Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's all in the details...the final steps

All the big stuff is planned and decided…that’s the easy part… It’s all the details that will be the hardest decision because all of these little items adds up first.  Think about what’s most important to you, think about the overall guest experience, don’ forget about these items: cake, transportation, party favors, unity ceremony, programs, menu cards, invitations, escort cards, exit items...and all other details.  We would love to offer some information, guidance and a few tips.

o   Think about what kind of cake or dessert you want to serve because most people will be expecting some form of sweets at your wedding. 

o   Don’t forget about activities for cocktail hour.  Have you thought about a Casino Party, Lounge Furniture, Yard Games, Bounce Houses, or do you have a lot of children and want to provide childcare.

o   If you are serving alcohol, consider shuttles to and from the hotel and don’t forget to plan your getaway car too. 

o   Are you planning a grand entrance to the ceremony or reception?

o   There are so many fun party favors: photo booths, popcorn bars, candy buffets, koozies, local treats, ice cream karts to name a few.

o   Ask your officiant about different unity ceremonies.

o   We highly recommend menu cards to tell guests about what they are going to eat.

o   Do you know the difference between an escort card and a place card? We do… ask us why these are so important!?!?!

o   Offer signage at the cake/dessert area and bar/beverage area.

o   How will you greet your guests?  Who will tell each of your guest goodnight?

o   Have you thought about welcome bags at the hotels?

o   Speaking of hotels, do you know how to do room blocks?

o   Have your thought about your grand exit from the reception (fireworks, sparklers, bubbles, ribbon wands, glow sticks, pom-poms, etc.)?

Check out these too:
Your Exit

Don’t forget about your Honeymoon-

We are also Sandals certified so we get awesome deals for our couples and have helped several pick the perfect place to celebrate their I do’s.  Just remember the longer you wait to book your honeymoon the best rooms may not be available.  Book early to insure the best experience and pricing on airfare. 

Ready to start planning…our Office is normally open:

Mondays between 10am-4pm

Tuesdays Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays after 430pm

Saturdays between 10am-9pm (unless we have events)

Sundays by appointment only

Make sure to like our Facebook Fan Page for FREE advice and tips every day~

Wedding Wishes & Hugs~


Monday, March 21, 2016

What do we do next? Part VI

Start looking at wedding dresses and attire for the entire wedding party too (this will give you an inspiration for the next step).  Make sure to ask about alterations and how long will it take to get your dress. Don’t forget about shoes and accessories.  Make sure to remember about suits or tuxes for any guys too!  They need time to get everything in too!

Read this past blog:

The next step is one area we love to shine in.  The overall love is my personal favorite
part in planning.  Once we get to do a walkthrough of a venue and have an idea of the vendors we are working with we can just see the day before us including décor, linens, lighting, flowers and all the fun little details that will showcase your personally and charm.

o   This is usually when we meet with our clients onsite for a venue walkthrough to figure out the layout and how many & what size of tables and chairs we are going to need (and where everything will be).  This will allow our couples to figure out linens and place settings. Have you thought about your color scheme?

     Think about your favorite colors, you no longer have to pick two… or even three.  Pick colors that make you feel good and colors that you look good in.  Think beyond colors… think of textures and metallic materials.  See how different colors look in different textures with fabric swatches. 

o   Flowers and décor will show off your personality so have fun with it!  Have fun with props too!  Communication is a key factor; so remember to have signs to let you guests know what’s going on when and where.

o        Make sure to save money in the budget for lighting.  Lighting will
      make everything else look better!  Lighting will set the mood and
tone of your event.  You can change the lighting throughout the event to create visual effects.  Lighting is a great way to showcase your wedding
colors, make photography look better and showcase your cake & centerpieces. 

o   Rentals and Furniture would fall under décor.  Add lounge furniture around the dance floor for guests to hang out during cocktail hour and then reuse

        during the dancing portion of the reception.  If you have all black tablecloths, you may want to reconsider having white chairs if white is not a color in your scheme.  Rental companies have all different types of tables and chairs to offer a design concept.  Make sure to work with all of your vendors to get the rentals they need to make your event successful.  Think outside of the box…your wedding doesn’t have to be just like everyone else’s…make it yours!

