Plan your wedding one step at a time
Hey there, pretty girls soon to be married!
I am sure you are all excited about your wedding day coming up soon and have a lot on your plate on how to manage to do everything on time. First of all, do not stress yourself too much because it will be worse, and second of all: be organized.
You will find this phrase many times in the post because in order to plan your dream wedding according to your budget and your wishes, you first need a plan. As silly as it may sound, being organized is the key to success. Another thing is your state of mind which has to be in a good shape. For me, planning my wedding was the most beautiful and exciting experience so far. I won’t deny I had my breakdowns during the process, but most of all I cherished the lovely details and the joy of doing this together with my husband (don’t tell anyone, but I’m kind of a control freak, so everything that requires planning skills fits me perfectly). Also very important is to involve your fiance into all the fuss. After all, you are about to start a family together and he must be there for you in exhausting times as well. I’m not saying he should choose every napkin or flower, but you should both talk about the wedding theme and how you picture this event.
Now repeat after me: “I must be organized! Positive vibes only!”
The second rule is a bit more complicated to accomplish, because it depends on each bride and the support she has from her husband, family and friends and it also depends on luck throughout the entire process.
But the first rule it’s actually pretty easy. You just have to follow a few simple steps that I guarantee will function and make you life easier. So let’s get it started already!
You will start by answering the questions below (honest answers are required):
- Do we really want to have a wedding?
- Do we want to have by our side only the people that matter to us?
- Do we want to have a wedding that will represent us as a couple?
- Will we pay for all of that ourselves?
If the answer is YES for all the questions, then don’t worry because you will have a great wedding but a lot of work is mandatory.
The first step is to start doing the GUEST LIST. This piece of paper will be the essence of every step you’ll take from now on. It’s very important to add everyone on categories (family, friends, high school mates, university fellows, coworkers, childhood buddies) without forgetting any plus one or any children. At the end, leave a few blank rows for your parents’ friends, but make sure to talk to them first. This event is a big deal for them too and they will tend to be very excited and maybe even think to invite your entire hometown to the wedding. Better have a chat with them and make them understand you would love to celebrate this event with people you actually know (like old family friends). It is your wedding, not your parents’ wedding and you should be surrounded by people that know you and that are happy for you, not just some strangers to fill up the seats.
In the end, you should have the maximum number of guests. Of course, several adjustments can be made anytime.
- An average of 70% of the people you invite, will actually come at your wedding.
- If you want to have enough time to plan your wedding until the last detail and still survive, you should start with at least one year in advance. There are lots of things to be done and that year will pass in a heart beat.
- Make a cash flow that will include your revenues and your expenses for the following year. Add everything you need to pay in each month and also try to have payments in different months. Think about getting a credit card (each) and don’t spend your salary on clothes, shoes and other stuff (or at least spend only small amount). In my opinion, money is the biggest issue when planning a wedding (if you pay for it yourself, which I suggest you do because you’ll have a great satisfaction in the end).
The LOCATION. If you wish to have your wedding on a special day that has an important meaning for you, it will be a bit difficult to find the location you are thinking about. But the show must go on and there are plenty of fish in the sea, it’s almost impossible not to find a lovely restaurant. We really wanted to have a summer wedding, in August to be more precise, because is our favorite season and it would have been in the same month (almost the same day) when he proposed to me – so we made our best to make that possible. Before checking any availability, you should take a few minutes and think about what you both wish regarding the location.
Are you more like a princess kind of bride who wants to get married in a palace or maybe you love rustic domains like a barn, an open space near a forest or a terrace on the beach or maybe you want a classy event at a fancy restaurant?
Whatever your answer might be, it will guide you into choosing the perfect place for your big day.
