I love weddings! As a wedding planner, I love playing an integral role in one of the happiest days in a couple’s life, which is why 25 years ago I made it my career. Weddings, however, are about more than just love. It’s a billion dollar industry and frequently a couple’s most expensive day with budgets ranging from $5,000 USD to $100,000 USD and higher. Where does a bride begin planning? Knowledge is the key yet with so many ideas, recommendations, and changing trends, many brides are left drowning in a pool of “how to?” “how much?” and “where do I start?” Enter destination wedding planners —consider it travel planning meets wedding planning. A seasoned, well-connected planner can relieve considerable stress, saving time and money by guiding you through the wedding planning process. A destination wedding planner wears many hats and plays the role of negotiator, money manager, logistics specialist, and walking Rolodex.
Here’s what you need to know in order to choose the right destination wedding planner.
The Basics: Who? What? Where? How Much?
Who: The number of guests you plan to invite. This doesn’t have to be an exact head count but provides the basis for determining the perfect ceremony and reception locations and for setting a realistic budget.
What: Will this be a destination wedding on a tropical island, traditional sit-down dinner or a cocktail party? Do you envision an intimate soiree, a massive celebration or an affair in between?
Where: The city, country, a vineyard, a restaurant, a bed and breakfast, a remote island or at home? Think about your dream location and describe it to your planner. Who knows? He or she may make suggestions you never knew were possible.
How much: What is your wedding budget? Brides and planners alike dread discussing money, but the topic shouldn’t create anxiety. Everyone has a budget, even celebrities. Whether yours is one thousand dollars or one million, your dream wedding can’t be created without a budget to follow.
It’s About Who You Know AND What You Know
What type of wedding professional do you need? The logistical skills of a wedding planner or the artistic genius of a wedding designer who can pull together your vision using logistics and decor? A wedding planner assists with vendor referrals and selections along with venue location and ensures the wedding ceremony and reception run smoothly. A wedding designer’s role is more involved. In addition to planner duties, a designer works with couples to develop a theme, colour scheme, floral design, and floor plans and layouts for the ceremony and reception. The designer assists with selecting music, linens, rentals, favours and all other pieces of the puzzle. His or her primary purpose is to help pull together the event’s overall look and feel.
Fact: planners know lots of people in the wedding industry. Photographers, videographers, calligraphers, florists, caterers, musicians and bridal shop owners are just a few vendors responsible for bringing your dream wedding to life. But, not all companies are created equal. Your wedding planner is tasked with vetting these businesses in order to select those best suited for you based on your style and budget. Successful planners have established relationships with a multitude of vendors in every category and are well connected in special events located near them or thousands of miles away in another destination.
The Right Fit
Much like your wedding gown, your wedding planner must fit your personality and style. Contact and consider at least three professionals before you hire. Talk to each one and find out how much you do and don’t have in common. You want to hire the planner you click with – the one who embraces the giddiness of your engagement like an old girlfriend and makes you feel like your wedding is special. Ask potential planners the following questions:
How long have you been in business?
Are you a full or part-time destination wedding planner?
Do you receive a commission from vendors when you bring onboard?
Do you have references from other couples and vendors?
Do you have real wedding pictures to share?
Don’t forget to ask them to describe the biggest obstacle they overcame or a crazy emergency they faced. Every seasoned wedding professional has a great story or two they can look back and laugh about!
The Price of Sanity
So, how much will it cost? This is a tricky question because services vary. Some planners charge by the hour or take a percentage of the budget, while others offer full coordination or day-of packages. A general rule of thumb is to allocate 10%-15% of your wedding budget for planning services. The wedding planning industry is not regulated so be sure to compare apples to apples when deciding between professionals. Cost is important but should not be the sole deciding factor. Select a planner with a professionally trained eye and superb sense of style. Your planner should be extremely organized and reliable. This person is your advocate, advisor, counselor, and best friend all-in-one, so make sure you choose the one who wants to get inside your head to make your fantasy wedding a reality.
