The Complete Company Holiday Party Planning Checklist

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company holiday party with lightingPlanning a company holiday party is not for the faint of heart—but it is a task for the incredibly organized. We’ve been part of many company holiday parties (and have planned our fair share as event planners); we know that company holiday party planning can feel larger than the spirit of the holidays. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive corporate holiday party planning checklist that can organize the task and provide the assistance needed for a memorable (and hopefully jolly) company holiday party.

____Goal/Type of Event. The first step in company holiday party planning is determining the goal, type of event (that fulfills the goal), and guest list. Would you like to host an employee-only luncheon? A formal adults-only event for employees and their significant others? A family-friendly company holiday party brunch? The simple step of setting goals and a target guest list can help with the next steps of company holiday party planning.

____Venue. Once the type of company holiday party is determined, choose a company holiday party venue nearby that checks off all the boxes: appropriate for the type of event (i.e. formal for an adults-only company holiday party or employee luncheon), secure location, convenient for parking and public transportation, sized appropriately for the guest list, budget-friendly. Contact local company holiday party venues to get a quote and ensure that the company holiday party venue meets every need and can provide appropriate amenities, such as staffing and parking.

____Date. The right company holiday party date is dependent on the nature of the business and type of company holiday party. For example, a weekend brunch is the ideal setting for a family-friendly gathering for employees and their families. If winter is a slow time for regular company business, schedule an employee lunch for mid-day or late afternoon (or an open-house where employees can drop in as available). To narrow dates, use one of two company holiday party planning strategies:

  • Holiday season. A company holiday party scheduled in November and December capitalize on the essence of the holiday spirit. The only disadvantage is that attendance may be decreased due to the many personal and professional holiday commitments. (Budget-friendly tip: schedule a company holiday party during an “off day,” a weekday when venues are typically not booked, to get a discounted rate. Contact a local company holiday party venue for rate information.)
  • Post-holiday season. A post-holiday company party, scheduled in January and February, are a popular option among guests because they have fewer holiday obligations. After-holiday parties can also be a budget-friendly option as many holiday party venues offer discounts during this off-peak season.

____Theme. Choose a holiday party theme that is in line with company holiday party goals, such as Santa’s workshop for a family-friendly holiday party. A holiday party theme gives the event direction and plays a key role in choosing décor, refreshments, and holiday party favors.

____Invitations. When selecting the right method of invitation distribution, consider the guest list and most appropriate manner for notifications. A digital invitation is a convenient and comprehensive way to reach the office staff. Paper invitations are a highly effective method for generating RSVPs to a family-friendly gathering. If the guests are younger, brainstorm ideas for a new-age digital invite. Whatever the method, design an invitation that sets the tone for the event. Be cognitive of the theme and appropriate information for the occasion.

____Food. The type of event determines the amount and timing of company holiday party treats, such as appetizers or a meal. The extent of the food served can vary from a course of appetizers to a full sit-down meal. The type of dinner service (i.e. buffet, sit-down, family style) should fit the occasion, such as a full sit-down meal for a formal company holiday party.

____Transportation. Book a venue with parking so your employees don’t have to pay for the convenience. This is a small way to show appreciation for your employees.

____Entertainment. The possibilities for company holiday party entertainment are endless: carolers, a holiday show, speech, Father Christmas, comedians. The right holiday party entertainment suits the occasion and the guest list.

____Alcohol. If holding a holiday party during the work day, or if hosting a luncheon where employees are expected to return to work, a company can choose to limit or choose not to have alcohol at the party. Don’t feel obligated to have alcohol at the company holiday party. If doing so, make sure the decision is approved by top managers and legal counsel.

____Favors. Company holiday party favors depend on the guest list and type of occasion. Favors can vary from a small hot cocoa gift basket to as large as a company bonus. A recent company holiday party trend is to return the favor as well, by having employees bring items to donate to a local charity (i.e. food for a local food bank, books for a children’s charity, etc.) If this option is chosen, don’t neglect to add a show of appreciation to employees for their contributions.

