Event planning

Brides, Weddings

iPhones/Galaxy at Your Wedding ~ Bridal Tips

iphone5

The proliferation of camera phones has raised a new point of discussion for brides and grooms hoping to capture the essence of their wedding through a professional photographer of some distinction.  How to handle wedding guests with cameras and their phones and preserve the privacy and security of the wedding events is a growing challenge.  Social media is changing the rules around the ceremony that was originally about the bride and groom.  As Kim Ode of the Star Tribune said, "On a day planned down to the mints, social media allow for random acts of mindlessness."

  • While some couples may embrace the technology, others wonder "how to keep their vows from going viral".  This concern has prompted wedding planners like me to formulate some guidelines covering social media at weddings.
  • Recognize that most couples make a distinction between the wedding ceremony and its more solemn aspects and the reception with its feel as a celebration.
  • If the bride doesn't want people to see her in her gown before she goes down the aisle, she needs to make sure that her bridesmaids understand that uploading photos of her in that special dress is forbidden.
  • I would suggest putting a notice in the program itself that this is an "unplugged" ceremony.  Reinforce this by asking the officiant to remind the guests to silence their electronics.  This will also assist the professional photographer that the couple has hired to be able to take the necessary photos the couple wants without Auntie in the aisle with her phone or ipad obstructing the view for the professional.  Some clients have had a sign placed at the spot where the guest book if placed as a reminder.

Social media at the reception is much more acceptable.  Photo sharing sites enable guests to download photos into a designated wedding album which makes it nice for the couple to see lots of action at their party.  We recommend the app WedSocial for guests to share photos.  It is easy to use and fun for the guests!

~ Best,

Laura

 

Brides, Grooms, Uncategorized, Weddings

Say Cheese!

picture

The Picture Dilemma

 
 The Problem: It’s the middle of July. You have been waiting for 45 minutes and now you are finishing the last of the roasted chicken and green beans. You sit in a hot, crowded room with 130 other wedding guests waiting for one of your best friends and her husband to finally finish the pictures and walk through the door. While this scenario is annoying, it can be avoided.
 
The Plan: Many engaged couples are planning their pictures before the ceremony; this cuts down on the wait time after the ceremony ends. Your guests have come to spend this special day with you; don’t make them wait forever to congratulate you.
 
If you are planning on having a meal at your wedding, this is an option you might want to consider. You have spent so much time and money preparing for this special day. Take time and enjoy it!

Brides, Uncategorized

Creative Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

BlogInvitation

Because the push to be unique is increasing important to our brides, here are some of the more creative ideas we have seen.

  • If yours is a smaller wedding, consider including a personal not with the invitation.
  • With the help from the US Postal Service you can create your own stamp.

  • Stats have shown that social invitations are opened more frequently on Saturdays.  Time your invitation mailings to arrive on Saturday if possible.  You'll receive more RSVP responses.

  • Pick a monogram and use it throughout the planning process.

  • Choose a unique start time for the ceremony.  For example use the date you met (5:23) or the date you got engaged (7:04) or other key dates in your lives.
  • Take lots of photos during your engagement and pre-wedding planning period and use them as table decorations at the reception.
  • Create an entrance at the wedding ~ something that says WOW and let's your guests know they have arrived.

  • Include your parents by having their wedding photos on display at the reception.  Include grandparents photos too if they are available.
  • To keep everything moving, plan a "surprise" for guests at the reception every 30 minutes.

~ Best,

Laura

Corporate Events

i have a voice ~ 2nd Annual GiGi's Playhouse Gala

This blog post is near and dear to me.  As some of you know that I have grown up with individuals with disabilities.  My father ran Illinois Growth Enterprises for many many years and I was fortunate enough to learn from him about the importance of giving people chances that they wouldn't normally get in every day society.  I was amazed as a child that he had the patience at work that he also shared with us at home.  It is a gift!! Last year the first I have a Voice Gala for GiGi's Playhouse was held and Accent on Events was proud to be asked back to assist with this years event again.  Dr. Brian Skotko was the key note speaker and we were lucky to have Aaron Wilson emcee the evening for us.

