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II   Wedding Manifesto

Design Your Signature Wedding

by Judith Rivers-Moore, WeddingLinks Coach


The question is ... Do you dive in anywhere in the planning process or take it on in a less stress attitude of  Making a Great LIST and "Eating The Elephant, One Bite At A Time." We believe in the One Bite AT A Time Method, It Lowers Your Wedding Stress!   Most couples decide these FIRST:

  1. How to share the news with their families.
  2. Their combined budget - that includes, parents, their savings, and what extra can they earn over the next six months or year, prior to the big day.
  3. The number of guests they can afford to invite to the wedding.  
  4. Should this be a destination wedding, elopement, or a local wedding and reception?
  5. Who do they want as their maid/matron of honor and best man plus the number of attendants and who will be the attendants?

Get Organized ... Print These Forms Out For Your Planning Binder

Design Your Signature Wedding

Attendant Duties

Interview Questions For Hiring Services

Location Review Form

Vendor Tracking

Wedding Styles Guide

Attendant Duties


HELPFUL  ARTICLE  LINKS

Destination Wedding Ideas

Mother’s Duties 


Wedding Manifesto Part II  Design Your Signature Wedding

This chapter will assist you in planning any style wedding. This program is designed to bring your goals and wedding day together. The gifts you received from this class are the keys to what your attendant’s duties are for the wedding, and how to interview and hire your wedding professionals. Check out our huge FAQ section plus global wedding resources for designer gowns, bridal shows, honeymoons and WeddingLinks for locations and professional resources.


Begin your organization by creating a 3-ring binder with the printable forms and downloadable gifts we gave you from the Seven Secrets class, in addition to the sections from the “Wedding Manifesto” planning book we will give you during each subsequent class. This gives you an entire planning book. You should have a Timeline, Guest List, Couple’s Work Sheet, a Wedding Style Sheet, Percentage Budget and a 3-column Budget Form in PDF format from your previous class. Print out the Percentage Budget and the 3-column Budget Form. The budgets will help you understand which areas of the wedding are your highest expenditures. The three column budget will help you readjust your priorities. A list of attendant duties and a wedding styles guide are part of the gifts you have received, along with a set of questions for each service provider you will interview prior to hiring. 


Who Pays For What?

Yes, Sometimes You Have To Talk About The Money.

North American tradition dictates that the groom pays for her rings and bouquet, mothers’ corsages, the clergy, male attendant gifts and the honeymoon. But now couples may both contribute to the wedding and honeymoon costs in a savings account.

Every culture is different. Please read our article on Ethnic Weddings. It is very important to finalize your budget and know you can meet expenses before you begin.


Only 35% of the couples getting married this year will have parents underwrite the wedding costs. Have individual discussions with your parents to come to an understanding of the financial support they can provide for the wedding. Request your parent’s guest list be completed right away. Many of your decisions hinge on the size of the wedding. When parents do want to contribute, or they are writing the wedding checks, it is best when there are “no strings” attached. If you are old enough to be married, you are old enough to manage the distribution of the funds. (When funds are given by parents, I advise them to give an agreed to amount, and place it in the wedding bank account to cover expenses.)


Another method is to ask the parents to pay the deposits on your selections, then you come up with the remaining balances. This way you can budget those accountable dollars toward the wedding more effectively. If you go over this amount for the style wedding you have chosen, then you need to come up with the extra capital to fund over-budget items.


What Are The Components of a Wedding & Reception Plan?

• Includes her fiancé’s ideas and time in the wedding planning - at least some of them

• Learns how to handle her time and her stress

• Strives to stay within the wedding budget

• Is willing to plan, share, trust, ask and delegate parts of the wedding

• Outlines the plans that reflect the priorities for the wedding and honeymoon

• Does not procrastinate, but works to keep each stage of the planning on time

• Hires qualified professionals and follow through with requests, having your best interest at heart

