- Write a rough outline ahead of time. Think of all of the wonderful things you could say about the bride and groom and put all of these points down on paper. Search your memory for the earliest recollections you have of the two of them, and include some more recent points, as well.
- Flesh out your outline into a full speech, then mercilessly edit it to keep it within 3 to 5 minutes in length. When editing, make sure you retain the most sentimental parts of the speech, as sentimentality is what a wedding reception speech is all about.
- Throw in a few humorous anecdotes. The speech will be more interesting to your audience if they have a few opportunities to laugh. Three to four points of humor are usually adequate in a wedding reception speech.
- Pause from time to time. This will give your audience time to absorb what you’re saying and reflect on pertinent points. It will also help to keep you from sounding like a robot that’s talking too fast.
- Rest your hands on a lectern or keep them at your sides while you speak. Waving your hands about during a speech is distracting for the audience.
- Look your audience members in the eye as you speak. A good rule of thumb is to move your eye contact from person to person in the audience, never retaining any one person’s gaze for longer than 3 seconds at a time.
- Keep a notecard of the bullet points of your speech in one hand and refer to it, if necessary. If you need to look at the card, only glance at it long enough to remember what you want to talk about, then go back to looking at your audience.
Planning a Wedding
- Depending on how much a couple uses a wedding planner during the wedding-planning stages, the cost can increase. When you’re considering using a wedding planner, think about what you need help with and what you need to make your wedding planning stages more organized. This is critical when deciding how much of your wedding budget to allocate to a wedding planner.
Duties of a Wedding Coordinator
- A professional wedding planner’s job is to serve as a researcher, coordinator, financial planner, supervisor and more for a wedding. Since wedding coordinators tend to offer so much insight to a couple when planning their wedding, they generally charge about 10 to 15 percent of a wedding budget.
How Much is a Wedding Coordinator?
- While finding the perfect wedding planner to suit a couple’s taste is key, it is also important to choose one that fits within their budgets. Many wedding planners offer fee structures that can help a couple better manage the costs of using a wedding planner. Wedding planners offer hourly rates, flat fees, charge a percentage of a wedding’s budget or charge for each service they execute. For example, wedding planners may charge a rate of $50 an hour if they are only working with a couple at certain stages of the wedding-planning process. Or, they may charge a flat fee of $2,000 if they are working with a couple throughout the entire wedding-planning process. Wedding planners may also charge certain flat rates if they are only helping a couple execute certain aspects of their wedding, such as securing and managing details regarding the venue or wedding reception. For example, a flat rate of $500 may be charged to manage and secure the wedding venue.
When a couple is meeting with a wedding planner, they should get an estimate of the amount the wedding planner will charge as well as a hard copy of the wedding planner’s contract. The wedding planner should let couples know ahead of time how much her rates are and what type of fee schedule she uses. Often couples will pay a wedding planner half of her rate up front and half at the conclusion of the wedding.
Types of Wedding Coordinators
- For couples on a tight budget, a “day-of-wedding” planner can be of great help. While the day-of-wedding planner doesn’t help with the planning of the wedding before the big day, he confirms vendors, makes sure that everything is up to par with the location and handles and executes all details of the wedding day on that day. These types of wedding planners cost significantly less than wedding planners who work with couples throughout the entire planning process. In general, day-of-wedding planners charge a flat fee, hourly fee or small percentage rate, about 5 percent of the wedding budget.
- Finding a wedding planner that suits a couple’s tastes and budget is not as easy as flipping through a phone book. Planning a wedding is personal and requires a coordinator that you like, feel comfortable with and understands your vision.
Couples should ask friends and family for wedding-planner recommendations or use a reputable site like the Association of Bridal Consultants for well-known wedding planners. Even then, couples should ask wedding planners for recommendations and meet with them a couple of times before they make a decision to let them plan their wedding.
- Look for a lesser known wedding photographer in your area. While the big names can afford to charge the most, a shutterbug who’s just getting started often charges more reasonable rates. Ask to review a portfolio to ensure that the photographer you hire does quality work.
- Shop around for a studio whose work you admire and book one of its associate photographers rather than the lead photographer. You can expect the studio’s stamp of quality without paying the huge price associated with the lead photographer.
- Compare apples to apples. While one photographer may charge less for her time, she may charge more when it comes to items like reprints, albums and frames. Obtain a price list from each of the photographers you are considering and determine an approximate total cost for each.
- Hire a student photographer. Contact your local college and ask the head of the photography program for recommendations of particularly talented students. Interview a couple, view their portfolios and select the one you prefer.
- Wedding decorations not only create a welcoming environment in which guests can celebrate, but they also reflect the tone and theme of the wedding. How many decorations a wedding needs depends on the location of the ceremony and reception and the preferences of the bride and groom. Locations that already have significant decor, such as traditional churches and lavish ballrooms, may only allow a white aisle runner for the bride and a few flower centerpieces or candles for the altar. Warehouse and loft-style facilities may require more decorations to achieve a ceremonial or party atmosphere. The cost of wedding decorations depends both on the number and the types of decorations used.
- Flowers are one of the most traditional wedding decorations, yet also one of the most expensive. According to Costhelper.com, most floral centerpieces range from $50 to over $100 each. Many brides choose to use candles, bowls of fruit, candy dishes, ribbons, seashells, picture frames or decorative salt and pepper shakers as centerpieces, since these items are often less expensive and can be reused. Most white aisle runners cost about $30 to $50 dollars, but many wedding supply companies rent them, along with decorations such as archways and fountains. Paper decorations, such as streamers and bells, and balloons are often the least expensive wedding decor and may only cost a few dollars per package.
- People who have the time and energy to put together their own wedding decorations may be able to save a significant amount of money. For example, brides who purchase cut flowers from a farmer’s market and arrange them in vases from a discount store will spend considerably less than those who order complete arrangements from a florist. Since some decorations, such as fresh flowers, can only be arranged shortly before the wedding, those who want to put together their own decorations ahead of time should consider alternatives, such as silk flowers or dried flower petals.
- Some common areas for wedding decorations include the building entrance, the aisle, the seats or pews, the altar or ceremony location and the tables for the reception. The more areas there are to decorate and the more tables there are at the reception, the more the decorations will cost. In budgeting for the cost of wedding decorations, brides and grooms should consider all the areas they would like to decorate, which ones are the most important and how much they can spend on each.
- Couples who are planning a wedding should consider the cost of wedding decorations early–when choosing the style, location and even time of year of their wedding and reception. Many hotels are already decorated during the holiday season, which can minimize decorating costs for those with winter weddings. Outdoor weddings in scenic locations may require minimal decorations as well. The cost of wedding decorations should match the overall style of the wedding. Paper and balloons will look out of place in a ballroom, as will exotic floral arrangements at a backyard barbecue.
- Narrow your guest list to the people who are most important to you and your fiance to keep costs down, as you won’t have to rent chairs for or feed people you hardly know. Avoid inviting people because you feel like you have to. Instead, invite the people who must be there, and those who you really would like to be there. Leave everyone else off of your guest list, such as your mom’s high school friends or third cousins you’ve never met.
- Opt for a casual beach ceremony and reception where your guests sit on beach blankets. This creates an intimate, no-fuss mood. Or, use beach chairs and umbrellas. To keep costs down, borrow the items from as many people as you can if you don’t already have enough. If you want a formal beach wedding, rent tables and chairs from a vendor close to the beach. Use inexpensive table cloths or plain white linens.
- Beach weddings don’t need much in the way of decorations. Fill beach pails with sand, plastic beach toys or seashells to create an aisle for the bride to walk down. Use large stones or shells to create a heart shape in the sand where you can stand to exchange your vows. Casual weddings can include beach pails with sand, sunscreen, lip balm and water. These pails are functional—they can serve as favors—and decorative if you tie colorful ribbon around the items or use personal labels. Put the pails in the center of tables or next to each beach blanket. Fill large glass vases or fishbowls with sand and shells to serve as centerpieces on tables. Add candles for a soft, romantic vibe. Fill containers or platters with freshly cut fruit on decorative toothpicks as centerpieces and snacks. Set up the favors or edible treats as your centerpieces so the items do double duty, saving you money.
- Keep the food and beverages simple to save on money and hassle. A casual beach barbecue would work well with a beach blanket wedding. A complete luau with a roasted pig would work for tropical themed beach weddings. Seafood, catered by a local restaurant, might be ideal for your beach wedding. Serve a small variety of soft drinks, juice and water in a large ice chest (made to look like a treasure chest for a pirate-themed wedding) or an old row boat filled with ice. Add a couple of different types of beers, a frozen drink or two and wine coolers if you’re serving alcohol, without adding to your costs for a bartender. Serve cupcakes or smaller single-layer cakes instead of a traditional multiple-tiered cake. The goodies can actually serve as centerpieces, as well.
- Give your guests simple favors that double as table decorations. Cookies can be made to look like starfish and sand dollars. Spread them out on a mixture of white and brown sugar to look like sand. Collect seashells to add to small bottles of sand to act as keepsakes.
- Plan a destination beach wedding if you don’t live near a beach, or simply to get away from home. This allows you to keep your guest list to a bare minimum, which will save money. Opt for a simple ceremony on the beach where guests can stand, which will save money on chairs. Take your guests to a restaurant for dinner, rather than having a full-blown reception.
People are often tempted to organise their own wedding photographs by asking a keen amateur friend to take the pictures for them. By association, that means there are also lots of amateur photographers who are asked to take the photographs at a friend’s wedding. It’s an honour and extremely flattering, but the pitfalls for the inexperienced in this type of photography are huge.
Pay Attention to the Background
Having a pretty country church to act as a backdrop is helpful in making sure the background in photos is attractive, but with around 70% of marriages being civil ceremonies you might not be so lucky.
Common mistakes amateur photographers make when photographing couples include having trees or posts growing out of their heads, or people or animals doing inappropriate things in the frame.
Know Your Equipment
During the wedding shoot is not the time to experiment with camera settings and try new things. It’s also not the time to struggle to remember how to compensate for shade or strong sunlight. Taking the photos is a big part of the day, but the wedding party are on a time schedule and can’t spend hours repeating poses while you figure out your equipment.
Professional photographers such as http://www.nickrutterphotography.co.uk/ will have years of experience and know their equipment inside out, as well as have the deep, embedded knowledge to automatically know how to handle every eventually.