7 Tips for an AWESOME Wedding Dance

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wedding couple dancing at wedding venueIf an epic dance party is the top priority on your wedding planning checklist, these tips are for you. We’ve seen some fantastic wedding reception dances, and these tips always seem to make a wedding dance a big hit for both couples and guests.

Two words: WOW factor.

Impress your guests the moment they walk into the door. Choose a venue with all the details that leave guests awestruck and ready for mingling and dancing. The right décor, like lighting, signage, and table décor, can put your guests in the mood for a night of serious dancing. If a vintage wedding is more to your liking, complement the historical details of your venue with vintage décor and songs.

Make sure your venue has the power for a dance party.

If you want to host the ultimate dance party with a fantastic song play list and cool lighting, ensure that your venue has the electrical system to pull it off. During the wedding venue tour, ask venue staff if the venue has hosted DJs and bands in the past (as well as these other questions). You can also request information about electrical requirements from your entertainer.

Look for a dance floor Goldilocks would approve of.

If a packed dance floor is your goal, take steps to make sure it doesn’t feel packed. The right dance floor is like the Goldilocks fairy tale: not too big and not too small. A small dance floor can drive guests away because they don’t want to be jostled; a dance floor with room to spare can look empty and unappealing.

Choose a venue with a strategically-located bar.

One of the easiest ways to empty a dance floor is to make guests work to get a beverage. Choose a venue with a bar near the dance floor, or station a beverage station within a quick walk from the dance floor.

Surprise them.

To add “memorable” to the list of words that come up in conversations about your wedding, add a surprise to the wedding reception line-up. Choose a surprise from the list, or come up with a custom surprise that fits you as a couple. A choreographed first dance can make guests cheer, or schedule a surprise visit by your favorite sports mascot (maybe from the school where you first met?).

Be selective about your wedding entertainers.

The best parties are led by top-quality entertainers. When searching for entertainers, seek out quality entertainers who come highly recommended and have experience. Be cautious about entertainers who don’t have a list of clients that can recommend them (from personal experience) or don’t have a contingency plan in case of an emergency.

Serve a late-night wedding course.

If you want to keep guests on the dance floor, serve a late-night course so your guests aren’t heading out for a snack. For a themed wedding, choose a dish that fits with the occasion. If you have a favorite that you didn’t serve earlier, ask your caterer to bring out platters for the perfect dance party fuel.

10 Musts of a Stellar Wedding Website

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wedding reception with MR & MRS letters in front of a shiny background at a rainy weddingA wedding website is a valuable part of any engaged couple’s wedding planning toolkit—and a very appreciated source of information for guests! Don’t let the people you want to join you on your special day down. Don’t forget to include any of these important wedding day details on your wedding website.

Logistical Details

The most important detail on any wedding website is the answer to the where and when questions. Include a complete schedule of your wedding day activities, as well as information about your ceremony site and wedding venue. If you’re lucky enough (for both you and your guests) to find a fantastic venue with free parking, make sure you include information about the location of the parking lot. For venues near paid parking, give guests the exact cost or the information they need to give to the parking structure to get free wedding parking. If there is a convenient public transportation option for guests, let them know the specifics that can get them to ceremony and reception.

To build anticipation, take the logistical part of your website a step further. If your ceremony site or wedding venue is breath-taking, include photos and video that make your guests look forward to your big day.

Lodging & Travel

For out-of-town guests, serve as their travel agent. If you have reserved a block of rooms at a local hotel, include information about prices and the details they need to provide when reserving their room. Beyond that information, give them a list of places to stay and specifics about interesting places to visit. In Milwaukee, include delicious breweries, brewery tours, the zoo, local museums, and favorite lakefront spots can give them the local taste they desire.

Registry Specifics

The registry section on a website is sure to be one of the most visited, so make it easy. Include locations for local guests and links for out-of-towners. If you are requesting donations to a charity as a gift suggestion, this is the place for that information.

Couple Info

If you want to avoid (or at least lessen) the million questions about how you met and how long you’ve been together, include your love story on your wedding website. As a nice touch, add a list of the bridal party to your digital site.

Wedding Day Dress

Couples can’t tell anyone how to dress, but you can give guidelines for dress on your wedding website. To back up the formality of attire, include pictures of your wedding venue; your guests won’t think of wearing jeans when they see beautiful pictures of your elegant site. For out-of-town guests, give helpful suggestions for attire if you expect the weather to be extremely hot (or share that the venue has air conditioning) or incredibly frigid.

Adults only

If you are hosting an adults-only wedding reception (read on to help you make the decision whether a reception minus kids is right for you), this is the place to let guests know. For parents, include information about child care services or a “kid zone” that is part of the reception. If you need wording suggestions for this section, use this adults-only wording website to deliver the news.

Cash Bar

Don’t leave your guests thirsty. If you are hosting a cash bar, let your guests know so they have funds on hand and enjoy their beverage of choice.

Social Media Specs (Or lack thereof)

Some of the best wedding shots come before or during the festivities; if you are using a social media hashtag to harvest all those unique shots, include social media hashtags on your wedding website. To the contrary, if your big day is unplugged, let your guests know your preference so they can tuck their phones and tablets away—or not bring them—to your ceremony.

Contact Information

Your guests are going to have questions. Answer them! Include a way for guests to contact you and ask any questions they may have. Hopefully, this step can reduce the amount of questions you have to deal with on your wedding day (so you can enjoy it!).

“Other Stuff”

Got any other information to share? Your wedding website is the place for it. When adding to the site, however, avoid awkward pictures and stories that could embarrass you, your fiancé, or any friends and family.

Should you host an adults-only wedding?

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wedding venue with centerpiece lights and guests at wedding receptionHosting an adults-only wedding is a new trend among couples, and one that comes with a lot of opinions (a LOT of opinions!). A bride recently wrote about her views and experience planning a hosting a wedding sans kids. One guest recently voiced her opinion that an adults-only wedding was a selfish idea.

So is an adults-only wedding right for you? You can come to an answer by asking yourself these questions:

  • What kind of wedding do we want (a big party with lots of adults-only beverages, a late evening affair, or a family celebration)?
  • What time do we want to hold our reception? (A later reception may be more appropriate for adults-only.)
  • Do our friends and family have a lot of kids?
  • Are we having kids in our wedding party? (You can still host an adults-only reception, but may need to address the presence of kids at some point.)
  • Does our budget allow for kids? (Depending on your budget, you can cut the guest list with an adults-only list or have an adults-only reception by providing babysitting in a kid zone away from the reception.)
  • Is our venue a kid-friendly venue? Do they allow kids? (Don’t be afraid to ask the venue staff when you first contact them.)

If you do decide that an adults-only wedding is right for you, use these tips for successful wedding planning and an awesome reception.

Decide where you want to draw the line. Be firm about who is considered a kid and who is not. Don’t “un-invite” one teen while inviting another. Try to be as consistent as possible, and don’t be afraid to tell your guests how decisions were made.

Be clear about your expectations. If you want an adults-only wedding reception, be clear with guests. Address the envelopes accordingly (no “plus family”) and put the names of only the guests invited on the response card (Mr. & Mrs. John Doe). Add a line to your wedding invitations and website that is clear about your no kids policy. A simple “Please join us for an adults-only wedding reception” will do. If a limited budget is involved, a clearly worded “We have limited seating available; therefore our dinner and reception is an adult affair” should provide a clear explanation. (More ideas for adults-only invitation wording can be found here.)

Know that it’s okay to contact some parents. If you have a close friend or a guest you know is going to have questions, it’s all right to reach out to them. Don’t feel you have to give you a huge explanation for your decision; however, it’s better to answer questions upfront and offer any assistance to guests (i.e. babysitter numbers, answer questions about your wedding “kid zone).

Expect some negative feedback. Don’t be surprised if there is some less-than-thrilled feedback from guests. When confronted, be clear with your intentions and, though tempting, don’t make exceptions. You are going to cause far more drama and get more unpleasantness when allowing some guests to bring kids while others are not. Instead, offer to connect parents with responsible babysitters or, when the budget allows, offer to assist with the financial cost of child care.

