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Planning Tips

For those not experienced in event planning, the process can seem daunting. This handy planning guide will help answer many of the questions you have, or help you think of some we haven’t covered. Don’t see your answer here? Just send us an email or give us a call. We’ll be happy to provide the information you need.

General

DIY Wedding Favors

Do It Yourself (DIY) weddings are a great way to save costs and create a authentic “you” wedding. There are tons of great DIY wedding ideas to choose from. Here are a few of our favorite DIY wedding favor ideas:

Candy Tables are a great way to incorporate the bride and groom's sweet tooth and playful nature. Rent an arrangement of different sized glass cylinders, small serving spoons and purchase a variety of candies to match your wedding colors. Fill each glass container with a separate candy and provide plastic cellophane baggies with twine or personal monogrammed stickers to seal the goods. If you are choosing the organic and reusable theme, providing jamming jars to hold the candy gives a nice homemade touch.

Jamming is a great homemade idea for a nature wedding. Start by purchasing flats of your favorite locally grown organic berries or fruit from your farmers market and then jam away. You can even choose a variety of berries within your wedding color scheme. Alternative yet tasty options for fall are pepper jelly and apple-butter. This can be a fun project for your bridal party, just make sure not to burn yourself in the process.

Frosted Fortune Cookies are a colorful and creative favor individually wrapped in cellophane or take-out boxes. Your guests will love unwrapping the surprise fortune, and snacking on the yummy frosted shell. Get crazy with colored frosting, coconut shavings, sprinkles, chopped nuts, red hots – pretty much any candy you can crush will work. Even consider customizing the fortune with a personalized message from the bride and groom. Don't forget to include your wedding date and monogrammed initials.

Salted Caramels are a decedent and popular treat for all occasions, especially if you like to bake. Personalize the caramels by adding in different spices or your favorite liquor and even dye sea salts to compliment your color scheme. This is also a lovely alternative treat for your gluten free guests who cannot eat cake.

Wedding Cake Pops are a fun filled and delicious dessert option on a stick. Inspired as an alternative to the every popular cupcakes, wedding cake pops are bite sized versions of your wedding cake with out the messy clean up of china and flatware. Just make sure you don't forget to rent enough bowls or serving platters.

DIY wedding ideas are endless. The beauty with DIY themes is that they are completely unique to you. Try to keep your crafts local, organic and reusable when possible; have fun and don't take it too seriously. Part of the appeal is that each favor has its own handmade touch and didn't come purchased, ready made from a store. They should reflect your time, care and love. It is your wedding, after all!

Event Planning Timeline

Working backward from your selected date(s), set up a project time line with specific tasks that must be accomplished by specific dates. Here is a list of things to consider for your time line:

When to make your first announcement of the event
Prepare and print promotional materials (brochures, invitations, etc.)
Select caterer/menu
Select entertainment
Select decorations/florist
Determine audio-visual needs
Select overnight accommodations, if needed
Secure transportation if necessary
Review and sign necessary contracts
Select and confirm speakers, if necessary
Finalize your agenda/program
Confirm attendees
Prepare any necessary signage
Prepare materials to be shipped to event location
Set up on site
Re-confirm details
Relax & enjoy the event

Making Memories

Making an event memorable is essential so try and get as much documentation to remember the day as possible. The use of disposable cameras added to the guest tables is a great example, setting up a digital video of guests sending their good wishes. Adding a small journal to each table to allow your guests to write you great advice, or leave comments about the event, are all convenient and low cost ways to create keepsakes.

Creating a scrapbook of the event with all the journal entries and photos will guarantee you catch the true emotions of the event and will be a family treasure for generations to come

Splash into Spring

As we prepare for another wild spring within the Wedding Industry, we find this year with the economic uncertainty upon us, couples are in need of lively, hopeful colors paired along with your classic favorites in order to bring a sense of uprising and optimism. For Example; “YELLOW” tends to be a front runner for most brides in this upcoming wedding season. Yellow, is said to represent Joy, Delight, and the sense of a new beginning. At the same time don’t use too much; try focusing on specific areas to create a higher impact and visually pleasing setting for you and your guests, while saving a little on your overall budget.

