Free Planning Guide!
Have you thought of everything?
Download our free bridal checklist to make sure you're on track!
Sponsored by Shadowbrook
Not every wedding needs a save-the-date. In fact, most weddings DON’T need one. This has become a must-do as of late that’s really not necessary, UNLESS…
you’re having a destination wedding that will require advance hotel and airline reservations.
the majority of your guests are from out of town (and they’ll need to book a hotel).
you’re getting married on a holiday such as New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, etc.
A save-the-date is always a good idea when there’s the potential for your guests to have other plans on that same date or they need to make travel arrangements. The save-the-date acts as a nice courtesy for your guests.
There are many misconceptions about wedding planners, but perhaps the biggest of all is that you can’t afford them. While not every bride needs a wedding planner, it’s completely untrue that a planner will absolutely cost you more money. In most cases, a planner will actually wind up saving you money due to their ability to negotiate and their experience working with numerous vendors. They’ll know who can do what you’re envisioning—and who can’t—at the best price possible. A wedding planner is also essential if you need help carrying out your vision, if you’re not organized, if you have a quick timeline, or if you’re a doctor, lawyer or other professional who just doesn’t have the time to devote to the planning.
It’s my newest obsession. Have you heard about bullet journals yet? It’s an organizational system that keeps your calendar, to-do lists and goals all in one place. This journal will change your life…and your wedding planning process. To get started, go here. Then search for bullet journal on Pinterest and Instagram. Let your obsession begin…
If you take away anything from this list, let it be this: You will get exactly what you pay for when it comes to wedding photography. While we’re not suggesting that you go into debt hiring one of the top photographers in the industry, we do suggest that you budget as much as you can afford for this category. Photographs are one of the few things that you’ll actually take away from the day, and this is not the time to trust your cousin or best friend’s brother to take over the camera. And PLEASE don’t think that you can compile all of your guests’ shots together for your only wedding album. An experienced photographer will not only get all of the shots that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life, but they’ll also help keep your day flowing and not make you miss the entire cocktail hour because they can’t get that one shot just right. There’s an extreme amount of talent in the New Jersey area, so you’ll be able to hire a really phenomenal photographer in the $5,000 to $9,000 range…and we promise you that it will be worth every penny. (If you need suggestions, click here or email me at [email protected] I’d love to share my favorites with you!)
Wedding insurance is often overlooked but is something you may want to consider. A typical wedding policy covers cancellation or postponement of the wedding due circumstances beyond your control, which could include a venue going out of business, a weather event, a vendor not showing up, or sickness or injury to the bride, groom or significant member of the wedding. There’s also liability insurance and coverage for lost items. No policy will cover a change of heart, however. You should first check with your vendors to see how well they’re covered. There’s no sense buying a policy if your venue already protects you. But if there are any gaps, you may want to consider taking out a policy, which can range anywhere from $125 to $400, with some topping $1,000, depending on the cost of your wedding and the type of coverage you’re looking for. But when you look at what you’re spending overall, this is a small cost considering the piece of mind you’ll be receiving in return. Providers include WedSafe, WedSure, Travelers Insurance and Aon.
No, we don’t recommend calling Uber for yourself on your wedding day, but you can now have Uber on call for any of your wedding guests the day of your event so that no one is drinking and driving. Customize a guest pass with date, time, and promo code. Create a sign with this information and leave at the coat check and at the front door. All guests have to do is enter your code and request a ride. You decide how much you’ll pay. Uber is 40% cheaper than taxis, and by providing this transportation option, you’ll eliminate any worries about hosting your wedding with an open bar.
It’s no secret we live in a time when most people can’t be away from their smart phones for long—even if it’s to see their nearest and dearest get married. But many couples are setting precedence on their big day by having an “unplugged” wedding, requesting that guests put their gadgets away during the most important parts of the event.
With everything you’re planning, a playlist for your band or deejay can easily be overlooked. While it’s true that your music professionals shouldn’t need to be told what to play—or more importantly what not to play—every now and then a few misfires may sneak through. Especially if it’s a request coming from one of your guests the day of the wedding. Case in point: Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” may seem romantic, but it’s actually about a one-night stand! And no matter how many people get enough of “The Electric Slide,” it just may not be your cup of tea. So if you feel strongly about certain songs, definitely give a “d0-not play list” to your band or deejay. For our list of Songs to Lose, click here.
If you’re concerned AT ALL about how comfortable your gorgeous blinged-out heels are going to be all day, stash a pair of flats, flip-flops or even sneakers under your table at the reception…and slide into comfort as soon as your feet start to hurt! You’re going to want to dance pain-free.
