to four weeks prior with your service providers and confirm your arrangements, provide any additional instructions, and reiterate the wedding schedule and your desired outcomes. It will reassure you and it assists the professionals in understanding your expectations. Weddings never go 100% to plan. The professional providers know this and as long as they know your desired outcomes they can make weddings flow seamlessly.

10. Relax and enjoy!

If you do not have a Wedding Planner, choose a strong Master of Ceremonies who you trust and allow the M/C to liaise with all the wedding professionals during the whole day. A well briefed M/C will allow you to enjoy your wedding for its full emotional significance. Do not let your micro-managing spoil an otherwise fun, happy and beautiful time.

Take a few moments to step back and enjoy what is happening around you – smell the air, catch the view, focus on your partner-to-be, enjoy a flower. At a certain point, you have to let go, let others manage, and entrust your wedding to the people you have chosen to make your day flow beautifully.

These tips have been adapted from information provided by and with permission from Canadian harpist Alison Vardy. Please visit her Web site at