Curating the perfect day-of wedding team for you and your beau is one of the privileges a wedding planner gets to help with. You want wedding vendors whose style speaks of your style and whose personalities you enjoy. You want vendors you can trust will serve you well and do all they can to ensure your day is perfect. Helping you determine who those team players will be is one of the most important tasks on your wedding planner’s list. Though we all play a different role during the wedding planning process, we work together as a team with one common goal: To give you the most perfect, stress free wedding we can give and to serve you, your family, and your guests well.
A perk of being in this industry is the ability to work with SO many talented wedding professionals. Like myself, many of them started out with a passion, a vision, and a dream and after a lot of courage mixed with gumption and hard work have paved a path of success and growth. I am always encouraged and energized to learn more about their stories and how they came to be the successful creative professionals they are today.
I’ve had a vision of interviewing, promoting, and highlighting some of my absolute favorites in the industry. And I am FINALLY making that happen. I’ll be highlighting ones from Colorado, California, and other regions I’ve worked in. So on Fridays, stay tuned as I introduce folks who I think will make fantastic wedding day team members.
Are you recently engaged or do you have someone close to you who is? This is an exciting time, and leading up to the wedding there are many parties to celebrate the happy couple. To start this journey, an engagement party is a fun way to share the news with friends and family! Here are a few tips on how to plan this one-time event:
You may be wondering how to start the event planning. Here are a few basics: Typically, the engagement party is held within a few months of the engagement, and is usually hosted by the bride’s parents (The Knot). If you would rather host (or have your bridesmaids do it), go for it! This might be good practice for your bridesmaids to take initiative in planning events leading up to your wedding. If you don’t have your bridesmaids picked out yet, don’t worry, that’s often the case! You still have plenty of time to solidify your wedding party. At this point, you can recruit help from family members or a couple solid friends that you trust. Gathering support from family or friends for this first celebration can be an immense help.
Luckily, the planning process for the engagement party will mimic that of the actual wedding. That being said, it is important to create a guest list, make invitations and send them out with enough time for guests to RSVP (about 3 weeks). Another rule of thumb: everyone who is invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. This will help you avoid any awkward conversations later on. You don’t have to create your guest list this early, but inviting close family and friends to your engagement party is a safe place to begin. So, what next? This event doesn’t have to be a huge spectacle, but creating a menu and drink list is important so your guests are taken care of! Beyond these details, the party can be as grand or as intimate as you would like. If you’d like to match the extravagance of the event to that of your wedding, it can make planning easier.
Setting the Scene
This event can be as formal or informal as you’d like. It can be at your favorite restaurant, a friend’s backyard, or at your home. It can be a suit and tie event, or a shorts and sandals kick back. You get to choose! In addition, decorations don’t have to be over the top. These can include very simple color themes, or you can add as many decor details as you’d like. Although gifts aren’t a requirement, having a small area set aside for them is appropriate, but not necessary. Most importantly, you should relax and enjoy time with your significant other and guests. Don’t stress too much over specific details or if everything is perfect. Remember, your guests are there to celebrate YOU! Eat yummy food, enjoy good company, and keep this as a time to celebrate a new season of life.
Congratulations on your engagement, have fun planning, and don’t stress too much! Recruit the help of family and friends to plan this event and keep it as simple or extravagant as you’d like. Although some planning is necessary, such as invitations, guest list, and food, this is a time for you to be celebrated.
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Once you’re engaged, this next season is filled with so many fun decisions, but you will also have to make some difficult choices – including who will stand next to you on your big day. Don’t let this overwhelm you! Taking the time to craft a solid support team will make your wedding that much sweeter. Here are some things to consider when determining your bridesmaids and groomsmen:
When deciding your wedding party, it’s important to consider the size and budget of your wedding. If you are planning on having a small ceremony with your closest friends and family, your bridal and groomal party should fit that mold. It is perfectly okay to only have a couple of your best friends in the wedding. With a small ceremony, having a huge bridal party might not serve you well. Instead, if you choose to have a larger ceremony, including more people in your wedding party may fit that situation better. This isn’t to say you have to pick a ton of people if you have a big ceremony, but keeping budget and size in mind can help structure who is included.
