Justin & Jillian’s Santa Barbara wedding at Villa & Vine! Coordinating, invitations, decor and flowers by Down Emery Lane.Read More
You're ENGAGED!!!! Congratulations on this truly exciting time in your life. This is probably the moment you have been waiting for your entire life!
Here are our Top 10 tips on helping you through the planning process.
1 - SET A BUDGET
- Whatever the budget is, big or small or average, SET IT! If you don’t know what your budget is or what you can afford you’ll be extra stressed trying to figure out how to pay for stuff in the end and will likely be way over budget. We have seen it so many times where a budget was set and you met with a vendor and they sweet talked you into a “great deal” and they promised you it would be a “wow” factor at your wedding but it was triple what you should have spent. Now you’re cutting costs on your videographer or flowers or transportation services because you spent too much money on a Photo Booth, makeup or sweet bar. So - have a budget, break it down per category and try to stay as close as possible. It’s okay if you have to go over, or something was truly more than you thought it would be. At least if you are making an effort to stay on track, you’ll be much happier with your ending bank account number.
2 - HIRE A COORDINATOR/PLANNER
- After you set your budget, I highly suggest finding a coordinator. At the very least, a day of coordinator. You will feel stressed and anxious and your coordinator will relieve so much of those feelings so you can focus on you, your spouse and all of your friends and family.
- My favorite and most recommended service would be a Month of Coordinator. This is when it’s go time! All of your vendors are asking you a million questions, seating chart, final payments, final counts to your vendors, timelines. It’s all happening at the same time and it leaves the engaged couple feeling very overwhelmed and you’ll find yourself saying or thinking “you just want your wedding to be over, your exhausted, stressed, and just done.” We’ve all been there, so don’t let this happen to you. Hire your coordinator and you will truly enjoy the last moments of being engaged.
- 6 months of coordinating and up are great. As a coordinator, we are finding you the right vendors within your budget. It cuts out so much of the stress from having to find and select the “right” vendors for your wedding. We keep you on budget, on time and stress free. An extended coordinating service will really let wedding planning be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved and you will truly create a memorable wedding for you and your guests with a wedding planners assistance.
3 - SELECTING THE RIGHT VENDOR
- These vendors will make or break your big day and if we are coordinating your wedding, we certainly don’t want them trying to rain on your parade!
- Read online reviews. Are these friends of a friend or relative or someone that does this as a side gig or fun? The best way to know if they’re legit? Google and stalk their business info. What does Yelp, Wedding Wire, Facebook, google, youtube, friends and family say about their work, professionalism, timeliness, rates and outcome of their services?
-Sign a contract! If they are a real business professional, they will have a contract. Read it, review it, question it and if it looks good to you and your spouse, sign it. This will protect you and the vendor, contracts are the best tool! As your coordinator, I read your contracts with other vendors a thousand times! Okay maybe like 3-5 times. I want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you paid for and not anything less. I ensure they are there, working their agreed upon hours and remaining professional while working your wedding.
- You get what you pay for. You can go with a vendor that has “discount” or “budget” in their business name or tag line and you probably will get what you pay for. True Story: a friend hired “Discount Wedding Photographer” for their wedding and the photographer stopped responding to emails, texts, phone calls and all communication. Sadly, the photographers wife (who was not a photographer) showed up about 30 minutes before the wedding and asked the bride where she wanted her pictures taken and had her decide on poses. The real “photographer” wasn’t there! He showed up AFTER the ceremony. This was the saddest experience I’ve ever encountered and our friend doesn’t have ANY professional pictures from her wedding because he went MIA after the wedding.
- HIRE the right person, do your research, you deserve the best for you wedding! You can find affordable, high quality vendors by just taking the extra step to research.
4 - STAY ORGANIZED
- There are so many ways to stay organized and there is no wrong of right way, but this will definitely reduce your stress and anxiety. If your a traditional/old school type of person, get a binder, label your tabs and print and write everything down, including vision inspiration boards, guest lists, contracts etc. Are you tech savvy and on your phone or computer often? Check out the www.theknot.com or www.weddingwire.com and create an account! They are user friendly and everything is there with the click of a button! We highly suggest entering in your guest list as soon as you create an account, this will make your life so much easier when it comes to invitations, thank you notes and seating charts. To be honest, I’m a little bit of both, I write everything down and I keep every note and contract handy in a binder with some basic info, then everything else is created digitally with forms and to-do’s. I’m a little OCD when it comes to the biggest day of other people's lives!
