What to Do Before Saying I Do – A guide for the Can Do Couple

So you are a couple who has fallen deeply in love and is ready to take the next step.  You are ready to join together in the blissful bonds of pure and holy matrimony.  In all likelihood you are feeling an overwhelming array of strong and intense emotions at the moment; everything from love to tender camaraderie, excitement to exhilaration, hope to quiet happiness, fear to utter terror……uh, now wait a minute.How can you feel negative emotions like fear and anxiety during such a happy and positive time?  Easily!  For while you are no doubt thrilled about your upcoming nuptials—and, of course, the beautiful life and shared future that is sure to follow—you still have a lot of thought and planning ahead of you before you say “I do.”  And if the course of true love never did run deep, it is still Easy Street when compared to the road that will take you to the Big Day.

Ah, but no worries.  With a comprehensive “I do to do” list in place that will take you step by step through the process of wedding planning, you can become a ‘can do’ couple who is ready to experience the wedding ceremony of a lifetime.  And—lucky you!—we have just such a list for you; a concise but comprehensive guide that tells you just what to do before saying ‘I do”:

•    Set a date–  Although this might sound like a simple task, the singular act of setting a wedding date is not an easy one.  Today’s busy couples must set a date that does not conflict with and intrude on their busy schedules.  In addition, they must allow themselves enough time to plan a successful wedding event.

•    Envision your wedding day–  This could very well be the most enjoyable and satisfying part of your wedding planning experience.  Sit down together as a couple and envision your own perfect wedding event.  Will you have a modern ora traditional wedding ceremony?  A religious or secular ceremony?  What are the colors and overall design scheme that will dominate your wedding?  Where is the grand hall where you and your loved ones will convene on this beautiful day?  What is the appearance of your tux and wedding gown?  What is the color and flavor of your cake?  How would you decorate your ceremonial hall?  How about the reception hall?  Would you have a limousine transport you between these two places?  Who will speak and entertain at your reception, and what kind of food will you serve?  Take a moment to dream a little dream; envisioning an idyllic ceremony that would best represent your shared romantic vision.

•    Now get real!– OK, this part might not be quite as enjoyable that the step that preceded it; even so, it may be the most important item on this list.  Once you have envisioned your perfect wedding, sit down together to devise a budget that will—as closely as possible, at least—bring this dream to fruition.  Calculate exactly how much you have to spend on each major item (everything from the wedding dress to the cake, the reception hall to the wedding feast).  Granted, you may not be able to afford the best and most luxurious of everything; but with a bit of shopping, planning and budgeting, you and your intended will come as possible to the divine realization of your matrimonial dream.•    Something borrowed, something bought–  Make two separate lists of the things that you will have to buy and rent in preparation for the big day.  These range from the purchase of gowns for the bridesmaids to the rental of a tux for the best man; the rental of a reception hall to the purchase of decorations for both this area and the wedding chapel.  Be sure to cross each item off the list as it is procured, noting its price, where it was obtained and (in the case of a rental) when it has to be returned.

•    Book ‘em Brideo!– To ensure that you can walk down the aisle (and, just as importantly, eat that cake) in the venues of your choice, that you will dance to the music of the best wedding band in town (or at least an affordable and popular deejay), that you will be riding in a limousine as opposed to on a bicycle built for two, etc., make sure that you book all of these items well in advance.

•    Your mama told you, you better shop around–  Or perhaps she didn’t, but we’re telling you now, all right?  The cost of a wedding can be astronomical; that is if those planning the ceremony fail to shop around for the goods and services they need.  Visit a variety of bridal shops, surf the Internet, hit up the auction scene, go to department and even thrift stores if needed; make sure that you get the best possible price on everything you need.

•    Don’t guess the guests–  Make a comprehensive guest list well in advance of the planned wedding date.  Be sure to include family members, close friends, and any co-workers with whom you would like to share this very special occasion.

•    Send out the invitations–   Once you have determined just who you would like to attend your wedding, then be sure to send out those pretty little cards that will tell them it’s OK to come (and, of course, to bring a gift—bonus!).

•    Plan those parties-  From the engagement party to the reception, from the bachelor and bachelorette fests to the bridal shower, every wedding ceremony comes complete with a full schedule of parties; plan them well, and well in advance!

•    Practice, practice, practice!– Just before the big event, plan an official and organized wedding rehearsal; one in which each principal in the ceremony—from the bride and groom to the best man and maid of honor, the presiding clergyman to the flower girl—will be able to practice their expected duties and rituals in the ceremony.

Once you have done all this you are all set for the BIG DAY…all set to say ‘’I DO” with confidence and lots of love.


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