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how to get your wedding planning on track in only 2 hours

Last week I had a really fun and productive 2 hour consultation with a 2010 bride and her mom. She and her mom were feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning and wanted to sit down and talk over some things to help get them on track! We had a great conversation and covered topics ranging from the flow of the day and menu ideas to invitation wording and room layouts!

The bride and her mom left feeling back on track and relieved, and I loved that I got to help them relax and offer them professional planning advice. I know there are a lot of people out there that need help getting started, or a little guidance as they plan, and for those brides we’re offering a special 2 hour consultation for only $125, now through January 30th. The only hitch is that your consultation must take place Sunday-Friday (evening appointments are available M-F) at our St. Joseph studio! You can use your 2 hours to discuss anything, and we can help you get your planning on track! So come into our studio, enjoy a glass of wine or hot cocoa, and fire away—we’re looking forward to answering your questions and helping you to get your wedding planning on track for 2010!

If you’re interested in setting up a 2 hour consultation at this special price, email jessica@stellaeventdesign.com.

wedding 101::save the dates

The Save the Dates pictured below were designed by our September ’09 clients, Brittany+Hachem, and were the first glimpse guests got into the modern destination wedding they planned on the shore of Lake Michigan!
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What are Save the Dates?
Save the Dates (or STD’s) are used to give guests extra time to prepare for your wedding. They allow guests to mark the date on their calendar, get extra time off of work and make travel accommodations. They are also the very first glimpse of your wedding your guests may receive!

Who Should Send out Save the Dates?
Save the Date cards should be sent out if you are hosting a wedding on a holiday weekend, or are planning a destination wedding.  You do not need to send out Save the Dates if you are hosting a wedding in your local area on a Saturday. Save the Dates should be utilized in situations where your wedding may require guests to take extra time off of work (ie. a Friday or Sunday wedding) or make travel or hotel accommodations. But, if you’re having a wedding on a Saturday and are staying local, feel free to send out Save the Dates if you would like to give your guests an early heads up…there’s no harm in sharing your excitement with your guests a little early!

When Should Save the Dates be Sent?
Save the Dates should be sent approximately 6 months prior to the wedding date for weddings being held on a holiday weekend or a non-Saturday. For destination weddings requiring guests to travel (especially if airfare is required), Save the Dates should be sent out 9-12 months prior!

wedding 101::the 5 w’s of wedding planning

If you’re recently engaged, you may already be realizing how much is involved in planning a wedding! The average wedding takes over 250 hours to plan—that’s like another full time job for over 6 weeks—so between your normal work , family and social obligations, some people can become overwhelmed with how they can plan their wedding and enjoy it!

So if you’re considering using a professional wedding planner, or would like more information on if a wedding planner could be right for you, how a wedding planner can help you enjoy planning your wedding, when you should hire them, and more—then check out our “5 W’s of Wedding Planning” series!

The 5 W’s of Wedding Planning

  • WHAT does a Professional Wedding Planner Do?
  • WHO needs a wedding planner?
  • WHEN should I Reach out For Help?
  • WHY you should hire a professional
  • WHERE you will and won’t find help

take 2 hours to get your wedding planning on track

Last week I had a really fun and productive 2 hour consultation with a 2010 bride and her mom. She and her mom were feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning and wanted to sit down and talk over some things to help get them on track! We had a great conversation and covered topics ranging from the flow of the day and menu ideas to invitation wording and room layouts!

The bride and her mom left feeling back on track and relieved, and I loved that I got to help them relax and offer them professional planning advice.  I know there are a lot of people out there that need help getting started, or a little guidance as they plan, and for those brides we’re offering a special 2 hour consultation for only $125, now through January 30th. The only hitch is that your consultation must take place Sunday-Friday (evening appointments are available M-F) at our St. Joseph studio! You can use your 2 hours to discuss anything, and we can help you get your planning on track! So come into our studio, enjoy a glass of wine or hot cocoa, and fire away—we’re looking forward to answering your questions and helping you to get your wedding planning on track for 2010!

If you’re interested in setting up a 2 hour consultation at this special price, email jessica@stellaeventdesign.com.

wedding 101::determining your budget

You’re engaged! You have some very exciting months ahead of you, so start your planning on the right foot by establishing a budget! If you know you’ll be footing the bill, then you’re all set, but if you expect contributions may come from your parents or future in-laws, then the first thing you need to do is sit down and have “the budget talk.” While it may be uncomfortable, sitting down with your parents to determine any contributions is key to getting started! There is nothing worse than assuming someone will be contributing $20,000 to your wedding, and finding out later down the road that the contribution they are able to make is much less!

You’ll also want to determine how monetary contributions will be made. Will the money be put in an account specifically for the wedding? Will certain parties be paying for certain portions of the wedding (ie., mom and dad pay for catering, bride and groom pay for photography, future in-laws pay for beverages & alcohol) Will the money be paid directly to you and your fiance? Knowing how the finances will be handled up front will make your planning a whole lot easier down the road!

Once you’ve established the overall amount of money you have to spend on your wedding, you can sit down and decide what your ideal guest count will be, determine how much you have to spend on your wedding venues, and begin finding the perfect vendors that fit within your budget!

Stay tuned for more “wedding 101” posts which will help get you started on your wedding planning!

bridal parties::what size is right for you?

bridalpartyWhen choosing your bridal party, you probably have a long roster to choose from: high school friends, sorority sisters and fraternity brothers, co-workers, cousins, siblings, soon-to-be-siblings….your list may be daunting!  So what is the ideal size for your bridal party? The truth is, there is no magic number—your bridal party should be the right size for you and your wedding style and location.

