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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding”

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Please Read This FIRST

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This Electronic book is Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. No

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might not be suitable for

everyone. The author provided the information only as a broad

overview by a lay person about an important subject. The author

used information from sources that they believed to be reliable and

from their own personal experience, but neither implies nor intends

any guarantee of accuracy.

The results you obtain will depend largely on your own efforts,

climatic and other factors beyond the knowledge and control of the

author, publisher and distributors. No particular result or outcome is

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The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting,

medical or any other type of professional advice. The reader must

always seek those services from competent professionals that can

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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apply the latest technical information and review their own

particular circumstances.

The author, publisher and distributors particularly disclaim any

liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals who directly or indirectly

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responsibility for their use of this material.

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People in the pictures are not associated with the content author,

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Contents

Please Read This FIRST................................................................................ 2

Terms of Use.........................................................................................................................2

Disclaimer .............................................................................................................................2

No pictures in this book may be used by anyone for any

other purpose............................................................................................ 3

Contents......................................................................................................... 4

About the Author ........................................................................................... 7

The Campaign Begins................................................................................... 8

Reduce Stress Whenever Possible.............................................................. 9

A Better Wedding without Breaking Your Budget. ................................... 10

Your Budget. .......................................................................................................................10

Stick with Your Plan ...........................................................................................................11

Get Family and Friends to Help ........................................................................................12

Dollar Saving Decorations.................................................................................................13

Surviving the Engagement ......................................................................... 15

Plan for Your Perfect Wedding................................................................... 16

Setting up the Bridal Party ......................................................................... 21

The Maid or Matron of Honor ............................................................................................21

Your Dress and the Rest............................................................................. 23

The Bridesmaids.............................................................................................................23

The Receiving Line.........................................................................................................24

Bring in the Professionals. ......................................................................... 26

Wedding Planner ................................................................................................................26

Don’t want a Professional Planner? .............................................................................27

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Photographer ......................................................................................................................27

Don’t want a Professional Photographer?...................................................................29

Videographer ......................................................................................................................30

Don’t want a Professional Videographer? ...................................................................32

Master of Ceremonies ........................................................................................................32

Don’t want a Professional Master of Ceremonies? ....................................................33

Your Caterer........................................................................................................................34

Don’t want a Professional Caterer?..............................................................................35

The Right Cake for the Occasion..................................................................................35

Live Music or Disc Jockey.................................................................................................36

Amateur Comedians.......................................................................................................37

Feeding the Horde ....................................................................................... 39

Frugal Food.........................................................................................................................39

Things to Avoid ..................................................................................................................40

Things to Avoid or Provide Alternatives for ....................................................................41

Financing Your Big Day .............................................................................. 42

Emphasize the Essentials .................................................................................................42

Who Pays for What.............................................................................................................43

Cutting Costs Without Pain ...............................................................................................44

Outfitting the Wedding Party.........................................................................................45

Insurance ..................................................................................................... 47

Children at Your Wedding .......................................................................... 49

Your Children......................................................................................................................49

Other People’s Children.....................................................................................................49

Animals ........................................................................................................ 51

Your Wedding Venue .................................................................................. 52

Up a Tree or Below the Sea! ..............................................................................................52

When You have Different Religious Backgrounds ................................... 54

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Priming and Pruning the Guest List .......................................................... 55

It’s All OFF! .................................................................................................. 57

Relations ...................................................................................................... 59

Your Mother ........................................................................................................................59

Your Mother-in-law .............................................................................................................60

Your Father .........................................................................................................................61

Relationships............................................................................................... 62

Your Ex ................................................................................................................................62

Party! Party! ................................................................................................. 63

The Rehearsal Party .......................................................................................................63

Pre-Nuptial Agreements.............................................................................. 65

The “Easy Way” Out – Elope!..................................................................... 66

If You Have to Speak ................................................................................... 67

Order of Speeches..............................................................................................................67

Order of Toasts...................................................................................................................67

Mini-note from Maureen.............................................................................. 69

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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About the Author

Maureen Parnell was a part-time singer and musician who

specialized in weddings and other functions around her home town.

She began to suffer from arthritis and had to give up her

performing.

Then, she started to teach music and singing to children and adults.

This is her first book and she has used her experiences with her

customers and also people she knows to provide a wide range of

tips and suggestions.

