Posts Tagged ‘wedding planning’

PART 3: Marketing to Clients

As an event/wedding planner, you’ll be involved on both sides of the marketing fence: Business to Customer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B). The first is your traditional marketing to clients. The second is marketing yourself to other businesses who can help you succeed (vendors, etc.)
Let’s start with marketing to clients.

B2C Marketing relies on knowing your target customers, inside and out. Once you understand who your target is and where he/she spends her time, you can start developing a marketing strategy. For example, most newspaper ads are obsolete… unless you’re trying to reach an audience who still goes to print for their primary source of information and entertainment. And the same can be said for the flip side: promoting yourself on social media is great, but make sure to focus on the websites where your clients will see your efforts!

As you go through this list of potential marketing mediums, ask yourself if they are right for your customers.

Direct Marketing

business advice

Paid Search (Digital)

This one is a no brainer. If your clients use the Internet, they probably use Google. Using Google Paid Advertising is an easy way to ensure your website shows up at the top of the list when a customer searches for your business name or the services you offer. You can easily set up a google AdWords account for free, and set a modest daily budget, targeting a few industry keywords to get the ball rolling.

Pros: You can get to the top of search listings without spending tons of time getting links to your website
Cons: Depending on which keywords you’re bidding on, Google can get pretty expensive.

Advertising in Newspapers or Magazines (Traditional)

You can buy ad space for your business in Newspapers or other print mediums. These spaces come in a variety of sizes and you can design your own ad to fit within the allotted space.

Pros: Most print ads have a high reach and can be relatively inexpensive
Cons: It is very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of print advertising; most readers have developed “ad blindness” and might not pay attention to your ads.

Direct Mail

Printing out flyers or brochures to be sent to potential clients as promotional mail is a way to get many impressions. A well thought out campaign (you have to think outside the box) has potential to get noticed.

Pros: Reach thousands of people in one fell swoop; target individuals, businesses, or both.
Cons: In order for direct mail to work, it can be very expensive and take a fair amount of your time to get it right. It’s also very difficult to track results, outside of sending out discount offers which can end up cheapening your brand.

Content/Social Marketing

BUSINESS ADVICE

Get a writer’s attention

Probably a more effective way of getting your name into a newspaper, magazine, or influential blog is to attract the attention of a writer who’s interested in your business. This can be done in a few ways:

  1. Reach out to reporters or bloggers to feature a special event or aspect of your business (are you planning a unique event? Do you have a funny story to share? Another piece of content that could be useful to their readers?). Just make sure it’s not self-promoting. No reporter will write about a discount or sale, for example, but they might write about an event you’ve organized.
  2. Offer your services as an industry expert. There are many reporters or bloggers who are looking for reliable sources to feature in articles they’re already developing. Resources like “HelpAReporter.com” are great ways to get your name and your business featured in leading industry publications.

Pros: Doesn’t cost anything but your time; you can end up being featured in very prestigious publications (especially with option 2)
Cons: It does take a lot of time and you’ll face a lot of rejection. That’s part of the challenge.

Using your Social Media Channels

If you’ve been following this series, you now have a website and a few social media accounts that are ready to roll. Facebook and Twitter are the overlords of the Social Media industry. Instagram is also a great medium for wedding/event planners, since the business tends to yield plenty of gorgeous pictures.

A few tips to succeed at Social Media Marketing:

  1. Post regularly and consistently. Have a “social media schedule” and stick to it. There are many types of software out there that can help you schedule posts in advance. A few examples are buffer and hootsuite.
  2. Treat your social media like a time bomb. Be ready to quickly respond to comments on your posts or direct messages from potential clients. Social Media users aren’t patient. Taking too long to respond to a comment, question, or inquiry is a recipe for disaster.
  3. Don’t ask without giving back: follow your followers and participate on their social pages as well. They’ll return the favor.
  4. Ask your satisfied clients to post their event pictures and tag your business. Word-of-mouth from a happy customer is the best advertising you can ever ask for.

Here’s a social media secret not many small businesses understand: Your followers don’t care about you, they care about themselves. Posting a message about how great your business is, is sure to fail. Posting content that is useful to your follower will be liked and shared, thus promoting your brand. (“useful” can mean anything from funny to inspiring to solving a specific problem.)

Blogging

business advice

Once you’ve set up your website and have a decent following on social media, consider launching a blog on your site. You can blog about anything related to your business, as long as you’re sensitive to your clients’ privacy.

A critical aspect of a blog is to keep updating it regularly: daily is best, but at a minimum once a week. Writing blog articles that are useful to your readers can attract new clients and help forge relationships with other industry professionals.

