Traditional Breakdown of Expenses
|Wedding Gown, Headpiece & Accessories
Rented Items for Wedding
Rented Items for Reception
Reception Hall Fee
Catered Reception/Professional Services
Father of Bride Formal Wear
|Accommodations for out-of town Guests
Bridesmaid Gifts The Bride
|Medical Visit for Bride
The Groom's Family
|Father of Groom Formal Wear
|Wedding Ring for Bride
Wedding Gift for Bride
Medical Visit for Groom
Clergyman/Officiant Gratuity * see below
Gloves/Ties/Ascots for Attendants
Ministers, Reverends, Clergymen, Rabbis,
Priests: No less than a $75 donation is considered proper and it is rare to find anyone
giving less than a $100 gratuity for the wedding Officiant. This donation should be given
to the best man prior to the ceremony and after the service; he will give it to the
Officiant. If travel is involved, additional gratuity is appreciated.
Maid of Honor Gown
Matron of Honor Gown
Best Man Formal Wear
Usher's Formal Wear
Groomsmen's Formal Wear
Children's Formal Wear
Travel Expenses to the Wedding
Gifts for the Couple
Best Man/Groom's Attendant
Maid of Honor
Matron of Honor
The Children's Parents
Out-of-town Attendant or Family Member
Guest, Attendants and Family
This is a must for every bride. The following list includes items you will want to
assemble and take to your wedding in the event of a "minor emergency"
Bobby Pins (secure veil)
Clear Fingernail Polish
Two sided Tape (last minute hems)
Why the Third Finger, Left-hand?
In ancient times, it was believed there was a vein in the third finger
of the left hand that ran directly to the heart. Therefore, the ring being placed on that
finger signified the connection of a heartfelt love and commitment to one another.
Even though this long held belief was found not to be so, the tradition continues to this
day. Medieval bridegrooms place the ring on three of the bride's fingers, in turn, to
symbolize, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The ring then remained on
the third finger and has become the customary ring finger for English-speaking cultures.
In some European countries, the ring is worn on the left hand before marriage, and is
moved to the right hand during the ceremony. However, in most European countries the ring
is still worn on the bride's left hand. A Greek Orthodox bride wears her ring on her left
had before marriage, and moves it to her right hand after the ceremony.
Wedding Planning Timeline
Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning.
If it is possible, allow a full year to plan your wedding. If you don't have a year, don't
worry - it is possible to plan a beautiful wedding in less time. The biggest problem is
that a specific performer, service, or facility may be already reserved on your target
date, which will limit your choices.
Ask bride's parents
Discuss preliminary budget and expense sharing
Catering arrangements (food, beverage, staff)
Preliminary invitations list
9 to 12 months
Choose bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid or matron of honor, and best man
Choose color scheme
Select photographer, and have engagement photos taken Select all musicians for ceremony
and reception Select Videographer
6 to 9 months
Select Wedding gown and accessories
Select bridesmaid's dresses and accessories
Bridal party's first fitting
Select a Jeweler
Select a Florist
Select a travel agent and choose your destination
Meet with your reception site Master of Ceremonies (usually the band leader or disc
jockey) to discuss the preliminary details of how you'd like the reception run
4 to 6 months
Select men' formal wear
Select invitations and stationary
Select transportation services
Select hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests
Select and reserve Honeymoon Suite
Select and reserve any rental equipment
2 to 4 months
Select wedding cake
Gifts for attendants and each other
Wedding favors, decorations, and accessories
Trousseau and apparel for honeymoon and bridal showers.
Select site for and arrange rehearsal dinner
Plan for pre-wedding parties
Tie up financial and legal matters
Finalize living arrangements
Finalize florist order.
Preliminary hair and makeup consultation
1 to 2 months
Confirm all contracted services and reservations
Send wedding invitations
Final meeting with Master of Ceremonies
Finalize details of ceremony and reception with appropriate site coordinators
Buy marriage license
Final bridal gown and attendants dress fittings
Select ceremony accessories: Unity candle, ring pillow, guest book, etc.
Select personal accessories: purse, garter, toasting goblets, etc.
Make salon appointments
Confirm rehearsal plans and invite guests to rehearsal dinner
Arrange change of name and address, and renew all legal documents accordingly
Finalize guest count
Begin packing for honeymoon
Bachelor and bachelorette parties
Pick up wedding rings (check for proper fit and engraving)
Men pick up formal wear (check for proper fit)
Rehearsal & rehearsal dinner
Finalize transportation for bridal party and parents.
Your Wedding Day!
Relax, and try to take a few moments to reflect upon this - the greatest moment in
both of your lives. It will be over soon, but the memories will be yours to treasure
for a lifetime.
The Do's and Don'ts of Planning your Wedding:
Emphasize on "perfect" - be flexible and try to maintain a sense of humor
Procrastinate - hire all of your wedding professionals as soon as the date and place are
Hire your wedding professionals until you have a working budget.
Hire the first professional you meet - check out a minimum of three for a proper
Hire professionals because they're the cheapest - you get what you pay for.
Assume anything! Get everything in writing.
Make decisions without consulting your mate - it's his or her wedding too!
Invite everyone you've ever known. Weddings are expensive.
Worry about everyone else's advice - it's your wedding!
Forget to hire a wedding consultant to relieve the stress and anxiety associated with
planning this "once in a lifetime" event.
Give yourself plenty of time to plan. "Stress" means "strain"
and "mental or physical tension", usually brought on by attempting to handle a
too much in a short period of time. Having a realistic budget and timetable will enable
you to stay on track.
"Organize" all of the pieces of the wedding:
A three-ring binder, including separate tabs for wedding professionals, appointments,
contracts, gown/dress swatches, etc., is helpful in keeping every thing together,
including wedding planning software to track guest lists, gifts, etc.
Prepare and follow a timetable of all of the events, including appointments, deposits
& payments, reviewing contract terms, fittings, etc.
All aspects of the wedding day must be coordinated; vendors and wedding party must be
coordinated. Hire a certified wedding consultant to handle these tasks
The day of the wedding:
Spend quiet time alone
Spend time with your parents
Eat something light
Relax - it's your day to enjoy
Try not to see your spouse the day of the wedding at all. You'll find that the first
moment you see each other during the ceremony can be a very emotional and wonderful
Seating Arrangements at the Wedding Ceremony
Before the processional, special guests are lead to their seats by the
ushers in the following order:
General Special Guests
Grandmothers of the Bride & Groom
The parents of the bride sit in the first pew on the left-hand side facing the altar. The
parents of the groom sit in the first pew on the right. Several pews behind the first will
be reserved for immediate family members of the bride (left-hand side) and the groom
If the parents are divorced
Then the seating gets a bit more complicated. If the divorced parents are
still great friends, then they may sit at the first pew as if they were married. Their new
spouses or companions would sit in the reserved section behind the first pew. If there is
bitterness between the divorced parents (and unless the father has a closer relationship
with the bride/groom), then the mother sits in the front pew with her companion. The
mother's immediate family members would then sit directly behind her, and the father and
his family would sit behind them. If the mother is not close with the new wife, the new
wife may need to sit even further back - outside the reserved section. This arrangement
would hold even if the father pays for the entire wedding. The only time a father and his
new spouse would sit in the front pew is if he holds a closer relationship with the
bride/groom than the mother.
If a parent is widowed.
He or she may have someone close (a companion, special friend, or family
member) sit next to them. That guest, though, has no special role in the wedding unless
the guest is engaged to the parent or is a very close friend/family member of the bride
How To Plan A Great Wedding On A Small Budget
Keep the guest list reasonable - this is a major cause of cost overruns in
Shop around for your wedding gown. Consider using your mother's or grandmothers gown, if
it is available and can be altered to fit. You can always accessorize to make dress your
own. The idea is to shop around and consider all of your options when buying your wedding
dress. Remember, you will be shining and all eyes will be on you, no matter what you are
Have the ceremony & reception in the same place, perhaps at a slightly lesser known
facility that can handle the catering. Having both in one place can often save
Hire a DJ instead of a band and have the DJ do the Ceremony music too.
Have the wedding on a Friday or Sunday, as they are considered to be "off days".
You can often get better rates. If it must be on a Saturday, have it end no later than 4
or 5pm. This enables your service vendors to do another event at night. You can often get
better rates if you book your wedding and reception during the "off months" in
the area you choose.
Make centerpieces and table decorations yourself. Keep them simple and tasteful. You don't
have to spend a lot to get something really nice. Discount stores and craft stores offer a
variety of items that could be used without spending a fortune. Be original and
In general, make the most of your flowers. Your bridesmaid's bouquets could be used on the
cake table for decoration during the reception. After the reception, the bridesmaids' can
retrieve their bouquet. Using these bouquets as decoration can save you the extra expense
of having to decorate the cake table.
Retain the photographer to only stay for the first hour of the reception. Immediately
after the ceremony, have the photos taken with you two on the dance floor (as if you were
dancing your first dance), at the cake (as if you were getting ready to cut) and at the
door (as if you were leaving for your honeymoon). Then have all family and bridal party
Get your honeymoon in an all-inclusive package. Keep it domestic. There are
travel/honeymoon packages for all budgets available. Do something different! Be creative!