Here is the top 10 list of things brides and grooms can expect to see in 2018 weddings. Don’t forget to share in the comments what trends you love and will be using for your own wedding day!
Can’t decide between silver or gold? Mixing metals is one of our favorite 2018 wedding trends, so don’t stress about deciding. Pops of metal look amazing when paired with candles too!
Strapless dresses are taking a backseat to detailed wedding gowns. 2018 will showcase detailed backs, off the shoulder gowns and sleeves of all types.
An absolute favorite in general and part of the 2018 wedding trends, is the gorgeous succulent flower. These have been popular for a few years now, but brides are getting creative and adding them into centerpieces, bouquets and other unexpected areas. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, succulents are perfect for every type of wedding.
Speaking of unexpected florals, 2018 will bring installations that we haven’t seen before. Brides and grooms are getting more creative and bring flowers past the tables and onto places like the ceiling and banisters. Just make sure your venue allows your design and there is enough time to set it up on the day of!
Purples and Blues
With Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Yearbeing ultra-violet, we expect to see plenty of this color throughout the year and into 2019. The past few years have been filled with neutral colors and shades of pink. We are so excited to see bold purples and deep blues make a return to weddings!
Not just for the altar anymore, couples will be using arches to create entrance spaces and substituting them for those popular flower walls. Enhance your walk down the aisle like our winter couple did here with a gorgeous arch in the ceremony space.
Searches for balloons are way up on Pinterest and we expect to see them as a big part of the 2018 wedding trends. We created this balloon ceiling display for The Knot Market Mixer a few years ago, so we’re so excited to see it trending now!
This look has been gaining in popularity ever since the rustic trend began. In 2018 we’ll see even more Boho Chic weddings complete with desconstructed bouquets, outdoor ceremonies and bolder colors.
Couples will get creative in 2018 with different types of guestsbooks and ways for guests to show their love. One of our favorites is this adorable box filled with hearts that guests wrote their well wishes on!
Our favorite wedding trend for 2018 is CoolSculpting which we talked about in another blog. You can literally eat whatever you want, not go to the gym, and still slay in your wedding gown. Without surgery. I know, right?!
What do you think of our top 10 list of 2018 wedding trends? Which will you incorporate into your wedding day? Share with us in the comments below!!
One thing I know as a wedding planner is that brides want to look their best on their wedding day. My clients ask me about everything from personal trainer recommendations to where the best spas are. I have incredible teams of stylists for the day of a wedding and I can even send brides coolsculpting leading up to the big day. I’m always learning about new products available and in the spirit of the shopping season, I have put together my list of the 10 best beauty products for brides.
Check out my favorite products below that are perfect for any bride to be. Whether you’re picking up these items for yourself, or as a stocking stuffer, there’s something here for every bride. Some items can even be received before Christmas, so don’t wait to get that perfect gift!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with Pink Travel Case
If you haven’t heard by now, Dyson makes hair dryers and they rock. A bride’s hair is pretty featured on the wedding day and it’s important to take care of it until then. Using the right blow dryer is an easy way to take care of your hair. This hair dryer monitors the heat on your hair so you’re not frying every strand. The great travel case makes it easy to bring to a destination wedding or even a honeymoon location. Plus, the drying time is cut in half so you can spend less time drying your hair and more time planning the wedding!
La Mer Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
With the winter wind constantly smacking me in the face, unless I wear a ski mask everywhere I go, my skin is rapidly drying out. La Mer is one of my favorite moisturizers and it’s truly the best of the best. If there was any time for a woman to splurge on her skincare, it’s while she’s wedding planning. La Mer reduces fine lines and is a well-known staple of the beauty industry. It was a no-brainer to include this product on my list of the top 10 best beauty products for a bride!
Kylie Cosmetics: The Nice Palette
This eyeshadow palette is so gorgeous! I am not a big fan of palettes that have one of two neutral colors with a bunch of bold ones, so this is one of my favorites. This is a great palette for brides to use on the day of the wedding and even bring along on the honeymoon. The pigments are incredible and the powder doesn’t flake onto your skin during application. Try this out before your wedding day and have fun discovering the look you want when you walk down the aisle!
Juvalips Lip Plumper
Lip liner can make your lips look a bit fuller, but injections can be too extreme for some. Juvalips lip plumper is the best choice for brides looking for something in between. It only takes two minutes for an instant impact as Juvalips increases blow flow to your lips. Results last for 8-10 hours, and longer with continued use. Pick this up now to use in the months before the wedding day, and be sure to use it on the morning your get married as well. Helping to make that first kiss even more amazing, Juvalips was an easy choice for my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides!
Kerstin Florian Night Cream
Kerstin Florian is my personal favorite for skin care and I had to include them in my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides. When planning a wedding, a bride can lose plenty of sleep, which is super bad for her skin. This night cream is super moisturizing and you will wake up with softer and more supple skin. So even if you can’t sleep because you’re worried about the wedding details, your skin won’t show it with this beauty product!
Majestic Castor Oil for Eyelash Growth
Every bride wants long gorgeous lashes, not just on the wedding day, but everyday. Even if you’re planning to wear false lashes on the day you get married, there are plenty of other times you won’t…like while on the beach during the honeymoon. An obvious choice for my top 10 best beauty products for brides is Majestic Pure Eyelash Serum. Castor oil has been used for years to increase hair growth and this product isn’t tested on animals and is completely cruelty free. Don’t wait to pick up this amazing product for your wedding day!
Amope Pedi Perfect
Besides winter taking a toll on the skin on my face, my feet aren’t exactly ready for sandal season. To get ready to wear those open toe slingbacks under your wedding gown, and those flip flops on the honeymoon, pick up this incredibly beauty product. Amope is heavily advertised and by now, everyone has seen the commercials. It has never been so easy to make your feet super smooth and look perfect in any shoe from any angle. Perfect for in between those pedicures you won’t get to during wedding planning, this is a must have beauty product for any bride to be!
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This product has been in my bathroom for over ten years now so I had to include it in my top 10 beauty products for brides list. Got a pimple? No you don’t…not with this! Pack up this little stocking stuffer in your overnight bag for the night before the wedding because it works that fast. Great to have for the whole wedding planning process, especially for brides that break out due to stress.
Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask
You’ve seen those crazy black masks that you peel off from your skin to get rid of blackheads. Well, this is the mask that actually works! Not only does it effectively clean out your pores like in those weirdly satisfying videos, but it softens and firms your skin too. If you’re worried about it being painful, then don’t. The secret is to applying a really thick layer all over your face before letting it dry to peel off. Brides will notice a different immediately and since I am all about instant gratification, this had to make it onto my top 10 best beauty products for brides list!
Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanner
This self-tanner is my total and absolute favorite self-tanner on the market. If you didn’t know this, let me inform you that I am super pale. Right now I can basically use my summer concealer as a contour because I look like a cloud. Self-tanners have always been tough for me to love because they are either too orange, or they streak or smell. I found Fake Bake Flawless about two years ago and I haven’t looked back since. With the mitt that comes with the spray, you get an even look that smells great and doesn’t streak onto your clothes either. Grab this to look great for your bachelorette weekend, the wedding, the honeymoon and forever as a wife!
Whatever your beauty routine is, every bride wants to take it to the next level. Now it’s even easier with my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides and I can’t wait to hear which ones you try. What are you looking to improve before the big day? Share your beauty secrets in the comments below!
As a wedding planner, I am always asked about wedding gifts. The bride wants to know something crazy amazing to get her groom. The groom wants to know what to get that isn’t jewelry. They both want to know what to get their wedding party and their parents. A lot of my couples start this search early because leaving it to the last minute is like leaving holiday shopping to Christmas Eve, which everyone hates. Well if you’re looking for such a gift, check out the list below of 10 crazy amazing wedding gifts and where to get them!
My couples know that when they work with me as their wedding planner, they have access to all of the advice they need. As their planner, they can trust the advice that I give them because it stems from real experience. The amount of surprise gifts I have helped plan with my brides and grooms is more than you could ever guess.
Amazon is Amazing for Wedding Gifts
I am a firm believer in the art of gift giving and taking the time to find something amazing. Whether it’s the couple buying something for each other, gifts for the wedding party or their parents, it’s a way to say “thank you” to these people. But what can you buy that isn’t some version of something you’ve already bought before?
Amazon is the website that has it all. Seriously. Like, everything is there and yet none of my couples consider this resource (until I tell them). They even have those wedding gifts that are on a totally different level like…
1. Rolex for Him
Everyone knows that a watch is the classic gift for a bride to give her groom. Of course, if you’re me, your husband doesn’t wear a watch because “Why should I wear a watch when I have a cell phone?” So, this wasn’t something that I could’ve considered and if you’re in the same boat, there are other options in this list, don’t you worry.
If you know the groom will love a watch as a wedding gift, but you don’t know how to compete with his already massive collection, this is your answer. First off, it’s a Rolex, and even those groom’s that already own a Rolex will want another one. Second, it’s likely to be different than anything else he already has, and a watch collector always appreciates diversity. This amazing wedding gift is one of a kind and will remind him that you are too.
2. Rolex for Her
If you’re that couple that first bonded over your love of watches, then obviously the perfect wedding gift is a watch. For the bride I am obsessed with this Rolex and the details like that pink dial.
This watch is perfect for any bride, whether or not she is a collector. It’s a classic piece that she can wear everywhere from the mall to the first wedding you attend as a married couple. What truly makes this an amazing wedding gift is that she can wear it everyday, which means she’ll be thinking of you just as much.
3. Personalized Frame for Mom and Dad
There is a reason that many of the most popular wedding gifts involve some level of personalizing. It shows time and thought went into the purchase of the gift and it also means that no one else has exactly that gift. Total home run for parents of the bride and groom, trust me.
This wedding gift can be given to mom and dad before the wedding or after as a birthday or holiday gift. If given before, you can include photos from a special day you had together. After the wedding, this can be given as a little extra thank you with your professional wedding photos that you know they want to display at their home.
4. Tried and True Wedding Gift: Those Hangers
If you haven’t been in a wedding party and been given one these hangers, I know you have seen them before. Maybe on Pinterest, maybe in someone else’s wedding photos, but you have seen them.
This wedding gift is a trend that I have loved as a wedding planner since the day it became “a thing”. The bridesmaids all need a hanger for their dresses and gifting them these hangers with their names is a beautiful sentiment. Bonus? They look great in photos, unlike whatever random hanger your girls bring on the day of.
5. The Tote Every Bridesmaid Needs
Let’s be honest, ladies stuff their purses with plenty of stuff daily. This means on the wedding day, when they can’t fit everything into their dress pockets or itsy bitsy clutch, they will need something to hold their stuff.
I always loved the idea of the bride presenting a few small gifts to her bridesmaids instead of one big ticket item. It’s a more thoughtful wedding gift when there are a few small items like this tote. If you’re the bride that wants to select the necklaces that your bridesmaids wear, you can even use this tote to act as the packaging. Surprise! More stuff!
6. Shave and a Haircut
Assuming the groomsmen have been in a wedding before, or are over the age of 21, it’s safe to assume they all have flasks already. Even if they don’t, unless you have some weird concealed alcohol bond with your guys, a flask is a wedding gift that is done and over.
This shaving kit is such an awesome wedding gift for your groomsmen and even the father of the groom and father of the bride. On the day of the wedding, while the ladies spend 17 hours getting ready, I recommend to my groom that he takes the men in the group for traditional shaves and haircuts. It always results in great pictures and amazing memories. This is the perfect wedding gift whether or not you decide to hit up the barbershop on the wedding day, and one your guys will appreciate.
7. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Jewelry is the number one wedding gift from a groom to his bride, but after the hardship of selecting the perfect engagement ring, most grooms are done. No matter what your bride wears, if that engagement ring is a diamond, you can bet she’ll wear that same stone in her ears too.
The grooms I work with all want a piece of jewelry that their bride can wear down the aisle. Common concerns? That she won’t like it and then won’t wear it (or will wear it and be miserable). Grooms also worry that their jewelry wedding gift won’t work with the gown, or that the something borrowed will be worn instead. Diamond earrings are classic, so they go with any gown…just check in with mom to make sure you’re not competing with her wedding gift.
Being a bride can be stressful, but being a bridesmaid can make any girl lose her mind. Between attending vendor appointments with the bride to paying more than they thought for the dress and that bachelorette party in Miami you just had to have, it’s not always easy being part of the squad.
Let your ladies know that you appreciate their efforts and you recognize things weren’t always easy with this super cute Revel and Glow wedding gift. It comes with fun bath bombs and anti-wrinkle under eye masks for those tired eyes. This product can check off boxes in the organic, natural and vegan categories too, which means it’s not just an amazing wedding gift, but a really thoughtful one too.
9. Tears of Joy
The one item that I have to replace in my emergency kit after every wedding are the tissues. While the bride and groom might cry, it’s the parents of the couple that tend to shed the most tears. Show how much you know your parents and present them with something they can hold onto all night to wipe away their tears of joy.
You can use the words provided, or you can use your own to be printed on this personalized handkerchief. It’s the perfect accessory for a parent of the bride or the groom, and something they will cherish long after the big day is over.
