Hope everyone’s been having a wonderful sunshine-filled weekend! We’re back with part two of our wedding planning basics discussion. If you missed Part 1, we talked about some of the priority things you’ll want to get started on once you’ve gotten your venue booked. Now, we’re going to look at the rest of the list of things you’ll want to start researching and planning for once you’ve gotten the venue booked and the date of the big day saved!
Now that you’ve filled in the blanks of where and when the wedding will be taking place, it’s time to think about your officiant. This is, of course, a very personal decision. Some folks choose to have their ceremony at a separate location at your place of prayer or often, couples will have the ceremony at the same reception site (sometimes there’s a small fee for this, sometimes not). Reach out to the religious leader you’ve grown up with, start researching new options in your community or even ask a friend to officiate. We went this final option and had a friend get ordained to officiate our ceremony; it just takes a bit more coordination and hands-on for developing the ceremony than perhaps a seasoned wedding pro, but there are many options whatever you choose. It’ll be important to start coordinating early on with the officiant to start discussing how you want your ceremony to look and feel and what’s most important to you to be included.
It’s also time to start researching your florist! You might go minimal with just some bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party, or add beautiful floral centerpieces to each table, and even include flowers at your ceremony seating. Again, the choice is yours, but finding a florist who understands your vision is important. We met with 3 florists and they were all very nice and professional, but it wasn’t until the 3rd meeting where we sat down and she listened to and looked at my inspiration and started pulling flowers from her case and we knew we had found our florist! It’s great to find a professional you know can get the job done and will capture your look. We found it helpful to set a general cap for our flower budget and asked the florist to work within that. There are some great suggestions and substitutions florists can make to help you achieve the look of a certain flower, but at a more affordable cost. Some flowers can get very pricey if they’re not in season. Going as local to your venue as possible with your florist is also helpful to lowering any delivery fees!
Next, let’s talk about one of the very exciting parts of wedding planning, the part that made it feel most real to me: wedding invitations! It’s all planning and fun, but when you put ink to paper and put those invitations in the mail, it all starts to become very real! There are a number of great options for sourcing your wedding invitations and other paper products- seating cards, table numbers, wedding programs, thank you cards, menu, etc. We went with a great vendor on Etsy and you will find many beautiful, wonderful options on there. There are some other very popular online vendors you can check out (Wedding Paper Divas comes to mind), or go to your local stationary/paper store and talk with them about options. In any case, it could be a good idea, and a cost savings, to get all of your paper products from the same vendor and you can achieve a coordinated look throughout.
Not everyone will have to worry about this next detail, but it’s a good idea to give it some thought. That is, transportation. How will your guests get from their hotel to the ceremony site (if different) and on to the reception site and then home again. Is there ample parking and it’s a reasonable driving distance? Great. Does your wedding hotel offer complimentary shuttle service and will work with you on this detail? Super. Maybe this is a minor detail that you’ll leave to guests to plan, but in our case, we wanted to figure out a transportation shuttle option for guests so they did not have to worry about driving to/from our wedding from the hotel. We found an affordable bus company to handle this, hiring two mauve (!) school buses to take our guests to and fro. There are options all the way from small shuttle vans up to coach buses that you can consider. We were glad we hired someone to handle these logistics and found it very helpful to have a bus captain to assist! We asked one of our friends to play this role, making sure the driver left on time, was headed in the correct direction and to serve as the overall coordinator for the buss since we were not going to be present or available to answer questions about this and getting your guests to the wedding on time is a rather important detail! Find a trusted bus captain, problem solved!
Lastly, you’ll want to start to give some thought to your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Does your venue allow for a rehearsal the day before the wedding? If not, does your wedding hotel have an alternate space you can use or can you find a public park to practice in? It’s not rocket science to walk to and from your places for the ceremony, but it’s a good idea to do a couple quick run throughs of the flow so everyone is on the same page, especially if you have young children who will be walking down the aisle. Do you want to host a dinner afterward for the wedding party? immediate family? everyone travelling from out of town? You can include as many or as few people as you want in this dinner; it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your guests before the hustle and bustle of the big day. Your rehearsal dinner could range from a BBQ to a sit-down dinner, but no matter the setting, it’ll be a great time to be surrounded by your loved ones before your wedding day. We opted for a low key pizza affair that allowed us to mix and mingle with everyone and with a small chunk of the restaurant reserved for us for the evening, everyone could catch up and enjoy themselves without a rush or time limit to our night!
I hope you’ve found this wedding basics overview helpful and if there’s any other key elements you’re wondering about, just let me know and we’d be glad to share some suggestions and helpful hints from our own wedding experience!