Planning a summer wedding -- eek, it's 2017 and time to get serious. Here's some advice from a seasoned pro, Rachel of Manette Gracie Events.
For the Quick-Plan Summer Bride...
With one important question and an excited little three-letter answer—plus the help of some gorgeous sparkle-- you are now on your way to happily-ever-after with the love of your life.
But while you were basking in that “newly-engaged” glow, and sharing the wonderful news with your friends and family, the calendar pages kept on flipping and now we are freshly in 2017 with the months until your wedding in the single digits.
Feels pretty scary, huh? Not to worry—you got this.
The most important thing you need to do right now is prioritize.
Figuring out what is most important to you and your fiancé versus the points you’re willing to compromise on will help form your plan of action so you can tackle that To-Do list in no time.
First things First:
If by chance you haven’t picked your date yet, start by looking at venues in your aesthetic and budget and ask them what they still have open in your preferred month. Some may have had cancellations or date changes to free up prime Saturday dates, but if you look at Fridays or Sundays as options they have a higher likelihood of being available. Or, if your dream venue is just a bit out of budget, consider looking at a weekday for your event as they are usually less expensive and more freely available than weekends.
Once you’ve got the time and place, ask your venue contact if they have a list of preferred vendors they could supply you. This can both help narrow down the plethora of options, as well as ease some of the planning process since you’ll know the companies on that list are familiar with the of the ins and outs of the space, as well as any limitations that the venue may have.
Picking your remaining vendors is where that prioritizing piece comes back in to play: pick what’s most important to you and then taper your list down from there to fill in your Must Haves first.
Are you and your fiance foodies and not overly concerned about the florals? Check out caterers first and then stop to smell the roses later on. Looking for an awesome dance party and not worried if your cake is done up to the nines? Talk to the mix-masters before thinking about sweet treats.
This way you can maximize the time available to you to talk to multiple vendors of your key items about their availability and your options before crunch time.
Not to put a sour note on your planning experience, but be prepared for a few “sorry, we’re booked” responses. Some vendors can get booked as early as two years in advance
(the fabulous Mrs. Jones is a prime example of this :) ), so it’s likely some folks will have been booked since before you were even sporting a ring on *that* finger.
But don’t fret-- just like asking a venue for recommendations, ask the vendors! These folks work together year after year, and love to do so, so they are a great resource for you. They may also have alternative options such as (to use Becca again) second shooters available as leads which will provide you with the same quality and aesthetic, or assistants in other services who are stepping into lead roles that have more open calendars.
Once your vendors are in place and you start getting into the smaller details, work with your contacts at each company to see if there are certain areas where they pull double duty. Some florists, for instance, can also provide votives for tabletop decor and ambiance lighting; your photographer may have a photobooth option you can bundle with your wedding package; and often times you can combine any rental needs that aren’t provided through the venue with the caterers (tables, linens, place settings, etc).
And don’t forget about your friends and family! Odds are you know someone who has gotten hitched recently and may have left over items you can repurpose and reuse. If not, gather your girls together for a crafting day-- even if you aren’t a Martha Stewart type, I promise there is a lot you can do with washi tape and some rosé.
You also probably have some meaningful items from adventures together that can tell the story of how you got from “Nice to meet you” to “Yes!” to “I do”, so keep an eye on things you already own that can add more meaning to your big day. Then not only will they carry the memories from where you got them, but also from the day you married your best friend.
If all of this is still sounding daunting and you need extra help navigating the wedding planning waters, talk to a coordinator. They are not unfamiliar with last minute requests for assistance or planning with a tight timeline. A planner can make those initial points of contact for you and weed through the vendors to show you only those who are available to choose from, make suggestions about decor or props, and help filter the million and one Pinterest ideas down to what is true to the two of you.