She hopes “Your Wedding, Your Way” will help new brides start

right and even give people that have already been through a

wedding or two some tips they wished they knew before.

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The Campaign Begins

Congratulations, you’re engaged!

Better start planning your wedding, because you will probably need

every minute!

And, time is not all you’ll need.

You’ll need careful planning as well as enough tenacity to bounce

back up and continue when some completely unexpected hazard

gets in your way.

I tried hard with this ebook to save you money, time and

frustration. It’s aimed to protect you from all kinds of problems and

save you money and time.

Read it now (spare time will get real scarce soon) and keep it handy

as you go toward your happiest day.

It’s based on my experience and those of my friends and colleagues

who shared with me their experiences - sometimes on condition of

strict anonymity. I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to include

tips from people I know who provide their services or products to

weddings and other functions.

You can find plenty of information about the traditional wedding

arrangements here.

I’ve tried to show how you can, if you want to, adapt or even

discard them to make a more pleasant and memorable experience

for you and everyone involved.

The first rule for your wedding is that it’s YOUR WEDDING.

Let’s get started …

Maureen Parnell

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Reduce Stress Whenever Possible

If you haven’t enough stress in your daily life, planning a wedding is

likely to give you more than you need.

I don’t have a ‘magic cure’ – there is none.

Alcohol and pills are likely to increase problems rather than help you

get through them.

Here’s a few quick tips that should help.

9 Focus on your normal obligations with your job and

your social network. If you start to push them aside

because of your wedding preparations, you could build

up problems for your return.

9 Don’t begin every conversation with something about

you, your groom or the wedding. Your friends and

colleagues need a break and so do you.

9 Think about doing relaxation exercises and meditation.

They’re not the exclusive domain of particular religious

groups and there are books which show how you can

fit them into your regular lifestyle.

9 Start or continue to exercise regularly. You need your

strength and resilience to be the best it can.

9 Have a complete health check-up.

9 Have a massage or complete body toning session,

preferably with one or more of your close female

friends – better than a shower for your mental state

and your diet!

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A Better Wedding without Breaking Your Budget.

A wedding will probably cost the happy couple

and their parents more than they expect, even if

they’re used to sticking to a budget.

There are so many things which have to be paid

for!

I’ve put together some tips to help you keep

control of your spending. Otherwise, you will

start your life as a married couple with a financial hangover that it

could take months or even years to recover from.

I can almost guarantee that your expenses will be more than you

thought. It’s like a “Parkinson’s Law” for Weddings; instead of “work

expands to fill the available time”, you get “expenses grow to

swallow the available budget!”.

Your Budget.

1] Decide what you must have, list what you would like to have and be ruthless about trimming what you can do without.

2] Never assume that anyone will give you some money or pay for

a particular item or service. Ask them, if you feel that is

appropriate. Otherwise, plan to cover it yourself.

3] Keep talking to everyone. Even when someone has committed to

paying for something, keep in touch. Remember that people’s

circumstances may change rapidly through an accident, a change in

their employment, unexpected medical expenses or just a change in

of their priorities. Keep in touch, and try to be as understanding as

possible if they cannot fulfill their promise.

4] Some people put conditions on their “help”. That might be to add Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved.

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more people to your already bulging guest list or to sing at the

reception. You must decide with your partner how important the

financial contribution is to your budget and whether you will

accommodate the “request”, and possibly disappoint other people,

gently insist that the help is unconditional or decline the gift.

5] You, or your parents, may consider getting a loan to cover some

major wedding expenses. This is a personal decision which I can’t

advise about.

I suggest that whoever is looking at this option, consider the long-

term effects:

1) Will this extra burden put a strain on your other financial

goals?

2) Will this debt put a strain on your relationship with each other or your parents as you start married life?.

3) Can you comfortably meet the repayments?

4) Have you compared loan options, read all the fine print and

selected the best terms available?

5) How really important is the loan to making your wedding day

a happy one?

Stick with Your Plan

It’s not unusual for people, especially the bride, to start thinking of

alternatives to the previously agreed food, venue and other

arrangements just a few weeks before the big day.

Please stick with the original plan unless there really are pressing

concerns that make some change necessary.

Otherwise, you’ll have extra and probably un-necessary worry for

your family and other guests as well as inflated expenses for

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yourself.

