A Blueprint for the Big Day!

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A Blueprint for the Big Day!

By Cindy Edwards

This is part 2 of a multipart series on weddings. In my last post, I discussed bridal registries.

Planning a wedding is so exciting, yet it can be very stressful. It is the beginning of a new life with the one you love, and although the ceremony and reception last only a short time, the planning of a successful event takes many months.

Some wedding traditions have stayed the same over the last century; however, many elements are evolving and changing to accommodate today’s modern couples.  While a contemporary bride will still search for the perfect dress, she may break from tradition and opt for a unique setting or destination to begin her new life.  And today, more grooms are becoming involved in the decisions.

In the middle of all the excitement there are several important things the happy couple must consider before they move forward:  budget, date, location and size. To help with these decisions, many couples hire a professional wedding coordinator.

I had a lovely visit with Savannah’s premier wedding planner, Tricia Windom, to discuss the benefits of hiring a coordinator for one of the biggest events of a young lady’s life.  Windom has 23 years of experience and helped Paula plan her big day. She is also the author of “Planning a Wedding When Your Parents are Divorced,” which is published by Father and Son.

There is an upfront cost for a wedding planner, but the benefits are quickly realized. Windom has a wealth of knowledge and shares those pearls—and pricing discounts—with her brides.  Her relationships with floral designers, reception halls, caterers, cake bakers and entertainers do not just pay off financially, though: They also eliminate a lot of headaches for a bride that has no experience in event planning.

First things first

This is big.  You cannot plan an event without money.  Discussing the reality of a budget will set limitations and minimize disappointments as things progress in the planning. While the bride’s family has traditionally picked up the cost, today things have changed. Many brides are waiting until they are older, established and have moved away from home. Some couples split the cost of the wedding. Windom cites the slumped economy as a reason for more destination weddings.  “Destination weddings decrease the numbers tremendously,” Windom says. “Only family or really close friends are likely to attend a wedding that involves travel.”

Date and Time
You must select a date that works for your close family and friends. The date and time will also help you set the tone, style and feel of your wedding.  A simple wedding held on an afternoon in a park will probably be easier to plan than an evening event held in a church with a reception at a country club.

This is so important.  While the church may not be costly, the hall for a reception can get very expensive. Windom advises her brides to book the location as early as possible and understand its limitations. “Some churches have restrictions on the number of people that can be in the front of the church,” she points out. “I once had a bride that immediately called all of her friends to ask them to be bridesmaids and then found out that she could not have them all at her church.”

Determining the size of your wedding will affect the expense and the location.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you just cannot invite everyone.  If your parents are footing the bill, they will want to invite a certain amount of their friends, and of course the groom’s family will also have a list. As with the budget, it is best to settle on the numbers early in the planning so that no one is disappointed. 

Building a Life
With this excitement comes a bit of stress and anxiety.  It is important to remember that while this is probably the biggest event that you will plan, and certainly one of the most expensive, it is about the marriage.  Choosing the perfect mate far outweighs any wedding decisions.  Long after the flowers fade and the cake is cut, you will build a home with the groom.  Make a good choice and have a happy life!

Do not miss my next post in this series on weddings.  I will focus on being the perfect wedding guest!!

As always, thanks for reading.
Properly yours,


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Reader Comments:


I watched your wedding on tv and I thought I would die when you said you and Michael were going to have a baby. Nobody has humor like Paula Deen! I jus love you...

By dionne davis on May 20, 2012


Yet again, you have outdone yourself! I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts about Wedding planning. Keep up the great work!

By Marci on May 04, 2012


Great post, as always. So much planning goes into a wedding and it seems like it's over in no time. I loved having a destination wedding. It extended the festivities and I knew that anyone who was there, was there because they really wanted to be. Plus, with a much smaller group, I was able to afford exactly what I wanted.

By Amy on April 30, 2012


I'm sitting here watching you on OWN, you are awesome! Girl, your recipes are OTC and you are so real! Love you much and can connect with you!

By Arles Lawrence on April 29, 2012


Enjoyed reading, almost as much as weddings. great information. henri

By Henrietta Tharpe on April 27, 2012


Another useful article from Cindy! Thanks, as always.

By Viki Curtis on April 27, 2012


Wonderful information for one of the most important events in a girl's life. Thanks for sharing all of this with your readers.

By Sandra on April 27, 2012


Having been to many weddings, I really enjoyed your article. Most people do not realize the effort that goes into a wedding until they have firsthand experience. I find this article very informative and will share with my friend whose daughter is getting married in May.

By tracey on April 25, 2012


I have been the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom within the past two years. I have seen the debates from both sides of the aisle. I think an experienced wedding planner solves most of the issues. As my good friend says, I have learned many times to say "I think that is a great idea!" Thanks for your wonderful blogs.

By angie on April 25, 2012


Makes me remember that exciting, but hectic time. Wish I could go back and really enjoy everything again!

By Michelle on April 22, 2012


Perfect timing for this blog! Very good information for anyone planning a wedding. There are so mnay details to consider for a wedding ceremony and reception, and it is most difficult to remember all of them. This article provides many wonderful ideas for a bride to consider. Thank you, Cindy, for providing a blueprint for the big day, and reminding us, that the marriage and choosing a mate is the most important of all. I hope everyone looks as happy as Paula on their wedding day. Looking forward to the next article!!!

By Ann on April 21, 2012


Great job Cindy. You really captured our discussions well, and hopefully this will be a help to other brides and grooms. Paula was a pleasure to help, and always fun to work with.

By Tricia Windom on April 20, 2012


This is great info, Cindy!!! It's nice to remember that, in the end, it's all about the person you marry, but a good budget always helps too!!!

By Matilda08 on April 20, 2012


@ Karen. Thank you for sharing the story about your daughter's wedding. It is so important to let friends and family help us!! It sounds like a wonderful event. Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on April 20, 2012


This is great advice. This past Saturday was my daughter's wedding. The ceremony was held in our small community church and the reception at the barn on our family farm. After going through this experience, I have only one piece of advice. Don't try to do everything yourself. Your family and friends want to help and you should let them. We were giving our guests a choice of baked beans, mac & cheese, slaw or salad as sides to go with the BBQ; however, I dropped most of the mac & cheese all over my kitchen floor the night before the wedding. It took hours (and a shovel) to clean up. I cried for a while and then I prayed for a while. I still had the tea to make for the next day which was a simple task. I was so tired after the clean up all I could do was go to bed. In the early morning on the day of the wedding my dear friend and neighbor was at my door. She said she was there to do anything I needed her to do. She made the tea. My other friend called and informed me she decided she was going to come earlier that I expected. She made sure everything was set-up and the reception was in order. When the wedding party arrived at the reception everything was beautiful thanks to these two dear, dear ladies. Count on your friends and family. They really want to play a part in this big event in your life. For goodness sake LET THEM. YOU CAN'T DO IT BY YOURSELF NO MATTER HOW ORGANIZED AND HOW WELL YOU HAVE PLANNED YOUR EVENT. On Sunday morning, the day after the wedding, my husband removed the 55 gallon super-duty trash bag with all the mac & cheese from my kitchen.

By Karen Oswalt on April 20, 2012


She was just beautiful, as always, I love me some mrs. Paula and her cooking.

By Anonymous on April 20, 2012


Paula looks so happy in that beautiful picture! Love your posts. This is great info for brides to be.

By andrea on April 19, 2012

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