GiGi’s Playhouse centers evolved into educational centers with a focus on national awareness for Down syndrome. All of our programs are free to our families and are therapeutic in nature.

In just 9 years, 12 Playhouses have opened and  there are more in the works! GiGi’s is committed to the important mission of spreading positive and accurate information about Down syndrome through education. We know that by helping individuals with Down syndrome reach their highest potential, we can change outdated perceptions that people may have. The end result is a world that is empowered with knowledge, compassion, and inspiration – what a better place for all of us!

Here is an inspiring video of how fun the Playhouse can be!

GiGi's Playhouse Rockford

Here are the photos from the evening.  It was so enjoyable and I was thrilled to be a part of it!

Weddings

Honoring Family Members

Candle Memory

We find that brides often wish to honor a deceased family member by including that person's name on the wedding invitation.  While the intention is good, this is not the way to do it.  There are other more appropriate ways to honor the deceased one's memory ~ either privately or publicly. To honor a deceased mother, an usher can place a white rose on the pew at the moment the deceased would have been seated.  During the ceremony, a song can be dedicated to the deceased or the person's favorite hymn sung and commemoration noted in the program.

Deceased siblings or grandparents can be honored during the candle ceremony by lighting an additional candle in their honor.

Rosemary stands for remembrance so a sprig of rosemary could be included in the bridal bouquet or attendant's bouquets.  Bouquets could also contain the family member's favorite flower.  You may also add charms onto your bouquet of deceased family members photos.

A contribution to the deceased's favorite charity in their name is a nice way to honor someone you love.  Make note of the contribution on your wedding program.

If you would like more creative and innovative ideas ~ please contact us.  We can help you with more ideas on how to include the memory of your loves one in your wedding ceremony.

~Best,

Laura

Uncategorized, Weddings

Aisle Style

Here are some tips for defining the aisle you will walk down at your wedding. If you are marrying in a church, be sure that the aisle cloth you've chosen is made of sturdy fabric and has weights to hold it down at both ends.  Do not use a paper runner.  They are difficult to walk on - especially in heels and they make noise.  Better to have a bare aisle.  Many florists now have colored aisle runners so you could follow a color plan although white or creme are still the favorite choices.  Some companies also do custom aisle runners to match your wedding invitations or have your monogram on them.

Remind the ushers who will be positioning the aisle cloth that this is part of the ceremony seating.  Their behavior and demeanor while rolling out the cloth and securing it is a significant part of the pre ceremony activities.  It needs to be done with dignity and care.

If your ceremony is taking place at a locations that does not have an aisle it is possible to create one.  Lanterns, potted plants, torches, flags or pennants, columns and stanchions with velvet ropes can add dramatic impact while defining your passageway.

Usually, tall decorative elements create a formal look while shorter items are appropriate for a more informal weddings.  Whatever aisle you have fashioned, walk down it with dignity.  This is not a 20 yard dash!  Take your escort's arm, stand up straight, head held high and walk toward the most important moment in your life.

Below are samples of aisle decor we love!!

Brides, Gift Registries

Online Gift Registries

perkswedding-610

While the bulk of wedding gift registries is still run through big box stores, department and specialty stores, there is a growing segment of that industry that is utilizing the reach and specificity of on line communications.  At one time considered somehow "tacky", on line gift registries have come into their own and have proven to be a real advantage to couples and their guests. It's easy to build an on-line registry.  Your guests can shop from their homes (or phones), which is a huge convenience if they are out of town.  You can select the items you want in stores and then list them on your e-registry.  You can also list your registry on national sites like theKnot.com and weddingchannel.com if your chosen retailer has a partnership with those sites.