The service providers won’t mind because their contracts will

provide for extra charges be added to your bill. They will usually be

much more than you expect.

Get Family and Friends to Help

You may have the answer to reducing some major wedding

expenses in your own, or a relative’s, back yard.

Ask them if they will provide their:

9 Garden for the wedding or home for the reception

9 Catering skill

9 Dressmaking.

9 Printing

9 Transport for the bridal party on the wedding day, or to get

fly-in guests to and from the airport.

You might suggest this as their gift for your wedding.

Don’t forget to thank them publicly and privately.

Keep in touch with them so you will know if, for any reason, they

cannot fulfill the commitment in time for you to make other

arrangements.

Your female relatives and, maybe, close friends might have a

gathering to produce food or decorations for the reception. That

could be a great help for your budget and theirs if you do that

instead of having another shower.

Some might be able and willing to provide flowers for the reception,

church or bride and bridesmaids.

Some keen gardeners may not want to cut off the flowers and some

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of the foliage, especially if they are preparing for a Flower Show or

just want to enjoy the flowers later themselves. Then, they might

prefer to loan you the plants in pots.

Dollar Saving Decorations

If you and your friends are making some or all of your decorations,

the two words to keep in mind are simple and strong. Then, if

something is bent but not broken, it can probably be refurbished by

willing but unskilled hands on the spot instead of having to be

discarded.

Confetti is frowned on or completely banned at many venues

because it becomes unsightly and can require serious effort to

remove from clothing and the venues. Be sure to enquire before

providing it.

Some people provide small bags of rice or seeds. The birds in the

area would definitely be better off if you do not use rice. Use

birdseed and the birds will happily do most of the clearing away for

you.

Don’t be afraid to use quality fake plants for decorations, especially

when real ones are hard to get or simply too expensive.

Balloons are an easy and inexpensive decoration accessory. Buy

them in bulk packs rather than the small supermarket size for big

savings.

Match the colors to your theme. Get a couple of plastic pumps –

blowing them up by mouth can be exhausting and is now regarded

as unhygienic by Doctors.

Warning: balloons should never be given to small children who are

not well supervised and no-one should put a balloon near anyone’s

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face – there are people injured frequently, especially when a balloon

breaks and a piece lodges in their eye. If a piece gets into a child’s

throat, it can be fatal.

Dress up your simple and inexpensive decorations with a monogram

using the bride and groom’s names or initials.

Select the lettering and font on your word processor, choose a large

size and just print an outline on thin card. Then, cut out the letters

to make your stencil(s).

If you have a lot of items to decorate, put some adhesive plastic,

usually used to protect school book covers, over the cardboard

before you cut out your stencils so that they will last the whole job.

Also, make some extra stencils so that you have enough without

having to set up the computer again.

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Surviving the Engagement

From this point, you have to deal with some issues which affect

each step in the journey to your actual wedding:

Finances: There is a cost attached to each part of the journey and the wedding itself. On top of everything else you have to contend

with, it’s very important to keep your available funds in mind.

It would be a bad mistake to splurge on your dream wedding to the

extent that you are both consigned to a financial nightmare at the

start of your marriage.

Another important financial consideration is to be aware that the

other people involved, family and friends, may have limited finances

but feel obligated to meet any requests or arrangements you make.

Don’t put an unreasonable burden on them.

Schedule: Almost everything will take longer than you might

anticipate. I’ll give you a list of important milestones to plug into

your personal calendar. Because everybody’s situation and

obligations are different, you’ll need to adjust it to fit you.

Health: It’s obvious that there will be demands on your physical

and emotional strength above what you’re probably used to. So, it’s

a good idea to get a full physical check early on and make sure that

you eat well and exercise to help you cope with all of it.

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Plan for Your Perfect Wedding.

Preparing for your wedding is like taking on another job.

Reduce the impact on your normal life by writing out a schedule of

the important things which you must keep aware of.

Keep this list handy and refer to it when needed. You may need to

adjust it to fit your situation and perhaps discard or add some

items. But, it’s fairly comprehensive.

If the list seems overwhelming, don’t panic! Almost everything

here is covered in the later chapters. When you’ve read them, you

will be well prepared and, I hope, looking forward to the adventure.

