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Plan your dream wedding

You’ve finally said ‘yes’, you’re engaged and going to be married, and you’re in a huge panic about everything, even the engagement part! Don’t worry, most couples have the same reaction, it’s quite normal and will pass.

If you have friends who will be coming with their young children, you are going to need plenty of distractions for them. We’ve found the perfect app packed full of games for 5 year olds.

These are learning games, so not only do the 5-year-olds have fun, they will go home happy, they will also have learned something new. Here are a few examples of games that will be perfect at a wedding reception:

Candy Match is a game that increases visual attention and counting skills.

Spot the Difference is a development game that expands visual attention, visual scanning, and comparison skills.

Match-Up involves memory games that improve short-term memory, visual attention, and naming skills.

Dwarf Giant is a development game that improves reaction control, focusing, and divided attention.

There are so many fun games, like spelling and word-finding. It is not just verbal intelligence games. There are also math intelligence games.

Most venues offer free WiFi and it seems everyone has some kind of device suitable to play these games on; so there shouldn’t be a problem getting the kids fully involved.

Just got engaged? Relax, here’s what to do.

Just got engaged Relax heres what to do - Plan your dream wedding

Give yourselves a little time together to be happy. Then tell everyone. Starting with your parents and the rest of the family, then your friends.

Don’t feel pressured about the big question “when are you getting married?” It’s a decision only you and your partner can make.

When you’ve finally decided the time has come to do this amazing thing, then move to the next steps.

Be gentle with each other, big decisions can get heated.

Be gentle with each other big decisions can get heated - Plan your dream wedding

Give yourself some leeway on the date of your wedding. Three that would work is the best strategy.

What is your shared vision of the wedding? Small and intimate with family and close friends? A huge bash with lots of guests? Something in-between?

The budget is probably the most important consideration. Agree on what you want before you do anything else, this will be the crunch on how much it’s all going to cost. Can you afford what you want, or do you have to save up? How long will that take?

If parents are going to be paying for anything, make sure they can afford what you have in mind. Be careful and tactful with this conversation. People can be sensitive with how much they can afford and could even agree to far too much just to save face.

Can you afford a wedding planner? Do some research, perhaps ask married friends who they used. Then find one that suits you both in temperament and budget. And start enjoying the process, it can all be great fun if you let it!

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How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

Make your wedding fabulous without breaking the bank.

Make your wedding fabulous without breaking the bank - How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

You might be tempted to invite everyone you know on your guest list, don’t. Trim your list down at least three times. Then see if you’re happy with it. Ask family and friends to offer help with skills or talents instead of wedding presents.

What about the reception?

What about the reception - How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

Find a family-owned restaurant in your community and ask the owners to cater your wedding. And they will almost always go the extra mile to make your wedding special and are often more understanding of your budget restrictions.

Go easy with the flowers.

Keep the flowers simple but elegant. How about a single flower for each bridesmaid and a very small bouquet for the bride? If you know someone with a flower garden, you can actually make your own bouquets the day before.

Make your own invitations.

You can make very classy invitations on your own with a good printer at home. Find a very classic font and simple text. It will look stylish and won’t cost much at all. Or look for sites that also offer cheap wedding invitations you can order from home

Borrow stereo equipment or use your own,

Rather than hiring a DJ, just use your own home stereo equipment, or equipment you borrow from a friend. Put speakers around the dance floor area. See if you have a friend who might want to make a playlist for you.

Stock the bar yourself.

Alcohol is always a big expense at a lot of weddings. Instead of opting for a full open bar, for instance, you can save money offering just beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.

Buy bridesmaids dresses off the rack – and on sale.

Buy bridesmaids dresses off the rack – and on sale. - How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

If you want to save on bridesmaid dresses, buy dresses on sale. Or instead of buying new dresses, ask every bridesmaid to wear a particular color dress they already own.

Choose affordable wedding rings.

Choose affordable wedding rings - How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

Wedding bands symbolize your commitment to each other. But they don’t have to cost you a fortune. Titanium, sterling silver, and other materials are less expensive and can be personalized for even deeper meaning.

Plan a simple honeymoon.

A huge, over-the-top honeymoon might sound like something fun to brag about, but it’s far cheaper to stay closer to home.

You could even just hop in the car and spend a week or two touring all of the local sights you’ve never had time to see until now.

Whatever you do, just enjoy this time together.

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Tips and Tricks for a Stress-Free Wedding Day

A good tip to help you is to design a timeline and stick to it.

