Here is how to start planning your wedding with an A to Z wedding planning guide.
A- dequate preparation; Physiologically, Spiritually, Mentally, Socially and Materially
B-eing realistic of potential barriers and obstacles that can hinder the overhaul wedding process.
C- orrect information on what is expected from you as the bride or groom is very important. So make efforts to find out what is expected from you and a come up with a clear plan of how you will conduct yourself throughout the wedding planning process.
D- ates of important events before after the wedding have to be set on time, like the actual customary marriage date, pre-wedding counselling dates, bridal party date, bachelors party date, honeymoon dates and of course the wedding date has to be positioned strategically so that it will not inconvenience most of the prospective guest.
E- arly booking of service providers, venue, marriage officer, master of ceremony, decorating company, cake maker, caterer, sound system and videographers and photographers is of paramount importance. Avoid late bookings because all the quality staff will be taken by early birds.
F-ree and frank discussions with your partner helps you not to get overwhelmed or stressed. Make time to share your fears, expectations and dreams so you together you will be content with the wedding.
G- lamorous decorations are an essential component of a wedding. The colours have to be coordinated well so that the wedding pictures will be a joy to look at. A reputable decorating company with vast experience of working on the chosen venue has to be chosen. Engage a florist to add the much needed splendour to the event, to make the event colourful you can hire colourful rotating lights and smoke machines to create the much needed ambiance on the dance floor.
H- aving a wedding programme clearly outlining each and every activity that is supposed to take place on the wedding day and their time allocations is essential. The programme is supposed to state the names and time slots of everyone who will speak. Please do not make the programme too congested with activities, make leeway for the people to get to the dance flow and celebrate the wedding.
I-nvitation of everyone who has to attend the wedding including the relatives, friends and colleagues should be sent out on time. Invitation cards stating who is getting married, to whom, when, where and clear directions should be sent out in time at list 8 months before the wedding. Please take not that certain people like close relatives have to be informed in person, travel those long distances if you have to because they will not come if they are not formally informed and do not forget to make transport arrangements for these important people.
J-ewellary, the rings and ornaments that will be worn by the bride have to be procured in time and it is up to the bride and the groom to choose what they want. Do a lot of research in this area or even engage a professional to help you to choose so that you will not buy counterfeit jewellery or stolen or illegally produced ornaments. Rings can be misplaced easily especially during the hype of the planning phase, assign someone close to you to be responsible safekeeping the ring.
K- eep the right company around you. The wedding planning process can be a very stressful period if you do not have a strong support system. You need close people around you who understand and support your wedding vision who will constantly support you by reminding you of important deadlines and pray for you so that everything goes according to plan. Draw strength from your partner, friends and family members. Delegate, no men is island but do not trust people too much, follow up on their promises/commitments otherwise they will be disaster if they do not fulfill their promises.
L-ook out for opportunities that will enrich your wedding thereby getting real value for your money. Read around areas of wedding planning and invest into your wedding by attending wedding expo’s where you can get ideas and have a pool of service providers that will offer quality services at reasonable prices. This will not only help you to save money but will broaden your world view and make your wedding a memorable one in the minds of many.\
M-eals, the food to be served on the day should be well prepared and the menu has to be correctly chosen considering the culture, religion and general preference of the majority. Engage professional people to do your catering, please do not take chances this is very sensitive people will get sick after the wedding if you do not choose your caterer well. The meals can be prepared on the wedding venue if it is possible so that it will not be contaminated during the transportation period.
N-ever try to impress other people, by the way you will not please everyone after all it’s your wedding so do things within your means. Avoid borrowing or depending too much on peoples pledges and commitments because you can be frustrated after you fail to realise enough to cover the debt after the wedding. Trust me you would not want to be pestered with your creditors after the wedding or hate people because they would have failed to fulfil their commitments.
O-penness in the preparation meetings is important for example on issues like what is there and what is not there, who is going to do what and when. Open communication is key so that the wedding will be a success otherwise if people, that is relatives from both sides of the groom and bride involved in the planning process are not open to each other people have a tendency of making unrealistic promises that will not yield to anything. Openness between the two partners is equally important so that no one will feel pressured in the planning phases discuss your budget openly without lying or pretending that everything is on track when everything will be not well.
P-ublic address system which should meet the needs of the event have to be hired, preferably two separate systems one for the reception and the other one for the ceremony so that the event moves on smoothly.
Bonus P for Planning meetings. There is a tendency of having too many planning meetings before the event but I suggest that there should be few objective meetings before the wedding whose major role is to allocate roles and responsibilities to the family members and relatives concerning the key activities of the wedding. Specific comities have to be established that can include the following:
- Transport and logistics
- Security and hospitality
Q-uality entertainment for the guest, the master of ceremony has to create an atmosphere which is conducive to have fun and also the DJ or Band has to perform according to the needs of the majority of the people present so that everyone will be entertained.
R-eligious norms and values of both partners and their families have to be observed and respected before, during and after the wedding.
S-ecurity on the event has to be very tight and the gifts and money given to the bride and the groom should be kept on a very safe place, close relatives who are trusted can be given the responsibility of keeping these precious presents. Or even a security company can be engaged to manage security issues on the venue.
T-ransportation of guest to and from the venue with their presents has to be very efficient. A reliable transport company or trusted relatives can be engaged to ferry people and their presents. Specific luxurious cars have to be set aside for the bride and groom, their parents and very close relatives and the rest of the people to attend the wedding.
U-nresolved issues that took place in the past in the lives of both the bride and groom have to be settled before the wedding date these issues can include, love commitments with other people, legal issues, religious and cultural issues so that the wedding takes place smoothly.
V-enue, for the wedding has to be ideal meeting the needs of both partners and conducive to create the right atmosphere with all the much needed for a wedding. The venue has to have resources like; safe and adequate parking, reliable power supply, enough space and lighting and must be easily accessible with flexible time frames.
W-hat one has to wear on the wedding day is a very important, the bride has to choose her wedding dress or dresses, the groom has to pick his suit well, the bridal team also has to be dressed in line with the wedding colours and efforts must be made to dress the parents of both the bride and groom so the most significant people on the wedding are all comfortable and confident with their outfits. Other people prefer to have two wedding outfits one more formal one and one relaxed outfit.
X-enil- this relates to hospitality between host and guest. This is a very critical component that speaks to how you intend to engage with the people who will attend your wedding. Mind you everyone who attends your wedding wishes that you will acknowledge them and appreciate them for attending your wedding so make efforts to make them feel welcome. One way of doing this is to waive systematically to specific individuals who by any chance wants your attention and even invite them for photos when the camera person will be capturing the bridal photos.
Above all make sure that everyone has a great time and is well fed! - Elder P
Y-our partner first, do not be selfish and realise your aspirations and dreams only. Take time to listen to your partners sentiments and work together so that the you will enjoy the wedding together with your families as well. Muchato hauitirwe mukadzi chete even the men look up to this day as well as they will be growing up so both parties must be satisfied with everything on the wedding.
Z-imbabwean weddings are fantastic. Make efforts to make your wedding as truly Zimbabwean as possible avoid borrowing foreign concepts which will turn indigenous people off. Allow people to express themselves freely in their traditional Zimbabwean style, let them ululate and spread their Zambia’s and dance to JITI and Kongonya Ko ndokupemberera muchato ka, vasiya vaite zvirango zvavo zvekupemberera muroora otherwise you will start your marriage with more enemies than allies trust me let the people be free.
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