Here's a couple of our past blogs to check out:

2015 Colors of Weddings (2016 to come)

Unique Centerpieces:

~Wedding Wishes & Hugs~

Monday, March 14, 2016

What's next? part v

      So you’re working through your long to-do list for planning your wedding and wondering…what comes next?  Catering because the food will set the tone of your event.  It is also one of the BIGGEST COST of a wedding so be prepared!  Do your research for your area.  What are average costs per person?  What do Catering Companies offer?  Some will offer linens and centerpieces others will only drop off your food without any staff (meaning someone has to clean everything up).  Who will provide the dishes, place settings, glasses, etc.?  Will the stations or buffet be decorated?  Will the catering team need a prep area?  Who will provide ice, bar needs, coolers, etc.?  There are a million questions we ask catering, bar, and bakeries when it comes to your special day.  These are only a few we've touched on.  Make sure anyone handling your food and beverage that day is a professional (licensed, insured, certified, inspected for health and safety reason).  Also ask your venue if they allow outside catering or if they have preferred vendors.  Most venues do not allow self catering for safety reasons. 

Depending on the time your ceremony starts will decide what kind of food you will serve.  If you are getting married at 11, guests will expect lunch and if you are planning for a wedding between 4pm-7pm, guests will be looking for dinner.  Here are some other great ideas when it comes to food and beverage at you event:

o   Do you want to greet your guests with a snack or glass of champagne as they enter the ceremony area (if not at a church)? 

o   Are you getting married outside?  Consider greeting your guests with water or punch on warm sunny days and hot chocolate or cider on cooler days.

o   We can’t tell you enough…HAVE APPETIZERS during cocktail hour.  If you are taking photos between ceremony and reception give your guests something!  Those photos usually take up to an hour so remember your guests back at the reception hall waiting for your arrival.

o   Signature drinks are a great way to cut down on the bar tab.  While we
highly recommend offering some form of alcohol at your reception, it’s not for everyone so maybe offer fun “mocktails” instead.  (We only see 25% of our couples offering liquor at their receptions.  Most are
beer and wine only and a few
have no alcohol at all).  However,
if you are offering alcohol make sure to offer non-alcohol beverages before, during and at least 30 minutes after serving. 

o   Offer multiple drink stations (coffee, hot chocolate, smoothie, Ice Tea, Punch, and/or water stations).

o   Want to save money?  Think about hosting a “Brunch” wedding instead of a full dinner reception.  Breakfast is a more budget friendly meal option and the bar can be limited to mimosas and bloody maries.  

o   When it comes to dinner think about your favorites!  Offer a salad while guests wait to eat, have rolls and butter on guests table (to save room on dinner plates), Are you planning on a buffet, food stations, plated meal or family style dinner? 

o   What about late night snacks?  You could always offer desserts and/or fruit and cheese with the cake cutting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Next Step...part IV what vendor?

So you’ve got your planner, your venue….and a date book your Officiant (without them it’s one big party).  Here’s a great read on attaining your marriage license. 

What’s next you ask?

·         Entertainment, memories and professional hair and make-up should be the next vendors because they can only be at one wedding at a time. 

Remember your entertainment will be your ultimate host.  They will set the tone for your event.  Make sure they are comfortable speaking in public and remember there is a HUGE difference between weddings and other events or DJing at a night club.  Make sure the Emcee can speak equinity and understands fully the atmosphere you want to portray on the most special day of your life.

o   Start thinking if you want live musicians at the ceremony greeting your guests as they arrive. 

o   Will your DJ provide a sound system and microphones for the ceremony? 

o   What type of music do you want played during cocktail hour? 

o   Are you planning on dinner music? 

o   What kind of reception do you want (party vs. laid back)? 

o   Do they provide any lighting?

