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How to get it all done

Its time to plan the big day your wedding and you want it to be as unique and special as the person youre marrying. Be forewarned, though, the planning process can be exciting, fulfilling, overwhelming and completely time-consuming. From setting the date and creating a budget to choosing flowers and booking your honeymoon, planning a wedding isnt all cake and champagne. In fact, the big day is often a big nightmare with dueling families and unfulfilled dreams leading to cold feet and runaway brides. Of course it doesnt have to be this way and it most certainly shouldnt be this way if you have a qualified wedding coordinator (aka a wedding planner, consultant or producer) at your side.Your wedding day will be the most special day of your lives. You will enjoy it to the fullest without worrying about the details. Leave those details to professionals and enjoy your family and friends, says Marcy Kneiper, owner and principle coordinator for Aspen-based Creative Weddings (www.creativeweddings.com).And while it may seem like an unnecessary luxury since coordinators can charge upward of 15 percent of the cost of the wedding (others charge a flat rate, which can run the gamut from $3,000 to $10,000), hiring a consultant is one way to ensure a stress-free celebration. Since this person is a professional party planner, he or she will know how to organize and orchestrate your special day, making sure nothing is overlooked or forgotten.The experts at http://www.theknot.com say to strongly consider handing the planning baton to a wedding consultant if: neither you nor your families have time to plan your wedding; neither you nor your families have any desire to plan your wedding; youre planning a wedding out of town; or you simply prefer and can afford professional help. Angie Carlevato Vossler, owner of Rocky Mountain Celebrations in Breckenridge and publisher of Rocky Mountain Bride (www.mountainweddings.com), agrees, especially when it comes to time-pressed couples. With todays hectic lifestyle, many bridal couples and their families do not have the time for the detailed planning and work a beautiful wedding requires. Plus, Vossler adds, A bridal consultant is part of your budget, not an extra expense. In fact, you often save money because a consultant can suggest less expensive alternatives that still enhance your wedding. You can also spin it this way: You make all the decisions while they do all the work, say the folks at Western Colorado Wedding & Honeymoon Guide (www.westerncoweddings.com). With a wedding coordinator you get a referee, friend, budget adviser, etiquette adviser, shopper, detail manager and organizer. What more could a frazzled bride ask for?

And while its true that most wedding consultants are hired on a soup-to-nuts, start-to-finish basis, theres no rule about just how much or how little a wedding consultant must do. According to the experts at theknot.com, you might try scheduling a meeting where the consultant provides a blueprint usually a preparation guide and a list of trustworthy, talented vendors to check out. Or, hire a wedding consultant to oversee things on the evening before and actual day of the wedding. Another option is to work with a wedding consultant on an hourly basis, having them handle such tasks as location scouting, flower bids and the like. Of course if you choose not to hire a wedding coordinator or your budget simply rules out the possibility of a having a planner on the payroll all is not lost. In fact, many couples find it more fun to build their own big day. And with an abundance of Web sites, specialty magazines and do-it-yourself wedding guides out there, planning your own wedding is easier than ever. Still, youre going to need help. The experts advice: delegate, delegate, delegate. Involve your future spouse, family and friends in the planning process. And most important, on the day of the wedding, be sure to delegate certain jobs to reliable guests. For example, ask one trusted friend to make sure presents are ending up on the gift table. Ask another to ensure that the church flowers get to the reception. Your caterer should know when the champagne toast is scheduled, but it wouldnt hurt to have a key friend or relative be aware of the time as well. Says Kneiper, The brides only job on her wedding day is to smile, enjoy and drink champagne.Sage advice, because above all else this is your day. Make certain its one you and your betrothed will remember for years to come.


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