Happy New Year! I hope the holidays were fantastic for everyone! I want to congratulate all of the newly-engaged couples and wish them nothing but the BEST, and as easy of a time planning their wedding as possible!
Becoming engaged is probably one of the most exciting days in a man or woman’s life, and it is no secret that more people get engaged during the holiday season than any other time of the year! There is the waiting, the hoping, the question, the answer, and now you are most likely wearing a new ring for everyone to see so they all know that, yes, you got engaged over the holidays! The next steps, however, are not as much of a fairy tale.
First thing’s first, and this one is a bit of a “no-brainer”: Create a budget. Figure out how much money you can realistically afford to spend for your wedding. This does not mean you should skimp on anything, just that you should decide on a maximum dollar amount and how flexible you are willing to be. (Inevitably, one or two expenses will rear its ugly head at the last minute for which you had not budgeted.)
Next, it would be wise to go out to dinner somewhere casual and have a conversation where you and your fiance can talk about your “ideal wedding”. This in no way is to suggest that you necessarily should actually begin planning specific elements of your event as there will be plenty of time for that in the future! After all, a typical ceremony can have up to eight or nine, and I have DJed receptions with as many as 35-40. As much as there is not really such a thing, most “average” receptions have around 25 separate elements, from the “Guestbook Announcement” from the DJ, to the “First Dance”, to the “Goodbye Song”, and so on. Really, this should only consist of the two of you working together to create a general overview to share with a venue, coordinator, florist, DJ, etc. Now, you have to find a dress, find a venue, hire a DJ, hire florist, hire a photographer, perhaps a videographer, decide what you will eat, taste cake, decide what the cake will look like…and this does not even BEGIN to discuss the actual coordinating of the event: deciding who will give toasts, creating invitations, deciding who to invite…the list goes on! With so many things to do, it probably sounds a little overwhelming and you may be having second thoughts, but of course, it is going to be the biggest day of your life, so you WILL go through with it. Now you just have to figure out how to make it a little easier.
This brings me to my next point. As I mentioned before, there are more than a few things to think about when planning a wedding, and if you are like most couples, you both work and your time at work is not only putting food on the table, but it is also going to go to help you pay for the wedding. In my many years working at weddings, I realize that it is easier said than done, but the last thing you want to do is to stress about your wedding. Again, it is going to be the most important day of your life and the the party that celebrates the foundation for the lives you will share together. With that in mind, unless you are planning on having a small reception in your backyard with a dozen guests, catering from the local drive-through restaurant, and flowers from your aunt’s rose garden, you should probably consider hiring someone to help you organize and coordinate your event.
Coordinators come in all types. Some venues come with a coordinator, while there are many other coordinators that have their own specialties that can help you either from the moment you are engaged, to a ‘day-of’ coordinator that will simply show up on your wedding day to help ensure that things go smoothly after the preparations have already been made. The type you choose is up to you, but the more elements you add to your wedding, the easier it is to let someone else worry about everything coming together exactly right!
Venues are a whole different ballgame. Finding the perfect venue will be a matter of your budget and your taste in locations. Whether you are looking to get married at beautiful Clubhouse on a golf course, in a hotel ballroom, or at a venue that is specifically designed for wedding ceremonies and receptions will depend on how much you are willing to spend and your “ideal wedding”.
Choosing the right florist, photographer, videographer, etc. will be a little tougher. Most likely, though they are extremely important elements of your event, because they will have little to no interaction with your guests, you will probably hire each of these vendors solely based on their previous work, and perhaps partially on the chemistry you have with each individual vendor. You can see photos of the flowers a florist put together for a previous event, photos of previous weddings a photographer shot, and a sample video from a previous wedding the videographer filmed, all of which can be seen when you sit down with the individual vendor. Once you have had an opportunity to compare, you will make the right decision, and will then be on to hiring the next vendor for another element of your wedding. That being said, a coordinator that I have worked with on a number of occasions once told me, competely unsolicited, that, “You never know you hired the wrong photographer or the wrong DJ until it is too late!”, which brings me to a topic I am intimately familiar with because it is what I do: the DJ for your wedding.
I wrote an earlier blog that was extremely specific about hiring the right DJ for your wedding so I will just go over the basics here. First, the DJ is the entertainment and the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ for your wedding. Unlike a band that may or may not be as interested in being the center of attention, a good DJ will talk just right amount, and be as funny or as serious as you set forth for your “ideal wedding”, while remaining completely professional. They will play music that you like, help you plan the events discussed earlier, from announcements to dances, etc., ensure that your picking music for your event is as simple as possible, and they do not have distractions that will keep them from giving you as much attention as you desire prior to your event, while getting to know you and your fiance to ensure that the event is a reflection of your personality. Also, it is important to ensure that the DJ or entertainment company is not trying to oversell you on “add-ons” like lighting or effects. These are specific to each couple’s tastes and there is no such thing as a perfect “package” of services.
And now, the rest is up to you! Congratulations again, good luck, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of service!