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Starting a wedding checklist

At the start of my wedding planning, I took some time to map out the important components of a wedding which slowly evolved into a blue print for wedding planning. Here is a "checklist" of key areas to consider when planning a wedding: 

  1. Date selection
  2. Venue selection
  3. Groomsmen / bridesmaid selection
  4. Wedding website
  5. Invitation (save-the-date, formal invite, email invitation, etc.)
  6. Vendor selection
    • Photographer
    • Videographer
    • Wedding planner
    • Hair & makeup
    • Officiant
    • Entertainment
    • Transportation
  7. Wedding attire & accessories
  8. Wedding theme / decor
  9. Stationary (menu, program booklet, etc.)
  10. Wedding favors + gifts for wedding party
  11. Legal marriage requirements
  12. Vows

Under each of these components, I created to-do tasks and assigned owners to each task. I used Asana to help "manage" the checklist. This tool allows you to create tasks, assign to different owners, set deadlines, and manage progress

Since I am quite familiar with Excel, I used it as a master planning to keep track of wedding budget, guest list, event schedule etc. I found it helpful to keep everything in a master file so that everything could be found in one place 

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Building a wedding website

I used various wedding websites during my wedding planning process: 

  1. Save-the-date: we sent out a save-the date-date via www.paperlesspost.com - it is a pretty simple website that allows some basic customization and address collection, which is nice to have if you plan to mail formal invites
     
  2. Wedding website: my bridesmaid got us the website domain "www.mayanderic.com" and you can import this address into most website platforms. If you don't care for having your own domain, then most wedding websites can provide one for free. Usually it can be a personalized tag after the website, such as www.weddingwindow.com/mayanderic
  • Pre-wedding: since we had a destination wedding, I wanted to make sure that we had a good website that would get guests excited about the wedding and provide useful information. There are a lot of different free wedding websites out there (e.g., theknot.comappycouple.com, etc.), but I ended up picking www.weddingwindow.com because it allowed for customization in terms of the design and a robust RSVP system such as tracking people's meal preferences etc. 
  • Post-wedding: I changed our back end platform to www.squarespace.com after the wedding. Mostly because I was looking to have video / photo galleries, and weddingwindow wasn't very good for that. I didn't initially use squarespace for pre-wedding website because at that point they didn't have good wedding website templates with RSVP functions. However, I think squarespace might have recently launched templates specifically for wedding websites. Overall, I am a big fan of squarespace as the customization is more flexible and design is better than most other platforms

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Choosing a wedding photographer

 Photo credit: Chloe Browne

Photo credit: Chloe Browne

I cared very much about getting the right photographer for my wedding. If you are like me, it is definitely worth spending some time to research and pick the right photographer! 

As you start your own photographer selection, I recommend doing the following:

  1. Do some research: Figure out the style of photos you like (e.g., romantic/glowy, journalistic, film-like, dramatic/posed, etc.). By going through the blogs that feature real weddings (Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, etc.), you will start to get a sense of the photography style you prefer. The ones that you are naturally drawn to will likely be the type you want for your wedding 
     
  2. Make a list: The blog posts will always list the photographers of the featured weddings and it is a great place to help you build a list of photographers that deliver photo styles you prefer. Another good source is to talk to friends that have had their weddings to get a list of their recommended photographers. I found it helpful to kept a list in excel so that I could better track where I found the photographer and notes about style, pricing, location, etc.
     
  3. Shop around: Contact the photographers to see if they are available and for pricing if they don't already list it on their website. Popular photographers are often booked out a year in advance and/or ridiculously expensive -- so don't be discouraged! It doesn't hurt to try to negotiate the pricing by telling photographers what your bottom line budget is as sometimes they are willing to make adjustments to the package to accommodate you. Since our wedding was in Bali, I had a few photographers who wanted to have an international island wedding in their portfolio so they were willing to waive their fee if we paid for their flights and accommodation
     
  4. Interview: With a list of available photographers, you can do a final filter by scheduling phone or in person interviews to get a sense of whether they would be someone you and your guests would get along with. I think it important that the photographer is someone you trust and are comfortable with. Just imagine how awkward it would be on the day of if you or others didn't get along with your photographer! Also if you anticipate cultural issues (e.g., traditional wedding, non-English speakers), it is important to find a culturally sensitive person that would be comfortable dealing/photographing in those situations. There are a lot of other questions I'd recommend asking the photographer. For more details, you can download my photographer interview guide 
     
  5. Decide: Once you've vetted the list of available photographers, you can finally make a decision! How you make the decision will be dependent on your personal preferences, but for me it came down to a balance of pricing, quality of work, and personality of the photographer.

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