When preparing for your wedding day, it’s important to have friends that have seen you through thick and thin. These people can bring you peace, help accomplish tasks, and put you at ease rather than stress you out further. You deserve to have friends and family that are going to help more than hinder on your big day. Although there are friends that see you through different seasons of life, choosing bridesmaids or groomsmen that have been with you from the beginning can create a more trusting and supportive atmosphere. Typically, the people in your wedding help with events like the engagement party, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner leading up to the celebration. Ensuring you have dependable people within your party can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or unsupported. Pick people that know you well. They will be able to host these events without bombarding you with questions. You’re going to want people that are self-sufficient and have your back.
The Pressure to Include
Let me start by saying this: your wedding day is YOURS and you shouldn’t feel pressure to include anyone. The most important advice I could give you is to fill your day with people that bring you joy, and let the rest fall into place. Yes, it can be a battle to find that sweet spot between who you want included versus other people’s expectations. It is often the case that the bride and groom look to avoid conflict and therefore choose their siblings or future spouse’s siblings automatically. It might be wise to consider what is most beneficial for the relationships around you, and picking family members can be a safe choice. At the end of the day, you get the final decision, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to include anyone in particular.
How about a little refresher?
Correlating the budget and size of your wedding to your wedding party can act as a helpful starting point. From here, choose people that know you well so they can take care of you through the planning process. Last and most importantly, you may feel pressure to balance desires, but including people that you think are the best fit will make you that much more comfortable on your big day.
Excited for your engagement photos? Us too! To help you make the most of this special step during your wedding planning journey, consider doing these 5 steps:
#1. Hire a photographer!
And not just any photographer, but (hopefully) your wedding photographer! Many will offer a discount for engagement photos or even include them in your service agreement from them. When looking for a photographer, you’ll want to find someone’s whose artistic style matches yours, is in the price point you your looking for AND someone whose personality you enjoy. Why? Well, your photographer is going to be with you practically all day and you want to hire someone you’d enjoy being around on your wedding day. However, if your photographer doesn’t include anything special with their day of services, you can always hire a different photographer to capture your engagement photos.
#2: Find your location:
Are and your boo more of a mountain or beach couple? Do you love beer or wine? Are you a coffee couple? Are you homebodies? What do you enjoy doing and where do you usually spend your time? It’s a fun trend to take your photos in a place that speaks of your relationship. The who, what, where? If you’re stuck, ask your photographer who should be able to help come up with a location that fits you.
#3: Create Your Style:
Are you more BohoChic, Indie, Rustic, Romantic? Are you more business professional, relaxed? A little more country? Determine which one fits you two best and then choose an outfit or two for you both. And hey, if you need to make a special trip to Anthropologie for that outfit, go right ahead!
#4: Determine Your Must Have Shotlist:
If you spend anytime on Pinterest, you’ll find a lush amount of inspiration pics there. Browse through some and compile a list of the ones that are must haves for you. Hint: Think photos with your fur baby, of your ring, doing your favorite activity, a ‘dip’ picture.
#5: Get Pampered:
After all these steps are completed, consider getting pampered. That means a trip to your hair salon to touch up those roots. A trip to the barber so your fiancé looking his finest. A trip to the nail salon so your digits are in pristine shape. And day of, a trip to a blow dry bar so your locks are simply divine. You can also hire a make up artist or get make up services at your blow dry bar (if they provide it). Lastly, you may consider a quick trip to your jeweler so they can clean your ring.
Follow these fun steps and you are sure to have engagement photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime and look back on with love and joy.
Just as you have insurance for your home, for your car, for your health, and possibly even your cell (if you’re one of those who constantly drops theirs in the water or cracks the screen), it’s not a bad idea to have special event insurance for your wedding or event.
Now that we know why Wedding Insurance is important, find out how to purchase it and which ones we recommend.
How do I get wedding/event insurance?
Purchasing your wedding/event insurance policy is super easy!
There are many different online wedding insurance companies to choose from (I’ll provide them below). Most allow you to simply fill out your wedding/event details such as date, location, guest count, coverage needed, and policy holder’s name and contact info, venue’s name and info and you can then purchase and print that day.
Below are some of my favorite wedding/event insurance providers with example policies covering just general aggregate liability insurance and then a second example policy showing general aggregate liability insurance with event cancellation.
