“When? When will I be married?” you wonder to yourself as a little girl (and perhaps even some little boys feel the same) as you think about the Big Day and dream up dresses and flowers and everything that goes with.
“When?” you ponder again after you’ve found The One, when will you finally become betrothed?
And when you are engaged, then, well, the “when” never stops. When should you send out invites? When should the cake be ordered? When this? When that?
Wedding planning is a gargantuan task, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one.
“We believe that the key to making wedding planning as stress-free as possible is to prioritize,” said Steve Husted of Knot Just Any Day Photography, a local company that offers not only photography, videography, and photo booth services, but handmade décor, custom stationery, and wedding planning as well.
“Figure out what aspects of your wedding day are most important to you. Is it having amazing, over-the-top florals? A 10-piece band? A stellar photographer? Decide what your must-haves are, then invest the necessary time and funds to make them happen. Everything else can be budgeted around those key elements.”
There’s also a general timeline to be followed in order to make things run as smoothly as possible, and we break it down for you according to when things should be done prior to your wedding day.
12 months before
• Snag the date and venue. “Book it as soon as possible, especially if you have a particular date in mind,” Husted said of the “where” portion of the wedding. “Think of it like real estate – location, location, location.” There is a bevy of awesome places to choose from locally, like the Beaumont Inn, Inn at Pocono Manor, Friedman Farms, Genetti’s in Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, Split Rock Resort, Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort, The Woodlands Inn and Resort, and Sand Springs, to name only a few.
• Book an officiant.
• If desired, hire a wedding planner to leave the minor details in someone else’s hands and cut down on stress.
• Start celebrating and throw an engagement party.
10 months before
• Now is the time to nail down who is going to help you capture the memories – book your videographer and photographer. Knot Just Any Day actually suggests that this can be done earlier, depending on the photos you want. “At least a year in advance, especially if you’d like to have engagement photos taken to use on your save-the-dates, as engagement party decorations, or as a newspaper announcement,” Husted said. This area is rife with talented photogs, like Jack Kiska Photography (26 Hill St., Ashley) and Steve Lewis Photography (492 Pringle St., Pringle). Photo booths are also all the rage, and they can be booked via PA Photo Booths (570.466.7999) or Epic Booths (570.885.0038).
• Start thinking about food and meet with caterers. For amazing local food and cooking, try out Peculiar Culinary Company (570.212.0960) or A Touch of Class Catering (228 George Ave., Wilkes-Barre).
• Also take a look at what local florists have to offer and decide which direction you want to go with flowers.
8 months before
• It’s what every little girl dreams of: dress shopping. Go forth and try them all on! Just make sure by this time you try to actually buy one. Among the various amazing dress shops we have in the area are David’s Bridal (Wyoming Valley Mall), Tunis Bridal Shoppe (3015 Birney Ave., Scranton) and Gerri’s Bridal Shop (175 N. Main St., Pittston).
• If you’re going to have out-of-towners as guests, reserve a block of hotel rooms for them near or at the reception site.
• Now is also the time to register at any retailers you may want to receive gifts from.
• Who hates sitting through cake tastings? Pretty much no one. Figure out what you want your cake to look and taste like.
6 months before
• Time to let everyone know when the big day is (if you haven’t already shouted it from the rooftops) and send out your save-the-dates. “Guests who need to make travel arrangements in order to celebrate with you will appreciate the heads up,” Husted said.
• This is also a great time to nail down your invitations, which should eventually be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. “Don’t forget to factor in production and mailing time on top of these estimates,” Husted said.
• De-stress a little bit and dream of when it’s time to relax by planning your honeymoon. Visit MJ Travel (Waverly) or Master Travel (6 Rose Lane, Wilkes-Barre) to help you sort out where and when you’re heading on a dream vacation.
• Now that the bride’s dress is done, go pick out what the bridal party will wear.
• Need transportation? Now is the time to book the limo, trolley, or whatever mode you plan on using to get to and fro. Kelly & Co. Trolley Services (Shavertown), Luxury Limousine (200 Ridgewood Rd., Wilkes-Barre) and Nasser Limousine (619 Mineral Ave., Scranton) might have what you’re looking for.
• Purchasing wedding bands now will allow ample time for sizing and engraving. There are many incredible jewelers in the area, including MarcCo Jewelers (140 Main St., Luzerne), Rainbow Jewelers (789 Wyoming Ave., Kingston), Steve Pronko Diamonds (817 Boulevard Ave., Dickson City), and Raco Watch and Jewelry (228 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., Wilkes-Barre).
4 months before
• Pick a place you can relax and chow down with your bridal party and groomsmen for a rehearsal dinner and make the reservations. Perhaps places like Oyster at Genetti Best Western (77 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre), Fire and Ice on Toby Creek (111 S. Main St., Trucksville) or Cooper’s Seafood (304 Kennedy Blvd., Pittston and 701 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) will fit the bill.
• Schedule appointments for hair and makeup. There are plenty of local salons to choose from, like the Sapphire Salon and Day Spa (247 S. Main St., Pittston), Sakari (900 Rutter Ave., Kingston), and Alexander’s (431 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton).
• What tune do you want to enter the reception to? How about the first dance? Now is the time to decide what music will play during pivotal moments and what DJ or band will play them.
• Take care of the guys and pick out the groomsmen attire. To check out the latest styles, visit Tuxedo Junction (56 West End Rd., Hanover Township) or Savvi Formalwear by Sarno and Son (Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville or 77 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre).
3 months before
• Finalize the dinner menu and flower order.
• If you want to give your guests a treat and a thank you for coming, order favors.
2 months before
• Touch base with all of your vendors to tie up all loose ends.
• Send out the invitations. A rule of thumb is sending them out six to eight weeks before the ceremony and setting the RSVP cut-off at three weeks after the postmark date.
• Send in the announcement to your local newspaper.
• This is when the little things come into play that you might not immediately think of: purchase your guestbook, toasting flutes, cake servers, unity candle, or whatever else you may need the day of the ceremony. Give Amore and Bridal Trinkets (29 W. Center St., Shavertown) a shot.
One month before
• This little piece of paper is often forgotten, but totally necessary: make sure you get your marriage license.
• Send out your rehearsal dinner invites.
• Start mapping out the seating arrangements.
• Giving a gift to your bridesmaids or groomsmen? Now is the time to buy them. Some places to consider buying out-of-the-ordinary gifts are Ye Olde Clock & Gift Shop (Dallas Shopping Center), Studio M (133 Division St., Kingston), or the Bee Hive Gift Shop (41 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre).
Your wedding day
• Relax. You made it. Take a breath, enjoy every little moment, and, hey, congratulations!
• Pick a date and venue.
• Book an officiant.
• Hire a wedding planner.
• Hire a photographer and videographer.
• Hire a caterer.
• Hire a florist.
• Choose your cake.
• Register for a bridal shower.
• Reserve hotel rooms for out-of-towners.
• Book transportation for the day of.
• Plan your honeymoon.
• Purchase wedding bands.
• Pick a rehearsal dinner venue.
• Schedule hair and makeup appointments.
• Pick the music you want to walk out to/dance to/etc. and select a DJ or band.
• Obtain your marriage license.
• Buy bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts.
• Send the wedding announcement to a local paper.
• Purchase the little things like: guestbook, toasting glasses, unity candle.