Going into a planning meeting with a wedding vendor can be a little overwhelming and confusing if you don't know some of the lingo! If you're pondering over the difference between an "Arch and an "Arbor or have no clue what a "First Look" is, don't worry! We're here to help you figure it all out! Here are a few terms you will most likely hear during the wedding planning process!
Aisle Marker - Decorations used to "mark" or define the aisle the wedding party walks down. Hanging floral baskets or herbs from each chair, floral chair ties, wood or iron lanterns, paper cones filled with confetti, beautiful greenery, soft fabric, mason jars and pedestal flower arrangements are all common types of aisle markers that add beauty and style to your ceremony space. They can be simple or elaborate depending on your taste and budget.
Arbor - A structure that serves as a shelter for the wedding couple to stand under during an outdoor ceremony. Arbors can come in different shapes and sizes. They are typically made up of a variety of materials such as twigs, branches, vines and/or flowers and is where the couple exchanges their wedding vows.
Arch - Typically arches are rounded structures used in outdoor wedding ceremonies that serve as a focal point. Most commonly arches are made of wood, plastic or wrought iron and are often decorated with fabric and/or flowers. The couple can choose to stand underneath or directly in front of an arch during their ceremony.
BEO - A BEO or Banquet Event Order, is a document created by the wedding caterer or venue outlining the details of your wedding including your menu, guest count, time of your event and room set up that staff members follow in order to execute all logistics correctly.
Corkage Fee - The amount charged by a restaurant or venue to open each bottle of wine or liquor brought in and bought elsewhere to serve at your event.
First Look - An intimate moment arranged by a photographer before a wedding ceremony for the two spouses to see each other. Typically a location is determined and agreed upon beforehand. The couple is brought to the location separately where their surprised and authentic reactions to seeing each other for the first time are captured in photos.
Passed - Referring to food or beverages that are tray "passed" during the cocktail hour portion of a wedding reception.
Pin Spot - Pertaining to lighting, it is a focused beam of light that shines directly onto an object such as a centerpiece or cake to draw attention.
Prelude - Referring to music that is played before the wedding ceremony by live musicians or a DJ as guests arrive and take their seats. Prelude music is the first thing they hear upon arriving at the venue and sets the tone for the wedding ceremony.
Processional - The music that is played to signal the start of the wedding ceremony to which the wedding party, family members and bride and/or groom walk to.
Recessional - The music that is played at the end of the wedding ceremony that the couple exits to after the pronouncement of marriage.
Room Flip - Changing the ceremony space into the reception space. This is often done at a venue where you are using one space for the entire day. The venue staff typically will re-set or "flip" the room once the ceremony is complete during the cocktail hour while guests are away. When they return, the space has been transformed for the reception to take place.
Seating Chart - A way to display to your guests which table they are assigned to. This is often used in lieu of escort cards. Seating charts are best placed in the front entrance of the reception venue for guests to view upon arriving and can be an additional part of your wedding decor.
Tablescape - The artistic style, design and arrangement of table top items and how they work together cohesively to enhance a space such as your dinner tables, cake or dessert tables, gift table, and head table for a wedding reception.
Venue Coordinator - An employee at a wedding venue that assists the couple with details pertaining to securing the venue for their wedding date, contract negotiations and all services provided by the venue. They are responsible for delivering their contracted services when it comes to the use of the venue and ensuring the couple follows the venue's rules and guidelines. In some cases food, beverages and rental items can be arranged through the Venue Coordinator depending on the venue and what they offer.
A Venue Coordinator is different from a Wedding Coordinator. A Venue Coordinator typically is not involved in any of the planning details other than what comes with the use of their facility. A Wedding Coordinator handles all of the couple's planning needs from the start which can include wedding design, layout creation coordinating rental needs, vendor procurement, wedding day timeline creation, rehearsal coordination as well as provide the couple with invaluable expertise, guidance and support throughout the planning process and on the wedding day.
No matter where you are in your wedding planning stages, Gatherings for Good can help! Visit our weddings page and email us today and see all the ways we can help you create the wedding you always dreamed of!
All photos provided by www.pexels.com
Weddings are a beautiful occasion where friends and family gather to celebrate the marriage between two people in love. In some cases, wedding guests travel long distances to be able to attend, spending money on flights, hotels, transportation, meals and activities both before and after the wedding takes place.