10. For the Romantic Marriage Ahead
When the wedding is over and the honeymoon has ended, many couples go through a stage of sadness as their is suddenly nothing left to plan. If you spent the better part of a year (or longer) planning your 5 hour party, there’s always a let down when it all comes to an end. This is why I love wedding gifts that can be used for your future.
This picnic bag is the perfect wedding gift for a bride to give her groom or vice versa. Complete with a wine bottle holder, plates, utensils and even a blanket to sit on, this bag has everything for the newlywed couple and the couple going on 20 years. Every time you use it, you’ll think back to your wedding day and be able to look back on how far you have come as a couple.
What wedding gifts are you planning to give? I’d love to hear what creative ideas you all have so be sure to share in the comment section below!
If you’ve ever been invited to a wedding, at some point in the process you probably received a “Save the Date” card in the mail. That card is sent out before the invitations, roughly 6-8 months prior to the wedding date. Many couples choose to be informal and use one of their engagement photos for the background along with general wedding details. But that’s not the only reason why you totally need an engagement photo session prior to your wedding…
**Please note there are affiliate links within this blog post which means I may receive a small percentage of the price at no additional cost to you. No worries though, as I never endorse anything I don’t absolutely love**
As a wedding planner, I am always encouraging my couples to schedule an engagement session with their wedding photographer. Besides the fact that you’ll receive great photos of the two of you, there are multiple other benefits to consider. There are also things to consider as well as some misconceptions that I am going to share in this blog. If you are engaged and on the fence about setting up an engagement session, not sure about the details or just totally clueless, then read on!
As a wedding planner, I have personally witnessed couples lose their minds so much that eloping sounded like the best idea ever. These meltdows didn’t happen while looking for a venue or the perfect wedding gown though. In fact, that hard stuff is really nothing compared to the endless hours it takes most couples to figure out how to create their wedding day guest list.
Determining a guest list for a wedding is one of the more annoying tasks in life. It’s right up there with filing your taxes and getting your passport renewed. You’d think it would be easy since it’s simply listing people you want to spend time with. But it’s so much more than that.
There are plenty of charts and guides to help you decide which people make the cut, but it’s not just about inviting someone because they invited you to their wedding. Regardless of your invite rules, there will always be exceptions to juggle. Combine that with the people your parents would like to are making you invite, and pretty soon it’s a three ring circus.
But you can avoid flying through the air without a net by eliminating the guests with toxic behavioral traits. In my most recent YouTube vlog seen here, I talk about these guests, so make sure you check that out. Identifying people you know with these horrible traits (and not inviting them) is how to create your guest list for your wedding day. Sadly, sometimes that won’t be possible…
Below are the 10 types of people not to invite to your wedding, and what to do if they show up anyway (because sometimes that happens):
1. The Thunder Stealer
You probably already know the exact person in your life that would not think twice about making your wedding day about them. These are the guests that think nothing of proposing during your reception or taking a pregnancy test in the bathroom and asking your MC to announce the results. Maybe this doesn’t make your skin crawl, but I personally think it’s tacky and would’ve gone full on linebacker had this happened at my own wedding.
While it might not be possible to keep this person off the invite list, you should make sure they aren’t in your wedding party. Nothing makes taking the spotlight away easier than standing next to the people who are in it all day. Assuming they are just a guest, make sure it’s known how you feel about those “bouquet and garter tosses turn wedding proposal” videos you’ve seen.
Then take it one step further and instruct whomever controls the microphone to not allow anyone to use it except for those you know about. In advance.
Oh you’re pregnant? Sorry, can’t hear you.
2. The Guest That Wants You To Fix Everything
This helpless soul makes you wonder how they survive getting through the day. Prior to the wedding, they might ask how they should get a hotel room when the block is full. Meanwhile, it’s full because they procrastinated and missed the cutoff date. During the wedding they could expect you to fix everything from an incorrect food order to your sister’s attitude problem.
There are several ways to prevent having to hold this person’s hand while simultaneously planning and/or enjoying (God Forbid) your wedding day. In the instance of a hotel block, make sure that your RSVP date coincides with the date that the hotel rooms will be released. You can read more about how to do that here in my wedding planning timeline blog.
From not securing their hotel room in the block you set up, to expecting you to handle their super specific vegan, gluten-free, no carbs entrée request, there is nothing they will not ask of you. This is why you make sure that they ask someone else. Discuss, in advance, whom is responsible for handling Aunt Sally’s complaints about everything under the sun.
3. The Photographer
For the life of me, I cannot figure out how wedding guests lose all common sense when it comes to taking pictures at a wedding. I have seen wedding guests turn into Stretch Armstrong and reach across an aisle to take the picture of the couple’s first kiss. Meanwhile, they completely blocked the photographer and now he doesn’t have one of the shots you really wanted.
Thanks Aunt Sally.
It’s impossible to keep these people off your invite list (because it’s everybody), but you can take preventative measures. Consider having an “unplugged” wedding, where guests are asked to not take pictures. If that is too extreme, you should at least do this for your ceremony. You can guide your guests with signage, notes in the program and even announcements made by your officiant and MC.
[tweetshare tweet=”Most importantly, communicate to your guests that no pictures are to be posted onto social media until you and your spouse want them to be.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]This can mean no posting until the reception as long as they use your hashtag, to nothing posted until you get your professional photos back. Guests should respect your wishes here, but they need to know what those wishes are.
4. The Illiterate RSVPer
Somehow, sending back the RSVP card is basically the absolute hardest thing in the world for some people. When you create your guest list, this is a personality that will be tough to avoid. In fact, you probably can already guess which people will fail at RSVPing correctly. Now add 10 more people to that list to even come close to being accurate.
I have seen cards come back without names on them, with additional guests added (up to 5), questions handwritten to the couple and just missing information in general. Everytime I see a response card come back late and/or with missing and/or incorrect information, I am reminded why certain warning labels exist.
Be sure to develop a wedding website where guests can constantly access information and put the web address on your Save The Dates. The invitations should have all of the information needed but be designed in a way that is easy to read. If you’re having a black tie wedding without children, putting that in fine print buried under calligraphy is a great way to get people showing up in jeans with their little ones in tow.
Once you receive the responses, both the late ones and ones missing information, reach out to those people immediately. One week prior to your RSVP date, call every single person that you don’t have a response from yet. You’ll get the inevitable “but the RSVP date isn’t until….” nonsense, but you can’t wait until then to call so just ignore it.
5. The Passive Aggressive Guest
Maybe it’s just me, but nothing makes my head explode more than someone being passive aggressive. I’m a super direct person and it’s challenging to call these people out since their response is frequently “I didn’t mean it like that”.