5- HAVE A VISION TO CREATE CONSISTENCY
- Have a vision. What do you want your day to look like and more importantly how do you want it to feel? Don’t just say I want a “purple” wedding. Do you want it to be calm and romantic. Are you going for a fun party atmosphere. Are you wanting a whimsical and dream like escape. Once you know how you want the day to feel, you can move onto colors or a theme and interpreting that in decorations and visions that are cohesive with the venue atmosphere. Think back to when you were a child and you’d use your imagination and you could picture everything but that groom standing there. Well, you’ve found your partner and now it’s time to channel that imagination and picture the textures, smells, tables, flowers and every little detail. It’s your day and it can be anything you imagine not just what you’re seeing in a styled shoot on Pinterest.
6 - DIY AND PROJECTS
- Don’t get sucked into Pinterest (like me) and overwhelm yourself and your crafty friends with so many projects! Space them out, pick your favorites to do first and go from there. I highly suggest that there are no projects being done during the last month of planning. It’s easy to keep scrolling on the internet and finding new ideas but at some point, you just have to stop looking and adding to your to-do list. Someone needs to cut you off of your Pinterest board!!
7 - HAVE A WOW FACTOR!
- Have a WOW moment at your wedding! What is your wedding going to be “famous” for. This is where Down Emery Lane really loves to get creative. Think outside of the Pinterest box and find something that is truly unique to you and your partner to magnify your day. Get creative with the theme, color, guest book, songs that are played, dessert - this list goes on!
- One of our “famous” moments was the customized bass clef/heart logo that was created for a music loving bride and a bass playing groom. Music brought them together so it was fitting to have it tied into the entire wedding. The couple added the logo to the escort cards, cake design, cake topper, brides vase to hold the bouquet, bridesmaid getting ready dress, blankets for the guests and the list goes on. It was so subtle but you definitely got that the logo was important and meaningful to the couple and was a great conversation starter. That same couple also created a meaningful playlist the DJ played for the dinner with a song menu that was at each table. It listed the song title and why it was important and who the song was dedicated to. This wedding can be seen under the weddings tab - jeweled perfection http://www.downemerylane.com/teal-purple/
8 - ASK FOR HELP
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed or really have no idea what or how to do something. By doing everything yourself and not communicating with those around you, you will stress yourself out and burn out in the wedding planning process. We don’t want you to get to that point. No one wants to encounter a Bridezilla either!
- Remember those awesome people you asked to be in your wedding. Call them, text them, have them help find a specific vendor in your budget. Set-up craft nights, day dates, wine nights… whatever it takes, they will help if you ask them. A great suggestion is invitation prepping, invite the girls over, have some dinner or cocktails and start an assembly line to fold, stuff, address, stamp those invites. It’s a great bonding experience and will be fun instead of tedious and time consuming.
9 - STAY ON TRACK WITH A "TO-DO" LIST
- Have a to-do list for planning. There are so many great options you can find on the internet or if we are your coordinators we have a great one we’ve created and provide to our clients. Stay on track, it’s broken down by month, weeks, days, just don’t get behind. You can always jump ahead of the game and keep going forward if you’ve completed everything on time. By breaking down the planning, it truly relieves a lot of the pressure you feel from planning a wedding.
10 - ENJOY THE PROCESS, ENJOY YOUR ENGAGEMENT!
- I think this is where we do a great job at helping you. We’ve been there, not enjoying the planning, having in-laws, bridal party and nosy people butting into your business and giving you their unwanted opinions and suggestions on what and how to do your wedding. IT’S YOUR WEDDING! We get it, we want you to enjoy the process. We think if you follow our Top 10 guidelines you can enjoy planning your wedding. It’s definitely a horrible feeling watching a couple being taken over and consumed by wedding planning and feeling defeated. When it comes to others trying to turn you into a bridezilla, know when to say “No Thank You” or to keep a quiet mouth or over use the phrase “I’m not sure”. It’s okay to not share every detail with everyone, don’t feel obligated to show pictures or ideas to your in-laws or a jealous bridesmaid. It’s okay, we promise. For once, this day is about you (and your fiancé of course!)
We are here for you and want to walk with you every step of the way. We want you to be happy, relaxed and present during this whole process. We want you to have a flawless wedding and day that will always be remembered. Take time for you, for your spouse, for the both of you. Walk hand in hand and support each other during the engagement and you will forever support each other during life and your marriage.