The best thing you can do to ensure your guests are well taken care of during the wedding is to give them the best experience possible. One of ways to do this is to make sure you are feeding your guests well. As a Wedding Coordinator, I have witnessed couples make choices regarding their wedding food that are not always in the interest of the guests, but rather food is selected based on what the couple can afford.
Now, I understand how expensive food can be especially if you are planning a large wedding. But if you want the guests to leave happy and enjoy themselves for 5-8 hours, you really need to be realistic about your food budget and either increase it (and cut back in other areas if necessary), or decrease your headcount. The guests who are traveling to see you get married expect to be fed and it is one of the things they will remember about your wedding day. Food leaves an impression on people, either good or bad.
So, here are 5 tips to make sure your guests are happy and well fed!
1. Feed them a lot! You must feed your guests and feed them well. Wedding days are long days. From the time you get up in the morning to the last song of the night, you are going non-stop and your guests are too. Parents, grandparents, the wedding party, cousins from out of state, nieces, nephews, nannies, co-workers, ex-boyfriends, your neighbor from across the street.. whoever you have invited to the wedding is going to need to eat to keep up with all the wedding day festivities. You don't need to plan for meals the entire day but by the time the wedding comes around, your guests are probably already hungry so plan to serve food as soon as possible.
In fact, my #1 rule when it comes to food at the wedding: Do not make your guests wait too long to eat after your ceremony.
Waiting too long to serve food can leave your guests feeling "hangry." If you are having a formal meal after the ceremony, plan a cocktail reception with passed hors d'oeuvres or appetizer stations (or both) if dinner cannot be served right away. If you are taking pictures and have an hour or more in between the ceremony and reception, serving some small bites will keep your guests happy until the main meal arrives.
When it comes to hors d'oeuvres, have at least 4 different options for guests to choose from - something with meat, something vegetarian, something hot and something cold. Give guests a good mix to choose from and order enough so each person can have at least 2 pieces of each type of food to nibble on.
2. A Better Buffet. Buffets... (sigh). Many guests will cringe when you mention you are having a buffet at your wedding because in general, it means they will have to wait longer to get their food. Let's be real. Nobody wants to wait in line for their food at a wedding. People want to sit down and immediately eat something, otherwise they will end up getting impatient and cranky. I've seen it happen. They will sit at their table anxiously waiting for their turn while people around them get up to go through the line. No table wants to go last. I've even seen guests walk out in the middle of dinner because the buffet was taking too long. Don't do that to your guests people.
That being said, If you must have a buffet you can make things easier by asking your caterer or wedding venue to create two buffet lines. Having two buffet lines going at the same time will speed up the dinner service giving your guests the opportunity to get their food much faster. This is particularly helpful for large weddings with over 100 guests.
3. Have a kid friendly menu. If you are planning to have children at your wedding be sure to have a few kid friendly options on the menu for children who will need a meal. Determine how many children will be attending the wedding and give them 2 or 3 options to choose from such as chicken strips, cheeseburger and fries and pizza. If there are very small children or babies attending the wedding, parents should plan to bring snacks for them if they are not old enough for their own meal. Nobody wants a hungry, cranky child having a melt down in the middle of the reception. Their parents (and your guests) will thank you.
4. Have dessert. Not everyone is a fan of traditional weddings, I get it. Now days there are so many options when it comes to desserts for weddings. You no longer have to have a wedding cake (although, it is still nice for pictures). You can choose to have a dessert buffet with lots of "mini" desserts which are both cute and tasty! You can also serve homemade pies, fresh baked doughnuts, mini cupcakes, cake pops, ice cream sundaes, a cookie bar.. the list is endless. The point is, people want dessert - sugar is not the enemy. It keeps people happy and energized for dancing and in a good mood in general. And serving coffee and/or tea with dessert ... bonus!
Have late night snacks. If you're one of those couples who wants to throw an all night party ('till the break of dawn), for goodness sake have some late night snack food! Think about it.. dinner at 7pm followed by dessert and then dancing for 2-3 hours.. your guests will be getting hungry by 10 or 11pm. If you're planning to party until midnight or later plan to take the party to a bar where you can get late night food served until 2am, hire a food truck to serve up some delicious meals on wheels or order in a few pizzas. Either way you go you can't go wrong.
The bottom line is to keep guests happy, it's better to have more food than not enough.
For more wedding tips, click here!
Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and one you will remember and cherish for years to come! Most people have never planned a wedding and don't know what it takes to turn their vision into reality. Hiring a Professional Wedding Planner is often the best way to get started. But with so many options out there, how do you know what type of planner or services you need?
Below are some questions to ask yourself and some basic guidelines for the types of services most Professional Wedding Planners offer.
What is my overall wedding budget?
A Professional Wedding Planner can help you in many ways and often times will have a few packages to choose in different price ranges to suit various financial needs. Choosing the right package is not only determined by your budget but also how involved you want the planner to be in helping with the details, event design and logistics. Look at what each package costs and what is included to get a better understanding of the value that the Professional Wedding Planner will provide. Think of how beneficial these services will be to you leading up to and on the wedding day.
Keep in mind that the Professional Wedding Planner is not only there to give you guidance and support, they are also the liaison between you and other service providers, often communicating and negotiating on your behalf, reviewing contracts and making sure all the details are in place with each and every one of the vendors you hire, as well as act as the go to person on the wedding day for questions and to resolve any issues that may arise without getting you or your guests involved.
This is a day where you can't afford to make mistakes and where you want everything to flow seamlessly. How much value do you place on that and what would it mean to you to have someone to go to for advice and questions and to manage the details so you don't need to?
How much time do I have to spend on planning my wedding?
If you are working full time, going to school to earn a degree, taking care of children or elderly parents or just have an overall busy life then a Professional Wedding Planner can be invaluable to you during this time. Planning a wedding takes months, often up to a year or longer. It takes time and patience to research and select service providers and venues, negotiate contracts, decide on a wedding theme or design, send invitations, manage the guest list, and much more. How involved you want the Professional Wedding Planner to be will be up to you. You'll need to decide how much time you have each day or week to plan the wedding and what is realistic for your lifestyle.
For some couples, doing the research and spending time planning the details is a fun, shared experience that they enjoy doing together. If you are a creative type of person and have time to spend looking at Pinterest and doing DIY projects that's great! Making the wedding unique and personal to you is an important part of the planning process. But that is just one part of it. There are many other details that need to be figured out that you might not have thought of. A Professional Wedding Planner can give you the guidance you need and keep you on track to make sure all the important areas of the wedding are coming together within the necessary timeframe.
For the couple who needs a Professional Wedding Planner from the beginning who are not sure where to start the Full Service Planning and Design Package is a great option. This package gives the couple ample time to plan their wedding with the planner 8--12 months before the wedding, giving direction on wedding design, theme, colors, style, assist with location and venue options, give service provider recommendations, assist with contract negotiations, work with the couple to ensure they are staying within their budget, keep them on track with checklists with due dates, provide advice on wedding etiquette as well as manage the wedding day timeline and logistics. This package is great for couples who need a lot of guidance and those who are planning a destination wedding and need a local planner who knows the area. Professional Wedding Planners are able to streamline the planning process by narrowing down your options for venues, give you a list of recommended service providers in your budget and set up meetings with you a few times before the wedding based around your schedule to check in and make sure things are on track. To see our Full Service Wedding Planning and Design Package, click here.
Similar to the Full Service Wedding Planning and Design Package, often the next option is Partial Planning and Coordination services. This type of package is the "middle of the road" option, giving you an adequate amount of support and guidance but not as involved as in the Full Service Package. Most often the Professional Wedding Planners begin working with the couple 6-8 months before the wedding, giving them more time to plan on their own and get started with some of the details before getting involved. The services are similar to the Full Service Package but a few areas may not be included such as wedding design or they may offer less in terms of time spent having in person meetings, site visits or less hours of service on the wedding day. To see our Partial Planning and Coordination Package, click here.
Many couples hear the term Day of Coordinator and think that they can save money by hiring someone who will show up to the wedding and manage the details for them the day of. This is very unrealistic and can be detrimental to the wedding causing more chaos and stress for the couple, their guests as well as the service providers who have been hired to do their job. A real Professional Wedding Planner with integrity will not offer such a service because they know that no one will benefit from them showing up to the wedding unprepared.
