Planning / Vendors
Wedding planning is stressful. There's really no way around it. Most of the time couples are spending a lot of money and entertaining a lot of guests. You have to choose a style, hire the right vendors make sure everything is put together exactly how you imagine. Because, I mean... we've been planning this day since we were eight. Right, girls?
But how do you know who to hire for your wedding day? Let's talk about that. And let's start with wedding planners, or wedding designers. You meet with them, tell them your vision and they discuss a budget and offer the resources they know that can meet your requirements. Your wedding planner/designer should be someone you "click" with pretty immediately. They're going to be your go-to for the entire wedding planning process and they're going to be a big part of your wedding day! I have worked with some AMAZING ones along the way and you can connect with them through the link at the end of this blog post. But wait because I have tons more info for you!
First, your venue. When you're choosing where you're going to have your wedding you need to consider if you're going to have the ceremony and reception at the same location. And then think about how many guests you're going to invite. If you aren't getting married at a church, you should try to find a location that matches your style. You don't want to have your wedding in a barn if you imagine an elaborately elegant ballroom reception and you don't want to book a ballroom if you're dreaming of a country burlap and lace celebration. Other things to think about with your venue is whether they include a DJ, catering, linens and tables and chairs in the cost. Some venues offer packages that include all these things and some require you to have your own. Also, if you want to have a bar at your wedding, some venues offer it as part of a package, others allow you to bring in your own alcohol and some venues don't allow alcohol at all. Definitely something to think about! And then decorating... *sigh* the possibilities are endless!!
Now let's talk about something I know A LOT about... your wedding photographer. If your wedding photography is important to you (and it should be.. but I might be slightly biased) you should expect to pay at least 10% of your wedding budget on photography. You should meet prospective wedding photographers who not only meet your budget but also shoot in the style of photography you prefer and someone whose personality you can see yourself spending the day with. If their pricing fits your budget and their style is what you're looking for but they are rude to your family and friends or they are controlling over your timeline and insist on scheduling two hours of family formals after your ceremony that probably isn't going to make a pleasant wedding day. I insist on making my couples' wedding day less stressful. You should have a list of questions written down when you meet prospective photographers, and all vendors. You won't remember what you wanted to ask once you get there. Do a little bit of homework on your vendors before you schedule a consultation. Read their reviews on websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot! Other people will be honest about the service they receive!
I make sure I have as much information as I need before the wedding day so I don't have to keep bothering my bride and groom with needs or questions. I also make sure we have a solid timeline worked out and my second shooter and I stick to it as closely as possible the entire wedding day. I also make sure I am available to my couples at all times. More than once I've been texting a bride the day before the wedding, calming jitters, letting her vent about details or just chatting about how excited we all are about the day! After shooting engagement photos, sometimes a boudoir session and then spending six or seven hours with a bride on her wedding day... these girls become close friends.
This is more important than couples realize. The music at your ceremony sets the mood for your wedding. There are options for live musicians as well as recorded music. Do you want to walk down the aisle to Chris Brown's "Forever" or a string quartet playing "Canon in D"? (FYI, you can find referrals for both in my list at the link at the bottom!) And you know the music at your wedding reception will determine if your party is a party or an awkward middle school dance. You know, where everyone sits around in small groups talking until the #1 song on the weekly top 40 comes on, when everyone jumps up and shakes their booties and then when the song is over, it's back to wallflowers. Consider this carefully! And the same goes for DJ's as other vendors. You should meet them first with a list of questions and you should ask if you can pop in on one of their upcoming weddings to see how they work and see if they really can get (and KEEP) the party started!
When you're choosing your wedding cake, you should choose something that fits in your theme and still incorporates your personalities and relationship. You can have something formal with 8 tiers and all different flavors or you can have a simple small cake for the two of you to cut and you can serve your guests cupcakes. It's all about what you want! The most important thing is that it tastes good because this is usually something your guests look forward to! Definitely request a tasting, even if you have a friend making your cake, especially if you choose a unique flavor! This is a great place to let the groom have a big say in things as well! And if you want different things for your wedding cake, consider having a wedding cake (where she gets a majority of the say) and a groom's cake (where he gets all the control). Or... you can surprise him with a groom's cake! Just FYI, Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas for groom's cakes!
A major factor of your wedding reception is what to feed your guests. This will also be a large portion of your wedding day budget. You can choose your lunch/dinner according to your wedding style, for example, bbq buffet for a barn wedding or sit-down 4-course meal for a grand ball. Timing of your ceremony can also dictate what you are expected to serve your guests. If your ceremony is later in the morning or early afternoon, a light lunch is acceptable. If your ceremony will end between lunch and dinner or after usual dinner times, you can serve appetizers and snacks but if your reception will be around dinner-time, your guests will probably expect dinner. Another option you have is to have a break between your ceremony and reception for guests to go back home or to their hotel to freshen up, grab something to eat and then meet back up for a dessert reception and then have appetizers and snack foods later in the night during the hardcore dancing that will go down with your amazing DJ. This option is reasonable if you are going to take a longer amount of time to take formal photos after your ceremony. Couples who want shoot family and bridal party formals and then go off to another location for bride and groom portraits might think about this as an option. Most brides say "I don't want to make people wait too long while we have pictures taken" and this is a way around that. It's definitely not common practice but it's totally acceptable. Just make sure you include this information in your invitation and that your vendors are all in tune with your plans!
I know, I know! So much to think about!! Just take it one step at a time and everything will fall into place! And if you need to vent, I'm here for you, boo! Text me!
Now the moment you've been waiting for! Click here to access this amazing list of wedding professionals!