Saturday, January 24, 2009

Words of Wisdom: You're what?

Your engagement is one of the most exciting times of your life. But for most brides, it can be overwhelming too. There are lots of details involved in planing a wedding - where will it be? when will it be? is that band available? will I find THE dress? Fear not. I've compiled a couple tips for the newly engaged to kick off your wedding planning on a high note.

* Give your self anywhere from 10 months to 1-year to plan. You will have more fun with the planning process and be able to keep everything in perspective. You'll also have more options, as many bands and wedding venues book up 6 months to 1- year in advance.

* Figure out a rough initial guest count and then choose a location. Getting a realistic view on the guest count will help narrow down your venue search. I always recommend couples pick a location that has a look they are already happy with, so you won't have to devote too much of your budget into making your location something it is not. In my experience, the hardest time in the planning process for couples is determining where and when the wedding will take place. The last thing you need is for everyone from your Aunt Sally to your mom's former co-worker asking you about wedding details when you don't have a clue! Don't let this phase go on forever, as it can be strenuous and really take away from the other fun details.

* If you are having a complex wedding with many vendors or if you are just plain busy, I suggest you hire a planner early. A planner can take the pressure off a bride by streamlining the process. He or she should be able to find you a group of reliable vendors, assist you in decision making, and keep the planning process organized. If your planner has you on track, you'll be able to enjoy the fun parts, like the cake tasting, a lot more.

* I always suggest meeting with and interviewing a prospective planner before you hire him or her. You'll get to know if that planner shares your style and vision for the wedding. This is important, as you'll want someone with similar taste who has the ability to execute your dream wedding. During the meeting, you'll also need to ask your self if the planner is a good fit with your personality. You want to be comfortable, as you end up spending lots of time with your planner over the next few months and on the wedding day. Here are some questions I would ask a potential candidate:
- Do you have any examples of your previous work?
- May I speak with some of your former clients for a reference?
- Can you describe your ideal client? What makes a non-ideal client?
- Do you work on commission or do you have a flat fee?
- Will you be there on the wedding day? And for how long?
- How comfortable are you with negotiating contracts on my behalf?

* Buy a couple wedding magazines and check out the wide range of wedding blogs to see what other couples are doing. You'll get inspiration and ideas for your own wedding.

* Remember to have fun. You're planning a wedding after all! A glass of bubbly never hurts either!

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