Invariably there are lots of whites that need dealing with in a wedding party. The bride’s dress must be correctly exposed, but that might mean throwing something else, such as faces or highlights in hair, out. Knowing how to compensate for such challenging light situations is absolutely vital if the dress isn’t to appear as one washed out mass. Smiling faces and nice expressions won’t compensate if the dress that cost thousands can’t be seen in all its glory.
Falling in Love with Sunlight
Another mistake amateur photographers make is to not pay enough attention to the direction of the sun. It may look lovely to the naked eye to have everyone in full sunlight, but if your subjects are all squinting the photos won’t be terribly pleasing.
If you’re shooting a wedding abroad, and 1.5 million weddings take place abroad these days, bright sunlight can be a real problem.
Assuming You Know What They Want
Everyone knows what should be included in wedding photos, right? Actually, you’d be surprised how many people don’t really know. Speak to the wedding couple and find out which family groups they want pictured, and make a list. That way you don’t leave out the beloved but shy old aunt but can send someone to find her and bring her forward.
Wedding pictures are precious, so take care who you hire to shoot them. Look for a professional photographer in your area, searching online for say, wedding photographer in Bournemouth if you don’t know anyone who can recommend a photographer. Visit a few, chat to them and find out what they can offer.
It’s far better than leaving anything to chance. And if you still want to include your amateur friend, ask them to take incidental shots that the main photographer won’t take.
It can be extremely difficult to give a great wedding present as giving a gift card shows no real effort or care about the present. While there are certain people who give great gifts, there are a multitude of people who give horrible gifts to newlyweds. Great gifts take thought and a bit of effort but it will be worth it in the end. Here are a few ideas to give wedding gifts that the newlyweds will actually like.
Knowing the hobbies of the newlyweds is important as it can make it quite easy to give a gift. If they are always doing things outdoors like camping or hiking it can be wise to get them camping gear. Sierra Trading Post has coupons on Groupon which will make the wedding gift even more budget friendly. Make sure that you do not guess about a hobby or activity as this can be uncomfortable as the couple might not like the gift. Using social media to gather information about their lifestyle can be a great way to research what type of gift to give them.
Giving a group gift can be one of the best things that a couple can receive. It is possible the couple spent quite a lot of money on the wedding and now can’t afford to go on a honeymoon immediately. Pooling the money together of a large group gives the wedding party the ability to send the couple on a trip. With all of the travel websites that make it easy plan an entire trip for them with just a few clicks. This is a great option for many people as the couple will never forget the trip that their family and friends bought them.
If the couple has recently bought a new house it can be nice to purchase something that they will need. Something like a grill or even an appliance can be utilized and will be appreciated. With this route you risk somebody buying the same item as you, just hope that yours is better quality!
Buying wedding gifts can be tough but by doing research and pooling money together, the perfect gift can be given!
Whether you are holding a corporate event, or organising a family party, a hog roast is a great way to feed everyone. A whole pig turning on a spit is a spectacular and impressive sight.
The meat is moist, succulent and tasty. Most people love a hog roast, so your guests are bound to be impressed.
It is an extremely simple way to feed everyone. You just need to choose the meat and side dishes you want served and tell the Harrogate Hog Roast Company how many people will be attending your event. They will give you a quote and place your order if you like the price.
From that point on, the catering firm takes care of everything else. It really could not be easier. But, there are some things that you need to do to ensure that things go smoothly.
What time you want the food served
You need to be clear about what time you want the food to be ready for. A large hog takes hours to cook, so it is rarely possible to bring the serving time forward, at short notice.
How you want the food served
You need to be clear about how you want the food cooked and served. Never assume that the hog will be cooked in front of your guests.
Most firms do it this way, but not all do, some cook the meat off site and deliver it sliced. If the theatre of a whole hog turning on a spit is an important element of your event staging, you want to be sure that is what happens.
What is included in the price?
You also need to be clear about what is included in the price. For example, you need to know if the catering firm will provide the plates, napkins, cutlery, serving table and other items. If they do not do so you will have to buy or hire them.
- Shahpur Jat
This place is situated in the southern division of the capital city of Delhi. The shops here have an amazing assortment of cultural and party wear designer lehenga. Any kind of designer lehenga can be found here at fair prices. The proposal iselite at most of the shops, and you may also get them tailored any way you want.basically, this place is a must-visit if you are in a look out for a lehenga which is different.
There is also a group of people who have a preferencefor a one stop shop that is fully air conditioned and dislike departing from shop to shop under the scorching heat of the sun outside .for people who have this kind of thinking, Delhi has a variety of malls which offer collected works from apex designers. You can find some of them at DLF Emporium, which has elite labels like Abu Jani&SandeepKhosla, Falguni, Kimaaya, and Shane Peacock, etc. Othermalls are Metro Walk mall,Promenade Mall,GIP Noida,Rohini, Select Citywalk and ambiance mall.All of these have an extensive range of clothing available for all Delhi people. Designer lehengas are easy to find here.
In the city ofDelhi, there are a lot of wedding exhibitions that keepoccurring all through the year. These exhibitionsdisplay the whole lotof exotic designer lehenga’s associatedwith all the wedding requirementsor party wear needs including designer wedding lehengas of course. The exhibitions are also a catalyst for out of state designers and shops who can demonstrate their designs. Some of the well-known shops from Jaipur, Agra and Lucknow also take part in such presentations. Vivaha, wedding Asia and bridal Asia are some of the few exhibitions that are held in Delhi.
South extension is a budget friendly place, and this marketplace has something for every pocket, something for everyone’ssavior. Visit the Frontier Raas, and you canwithout difficulty choose your D-day outfit starting at around Rs. 60,000. And, ifyou are all set to spend some extra money, just reachUshnak Mal Moolchand stores. Here you will find many shops where you can shop designer lehenga easily for aparty or any kind of occasions.
- Lajpat Nagar market
It is amongst one of the renowned markets of Delhi. One can get a variety of designer lehengas here in all worth tags. Libas is one such store in this market renowned for its wedding lehenga designs. Rudraksha is another name which has a realistic range of designer lehengas. For some fashionable stuff, go to Kapil and Monica’sdisplay area where the lehengas are in the variety of Rs.70,000 to 3-4 lakhs.Rajouri market which is located in the mind of the westDelhi also has some distinguished shops for lehenga wear like Shakuntlam, Bombay selections, and Tamanna. For any kind of party or occasions, visit LajpatNagar market. They will never leave you disappointed and make sure you get whatever you aspire for.
Searching for a wedding dress can be a really stressful task. On the other hand, there are things you can take into account to make your decision with as much assurance as possible. Here is how:
- Start your search with a positive position. If you start dress-searching considering that you won’t find your perfect bridal gown, it is probable to become a self-fulfilling prediction. That’s why keep an open mind and take into consideration that even if the dress you select doesn’t seem to be the “ideal” dress, ultimately, you still get to marry the person you really love.
- Begin investigating. There are more than a few places in which you can look for wedding dresses. Wedding publications, wedding dress stores and wedding pictures online are the most widespread.
- Find out what compliments you. Lots of this is done through trying dresses on and experimenting. On the other hand, if you cannot decide what looks really great and what doesn’t, there are some essential fashion rules that you can follow:
- To start with, if you aren’t like a model type, there is a possibility that any lace bridal gown won’t fit you as it does in the photo. That doesn’t denote that there is a problem with the dress or your figure type, it just means that in any case it is important to book an appointment beforehand and select the perfect dress type to avoid such a disappointment.
- Next, plus-size women are apt to have a harder time. Not just do they have a higher priced dress owing to the surplus fabric, however more style restrictions are placed upon them. In addition, they are normally not recommended to wear, for example mermaid dresses. They as well aren’t suggested to wear definite types of ball gowns, which are likely to add more bulk.
- Third, pick a dress that fits both your character and your subject matter
- Come up with a financial plan. For the greater part of people, budget is really significant. It is very important to come up with a realistic budget in order that you can not just have the wedding of your dream, however in order that you as well won’t be pinched into debt after it’s over. In addition, be attentive that you have the possibility to put down a deposit when ordering your wedding dress. What’s more, keep all of your receipts to stay away from possible scams.
- Make a decision who you’re taking with you. Don’t select just anybody. You are going to wish people who will be helpful and sincere. Take into account that those people must as well understand that it is your bridal gown. In case you love a dress however they don’t, they need to support you. If not, dress shopping can be a very hurting procedure. You as well must come to a decision how big you wish your support group to be.
Elisa Riley is established as a reviewer for a big array of digital publications (consisting of companies like Thebridalsuite.ca – organza wedding dress store), who focuses on various wedding planning subjects and areas alike. A tireless vagabond of Internet community and an opinion maker in all things related to the wedding planning.
Diamond is considered to be a bright, precious metal and is said to be loved by every woman, irrespective of the part of the world she is located it. This is because of its unparalleled dazzle and beauty that is beyond comparison. Although gold is the most popular metal that is availed, it is always diamond jewelries that is said to steal the hearts of women, be it the wife or girlfriend.
A real beauty
Although diamond is getting scarce and its price has been increasing by the day, it still remains among the most desired metal, when it comes to adorning the jewelries and gifting it for various reasons to be beloved one.
Reasons for considering diamond ring
- It is regarded to be the easiest way to have the beloved one to be impressed.
- It becomes easier to show how much the person cares for her.
- Diamond rings price are low priced, when buying from reputed sites.
- Authentic ones can be availed without any hassle from the sites.
- There are varieties of choices to be made from when purchasing and gifting rings made from this metal.
Besides having that aura of exclusiveness, it also tends to manage in conveying the underlying message of romance of love. Once this has been decided to be purchased for her, then the person can simply log onto the different reputed sites to browse through a whole range of them, of different patterns, colors, sizes and shapes.
Things to consider when making the purchase
Since diamonds are very much expensive, there are several things to be considered when making the purchase. It is a valuable investment, therefore requiring proper detailing and attention. Hence, sufficient time is to be taken out to go through the range of diamonds available in the market and to select the one that perfectly suits the person’s beloved one.
- Budget: It is something that needs to be kept in mind, before planning to purchase this metal, as diamond jewelries are sure to involve a good amount of investment. Hence, setting the budget beforehand is sure to help take the right decision. Also, small buffer amount needs be kept aside to meet last minute expenses, related to the purchase.
- Quality: This is definitely the most priority that one has to look into, since it is the stone quality and characteristics that determines its rates. Every stone is different from one another, thereby varying in its price tag. The four essential yardsticks for measuring diamonds are carats, clarity, color and cut.