Which brings us to the final part of this series. Stay tuned for the upcoming fourth and final piece: Marketing yourself to Vendors.

Are you looking to start an event and wedding planning business? All of QC’s Event and Wedding Planning Courses come with our “Achieving Business Success” DVD series that offers much more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to market yourself effectively to clients! Learn more here.


There’s nothing quite like on-the-job training.  At QC, we try to prepare our students for a time when they’ll be working with clients and vendors, but try as we might there’s no way we can prepare you for every single scenario.  Most will agree that the first year in any business is the toughest: when you’ll make most of your mistakes, and where you’ll also learn most about yourself.  This is especially true for wedding planners.

weddingplanning101

Understand, a bride hires you as a wedding planner to help bring her vision to reality for the most important day of her life.  She’d love to do it all herself, but has bigger fish to fry and trusts that you’re WAY more qualified to do the job right.

So you fly in with your inspiration boards and list of vendors (maybe you’re wearing a cape), ready to make her dreams come true… Only to find yourself buried in mounds of emails and 3 a.m. phone calls for the next 12 months.

“How in the world did I get here!?” you might ask

Likely you made the same mistake that a lot of wedding planners have made before you.  In trying to be accommodating, you forgot to establish clear boundaries with the bride-to-be. This can lead to disastrous results.

While you’ll never be able to fully eliminate the possibility of a bride going off a deep end, setting clear expectations through a contract or the initial consultation can be a lifesaver!  Here are a few points you’ll want to cover with your clients up-front.

#1: You’re her wedding planner, not her friend.

This is a tough one. Over the course of planning you’ll get to know the bride very well, and you’ll come to care for her deeply. Likely she’ll feel the same way, and she might end up seeing you as her “wedding therapist”.

Obviously you’ll want to approach this in a very delicate way, but the bride does need to understand that she has bridesmaids and family to talk to, cry with, and get her through whatever stress, doubt, or anxiety she may be feeling.  You need to focus on making sure everything with the event runs smoothly… for her sake!

#2: Set a clear communication schedule, and stick to it!

When you agree to work with a bride, one of the first things you’ll want to do is explain the dos and don’ts of communicating with you. Give her a schedule she can follow.

Example: You’ll speak with her on the phone twice a week for 1 hour per call, you’ll meet with her in person on X, Y, and Z dates, and you’ll be in touch with her via email regarding all other topics, between times A and B.

Make sure you set clear expectations here. Take the time to walk the bride through this schedule, 1-on-1. She needs to understand that while this is your career and you’ll work very hard for her, you have a home to go to at night and friends and/or a family of your own to care for.

A quick note on giving a bride your cell phone number:  Try to avoid this until you get to know your client a little better.  You want to be friendly and obliging, yes, and be available in case of a wedding planning emergency, but unfortunately the definition of “emergency” is different for every person.  Once you’ve worked a little with the bride and you’re confident she’ll respect your space, then you can give her your number and trust her to use it under extreme circumstances only.

#3: On the big day, you’re still there to work.

At the actual event, many brides will want you to join them and share in the festivities. From their point of view you can understand: they’re having a great time, they’re grateful for your services, and they want you to benefit from what you’ve spent months planning.

You’ll want to explain to the bride that your job doesn’t stop when the wedding starts. Quite the contrary, actually! While she’s having a wonderful time dining and dancing, you’ll be busy coordinating with the caterer or keeping the band on queue.

Just make sure she understands that if you don’t sit down for dinner or enjoy a drink with the wedding party before the ceremony, it’s not because you don’t care about her!

#4: Screen your clients carefully

Ok, this should actually be step zero.

When a bride goes to you for a consultation, she’s interviewing you.  She wants to see if you’ve got what it takes to pull off planning her wedding.  This is where you put your best foot forward and pull out all the stops, but it’s also a chance to interview her and decide if she’s a client you want to take on!

There’s nothing wrong with refusing a client if you don’t believe you’re a compatible match.  I know it’s tough to refuse a job… but if she doesn’t seem like the type of client you’ll be able to work with for whatever reason, it’s better for everyone if you take a step back right away.  Consider referring her to another wedding planner, if you know any, who might be better suited for her needs or her personality.

In the end, you’ll likely have to cut the bride some slack on a few of these points.  The truth is most brides are wonderful to work with and are extremely respectful of their wedding planner. She KNOWS she could never do it without you!

But a wedding is a stressful event for anyone, and even the most well-tempered bride can lose her nerve once or twice leading up to the big day.  Following these guidelines will hopefully make the planning process a little less stressful… for all involved!

Do you have what it takes to be a wedding planner? QC’s online wedding planning course can help you get there! Request a brochure today and get started on a path to a wonderfully rewarding career!

