Congratulations! You’re engaged! What happens now? Once the exhilaration and excitement starts to settle, you’re going to be faced with planning and executing one of the most momentous days of your life. So, how do you do it? Where do you start? Below we cover 6 questions you need to really think about.
1) What’s My Budget?
This, by and large, should be your first step. Every couple is different; Your budget will be different too! We encourage you to come up with an amount you feel is reasonable, then maybe add a little buffer just in case.
Your budget should never make you feel financially unstable or put you in a precarious situation. Always consider the financial responsibilities you have now and will continue to have after your wedding.
2) Where Should I Focus My Budget?
Now that you have a grasp on how much you want to spend on your wedding, you need to decide on how you will use those funds. Consider the must haves & what you value most. Take some time to visualize your dream wedding and how you would like for it to look, sound & feel.
What are the most important elements that you know you absolutely need to have? Identify the elements you don’t need and cut them out. This will free up some extra cash to invest on the things you truly care about. Take a look at our post, Six Expenses to Consider in Your Wedding Budget for more info!
3) Where are We Getting Married?
Whether it’s a destination wedding, on a rustic farm, a cool/modern industrial space, or a more elegant, traditional venue, you will definitely need to pick where you’re going to have your wedding reception. When choosing a wedding venue, you want to pick a place that is within budget and has excellent services. Above all else, though, you need to pick a venue that fits your style!
If you want a rustic style wedding, then a barn or converted warehouse space may be the better choice. We love working with venues that host one wedding at a time; While they may be a little more expensive, you will get the exclusive treatment you want and deserve on this very special day!
4) What About the Entertainment? Should I Hire a Band or a DJ?
We believe that, aside from the married couple of course, the entertainment is the life blood of the event and it is probably the most talked about element afterwards. Years of experience have taught us that people will remember the following two things from an awesome wedding they’ve attended:
- The Entertainment
- The Food
Because the entertainment is such a major element, you need to really do some research and weigh out your options (of which there are many). Things to consider are:
- Variety: Whether a band or a DJ, they should be flexible, covering different genres of music, old and new, that will engage the crowd and get them on the dance floor!
- Budget: Your wedding’s entertainment is a key element in making your special day a day to remember! In the hierarchy of event musicians, bands typically cost more than a DJ, though highly sought-after DJ’s can get up there in price as well. If you want to try to get the best of both worlds, consider adding a percussionist to play along with the DJ to infuse that live music feel at a reasonable cost!
- Insurance: Most venues will require proof that all of your vendors have proper insurance, and that includes the entertainment! Make sure that you’re working with real professional so you won’t get caught off guard. And don’t forget the most important rule: stay away from hobbyists!
- Style/personality: When making your choice, you want to hire professionals that are able to match and cater to your style and personality. If they are not willing to meet your requests & expectations, then move on.
- The Process: Planning a successful wedding takes time! Make sure you’re working with professionals that are methodical, organized, and have processes in place to ensure the proper execution of a rave-worthy event. A wedding is not like a birthday party – if it sucks this year, we can’t try again next year! It’s always good to remember that you have one shot at getting this done right, so please do your research.
5) What Element(s) Will Make the Most Impact?
Lighting! It is an extremely important factor in setting the mood for your event. We highly recommend setting a budget aside for this before considering any other type of enhancement. The team at This Is It Entertainment treats lighting as art because that’s exactly what it is. When done right (by real professionals), it can completely transform a room & event! Your photographer and/or videographer can capture some amazing images and footage, too!
There are many different styles and options for lighting design. Make sure you’re being educated properly when meeting with vendors. If they can only speak about one type/style of lighting, then chances are that they don’t know anything about lighting design or operating the equipment properly!
The term “dance floor lighting” gets thrown out a lot. We’re still trying to figure out what it means! Anyone can walk into a Spencer’s Gift store, purchase a disco ball lamp, and sell that to you as “dance floor lighting.” We’ve seen it before! Don’t be that person with green and red dots in all of your pictures!
Below is a quick Lighting 101 of some options to help ya out!
- Up-lighting: Fixtures that are strategically placed against the walls throughout the room.
- Static: The lights will remain one color (of your choice) throughout the reception.
- Dynamic: The lights can change color, movement, etc. These are programmed & controlled so they can move at a slow, medium & faster pace (we don’t do random modes here!). A faster pace would be used during high energy dance portions, and a slower pace would be used during lower energy portions, such as dinner time. The colors will transition smoothly from one to the other & will match your color palette.
- Moving Lights: Excellent at not only making a room look amazing, but also at delegating pace during the evening, gently guiding the attention of the attendees, spotlighting & energizing the dance floor! These are also controlled by a lighting operator which means that you will not end up with a rave scene (unless you want it!) or lights shining into everyone’s eyes.
- Pinspot Lighting: Specialized bulbs that are narrow spotlights (rather than a normal light bulb which has a wide angle wash light). These fixtures are secured to freestanding surfaces by our lighting designers and then focused to illuminate an object. These are perfect for lighting centerpieces, cake tables, buffets, floral arrangements, etc.
6) How Can I Save Money?
Regardless of your financial situation, everyone likes to save money – it’s only human! Establishing your budget beforehand is key. Second, take time to consider the elements that are most important to you and eliminate those you can do without. Forget what everyone else is doing or what is considered traditional! Go with what makes you happy and works for you as a couple, then stick to that!
Think back on weddings you’ve attended. What do you remember most? Entertainment? Food? Venue? Chances are that this is where most of your focus will be.
What don’t you remember? Invitations? Flowers? Pretty much no one does, so these are opportunities for you to save! Heck, use technology, protect some trees, and send out your invites via email!
Our advice to you:
Invest your money in areas that are going to give you the most bang for your buck. Do your research. Meet with multiple vendors. Ideally, you should walk out of every meeting feeling excited, content and well educated. If you walk out of a meeting feeling confused and/or uneasy, then move on.
And remember this:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
– Benjamin Franklin