The Complete Step-By-Step Wedding Planning Guide
On a wedding day, joyous emotions abound. However, with any event of this scale comes intricate webs of details to manage and a desire for it to be flawless. One thing that couples need to keep in mind: your wedding is unlike any other wedding because it is all about you and your partner, so it is important to make it enjoyable.
Is there a formula for smooth, hassle-free wedding planning? While the planning may be fraught with its own sets of challenges, it can be done in a methodical and organised manner if you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Some couples may even choose to engage a professional wedding planner to create a seamless wedding experience.
Be it taking everything into your own hands or working closely with wedding planners in Singapore, this comprehensive guide will take you through a step-by-step wedding planning process for couples who are about to journey into marriage together.
Engaging a Wedding Planner
When planning something as unique and personal as a wedding, relying on an experienced professional can make all the difference. A wedding planner, also known as a wedding coordinator or bridal consultant, is an invaluable source of expertise for couples. They will help to create organised plans with timelines, while coordinating with vendors to ensure all needs are met.
When envisioning the perfect wedding, your mind can quickly become a flurry of ideas and decisions. This is where hiring a professional wedding planner comes into play. These specialists will thoroughly understand your needs and preferences to help bring them to life. More importantly, they can draw on their expertise and knowledge to anticipate potential issues, or advise on the feasibility of ideas and brainstorm for possible solutions. From providing you with practical suggestions to having backup plans, they will take all the stress away from planning one of the most important days of your life. Given their industry connections, working with a wedding planner also makes it easier to source for other essential vendors.
Start by determining if the wedding planner is available on your wedding date to provide actual day coordination and full-service planning. Be sure to enquire about the wedding packages offered, the services you can expect, what fees are included, and a sample of their portfolio. This gives the couple an idea of how much experience they have in wedding planning, and the kinds of projects they have been involved in thus far. You may want to read customer reviews and testimonials to get a sense of how compatible your working styles are, and even observe how well their personality meshes with yours.
After the initial discussions, you and the wedding planner can start to create a checklist and a timeline for all the necessary steps leading up to the big day and beyond. A planner not only breaks down complex tasks into more manageable ones, but ensures that the couple’s day-of experience is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
Organise Your Wedding With Planning Tools
The wedding checklist is just one of the many organising tools you can use as you go through each planning phase leading up to the wedding. Here are other valuable tools to help you plan your wedding:
How to Choose a Wedding Date
Deciding on the wedding date will allow you to create a timeline for the wedding preparation. There are practical factors to consider when choosing a date, as well as cultural and religious aspects. Generally, traditional Chinese couples may consider the following:
Setting the Wedding Budget
Breaking down the possible costs for the wedding budget is another essential step of the wedding planning process. Deciding on a figure would help you better determine your options, including the type of venue, your guest list, catering, and other wedding services you engage. Couples are encouraged to be realistic about how much they are willing and able to spend, based on their current finances, and consider the size of the celebration they plan to have. They should also be mindful of any unforeseen costs that may arise along the way, such as hidden fees for additional services, hence it is important to give an extra buffer to account for these. The parents and relatives may also be involved in these discussions if they decide to cover expenses in some aspects of the wedding.
The biggest part of the budget typically goes towards the venue and food. Couples also set aside a significant portion of the budget to their wedding attire and photography or videography services. Then, you have logistical aspects to consider, such as decorations, flowers, cake, stationery, transportation, wedding favours, and other miscellaneous items.
Be sure to communicate with your wedding planner if you have any non-negotiables (perhaps you want to spend a little extra on your dream wedding gown).
You can also track your spending using wedding planning apps, Excel workbooks, or an online document for sharing with the wedding organiser. The document may include each category, the budget you have allocated, and the ongoing expenses. This will help you have a detailed account of every expense and see if you are still sticking to the budget or need to adjust in some areas.
Finding Your Dreamy Wedding Location
When selecting a wedding venue, your decision sets the backdrop for an unforgettable experience. Couples in Singapore generally have a wide range of options, including numerous hotels, restaurants, and event spaces to choose from, as ideal places for a wedding celebration.
Here are a few important factors to consider when choosing a wedding venue:
Venue Size and Layout. There must be enough space to accommodate all your guests. Some hotels and restaurants, for example, may look roomy but will quickly change upon adding all the chairs, tables, stage, and other setups. Floor plans can provide couples with a wealth of information on the size and configuration of their venue, including any obstructions that might limit the view from specific seats. This is especially valuable for venues with limited ceiling height and numerous pillars that could interfere with sight lines. The floor plans can also help them to decide how many guests they would like to invite and determine seating arrangements accordingly.
