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Wedding Planning – 10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding

weddingA wedding is one of the most memorable times of one’s life. Yet, planning one can be extremely time consuming, stressful, and expensive.

“Planning a wedding can be a full time job,” explains Samantha Potter, wedding consultant and co-owner of Villa Incanta Entertainment. “However, with careful planning, organization, research, and an eye for detail, a dream wedding will become a reality.”

Here are Potter’s 10 tips for planning a perfect wedding:

  1. Determine a budget – Financial stress can cause marital stress. Don’t start a life together with unexpected debts and subsequent marital problems. As a couple, determine how expensive of a wedding can be afforded. Talk to family. Are they willing to contribute and if so, how much? Total costs can range from under $1000 to over $30,000 (with the average wedding of 200 guests costing $25,000). Expenses can arise from selecting a venue…booking transportation…hiring a wedding team, entertainment, and officiant…purchasing food, beverages, cake, decorations, flowers, attire, accessories, invitations, gifts, jewelry, beauty services, and marriage license…as well as unexpected costs and tips. Set a budget and stick to it.
  2. Consider hiring a wedding planner – Planning a wedding is exciting, yet stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Be realistic. Is the time and capability available to plan and manage ever little detail of a wedding (including for the wedding day)? If there’s any doubt, consider hiring a wedding planner/coordinator. A good one has the experience, knowledge, and industry relationships to create a dream wedding within budget.
  3. Paste the dream wedding on paper – While a dream wedding can be a clear vision in the mind, for it to become a reality, it must also be a clear vision for the planner and vendors. Research wedding magazine/sites and cut out what is liked and not liked. Create a scrapbook of ideas to communicate the vision with the wedding team.
  4. Select and book location – A wedding venue can take up to a year in advance to book. Select and reserve the location as early as possible, as this may also influence the resulting wedding date.
  5. Create the guest list – The larger the guest list, the more expensive the wedding. Therefore, once budget is determined and location is selected, identify the maximum number of guests that can be afforded and permitted at the venue. Once the number is established, create the list. Keep in mind that if parents are contributing to the wedding, they will probably expect to invite guests as well.
  6. Announce the date – In the early planning stages, formal invitations are not required to be sent. Instead, send out inexpensive and informal “save the date” cards.
  7. Research and select vendors – Begin researching for wedding vendors (i.e. caterers, photographers, videographers, entertainers, florists, etc.) early to have enough time to find vendors of quality and within budget. If working with a wedding planner, they usually have vendors they can recommend and receive special deals with to meet budget requirements.
  8. Select wedding party – Select family members and friends to fill the roles of best man, maid of honor, bridesmaid, groomsmen, train bearer, flower girl, and a few to assist during wedding festivities (i.e. usher, mind the guest book, pass out programs, read a poem, etc).
  9. Finalize everything – As the magical day quickly approaches, all wedding details must be finalized, including obtaining the marriage license and fitted wedding rings.
  10. Enjoy the big day – Too often brides recall their wedding day as a big blur. Step back, relax, and enjoy the day. If a wedding planner/coordinator is hired, they should handle all event details.

10 Tips for an Outdoor Wedding

Bride and groom kissing.

The beauty of outdoor weddings is like no other. They’re natural, romantic, and quite intimate. However, pending on circumstances, they’re also susceptible to problems. It can be too hot, too cold, windy, rainy, bright, dark, loud, or even infested with annoying bugs.

The truth is, weather is unpredictable and nature can be surprising. Therefore, to take advantage of the outdoor splendors, while protecting yourself from the outdoor obstacles, we’ve listed 10 tips below to keep everyone comfortable on your special day.

Tip 1) Stay cool under the heat – When it comes to heat, you need shade to stay cool. Shade can definitely be created with tents, but you can also pass out parasols to everyone. Another option is to create fans out of your programs. On a side note, make sure you have lots of sunscreen, iced beverages, and selected foods can be kept well under the sun’s heat.

Tip 2) Turn up the heat in the cool – If the weather gets too cold, you can rent electric heaters, serve warm beverages (i.e. cocoa, tea, coffee), and even provide cozy blankets.

Tip 3) Shield from the wind – Wind can quickly become a nuisance. It can ruin your hair, your dress, blow things away, and even blow out candles. Prepare for windy situations by making sure your hair is fastened in place and light fabrics such as chiffon and china silk are avoided in your dress.  Further, double check everything is weighed down, including all paper goods (i.e. napkins, table cards, programs, pictures, etc…). In respect to the candles, as opposed to small votive candles, use enclosed lanterns or floating candles in tall glass cylinders.