To really offer value to a couple, a Professional Wedding Planner will need to have knowledge of what is involved in the wedding prior to the wedding day by spending time getting to know the couple and understanding their vision, becoming familiar with the family and bridal party, asking questions about certain key wedding events such as ceremony order, special dances, toasts and speeches, cake cutting, timing of photographs and other details. They will also spend time reviewing contracts and communicating with vendors and the wedding venue weeks before the wedding day to review everyone's roles and responsibilities, create a detailed timeline that outlines the order of the wedding day events for the ceremony and reception and get a feel for the overall flow. Many couples choose to spend time planning and designing the wedding themselves, hire their own vendors and then have a Professional Wedding Planner step in a few weeks before who can help put everything together in a way that will ensure a smooth and seamless event.
The term Day of Coordinator is widely misunderstood. Couples should not expect to receive the same quality of service from someone who shows up on the wedding day to work for a few hours compared to a Professional Wedding Planner who works with the couple at a minimum 30 days before the wedding. The cost may be less in comparison but the cost of not having a Professional Wedding Planner will be more in the long run. Our comprehensive take on Day of Coordination which we call Simplified Wedding Management + Day of Coordination, can be found here. This package is our basic wedding planning package suited for those couples who are planning a smaller size wedding, who are doing most or all the wedding planning themselves and those who are on a tighter budget but still want a professional to take care of the final details leading up to and on the wedding day to ensure everything is executed flawlessly.
Keep in mind that you have options! If you don't see the right package listed but still want some help, contact us! We can talk you through the details and provide you with a custom quote based on your specific needs. Every wedding is unique and special in its own way and we treat our clients as individuals. Not everyone will fit into one of the packages offered and we realize that so get in touch and let's get started planning your big day!
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock Images
Next: Read "Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner"
Wedding Planners have gained in popularity when movies such as The Wedding Planner, Father of the Bride and more recently Bride Wars brought the profession into the public eye. The characters in these examples played by Jennifer Lopez, Martin Short and Candice Bergen, all had different personalities, styles and skill sets.
Although the characters in the movies came off as quirky or eccentric at times they each displayed many of the real qualities Wedding Planners possess such as their strict attention to detail, being highly organized, having a creative mind and thinking outside the box, conflict resolution and problem solving, time management skills and a true passion for what they do,
When it comes to Wedding Planners in "real life," each can offer a wide range of skills, styles, individual taste and personalities that makes them unique and that sets them apart from other Wedding Planners. When choosing a Wedding Planner, it is important to choose someone that suits your individual style and personality and that understands your vision. Choose someone you can trust and feel comfortable with. This will be your go to person who will be by your side during the planning stages which can sometimes be a few months, a year or in some cases even longer.
Wedding Planners Can Save You Time!
Let's face it - life is busy! Many of us are working full time jobs, have families and children to care for or are going to school to earn a degree. Maybe you don't have a lot of time to spare and realize you need help. After all, planning a wedding is a lot of work and having a someone with experience that can help guide you in your choices, give you advice and be there to listen when you're feeling stressed can be invaluable!
Wedding Planners save you time by using their knowledge, expertise and resources to streamline the planning process and narrow down your options. We've done the research for you so you don't have to spend countless hours online, making numerous phone calls or typing what feels like hundreds of emails just to find out the vendors you contacted are either booked or out of your price range.
Whether you need help finding a venue, booking wedding vendors or help selecting your wedding decor or rentals, a Wedding Planner can work with you to accomplish all your goals by understanding your vision, budget, style and size of your wedding to determine what options to give you and provide you with a customized experience that is unique to your wedding.
Wedding Planners Can Save You Money
Yes, you read that right! We can actually SAVE you money! Some people still think of Wedding Planners as a luxury or an unnecessary expense or something they can't possibly afford. That just simply isn't true! Gatherings for Good understands the importance of working with your budget and we strive to help as many couples as we can which is why we customize our services and packages around your needs and budget so we can help as many couples as possible and provide a truly personalized experience.
Often times, a Wedding Planner can save you money when it comes to hiring vendors by referring you to only those who are in your price range. In some cases we can also help with your budget and show you where to allocate wedding funds based on your priorities as well as keep track of deposits and invoices to stay on top of when payments are due and to make sure you are not overspending.
Wedding Planners Can Be a Voice of Reason
You love your fiance - but sometimes you won't always agree on things. You both have your own opinions and styles you want to include in the wedding but there will be times you don't see eye to eye. That is where a Wedding Planner can help! As an outsider listening to both parties, we can help you come to an agreement and learn to compromise so that both parties get what they want.