In our case, we just wanted a simple and fresh location, in the city, where we could decorate as we wished. No chandeliers, no red carpets or colorful wallpapers, just pure white. And just like that we found it (pretty easy I should say). We had our favorites and started calling to see when they have a free Saturday. After a few on-site visits and discussions we settled for Biavati Events in Bucharest – link HERE – a former cinema refurbished in a simple but elegant style with a great chef (which is in charge with all the dishes at the French Embassy in Romania) and helpful personnel. I know it’s pretty fancy nowadays to have your wedding outdoors and we love when we participate in such lovely events. But, although we love nature very much, we had a few things on our mind into taking the decision to look after space indoors: we didn’t want to depend on the weather (the end of August can be pretty unpredictable), we like to dance a lot and we wished for a great party inside, with colored lights, a big space in which every guest to feel comfortable. At that time, we simply felt like Biavati was the place for us and in the end this place met our (high) expectations.
Keep in mind that you will also need sweets for a CANDY BAR and a WEDDING CAKE. If you have a theme for the event, I suggest you have special sweets that match the theme perfectly. This kind of details make the difference at events. For example, we had Italian sweets and cakes (rhum baba, tiramisu, lemon tarts, panna cotta, chocolate tarts, pistachio flavored macarons and chouxs etc) and for the cake we chose chocolate mixed with lime cream and orange. Everything was delicious and the set up very pretty, all thanks to lovely Georgiana from La Dolcerie – link HERE.
TIP! Before signing the contract with the restaurant, don’t forget to ask if they have their own kitchen or they hire a catering company in which case you should see exactly all the details. Also be sure to understand the exact cost. Don’t assume that something (anything) is for free because it’s not and you better know from the start all the amounts.
Now that you have your date and restaurant all settled, you can move to the next step (to the fun stuff).
MUSIC. Any bride and groom wish to have fun at their wedding and the guests as well. A great band makes 80% of the party, the rest of 20% it’s set by the people’s attitude (well there are people that won’t dance even if Beyonce would sing at their table).
So, in order to book a good (even great maybe) band:
- Ask for recommendations
- Listen to their demos on Youtube
- Search videos on Instagram of other weddings and see if the party was on or not
- Check out if in the price are also included the scene, the lights and all the instruments
- See if the band also comes with a DJ (a band sings in phases, 45′ each with 15-20′ breaks, maximum 4 phases as I know)
- Decide a schedule together with the restaurant and the band (when is the food served, when should the band sing, when is the first dance, when comes the wedding cake etc)
- Ask for their song list and send them your favorites to be sure you’ll hear them at the party
- Don’t be stingy, a good band does not come cheap, but also don’t throw away too much money on certain VIPs because you might find your guests just filming or taking pictures of the respective singer instead of having fun.
- Think about booking also a singer for traditional music that will heat up the party with specific songs and fill the dance floor with the specific choreography. It’s actually so much fun!
We followed the rules mentioned above and had a great experience with the band. I am talking about Ligia Band – link HERE, a great combo between voice, looks and energy. We also decided upon a DJ who played some recent music and in the morning made us all remember the good times back in the ’90 when we were just kids, by playing the hits we loved so much. Of course, we couldn’t have missed the chance to danced hand in hand on Romanian music so we also had a traditional singer that really spiced up the party. We had a blast and if I were to start all over again I wouldn’t change a single thing!
PHOTOGRAPHERS. Photos are memories that will last for eternity. On your wedding day you’ll be so busy and starstruck that you won’t even know what you’re doing. You will need to see that day over and over again. In my opinion, wedding photography is either kitsch (and you don’t want that!) or pure magic. If you choose to work with professional photographers, talented, open minded and enthusiastic about the event, you will have wonderful pictures. You just have to find the artists that have different perspectives and creative ideas, that will catch the little details and emotions and that will make you cry (with tears of joy) when you will relive the entire day throughout the photos. This chapter is also important because you send those pictures to your family and friends, print them and make albums for your grandparents and also frame your favorite ones and decorate your home.
So, my personal advice is to invest in a good team because you will not regret it.
