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Marcia’s Tidbits – advice from a Certified Wedding Consultant
by admin, 02/10/10 18:22:26
Proper planning is the key to a successful and stress-free wedding.
I suggest to my clients that as soon as the ceremony and reception sites are booked, they should hire all of their wedding professionals, according to priority, and certainly no later than six months prior to the wedding date. If you wait too long, the real pro’s will not be available.
Bakeries: Be sure to hire a licensed, reputable bakery that bakes from a licensed kitchen with adequate refrigeration. Bakeries can only handle X number of cakes per day, due to refrigeration limitations and delivery vehicles.
Bridal Gowns: Shop around to familiarize yourself with the different styles of gowns that are available, but when you’re ready to try them on, make an appointment so that you can have personal “one-on-one” attention with a professional bridal gown consultant.
Caterers: Always request a “tasting” prior to hiring a caterer. If the caterer does not offer personal tastings, ask if you can schedule a sampling at an event. However, realize that you will be tasting that client’s choice of menu.
Ceremony Site: This should be the first order of business, whether a church, garden, mansion, winery, historic venue, etc., your site should be booked as soon as the date has been set.
Entertainment: Bands and D.J.’s can “make or break” your party! The best way to select a band or D. J. is to see them in action. How do they interact with and motivate the crowd? Are they personable? Do they speak well? Did the evening flow? Was the dance floor full?
Favors: The tradition is that you give your guests a “memento” to remember your special day. Therefore, if you give them something edible, most guests will eat the favor at the reception and leave the beautiful box and ribbon you paid for on the table. Suggestions: miniature photo frames that can also serve as escort cards, C.D.’s with your special music and engagement photo on the cover and small scented candles.
Florists: It’s O.K. if you don’t know much about flowers. Your floral designer will lead you through the process of recommending colors and styles based on your frame, the design of your gown, the location(s), your budget and appropriate flowers that are in season.
Hair/Makeup: Many brides are concerned that they will look like “Tammy Baker” if they allow a stranger to apply makeup for their special day. Have you ever needed to be “photo perfect” for eight hours or more before? I encourage all brides to consider professional hair and makeup, so that their hair and makeup will last all day. Makeup artists offer a “pre-makeover” and hairstylists offer a “trial run” so that you can see exactly how you will look.
Honeymoon: A honeymoon specialist can help you decide on the perfect get away. She is well versed regarding weather trends, and can recommend a quiet hidden treasure, a location with unending recreational activities, or all-inclusive “couples only resorts”.
Hotels/Reception Sites: With your guests’ “pocketbook” in mind, it’s helpful to recommend low, medium and up-scale priced lodging for your out-of-town guests. If the majority of your guests are travelling, consider hosting the ceremony and reception in the hotel. The reception site should be booked immediately after the ceremony site.
Invitations: This is the first statement you will make about your special day and, while the invitation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, it should be tasteful. Most invitation ensembles are ordered in increments of 25. It’s best to order an extra 25 at the time of placing the initial order in case of mistakes or forgotten guests. Ordering additional invitations “after the fact” will be more costly.
Limousines: Many couples opt not to hire chauffeur-driven vehicles, and instead depend upon a relative or friend to transport them to and from the ceremony and reception. Limousines are money well spent on the most special day of your life. By leaving the driving to the professionals, you’ll have one less worry. During “prime time”, expect a 3 or 4 hour minimum on the front side and a one-hour “transfer” from your reception site to the honeymoon suite.
Specialty Cars: Be sure to book these beauties early, as they may be “one of a kind”. In the warmer months, inquire about air conditioning. In winter months, many specialty cars are not available. Always discuss the distance the car will travel from pick up to drop off.
Party Rentals: Rental companies carry everything from “soup to nuts”. Deliveries typically take place on Friday. You can specify the time frame: 8AM to Noon, or 1PM to 5. Bear in mind that equipment is merely “dropped off” in a designated place. The catering staff is usually responsible for set up. Equipment must be stacked for Monday pickup at the same location as the drop off. If your wedding is on a holiday weekend, be sure to place your order well in advance.
Photographers: When all is said and done, all you will have are the photographs (and hopefully video). Trusting this special day to one individual is an awesome responsibility. It’s important to interview a minimum of three photographers. Personality and creativity are even more important than the price. If there’s no “chemistry”, move on. You really need to get a “warm fuzzy” from this professional. The more comfortable you are with the photographer, the better the photographs.
Valet Parking: If your wedding will take place at a home or at a venue with limited parking, consider the services of a professional valet company. Insured, with everyone’s safety in mind, these attendants will park your guests’ vehicles in a pre-designed location and retrieve them within minutes when they are ready to leave. Plan on having them arrive one-half hour before the guests arrive and stay one-half hour beyond the end of the reception to be sure that all vehicles are safely returned to their owners.
Videographers: In my estimation, videography is as important as photography. It is the video that will actually relive all of the motion and emotion of the day. Brides and Grooms are literally twelve feet off the ground on their wedding day. They spend months and months to plan and thousands of dollars, but when it’s all said and done, within 5-6 hours it’s all over….and the day is a complete blur. The Bride, walking down the aisle behind everyone else, never sees the mothers being seated, or the procession of her attendants; neither remembers the vows they recited at the altar. The First Dance, the Father/Daughter Dance, the Cocktail Hour that is usually missed and, more importantly, Granny...laughing, smiling, dancing…..a memory forever!!!
You’ve invited your very best friends and favorite relatives. Don’t leave details until the last minute. Instead, plan ahead so that you can enjoy this very special time with your future spouse and loved ones.
Marcia Coleman-Joyner, Certified Wedding Consultant
A Joyous Occasion