The goal is for the couple to feel as though they are contributing their ideas and that the wedding reflects the unique relationship the two people have, encompassing all the important details that matter such as family traditions, religious beliefs, cultural differences, and personal values. We can help you design the wedding the way you want so that it feels personal to you and different than other weddings. We believe no two weddings are the same and every couple is unique and your wedding day should reflect that!
Wedding Planners Can Take Care of the Details!
When it comes to wedding planning there are so many details to take care of it can be overwhelming! Many couples know what big items need to be done from the start such as finding a venue, choosing a wedding gown, creating invitations, selecting your catering menu or deciding if you want a band or DJ. But, there are many other details and decisions that need to be made and if you are not keeping a to-do list and checking them off one by one, you can quickly and easily get off track and behind schedule which can make the wedding planning process much more stressful than it should be.
Gatherings for Good provides checklists of all the important items and tasks that need to be done month leading up to the wedding day so you always know exactly what to do. We make it as easy as possible so there is no guess work involved. If you get behind a little bit because you had a busy week or just forgot, we will send you reminders to make sure are checking items off the list one by one. If you happen to get stuck at any point we are just a phone call or email away to get you back on track!
Wedding Day Management (Day of Coordination)
The biggest and most important job a Wedding Planner has is managing the details of the wedding day from start to finish. This service is often referred to as Wedding Day Management or Day of Coordination. Depending on the size and time frame for the wedding, we generally arrive 2 hours prior to the ceremony starting to allow enough time to set up any personal items, meet with the venue staff, greet and assist the vendors as they arrive, greet and direct the wedding guests as well as be there to welcome and greet YOU!
Wedding Planners are the "go to" people, the on-site coordinators and the directors who manage every aspect of the big day! They are the ones who will be your main point of contact for the vendors, staff, guests and the wedding party to answer any questions or resolve any last minute issues that come up. We understand how important timing for the wedding day is and how crucial it is to have and follow a detailed timeline.
That is why at Gatherings for Good, we schedule a final planning meeting at 1- 2 weeks before the wedding to go over all the important details with you and design a wedding day timeline that reflects all the important details and formalities that will take place before and during the wedding. We provide copies of the final timeline to all your vendors before the wedding day to ensure everyone you have hired understands how the day will flow and have a detailed plan to follow. This eliminates the risk of things going wrong, getting off track and makes sure that everyone works together as a team to ensure you have the beautiful, stress-free day you always imagined!
Do you or someone you know need help planning a wedding! We can help!
To see our list of services and packages, click here and contact us today!
Whether you are planning a wedding at a hotel, country club, winery or private estate you will need to ask a lot of questions to help you make the right decision! Here are 30 questions to ask when looking for the perfect wedding venue!
1. Are you available on my date? Or, what dates do you have available?
2. What is the venue rental fee?
3. How many hours is included in the rental fee? / What is included in the rental fee?
4. How many people can this venue accommodate?
5. Do you have parking available for guests/how many parking spaces are available for guests?
6. Can I have both the ceremony and reception here?
7. Do you have alternative sites available in case of bad weather?
8. What is the cancellation policy?
9. Do you have a preferred vendor list?/ Can I hire my own vendors?
10. Do you have any restrictions on decorations? Do you allow confetti, candles (open flames), rose petals and/or sparklers?
11. Do you have a license to serve alcohol? / Can I bring my own alcohol?
12. What is the cancellation policy?
13. Do you require a Day of Coordinator?
14. Is amplified music allowed?/ Or, how late can we have music playing?
15. How much is the deposit and when it it due?
16. How many restrooms are on-site?
17. Do you have an in-house caterer?
18. Who will be the main point of contact for the wedding day?
19. Are there any hidden fees such as service charges, corkage fees, gratuities, cleaning fees or overtime?
20. Who will be in charge of set up and break down at the event?
21. Is the venue handicap accessible?
22. Do vendors need to be cleared with you that are not on the preferred vendor list?
23. Will there be other events/weddings scheduled on our wedding day?
24. Do you have a room for the bride to get ready in?
25. Do you offer lower rates for different days and times? (Friday, Sunday, morning, afternoon, evening)
26. Do you provide tables, chairs, linens, plates, glasses and silverware or do those need to be rented?
27. What is the food and beverage cost per person?
28. Do you have overnight accommodations? /Do you have room blocks/discounts?
29. Does the venue carry liability insurance?
30. How early/what time can we begin setting up?
1. Take photos of the venues you visit to look back on. If you visit multiple locations, take a photo of the location name/sign when you arrive so you can keep track of them all. The photos will help you remember which places you visited, what you liked and didn't like, how big the rooms were and the venue style (historic, modern, casual, classic, religious, etc).