When you know they did.
A passive aggressive wedding guest will express themselves during your wedding planning by using words like “interesting” to describe your venue, your dress, your everthing. It’s not a negative comment but it’s also not positive and needs to exit stage left from your guest list.
When they aren’t commenting on how interesting everything is, they are side-stepping you by calling your mom to confide in her about how your lack of a “plus one” option has hurt their feelings. They always make sure to preface everything with “don’t tell” while full knowing that it will be told to you. Which, of course, wasn’t their intention…except it was.
If you can’t leave this person off the guest list, you have two options about how to deal with them. You can choose to appease them in their requests delivered third hand through your mom and just let it roll off your back. However, if you know this will start bothering you, anticipate the behavior and let mom (or whomever) know that you expect them to diffuse the situation and not take it you. It is very important that you have a support system while planning your wedding, so ask for one.
6. The Competitor
Know someone that just got married? Do they consider themselves a wedding expert? Are they always reminding you how fabulous their wedding was? Leave them off your wedding guest list.
Look, it’s fine to look back on your wedding day and how perfect it was. However, recent brides (and even some grooms) can take it to Level 11 by giving you a steady stream of unsolicited advice and then backing it up with evidence from their own flawless wedding day. If you’re able to roll your eyes and laugh with your fiance about this, then just ignore it. If not, you can limit your interaction leading up to the wedding day as well as on the actual day of.
On the flip side of that is the bride that offers advice to you based on the mistakes she made that she doesn’t want you to make. I’m a big believer in not giving advice unless it’s asked for, so if this scenario bothers you, speak up. You don’t have to be a mean girl about it either, and a simple “thanks, we’re good so far but will let you know if we need anything” will suffice.
When designing your seating chart (a whole separate type of hell), place this person with people she either knows and that can handle her, or with people she doesn’t know at all. If she is with people she doesn’t know, she might think twice about talking about how fabulous her own wedding was while attending yours.
7a. The Guest That Doesn’t Care Where She Sits (Except She Does)
If you haven’t reached the point in your planning where you are designing your seating chart, it’s not possible for you to imagine how tortorous it can be. Somewhat of a juggling act, you’ll have to contend with people that don’t like each other, people that don’t know each other and people that will be offended if they aren’t sitting near you. Those are just three of the hurdles.
A little different than the passive aggressive wedding guest, this person is only concerned about one thing and it’s where she is sitting. Some of my couples have told me stories of guests asking where they would be sitting before the invitations were even sent out. Presumptious much?
Passively, this guest will tell you that it doesn’t matter one bit what table she is located at, but just in case you were curious, here are 40 places she would prefer not to be. Unlike the next example, she will sit where she is told, but best believe you will know she isn’t happy about it. This is also another reason not to have a receiving line aka an assembly line of complaints passed off as concerns by your guests.
It’s always a good idea to leave whiny brats off your guest list in general. If you find yourself contending with one and stuck in a conversation of where an appropriate seat for her would be, how you react will set the tone going forward. If you can brush it off, just do that and go about your business of wedding planning. If you can’t, depending on your relationship, you can either be upfront with how this discussion is stressing you out or you can use sarcasm and suggest a seat on her couch for the evening.
7b. The Guest That Plays Musical Chairs
While the guest mentioned above has a full understanding of sitting where you’re supposed to sit, this guest is YOLO about the situation. On many occassions, I have been approached by guests that when they walk over to me look like they are going into combat. As I hold the seating chart in my hands during the cocktail hour, many want to know where they are sitting, especially if they can’t find their escort cards.
But then there are those guests that aren’t satisfied with the answer. Instead of looking at the escort board or cards on their own, they usually want to see the list I am holding which shows each table and the names of the guests at each one. Typically, I just ask this guest whom they are looking for, tell them the people at their own table and call it a day.
Whatever the approach, many guests have asked (rather, told) me to switch their seat. It never matters how hard the couple worked to create the seating chart or that it’s their wedding and their call. It also never seems to matter that this could affect the place settings, the food orders, or anything else. They just need to be moved and never tell me why.
Spoiler alert: I have never moved a guest. Ever.
Do not feel pressured to cave to this guest’s immature and unreasonable request. Should they approach you directly or through someone else, you say nothing more than “I will see what I can do.” Then do nothing. The bottom line is, this guest is an adult and they can find ways to avoid the table unless it’s time for dinner by visiting the dance floor or the bar.
Not your circus, not your monkeys.
8. The Really Bad Gift Giver
I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but let’s go there anyway.
When you are planning your wedding, part of the floor chart for your reception will include the placement of the gift table. This is typically a small table, anywhere from 30-48” (or if you’re a certain bride of mine, 6 feet and she’s lucky I adore her). On this table, you will place a card box/birdcage for guests to place their cards of well wishes.
Typically, this table is near the cake table and sweetheart table, and there is no room for large packages. However, some people think a card and a check is just unacceptable and that you would much prefer a hand cut, 450 pound, crystal Waterford vase that looks like something in your grandmother’s house that she got at her wedding. This box will also come wrapped in really tacky and usually reflective wrapping paper.
Being that the gift table is only available during the reception (usually), there is no opportunity for guests to drop their cards until that time. This means they will carry it with them during the ceremony and the cocktail hour. Envelopes fit easily inside purses and suit pockets. Not so much in the case of the vase that you don’t need.
To avoid watching Aunt Betty (because let’s give Sally a break) walk around with a package that seems so heavy her hips might break, hide all of your wedding registries the day of your bridal shower.
Guests sometimes refer to these registries when they want to actually give you something and when they see they no longer exist one of two things will happen:
They ask your mom (sorry moms) what happened and what to get you. Prepare mom to say something like “they’re all set really/honestly a check will be just fine.” Be prepared to say the exact same thing should you be asked directly. You might still get a gift, but at least you tried to avoid it and hopefully the receipt is included.
They shrug their shoulders and just go the check in card route.
Of course, there is also the option of having a registry for your honeymoon through sites like Honeyfund where guests can purchase excursions and such for you in advance. If you think your guest list is chock full of people that have to buy something because a check is so not personal (like my mother), consider setting up something like this so that everyone’s happy.
9. The Financial Analyst
Weddings are expensive and even though people never like to talk about money, that awkwardness about the subject seems to vaporize when people want to know what you spent on the big day. Whether it’s a direct question or beating around the bush, you will likely have a guest or two want to know what everything cost.
Now, to be fair, many wedding guests want to know what you spent per plate so that they can cover that cost in their gift/check in card. However, with some venues starting at the $200 per person plus plus mark, it’s not likely that information will help as I know of few wedding guests cutting $400 and $500 checks.