• Enjoys her guests, is relaxed and has a great time at her own wedding

• Leaves the reception knowing that her personal relationships are intact

• Remembers her happy wedding day


Handling Our Engagement

Announcing to Your Parents and Families

Every culture is different on this subject. Please review the Article on for ethnic weddings to gain insight into various traditions. The North American tradition states that before or after the

young man has proposed to the bride, that he privately asks for the bride’s hand in marriage from her father. In the father’s absence, he may request it from the mother of the bride. A dinner or luncheon is planned for the parents to meet. This can be planned by the mother of the groom in her home or at a restaurant. In today’s world, the couple often makes a general announcement to family and friends with trips to both sets of parents to introduce one another.  Couples, upon becoming engaged, often plan an “Engagement Party” to either announce to friends and family their intentions to be married or celebrate their decision. If parents are attending the celebration or hosting it, tradition states that the father of the bride announces the impending marriage with a toast to the couple.  Couples complain they have people asking a multitude of questions, so we suggest you complete a wedding website and include answers as they develop. Post your photos and engagement story and, when e-mailing friends and family members your intentions, send them to your website to stay caught up on your plans. 


Tip: Very few newspapers publish an engagement photo, but if you do, please do not place your phone numbers or address in it.

When designing an engagement web page, you will want to use an internet service provider or website that offers strong security measures. This is personal information you are posting on the internet. Check out the secure provider recommended at SuperStarWedding.com. Some websites do offer a free engagement website, but we do not know what their security measures are. We felt it important to provide you with a vendor that has secure servers for hosting your information.  Engaged couples sometimes choose the alternate style wedding because of “personal preferences”. That can also mean they may have:

• A lack of funds

• A fear of being in front of a group and speaking

• An issue with parental dynamics

• A desire to have the ceremony for the two of them - private

• A very shy bride or groom-to-be


What is an alternative style wedding?

• Destination or elopement for the couple

• Destination Wedding with small group of friends and family

• Intimate wedding or small location for fewer people

Brides & groom's claim these are their seven biggest fears in participating in a wedding:

1. Standing up and speaking in front of a group

2. Getting it all done on time

3. Hiring the wrong people

4. Running out of money or food

5. Tripping as they go down the aisle or a staircase

6. Looking stupid because they just did not know something should be done

7. No one comes Many brides say, “I am an older bride...a younger bride...my taste is different!” “We want something special. We want something simple, but elegant. Classy! “


Finding Time To Plan Your Wedding

Planning and coordinating your wedding does take time. We find many of you do multi-tasking well, but some don’t. Planning a wedding may become a heavy burden. Here are several ways to find that extra time.

1. Write down your daily schedule and your days off schedule.

2. See where you have segments of time for up to an hour, then a half hour.

3. When you do not see segments of time, then begin crossing through the things you can choose not to do for a while. Circle the ones you want. To lower your stress, it is important to cut some of the extra from your life.  Many things cannot be delegated.

4. Post the remodeled list at the front of your wedding work binder.

5. Keep your wedding binder, organizer or Blackberry with you to utilize those segments effectively as you begin your wedding planning.

6. Set up a Yahoo free e-mail account to work from. It has contact lists, notepad, calendar and can be accessed at the office, home or laptop with a web connection.


There Are Four Stages of Wedding Planning

First Stage: Accumulating Facts to Make Decisions

Deciding the type of wedding, (traditional, non-traditional) number of guests, budget, time of year and formality of the nuptials will help you create your timeline and priorities for your wedding and honeymoon. 

Please use “The Wedding Management Articles” you’ve received today.

 

Party Rental Possibilities. They will be great assets to your wedding design plans.  Communicating with your fiancé is a top priority at this time. Gather information on what style wedding you prefer to have and what your budget will allow.

• Gain his commitment in completing the outline of your dream wedding. He will often have input on affordability, parent or family issues, as well as ideas he would like included.

• Couples need to maintain their love relationship throughout the planning. It is important to have date nights with no wedding talk.

• 50% of your funds are required as deposits for locations and services. (The extra expenses may mean the requirement for longer work hours, possibly a smaller wedding or creative funding.)

• Your decision to coordinate the wedding does not allow you to say, “I just want my attendants as guests at our wedding.” These wonderful people can be considered part of your wedding team. They will assist you in completing the tasks that you delegate during the planning process and the day of your wedding. If you do not involve your attendants as team members, then form your team outside of the group selected as attendants.

• Develop your theme colors that run throughout your ceremony, bridesmaid dresses and possibly the reception tables and décor. You can be unique and have two distinct color themes, as well.  Second Stage: Completing the “Wedding Team”, location and vendor selections • Location finding is a priority because many sites have a preferred vendor list or in-house catering. If you want a popular location, your goal date may need to be flexible. You will not want to complete your vendor selections until the location is resolved.