I’ve put the list here as a memory aid. That doesn’t mean you’ll be

able to recite the list without looking at the page – that’s not

required.

If you read through it a couple of times, you will impress it on your

subconscious which should help eliminate the possibility that you

will overlook any important steps – your subconscious will pop the

right items into your conscious mind when needed.

Tell your families. If they’re very traditional, then the future

husband might ask his prospective father-in-law first.

You also need to work out who will pay for the event, the other

associated expenses and whether you will pay or assist with the

costs, like accommodation, travel etc., of members of the bridal

party or any special relatives who might not have the funds to be

able to attend.

Then, tell your friends and announce it through the local newspaper

(not compulsory).

Set a date for the wedding.

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Decide where you will be married and where you want to have the

reception. Popular venues are often booked far in advance.

Contact any relatives and friends who might have to travel a

considerable distance to the event as soon as possible after booking

the venues.

Decide where you will have your honeymoon and start checking the

travel brochures and legal requirements, if any. Find out if you need

passports or other documentation and, if so, start the process.

Pack your luggage carefully, including you carry-on luggage, to

minimize delays at airports or when embarking on a cruise.

Check well in advance about any import restrictions which might

affect you in countries that you plan to visit.

You must sort out between you who you want to have fill the other

roles in your wedding party and contact them to see if they accept

and are available.

Start planning what the bridal party will wear – six months out is

not too early to order your wedding dress.

Let your mothers decide between themselves what they will wear.

If you will have a bridal registry, start visiting those stores which

have the items you want and your guests are likely to be able to

afford.

Start sorting out your guest list. You’ll probably involve your parents

but you should have the final say.

Order your wedding stationery; invitations, place cards and

whatever else you want.

Decide whether you will hire a wedding planner or organize and

supervise all the preparations yourself. Some couples do most of

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the work themselves but bring in professional help close to the

event so they can concentrate on the personal aspects of the

arrangements, including keeping in contact with relatives that might

be flying in, attending pre-wedding events and keeping the peace

between the bride’s family and the groom’s family.

If you are not using a wedding planner, get firm quotes from

different suppliers and then make your decisions and bookings as

soon as possible. Your MC (if you decide to have one), musicians or

other entertainers, photographer, hire car provider, minister or

celebrant and caterer need to be confirmed at least a month before

the event and probably much earlier.

Of course, you may have friends or relatives providing some of the

services. If so, it’s probably even more important that you keep in

touch and can be confident that they’ll be able to fulfill their role on

the big day.

Choose and order your wedding cake, table decorations and

balloons etc.

When the members of your wedding party have confirmed, you can

discuss and then decide on what they will wear on the day.

You can also decide what small gifts you will give the bridesmaids

and groomsmen and buy them.

Mail the invitations. Yes, email is all-pervasive and very fast, but it’s not always reliable. You can suggest that people confirm by email

and also follow up with those that you do not hear from.

Check for the regulatory requirements you need to meet. As well as

the marriage license, you need to know whether blood tests are

required, how long it will take for the license to be issued and any

waiting period required between getting the license and having the

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wedding.

Readers in the U.S.A. can find this information at

http://www.nolo.com/ where you will also find some inexpensive, plain language guides and free articles about other relevant legal

issues.

Reserve accommodation for guests or confirm that they made their

own arrangements. Make sure they understand whether you or they

are responsible for payment.

Start a list of gifts you get. This is much easier to do on your

computer than with paper and pen.

Print or write your thank you notes. Send them soon after the gift

arrives.

Open and check that the gift has not suffered any damage in

transit.

Start filling in and submitting the necessary forms to get the bride’s

new name on her licenses and other official documentation.

Pack your honeymoon clothing. Keep in mind the strict airport

security regulations to minimize stress and delays.

Make sure that you have enough clothing and accessories for the

last week leading up to the wedding without the stuff you’ve packed

for the honeymoon.

Confirm with your caterer, the exact number of guests that you will

have. They will also want to know about any special dietary

requirements or other important issues as early as possible.

Sort out where the guests will sit. Discuss this with your partner and

your parents.

Arrange your appointments with the beautician and hairdresser. You

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might want to confirm appointments for the bridesmaids too.

Choose and buy the wedding ring(s). Store

them safely and make sure they’re delivered to

the wedding venue on the big day.

