A perfect wedding is one of the biggest dreams of many women. From a young age, lots of little girls imagine themselves in an impressive and long, bright dress, with carefully styled hair and make-up that highlights natural beauty. Their thoughts pretty often revolve around a romantic wedding and a big wedding party. Dreaming about this ideal day is easy, but… organising everything in the real world can be, in fact, complex and time-consuming. It can be especially difficult without a clear action plan. There is so much to handle before getting married! Luckily, future brides and grooms will find all the relevant information about what is important when planning a wedding in this article – a compendium of knowledge about pre-wedding to-do’s. Check this wedding planning checklist! You can print it and keep it with you!
Want to be a guest at your own wedding?
1. Do all the formalities (in a church and the registry office)
Many years ago, people were getting married twice – in the registry office and then (1-2 weeks later) in a church. In 1998, it became possible to combine those two ceremonies. A Concordat wedding is valid under both Polish law and The Roman Catholic Church. In other words, this is both a religious ceremony and a legal act. Traditionally, a concordat wedding was supposed to take place in the bride’s parish; however, nowadays, newlyweds are allowed to get married in any church. What they need are written consents of the parish priests from their home parishes.
Newlyweds should take care of such formalities 6-12 months before the wedding. It all depends on the size of the particular parish. Documents which are needed to get married are: ID cards, baptism certificate, confirmation certificate, pre-marriage course certificate and certificate of no impediment to marriage.
During the first meeting in a parish office, future spouses set the date and the time of the wedding, and the parish priest usually sets the dates of bannes. What’s more, the bride and groom have to go to confession 1-2 days before their wedding, and they need a written confirmation. A parish priest is also responsible for asking a couple several questions (about the desire to have children, etc.) and filling out a special form 2-6 months before the wedding. When it comes to the mixed couples (a Polish person with a non-Polish-speaking foreigner), all the documents should be translated into Polish by a sworn translator.
2. Choose the type (and the place) of the wedding
Nowadays, people can get married almost anywhere (however couples should choose an appropriate place for the occasion). They can get married in the registry office, in a church or somewhere else, for example in a specially designated place near the wedding hall. In that case, the whole procedure looks similar, the only difference is that fiancés have to write a request to the head of the registry office to officiate the wedding “outside” the registry office. The bride and groom need to pay a fee of PLN 1,000 (one thousand Polish zlotys).
3. Choose one of the many available wedding venues
A wedding in a church, the registry office or in a different location is only a small part of this “big day”. After that, the bride, groom, and wedding guests go to a chosen hall and celebrate, usually until the early morning hours. Looking for the best place is one of the first things that a young couple should do. A great solution for couples is to use the help of a wedding planner who knows much more about the wedding industry and wedding venues than anyone. Future brides and grooms from the capital of Poland should consider using the services of a wedding planner in Warsaw.
Couples should start with setting a wedding budget. They can have their wedding party in a folk house if they want to – this is a quite budgetary option and the atmosphere of old times is guaranteed! In that case, fiancés need to organise catering for their guests. Nowadays, some catering companies offer not only food, cakes, sweet snacks, and a “cold plate”, but also clean the wedding hall and their own tableware (plates, glasses, cutlery etc.). The bride and groom have to determine the number of guests, and the menu they are interested in.
The other option is choosing a restaurant or a wedding house. The difference between them is that wedding houses are open only on the day of the wedding, while restaurants are open every day (restaurant staff change the tables to make more space for dancing).
The bride and groom need to agree on hours of serving meals and alcohol. Restaurants and wedding houses look elegant and classy, so additional decorations are not that necessary. However, the newlyweds can add some decorations on their own or use the services of a wedding decorator if they feel they need that. The table of the bride and the groom should stand out from others. The guests’ tables can be decorated with flowers. It is worth picking one style (like boho style) and dominant colours to create a coherent whole. When choosing a perfect place for a wedding day, a young couple should remember about accommodation for guests from afar.
Outdoor wedding/luxurious hotel?
Some couples dream about an outdoor wedding. If you’re one of them, you could consider organising your wedding party in a wedding tent. Such places decorated with LED lights look amazing, especially in the evening. Wedding tents usually have a warm-up option, so the newlyweds don’t have to give up on the idea of a winter wedding.
Brides and grooms who can afford to spend a bit more on their wedding, can organise a wedding party in a luxurious object such as a five-star, exclusive and beautifully decorated hotel. It is worth to consider, especially when there are many guests from afar. They will surely appreciate the possibility of spending the night in a hotel room. In the entire process, it is key to choose a wedding venue that suits both the bride and the groom.
4. Choose music services
The next step of the wedding planning process is finding a good wedding band or a DJ – this is the basis for a good wedding party. Future bride and groom need to choose someone experienced and recommended. This will ensure that all the wedding guests will hit the dance floor and won’t want to leave. When to choose a DJ or a wedding band? The sooner, the better. The most sought-after professionals are booked 2 or even 3 years in advance! One more thing worth mentioning is that couples can choose to have the wedding ceremony music (violin, viola, cello, trumpet) with or without a singer, however, previously they need to get their parish priest permission.
