10. Make It About You and Your Partner
This is your BIG day. I believe we all go into this thinking 'this is it' so why are you skimping? Of course it's important to consider your families and their needs but don't let their needs overshadow yours. You want to be able to look back on this day and know it was everything you ever wanted.
9. Take notes and read your contracts
It can be stressful signing your name at the bottom of a long winded legal sheet with print so small you need a magnifying glass, but you need to take your time and read it. Tell your consultant/vendor you need 5 minutes alone to review, this way you can take your time with out the stress of anyone reading over your shoulder. Now is the time to ask your questions before you sign on the dotted line. Knowledge is power.
8. Make planning easier by giving yourself time.
Some experts will tell you to wait until the very last minute for the best pricing and yes- that works- if you don't care about the date, the flowers or the photographer. However, if you'd like a date that means something to you or a photographer that has more than the new iPhone, you need time.
I'll say it again 'this is it' so take your time and do it right.
7. Start early
You're engaged? Time to start. It may sound corny but vision boards are a great way to get your thoughts on paper. Flip through your favorite wedding magazines and clip out items that inspire, or go the digital route and start following a few wedding influencers that have a similar style as yours. Gather, gather and gather till you have a good idea on what the big picture theme of your wedding should be. Once you have a good idea you'll know where to go next.
6. GPS/Directions (ceremony to reception)
If your reception and ceremony are in two different locations it's important to plan the drive. Yes we all have waze and google maps but the time between the start of your reception and the end of the ceremony needs to go hand in hand. Here's a quick break down:
3:00pm Ceremony (30 minutes)
3:30pm Pictures at Ceremony (30 minutes)
4:00pm Leave to Reception (30 minute drive)
4:30pm Cocktail Hour Starts (couple takes pictures on grounds)
5:30pm Reception Starts
5. Kindness goes a long way
Speaking as a vendor and someone that enjoys throwing a party here and there it's easy to get caught up in the 'game' of booking your vendors. We all want the best deal in cost but we can't forget about the service.
A vendor you've treated with kindness and respect will mirror that kindness and respect. Vendors who can see your love and feel it, will love you as a client in return and will do everything to ensure your happiness on the big day.
4. Time is money- keep the DIY to a minimum, your time is priceless.
A college professor once told me 'count your time above all, it's the only thing you can't get back'. After hours on pinterest and your third binge-athon on the DIY network you feel like you can handle any centerpiece with a good glue gun and some gumption. But the truth is these things don't take the 30 minutes as advertised on that episode. You need to order materials, shop the craft stores then make 40 of them to go on every table. Even your best man and maid of honor with their best of intentions will only have so much time to offer and you'll end up covered in glitter on the living room floor with three semi-nice centerpieces and a handful of sort-of cute favors.
All those hours spent are worth more than whatever faux Martha Stewart apron you have on. Save the time and let the professionals handle it. There's a reason that florist has had their corner store for decades, they know what they're doing and they know how to make it right.
3. Guest count tips
One of my favorite tips to give is how to get your guest count. We all want to believe that cousin Joe from Tampa plans on attending even with his bad hip but the numbers don't lie. Research shows 10-15% of your invited guests will not attend.
So here's a simple way to get your guest count;
Start 3 Buckets
Bucket #1 Adults That Live In Town
Bucket #2 Adults That Live Out Of Town
Bucket #3 Kids (anyone 4-12 years old)
After you have your buckets it'll be easier to understand how many guest will likely be attending and who is out of reach.
2. Time of year
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of planning with time. If you did that, you've got plenty of options, so my tip to you would be to follow two things.
1. Your Heart
2. Your Wallet
If there's a specific time of year that reminds you of a great time with your loved one, try to stick to that feeling. You can save a bit with a Friday or Sunday wedding and as long as you gave your guest plenty of time to get the day off from work there's no reason why you can't enjoy a Friday wedding.
1. Where (Venue is everything)
We've all been to a wedding or two where the dance floor was empty and the guest were so scattered you wouldn't of even known there were 200 people invited. This is a problem. After all the money and budgets and stress we endured to make it to this day and half of the guest are MIA on the grounds?
Unacceptable. Venue is everything. When researching a space, it's easy to get caught up in the views from the rooftop or the grand lobby - but where will your guest be congregating? If it's not on the dance floor than it doesn't matter. So when you start to look into reception halls, try to picture where everyone will be, there is a thing as too much space!
Gathering, that's what we're doing for your big day. Gathering family and friends to celebrate in your nuptials.
I mentioned earlier the importance of making this day about you, but it's about you enjoying your relationships. From great grandmother down to your new born niece. Keep them close, keep them fed and keep them dancing.