- Shape: It has a beautiful shape. As the whole focus is to remain on the single stone present on the ring, careful consideration is to be given. Her preference also needs to be kept in mind, with regards to the shape. A well worked diamond shape can make her to appear like that of a princess when worn.
This way, by taking care of the different trivial things with regards to the diamond jewellery can assist in making the right purchase.
Conclusion: There are numerous things to be kept in mind when purchasing diamond jewellery. Since these are expensive, careful attention is to be given during the purchase, so as to get the best one.
The area of New South Wales in Australia is a beautiful place that offers a variety of fun things to do. The area known as Hunter Valley is especially popular, due to its attractions such as day spas, hot air balloon rides, golf courses, art galleries, one-of-a-kind gardens and wine tours, among others. If you live in the Hunter Valley area and are getting ready for a wedding, the area offers a gorgeous and perfect setting in which to say “I do.”
Brides have a lot on their minds, and one of the first things they think about after getting engaged is the venue in which their wedding will take place. Venues are booked up far in advance of most weddings, so it is of the utmost important that a bride decides on her venue before anything else, including choosing a wedding dress. Often, couples will choose the date of their wedding after choosing a venue to make sure the venue is available on the date they want.
What Types of Venues Are Available?
Venues come in all sizes located in all parts of the region, but choosing a Hunter Valley wedding venue does not have to be complicated. Deciding exactly what type you’re searching for and looking at the food and beverage options available, is the first step in locating the perfect venue. Areas to consider when choosing a venue include:
- How many guests will be attending the wedding? Venues can accommodate anywhere from 30 to 150 guests or more, and since the guest list often determines the final cost of the venue, knowing how many guests might be attending is important.
- What type of location do you desire? Would you prefer an outside venue with a veranda and a picturesque view, or one that is indoors with elegant draping and surroundings? Since many couples choose to have both their wedding ceremony and their reception at the venue they choose, it is important to have as many details as possible.
- Do you have a specific background in mind? Especially with outdoor venues, the possibilities are endless. You can enjoy views such as the Cabernet or Chardonnay vines of the area’s wineries, or views like the beautiful valleys or Brokenback Range. Each offers something unique, as well as a memorable way to remember your wedding day.
How Do You Choose a Venue?
If you are engaged and looking for the perfect venue, it is best to visit the facility in person. Most reputable venues will have professional, well-maintained websites that enable you to contact them with any questions you may have, but nothing takes the place of an in-person visit to the facility. Before you go, however, make sure you know the approximate number of attendees, as well as any other needs you may have, such as catering, officiant and limo needs. Not all venues offer the same services, so it is imperative to compare and contrast the venues’ offerings in order to choose the one that is right for you.
Pearl-Lined Aisle Runner
- A runner is used to line the aisle the bride will walk down. Using an aisle runner is a regal way to make your entrance to your future husband. An aisle runner that is lined with pearls, either real or fake, is not only regal, but it also adds ambiance to the wedding site.
Pearl Touches to Bouquets
- Pearls can be added as an accent to your floral arrangements, both the bouquets that will be carried and the blooms that may decorate your ceremony and reception. They complement any flower and give the bouquet a special look. The pearls that are used in floral arrangements are typically fake, but if you do not have to adhere to a budget, you can certainly use real pearls.
Escort and Seating Cards
- Pearls can adorn your escort and seating cards, adding a special touch to your tables. You can either make these cards yourself or you can purchase the cards at a wedding wholesale or stationary shop and a supply of fake pearls from a craft store. You can attach the pearls around the edges of the cards, or you can make a design, such as a monogram, on the card.
Added to Your Cake
- The cake is one of the focal points of the wedding. If you are using pearls as a decorative element, you can have them adorn your cake or your cake topper. Edible pearls are made of sugar and can look so real that your guests will assume that they are.
- Strings of real or fake pearls can be hung from the ceiling to add a stylish look to your reception site. They can be made to look like snow falling or like stars dancing on the ceiling. They will also help to add a unique glow to your reception as the light bounces off of them.
- If you are having the chairs at either your ceremony or reception draped with linen, you can use a string of pearls as a tieback. This will add an eye-catching look to your decor.
- Determine how many people will be attending the reception; then you will know what size space you need to rent. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant or country club. It can be a simple town hall, community meeting space or place of worship.
- Catering the reception can be expensive. Consider alternatives such as meat and cheese trays from your local grocer or fast-food restaurant. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls would work. Order your cake from the grocer as well. Cupcakes work well when small children are guests. Clear plastic plates and utensils work fine — don’t forget the wedding theme decorations at your local dollar or craft store.
- Decorating the hall depends on how much time and money you want to put into it. To make it a little fancier, put bows or balloons on the chairs, or cover with cloths. If using balloons, consider buying a helium balloon kit. You can purchase white paper tablecloths with plastic backing for the tables. If the hall you decide to rent does not provide tables and chairs, these can be rented. Order or create a small bouquet of silk or fresh flowers for each table in the bride’s colors. Buy or collect small plastic bowls to put nuts and mints in for each table.
- Putting up white or colored Christmas lights adds a nice touch. If allowed, you can staple, nail, or tape the lights to the walls. As for music, depending on the size of the room, place one or two CD players in the hall so the music isn’t overwhelming, but can be heard.
- Have large plastic garbage bags on hand so cleanup will be very easy. Ask the wedding party or guests if they would like to keep the flowers — then throw anything you can away.
- Determine the theme of your wedding ceremony and reception, as this will help you determine what types of foods to serve at your potluck reception.
- Make a list of foods that fit the theme of your ceremony. Include appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts. The bride-to-be, groom-to-be and both sets of parents should go through the list to determine if there are any items on the list family members or friends make well.
- Write the appropriate names next to each item, if applicable. Use the list to determine which family members and friends to contact first about contributing dishes to your potluck. Focus on contacting local people first.
- Decide whether you want to contact individuals by phone, email or through mailed letters. Gather their contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses.
- Ask family and friends on your list to contribute the specified dishes by contacting them, providing them with your request, the number of people you expect at your reception, the date, time and location of your ceremony. Contact them at least six months in advance. Thank them in advance for their consideration and ask them to reply back to you with their decision by a specified date.
- Reach out to other family and friends who are local but who did not appear on your initial list. Rather than asking them to bring a specific dish, give them a category such as vegetable or cake. Ask them to let you know what they’re bringing so you can keep track.
- Use a spreadsheet to keep track of who has responded and what they plan to bring. Update it regularly, or delegate the responsibility to a member of your bridal party.
- Contact family and friends at least a month before your event to remind them what they signed up to bring to your wedding reception and remind them again of the event date. Remind them where to drop off their food on the day of the event; mail a postcard as an extra reminder. Update your spreadsheet if any information has changed.
- Ask a friend, family member or a member of your church to arrive at the food drop off location early to help set up the food and collect dishes from friends and family members who are contributing to the reception menu. Provide the person with a list of the foods being prepared and where they should be set on the tables.
- Send thank-you notes to each person who helped pull off your potluck wedding reception. Thank them for their assistance, compliment their dishes and send them a small token of your appreciation.
Wedding table runners can use up valuable wedding budget funds. Whenever possible, it’s beneficial to create items you can make yourself instead of purchasing them ready-made. Standard table runner size is 12 inches wide and 108 inches long. Choose linen, linen blend, lace, satin or tulle fabric. The number of runners you require depends on the number of tables you will have at your wedding reception.
- Cut your fabric pieces 13 inches wide and 109 inches long, to allow for hemming. This is just a bit over 3 yards in length (purchase 3 1/8 yards). Since most fabric comes in widths of 45 inches or 60 inches, you can cut more than one wedding table runner from each length (three with 45-inch wide fabric and four with 60-inch wide fabric).
- Fold under and press 1/4 inch on the long ends of your table runners. Fold under and press another 1/4 inch and tack the fabric down with straight pins.
- Sew along the inside edge of all the hems you have pressed and pinned. Remove the straight pins.
- Hem the short ends of your table runners using the same process. Steam press all your table runners.
- Contact the restaurant where the reception will be held to schedule a meeting with management. At the meeting, determine what type of decorations will be provided by the restaurant and what you will need to purchase or rent yourself. Ask if there are any prohibitions regarding decorations. Take your groom or bridesmaids along to help you think of questions and plan the space.
- Decide how you will decorate the tables. A common table decoration that a bride may choose is flowers in vases, which can coordinate with your wedding colors and theme. Additionally, if you choose the right flowers, you can inexpensively create floral centerpieces yourself. If you do not want flowers, there are a variety of other unique centerpiece ideas to choose from, including candle arrangements, stacked teacups, wine bottles, fruit and vegetable arrangements and the placement of treasured family mementos. After you decide on the decorations and obtain the materials, place the centerpieces on the tables.
- Add decorations and interest to the area next to the wedding cake or guest book by placing photographs of the bride and groom’s parents, grandparents and siblings on their wedding days. Display signs to identify those in the photographs for the guests.
- Evaluate the lighting at the restaurant. You may decide that the pre-exisitng lighting is too standard for your wedding reception. If so, opt to string bulb lights, Christmas lights or other types of lighting throughout the room. Since these lights come in a variety of colors, they can significantly alter the lighting in the room.
- Decide on a specialty for your business that relates to wedding receptions. Disc jockeys, limo drivers, caterers, lighting specialists and even cigar rollers are all examples of separate businesses that work together to create a wedding reception.
- Create a business name and logo for your business. You may choose to incorporate your name or specialty into the business name. For example, if you are going to start a catering business, your name should involve food and weddings. This will make it easy for potential clients to identify your trade.
- Register your business name and logo through your local chamber of commerce, and apply for a business license. This will ensure you have taken all legal precautions for your business, and will also look professional and attract clients. Brides and grooms will want to see your qualifications before agreeing to book you for their reception, and many will not want to deal with someone who does not have a license.
- Have business cards made with your name, logo and contact information. Also, set up a professional, well-organized website. Consider hiring a graphic designer to set up your website. Include all of your contact information on the site, as well as photographs of your work at wedding receptions. As you begin working with customers, add testimonials to your website. This will establish your expertise and professionalism in the wedding reception industry.
- Advertise your business at bridal shows and in local bridal magazines. This will make it easier for clients to find you and will give you the opportunity to put your name out in the industry. You may also consider meeting with other professionals in the wedding reception industry to ask for recommendations. This way, they can refer their clients to you.