Confirm your suppliers are all on track about

two weeks before your wedding day.

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Setting up the Bridal Party

After selecting the person they want to marry, many brides next

biggest problem can be assigning the formal bridal party titles and

duties among her family and close friends.

You’re often faced with more good choices than slots to fill or you

may not have enough people to fill your list.

But, remember that asking someone to fill one of those slots is not

doing them a favor; everyone will have responsibilities and all of

them will need to be capable of contributing real effort to making

the whole event a success.

You haven’t got much choice with your parents but you need to give

careful thought about who you ask to fill the other slots.

You need to be sure that each friend or family member can be relied

on to produce and also has the time and financial resources, so that

the costs involved will not be a burden to them.

The Maid or Matron of Honor

The Maid or Matron of Honor is the most prestigious position, after

the parents of the bride and groom. It’s also a lot of work, including

helping with the invitations and checking out possible suppliers. But,

I know of a few families where someone was very hurt that they

were not asked by their sibling to fill that coveted position.

The solution, many times, is simply to have two of them, provided

that both people have the qualities needed to do the duties and give

real support to you through the whole adventure. That can be sold,

if necessary, by mentioning the fact that there’s plenty of things for

the two of them to do and so, it might be too much too ask of one,

however loyal a friend.

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If there is no-one you want who is available for a particular slot,

think about offering to someone of the opposite gender.

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Your Dress and the Rest

Be realistic about your size and your shape.

Choose a color and shade which complements your natural look.

Avoid anything which will reduce your

enjoyment of your big day. Tight but stylish

shoes may be okay just for a photo shoot but

switch them for something which will caress

and support your feet while you are dancing

with your new husband or trying to avoid his

uncle's clomping feet during the next dance.

Your dress should catch the eye but not constrict you from moving

around or being able to eat some of those special snacks which

you’ve been looking forward to since you ordered them from the

caterer.

Keep your make-up to a tasteful minimum.

If someone offers you a miracle wrinkle reducer cream be very

careful. One treatment which has been used for years by make-up

artists was developed to reduce hemorrhoids! It is claimed to have

some effect over time but there’s a big downside. Some doctors say

that the cream may reduce the natural elasticity of the skin. That

might give you a papery complexion like a real smooth sheet of

paper.

The Bridesmaids

There’s a lot more that your girlfriends who accept your invitation to

be your bridesmaids contribute to the wedding day and your whole

experience than just their company, laughter and gifts.

It’s not just the money and time they give to help make your day a

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raging success, they may help with checking possible suppliers and

hosting as well as attending your showers and other prenuptial

events and helping you to perk up when the load gets a bit heavy.

So, you owe them!

Remember that when you are about to choose a dress in a very

expensive fabric that some of them might not be able to buy

enough to make an apron, let alone a complete outfit.

Tone down your spending to what is likely to suit their pockets too.

You can put the money you didn’t spend into your reserve cushion

or perhaps use it to help with some of their travel or

accommodation costs, if you’re not already picking up the tab.

Here’s a few other suggestions to help them help you and keep the

costs in check:

Dress Sense: Choose a style which will suit them or, if they vary

markedly in size and shape, settle on a color and ask them to get a

dress in that shade but to choose a style which suits them.

Make sure that you choose a color which is hard to duplicate in any

reasonably-priced type of fabric.

Don’t just discuss your needs and the progress with your wedding

when they are around.

Ask them about their careers and conquests and the other interests

you all shared B.T.E. (Before The Engagement).

If you’ve got a few spare dollars, get some simple but classy jewelry

for your bridesmaids to wear and keep as a memento.

The Receiving Line

A traditional way of ensuring that every guest gets at least a few

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seconds to personally wish the happy couple well and speak a few

hurried words to the happy couple’s parents.

But, it also tends to drag for the guests who are waiting to get to

the bridal party. They have only the people on either side of them in

the line and that’s often two people that they have already been

sharing a table with for some time.

Maybe it’s time for the line to be erased.

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Bring in the Professionals.

You might not need all the services which I’ll cover here but what

you save in dollars or pounds may not compensate for the extra

effort, time and stress, accurately termed “sweat equity” that you

will have to expend as a substitute.