Once registered, you can log on to your site anytime to add, delete, or change preferences.  You can also see what has already been purchased.  Some sites will include the information about who ordered what.  This will prove helpful when writing thank you notes.  Gift enclosure cards do not always remain attached to the box containing the gift.

There are also new sites that specialize in "non-traditional" registry offerings.  While there is still discomfort about "registering for money", some couples have been utilizing these sites.  For couples who prefer to accumulate cash for a major purchase, there are depositagift.com and myregistry.com.

Whichever method you choose for your gift registries, remember that under no circumstances should those sites be included anywhere in your invitations.  Depend on members of the wedding party and family to spread the word about your gift registry preferences.  It is fine to place the information on the couples wedding website if they have created one for guests.

Don't forget that although gift registries now include non-traditional items, gifts for a lifetime are remembered most!

 

Uncategorized

Flowers.....Flowers.....Flowers

Choosing the flowers for your wedding can be a big decision.  Picking the style, color and budget allocations can be daunting.  But if you spend some time thinking about what you want, the selections of these important wedding accessories can give you the WOW factor you want for your wedding. Selecting a florist is an important first step.  Ask for suggestions.  View florists whose work you like.  Ask to see photos from actual weddings they have done.

Think about how you will fund the flowers you want.  As you establish your wedding budget, think about the role you expect flowers to play.  We generally suggest a three part budget allocation.  Flowers for the reception are an important consideration since this is where guests will see flowers first hand.  We recommend the largest allocation here.

Secondly are flowers for the wedding party and immediate family.  Remember that bridal party bouquets are the most heavily photographed so don't cut too many corners there.  Having bridesmaids carry a single rose for example, can be economical, but remember that single buds tend to look strange in photographs with stems sticking out in several directions.  Bridesmaids tend to carry them awkwardly.

Third and finally, consider ceremony flowers.  The church or venue will likely give you guidelines as to what is allowed.  If the space is huge, consider filling it with greenery.

Below are some flower ideas for your special day, including some our favorite bouquets!

Best ~ Laura

Photos Courtesy ~ Sprouthome.com

Weddings

Wedding Themes and Trends

Chateau

While is is fun to get ideas from these themes, what matters most is that the bride and groom have a wedding which is true to their vision.  The theme that the couple selects should have some personal relevance and meaning to them as a couple.  Why bother with a theme?  It provides a sense of community to all decisions made about the wedding - from the gowns to the lowers to the reception venue and the foods chosen. Decisions are so much easier once the theme for the wedding is established.  Whether it is a color or a location or a time period or event, the focus is there to insure that this life changing celebration is memorable for participants and guests alike.

  • History lovers may wish to be married in the "Roaring Twenties" of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Art Deco can be the design focus.  Jazz was king and flappers wore short gowns and bling was everywhere.

  • World travelers  - or - dreamers will find a wonderful theme in exotic locations.  Tropical isles, far Eastern spots or Scottish highlands all provide a structure for food, decor, dress or paper products.

  • Bright colors against neutral backgrounds can be very effective.  Instead of carrying out a color theme in the brides maids dresses, have them in a basic shade like platinum and carry out the color theme in the flowers and reception decor.

  • The ceremony and/or reception location can provide the theme for a wedding.  If a museum is chose as the venue, art and sculpture become the theme.  If a garden or beach or ranch is chosen as the site, the theme becomes clear.

  • Medieval accents combines with fairy tail touches work well in historic buildings or modern redos which retain the original stone walls and structures.

If you are confused about how to execute a themed wedding or want to avoid overdoing it ~ Contact us!!  We know weddings!!

 

Best ~ Laura

Uncategorized, Weddings

A Wedding Dream....Etsy

Etsy Veil

For day three ~ our blog post today is about our favorite finds on Etsy for Weddings.  There are so many that it took quite awhile to narrow it down and show just a few of our favorites.  If you are looking for something unique and fabulous you will be sure to find it on Etsy.  