6 Tips for an Autumn Wedding You’ll Fall in Love With

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welcoming wedding venue foyer with warm fireplaceBeautiful fall colors. Yummy hot chocolate. A cozy autumn evening. Fun Halloween antics. No doubt, you’ve chosen a fall wedding date for one or all of those reasons (and more!). Now it’s time to pull all your favorite parts into a wedding day that completely you; we’ve given you a few tips to make your fall wedding vision reality.

Don’t count on beautiful fall weather.

Autumn weather is unpredictable; in some ways, it can be more unpredictable than any of our other Midwestern seasons. One day it’ll be 70 with sunshine, the next 50 and rainy. Plan accordingly, both for your sake and for the comfort of your guests. Choose an indoor venue with air conditioning for those hot fall weekends and heat for the cooler days in September, October, and November. For great photo opps, look for a venue with details and locations great for your wedding photos. You might not get the chance to head outside if the weather is cool and wet.

Decide on your fall theme—and indulge it.

birch containers with elegant wedding centerpieceAs much as you love every aspect of fall, make sure you choose one detail as your focus and carry it throughout your décor. A fall wedding with a little bit of leaves, a little bit of Halloween, and a little bit of every other autumn detail can feel make the reception feel disjointed and scattered. For example, for a Halloween wedding, plan a reception full of Halloween details and schedule a murder mystery for your main stage entertainment. If you need help focusing your wedding reception details, choose a venue with an experienced planner to assist you with connecting the dots (i.e. décor, entertainment, menu, etc.).

Bring the outdoors in.

If a beautiful fall day is one of your favorite parts of the season, create an atmosphere that exudes it. Choose table décor that exudes the outdoors, such as antlers, birch logs, and fall logs. To add formality, add candles and lighting that give your reception the right feel.

Embrace seasonal flavors.

Hot chocolate. Apple cider. Pies. Pumpkin dishes. The scent of these delectable autumn dishes can make your guests’ mouths water and add an ambiance that screams autumn. Incorporate your favorite dishes strategically as you plan your wedding menu and add food stations to your wedding reception plans. An interactive apple cider area with all the fixings can be a big hit with guests. For a more adult-only autumn flavor, add a beer or wine tasting to the evening’s events. Stock the tasting with beverages created just for your favorite wedding season.

Make your reception feel cozy and warm.

There are very few people who don’t appreciate a warm fall evening by the fire—especially on a cool autumn day. Take steps to warm your attendants and your guests. Provide shawls and fashionable sweaters for your attendants (the more fashionable, the cuter the photo opp!). For your guests, welcome your guests with touches that exude cozy (like a warm fireplace and lighting).

Add a favorite fall favor to your plans.

After going to great lengths to create a wonderful seasonal atmosphere, don’t leave your guests out in the cold. Choose a fall favor that warms and emanate the season: mittens, jellies, miniature pies, apple cider (or mixes), caramel apples, candles with fall scents.

7 Stunning Colorful Wedding Decoration Ideas

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elegant halloween wedding ideasSome couples love a neutral wedding décor. Creamy whites. Subtle touches.

This post of color wedding decoration ideas is not for you.

These ideas are for brides and grooms who want a pop of color. For couples who love color and want to express it with wedding décor. For those who want to make a bold statement on their wedding day. (If you fit into the third category, a couple who wants assistance with planning all those colorful details, contact us for wedding planning services that can make your vision a reality.)

red carpet in lobby at 1451 Renaissance Place

Roll out the red carpet.

Every guest wants to feel like royalty, and a red carpet at the front door accomplishes that purpose while setting the stage for a bold wedding.

arrangement of boxes, flowers, and candles with orange table coverings

Use contrast.

If you want to incorporate a bold color palette into your wedding reception, choose a wedding venue with a neutral décor so you can use contrasting colors that pop.

Incorporate textures.

For a bit of interest, choose elements with texture to add interest to your wedding reception.

dotted table linen with dressed chairs for a hint of color

Be creative with patterns.