This article “How To Choose Your Wedding Planner” by Veronica Cole was originally published in Caribbean Bride Magazine June 4, 2014
You have been working day and night trying to figure out how to plan a wedding for months now. How to find wedding caterers near you, deciding the differences between dj vs band, how to decorate a wedding, how to keep everyone happy, especially Mom.
Your mom is incredible, but she’s driving you nuts lately to the point where you are fighting and crying like every week. You appreciate that she’s trying to put out so much effort into every detail but you can’t take it anymore.
At one time you two had a close relationship. But every time you get close to creating a bit of peace and harmony within, success keeps eluding you, something happens and you end up back where you started butting heads and miserable.
Well, guess what? Here’s a bit of a backstory for you, Love.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a bride would have never considered planning a wedding without the sole advice and guidance of their mom a.k.a the mother of the bride.
But in today’s day and age, more modern couples are choosing premarital cohabitation “ahem”, living together, and decide to pay and plan for the wedding themselves or opt to hire a wedding planner to alleviate the stress associated with coordinating such an expensive and momentous occasion. Plus with the groom’s family possibly pitching in for the cost of the celebration, wedding planning is no longer solely in the mother of the bride’s duties, hmmm it’s no wonder that she might be feeling a bit…out of the loop. And expressed it to you possibly in not so many words that she is not happy!
This might have left you wondering. What are the duties for the mother of the bride?
How do you make sure that your mother is still involved in wedding planning?
In her own special way of course!
Try these 7 unique and fun tips that will make any mother of the bride feel important while making the planning process even more enjoyable for you, and help you overcome the overwhelm too…
1. Share a little storytime.
Take some time to sit down with your mom and ask her to reminisce about her wedding day. Look at pictures, laugh about the crazy trends of the past (big hair, even bigger dresses, and shoulder pads, anyone?).
Bonus Tip: Ask her about the most memorable stories from planning to her big day and nuptials. From jaw-dropping bridesmaid drama to picking out her perfect gown, you’re sure to gain indispensable advice. You may even find some inspirational ideas for you to incorporate into your own wedding!
2. Plan a shopping spree.
We know how important it is to find your perfect wedding dress. But don’t forget, finding a stylish mother of the bride dress can be equally as important.
Example: Instead of leaving mom alone to shop and figure out what style the mother of the bride dress, pant suit or gown should be, make a day of it! Brunch, mimosas, and a little one on one girl time with the person who had a hand in raising you. After all, she deserves a little pampering too, doesn’t she?
Here are our top mother of the bride dresses that we are currently loving.
3. Use Mom’s zone of genius to create custom wedding favors.
If you have yet to decide on your “special something” and your Mom is particularly crafty, ask her to make you a commemorative memento to have on the big day. It will give her a useful project to occupy her time during the planning process, and you are sure to have a precious and meaningful gift that will always remind you of one of the happiest days of your life!
4. Add a dash of mom’s fabulous cuisine.
Could you imagine living without your mother’s famous food? If your mom is a wiz in the kitchen, why not show your wedding guests what they’re missing out on and serve a recipe or two of hers at your reception?! Your chef will be more than happy to make any additions or adaptations near and dear to your heart and will make sure your wedding reception has all the flair it deserves. And guests will surely be begging to know how she works her magic in the kitchen!
5. Share family heirlooms.
Ask your mom if there is a veil, garter or jewelry you may want to wear as your something old, something borrowed or blue, such as a grandmother’s veil or an aunt’s earrings. If mom’s wedding dress or a grandmother’s is available then you may want to consider wearing it or incorporating part of it into your wedding day.
6. Let your mom plan an engagement party.
It’s the parents of the bride who traditionally host an engagement party if the couple wants one. As the host, they are in charge of all the things; booking the venue and vendors, organizing the guest list, ordering the invitation and overseeing all the other details, including making a speech or a toast at the party, greeting guests, and footing the bills, it’s like a mini-wedding. If mom is feeling left out, let her scratch that planning itch and let her go to town by planning and coordinating a celebration all on her own.