- Write and print contracts to keep on file to sign with your clients. Outline all of your guidelines involving payment, cancellations and any other aspects you feel necessary to have in writing. Plan your rates and decide whether they will be hourly or if they will cover the length of the entire wedding reception.
- Stay up to date on federal and state safety regulations involving your trade, as well as wedding trends online and in magazines. It is important to know what couples are looking for at their receptions, and trends change quickly.
- Place your chafing dishes on the buffet table.
- Pour hot water into the bottom portion of the dishes that will hold hot foods.
- Remove the caps of your Sterno fuel canisters.
- Place the fuel canisters underneath the hot-food chafing dishes.
- Light each canister with an extended lighter or long matches.
- Allow the water to heat up, then place hot food in the chafing dish.
- Fill the bottom portion of the chafing dishes that will hold cold food with ice and water.
- Place the food-filled chafing pans in the designated racks right before inviting guests to the buffet.
- Keep laughing and smiling, no matter what happens. An outdoor wedding reception isn’t for the faint-hearted or the worrier, but if you can remember that it isn’t how the day turns out but rather about the love that you and your future spouse share, there’s no way to ruin your day.
- Choose a place that means something to you as a couple, like your own backyard, a favorite park, beach or vineyard. It could even be the place where your fiancé proposed to you. If the venue means something to you, having the reception there is the perfect way to show that to your guests.
- Forget about the rules for a typical wedding reception. You can have a completely informal affair where you have a barbecue and a simple luncheon, or go for a formal affair with a sit down dinner. Let your reception reflect the two of you as a couple.
- Give the worries of the day to someone else. If you don’t have a wedding planner, have a close friend act as one for the day. Give her all the details of the wedding reception and let her be in charge. This eases your stress and allows you to have a completely worry-free, enjoyable day.
- Have a backup plan in case of weather issues. You don’t want to plan for your wedding reception to be rained out of for snow to fall, but you should have a plan B just in case. You can rent a backup site or simply rent a tent for everyone to sit or eat under in case of rain.
- Let guests know ahead of time that you’re having an outdoor reception. This allows them to plan their outfits according to the weather.
- Plan for parking. If your guests have to walk a great distance from the parking place to the reception site, consider hiring a horse-drawn carriage to give them a lift.
- Meet with the bride and groom before the wedding as far in advance as possible. Ask them to list their favorite artists, as well as any singers or bands they specifically do not like. This will give you a good sense of the type of music they enjoy and are likely to be happy hearing at their wedding reception.
- Prepare a CD of both slow and upbeat songs you would recommend to be played during the wedding, and give it to the bride and groom. Include songs that the bride and groom are likely to be familiar with, but feel free to add less popular songs you think they might enjoy based on your previous discussion. This will showcase your flexibility, as well as your range.
- Create playlists of the songs that the bride and groom specially request and have them prepared well before the wedding. Make extra copies of the CDs that hold each playlist so that you will have a backup in the event of an emergency. Be sure to review each playlist with the bride and groom before the wedding to confirm that you have the right version of each song.
- Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to DJ the wedding reception. You will most likely need to provide your own CDs, turntables or mixers, laptop computer and other basic equipment. If the wedding reception is being held at a venue that regularly hosts this type of event, the venue will most likely provide the speaker system–but be sure to confirm this well in advance.
- Agree to an appropriate amount of payment for your DJ services. You should base this amount on the number of hours you will be asked to play music. Include any additional expenses for travel and overnight accommodations. Be sure to sign an agreement upfront that explains all of these fees, and allow for unexpected expenses, such as purchases of requested songs or last-minute rentals of equipment.
Make It Magical
- The reception may start in the afternoon and last into the night, requiring lighting to make it magical. Outdoor dusk/dawn sensors plug into outlets and turn on the lights when the sun goes down. String twinkle lights overhead in tree branches or under a patio cover to add stars to the darkening sky. Candle lanterns hanging from shepherd’s hooks or from the trees add a flickering, romantic ambiance to the landscape.
Add rope lights for pathways, keeping guests safely out of the flowerbeds as they admire the landscape. Upward-pointing landscape lights highlight the trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the garden. Change the bulbs to green or blue to soften the lighting.
Add Scent and Color
- Day or night, adding additional flowers and greenery to the garden brings out the beauty of a simple backyard. Tuck potted plants around the patio or under the trees. White gardenias add their sweet scent to the air, while fragrant salvias attract hummingbirds and butterflies during the day to charm your guests. A pair of potted trees placed on each side of the backyard’s entry gate and entwined with twinkle lights lead guests into the reception.
If you are planning the reception several months in advance, plant a mixture of morning glories and moonflowers along a bare wall, on which the vines can climb to enchant guests during the day with the bright faces of the morning glories and the luminous white of moonflowers in the evening. Plant bright annual flowers in the garden’s borders to add color. If time is short, transplant annuals, such as cheerful pansies or petunias, into sparse corners of the garden.
Keep It Comfortable
- Keep your guests comfortable with padded chairs, portable fans or propane heaters. Patio umbrellas or canopies shade guests from sun and unexpected drizzles, while a rental tent protects them from wind and rain. Colorful draperies hung around the perimeter of a patio cover provide shelter from the elements while evoking an exotic Moroccan influence. A large plush rug laid over a concrete patio softens the hard surface. Add additional lighting, such as Oriental lamps, over tables and the buffet to preserve the romantic atmosphere.
Decorate the Tables
- Layer the reception and buffet tables with white linens overlaid with tablecloths in the wedding colors. Crisp white napkins folded into fans, laid flat on the table and anchored by wedding favors, such as jars of local honey or organic jams, keep the napkins from blowing away on a breezy day. Floral centerpieces of bright and cheerful flowers, such as gerberas or zinnias, or exotic flowers, such as gardenias, birds of paradise or orchids mixed with peacock feathers and gold-painted corkscrew willow branches, add color and height to the tables. Pillar candles or votive candles in glass candleholders add light to the tables.
Dance the Night Away
- A portable dance floor on the grass allows your guests to dance the night away to your favorite tunes. A DJ or band can provide music ranging from classical to the latest hits. Shelter the artists with a portable canopy and add an extra heater if the night is cool. A rope light suspended from shepherd’s hooks or around the edge of the dance floor defines its edges, keeping guests from stumbling on the grass as they enter and leave the area.
- Wind strands of white Christmas lights around the edge of the ceilings, around doorways and over any arches. Use tacks or electrical tape in a color that blends with the wall to help keep the lights in place. Sparkling Christmas lights create a whimsical feel especially appropriate for a winter wedding.
- Wrap white Christmas lights around trees at the entrance way to the wedding venue, or throughout the space if it is an outdoor wedding.
- Hang paper lanterns from the ceiling of the wedding reception. For an outdoor reception, the lanterns can also be hung from the trees. Choose white lanterns for a simple and elegant look or colors that coordinate with your wedding color palette for bright bursts of color.
- Place candles in hanging candle holders. Substitute battery operated candles instead of candles with actual flames if you are concerned about them being a fire hazard. Hang the candle holders from ceiling rafters or from the branches of trees.
- Mount LED lights on the ceiling or around the border of the room, following the instructions on the light packaging, to create a sleek, modern look.
- Take classes in wedding planning. Any college in the Houston area that has an affiliation with the Wedding Planning Institute is a good option. The Lone Star Colleges are a great option in the Houston area because they offer courses in wedding planning.
- Take classes in business, advertising and management. Wedding planners are usually self employed and need the business classes to get their business up and running. These classes are useful and usually can be taken at the same school as the wedding planning classes.
- Get certified. Most of the schools that work with the Wedding Planning Institute offer certification in wedding planning once the courses have been completed. A certified wedding planner is more attractive to clients than a wedding planner that doesn’t have certification.
- Obtain contacts in the Houston area. Contacts should include coordinators of various prime locations and businesses that cater to weddings. Business contacts are important to successful wedding planning. Some businesses that deal in weddings are flower companies or nurseries, food caterers, wedding apparel stores and bakeries.
- Gain experience. Work under a wedding planner that is hiring assistants or similar positions. A portfolio of successful weddings and wedding designs helps clients decide on a wedding planner that is appropriate for their needs, so experience is necessary to successful wedding planning.
Wedding Etiquette Tips
- The website Wedding Etiquette Tips offers a free basic wedding planning course. This self-paced online course covers basic topics such as wedding budgets, time lines, wedding themes, finding wedding venues and interviewing vendors. The basic wedding planner course from Wedding Etiquette Tips is designed for do-it-yourself type brides but can be used for anyone who is interested in wedding planning.
- The E Learners website offers a mini-guide to becoming a wedding planner. This guide is a basic and straightforward starting point for those who are interested in becoming a wedding planner. Facts and questions covered by the mini-guide include how online bridal consultant certification programs work and what bridal consultants do on the job.
American Academy of Wedding Professionals
- The American Academy of Wedding Professionals is one of the go-to websites for information, courses and freebies for those interested in becoming a wedding planner. Learn the AAWP’s 10 Commandments of Wedding Professionals and receive a free wedding planning book by becoming a member. The AAWP charges for its particular course, but you can register to win one of its monthly giveaways for a free course.
The Wedding Planning Institute
- The Wedding Planning Institute provides a free wedding planning service. According to the website, “The program is designed to help aspiring and existing wedding planners start or grow their career while boosting local wedding businesses and reducing costs for brides and grooms.”
Why spend $20 or more on a wedding planner when you can make your own for the cost of supplies? Beside, those pre made planners are generic and you’ll end up changing things around to suit your specific needs anyway. Some binders do offer advice, but no better than what you’d get looking at all of those bridal magazines and online wedding sites.
- Create labels for your section dividers. Labels may include budget, payment tracker, guest list, equipment rentals, floor plan, flowers, photographer, tux rentals, dress rentals, hair and make-up, cake, rings, stationary, honeymoon, gifts and thank you note list and favors. Make your own labels of things that apply to your wedding.
- Put at least one page protector behind each divider. Use the page protector to hold receipts for each category. This makes them easy to find and readily available if you need to return something or check the price.
- Print off some calendar pages and place them behind a divider marked “Calendar.” Use this area to keep track of vendor appointments.
- Place the notebook, pencil/pen, sticky notes and calculator in the front pocket of the binder for easy access.
- Punch holes in any vendor bids, contracts or correspondence and place them behind the appropriate tab.
- Punch holes in any pictures of dresses or hairstyles that you have collected and place them behind the appropriate dividers.