For whatever reason, you will be seen as rude if you don’t answer “how much were these flowers?”. There isn’t one good reason to give an answer and you wouldn’t believe how offended some guests get when they found out what you spent. I mean, no one is questioning the amount of money Aunt Sally is spending on her sterling silver collection, so…
Dance around these questions with non-answers. If you’re still planning, then just say that the final bill hasn’t come out yet. Follow it up with a playful, “Why? Do you want to cover it?” That should shut it down moving forward.
When the questions come past the point of knowing what everything costs, say anything but a number. Phrases like “we got such a good deal”, “so much less than we thought” and “I can’t even remember anymore” are good pacifiers. But never ever give a number and remind yourself that it is inappropriate for anyone to ask in the first place.
10. The Drunk
It happens. It’s a wedding. Weddings have open bars (the good ones at least). You can’t keep this person off your guest list, but you can keep the wedding going without being kicked out. Assuming this drunk or the drunks are friendly and not bitter angry drunks that want to smash centerpieces, here are a few preventative measures to take:
Give a head’s up about guests you’re worried about to your venue, the catering staff and anyone handling liquor such as the bartenders. Make sure you understand the shot policy and that they have the right to cut people off, and make sure they know you would like that strongly enforced.
If there isn’t a “no shot” policy, make it one
Don’t service any alcohol prior to your ceremony.
Keep these people out of your wedding party if possible.
Have a strict list of people that are allowed to use the microphone and give a copy to your MC, wedding planner and venue coordinator. No toasts unless you’re on the list.
Ask a few people close to you to keep an eye on anyone you’re worried about and if they see things getting out of control to speak to the coordinators about how to handle the situation.
Designing your guest list can be a nightmare and should be one of the first items on your to-do list. If there are guests you are on the fence about, push them onto a B list or off the list completely. A great group of guests can make or break a wedding day and there are no do-overs. It’s perfectly fine to be cut-throat when making final guest list decisions.
But if you can’t remove everyone you want to, now at least you’ll be able to handle them.
What guests are you worried about attending your wedding? Is there a type that I missed and you want to warn other couples? Need more advice? Leave me a comment and share your stories below!
Welcome to the rest of the real wedding planning checklist. If you missed the first part, make sure you read this first!
In Part 1, I talked about some bigger items like selecting your wedding venue and hiring your photographer, band and of course, wedding planner. In this part of the blog, I will finish off the rest of the wedding planning checklist and tell you when to book everything from lighting to restroom trailers.
Lighting and Other Décor
What your lighting will look like will depend on what your venue offers. If you’re working with a venue with an in-house lighting designer, then their availability is less of a priority than if you were to bring an outside vendor in. That said, as a designer, I like to handle all of the aesthetic components at the same time since they all work together. This means lighting is done on the earlier side.
If you’re looking for basic lighting features like wall washes and monograms and you’ve booked a DJ, there’s a strong possibility that they can handle those features. However, if you’re looking for things like pin-spots and hung lights, then a lighting designer is essential.
Good lighting designers can be few and far between, so if you have the time, start your outreach 5-7 months prior to your wedding date. Pressed for time but lighting is a priority? Before selecting venues to tour, be sure to find out exactly what they offer and definitely what they allow. Give priority to venues with in house lighting designers in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
Other décor like furniture rentals, linens and signage can frequently be combined with your other vendors’ services. Check with your florist for their rental list and your stationery designer for signage. Bonus: the more you book with one vendor, the better that vendor can do on their price.
I am always majorly surprised when a couple contacts me for full service and they haven’t considered something very important: the person performing the ceremony. If you’re not getting married in a religious house, you will need an officiant to make the marriage, you know, legal.
Depending on the state you’re in, a friend and/or family member might not be able to perform this service. Truth be told that’s not always a good idea anyway, but I digress…
Since it is impossible to be in two places at the same time, officiants, especially the good ones, book up a year or two (nope, not a typo) in advance. Along with wedding gown and venue, I always make securing a wedding officiant a major priority. If you’ve got the 12 months, then use them and if you’ve got more, use those too.
But if you’re working with much less, use whatever you have. To speed up the process, ask for recommendations from your married friends and family, get on google, talk to your venue about their vendors…basically do whatever you have to do and get this done.
This can be time consuming because yes, you will actually need to meet with these people. A skype or phone call won’t cut it here and officiants tend to be busy on weekends with…wait for it…weddings. If possible, block out a weekday and meet with a handful all on the same day. To narrow your choices down, look for or ask for videos of the officiants presiding over weddings so you can see them in action.
Wedding Wardrobe for Everyone Else
Bridesmaids and groomsmen all need stuff to wear and let’s not forget the groom and sometimes parents that are looking for assistance. Just like stationery, this timing will depend on what you’re looking for and just like a wedding gown, timing depends on designers.
I personally believe and always suggest that my brides have at least an idea of what they want their bridesmaids to wear before I set up any appointments. To save time, look into stores that have similar styles to what you want and only make appointments with them. It should also come as no surprise that weekends book up first and if you can handle this on a weekday, you’re likely to get an appointment much quicker.
The bridesmaid wardrobe process should start much earlier than you think or have been told. Got 9-10 months before your wedding? That’s perfect as some designers take 9 months to get their dresses in. Most other designers will take at least 6 months and a select few will take less. But unlike your wedding gown, you can’t grab samples of these because you likely need more than one.
If you don’t have the time, treat this like your wedding gown shopping and talk to stores in advance about what they have and how long everything takes to come in. Be transparent about the time you’re working with and visit stores with the best and most options. To really cut down on time, go to the stores to select the gown or gowns yourself and then leave it to your bridesmaids to only deal with getting measured instead of giving opinions.
For the boys, your options are renting or owning (sucks to be a bridesmaid…for now…subscribe to my YouTube Channel to find out more) and less time isn’t always a bad thing. The more traditional you’re going, i.e. black tuxes all around, the easier and less time consuming this will be. A word of caution in regard to timing and tux rentals: prom season is going to get in your way and you’ll have to factor that 1-2 month period into your planning timeline.
Should you not be going down the black tuxedo route, there’s a chance that you’ll need custom suits. If you want anything from what you think is a gray tuxedo or a blue tuxedo, or any other color, then you actually are looking for a suit. For more about that, be sure to check out my YouTube video discussing the difference between tuxedos and suits.
Custom suits require a 4 month window of time, so if you have that, you’re golden. You don’t necessarily need more than that for rentals, but if your groomsmen are spread out geographically, the more time you can give, the better. Typically, this isn’t an area of concern even with shorter engagements, but a common mistake I see here is couples leaving it as one of the last things to do.
