Top 5 Tips For Planning Your Wedding

As the Event Coordinator for the Michigan State Horticulture Gardens, I have the responsibility of coordinating approximately 60 events this summer, the majority of which are weddings. Both ceremonies and receptions can be held at the Gardens, and nearly every Saturday from the end of May until the end of August is booked. Wedding planning can be extremely stressful for any bride, as proven by the variety of wedding-related TV shows, such as Bridezillas.

Look up the venue in advance.

A search engine should be your best friend when searching for a ceremony or reception site. Nowadays, everyone has a website. Most of these sites hold at least some information for you, and should have pictures as well. Our website includes photo contributions from prior weddings that showcase how beautiful all three gardens are.

Book your ceremony and reception sites EARLY.

Wedding ceremony and reception sites can book up a year in advance. I have been meeting with brides since last winter about weddings in 2012. If your heart is set on a specific date, the first question you should ask a potential venue is if that date is even available. If it’s not, you won’t need to waste your time looking at that location.

Plan extra time to set up and take down your reception.

Some reception sites do a lot of the set up for you, and well in advance. These items include tents, tables, chairs and lights. However, you will be responsible for your table settings, which include linens, centerpieces and any other extra decorations. These items may not sound like a lot of work to set up, and perhaps they aren’t, but often they take time. Don’t forget to add extra time into your rental period for this set up. In addition, many reception sites do multiple events in a weekend. They might need you to take down your decorations before your rental period ends. (This process is much less enjoyable than the actual set up.) No one wants to stay behind after the party is over, but the clean up is necessary. Just remember to add in that time as well.

Read your rental contract CAREFULLY.

All policies will be spelled out in your contract. You will have several contracts (caterer, venue, photographer, etc), but each should be evaluated with care. Ask any questions you might have. If there is any reason you incur extra charges, or perhaps you don’t receive your damage deposit back, you should know why. A simple outline to contracts can be found The Wedding Channel’s website.

No question is stupid.

I am a firm believer in asking questions if you don’t understand something. If you are unclear about anything, always ask! If your vendor doesn’t know the answer, it is his or her job to find out the answer for you. They aren’t mind readers, so if you are feeling uneasy about something, talk to them. I would much rather answer a hundred questions than for any bride to have a false expectation that I can’t fulfill.

We are currently in the process of developing a Facebook fanpage for the Gardens so that brides can communicate with us in a more convienient way. Check out our in progress page and let me know if any suggestions you might have!


~ by julieesmer on June 12, 2011.

One Response to “Top 5 Tips For Planning Your Wedding”

  1. Great tips, Julie! Love the construction of your top five list…you clearly establish yourself as an expert! The FB fan page looks great! I’d suggest adding a note in there that the page is a work in progress–if you get someone to like the page now, and they don’t see it updated often, they may get turned off and unlike the page because it isn’t being updated right now. Just a suggestion!

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