5. Order a wedding cake
What should be next on your wedding planning timeline? Organising cakes is a must – everybody needs a little sweetness in their life! A wedding cake is one thing. Just imagine standing in the centre of the wedding hall, filled with wedding guests wishing only the best for you, with your newly married loved one next to a wedding cake with burning flares. This is one of the most magical moments of the wedding party! Plan everything early enough, when you know the approximate number of guests. Your guests need some cakes and sweets on their tables.
6. Choose a photographer and a videographer
Wedding photos are a beautiful souvenir to which you will return many times. That’s why you should find a photographer who matches your style. You can ask your friends for recommendations, search for a professional on the Internet, or trust the experience, knowledge, and honest recommendations of your wedding planner. Start looking for a photographer right after finding a place and a band or DJ for your wedding party. Good photographers are booked 2 years (or more!) in advance. The same applies to videomakers. The wedding video is not a must, but it is definitely worth having.
7. Choose wedding party outfits
Each bride wants to look and feel amazing. The groom has to keep up with her! That’s why looking for an ideal dress and suit early enough (6-8 months before the wedding) is so important. A wedding dress needs to match the bride’s beauty, character, and body shape. It needs to be comfortable. Brides can find their perfect wedding dress in a fashion designer’s atelier, in a salon with wedding dresses or buy a used wedding dress (which is a much cheaper option).
When it comes to grooms, they have a few options: choosing a suit, a tux, or a tailcoat tuxedo. However, wedding suits are the most common. The groom is the one who decides if he wants to wear a tie or a bow tie. It is advisable to choose a navy-blue suit – it looks great in the photos. Shoes and a belt should be in the same colour.
8. Choose a hairstyle and a makeup
The next step is deciding on your wedding hair and makeup. The bride and groom can choose “their” hairdresser or use the services of someone creating more spectacular hairstyles. It is worth following opinions found on the Internet. The same applies to makeup artists. Not every woman needs a trial hairstyle and makeup – some prefer to “go with the flow”. However, it is recommended to schedule a hairstyle and makeup trial 3-6 months before the wedding, just to be sure that the bride looks and feels gorgeous. The groom should get a haircut 5-7 days before the wedding, not at the last minute!
9. Buy wedding rings
Wedding rings are for life. It’s worth thinking carefully before making the purchase decision. Rings need to be well-made and durable. The newlyweds should make sure if the ring size adjustment is included in the price – after all, the size of fingers may change over time. Buying wedding bands one month before the wedding is enough. It is worth looking for rings at wedding fairs – attractive discounts are offered at such events!
10. Consider additional services
By “additional services” we mean photobooth, buffets, guestbooks, wedding lights, bartending services, candy bars, sweet tables, baristas, chocolate fountains, magic shows… and many more. The wedding industry continues to grow. Actually, nowadays, there are many options to choose from. Think what you (and your guests) might enjoy the most and find a perfect attraction for the wedding day!
11. Prepare wedding invitations and invite family and friends
Brides and grooms have to let their family and friends know about the wedding. This is a long process, especially when a couple dreams about a big wedding. It is recommended to start giving people printed invitations 3 months before the wedding. It is recommended for the newlyweds to order invitations tailored to their preferences. Nowadays, the selection of invitations is very wide – they come in different styles, textures, and colours.
Nevertheless, handing invitation cards to relatives and close friends in person, during the meeting, is not the only option. You can create a wedding website and send it to chosen people to follow and get to know the location, the date, and the time of the wedding. It’s quick, easy, and convenient!
12. Attend the bridal party
The bride is not responsible for preparing the bridal party – the maid of honor (with the help of other bride’s close female friends) is. All the bride has to do is to attend the party and have a great time! The groom should have his own party with his “mates”. This is the last one symbolic meeting (full of fun and games) with close ones before changing a marital status.
13. Create a wedding day schedule
The wedding checklist cannot be complete without information about the big wedding day and what to remember about. The bride and groom should plan this day to avoid stress! It’s important to start the day well – with a relaxing shower or bath. The rest of the day will be intensive, so a short rest is strongly recommended. Bride and groom have to eat something! It seems obvious, but in the multitude of different tasks, people sometimes forget to eat (which is unacceptable).
Someone has to pick up the flowers (wedding bouquet) from the flower shop. The bride should focus on herself, her hairstyle and makeup. It is much easier to use the services of a mobile hairdresser and makeup artist; however, some brides prefer to go to the beauty salon and that’s OK. When the wedding hairstyle and makeup is ready, the bride can put on her perfect wedding dress (her maid of honor’s help is very apprecieted).
Meanwhile, the groom is also getting ready and then (traditionally) arrives at the bride’s house. When they are ready, their parents give them their blessing. After that, they can get on the road to reach the place of the ceremony.They also can see ech other for the first time in the altar during the ceremony.
The bride and the groom commit their love to each other, and thus they make one of their biggest dreams come true. After the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests go to the chosen wedding venue. Guests give wishes to the newlyweds, usually drink a glass of champagne and eat wedding dinner. Then, the newlyweds have their first dance and… can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy their day!
As you can see, the process is complex and consists of many stages, but everything can be achieved with a good plan. Choosing the place of the wedding, music services, a photographer, a videographer, party outfits, hairstyle, makeup, rings, additional services – it all can make you feel dizzy but remember that you are not alone with that! You can always ask your loved ones and a professional wedding planner for help!