Another important aspect to consider is the activities and program flow. These elements should be aligned with the layout of your chosen venue to predict foot traffic and facilitate movements within the area. Hotels, for example, can provide a designated room for the couple to conduct their tea ceremony, while offering a separate lounge space for other guests to mingle. These venues are usually also created with other types of events in mind, which gives them flexibility in configuring the layout and setup according to the unique requirements of the event.
Services and Convenience. Determine if the venue offers in-house catering services. Restaurants are popular choices for couples because they include dining services for the wedding banquet, as well as onsite coordination for the event. As for Event Spaces that do not provide in-house catering, it may be possible to opt for other food alternatives with catering services of your preference. Make sure to discuss this with the venue managers if you have any other special requests.
Most wedding venues would offer various types of packages to cater to different needs. Some places may even provide complimentary wedding cake, wedding favours, free-flow beverages, bottles of wine or champagne, floral decorations, and more. Hotels also typically throw in a complimentary stay in the bridal suite as part of the package. It is essential to obtain the agreement in writing, including any cancellation fees and corkage charges, as well as a clear payment plan so that there are no surprises. Additionally, be sure to read through all the fine print before signing.
Amenities and Entertainment. To give your event attendees an unforgettable experience, consider the amenities available and how well the venue can accommodate different entertainment options, like having a wedding live band. Hotels are an ideal choice for many because they provide an all-in-one solution with various services and amenities.
Many hotels feature stunning ballrooms, banquet halls or terraces for larger ceremonies and receptions. These venues are typically equipped with audio-visual equipment and offer various catering options. They also have spaces for a stage, dressing rooms and makeup rooms for the bride and her entourage. Other considerations may include accessibility for the elderly and disabled, in terms of lift access, staircases, and restrooms. To ensure the comfort of guests, you may also consider how well-ventilated the premises are, or if there is Wi-Fi access and air-conditioning.
Location and Ambience. Destination weddings are a popular option for couples looking for a unique, memorable experience. These can be held outdoors or indoors. Outdoor weddings can often be tailored to a couple's tastes, allowing them to create the perfect ambience for their special day. However, it is important to keep in mind that weather can be a significant factor, and the couple should make contingency plans in case of rain, for example.
Additionally, ensure that the chosen destination is able to provide the necessary services, equipment, and amenities if the weather changes. Enquire about available entertainment options around the venue, too. Depending on the location and type of venue you choose, you may need to make special accommodations for those with physical or mobility issues. As for the less accessible locations, you may also consider providing your guests with transportation options, such as shuttle buses.
Exclusivity and Special Arrangements. For intimate and exclusive weddings, you would need to consider the finer details. For example, you can opt for venues with exclusive, one-event-per-day arrangements that will allow you to rent the place out for a specific timeframe.
Consider privacy details in the venue and how you can deal with or avoid crashers altogether. Fortunately, there are just as many choices of smaller venues for intimate receptions. You can also explore poolside venues, garden weddings, and skyline wedding venues for a unique experience.
Planning the Wedding Feast
Most popular wedding venues, such as hotels and restaurants, have in-house catering or a list of preferred caterers that they work with. Many restaurants in Singapore offer banquet facilities and services that make them well-suited to hosting wedding events, and also trained staff that can provide great service for the wedding party. They also typically offer a variety of food options that can be tailored to suit different dietary requirements.
Couples who wish to create a unique and memorable menu for their special day are advised begin booking six months up to a year in advance. Within three months before the wedding, couples can work with the catering team to finalise their selections by having tasting sessions to get a feel of what will be served on the wedding day.
To ensure a sumptuous meal for everyone, inform your caterer of any dietary restrictions as early as possible in the planning process. It is also important to have your wedding guests notify you of their special requirements at least one month before the big day, allowing sufficient time to customise meals that all can enjoy.
There are different options for serving styles in the wedding feast, such as buffet, plated sit-down, self-serve, food stations, family style, and cocktail style. Your choice will largely depend on the number of guests you are inviting, your budget, the venue layout and space available.
If the wedding reception does not have catering or you wish to hire an external catering service, here are a few things to remember.
The first thing to consider is what cuisine you want for your special day. Popular choices include traditional Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisines as well as western dishes. Decide if you would like a full-service caterer or a more casual buffet-style service. Consider whether you may need to provide additional services such as table setting, decorations and even entertainment.