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April 25, 2014 12:00 am

Graduate Feature: Amore Events by Cody

Cody GrannisName: Cody Grannis

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

A little bit about Cody…

Cody Grannis, a lifetime Virginian, is an award winning, certified International Event and Wedding Professional (IEWP), holding certificates in Non-Profit Management and Meeting and Event Planning from the University of Virginia.  She has over 6 years of experience planning University events in Charlottesville and throughout the country.

Cody, the mother of four, is the founder of Amore Events by Cody, LLC.  She has orchestrated many weddings in Charlottesville, Virginia and has an extensive network of reliable vendors in the region.  You will find her to be extremely dedicated and always working hard to ensure that each bride receives the wedding of her dreams.  Through Cody’s attention to detail and creativity, you can count on a wedding that will exceed your expectations.

Amore Events by Cody

Did you always see yourself becoming an event & wedding planner? What started the dream?

No, not at all! I started working at UVA in 2007 where my first job was an event planner in the Alumni Department. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much! I had never traveled before, but for one of my first events at UVA, I was sent on a trip to Palm Beach to plan a small alumni gathering. I had so much fun on that trip, getting to meet new people and work in a new and exciting environment. After that trip, I knew that event planning was something I wanted to continue to do long term. A little while later, I switched jobs at UVA and starting planning much larger events ranging anywhere from 100-5,000 people. After a couple of years at UVA, I got tired of all of the red tape and bureaucracy, and decided that I wanted to do something more creative on my own. I did some research and decided to become a wedding planner! We are now going into our forth season as Amore Events and we cannot be anymore excited!

Can you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today?

I was a teenage mother of two little ones by the age of 19. And because of that I had to work extra hard to get where I am today. Knowing that I needed to provide for my family, I jumped head first into research on how to become an event planner, getting my certification from the QC School, and even took a course an event-planning course at UVA. When I applied for my job at UVA, I wrote them a letter and told them how excited I was about the position and how I really felt that I could do the job. They trusted me and hired me even though I didn’t mean all of the qualifications because I showed them how I was a fast learner and knew that I would succeed in the position.

Graduate Feature - Cody Grannis

Let’s talk branding. It’s probably one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business, and we’re sure our students would love a little insight into how Amore Events became what it is today.

Branding is a daunting thought, especially when you haven’t done it before. One of my biggest regrets is including my name in my business because I can never sell it. It is possible to change the business name, but not without a lot of paperwork and paying a bunch of money. Another huge part of branding is a logo and website. One thing that is necessary is working with a graphic designer and working through lots of different options with them. Make sure you go see lots of different logo designs and website templates before you choose. Take your time with this part because it is going to cost a good bit of money and in the end, it should be exactly what you want. One thing to remember through all of it is to stay true to yourself and your own personal style. You want your logo and website and overall brand personality to reflect you and what you have to offer. It is okay to get inspiration from other planners or people in the industry, but in the end, your brand needs to be all about you. Something to remember is that you can always re-brand. That sounds crazy, but it is actually a big part of growing your business. You might re-brand when your style changes, or when you add different services to your packages, or even when you want to reach a different clientele. We are actually in the process of re-branding right now and it is already paying off.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

In the event industry, making connections is key. When you were first starting out what was your approach to networking?

I started with just joining local event planning communities in the area. That is an amazing place to meet people, get your name out there and just make connections in the industry. A big thing I did that not a lot of other planners in the area did, was actually go meet with vendors face to face. I just wanted to get to know them and get to know their business better and really learn about how they like to work with planners.

I also joined free websites to market my business. The main ones I used in the beginning were Wedding Wire and The Knot. They were a big help in getting my name out in the industry and getting seen when couples search for wedding planners in Charlottesville. I also started requesting reviews from my brides. These reviews could be seen on both Facebook and Wedding Wire. This is a beneficial tool because I can use it to send to people who are inquiring about hiring me.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I just love working with my brides. I love taking care of them and being such a big part of making their special day as perfect as I can. My favorite part of the wedding day is getting to steal my couples away for a few minutes and show them that every little detail we planner together has come together in the most beautiful day for them!

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

The biggest step in my career so far has been getting a studio space! It is a place that we have where brides came come and meet with us and can see all of our décor laid out. Something else that is huge for us with this space is being able to create a full mock-up of their reception tables. With all of our décor displayed in the studio, it is easy for us to walk around together, pick up things they like, try them on the table and really decide what they love. That is something we have never been able to do before, but it really adds an amazing touch to the experience for our brides.

