When it comes to your wedding day, you want the best experience and a smooth-running day… not only for you and your guests, but for the vendors – both attending the wedding in service and behind the scenes. Here are some tips to ensure the experience is a good one.
1. Let Go & Trust
Trusting your vendors is critical. They live and breathe weddings, and are well-versed in what is required to make it just right. Provide enough supporting information during the planning process for them to understand your vision, but give them leeway to execute the finer details in the best way they know how. Try not to micro manage the little things - give vendors the room to do what they do best.
Trust will go a long way in letting you be stress-free and able to enjoy the experience.
2. Be Flexible
This partners well with point #1.
Being flexible with your overall plans will allow you to enjoy the planning process and put more energy to time with family and loved ones leading up to your big day. While the details can pull everything together, being too rigid can restrict and 'box in' your vendors with too many parameters, leading them to doing less then they naturally would implement for fear of not meeting those rigid specifics. Vendors are experts at taking an idea and running creative with it; sometimes they will see more in an idea then you might imagine. So let go, and be flexible - it will provide some freedom when there is a hiccup with something that isn’t available or working well for day, and will eliminate disappointment that often comes from having specific expectations that aren't met.
3. Be Decisive
Make decisions in advance and try to stick to them unless something comes up that you need to go with flow on (see above). Most vendors have a timeline that needs to come together well before your wedding day. Some ideas, additions, revisions, or adjustments may seem small, but can throw those timelines out of whack and jeopardize how well the vendor is able to perform. If you are not a good decision maker – be upfront about it and give the vendors freedom to make the decisions for you…but be okay with their choice.
4. Budget Accordingly
If you can’t afford the wedding you dream of for the amount of guests you want, and can’t wait to save for it, then either downsize your guest list or discuss the best way to save costs with your vendors. As experts, we can navigate you towards more cost-effective ways to celebrate and still get the 'feel' you want. More often then not, a streamlined guest list will allow you the wedding of your dreams and make the event much more intimate and memorable. But if your dream IS about the plethora of guests surrounding you - then make this the focus and instead compromise in other areas like simplifying the decor or cutting back on small details. You will be amazed how quickly the small things will add up!
5. Have a Weather Plan
(for outdoor weddings)
Don’t just hope for the best. Be pro-active in talking with vendors about potentially bad weather. Ask your vendors what they will need to perform their service in difficult weather; wind affects microphones, rain + electrical equipment don't mix well, and catering / dessert can go wrong quick in bad conditions, let alone decor, paper products, and cards & gifts getting soggy. Discuss options and be open with how it may shift any plans you’ve been making. Be prepared for your venue or Coordinator to implement an emergency back-up plan on your behalf if the weather is threatening - they may have to rely on weather reports and predictions despite what the weather is actually doing to ensure everyone has time to work with the back-up plan for your day to unfold as smoothly as possible. In the end, if you have an outdoor venue - put a back-up plan in place so you have no worries...just in case.
6. Consider Your Guests
If you plan well for guest comfort, they will be happier and more likely to really get into the celebrations with you! This can especially come into effect with point 5 (above). If weather looks like it could be an issue, even if just for a short period of time during your festivities, consider how it will affect your guests. Humidity, heat, and rain are the biggest culprits in guests feeling ready to pack it in early. Plan for it and have a contingency to ease any discomfort.
7. Plan Accordingly for Dessert
If you have an outdoor wedding, consider how moisture, heat, wind, or critters (ants, birds, bugs) can affect your cake and/or desserts. Discuss any concerns with your baker and understand that certain styles of baked treats may not be the best option for your wedding plans. Let them suggest when delivery needs to occur and give them as many details you can about the display you have planned for them to install/set-up on, the timelines, and the conditions of your site choice.
8. Hire a Professional
Asking a friend, acquaintance, or family member to do a task seems like a great way to save money but more often than not becomes a disappointment. Communications are one of the biggest details a vendor handles during the planning process and communications are often left too casual or loose when it’s a friend or loved one. You want your loved ones to be whole and present on your wedding day and in the celebrations leading up to it – hire someone who provides the service you require and you will not regret it.
9. Don’t Self DJ
Unless you are a professional sound man/woman, this is not an area where you should try to save money. Weddings with self-manned systems inevitably result in people skipping through songs mid-way, down-time in the music due to someone looking for a specific song or artist, and a lack of dance-floor activity because the flow is all wrong. I have even heard of couples using cell phone playlists with a docking station and speaker, only to have phone calls and texts interrupting songs!
If you feel you can’t afford a DJ, discuss having a professional putting together a pre-made play list that they know will have a good flow for a wedding…then make the system off-limits to guests and let it run.
10. Hire a Good Photographer.
Other then some down-time relaxing with your honey, photos will be the FIRST thing you look forward to after your wedding day. Hiring a photographer whose style you like, and who you get along well with, will go a long way to document all your hard work and those moments you want to relive forever. If you have to opt for a smaller package to afford that photographer…then do it. You will never regret quality over quantity. Opting for a fuller package with a photographer without experience or strong editing style will not be your best decision. Photography is key for documenting your day; choose someone who can capture portraits as well as candid's and detail shots in a way you will appreciate forever.
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In the end, remember what’s important...Love.
Love is what makes your wedding day the best experience. Everything else can fall apart or come unraveled at the seams, but if you share in the experience with those that have come out to celebrate and support your love…that’s all that matters. Laugh off the small things. Deal with the bigger matters later. All you need to do is celebrate love the best you can with each new moment.
Photo Credit: Jarusha Brown Photography