2. If you really like the venue, ask for a proposal to review the cost and rental terms.
3. When you are at the venues, try to see as much as possible. Don't get caught up only looking at the ceremony or reception site. Be sure to also look at the grounds outside, the parking lot, the restrooms, dressing rooms and anything else that may be important to your final decision.
4. Take lots of notes. Write down answers to the questions you ask and anything you notice as you are walking around that you will want to remember later.
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Contact us if you are looking for a Day of Coordinator for your wedding or click the button below to view all our packages and pricing!
If you are recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding, you may have heard the term "Wedding Planner" which most people are familiar with. What you may not have heard of until recently is "Venue Coordinator." Usually this term comes about while you are starting to look at venues for your wedding. Many venues have Venue Coordinators that can help with some aspects of your wedding, however, their role is different than a traditional Wedding Planner. To help with any confusion, here is an explanation of each to help clarify in more detail how they differ and to help you decide what is best for you!
Many people think a Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator are the same. This is not the case. Their differences are in their job descriptions and in their involvement in your wedding day.
A Venue Coordinator acts on behalf of the venue. They generally are the person you would speak to initially when discussing having your wedding at a particular venue. They have specific responsibilities such as giving you a tour of the property, discussing set up options, providing pricing and checking date availability. They are there to address your questions and concerns pertaining to the venue.
After a contract is signed, the Venue Coordinator works with you to discuss the overall layout for your ceremony and reception, organizes a menu tasting if they are providing the food for your wedding, and acts as a liaison between you and the on-site staff. They will let you know the rules of the venue and what is or is not allowed, recommend a list of preferred vendors that have been pre-approved and keep track of your payments for reserving the space.
At the wedding, Venue Coordinators are responsible for making sure everything is set up correctly, that you have enough tables and chairs, ensure there are enough staff scheduled to assist with set up as well as overseeing the meal service. The Venue Coordinator may or may not stay for your entire event. Often during the reception the Banquet Manager is left in charge to handle the remainder of the event and oversee the venue staff once the Venue Coordinator leaves. Their time with you can be limited due to their set working hours as an employee of the venue.
A Wedding Planner is hired by the couple to assist in planning the details of the wedding from start to finish. They can vary in their level of experience and service, however their main focus is making sure the wedding day runs smoothly and is what you expected or better! They have your best interest in mind and will be there to guide you in the planning process as much as you need. Many can help from the very start by helping research and select a venue, choosing a color scheme, referring vendors and managing all the logistics of the day. They will know every aspect of your wedding so that they are well prepared to handle any situation that may arise and in many cases, work along side the Venue Coordinator which can be a very valuable partnership.
The Wedding Planner will be very focused on the details that you put into the wedding day. They will set out personal items such as your place cards, favors, photographs, guest book, toasting glasses, programs and any other decor for the ceremony and reception. In addition, they will ensure you receive these items back and that everything is accounted for at the end of the night. Their day will likely begin in the morning and end after the guests are gone and the rest of the vendors have all left.
During the wedding the Wedding Planner will make sure that the timeline is being followed closely so that everything happens where and when it is supposed to. They will assist with managing the vendors as they arrive at the venue making sure they are on time and ready to go when they should be and will also be the main point of contact to direct your guests and respond to any questions or concerns. They can help resolve any issues that may arise and check in with the couple to make sure they are taken care of before, during and after the wedding has ended.
Having a Wedding Planner can save you a lot of valuable time. If you are having a destination wedding in an unfamiliar place, need help researching or narrowing down venue options, or are just not sure where to look for reputable wedding vendors, investing in a Wedding Planner may be the solution for you. You and your Wedding Planner will work together and have a very close relationship throughout the planning process leading up to the wedding. They will be there to run ideas by, ask questions and put your mind at ease helping you make decisions that are focused on your vision and keeping in line with your personal style, budget and the overall experience you want to create.
Both the Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner play valuable roles in making sure you have the best experience you can. A good Venue Coordinator and Wedding Planner will go above and beyond to see that you and your guests are treated well, have a great time and enjoy every minute of your wedding day!
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Gatherings for Good offers a variety of Wedding Planning services. To view our packages and prices, click below or contact us!
