Secrets of a Wedding Planner

Monday, December 29, 2014

What better way to end the year of my blog launch than with a tell-all of my top 10 wedding planning secrets!

1. Send your invitations out on a Wednesday.
Sending out invitations on a Wednesday means that they should arrive just in time for the weekend when people will have a bit more free time and can RSVP right away!

2. Plan your RSVP window carefully!
Give yourself a 3 to 4 week window as an RSVP deadline. You must leave yourself time to call your stragglers and get a firm number to your venue and vendors (about 1 week before the wedding date).

There is actually a new trend for RSVPing - technology. Having a wedding website is a great way to make it easy for your guests to RSVP. Try a Google search for "Wedding Online Guest RSVP." However, do be sure to check out a couple of sites before choosing one - some sites require the guests' personal info, which will surely deter them from continuing on the site to RSVP.

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3. Make a priorities list. 
At the beginning of your wedding planning, set 1-3 priorities - these can be concrete items like, "I want all white roses or a great band," or abstract concepts like, "I want my wedding to feel rustic yet chic." These priorities will come in handy when meeting with your vendors and when making important wedding/budget decisions. 

4. Know your style. 
Don't try to make your wedding into something that just isn't you. If you're clean cut and modern, don't go for lace and burlap just because it looks great on Pinterest. Your wedding should be a reflection of you as a couple, not a carbon copy of your Pinterest feed. 

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5. Discuss alcohol with your venue.
Definitely discuss alcohol with your venue prior to signing the contract. This is especially important for catered weddings. If providing drinks at your event is important, this should be one of the first things discussed. Make sure all alcohol related details are reviewed and clear to both parties so there are no day-of surprises. 

6. Stay in season. 
Use in season florals and elements for your wedding flowers and decor. This will not only save your money, but it will give a seasonal feel to your event. Also, florals can sometimes be recycled into your reception (like on the gift or head table), while bouquets are frequently used on the head table and cake table. 

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7. Choose your bridesmaids carefully!
Pick your bridesmaids thoughtfully and carefully. Your bridesmaids are there to assist you throughout the wedding planning process and should pitch in for all the work and activities.  Be sure to choose ladies who will help, not hinder.

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8. Confirm your vendors!
If you don't hire a wedding planner, this task will fall to you. It is crucial to check in with all your vendors via phone or email the week of the wedding (email is good for a paper trail). Things to discuss are your expectations, the timeline, arrival/departure times, and who is the best day-of contact person so you don't get bombarded with questions as the bride on your wedding day.

9. Don't forget about the cake cutting!
This is huge, especially if you're having an outdoor or catered wedding. If your wedding is at an all-inclusive venue, then you're all set - but if not, than this is an important detail to secure. Cake cutting service includes providing the plates, forks and napkins and must be in your rental/catering contract! A wedding planner knows to look for this, but if you don't have a planner, it can be an easy oversight.  The last thing you want is to have your guests eating cake out of their hands!

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10. Schedule some alone time.
Be sure to schedule in some time for just you and your groom on your wedding day! You will have plenty of time to mingle with friends and family at the reception.  As a bridal attendant, I always recommend that the bride and groom take time after the ceremony (usually 30 minutes to 1 hour) to just be with each other and soak in the moment. The day will FLY by, so if you don't take time for just the two of you, you will certainly regret it. A great time to do this is during the cocktail hour. If you have an attendant (like me!), they will make sure to bring you food from the cocktail hour and secure you a quiet place.

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So those are my secrets and that's a wrap on 2014! See you next year!