5 Steps to Planning a Mormon Wedding

engagementYOURE ENGAGED! NOW WHAT?

  1. Make a Facebook page to gather everyone’s addresses
    • Invitations take a lot longer than you think and are more $$ than you would guess. A Google doc through your Gmail account makes things a lot easier! (they have some great templates)
  2. Choose a wedding date/ reserve temple
    • Reserve reception area as well if applicable
    • SEE PHOTOGRAPHY SECTION FOR WHAT TIME TO SCHEDULE SEALING/PICTURES
    • Some holidays are going to be more expensive for flowers & travel
    • Consider your anniversary date (are you forever going to want a summer or winter anniversary?)
    • Consider the flowers you want at your wedding- some flowers are only available during certain months or are very expensive during their off-season.
  3. FIND A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!
    • LDS engagements are shorter than normal and photographers are booked sometimes YEARS in advance. If you’re going to splurge on ANYTHING, make it your photographer. These are pictures you’ll have for the rest of your life!! Yes I’m bias, but seriously. Also, they often have engagement photo session included in their wedding packages.
  4. Find someone to take your engagement photos (if it’s not included in your photography package)
    • What to wear? AVOID MATCHY MATCHY! Think colors that look good together, never the exact same tcolor combo. You can choose your outfits based on your preferred location or location based off of your prefered attire: Classy attire? Casual? Do you want your photos at a significant place or just a pretty location? Do you have time to drive someplace epic or just local?
    • I recommend Take those engagement photos and make an engagement album to use as your guest sign-in book (Shutterfly.com is SUPER awesome for that. They have 50% off codes regularly. Order AT LEAST 2 weeks ahead of your reception.) -I mean, what do people actually do with those guest sign in books anyways… you might as well combine it with your engagement photos.
  5. Register somewhere so you can add it to you invitation
    • We LOVED http://www.amazon.com  They have literally everything you could ever want and it will all ship to your house! SO NICE!!
    • We also had a link to donate to our honeymoon cruise which was awesome for us poor college students.
    • Asking for cash is a little tacky, but there are ways to politely word invitations asking for gift cards instead of gifts.
  6. Get an invitation made ASAP
    • Find a design you like and buy the template (tons of gorgeous ones on etsy) OR find someone who can replicate it OR try websites like vista print.com who also have pre-made templates you can use
    • These should go out months before the wedding, and since LDS engagements are pretty short, so this should be one of the first things you do.
    • DON’T FORGET: A temple sealing insert if you’re getting sealed in the temple
  7. Honeymoon plans:
    • Even if you’re poor, at least do a night or two in a hotel! If you put off a honeymoon, the chances of you actually doing one…. Aren’t super likely until way down the road
  8. BRIDE: Start looking for a dress!
    • Alterations take months and it takes a while to find the perfect one, especially if you’re on a budget.
    • Try on a bunch of different styles & colors (White/ivory/offwhite) see what you love and what is most flattering
    • I’ve known several brides who found the perfect dress to rent as well
  9. Make a pinterest board:
    • Weddings are all about getting help from friends, neighbors, church members, so make a board of things you (Bride & Groom… or just bride) LOVE so everyone has an idea of what you want your wedding & Reception to look like. As an event planner, I LOVE LOVE LOVE these!
  10. Consider a free website like wix.com
  1. Choose your groomsmen/bridesmaids/flower girls: Are they your friends? Family? Cousins? Ask them EARLY so they can purchase plane tickets, reserve hotes, AND start looking/get fitted for an outfit
  1. START PLANNING THE WEDDING!

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WHERE DO I EVEN START WITH WEDDING PLANS?

You need an idea of how much you’re going to spend. What is your ideal budget? Weddings add up quickly and an overall budget will help you (or your family) avoid going completely broke for your wedding.

IDEAL BUDGET: $                 

MAX BUDGET: $                   

Not Sure? I have added a range of fees you might incur in the “wedding details” section below

NOW FOR THE ACTUAL PLANNING!


STEP 1: PRIORITIES

What are your priorities? (AKA the top 5 things that have to be perfect at your wedding (aside from marrying the perfect spouse of course) mine were 1. Dress, 2. Pictures 3. Flowers 4. Not in a gym) If those were perfect, everything else I was willing to hope for the best.)

