Dear Newly Engaged Couple,
First things first, Congratulations! What a tremendous step you’re taking toward the rest of your life with your one and only true love. We all should be so lucky.
We may not be the expert in finding “the one,” but we can guide you confidently along the path of wedding planning. Having steered many ships over decades of events, here are our recommendations to avoid choppy waters and forge ahead via smooth sailing. Enough nautical wordplay, let’s get you married.
Take your time. But not too much time.
Following the rush of hearing that sweet, quivering voice utter “Will you marry me?,” it’s important to rest in that moment, to hold hands and rub your noses together, flush with romance and a feeling of possibility. It’s a beautiful time to enjoy.
Okay, that’s enough of that. Now we gotta get to work. At the minimum, prospecting potential vendors needs to start pronto, even if your wedding is more than two Summerfests and a whole new hairstyle away. The worst sort of dread is falling for a particular vendor’s, say, formal dining menu and exemplary coordinating team, and learning their schedule is booked up to and beyond your wedding date. You’ll either have to move your entire calendar around that best-in-class caterer, or else go with your second, third, or (gulp) fourth favorite.
Browse vendors early by identifying your highest priority and starting from there. Is it a talented photographer whose aesthetic matches yours? A live band you have long adored? An event space with the best natural lighting? Lock them in quickly, and build out the rest of your team around it.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down.
What are you doing with that down payment? Put. The checkbook. Down. We didn’t say run out the door and reserve the first deejay you meet. We’ve got to do our due diligence here, and that’s going to require some research.
Certainly if you love a vendor’s website, hilarious blog, or scintillating menu, this is a great launchpad for what comes next. From there it’s homework time. As with any investment, it’s pertinent to seek out unbiased reviews. Referrals from a friend go a long way, as they’re generally trustworthy and most likely to be forthright. Cast a wide net by putting it to your social media news feed, where you can ask about a particular vendor or who they’ve had success with. Failing that, online forums with a large number of reviews are a great resource, and any reputable enterprise worth a darn is going to have no problem providing references for you.
Nothing will keep you up at night more than a non-refundable deposit with a wedding planner named Rico who is new to the biz but assures you he used to throw the best house parties in college. You simply cannot beat tenure, reputation, and professionalism. Positive reviews and a long track record will reflect as much.
Mantra for marriage, and marriage planning: Communication is the key.
When shopping your vendors, remember this is a two way street. Your potential florist needs to know all you have saved to Pinterest, your budget, your grandest vision, so that when design has begun and you simply insist your arrangements feature baby pink peonies, you aren’t blindsided by the fact that peony season lands nowhere near your wedding date. No one should suffer this tragic miscommunication. Floral rage is no laughing matter.
Rapport with your crew is built through collaboration, and that requires everyone’s input. Ask questions, get clarity when someone is using a term you aren’t familiar with, relay an idea you’ve been ruminating on. Be clear with your budget and don’t be concerned it isn’t robust enough. Any professional in this industry wants to make you happy and create something beautiful, no matter where you are in your financial trajectory.
When a contract is thrust upon you, read it thoroughly so that when you think you’re ordering 100 doves for release, you’re aren’t actually booking “birds,” and then 100 seagulls show up to dive bomb your grandma. If verbiage you agreed upon is missing from the text, speak up and have the document amended. If terminology confuses you, look it up online and only sign once you feel clear on what to expect. Your vendor should have no problem with your being so thorough, as the contract protects all involved, and they want you to feel secure.
Enjoy the ride.
For Pete’s sake, remember you have a fiancé out there somewhere, watching you tear your hair out over table linens and pampas grass centerpieces, wondering if he’ll be invited to his own wedding. This is not a job for you alone, and if you’re working in tandem on it, it needn’t feel like a job at all. Visit with vendors together, and set a daily or weekly wedding planning time limit. After each contract is squared away, celebrate with a date night and/or make-out session. Remember why you’re doing this by turning your attention toward each other, and what you’re achieving as a team.
For more guidance along the way, contact our consultants today.
~All Occasions Catering