Here's some ideas for songs for dances.

At the end of the day all you will be left with are the memories.  You will thank us in the years to come when you can share photos and the video of your vows and first dance with your kids or even loved ones that can’t be present that day. 

o   Look at several photographers and videographers’ websites, social media accounts and ask to meet in person so you can feel albums and look at prints. 

o   Remember to include guest signing books, engagement photos, bridal portraits (if you choose), videos to be played during the reception or parents books to give them after the wedding.

o   Ask about creating customized packages to meet the needs of your budget.  However, remember their prices are set per their quality of service, years of experience and quality of their product.  There are several phenomenal photographers and videographers out there and you will find a great fit for your big day. 
Questions to ask your photographer and tips when considering your photographer. (photo provided my Michelle Robinson photography)

Don’t forget about your make-up and hair.  Once your memories are secured, pick out the team that is going to make you look the best you’ve ever looked.  You want to look great 50-100 feet away.  Those teams will know just how to create that! 

o   We highly recommend having a professional team take care of all the ladies so they will look their best in professional photos and video. 

o   Professionals will know how to make sure your make-up and hair stay looking good all day! 

o   Plus, you or your wedding party (or mom) may not be used to wearing make-up every day and a professional will know how to apply it and still keep it natural.
Questions to ask your make-up artist.

Wedding Wishes & Hugs~

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Next Step...part III Venues

So you've done a little research, went to a wedding show to gather ideas...Let's make it official with a DATE! 
FYI you DON'T have a DATE until you have a signed contract with a venue. 

Start looking at venues

o   We know almost every venue from the triad to the triangle so finding the perfect venue is one of our favorite parts of what we get to do!  We love seeing that look in ya’lls eyes the minute you know you’ve found “the place.” 

o   Start thinking do you want a barn, a reception hall, a tent, in your backyard, outside, inside, or a unique place?

Here's some questions to ask:

§  How many hours do you get with a rental? (we suggest anything over at least 10 hours; 12 is great!)

§   What all is included with a rental?

§ How many people can the venue host?

§  Will there be a site manager on duty during the entire rental (same person or different)?

§  Where do ceremonies take place?

§  Where are the options for cocktail hour?

§  Do you have samples of layouts for the reception?

§  What is the rain plan or inclement weather plan?

§  Does the venue allow alcohol?

§  What are the rules and regulations for vendors (noise, catering, decorating etc.)?

§  Any vendor restrictions? (allow outside catering)

§  Is there a place for both of you to get ready (and not see one another)?

§  Rental prices? (specials for Friday/Sunday what about weekday)
Do they have restrictions for exits?
When do rehearsals take place?

Here are some great blogs:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What do I do next part II

The next step is probably one of the MOST important ones I can recommend and it's not because I am one...but because I was a site manager for 10 years before starting my company 3 years ago.  As a venue manager, I could tell you all of the things that went terribly wrong without a planner or coordinator but instead I want to rave about how venues react when they find out we're going to be on site the day of the wedding:
"YAY, we're looking forward to working with your team."
"You guys always leave things better than when you arrive."
"Goody Gum Drops!"
"We encourage our coupls to use you guys and glad when they do!"

·         Book a wedding planner or at least a day of coordinator (they will help guide you through all the next steps and hopefully remove any stress in the planning)

o   As a wedding specialist and special events coordinator, I’d like the opportunity to share with you how our extensive knowledge and experience enables us to propose creative and cost-effective events, tailor-made to your vision, budget and special day.

Read these past blogs:

 ·         Attend a wedding show and/or an open house to give you an overview of the wedding industry.  Sometimes vendors will offer special rates during the show and you never know you could even win a great door prize (not a honeymoon if you check out a pot and pans presentation). 

Check out this blog: