Insider from a Recent Bride
This week we are featuring a guest blogger: Cristina. She is recently engaged and currently planning her 2013 July wedding for 350 guests. Below she shares her inside struggles and tips so far.
My soon-to-be husband and I love spending romantic getaways at HideAway Country Inn in Bucyrus, Ohio. During a recent visit, we were discussing a few details concerning our upcoming, special day, and he commented how much easier the planning process has been since we invested in a wedding planner. This statement, coming from my accountant-working, frugal- minded fiancé, was definitely surprising.
Shortly after we became engaged, we decided to hire a full-term wedding planner for our wedding because we both have full-time jobs, have limited family members in the area, and we were both unaware of proper event coordination. Choosing a wedding planner is about chemistry. My mother and I scheduled a few interviews with planners based on their website repertoire of experiences, pricing packages and timeliness of response to our inquiries. We ended up hiring the very first planner we interviewed. Should we have considered others before making a decision? Absolutely. However, upon meeting our wedding planner I got the same feeling I had when I met my fiancé- “when you know, you know.”
Our guest count is roughly 350 and 60% of them live out of town. Flights, hotels and transportation have now become a major factor of this wedding. What I learned through the planning process is that you stop considering what “you (the bride)” wants, and you start factoring in how to make your guests as comfortable as possible. People will enjoy an event if they are well taken care of. Everyone keeps saying “well it’s YOUR day, so do whatever YOU want.” You shouldn’t. You should remember that your guests are making just as much of an effort to celebrate with you, as you are in preparing this event for them to enjoy. You don’t want your 50 year old aunt from Missouri searching everywhere for a rental car place and a hotel to stay in. You can help them by providing that information in a wedding website that everyone can use as a guide. Block hotel rooms, have shuttle busses available, and provide maps for those who are driving into the city. You can even provide a timeline of the wedding day events in the programs so that they know what to expect and at what time. It must be noted that accommodations for a wedding are a top priority.
What I didn’t know before planning a wedding was what my colors would be, and what my bridesmaid’s dresses would look like. Everything else I pretty much had mapped out in my head because I had this little, secret ritual before I got married: Sunday nights I’d buy a new bottle of wine, and spend $20 some dollars on wedding magazines. All evening I’d have “My Fair Wedding” playing on the TV in the background as I immersed myself in planning a wedding that did not exist…yet. So, I judge no one for having their own, little daydreaming days. However, despite 2 years of said ritual I still had no idea what I wanted my girl’s dresses to look like or what my colors would be. I went from shades of deep purple and greens, to lilac and tan to finally black and champagne. How did I decide? The colors black and champagne are the easiest to work with. If you’re an indecisive girl like me, I’d suggest you stick with basic, complimentary colors so that it gives you more opportunity to focus on details. Don’t look online when choosing a dress for your bridesmaids. Instead, take a few of them with you to the bridal boutique, have them select styles they like, and within an hour you can have one dress that they all try on and agree on.
Another thing I learned I didn’t know before planning a wedding is that buffet dinners can actually be more costly than plated dinners. With buffet dinners you tend to over purchase quantities of food because you don’t know how many people will get 2 or more servings, or how much they will put on one plate. With a plated dinner you have the option of selecting certain dishes that guests can choose from. These dishes typically include 2 sides and a salad to begin with. I also learned that cocktail hour is very important. People need something to do in between the hour or two that you and your wedding party are spending taking pictures or riding around in a limo. Again, with the courtesy and etiquette of accommodating your guests: prepare a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres and drinks (you can cut costs by simply offering beer and wine during the cocktail hour), and they can mingle while signing your guest book, taking pictures at the photo booth, or admiring the displays of place cards and photos that you’ve created for the cocktail space. It’s a time for people to relax, warm up and prepare for you and your groom’s grand entrance of becoming a Mr. & Mrs.
Until next time,
Your wedding Planner