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January 3, 2012

The Rules Of Engagement

By sdwedding
Photo ©Bob Hoffman Video & Photography

The Rules of Engagement
From “Yes!” to “I Do” in 10 Easy Steps
For many brides to be, the initial euphoria and bliss
that comes after saying “yes” is soon followed by a state of panic with
the realization that it is time to start planning a (gulp!) wedding.
Take a deep breath and read on. We’re here to help guide you through the
key steps ensuring that you are planning the wedding of your dreams.
And remember, you have found the man of your dreams—so you’re already
halfway there!
Photo ©Dapper Images

Choose Your Rings

Today, many couples shop together for their wedding rings. These symbols of your commitment to each other should fit perfectly both on your ring fingers and within your budget. Don’t get caught up in the myth that a ring should cost two months salary. Every couple has a different budget, and the ring purchase should and can fit within what you can afford without breaking the bank.

When you are shopping, remember the four “Cs” – cut, color, clarity and carat. Visit jewelers recommended by friends, relatives or co-workers and keep in mind that though many jewelers feature various finished products, you are still able to customize your rings so that they are a perfect match for your personal style, taste and budget.

Photo ©White Haute Photography

Determine Your Wedding Day Budget
We have all heard the horror stories of big, blow-out weddings that end up causing couples to take second jobs and second mortgages—ultimately resulting in second thoughts. Though the budget you are able to set aside for your big day will be a major determining factor in the type of wedding you have, it should by no means cause severe strain on your finances or your relationship.

In some cases, the parents of the bride and/or groom offer to chip in to offset at least some, if not all of the costs. If your folks are these magnanimous types, be sure to have the budget conversation up front in order to set reasonable expectations, and determine precisely what they are willing to pay for and how much they are willing to spend. Sit down as a group with a calculator and your “wish list,” and be willing to be flexible. Be respectful and appreciative of their generosity– in most cases, just because the money is not coming out of your bank account does not mean you can throw caution to the wind while doling out the dollars.

Photo ©Dapper Images

Pick the Season
Before you set your hearts on any particular date for your nuptials and circle it on your calendar with a big, red heart, consider first the season you envision walking down the aisle.

In California the height of wedding season naturally falls within the months where the weather is optimal. Springtime and fall here are filled with any number of sunny days that fade seamlessly into warm, comfortable nights. Winter weddings in California are also popular, and rarely do couples need to worry about snow, sleet or ice putting a damper on their big day.

Summer weddings in California can be hot, but in San Diego the weather is usually perfect. But if you plan your day during June, July and August can lead to lots of perks. In the summer months (fewer tourist), some of the coolest venues can offer you increased availability and price breaks.

Photo ©Dapper Images

Secure Your Ceremony and Reception Locations
After you determine if you will be a winter, spring, summer or fall bride, keep a few potential dates in mind as you search for the location of your dreams. Availability at the most popular venues is limited and fills up fast, and your wedding date will most likely be determined by the open dates at your choice location.

Ask around for recommendations and then visit as many potential venues as possible. Set appointments with on-site event planners to get full facility tours. As you narrow your list, it is smart to re-visit your favorite locations on days when weddings are actually taking place in order to get a sense of what you can actually expect on the day of your ceremony and/or reception.

Finally, take time to ask questions and research all costs before securing a contract. The rental fee for the venue may be minimal in comparison to what it will cost to utilize the bar services, catering options, linens, set-up and service.

Photo ©Siegel Thurston Photography

Find a Dress
Finally – the fun part! For many brides, finding the perfect dress is something they have imagined since they can remember.

The choices and styles of gowns are endless, all with different silhouettes, necklines, materials, detailing and price range. Remember to take your wedding date and location into account, and choose a gown that is weather-appropriate.

Most importantly, try on as many dresses as possible, and have your winning selection tailored. Take your family and best girl friends to get their feedback and opinions, as the pure volume of the gowns available can be overwhelming to sort through on your own.

Photo ©White Haute Photography

Research and Book Your Vendors
Unless you are hiring a wedding planner to coordinate the details of making sure you have everyone and everything you need working together at your wedding, you will need to thoroughly research and select an officiant, photographer, videographer, entertainment, transportation service and caterer, as well as place orders for your cake, flowers, décor, linens and any other details to make your special day come off without a hitch.

Your best bet is to ask your trusted family members, friends and co-workers for recommendations, and ask to see examples of what the products and services you are ordering have looked like for past weddings.

Photo ©Tangerine Tree Photography

Select Your Colors
The rule of thumb for choosing a color scheme for your wedding is to determine one a main color, and two corresponding accent colors. Keep the time of year and your venue in mind when making these selections – especially since the color focus in many weddings shows up most apparently throughout floral arrangements. Certain flowers may not be in season during the time of year of your wedding; so while determining colors keep your décor in mind.

Photo ©Bob Hoffman Video & Photography

Plan Your Cocktail Hour/Reception
Set up a timeline of when announcements and toasts can be made, as well as when you want your dinner service and any other special moments you may have planned to start and end. Brevity is usually appreciated most by your guests, who are just as anxious as you to get the party started on the dance floor!

Photo ©White Haute Photography

Send a Save the Date Announcement, to Be Followed by the Official Invitation

Many couples are sending out a save the date announcement to their invited guests several months before the planned wedding date.

This announcement gives your guests—especially those who may be traveling significant distances to attend—time to plan and book travel, if necessary.

The official invitation your guests can use to RSVP should be mailed six to eight weeks before the date.

Relax, Knowing You Have Planned and Are Prepared.

It is easy to get carried away in the details of planning your wedding, but above all, remember to enjoy the moment knowing you have found the one and are embarking on not only the celebration of a lifetime, but also the marriage of your dreams.