Monday, February 28, 2011

Step 3 - Start a Wedding Folder/Binder

          (9 Months to 24 Months Before the Wedding)
Planning your wedding is one of the most fun and exciting things you may have ever have to do in your entire life.  The more organized you are during the planning process, the less stressful it will become.  One great way you can organize all of your wedding planning activities is to create a wedding planning binder.  Many brides even keep the wedding folder/binder as a keepsake and keep with their wedding album many years after the wedding to show their children and grandchildren and is available to share with any other upcoming weddings with family and friends.

Make sure your wedding planning binder has plenty of folders in it.  You can set up the folder either in alphabetical order or wedding planning order (order of a wedding checklist).  Make sure you label the folders with binder tabs and/or a color scheme.  Many websites break down the wedding categories a little differently, one might use Wedding Dress another uses Bridal Fashions, one might use Ceremony Site another might use Venue and so on and so on.

In my, Kaiser's Wedding Blog the breakdown will show as follows and show in wedding planning order. The wedding categories are Wedding Planners, Officiants and Counseling, Churches and Chapels, Ceremony Sites, Reception Facilities, Catering, Honeymoons and Activities, Jewelers, Bridal Fashions and Tuxedos, Photographers, Videographers, Disc Jockeys, Live Music, Dance Instruction and Fitness, Transportation, Rental Services, Florists, Decorations, Wedding Cake, Bed and Breakfast, Hotels and Resorts, Rehearsal Dinner, Invitations, Gifts and Registries, Favors, Sweets and Treats, Health and Beauty, and Make-up Artists and Cosmetics.

Whew, that's a lot of categories to cover, above there are 28 categories and they are all important into making a great wedding.  There even are a few other categories you can break apart or add.  You might be buying a house and need a mortgage thus you need to add Real Estate and Mortgage.  You might need a new car and add Auto.  You might break apart Bridal Fashions and Tuxedos.  You might break apart Favors and add Bridesmaid Gifts, and Groomsmen Gifts.  You might break apart Bridal Fashions into Bridal Dress, Bridesmaid's Dresses and Bride's Mother's Dress.  Rental Services could be further divided to show Rental Supplies, Wedding Tents, Bartenders, Servants, etc.  Set up the binder to keep you organized, if you need to get a hold of a wedding vendor quickly or they need to get a hold of the bride quickly and inform you of some matter, everything should be all together so everything communicated is duly noted.

You also want to staple a plastic ziploc bag inside of each folder.  Use the bags for various items that will not stay easily inside the folder.  Such items may include fabric samples, cutout pictures such as wedding dress design, wedding cake decorations, hair-style samples, wedding reception decorations, etc.  Also you can include business cards, wedding invitation styles, and sticky notes. Make sure you include a good quality writing pen that makes for good note-keeping with legible writing for your note taking and has plenty of ink.

You may consider picking up some idea magazines such as Bride, Tuxedo, Food, Hairstyle & Makeup, Decorations, Lifestyles.  You may pick up ideas roaming through Department Stores, or rummaging through magazines at your local library or running through websites off of your computer, blackberry, IPhone, or IPad.  You should also talk over with your fiancee and gain insight on how you both would like to decorate your house, later what gift registries to sign up which matches our style.

In your wedding binder, you want to be sure to insert paper in between each folder.  This will allow you to keep notes on both what to look for as you meet with wedding vendors, have interview questions, prior to meeting each wedding vendor.  One last thing to note, some wedding vendors might cover your needs for multiple wedding categories.  A hotel might have a reception area, cover catering, bake their own wedding cake, provide decorations, and provide music for the wedding.  A wedding planner might have favors and invitations.  Bundling of services helps save you some wedding related expenses.  A caterer might provide bartenders.  You will want to be sure this bundling is of high quality though.  A caterer or reception hall might offer a bartender but it may be cheaper if you found one yourself.

You can pick up a nice wedding organizer from your local office supply store.  You want a really good one that keeps all your material together.  Make it your pride and joy, enjoy your wedding planning and talk through the wedding planner, decide on a wedding theme and choose your wedding colors with your mother, sisters, and girlfriends and let them share in the excitement and sharing of ideas for your wedding.

So that's a wrap on Start a Wedding Folder/Binder.  See you on the other side!







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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Step 2 - Host an Engagement Party

(9 Months to 24 Months before the Wedding)
You only get one chance at a good first impression and that is true when it comes to meeting your partner's family for the first time.  You can have one big engagement party or have two parties, one on each side, one for the engaged bride first, them one for the engaged groom.  In some cases the families know each other, one engagement party will suffice.

