I’m always asked by inquiring brides and grooms; what are the major benefits of hiring a wedding planner for the big day? I recently shared my thoughts with the lovely Allison Parker, and she was kind enough to feature me on her blog this week for her Wedding Wednesday post. Follow the link here for the full blog post and to learn more about Allison Parker Photography. I’m a huge fan of hers and truly enjoyed working together this past wedding season.
So… why should you consider hiring a wedding planner?
- Fully enjoy and be present for the best day of your life.
Leave your worries to the professionals! A wedding planner will keep the day running smoothly, troubleshooting every minor snag and ensuring the timeline is being followed. So when your favourite-but-clumsy cousin knocks over a hurricane vase 5 minutes before the ceremony begins, it will be cleaned up before you even know about it! You’ll be truly enjoying every little moment, knowing that your wedding is in good hands.
- Get access to expert advice throughout the planning process.
Because, face it, you have probably never hosted such a large event before, and that’s okay! A wedding planner will create floor plans, organize itineraries, answer all your questions – big and small – and provide tips and tricks that can save you time and money! Are you wondering what size table linens to order, or the best type of fabric to avoid wrinkles? From the ideal quantity of alcohol to purchase for your guests, to all types of wedding etiquette questions, hiring a wedding planner will be your immediate answer guide.
- Give your friends & family a break!
Your friends and family will be more than happy to help you out on your wedding day, but wouldn’t you rather have them enjoying every moment right alongside you? Instead of asking your future sis-in-law to assemble your DIY centrepieces, organize place cards and place a guest favour on each place setting the morning of the wedding, have a wedding planner take care of these details for you! Day-of Coordination packages are the perfect option for the couple who need a hand executing the personal elements of their day.
- Details, details, details.
On the day of your wedding, it’s important to have an expert looking out for your overall vision and making sure that the things most important to you go off without a hitch. Hiring a wedding planner means that there will be oversight on all the vendors you have hired and personal elements you have planned. There’s nothing more valuable than having a professional with attention to detail making sure every little aspect is exactly as it should be!
So, you just got engaged! Congratulations, and let the planning begin. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, I know. All at once, you’ll be expected to know the answers to questions like “what date are you getting married?” “who is in your wedding party?” and “where will the wedding take place?” First of all, take a step back, breathe, and enjoy being engaged. You’ll only get to experience the butterflies-before-the-wedding once in your life. It’s important to enjoy the process as much as the wedding itself.
When I first meet with my clients, I like to ask them each to name 3 things that are most important to them about the wedding. This can be a specific element (centrepieces, venue), a mood they would like to evoke (fun atmosphere, late night party), or an adjective to describe the wedding overall (beautiful, intimate, lavish). This is where you can build the foundation of your planning process. Every time you make a decision, be sure to reference back to your list of important things. This list will help you decide which venue is the right fit for your wedding, what band or DJ fits best with the plans for your day and even what dress to wear! Trust me, it’s a great place to get started. xo GF
Wedding planning means paying attention to the details – small and large. A detail that is very important to me as a planner and designer is choosing the proper sized linens for tables. A key piece of advice is to be absolutely sure you will have linens that touch the floor. Linens that fall short of the floor represent the biggest eyesore known to wedding planning (maybe a bit dramatic, but true). Contact your venue coordinator and confirm the linens are the correct sizes for the guest tables. If you are ordering linens, double check and triple check that you ordered the correct size. By selecting floor-length linens, you will be properly covering the chair legs and table legs. You can be sure that your wedding décor and centrepieces will look best on top of a floor-length linen.