Recently I exhibited at a bridal show where I had a table to display some decorative wedding items along with my brochures, cards and promotional give-a-ways ready to hand out to the hundreds of young women who passed by, all newly engaged and ready to start planning their big day!
As we began talking about various details such as wedding venues, locations, dates, colors and so on, I was surprised at how often the question was asked, "What does a Wedding Planner do?" After hearing this question over and over throughout the day I realized that many people are not sure what Wedding Planners do and they are uncertain if they actually need one.
I always recommend to brides that they hire a Wedding Planner and I am not just saying that because I am one. I really believe it is one of the most important investments a couple can make when planning their wedding. Not having a planner or having a friend or close family member act as the Wedding Planner to save money could end up costing a lot more in the end, not to mention the added stress that it can have on the couple if you don't have someone who is properly trained and has the experience and knowledge needed to plan an manage your wedding details.
Think of your wedding as a if it were a performance that people are coming to see and you and your fiancé are the stars of the show. Your guests are the audience and the Wedding Planner is the writer, director and producer. They are the ones behind the scenes making sure all the details are in place, that everyone knows what to do and when, and ensures that the event flows smoothly.
Your Wedding Planner can be involved as little or as much as you want depending on your schedule and how much time you have. You may want to consider the different packages and prices to help you decide if you need a lot of assistance in planning months before the wedding, or if you just need month and day of coordination. Below is a list of some of the responsibilities and tasks a planner can take on.
-Meet with you to discuss your wedding vision (colors, theme, style, guest count, location, etc)
-Determine a budget
-Create a "to do" list and keep track of tasks
-Advise you on wedding locations for ceremony and reception based on your style, vision and budget
-Make recommendations for vendors based on your style, vision and budget. The would include florist, bakeries, caterers, DJs and live musicians, photographers and any other vendors you need
-Read through vendor contracts to make sure everything is correct and assist with negotiations if necessary
-Create a wedding day timeline and schedule for the rehearsal and wedding day details. The timeline is distributed to vendors and some members of the wedding party so that everyone involved knows when things should be happening and to keep everyone on track so the event flows smoothly
-Conducts a wedding rehearsal the day before with the couple and their wedding party. Often this is followed by a lunch or dinner which the planner can also help arrange.
-Offers advice on wedding trends and design ideas
-Give you advice on wedding etiquette
-Be the go to person on the wedding day to direct vendors, answer questions, often time speaking on your behalf to family and friends when you are too busy and can't be distracted
-Manage the day of wedding details and timeline, supervise vendors as they arrive, oversee set-up of the event, help put out personal items such as favors, guest book, programs, escort cards and other decorations. They can also take care of any emergencies should they arise and keep you and your guests calm when things get stressful.
-Ensure your wedding gifts and personal items get back to you and are not left behind
-Assist with clean-up and pay final checks to vendors if necessary at the end of the wedding
Besides what is normally on a Wedding Planner's job description, they offer invaluable support to the couple in the days leading up to the wedding. Often times they are available for phone calls and emails to ask questions run ideas by them to get another opinion. They become a friend you can rely on and trust to get you through the planning stages seamlessly making the experience a fun and enjoyable process!
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Some people devote a lot of time and effort into preparing every detail of their wedding day, giving every important aspect thorough consideration - what style dress should I wear? who will cater the event? what type of flowers do we want? what should or first dance song be? The list goes on and on. But how many people really give much thought to who will officiate the wedding?
A wedding ceremony is a personal and intimate moment for couples to declare their love for one another in front of their closest friends and family. It is also a unique time for the officiant who is witnessing the bond between two people in love and helping to create the memorable occasion where they finally say "I Do." As important as it is for your officiant to get to know you as a couple and learn your story, it is important for you to learn theirs as well.
Here are some basic questions to ask when interviewing officiants. These questions will help you get to know more about them and their experience to see if they fit your personality and style.