If possible, at each of the parties, try to have the immediate family members over to the other families home.  This includes the parents and could include siblings close in age or younger children that are well behaved.  A close friend is an option too, whether they might be the bridesmaid or best man.  The inviting host can have the event small or large, think of it like a family reunion. It's a time to celebrate to meet the new member of the family.  The host should invite siblings along with their families, their grandparents, close aunts and uncles, cousins and invite the closest friends, people that have been important in the honorees life.

Make sure you don't overdue the amount of invitees for the engagement party, it's not the wedding and you want the event not to be stressful on the parents. After the event, it's the other spouse's turn, just the parents and close brothers and sisters come with a close friend and the other spouse has their turn inviting grandparents, brothers and sisters and their families including children and uncles and aunts, cousins and a hand full of close friends.

The engagement party is recommended to be at the honoree's house but could be at a place nearby.  You really want a picnic/party type of atmosphere. It could be the house, a picnic in a yard, a relative's yard, a restaurant with a private area, a church cafeteria or multi-purpose room, or could even be at a field with a tent area.  You want comfortable surroundings that can handle boisterous excitement.

It is the responsibility and tradition of each of the fathers to propose a toast to the happy couple at the engagement party and to welcome in a new member to their family, the toast serves as the formal announcement of the engagement. Gifts are not required at engagement parties, however many guests do bring gifts and if there are any gifts, make sure thank-you notes gets sent out within a couple of weeks of receiving them.  If you don't have an address, hunt down the address of every gift giver.

If the families have known each other, long before the engagement, it's just as important for the engagement party, it's a celebration and gets the wedding planning off to a good start.  As each couple visits the other's home town (if you have not grown up together).  Take a drive in the area and let the other spouse point out places that are special to him/her, their school, their church, a romantic restaurant, a park that's special, where they excelled in sports, etc.

Right after the engagement party, the couple should get a formal photo done. You want this photo to be serious and/or romantic.  You don't want a zany photo.  You want a good photo that shows you as a couple that is to be used as an engagement announcement.  A photo with plenty of light on the couple in a romantic embrace with a neutral background.  The photo could be taken in a studio or in a beautiful natural setting.  You don't need a lot of photos, a few are just fine, don't let a photographer up-sell you.  If a family member takes this photo for you, make sure the photographs are taken with a high quality camera and check to be sure, the photos came out great.

If the photos are taken by a family member, one trick is to buy a neutral pastel color sheet, make sure the sheet is pressed and tape it spread out against a wall.  You want the photo taken at pretty close range with a sheet background with both looking at the camera, make sure there is bright light focused on the area.  If the photographs are taken outside, make sure it's with a beautiful backdrop and on a nice sunny day.  If the weather doesn't cooperate move the photo-shoot to another day, you have a little time to get engagement photographs together.

Some couples decide on creating a photo montage of their engagement, usually shown at a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.  Only a few percentage of couples do this, if done by a professional, do this only if money is no object in planning your wedding.   Each couple brings pictures of themselves growing up and tells each side of their life story and they do go around to important places in their life.  You may consider creating this montage on a home computer.  There are some photo capture systems out in the market that can be investigated for putting together a montage, some of the well known packages can be found on www.picasa.com and another is www.flickr.com that you can check out.

Well that's the story of Hosting an Engagement Party, see you on the other side!






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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Step 1 - Get Engaged/Announce Your Engagement

 (9 to 24 Months Before the Wedding)
Deciding to get married is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make in your life!  Most of the articles that will be written in my blogs are geared to the bride.  This particular blog is more geared toward the groom.  Wedding traditions dictate over the years that the guy is the one that is suppose to initiate the proposal.

Before talking about the proposal I will digress a little bit.  It is important to be sure you know each other well enough that your relationship is true love and not puppy love.  You see, when a guy and a girl first meet sometimes, excitement fills the air and the couple sees each other through rose colored glasses, they only see almost perfection with each other.  It may be physical, emotional, or physical attraction and at first all the encounters of doing things together are new and exciting.  For a relationship to be strong, it is important to know each other a little behind the scenes.

Every person tends to fall into a personality type.  Some people have strong A type personalities, and some are laid back.  Some people are day people, some are night owls.  Some live on the phone, some like peace and quiet.  Some people live every free moment of the day on the computer, some are afraid to touch a computer.  Some people are always on the go, some are homebodies.  Some like a warm house and some like it air conditioned.  Some are workaholics and some enjoy life a little more.