7. Create a wedding decoration mom mood board.
You might think moms may not be up-to-date and oh-so-trendy but then again, there’s a reason why Mom jeans are being slayed by every super model who walks the runways at Fashion Week. Consider asking for her golden ideas based on all the design, fashion, and color trends she’s witnessed throughout the years, her ideas and suggestions may be just what you are looking for.
KCWO TIP: Share your Pinterest board, color schemes and paint a picture with a few florals to get her opinion. Mothers have a special knack for seeing your vision with a different set of eyes. You might be surprised to discover the woman who raised you knows you better than you know yourself.
How to Keep the Mother of the Bride Happy Conclusion
We promise these mother of the bride duties make it fairly simple to keep her laughing, loved and feeling back in the loop. Most importantly take a deep breath, and remember to keep calm so you can plan on, love!
Are you ready to enjoy this process with your mom?
Do you want to plan an intimate wedding? Or how about a small destination wedding?
If you’re planning an intimate wedding, the first thing you need to do is forget everything you know about weddings. No, seriously! Just forget it. Intimate weddings are a whole different beast and require a unique approach. To help you, we’ve put together some intimate wedding ideas that every couple needs to know. From how to choose the right venue to what kind of food to serve, we’ve got you covered.
If so, then you’ll want to take a look at these 50awesome tips for planning a small intimate wedding. Check them out…
Let’s Start With the Basics, What is Considered a Small, Intimate or Mirco Wedding?
Some people think small weddings are easy to plan, but they are not because you still need to deal with the same logistics as a big wedding. The need for a wedding photographer, the videographer, the caterer, the musician, the chairs, tables, the flowers, the transportation, etc. Intimate weddings have all the same moving parts as larger, more traditional weddings, regardless of size.
Typically, a small or popularly known as an intimate wedding has fewer than 80 guests. This can be a more intimate affair that’s less expensive. If you’re considering a small wedding, there are a few things to remember.
Remember that you can still have all the elements of a traditional wedding, just on a lighter scale. You’ll still need to decide on a venue, catering, flowers, and décor. The key is finding experienced vendors for small weddings who can provide the services you need within your budget.
Another thing to remember is that you may have to get creative with your guest list. Keeping your guest list under 80 people may be challenging if you have a large group of family or friends. In this case, consider inviting narrowing down your guest list based on who you have spoken to in the last few years or who has been there to support you as a couple throughout your relationship. Last but not least, remember small weddings can still be just as beautiful and as memorable as a larger engagement. Take the time to plan every detail to ensure your day is everything you’ve always dreamed of. With these tips, we are confident you can plan an intimate and unforgettable small wedding.
Small Intimate Wedding Ideas
The possibilities for wedding planning are endless. But sometimes, you want a small, intimate affair with your guest. If that sounds like your ideal wedding, these small, intimate wedding ideas are for you! To start,
Small Backyard Wedding Reception
For a small backyard wedding reception, you will need the following:
Tables: You will need enough tables to comfortably seat all your guests, especially if you plan to serve meals. You can rent tables from a party rental company or borrow them from people you know.
Chairs: Again, you will need enough chairs for your guests. You can rent chairs from a party rental company or borrow them from any available source.
Tablecloths: Tablecloths will add a touch of elegance to your reception tables. You can either rent tablecloths from a party rental company or purchase them from a local department store.
Table Settings: Ensure you have enough plates, silverware, and glasses for your guests. You can rent these items from a party rental company or purchase them from a local department store.
Centerpieces are a great way to add some decoration to your reception tables. You can create your centerpieces or purchase them from a local florist or crafts store.
Get Married at a Family Home
If you’re looking for an intimate wedding, one of the best ways to achieve that is by getting married at a family home. This can be a great way to save money on your wedding venue and make your wedding feel more personal and intimate. Plus, it can be a lot of fun planning your wedding with your family members!
Small Destination Wedding
Small destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a unique and intimate setting for your special day. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect small destination wedding:
Choose a location that has meaning to you and your fiancé. There are so many wonderful options for small destination weddings! For example, consider a charming little café as your location if you’re dreaming of a Parisian wedding. Alternatively, for a tropical feel, how about a beachfront villa? And if you want something truly unique, Iceland has some stunningly beautiful landscapes that would make an unforgettable backdrop for your big day. No matter what kind of destination wedding you envision, there’s sure to be a perfect location to suit your needs.
