One of the most common questions I receive is, “what are your insider tips for planning a wedding?” While certain things have changed and evolved over time, my philosophy on event planning through the five senses has remained the same. However, there are a few tips and tricks when it comes to wedding planning and execution that can make all the difference. Once you select a date and venue, the planning process can truly begin. Below are my latest ideas for planning the wedding you really want.
1. Dream Big! Imagine what your wedding might look like. It costs nothing to dream. Tear articles from magazines, start a Pinterest board, and collect images from the galleries of ColinCowieWeddings.com. Once you have your vision, it will help your create and shape all your creative decisions moving forward.
2. Pick A Color Scheme ASAP. Choosing your color scheme is the first decision you should make in the wedding planning process. Your wedding is the first joint statement of style as husband and wife, so be sure to choose a color combination that you both love and keep it consistent – from wedding invitations to thank you cards and everything in between, keep in mind the color scheme.
3. Always Negotiate With Your Creative Partners. While it may sound unseemly, there’s nothing wrong with negotiating with your wedding vendors. It all comes down to how you do it. Rather than break down each part of the estimate and alienating the vendor, it’s much better to let the vendor know that it is more than you can spend and then ask for their suggestions on how to pare down the cost. If their estimate comes in higher than expected after you already let them know your budget, be polite but firm in explaining that you have to stick to your original budget. However, in the end, even if you have connections in a particular industry, you should not expect discounts. Don’t take it personally, because at the end of the day, this is someone’s business and they may not have the ability to offer a discount.
4. Budget For Lighting. Lighting can make the biggest difference in your event, so try to keep this in mind when planning your budget. Trim the menu or limit the floral expenses, but be sure to allocate for good event lighting. Lighting design is one of the easiest ways to take a wedding from cookie-cutter to distinctive. With advances in today’s lighting technology, you can take any reception space from ordinary to extraordinary with proper lighting.
5. Minimize Spacing Between Tables. Spacing between tables is important and often overlooked. When faced with a large ballroom that holds five hundred and a guest list that numbers three hundred, your instinct may be to spread tables around to fill the space. That leaves a lot of desolate empty space between tables. I think guests should be kept closer together. No matter how large the space may be, I cluster tables close together, illuminate them, and leave any empty area around the perimeter in the darkness. The empty area disappears, and you are left with a party setting that is full of life, noise, and energy. Don’t worry about the waiters; leave one to two feet between the chair backs and they will be able to get through.
6. Remember: You Are Hosts. The comfort of your guests is of utmost importance! Your wedding is a statement of style, but true style has nothing to do with what you wear or how much money you spend – it’s about how you treat your guests. How you welcome and treat your guests is more important than the food you serve or the dress you wear. A wedding leaves a lasting impression because of the overall experience, not the cost of the parts.
7. There’s No Such Thing As A “Perfect” Wedding. I never use the word ‘perfect.’ In life, your best is more than good enough. Whenever a bride comes to me and says she wants the perfect wedding, I tell her she’s come to the wrong man. However, I always tell her I will do my best for her. The word ‘perfect’ conjures up too high an expectation. Something will inevitably go wrong, but that’s why you hire wedding professionals! It’s the job of the planner to not only prevent mistakes, but divert, placate, and resolve any issues that may arise.