• Some or all of your attendants and family may become part of your wedding team. (Your approach is that of an invitation, not a demand.)

• Your selection of a great location and the interviewing and hiring of qualified vendors will round out your wedding team.

• As a recommendation, I suggest you read the book, "The One Minute Manager" by Kenneth H. Blanchard, Ph.D. 


Third Stage: Designing & Personalizing Your Signature Wedding

• Your choices of colors, invitations, music, food, and flowers to linens and décor are part of the personal touches that give the magic and signature to your wedding. Completing your honeymoon plans, gift registries and selection of attendant and family gifts will round out the planning process.

• Detailing the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception with timelines and delegation of work throughout “the big day” (Check the free gifts for timelines and lists to use).

Final Stage: Outlining the rehearsal, dinner, ceremony, and reception Ships cannot get out of a harbor without a chart! Give them a “chart” or at least a list of instructions!

• Timelines, lists and delegating duties to your wedding team will finalize the last several days. With the confirmation calls to vendors, last minute guest count to the caterer, bartender or beverage person, you really need to activate your wedding team.

Some of the concerns brides have are…. 


It is quite stressful on relationships when couples:

• are promised funds that do not appear

• must take on an extra job to earn enough money

• can’t meet the final expenses

• make plans they cannot afford

• place large sums on credit cards


Hiring A Wedding Planner - Read our detailed article.


• When you are hosting a destination wedding. You need a coordinator at the other end to complete the planning from their reviewed list of area services.

• During the rehearsal to get the processional music and timing for the ceremony and to instruct your attendants on their parts in the program.

• The day of your wedding. The day of the event you really need assistance to stay on time and keep things running smoothly. It is wise to have questions directed toward them (not you or your mother).

WeddingLinks provides wedding planner worldwide along with locations and services, plus honeymoon ideas.

Tip: Many locations or wedding sites will say they have a coordinator. Please investigate this, they may be just the site manager who is concerned about the property. If a disc jockey or other service says they can coordinate your wedding...they may not be there to get you ready and down the aisle on time. Find out what they “really mean” when they say they can coordinate your wedding.

Seven Quick Steps To Develop A Wedding Budget    Print Out Our 3-Line Wedding Budget

Here’s a list of things to do prior to your wedding. These items will allow you to come up with a budget:

1. Attend a bridal show in the area where the wedding occurs. It will give general prices for the region, or make phone calls after reviewing a few area websites.

2. Set your personal priorities on what are the most important ingredients for your wedding. Select one of your priorities and then one of the grooms. Build on these and it will help you spend your money more effectively.

3. The larger the guest list, the higher the wedding budget will go.

4. Before you begin, understand who will be paying for what and what gifts are coming (gifts can be monetary and/or services). If a service gift, get clear on just what they are giving and if you will incur some costs or concerns with it. 5. Gain price information from your friends and family who have had a recent wedding.

6. Set up a separate bank account (checking or savings) for the wedding or a credit card that ensures purchases.

7. Review the items to make certain nothing was left off the list.


Problems With Starting The Wedding or Receptionlate Lake Or Getting Behind 

• Guests waiting for you to come down the aisle

• Costly food is cold or wilted

• Locations force you out because they have an event coming in behind yours.

• You cannot finish the traditional things you wanted to include for the wedding or reception

• You don’t get the photographs you want

Occasionally, there will be forgiveness from the professional services, but generally, there will be charges for your personal tardiness.

Great Stress Relievers While You’re Planning Your Wedding

1. Yoga classes and deep fresh air breathing

2. Pampering yourself with a day at the spa

3. An exercise or walking program

4. Attending a funny movie

5. Girls night out

6. Good nutrition

7. Listen to calm music

8. Stop or control the caffeine and sugar

9. Pat yourself on the back for the good things you do

10. Singing or playing an instrument

Five Great Tips To Implement Your Organization Plans Immediately

1. Go to a bridal show for pricing and ideas.

2. Get your groom’s input on what he wants to happen on the wedding day.

3. Sit down with your fiancé and decide the style and size wedding you desire.

4. Fill out the timeline and budget forms and get your guest list together.

5. Decide on and set up your management tools from the gifts we gave you.


Read Our Article On Mothers’ Duties For A Wedding


During many ethnic-style weddings, the bride will wear a traditional wedding dress and change to a reception dress of white (that could work for the lady who falls in love with two different dresses, as well).  Beautifully designed jewelry neckwear and statement pieces are in, along with larger and longer earrings. Pearls are still number one, but the sparkle is definitely in style.