Our favorite Item #1 ~ Chevron Clutch from This Lady Made it

This is perfect for Brides to give for Bridesmaids Gifts and keep one to use for themselves.

 

Our Favorite Item #2 ~ Guest Book Puzzle from Puzzled One

What a unique way to keep your guest book over the years.

 

Our Favorite Item #3 ~ Cuff Links for the Groom from The Pretty Peacock

These will be a keepsake for the Groom of their wedding day.

 

Our Favorite Item #4 ~ Personalized Hanger from Get Hung Up

A perfect keepsake for your wedding dress.

 

 Our Favorite Item #5 ~ Card Holder from Kelly Marie Collection

This is ideal to show your engagement Photos to your guests as they place the card in the holder on your wedding day.

 

Our Favorite Item #6 ~ Monogram Sign from Script and Style

This is definitely something to hang in your new home as husband and wife.

 

Our Favorite Item # 7 ~ Wedding Bandeau Veil from Fascinating Creations

A beautiful addition to your wedding dress!

 

Our Favorite Item #8 ~ Wedding Dress Pendant from Green Grass Gifts

Take a piece of your wedding with you everyday.

 

Our Favorite Item #9 ~ Wedding Ring Pillow from Paloma's Nest

A fabulous keepsake to put your rings in every night!

 

Our Favorite Item #10 ~ Thank you cards from That Pretty Invitation

An amazing idea to thank your guests as they sit down for your wedding reception!

Enjoy all these items and everything more that Etsy can bring you when looking for wedding inspiration!!

Best ~ Laura

Brides

Wedding Shoes......A Must!

One of my favorite items to pick out for weddings is the shoes...well any type of shoe is fun to pick out for me!  I am a shoe lover and today I wanted to bring you several of my favorite wedding shoes.  Make sure that you have comfortable shoes since you will be on your feet most of the day.  There are so many brands and styles to choose from.  You can even wear one type for the ceremony and one for the reception.  It is up to you!   Enjoy ~

Best ~Laura

Brides

Musts for the Bride-to-Be ~ It's Engagement Season!

Engagement Ring

 

 

 

 

As engagement season starts and weddings are starting to be planned at the expense of other aspects of your life, take the advice I give you and Practice Self Care. Do whatever you need to do to unwind, relax and sleep well.  Take your vitamins, get healthy exercise and find emotional outlets for the stress you are under.   You need to be strong, healthy and resilient.

Get and Stay Organized ~ start early and document every decision around your special day

Set a Budget and Stick To It ~ Sit down together with your fiance and agree on priorities

Remember to Be Grateful For All That You Have and All That Others Are Doing For You ~ Don't forget to thank everyone.   ~ This is your wedding - not a copy of someone else's.

Let Go of Bridal Guilt ~ No one can make everyone happy all the time.  Worrying about it takes up far more time and energy than is deserved

 

Best ~

Laura

Weddings

Tips from a Planner

012

We know that is takes a happy combination of events and planning to produce a "perfect" wedding.  here are a few tips from Accent on Events ~ Certified Wedding Specialist. If you are concerned about a guest list that has gotten out of hand and is too long for your taste or budget, assemble an unedited list of names (potential guests) and ask everyone involved to rank the names from most to least important.  Count up the "most important" names and see what the list looks like.  If it is close to budget, thank everyone and settle the list.  If the numbers are still off, then ask people to cut a designated percentage from their lists.  Take stock of the new total and see if the process needs to be repeated.

Don't even consider sending invitations to an "A" list of guests, only to invite someone from a "B" list when someone from the first list declines.

To determine the size of the site you'll need for your reception, be sure to investigate the parking facilities and the rest rooms as well as the since of the reception room(s).  The rule of thumb for toilets is that there should be at least one for every 25 guests.  The parking lot should accommodate one parking space for every two guests.