Ten – Twelve months before the wedding

Decide on a budget and decide how many people you want to come. Set up a wedding file or Pinterest board and choose your bridesmaids. Choose and book the venues. Decide who will officiate and now start working on the guest list.

Eight months

Research and book a photographer/videographer then find and hire the DJ or a band. Decide on your dress – are you going to have it designed and made for you? Off the shelf? Off the internet? If you go the internet route, find what you like and order it now. Select and book caterers and start thinking about the wedding cake.

Six months

Buy, or have the bridesmaids dresses made. Invitations to be designed and send out ‘save the date’ notices to your guest list. Meet the wedding cake makers, check their portfolios and social media pages and book the person you selected without delay.

Book the person/s who is going to do the flowers and think about what types of flowers you’ll want for the ceremony and for the reception.

If you’re buying your wedding dress from an internet site, it should have arrived by now, if it’s not what you ordered send it back and make another plan. If it is what you were expecting, it may need alterations. Find someone reliable to do them.

Four – Five months

If you’re going to have a rehearsal, book a venue. Decide who is coming and who is paying for this. Confirm the photographer and if you budget can allow this, book him or her to come to the rehearsal for a couple of hours or so.

Meet with the caterers and decide on the menus and decide on what will go into the gift bags for the guests. Find out from your friends with children if the children will also be attending. Try and get answers on how many will be coming (and what ages).

Three months

Finalize adult and children’s menus and get the invitations printed. Book childminders and organize a play section for the children at the reception venue. Purchase the guest gifts and bags and then delegate the packing of them.

Two months.

Send out the invitations. Fittings for your wedding dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses should be happening now. Be sure to check on the groom’s suit, and the groomsmen’s attire.

One month

Final dress fittings and the groom and groomsmen suit fittings. Confirm make-up and hair bookings and don’t forget to get the marriage license. Keep a list of the RSVPs. Email friends who haven’t RSVP’d and give them a prod to answer.

One week

If you’ve gone the wedding planner route – sit down with him/her and go over the plan.

Finalize the number of guests expected and send the list to the caterers.

Arrange to have the wedding cake picked up and then plan what the day of the wedding will be for you. Who will be helping you get dressed and calming your nerves?

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How to Plan for Guest and Child Entertainment for a Wedding

Tips on what to do with children at your wedding

Children get bored easily and they will complain – loudly and long. We’ve found a few things your child minders can do with them in a special designated play area that you have arranged beforehand.

Newborn babies should remain with their parents. This may be unwelcome, but I will encourage guests not to come if they have newborns. But if they do come, arrange sterile changing stations for them.

Hire Professional Childminders

It’s a good idea to appoint a trustworthy childminder or keeping an eye on the children so no one gets hurt or tried to investigate what the wedding cake tastes like.

The babysitter can be in charge of the kids. You only have to setup the room and give them encouragement to try out the games.

Arts and crafts station.

Supply pots of crayons, playdough and stickers. Have wedding themed crafts like decorating a cardboard cake or making wedding type masks.

Mini photographers

Get a whole pile of disposable cameras and recruit the children to be mini wedding photographers. Give them a list of photos that you want and set them free.

Photo booth.

Photo booths are great fun and can keep children entertained for hours. A basket full of dressing up goodies, masks and fun props will give everyone a laugh.

Kids wedding tables for food.

Make a special place for the kids to eat and have child friendly food. Not too much sugar, kids on a sugar high can get out of hand. Make the tablecloths out of paper and get the child minders to encourage them to decorate the tablecloths.

Age-appropriate goodie bags.

Make the goodie bags interesting. You can add coloring books with crayons and colored pencils. Find some fun toys from a novelty shop. A few sweets, some age-appropriate printed jokes. Plastic moustaches and novelty glasses. Let the children have fun and have something to take home with them.

Hire an entertainer

If your budget can stretch that far, hire professional entertainment. The professionals have lots of ways of make sure that children enjoy themselves and they’ll bring everything they need for hours of fun.

Naptime

If you’re expecting very young children, there’s a good chance that they’ll be asleep before the event’s over, but you may also have some tired-out kids who can get grumpy and over stimulated. Set up a quiet room where they can rest after a long, exhausting day.

Wedding albums.

Wedding albums - How to Plan for Guest and Child Entertainment for a Wedding

Plan what you will do with the final photographs and video. You might want to set up your YouTube channel for everyone to view the video. If you have created your own wedding site, then that’s where you want to publish your pictures with a link to the YouTube channel.

Just a word of caution – if there are embarrassing pictures of your wedding guests, don’t put them up on the site you may never be forgiven for it.

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