Interested in learning more about special event insurance for your wedding/event? You can learn more about special event insurance by visiting any of the insurance websites or by visiting this comprehensive review on wedding insurance companies by .
Most of the time, special events go pretty smoothly ( minus a few hiccups here and there). But when something unexpected goes wrong, it can be frightening how quickly costs can add up. Who is responsible when something goes wrong? What are the costs? Below we discuss what liability insurance is and if it is required.
What is a certificate of insurance?
A majority of venues/event locations require vendors and/or event holders to obtain a certificate of liability insurance (also known as one day insurance or event insurance). This Certificate of Insurance is a document that will list the type of insurance coverage you have on that event date and the coverage limits. Sometimes venues may request to be listed on the insurance as an additional insured.
How do I know if I will need insurance on the venue?
Venues often require proof of insurance from renters to confirm that they have coverage in place. Typically, when you are signing the contract to use a venue space, it will say that vendors (i.e. photographers, caterers, videographers, etc.) will need to provide proof of liability insurance. Some venues may want to be listed as an additional insured on the certificate of insurance. If you are uncertain or it is not clear, always be sure to check with the venue.
Why is a certificate of insurance necessary?
When contracting with a vendor for your event, the good(s) provided create an inherent liability risk to the venue. Typically the vendor is providing a service to the host, therefore the venue is not typically involved other than guidelines for setup and proof of insurance. By obtaining a certificate of insurance, you are protecting you, your guests, and your venue from any accidents and unexpected damages that may occur. There are many different types of insurance you can get for your event, depending on your needs and what the venue may want.
What do I need it for?
Most venues require that you have event or wedding insurance in case certain risks happen during your event in the form of $2M in general aggregate + $1 M per occurrence coverage. Those risks could be property damage or bodily injury and your insurance will cover the cost of property repairs, medical expenses and lawsuits. Host liquor liability is also widely available and is a good consideration to protect the host from being liable in the event of liquor related incidents that would occur from alcohol consumption at your wedding/event.
If you wanted to purchase total comprehensive wedding coverage you can cover aspects of your wedding such as the rehearsal dinner, the the ceremony, and reception set-up, event cancellation/postponement due to weather, wedding gifts, special attire, and jewelry. You can even insure a vendor no show/cancellation and any counseling services that may be needed in the event of a cancelled wedding.
What does wedding/event insurance cost?
The total cost varies depending on aspects like guest count, liability coverage amounts, wedding date, the state of wedding/event, whether you’re serving alcohol or not, and how many other aspects of your wedding you want covered.
On average, most wedding insurance costs between $100-$500.00 or more.
When should I purchase event insurance?
Most special event insurance companies recommend you purchase your policy as early as possible, however, many can be purchased as early as two years prior to your date OR as late as one day prior to your event.
He popped the question and you said yes! You’ve made all the phone calls, done all the celebrations and you still can’t stop looking at that gorgeous sparkling ring. Yes, you are engaged!
And yes- that does mean you now have a wedding to plan! 🙂
But WHERE to start??
Below are 10 key steps to take when you first get engaged!
Hire A Wedding Planner or Consultant:
There are a few different ways a wedding planner can help you. You may just need to hire someone for a few hours who can connect you with recommended vendors and help to make sure you are on the right way. This would be hiring for Consultation Services. Or perhaps you have family and friends who can help you determine all the details but you don’t want to burden any of them with the day-of logistics. This service is for Month-of/Day-of
Coordination. Or perhaps it would be better to hire a professional who can literally do all the ground work for you and collaborate with you all along the way. This service would be considered Full Planning. At the very least, I recommend hiring a Day-of Coordinator who can handle all set-up and logistical concerns for you. This will guarantee a relaxing and enjoying day for you and your loved ones to fully engage in all the wonderful day’s activities. Believe me hiring the right wedding planner is well worth it!
Determine your budget.