We met the lovely couple from Land of White Deer (link HERE) on Facebook and started talking. We trusted them from the beginning and everything was (I can’t even find the right word) wonderful. All the photos in this post are signed by them and you can also check out our Engagement Session (link HERE) and the Civil Wedding (link HERE). We will also share photos from our Love the dress Session in the future. I think I’m not being subjective when I say this, but we literally have the best photos (read everything till the end and then you’ll find some photos from our wedding as well).
VIDEO. We simply wanted someone to show us as we really are: young, happy and in love. Those wedding films that seem out of a Bollywood movie are not exactly our type, so we just had to find a nice and understanding videographer that could fulfill our requests. This guy was Razvan Rosu (link HERE) that was as organized as we were and planned everything from the beginning. We will share our short film very soon and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
To sum up: you now have a date, a location, a band, photo and video team. It’s about time to send some SAVE THE DATEs! Whether you’re doing it via a cute card or you simply talk to all the guests and announce your big event, you have to do it! Summer is also the time for vacations and you wouldn’t want to have many guests that can’t participate.
You did plan enough until know so you can take a few weeks to relax, maybe go on a holiday and then start again to organize the other details (and trust me…they are so many).
Time for another question: Did you think about a theme for your wedding?
Despite the answer, follow my advice and find yourself a WEDDING PLANNER! If you already know how you want your wedding to look like, the WP will help you make your dreams come true and if you don’t have any idea for the big day, the WP will give you amazing suggestions! A WP has to be supportive and very creative in order to fulfill your desires according to your budget. They also should cover all the details regarding the invitations, the flowers, decoration, wedding favors and anything that might be necessary for a great event.
It’s all about being honest (again). Just take a few moments to think about what you really want. For example, when I was a little girl I dreamed about my wedding day: at a castle, maybe as impressive as Disneyland but in white, with sparkling decorations and a carriage, definitely a carriage :)) Strange, but when my boyfriend proposed (in the most beautiful place in Italy – the magical Positano – more details HERE) I just knew our wedding had to picture that exact moment: the fresh air, the greenery, the lemons (Oh, the lemons!) and that effortless elegance of the Amalfi Coast. We also rented a lovely Fiat 500 convertible in blue for the big day. Who said limos are the top choice for a bride? Look at this cutie! And yes, the groom drove it making it even more authentic (we didn’t need a chauffeur). This is us – travelling together and always renting a Fiat 500 wherever we go.
We had such a great collaboration with our WPs, Alexa and Paul aka Departamentul de Dichis (link HERE). Didn’t know anything about them but after one meeting we were convinced of their dedication. We wished for a delicate event in a stylish Italian way, with beautiful centerpieces made out of white flowers and greenery, lemon details, lots of candles and a gorgeous green wall made entirely out of natural leaves and plants.
Another important thing is the CHURCH. It may sound simple, but getting a beautiful church in Bucharest is not that easy because it has to be free at an exact hour according to your schedule (after the religious ceremony, the bride and groom go for a photo session and then at the restaurant to welcome the guests). However, we knew a very special church (Saint Silvester in Bucharest – link HERE) and managed to book it together with the choir – that sounded heavenly).
- Choose a church close to the restaurant and to the place you get ready (your home, a hotel).
- Talk to the priest regarding the religious ceremony – how long it takes, if they have a choir and at what expense, don’t leave without a confirmation note from the priest and the list with all the needed stuff for the ceremony).
Now, let’s get to more personal details: the godparents, the BRIDESMAIDS and the GROOMSMEN.
If for the last two categories it’s pretty easy because you choose your closest friends, regarding the GODPARENTS you really have to give it a thought. My advice is to choose a young (married) couple among your friends and not some old acquaintances of your parents because you should be able to share the same ideas and interests, to go out together anytime and support each other. You practically become family before God and that is such an awesome feeling that will lead to a beautiful relationship between you and them. So choose wisely!