Contact several different caterers for pricing and menu options and ask for references from previous customers or check out reviews online. Read their contracts carefully and ask questions before signing. Once you have found a suitable caterer, discuss your preferences for the wedding menu. Ask for their sample menus and inform them of any dietary requirements. Take into account the size of your guest list when deciding on portion sizes and number of dishes.
Finally, discuss the timeline for the wedding catering service with your caterer. Make sure they will be able to deliver on time and provide you with a written confirmation of the details discussed.
How to Choose Your Wedding Dress and Suit
Selecting a unique and stylish pair of ensembles can be tricky, given the plethora of choices and trends that change yearly. Below are essential pointers to remember when deciding where to shop and how to pick out the perfect gown and suit for yourselves.
As you prepare for your special day, choosing the perfect bridal boutique is a crucial part of the planning process. There are many different places to shop for a wedding dress, from one-stop service bridal boutiques to designer stores. Bridal boutiques are a great place to start if you want a wide selection of styles, cuts, and designs to choose from. Most offer a variety of price ranges to suit your budget, and may include accessories and free minor alterations too. Many bridal boutiques also have in-house seamstresses and tailors to customise your dress for the perfect fit.
Designer boutiques are another option for the sophisticated bride. They typically have a finer selection of styles and feature various fabrics and craftsmanship. Some also specialise in crafting bespoke gowns that embody uniqueness. These shops typically have selections that come at a higher price point, for the brides who wish to indulge themselves with a premium quality piece.
Some brides may also choose to purchase their gowns from online retailers for a more competitive pricing. It is, however, important to bear in mind the risks of online shopping – what you see may not be what you get, plus the alteration costs may add up to quite a fair bit.
Gowns can either be purchased or rented at bridal boutiques; some brides may want an exclusive piece that belongs uniquely to them, while others may find renting to be a more convenient and affordable option.
One-stop services are highly sought after due to their convenience and range of offerings, from dresses and in-house photographers to makeup artists for your special day. Many bridal boutiques also include bridal bouquets, corsages, and bridal car decor in their packages. Some shops may also have preferred vendors that they work with, and offer a bundle package at a discounted price. With this, you can sit back as the experience is simplified; no need to stress about locating multiple providers on your own!
As a first step, you can start by gathering different ideas online or by doing some window shopping. Every now and then, there are also wedding fairs with different participating bridal boutiques showcasing their unique collections. Take the chance to speak with the wedding consultants who can help you get on the right track. Additionally, you can browse catalogues for some inspirations on the different styles, hemlines, and necklines.
Although certain silhouettes are recommended for specific body shapes, be open to various options available. Try on as many dress styles as you can. Doing so might help you discover gowns that look good on you, even if you have never considered them before. This helps to bring you a step closer to finding the perfect fit for yourself. Bear in mind your wedding theme and budget as well, you can always get something off-the-rack or opt for a custom-made item instead!
Do you prefer a suit or tuxedo for the groom? Your choice will depend on many factors, including the theme, budget, your preferences, the location, time of day, and how formal or casual the wedding is. For instance, it may be impractical to wear a tuxedo for a beach wedding; however, a light-coloured suit may suffice. Next, decide on the colour, fabric, and details of the suit or tux.
The suit can either be rented or purchased off-the-rack; or for those who would like a better fit, there are always customised options like made-to-measure and bespoke suits. However, they would all still require fitting and alterations to ensure that they look great on the groom. To accessorise a groom's suit, there are several pieces to consider. Begin with the basics: a crisply pressed shirt, a pocket square that coordinates with the wedding party’s colours, and a tie or bow tie that adds a pop of colour or pattern. For added flair, the most common choices include a boutonniere, cufflinks and studs, suspenders, and a pocket watch. Lastly, make sure you pick out a pair of comfortable dress shoes that you can dance in!
How to Source for Your Wedding Photographer and Videographer
The wedding photos and videos are not just recordings of the event, but they tell the story of your wedding day and documents your memories for a lifetime. Therefore, adding personal touches and knowing when and whom to capture at each moment is important.
To assist you in decision-making, here are a few aspects to consider:
Fulfilling Wedding Legalities
Learn all about the civil marriage process to find out what you need to do to get married:
Personalise Your Wedding With A Theme
Have you considered a wedding theme? While it is not requisite to have one, having a theme can provide some direction to help make the process much more manageable.
A theme focuses on a particular subject or concept and it is supported by a motif that can be based on recurring colours or symbols used throughout the ceremony. Furthermore, having that specific concept will allow for easier planning decisions when it comes to decorations, food and more. It can also be used for deciding on other important elements, such as your wedding invites, outfits, and DIY items.