Here is a simple chart to help you make the right choice:
|60” Round Table (Seats 8)
||120” Round Linen
|72” Round Table (Seats 10)
||132” Round Linen
|30” Round Cocktail Table (42” height)
||120” Round Linen
|4’ Table (Seats 4)
||90” x 108” Linen
|6’ Table (Seats 6)
||90” x 132” Linen
|8’ Table (Seats 8)
||90” x 156” Linen
Be sure to gift your guests with a favour that uniquely represents you as a couple! It’s also really important to choose something your guests will love. Edible items are a popular choice, and for good reason – guests can snack on the custom M&M’s during your MOH’s extra-long speech. I tend to be most drawn to items with beautiful packaging. I find that a great way to choose the perfect wedding favour is to build the favour into your design and décor. I’ve been known to suggest items that match the colour palette or go well with the floral centrepieces. I’m especially obsessed with anything miniature and dainty. Stay away from wedding favours with bright colours or loud packaging – they will stand out in the wrong sort of way. Favours should enhance the tablescape and fit seamlessly into the décor you have chosen. Another thing to keep in mind – favours can be expensive. Make sure that you are spending responsibly, by selecting a favour that doubles as an added décor element for each place setting. A successful favour is one that guests will remember to take home with them after a few drinks! xo GF
Here is a list of favours that I adore:
-Matchbooks (so classic)
-Tea and coffee pairings (try sourcing local)
-Succulents in a fancy julep cup
-Saplings (for guests to plant)
-Flower seeds (“Let love grow”)
-Miniature bottles of your fave alcoholic beverage (venue permitting)
-Heartbeat Hot Sauce (travel size)
-Frape & Sons Bitters (stunning packaging)
-Macarons (in pretty hues to match the décor)
-Ceramic Mugs (personalized with the first initial of each guest’s name)
-Beer Koozies (these are a huge hit with guests)
-Flower Succettes (there is nothing prettier)
-Potpourri (think a clear plastic tube and ribbon for packaging)
-Jars of Honey (“Meant to Bee”)
-Jars of Jam (homemade or locally sourced is best)
-Miniature olive oil (bonus points if it’s bottled by you!)
-Donation in lieu of favours (pick a charity that has special meaning to you and remember to let guests know a donation has been made)
It can be tricky to design a wedding! You’ll want to find a balance between a unique design and a look that represents you and your fiancé as a couple. I try to find inspiration in unassuming places. Keep your eyes open for interesting patterns and colour combinations you may not have used before. You may even come across an interesting object like a jewellery box, a beautiful iPhone case, or an article of clothing. You could use an item like this as inspiration for wedding design. Once you find the inspiration you need, let it guide you in making design choices throughout the planning process. When you meet with your vendors, make sure to bring along your inspiration piece to help narrow down what you’re looking for. A pretty pattern or colour palette might inspire your florist or cake decorator, so it’s important to give as much visual guidance as possible in those meetings. You may want to take it one step further and create a physical inspiration board with magazine clippings, fabrics, and colour swatches, or dedicate an online Pinterest board to things that inspire you. It’ll be incredibly helpful to you if you start out the planning process with a strong vision and complete design in mind. I’m including pictures of items that have inspired me lately – hopefully they inspire you too!
The most frequently asked question I hear from couples during the early stages of wedding planning is “when do we send our invitations?”
Here’s a guideline to know what steps to take, and how to meet deadlines that will keep your guests up-to-date and informed about your big day!
Save the Dates
6 to 8 months
Save the Dates are especially important for out of town relatives and guests. By providing 6- to 8-months notice, there’s a better likelihood that guests will have the time they need to make travel arrangements. Save the Dates are a must for destination weddings!
8 to 10 weeks
As a rule, invitations should be mailed to guests 2+ months before the wedding. If you are planning a destination wedding, consider sending your invitations closer to 3+ months in advance. To meet these deadlines, order your invitation suite approximately 14 weeks in advance. If you plan to use a calligrapher to address envelopes, order sooner.
2 to 4 weeks
You’ll need to provide guests with a deadline to R.S.V.P. to your wedding. The ideal timeframe for reply cards is 2 to 4 weeks. Have a conversation with your caterer or wedding coordinator about when your final guest count is needed (some caterers will request final numbers 2 weeks in advance!). Once your R.S.V.P. date has passed, it is socially acceptable to follow up with guests. Give yourself enough time to contact those forgetful guests that may not reply in time.