My husband and I were married in May of 2016. Several things got overlooked, even though both of us are in the wedding industry (my husband celebrates over 20 years this year of his entertainment company and is also a certified wedding planner). If we had to do it all again, we would hire a wedding manager at minimum. We don't want anything overlooked for your big day, so we created this Top 10 list.
10) Avoid getting caught up in a ton of last minute to-dos! How to avoid that happening? Hire the right wedding professionals to handle those details. How do you find the best fit? Talk to them! (This can mean face-to-face, email, video, or even text. Whatever you are most comfortable with. Thomas (my husband) and I have booked hundreds of weddings via email and text. Sounds crazy, but it works. A note: never let anyone force communication methods on you. If you don't want to talk on the phone (it's just not your jam), don't. Find that "right fit".
9) Don't wait until the last minute to book vendors. Never book with less than six months to go. Why? In our destination market, for example, the best vendors book early (and in the case of our entertainment division and with Heart, usually over a year in advance!) For what we offer (multiple services such as entertainment, design/decor, photo booth, planning, officiants and floral design/management) that can even mean two years in advance. "Get who you want or you'll get who is left"- Thomas Heath.
8) Is your date a super popular one such as 10/22/22? Start contacting vendors as soon as you get engaged! For example, both our entertainment and decor divisions were quadruple booked over a year in advance. This is the most weddings we can do in one day.
7) Logistics planning. Again, in our market, logistics such as transportation or hotel blocks are a huge deal and should be managed earlier than you might expect. Big cities have a lot of options; quaint towns in northern Michigan in high summer? Notsomuch. Petoskey has one Uber.
6) Unexpected fees. Are you maybe trying to save money because your venue does all the decor/decor management? Ask how much they charge for floor length linens and decor pieces. No one wants short linens on those standard plastic tables. Or do they charge "moving fees" to move decor or floral from the ceremony to the reception? Few, if any, do it for free. Ask questions!
5) Either pack a couple emergency kits or create a couple for the restrooms. Typical items include band-aids, hairspray or mouthwash. Everyone will thank you. We have even created cute signage to let guests know they can help themselves to whatever they might need.
4) Create a spreadsheet when you start your RSVPs with guests' names and number the reply card to correspond with their number. For example, if Aunt Dottie and Uncle Fred are number 12 on the list, write a small number 12 on their card. If someone's writing is illegible or they forget to sign it, you've got that doc to reference. And have them due one month out. If you haven't heard anything at the one month mark, call them!
3) Not realizing how much excellent vendors actually cost and/or hiring based on price alone. Relying on online sources is not your best plan. It will set you up for both sticker shock and create a false sense of what vendors in your area might actually charge. Reach out directly to get pricing; it's a good way to determine who the best vendors most likely are. The best vendors will both respond quickly and will determine what your needs are and suggest the best plan to meet your needs. Check reviews too! Note: an $800 DJ is not the same as a $2000 one. Guess which one is a professionally trained Master of Ceremonies.
2) Not having a rain plan! This includes vendors too. Most entertainment companies have a "no play" in inclement weather clause in their contracts. No one wants that equipment ruined by bad weather (and not just rain. This can include wind and even hot sun during our Michigan summers!) Rent that tent if you're having an outdoor wedding.
1) Assuming a "backyard wedding" is cheaper than renting a venue. By the time you consider all of the rentals you will need, it isn't any cheaper. Think tables, chairs, linens, bathrooms, dance floor, etc. And the big one: a tent. If you're hoping to rely on good weather and not opt for the tent, you could be making a very big mistake. We can manage tent rentals (and all of the others) for you.
And how about a couple bonus ideas:
Using friends and/or family in place of professional vendors. Are they professionally trained in weddings? How many weddings have they decorated, officiated, DJed or cooked for? Wouldn't you rather your guests enjoy the wedding with you rather than working at it? One of the quickest ways that "wedding magic" is lost is when the lights come up and everyone has to start packing away items. Or the bride has to try and find someone to help... It's just not worth it.
DIYing! Even "good" handwriting screams DIY. Even worse, your centerpieces being half-assed... Instead of taking a risk with the biggest day of your life, hire a great design and decor rental pro (like all of us here at Heart Wedding Design).
Buying instead of renting decor pieces. There's a reason (or many) why online goods are cheaper. Most linens for example, are made to be one-time use only and are not rental or high quality. Hems fray. Stains don't come out of home-cleaned linens. None of what you buy is standard sized. Napkins and runners, for example, are much smaller than rental quality.
Did any of these suggestions help you? If so, reach out to us and also please share on soc!
Special thanks to these photographers: @garywalkerr @thoughtcatalog for the fun photos!