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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.

Plan a budget that works…

Recently, we’ve noticed a number of brides planning their own weddings without a budget in place. With a budget in place, you have the opportunity to know exactly what your money is going towards and how much you can afford for each wedding area or aspect. While shopping, looking at venues, searching for dresses & rings are exciting, not having a good budget in place can cause problems later on in the process.

For example, recently we were contracted to do Brian and Angela’s wedding. Angela had already gone ahead and secured a venue before contacting us. She didn’t have all of the information she needed and unfortunately with fees and hidden costs spent nearly 70% of what they ultimately had available as a budget. This didn’t allow her to do the types of things she would like to have done for the rest of her wedding. She and Brian ended up scrimping in other areas… The dress, the rings, a good DJ, a talented photographer, and the beautiful floral arrangements she wanted. Instead they were left with the minimum in all those areas; which not only was disappointing for her, but for Brian as well since they weren’t able to do some of the items on his list for the reception either.

While having a solid wedding budget in place doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get everything you want, it does guarantee that you will get the greatest majority of things you like. Having a plan in place gives you the opportunity to identify the areas that are most important to you and your fiancé. It gives you the ability to know what type of money you have to work with and be able to negotiate for the highest quality vendors with the price that you can afford.

By placing a budget in place before you start shopping, you have the opportunity to decide what’s most important to you and what areas you can do without or less of. When you know where you are in your budget, it’s easier to track your purchases and make decisions along the way. You can choose to spend more money in one area and cut expenses in other area that may not be as important.

Planning a budget can appear as “work,” but the time spent organizing your resources is well worth what you are up to. You are planning a once in a lifetime event. Everything will not always go by the plan, so discussions between you and your fiancé (before making commitments) are vital. Make and take the time to plan out a budget and you may find an opportunity to actually end up with more than you thought you could!

Below is a brief list and breakdown of how a good wedding budget should be laid out, giving you the percentages of where your money should go. You can certainly adjust these numbers to your specific needs, however you’ll find that these are pretty much spot on for most budget amounts. There will be areas on this work list that you don’t feel you need or are important to you and of course you can get rid of them.

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(The worksheet below is from our published book “Now and Forever”)

Your Personal Wedding Budget Worksheet

When it comes to spending your (or your parents’) hard earned money, the power you have vested in you is not to be taken lightly. Use these suggested percentages as a guideline to figure out how much to allot to each component. We have placed them in order of the percentage of your budget that will be used to fulfill them.
This may not be in order of what you are focused on personally, but this will be pretty close to where you will spend your money. So, keeping to a budget, (any budget) is vital to keep on track and not run out of money before all of the pieces are in place! “If you can work your budget your budget will work for you” .
(Adjust the numbers as you wish; just make sure the total adds up to 100%)

Reception 45%- Venue, rentals, food service, beverages
Clothing 5-10 %- Gown and accessories, tuxes and accessories
Flowers &Decorations 5-10%
Music 5%
Photographs & Video 5-10%
Favors and Gifts 2%
Ceremony 1-2%
Stationery 2%
Wedding Rings 2 %
Transportation 1%
Wedding Planner 10-15%

Wedding Planning – Too many choices, too little time!

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If I asked you…”do you like having choices” what would you say? My guess is “yes!” While options are great in creating the freedom to select what you exactly want…they’re also problematic if you’re indecisive or easily overwhelmed with options. Think about it, have you ever been asked “what do you want to do for dinner?” If so, how did you respond? Did you ever say, “oh I don’t care…I’m good with anything…you decide” ?  If so, with something as simple as dinner, why were you indecisive? Now, such an example is not a big decision, but what about if it had to do with your wedding? Everything from picking out the date, attire, accessories, venue, entertainment, music, and even guests & the wedding party involves a great variety of choices. How do you pick what you truly want? And, how do you assure that you stay within an affordable budget?

Planning a wedding is not easy. With all the possible combinations available, one can easily feel overwhelmed and outright frustrated when dealing with wedding vendors.  While you may know it’s the right decision when you see it, how do you know when you see it? By all means, most vendors are not mind readers, but I bet for the amount of money you’re paying…you wish they were. So what do you do?

  • Create a wish list! Start looking through wedding magazines, books, sites, pictures, etc…and gather all the ideas you like and don’t like. Place the images of your ideal wedding on a board or in a binder.
  • Rank it! Establish which aspects of your wish list are most important. Consider ordering (from most important to least) what you need to include in your dream wedding and what you would like to include. At the same time, make sure to rank what you absolutely don’t want at your wedding.
  • Set a budget! Why jump into a new chapter of your life with excessive debt? Look at your finances and how much you’re able to apply towards your wedding. Then allocate your budget accordingly to what you’ve ranked as the most important aspects.
  • Meet with wedding vendors!  Ask around, look for reviews, and don’t be afraid to interview them. Find vendors that you’ll feel comfortable to communicate with.
  • Present your wish list! When communicating with vendors, present your wish list. Let them know exactly what you want so that they’ll focus on your list as opposed to offering options that you have no interest in.

Think of it as a shopping list. What would happen if you go to the grocery store without a list? Most likely you’ll end up spending more money purchasing items you don’t need as opposed to those you do. When shopping around for your wedding it’s important to be prepared and know exactly what you want. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll be able to communicate exactly what you want with vendors.

When a vendor has a visual of what you need (i.e. via your wish list), the vendor will be able to offer you options that meet exactly your needs, as opposed to present, upsell, and cross-sell items that aren’t what you’re looking for. Not only will this prevent confusion between you and the vendor…but why waste your time, budget, and energy looking through things you don’t really want? As mentioned earlier, planning a wedding is not easy. But trying to communicate what you want, without a wish list, doesn’t make it any easier.