Planning: Useful Starting-Out Resources

Okay, you're engaged. Now what? That's the quintessential We're-in-denial-that-we-have-to-plan-a-wedding-now question. But all you really need is a push into the pool. This list will help you figure out where start looking.

Neighborhood or city newspapers and magazines are good sources of information on party spaces and vendors like florists, photographers, and DJs. Some publications even feature special wedding supplements -- call and find out when these special editions are published. Another excellent resource is The Knot Weddingpages, chock-full of wedding vendors and resources in your area, plus ideas, tips, and advice you've grown to depend on from The Knot. Look for your city's edition at newsstands near you.

For listings of locations, associations, or businesses, you'll be able to find the best reference books and local/regional publications at the library or bookstore. Librarians are great resources -- they'll take you to exactly the shelves you need. In a bookstore, look near the dictionaries and career guides for special-event location books.

You can find wedding consultants, florists, photographers, musicians, and rental stores by contacting professional organizations for lists of their members in your area. The numbers following are for national associations, but your state may have some, too:
The Association of Bridal Consultants: or (860) 355-0464
Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI): or (310) 451-0090
American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD): or (410) 752-3320
American Federation of Musicians: (212) 869-1330
N.A.M.E. The National Association of Mobile Entertainers (representing DJs nationwide): or (800) 434-8274.
The Pros (a DJ network with several offices around the nation): or (800) THE-PROS
The American Rental Association (tents, etc.): or (800) 334-2177

These organizations are good places to start looking for reception sites if you want to go beyond the hotel soiree. The local historical society or tourism office will know of landmarks and otherwise notable buildings in the area where you can throw your party. Or, get creative: Think about resorts, farms, public parks, and other cool places for a wedding reception. Then call and see if it can happen. Even places that don't do weddings may be open to letting you pave the way. Tourism offices can also advise you about major events, such as marathons and conventions, happening in the area before you set your date -- remember to check before you book!

The business organization in your area should be able to point you to people in the community who do flowers, cater, take pictures, etc.

Is there a local flower or photography club in town? They may be able to hook you up with a great florist or photographer, or at least let you know about several whom they've worked with or who are members.

If the college near you has a notable music or film school, or a great photography program, you may be able to hire talented musicians, singers, videographers, or a photographer at a fraction of the cost of professionals. Universities also usually have rooms/buildings where special events are held -- you might want to check them out for your reception. Especially if you're an alum, it could be the perfect site (at a good price)!

No one's happier to talk about weddings than the newly wed -- the newer, the better. Ask friends, relatives, and acquaintances who married recently about their wedding vendors. Ask coworkers, too. Ask everyone. You never know when you're going to encounter someone whose brother is a wedding photographer, whose sister is a caterer, or whose cousin has a cool downtown gallery where he'd love to host a reception. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. We're talking wedding networking!


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