And–finally–Happy New Year! I apologize for it taking so long to post another blog, but life has a way of getting in the way, as all of you know.
This year, several of my daughter’s friends are getting married (and some of you may also be planning your weddings). Toward helping you or someone you know with this life-altering event, I offer you a previously-published article of mine, “Ten Ways to Have a Perfect Wedding.” This is based in large part on what I learned from planning my daughter Sarah’s wedding, as well as advice I received from interviewing professional wedding planners.
Anyway, it is below, and I hope you find it helpful, informative, and maybe even entertaining.
Next time, I promise something helpful on writing, editing, and/or getting published, so please stay tuned!
TEN WAYS TO HAVE A PERFECT WEDDING
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a blog, and I have a VERY compelling reason: my only daughter, Sarah, was getting married and we had an incredible amount of work to be prepared for it! Also, I wanted to post a “How to Plan the Perfect Wedding and Reception” with all of YOU in mind.
Therefore, I wish to share with all of you what I would recommend for making your daughter’s day a perfect one. Here is what all I learned, based on my experience:
- SET THE DATE WELL IN ADVANCE. If you plan the wedding too soon, you risk several things. One, you may not be able to pay for the bride’s dream wedding and, two, you need as much time as you can get to line up your vendors—those who will provide services and wedding-day items (such as a cake).
- GET THE BIDDING GOING! Sarah and Bo set their date 13 months in advance. (FOLLOWING RULE #1). This gave me, the mother of the bride (MOB), plenty of time to make sure that we could save as much money (and time) as possible. First, we spent about four weekends going to various venues (our local yacht club and some reception venues), seeing what all they provided and coming up with a bottom line (what each would cost). BEWARE! Many of the places, such as the yacht club, would not charge us for use of the facility—BUT they required we spend other monies on such items as an expensive shuttle service. Other venues charged for us to use their facility BUT they charged for such items as tablecloths (to rent and clean afterward), or required that we use their catering, or both. You want to let these facilities know that you’re getting bids from all available local venues, in order to get your best price. GET ALL QUOTES IN WRITING! Once you’ve decided on where you’ll host the reception, insist on a contract so there are no surprises. NOTE: try to get the wedding date during your country’s or region’s “off season.” For us in Fairhope, Alabama, that was before Mardi Gras and after football and Christmas.
- DECIDE ON THE WEDDING CEREMONY VENUE. My daughter and her fiancé thought that they would like to have their wedding ceremony performed where my husband and I had ours performed, 32 years before theirs. We were the first couple to get married in the then-newly-formed St. Francis at the Point (Point Clear, Alabama) Anglican Church. I called and confirmed our minister as the performer of the ceremony, and am glad I called so early: he requires couples that he marries to have a series of FIVE counseling sessions before the big day. These were spread out over several months, so make sure of what your minister/religious leader requires—well in advance.
- LOCATE A HOTEL FOR A BLOCK OF ROOMS FOR OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS. We had about 50 people coming from out of state, and wanted to have a nice place for them to stay. Again, get your bidding war going! There are several websites that you can find through a search engine, and they’re especially for getting your guests the lowest price. Amazingly, we discovered The Marriott Grand Resort, Golf Club and Spa in Point Clear offered us the best deal, and we jumped at it (see more rules under #2). Again, make sure you get this deal in writing.
- GET YOUR SAVE-THE-DATES printed and out well in advance to make sure everyone knows…well, to save the date and not make other plans. We mailed these out about four months before the wedding.
- FLOWERS! Nothing makes a wedding day perfect like flowers done right. The Bride and I went to several places—none of which were actual florist shops. These tend to be more expensive. SURPRISE! Many of your local grocers have an in-house florist or two, who can make beautiful bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres and flower-girl wreaths for a fraction of what the specialty shops charge. Some of these might even deliver, for a small extra fee. Ask!
- USE YOUR TECHNOLOGY. This was the Bride’s idea. Super-organized Sarah made spread-sheets for everything, from the budget, to the invitees, to the RSVPs—everything was there and updated every time it needed updating. This made it extra-easy for me to keep up with everything!
- THESE TIPS ARE FROM THE BRIDE. Sarah says, “Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to friends and family that offer (in an “asking” and not “telling” manner with lots of pleases and thank-yous sprinkled in).”
- She also added this: “Use a free wedding planning website like www.weddingwire.com or www.theknot.com Both of these sites have wedding checklists, let you make a free wedding website for your guests to see and get information from, vendor information, and even guest lists and seating chart help.” She added, “You can cite our wedding website we created for free through wedding wire.com: www.weddingwire.com/boandsarah.
10. RELAX. My friends kept asking if I was nervous and honestly, I felt momentary panic only one time—and that was when I thought I’d forgotten something or let it slip through the cracks (I hadn’t). I decided I’d enjoy Sarah’s special day and I did—thoroughly. If you have paid attention to the details, the day will come together perfectly. And isn’t that what you had in mind?