The important thing before getting engaged is, make sure you know each other well enough, to know each other's strengths and weaknesses.  Do your personalities meld with other and a person tends to have their best looks in their marrying years, will you still be in love when the looks are gone.  Life is short and the biological is ticking, you can't take too long to decide on getting married.  Just be sure you know each other well enough before making the big decision.

Proposing is (Hopefully), a once in a lifetime event.  It is always a special moment on a girl's life.  It is a must that a guy gets down on one knee, presents a ring, tell her you have a couple a things to tell her, it may be "I have something very important to tell you", "You have been very special to me and I want to spend the rest of my life with you", "Will you marry me?".  Then open up the ring box!

A couple of things to mention here.  You must have a ring and you must kneel on one knee to propose.  All girls expect a proposal to happen this way no matter if the girl is a romantic or tom boy.  Second, if you know exactly what type of ring the girl likes and you have identified the size of her finger, presenting the ring as you propose is great.  It is safer though to go shopping together for an engagement ring, present a giant candy ring as a symbolic gesture, having something to slip on her finger is crucial.

Always make the proposal a surprise!  Chances are a girlfriend can read you like a book.  If she knows it's coming it will take a little wind out of the proposal.  When you propose, a girl's dream proposal is to hear a list of some of the thing's the girl loves and include them in the proposal.

Fast forward, before you propose, if you are able you should first meet with her parent's and tell them you would like their daughter's hand in marriage. Sometimes it works this way, you propose to her, then immediately ask her parents.  After approaching her parents you want to tell his parent's you are about to propose and can tell your best trustworthy friends.

You should avoid telling a lot of people before hand to prevent the proposal being a surprise or an embarrassment.  What if she found out beforehand to ruin the surprise or what if she were to say "no".  A proposal that becomes an embarrassment such as proposing at a stadium can not only become a 'no' but can also become a lost friend.  Make sure you are both truly in love if the proposal should happen in a public place.  With a private proposal a 'no' can become a 'yes' in another place and time.

Can a girl propose to a guy, of course she can.  You can choose a special day like Valentine's Day, his birthday, your birthday, the anniversary when you met, New Years, Christmas, a day that has meaning.  You also want to pick a safe place, a garden, a beach, a park, a scenic view, or a private spot of an upscale restaurant.  You can propose just like a guy down on one knee proposing with an inexpensive ring.

Be calm before asking the question, tell him you want his full attention, as you want to tell him something very important.  Get him prepared for the moment then look into his eyes, express your feelings, present the ring and pop the question.  Tell him that you love him, and why you love him, ask him what he thinks about being in a relationship with you, but don't force him into an answer with your proposal.  With some guys it's an ego thing, he may need a little time to think it over, or he may be thrilled you ask because of a little shyness.

Whatever happens, it takes two to tango, you both have to be truly in love.  If the engagement answer is 'no' sometimes a 'no' is devastating at first but often it is a blessing in disguise.  You can't be waiting forever and it just wasn't meant to be and now you are free to find a true love.  If it is a 'no' be sure to find out if it's a 'no' at this moment, that it may turn to a 'yes' someday or does a 'no' mean 'no'.  You can have this conversation after he has a chance to think things over.

If the answer is "yes" and the engagement is on, you both want to announce the engagement to the bride's parents first.  Meet with them in person if possible, ask for their blessing and talk a little bit about your plans whether you will use a wedding planner or a diy wedding (do it yourself). Next meet with the groom's parents and share the plans with them as well.  Now you can tell the rest of the immediate family, close friends, and even any children of your families.  Make sure both parties are communicating and are on the same page as you proceed with all aspects of the wedding family process.

That's the engagement story, yesterday I tried to download a table showing wedding planners and the table did not download properly.  I will try again and once that process is working I will upload all the wedding vendors in Orlando, a different wedding category every day.  Once I have mastered all the steps on building this blog, I will share all I that I have learned with brides and wedding vendors.  Maybe you will have found a way to make some extra money that can go towards your wedding or just a little extra income source.  I will share high level how the finances went through the process.  I promise to share this all with you once I have completed the 100 step wedding checklist process.

See you on the other side (Tomorrow)!





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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kaiser's Wedding Blog

It's opening day here at Kaiser's Wedding Blog World!!!  After spending the last couple of years working at a bridal advertising company, I've decided to share what I have learned, to help brides and wedding vendors connect and to help make the best possible wedding day for the bride and save thousands of dollars in expense in the process.  My blogs will be 90% devoted to the engaged bride and about 10% devoted to wedding vendors and share my blogging experience.

