Category Archives: wedding planning services wi

6 (BIG) Wedding Planning Lessons that Pay Off

wedding reception with MR & MRS letters in front of a shiny background at a rainy weddingWhy jump into wedding planning blind? Head into planning your wedding with the lessons that pay big—both in time and precious budget funds. Best yet, these lessons come without those “I wish I’d…” regrets that so many couples have about their wedding day.

Interviewing vendors is not an option.

Contracts may seem like a boring and tedious part of wedding planning, but the “blah, blah, blah” of the fine print can make a big impact on your choices and budget. If reading through every contract isn’t your first choice (even if it is…), use an interview to find out the fine points. Ask wedding vendors about important details, such as overtime fees and cancellation policies.

If you have a “have-to-have” wedding vendor, make sure to ask your wedding venue about whether you can bring in your preferred caterer or photographer. Choosing a wedding vendor can also be a budget-friendly choice because couples can select the service within budget. Some wedding venues require couples to use a specific catering service or other vendor. Wedding venues with an open vendor policy allows you to use who you want (and bring in the touches you’ve been dreaming about).

Delegate with direction (and not without).

Organized wedding planning is an essential part of staying on top of things (use these tips to stay organized during wedding planning). As you start checking off tasks on your wedding planning checklist, asking for help is a “must” of wedding planning—but it comes with a disclaimer. If you’re set on using friends and family, always make sure you give input and clear deadlines. Many couples have shed tears when their ask for wedding planning help results in drama.

For wedding planning assistance without the drama, consider hiring a wedding planner (or choosing a wedding venue with an on-staff planner). A wedding planner can plan as much or as little as wanted or needed. Plus, a wedding planner isn’t related to you, so you don’t have to worry about any drama popping up years down the road.

DIY is not always worth it (at least not for everything).

Do-it-yourself projects may seem like the answer to every part of wedding planning; many couples are surprised to find out that DIY projects are not always the time- and dollar-saving answer. They’ve learned the hard way what you can learn the easy way. Always research projects to determine the cost of the project (including the amount of time) versus hiring a wedding vendor. Procrastinators, beware: DIY projects need to be started (and finished) early (use these other tips for successful DIY wedding projects).

De-stressing is not an option. It’s a lifesaver.

Be wary of taking the “pedal to the metal” approach to wedding planning. Even when you feel pressed for time (like when you have days or months, not years), schedule de-stressing days when you can relax. We’ve given you a few ideas for ways to take some time off from wedding planning (just make sure you actually disconnect the whole time). Feel free to plan some date nights and outings with your besties—and make sure your significant other does the same. A day off from time to time can help you mentally and emotionally, especially when the process feels overwhelming.

Wedding day preps are worth their weight in gold.

Your wedding day should be a relaxed occasion without worrying what else needs to be done—or how to fix a problem. A few last-minute wedding preps can make that possible. Pack an emergency kit with essentials like a sewing kit, stain remover, first aid supplies, and a few other important must-haves.

To keep the day running smoothly, send out a schedule to every involved in the day. Let your attendants and family know where they need to be, a general timeline of the day (this may be thrown off a bit), and anything you need them to do.

For vendors, make as many payment arrangements in advance as possible. If vendors requirement payment on the day of, put payment in envelopes carefully labeled with their name. Ask someone you trust (not an attendant) to pass out envelopes so you don’t have to.

Relax. Have fun!

Your special day is supposed to special. Expect that not everything is going to go exactly the way you planned. Be flexible, and enjoy all the benefits of your wedding planning.

Engaged? Use these 10 Essential Wedding Planning Tips

bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venueFrom the moment couples announce their engagement, the advice starts coming in (and never seems to stop). Suddenly, everyone has an idea for your wedding—and there are a million ways to use all that advice. When it comes down to it, though, you don’t need all that wedding advice (good news!), just a few basic tips that can guide planning the special day of your dreams.

Don’t procrastinate.

