I’m so excited about today’s guest post. As a stationer, I love to see brides go the extra step to pretty up their envelopes by hiring a calligrapher. Lynda, from Write Away For You Calligraphy put this together for us. Isn’t she great? :)

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

I guess some consider calligraphy to be a luxury, not a necessity in their wedding planning process. Yes, hand calligraphy does cost more than the computer generated alternative, this is because of the time, experience, and eye for detail needed to execute accuracy, but a calligrapher is also one of the least costly vendors on your list, and yet can do an important thing – relieve you of a time consuming responsibility and set the tone for your wedding day. Calligraphy enhances your invitations creating a ‘wow’ factor when they arrive at your guest’s home, which makes hiring a calligrapher a worthwhile investment!

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove
The first thing your guest is going to see that is associated with your wedding is their invitation envelope in their mailbox. Seeing calligraphy on an envelope will immediately call attention to your invitation. Calligraphy will add elegance and sophistication creating anticipation to attend your event.

Each envelope becomes a small gift to your guest as they see their names inked in beautiful writing – your invitation and envelope will become an everlasting memoir of your day. Lettering can portray a formal or informal feel, but either way, it shows your attention to detail.

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

Usually all that is expected of you is that you have a typed guest list, order extra envelopes and book approx 3 months ahead to be sure you have your envelopes back and ready to go out at least 8 weeks before the event date. Pricing can vary due to geographical location and skill level.

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

You spend a lot on your invitation suite, why not complete them making them beautiful inside AND out. And don’t forget about table, place cards and signs, all this can be taken care of by hiring a calligrapher.

 

Jen from J Lauren Events put together this great post about planning a barn wedding. If  you’re having your big day in the country, or just want some rustic appeal – you’re gonna love this post!

Whether you are going all out rustic or country glamour, a barn or barn-like location can set a mood like no other type of venue. Barns are like you favorite pair jeans, you can dress them up or dress them down. These awesome venues say “Relax, let’s have some fun.” However, the fun can be dependent on creating a comfortable environment for your guests. Here are some tips to help you navigate the difficult waters of rustic wedding venues.

Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Get a Lay of the Land

Do a site walk through with your wedding planner before booking any other vendors. You want to discuss the property layout and locations for the major areas such as ceremony, reception, parking, staging for rentals and catering set up. Note the locations of water and electrical access, if any.  What type of indoor and outdoor lighting is available? Heating and cooling?

C Studios
Photo by C Studios

Line Up Your Rentals

While not the most glamourous part of planning, you need to line up rentals for the major items. Bathrooms, yes bathrooms, generators, tents, tables, chairs, lighting and heaters or fans depending on the anticipated weather.

Novia PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Light Up the Night

First let’s address the indoors. For rustic events– use clusters of lanterns to provide light in dark corners.  For a shabby chic look– mix candles with chandeliers hanging from the rafters. Amber uplighting will give the whole room a warm glow and highlight the texture in wooden plank walls.

To avoid any twisted ankles you will need to add lights to outside walkways for after sundown. Use luminaries or candles in large mason jars for stylish look. Consider adding battery power LED lights to signs.

 Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

Barns combine both indoor and outdoor elements, and this should be reflected in the menu you choose. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I like to see a mix of smoky flavors combined with refreshing local farm fresh vegetables.

C Studios WeddingPhotoLove

Photo by C Studios

Show Some Personality

Now it is time to get creative with your décor and personalize your wedding. I like to collect a lot of pictures, either on Pinterest or the old fashion way – magazines, and then play the “which of these things don’t belong” game.  Narrow down your vision and then add your own unique spin. For barn weddings I love to start with the table linens, which are a great way to bring color, texture or pattern – then add your tableware.  You can go simple or spice it up with mason jar glasses or rattan chargers.  Next, add flowers to for visual interest. Bringing in vintage farmhouse furniture and accessories are a great way to add  appeal to the bar, escort card area and cake table.

Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design brings us today’s guest post! If you are not sure what the difference is between an on-site coordinator and a wedding planner –Melissa is gong to clarify that for you!

