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Wedding Budget Tips | Honeymoon Budgeting | Vermont Bride Magazine | Niceties and Nuptials Boutique
Jessica Fuster, Destinations Found Travel

In our prior blog, we addressed budgeting for 1) The Engagement/Wedding Rings.  In this blog posting, emphasis will be placed upon budgeting for 2) The Honeymoon.

Honeymoons are a big business with 99% of traditional wedding couples taking a honeymoon; representing 14% of the wedding budget. On an average, couples spend $4,466 on a typical honeymoon lasting 8 days.  On luxury honeymoons, couples spend $9,954 lasting 11 days.  62% of couples pay for their own honeymoon with 10% taking cruises and 75% vacationing within the US or Canada. 

Most honeymoon destinations are:  Hawaii, Florida, California, and Nevada.  Most popular oversees destinations are: Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Italy, St. Lucia, France and US Virgin Islands; Hawaii being the favored destination for both straight and gay honeymoon couples.    The most popular luxury honeymoon destinations are:  Europe, Caribbean, Hawaii, and South Pacific.  40% of couples stay at a resort versus, 27% at a large hotel and 10% at a small hotel.  Only 1 in 4 couples go on a dream honeymoon.  80% of honeymooners use Social Media to research destinations.  And 48% of couples visit Facebook while away.  57% of same sex couples take honeymoons sometime after the ceremony. 

The Old Rule was that the groom’s parents were expected to pay for the honeymoon; including travel, accommodations and activities; especially the case when bride’s parents were paying for the wedding.  In this day and age, however, it is believed that the bride and groom should pay for their honeymoon; especially if parents are picking up tab for the wedding.  Thus, lots of couples do not depend upon family to pay or assist with cost of the honeymoon.   Most couples plan their honeymoon together.  With the bride usually deeply involved in wedding planning, the groom often takes responsibility to plan the honeymoon; with bride’s input unless a surprise; typically booked 4 months prior to the wedding. 

Planning A Honeymoon:

  • Determine where to go. Take into account favorite places visited, discovery of new places, beaches, mountains, cities, countryside preferences, places to explore and all inclusive resorts. 
  • Agree to departure and return dates; same day as wedding, next day, next week or some later.
  • Decide upon transportation/accommodations/excursions and book reservations; informing that you are on honeymoon. Hotels usually provide upgrades/complimentary champagne.  Consider adding a romantic hotel packages, i.e., champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.
  • If traveling abroad, leave plenty of time to get passports/visas; women usually use maiden name in doing so. Make copies of passports, visas, itinerary, confirmed flight and hotel reservations as well as driver’s licenses, and insurance/credit cards; keeping separate from originals.  It is also a good idea to leave an extra set of copies with someone at home. 
  • If traveling abroad, determine if inoculations are required. If so, get them well in advance of wedding in case of having reactions.
  • Consider utilizing a travel agency. Review your plans with a professional which usually doesn’t cost extra; allowing them to make all arrangements and available for help if needed.
  • Pack appropriately for two; making sure to have right luggage, clothing, shoes for both. Consider enlisting help of a best friend or relative to assist with packing.

A Surprise Honeymoon:

  • Pick a destination that both will enjoy.
  • Inform partner when honeymoon has been decided upon; confirming departure and return dates.
  • Provide weather information in such way as not to reveal destination.
  • Store honeymoon data in place partner is unlikely to find.
  • Top off surprise with a wedding night gift.

Options Available If Unable to Afford a Honeymoon:

  • If wedding months away, start saving.
  • Delay trip in order to save for it.
  • Take a shorter than desired trip.
  • Honeymoon closer to home.
  • Enjoy a short weekend.
  • Drive instead of flying to destination if possible.
  • Travel off season to save money.
  • If possible, check into Casinos for lower room rates.
  • Use Economy Airlines with less expensive fares.
  • Research airline deals for less expensive fares.
  • Bid on Travel Auctions.
  • Sign up with a Honeymoon Registry instead of Typical Registry to provide your wish list of desired vacation items, hotel nights, romantic dinners, excursions, etc.
  • Win a free honeymoon.
  • Take a cruise which is cost effective; especially if departing from home port.
  • Plan an inexpensive honeymoon taking advantage of available travel discounts.
  • Do not depend upon receiving cash from wedding for honeymoon.
  • A bank loan is not a good idea as typically newlyweds end up being saddled with debt; a becoming a stressful financial burden.
  • If having to use credit card for expenses, get a card that offers points on every purchase. The Capital One Venture Card is ideal if traveling oversees as it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Budget before buying. Know how much you have to spend and do not spend more.

This post is republished courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique. 

Engagement and Wedding Ring Budget Tips | Vermont Bride Magazine | Nuptials and Niceties Boutique
Colette Kulig Photography


Per a 2015 US Survey, the engagement ring accounts for a 4th of the overall wedding expense; averaging  $5,871.  80% of grooms pay for the ring and half the brides in Western Countries choose their ring.  99% of grooms do the proposing; 16% occurring in December.  The average engaged period last 14 months. 