A smaller bridal party may suit you best if you are having a destination wedding or are on a limited budget. Are you getting married in a location with limited altar space? If so, perhaps a smaller party is the best choice for you. Are you having trouble choosing between your friends, sisters and co-workers? Perhaps choosing only family members will make the choice easier for you.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding or a non-traditional ceremony, then perhaps a large bridal party is a great option for you! When considering how your bridal party size will affect your wedding, consider the cost of bridal party gifts, transportation costs (if you will be renting a limo or shuttle) and the size/placement of your head table, if you’ll have one!

Photo of the large (and fabulous) 2008 bridal party of Tracy+David, by JK Photography

getting your groom involved in planning your wedding

This time of year, many newly engaged couples are coming in for consultation, and one question I hear a lot from brides is, “how involved are most grooms?” Some grooms come in-tow to our consultations, some I meet once, and will not see again until the wedding day—and once in a while, I get more emails from the groom than the bride (once in a while).

The truth is, it’s going to depend on your grooms personality. Let’s face it, most guys are not interested in choosing color palettes, browsing through linen swatches, or picking peonies in that perfect shade of coral. If having your groom involved is important to you, then a good way to get him interested is to give him control of some aspect of the wedding. Two go-to choices are food and entertainment, and the latter is one I see many grooms get excited about. While it may be tempting to do everything yourself, putting the band selection, DJ interview process or meal choices in the capable hands of your groom may be a great way to take something off of your long to-do list, while making him feel included in the planning process!

WHERE you will and won’t find help::the 5 W’s of wedding planning

Myth::Your reception hall “coordinator” will help you plan your wedding

Truth:: I often hear brides say that they “don’t need an outside planner” because their venue has an on-site coordinator, and unfortunately, some brides find out too late that this is just not the case. The on-site coordinator is there to manage the services being provided by the reception hall, and the services they will provide are very different from those that a professional wedding planner will provide.  A good on-site coordinator will assist you with items like table arrangements, place settings and linens and opening the building for vendor deliveries (depending on your venue).

Unlike an actual wedding planner or day-of coordinator, your on-site venue coordinator will not call your vendors to verify anything the week before the wedding, find you vendors that meet your budget (though they may give you a pre-made list), call your bakery with your final numbers, or help you to trouble shoot difficult issues with vendors on your wedding day.  Don’t get me wrong, on-site coordinators are great, but it’s important to understand what they will and won’t do for you, so you can be properly prepared for your big day!

More Posts in This Blog Series:

  • WHAT Does a Professional Wedding Planner Do?
  • WHO needs a wedding planner?
  • WHEN should I Reach out For Help?
  • WHY you should hire a professional
  • WHERE you will and won’t find help

WHY you should hire a professional::the 5 W’s of wedding planning

You may have noticed in the posts in this series, “The 5 W’s of Wedding Planning,” I have consistently mentioned professional planning, and there’s a reason for that…

If you’ve already done any research on wedding planning in your local area, you’ve probably noticed that there is a large range in pricing, services and experience. It’s important to remember that—like most things—you get what you pay for. If you’re hiring a day-of coordinator for $350, you can expect to get service and experience that is on par with that price.  You can also expect that if you hire someone who is a planner as a hobby, versus a full-time profession, you can expect to receive a different level of service & attentiveness. Remember that you are not only paying for the planners time & actual services, but you are also paying for the personal experience, knowledge and relationships a professional planner has. A professional planner has planned multiple weddings for clients, has an established reputation with local wedding professionals and will be able to show you a portfolio of professional work.

Sure, your friend can step in and help you set up your tables and tell everyone to walk down the aisle, but she has most likely never worked at that venue and with your vendors—when a problem arises she won’t be much help to you—she hasn’t faced similar problems and doesn’t have connections with the local professionals that could help. And while a professional planner is going to charge much more than your friend or someone who plans as a hobby, they will also bring with them an added value. A good professional wedding planner will help you create a realistic budget, find you vendors that will fit within that budget, will save you countless hours of your own valuable time with their knowledge and resources and will save you money in the long run. So when comparing planning services and wedding planners, be sure you aren’t comparing apples to oranges and know what you are getting for the price!

Do your research and find a professional wedding planner who fits not only your budget, but also has the experience needed to help make your day spectacular!

More Posts in This Blog Series:

  • WHAT Does a Professional Wedding Planner Do?
  • WHO needs a wedding planner?
  • WHEN should I Reach out For Help?
  • WHY you should hire a professional
  • WHERE you will and won’t find help

easing the wedding clutter::dedicated email addresses

If you just got engaged or are in the process of planning your wedding, here is a quick and simple tip to help you relieve some of the clutter in your life. Establish a new email address just for wedding planning purposes. While it may seem like just one more thing to do, creating a dedicated email address will allow you to have a single point of contact for all of your wedding vendors. I would suggest using Gmail, and creating separate tags or folders for each vendor, so that when you need to verify something, you can turn to that one spot for all of the correspondences. And one of the biggest sanity-savers is using this email address when you attend bridal shows. Every booth will want your contact info for giveaways and specials, and while that is great, you do not want to continue receiving those for the rest of your life—and believe me—you will!

So hop over to Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail and get started!