Weddings are magical. Brides adorned in white gowns, twinkling tiaras and lacy veils take the traditional walk down the aisle toward their individual soul mates and agree to the terms of “till death do us part.”
Of course, before saying the “I do’s,” sharing that first dance and feeding a bite from the multitiered cake to each other (or smearing it across their face), there is a great deal that must be done to make it all tie together like the “Just Married” sign on the back of the getaway car with cans dangling and clanking the pavement.
There are so many factors and decisions that need to be made: invitations, how many people to invite, the venue, the food, the photographer, the music, the color theme — the list goes on and on. It can be a pretty daunting task for the future bride and groom.
Taia Younis, owner of Inspired Occasions, a Clifton Park event-planning business, tosses a bouquet of information to couples who have just snapped their engagement photos.
Welcome a Helping Hand
At minimum, hire a day-of-wedding coordinator. “People don’t have an understanding of what wedding planners can do; I think everyone thinks it’s this Jennifer Lopez person who follows you around everywhere and picks everything out for you — that’s just not the case,” Younis said.
“Even if a bride is planning the wedding, she needs someone at the end to make everything happen because eventually the bride has to be a bride. She can’t do that and manage all of the details at the same time.”
Keep Calm and Wed On
“Brides need to pace themselves; they tend to get excited and take on a lot right away,” Younis said. “It’s important to look at the big picture and plan out what’s being done in manageable chunks of time. A lot of times, brides who take on too much at the beginning will burn out and then they start to not like the experience because they are so overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be that way; just take a breath and do one thing at a time.”
It Ain’t All About
The Money, But . . .
“Be very clear about how much you can spend and who is paying for it,” Younis said. “Many couples, who think families might contribute, avoid the conversation and it can get them into some trouble later on if they overspend and the family doesn’t come through.”
On Your Mark, Get Set, Rank!
Prioritize. What elements of the wedding are the most important to you? “You need to plan and spend your money in that order so that way, at the end, if you have to let some things go it’s something less important,” Younis said.
“If music is something that is really important to you, book that band before buying 300 mason jars for favors. Brides get on that Pinterest and they get all of these ideas and end up spending crazy money without stopping to think about what is most important.”
Beware Of The Blogosphere
Don’t’ always believe what you see on the Internet. “A lot of websites will tell brides that they can negotiate everything with vendors; I think that’s a misconception,” Younis said. “If couples need to approach negotiation with a vendor, they should ask about how services might be modified with their budget instead of asking them for a lower price. That’s an easy way to alienate some vendors and it’s not a reasonable approach. Not everything is negotiable.”
Settle On The Location First
“Venue is number one. It dictates almost everything else,” Younis said. “It determines how many people you can have, what’s left to spend on everything else. It will take up 50 [percent], 60 percent of the whole budget, and it will become the overall feel of the wedding.”
Let There Be Light
People underestimate lighting; it’s extremely important to the look and feel of a reception and a lot of couples don’t really give that a whole lot of thought,” Younis said. “They can bring in specialty lighting, like bulbs that hang above the space, up-lighting on the perimeter or, a less expensive way to go, a room dripping in candles gives the room a lot of ambiance.
“Sometimes a venue will say that they provide candles, but it’s like three little votive candles on the tables,” Younis said. “Think about the nicest restaurants that you go into — the ones that make you want to linger. They are usually the ones that are softly or calmly lit — that’s how the reception space should be.”
If you wed in the winter . . .
u Embrace the winter: Finding a location that already eludes coziness for guests is the key. “You definitely want a came-in-from-the-cold experience where they feel enveloped in warmth,” Younis said. “Reception areas with fireplaces and stone are lovely, and windows where you can see how snowy and icy it is outside.”
u It Doesn’t Have To Be As White As Snow: “I think people make the mistake of thinking winter weddings always have to be white,” Younis said. “I like to see people use more warm colors because it creates a warm atmosphere on the inside.”
u Make Things a Little Steamy: “Have a hot cocoa bar with homemade cookies, things that people associate with winter,” Younis said.
u Spice Things Up: “It’s a good idea to have a signature cocktail that is geared towards winter,” Younis said. “No margaritas, but instead maybe a hot toddy or a hot spiked mulled cider.”
u Favors: Choose ones that speak to winter, like maybe giving the women cashminas to wrap around their shoulders — since most still are in sleeveless cocktail dresses, this will give them something to cuddle up in.
u Final thought: Stay away from cliché snowflakes.
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