If choosing an engagement ring, you and partner should spend time researching rings; keeping record of those particularly liked.  35% of couples spend 3 months or less researching while 24% spend a little longer and the average spend 4-6 months with the internet being their main source.   56% of brides have decided upon a setting prior to purchasing ring with 23% having a particular stone in mind. 

If preferring the traditional romantic practice of a surprise engagement ring, either put your trust in your partner’s ability to select one you will be happy with or make your preferences known; i.e., metal, single/multiple diamond/gemstone, setting,  size/shape, if to match wedding band and your ring size. 

When contemplating an engagement ring, you should consider if the ring of your dreams is affordable?  If not, do you really want to go into debt to have such a ring?  Ask yourself if doing so would make you happier or would spending beyond your means put a financial stress on your marriage?  Of 3000 adults surveyed, those who spent $2,000-$4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.5 times more likely to divorce versus those who spent $500-$2,000 Those who spent under $500 had a higher divorce rate.  Thus, the diamond size doesn’t have to be equal to your love; the importance being the promise of pledging yourselves to spend the rest of your lives together in marriage!  

It is essential that you give serious consideration to your overall wedding budget in determining an available amount for both the engagement and wedding ring(s).  Should your budget, require that you finance the engagement ring, take into account monthly expenses before agreeing upon a monthly payment.  Be assured of your ability to make such payments without creating a financial struggle. 


It is recommended that you spend some time researching the wedding ring(s) while doing so for an engagement ring.  In so doing, establish the specifics of your preferences; i.e., to match the engagement ring, metal, size and weight.    As with engagement ring, consider what your wedding budget will allow to spending on the wedding ring(s); average cost being $1,575.  Be sure to order your wedding ring(s) at lease four (4) months prior to the wedding; assuring sufficient time for possible resizing and engraving.  

In our next blog, we will address budgeting for 2) The Honeymoon of the Series “Creating/Working with a Wedding Budget”.

This post is republished courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique. 

Vermont Bride Winter/Spring 2017 Issue | BUY NOW

The Winter/Spring 2017 issue of Vermont Bride Magazine is finally here! We have been working non-stop for the last couple of months putting together this fabulous issue. It is full of inspiration for any style and budget- from a outside-the-box space inspired wedding to vintage, cozy, and intimate celebrations complete with Grandma's homemade jam. We have curated images from all over Vermont, and beyond, to help you plan the wedding of your dreams. Inside the pages of our magazine you can get tips for choosing the right hairstyle, see how a lovely couple from the city pulled off a winter wedding in Vermont, find the perfect vendors to help make your vision a reality, and explore the option of a honeymoon in St. Lucia.

Whatever type of wedding you are thinking of having, if you are planning a wedding in Vermont or New England then Vermont Bride is a must have resource. You can find copies for sale at area retailers throughout New England, or you can purchase it here on our website - and maybe even a couple of the past issues for further research! ;-)

Here is a little sneak peak of some of the inspiration features you will find within the pages of our magazine:

Vermont Bride Winter/Spring 2017 sneak peak | Bygone Romance | Nostalgic Wedding Inspiration

A Bygone Romance featuring: PHOTOGRAPHER: Wedding Photography by TSM | COORDINATOR & FLORAL DESIGN:  Unveiled Design & Events | VENUE:  Rand-Bryan House | DESIGN & DECOR: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | GOWN: Blush Bridal | HAIR STYLIST & MAKEUP ARTIST: Brittany Campbell, Sunshine Makeup and Artistry | CAKE: T-Tuttlecakes | STATIONERY: Scrappy Seahorse Designs | MODELS: Candice & John

Vermont Bride Winter/Spring 2017 issue Sneak Peak | Farm Fresh Wedding Inspiration

Farm Fresh Inspiration featuring: PHOTOGRAPHER: The Light + Color Photography | STYLING & DETAILS: Sarah Jo Willey | FLORAL DESIGN: Creative Muse Floral Design | GOWN BOUTIQUE: Fiori Bridal Boutique | GOWN DESIGNER: Lillian WestVENUE: The Barlow House | MODELS: Allison Machia, Allison Gervais, Anna Willey, Ella Willey

Vermont Bride Magazine Winter/Spring 2017 Sneak Peak | Derby Devine Wedding Inspiration

Derby Devine Inspiration featuring:  PLANNING & DESIGN: Jaclyn Watson Events | PHOTOGRAPHY: JAGstudios | VENUE: River Road Farm | CATERING: Forks & FingersDESSERTS: Birchgrove Baking | RENTALS: Chase Canopy | DRAPING: Drape Art Design | FLORAL DESIGN: Apotheca FlowersSTATIONERY: Admire Design | GOWNS: A Little Something White | JEWELRY: Libero Jewelers | MAKEUP & HAIR STYLIST: Dana Bartone & Co.

