This leads me to my next piece of advice, at least hire a coordinator on an hourly basis to advise you along the way. You will find out quickly that there are many more details than you thought of that you will need help with. They will be able to help you understand the flow of the day, common missteps and any other questions you might have. To help decide how many hours you can afford to do that or to determine anything you can afford, set a realistic budget. This will save your sanity as well as keep the peace. Think about the guest count, the setting and the finances you are working with. The largest stress causer is money, tackle it ahead of time. Think about what the cost will be per person before finalizing that guest list with the fact that most people will not be offended as much as you think about missing an invite. On that front my advice is to ask yourself if you would take them out to dinner. When I am working with a couple it is very important to me that I help them start their married lives out on financially sound ground. Budget first, Pinterest after ladies!
There will be a long list of vendor choices and that can be hard to navigate at times. A few tips from me that some vendors are not going to appreciate but it is my honest opinion from over a decade of experience. Getting a good price is great but beware of deals that seem to good to be true. You can do that by asking for references, knowing the actual expected cost of services and try not to let a vendor combine too many services. If you hire a vendor who gives you an unusually low quote who doesn't have a history of successful events, it could spell trouble. If you hire a vendor who coordinates on the side, I don't advise it. For the simple fact that all of us are professionals who need to be focused on the task at hand. There are exceptions but you need to know them. One example is that a lighting company or video company might also have a wonderful D.J. service. This is because they have the technical experience and a larger staff. Coordinating, catering, floral and linens are areas that I feel need to be exclusive to their job. When I am coordinating an event, it takes my full attention from sunrise sometimes to the next sunrise. Use good judgement when choosing, always have a signed contract and plan to check in with them.
Just these few decisions will help you get started and build confidence. I love helping couples plan their visions and watching them begin their lives together. If you are not passionate about this business, you won't last. I truly enjoy the relationships I build. I'd say I have saved couples a minimum of 20% on the cost of their weddings. I am elated with having them come in below budget and amazed at what they were able to create with that budget. My favorite part of the whole process is about the time the open dance starts and I see them relaxed and enjoying their guests and evening. They are the picture of happiness and they know I did everything I could to give them a wonderful start. It's a thing of pure joy. If all of this planning sounds wonderful but daunting, call us. We would love to sit down for a free consultation and show you just how affordable an event coordinator can be. I wish all of you joy in the journey not just getting to the big day but in life. Truly, congratulations!