And plan the perfect anything!!!
My moto for planning anything is to always be coordinated. I know often easier said than done but in this blog I plan to give you some magical keys that will insure that your planning process will be smooth and worry free. Of course I can't stress enough how important it is to hire an experienced and passionate wedding and event professional however I do admire today's DIY bride so I'd love to offer you a few pointers.
First things are first let's lay out your proper party foundation. Foundation- A premise, a basis to build from, a firm starting point. In event planning terms this is your wedding or event date, overall spending budget and location/venue. Of course it isn't impossible to plan your wedding or event without discussing a proper budget and locations with your honey it is just simply that much more tedious. So I suggest sitting down and projecting a realistic budget goal for your wedding or special occasion. I emphasize the word realistic based on your wants and expectations for your special day. Set a date and location that is convenient for the both of you (first) and your prospective guests. The easiest way to win at Jenga is to remove the bottom blocks and place them on top. Once your base foundation is set the rest will fall right into place. When seeking out your venue I suggest looking into and touring at least 3-5 different options in the area of your choosing. Your venue is very important and in the essence that you only want to do this once (or just one more time) then your choice should be the very best one of all your options within your set budget.
Once you have your date, venue and overall budget out of the way your next focus should be sending out your invites and or save the dates. Pretty much because you couldn't send out invites unless you had a date and venue in mind so now is about the right time (Save The Dates are good if you have not yet selected a venue, however to me a decent waste of paper you can do the same thing with an evite). Now I'm not going to touch on your personal planning time line too much as I coordinate in Las Vegas (among other places) the wedding capital of the world. Everyone plans at a different pace so follow these core steps in order and you can plan your perfect wedding or special occasion whether it is next year or next month (for most Vegas weddings next week) and It will turn out wonderfully. My ideal planning duration is about 6-9 months which I feel that is the most adequate amount of time to plan, save and book credible vendors. Hopefully you had some nice engagement photos taken by a great photographer that you can turn into your invitations and even programs making this step that much smoother.
Next you should shift your focus to your major event vendors and providers. These vendors are usually your photographer, caterer/bar, florist and entertainment. They are the backbone to your planning tree and the other vendors are the beautiful added branches that assure your tree (event) is full and flourishing. Be sure to check which services your venue provides and allows you to outsource as this is crucial information when adding on to your development. A lot of venues are all inclusive and that is fine, (not that I always recommend using what comes along with the package) but are often generic and redundant. If that is your wedding or special occasion's desire than that is perfect, However Creative I specializes in unique and stellar design impressions to stain the memory of satisfaction for you and your guests (so I would never recommend redundant). Of course disregard any of this if your location is outdoor with more of a ground up approach. If I may offer one bit of advice it is to hire best experienced photographer your budget will afford. I myself am ashamed to admit that for my own wedding I skimped the photography portion (pretty much because my best friend was booked) and hired a family friend and also had a bunch of random guests to act as our paparazzi. Needless to say I regret not having beautiful photographs that captures my priceless moments, flawless makeup or cleverly coordinated décor. Please hire a reputable professional photographer! It's worth every penny.
Now that your foundation and core is in place this is a time to focus on you. If you haven't said yes to the dress as of yet or picked out your eye catching jewelry now is your time. I always tell my brides your attire budget should be separate from your overall event budget. The reason for this is to allow you to spoil yourself just a little bit. Now please don't take that as your green light to start scoping out Vera Wang's unreleased collection, but I do like my brides to indulge so have fun but be careful. Most often than not your bridal attire is purchased by your mother, grandmother or maid of honor so if you have any of those on your team you should be able to breathe easy. Also if you haven't done so yet go get your future husband's wedding ring (that is usually your cost alone sorry honey). Another helpful tip which is almost just as important as having a good photographer is to hire a professional mobile hair and makeup stylist. I say mobile because the last thing you want to do is run around the day you are getting married (if you are in fact planning a wedding) and I say professional because your cousin isn't going to be able to do your makeup, her own and all of your families faces well enough to be picture perfect. Trust me on that one.
Almost done... Now let's dot our I's and cross our T's. Pull out your notepad and make a shopping list of items in these sections:
1. Ceremony décor- which are often items like: flower girl baskets, ring bearer pillows or ring boxes, unity candle, sand for sand ceremony, your marriage license, an experienced coordinator to help you finish this list etc.
2. Reception- Guest book & pen, canvas photo, Mr. & Mrs. sign or chair sashes, champagne flutes for you and him, favors, table numbers, place cards, select pictures for a slideshow (if you like), cake topper, cake server & knife set, a wonderful and talented coordinator to finish this list and set up the day of, etc.,
3. Bridal Party- These are optional but nice gifts for your bridal party girls and any parents involved are always a sweet touch. Your groom should consider this idea also. Little keepsakes like robes and necklaces are usually appropriate, for men I like ties and watches.
I am hopeful that the content of this blog equipped you with some helpful tools and you are ready to go plan out your very own special day. A few things you need to do a couple weeks before your big day is to become well versed will all your vendor contracts and establish a general events time line to assure everyone is one the same page. Confirm your vendors the same week as your day and make their arrival and departure time clear. I encourage you if you can to hire an experienced wedding and event coordinator at least for day of assistance. These will become their duties and you will be free to simply enjoy your moments, but even if you don't I am positive that your wedding or special occasion will be spectacular and you will wed (debut) beautifully.