Top 5 Things, Tips From A Wedding Planner

On today’s Top 5 Things Guest Blogger Series, we hear from Melissa Martin of Stylish Occasions Wedding & Event Planning. She provides useful tips for couples in today’s post!

Congratulations to all of you newly engaged couples! This is such an exciting time in your life. As a wedding planner, I’ve worked with many different couples over the years. Here are a few tips I’ve learned and share with brides and grooms:

First, remember this is YOUR day – not your parents’, not your friends’ and family’s. Everyone will have an opinion (solicited or not!). Go with your gut and choose what you both like. Also, try to keep in mind that the day is about celebrating your love for each other. Not necessarily “wowing” all the guests. When they see how in love you are that will “wow” them!

1.  Be sure to prepare a budget so you have a goal to stick to. And determine what is most important to you. Is it being able to invite many guests? If so, you’ll need a larger budget for food so you may need to take away from flowers and entertainment. Is it having a great photographer? Then you may need to cut the guest list back a little.

2.  Once you have all of that straight the next step is to make a guest list. This can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning. Just remember when making your list just because a co-worker or long lost friend invited you to their wedding doesn’t mean you need to invite them to yours. I always say if you have to think twice about inviting a person, then you probably don’t need to invite them or you can put them on the “B” list!

3.  Once you have your guest list you can begin your search for the perfect venue. You’ll now have an idea of how large of a venue you need based on the # of guests. If you have a specific date in mind for your wedding then be sure to ask up front if that date is available. If you’re not set on a date then you can pick the venue first and then determine the date based on their availability. When starting your search decide if you’d prefer outdoors or indoors for your reception. If outdoors think about the time of year and could it be too hot or cold? And think about a back up plan in case you would have rain or snow. When looking at venues you’ll want to see what comes in the package. Do they include everything from tables and linens to all the food? Or do you need to bring in your own caterer, rent your own tables, linens, and dishware?

4.  Once the date is set, I always tell my clients to next look for their photographer. Photography is (I feel) one of the most important aspects of your wedding. Your wedding day will go very fast and may end up being a blur to you afterwords. A good photographer will capture all the moments you may have missed as well as all the little details that you spent a lot of time on. The pictures will be what you have to look back on to remember your big day. Good photographers book up quickly so start your search early!

5.  Once those things are done, you can look for caterers (if needed), entertainment, bakers, and everything else! Just be sure to take some time to relax and enjoy the engagement period!

And of course, if you hire a wedding planner they will help you with all of this. They will walk you through the budget. You can get generic budgets off sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot, but they do not take into account what is most important to you. And they never seem to leave enough for photography! A planner will sit down and go through all of this with you.

A wedding planner will get to know you and your likes and dislikes. This will allow them to direct you to two or three of each type of vendor that they know you will love (and that is in your budget), therefore saving you a lot of time in your search. And they most likely know of vendors you have never even heard of. They will also let you know the vendors not to hire.

Good planners will also pass on any discounts to save you money. For example, I work with photographers that will give you a print credit, a photo booth company that often takes off $200 to $300 for my clients, bakers that give free delivery, rental companies that offer discounts, and more.

Congratulations again on your engagement! Happy planning!

Here is a sample of Melissa’s work and how she can help you make your big day, your BEST day!

Melissa Martin of Stylish Occasions can be reached by phone, 717-669-1961 or email her at StylishO@ymail.com. Her website stylisho.com has lots of useful information! 

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