- As you create a guest list and begin to receive RSVPs, keep track of them in the appropriate section of your planner.
- Keep a list of gifts you received in your planner, so you’ll have easy access when you’re ready to write thank you notes.
- On your wedding day, hand your binder over to you “wedding planner” for the day. It will help her make sure all payments are made to vendors, tips given to the appropriate people and everything from flower and cake placement to the wedding ceremony go off according to plan.
- Take classes in event planning through a bridal association. While there are no state or federal requirements to become a wedding planner, these classes will provide you with essential skills you will need to be successful in the industry. Many of these classes are available online and will teach you how to organize, negotiate and coordinate every detail of a wedding.
- Create a name and logo for your business. The name can be something simple, such as your name, or can be something catchy involving weddings. Your logo should be elegant and simple, with an easy to read font.
- Register your business name and logo through your local Chamber of Commerce and apply for a business license. This will ensure that you conform to all legalities involving your business and will also establish your credibility and professionalism with potential clients.
- Set up an office where you can run your business. When first starting out, it is acceptable for this to be a well-organized home office. As your career advances however, it is best to lease an office. This will give you space to keep all of your contracts and files organized, as well as a place to meet with clients.
- Join at least one wedding planner association. This will give you an affiliation with some of the top planners in the industry and will make you look authoritative and professional to clients. Associations also offer lessons that can help you stay up-to-date on wedding trends and changes in the industry.
- Set up a website for your business. The website should look professional and should be easy to navigate, so you may consider investing money into hiring a professional web designer. Essential details to include on your site are your name, qualification or associations you are affiliated with and your contact information. As your career progresses, you should also include photographs of events you have planned, as well as testimonials from clients you have worked with.
- Post advertisements in local bridal magazines and set up booths at bridal fairs. It is important that you put yourself out there to draw in clients, as wedding planners rely heavily on word-of-mouth business for their clientele.
- Visit bridal retailers, florists, bakers and other professionals in your area and try to establish a professional and friendly relationship with them. This will make it easier for you to negotiate deals with these vendors for your clients. Clients will want to contract with a planner that can save them money, so this will also increase the number of clients that want to work with you. Leave your business cards with vendors, if possible, so that they can pass your information on to their customers.
- Hire more planners for your business if necessary. If your customer base becomes so large that you cannot keep up with the demand, having a staff of planners is very important. This will ensure that each customer gets the attention they need and that none of your clients are given poor service in their planning process.
Are you a brand new wedding planner or an established professional with tons of clients? Either way, you’re probably scoping out new clients in order to increase your brand awareness and profits. Well, before you get all in a tizzy because you don’t have any formal marketing training, have no fear, we’re here to help. Marketing your wedding planner business isn’t really difficult. In fact, with this handy guide and a bit of creativity, you can successfully market your wedding planner business and get paying customer quickly. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
- Develop a mini-marketing plan.Your first step is to develop a 3-5 page mini-marketing plan. In your plan, you’ll need to write down your business overview, what sets you apart from other wedding planners, target audience, marketing budget, current marketing methods (online-offline or a combination of both), etc.
- Scope out your competition.Figure out how your competitors are marketing their services. Do they use print advertisement, word of mouth or viral advertising, full color brochures, business cards, or something else? Whatever your competitors use, you need to write down their advertising methods and then plan to add those same methods to your arsenal of marketing methods.
- Set up a basic website.You’ll need to set up a basic wedding planner website. Your basic website doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a simple 1to 5 page site will do fine. Make sure that you include an About Me page, price list, contact information and FAQs. If you are not technically savvy, you can hire a designer off Elance or Get a Freelancer to create one for you.
- Market your wedding planner site and services.Now that you have your website, make sure that you market it on a regular basis. To do so, you should include your site URL on any business cards, brochures, etc. Draft up tee-shirts with your URL and pass them out to friends and family members. Write articles and blog posts and place them online. In essence, do what you have to do to get targeted traffic to your wedding planner site.
- Contact wedding halls.Visit local wedding halls and introduce yourself to the owners. Tell them that you are offering a referral fee to any banquet halls that make a valid referral. By doing this, you will attract a steady stream of clients.
- Partner up with photographers.Another great way to market your wedding planner business is to pair up with wedding photographers. Often times, they meet clients that also need a wedding consultant. Therefore, by pairing up with them, you can get more clients and can cross-promote their photography services as well. Two great sources to find local photographer partners is Wedding Photo USA or Wedding Photography Directory. See “Resources” for link.
- Advertise to other wedding planners.Many wedding planners get booked and need help. Therefore, by marketing yourself to them, you can ensure that you have a steady flow of business. You can meet them at conferences and other weddings. Always be willing to pass out your card and offer your services at a discount so that they can make a profit off your services.
- Become a wedding planner. No training or formal education is required. Nevertheless, there are classes available for wedding planning. Gain experience by attending weddings, helping friends and family plan their weddings, attending bridal shows, studying wedding magazines, interviewing brides and talking with businesses that serve weddings. These businesses include caterers, florists, DJs and various faith ministers.
- Interpersonal and organization skills are important. These traits might be natural or learned. A wedding planner schedules cake tastings for the couple, helps plan the reception menu and finds DJs for the couple’s review. Create checklists and carry a binder to record details for each couple and to store paperwork.
- Listen to what the couple wants. Try to fulfill their wishes as well as steer them toward a decision that might work for them. Present the couple with a portfolio of wedding ideas or previous weddings. Take photos at each wedding you’ve planned and show these to the couple.
- Start a wedding-planning business or work for one, depending on your preference.
- Consider having a specialty. A wedding planner provides many services, but some specialize in consultation or ensuring wedding day preparations go according to the schedule.
- Join the Disney wedding planning team as a consultant by looking online at disney.go.com/DisneyCareers/ to look for openings. If there are no openings, contact wedding services and ask for any openings that might be coming available. Send in a resume even if no positions are presently available.
- Attend as many weddings as you can in Ontario. Do not “crash” weddings of strangers, but ask family and friends if you can observe their weddings. Some wedding planning companies in Ontario may have internship positions available in your local classifieds. Ask wedding planners if you can watch them work. Read wedding and bridal magazines to get an idea of current industry trends.
- Form a habit of organizing your life. As a wedding planner, you will need to create and adhere to strict dates to make sure your planned weddings go smoothly. Get used to keeping a planner and staying punctual.
- Search job listings for paid positions in wedding companies. As a wedding planner, you will need a basic understanding of every aspect of a wedding. You will acquire valuable tools that help you with the catering, design, decoration and other aspects of successful weddings. Look to Ontario country clubs, cruises, resorts and hotels for possible wedding planning positions.
- Ask your engaged family members and friends if you can be their wedding planner. If possible, do not perform the service for a fee. Use the opportunity to add material to your wedding planner portfolio. Take as many pictures as you can of the wedding to showcase your abilities to others.
- Create a wedding planning business. Contact the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre for start-up information for small businesses. You will need to register your business name, apply for any necessary permits and file documents with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. You can find a link to the Business Service Centre in Resources below.
- Create business cards and promotional pamphlets with all of your business contact information. You will need material to pass out to potential clients. Design the materials yourself at a printing company, or hire a company that specializes in logos and business cards to make your documents.
- Network with vendors and advertise your services to print and online publications. For example, buy flowers from a particular vendor and talk to the owner. Give the owner your card and talk about a possible partnership where the owner suggests your services to clients. Advertise your services in local Ontario classifieds so the community knows you exist.
- Choose your wedding planner fee. You can charge either a flat rate or an hourly rate. The budget for the wedding, as well as the total planning time, will help you to decide your rate structure. You will need to talk to potential clients about the number of guests and the type of wedding they want to form a total cost estimate.
- Get your foot in the door. This may mean working in a wedding-related field at first (like a florist or a dress shop) to get to know the industry. Cosmo Girl Online suggests joining an organization like Association of Bridal Consultants to meet wedding planners and make them aware of your interest in the industry (see Reference 1).
- Get aualified. Wedding planners look to hire assistants who are detail-oriented, self-motivated, friendly, smart and always one step ahead. Other qualifications include having a great phone manner and being very organized. It is also necessary to dress professionally (pant or skirt suit) for the interview and the job itself and always be sure to take notes you can refer back to later on.
- Know what you are in for. Assistant wedding planners’ specific duties will depend on level of experience and the preference of the planner. Some planners prefer to be involved in every aspect of the planning process, including the small details; these planners may simply rely on an assistant to complete administrative work in her office such as answering phones, checking up on orders, filling out paperwork, billing, checking emails, etc.
- Go above and beyond: Other planners hire assistants to work very closely with them to ensure the brides’ needs are being met. They may ask assistants to scout out locations, pick out and put together ideas for colors, dresses, flowers and cake that the bride can sift through or even go meet with vendors or the bride herself in place of the planner when she cannot make it.
- Look for a mentor. The transition for an assistant to become a wedding planner herself comes after years of experience learning how to properly service brides individually, establishing contacts with vendors in the area you plan to work, and developing a system for doing business. The best way to gain this kind of experience is through an apprenticeship or working under a planner who is willing to serve as a sort of professional mentor.
- Take on more responsibility. Assistant wedding planners who aspire to a career in planning weddings usually benefit most from working under a planner who is willing to act as a mentor, giving her assistant as much responsibility as possible. The assistant may need to work to learn the planner’s style and taste for a certain amount of time before the planner will fully trust her assistant to accomplish important tasks on her own. A successful and busy wedding planner may eventually give a sharp assistant a wedding account of her own to plan.
- Possess a passion for detail. Wedding planners are detail-oriented people that take pride in doing the small things that most people never even notice. Treating each party or wedding like it’s your own is an essential part of becoming a wedding planner.
- Take some event-planning courses. You’ll probably be able to find event-planning courses at your local community college or as part of an adult education curriculum. Take some business classes to gain valuable insight into running a business.
- Register as a wedding planner. Create a name for your company and register it with the local courthouse. Choose a name that is clever and explains what you do, but make sure it’s a name that potential clients will take seriously.
- Get an umbrella insurance policy. This will protect your business against lawsuits and other things that can occur when emotions are running high.
- Advertise your wedding planning services. Look through your local newspaper for newly engaged couples and send them brochures about your business. Hang up flyers and always have business cards with you in case you run into somebody who needs a wedding planner.
- Create an attractive website, or hire a professional to design your website. Many times, this will be the first impression that potential customers get of your business. Make sure that the services you provide stand out, and include all of your contact information on the site.