If it’s already spring, it’s about time to send the INVITATIONS. People should know the exact details of your wedding day and they have to receive a formal invite at your event. I strongly believe it’s better to give them in person. I know it’s not easy to meet with a large number of people in a pretty short time, but it’s a nice gesture which will be appreciated by all the guests. Also, if you have friends in a different city or country, you should send the invite via mail. We did that and got the most beautiful reactions from our friends.
TIP! Don’t forget to ask them kindly to confirm their participation and whether they are bringing a plus one or their children.
There wouldn’t be a wedding without the bride and groom. The center of attention at any wedding is the bride (Sorry, guys, you’ll just have to live with that!) so she will spend several months to have all the things she needs for the most beautiful day in her life. For the GROOM is so much easier…they just buy a very elegant tuxedo and a pair of fancy shoes. This process should not take longer than 3 weeks, because usually every groom wishes for a custom made tux, shirt and bow tie. He will also shine so bright, because the grooms suits are made with so much care and fine fabric are used, that even a simple black tux will catch the eyes of everyone invited. When I saw my husband all dressed up, I felt so proud and happy: he literally looked like a Hollywood star. (Big thanks to the entire team at Tudor, Personal Tailor – link HERE – for that and congrats to his parents for making him so handsome.)
As I said before, it’s kind of a big deal to be a BRIDE. First of all, the WEDDING DRESS! Either you want a princess gown or a o mermaid style dress, the wedding dress has to be comfortable and make you feel like the prettiest girl in the world. I started looking for my wedding dress in January and by March I already gave the order. It really was love at first sight! There is a really special connection between a bride and her wedding dress…you just feel which one is the perfect choice. It’s such a strange and unique feeling that can not be described in words. My wonderful dress (I just love my dress so much!!!) was from Otilia Brailoiu – a Romania designer that also sells her work abroad so you ladies should check out her site: http://otiliabrailoiu.ro/ .
My dress was custom made, very light despite its volume, with gorgeous embroidery and lovely applications (flowers, tiny leaves and pearls in pastel colors). A long simple veil made the entire picture perfect. I danced all night and felt like a true princess.
TIP! Don’t show the groom your wedding dress. That first look on his face when he sees you as a bride (his bride) is priceless. They should really experience that emotion, because, believe it or not, the wedding day is very special for them too.
Second of all, the SHOES. Anyone who knows me, also knows that I looooove shoes with all my heart. It was a natural thing to want a special pair for my special day. So, on my trip to Milan, I bought myself a pair of Jimmy Choo s, the Lang model on gold leather – a classic (“Forgive me, father, for I have sinned!”) I must say that despite the high heels they were very comfortable and I managed to wear them since 11 am until 3 am the next day when I changed in a different pair (same height, but thicker heels). I always wear heel at parties and it would have been unacceptable for me to wear flats at my own wedding. (“No, sir!”) These sandals were a treat and something I really wished for on my wedding day. I don’t usually buy designer shoes and I think there are local brands that make pretty shoes at more acceptable prices, so you will definitely find the right pair.
TIP! Buy a pair of shoes that you can wear at other events as well.
The TIARA. And when I say tiara, I don’t really mean an actual tiara. I imagined myself wearing a gold hair accessory, very delicate and fresh like a summer day and luckily, Oana from Margaux Atelier – link HERE – made it possible. After a brief meeting she was able to create from scratch an enchanting and modern tiara, handmade with so much love, that offered a fine touch to my legere hairstyle on that day (wavy curls).
The WEDDING RINGS. This step was also very easy for us. We went in a single boutique and found what we wanted in approx 15 minutes (really!). Just like the dress, the wedding rings we got were the first ones we tried on. My husband wanted a simple one and I made my choice pretty easy for a diamond encrusted band), both in rose gold. Coincidence or not, they were handmade in…Italy. We also carved them on the inside with a sweet Italian phrase that has also been used as our wedding theme “Storia d’Amore” and the date (August 26, 2017). We had the nicest talk with the lovely ladies at Diamond Boutique (link HERE) who were more than happy to help us decide.