A huge highlight of my career so far has been seeing our weddings and styled shoots on different national blogs, like Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings and, Wedding Sparrow, and being published in Barn Weddings, a book by Maggie Lord. To see all of our hard work and our beautiful brides featured in these amazing places is really special.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

As you know, many of our students have dreams of owning their own businesses. Do you have any advice for those who are just starting out in the event industry?

Some quick snippets of advice I would give are take your time with starting, really do your research about the industry and the market you are entering, have patience and kindness with both your brides and your vendors, be quick and assertive, learn how to say no, figure out your own personal design style, but also make sure you are keeping up with the trends.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

You’ve been featured on sites like The Knot and Style Me Pretty. That’s something to brag about! What do you think the future holds for Amore Events?

Amore Events is really taking off and I couldn’t be more proud! One thing that I would really love to do sometime in the future is open up a wedding venue. I would also love to make more connections outside of Charlottesville. It is a dream to work with vendors in California and New York and even in another country. There is so much inspiration in the world that I don’t get to see, so I would just love to experience and learn about other styles and bring it all back to Charlottesville.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

 Curious to learn more about the wedding and event planning industry? Check out QC Event School and read our free brochure!


Planning and coordinating an event is a stressful job! Whether experienced or novice, most event planners will make a mistake or two throughout their careers.  Here is a quick list of the most common event planning mistakes made, and our tips on how to get around them.

event planning mistakes

1. Doing it all yourself

Jack of all trades = master of none.  Do-it-all event planners will handle the guest list, all the finances, the decorations, the technical elements, the food… the list goes on. Having so many balls in the air yourself is almost a guarantee that you’re going to drop one or two.

The solution: As an event planner, your job is to coordinate all the elements of an event, not to execute on all the different pieces that come together on the big day.  Instead of tackling everything yourself, consider contracting out an event decorator, a bookkeeper, a caterer, etc. who can work with you to make sure your event is a great success!

2. Leaving it to the last minute

Whether “it” is a door prize, promotion, or equipment rentals, leaving anything to the last minute is a sure fire path to chaos, sooner or later.

The solution: Most events take months to plan. If you’re well organized and stick to a concrete plan, you should have all the pieces secured (including backup plans) at least 4 weeks away from the event… though we recommend 8-12 weeks to be safe!

3. Miscalculating the size of the event

This is a double-edged sword.  You want to make sure the size of the venue is adequate for the number of guests, but you also want to ensure the guest list is adequate for the venue!  Too many guests for a small space will lead to a very crowded and unworkable event. You might also run out of materials or food.  Too few guests for a large event will give the event an air of emptiness.

The solution: Confirm the guest list as early as possible, and give a final head count to your vendors as soon as you can. This will give everyone the chance to adjust the plan based on the number of attendees.  Also, if you’re unsure of the guest list, make sure you pick a venue that offers options for different group sizes and vendors who offer flexible services according to a finalized guest list.

event planning mistakes

4. Not allowing enough time for setup

Imagine setting up decorations as the guests are entering an event, or finding out you’re missing a power cord 10 minutes before your keynote speaker is supposed to go on stage. This nightmare is faced by many event planners and coordinators at least once during their careers.

The solution: Plan out the event setup well in advance, and make sure to hire enough people to complete all tasks before the event starts!  If it’s possible to have everything set up a day or two in advance, do it! If not, a well laid out plan (planned down to the minute), can make a difference between a success and a disaster!

5. Keeping clients in the dark

This is a nightmare for planners and their clients alike.  Phones and emails are the standard communication these days, but that can lead to confusion or misunderstanding down the road.  You don’t want your client to see the venue for the first time on the big day, and be disappointed in all the hard work you’ve accomplished because it’s not what they envisioned.

The solution: Schedule plenty of face-to-face time with your clients.  Walk them through the venue, and show them samples of wardrobe, décor, food, etc. before making any final decisions.  Keeping clients engaged throughout the planning process can save a lot of headaches down the road!

6. Forgetting it’s all about the guests!

This is actually a very easy mistake to make! You’re so concentrated on meeting the client’s needs and coordinating between the vendors, you forget about simple accommodations for the guests.

The solution:  Make a checklist of guest accommodations for any event, and keep it in mind at all times.  This list should at least include:

– having a parking plan

– coat check (for events in colder months or climates)

– signage leading guests to the venue (especially in confusing layouts!)

– having bathroom attendants (nothing like a dirty bathroom to kill an event!)

– making certain there are vegetarian/vegan food options available

– planning for inclement weather (tarps & umbrella stands)

Whatever your event, you should always remember Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  A successful event planner will take a cue from the boy scouts and be prepared for just about any situation can just save your event… and your reputation!

Have you made these types of mistakes planning an event? Share your story!