Tip 4) Say good-bye to the rain – Even in summer, there’s always the chance for rain. Avoid drenched guests and a soaked wedding party by discussing with the venue ahead of time alternative indoor options. If you cannot move indoors, consider renting tents or at the very least, renting/borrowing umbrellas.

Tip 5) Don’t stare at the sun – Find out from the venue approximately where the sun is going to shine at during the time of your wedding. Then make sure to seat your guests’ back to the sun.

Tip 6) Light up the outdoors – Once the sun sets, you’ll need light. The beauty of outdoor weddings is that via creating romantic lighting outside, you’re simply adding to the wedding’s ambiance. You can light it with string lights, paper lanterns, candles, tiki torches, etc…

Tip 7) Turn it up – At times it can be hard to hear over the sounds and vast areas of nature. So, discuss with the venue and DJ to arrange for an acceptable and tested sound system.

Tip 8) Tell the bugs to bug off – Citronella candles, torches, bug sprays, and even fans (i.e. programs pasted on fans) can keep the bugs away.

Tip 9) Decorate – While one of the benefits of outdoor weddings is being able to decorate with nature’s beauty, you must still make sure the venue is at or exceeds par prior to the wedding. Make sure the lawns are mown. The trees are trimmed. And feel free to add your own decorations (i.e. flowers, pictures, balloons…).

Tip 10) Create the indoor comforts outside – While the ceremony, reception, dining, and dancing areas can easily by distinguished indoors, it must also be designated outside. Create an area for the ceremony. Select an area for the reception. Bring out tables and chair to dine comfortably. Set up a buffet to easily grab food. Have the venue assemble an outdoor dance stage. Simply stated, bring the indoors out.

There’s truly something magical about outdoor weddings. And while such weddings may appear difficult once you consider all the possible obstacles, you can easily overcome them and create the wedding of your dreams when using the above tips and working with such experienced venues like those with Villa Incanta. We’re telling you, you can definitely pull off an outdoor wedding.

Wedding Planning Checklist

wedding checklist9+ Months Prior

[] Start a wedding binder where you can organize all the inspirational pictures of what you’re looking for to include in your perfect wedding

[] Set your budget by determining how much money you have to spend based on how much you and your family have to contribute

[] Establish who is in your wedding party, as they can help with the wedding planning and preparation

[] Create the guest list to get a head count of how big of a wedding you’re throwing

[] If you’re looking to save a lot of headaches, hire a wedding planner

[] Set the wedding date

[] Reserve the venue and reception site

[] Book your officiant

[] Start planning for your honeymoon

6 Months Prior

[] Hire a photographer / videographer

[] Establish the wedding decor

[] Book the entertainment

[] Research and hire a caterer

[] Find and purchase a dress

[] Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

[] Book your honeymoon

[] Purchase the invitations

[] Purchase the bridesmaid dresses

[] Book a florist

[] Book wedding transportation (i.e. limos, minibuses, town cars)

[] Create your wedding day timeline (Your wedding day concierge can help with this)

[] Send out save-the-date cards

3 Months Prior

[] Send out your wedding invitations with the RSVP date set out to 3 weeks after the postmark date

[] Book the rehearsal dinner

[] Order the cake

[] Purchase your wedding shoes and assure your dress fits

[] Schedule your hair and make-up

[] Choose your music

[] Find the groom’s tux and groomsmen attire

[] Finalize the food and flowers now, as they’re both affected by the season

[] Order wedding favors

[] Establish who you would like to give a toast

[] Determine your readings

[] Purchase the ring

[] Print the menu cards and programs

[] Send your event schedule to your vendors

[] Sign up for wedding dance lessons (i.e. with The Ballroom at Villa Incanta)

1 Month Prior

[] Follow up with your vendors to make sure all are on the same page

[] If you’re planning to submit a newspaper wedding announcement, do it now

[] Gather your RSVPs

[] Get your marriage license

[] Set up the bar

[] Confirm times with all vendors

[] Assign seating

[] Purchase wedding party gifts

1 Week Prior

[] Follow up with all wedding vendors and confirm their arrival times

[] Assure wedding decorations are up

[] Delegate wedding day tasks (i.e. Pick someone to carry your things, bustle your dress, in charge of gifts, be the to-go person for the vendors) *This is another point where a planner will come in handy

[] Pick up your fitted dress

[] Send out the guest list to your caterer and venue

[] Break in that wedding shoe

[] Prepare place cards

[] Pack for honeymoon

1 Day Prior

[] Prepare payment envelopes for vendors

[] Hand out assignments

[] Get a manicure, pedicure