"It Takes a Village"
Those in the wedding industry know how much goes into making that beautiful day feel like magic. While the center of attention is the newlywed couple, behind the scenes there is an elaborate choreography of vendors all working to make the day appear effortless. Wedding professionals are a tight-knit community who are passionate about making life’s precious moments unforgettable. Assembling the right team of people is essential to making your unique vision for your special day come to life.
Finding all the right vendors can feel daunting, but experienced event planners have a go-to list for where to start, before you even pick a date!
Planning a wedding can be quite a bit of work and seem daunting when it comes to remembering all of the little details. Getting organized in the beginning is the best way to help overcome that overwhelming feeling. Whether you purchase a wedding-specific planner or set up your own planning binder, make sure it is a system that works for you! If hiring a Wedding Planner is an option for you, it can not only help you maximize your budget but also ensure you’re staying on top of that to-do list.
Establish Your Dream Wedding Theme
Figuring out the overall theme of your wedding will help you get a better idea of the type of vendors you need to hire. It might sound cliché, but Pinterest is a great resource for curating wedding and event ideas! Another source of planning inspiration could come from attending bridal expos and wedding fairs. Not only is it an opportunity to meet vendors who could potentially be a part of your big day, but it makes a fun girl’s trip!
Set a Budget
This is one of the more important steps in the wedding planning process. You don’t want to get halfway through the planning process and realize that there is no money left for décor or your dress! Once you have a better idea on how much you can spend, you can determine what to spend it on!
Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash
Photo by Pink Fox Photography
Setting Your “I Do” Date
You may have a general idea of when you hope to tie the knot, but your date isn’t ready to be set until you have at least your venue and photographer both available on the same day.
Your theme with help you narrow down the type of venue you are looking for, but other things to consider are travel time for the guest you plan to invite and capacity of the venue. Some venues offer all-inclusive packages where they will do more than just provide a space. Some venues may include catering, decorating, or even on-site lodging. Try to book tours early in the process to get an in-person look at the space.
But before you sign that contract and pick a day, you need to be sure that the date works for not only you and your groom, but your photographer too. Believe it or not, wedding photographers are in high demand, some of them booking over a year in advance from the wedding date. Do not wait to contact your photographers! Try to find more than one that has a style you like, look at their social media to see weddings that are similar to your theme to envision what your photos will look like. When selecting your photographer, find a couple of them who have a style that you like, and reach out!
If the stars align and your venue and photographer both have the same dates available, you are ready to make the date official and sign that venue contract!
Say Yes to Your Dress
Finding the perfect dress for your big day is the most exciting portion of planning a wedding. It is the first moment that all of the planning leading up to your big day hits you and begins to feel real. You will also need to set a time to pick out dresses for your bridesmaids and ensure your husband-to-be is on top of selecting tuxes for himself and his groomsmen.
Once you say YES to the dress, be sure to schedule alterations for both you and your bridesmaids. It is best to have an alteration appointment about three months before your wedding day, and a final fitting a couple of weeks prior to the big day.
Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash
Assembling Your Vendor Team
Once you have your two biggest vendor items checked off your list, you can start assembling the rest of your vendor team. From florists to caterers and DJs to hair and make-up, these are the people who will help ensure your day goes off without a hitch.
If you have room in your budget, it might be helpful to consider hiring a wedding planner or a day of coordinator. Some venues include those services in their packages as well, so look closely to see what your package entails. The Venue at Black Prong includes coordination in certain Wedding Collections and offers both planning and coordination as add-on services to any package to ensure all of the little details are executed flawlessly.
Catering & Cake
Once you have an idea of the type of food you want to serve, you can start the hunt for a caterer. Do a little research on the companies in your area and figure out how much it is going to cost for each guest. From there, you can determine how big your guest list is going to be.
Check with your venue to see if they offer catering services on-site. With a full service catering team at Black Prong, you can sleep easy knowing your meal is prepared at your venue. Tastings for the menu options and cake choices with your soon-to-be spouse is a great way to relax and have some fun during the planning process.
Learn more about catering at Black Prong here.
Photo by Pink Fox Photography
Save the Dates and Invites
Once you know how many guests your venue has room for and calculate the food costs, you can finalize your guest list and send out your save the dates and invitations. While Save the Dates are not required, they are highly recommended especially for destination weddings or those planned around holidays. Typically Save the Dates go out between 6-8 months before the wedding, allowing your guests to reserve your wedding day or weekend on their busy calendars. Invitations are ideally mailed 6 to 8 weeks prior to your wedding date, requesting RSVPs from 2 to 3 weeks before the big day. This helps ensure that all of your RSVPs are collected so you can put together the final headcount for your caterer and start arranging your seating chart so you’re not stressing the week of.
To ensure every last detail is accounted for, you will want to make sure you have a final details meeting marked on the calendar no less than 30 days before the big day. This should include the venue’s Event Manager and Wedding Planner and/or Day of Coordinator if you have one. You will want to be sure to send the final number of guests to your caterer and get that seating chart to your venue.
Even if you are not planning on having a rehearsal dinner, you will still want to have a ceremony rehearsal. This way all members of the bridal party know what to do and ensure the day of goes as smoothly as possible.
The Big Day
It’s time to get hitched! Enjoy this day, soak up every last detail and create memories that you will cherish forever!
Photo by Pink Fox Photography
Looking for a venue that can help bring your vision for the big day to life?
Check out our Weddings and Special Events page.
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