If you want your color to truly be a pop, add small touches, such as patterned linens with small polka dots. Coordinate the pattern with chair dressings that play up the color scheme.

wedding reception hall with uplighting with bride and groom names

Use lighting to grab guests’ attention.

When you choose a wedding venue for the architectural details, draw attention to those details with uplighting. Use colored lights that coordinate with your linens and highlight columns and high ceilings—the exact reasons for your venue selection.

wedding venue Milwaukee WI

Bring excitement to the room with bright colors.

To mix it up, cover your chairs with colored linens that exudes excitement. Select another color for the tables to create an unforgettable wedding decor.

romantic wedding decor with rose centerpieces

Choose rich colored décor.

Don’t worry about being too “matchy-matchy.” Bring in elements with the same rich colors and a small touch of something different for striking wedding décor.

21 (Fun!) Wedding Reception Surprise Ideas

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bride above a beautiful wedding receptionEveryone loves a surprise—especially when you include a surprise into plans for your big day.  Suddenly, your big day becomes bigger (or at least your guests’ eyes do when they see your surprise!) and different. As an added benefit, you can customize your wedding day surprise to something entirely you.

So without further ado, here are a list of fun wedding reception surprise ideas that you can customize into an amazement that fits your personality and your big day:

chalk sign on sidewalk to welcome wedding guests

  1. Surprise them at the door with a fun mural, backdrop, or drawing
  2. Have the happy couple arrive in an unusual vehicle (i.e. in an old car, in a carriage, etc.)
  3. Host a beer (this is Milwaukee, after all!) or wine tasting
  4. Serve a surprise dish
  5. Schedule an appearance by a celebrity impersonator
  6. Have an unexpected friend or family (that you didn’t expect) appear on the dance floor (or on a video call!)
  7. Break out a fun (well-practiced) dance routine by the bride and groom (or father-daughter or mother-son dance)
  8. Have a favorite sports mascot crash the party
  9. Include surprise entertainers in the night that reflect your heritage
  10. Make your awesome dessert part of your décor (i.e. donut wall, interactive dessert food station)
  11. Have one of the newlyweds appear unexpectedly during the reception (coordinate the appearance with the DJ or band)
  12. Add sparklers or fireworks to the night’s festivities (ask your venue about limitations first!)
  13. Give your guests dinner and a surprise show (hire entertainers to make it happen!)
  14. Make a (cool!) wardrobe statement with an unusual dress or dress change
  15. Turn your reception into a trivia night
  16. Confetti drop (outside or on the dance floor-ask your venue to ensure it is allowed)mandap with floral garland
  17. Make a statement with décor in a big way
  18. Give your guests unexpected wedding favors
  19. Host a (surprise) game show
  20. Play dance floor games
  21. Tell your guests thank you with a unique sign or message (i.e. in fortune cookies, with elegant cards set up with each word, etc.)

7 Ways to Minimize the Wedding Planning Drama

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wedding figures for top of cake after wedding budget planningWedding planning can bring out the worst in anyone (anyone!). We’re not sure what it is that stirs up the emotions; if it’s the budget, stress, or just the enormity of the occasion (or a combination of all three), somehow wedding planning can bring out hurt feelings, heated exchanges, and its fair share of anger. As event planners who assist couples with wedding planning, we’ve seen the tears and heard the tales. Unfortunately, some couples can’t seem to avoid the family and friend drama that accompanies wedding planning. However, there are ways to keep the drama minimal so you can plan and enjoy the process (and the actual day!).

Have the necessary conversations early.

To make sure you are on the same page, start having those necessary conversations early—especially with your fiance so you are in agreement on the big details! Don’t avoid discussions (even the difficult ones) with family and friends who are vested in your big day. Talk to family members who have expressed an interest in helping out (financially or otherwise). Ask what their expectations are, such as the budget for the item they are offering to pay for or the deadline for a task they are helping with. Likewise, be open about major decisions, like who is walking you down the aisle, the number of guests they can add to the list, or the names listed on the invitation. A simple conversation can minimize angst later—and (hopefully) keep you on good terms until your big day.