February 28, 2014 12:00 am

Graduate Feature – The Bijou Bride

Bijou Bride

Name: Alexandra Merri

Business: The Bijou Bride

Location: London, U.K.

Connect with Alexandra!

Twitter: @BijouBride

Facebook: The Bijou Bride

Instagram: @bijoubride

Pinterest: Alexandra Merri

Alexandra Merri aka The Bijou Bride is a creative wedding planner and stylist based in the U.K.  Alexandra believes no two couples are the same and therefore no two weddings should be either.  Her services offer a bespoke approach to wedding planning that’s tailored to suit each couple’s lifestyle and budget.

The Bijou Bride

What first motivated you to get into wedding planning?

I’ve always been a creative planner, as one of my friend’s put it I “turn everything into an event” from birthday parties to Pancake day.  It was whilst working at a major film company organizing premieres, exciting team away days and so on as well as freelance fashion styling that I had that light bulb moment.  I realized that there was a career that would allow me to combine both my creative and organizational talents – wedding planning.  I had organised my own Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding (my middle name is Titania so needless to say it was a theme) within a 5 month time frame and been assisting various friends when I took the plunge and enrolled in the QC International Wedding & Event Planning course.  Luckily I passed with flying colors and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Bijou Bride

How did you choose QC Event School? What did you like most about your studies?

I researched the most valued, in depth event planning study programs and knew that I needed a flexible course which is what led me to QC.  Those messages from my mentor were so much nicer than just a typed email and I felt really supported by the QC team throughout my studies and long after.

The Bijou Bride

You graduated from QC Event School in 2011, how has your career evolved since then? 

It hasn’t been easy but then nothing that’s worth striving for is.  The real challenge is getting your name known and working out your niche within the industry.

Your website is absolutely beautiful. What inspired the design?

I wanted it to be clean and contemporary, I found that a lot of planning company’s sites were pink and swirly which just isn’t me.  Inspiration came from some of my favorite sites like Kate Spade and Topshop I think it’s important to stay true to who you are, your loves and taste.

beyou

What came first, the name or the tagline? How did you come to decide on this unique brand identity? 

I wanted to find a word that summed up my approach and ‘Bijou’ does just that.  By definition it is ‘desirable, fashionable, stylish, chic, sought-after, to die for’ just how a wedding should be.  The tagline just came to me; I want all my clients to feel that their wedding day is quintessentially them not a projection of others’ expectations.

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We know you must always be juggling a dozen tasks. How do you keep on top of everything? 

My Google calendar is invaluable, I log my to do list in 30 minute slots and have it synced with my mobile phone so I never miss a thing.

Wedding trends change every year; what 2014 wedding trend are you most excited to work with?

There is definitely a move towards toned down and understated styling or as I’ve dubbed it ‘bare naked elegance’ that is reliant on a great setting and good furniture.

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What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve planned to date?

That is a tough one as they are all memorable in their own way.  A snowy winter wedding with a James Bond theme and 4 am finish time is probably the quirkiest though.

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You’ve been featured in quite a few notable publications and sites. Tell us! What do you see in The Bijou Bride’s future?

This year is my busiest to date for wedding bookings but I’m hoping to take on further branding projects with bridal designers and venues.  I love being creative so a variety of projects is never a bad thing.

The Bijou Bride Features

WANT TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL EVENT & WEDDING PLANNER? SIGN UP FOR QC’S FREE BROCHURE TO LEARN HOW WE CAN HELP YOU GET THERE.

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There are a number of things that will happen throughout your big day that your guests will remember. One of the biggest is the food.

Of course the dress, the speeches, and the venue are all memorable as well, but the food is always something that can make or break a wedding.

To make sure you and your guests aren’t left with a bitter taste in your mouth (quite literally), here are our top 9 tips to help you choose the perfect wedding caterer.

How to choose the perfect caterer

Do-it-Yourself

If you have a small wedding and expect fewer than 20 people to be there, this might be a feasible option. If you plan to have more though, we suggest hiring a professional wedding caterer. If you are constantly involved with making the food yourself, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your day.

If you do decide to do-it-yourself, the dirty dishes afterward could be a nightmare in themselves.

Cost

When choosing a wedding caterer, you need to consider how much it will cost. Although we’re sure you would love to spoil your guests with fine dining, you also need to remember that money doesn’t grow on trees. Getting good value for your money is essential but so is the quality, so negotiate on the price. If you have a budget in mind, see which caterers fall into that category and then see what they offer and whether you can make it cheaper.

Get Your Own Caterer

When you choose a venue, many will offer a catering service as part of the package, but this might not be the best option for your wedding or your budget. Package deals like this will often only cover the basics when it comes to the menu, so look around and find a catering company that’s menu is a bit more adventurous so your guests can dine in style.  A wide and varied menu is much more desirable, especially if you have fussy guests.