January 24, 2021

95 Triple X Bridal Show

95 TripleX 2017 Bridal Show | Vermont Bridal Show | Wedding Vendors | Vermont Bride Magazine

The 30th Annual 95 Triple X Bridal Show is being held on January 15th at the Champlain Valley Expo Center in Essex Junction. The show will be from 12 - 3 and will feature many of the area's finest wedding professionals. Fiori Bridal Boutique will be hosting a fabulous wedding gown show and Milne Travel is giving away a grand prize vacation! If you are planning a wedding this is a must-attend event. Connect with vendors, be inspired, and maybe even win some prizes! Get your best girls together for a fun afternoon of oohing and aahing, or bring your husband-to-be for a romantic afternoon of dreaming about your big day. Either way, it is sure to be a fabulous time!

This is a four part series of posts courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique on being organized and planning checklists in the months leading up to your wedding.  

Wedding Planning Checklist - Two Weeks To The Day Of Your Wedding | Niceties & Nuptials Boutique | Vermont Bride Magazine

Our last Wedding Planning Checklist posting covered the periods of “Three-to-Two Months” and “One Month” in Advance of Your Wedding. 

In this blog, we will address the Checkpoint Periods of “Two Weeks”/“One-Week” in Advance of Your Wedding and “Wedding Day”; thus completing our Four Series “Wedding Planning Checklist”.


  • Non-RSVPs: Again, follow up with guests who failed to respond to wedding invitation.
  • Wedding Shoes: Start breaking in wedding shoes for a comfortable fit on wedding day.
  • Wedding Day Tasks: Delegate people to handle wedding day tasks; assisting bride and carry her things, provide needed guest directions, distributing corsages/boutonnières, in charge of guestbook, overseeing gifts (giving care to cards containing money), in charge of disposable table cameras, in charge of personal videoing, to distribute cash tips to service personnel, to interact with each vendor in your behalf, etc.
  • Post-Wedding Day Tasks: Delegate people to return rented tuxes/shoes along with other rental items and someone to handle your wedding dress.  The wedding dress should be taken to an appropriate dry cleaner known to professionally dry cleans wedding dresses.   Thereafter if desired, it should be carefully packaged and shipped to the Restoration Facility of your choice.

Reception Songs/Scripts:  Review with appropriate people any changes made to your reception songs/readings list.

  • Final Music Playlists: Review your final ceremony/reception music playlist with contracted musicians/bands/DJ.  Provide a list of special announcements you desire to be made; i.e., noting table pads for song requests and table cameras for taking pictures.
  • Limo/Transportation: Confirm your final directions with the wedding day limo/transportation drivers.
  • Pets/Plants: Make necessary arrangements for care of your pets/plants during honeymoon.
  • Honeymoon: Pack for your honeymoon.  Be sure to include passports, daily medications, contact lenses/solutions if used, plenty of sunscreen, and emergency/sewing kits.  Especially when traveling abroad, we recommend that you bring the following medicines along:  pain reliever (such as Tylenol), for inflammation (such as Advil),  heartburn relief(such as Maximum-Strength Zantac 150), anti-diarrheal (such as Imodium A-D+), cold reliever (such as Coricidin HBP—good for high blood pressure),and sore throat lozenges (such as Chloraseptic); can be pack in carry-on luggage except for solutions to be packed in checked-in luggage.


  • Wedding Dress: If felt necessary, arrange for a final wedding dress fitting.  Otherwise, pick it up or arrange for a delivery.  Be sure to hang it in a spacious closet.
  • Vendor Arrival Times: Reconfirm wedding day arrival times with all contracted vendors.
  • Final Guest List: Provide your final head count to all venues, baker and cater(s) hosting your wedding-related events; typically required 72 hours in advance of wedding date.
  • Photographer/Videographer:  Provide your final photo/video requirements in writing to contracted photographer/videographer; including a list of moments and people you want captured.   Be very specific in this regard!  Request if desire a photo CD/CVD made in addition to the video DVD; specifying quantity of each.  Also schedule an after wedding appointment with photographer for your wedding photo/album selections.
  • Emergency Kit: Prepare a wedding day emergency kit; including threads and needle, hair pins, double-stick tape, fresh wipes, etc.  A mini-cosmetic kit should also be prepared for necessary touch-ups.
  • Bridal Party: Provide bridal party with copies of your wedding day timeline; including contact information for all members.  Also include the names and phone numbers of people assigned to interface with vendors in event of a problem arising.
  • Final Vendor Payments: Prepare final vendor payments and set aside cash tips for service personnel; placing in envelopes to be handed out at reception; unless required in advance.
  • Spa Treatment: Make an appointment for your manicure, pedicure and a stress-relieving massage; as well as for your bridal party if budget allows.
  • Guest Welcome Baskets: Assemble your guest welcome baskets and deliver to hotel or bring to reception for distribution.
  • Wedding Clothes: Lay out your wedding clothes.
  • Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: Deliver flower girl basket to flower girl and ring pillow to ring bearer.
  • Wedding Rehearsal: Meet with Officiator and wedding party to rehearse your wedding.
  • Rehearsal Dinner:  Relax and enjoy your wedding rehearsal dinner.  Remember to hand out your wedding party gifts; including for parents and for others whom you may have gifts.


