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Planning Guide

Wedding Planning

Your Guide to Making it Simple

Wedding Planning Information


We understand what goes into planning a wedding - lots of time, oodles of patience and the organizational skills of a circus juggler with an itchy nose. That’s why we’ve designed this page to give you quick, informative tips that will help you along the way. More information about each of these items is available in the latest issue of Phoenix Bride & Groom magazine.

Wedding Checklist

Use this handy 12-month checklist to help you get organized. The result will be a wedding day filled with wonderful, stress-free memories. Click here for your personal Wedding Planning Timeline.

Setting Your Wedding Budget

Once you’ve decided the kind of wedding you want, it’s time to talk money. Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it can be likened to following a good road map: if you establish your route early, lay down clear markers and follow them closely, you’re bound to find your trip to the altar smooth going. To keep track of expenses, download Phoenix Bride & Groom’s Wedding Expense Worksheets.

Practically Speaking

Getting a marriage license isn't a lot of fun, but ya gotta do it. No license. No wedding. Click Where to Get Your Marriage License, for Maricopa County’s complete marriage requirements and a list of Clerk-Recorder Offices where you can pick up your license.

Hiring a Bridal Consultant

Before plunging into planning your wedding, you may want to contact a bridal consultant. In today’s world, with everybody, including your mother, working outside the home, a bridal consultant can save you enormous stress and strain by coordinating the services of between 12 and 15 vendors, each requiring numerous telephone calls and voice mail messages.

Choosing Your Wedding Party

It’s hard to limit the number of people in your wedding. But you must. Choose family members and close friends who are special to you and who are responsible, reliable and organized - especially your maid of honor and best man. You will need to depend on them to help get things done.

An Ideal Reception

The best way to top off your picture-perfect wedding is with the reception of your dreams. Where you decide to have your wedding celebration will depend on your personal style, the type and size of your wedding, the date and time of the event, the general locale and, of course, unless you have the winning lottery ticket, your budget. For a list of the best places in Phoenix to have a great celebration, consult our Reception Sites.

Creative Catering

When shopping for a caterer, look for a business or individual that’s been around awhile, has a good reputation and instills trust and confidence. Get references from reception site directors and other wedding professionals. The caterers used by these pros usually have proven track records.

Working with a Florist

Well-chosen flowers will delight the senses of all who attend your wedding. That’s why it’s important to select the right florist. Begin with recommendations from friends, family and newlyweds. Ask managers at upscale hotels and high-end retailers. View the work first-hand. It should speak for itself.

Basically Beautiful

Here are a few tips for looking radiant on your wedding day:

  • Drink lots of water. It gives your skin a soft, healthy glow.
  • Avoid too much alcohol, it can dehydrate skin and cause puffy eyes.
  • Start a good skin-care regimen as soon as possible.
  • For better wedding photos, have your makeup done by a beauty pro.
  • Get your hair styled with your headpiece a couple of times before the wedding.
  • Treat yourself to a massage the day before the event. It relieves stress and feels fabulous.

Choosing Your Gown

Although buying a wedding gown is based on practical matters, like budget, season and theme, your ultimate selection is an emotional experience. That’s why it is important to consider working with a full-service bridal salon whose experienced consultants are sensitive to your needs.

Who Pays for What

Tradition has long dictated that a bride’s parents assume financial responsibility for a majority of their daughter’s wedding and reception expenses. Today, however, it’s not unusual for a groom or his family to share in these costs, or for a couple themselves to pay for most or all of them.

All About Photography

Quality is the first consideration when hiring a photographer. Interview several professionals and ask to see portfolios of individual weddings. Choose a photographer who will help you create a list of desired photos, both formal (family and wedding party portraits) and planned (cutting the cake). And let your photographer know in advance what kinds of candid shots mean the most to you. Be choosy. Photography accounts for a good portion of your wedding budget. More information about photography can be found in the latest issue of Phoenix Bride & Groom magazine.

Hiring a Videographer

Never mind the friend of a friend who will tape your wedding for a song. You need a true professional who can move effortlessly among your guests without glaring lights and carelessly placed cables. Interview several candidates, and ask to see actual wedding tapes. Also ask about editing. Good videographers can produce mini masterpieces in the editing room. Get a contract that specifies everything. Book 12 months in advance of your wedding.

For the Groom

Certain roles and responsibilities fall on your broad shoulders as the big day approaches. Here are a few:

  • Determine how many ushers you need (one usher per 50 guests).
  • See to wedding day transportation.
  • Take care of the honeymoon details.
  • Get the marriage license.
  • Attend your bachelor shindig
  • Pick up the wedding rings.
  • Get to the church on time.

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