What’s on the Menu?

This leads to the menu itself. Like we said, if you are inviting a lot of people it is going to be difficult to please everyone. By opting for a wedding catering company that offers a wide variety on their menu, you have a greater chance of everyone enjoying and remembering their meals.

The Cutlery

From eating your meals to cutting the cake, there is a surprising amount of cutlery and utensils involved in a wedding and you should try to see if the wedding caterers will factor this into their pricing. When finding the perfect company, you might also want to consider whether you would prefer staff to cater to each table as well, or whether you’d prefer your guests to get their own food. You could also have waiters and waitresses to supply your guests with drinks throughout the evening.

The Cake

The cake is one of the most important things to consider. Do you want to get your cake made by a third party or would it be more convenient and affordable to be done by the wedding caterer? Check with your potential caterer to see if they provide a cake service or know of a cake supplier that is credible and affordable.

Distance

When considering a wedding caterer, you need to think about their location. Are they local? Will they work at your wedding or will they deliver the food to the venue? If the company is going to deliver the food, you need to consider the quality that it will reach you in. It might be worth opting for one that can operate at your wedding.

Think About References

References and reviews will allow you to sieve through the companies that are worth your while from those that just shouldn’t be given the responsibility of your wedding. Of course, some people can be incredibly fussy, so not all you read or hear is entirely true. If you have a close friend that you trust and they have had a wedding fully catered before, it might be useful to listen to their experience.

A Drink to the Happy Couple

Drinks are another key part of your wedding. You need to decide whether you will be supplying drinks for your guests at their tables or you will be opting for a venue with a bar, or even if your caterers will be supplying this too. This is something you should look into before investing in a venue or a company, as the two will have to work hand-in-hand. The biggest decision is whether you’re going to foot the bill for their alcohol or whether your guests will have to fend for themselves. Once this is decided, you can move forward.

 

This post was written by Thomas – blogger for Dine with Style

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January 15, 2014 8:17 am

How to Choose a Perfect Wedding Venue

Most people think that every girl starts planning her wedding before she turns six. That’s not always true, but it’s still a very important event in a girl’s life. Most men don’t understand why we women stress out during the big planning before the wedding, but it’s extremely important for us that everything goes smooth and according to plan. If you want to make that picture you have in your mind come to life, you need to focus on creating a romantic atmosphere. In order to do that, you need to find an appropriate environment for the event. The following tips will instruct you how to choose a perfect wedding venue.

How to choose the perfect wedding venuePhoto credit: MMG photo cinema

Making a Guest List

Where to start your planning? You should begin with making a guest list – this usually takes more time than you think it will. If you want all your guests feeling comfortable at your wedding, you need to think about seating while you’re making that list. When you’re done with your list, start looking for venues online. It’s easy to fall in love with a place – every single venue is made to lure you in and make you start picturing saying your “I dos” there.

If You Like it, It’s Not Expensive

Before making a reckless decision, be sure to go through some totally different venues. Always have in mind what guest capacity you expect from a place. There are different ways of payment you need to consider as well. Paying for a venue may be based on a flat rate, or you could be charged for a price per head. Also, many venues have organized set packages that you may find acceptable. If not, ask around and try to find a catering house nearby and check its credibility. Either way, you must book your chosen venue in advance.

Choosing a Menu

When picking out a set package, there are a few things to keep in mind. Ask if that venue has a selection of menus that you could consider and make some changes if necessary. It’s always a good idea to have a vegetarian alternative. Also, you shouldn’t forget about lighting – ask your photographer to adjust the light so your pictures don’t turn out to be too light or too dark. One other thing you need to have in mind is the season and weather conditions, especially if you want to have an outdoor wedding. Even if you pick summer for your big day, you should check a weather forecast so you don’t get surprised with a summer shower.

Decorations

The next part is decorations. It’s probably best to work with a professional, because you don’t want to overcrowd a venue with flowers or decorative strings. Before you start ordering things, you should harmonize all the colors you want to use for your wedding. You don’t need to spend a fortune on decorating – you just need to pick out materials and ornaments that fit perfectly when combined. For example, you could use candles if you want to make a romantic atmosphere during the ceremony. And it’s always stylish and cost-effective to use discrete bows on chairs and benches. Also, be sure to see the flower arrangement that you’ve picked out in person and make sure you harmonize your order with season, so you don’t end up with a withered set of flowers. When it comes to music, listen to a few bands before you hire them to make sure they are capable of making the atmosphere you want.

Perfect Venue Location

We have only one thing left for you to consider before you pick out a venue. Even if you have an already picked out the location of your dreams, you should visit a few different venues located in different environments. Here’s a list of locations that couples usually find very appealing.

  1. A luxurious wedding reception in an expensive hotel could be a chance for you to impress your guests. Yes, it will probably cost you a little bit more than you planned, but it’ll be worth every penny
  2. Did you think about having a ceremony surrounded by nature? The only problem on a mountain, on a beach, by the lake or in the woods could be weather condition, so consult a weather forecast before you pick out a date
  3. If you want to make a perfectly romantic atmosphere, you should consider having a ceremony in a castle – where every princess should get married (that is, if you have a castle nearby!). But before you book it, check out its guest capacity and a travel route if you plan on choosing a distant location.
  4. You could get married on a cruise. Your floating ceremony will be a day to remember for sure!

 

Written by Anita Reid

Anita is a Brisbanian woman living with her two adorable children and a loving husband. Some of her fondest memories date back to their wedding day, an event she plans to repeat on her 5 year anniversary. You may catch Anita doing yoga, jogging or watching Friends reruns.
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Everyone is hopping on the environment-friendly bandwagon these days. For this reason, many couples choose to have a “green wedding,” where everything in the event is eco-friendly. Here are some ways to pull off an eco-friendly wedding.

Tips to an eco-friendly wedding

Invitations

Let everyone know you are having a green wedding by sending out invitations printed on recycled paper. I’m not talking about printing your invitations on the back of used paper – you still want your invitations to look nice and elegant. There are a lot of beautiful paper materials made of recycled paper. Choose an invitation that uses these kinds of materials to make it eco-friendly.

The Dress

Every woman dreams of having the perfect wedding dress. But it is more nostalgic and memorable to reuse a wedding dress worn by the bride’s mother or a close relative. All it needs is a little alteration and some additional touches to make it look elegant.

The Rings

When choosing your rings, seek out green-friendly jewelers who use recycled gold for their products. Ask about the origins of the gems on the rings too. You wouldn’t want a blood diamond on your wedding ring, would you?

The Venue

If it is not the rainy season, an outdoor venue like a garden is the best place to have your eco-friendly wedding. You will not need air conditioning or much electricity for lighting either. The green surroundings also allows your guests to get into the environmental atmosphere.  If you worry about rain, choose a venue that supports a certain environmental charity. This way the money you spend will also go to a good cause.

The Flowers

Your choice of flowers is also crucial in the success of your eco-friendly wedding. Choose a local organic florist to do the centerpieces for your wedding. This way less gasoline is needed to transport your flowers. Also, most local farmers do not use chemicals for organic flowers, so they are environmentally friendly.

The Suppliers

Just like the flowers, it is more eco-friendly to get local suppliers for the rest of your needs for the wedding. Choose local caterers, musicians, planners and all the other services you will need. This way  less gasoline is used to get to your wedding. And of course less smoke emission, as they bring the essentials to the wedding.

The Menu

One way to make your menu eco-friendly is to serve dishes cooked only with organic ingredients. This way you get to support farmers who use organic methods of planting. You also get to serve your guests a healthier menu and inspire them to eat organic foods as well.

The Favors

There are a lot of favor ideas using recycled materials. You can go for a mini scrap art giveaway, painted bottles and so much more. This way you get to support the artists who make recycled art. You can also choose to skip giving the favors and instead let your guests know that you used your funds for that to donate to an environmental charity.

The Pictures

It is also more eco-friendly to use digital photography rather than the traditional film photography. Digital photography allows you to see all your pictures without printing. You can choose and print only the photos that you like best. Unlike film photography, digital pictures are not developed with so many chemicals making them safer for the environment.

The Honeymoon

Make your honeymoon memorable and “green” by going to places that support eco-tourism. Go to natural areas that help conserve the environment. You can also choose to travel using eco-friendly transportation. You get the romantic feel of nature and you also get to help fund eco-friendly institutions.

An eco-friendly wedding may just be a fad that couples choose to follow. But the idea of having a green wedding expresses care and concern for the world that surrounds their love for each other. It is a great idea to use a gathering of people to not just witness the union of two people in love, but to also make them aware that we should also love the world that we live in. Most of all, to let them be aware that there are always a greener options.

For more wedding tips please visit Best Bride 101.


December 15, 2013 11:41 am

Wedding Music Tips for a Memorable Event

Many couples might take the music for granted, but it’s actually a crucial part of wedding planning. From the prelude of your ceremony down to the last dance, music sets the tone of the entire event and keeps your guests entertained. However, planning your wedding music can seem like a lot of work, especially if you’re clueless on where to start. Here are a few melodic ideas to make your big day rock:

Don't forget the music when planning your wedding

Make a list of your favorite songs

You and your partner must have songs you both love. Make a general song list – regardless of lyrics, tempo, or melody. If you love a song’s melody but hate the lyrics, the best route is to go instrumental. After writing all of the possible titles, make a shortlist. Crash out the songs you think are too loud, too sad, too vulgar, or simply don’t jive with your wedding’s theme.

Consider your guests

This may be your wedding, but your guests are also a huge part of your day, too. If most of your guests are young, go ahead with jumpy, modern songs. If your audience is from the older generation, make sure to steer clear of rock or very loud tunes. Instead, choose mellow and classic songs. Those types are timeless.

Book your musicians early

The best time to book your musicians is 6 months in advance, especially if you’re tying the knot during wedding season. By booking too late, you might risk losing the wedding band you’ve been planning to hire. Before making a reservation though, make sure both parties know the full details before signing the contract.

Communicate with your wedding musicians

This should start before signing the contract and continue even after the reservation. Discussing with your wedding musicians – whether a live band, DJ, string quartet, or a capella singer – will help them help you make your wedding the day of your dreams. Give them the list of your suggested songs and ask them if they can play them. If you think your list lacks a few tunes, you can ask your musicians for their repertoire.

Talk with your venue managers

Visit your venue and determine what type of music you can have. If you are getting married in a church, chances are they have rules as to what songs can be played. If you’re holding the ceremony somewhere else, ask for sound restrictions or allowed instruments.

Ask for help

If you’re having trouble in any aspect of wedding music planning, you can always ask family and friends who just tied the knot. Asking for ideas from wedding music experts is a good option too. But remember, you still have the final say.

Happy wedding music planning!

 

Written by Melissa Page
Melissa Page is a regular contributor for a music agency that features the best
wedding bands Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Ayrshire can offer. Some of its bands include the Seattle wedding band, a Scottish band that plays extensively around Scotland.

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December 8, 2013 9:54 am

Keys to an Unforgettable Wedding

Ah, the magic of weddings! As one of the most memorable and romantic events in life, the wedding day offers the bride, groom, and all their guests opportunities for warm feelings, social interaction, and other pleasantries that fill and (oftentimes) overwhelm the senses. Because weddings are usually once-in-a-lifetime events, or at least very rare occasions, they should be planned, crafted, and finely detailed so that the entire process oozes experiences that create memories of the special day. Wedding planners are, therefore, key elements in making the magic of an unforgettable event unfold.

Wedding planning advice for an unforgettable wedding

Keys That Unlock Wedding Magic

Key #1 – Determine Style. The first key to having a magical wedding is to determine the unique style of the bride and groom. Although a large majority of engaged couples seek traditional weddings held in churches, parks, or historic venues, others may consider locations more exotic such as parks, zoos, or carnivals. Resorts are quite popular wedding settings today because they offer beautiful surroundings and usually come with luxurious amenities that accommodate large wedding parties.

Style might also entail a traditional setting, but with varying creative expressions such as styles reflecting Victorian, Oriental, Medieval, or Hawaiian themes. Such themes and their accompanying styles should run throughout the entire wedding format.

Key #2 – Emphasize Ceremony. The actual ceremony is the zenith of the entire wedding and is where the magic occurs. If the ceremony is not exceptionally special then it could affect the mood of the remainder of the event as well as taint all lasting memories. Therefore, regardless where the wedding is held, the background, surrounding scenery and every minute detail of the ceremony needs to look and flow beautifully and smoothly.

Key #3 – Rave Reception. The reception is the celebratory portion of the wedding event. The newlywed couple is the highlight and their guests can relax, party, and offer congratulations. The reception venue is important not only because it should provide an amazing atmosphere that continues the theme of the wedding, but also because it must supply ample room for the entire wedding party to freely move about and enjoy the food and drinks.

Learn to Create Wedding Magic

There are special people who hold the skills and passion necessary to create unforgettable weddings. For such people, becoming a wedding planner allows them to express their talents, make others eternally happy, and build a lucrative career doing what they enjoy.

Learning the ins and outs of a wedding planner career is easy via QC Career School.  Their innovative educational courses are offered online, so wedding planning skills and professional certification can be obtained from the convenience of home. If you are interested in becoming a wedding planner and helping others create wedding day magic, contact QC Career School today by visiting http://www.qceventplanning.com/.

 

Gracie Gardner talks weddingsWritten by Gracie Gardner

Gracie Gardner is a writer and photographer from Tucson, Arizona who is mildly obsessed with event and wedding planning. She also loves to cook and throw parties, and has a Beagle named Baxter.

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