  • Good Breakfast: It is very important to begin your day with a nutritional breakfast.
  • Hair Appointments: You along with bridesmaids want to be on time for hair appointments; to assure a stress-free wedding day.
  • Good Lunch: As with breakfast, have a nutritional lunch as your wedding meal is apt to be much later in the day.
  • Bride’s Preparations: Begin preparing for your wedding along with assistance from family and chosen friends.  If arranged, be sure that wedding photographer is present to capture priceless moments as they occur.  And remember to include the “something old”, “something new”, something borrowed” and “something blue” as part of your wedding attire.  
  • Wedding Day Timeline: Throughout the remainder of the day, follow the flow of events on your Wedding Day Timeline; assuring a stress-free, enjoyable and memorable wedding day and celebration!  And also remember to have a copy of the Wedding Day Timeline with you.

In our next blog posting, we will address “Wedding-Related Contacts” and “Wedding-Related Contracts”.


This is a four part series of posts courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique on being organized and planning checklists in the months leading up to your wedding. 

Wedding Planning Checklist - Three to One Month Before Your Wedding | Niceties & Nuptials Boutique | Vermont Bride Magazine

The Second Posting in our Series of Wedding Planning Checklist covered the periods of “Eight-to-Six Months” and “Five-to-Four Months” in Advance of Your Wedding. 

In this blog posting, we will address the Checkpoint Periods of “Three-to-Two Months” and “One Month” in Advance of Your Wedding.


  • Wedding Bands: Purchase wedding bands; allowing time to resize and engrave.
  • Wedding Invitations: Mail wedding invitations along with RSVP card, menu card and directions eight to six weeks prior to ceremony; specifying RSVP cutoff three weeks after the mailing.  RSVP Responses: Maintain records of RSVP acceptances vs. non-acceptances.  NOTE:  Recommended to be included in your wedding invitation record database.
  • Floral Selections: Make final selections of flowers with your contracted florist(s) for the wedding party, attendants, both sets of parents and grandparents, other family/friends involved in the wedding, venues, cake, decorations, etc.  And remember the bride’s toss bouquet.
  • Reception Menu: Make final reception menu selections with your contracted reception venue(s) or caterer(s) as required.  Order menu cards to be mailed with wedding invitations.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations: Mail your rehearsal dinner invitations to wedding party and decided upon invitees; including selected out-of-town guests.
  • Bridesmaids Dress Fittings: By now dresses should have arrived.  Arrange for individual fittings; to include undergarment and shoes.
  • Wedding Programs: Decide upon your wedding program and have printed; or can easily be done on a computer.
  • Ceremony Songs/Readings: Decide what songs/readings you desire for your ceremony.  Provide your selections to chosen people and include in your ceremony timeline. 
  • Ceremony/Reception Timelines: Create an order of events for your ceremony and reception; providing copies to your Wedding Officiator, Reception Coordinator, vendors and wedding party; allowing ample time for feedback and changes if necessary.
  • Reception Toasts: Decide and make a list of whom you wish to speak/make toasts at the reception; making your desires know to them as well.
  • Ceremony/Reception Seating: Plan seating arrangements for the ceremony and reception.   Consider outlining the reception room on a large sheet of paper.  Then draw the various table shapes onto the paper; assigning table numbers starting with the bridal party table.  Proceed by placing sticky notes for the number of settings onto each table.  On each note, write the table number and name of guest assigned to that table; allowing you to move guests around as required but be sure to change assigned table numbers to notes accordingly. To simplify, you may want to use difference sticky note colors for female versus male. 
  • Favors: Order reception favors for your guests.  Favors representing your city or state are a good bet; i.e., jelly/syrup, chocolates, pottery, mini plants!  
  • Wedding Purchases: Purchase guestbook/pen, flower-girl basket, ring-bearer pillow, toasting flutes, guest-baskets, disposable cameras, etc.
  • Marriage License: Apply for your marriage license; obtaining a few extra copies.
  • Wedding Announcement: Submit your wedding announcement and wedding photograph to your local newspaper.  Check their publication’s website in advance of doing as some have strict requirements regarding wedding photos.
  • Officiant Review: Meet with officiant to review ceremony details.
  • Wedding Registries: Review and update wedding registries as required.
  • Wedding Dress Restoration: Research Wedding Dress Restorations to determine how you wish to have your wedding dress treated for restoration; after being professionally cleaned.
  • Music Play List: Finalize your chosen music play list with contracted musicians, band or DJ; providing a list of your selections along with specific requests and restrictions.  During the meal, it is appropriate to request the music volume be lowered.  Also, a nice touch is to have small pads of paper on each guest table to allow them to write down song requests.
  • Photographer Meeting: Meet with contracted photographer to discuss your desired photographs and specific people you wish to be photographed with; creating a detailed list of your desires.  It is recommended that you and photographer walk through the ceremony and reception facilities to establish desired photo locations and shots.  Decide if photographer will be required during your wedding preparations and/or prior to the ceremony; making arrangements for at this time.
  • Wedding Vows: It is time to start writing your wedding vows.
  • Dress Fittings: Be sure that all fittings are scheduled for the entire wedding party and parents.
  • Old/New/Blue: Decide on the “something old”, “something new”, “something borrowed” and “something blue” to carry on your wedding day.
  • Spa/Beauty Treatments: Schedule Spa/Beauty treatments for you and your bridal party.
  • Wedding Day Timeline: Finalize your wedding day timeline for ceremony and reception and provide to your vendors, officiator and wedding party.
  • Wedding Day Transportation: Finalize the wedding day transportation requirements with contracted transportation vendor(s).  Provide written ceremony and reception timelines and overall directions for driver(s).
  • Attendants Gifts: Purchase gifts for all wedding attendants; to be presented at the rehearsal dinner.  Personalized gifts are always a great idea!  NOTE:  Be sure to browse Nuptials & Niceties Boutique Website ( or for a wide selection of gifts your bridal parts, family members and friends; including an array of personalized items.
  • Reception Seating: Finalize your reception seating arrangements with reception coordinator.
  • Bachelorette Party: Usually the maid-of-honor arranges your night out with girlfriends.  If not mentioned, however, it is permissible to inquire about it.  ENJOY!
  • Honeymoon Itinerary: Write out your honeymoon itinerary; leaving a copy with family at home.