Limos, shuttles, party buses and magic carpets should be booked 8 months prior to your wedding or earlier if possible. Just like tuxedo rentals, prom season severely affects the availability of transportation companies. You don’t want to use multiple companies (seriously, do not do this) so it’s important to get this done early on so that you have choices.
Less than 8 months to check this off your list? You’ll likely be doing multiple vendor bookings at the same time, so add this one to the list. Save yourself some time by figuring out exactly what you need, for how long and from where to where. Consider how you and your fiancé will be traveling, as well as your wedding party and any immediate family including parents and grandparents.
If you want to provide transportation for your guests, booking shuttles is the way to go. These vehicles vary from 14 passenger vans to 55 passenger buses and should be booked early with the rest of the vehicles. Before you commit to transportation for your guests from a separate company, you should talk to your hotel block about their options. Speaking of which…
9 times out of 10, and I actually think it’s more like 10 times out of 10, I set up hotel blocks for my couples. This might seem like something that can be done quickly, but take my word that it can be fairly complicated.
Because I like to handle transportation 9-10 months prior to the wedding and some of the transportation will be affected by a hotel block, I do these at the same time. I give automatic priority to hotels that offer shuttle service in house and that don’t have a financial obligation.
Unfortunately, both of these things have become close to extinct which only means you will need more time to find these dinosaurs in the first place.
If you’re not looking to shuttle your guests on the wedding day and you have only a few months to plan, typically 4-5 months out will be good enough to set up a block. It’s important to note that most blocks expire a full month before your wedding though. If you’re getting married around the holidays or other “hotel worthy” dates like Valentine’s Day, President’s Day Weekend, etc. then set up your block as soon as possible.
I mentioned that setting up a hotel block isn’t as easy as it seems and besides not being easy, it tends to be frustrating. Your time will be consumed with finding out the policy of each hotel and if you want to actually speak with someone there, good luck as they all hold typical 9-5, Monday through Friday hours.
A great way to save time and avoid a massive headache that will turn any normal bride into a zilla, is to use a service that does it for you. There are plenty available out there, but when I’m not handling the blocks myself, I like to use “Where Will The Stay?”. You can hear more about them and what they can do on my favorites segment here! Oh, and it’s free.
Hair and Make-Up
It probably feels like I am suggesting to do everything immediately if you’re getting married in less than a year. If it doesn’t feel that way yet, it’s about to.
Hair and Make-Up services are something I try to book 6-8 months out if the couple has the time. Stylists book up quickly and are majorly affected by peak wedding season. Ideally, you’ll be hiring a company that will bring multiple hair and make-up stylists on the day of the wedding for the bride, bridesmaids and anyone else who needs it.
It’s important to leave time for a trial which you can have before booking or after…though I typically recommend before. Trials are another one of those “weekdays are better” things since stylists are busy with weddings and working in general on the weekends.
With limited time, consider hiring someone you have worked with before and see if they are able to put a team together. I would also recommend asking your photographer if they recommend anyone since it’s not a horrible idea to book these two vendors at the same time.
The Other Stuff You Didn’t Think Of (But I Did Because It’s My Job)
Everything I have discussed so far covers the basics that every wedding day needs. But what about those weddings that take place at venues with in-house nothing or just in-house a few things? What do you book when?
Outside Food and Beverage
If you’re dreaming of a “grow your own venue” deal where you get to bring in an outside caterer, then get ready to plan this 9-12+ months out. This falls in line with when you would book a venue since many venues include food as one of those essential things. Plus, when you bring in this outside service, you might need things to put the food on like plates and silverware and glassware is always nice to offer your guests.
More than 12 months to plan or at least 9 months and you’re in a good position to have choices available. Wrenches will get thrown into your planning timeline here around the holidays when caterers are super busy and wedding season can be a tough time to pin them down as well. You should consider that when deciding when to start the search.
In general, I would recommend to couples with limited time to use a venue with as much stuff included as possible. But the heart wants what it wants right? Put this at the top of your list of things to do regardless and save time by asking for referrals from the venue you book as well as from friends and family.
Get on the same page with your fiancé in regard to type of food and style (sit down, buffet, etc.) that you want before making any phone calls. Liquor laws vary from state to state, so make sure you know if BYOB is an option or if your caterer will have to provide the liquor and only talk to caterers that can handle playing by the rules. To save even more time, work with caterers that will handle bringing in tables, chairs, linens and all of the basics so you don’t have to rent anything.
Barns and farms are great (they are, don’t be a hater) but very few have indoor plumbing which means bringing in restroom trailers. These should be booked at least 5-6 months out, so a short engagement doesn’t usually pose a problem here. When searching for venues, find out whom they recommend (they should absolutely be able to tell you this) and what their electrical and water hook-ups are like. The trailer companies will need this information to give you pricing and let you know if they can even handle the venue’s property.
Cigar Rollers, Photobooths, and Other Fun Vendors
Novelty vendors such as these are a dime a dozen, though the best are frequently booked up in advance. Many of my couples don’t decide that they want vendors from the “fun” category until we’re within 6 months or so of their wedding. By that time, it comes down to having some extra money in the budget or suddenly realizing they always wanted something. I’ve never had an issue booking that close to the wedding date, so don’t panic if you’re tight on time.
Saving the best for last, I always recommend a travel agency for my couples to work with for their honeymoon needs. Of course, I am able to make recommendations, but for truly personal attention and to save time, working with a travel agency is the best way to go.
I don’t handle this until about 6 or 7 months prior to the wedding date, but if I’m able to, I will get it done earlier. Travel agents frequently have conferences throughout the year and if they are away, they won’t be able to get back to you quickly. Put together a wish list of places if possible and find an agency that has specialists.
If you’re not working with a travel agent or if you’re going to honeymoon during a popular vacation time such as spring break or the holidays, start the process 7 months out. Not possible? Consider having flexible travel dates if you can and try to give yourself a minimum of 4 months before the wedding date.
Another option and one than many of my couples explore, is taking the honeymoon a few months past the wedding date. This gives them and can give you extra time to pull this all together either with an agency or on your own.
I know there are countless wedding planning timelines available to you and many come in a pretty printable template too. But wedding planning isn’t easy, which you may already be finding out. There are times of the year to always be aware of and in general, the more time you have, the better.
Unlike all of the timelines out there, I am completely aware that no two engagements are the same and 12 month timelines doesn’t always exist for everyone. You can’t book your venue 9-12 months out with less than 6 months to plan. I hope my wedding planner secrets gave you ideas on how to increase the time you do have instead of working with the time you don’t.
Are you planning a wedding with less than a year to get it all done? What advice do you have for other couples with short engagements? Share what you’ve done or what you wish you had done differently in the comments section below!