The dress train continues in many lengths, but there is a movement back to being built into the dress with loops for the wrist. Many dresses still bustle so you can dance. The “slip of a dress” is enjoyed by many with trim figures and is great for destination or beach wedding dress. 

Read Our Article On Questions For The Party Rental Company

Party Linens are Setting the Scene Each Year They Come OUt with the Newest Trends and Colors, Overlays, Chair Covers and Unusual Shaped Dinnerware.

Consider renting/using full-length tablecloths for any formal occasion. 

What Wedding Procrastination Is, and How to Move Through It.

If you find yourself slow on beginning your planning, it may be for one of the following reasons:

•Maybe the wedding you desire is going to take some time to afford. (You do not owe anyone an explanation; just set your earning timeframe to meet your budget.)

•No time to do the planning. (Get a coordinator or friend/family to move you through the process.) Taking this class should help greatly.

•Fear of doing something for the first time? (Step up with resolve. Mark your calendar to make one decision. (A bridal show can motivate you!)

•You are a natural procrastinator who puts everything off. If so, you need to understand a wedding does require a one-year to the eighteen-month timeline to determine the location and professionals for your wedding. You can benefit from a super friend who moves you through the process or a professional coordinator who can get you there.

• Something tells you, this is not the person you want to marry. (If so, get into some pre-marriage counseling to choose to stay together or move on with your life.

Wedding Communication and Management Skills

Many of us are not verbal or written communicators. We know what we are thinking, but often it does not come out clearly understood in our verbal or written communication to others. Big mistakes are made here.  We offer a few good tips:


• Give guidelines for selections; price points, the style you are seeking, colors, etc., and by what date the choice or task is to be complete.

• Sending someone on an errand requires addresses and the correct time to arrive for specific events. (With a wedding, the wedding team or attendants must have earlier times than the arrival of the guests.)

• It helps to give people written instructions or ask people to repeat back what you have verbally discussed. Ask them if the date and your request is written on their calendar.  Always confirm vendor services, attendants, and locations two weeks prior to your scheduled dates.

• Give maps in the invitations or give attendants specific directions for rehearsals and rehearsal dinners. Ask each one to call back and leave a message to acknowledge your call or e-mail.

• Along with a recommended personal engagement website, your e-mail system will assist a great deal to keep people informed.

Relationship Building - Creative Methods to Get Your Groom Involved

Most women may not think of the wedding as “our wedding but think “the wedding of my dreams”. Well, correct thinking here can create a cooperative helpmate for the rest of your life. (Even when the guy is a ten thousand miles away, he still may have input to the wedding.) Men, too, have dreams and thoughts concerning their marriage and are often given disconnecting messages by well-meaning people. Sometimes they are told by

buddies or dad that:

• She will become a demanding commander-in-chief

• Everything will have to be her way or...the highway....

• Your dating life won’t be the same once you decide to get married

• She will become a “Bridezilla”

• You’ll be walking on eggs the whole time

• Stay on the sidelines, do a couple of things and let the rest be a surprise

Along with T.V. reality shows and wedding videos appearing on the net about “Bridezillas”, many fathers, brothers and buddies say, “Just tell her anything she wants is O.K. with you.” Well, here again, you both have the choice of how you behave and whether to live up to those biased remarks.


Nowadays, more men take a larger part in the planning of the ceremony and the celebration. There are several ways to encourage this with the aspect of gaining an excellent assist while learning to work together on a project. Your lives will be filled with cooperative endeavors and the wedding can be a major one. Fill out the “Couple’s Work Sheet” and review it together, your thoughts on the wedding may be dynamically different. Set times to talk about the wedding, and please set times to date where you don’t talk about the wedding. There are no tricks to this. Just treat the man in your life as you would like to be treated.

