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Kind Of A Downside Of Wedding Planning… For Me At Least…

I spend weeks after each wedding analysing the event in minute detail!

I have a file that I keep notes in- for myself and for future clients- to refer to when planning all kinds of different weddings.
Its for me to make sure I can avoid or leap over any possible hurdle, and make contingency plans that are easy on the venue and the bride, whilst at the same time not ruining the couple’s vision of their perfect day.

A postmortem of the event is productive and yields results and I can give constructive feedback to the venue and the service providers to aid them in the future, but I find I beat myself up a little over things I should have done differently… Woulda-coulda-shoulda and all that.

In essence, I don’t sleep well for a few days before the wedding as I go over my plans and schedule again and again, and then for several days after the wedding as well!

Its just as well I love what I do! Even if I am a guest at a wedding my inner coordinator comes out and I find myself wanting to straighten candles and all sorts of things!

Just call me co-ordi-zilla!

Good To Know

The majority of venues you visit will provide you with a list of preferred suppliers and service providers.

These suppliers and service providers however, are not necessarily the best in the business. They may also not have been vetted by your venue as reliable or efficient.

In many cases, the people on a venue’s “preferred supplier” list have paid to be there, so do not assume that a “preferred supplier” list contains your best options.

Looking At A Venue?

As a wedding planner I am beyond particular, so when I am looking at a wedding venue I have a long list of questions I ask. Many of these questions will be answered in conversation with the venue staff, and some will be non-applicable for your wedding.

I must stress that if a wedding venue can not find the time to have you visit with a set appointment and someone to meet with, then you should remove them from your “potential venue” list. Any venue that claims to be too busy to be able to make an appointment to see you and show you around their premises clearly doesn’t need your money.

Here are the questions I ask when viewing a venue:

  • Are the candelabra included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Are there adequate bathroom facilities?
  • Are there enough chairs for the ceremony venue or will you need to hire more?
  • Are there other weddings taking place on the same day?
  • Are there restrictions for photography?
  • Are waiters and barmen included in the venue hire?
  • Can you get dressed on the premises, is this room included in the venue hire (if you’re doing everything in one location) and what time can you get there to begin preparation?
  • Can you spend your wedding night on the premises and is it included in the venue hire?
  • Can you use your own suppliers and vendors?
  • Do you allow candles and open flames (this also applies to fireworks, flying Chinese lanterns, candle-lit walkways)?
  • Do you have noise restrictions (this sometimes happens if residences have been built up around a venue since it was opened)?
  • Does the venue have a a problem with you bringing a coordinator with you (keep in mind that a wedding venue’s own coordinators are looking after the venue, not the bride)?
  • Does the venue have a coordinator you can work with (keep in mind that a wedding venue’s own coordinators are looking after the venue, not the bride)?
  • Does the venue supply a PA system?
  • How far is it from the ceremony venue from the reception venue?
  • How far is the parking from the ceremony venue?
  • How far is the parking from the reception venue?
  • If you’re thinking of an outdoor ceremony and reception, is there an adequate back-up plan at the venue?
  • Is confetti/ rice/ streamers allowed after the ceremony?
  • Is cutlery and crockery included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is decorative draping included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is it pretty enough to take photographs (try to visit the venue at the same time of year and time of day as you plan to get married, summer flowers and greenery are often gone in winter)?
  • Is it wheelchair accessible?
  • Is table linen included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is the clean-up fee included in the venue hire?
  • Is the dance floor big enough once the tables have been set up (5mx5m is usually enough)?
  • Is the venue available for your date?Is the venue big enough for your wedding (or too big)?
  • Is the venue easy to find?
  • Is there a generator?
  • Is there a minimum requirement for food and beverages, and are there consequences for not fulfilling the minimum?
  • Is there a payment schedule option?
  • Is there enough secure parking on the premises and is it included in the venue hire?
  • Is there space for the band/ DJ in the reception venue after the tables are set up?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • What is the corkage fee (a bottle of wine per table can be costly as you pay for each one opened and not everyone drinks wine, consider letting people order it if they want it)?
  • What is the expected turn-around time for communication during the planning process?
  • What time can set up begin?
  • What time does the venue close at night and are there overtime charges?

Apart from this long list, I suggest you ask for a sample contract to read through before they draw one up for you.

Good To Know

What about the aisle?

I think a lot of little girls dream about having their daddy walk them down the aisle, but when it comes to the big day why not do something different?

Anglug Wedding 0468

Here’s an example. When I got married last July, I married the man of my dreams! Seriously. But for seventeen years before I met my knight in his shining Navara, I was a single mother and my son and I had had our own lives- just the two of us. When my husband and I got married, my son was already nineteen years old, and before I met my husband he and my dad had been the two most important men in my life. So not only was my son my best man, he walked me down the aisle as well! I had my daddy darling on my right arm and my son on my left arm. It was uber special to me!

You could also have both your parents walk you down the aisle! The traditional wedding ceremony doesn’t have much in it to involve the mother of the bride and asking both your parents to walk you down the aisle is a special way to involve them both.

Perhaps you are closer to your brother or sister than your parents, or your best friend!

You could even walk down the aisle with your husband-to-be!

The thing to keep in mind when you are planning your wedding and the ceremony, is that it is about you and your husband. The traditions so many of us think we have to honour are ancient and a lot of them no longer hold the same symbolism as before. You could even ask your celebrant not to use the words “who gives this woman” and instead say “who brings this woman” when you get to the top of the aisle- or skip it completely!

Make your own memories and make them happy ones! There are no rules you have to stick to!

Wedding Planning Nightmares…

My wedding is now 117 days away. Just under four months. It feels like just yesterday it was a year away…

I am currently also doing an Advanced Wedding Planning Course, and I do believe that what I am learning has made my nightmares worse…!!

nightmares

The first few dreams I had were about our wedding reception. Nightmares that no-one had turned up, that the reception hall was a mess and the food was crappy… This one however was more about the ceremony itself.

The venue in my dream was familiar to me, but I don’t think its anywhere I’ve actually been. It was hue, and there were about 6 weddings on the go. I was already dressed in my wedding dress, if I remember correctly, and unlike my other dreams I was alone in this one. No Glugster smiling at me, no bridesmaids…

In my dream, I couldn’t have the venue inside the venue that I wanted! I can’t remember if there was a reason- but they ended up squishing all the guests into what looked like a Primi Piatta gallery!! At least there were guests in this dream… Anyhoodle I had no aisle to walk down, I had to climb a metal spiral staircase to get to the “chapel”, and the colours and flowers were all wrong!! And before this all even started I realised in my dream that I hadn’t hired a celebrant or a priest to do the actual ceremony, and I was crashing all the other weddings in tears and near-hysterics to beg their celebrants to please please please come and do my ceremony when they were finished!

And there was something about the reception in the dream too, but I can’t remember exactly what I was upset about there.

Its quite incredible how much there is to take into account when planning a wedding, and I am having so much fun you wouldn’t think I’d have any nightmares!!