You can keep some of your expenses in check by using your

“personal network” to find people that can make your wedding cake,

table decorations or even provide classy vehicles to transport the

bridal party on the wedding day.

But, don’t expect to get everything for free. Offer to cover any out

of pocket expenses (such as gas). Don’t forget to seek them out

during the reception and chat. Then, make sure that you give them

a quality token of your appreciation along with your sincere thanks.

Wedding Planner

If you’ve got just a minute budget then you and, perhaps, family

and friends will have to do all the planning (with my help, of

course).

If you have the funds, then you might find the professional planner

will not just save you more than she charges, but will also act as a

buffer where there is disagreement between you and one or more of

your parents about some part of the arrangements.

You can hire a planner to take charge from the earliest stage or just

come in a few days before the event to make sure everything comes

to a memorable and joyous conclusion. Even if you go for the

second, less expensive option, you will still need to book them much

earlier, of course.

When the planner is in charge of most of the arrangements, she can

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get professional discounts from suppliers which means that your

costs are lower. You might get discounts from some suppliers by

yourself but they give planners who provide them with steady

business much better ones.

She also only deals with suppliers that she knows are reliable and

high quality.

Remember that any good planner will provide you with choices but

always be focused on helping you to achieve the type of wedding

that you want. She will explain what can be provided within your

budget, suggest alternatives in design, location and other aspects

but always leave the final decisions to you.

Wedding Planners build their businesses through referrals. So, their

focus is over-delivering on your usually very high expectations.

Don’t want a Professional Planner?

You can call on friends, colleagues and, especially, family to help

you with advice and also the leg-work involved in checking on

venues and suppliers.

Many people will also have contacts that may be able and willing to

supply some services for your wedding. At the very least, their

feedback about suppliers they have used could save you a lot of leg

work and time.

Photographer

There are many commercial photographers to choose from when

looking for someone to take photos or a video of your wedding and

reception. It’s a very competitive market but price is just one

important factor you have to consider.

You need to look past the specially chosen pictures that the

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photographer puts on his brochure or website. The best idea is to

ask to see a full set of proofs from one of the weddings which he

photographed.

Ask for references and check through your own friends about their

recommendations. Be prepared for some horror stories and some

glowing testimonials.

Make sure that the photographer whose pictures you’ve seen is

actually the one who will be at your wedding. But, if it’s a one

person business, ensure that they have someone with similar

abilities who is able to step in if they are not available at short

notice.

As with each of the other suppliers, you must expect to pay for any

additional services or features.

Make sure you have the cost for the whole package, including

albums, in writing before signing the contract. At that point, you are

legally committed and any additions or changes could be very

expensive.

Most photographers will proudly display their membership

certificates for the appropriate professional associations. But, a

photographer may still produce work of a very high standard and

not be a member of any association. And, membership or even

having won awards, is no guarantee of a good result – check their

recent work.

Don’t expect “Hollywood” standard results. Those pictures are

produced by experts with a supporting team of qualified

professionals and in highly controlled environments. One picture

might take an hour to set up and then undergo significant

retouching later on.

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Time is another important consideration. If you want the best

possible pictures, set enough time into your wedding day schedule

for the photographer to arrange and shoot the pictures at the

various locations.

Don’t let the photographer tie up your guests for long periods – they

want to enjoy the function, to eat the food and mingle. Also, people

that are not used to being posed and directed get irritable fairly

quickly unless very carefully handled.

Tell him what you want but be guided by his suggestions where

they concern technical details.

You want a photographer that you like enough to be comfortable

around through the big day and one that will get along well with

your guests. You can’t always avoid inviting your less pleasant

relatives to your wedding but you’ve got more control over choosing

the photographer.

Tell the photographer about any particular shots that you want,

especially groups containing special family members and/or friends,

and encourage them to take lots of pictures.

They will probably have a good knowledge of the venue you chose.

If they say that there are no good backgrounds for some shots,

work with them so that you get the best possible results.

All the above will apply when you hire someone to produce a video

of your big day.

Give them a list of the particular moments that you want covered.

Don’t want a Professional Photographer?

Even when you hire a professional, encourage your guests to take

their own pictures (without interfering with the photographer when

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he is setting up or shooting).

Think carefully before you decide not to use a professional.

Then, try to find someone you know who has photographed

weddings before and got good results. It’s too important an

occasion to risk ending up with no good pictures.