Wedding planning can be a lot less stressful by checking off a few of the wedding planning tasks now (here are the first few wedding planning tasks to get you started). As an extra bonus, booking the right wedding venue and vendors guarantees that you get the site, caterer, and photographer that you want. As you start planning, don’t feel that you need to have an exact wedding date. It can be easier to get the venue and vendors you want if you are flexible about dates (“what dates are you available?”) and only have a month or season in mind (use these tips to choose the right wedding date).

Stay organized.

We’re not going to lie: there are a lot of steps to wedding planning. It can be overwhelming—and completely doable if you stay organized. Use this wedding planning checklist and these tips to stay on top of your wedding planning. If family or friends ask to help, give them a deadline to ensure that the task is done and checked off the list.

If hiring a wedding planner, choose the right level of wedding planning.

Most couples assume that a wedding planner is a one-size-fits-all service that completely takes over. In reality, there are full-service wedding planners that can attend to every detail and part-time planners that can assist throughout the process. Decide which type of planning fits your wedding and your lifestyle early in the process and add it to your to-do list (or criteria for your wedding venue). This can help you decide between two planners or venues (some venues offer on-staff wedding planners that are intimately familiar with the venue and local vendors).

Select your venue carefully.

There are a lot of big wedding planning decisions; one of the biggest is the wedding venue because it dictates all the other wedding day details. The best piece of wedding planning advice: consider your options for a wedding venue carefully. Use this wedding venue checklist and these questions to select the best wedding venue for your special day. Don’t choose a wedding venue until you’ve seen it; online photos can be misleading. Schedule a tour (or ask a family member or planner if you can’t) to ensure that the wedding venue is the right one.

Let everyone know that you have a favorite vendor.

Assumptions are the enemy during wedding planning; don’t assume you can bring in your favorite caterer or décor caterer you would love to use. Make sure you ask the venue if they have an open vendor policy, which allows couples to bring in their preferred vendors. If hiring a wedding planner, let them know right away that you have a vendor in mind so they can factor that into the planning process.

Draft a guest list early in the process.

As you go through the wedding planning process, you’ll find that two key points keep coming up: date and amount of guests. While you don’t have to get a final guest list nailed down, it does make cents (pun intended) to set an estimated guest list. As you plan, decide whether you want an adults-only wedding or a kids included guest list. This simple step can help you as you make key wedding planning decisions—and save you from heartache. You don’t want to fall in love with a wedding venue that doesn’t have enough room for your guests.

Make guest comfort a priority.

Your big day is all about you, but the people you want to join you celebrating should be a focus too. Keep your guests in mind as you plan. Choose a venue with enough space and all the amenities that your guests appreciate. Little things matter, like a venue with convenient parking and transportation so guests don’t have to tramp for miles to your big day. An open-bar policy can also be a touchy subject for guests; decide early what your preference is and communicate the specifics on your wedding website. You’d be surprised too how those little things can stick with you; the smallest details, like a late-night food course, can be the detail that guests talk about for years.

Decide on a budget ASAP.

A wedding budget should not be an afterthought. Have a conversation with your significant other and anyone else that has expressed an interest in contributing to your big day. (As long as you are opening the lines of communication, discuss these key points before you delve into wedding planning.) Decide on a wedding budget (this wedding budget checklist can help) and be open about issues that may arise, such as credit problems or credit card limits.

Pack an emergency wedding kit for your big day.

An emergency wedding kit may seem like a small detail, but one with big implications. Make sure you pack these wedding essentials for those “just in case” situations, such as bad weather, a rip or tear, or any other unpleasant problems that come up. In your wedding kit, too, plan on putting payments for vendors and any last-minute items you need for the day (use this list of wedding kit essentials).

Enjoy yourself.

A wedding is a celebration. Enjoy it—and the process to get to your big day! When you feel overwhelmed, use these tips for de-stressing or spend some time relaxing with these de-stressing ideas. Once all the planning is over, take a deep breath and use these last-minute preps to ensure that you are enjoying every moment of the biggest day of your life.

Complete Wedding Vendor List

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