Keep your guest list small.
Have realistic expectations.
A small destination wedding won’t be the same as a traditional big wedding, so try to keep things in perspective. Don’t expect everything to be perfect – embrace the imperfections and enjoy every moment!
Small Restaurant Weddings
Regarding wedding planning, some couples want nothing more than a small, intimate affair. And what could be more intimate than a restaurant wedding? If you’re considering a restaurant wedding, here are a few things to remember:
First, pick a restaurant that has meaning to you and your partner.
Second, keep your guest list small.
Third, work with the restaurant to create a unique menu for your wedding.
Fourth, take advantage of the restaurant’s intimate setting by creating unique decor.
Get Married at City Hall
City Hall weddings are becoming increasingly popular, as they are intimate, unique, and budget-friendly. If you’re looking for an intimate wedding, consider getting married at your local city hall. Make your City Hall wedding special with these tips:
Plan and reserve a spot at city hall in advance.
Get there early on your wedding day to avoid the rush.
Choose a simple, elegant gown or suit for your city hall weddings.
Opt for a small bouquet or boutonniere of flowers.
Forgo a traditional wedding cake and choose cupcakes or another dessert.
Skip the formal reception and go out for drinks or dinner after your nuptials to celebrate your new marriage!
Cut the Wedding Party
One of the easiest ways to reduce your guest count and make your wedding more intimate is to cut down on the size of your wedding party. If you don’t need ten bridesmaids and groomsmen, consider having a smaller party or doing away with attendants altogether. This will reduce the number of people you have to pay for and make things less chaotic on your big day.
Create an Intimate Lounge Area
If you want to make your wedding more intimate, one way is by creating a lounge area. For instance, you can put up soft furniture like couches and armchairs in a designated area, maybe in your home or a place of your choice. You can also add personal touches to this space, such as photos and candles. This will give your guests a place to relax and mingle and make your wedding feel more intimate.
Small Brunch, Small Budget Wedding
When it comes to intimate weddings, small brunch weddings are becoming increasingly popular. And there’s no wonder why! They’re intimate, budget-friendly, and allow you to spend quality time with your closest family and friends. If you’re considering a small brunch wedding, here are a few things to remember:
1. The guest list should be limited to close family friends.
2. Keep the decor simple but elegant.
3. Make sure the food is delicious! The cost of food for brunch is less expensive because it involves eggs, bacon, sausage, mimosas, fruit juice, and champagne, the typical American brunch.
4. Remember the drinks!
5. Make sure to have plenty of activities for your guests to enjoy.
Small Chapel Wedding
No doubt, the venue you choose will greatly impact the tone and vibe of your wedding day. If you’re dreaming of an intimate affair with close family friends, then a small chapel might be the perfect and romantic place to exchange your vows. Chapel weddings are incredibly romantic, and often, these venues come with a lot of history and character.
Splurge on Special Details
Do not be afraid to splurge on the details important to you and your partner on your wedding day. Whether it’s a stunning designer dress, luxurious flowers, or gourmet catering, your wedding should reflect your unique style as a couple. And when it comes to intimate weddings, there’s no need to skimp on the details. They can often make or break the event. So what are some of the best ways to splurge on your big day?
For starters, take a look at your venue. Think outside the box regarding your venue – endless possibilities exist.
Next, focus on the food. Whether you opt for a family-style meal or passed hors d’oeuvres, choose something that reflects your taste.
If you like classical piano music, don’t hesitate to go all out and get a pianist to play all of your dinner or a musician to accompany you.
Finally, don’t forget the little things that will make your wedding day special. From custom invitations and personalized favors to live music.
Make it a Whole Weekend
Making your wedding a weekend-long event is a great way to spend more time with your guests. Here are some tips to ensure your weekend wedding is everything you’ve dreamed of: This list will help you make the most of your weekend when planning an intimate wedding. As you choose the perfect venue and plan the events, you can enjoy the days leading up to your big day.