1.______________________________

2.______________________________

3.______________________________

4.______________________________

5.______________________________

This list helps you to remember what you want to be perfect, and what you can let your parents/in-laws have their way with in your wedding. Not everything is going to be perfect, so pick and choose your battles ; )

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STEP 2: Basic reception details (start thinking about them)

  • The Cake

    • Fake cake, real cake, or cupcakes? (we did a fake cake with a real top tier because it was much cheaper, you can’t tell the difference, and people don’t really end up eating the wedding cake if you have a bunch of other desserts or cut the cake late in the wedding)
  • The Decorations:

    • What are you doing for centerpieces? Other decorations? Gift table? Food tables?
    • Guest sign in (there are so many cute ideas, we did a book with our engagement photos and places for guests to sign. I love it because it’s small and easy to travel with but I pick it up often to browse our pictures and things people wrote on our wedding day)
  • The Flowers:

    • Do you have a friend who knows how to do flowers? Can you order wholesale?
    • Will you order from a florist?
    • Will you have fake flowers? (WAY expensive if you do them right, and tacky if you do them wrong….)
    • Flower type- choosing flowers that are in season will cut costs significantly.
    • Flower colors- get creative with your flowers! Look at current wedding trends – don’t think you need to stick to one color, and your bouquet doesnt necessarily need to match your bridesmaid bouquets either.
    • Flowers to consider:
      • Bride bouquet: 1 (will you need one for a pre-wedding shoot? *I recommend yes, also I recommend getting a smaller one for the bouquet toss or using a bridesmaid bouquet so it doesn’t get destroyed)
      • Groom Boutonniere
      • Bridesmaids bouquets
      • Groomsmen Boutonnieres
      • Flower girl basket of flowers or headband of flowers
      • Ring bearer Boutonniere
      • Mother/Mother In-Law flowers (recommend pinned corsage)
      • Father/ Father In-Law boutonniere
      • Possible flowers for grandparents/Aunts/Uncles etc…
    • I’ve seen an average of $400-$600 spent on just the cost of flowers for bridal party and a few decorations
    • Centerpieces
    • Again- Pinterest is amazing for ideas!
    • *Consider donating flowers to nursing homes after your wedding – I can’t tell you how many weddings I have gone to where parents are trying to give away gorgeous flowers and often end up trashing a lot of them!
  • The Music

    • DJ? Live music? Ipod? (Don’t forget fun songs for the bouquet toss, cake cutting, and garter toss if you are doing those)
    • A good DJ is VERY beneficial: they help the wedding stay on schedule, make announcements for cake cutting and other activities, introduce the bridal party and family after the ceremony, and create a really fun environment for your reception – if you want a decent dance party at your reception- a DJ is a must!
  • The Food:

    • What will you serve?
    • Will you have a theme?
    • Desserts?
    • Drinks?
    • Serve dinner if reception starts between 4-7pm, light finger food acceptable if it starts after 7
  • Will you do a ring ceremony?

    • Here is a great website that elaborates on LDS ring ceremonies: http://asimpleldswedding.com/Ringceremonies.html

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STEP 3: What is everyone wearing?:

What are your wedding colors?__________________________

(Keep in mind the season, the trending colors of the year, what bridesmaids will look best in, what you want your wedding bouquet to look like as well as what flowers are in season) I found a perfect bouquet and I knew my husband’s eyes popped when he wore blue, so that’s what I based my colors off of.

BRIDE ATTIRE: Total $________

  • Dress: $_____________($200-$300 to rent $300-$1200+ to buy. Give time for alterations (ideally 2 months) and bring your wedding shoes with you to be altered. If you’re having one made from China or somewhere else online, be sure to include your EXACT measurements and get it ordered as soon as possible (have a backup plan if that dress doesn’t come out the way you want it)
  • Jewelry: $___________what will look best with your dress neckline?
  • Shoes: $_____________I had 2 pairs, one for pictures, one for walking around. Be sure to bring your wedding shoes to your alteration appointment so they know how long your dress needs to be.
  • Veil: $_______________length: Short, Mid, or long? Lace or simple? (On average I found $75-$150, & the more detail the more expensive… oh and cheap veils look very cheap. If you’re on a budget, check with friends to see if they have one you can borrow)
  • Make up:$_______ (are you doing it? A friend? Professionally $50-200?  Fake eyelashes- have done a week+ before)
  • Hair: $________Professionally $100-300? Yourself? updo? Curls? Flowers? What will look best with your face shape, veil and dress?
  • Nails:$_________ (best if done the week of the wedding)
  • Bouquet: Start thinking about what you want your bouquet to look like & what flowers you want in your bouquet? How much are you willing to spend? ($100-$200 is pretty normal for just the bouquet)
  • NOTE: ALWAYS DO TRIAL RUN OF HAIR & MAKEUP a few days/ weeks before the wedding so you KNOW it will be perfect.