- Develop a website. If you have the skills to create your own site, there will be minimal start-up costs. If you don’t have those technical skills, work with a freelance web designer, who will be much cheaper than a web design firm. You should probably spend no more than $300. After your site is up, you will only pay for your domain name, a service provided by a number of hosts. Often, your web designer can take care of this for you, and you would pay them the fee.
- Educate yourself. Read bridal magazines, and study fashion and color trends. Make yourself comfortable with every area of wedding planning so that you are not only an expert planner but also an expert florist, decorator, photographer, videographer, caterer, cake designer and linen specialist. You need to know not only the names of every flower, but the colors they come in and how much they cost. You also need to identify vendors that you love in your area. Once you have chosen these vendors, try to create an affiliation with them. This will help bring business to both of you.
- Create documentation. Print business cards and brochures. The best way to do this without breaking the bank is to design these yourself, and then find an deal from a print shop or an online printer. Distribute your cards and brochures to your affiliated vendors, and ask them to hand them out to their clients. Offer to return the favor for them.
- Market yourself. Meet people, attend bridal shows and tell your friends and family about your business venture. Promote yourself by all means possible without exceeding your budget. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist can be very helpful for free promotion. Strive to get your website as many hits as possible. If you can afford it, advertise with large wedding websites as well. The more people hear of you, the more people will book with you.
- Give your photos a dreamy glow or a romantic intensity using blending and overlay tools in Photoshop. Open your photo in Photoshop CS3 or higher. Create a duplicate layer by clicking on the “create a new layer” icon in the layer box. Use quick keys if desired — “Ctrl J” if you are using windows or “Command J” if you are using Mac. Click the drop-down menu at the top left. The default layering option should say “normal.” From the menu choose “soft light,” “dissolve” or “luminosity.” These options both intensify color and create glowing or luminous light effects. Play with these layering styles and choose the right effect for your subject and color palette.
- Create soft, dreamlike lighting effects using filters in Photoshop. Choose “filter” from the menu at the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, choose one of the “blur” options, Gaussian blur, lens blur or one of the other blur styles. From the menu, you can also choose “distort” and then “diffuse glow” to create glow effects. All of these options have submenus that allow you to control the amount and intensity of the effect.
- Add an iridescent glow to your photos by creating a high-intensity light layer. Choose “select” from the top menu and then choose “color range.” From the drop-down menu, choose “highlights” to select the brightest areas. When you choose the category “highlights” from the menu, the brightest areas will automatically be selected.
- Create a new layer from the selected areas. Click “layer” on the top menu, choose “new” and select “layer via copy.” Create a duplicate layer from the highlights layer by clicking on the duplicate layer icon at the bottom of the dialogue box.
- Hide the background layer by clicking on the eye symbol next to the layer that says “background” in the dialogue box. The eye symbol should disappear.
- Blend the two highlight layers using “screen” mode. Apply a blur function of your choosing to the top highlight layer.
- Unhide the background layer by clicking on the box next to the layer labeled “background.” The eye symbol should become visible again. Flatten the image by clicking “layer” on the top menu and choosing “flatten image.” The background and highlight layers should blend seamlessly.
Before the Wedding
- Before the ceremony begins, family photographs and close-ups should be taken of both the bride and groom separately.
The groom should be photographed separately with the best man, each of the groomsmen and the ring bearer. A photograph of the entire group should be taken. Detail photographs should be taken of the tuxes, boutonnieres and grooming essentials. Candid preparation photographs can also be taken during this time.
The bride should be photographed with the maid or matron of honor as well as with each bridesmaid and the flower girl. Group photographs should also be taken. The bridal glamour photos should be taken prior to the ceremony. The bride’s accessories such as the dress, shoes and bouquets should be photographed.
During the Wedding
- During the wedding ceremony, pivotal moments should not be missed. The photographer should catch candid photos of the ushers seating the guests and the processional. Photographs should be taken of the bride coming down the aisle and of the groom waiting at the altar. An intimate picture of the bride being given away is important as well as candid photos of the ring and vow exchange. The first kiss is a wedding photograph that should not be missed.
After the Wedding
- After the wedding, pictures should be taken of the bride and groom signing the marriage license as well as posed formals of the happy couple with the wedding officiant. Formal images should be taken of the bride and groom together at the front of the church and with all members of the wedding party.
Photographs should be taken of the bride and groom outside the church with the wedding party and with guests. Detail portraits should be taken of the bride and groom’s hands with the wedding rings on.
The photographer should capture images of the bride and groom exiting the church and leaving in the limo or getaway car.
At the Reception
- At the reception, the photographer should capture pictures of the bride and groom arriving at the venue and talking with guests in the receiving line. Images of the first dance, cutting the cake and the toast should be highlighted events. Candid dancing photographs should be obtained of the entire wedding party.
Detail photos should be taken of the wedding cake, food and desert tables, the venue and decorations.
Before the Ceremony
- Before the wedding ceremony, take pictures of the wedding party getting ready. Get a shot of the bride and her mother adjusting the veil and the bridesmaids helping arrange the dress. Set up a shot where the groom and the groomsmen are having their boutonnieres attached to their clothes. Get pictures of the relatives arriving at the venue and of the bride being helped into the car by her father.
- While pictures of the bride and the groom together are important, put together a few shots of the wedding party as well. A shot of all of the parents of the marrying couple and shots of the two mothers is a good idea. Get pictures of the bridesmaids together and pictures of the bride with each bridesmaid. You may also want shots of the groomsmen and bridesmaids in pairs or in one large group.
- During the reception, people will be much more relaxed, so take the opportunity to take candid shots. Take pictures of people dancing together, and don’t forget to a get a few pictures of the children at the ceremony as well. You may choose to pose the children near the cake or the food and get their reactions to the elaborate desserts. Wait until the DJ plays some lively songs and get pictures of people having fun on the dance floor.
Bride and Groom Poses
- While there is the standard bride and groom pose with the two facing the camera with their bodies turned toward each other, there are many other poses to choose from. Place the bride in a chair and place the groom behind her with his hand on her shoulder for a more classic pose, or place the bride above the groom on the stairwell, looking down upon him lovingly. For a more casual shot, place the bride in the groom’s lap, or take shots of them kissing, half-hidden behind her veil.
- Set up a basic frame for the backdrop of your photo booth. Use a PVC or wood frame, portable laundry rack or other frame you can hang fabric from. Use tacks, small nails or hooks on the walls to hang fabric as well, if they are allowed by your venue. Use string, such as fishing line, to tie it to a hook or hang it from a tree.
- Hang or drape colorful fabric, sheets or curtains to serve as the backdrop of the photo booth and to block off the area from the rest of the reception. The background can include a colorful pattern for lighthearted pictures or a solid rich material, such as velvet, for formal pictures. Choose a color or pattern that complements your wedding colors and theme.
- Make large shapes to hang from the ceiling instead of a simple background. For example, cut hearts, a large moon, stars, butterflies or whatever shapes complement your wedding theme out of foam board. Cover the foam board with glue and glitter for a three-dimensional background.
- Provide a chair, bench or stool for your guests to sit on, if you desire. This is a good idea if you don’t plan on having a designated photographer for the photo booth so guests know exactly where to sit to be in the frame. Consider using bright paint to mark the area of the floor the guests should stay inside of.
- Assign a photographer or attendant for the photo booth. If you have a few teenage relatives or friends that can man the camera, assign shifts so someone is always there. Otherwise, set up a tripod and attach your digital camera. Insert a large memory card that will hold all of the pictures your guests could possibly want to take.
- Set up a wireless remote for your camera or tape instructions to the table or wall for guests to know how to set the timer on your camera if you won’t have a live photographer at the photo booth.
- Use a table near the photo booth to set up a photo printer. Stock the printer table with extra photo paper to print pictures for your guests to take with them, add to a picture guest album or for your own keepsakes. If you have someone assigned to the photo booth, she can print the pictures right away. Otherwise, consider hanging a sign asking guests to pick up their pictures at a predetermined time.
- Cover the cake table with a tablecloth. This provides a clean backdrop that adds a splash of color or texture to the photographs.
- Drape a table runner down the center of the table that the cake can rest on, or place a flat mirror on the table and set the cake on it. Both embellishments call further attention to the centerpiece of the table — the wedding cake.
- Sprinkle rose petals around the base of the cake for a romantic touch. Lay the bridesmaids’ bouquets on the tables, with the blooms pointing out and the flower stems pointing toward the cake to create a floral border.
- Scatter beads, gemstones and rhinestones around the cake for a touch of sparkle and glitz. Place small, flat, circular mirrors around the base of the cake for a contemporary look.
- Attach a strand of white Christmas lights around the edges of the table to illuminate the cake, or set electric candles around the cake to cast a soft glow on it. Refrain from using actual candles because the warmth of the flames can melt the cake’s icing.
- Position any other wedding items you would like to highlight in a wedding photo on or around the cake. For example, hang the bride and groom’s wedding bands from the cake topper. Place the couple’s toasting champagne flutes next to the cake. Lay the bride’s garter and bouquet next to the cake. By highlighting the cake, you can simultaneously capture photos of other important wedding elements as well.
- Position the cake cutting knife and serving knife next to the cake. These are often engraved and used for traditional wedding-reception events such as the bride and groom cutting the cake and feeding it to each other.
Submitting photos to wedding magazines sounds ,difficult especially if you have little experience contacting magazine editors. Photographers as well as brides can submit wedding photos. Just double check that your photographer is OK with you submitting his work because he typically holds the copyright. The most important way to get your wedding photos published is to have quality photos taken, so splurge on a professional photographer if you are set on getting your photos in a magazine.
- Choose 20 to 25 top-quality photos of your wedding day. Include photos which show the details that made your nuptials special, such as handmade favors and an heirloom wedding veil. Narrow down your pick of photos by taking out photos which are cropped poorly, as well as photos of random wedding guests.
- Upload your photos into an online gallery. Some editors want the photos uploaded into a gallery on their website. For instance, Martha Stewart Weddings prefers photos to be uploaded into its online community.
- Email your photos in a JPEG format directly to the magazine editors. Include any pertinent information in your e-mail, such as your name and your contact information, as well as the contact information for your photographer. In addition, give the date and location of your wedding.
- Send a contact sheet directly to the mailing address for the magazine editors. A contact sheet is a small film strip that shows miniature images of your photos. Include your contact information as well as the photographer’s contact information.
- Include a thoughtfully worded paragraph that shows the little details that made your wedding a very special day. For instance, show the major influences that inspired your wedding, such as a romantic movie. Or reveal a major theme that your wedding had, such as eco-friendly and outdoorsy or budget-friendly and craftsy.
Displaying and storing your wedding photos is likely to be a big priority for you after your wedding. Taking the time to frame your wedding photos properly will ensure that your memories are well preserved and protected. There are a few simple steps to follow for the best possible results as you select and frame your photographs.
- Purchase wedding frames from your local craft store, department store or from online wedding shops such as The Knot’s Wedding Shop (see Resources below). It is a good idea to take a sample of one of your wedding photos with you to the store so you can get a good sense of what frame finishes best complement your picture. In general, a subdued finish usually works well in making your photo, rather than the frame itself, the center of attention.
- Mat your wedding photos inside the frames to give them a sophisticated look. You can purchase photo mats in a variety of sizes and colors at most craft and photography stores. Use muted colors that complement the photo but do not distract from it.
- Protect your wedding photographs with frames that use ultraviolet (UV) protected glass. This type of glass will help protect your photos from fading or yellowing due to UV light damage from sunlight or indoor light. Professional photography and frame stores in your area are likely to carry frames made these materials, but if not, you can also have this glass specially cut for you at most hardware or home improvement stores.
- Have your frame engraved with a special message, such as the date of your wedding or the name of your wedding song, to add a personal touch. Many online photo businesses, such as Things Remembered, offer this service as part of your purchase of a wedding photo frame (see Resources below).
- Frame a wedding photo as a gift for each of the members of your wedding party as a way of expressing your gratitude. If possible, find a photo with you and the member of the wedding party together at the event to make it more personal. Another good choice would be a shot of the entire wedding party.
Whether you are a beginner at professional wedding photography or you will simply be taking wedding photos for a friend or family member on a budget, you have been given a significant responsibility to document a very special day in the lives of the bride and groom. A beach wedding is not necessarily any more challenging to photograph than an indoor wedding, but there are a different set of considerations you will need to keep in mind to ensure your success.
- Avoid using your camera’s flash function if it is a sunny day, as outdoor photography does not generally require the use of artificial light. Be sure that the sun is always behind you, on an angle slightly to the right or left, when you are taking a picture on the beach. Though this will improve the quality of the lighting in your shot, the people in your photos may be squinting due to the sun in their eyes unless you take the time to find the right amount of shade or wait until a cloud slightly obscures the sun.
- Ask the bride and groom for a list of specific shots that they would like you to try to capture during their beach wedding. This might include a list of them posing with grandparents or other specific relatives or less traditional shots such as the couple dipping their bare feet into the rising tide after the ceremony. This type of list will help keep you organized and feeling confident that you and the bride and groom will be pleased with the results.
- Take a few silhouette shots of the bride and groom by having them stand in position facing each other with the sun behind them. This will place the source of light behind them, creating a shadow effect. Silhouette shots should be used sparingly as in most cases you will not be able to see much detail in the photos.
- Keep the subjects of your wedding photos as the primary focus in the camera’s frame as you snap pictures. A common challenge with taking beach wedding photos is drawing enough attention to your subjects, rather than to the wide-open landscapes. Do try to keep the beach in the background of your photos, though, to create a visual frame of reference for your shot.
- Take some creative photographs of simple objects related to the beach wedding as an alternative to shots of people. Some of the most popular and artistic wedding photographs are the ones that capture the candid moments and basic things involved during the day, such as a picture of the bride’s veil draped over a chair or a bouquet of flowers resting on the table. For a beach wedding you might consider taking a picture of the bride and groom’s footprints in the sand or a beach blanket with a bouquet of flowers on top of it.
Black and White
- Scan in any wedding photos not already stored on your computer. Save them in a folder on your desktop and name the folder “Wedding Photos.”
- Download and install an Adobe Photoshop software trial if you don’t already have photo editing software on your computer. Use your software to crop your wedding photos, remove any red eye, and delete duplicates or photos of poor quality.
- Open a wedding photo onto your canvas or screen.
- Rename and save the photo so you do not save over the original.
- Turn a photo to black and white for a nostalgic and romantic effect by selecting the “Image” tab at the top of the screen.
- Click on “Mode” from the drop-down menu that opens and then “Grayscale” from the next drop-down menu.
- Click “Yes” when a box opens to ask if you want to discard the photo’s color information.
- Cut out the couple from the image to move it to another background by first choosing a scenic background such as a European village, a country field or a beach scene.
- Open the wedding photo in Photoshop. Cut out the couple from the wedding photo by selecting the magnetic lasso tool in the tool bar on the left side of the screen.
- Click on the edge of the couple and slowly move the mouse around them, forming a dotted line around their image. When you reach your starting point, click to cause the cutout to form a blinking, dotted line.
- Change to the arrow tool in the left-hand tool bar and click in the middle of the cutout couple and drag it onto the other photo. With the arrow tool still selected, alter the size of the couple to be proportionate with the new background by dragging the corners of the image of the couple in or out.
How to Take Wedding Photos
- Prepare for photographing the wedding prior to the big day. Make sure that the camera battery is charged and the flash works. Bring a tripod for the wedding party portraits. Visit the ceremony and reception venues prior to the wedding to check lighting and backgrounds. Many cameras have a variety of scene settings to ensure a good photograph. Experiment with the different settings to see which will make the best pictures.
- Take pictures of groups. Sometimes wedding guests can number in the hundreds. Individual shots of each guest will be overwhelming and cumbersome. Visit each guest table during the reception and take photographs of the entire group. This creates fun, lively photographs.
- Change backgrounds often. If the ceremony is at a church, many of the wedding party portraits will be taken at the steps leading up to the altar. But all the photos do not have to be shot there. Take the party outside the church. Use the building as a backdrop as well as the surrounding grounds. Varied backgrounds make for more interesting photographs.
- Capture the ceremony with the camera. The ceremony can be one of the most meaningful parts of the wedding. Be sure to turn off the volume on the camera if possible. Odd beeps and clicks can be distracting and rude. Try to get interesting photographs during the ceremony without being too obvious.
- Vary the camera angle and perspective. Do not limit the perspective to front and center. Use imagination to set up the shot. Take shots from above the fray or from a discreet corner.
- Edit the photographs after the wedding. Use editing software to clean up shots. First fix the red eye. There is usually a specific function to do this. Then crop the photograph to preserve the best part of the frame. Next, fix any exposure, sharpness and color issues.
- Traditional Indian weddings can be traced back to Vedic times, and the ceremony is based the values of happiness, harmony and growth. The ceremonies include many rituals, such as Jaimala (garland exchange), Madhupak (yogurt and honey offering), Kanyadan (giving away the bride), Havan (sacred fire lighting), Rajaham (sacred fire sacrifice), Gath Bandhan (tying the nuptial knot with scarves), Mangalphera (walk around fire), Saptapardi (seven steps), Jalastncha (couple blessing), Sindhoor (red powder), Menhdi (henna ceremony), and Mangalasutra (marriage necklace). Several decorating components are required to serve as the background for the rituals.
- The actual ceremonies at traditional Indian weddings take place in mandaps. A mandap is a four-pole canopy at the center of the wedding stage. The traditional decorations of the mandap include flowers, herbs, and red and gold colors. Many people place earthen pots (clay) and sliver plates around the mandap. The fire is lit in the center of the mandap, and the Saptapardi is done around it.
- Shamianas are decorated tents used in wedding receptions and celebrations. They are usually made from gandhani print, ethnic mirrors and satin. They are also in mainly red and gold colors. The shamiana is decorated with flowers and often has burning incense throughout the tent. They usually have elaborate carpets or rugs, and are lighted with candles and Indian-inspired lanterns.
- Flowers have always been a part of Indian weddings, and blooms with exotic fragrances are often used. Many people decorate with yellow and orange marigolds to give a traditional ambiance to the ceremony. Some other commonly used flowers are roses, jasmine, gerbera, lilies and orchids. The mandap frame is decorated with garlands of flowers and herbs. Many brides use seasonal flowers, such as bright and earthy-colored ones in autumn and pastel shades in summer.
Bride and Groom
- The bride and groom are decorated in traditional Indian wedding ceremonies as well. The bride typically wears a pink or red sari, an elaborate veil, and jewels given to her by friends and family. The groom traditionally wears a white silk suit or safa, a long flowing shirtdress and pants. Many bride and groom’s foreheads are painted in crown designs with sandalwood.
A good way to save money on a wedding is to have a wedding at home. An at-home wedding can be just as wonderful and elaborate as a wedding done in a church or country club. The key to having a beautiful home wedding is in the decorations.
Remove Items That Will Detract
- You will have to rearrange the home a bit to have home wedding. It is a good idea to rent a storage unit for a week or two, or to move items into the basement or attic. You will need more open space in the home, so you will want to store small tables, some occasional furniture and anything that makes the rooms you are using cluttered. It may even be a good idea to completely clear a room or two for the ceremony and reception. Take down personal pictures, photographs and artwork, and replace them with photographs of the couple.
Keep It Light
- As at-home weddings are held in small quarters when compared to large halls and churches, you will want to keep the decorations on the light side. Tablecloths, chairs, chair covers and all other decorations should be light-colored to make the rooms feel larger. Stick to shades of white or perhaps natural colors brought into the decor in the form of flowers, bows and sashes. Do not overwhelm the room with color unless it is a very large room. Have any color you use be an accent.
Set a Backdrop
- Set a beautiful backdrop for the wedding by adding tulle, ivy and flowering vines to the room. Be very generous with the amount of ethereal tulle fabric you use to line your walls and drape across the ceiling of the room to create a romantic tent-like effect. Incorporate green ivy and flowering vines to dress up the fabric and add more detail. Use four to six stone or plaster columns and place large fern plants on top. Tie more tulle and ribbons around the plant pots. Place the columns around the location where the vows will be recited.
- With an at-home wedding, the room in use is often filled with people, so an overabundance of decor will be wasted as no one will be able to see it through the crowd. Helium balloons are a simple decoration you can use that will bring color and ambiance to the room without getting in the way since they are meant to be overhead. For table decorations, suspend several helium balloons that will float a couple of feet above each table. They should be taller than the average person when they are standing next to the table. If you really love balloons, you can make the at-home wedding magical by filling the ceiling completely with helium balloons. Tie ribbons to the balloons and let them hang down like streamers.
