It’s your big day!

Here’s how to make sure you actually enjoy it.

Wedding planning can be extremely exhausting and stressful. For months, sometimes years, you put so much effort and time into planning one BIG  day. So, you need to make sure you, of all people, have an amazing time!

Here are five tried-and-true  tips that can help you enjoy this amazing day.

  1. Plan a fun but relaxing morning

The morning of your wedding can be one extremely fun and exciting, or painfully nerve wracking and stressful. To be sure that your morning can be great, a little planning ahead will go a long way. First, plan your to-do list so you have everything done two or three days before the wedding. That gives you a day to catch up, if need be, and more time to relax and enjoy a little pampering if you don’t need it. Second, delegate! Make sure any potentially stressful activities – coffee runs, flower delivery, luggage drop-offs, etc. –  are covered by other people you can trust. Finally, plan a low-stress getting ready party so you and your wedding party can just relax. 

  1. Stop to take a breath

Your wedding day can come and go so quickly you might barely get a second to look around and appreciate everything that’s going on during this big day. It’s definitely worth it to take a moment to take it all in. Really *look* at your ceremony venue as you prepare to step down the aisle. Do the same at your reception. Examine your cake. Enjoy your custom lighting or other decorations. One of our brides carried stashed small digital camera in her groom’s coat pocket and her own gown’s pocket so that they could snap a few photos of the images they wanted to remember forever. 

  1. Eat!

It can be easy to forget to any and all meals on your wedding day. You’re going to be busy, so eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner aren’t exactly the first things on your mind. Trust us, though, you’ll need to eat!! Your wedding day is such a unique event, you’ll want to have energy to celebrate and feel good all day. Plan for snacks in your getting ready room, and don’t forget to eat at your reception. 

  1. Dance!

After all the formalities are said and done and all there’s left to do is dance, then do just that! Take advantage of this huge party you planned for you and your spouse. When looking back on your wedding day years from now, do you think you’ll be disappointed you didn’t spend more time at the bar? Probably not. This is 100% YOUR night, take advantage, and just let loose!

  1. Embrace Plan B

No matter how careful you are in your planning, something is bound to go, well, not quite according to plan. Once your planning is done and executed, give yourself permission to loosen your grip and go with the flow. That’s the best way to cope with flowers that are a little too bright…ushers that show up a little too late…a cake topper that’s a little crooked…serving sizes that are a little too small…or even an embarrassing relative who has a little too much to drink at your reception. These kinds of things happen at every wedding, and it’s usually so insignificant in the long run, the happy couple doesn’t even notice. Or if they do notice, they can be free to let it go on focus on what really matters: they are married!

So trust us! Be proactive in making sure that you can enjoy a great wedding day!









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Choosing Your Vendors: Pro vs. Pal

It can be tempting to ask friends or family members to provide services that are normally provided by a professional, but is it really a good idea? The answer is yes…or no. It all depends.

YES, if your friend is a also a pro

Even though your pal Sarah is super crafty and your brother-in-law Sam takes amazing Instagram pix, that doesn’t mean Sarah knows how to make centerpieces or that Sam has the slightest clue how to photograph a wedding…nor is he likely to have the right equipment. If your sorority sister from years ago makes a living as a wedding photographer and you love her work, by all means, book her for your wedding. But if your spouse-to-be’s college roommate is in a struggling garage band, opt for a professional deejay who can give you a custom play list that is exactly what you want in terms of music while also expertly keeping things on schedule with trained emcee skills.

NO, if you wouldn’t get over a mistake

We’re all human and nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s heard of collapsing wedding cakes  and disastrous bridesmaid dresses.If Uncle Terry videotapes your wedding and then accidentally erases it before the night is over, you’re still going to have to see him – and be polite- at family gatherings for the foreseeable future. At least if a pro makes a mistake, you can get a full or partial refund.

YES, if you are prepared to treat your friend like a pro

If your friend is a pro and you are confident in his or her ability, then you need to handle this as a professional relationship. Which means, be on time for consultation appointments, provide accurate and honest direction, and above all, don’t ask for a discount (though it’s okay to accept one if offered).

NO, if you are settling for something you don’t really want or going over budget.

You can appreciate cousin Megan’s  skills, but if her invitation designs are not to your taste, don’t feel obliged to hire her. And if your neighbor Antoine’s floristry is to die for but completely out of your budget, it’s best to look elsewhere.