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GROOM ATTIRE: Total $___________

  • Suit or Tux $_______ (rent $200-300 or buy $200-$1000) *We bought my husband’s suit for a little extra than it cost to rent and now he has a nice suit to wear to church.
    • We also chose what he would look best in and then based his groomsmen off of his attire.
  • Shoes $_________ (brown, black, red, toms, vans, etc…)
  • Tie/vest $____ (bow tie, skinny tie (looks best with skinny lapels) Vest? Matching groomsmen?)
  • Hair $__________(Shaved face? Stubble? Beard? Goatee? Haircut at least 1 week before if needed. Never the day before… unless you like that kind of look)

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BRIDESMAID/GROOMSMEN/FLOWER GIRL ATTIRE

  • Will they wear something specific (renting tux/ordering dress) you pick out or just an outfit they choose in a color that you pick out? Matching shoes? (gifts aren’t necessary,
  • Keep in mind where your reception is going to be (outdoor/indoor)
  • Gifts? Some think it is necessary to give bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts… totally up to the bride/groom, their parents & your budget. I have seen brides gift items like necklaces, bracelets, rings, or purses to their bridesmaids, customized or embroidered things.
  • NOTE: If you choose a color that is not in season (ex: a spring color when your wedding is in the winter) Your Bridesmaids will have a more difficult time finding something)
  • NOTE: Sometimes it’s easiest to order all the groomsmen ties or vests at the same time if you want them wearing the exact same color (or at least send them a link.. the less work for them the better)

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STEP 4: SCHEDULE

  • Make a schedule of when everyone is coming in, activities they need to be aware of, when the bride is getting pampered, rehearsal dinners, when everyone will be eating together, when everyone needs help setting up,  etc… (this will help you remember anything you possibly forgot during the whirlwind of wedding plans and reduces the chance of anyone getting left out.)
  • Figure out where everyone is going to stay (Family, Hotel, etc…) (this is when it is helpful to have a website with local hotels and close airports for people to fly into, things to do nearby.)
  • Schedule out the wedding day
    • *****GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED, you want a nice easy, no stress wedding day. Realistically people tend to run late during weddings.
  • Send out the schedule to family so EVERYONE is on the same page! They will also LOVE you for it.
  • *This is also when an event planner or day of coordinator is helpful.

 STEP 5: DAY OF DETAILS

PICTURES:

  • **I recommend a pre wedding photo shoot/first look for the *best wedding pictures. You can go somewhere beautiful during the “golden hour” It’s also fun to have those pictures printed for the reception.
  • TIME: Is essential when it comes to pictures. Try to stay away from anytime between 10am and 3pm when taking pictures, the light is VERY harsh.
  • The most beautiful light for photos is: 2 hours after sunrise, 2 hours before sunset **EXCEPTION: overcast day – then you can take pictures whenever you want because the clouds act as a huge diffuser, or find a lot of shade.
  • Where will you do family pictures? (Temple, reception, luncheon) I would say an average of 1-1.5 hours to do extended family pictures at the temple, and then another 20-35 mins for the bridal party depending on how many photos you want.
  • If your wedding is in the summertime- BRING SNACKS/small waters for after sealing for Bride/Groom, children, and older guests especially (grumpy guests don’t photograph well)
  • I have a checklist for the family photos that I review with the bride/groom before the wedding day to make sure we don’t miss any important photos in the wedding (ex: bride with mom, bride with dad, bride with both parents, bride and groom with bride’s parents etc…) If you need a copy of that if you’re using a different photographer, shoot me an email tatianacrandallphotography@gmail.com

LUNCHEON?