  • Late RSPVs: Phone people who have not yet responded to your invitations.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.  Be sure to include all the wedding party, family and friends involved in the wedding and selected out-of-town guest desired.
  • Vendor Confirmations: Reconfirm date, arrival times and locations with all contracted vendors.
  • Wedding License: Pick up your marriage license along with three extra copies as requested.
  • Honeymoon: Confirm all honeymoon reservations and pack for honeymoon.
  • Wedding Rings: Pick up resized and engraved wedding rings.
  • Wedding Programs: If ordered, pick up wedding programs.
  • Wedding Dress Fitting: Schedule another dress fitting with undergarment and shoes.  Allow for one more fitting the week prior to your wedding date to assure a proper fit; can cancel.
  • Hair/Makeup Confirmations: Confirm scheduled appointments with hair/makeup contractors for bride and bridesmaids.  Also schedule to get your hair cut/colored if desired.
  • Vehicle Driver(s):  Confirm transportation date, times and directions for vehicle drivers; allowing chauffeurs required time to establish necessary routes.
  • Reception Bar: Determine reception bar allowances; i.e., drinks covered through entire reception, within an established timeframe or up to a total dollar amount.  Understand how bar charges will be handled; requesting to see prior to paying incurred bar tab.
  • Thank You Notes: Be sure to send thank you notes for wedding gifts received early.

In our final Wedding Planning Checklist, we will address the periods of “Two Weeks” and “One Week” in Advance of Your Wedding.

 This is a four part series of posts courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique on being organized and planning checklists in the months leading up to your wedding. 

Wedding Planning Checklist - Eight To Six Months Before Your Wedding | Niceties & Nuptials Boutique | Vermont Bride Magazine

The first of our series of Wedding Planning Checklists covered the periods of “Sixteen-to-Twelve Months” and “Eleven-to-Nine Months” in Advance of Your Wedding. 

This blog posting will address the periods of “Eight-to-Six Months” and Five-to-Four Months” in Advance of Your Wedding.


  • Review Wedding Guest List: Review your guest list; reducing final head count as necessary based upon your budget.
  • Save-the-Date Mailing: Mail your Save-the-Date Notifications to wedding party and guests.
  • Officiator Meeting: Schedule a meeting with the officiator to discuss ceremony plans; outlining plans as agreed upon.  Establish that you have all official wedding documents required as they differ from religion and location.
  • Wedding Invitations/Stationery: Select and purchase your wedding invitations and matching stationery; including wedding invitations and response cards, save-the-date cards, reception menus, table placement cards, thank you cards and location direction cards.  Prior to order completion, request that samples be provided for your review and revision if necessary.   If desired, arrange for or hire a calligrapher to handle invitations; handling yourself can be very time consuming.
  • Bridal Shoes and Accessories: Order your chosen bridal shoes and accessories.  NOTE:  Be sure to browse Nuptials & Niceties Boutique’s website ( for a wide assortment of veils and bridal accessories in addition to a broad arrangements of personalized gifts for the bridal party, family and friends.
  • Order Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Order bridesmaids’ dresses; allowing up to at least six months for their arrival and required time for fittings and alterations if necessary.  Obtain color swatches to coordinate with groomsmen’s attire.  As with the bride’s wedding dress, it is important to bring along your wedding undergarment and shoes in order to assure a perfect fit and proper gown length; especially if a floor-length gown.   Also be aware, that getting in and out of vehicles can be difficult if wearing a straight-length gown.
  • Groomsmen Attire: Purchase or rent groomsmen tuxedos/suits; coordinated with bridesmaids gowns.
  • Name Change: Arrange for your name change if applicable on all appropriate documents.
  • Rental Reservations: If required, make and confirm rental reservations for decorations, tables, chairs, linens, lighting, fixtures, portable toilets, etc.  Obtain rental contracts and assure that everything is included as requested.  Establish the exact times and dates for pick-up/delivery and returns in order to avoid additional rental charges. 
  • Transportation Booking: Contract for necessary transportation to and from venues with back-up arrangements; be it by limos, minibuses, antique/town cars, trolley cars or horse-and-carriages. 
  • Wedding Day Events Scheduling: Begin outlining your choice of wedding day events; i.e., time of wedding, bridal party reception, wedding party photography to follow, guest versus wedding party arrival times, reception bridal party introductions, the first dance request, cake-cutting ceremony, etc. 
  • Hair/Makeup Styles: Explore wedding day hair and makeup styles for both bride and bridesmaids.
  • Early Gifts: Upon receiving early gifts, be sure to mail thank you cards on a timely basis.


