10 Ways to Avoid Major Wedding Planning Disasters

Imagine you are all dressed up in your gorgeous gown that took you months to select. Your hair is neatly styled and make up applied ever so perfectly. There is a reception hall filled with your friends, family and colleagues patiently awaiting your arrival. As you prepare to make your entrance, you soon discover a disaster has occurred that throws off the day that you visioned. 

As the decor provider, my staff and I are typically behind the scenes of many weddings and events. Because of that, we get to see it all- from beautiful events that flow seamlessly to events that seem to result in one disaster after another. We decided to share with you some of the reasons why major disasters occur and 10 tips to help you avoid some of those pitfalls.

1. Hire Professional Vendors- We recently set up an event in which the caterer (a non licensed family friend whom was hired because he was a great cook) arrived 15 minutes prior to the start of the reception to set up a four course meal. You can imagine how this ended. When hiring a professional, you will enter into a legal binding contract that specifies the items ordered and set up and delivery times that you and the vendor must adhere. In addition, a professional understands the importance of timeliness, preparation and has specialized skills and experience that they are able to apply so that you can receive quality service.  

2. Get Feedback on Your Decor- Ever walk into a venue and see several different color schemes going on or see decor that does not match or make sense? Remember that your decor will typically be the first thing your guests will notice when they walk into your venue. It will show in your pictures and video. Make sure that it is something that represents you and your fiances tastes and personality. If you are unsure, make sure you consult a professional decorator for ideas or input so that you can have an elegant wedding that all of your guests will rave about and that you will be proud to show in your pictures. 

3. Hire A Professional Planner for the Day- I can not preach this enough! I have seen many events where the guests are wandering around trying to find out where to go and when to be seated. Many brides are comfortable with planning the details of their wedding. Yet the biggest piece of the planning is managing the execution on the day of the event. While you are getting dressed for the event, who will assure that your venue is set up at the appropriate time? Who will be your vendor's point of contact for questions about directions, set up etc.? A professional planner can handle all of those details for you while you relax and prepare for your day. 

4. Read Everything that you Sign- With each vendor, you will enter a contract. It is important to become as familiar with each contract as possible assuring that you adhere to the rules, policies and stipulations of each.  
*If you purchase items from the internet, find out about delivery guarantees and the return policy. Make sure you order items in enough time to receive them and more importantly inspect them. You may also want to find out if the products arrive ironed or require additional set up etc.

5. The Truth About Deep Discounts- There is a large misconception that one can negotiate their way to receiving a glamorous wedding at next to nothing by requesting discounts from vendors. Remember that your vendors are business owners that have a goal of earning a profit.... and they will even if they have to provide you with the "illusion" that you are receiving the requested discount to get your business. Often, vendors recoup the costs from deep discounts in other ways i.e reducing services, providing lower quality products, increasing costs in other areas etc. Make sure that you create a realistic budget and stick to it.  Be prepared to pay for what you want so that you can receive the products and services that you want. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

*The best way to reduce your costs is to reduce your headcount. There is a huge difference in price for 200-250 guests than 100-150 guests.

6.   6. Obtain a Floor Plan- A floor plan is  similar to a blue print which allows you to plan the layout of your venue. With a floor plan, you can designate where the cake table, head table etc will be placed. Many venues provide you with a floor plan or you can create one yourself. This is something that you will need to distribute to your vendors so they will know where to set up on the day of. 

7. Communicate- I have arrived at many venues prepared to set up to discover that the headcount increased or that an additional table was added, unbeknownst to me. Make sure that you continuously communicate details and changes to your vendors  throughout the process, especially regarding your headcount.  This assures that you will have everything that you need and your vendors are not caught off guard. 

8. Allocate your Budget Appropriately-  Assure that you start with a budget and stick to it. Keep your budget in mind as you are planning and speaking with your vendors. Do the research so that your budget is realistic. As a vendor, there is nothing more challenging than sitting across from a couple that wants a grand event with all of the works on an unrealistic budget. 

9. Pay Bills On Time- I recall one of the first weddings that I decorated. As we were setting up, the caterer mentioned that she had not been paid the remaining balance. She spoke with the groom after the ceremony. Apparently the groom did not pay the remainder of the balance. Within minutes of their conversation, the caterer removed her table cloths and packed up her food as she and her staff headed out of the door right before the start of the reception. While this is an extreme example, it is still important to make sure that you meet  the payment deadlines for your event. If you are having an issue with making payments, please communicate to the vendor as early as possible to avoid any delays in receiving services. 

10. Let's Be Honest- After being apart of the wedding industry for almost ten years, I have come to realize that there is no such thing as a "perfect wedding". The truth is small incidents will occur. The goal is to prepare for the incidents and keep them from ruining your day.  
"I can't promise you a perfect wedding, because there is no such thing, things will go wrong, but I can promise you you'll have an amazing time." Mindy Weiss

Happy Planning!
Visit our website: www.lefabuleux.com
Comments or questions about this blog? askus@lefabuleux.com

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