1. Don’t Do It Yourself, just to save money. If you truly have an artistic flair for decoration or design, then by all means let your creativity come out. But remember, a wedding reception is a party you throw for your guests. Too often, DIY efforts add nothing to the guests’ experience, and often detract from it. Like bad karaoke singing, a weak do-it-yourself project may be met with groans, not cheers. Want to try your hand at making a centerpiece? Try one, then tell friends, “Someone made this and thought it might make a nice centerpiece… what do you think?” When they don’t have to worry about hurting your feelings, they’re more likely to give you their honest opinions.
2. Get help! If you think you can execute every tiny phase of your wedding planning all alone, you’re going to end up frazzled, frustrated and bitter that no one appreciates all your hard work. If friends or relatives offer to help, let them! They can make some of your phone calls, help you address your invitations, scout out potential vendors, and run errands in those hectic final weeks. Be sure to thank them with nice gifts.
3. Just say no. Everyone is going to give you advice; that doesn’t mean to have accept it all. Once you have a vision of your dream wedding, weigh all advice – from friends, loved ones, vendors — according to whether it fits your vision. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to politely reject it. It’s your wedding, not theirs.
4. Who really cares? Don’t over-analyze your décor, your menu or your party favors. A month after your wedding, no one will remember them. So if you need to cut back your budget, they are all safe places to cut. Put your energy and money into things that will enhance your guests’ experience – like great dance music and creative personal touches that help your guests get to know you better as a couple. We have lots of proven ideas to make your wedding memorable and fun. And we’re happy to share them.
5. Respect the weather. An outdoor wedding in August will almost certainly subject your guests to stifling heat. A basket full of paper fans and sunglasses would be helpful. Still, some of your more sensitive guests may have to head indoors. A winter wedding reception in a poorly heated venue can create an entirely different set of problems. Consider the comfort of your guests at all times.
6. Get points! If you’re going to be charging your wedding expenses to a credit card, get one that offers travel credits or other bonuses for every dollar you spend. Even if someone is reimbursing you for your out-of-pocket costs, you still get to keep the points.
7. Guests cost money. If you’re providing dinner for all of your guests, consider whether you really want to invite every acquaintance from work, or every relative you haven’t seen in three years. You know who the really important people in your life are. Everyone else can go on a “wish list,” and get invited only if you can afford it.
8. Have a policy on kids, and stick to it. If kids are welcome, fine. If they’re not, don’t be afraid to say so on your invitations. Perhaps you can arrange a supervised activity room for the little ones, so they won’t interfere with the adults’ fun.
9. Seat singles with singles, couples with couples. An unaccompanied guest would probably feel uncomfortable at a dinner table full of couples. Consider that, when you’re putting together your seating chart.
10. Can you hear me now? If you’re having an outdoor wedding, or a large wedding, your officiant will try to tell you, “Oh, everyone will hear me.” NO, THEY WON’T! Have a microphone for your ceremony, and tell your officiant to use it. There’s nothing more frustrating for your guests than attending a wedding, and not being able to hear what’s being said.
To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s incomparable service, call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here to help.
© Fourth Estate Audio, 2015 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.