  • Bride’s Wedding Accessories: Purchase your wedding veil, undergarment, shoes and accessories.  NOTE:  Be sure to browse Nuptials & Niceties Boutique Website ( or for a great selection of wedding veils and accessories as well as wonderful personalized gifts for your bridal party, family members and friends.
  • Bride’s Wedding Dress Fittings: Schedule your wedding dress fittings.  Be sure to bring along your wedding undergarment and shoes in order to attain an accurate fitting and proper gown length.
  • Wedding Night Accommodations: Be sure that a room accommodation has been made for your wedding night at either the Make a hotel reservation for your wedding night; preferably at same location of your reception.
  • Honey Moon Flights/Hotels: Make your honey moon flights and hotels reservations.
  • Wedding Cake Selection: Confirm your wedding cake choice with your contracted baker(s).  Be assured of sufficient cake for all invitees.  Also include a one-year anniversary cake with your order if desired.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitees: Decide upon and assemble your rehearsal dinner guest list.  Be sure to include entire wedding party along with family members and close friends of choice.  Consider inviting the wedding officiant as well as out-of-town guests who have traveled a long way to attend your wedding.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Book or request that rehearsal dinner reservations are made.  Select the menu and be sure to negotiate the per person cost; obtaining an agreed upon written contract.  Assure that appropriate arrangements are made for all invitees.  NOTE:  If hosting a day-after brunch for guests, consider booking at same location as well.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations: Order your rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • Welcome Baskets: Arrange for welcome baskets at selected hotels for your out-of-town guests.
  • Music List: Prepare a DJ/band “play/do not play” music list for both your ceremony and reception.  Provide directions as to what you want played for introduction of the wedding party, during dinner, for the bride/groom’s first dance, for the bride/father’s dance, and throughout the evening.  Consider obtaining song requests from your guests.  And request that the music be kept at a reasonable level.
  • Check Wedding Invitations: Request the stationer for a sample of your ordered invitations; allowing you to revise as needed.
  • Hair/Makeup Artists: Schedule a few appointments with local hair and makeup artists to try them out.  Take photo of results to aid in your selection.  Upon making a decision, contract for wedding day appointments for yourself and bridesmaids.  Be sure to allow sufficient time for appointments.
  • Bridal Shower: If aware of your bridal shower, provide a suggested guest list to the host of it.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: Book your rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues.  Consider hosting post wedding brunch at same location.  Be sure to negotiate costs for both rehearsal dinner and day after wedding brunch.
  • Wedding Cake: Order decided upon wedding cake.
  • Flower Order: Order decided upon flowers for entire wedding party, attendants, decorations, venues and cake, etc.
  • Honeymoon: Finalize your honeymoon plans and ensure that flights, hotels and all documents are in order.
  • Out-of-town Wedding Guest: Order/make up wedding baskets for out-of-town wedding guests.
  • Music List: Prepare and provide Musician/Band/DJ your list of selected music to be played at ceremony and reception; at start of ceremony, during ceremony, for wedding party announcement, for first dance, during dinner, after dinner, etc.
  • Honeymoon: Finalize your honeymoon plans and ensure that flights, hotels and all documents are in order.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: Finalize rehearsal dinner guest list and order rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Menu: Establish that the rehearsal dinner menu has been arranged with venue or caterer.  Usually the groom’s parents take responsibility for the rehearsal dinner.  If not the case, it will be up to you to handle. 
  • Finalize Wedding Guest List: Finalized your wedding guest list; hoping to be within your budget allowance.

In our next blog posting, we will address the Checkpoint Periods of “Three-to-Two Months” and “One Month” in Advance of Your Wedding.

This is a four part series of posts courtesy of Niceties & Nuptials Boutique on being organized and planning checklists in the months leading up to your wedding. 

Wedding Planning Checklist - Sixteen to Twelve Months in Advance | Niceties & Nuptials Boutique | Vermont Bride Magazine

This blog emphasizes the importance of working with Wedding Planning Checklists in order to simplify and assure an organized, stress free, and memorable wedding experience.  You may wish to use our provided checklists or create your own.  As the average length of a U.S. engagement is 16 months, Nuptials & Niceties Boutique’s Checklist Blogs begin at the sixteen month period.


