With or Without a Professional?

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You’ve dreamed of it since you were a little girl, so don’t let the stress of planning your wedding turn it into a nightmare.

What’s the best way to ease the burden? Hire a professional wedding planner. Considering the time they’ll save and the fact that they have connections all over your city, they’re worth it.

If the money simply isn’t there for a wedding planner or you’re an avid do-it-yourselfer, lists are the best way to stay organized. Use a planning guide and keep it updated. Get your attendants involved – after all, your maid of honor and bridesmaids are there to help you, not just to look gorgeous on the big day.

Today’s ceremonies are more creative than the cookie cutter weddings of the past. These days, it’s all about what you want, what you have always envisioned, and it’s a reflection of your personality. To get all those elements in, it becomes a lot more challenging than it used to be, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a fun, creative process.

Modern couples want to incorporate creative touches to their ceremonies. Along with the ever-popular unity candle, many couples are adding candles honoring parents or grandparents who have passed away.

Some couples include the signing of the marriage license during the service. When the couple moves to light the unity candle, they often place the marriage license on the same table, and their attendants join them to sign.

Communion, traditionally held in Catholic weddings, is becoming popular even in Protestant services.

Programs have become a must for today’s weddings. Trimmed with gorgeous ribbons, printed on handmade papers, scrapbook paper or vellum, created on their own computers or done by professionals, these days brides place a high priority on the programs. They’re a nice touch to help guests feel like they’re part of the day by letting them know that your maid of honor has been your best friend since elementary school, share a brief version of how you and your fiancé met, and to announce your new mailing address.

Another important role that the program plays is to let everyone know the order the ceremony will follow. Will it be a religious ceremony, a non-denominational ceremony, a blend of more than one faith, or a civil ceremony? Protestant ceremonies are traditionally fairly short, while a Catholic wedding mass often lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. Letting the guests know what to expect helps them feel more at ease, and they’ll have a better idea of when to sit and when to stand.

Will there be any special music, readings from scripture, or poetry?

You might choose to honor your heritage or family traditions during the ceremony, have a friend serve as your officiant, or choose a four-legged friend as ring bearer. Some denominations, such as Catholics and Episcopalians, require certain portions of the ceremony to be repeated, while other denominations may allow couples to write their own vows from beginning to end.

What type of plans should you make for decorating the church?

When it comes to classic elegance for the ceremony, less is more. The ceremony in itself should be beautiful, meaningful, solemn but celebratory, whether it’s a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. Let the people, the personalities and the ceremony be the beautiful part of the wedding, and put your money into your reception where people are going to spend the most time. Have beautiful dresses and bouquets, of course, but let the wedding party and the church be the décor.