Always have at least one attendant assigned to your gift table at your reception (this is something that we will do for you) even if you are not planning to open and display the gifts there.  Money and gifts should be kept in special receptacles and secured.  Many weddings hire special security for the reception to keep an eye on the gifts and to assist in their proper transport after the celebration is over.

If your parents and stepparents are contributing money for your reception, it is much better to pool the money in advance.  Then no contributor will demand to take control of how the money is spent.  If someone feels strongly about "sponsoring" a particular wedding expense, it is far better to know that up front and working with that person to accommodate preferences.

For more helpful advice, call or email us, as we have answers to the most perplexing situations.

Weddings

The Bride's Mother

Mother and Bride

The Mother of the bride has a very special place in the wedding planning process.  The special role is there whether or not she chooses to accept it.  For some, it is truly a "Mission Impossible".  For others it is the role of a lifetime.  But what is important is that she is included.

With families frequently separated by miles, jobs, schools or military service, the parental roles have changed but what has not changed is the importance of including mom in the planning process whenever possible.  Remember to include mothers who feel left out of the plans.

What can you do?  It's great to involve the groom in the plans but don't forget mom.  She can make wonderful suggestions - so ask her opinion and advice.  Chances are excellent that she has more experience in dealing with things like receptions, parties, caterers and florists than has the bride.

Most bridal fashion stores would counsel a bride to bring only one person with her to select her gown.  That person could/should be mom.  Today's tendency to bring the entire wedding party and solicit each of their opinions on THE GOWN, generally is not a productive event.  Who knows you and your tastes and dreams better than MOM?

She is also a good person to have along when you choose wedding accessories and gifts for your attendants.  After all, she has known you for a long time.

She is the perfect person to take charge of the master guest list.  She can eliminate duplicates, help make decisions on the final list and gather the addresses.

Seek advice on, or let her plan the seating arrangements for the reception.  She'll be the one who knows who should sit with whom and who shouldn't be at the same table.

Among all your friends, she'll be the best at helping you put things in perspective when you feel overwhelmed by it all.  That's what mom's do!

Weddings

Illinois Meets Texas

It was May 1, 2012 when I received a phone call from Penny saying that she needed assistance with planning her wedding.  After meeting with 3 different wedding planners, she explained her situation and what she needed.  I knew that I could meet her expectations and create wedding that she had always dreamed of. After my initial meeting with Penny we clicked!!  I knew that this would be more than just a client relationship ~ that we would actually form a friendship for years to come.  My first encounter with her Fiancé Drew was just as great ~ he has the same sense of humor that I do and enjoyed watching the two of them together.  We all had so many laughs together!

Now coming from the City Girl – I knew nothing about ranches and horses, but learning about everything was fascinating.  The wedding was August 4, 2012 on the Perks Ranch in Rockford, Illinois.  This was definitely a wedding that I couldn’t have done without the professional vendors that we used.  As always I was watching the weather the evening before all hours of the night.  The morning of the 4th the decision was made to move the entire reception into the arena.  We worked hard but we got it done.  This was a wise decision because we had a downpour with 70 mile per hour winds at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon just as the ceremony was about to begin.  The weather cleared up and it was a joyous evening for all who attended.

Here is a story that is so fitting for this perfect couple:

Where Illinois meets Texas ~ They were introduced while working horses in Texas and the rest is history

Photography: Ryan Davis Photography

Save the Dates: Printers Specialty Services, Inc.

Florist: Stems Floral and More

Lighting, Music and Sound:  Luxe Productions

Linens and Draping: Beautiful Day Linens

Aisle Runner:  Buttercup Runways

Catering:  Powerhouse BBQ of Oregon and Giovanni’s Restaurant Rockford

Cake: Patricia’s Patisserie

Bride’s Dress: Mahin’s of Monroe

Bridesmaids Dresses: Sara Grace and Co.

