The next three steps in your wedding planning timeline occur 3-6 months after completing steps 1-3.
Step 4 – Meet the Wedding Team
- Event Planner – hopefully, you selected a venue that provides a planner, one who knows every nook and cranny of the property and the ins and outs of organizing a wedding celebration. Ensure the planner is certified and has a minimum of five years of experience at the venue. Ask for recommendations or read reviews. Meet your planner prepared with a barrage of questions to test their knowledge and a bevy of queries regarding past experiences. The planning is a big part of the wedding experience, so be comfortable with the person guiding you along your journey to the words “I do.”
- Floral Designer – not every venue can afford its clients a designer, let alone a floral and decor team. Having a designer is helpful, but a team adds so much more value and enjoyment to the planning process. When planning to interview the decor team, come armed with your color palette, dress style, and five to ten inspiration photos. Please do not drop the Pinterest Board bomb on them. Too much inspiration will only dilute your vision and confuse the team. Not to worry, if you have no preconceived notion of style, the team will indeed have options to excite and inspire.
- Spa and Wedding Studio Coordinator – choosing a full-service venue will afford you on-site spa and salon services for all things beauty. The coordinator will arrange hair and make-up trials, organize your maid’s appointments, and be sure you and your groom are buffed, puffed, and polished for your walk to the altar. If the venue does not offer beauty services, be sure your planner can recommend a salon nearby that provides wedding styling. Note: if you decide to hire a free-lance stylist, remember to hire one for you and another for the rest of the party. There is nothing more stressful than five or more women sharing a stylist while getting ready in the same space.
- Group Lodging Coordinator – you will have out-of-town guests, so be sure the venue offers on-site lodging with a reservationist to manage your room block. Coordinating room types with guest needs, confirming reservations, and arranging shuttle service, hostess gifts, and activities are all part of the coordinator’s job. Always make the most of your guests’ experience by informing the coordinator about guest restrictions or personal preferences. Remember they are your guests and must feel welcome and comfortable in the space you have provided.
- Production Team – choose an event production venue, not just catering space. Reserving a mountaintop space, selecting a historic building, or celebrating in a backyard might be lovely for a wedding, but not easy or cost-effective options. Do not spend hours hiring vendors and coordinating their services on your wedding day. Seek out a venue with a production team that can afford you all the necessary services under one roof. The team should include options for everything from entertainment for the ceremony and reception, photography, cinematography, drone footage, lighting, and other special effects. Stick with the under-one-roof concept, and your wedding journey will stay on the high-road and take the path with the least resistance.
Step 5 – Sampling – see, feel, taste, and touch your way to the perfect wedding.
Don’t just taste; plan to attend an event designed to excite your pallet, stimulate creativity, and delight the eye. A Wedding Sampling Event will ensure you have the information necessary to take the next steps in wedding planning and make the hard decisions easy. Note: a sampling event is venue specific and affords an in-depth look into the facilities amenities. A wedding show offers little to no information about many service providers vying for your attention in an exhibit hall.
Step 6 – Plan the menu and print the invitations.
- After attending a wedding sampling, you have gathered the information necessary to select the wedding menu, determine the proper table decor, and add a food-related WOW-factor. The members of your wedding team will take you through the various courses of the meal, stages of table setting, and room décor. Your food WOW-factor should be something that screams your names. So, if you love to tailgate, then have your venue bring out the grill and stadium chairs. If breakfast is your thing, then serve it at the after-party, or give each guest a gift card to your favorite pub with an invitation to meet there on a specific date. Bring along the wedding photos and relive the memories with friends.
- After menu planning, the next step is invitation selection, verse prep, and printing. An invitation is the “first look” in telling a story; it subtly presents your vision for the celebration. It defines the event’s persona through design and wording. At the same time, you give the guest information on who, what, when, where, and why you are celebrating. Remember to include attire instructions, directions, accommodations, and menu choices with an area to capture a guest’s dietary restrictions. S.V.P. date should be no less than one month before the event date and no more than two months prior. Proper and complete verse preparation is the key to a positive guest response and to avoid reprinting. Speak with your planner, who will afford you a lesson in invitation etiquette. The right words speak volumes about your character and your love for one another.