How to ask a friend or family member to be one of your vendors:

  1. Give plenty of notice. Assume that he/she has many clients and may be booked on your chosen day.
  2. Be clear on what you are asking. “Would you be part of our wedding?” could mean many different things, while, “You know how much I love your work – I hope I can book you for our March 23rd wedding” is perfectly understandable.
  3. Don’t ask for a discount or suggest that your friend work for free “as your wedding gift.” Wedding vendors make hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars per event, and your friendship probably would not survive your request for a $500, $900, $1500 – or more – wedding gift.
  4. Be gracious if they decline. Even if you are prepared to handle the situation professionally, your friend may prefer not to for any number of reasons. Simply thank them anyway and ask if they can recommend an alternate.

How to decline a friend or family member who offers to be a vendor when you don’t want or need their services:

  1. Thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness.
  2. If you’ve already chosen a vendor, say so – even if the contract is not signed yet.
  3. Insist that you and your spouse to be want the person to be a guest, not a worker, at your wedding.
  4. If the person won’t take no for an answer, find a safe alternative role. For example, if Grandma wants to make your wedding dress, it’s okay to say you’ve already put a down payment on one, but perhaps she would make the flower girl’s dress. Or, if your Aunt Bessie wants to bake your cake, let her know that you’ve already arranged for that, but if she would be able to help make favors, you’d be beyond grateful.

Whatever decision you make, ensure that your relationship will stay intact, no matter what happens. That way, everybody will be happy.






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Sensational seating solutions

Out of everything on that long wedding to-do list, nothing seems to stress out more brides, grooms, or their parents than the dreaded reception seating arrangements.

There always seems to be the odd chair left over at one table and another one at that table. There’s the troublesome distant relative or two who can’t get along with any family members. There are the work friends who only know you and each other, and the college friends whose break-up still stings enough that they are best placed on opposite sides of the room. Then the big question: where shall the newlyweds sit?

We may not have a magic wand, but we do have some suggestions that can help you get through this with a little less hassle.

  1. Opt for family seating. Put up one long table for each of you, another for mutual friends, and two smaller tables to accommodate each of your co-workers. If your dad can’t stand your mother’s great-aunt, they can be seated far enough apart to make conversation impossible.
  2. Use a mix of tables. Most reception venues have circular, rectangular and square tables. Rectangular tables make the best use of space, but square tables allow for smaller groups (and fewer personality clashes). Meanwhile, circular tables are great for an odd number of guests because everybody can be evenly spaced without awkwardness. A combination of all of the above is much easier than forcing yourself to have ten people to a table.
  3. Assign tables but not seats. You needn’t fuss about whether Cousin Jerry should be on Grandpa’s left or Grandma’s right. Just give your guests table numbers and let them decide for themselves who sits next to whom.
  4. Skip the seating chart altogether. No, really! If you have fewer than 100 guests, just skip it. You’ve invited grown-ups – they are perfectly capable of choosing their own tables. Simply ask the reception hall to set up for ten extra seats so nobody is left looking for a place to sit.
  5. Go clubbing. If you’re not having a formal dinner or buffet, but opting for finger foods, brunch, cocktails and hors d’oeurves, etc., work with your reception hall to arrange club seating instead of traditional tables. A combination of high tables, sofas with cocktail tables, club chairs and the like make for a cozy setting where nobody has to feel tied to a chair.
  6. Mix & match your guests. If you’re really having trouble figuring out how to seat your family members without stirring up old feuds, try mixing everybody up from both sides and matching them according to common interests. Those college pals who love to hunt and fish are apt to be a good fit with family members who do the same. Your coworker and her husband who love old movies will surely find something to talk about with your TCM-addicted aunt and uncle. Just be sure to indicate their shared interests with trivia cards or other conversation starters.
  7. Center yourselves. Whether you have a sweetheart table for just the two of you or a “head” table with your wedding party, or a family table with your parents and sibling, make sure your table is in the middle of the reception room, so it’s easier for you to see as many people as possible.

    We have more reception planning ideas saved on our Reception Planning Pinterest board.

This entry was tagged ##completewedding, #assigned seating, #bride, #Complete, #Complete DJ, #Complete Music, #Complete Wedding & Events, #Complete Weddings + Event, #Complete Weddings + Events, #Complete Weddings and Events, #dance, #dj, #groom, #ideas, #Nebraska, #photography, #planning, #reception, #reception lighting, #seating arrangement, #wedding planning, #Wedding Reception. Bookmark the permalink.