According to costofwedding.com, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,645.00. But the good news is this varies depending on where you live and hiring a wedding coordinator can actually help you to save costs in the long run
Determine Your Preferred Date/Months:
If you’re planning on an 18+ month engagement, odds are you’ll be able to get the date of your choosing. If your engagement is 18 months or shorter, you may have to open your preferences to a particular month or months. When determining your preferred date or dates, I recommend considering a few things:
The Important People: Who are the important people in your lives you are willing
to work your date around? This could be your fiance’s grandparent’s in another state who would have a hard time traveling during the winter months OR perhaps you have siblings with only certain weeks during the school year they could attend your wedding.
Annual Holidays/ Cultural Events: Are their annual holidays or cultural festivities that could make it hard for guests to attend? For example, the first two weeks of June are the popular graduation celebrations. December is plush with annual festive holidays. Do you mind having your wedding on one or near one of those celebrations?
Book Your Venue:
On average, most couples book their venue 18 months to one year out. (Check out this article from Huffington Post) Crazy, I know. I spent nearly two years as the wedding coordinator for a local wedding venue and I found those stats to be true. With that knowledge I definitely recommend getting on top of the venue search fast! Check out websites like theknot.com, weddingwire.com or wedding.com to help you find venues that fit your budget and your style.
Choose Your Bridal & Groomal Party:
Who are the people in your life who have genuinely been there for you? Who has supported your relationship together? Which of your friends can you envision being a #lifer? Larger wedding parties of 6+ are quite popular nowadays but it is just as fine to have only a best man and maid of honor. The important decision factors here are choosing those people who genuinely love you and have been and are willing to support you two day of and the rest of your lives.
Create Your Guest List:
A lot of this determines on your pre-determined budget. What’s your food & beverage budget goal? Most likely, you will have people from different seasons of life being invited. Both sets of parents will have guests they’d like to invite and it is very likely that you may have friends from your life and your fiance may have friends from theirs. Then you will also have friends you know collectively you’ll want to invite. Many couples consider this one of the hardest parts. If possible, get together with whomever is financially contributing to the wedding and determine your guest list there. Also, don’t forget to write your A-List and B-List. 🙂
Book Your Vendors!
Yep- you guessed it. Just as your preferred venue and date of choice can book up fast, so can your vendors. So it’s important to book those shortly after engagement, too. But who do you need and how do you find them? You can also visit websites like weddingwire.com, the knot.com, or wedding.com if you’ve got the time and ready to take that task on BUT a good wedding planner will have a whole slew of wedding professionals in her network she can recommend to you. I love being able to connect some of my favorite industry professionals with my couples. Vendor Must Haves are: Caterer (if not included with the venue), Photographer, Florist, Dessert/Baker, DJ/Emcee, Officiant. Some other vendors that would come in handy: Calligraphist/Typographer, Wedding Design, Decor/Rentals, Videographer, Food Truck, Photobooth.
Create Your Design:
Hop on Pinterest! Your design and theme may change a little
from your initial pins but it is SO helpful to create a board labelled Our Wedding, The Best Day Ever, or Wedding Inspiration to help you two start to solidify the color palette and type of decor/feel you both want. It’s a fun way to build the day that is strictly about you and your love. Perhaps you have a hobby that you both really enjoy or there’s a certain era you both wish you grew up in, maybe you both love Telenovelas… Whatever it is that speaks to you both, start pinning those things and you’ll start to see a clear vision of how you want your special day to aesthetically look. Note: Having a Pinterest board is also super helpful to share with your wedding planner, florist, and any other vendor who is helping with the aesthetic design.
Select Your Gowns:
Brides, the process of getting your gown may take quite a while. So gather your gals, a bottle of champagne, book some appointments and start trying on bridal gowns! It’s also a good idea to determine the bridesmaids attire now, too. It can take a few months for the gowns to be delivered and then alterations. So you want to allow plenty of time to have those ordered. If you’re lucky-the dress will be the perfect fit. Don’t forget to order your veil and belt if wearing those, too!
Make Honeymoon Plans:
Traditionally, this is the groom’s responsibility to make sure all the travel arrangements have been met. Whether you are deciding on the plans together or not, it’s a good idea to make sure your travel documents (like your passport, visa, birth certificate) are up-to-date and ready to go.
There are many more details that go with each one of the items mentioned above and no doubt weddings take a lot of work but they are also a LOT of fun! So don’t forget to be present, relish the process, and take time to enjoy the season of being engaged!