The first step is finding the right venue. You’ll want somewhere that is convenient for all your guests, has plenty of space for everyone to stay and play and is beautiful enough that you won’t have to do much in the way of decoration. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to start planning your events.
Keep things low-key on Friday, pick things up on Saturday, and have a farewell brunch on Sunday. Better still, you can have a Sunday afternoon or evening wedding if you want to save money. Let’s face it; we usually don’t do much on Sunday evenings. Why not use the time to enjoy it with your guest?
Intimate Ceremony, Large Reception
If you’re planning an intimate wedding, you may wonder how to make the most of your small guest list. Here are some ideas to help you plan a beautiful and memorable intimate ceremony and large reception. You should consider the size of your guest list first. When planning a small wedding, it’s essential to keep your guest list manageable. Your party will be much more enjoyable if all the guests can participate freely without having to sit on your lap. Please keep it simple and focus on quality over quantity. Once you’ve decided on the size of your wedding, it’s time to start thinking about the details. You can get creative with the setting for a small ceremony. Consider an outdoor ceremony in a beautiful garden or park. This will give you more flexibility with your decor and allow you to personalize your space. If you’re thinking about inviting lots of people, then mention a few important reasons to do so:
You’ll need to find a venue to accommodate your guest list.
Think about the flow of the event and how you can best utilize the space.
Choose a menu that will please your guests, from young children to adults.
Don’t forget the details that will make your big day even more special!
Pros and Cons of a Small Wedding
There are many pros and cons to having a small wedding.
On the plus side, a smaller guest list means that you can save money on your overall wedding budget. You’ll also have time to interact with your guests since fewer will be at the ceremony.
Additionally, a smaller wedding is often more intimate and can be more sentimental than a large one.
Small weddings do, however, have some downsides too.
For instance, you may only be able to invite a small group of friends if you have a shorter guest list.
Also, your wedding venue and vendors may need help making space for a smaller event, so you may need to be more flexible.
How To Plan a Small Wedding
When it comes to weddings, size only sometimes dictates the level of grandeur. Many couples are now opting for smaller, more intimate celebrations. If you’re considering a small wedding, here are some tips to help you plan the perfect day:
Keep it simple – A small wedding doesn’t need to be over-the-top or overly complicated.
Invite only your closest family friends – Rely on your intuition to narrow your guest list to those who will love to participate in this meaningful event.
Choose a venue that fits your style – Pick a place that reflects your style and comfortably accommodates your small guest list.
Focus on the details – Pay attention to the little things, from invitations and decor to your menu and wine selection.
Remember photography – A small wedding is still a major life event, so hire a photographer to capture all important moments on film (or digital).
Consider Your Budget
When it comes to intimate weddings, budget is often one of the first things couples consider. And for a good reason! Whether you’re working with a smaller budget or want to keep costs down, there are plenty of ways to have a beautiful and memorable intimate wedding without breaking the bank. When planning an intimate wedding, consider these tips:
Set a realistic budget. Be realistic about how much you can spend, and only spend what is necessary just because you need a successful wedding.
Prioritize your expenses. Make a list of your must-haves and prioritize accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Get creative with your ideas and look for ways to save money without sacrificing style or quality.
Create Your Guest List
The guest list can seem daunting when deciding who to invite to your intimate wedding. But with a little preparation, you can easily whittle your list of attendees down to those who matter the most.
To start, sit down with your partner and list everyone you want to invite. Once you have your initial list, look at it as a whole and see if there are any areas where you can trim it down. For example, if you have a large extended family, you may only want to invite immediate family members. Once your final guest list is locked in, start thinking about how you want to invite everyone. Will you send out traditional invitations or opt for something more unique? Make sure each invitation you send is thoughtful and personal, so your guests know how special they are to you.
Choose Your Venue Carefully
Your venue is one of your most important choices for your intimate wedding. It sets the tone and style for your entire event, so choosing a venue that reflects your personality as a couple is important. Here are a few things to remember when selecting your venue:
Capacity: Make sure your venue can accommodate everyone comfortably.