Make one person your designated photographer and give them a list

of the shots which you want.

Give them time to set up their equipment and the groups to be

photographed. But, don’t let any photographer run your whole

schedule or harass your guests.

Set the locations for the special group shots.

Give the people that you want in them at least a few minutes notice

so that nobody pops out for a cigarette or is hurrying off to the

toilet when they’re needed.

Everybody knows that the best pictures have everyone looking at

the camera but it is worth reminding your guests just before they

are photographed, so that you aren’t left with an album full of

apparently sleepy or distracted people.

Some amateur videographers like to add a lot of flashy effects to

their movies. Ask that they first give you an unedited version for

you to keep.

Videographer

Weddings can be a profitable area for Videographers but it takes

experience and attention to detail to get good results.

Unfortunately, some people see wedding videography as a quick

way to earn some money from their new video camera, maybe so

they can buy a better one.

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So, you’re likely to have to sort through a lot of wannabes to find

someone with some good references which you can check and then

you need to discuss the fee.

Arrange to talk with the videographer that you are considering and

ask them for references and also to let you see a full video from

someone else’s wedding.

If they cannot or will not supply a full wedding for your review and

to return or even just watch in their premises, but want you to just

look at selected short clips, my advice is to keep looking.

Ask how many people and cameras will be used. A good craftsman

or woman can produce an enjoyable result with just one camera and

operator but two cameras give many more possibilities (and cost

more too, of course).

If the film will be edited, check whether you can also get a copy of

the raw footage for your own viewing. A professional probably won’t

agree to just supplying the raw footage because they would not

want it distributed – it might reflect on their professional reputation.

But, supplying an unedited copy might be agreed to provided you

confirm that it won’t be shown outside of your own home.

It’s a good idea to get a volunteer to stay near the videographer

while they are at the venue to smooth their way with the other

guests so they can concentrate on giving you the best possible

video memories.

Give them a list of the main people at your wedding and reception

along with a clearly marked map and all the relevant people’s

mobile phone numbers.

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Don’t want a Professional Videographer?

The potential for disappointment with an amateur video of your

wedding is like that with amateur photography but multiplied a few

times.

That’s because the technology is still fairly new but the price of a

reasonable camera has dropped to where almost anyone can get

one, just in time for your wedding.

Where a professional will try to make a story from your wedding

and reception, many amateurs will be prone to trying every feature

which they can find on their camera.

They may not have conquered those common beginner problems of

shake and external unwanted noise like wind or irrelevant

conversation.

That can be significantly reduced by using an external directional

microphone with a wind cover.

It’s a good idea to use quality lapel microphones to record the

speeches onto the video.

Careful editing will improve most amateur videos but it is like

anything else; start with the best original that you can to get the

best results.

The bottom line is that you get just one chance to get it right.

Master of Ceremonies

A professional MC can make an event memorable and the worst

speaker look good.

But, it’s an extra expense and many couples are choosing to get a

DJ and rely on a male relative to introduce the special guests,

speakers and anything else that is required.

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They’ll discuss with you before the event any particular people you

want them to mention and subjects that might unwittingly cause

discomfort to any of the guests.

Give them the times that your reception will start and finish as well

as when you want them to begin their presentation, plus any

relevant information about the minister or celebrant, special guests

and the people who will do the actual speeches and any musicians

or other entertainers who will perform at your reception.

Then, just leave them to it.

Don’t want a Professional Master of Ceremonies?

You should try to find someone with some speaking experience or,

at least, someone that you know will prepare for the occasion.

There is no such thing as a great impromptu speech. A friend who is

a professional speaker said that the most valuable advice he ever

got was to practice everything, including his ad-libs (impromptu

remarks).

If the professionals don’t risk making a real off-the-cuff joke, then

the risk of someone with much less experience seeing his joke fall

flat or, even worse, seriously offending a guest or group, you can

see that preparation is essential.

The other point to be aware of with an amateur MC is for them to

avoid making a speech themselves. They’re needed to provide a

smooth connection between the bride’s father, the groom and best

man (or whatever speakers you have) and help the audience to get

maximum enjoyment possible from each one.

All speakers need to rehearse their speeches. But, remind them that

they’re going to be among friends and you just want a few sincere

Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved.