12 Essential Wedding Planning Tips & Tricks
We LOVE when an expert arrives here at Wedding Sparrow to share their invaluable knowledge about all things wedding so we're thrilled to welcome our fave Camryn Brook Events today who has the ultimate wedding advice for all you planning brides! Here's Camryn's Top 12 Essential Wedding Planning Tips for you...
1. LEAVE IT TO A PROFESSIONAL
If your budget allows, invest in a professional wedding planner whose work you love so you can trust them to do a good job. Hire them from the very beginning – before you book a wedding venue so they can assist in the search and suggest venues that best fit your style, guest count and budget.
2. KNOW YOUR SIZE
Determine the approximate size of your wedding by drafting your guest list before visiting venues. This way you aren’t investing your time into venues that won’t fit your guest count. As a rule of thumb, choose a venue that gives 25 to 30 square feet per guest to account for the space you’ll need for tables, band and a dance floor.
3. CONSIDER THE DATE
Research the date you’re considering before committing to it. Local events such as conferences, parades and charity walks could affect traffic, travel rates and hotel availability. Also be sure to research weather patterns and be prepared for undesirable conditions. Have a plan in place to keep your guests comfortable in the event of heat, rain or snow.
4. READ YOUR CONTRACTS
Once you decide on a vendor, do not sign the contract until you’ve read it thoroughly. It’s important that you are aware and feel comfortable with the cancellation policy, payment terms and due date. If you are working with a planner, make sure they have read through it as well to ensure it includes all necessary services you will need such as delivery, setup and breakdown.
5. LEAVE WIGGLE ROOM IN YOUR BUDGET
Budget for the unexpected. I always recommend setting aside at least 5% of the total budget for any surprise expenses or splurges. In doing so, you have some wiggle room to spring for must-have décor items without going over budget.
6. BE ORIGINAL IN YOUR DESIGN
It’s easy to fall in the social media trap with all of the beautiful wedding ideas out there. I work with my clients in using these photos as inspiration rather than replicating them. When creating a design board, it’s best to gather non-wedding photos, such as architecture, nature, fashion and textures. By doing so, you’re designing a wedding that is unique to you and your fiancé, not a copy of someone else’s.
7. LIGHTEN YOUR GUEST LIST
If your budget isn’t going as far as you’d like, make small cuts to your guest list to make room for more décor elements or guest experiences. A smaller guest list means a lower food and beverage bill and less invitations, reception florals, rentals etc. Eliminating just ten guests could save you a few thousand dollars.
8. BE CONSISTENT IN YOUR GUEST LIST
When deciding which guests are allowed to bring a guest of their own, make a rule and stick to it. Perhaps everyone can bring a date or maybe you decide only those married, engaged or in a serious relationship. The only exception should be for your bridal party to all get a plus one.
9. HAND CANCEL YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS
Invitations are the first impression your guests have about your wedding day and it’s important they arrive in perfect condition. Most mail is sorted through a machine that can potentially rip, tear or smudge your invitations. I highly advise hand-canceling (each envelope marked using a hand stamp instead of the machine) to avoid your invitations arriving to your guests damaged. This is especially important if you invested in calligraphed envelopes, ribbon or twine, custom or vintage stamps and wax seals.
10. PRIORITIZE YOUR GUESTS' EXPERIENCE AND COMFORT
Chances are many of your guests are traveling in for your wedding. Show them you appreciate their efforts by giving them a warm welcome, help them around town and keep them entertained. One of my favorite ways to make your guests feel special is by leaving a welcome gift and note in their hotel room. Think water, items local to your wedding and you and your fiancé’s favorite gourmet treats. I also suggest providing transportation for your guests to and from the wedding. They appreciate it more than you may know.
11. AVOID LONG LINES AT THE BAR
You want your guests dancing and celebrating with you, not waiting in a long line for a drink. I typically recommend one bartender per 50 guests at a minimum as well as waiters greeting guests with trays of wine, champagne and sparkling water. If you are also serving a specialty signature cocktail, I suggest adding an additional bartender. During the reception, consider having table service for wine so your guests are not having to get up for a refill.
12. MAKE TIME FOR SUNSET PORTRAITS
Carve out time in your wedding day schedule for sunset portraits with your photographer and videographer. The most beautiful and romantic golden light happens sixty minutes or so before the sun sets. You won’t regret sneaking away for a bit to capture those special moments between you and your fiancé.