  • Wedding Dates: Plan 2-3 wedding dates for flexibility.
  • Become Organized: Maintain important records and magazine articles of interest pertaining to all aspects of planning a wedding; compiling in your Wedding Planner Manual.
  • Purchase Insurance: Insure your engagement ring and obtain wedding insurance.  Cancellation/Postponement Insurance is recommended to cover unpredictable illness, emergencies, inclement weather, vendor problems, wedding dress damage, etc.  Venues typically require Wedding Liability Insurance for protection in events of injuries, property damage or alcohol related accidents.  
  • Wedding Budget: Establish your budget – What you can afford along with family contributions if applicable.  (To be addressed in detail in a subsequent blog.)
  • Wedding Discounts/Promotions: Look for wedding promotions/discounts in craft stores, wedding magazines and on line.
  • Wedding Dress/Veil Styles: Research wedding dress/veil styles in bridal magazines and on line. 
  • Style Boards: Create wedding fashion style boards using Social Media Sites to aid in your decision making. 
  • Wedding Party: Choose your wedding party; Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids, Best Man and Groomsmen, Flower Girl and Ring Bearer.  Also, consider who you wish to sing/do readings at the ceremony and give toasts at the reception; requesting of individuals as soon as possible.
  • Guest List: Create a guest list worksheet to include columns for save-the-date mailings, wedding invitation mailings, RSVPs, early gifts, and sent thank you notes; using a database for this purpose is recommended.  Working within your budget may require cutting head count.
  • Wedding Planner: Hire a Wedding Planner if desired for overall assistance in handling all aspects of your wedding.  In so doing, however, maintain a close relationship; attending all venue meetings and keeping your own on-going records as well as venue contracts.  Review with your Wedding Planner on a regular basis to assure that everything is being planned according to your desires.
  • Ceremony/Reception Venues: Research ceremony and reception venues based upon your 2-3 possible wedding dates.  If to occur at different locations, take into account travel time and distance between both places.  There are many questions to be asked prior to determining which venues to select.  (To be addressed in detail in a subsequent blog.)
  • Wedding Dress Order: Order your wedding dress; allowing for up to three scheduled fittings.  The veil, undergarment, shoes and accessories can be purchased later.  However, it’s imperative to have and bring along your undergarment and shoes for your dress fittings to assure a perfect fit and proper gown length; especially important if a floor-length gown.
  • Ceremony/Reception Selections:  Select your ceremony and reception venues.  Obtain written rental contracts specifying in detail what is included in rentals and what requires additional charge.  It is strongly recommended that arrangements be made for alternative venues with the latest cancellation possible.  Many weddings have been ruined due to venue catastrophes such as fires/floods with no other options available.  Also, provide coordinators your vendor names and phone numbers for contact purposes if necessary.
  • Wedding Date: Confirm your wedding date now that your ceremony and reception venues have been decided upon.
  • Vendor Selections: Research and select your photographer, videographer, musicians, DJ, florist, and baker as well as caterer if required.  In advance of making selections, request to see photographers’ and florists’ wedding photo albums and videographers’ videos.  Attend performances of potential bands, musicians and DJs.  Meet with several bakers and caterers; sampling assortments of cakes/food dishes.  Obtain business cards and request references from each vendor.  (To be addressed in detail in a subsequent blog.)
  • Wedding Officiant:  Book with your wedding officiant with plans of meeting at a later time.


 Engagement Photograph: Get engagement photos taken and publish in desired newspaper(s).

  • Save the Date Notifications: Order and mail the Save-the-Date Notifications.
  • Bridal Party Attire: It’s time to choose and order your bridal party attire and accessories; allowing for a couple fittings.   As with the bride’s wedding dress, undergarment and shoes should be brought along for fitting to allow for a perfect fit and proper gown length.   Also be aware, it can be difficult getting in and out of vehicles if wearing a straight-long gown.  NOTE:  Be sure to browse Nuptials & Niceties Boutique Website ( for a great selection of wedding veils and accessories as well as wonderful personalized gifts for the bridal party, family members and friends.
  • Engagement Party: Throw an engagement party, if desire.  Be sure that all invitees are also on your wedding guest list.
  • Honeymoon Plans: Begin planning your honeymoon; working within your budget.  Obtain or update your passports.  Determine if shots are required and get those recommended.
  • Fitness Program: Establish a regular fitness program and skin care/beauty routine.
  • Wedding Registries: Sign up to at least three national retailers for wedding registries.
  • Hotel Room Bookings: Research and select a block of hotel rooms at three hotels located close to the reception facility for out-of-town guests; offering a range of prices.  Only book for those needed to avoid charges for unused rooms.  Ask if a guest room list is required or can guests make their own reservations.  Determine if special needs/handicapped accommodations are provided.  Remember to reserve rooms for the wedding party the night prior to the wedding if not provided for by the reception facility.  Ask if the hotel will provide a room for the bride and groom’s first night or provide other incentives.  If giving guest baskets, confirm if hotel will deliver them to assigned rooms or hand out at front desk and if a fee will be charged for service.   Otherwise, you may wish to consider handing them out at the reception.
  • Paid Hotel Reservations: If paying for guest rooms in advance, confirm ahead in writing exactly what you are paying for and understand what guests will be responsible for if anything.  Be sure to inform guests of such arrangements.
  • Wedding Website: You can create a personal wedding page by using a free website; just search on free website creations.  Be sure to list your wedding date, wedding registries, ceremony and reception locations, hotel accommodations and other pertinent wedding information.  Send your website link to your wedding party and all invitees.
  • Wedding Invitations/Stationery: Browse wedding invitation designs and matching stationery; including wedding programs, menu cards, RSVPs, direction cards and thank you cards.