Organize, organize, organize.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed; realize that same feeling can lead to negative reactions when you are in the middle of wedding planning. Use a wedding planning checklist or app to help keep you on track during the process and organize all documents in one place so you can easily find vendor names and contact information when needed (use these other tips for organized wedding planning to keep on top of it all). If it all gets to be too much, don’t hesitate to hire a wedding planner.

De-stress.

Unfortunately, stress and wedding planning seem to go hand in hand. Throughout the wedding planning process, step away from it all to de-stress. Have special nights out with your fiancé to reconnect, and designated nights with friends to relax. (We’ve listed a few local wedding planning de-stressing activities here.) When you take a day or night to de-stress, try (it can be really hard!) to not talk about wedding planning.

Unplug.

Electronics are a necessary part of daily living, but they can also add to the stress—especially when everyone is continuously contacting you about the wedding! Take some time to unplug, whether it’s at the spa, concert, or for a weekend of camping. Come back from your “unplugged” time refreshed and ready to tackle the next wedding planning task.

Don’t be afraid to consult the experts.

It’s natural to receive A LOT of advice during wedding planning. We mean A LOT. Everyone has an opinion, and they’re not afraid to voice it. “Go here….” “Are you sure you want to do that…” “We did….” All the advice can make you want to scream (or elope!). Be patient with the advice; it’s part of the process. Remember, also, that all that advice, however well-meaning as it is, may not be correct. Don’t hesitate to contact the professionals for recommendations and advice. (Use these tips for hiring reliable, professional vendors.) You hired your wedding venue coordinator, DJ, caterer, and photographer for a good reason; don’t be afraid to lean on their expertise.

Make it a team effort.

If you need help, ask for it. Remember, though, to be realistic about it! Your best friend probably can’t get that huge task done in a weekend, and your friends may not produce Pinterest-worthy DIY projects. If you do trust a friend or family member with a huge wedding planning task, be clear about the deadlines and expectations. If you don’t think that person can meet either of those, bring in the professionals so you don’t end up with hurt feelings and angry texts.

Keep the lines of communication open.

As you schedule and make plans, send out communications about the plans to everyone so no one feels left out. Send out wedding schedules to the whole wedding party. If you do have a detail that might miff family members, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page to avoid bickering and family drama.

7 Wedding Day Curve Balls (& How to Deal with Them)

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wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningWedding emergencies. Even the best-planned wedding day can be hit with a series of fast pitches and curve balls that can throw even the most flexible bride and groom for a loop. We’ve seen it happen; that’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common wedding emergencies, what you can do about it, and how you can prepare so you’re not struck out by a wedding emergency.

Rain

Our Wisconsin weather is notoriously unpredictable; plan for the unexpected! Never plan an outdoor wedding without a plan B. If you want an outdoor ceremony, search for the ideal outdoor site while also looking for a wedding reception hall with space for the ceremony (just in case!). Be prepared for the possibility of soggy weather (you’ll need these rainy day wedding tips). Communicate with your venue and vendors accordingly so you can still have a beautiful wedding day even when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Too Hot

Hot weather can put a real damper on a summer wedding. If your wedding day is anytime during late spring or summer, look for a wedding venue with traditional details and modern air conditioning. For events like photos or an outdoor ceremony, provide fans and cool drinks to cool your attendants and guests down. Schedule those events accordingly so they are not during the hottest times of the day (trust us, your guests and attendants appreciate the schedule!).

Dress ripped or stained

A guest steps on a wedding dress. A guest spills their drink all over a beautiful wedding gown. It happens, and it can be fixed. Pack a sewing kit (with Velcro for ripped straps!) and tape for fixing dresses that get stepped on or rip. For stains, pack a stain shot and cloth for cleaning off any spills.

Not feeling well

Keep a first aid kit and medications on hand so you (and your wedding party) feel your best on your wedding day. Think ibuprofen for headaches and antacids for a sour stomach. Snacks for when you realize you haven’t ate in the last four hours. Bandages, tweezers and ice packs in a first aid kit for illnesses or injuries (they do happen!).