If you’re engaged, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably visited a wedding website or 50 and come across their version of a wedding planning checklist. What you don’t know is why those wedding planning checklists totally suck.
You know the type of checklists I’m talking about: what to do first through what to do last and when to do it. They all start the same way telling you to get that gown and venue somewhere between 9 and 12 months before your actual wedding date.
But what happens when you have a 6 month long engagement?
How can you secure your wedding venue and your wedding gown 12 months before your wedding when your wedding is only 6 months away?
It’s basic wedding math.
Actually, no, it’s just basic math. Because 12 is bigger than 6 and that’s just 1 reason why those wedding planning checklists suck for 2 people getting married.
And I’m going to tell you all the other reasons these checklists suck in this blog. So get ready to delete those sites you’ve bookmarked and remove all of those planning checklist pins. This is what you really need. Straight up, no chaser.
To make this easy to apply to any wedding, I have listed some basic wedding planning “to-do” items and when to do what. I am also sharing my secrets that you might never have thought about. Because, yes, despite what those self-proclaimed number one wedding websites say, it actually does matter when you get married.
Disclaimer: I am already going to assume that everyone reading this knows that figuring out your budget is the first step to any wedding planning ever. Know your numbers before you do anything.
Those Standard 12 Month Out To-Do Items
The Wedding Gown
Picking out the dress is almost always done first when planning a wedding. Of course, this is primarily because it’s basically shopping. However, it’s shopping for the most important piece of wardrobe you will likely ever own. Getting the gown makes the engagement feel “real” for many brides.
Ideally you should purchase the gown a full year prior to your wedding date. Many designers will need upwards of 9 months to create and send the gown to the store. Then you have to account for any time needed for alterations. Personally, I like to add in extra time in the off chance that my bride either has buyer’s remorse or something goes wrong with the order.
Something frequently ignored by these wedding timelines is the very real time it takes to actually get things done. In this case, it’s important to consider the time it takes to actually find that gown. I mean, if it takes over 20 years to find the groom, then it’s not going to take 20 seconds to find the dress you want to wear when you marry him.
There are so many moving parts to consider when figuring out how much time you will need to shop for your wedding gown. First and foremost, weekend appointments book up quickly, and it can take up to a month to secure a date. You also have to consider the schedules of anyone you want to have with you when you shop. Lastly, if you think you’ll need multiple shops to visit, you’ll also need multiple days for said appointments.
These are just some of the reasons why the wedding gown should be ordered one year in advance. Obviously, that isn’t always possible if your engagement is shorter than 12 months.
It’s not hopeless if you’re engaged in January and getting married in June though. You should make finding your gown one of your three first priorities (the second one is next), but you don’t necessarily need a full year. Here are a few wedding planner secrets:
Purchase a sample or “off the rack”
When you go to try on wedding gowns, every gown you try on is considered a sample or “off the rack”. Many times these gowns will be available for purchase at a reduced cost. The three things every bride should be aware of are:
These gowns are sample size i.e. 10-12 dress which translates to 6-8 real size. It’s a lot easier to shorten a gown and make it smaller than it is to add length and let it out. It’s also less expensive.
Sample sales are typically final, so if you aren’t in love with it, don’t buy it.
Since these gowns have been tried on, there will be imperfections and not all of those imperfections will be fixable. Sometimes this will be as minor as a hem needing to be re-stitched and other times it’s major like missing beading.
Set up your appointments on a weekday if possible or a weeknight as a second option.
I’ve already mentioned this, but weekend appointments are hard to come by since people, you know…have jobs. If you’re in a rush to say “yes to the dress”, a weekday appointment will be available sooner and you’ll likely not be rushed through the appointment and able to try on even more gowns.
Bring only 1 other person with you
I am 110% against entourages when shopping for any wedding wardrobe, but especially when looking for a wedding gown. Your bridesmaids aren’t “like that”…until they are. Opinions always fly and all they do is take up time during the appointment and delay your ability to make a decision. You also have to work around their schedules and pray you can find time when you’re all available. If you really need your crew (which many bridal salons don’t allow FYI) then bring them to show them what you’ve already chosen.
Look for designers that can turn a dress around quicker than average
Not every designer needs 9 months to deliver a wedding gown. Before you crack out on Pinterest and need to have a dress by a certain designer, find out what designers are available at your local salon and when their gowns come in by. Hint: Pronovias frequently can turn around a dress in under 6 months and I’ve also had luck with Moonlight Bridal.
Speak to the wedding salons about rush orders
If you’re really in a bind or fall in love with a designer that takes longer than you have, speak with the salons about paying to rush your order. Sometimes this can buy you as much as a month, but coupled with buying from a designer that’s quicker than the rest, you might be good to go.
Just like buying a sample, you can go the vintage route and pick up a pre-worn gown. I do not, like really do not, advocate buying your wedding gown online. However, you can find some really beautiful vintage wedding gowns at reputable small stores. In fact, there are stores literally dedicated to selling vintage gowns. If you’re wedding is incorporating this hot-never-going-to-die trend, then look around for a shop like this.
Attend trunk shows
Trunk shows are great for two reasons. The first reason is that you can get anywhere from 10-20% off of the gown’s full price. The second reason is that you can see an entire collection from a designer as opposed to the 3-10 pieces the salon currently has. This is perfect for the bride that wants a specific designer’s wedding gown as it takes away the need to bounce from store to store looking at options.
Your Wedding Venue
The second major priority when planning a wedding is finding the venue.
Sometimes, 12 months isn’t enough time to get this done though. With wedding season spanning the months between May-November and peaking in September and October, your dream venue might be booked up to two years in advance. I cannot tell you how many couples I have worked with that had to make the decision whether or not to extend the length of their engagement solely to get their venue of choice.
If that’s not an option for you, then it’s best to be flexible with your venue choices. Not just normal flexible either. More like Gumbi flexible.
The venue is also going to set your wedding date. I know, you thought you had control over that one didn’t you?
Believe me, most couples contact me with a wedding date picked out and don’t have a venue locked down yet. Then they have to decide if they want to see venues that aren’t available on their “date” or if they are open to that date solely representing the time of year they want to be married.
Because the venue essentially sets your date, you should always venue shop and venue book before going dress shopping.
When you make appointments to go try on wedding gowns, the first question they will ask you (besides budget) is your wedding date. Don’t make the mistake of giving them a date you’ve selected, only to purchase a wedding gown and then have to scramble when the venue you want isn’t available for that date. You might find yourself needing a second gown (like a sample) because the first one isn’t coming in on time if you end up booking a venue for an earlier date than your original date.