You can tailor the theme to common hobbies, interests, and other quirky aspects you share. Wedding colours can also be based on the time of the year, the venue, or whatever that is meaningful for you as a couple. If you pick colours for the wedding theme, ensure it fits your religious and traditional background too.
Nowadays, prepping your venue according to your theme can be made less challenging if you hire venue stylists and utilise props rental services. Venue stylists can work closely with your wedding planner to align the concepts, while renting of props can be a hassle-free approach to your decor setup.
Your guests will surely notice the theme through the cohesive decorations and details of your wedding. Each aspect can come together to tell your story and elevate the atmosphere. Some of the recent popular themes include rustic, pop culture, and tropical themes. Popular colour palettes include white, gold, cream, and cornflower blue.
Consider Traditional Wedding Customs
Despite the shift towards more modern wedding practices, most couples still incorporate traditional customs to bless their marriage with happiness, longevity, and prosperity. These are some of the pre-wedding events and customs still commonly held by couples:
Engaging Other Wedding Suppliers and Vendors
Crucial to the success of the wedding planning journey are reliable suppliers and vendors who can provide excellent products and services. These are the essential vendors that you may consider leading up to the wedding day:
Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist
Selecting the right bridal makeup artist for your big day is no small feat. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to remember when choosing which makeup artist will best suit your needs.
There are several important considerations when going about your bridal car selection. Factors such as your budget, your preferred style, chauffeur services, and the passenger capacity are considered alongside the rental duration and package prices. Some budget-conscious couples may also opt to use their family cars or borrow one from a friend.
There are hourly or daily rental packages available. Not only can you rent one car, but if you are looking for options to accommodate your entourage and guests, multiple cars with matching themes can be arranged. Couples may also decide whether to rent the car the day before and return it the day after their wedding.
Furthermore, you can choose from a sedan or convertible. A sedan is a perfect choice if the space and ease of use matter most to you. On the other hand, if being trendy and having an eye-catching vehicle is your priority, then a convertible might be ideal. It offers all the luxury with its romantic look while providing just as much excitement as any sporty ride.
Though style preferences can differ, some individuals may have a penchant for the classic and minimalist, while others appreciate something more extraordinary and modern. Opting for an affordable car can save you money; but if your heart desires to rent a more luxurious vehicle, it makes for outstanding wedding photographs and a memorable experience!
When planning your wedding reception, adding an element of entertainment is a great way to create an enjoyable and lively atmosphere for your guests. Choosing the right entertainment can help take your special day to the next level.
Live music is a popular choice for wedding receptions, as it can create a romantic and upbeat atmosphere. Whether you choose to hire a band or have a DJ spin your favourite tunes, live music will be sure to keep everyone on the dance floor.
Besides live music, other entertainment options include comedians, magicians, or other interactive performers that can delight your guests and give them something to talk about. Out-of-the-box options can include a flashmob with selected family/friends, balloon drop, and others. Games such as trivia, bingo, and karaoke can also create an enjoyable environment that your guests will be sure to appreciate.
Remember to check their portfolios to see if they fit your wedding theme or can deliver the performance you expect. Professionals might even recommend activities for your wedding programme or suggest a playlist.
Explore local bakeries to check out their portfolio of wedding cakes for some inspiration and determine if they can handle your special requests. As for wedding cake styles, you can look out for ideas in trends, but at the same time, also maintain some personal touch that reflects both of you as a couple.
To customise the cake, consider factors such as your budget, the size and style of your ideal cake, ingredients used, number of tiers, the level of design intricacy, the lead time and delivery charges involved, as well as any add-ons (such as a unique cake topper). Consult with the baker to ensure that the design is feasible and achievable. Additional components, such as structural supports and decorative elements, may be needed to construct the cake, depending on the desired look.
Your guests’ preferences should also be considered when it comes to selecting a wedding cake flavour. But do not feel restricted by tradition if you would rather try something new. There are many delicious options beyond the classic vanilla cake with frosting, such as multi-flavoured cakes combining various fillings to cater to different palates.
Aside from the design and flavour, you will also have to sort out the display, transport, and storage of the cake. Cakes do not last long outside the fridge, so ample insulation and transport containers may be provided to guarantee a safe arrival. Do not forget to also plan for its delivery schedule. If it needs to be delivered before an event, make sure that it is well-refrigerated until ready for display.
Spruce Up Your Wedding With Bridal Flowers and Decor
There are several essential components to consider when deciding on the florist and wedding stylist to craft your dream wedding, such as your preferred theme and colour palette, the styles they specialise in, and the availability of floral arrangements and materials.
