Tips for planning your dream wedding or elopement!
Let's face it, we all have that vision in our heads of EXACTLY how we want our big day to be! But what happens when we get there and find all sorts of road blocks have reared their ugly heads? Fear not! I'm here to make sure you have all the information you need to make your dream venue just that! A dream! But what exactly are the right steps to making sure that idea doesn't end up a total nightmare?
Well, to start, try and set a picture in your mind, what are the three things you want to remember most about your day and how do they translate to your venue? Hold that image in your mind for the rest of this post!
Let’s talk budget!
Not the most exciting topic but probably one of the most important aspects to your planning process. Having a dedicated priority list can help you stay on track financially and make sure you and your hubby stay happy campers! But... where do we start? Set some priorities of course! What matters most? Food, of COURSE! Do you have a family member dedicated to the cause of feeding all your hungry guests? Or would you prefer a caterer? A beautiful scenic view with a sweeping landscape is, perhaps, the perfect backdrop for your "I do's". Ah... the path is a bit steep... can grandma make the climb?! As you can see, there's an awful lot to consider that's not only monetary but fits the comfort of you and your guests as well. I'm sure you have a few ideas, when planning your budget keep the most important ones in mind so as to not overwhelm yourself.
Let's get the obvious expenses out of the way first. Wardrobe. That big beautiful dress comes with a price tag. And that's before even considering the rest of the wedding party! Set a budget and do your best to stick to it! And if you end up not spending as much as you thought? All the better!
Maybe you saved a bit of cash when dressing your fabulous wedding party. Have you considered a Videographer? A bit of a new concept but I've seen the results and I can tell you… they are pretty rad!
How about your photographer? Do they fit your style? Or better yet... your personalities? Reach out, ask questions don't be afraid to be personable! Your photographer wants to vibe with you just as much as you want to vibe with them!
The comfort of your guests should be somewhere on that priority list of yours! Nobody wants to stand in the sweltering sun or frigid rain without protection. Whether you have umbrellas & cute blankets on as they get seated or advice them its rain or shine so bring sunscreen! It's good to keep these things in mind when planning expenses. Your guests want to enjoy your big day just as much as you do.
Finally, one of the biggest things to consider. The actual venue itself! Research expenses for buildings and other types of outdoor structures like gazebos. For parks and trails always check if a permit is required! Regardless of your choice availability is also something to consider. If you are set on a specific day, it may be best to set your claim as soon as possible!
Location, location, LOCATION
Are you a rustic adventurer with visions of picturesque mountains and sweet burbling streams? Perhaps its tall trees and a well worn path through a favorite park. How about an urban explorer with a longing for industrial buildings with wide spaces or the sweeping staircases of mansions from another time? Regardless of where your dream destination may be, chances are it comes with a few caveats. Contacting your venue with the proper questions can ensure that dream vision comes to life!
So you have, what you think to be, the perfect spot picked out. But something isn't quite right... oh... it's 90 degrees and there's no shade! No shade on a beautiful sunny day? Certainly a must! And your photographer will thank you to! Say your chosen location is a breathtaking mountaintop, It's best to hike up there before sunrise to ensure you're not caught out in a lightning storm come noon. Always check the weather. Especially if that location is prone to monsoons or any other kind of natural disasters. It's not a bad idea to have an indoor backup plan lined up on the chance the sky takes a turn for the worst. Something else to consider, what time of day is it? Not something the average bear thinks about but if quality photos are on that priority list of yours, the time of day should definitely be on your radar. A final note I want to touch on is BUGS! Mosquito's specifically. If they are so thick you can't see, maybe find a different spot. Trust me, the bites are NOT WORTH IT!
I'm sure you have some kind of idea for a reception? Something cozy in the deep woods or perhaps classy in a tasteful lodge? Wherever the space, decor is sure to play a part in some way. Try and keep in mind what your location already offers you and play off of that! Simple, boho, woodsy or modern… YOU decide what's best for your style and how that translates to your venue!
Regardless of where your chosen venue or park is, there are guests to consider. For city or town locations check with local hotels or airbnb, some might even offer an awesome deal or two. For ceremonies off the beaten path, check for camping or cabins. For all rented spaces ensure they are not already booked or have other events the same weekend. Can't leave your guests stranded. Yuck!
The nitty gritty
First up is catering. Decide if you want friends, family or even yourself wants to provide the food and if toting your own grub is acceptable at your venue. Don't want the hassle of preparing the meal? No problem! Check and see if your venue has you covered! Check for local caterers to! There are a TON of great options available, you just need to do a little digging. What follows food is usually drink! If your venue doesn't provide a bar, make sure to check if bringing your own is an option.
Next up we have restrictions! Have an image of a stunning sparkler exit? Unfortunately, some outdoor locations have most fire activities on a short leash. From candles on the table to, yes, even that really cool sparkler exit. A quick call to your park can answer all those burning (haha fire? burning?!) questions. While you've got them on the line ask about all required permits you may need to get the ball rolling! Be sure to check if "off path" hiking is allowed for both the ceremony and, of course, your photos!
Coordinators & coordination
An event coordinator can be your best friend! All the better if they are provided by your stellar location. Now here's the best part! Any and all questions hired staff may have? Direct them to your rock star day of event coordinator! Not only that, but they will work with you to cover all planning to ensure the day goes off without a hitch! If your venue offers such a person or you find one all on your own, be sure to keep them in the loop all throughout your planning process. Anything to take the pressure off of you and yours is definitely worth a look!
Let's wrap it up!
Whew! We made it! Hopefully with a less daunting plan from where we started. There's a lot to consider, sure, but in the end always trust your gut! Intuition is a powerful tool and chances are, if there's just that one tiny thing wiggling at the back of your mind... it's probably right! Remember that picture I told you to hold in your mind? How does it look now? Did it change? Stay the same? Maybe it looks even better than before! Don't be afraid to reach out to local vendors. Do your research and for your own sanity ALWAYS read reviews! I, personally, LOVE to help in the planning process and have shot at MANY different locations so please reach out! I'll fill you in on the good, the bad and the meh. In the end, careful research and through planning is the key to turning that perfect vision into a reality!!
Got questions… drop me a note!