Okay, so you may have noticed that it's been a while since my last post. It's not that I haven't had interesting things to tell you about in my planning, it's just that I was too embarrassed to put it all in writing! Already, I have had a major reality check in my planning process. Yes, I have experience in the event industry, but maybe all that was doing was giving me a false sense of security.
When Mark & I got engaged at the end of July and set our date for next fall, I immediately was comforted that I had over a year to plan everything. Well, instead of taking advantage of the additional time, I gathered a little bit of information and researched different venues - but it was not enough. We set a date for our big event, checked some availability of places, and then went to the drawing board on what would work for our needs:
-Is there enough space?
-Is it convenient for guests to locate and get to?
-Do they allow candles, alcohol, outside catering, and any of the other details that are 'make or break' in the decision-making process?
So, we gathered this information, made our decision and called the venue of our choice back with the exciting news! Well guess what...it had been two months since I had originally checked their availability and now - the date was booked. This was pretty tough news, since we had already told all of our friends and family that the date was set and now we would need to either go back to the drawing board to choose another venue, or move the date. Neither was an easy option!
We ended up needing to be armed with more information than I had researched yet. If we use outside catering, will they provide linens and glassware? How much will it add to rent these items? Will the rental price of the venue really be a deal if I have to rent to supplement a lot of items? Who provides what and at what price? I realized that to start planning anything, I needed to know a lot more about everything.
Suddenly I felt like I knew nothing about the wedding industry. Where was all my knowledge of budgets and why was everything in Birmingham booking up when we were still 12 months out?!? Panic started to set in and I knew I needed to move a little faster if I wanted to get the vendors that I liked at the right price for my budget.
So my advice to you is - talk to every vendor that you like - and start early. Don't be afraid to call and chat with vendors about what you are looking for and be sure to get pricing from all of them! Knowing as much as possible is going to give you the power and confidence to make better decisions. Start collecting as much information at the beginning as you possibly can, so that you can make an educated decision - and make it quickly if you are under a deadline. And of course, set your budget, and try to make room for a professional planner to help you. Even though I feel comfortable planning events, it's all changed now that it's my wedding and I'm the bride. Why didn't I believe this when everyone has said it? It's so much easier to help someone else plan an event! So be sure to enlist help early and don't procrastinate!