You know…the date that wasn’t real because you didn’t have a venue yet…
If you have over a year to plan, don’t sleep on getting the venue. Just like it takes time to shop for wedding gowns, you will need all the time you can get to find a venue. Odds are, you will need to coordinate schedules with your fiancé and possibly both sets of parents. Weekend appointments book up first and some venues won’t tour if a wedding is taking place on the same day.
All of that adds up to needing a ton of time to find the venue for your wedding day. Of course, if you can schedule tours on weekdays and look at venues that are in close proximity, you’ll need less time than normal.
Also helpful is to do as much research on these venues before committing to an appointment. It’s not always possible to get pricing from a venue without setting an appointment. In fact, one of the many reasons to hire a wedding planner is that we tend to have that information already or we can get it without much struggle.
Before you do anything past establishing your overall budget, if you’re going to hire a wedding planner, that is your Step 1 in the planning process. So, if you have 1 month or 1 year, do this before the rest of the tasks. A few reasons why:
Reputable and professional wedding planners book up to if not over a year in advance, especially for peak wedding season dates. Many planners, myself included, will not take on more than one wedding or event per weekend.
Hiring a planner for full service means they can do all of the work for you including finding the perfect venue and vendors. That’s right, you basically just have to tell them what you want and just like magic, options will appear.
A full time planner can speak with venues and vendors at the hours that you can’t. You know, like 2pm on a Tuesday. This means that more planning gets done in a shorter amount of time because planners have the same hours as venues and vendors. No back and forth voicemails and emails needed here.
If you’re only looking for someone to handle “Month Of” Coordination, many planners will not book that package until you’re under the 6 month mark. To be blunt, most planners would rather hold out for a last minute full service client than to lock up a weekend with a smaller package. The good part here is if you are a couple with a short engagement only looking for this type of help, you could easily have some solid options to choose from.
All that said, the number one way to get your checklist all checked off? A professional wedding planner…as soon as possible and before anything else.
The Big Ticket Vendors: Photo/Video, Music and Florals
Photo and Video
Always listed on wedding planning checklists around the 6-8 month mark are your photographer, videographer, music and florist. On average, most couples will have at least 6 months to plan. However, just because they have 6 months, doesn’t mean getting these vendors booked will always happen at that time. Remember how venue and gown come first?
Many photographers and videographers will only be available for one wedding per day unless they work like an agency. It’s very important to meet these people before hiring them. I know, you totally do not have time to do this, right?
Invent it if you need to.
Your photo and video team will be with you almost the entire day of your wedding. If you’re not comfortable with them, it will show in those photos and videos you get back. There are no do-overs and it’s not enough to just love the work or the product.
In addition to meeting/interviewing these people, I always recommend an engagement session with your photographer because that’s basically practice for the real thing. The real thing being your wedding day.
As a planner, I like to book photo and video 9 months to one year in advance. I know, that’s totally not what the internet tells you to do, right? Silly them…
If you plan to do an engagement shoot (I mentioned you should and I meant it), odds are your photographer will have more availability on a weekday. Since weekdays are a problem for many couples, then you will need a weekend and guess what tends to be a problem for wedding photographers?
You guessed it: weekends.
This means that you could be waiting months to take your engagement photos and if you want them outdoors, you’ll have to leave time for rescheduling in case it rains. You also won’t be able to shoot outdoor photos for a handful of months if you live in a state where winter exists. Pretty soon you’re taking your engagement photos 1 month prior to your wedding and that is no bueno.
If you have longer than one year, start this process at the 9 month to one year mark. This is especially important if you are getting married during peak season since you might get a lot of “sorry, already booked” responses. If you are pressed for time, then shop for both photo and video simultaneously (a general rule of thumb anyway) and line up appointments via Skype if that’s the only way you can schedule a weekday.
It doesn’t matter if you have a band, DJ or both, sometimes 6-8 months isn’t enough time to book. Like the other vendors that you will need at your wedding, many bands and DJs book up peak season 9-12 months in advance. If you want something specific, such as an electric violinist or a DJ that can provide live musicians to accompany his music, then I recommend shopping 7-9 months prior to your wedding date.
While I know many people (and many planners) will probably disagree with me here, I am going to say that seeing these people in person is essential. If you want a live band, there is no better way to hear what they really sound like than to attend an in person showcase. Sometimes, there will only be showcases available once a month or every other month. If you’re not available on the one date they have, then you’ll be forced to wait until the next one.
If you’re going with a DJ, an in person meeting or interview isn’t mandatory but I wouldn’t recommend booking without a least a Skype or phone call. Any DJ worth hiring will be passionate about music and even more passionate about selecting the right music for your wedding. It’s equally important to know how the DJ works and to make sure the way they work is in line with what you imagine for your wedding.
For the couples with shorter engagements, it’s a good idea to get a hold of videos of past performances of bands and DJs. Showcases might not always be possible and you might not have the time to sit down and interview DJs. However, even if it’s 11pm at night, you should make the time to watch and listen to any recordings the music vendors can provide to you. Also consider looking into any bands or DJs you heard at weddings you attended and fell in love with.
As a wedding planner, I insist that my clients meet florists that I recommend before signing a contract. While it doesn’t matter so much that you’re vibing on a personal level, it is important to know that they understand what you want. It’s just as important that you are confident in their ability to create it.
You will never get that from an email exchange. Period.
However, most florists will only be available to meet on weekdays, which can make setting anything up totally impossible. If you don’t have 7-9 months before your wedding date (which is when I recommend securing a florist), then doing your homework prior to a meeting or in place of one is essential.
Before you go sending your 597 pins of centerpiece inspiration out to every florist within a 50 mile radius of your venue, narrow those pictures down. Way down. It’s more important for a florist to know your colors and the feel of your wedding. It’s less important for them to know the exact height you picture for each centerpiece and how if you don’t have peonies you’ll throw yourself off a bridge.
Another way to save time is to look at websites of florists and see if their work is similar to what your style is. If you find yourself drooling over a website but don’t see your style displayed, you can reach out to the florist and ask them for additional examples.
For instance, if you have a vision of greenery suspended from a tent, but don’t see it on a florist’s website, there is no harm in asking if they have done that before and if they have, could they share pictures. If you’re tight on time and having trouble choosing between florists, consider paying for a sample centerpiece to help make your decision easier.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? There’s a lot to this wedding planning stuff and knowing when to do everything can be a lot to digest. In order to avoid throwing anyone into a meltdown and running off to elope, I’ll continue the rest of this timeline in the next blog.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you’ll know when to come back for the rest of the to-do list and when you want to get started on those items. In the meantime, share below if you’re on the fast track to the wedding day and what you’re doing to check stuff off your list!