No one wants it to rain or snow on their wedding day, but we know plenty of brides who make lemon out of lemonade and have some of the most beautiful weddings—and images—due to Mother Nature. So don’t worry about what you can’t control. But if the weather forecast looks a little ominous, have some large golf umbrellas on hand, along with some cute rain boots for you and your maids. A rain or snow plan thought of in advance will do wonders to ease any additional anxiety the day of your wedding.
This may sound silly but thee exact timing of when the sun will set is extremely helpful for planning your pictures, when to serve cocktails, etc. Six o’clock in February is very different than six o’clock in June…and it will be much easier to develop a timetable of your day knowing when the sun sets.
Most people don’t tend to fill in every seat in a row, so it’s best to have 20% more chairs than people at your ceremony. There’s nothing worse for guests than showing up for an outdoor ceremony just as the bride is about to walk down the aisle, and they can’t find a seat! So more is better in this case!
If you have a shuttle taking your guests from the hotel to the ceremony to the reception and back to the hotel, that’s a lot of logistics and times for a large group to know. So rather than having to be in charge of getting everyone where they need to be on time, it’s great to assign the job of “transportation manager” to a responsible guest who’s not in your bridal party. This person can also know the exact directions from location to location and will keep your shuttle operating according to your prearranged timetable. The last thing you want is for your ceremony to be delayed because you have a missing bus of guests.
Yes, they can simply map out the directions on their phones…but what if they’re in an area with no reception, their cell phones die or older guests don’t have a cell phone? It’s completely fine to go old school and include directions with your invitations. Trust us, more people will use them than you’d think! Fun maps are totally optional but a fun addition.
Just in case your party runs long and you want to keep the band, bartender, photographer, cigar roller, etc., a little longer than you had originally anticipated, add a little extra into your budget for overtime…and be sure to bring it in cash that night. Most vendors can easily be talked into staying longer if you compensate them for their time.
If kids aren’t invited to the reception, many wedding couples arrange for babysitting services at the hotel. Parents drop their kids off before the ceremony, the kids go wild with pizza, crafts, movies and games in licensed-sitter care, and then parents pick the kids up after the reception. But many couples also invite kids to the reception, whether they’re nieces and nephews or children of close friends. You’ll still want to arrange for crafts, movies, games and a kids’ menu with a sitter in a side room to keep them occupied and away from the dance floor for at least part of the time. Depending on how many kids you have attending the reception, you could make mini welcome baskets for them, filled with treats, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, etc., so that they’ll have fun with their activities and won’t be pulling on the legs of your adult guests all night.
Let’s face it, the bar is where everyone hangs out. So personalize it with fun napkins, coasters, monogrammed matchbooks, a sign announcing your signature cocktail or fun lighting to make this corner uniquely yours.
Call me a snob, but chairs are one of the first details I look at when scouting out a new wedding venue. There’s the chiavari chair, the ghost chair, the chameleon chair, the bistro chair, the cafe chair, the Versailles chair—any of these are great. And then there’s the old upholstered reception hall chair that completely downgrades your wedding look. I can tell you right off the bat who has beautiful chairs—The Reeds at Shelter Haven, The Ryland Inn, Avenue, the Ashford Estate and Liberty House. But if your location is lacking one of these cool options, you may want to consider renting chairs to transform and complete your look. ESPECIALLY if your ceremony is outside and your venue only has plastic or folding chairs!
Are you changing into a going-away outfit and having your departure as Mr. and Mrs. announced? Or will you be the last one on the dance floor until the lights come on, partying with the best of them? It doesn’t matter how you plan to end the night, you should just think about it beforehand and how you’d like it all to end. Unfortunately, it will come to an end eventually. So much time is spent on all of the other details of your wedding day, that when it’s all over, you may look to your husband or father and say, “So, what do we do now?” You can retire to your hotel room, lead the groomsmen over to the local bar or rent out a side room at your venue for the after party. Whatever you do, try to have an exit plan. And one that can be flexible depending on how you actually wind up feeling after it’s all over.
[Cover photo from Amber and Daniel’s wedding at The Crossed Keys Estate; Steve Gerrard Photography ]
Pin this image to save it for later!
Upon entering the historic beauty and grandeur of the Shadowbrook mansion you are greeted by the elegance of old world charm. This lush estate provides an exquisite setting for the most private gathering to grand scale celebration in all seasons. With outstanding service and world-class cuisine, Shadowbrook stands alone in making your event truly memorable.Click here for more information
Download our free bridal checklist to make sure you're on track!
Molly Tully talks with Scott Hornak of Craig Scott Entertainment.
Scott Hornak of Craig Scott Entertainment shares some great song ideas.
Scott Hornak of Craig Scott Entertainment tells us it's not who you think!
Castle Couture shares some insider shopping tips!
How to accessorize your look with ideas from Castle Couture.
Castle Couture tells us what's hot in the world of wedding gowns.