Many congratulations on your engagement. This is a very thrilling time in your lives, and after the glow of excitement has subsided, you may be wondering “what now?” Well, we here at The Vermont Association of Wedding Professionals (VAWP) would love to help you plan your perfect day. From wedding planners, caterers and venues, to music and photographers, we’ve got you covered. We are committed to providing quality services, promoting everything that Vermont has to offer, and most importantly, working together to ensure your day goes exactly how you imagined it. All of us here at VAWP have made a commitment to work as a team for the common good – your wedding day!

We know planning a wedding can be daunting, that is why we created www.yourvermontwedding.com where you can find many Vermont resources, all in one place. We love to talk weddings, but think some of our brides say it best. Here are some words of wisdom from them on planning a wedding:

“Plan early and follow your vision for your wedding day.  Always remember to take breaks and spend time with each other – things can get overwhelming.” Megan on her spring wedding, 2012.

“A wedding seems overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t be) a stressful experience. Remember that no matter what happens on your wedding day, the most important part is the love you and your partner have for each other, and the family and friends that are there to support you. Don’t stress the small stuff. You won’t remember ten years from now that one of your centerpieces was missing a flower!” Jenny on her summer wedding, 2012.

“I guess I would say, start early on the big stuff (venue, music, food, dress) and don’t sweat the small stuff (decorations, guest book, etc). Our biggest problem became the guest list. It seems that etiquette has changed and people are feeling they can invite an uninvited guest (especially single young adults) even if their invitation does not say ‘plus one.’ I would recommend to a new bride and groom that they be really clear with guests about their ‘plus one’ policy from the start. It created a bit of a budget scare for us not to mention awkward situations.” E.B. on her winter wedding, 2011.

Click here to read more tips and tricks from our past couples.

Below is a brief outline of timing for your reference. There are many great resources out there for wedding checklists, this is a basic outline to get you started. And if you don’t want to think about these details, might we suggest hiring a wedding coordinator?

12+ Months
Decide on your season, start envisioning your wedding style (dress, colors, theme), and then decide on budget and location. Start interviewing coordinators if you choose to have one, and send your engagement announcement to newspapers. Book your venue and decide on your date.

9-11 Months
Research caterers, photographers, bands & djs, florists, bakers and ceremony officiants. Start to interview and book vendors, formalize guest list, and choose bridal party.

6-8 Months
Start a wedding registry, choose wedding party outfits, purchase wedding dress, and start to think about invitations. Finalize and book remaining vendors, start researching salons, book a block of rooms for out-of-town guests, and send save-the-dates (if you choose to do them.)

4-5 Months:
Finalize and order invitations, finalize any remaining contracts with vendors, book a rehearsal dinner location and menu, and make honeymoon travel plans – is your passport up-to-date?

3 Months:
Send invitations, purchase wedding bands, purchase or rent decor, decide on wedding favors, and schedule final dress fittings. Decide on ceremony readings and program, arrange transportation, and check in with wedding party to ensure they’ve ordered their attire and have all necessary lists for potential bridal showers.

6 Weeks:
Decide on a guest book, have hair & makeup trial runs, finish ceremony programs, confirm honeymoon plans, and finalize ceremony. Obtain marriage license and name change papers, purchase wedding insurance, create a “must play” song list, send thank you notes from showers, and pick up your wedding dress.

1-2 Weeks:
Confirm schedule and details with vendors, confirm final payments, and make sure you have all wedding details completed. Designate someone to take care of day-of payments, and prepare cash tips. Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d and send final head count to caterer and cake baker, and create seating chart and escort cards. Check in with your bridal party to discuss weekend events, responsibilities, and make sure all attire is purchased. Get final hair cuts, shop and pack for honeymoon, and prepare wedding toasts. Ladies, start breaking-in those wedding shoes, and don’t forget to breathe!

Day Before:
Brides: get a manicure and pedicure, if you choose to do so. Assign someone to take care of wedding gifts, put together a last-minute emergency kit including phone numbers, and rehearse ceremony. Try to get a good nights sleep and make sure to drink plenty of water the day before.

Day Of:
Make sure to thank your parents and attendants, sit back and relax!

Guest post by Jamie Proctor-Brassard of Letter10 Creative Photography & Design. To inquire about availability or request her vendor recommendations, please visit Letter10Creative.com, Facebook, or email her.