 In our next posting, the Checkpoints of “Eight-to-Six Months” and Five-to-Four Months” in Advance of Your Wedding will be addressed.

Ceremony Music Tips | Paint Your Ceremony Your Way | Vermont Bride Magazine
photo by Letter10 Creative

Classical music wafting through the air, elegantly winding through the gathered group of family and friends – or would you prefer a little Celtic lilt to put a spring in your step on your special day? Or what about that special hymn grandma always used to sing? Or that pop tune or show tune you always sang as a kid - or first danced to as a couple? Or what about something totally different - something composed just for your special day?

When most people think of “wedding music” what pops to mind is often Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (“Here comes the bride…”) or Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” or perhaps Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” You might imagine a church organ or perhaps a classical quartet. Many couples do choose some variation on the above for their wedding music - and why not? Classic, elegant choices that are easy to walk to, and that are tested by time, will never go out of style. Would a bride avoid wearing a long gown and decide not to exchange rings simply because everyone else does? Traditional choices can say as much about you as non-traditional choices, if chosen from the heart.  This type of connection with tradition and the past can be comforting, sentimental, and certainly can make your decision-making simpler!

 But sometimes couples choose music that’s a little different - and again, why not? It’s your day to paint the town - the music will paint the atmosphere and color the feeling of your celebration - why not choose music that has significance for you personally? That touch of you in the music will touch your guests as well as bringing you smiles - or tears - or a lift in your every move. Again, if the tunes that are significant for you are also popular with others, then go for it! If not, the sky’s the limit!

I had the honor of playing for a wedding where the bride had arranged or composed the music for her own wedding - including a special song performed by a friend. At another, the bride commissioned a friend to create medleys of a series of special songs - primarily Broadway songs and hymns, and chose popular but non-traditional classical music for the prelude. Many couples wish to have entirely classical music for their weddings, but prefer to completely avoid the traditional wedding standards. There are too many options to list here, but you may wish to look into music by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, for the classic sound that’s not “wedding standard.” And by the way - don’t think of these composers as the stodgy old men you often see in pictures - if Bach really were the person we think of when we see his stiff representation in portrait, do you honestly believe he would have fathered 20 children? Or composed the intensely energetic music he did? Bach, in particular, composed some of the most versatile and awe-inspiring music ever heard - and a great deal of his music has been arranged for many different combinations of instruments, and is often heard at weddings, though never as the standards that could be considered “over-used” - so check him out! I’ve also recently played as recessionals:  “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles and “Landler” from Sound of Music; as processionals: “Til’ There Was You” and “Fanny Power.” I’ve played two weddings where the request was for music throughout the ceremony – essentially a soundtrack - a mix of styles, in one case with music continuing even as background for the vows, and the entire ceremony built on musical selections that were particularly special for the couple.

Want to get even more unique? Vermont boasts a huge variety of composers and song writers. If this is of interest, you may wish to contact Steve Klimowski, clarinetist from  the ”Classic Consort” - also director of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble – for names of Vermont composers who might suit your style. Why not consider having a special song composed just for your special day? It would lend a whole new meaning to the phrase “playing our song!”

Lisa Carlson is a freelance flutist, performing for weddings and other occasions throughout Vermont and beyond, with musical offerings ranging from a quartet of flute with violin, viola and cello, to solo flute, to duos and trios of flute with harp, violin, piano, cello, oboe, and more. She also teaches flute in Montpelier, Vermont and online to students worldwide.

Vermont Bride Magazine Lookbook Issue No. 7 | Wedding Inspiration and Resources for Vermont and New England Weddings

The seventh issue of the Vermont Bride Lookbook is here! This issue is full of gorgeous inspiration from an elegant and luxurious spring garden wedding to a rustic, winter soiree at a cabin in the woods. Browse ideas from real Vermont weddings held all over the state, in a variety of venues and styles. Check out our vendor directory and find out more information about each vendor by simply clicking on their ad.

The Lookbook is easy to view on all devices, from your desktop to your smart phone, and you can even bookmark pages or share content to Facebook, Pinterest, or via email. It is definitely an essential resource for any modern bride or groom planning their wedding! The best part is it is free to read and will be available to you any day, any time, and for as long as it's on the internet, which is basically forever. Check it out now!