- Obtain cardboard carpet or linoleum tubes from a local carpet or hardware store. Depending on the policy of the store, they will either give them to you or charge you a small fee.
- Use a handsaw to cut away any damage from both ends of the tube, leaving both sides flat and even. Measure the tube from top to bottom and keep this measurement for the 2-inch by 4-inch (2×4) board.
- Measure two 9-inch by 9-inch pieces of plywood. Mark your lines with a pencil and use a table saw to cut them out.
- Lay the plywood on a flat surface. Place the ruler along the top of the plywood and mark the center. Repeat at the bottom. Use the ruler to draw a straight line down the center of the plywood connecting both marks. Do this for both pieces of plywood.
- Place the ruler on the side of the plywood and mark the center. Repeat on the other side. Use the ruler to draw a straight line through the middle of the plywood from mark to mark. Do this for both pieces of plywood. The point where the two lines meet is the center.
- Use an electric drill and pilot bit to drill a hole through the center of each piece of plywood.
- Use a table saw to cut a 2×4 to the length of the carpet tube.
- Place the cut 2×4 on a table with one end hanging off the edge of the table. Use a 1-inch wood screw and electric drill to attach one of the pieces of plywood to the bottom of the 2×4. Screw through the hole you drilled into the center of the 2×4.
- Slide the carpet tube over the top of the 2×4.
- Use a 1-inch wood screw and electric drill to attach the second piece of plywood to the top of the column. Screw through the hole you drilled into the center of the 2×4.
- Place the column on a flat surface with a drop cloth underneath. Apply a liberal coating of joint compound to the tube and all exposed areas of the plywood. Use your hands for more-even coverage. Allow the joint compound to dry.
- Roll the column over and coat the exposed plywood in joint compound. Inspect the tube for any uncoated areas and apply joint compound. Allow the joint compound to dry completely according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Use 220-grit sandpaper to sand the joint compound to a smooth finish.
- Wipe the column down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust.
- Place the column on a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area. Apply spray paint in the color of choice to all exposed areas of the column. Allow the spray paint to dry according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Roll the column over and apply spray paint to any uncoated areas.
- Pick a theme for the anniversary party and incorporate the table decorations as part of the overall decor. Consider the time of the year in your theme, as inexpensive natural items make for creative centerpieces. Other theme ideas include the number of years of the anniversary, a hobby or interest of the couple, or a location that is special to the couple.
- Select the colors for the party. If the anniversary is a “big” one, such as the 25th or 50th, you may want to use traditional colors, such as silver for 25 or gold for 50. Other options are the couples’ favorite colors, or colors to match with the time of year.
- Use candles. Surround large pillar candles in the center of the table with ribbon or tree boughs. Fill small glass bowls with a center candle and fresh flowers or colored marbles. Large pillar candles look beautiful inside hurricane glass domes.
- Make a memory lane on the table. Place a wide strip of theme-colored ribbon across the table. Mount copies of photos of the couple and their children and family on colored card stock. Glue the photos on the ribbon. Each table can be different, perhaps highlighting children and grandchildren, vacations the couple have taken, or jobs and hobbies.
- Fill colorful balloons with helium. Tie pretty ribbons to the balloons and candies at the bottom to hold them down.
- Make tissue-wrapped jars that will stand out on the table. To wrap canning jars with tissue paper, lay out tissue paper in two or three shades of your theme color, with the darkest color on top and white on the bottom. Place a canning jar down in the middle and gather the four corners at the top of the jar. Tie matching ribbons around the neck of the jar.
- Create a natural setting by using seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits. For example, if the anniversary is in the fall, use carved out and cleaned pumpkins as pot holders for mums or other fall flowers, and lean the pumpkin lid against the arrangement. Fill glass vases or bowls with colorful seasonal fruit or nuts that add fresh color to the table.
- Scatter confetti all over the tables. Purchase confetti in a myriad of shapes and themes from party stores, or create your own with hole punchers. Confetti colors the table quickly and guests enjoy tossing it
- This tree will be filled with wishes of hope from family and friends. Gather all the messages and place them into decorative frames. Tie a ribbon or wire to the frame and attach each one to the individual tree branches. Keep the notes brief — one or two sentences. In addition to wishes, place pictures of family members or friends inside the frames and add messages to the back. To make this a surprise for the wedding couple, hide the hope tree until the wedding day.
- This is a tree filled with favorite photos of the bride and groom from their childhood years to the present. Create a heart-shaped paper frame for each photo. You will need at least 10 photos. Place newborn pictures at the bottom with the other photos ascending the tree up to the present to represent change over the years. At the top, place a large photo of the bride and groom. To complete the look, write a story about how the wedding couple met and were destined to be together. Arrange this framed story at the front of the destiny tree.
Ribbons of Love Tree
- For a larger tree that is indoors or outdoors, create a ribbon theme. Rainbow-colored ribbons cascade down this tree with loving messages from the bride and groom to each other. Tie the ribbons individually to a tree branch. At the end of the ribbons, place the special message inside a small bottle or attach it to a candle. Turn a love note into an origami animal to hang from the ribbon. These messages will reflect the many ways the bride and groom love each other.
Fortune Cookie Tree
- Fortune cookies are a simple way to add a little fun to the reception. They transform your tree into an edible piece of art. Place personalized messages of good fortune and hope inside each one for your guests. Tie the fortune cookies individually to the tree limbs. For one last token of your wedding, place several bowls of fortune cookies around the tree so that guests can take some home.
- There are no federal licensing or certification requirements necessary to become a wedding decorator. You could choose to complete a certification course, however, to learn more about wedding and event planning. Not only will a certification help set you apart from the crowd, but courses can teach you new and innovative techniques and approaches you can apply to your wedding decorating.
Join an Association
- You do not have to be in an association to be a wedding decorator, but membership can help boost your reputation. New wedding decorators may also benefit from the support, resources, information and networking an association offers members. A variety of organizations cater to wedding decorators, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, National Association of Wedding Professionals and the Wedding Industry Professionals Association.
Follow the Licensing Requirements
- Wedding decorators are often self-employed, but you could also choose to work for a wedding planning company as the decorator. Although you do not need a license to be a wedding decorator, you may need a license to operate as a business owner. Even if you run the business from your home office, your city or state may require business tax registration and licensing.
Market Your Services
- You can create a portfolio to show your work to potential clients or employers. To reach a broad range of potential clients, you can create a website displaying your information and previous events you have decorated. If you are not tech savvy or want to keep costs down, blogs are often free and do not require any web design skills. If you do not have experience and want to gain exposure, you might want to volunteer your services to decorate an event thrown by a local charity or organization.
Spread the Word
- Word of mouth is an effective and free form of advertising for new wedding decorators. Your reputation is essential to a successful wedding decorating career. If you have any experience decorating for weddings or any other events, such as birthday parties or baby showers, share the photos and encourage others to share them as well. You can visit local bridal shops and florists to inquire about displaying your business cards. Attending bridal shows or expos also gives you the opportunity to market your services directly to future brides and other vendors.
When planning your wedding, you may envision guests marveling at all of the sparkling decorations as they enter your ceremony and reception venues. However, your budget is limited and you don’t want to break the bank to get the look you desire. Fortunately, you can complete many DIY projects that are both pretty and cheap.
- Invest in several bolts of tulle. Bolts of the fabric come at a very affordable price when bought in bulk. Use the tulle everywhere. Hang it from the ceiling, wrap it around pillars, create swags between the pews at your ceremony site and run it down the middle of your tables.
- Stock up on white lights after Christmas, or ask friends and relatives if they can lend you lights from their own supply. Options vary from enclosing white lights in tulle and wrapping around the bridal table under the linens to lining your walkway with luminaries. Place candles around your reception venue for a romantic glow. Make miniature lanterns by cleaning out old baby food jars, filling with sand or decorative stones, placing a votive candle inside and stringing the jar to a hanging branch with sturdy wire.
- You can create a unique centerpiece for less than $10. Make a topiary out of a recycled pot, Styrofoam ball, moss, dowel rod, moss, ribbon and silk flowers. Make candy bouquets and place in a bright basket. Place a tiered cupcake stand in the middle of each table and fill with bright cupcakes. Place a row of pillar candles down the middle of the table and surround by moss or flower petals. Take decorative butterflies on a stem, wrap them together and place in a decorative container for a butterfly bouquet. Use several bud vases with a single flower stem in each one for a fresh look. Place several tulips in a vase and weight them down with fishing sinkers. Fill the vase with water for a submerged floral arrangement.
- Favors add a decorative touch and help to fill up the table. You can also place the favors in a basket or hang them from a small tree in place of a centerpiece. Make edible treats and place them in a pretty satchel. Make your own body scrub from sugar, body oil, aloe vera and olive oil, and place in decorative containers. Wrap mints in tulle and tie with a colorful ribbon.
- An easy and cheap way to add a splash of color to your wedding decorations is to make your own seating cards in bold colors. Write each guest’s name and table number on a bright piece of paper. Cut out, fold and add ribbon to the side of the card. Press flowers in a book and glue them around your table numbers. Paint a cheap picture frame with a distressed look for a vintage feel. Place the table number inside the frame.
- Quickly decorate your church by using pew bows. Cut tulle or satin fabric and tie in the shape of a bow. Tie the bows around the pew. Another option is to create a kissing ball. Stick flowers through Styrofoam so they make a round arrangement. Attach ribbon and hang from the pew.
- Scour flea markets, thrift stores and your own supply of secondhand items for candlestick holders, stemware, china, vases, candles and other decorations. Use a decorative bird cage in place of a wedding card box. Set the tables with sparkling glasses and white dinner plates. Borrow a couple of pieces of furniture to make a comfortable lounge area. Place photographs in old picture frames around the reception venue and near the guest book.
- You do not need to decorate every area of your venue to achieve an elegant look. Concentrate instead on a few focal points. For example, place the bridesmaids’ bouquets in vases on your bridal table for a lush look. Frame a cake table with a pretty canopy. Use a garden arch at your entrance, and cover it with tulle, flowers and ribbon. Use garden trellis against a wall and string flowers through the holes. Stack decorative hat boxes to give the illusion of a cake. Place coordinating flowers on the edges of the boxes.
- An easy and cheap way to add decor to your venue is to make signs. Make a large sign pointing to the reception venue. Make it decorative by adding graphics or a stylish font. Make a reminder sign beside the guest book. Make a banner featuring with the couple’s name.