Since you can’t fit all of the random tips + tricks this Hudson Valley Wedding Planner has up her sleeves into a single blog post, here are 10 completely random (but still priceless) wedding planning tips straight from me to you!
Don’t forget tax, service charges + delivery fees when you budget.
If you budget for your wedding without tax in mind, you may find yourself an automatic 8% over budget (in the Hudson Valley, at least). Be sure to factor in delivery charges and service charges when you budget for items for the wedding to avoid surprises down the line.
Have an “off” day.
Trust me – I know how easy it can be to have wedding planning take up a HUGE portion of your free time, and one of the best ways to keep your sanity and relationship healthy is to make time away from all things wedding planning. Might I suggest a no-wedding-Wednesday tradition? I’ve heard couples describe feeling at a loss of how to spend their time once the wedding is over, but if you regularly invest in your relationships and social lives during the wedding planning process, I can guarantee you’ll suffer less from the post-wedding blues.
Focus on just a few things at a time.
It can be easy to want to dive into wedding planning FULL steam ahead and set your budget, pick your venue, hire the caterer and the florist and the DJ and the photographer RIGHT away, but if you have time to handle these things, take your time! Give yourselves the freedom to take tasks on one at a time. Start with your budget, and once that’s set, tackle the venue. Then work on photography. Trying to take it all on at once is a recipe for some quick wedding planning burnout.
Be aware of what’s happening around you.
Planning a wedding in the Hudson Valley? Be on the lookout for Graduation Season – every May the graduations for West Point, Vassar, SUNY New Paltz, the Culinary Institute, Marist College and others tend to fall right around the same group of weekends, which makes getting room blocks from hotels VERY difficult.
Obviously every region will have it’s own local busy season to account for, so do your homework before choosing a date. Ask the venues you’re looking at what dates may be best to avoid, or look up town events on the dates you’re looking at.
Wear full coverage underpants when you try on wedding gowns.
You’re going to be in your skivvies in front of a stranger for a few hours. Plan accordingly.
Pay attention to load in + load out requirements.
Especially if you’re getting married at a venue that can do multiple weddings in a single weekend, be sure to understand what the requirements are for load in and load out. For example, the venue may require that your florist, lighting company or other vendor tear down their items the night of the wedding, or they may have a specific window when your rented tables and chairs can be delivered. Oftentimes restrictions like these will result in additional fees from your vendors, so be sure to understand the venues rules from the beginning.
It’s OK to skip the champagne toast.
Spoiler alert – most people won’t drink it anyway. If your guests have access to other beverages – like tableside wine service or the bar nearby, it’s OK to skip this part. Also, some venues + catering companies will allow you to swap the champagne toast for butler-passed pre-ceremony champagne as guests arrive for the ceremony. In my personal opinion, pre-ceremony champagne is much more effective than a champagne toast at the table.
Be mindful of lines at the bar.
If you’ve ever been a guest at a wedding, I probably don’t need to remind you of this, but keep lines at the bar in mind. Nothing kills the vibe faster than a long wait for a drink at the start of cocktail hour, so here are a few things you can do to speed things up: 1) be sure there is at least one bartender per 50 guests; 2) have the catering staff butler pass wine, champagne or trays of a signature cocktail to kick off cocktail hour; 3) if you have a signature drink, make sure it’s one that can be made quickly or batched in advance; 4) opt for a second full bar or a satellite bar with beer and wine to break things up.
Pack an emergency kit.
If you want a full list of the items I carry in my emergency kit, click here. But in the meantime, make sure you pack these items for yourself: a phone charger, lipstick, breath mints, deodorant, safety pins, a tide stick, hair pins, band aids or blister patches, needle + thread and tissues.
If you want to make your guests aware of it, put it near the bar.
What’s the best way to make sure your guests know the shuttle schedule, see the hashtag sign or jump into the photo booth? Put those signs on the bar and put the photo booth near the bar. On average each guest will visit that spot once per hour, so that’s your best place to put things you want your guests to see.