  • How much time is in between sealing and reception? Is a luncheon necessary?
    • catering, making food yourself, or going to a restaurant?
    • side note: a microphone is helpful to have for announcements, speeches etc.

TRAVEL?

  • How are bride/groom/parents getting to the temple? Getting home? Guests? Does everyone have a ride?
  • Do Bride/Groom have car to leave the reception?

RECEPTION:

FOOD: 

  • What will you serve?
  • Desserts?
  • Drinks?
  • Main course if reception starts between 4-7pm, light finger food if it starts after 7

Activities:

Yes/no         Ring Ceremony

Yes/no         First dance

Yes/no          Daddy Daughter & Mother Son dance

Yes/no          Cake Cutting

Yes/no          Shoe game/get to know bride/groom games

Yes/no          Flower Toss (have 2nd bouquet ready so you don’t destroy your nice one)

Yes/no          Garter Toss

Yes/no          Other games

Yes/no          Toasts by best man/maid of honor

Yes/no         Sparkler/bubbles exit

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RESPONSIBILITIES: who will… (Delegation is SO SO important in the wedding planning! No matter what, the day of the wedding and the days leading up to it are going to be a little stressful (making sure you have everything taken care of and prepped for the big day.) The more you delegate (to good friends or professionals) the more you and your parents will be able to enjoy the day.

**Vendors have a LOT of experience, and usually have great advice if you ask ❤

  • Make The cake: _______________________
    • Fake cake, real cake, or cupcakes?
  • The Decorations:_____________________________
    • What is your theme?
    • Who will head up the task of finding decorations and getting volunteers to get your venue set up? (If you can avoid using a parent to be in charge, they’ll be able to enjoy the day and spend more time with you)
    • What are you doing for centerpieces? Other decorations?
  • The Flowers: ______________________________
    • Do you know anyone who can order flowers wholesale? Mine cost $500 which is a really great deal. Florists are SUPER Expensive. Don’t forget to check nearby colleges.
    • Do you have a friend who knows how to do flowers?
    • Will you order from a florist?
    • Will you have fake flowers? (WAY expensive if you do them right, and tacky if you do them wrong…. So choose wisely on this one)
    • Flowers to consider:
      • Bride bouquet: 1 (a second/smaller one is great for the bouquet toss)
      • Groom Boutonniere
      • Bridesmaids bouquets
      • Groomsmen Boutonnieres
      • Flower girl basket of flowers or headband of flowers
      • Ring bearer Boutonniere
      • Mother/Mother In-Law flowers (I recommend pinned corsage)
      • Father/ Father In-Law boutonniere
      • Possible flowers for grandparents/Aunts/Uncles etc…
    • Centerpieces
    • AGAIN- Pinterest is amazing for ideas!

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  • The music:_________________
    • DJ? Live music? Ipod? (Don’t forget fun songs for the bouquet toss, cake cutting, and garter toss if you are doing those)
    • A good DJ is SUPER beneficial! They take care of announcing the cake toss, wedding dances, keep the dance floor moving, they also offer great advice during your consultation.
  • The Food:____________________
    • Preparing food
    • Keeping everything stocked on the tables (if doing buffet style)
    • Clean up
      • If you’re on a budget, ask people in your ward to bring specific food dishes (ones that you know they will make well) so no one person is left with a huge responsibility)

Logistics:

How many do you expect at the reception/open house?

#____Tables & Centerpieces needed to seat estimated guests #______ (don’t forget tablecloths and chairs)

Don’t forget Utensils:

  • Spoons
  • Forks
  • Plates/bowls
  • Knives
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Dessert plates and utensils
  • Serving spoons
  • Serving dishes
  • Cake or cupcake stand
  • Something fancy for the drinks

**If you have any questions about wedding planning or would like me to consult on your wedding, feel free to send me an email at tatianacrandallphotography@gmail.com

3 responses to “5 Steps to Planning a Mormon Wedding

    • Her mom added the sleeves to her wedding dress, however most temples have bridal dresses you can wear (more flattering then the rental clothes) for the sealing. That bride brought her temple dress to be sealed in, she couldn’t wear that one because it was ivory and not white.

      Like

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