January 7, 2008

With This Advice, I Thee Wed

Did you find yourself newly engaged over the holiday season? Perhaps you’ve been in the soon-to-be-wed stage for a while now and time is catching up to you? Or maybe you know someone who is about to take the plunge. No matter your situation, a little bit of guidance from an event planner can be a huge help during a wedding. When I sit down with potential clients for the first time, they’re one of two things … completely ‘ready’ or in shock that there are so many things they hadn’t thought of. The ones who are ready normally realize they aren’t right before the big day (see my Week-Of Coordinator tip below) and the ones who are in shock tend to calm down after a few minutes and some kind words. Either reaction is completely natural. And don’t get me wrong … there definitely are some people who don’t need a lot of help from me but who doesn’t want free advice? Read on for some of my most-treasured tidbits.

Give yourselves plenty of time. Unless it’s completely necessary, slow down. A good rule of thumb is six months to a year and a
half of planning. The biggest reasons why I try to get couples to put the brakes on is this … not all of your vendors will be available and your taste may change. Take your time and enjoy the planning part of things. It will reduce stress and you’ll look back with fond memories.

Budget. Weddings are expensive. You may think you can put things together for under $5000 (and if you did it, more power to you!) but that’s very unrealistic. Before getting scared over the amount, make a list of priorities. Figure out what you want to splurge on and what you can cut out. This is incredibly important to sit down and do. If you’re having troubles being serious about it, make an appointment with a planner and they’ll help. Many will offer Budget Planning appointments.

Hire professionals. Family & friends will want to help you (and let them … see my tip on delegating) but when it comes to your vendors, don’t rely on Cousin Freddy to be the DJ or your mom to do all the cooking. Those of us in the industry know what we’re doing, we know the possible hiccups and we’re going to make the day special. Besides, your guests should enjoy the day as … well … guests!

Obtain at least three quotes from vendors. Yes, it’s work but it’s totally worth it. You may find that all three caterers are about the same price but you really clicked better with one of them. Not only do you now have the info on each one but you also know their personalities.

Get things in writing. This may seem like a no-brainer but you would be amazed at the amount of people who don’t do it. Someone’s word isn’t enough on a day this important.

Delegate. Please don’t try to do everything on your own. Get help with anything you’re making, assign Aunt Vera to gift collection duty … things like that. You’re going to need a lot of help leading up to the day and at the wedding that vendors won’t be able to do for you. And you know everyone will want to help!

Do what you want to and not what everyone is telling you to do. Enough said.

Realize the wedding won’t be perfect. As soon as you come to that understanding in your head, the wedding will be better than you thought it would be. Kind of reverse psychology. The bottom line is if you’re focused on making everything perfect, you’re going to notice all of the little things that aren’t.

Sleep, Eat and Drink plenty of water! The sleep thing may or may not happen but at least try to rest the night before the wedding. When it comes to eating and drinking though, these are musts. Make sure you have breakfast (and snacks and lunch when you get the chance) and drink a LOT of water. Keeping yourself hydrated is as important as remembering the marriage license.

And last but not least …

Hire a Planner. Ever since I started Moments That Shine I’ve been trying to get it across to people that planners are essential. Your wedding should reflect your personalities and you should be able to enjoy the entire day. Let a third party worry about the troubles that will pop up. If you don’t think you need someone for the entire process, consider hiring a Week-Of Coordinator. That last week before the show can be nerve-wracking. What better way to alleviate some stress?

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