Budget: How much are you willing to spend on your venue? Keep in mind that some venues may require additional fees for catering, decorations, etc.
Location: If you’re planning a destination wedding, make sure your venue is easily accessible for all of your guests.
Style: Do you want something formal or informal, classic or modern? Your venue should reflect the overall style of your wedding.
Add Small Touches
When it comes to weddings, many couples feel like they must go all out to make the day special. However, this is only sometimes the case. Sometimes the more intimate weddings will make the day special with a few new details.
For example, instead of having a large wedding cake, you could opt for a small one just for the two of you. This way, you can share a special moment while indulging in something sweet.
Another small touch that can make a big difference is adding some personalization to your wedding vows. This could be anything from adding an inside joke to pledging your undying love for one another. Whatever you choose, adding something personal will make your ceremony that much more memorable.
Finally, remember the little details on your big day. Things like having custom napkins with your initials or ordering specialty drinks for your reception can make your wedding day perfect. So don’t be afraid to add a few small touches here and there—it’ll make all the difference!
Ask for Help with Virtual Wedding Planning
If you’re overwhelmed planning your intimate wedding, don’t hesitate to ask for help! Whether enlisting a friend or family member to help with DIY projects or hiring a virtual wedding planner to take care of the details, getting some extra assistance will make the process much less stressful.
That’s where Keep Calm And Wed On comes in. We teach couples how to plan the wedding of their dreams with our virtual wedding planning 60-Minute sessions. Click the banner below to learn more.
No matter your budget or how many guests you invite, there are plenty of ways to make your wedding intimate and special. Our intimate wedding ideas have inspired you to make your wedding day unforgettable. Remember, it’s all about the little details that will make your big day unique.
With all that has been going on, this question is on every fall brides mind “Do I really need to postpone my 2020 wedding?” Today’s guest post is from an expert Washington D.C based wedding planner, Aimee Griffin. Her work has been seen in Washingtonian Weddings, Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty, Magnolia Rouge, and Wedding Chicks. Here are her suggestions for things she discusses with her recently engaged couples.
*updated December 14, 2020
3 Steps to Help You Decide If You Should Postpone Your Fall Wedding
We’re sharing our approach here to help couples with fall weddings in September, October and November 2020 weigh their postponement options.
We’ve received many questions from Fall 2020 couples about postponing their wedding, including September weddings, October weddings, and November weddings. We’re sharing our approach here to help couples with Fall 2020 weddings weigh their postponement options.
The top challenges facing Fall 2020 wedding couples are the uncertainty of what dates are safe, and their guests’ concerns about traveling to the wedding and being in larger groups. Of you are getting married in September, October or November of 2020, read carefully and come back often as we’ll be updating this post as necessary.
1. Address the uncertainty by making a plan.
Make a plan now for a contingency date and ask your vendors for their current availability. Most creative partners would gladly rebook your wedding rather than cancel.
Ask your creative partners for any updated postponement or cancellation policies. Their availability may change, but you now have a backup date if the situation changes.
2. Reassure your guests by sharing your plan.
Notify your guests that you may be postponing or that you are postponing and will follow up with a date.
Instead of sending a save the date, send your invitations a little earlier (10-12 weeks before your wedding) and include a note/details card saying something along the lines of:
Based on the uncertainty of these times, we created a contingency plan should we need to postpone our wedding. The health and safety of our friends and family is our top priority.
We are planning on celebrating with you on September xx, 2020 and will let you know by (date) if we need to postpone.
If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as we would love to celebrate with you.
3. Watch and Wait
Once you’ve notified your guests, it’s a waiting game to see how things will develop. We recommend setting a deadline for a decision about 4-6 weeks before your wedding. Waiting is the hardest part.
You will have the best chance of favorable postponement terms with your vendors within 30 days of your wedding date. This should be enough time for guests to adjust their plans if you’ve already notified them you may postpone. For guests traveling internationally, you may need to give them 4-8 weeks notice.
Our goal is to help you navigate these uncharted waters so you can get married and celebrate safely.
Learn more about our virtual planning services by clicking on the link below.