Location

Outdoor Events

Be prepared if your event is outside. Consider renting a tent. Don't forget you will also need garbage cans, and possibly fencing, electricity, heaters, extra lighting, or extra ice.

Choosing the right location

When you are considering location you will want to keep in mind the following:

Room capacity. Is it too large or too small? Remember that you need to consider serving space, space for a dais for your honored guests and whether you will need any audiovisual equipment.

Lighting. Subtle lighting is nice for meal and social functions. But if you are planning an all day workshop on accounting methods, you will want to make sure there is adequate lighting in the room.

Parking. Is there adequate parking for your guest needs? Will they have to pay for parking? How far will they have to walk from the parking area to the event?

Entertainment

How to find the right entertainment for your event

When to Start Looking:

If you are planning to have live entertainment like a band or DJ it is wise to start looking as soon as you know your event date. Since many better bands and d.j.s are booked over a year in advance, if you have a particular band or DJ in mind, don't wait.

Where to Start Looking:

Ask friends and associates, look in local industry publications and phone directories or search the Internet. If searching the local phone book, remember that the largest or best looking ad does not equate to the best entertainment quality or value. All it means is that the supplier spent a whole bunch of money trying to promote their business.

How to Start Looking:

Prices and quality vary from band to band and DJ to DJ so you are going to need to do a little comparison shopping to get the best quality and value. You will find that a lower price does not always mean a better value.

Make a list of bands or DJ's that you want to call and start calling to get a feel for what is offered and at what price.

Catering

Catering on a Budget

Professional catering can be very expensive. Hosting even a simple cocktail party can run up a catering bill of well over $1,000. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep keep your catering costs under control! Here are some tips:

1) Avoid foods that need to be special ordered or that are out of season.
2) Choose menu options that are simple to prepare.
3) Consider doing a “drop-off” arrangement rather than having the catering company staff your event.
4) Do your homework. You should look for a caterer who is reputable, but also reasonably priced.
5) Work with an event planner. It sounds counter-intuitive, but hiring a planner can actually SAVE you money. Caterers also tend to negotiate more with an event planner than they would with their other clients.

Plated versus Buffet

When planning your event, it is often difficult choosing between a buffet and plated service. Here are a few words on the advantages and disadvantages of both options:

A buffet will typically create a more casual feel to your event, and depending on what is served, can be less expensive. Buffets allow for food to remain hot and available for grazing guests up to 2 hours, as regulated by health codes. Also advantageous, buffets will continue to be replenished until the food you have ordered runs out. However, do not be fooled by the term “buffet,” depending on the caterer or venue, buffets can be just as lavish as a plated service. Another drawback to a buffet is they can create long lines. Releasing 2 tables at a time to serve themselves and having a double sided buffet will help alleviate this issue. Be mindful that a buffet can take up a lot of space so make sure your location has extra room for the buffet tables. You may also need to rent extra linen and tables if your venue does not provide these.

Plated service can be a more formal approach than a buffet. It allows for several food courses, and depending on the catering, your guests may choose between two entrees in advance. Keep in mind this can be an added stress if your guests are not prompt with their responses. In most cases, caterers require final entrée counts up to two weeks in advance. Don’t forget to request an alternative meal for any guests who may have dietary restrictions.

Decorating

Get Creative with Centerpieces

Being especially creative with your centerpieces can really make an impact on your guests.

Here are some non-traditional, but unusual centerpiece ideas:

Fish bowls with swimming Gold Fish, Board Games or Crossword Puzzles and Bowls with your Fruit that matches your wedding color.

An attractive journal that matches the theme of the wedding.

A jigsaw puzzle made from a picture of the couple as a centerpiece - let your guests put it together. This will get those strangers talking.

Sand & Sea - take a piece of mirror or glass, add sand, seashells, sea glass and a few candles.

Just remember, flowers are beautiful, but original and unusual centerpieces not only say more about you as a couple, but are remembered for years to come.