1. What made you want to become a wedding officiant?
2. How many ceremonies have you performed?
3. Where and when were you ordained?
4. Do you require any pre-marital counseling?
5. What are your fees?
6. Will you help write our vows/can you personalize the ceremony to suit what we want?
7. Will you be at the ceremony rehearsal?
8. Do you have a backup plan in the event you are sick or unable to perform at the wedding?
9. Are you familiar with our venue?
10. Do you have any references?
11. Will you travel if necessary to the wedding and will you charge extra?
12. Will you attend the rehearsal dinner or reception?
13. How often will we need to meet with you prior to the wedding?
14. How long will the ceremony be?
15. Do you perform interfaith marriages?
If you want to get more personal, you can ask more specific questions about their lifestyle, spiritual beliefs and marriage in general such as:
1. What do you love about performing wedding ceremonies?
2. Have you ever turned anyone away? If yes, what was the reason?
3. Are you married? How long?
4. What do you look for in the couples you consider working with?
5. What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an officiant so far?
Most officiants will be happy to answer any of these questions and will be glad to know that you are taking this process seriously. The more you know about the officiant's style, mannerisms, tone and faith, the easier it will be to make your decision.
When it comes to wedding planning, things are bound to get a bit stressful at times. With so many details to plan and things that can go wrong it's not surprising that so many brides feel anxious and stressed on their wedding day. It's important to remember that the wedding is just one day and the marriage you are entering into is what's going to last. So on your wedding day, stop and think about what's important in the end and the reason you are having a wedding in the first place!
1. Take Time for Yourself. Whether you spend 10 minutes in the morning to sip some coffee quietly and think about the day ahead, stretch or do yoga, write in your journal, sit and mediate or simply take a few deep breaths when you get out of bed - do something for yourself before all of the wedding excitement happens. It's going to be a long day!
2. Reflect On Your Relationship. Take a moment to think about how you got here. How did you and your fiancé meet? What drew you to him/her? Remember the day he proposed, your first date, the first time you introduced him/her to your friends and family. Appreciate how far you've come in your relationship together and how much more you have to look forward to from this day on!
3. Go With the Flow. Even though you have been planning this day for months and spent hours working on putting all the details and final touches together something is bound to go wrong. You can't plan for everything especially the unexpected - a surprise guest that didn't RSVP, cake that doesn't get delivered on time, a bridesmaid who had a little too much champagne, rain that suddenly appears in the middle of summer - anything can happen. There is only so much you can do and only so much you can control. Whatever happens try and be flexible and don't let the little things ruin your big day!
4. Drink Water and Have a Snack. From the moment you wake up you will be pulled in so many directions until it's time to walk down the aisle. As you prepare for the day and for the hours leading up to your vows, remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and snack whenever possible to keep your energy up. Have your wedding planner or one of your bridesmaids help bring bottled water, fruit, cheese and crackers, granola bars, cookies - whatever snacks you may like - and have them available while you are getting your hair and make up done. Try to sneak in a few appetizers as well during the cocktail reception as you are being rushed off to take photos! Don't miss out on all that great food you are paying for, It may be a while before you are siting down for your lunch or dinner at the reception.
5. Stop and Take it All In. After the vows have been exchanged, the rings are placed on your fingers and the kiss seals the deal take a look around. Look at everything - the people that came to celebrate and support you, the gorgeous venue, beautiful flowers, your wedding party, your parents, the decorations, the delicious meal, the music - and most of all your adoring spouse. Don't let the day go by without looking at every single detail and enjoy this moment. This is where your new life begins!
Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
As a wedding planner I get asked a lot of questions! One of the common question from brides is "what is the difference between escort cards and place cards?" There is a very simple way to answer this once and for all!
Simply put, escort cards display the guest's first and last name and table number. They are used to "escort" the guest to the appropriate table to help direct them where to go. They are usually placed near the reception area and are in alphabetical order so names are easy to find.
The way you write the names will depend on how formal your wedding is. For formal events, Mr. and Mrs. Luke Jones, Table 2, for example. If it is less formal, Elizabeth and Luke Jones, Table 2, with the name of the woman first followed by the man. For a single person with an unknown guest, it would be appropriate to write William Harris and Guest, Table 3.
Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Place cards are cards that display either the guest's first and last name or just their first name and are arranged at every place setting at each of your reception tables. They are only needed if you choose to have assigned seating. Both cards are helpful in directing your guests and eliminating confusion.
Escort cards and place cards are easy to DIY. Many stationary and craft stores have special paper you can buy yourself if you choose to design and print your own. You can also design them online and have them printed and shipped to you by a paper goods company or online retailer such as www.zazzle.com, www.etsy.com, www.weddingpaperdivas.com or www.evermine.com.
Escort cards and place cards are a great way to incorporate your personal style into your wedding. You can be as creative as you want to be so use your imagination and have fun!
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.