The goal of my blog writing is to create a fabulous wedding experience for the bride, to make the wedding planning process a fun and enjoyable activity where the bride can learn a lot of things that surround weddings and what to look out for and save lots of money too.  I will focus on weddings at all budget levels whether there is an unlimited budget amount for the wedding to a wedding that doesn't cost much money at all.

I will be writing a blog practically every day unless an important personal matter disrupts my schedule for a day or two.  The first few months will be geared to a 100 step wedding planning checklist geared to an orderly progression of wedding planning activities.  Afterward there will be all sorts of articles written about the wedding planning process.  Some articles will be written about what questions to ask a specific wedding vendor depending on the category.  There will be articles written on how a specific wedding traditions became about and the history of a wedding activity.

Some articles will be geared to cost saving ideas on a specific wedding category and what to look out for and what makes a good wedding vendor.  Occasionally, I will point out websites to checkout and make some recommendations to help you in your planning.  Each day after the blog, I will be sharing some wedding vendor contacts for a particular wedding category in a specific city and the surrounding area.  I will include a highlight vendor, which of all the vendors researched for that category, the wedding vendor that most impressed me.

The city that I will focus on my first month of blogging ... drums please, is the city of Orlando.  As time passes, about the beginning of each month I will point out if you go back to the archives what month focussed on what specific cities.  If you need to find a wedding vendor, you can find one from this blog.  In about a month if you need a specific wedding vendor in Orlando you can find it here.  The following month will be a new city and the next month another city.

For a vendor to make the Vendor Contact List, they needed to have their own website.  For the most part what you see on the Vendor Contact List, the business has a website that can be checked out.  I have checked each and every website out that shows up on the list and is there for you to find a vendor to use.  You can pull up the website to do preliminary investigations and there is a phone number ready to contact if you don't have ready access to a computer.  If the website does not show, then either the website expired after I did the research or the vendor went out of business.  The vendor contact list will show the name of the vendor, the location the vendor is in (sometimes a city's suburb), the vendor's phone number, and the vendor's website.

The very first rule I am going to mention in wedding planning is do your research.  Unless you know a lot about a wedding vendor from experience or comes very highly recommended by family or friends, you should interview 3 or 4 wedding vendors for each wedding category, then decide which one to go with making an intelligent decision.  You must be head strong when you meet with each vendor, don't let them coerce you into booking a contract until you can do some comparison shopping.  You might find if you booked with one vendor then you might regret it if another vendor comes along could have cost you a lot less and a good personality fit too.

The interview process helps you find someone you are comfortable with, someone who you wouldn't mind having at your wedding, if an issue comes up you can discuss it, they keep you informed, and somebody who is conversant and leaves a good impression to your guests.  Your wedding day should be the best day of your life, it's important to leave a good first impression with many of your spouse's family.  You want it to be a special day that all of your and your beloved's family and friends will always remember and talk about.

Depending on your budget, if you are tech savvy, there are some new things on the market that you might want to investigate that can help in wedding planning.  There are IPhones and IPads that you can pick up and by adding a wedding app on it, it allows you to do many wedding planning activities right on your phone, prepare a guest list, help in seating arrangements, load all your contact vendor information in it, keep information on discussions, etc.  One wedding app that you might check out is http://www.iweddingdeluxe.com/ .


Having a wedding planner on your phone is a relatively new thing and for some bridal planners is cool.  If the finances are tight don't feel you have to have it.  Wedding planning off of an Excel spreadsheet and putting together a wedding organizer in a binder is fine too.  Also, another tool worth mentioning that you may have seen advertised off of your television is a little folding organizer and you can find this product at http://www.buywonderfile.com/ .  This organizer is perfect for wedding planning as it will allow you to keep all your correspondence together and you can take this with you as you meet with various wedding vendors.  There is a lot of correspondence you have to do and this is the one time in your life it's a must to be organized.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog, I hope I can provide a valuable service and I hope I can be a valuable resource that can be used in wedding planning.  If you like what you see, tell your friends that I am here and they can find good wedding vendors and find some good advise on wedding cost savings.  My first Vendor Contact List is for Orlando Wedding Planners.  If you are comfortable meeting with people, have time to devote to planning your wedding yourself, or have a limited budget, my blog can be of tremendous help.  If you have a little money to work with, don't have much time for wedding planning, or are not comfortable meeting with people then a wedding planner or wedding coordinator may be right for you.

My first day of blogging is now complete.  See you on the other side (That means tomorrow)!!!




















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