If you’ve chosen to have your wedding at a full service wedding venue, chances are there’s an on-site coordinator who will be there to make sure your day runs smoothly. While that’s certainly a huge weight off of your shoulders, there is a difference between an on-site coordinator and a wedding planner. Although these two individuals strive to work synergistically together and to not compete against one another, many brides and grooms don’t know the difference between the two (other than the fact that they have two different titles). An on-site coordinator does much of what a wedding planner does, but only up to a certain point.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

If you’ve ever watched a wedding related “chick-flick” (Father of the Bride, anyone?!), you have your assumptions of what a typical wedding planner will do.  An on-site coordinator’s job description has boundaries, but a wedding planner’s duties are next to unlimited. A destination wedding, for example, requires a planner to help brides and grooms who just aren’t around to deal with all of the necessary details. The same is true for any wedding, destination or otherwise. Your planner is there to get to know the on-site coordinator at your wedding venue personally, as they’ll be working with them quite closely for (in most cases) 9 months or more.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

An on-site coordinator does quite a bit to manage the details of your wedding, which is what causes confusion for many brides and grooms. Your on-site coordinator can often give answers about processionals, music selections, and lodging. They see many weddings throughout the seasons, which gives them expertise. However, an on-site coordinator may not be required to do certain things, such as facilitate your rehearsal, in which case, a bride and groom may be left feeling uneasy and insecure. At the end of the day, an on-site coordinator is there to represent the property, but not necessarily the bride and groom themselves. Rather than managing your every wish for your wedding day, they may be there to make sure you’re getting what you were promised in your venue’s contract, to make sure the kitchen is staffed, and that they’re sound system is working properly. Your wedding planner will be there every step of the way, making sure you’re getting not only what your venue’s contract states, but what all of your vendors’ contracts state. They’ll get to know you and your soon-to-be spouse, and will represent you and your wishes, not just the property.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

Make no mistake; there is without a doubt some overlap between a wedding planner and an on-site coordinator. The best suggestion I can give is to interview your on-site coordinator well, identify exactly what their duties include, and hire a wedding planner to pick up where the on-site coordinator leaves off and to fill in any blanks. Your wedding planner will be back at your wedding venue on a very regular basis to prepare things exactly the way you envision them while you’re busy working and living your life in the months leading up to your wedding.

So, if you’ve been trying to weigh the differences between what you’ll get from an on-site coordinator versus what you’ll get from a wedding planner, stop. The bottom line is, you need them both.

Today’s guest post was written by the lovely Terrica, of Cocktails + Details. She works out of Charleston, South Carolina – so she has some great advice on this topic! Thanks, Terrica.

Whenever most brides envision their day, more and more are leaning outside the traditional indoor wedding and instead are opting for a beautiful outdoor wedding that encompasses their event vision. Be it beachside, in a field or garden, outdoor weddings are so very romantic because it is like Mother Nature is lending a bit of her own glory to your wedding day. Provided you have your logistics and contingency plans worked out, your outdoor wedding can be a glorious, memorable affair.

Cocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLove

Choosing a location

As with any location, you want to choose something that is meaningful but also practical. In the wedding pictured above, our client actually chose her the backyard of her childhood home for her ceremony. Surrounded by family and friends and the beautiful perennials her mother nurtured throughout the year, the wedding ceremony needed only a few touches to transform it to something spectacular. When searching and scouting for locations, don’t discount non-traditional options. Consider the time of year and what will be growing and in season for your wedding. The more green and lush a garden, yard or field is, the more vibrant everything else appears with it.  

 The Logistics of an Outdoor Wedding

Make sure that you have an area that can serve as a main focal point for your guests to attract their attention. The wedding in the above picture actually took place on top of a hot tub with the ocean as a backdrop. This allowed for guests to get an opportunity to get up close to the couple at an estate that had some very non-traditional layouts. You will also want to make sure it is easily accessible. There needs to be an easy way in and easy way out– don’t forget to take into account elderly or handicapped individuals in your guest list.  Fun signage is a great way to ensure that your guests don’t get lost and know where important areas of your event are (e.g., restrooms, event areas, etc.). When your space is vast and large, don’t be afraid to use areas to create lounge or rest areas.

Cocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLoveCocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLove
 Photos by Agnes Lopez

 

Also be sure to think strategically– as weddings happen within a time frame of four to six hours, you don’t want any significant  downtime with travel, additional set up or “flipping”– a term we use in the industry that entails us moving all of the furniture and decor in one spot and replacing it with another. You can see this above where we had a beautiful garden wedding and then transformed it to an outdoor party with a black and white dance floor, lighting, bars and more. Additionally, there has to be a great flow to the event. There should be an area for your cocktail hour, which can segue into your reception.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Ensure that your food areas (stations, buffets, cakes, etc.) have proper cover and protection from wind and insects
  • If you are in a humid area or an area that has an infestation of mosquitos, sand gnats, etc., see if your location can be sprayed or bring in fans to disperse them.  These tiny wedding crashers can and will ruin the experience at your wedding, so don’t take this lightly!
  • If your event will go into the evening, consider what you will do for your lighting– will you bring in tiki torches, string/bulb lights, lamps, or dramatic lighting? This is something that you cannot skimp on and need to consider as you make your location decisions. The last thing you want is a wedding in the dark!
  • Additionally, as you scout for locations, check your power sources– you may need to bring in a generator to accommodate the needs of your caterer, band/dj, lighting, etc.
  • Try to see your location at or around the same time you are planning to have your wedding to see what factors need to be taken into consideration: lighting, weather, insects, tides, winds, etc. These factors will help you with your layout but also creating realistic contingency plans for your wedding.

Contingency Plans for Outdoor Weddings

The one thing about outdoor weddings is that as soon as you pick your dream location, you need to pick your plan B location. To be frank, we will not work with a client who doesn’t have one or refuses to get one in place with their wedding– that is how important it is. Weather and outside forces can change at a moment’s notice, causing your guests, musicians and other vendors to scramble looking for cover and attempting to salvage what is left of your wedding. So while you may feel like you are planning two weddings, your plan A and your plan B, make sure they are both something that you can live with – even if adjustments need to be made. Tents need to be ordered at the very latest a week in advance. A tent cannot be thrown together and erected within hours of your wedding. It takes an entire team who needs enough time to plot its position and account for any mishaps that could happen. If there are indoor options at or near your wedding location, look into these options and see if your outdoor layout can be duplicated at your Plan B location as well. Remember– it’s nothing to stress about! If you have to make changes before your wedding, your guests will never know you had something different planned. They will just attend a beautiful wedding.  

Outdoor weddings take a bit more work, but are worth every bit of effort!

 

This guest post was written for us by Kara from Love This Day Events. Kara plans beautiful weddings in the Denver area, so she knows all about how to plan a mountain wedding. Thanks Kara!

Mountain weddings are spectacular. Mountain weddings are iconic. Mountain weddings offer venue, food and design opportunities that are hard to match in an urban environment. Mountain weddings also offer unique challenges in terms of logistics. And mountain weddings should simply be more fun! Here are a few steps to get your mountain wedding planning process started and make your mountain wedding day spectacular! Plan, prepare and enjoy your wedding day.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLove Photo by Jared Wilson Photography

Hire a planner.

It should be fun to plan your wedding. After the champagne and the congratulations phone calls, you and your fiance should take a week or two and really talk about what you would like your wedding to look and feel like. Ask for wedding planner recommendations from friends and do some online research (WeddingPlannerLove) and have a very honest discussion about your wedding plan during the interview. A good planner will save you time, money and hours of stress.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Stellar Photography

Set a budget.

Once you have decided what planner to work with start sketching out a budget. Your planner will be able to guide your plan and show you where to save and where to spend. Setting a budget is vital before you select your venue.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Start your Pinterest Board.

Pinterest is a great tool for design. It allows you to save your photos (instead of trying to remember which wedding blog your dream bouquet was in) and share inspirations with your vendors. Seeing 20-25 inspirational photos enables your wedding vendors to see what you love. With that information – you are setting everyone up for success.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Julie Harris

Create a top three list.

Every couple is unique and each wedding has different priorities. Sit down with your betrothed and write down the top three most important elements for your wedding. Compare lists and compromise. If your fiance chooses bar, band and food and you have chosen band, food and decor – it only makes sense to find a venue known for their chef and menu with a reception space ready for a band. Put these lists somewhere you can both see them and revisit them from time to time. Remember what matters to the two of you.

Find the Venue.

Now you can find your dream mountain wedding location. With the budget, vision and priorities in mind, your wedding planner will be able to easily guide to a spectacular mountain venue. This will save you hundreds of driving miles and several weekend scouting trips!

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Paige Elizabeth

Local Versus Imported Vendors.

Hire local or import your vendors from your city? Every couple has different needs. I recommend asking your venue for local vendor recommendations and planning a trip to interview a few. Plan your trip for a non-event day! Your florist will be able to spend much more time with you on a Tuesday than on a Saturday morning in August. See whose work you admire and who you feel comfortable with. Ask for references from past clients. The most important part of building your mountain wedding vendor team is that you hire people who you trust. If it is easier for you to work with someone from home – bring them with you. And you can always mix and match (some local and some imported) to create your dream team.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Weather Plan

Always always always have a back up weather plan. Here in the Colorado Mountains, I have seen it snow on the 4th of July and I have seen 60 degrees and sunny days in February. Work with your wedding planner to create a weather plan and establish exactly how it will be communicated to your wedding party, vendors and guests. Make sure that you have allowed adequate time for reception rooms to be reset by the catering staff and for the florists to move any outdoor decor to your indoor location. Explore and plan for the worst case scenarios . . . and hope for sunshine.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Consider your guests and altitude.

Although you and your honey may have no problem hiking above timberline or taking a chairlift – consider your guests. Have alternate transportation, consider having oxygen available for older guests and encourage everyone to enjoy the mountains. At their own pace.

Be Prepared. The Emergency Kit.

Mountain weddings are usually a little bit removed from services and stores that we rely on in the city. The emergency kit should be stocked with everything from bandaids to superglue. Talk to your wedding planner about what she has in hers – there are always great stories behind some of the more unusual items in the kit.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Paige Elizabeth

Consider the elements when buying your dress.

If you are planning to get married outside consider what the ground will do to your train. If you are getting married on grass, consider a shoe with a wedge heel (or cowboy boots – what can I say – they are functional) and always have a wrap or coat that compliments your dress. It gets chilly when the sun goes down!

Outdoor Mountain Ceremonies

There are 3 must haves for Colorado Mountain outdoor ceremonies. Have water available for your guests. Have sunscreen available for your guests (even 30 minutes at 9,000 can do a number on you!) and consider offering the ladies parasols (there are several options for renting). If it’s early season, have bug spray available (mosquitos can be quite persistent early season).

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Julie Afferbaugh Photography

Mountain Weddings and Your Dog.

Why not? Just remember 2 important things. If your dog is your ring bearer – please do not put your real rings on his collar (mountains + wildlife + dogs + expensive jewelry = stress). Have a plan for Fido for after the ceremony. Make sure someone is assigned to take him to the room, for a walk and feed him.

Have FUN.

There may be a little more wind than you planned for. You may have forgotten your veil at home. No matter what hiccups may occur, your mountain wedding should be fun. Remember what is important to you and your new husband and trust in your planner, venue and the rest of your wedding team to make your day spectacular.

Thank you Kara! What a wonderful post!

Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events was kind enough to provide today’s guest post! If you are considering hiring a “day of” Wedding Coordinator, she did a great job filling us in on what exactly to expect. Thanks Rebecca!

Have you ever been to a wedding where it was clear the couple could have used more help? Perhaps things were always running late, there were not enough helpers or no one knew what they were doing? This looks bad on the bride and groom, and it definitely is not fun to be a guest at such a wedding. I have been to too many weddings where the couple clearly could have used a little extra help in executing their plans.

Nowadays, with wedding blogs and DIY books readily available, more and more couples are opting to plan their own wedding. While there is nothing wrong with this, one thing is for sure—you cannot coordinate your wedding day!

Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events
Photo credit: Calculated Style Photography

 

For couples who have done all the planning for their wedding, a popular service is hiring a Day-Of Coordinator or Month-Of Coordinator to oversee the details.

It is sometimes referred to as “Month-Of” because the wedding coordinator will commence their services about 4 weeks prior to the wedding day. To get familiar with your wedding plans, usually 1-2 meetings are needed to go through the itinerary, to see to the last minute details and what has been discussed with vendors. No matter what the service is called, these meetings are vital to communicate your vision and expectations for your special day. Along with this preparation is having the wedding coordinator present at your wedding rehearsal, so that that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the ceremony.

Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events
Photo credit: Calculated Style Photography

 

On the wedding day, the main role of the Day-Of Coordinator is to ensure that your plans are carried out smoothly and to discreetly handle any problems that may arise. This also means you can arrive to a perfectly set up ceremony and reception, since your coordinator will have already arrived in advance to make sure it is set up properly. They are also the liaison with the venue, food manager, decorators, MC, DJ, photographer and parents; they pull the pieces of the puzzle together.

Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events

Photo credit: Calculated Style Photography

With a capable Day-Of Coordinator watching over the details of the day, you can enjoy all the special moments with your family and friends without stressing. This also means that your bridal party and family can enjoy the day too! I can’t tell you how many weddings I have been to where the bridal party and close family are running around and stressing because the couple did not hire a wedding coordinator. Not only do you want to relax on your wedding day, those closest to you should as well. Entrust your special day to a wedding professional with the experience and flexibility to handle any last-minute changes that may come up, so you can enjoy your celebration.

Find Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events on WeddingPlannerLove or head on over to her blog to learn more!

A huge thank you to Kelsey Motes-Conners from Glacier Park Weddings for today’s post. As a bride who recently got married, this post is an absolute gold mine for anyone planning a wedding.

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLovePhoto by Ryan Flynn Photography

Choosing a setting for your wedding is often one of the first and biggest items to check off your wedding-planning list, and for good reason: the venue lends atmosphere to your event and becomes the aesthetic foundation on which the rest of your style decisions are built. What’s more, your venue’s availability will often dictate your wedding date and, by extension, your bookings with other vendors. So here are a few tips to keep in mind during your hunt for the perfect venue:

Style

As you research and tour different venues, keep your vision for your wedding in mind. Pay attention to the look and feel of the place, and whether you can see it complimenting your style. Consider choosing a lovely, well-cared-for space that is also flexible, neutral and customizable–a blank canvas for you to make your own (You’d hate to get three months into planning, change your color scheme entirely and then be bummed about the way your dream flowers will clash with the red drapes at your venue).

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Alicia Brown Photography

 

Vendor flexibility

Ask whether you’ll be able to choose your own vendors, or if the venue will require you to work with specific caterers, cake bakers, bars, etc. Consider choosing a venue that can provide recommendations as to reputable or ‘preferred’ vendors, but will still allow you to make the final choice about who you’ll work with.

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Alicia Brown Photography

 

One venue

Your event will flow more effortlessly, and your guests will likely be more relaxed, if the ceremony and reception are at the same venue. Look for a venue that has separate spaces available for the ceremony and reception, though, to keep the event lively and interesting for your guests.

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Alicia Brown Photography

 

Outdoor amenities

If you are in love with the idea of an outdoor wedding, choose a venue that can provide the necessary amenities (water, electricity, restrooms and some kind of shelter) to avoid the added stress and expense of trucking in generators and water tanks, renting tents and portable restrooms.  Simplicity is key!

Glacier Park Weddings WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Ryan Flynn Photography

 

Staff and services

A professional and accommodating venue staff can go a long way in taking the stress out of your big day. A venue with a designated events manager will likely provide all kinds of helpful services, coordination packages and more, and you’ll have a contact person for questions during the planning process.

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Latasha Haynes Photography

 

Destination weddings

For a destination wedding, work with a venue that can also provide lodging, activities, gathering places and transportation for your guests. Not only will all of your guests be in worry-free vacation mode, but you will also be relieved of making sure everyone is entertained and taken care of.

Glacier Park WeddingVenueLove

Photo by Ryan Flynn Photography

 

Budget

Ask for a detailed description of what is included in the rental of the venue; Knowing what you’ll have to provide versus what will be provided by the venue will help you determine how it will all fit into your budget. Keep in mind that some venues also come along with food and beverage minimums that should be figured into your budget as well.

Most importantly…

Make sure both of you agree that the venue feels like the right place for your celebration!

Thanks again Kelsey! This post is very “shareworthy,” I’m sure we’ll see it pop up on Twitter and Facebook this week. :)  To learn more about Glacier Park visit them on WeddingVenueLove.

Joyce Scardina Becker

Welcome to Part 2 of our guest post from  Joyce from Events of Distinction. She had so much great info on Wedding Planners that we broke it into two posts for you. You can read the first post here. Thanks Joyce!

The term “Wedding Planner” is most often used to describe my occupation, but wedding planners really don’t have a consensus about what to call themselves. Some of the other titles my esteemed colleagues have used include: Consultant, Coordinator, Designer, Director, Producer, Stylist, etc. These differing designations are not just ingenious marketing pitches; they usually reflect a special expertise that the planner possesses.

Photos: Wendy Maclaurin Richardson. Wedding Designer and Planner: Joyce Scardina Becker, Events of Distinction

Types of Wedding Planners.

Here is a general explanation of the different kinds of planners, the services they offer, and what to look for in hiring them:

  • Typically a Wedding Planner or Producer will embrace your style and vision and orchestrate your wedding from start to finish. These professionals will put together the perfect team of wedding service providers for you, and will manage all details of the entire wedding. A Wedding Planner / Producer should have received professional training and a degree in Event Management, Hospitality Management, Hotel and Restaurant Management at a university, or a certificate in Meeting Planning, Special Event Management or Wedding Management from an accredited institution. The Wedding Planner must also be an expert in wedding etiquette, protocol and ethnic customs with the flexibility to understand each couple’s uniqueness. Typically, the Wedding Planner / Producer has been in the event management industry for at least 10 years. Fees can range from $10,000 to $40,000.
  • A Wedding Consultant or Coordinator is appropriate for the wedding couple who want to take a more active hands-on role in planning their own wedding, and is looking for a “coach” to help them along the way. The Consultant or Coordinator will furnish vendor referrals and set up appointments, but will not always be present with you at the all the meetings. The Consultant or Coordinator would also typically schedule the wedding day activities and be on site to manage the wedding. The Wedding Consultant / Coordinator is typically less experienced than the Wedding Planner / Producer and sometimes may not have professional training and credentials from a university or event management program. Fees can range from $2,500 to $10,000.
  • A Wedding Designer, Stylist or Architect is focused on fostering your personal wedding vision. This is for the bride who has complete confidence and trust in hiring an expert who can take the bride’s vision to the next level and create something more spectacular than the bride could envision herself. The Wedding Designer / Stylist/ Architect should have formal training in a relevant field such as Floral Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design or Fashion Design. Fees for Wedding Designers can range from $5,000 to $20,000. Some Wedding Planners / Producers have the proper credentials to also call themselves Wedding Designers and offer both planning and design services.

If you decide to take the DIY route for your wedding, you can always change course and hire a Wedding Planner later if you get into troubled waters.

Several Wedding Coordinators and Wedding Planners even offer “Day Of” service for budget-conscious brides. But let me make this clear – there is no such thing as a “Day Of Planner.” This term is widely misunderstood and misleading, because no Wedding Planner of sound mind, experience and education would simply show up on the day of your wedding and expect everything to flow flawlessly. That’s why the Wedding Industry Professionals Association recommends the use of the term “Wedding Director” for this service. Instead of waiting until the wedding day, the Wedding Director starts a minimum of 30 days before your wedding, and performs the following tasks:

  • Reviews all of your wedding vendors’ contracts
  • Inspects the ceremony and reception site
  • Develops a detailed timeline and draw schematic floor plans for ceremony, cocktails, dinner and dancing. These documents should then be sent to your vendors three weeks before the wedding
  • Prepares a separate, abbreviated wedding party timeline to be sent to parents and all attendants two weeks before the wedding
  • Reconfirms logistics with all wedding service providers after they have received the timeline and floor plans
  • Oversee the wedding rehearsal and be on-site up to 12 hours or more to manage the wedding day activities

Properly providing this service usually requires at least 40 to 60 hours of a Wedding Director’s time, considerably more than just showing up on the day of your wedding.

Photos: Jade Studio Productons. Wedding Designer: Joyce Scardina Becker, Events of Distinction.

Selecting a Wedding Planner or Designer

Check WeddingPlannerLove to find a planner in your area and budget. To find a qualified Wedding Planner or Designer, check out non-profit professional associations such as the Wedding Industry Professionals Association or the International Special Events Society for a list of current members in good standing (many WeddingPlannerLove vendors belong to these organizations!). You might also ask the Catering Departments in the top hotels in your area for a list of Wedding Planners or Designers that they recommend.

For Wedding Planners, here are some questions to ask during a face-to-face interview:

  • Do you have a business license and business insurance?
  • How long have you had your business?
  • What did you do before establishing your business?
  • What is your educational background?
  • Do you have a college degree?
  • If so, what was your major?
  • Have you pursued continuing education in Event Management or Design? If so, where?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations?
  • Have you served on the Board of these associations?
  • How do you find and establish relationships with other vendors?
  • Do you have letters of recommendation from other vendors?
  • What are the steps you take to plan a wedding?
  • How many weddings do you typically plan a year? Describe the services you typically provide for these weddings.
  • Can you work with our budget and create our vision?
  • Can I see a typical staging guide that you have created?  Timeline? Floor plans?
  • When reviewing their portfolio, ask: Who was responsible for conceptualizing the design? Who implemented the design?
  • How do you charge? What does your fee include? Do you receive fees from any of your vendors?
  • Will you be present at our wedding rehearsal and wedding day?
  • Will you provide any additional staff on the wedding day? If so, what are the costs?