Hair and Make up:  Arch Apothecary

Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Sturtevant’s

Live Music:  Brandon Rhyder

Gift Registries

Gifts to Remember

Wine Glasses

 

 

Selecting locations for the gift registries for one's wedding is important and fun.  For your guest's sake, it is wise to select at least three different resources.  Your purpose is to give guests a variety of options and price ranges when it comes time to select your gift.  To that end, experts recommend that you choose at a minimum, one "high-end" store, one moderate/lower priced retailer and perhaps one "non traditional" resource like a charity.  Idofoundation.org is a good place to start as it can help you register for donations to a variety of charities.

As you peruse items for your gift choices, most consultants would remind you to expand your vision of gifts to include items beyond the "usual".  Many couples end up realizing that they have the best equipped kitchen in town, but have no bedroom furnishings.  Seek input and advice from family and friends before you sit down together to develop your list of preferences.  Their ideas may help you to include items that would be helpful that you would never have considered.

REAL SIMPLE magazine asked brides to identify items for the "Things I Wished I'd Registered For" list they were compiling.  Here are some items that made the list:

  • Extra Wine Glasses
  • Oven to table bake ware - one or two casseroles that can go to parties and events and look good.
  • Fine China - too many couples are selecting only something practical to use now.  Brides miss having some fine china to use for special occasions and to "pass on".
  • Bar B Q Grill
  • Art pieces for home decor (consider including an art gallery in your list of registry locations)
  • A cordless drill
  • Decorative pillows and throws for a living room - a quick and effective way to add dash
  • Christmas decorations - something special and classic that the couple could bring out each year
  • Outdoor gear and equipment like Coleman stoves, backyard hammocks or lawn chairs

For more help with your gift registry, please do not hesitate to contact us.  With our experience we can be sure to assist you.

Weddings

Alternate Sites

Outdoor Reception

When a bride asks about ideas for a non traditional wedding site, before we offer suggestions, we ask how flexible she is.  Planning a wedding at an outdoor site requires arranging two sites.  One is the prime location and the other is an alternate.  The weather has been known to ruin many original plans. Don't let that discourage you from having the wedding you want, but do have backup plans in place. An outdoor site can be a perfect spot for those of different religious faiths.  It is a perfect choice for couples who love the outdoors or have families with extensive gardens or grounds.  Often outdoor sites are less expensive than closed venues.

The intimate setting of a chapel, beach, park or backyard offers the freedom to add personal touches to the ceremony.  The location will set the theme for your wedding celebration and once selected make many subsequent choices easier.  Canopies, tents and gazebos may be rented and needed.

Once you have secured Plan A and Plan B. other plans and decisions will flow more easily.  Decorations, food, refreshments, entertainment and guest list will all be governed by the location decisions you have made.

It is good to have another viewpoint and advice on the unusual celebration that you have in mind.  Give me a call at 815-979-7214 or email at Laura@accentonevents.com

 

Weddings

Centerpiece Choices

IMG_0100

Seen at current weddings - a variety of centerpiece options which complement the theme of the wedding and/or reflect the couple's search for "something unique"! For fans of the traditional floral arrangements, there is the assurance that given the right color combo and size, guests will feel right at home with the idea of flowers on the table that complete the look of elegant special occasions.  Flowers work beautifully as long as the arrangements are either low enough (under 12-14 inches) or high enough (at least 30 inches) so that guests can converse across the table - or at least see each other.  Formal arrangements in glass or silver containers send one message, while daisies or sunflowers in canning jars send another.

With the changing view of wedding cakes, many brides are opting to make dessert the centerpiece of guest tables.  Cupcake trees, lollipop cakes, cookie and dessert bar assortments and miniature versions of the bridal cake make perfect centerpiece options.

Guest favors artfully arranged on glass trays work well when accompanied by thank you notes from the bride and groom.

Candles of varying height and shape arranged on mirrors make a wonderful centerpiece for each table and their accumulated impact is wonderful.  However, be sure to check the reception venue's heating and cooling system.  If a lot of air is going to be blowing over the tables, your candles won't last long.  If your reception is in a tented area, think about LED tapers that look almost real.