TIP! Choose careful the wedding rings because you will wear them your entire life (that’s pretty romantic, isn’t it?).
As time passes by and the wedding is getting closer and closer, there are a few things you should be doing.
2 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Call every guest and ask them to confirm the participation with max one month before the wedding.
- Go and taste the menu. If you don’t like something, now is the time to change it.
- Reconfirm the schedule of the event with everyone involved: restaurant, band, DJ, photographers and videographer, godparents, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
- Think about the first dance and choose your song. (We danced on “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin – Italy everywhere).
- If you didn’t plan anything, you should start…the Honeymoon (the most important thing after the wedding!). You both deserve to relax after so much work, so book a wonderful vacation far away. Check out my suggestions for a great honeymoon HERE.
1 MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Take some dance lessons. I strongly recommend going to Alin Tudorie if you are from Bucharest!
- Go on a city break! We did and it was the best decision because we had a few days off and charged our batteries. More details HERE.
- Time to make the table arrangements.
- Do not ask anybody who they want to share their table with. You will unleash hell!
- The younger guests should stay near the dance floor.
- The tables near you should be reserved for your families.
- Don’t put people who hate each other at the same table.
- Try and make groups of 2-3 tables. If you have 2 tables with high school friends, make sure to put them together.
- Try your best to have max 10 guest per table so everyone can stay comfortably. There are cases when a certain group is formed of 12-13 guests and you have no option than to make a bigger table. It will be a bit crowded but they will be happy to celebrate and party together.
- Don’t stress yourself regarding the confirmations. The people who really want to come to your wedding will be there, the rest will find excuses. There are exceptions of course.
I know it’s been an extremely long post, but planning a wedding is an incredible journey and also a test for the future bride and groom. I could talk about this a whole week, but I’m just going to stop by sharing some extra advice, things we’ve done and turned out to be great ideas. Then I’ll leave you to enjoy some photos from our wedding to see for yourselves how everything turned out.
- It would be sweet to make some gift boxes for the bridesmaids and groomsmen so they know how much you appreciate their friendship. For the ladies I had a vintage box that contained a book, a small perfume, a soap, a hand cream, a satin robe and a soft hanger, a mini proseco bottle together with a champagne glass with their names written in gold (made them also for my mom and our godmother) and a handmade pouch from Idei Cusute (link HERE). And for the gentlemen: a small bottle of brandy, a cigar, green socks and a bow tie – napkin set.
- Book a hotel room for the big day. We actually had two: one for me and the girls and one for the groom and his friends, at Capital Plaza Hotel in Bucharest.
- If you have a theme for the wedding, try your best and have as many related details as you can. For example, at the restaurant, before the party started, the DJ played Italian music (Andrea Bocelli, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti etc) to create that specific vibe. Also, everything was written in Italian – the menus, the welcome message.
- Make a little something for your godmother as well. She is extremely excited on that day and something nice will cheer her up and relax her as well.
- Pop a bottle of champagne with the girls before the ceremony.
- Keep your mother and father close that day and make them part of your happiness.
- Book the church so you have enough time after the ceremony to have the photo session and to arrive at the restaurant to check everything before the guests show up and maybe even rehearse the first dance.
- Dance all night and enjoy this event as much as you can, both of you!
- Remember you are having a wedding to be married to each other and not to impress a room full of people.
So, lovely ladies, if there is anything you would like to know and I forgot to mention, please send me your questions and I will make sure to answer in short time. I am happy to help if I can.
Thank you for reading! I wish you all a wonderful year, a spectacular wedding and a marriage more beautiful than your wedding. Don’t forget to check out the photos below (a short selection…we have 1000 of photos, if add the ones made with the smartphones I think 2000 :)) )! Also, I’m waiting for you on my Facebook Page and on Instagram for more stories!