Bad Hair Day

Even with a ton of bobby pins and hair spray, the most elegant wedding hair do’s can fall or get messed up. Make sure you get the best photos ALL day by adding extra bobby pins, hair spray, hair dryer, and clips to your emergency kit.

Smeared Make-Up

Don’t start the wedding day looking like a princess and end the day looking like a horror show. Pack extra make-up and ask a trusted friend to do touch-up throughout the day (especially before and after photos).

Cold

If the temperatures are resembling a roller coaster, adjust your wedding day schedule accordingly. Move outdoor festivities indoor (look for a venue with space for a ceremony and reception). Provide shrugs and jackets to bridesmaids for a fun photo opportunity.

If you haven’t noticed, a wedding emergency kit is a must for any couple. Pack a bag with the following items that can get you through any wedding curve balls:

  • Make-up
  • Shrugs & jackets
  • Umbrella
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Hair dryer
  • First Aid Kit (bandages, ice packs, etc.)
  • Tweezers
  • Prescription medication
  • Aspirin
  • Snacks
  • Antacids
  • Laundry pen
  • Sewing kit
  • Tape
  • Velcro
  • Water bottles
  • Hand-held fans
  • Small cloth (for cleaning dress)
  • Payments for vendors (sorted into appropriate envelopes, if needed)
  • Anything else

Complete Wedding Vendor List

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unique spring wedding idea: patterned black and white table coverings with purple pastel chair bowsThat old adage about taking a village to raise a child also applies to a wedding; any bride or groom can tell you that it took a city (or at least it felt like it!) to turn their wedding day vision into reality. Before you start searching for and contacting your city of wedding vendors, confirm the most vital details like your ceremony site and venue (after all, you have to give the caterer and photographer your location!).

Start by having a conversation with your fiancée (and any family contributing to the big day). Set a budget, estimated guest list (at least, a number), and an idea of the time of year. None of these details need to be final; an estimate is a good start. For the date, for example, have a season or month that you prefer. As you contact wedding venues and ceremony sites (which can be one and the same), give them the season or month and ask for open dates in that period. Tour wedding venues with open dates that fit your criteria, style, and budget. Ask if the venue has an open vendor policy or if the venue has a list of preferred vendors to choose from. Book the venue that checks off all the important boxes, and get ready for the next step: finding vendors that can make the perfect wedding dessert, take fantastic photos and video, serve a scrumptious wedding meal, provide wonderful wedding reception decor…

How to find the right wedding vendors

There are quite a few wedding vendors out there, and just as many different ways to find them. Be cautious about who you hire. Even though your friend or family member might recommend a vendor or the website looks great doesn’t mean they can provide the high-quality service you want. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask your venue staff for recommendations (or ask them to coordinate all the vendors as your wedding planner).

As you search for wedding vendors, be concerned about common red flags such as bad business reviews, no business address, or any hint that the company has a lack of experience (and back-ups, just in case!). Instead, look for favorable reviews, photos, videos, and satisfactory business ratings and customers (it doesn’t help if they are excellent at what they do if they can’t manage their appointments and finances).

Once you compile a list of prospective vendors for your big day, schedule face-to-face meetings. Be prepared to walk away from vendors who don’t have a business location to meet, seem inexperienced, don’t listen to you, have hidden fees that push the cost over budget, or want you to sign a contract with fine print that makes you uncomfortable.

Ask your vendors how you should communicate with them in the future. This is important so you don’t feel ignored and get the responsiveness you need as you plan your big day. Make sure they have a line of communication you’re comfortable with; you don’t want to choose a vendor who’s only comfortable with electronic communication and ignores your phone calls (or vice versa).

Wedding vendors to contact

___Wedding Attire (Dress & Tux)

___Invitation Printer (& online invites if applicable)

___Photographer

___Videographer

___Caterer

___Baker

___Entertainer (DJ or Band)

___Florist

___Table Décor