While meeting with prospective Wedding Designers, you should carefully examine their portfolios and other materials that demonstrate how they have designed prior weddings. Design elements should be consistently woven through every aspect of the wedding, from the save-the-date card to wedding programs, tablescapes, favors and décor. Confirm what elements of the wedding were actually conceptualized by the Wedding Designer, and not by a graphic artist or florist. Also, since Wedding Designers need to understand your personal preferences in order to design a wedding that reflects your personal tastes, they should also be asking you lots of questions, so they can begin to understand what’s important to you.

Photos: Dennis Desilva, Studio Seven. Wedding Designer and Planner: Joyce Scardina Becker, Events of Distinction.

 

Finally, when interviewing Wedding Planners and Designers, you need to feel that there is good “chemistry.” An effective Wedding Planner or Designer must clearly understand your needs and articulate your vision. And your Wedding Planner will be your new best friend through your wedding day (and hopefully long beyond that), so it is imperative you are comfortable working together, and most importantly having fun!

To learn more about Joyce, visit her site! She’s got enough credentials to write a book—and she has! You can also find her on Facebook and twitter when she is not busy blogging! And of course, you can also find her on WeddingPlannerLove!

Today’s guest post comes to us from Pam Garnett of Altared Visions. Thanks, Pam!

For most people, their wedding day is the first time in their life they’ve ever been in front of a professional photographer’s camera lens. This can be some scary stuff, especially if you’re camera shy or perhaps a bit awkward in photographs normally. I am definitely in the latter category, by the way. If you’ve done your homework and selected a great wedding photographer (you are checking out WeddingPhotoLove, after all!), I give you full permission to relax!  Repeat after me: “I am in good hands.” Feel better? Good. I’m going to make you feel even more at ease by giving you a few things to expect from your photographer on your wedding day.

Altared Visions WeddingPhotoLove

Professionalism, Promptness & “What on Earth is She Doing?”

Professionalism is a given if you’ve hired someone carefully based on their work, passion and reputation. Your photographer(s) should of course be polite and friendly as well as arrive on time and dressed appropriately. You’ll find that many wedding photographers show up a bit early to “location scout.” My partner and I call location scouting “light hunting” and may or may or may not converse with each other exclusively in a Steve Irwin accent while doing so. You will find a lot of photographers to be a little odd, but ultimately harmless. You may glance out your window and find your photographer laying on the grass or walking in circle with an outstretch palm. Perhaps you’ll begin to fret thinking the competent professional you hired is on drugs, but it’s more likely they’re checking angles and the way the light falls on their hand. In fact, I use this hand trick often. I’m sure it looks very weird.  You may be asked to move closer to a window for your make up touch ups or other “getting ready” shots, and don’t be alarmed if you see your photographer cleaning up around the hotel room, we’re just staging the scene and lighting it so everything looks the best it can.  Again, you are in good hands!

Altared VIsions WeddingPhotoLove

Direction & Striking a Pose.

A photographer’s ability to direct a subject is just behind light hunting on the important skills list. Most couples are not models or celebrities and need some gentle direction while being photographed to feel at ease and make great photos. Your photographer may have you act out gestures, walk together holding hands or pose you in that perfect light they found light hunting. You should also expect your photographer to fine tune poses by asking you to make small adjustments such as “drop that shoulder” or “lift your chin.” There is a whole science behind posing, just know that your photographer is making you look fabulous with these little tweaks! Some poses may feel unnatural, but trust us…you will look great! Zach and Jody Gray, amazing wedding photographers from Nashville, TN like to say “feels weird, looks good!
If you’re confused by your photographer’s direction, ask them to physically show you what they mean so that you can mirror them. (Note: Some photographers take a very hands-on approach so if that sort of thing gives you the creeps, be sure to let them know!)  We find our couples are more relaxed with us demonstrating instead of dictating poses and usually a couple seeing James in a pigeon toe stance gets me some great natural laughing photos. You can’t take yourself too seriously in this industry!

Altared Visions WeddingPhotoLove

A Note on “Uncle Bobs.”

For those new to the term “Uncle Bob”, that is the probably slightly impolite way we wedding photographers refer to relatives of the bride who bring their own camera to the wedding and photograph over our shoulder. The trouble with this seemingly harmless uncle or aunt shooting along with the photographer is, among other things, no one is sure where to look or who to take direction from. This leaves you with a lovely group photo of your family and only half of them are looking at the camera. This is no good and it will certainly affect your final images as well as your professional’s concentration, so we may ask them to stop shooting or wait for us to finish first. I’ve found asking relatives to allow me my shot first and standing aside for them after makes everyone happy.

Altared Images WeddingPhotoLove

The Reception: Forget about it!

Expect to mostly forget about your photographer at your reception, in fact you should forget about your photographer at your reception! Your hard work is done; it’s time to cut loose! Unlike the beginning of the day’s in-your-face formals, the reception presents the photographer with a photojournalistic challenge in that they must hang back and catch natural, candid moments. Rather than pester you, the savvy photographer will seek out the maître’d and DJ/band immediately upon arrival to find out all they need to know without ever having to disrupt your celebrations. My partner and I alternate following our couple and shooting crowd reactions and dancing. The best reception photos are often ones taken while you’re unaware you’re being photographed in the first place, so forget about us and have a great time!

Altared VIsions WeddingPhotoLove

Lastly, The Law of Photobooths.

If you have one, we will use it. It’s like a moth to a bug zapper…this is immutable science and cannot be helped.  We apologize in advance.

Thank you Pam! I love your advice and your humor. Check out Altared Visions on WeddingPhotoLove.

Joyce Scardina Becker

WeddingPlannerLove’s very own Events of Distinction brings us today’s guest post which is two part series. We’ll feature Part 2 on Thursday! Thank you Joyce Scardina Becker, CMP for your post for our planning brides!

With a myriad of details to handle, planning a wedding can be very time-consuming for engaged couples, and spare time is often in short supply for brides and grooms who are busy establishing professional careers or attending school.

You should consider hiring a Wedding Planner if:

  • You don’t have at least 12 hours a week to devote to planning
  • You’re having a destination wedding
  • Your idea of being creative is copying a wedding that you saw in print or online
  • You have previously hosted parties where you spent the entire evening in your kitchen

Aside from saving you that precious element of time, there is another fundamental reason why Wedding Planners can be a tremendous benefit to you – they are experts at what they do. The more complex the details of your wedding are, the greater the skills that are required to implement these details flawlessly.  So, for the same reasons that many people hire professional accountants to do their taxes, many couples also hire professional planners to do their weddings.  The only difference is that weddings are much more fun than taxes!

Photos:  Sherman Chu. Wedding Designer and Planner: Joyce Scardina Becker, Events of Distinction.

What a Wedding Planner Can Do for You

Successful planning and execution of a wedding requires an understanding of many disciplines –including audio-visual, budgeting and financial analysis, food and beverage, design, entertainment, flowers, graphic design and methods of printing, hospitality law and contracts, lighting, music, photography, transportation, videography and wedding cakes. What separates the pros from the novices is a solid track record of producing hundreds of weddings, maintaining quality relationships with many wedding service providers and keeping current with the latest trends. This experience gives the Wedding Planner the foundational knowledge to effectively assist you with the research, design, planning and execution of your wedding, which includes the following specific tasks:

  • Developing a detailed budget for your wedding
  • Selecting the most suitable site(s) for your celebration
  • Recommending appropriate vendors that fit with your taste and budget
  • Scheduling appointments with vendors
  • Performing cost analyses of vendor proposals
  • Effectively negotiating contracts through an understanding of hospitality law
  • Organizing the planning process in a logical fashion
  • Understanding the flow of a wedding, and developing a detailed timeline for your wedding day, which enables the ceremony, cocktails and reception to run smoothly
  • Producing floor plans drawn to scale
  • Providing on-site management for your wedding day – overseeing all activities to ensure a flawless execution

To learn more about Joyce, visit her site! She’s got enough credentials to write a book—and she has! You can also find her on Facebook and twitter when she is not busy blogging! And of course, you can also find her on WeddingPlannerLove!