Some brides have made the wine being served with dinner an integral part of the centerpiece.  With some greenery and/or wrapped cheese miniatures the different bottles make an intriguing focal point.

Collect a variety of glass serving pieces and fill them with beverages (or water) the theme color of the wedding.

Photos of the bride and groom as children framed and grouped in the center of the table, work well as centerpieces and conversation starters.

For more good ideas, give me a call at 815.979.7214 or email me at Laura@accentonevents.com

Brides

Questions for a Wedding Planner

engagement-ring

Should you hire a wedding planner or are you preparing to do it all yourself? Most busy working brides today need the help of a professional planner – for all or part of their weddings. A professional wedding planner’s advice and expertise can save time, money and sanity so don’t dismiss the idea out of hand. When you meet with a wedding planner to talk about how much or how little you need him/her to do for your wedding, here are six key questions you should ask to guide that informational meeting.

1. Here are the vendors and venues I am considering using. Do you know anything about them? Who are your favorites and why?

  • The planner can often give you some good feedback about a particular vendor and/or steer you away from potential trouble.

2. How many weddings of my size have you done?

  • If you are planning on a small intimate gathering and the planner specializes in huge society weddings, you two may not be a good match.

3. If I hire you for my wedding, what is your role and what is mine?

  • It is a good idea to have clarity around who is responsible for what and in a tight situation, who has the final say? Do you need to have the planner clear every little detail with you or can he/she make decisions based on early parameters you two have established?

4. How many weddings do you do each month? Do you have enough staff to cover all the weddings you book? You don’t want to be one of a multitude in June if the planner doesn’t have the staff to handle all of its commitments.

5. Ask for a client and vendor list and ask if you may call them for references.

6. Ask for an explanation of how he/she charges. Is there a flat rate, a sliding scale, extra charges for add ons?

7. Do you belong to any professional organizations or have any credentials for being a wedding planner?

The goal of all good wedding planners is to save you time and money….and most importantly for you to enjoy one perfect day!!!

Brides

Some Planning Tips

bigstock_Heart_Shaped_Book_169059

As one wedding planner put it, “Just because you have planned something, doesn’t mean it is going to happen.”  Here are some tips to help insure that everything works well at your wedding.

Getting Ready.  Of course you want to look your best on this big day.  You may have booked a hair stylist for yourself and your bridesmaids.  Maybe someone is doing makeup for all.  In order for everything to flow, treat this as a salon appointment and require everyone to be on time for the appointments.  Work with the stylists to establish a sensible timeline and insist that your wedding party be on time.  A lot goes on before you walk down the aisle, and you don’t need to add undue stress to the list.

Photographs.  Every couple wants the album of perfect pictures from the wedding.  Check out several photographers and insist on seeing their work.  Some specialize in formal shots and other are masters of creative vignettes.  Some do both.  Make sure that everything goes smoothly by giving the photographer a list of the people you want to make sure are included in your wedding album.  Your planner should make sure that each of those persons are available for photos.  The photographer should spend his/her time shooting pictures, not searching out the people you want in the photos.

If you are planning a cocktail reception, make sure the caterer has wait staff ready with trays of cocktails as the guests enter.  For the first five to ten minutes staff should focus on getting beverages into guests hands.  Once that has been done, then they can start passing the canapés.  Stress the importance of this to the caterer.  You don’t want lines at the bar if you are having an open bar.  Your planner can make sure that guests are not standing in lines waiting.

Order of Service.  Think of your guests.  If you have elderly relatives, make sure that they are served first.  Unless you feel strongly about it, consider having the head table served last.  That gives the couple a chance to chat with guests and socialize.

Be aware of “down time”.  Weddings can lose energy after the food course.  Guests are at different points in the meal.  This can be a good time to introduce one or two toasts.

For many other helpful ideas to keep your party flowing nicely, please contact us for assistance.