Here are some details to look out for, when it comes to your wedding flowers and decorations:
The bridal bouquet is easily the highlight amongst all the floral pieces you will have for your wedding. This will be one of the most photographed features, so consider investing in one with great quality and presentability. Remember that the prices for bouquets are based on the flowers used and not typically the size of the whole piece. Also, if you prefer to preserve your bouquet, you can choose a separate one for tossing at the reception.
Bridesmaids’ Bouquets and Corsages
Bridesmaids' bouquets can not only make the bridesmaids feel extra special, they also add a lovely pop of colour and texture to the wedding party's look. Corsages are also a fun option and are made with fresh or silk flowers, ribbons, and other decorative pieces. These accents make for better uniformity amongst your wedding entourage on the special day and creative photos with your bridesmaids.
To complete the ensemble, you can also include boutonnieres for the groom, the entourage, and some important guests at the wedding. This does not have to be something grand, and smaller designs are adequate. Others that could have boutonnieres or corsages are the ring bearer, the flower girl, the parents of the bride and groom, as well as the venue ushers.
Depending on the type of wedding venue, there can be chairs, an altar or entryway arrangements, aisle decorations, and centrepieces installed. These are more elaborate designs for decorating the venue or specific areas for the celebration. Flower arrangements can easily elevate the overall look of the aisle, seating, and tables.
The way you decorate an indoor venue will certainly differ from the creative event styling of a beachside wedding venue. And this is not just about the wedding theme or colour, but also the practicality and costs. Essential wedding decorations can include welcome signage and place cards, aisle runners, photos displays, table and chair covers, lightings, hanging decor, backdrops, and centrepieces.
Do not forget to consider what happens to the decor after the event. Some creative and eco-conscious couples may choose to use their decors as accessories for their matrimonial home or offer them to their guests as wedding souvenirs.
Organising Your Wedding Entourage
Organising the perfect wedding requires more than just choosing a stunning venue and beautiful decor — selecting the right people to get involved on your special day is crucial too!
The first step to forming your wedding entourage is to decide who will be part of your bridal party. Choosing your maid of honor and bridesmaids is an important decision based on the relationships you have forged with each individual. The same goes for your best man and groomsmen. It is important to consider not only the people whom you are closest with, but also those who have been a part of your life across your significant milestones and have supported you through thick and thin. You may also wish to include flower girls and ring bearers to add some life to your celebration.
Given that many key roles are typically assigned to your bridal party, you would want a group whom you can trust to support and help you throughout the process. Make sure to communicate your expectations, as to what duties they will be involved in and how they can help make your day extra special! In addition to the traditional bridesmaid and groomsman duties, some other tasks that can be assigned include the managing of the angbao box, coordinating with vendors or helping to organise transportation for your guests.
Sealing Your Union with Wedding Rings
The wedding rings are a tangible expression of your partnership that you can always keep close to you. There are several important factors to consider, such as the metal, design, gemstone, ring setting, your budget, and your lifestyle.
Common metals used in wedding rings include platinum, white gold, yellow gold, palladium, and rose gold. Titanium, zirconium, tungsten and steel have also become popular alternatives due to their superior resilience over metals such as platinum or gold — plus, they do not usually come with quite the hefty price tag.
The design of the rings can range from simple and classic to intricate and ornate. Couples can choose a ready-made design or have a unique piece custom made. The gemstone setting can also add a personal touch to the ring. Popular stone choices include diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Keep in mind that the size and cut of the stones can have a big impact on the overall look of the ring.
Set a budget based on how much you are willing and able to spend on the rings. Couples are encouraged to also take their lifestyles into account when making a decision on their wedding bands. If they plan to be active outdoors, for instance, a more durable metal such as titanium might be the best option.
Wedding bands are typically bought a few months before the wedding day to allow sufficient time for any customisation or resizing. It would be best to shop together if you want engravings and other details added to the rings. If you have an engagement ring, do consider its style alongside your wedding ring, and wait until you have finalised the design before resizing the former.
Preparations Before the Wedding Day
Do not forget these important details before your big day.
A detailed wedding plan is essential to ensure your big day runs smoothly. A well-thought-out timeline will help you stay organised, reduce stress, and keep track of all the details.
After the Big Day
Congratulations on tying the knot! Now that you have had the wedding of your dreams, be sure to wrap up all the remaining administrative tasks, including any rentals and outstanding transactions. For those who are off for your honeymoon, consider getting help from your family or friends to ensure you tie up all the loose ends.
We hope this guide has made planning and prepping your ideal wedding much more effortless — enjoy every minute of it!