• Don’t tell him he has to help you - ask for his help ahead of time

• Decide together where his assistance will help the most

• Value, respect and use his input

• Discuss openly how something may or may not work

• Understand, some people do not visualize; they must see a picture

• Lists with explanations, calendar dates, and photos work best in communicating

• Never send a man on a fruitless mission. They must have correct addresses, descriptions, and notes on what to do.  Most men are macho guys. Some are lucky enough to have a softer side. Many like to be involved with the following parts of wedding planning:

• Research on the web

• Select the transportation company

• Choose menus, cake, and beverages

• Music review

• Selecting tuxedo companies

• Honeymoon planning details

• Program details and graphics selection with your themes



Please Read Our Article On How To Preview A Wedding Venue  &  Read Our Article On How to Get the Most Out of a Bridal Show


• Dealing with mothers, (mothers-in-law and stepmothers and grandmothers) can have communications issues. Once you announce the wedding a floodgate of questions and ideas flow your way. From their viewpoint, they raised you and dreamed of your wedding for years. From your viewpoint, it is your wedding. The best method is that the groom communicates with his family, and you with yours. 

• Early communication is a primary etiquette. Notification of a destination wedding to the people involved requires they schedule vacation time and access funds, etc. Family and attendants can be given your online engagement web page address that you continue to update with details.

• Not replying with “Thank You” notes for gifts received. It is important to say “Thank You.” There are services that do this, but the bridal couple can agree that she writes all the notes for gifts from her side plus mutual friends, and he writes the notes from his side - within a six-month period of time after the ceremony. In the note, mention the specific gift.

• Losing your patience and being argumentative. Granted, there may be reasons to do so. Responding and not reacting to other people’s rudeness or anger, and demands will dissolve some of it. Every frustration brings the choice of whether to handle it like a “Bridezilla” or a SuperStar Bride. Use your “Bridezilla” energy at the gym. When her ugly head appears, visually place it in your gym bag and take her to the gym and unleash the anger there.

Read Our Article On Selecting Your Locations & Wedding Service


Additional Tips On Working With The Wedding Team

Communicating with your Wedding Team can be through e-mails, text messaging, letters, notes, lists and your engagement website or by phone. You decide your best method. Your team can be your fiancé, family, friends, co-workers, roommates, a neighbor, your hired vendor services and those you chose to be your wedding attendants.

Using a Family Member or Friend for One of Your Vendor Services

When involved with a friend or family member who volunteers to accomplish a “professional wedding service” for your wedding, it is vital you be aware of their past experience. You need the reassurance of their knowledge and professionalism. This is key to gifts of services such as flowers, cakes, photos, video, catering, bartending, etc.   I have heard some reall horror stories on this.  You really want to hire a professional, not a "Want A Bee".

As you complete your requests and management/delegation lists for the final days, Check the dynamics of assignments. (For instance, your maid of honor needs to be with you and not setting up the reception hall prior to the ceremony.)  Some of these people you may only get together with occasionally, but when it comes down to the wire on the rehearsal and the wedding day they require several items from you:

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations Should Include:

• List and directions to where the rehearsal and dinner will be held - a good map

• Their list of what they promised to do the day of the wedding or at any other time.

• Phone number and contact information so they feel informed.

When involved with a friend or family member who volunteers to accomplish “ professional wedding services ” for your wedding, 

it is vital you be aware of their past experience. You need the reassurance of their knowledge and professionalism. 

This is key to gift services of flowers, cakes, photos, video, catering, bartending, etc.

If delivery work, setup, and cleanup is beneath one of your team member’s “station in life”, they may assist in other areas you have to fill. (We will outline these specific areas in the next class, giving you details on the timeframe it takes to accomplish.)

Pitfalls and Complaints and Misunderstandings from Brides

• He did the video, but no one could hear because he forgot to turn up the volume

• He did the video, but it was not edited, so we had a 5 hour tape

• They catered for us, but still charged for the food

• They catered for us, but we had to set up all the tables and linens

• I did my own flowers, but my nails were a mess for the photos

• My aunt made the cake but did not know how to do the layers and it fell in

• Friends decorated the reception room and forgot to put a cloth on the cake table

• We had a gift certificate for the limo, but we still had to tip him - yes, and it is always over $100.

• My best friend was our seamstress and she did not get our bridesmaid dresses completed on time.

Find Your Wedding Sites & Expert Wedding Services.


• When planning a wedding in your hometown and you are miles away at your job or school, choose people nearby to help you with local tasks and those at home with the details, listed on the wedding site. To expedite the destination wedding plans, call, text, and travel to the location one or more times to interview your wedding vendors, select your site, etc., or the wedding you walk into could be a total surprise.