One of the easiest ways to keep calm and wed on is to hand over the reins to a wedding planner, someone whose entire job is to figure out all the unromantic but essential big-day details — like how you (and all 150 of your guests) are getting from the church to the reception — while helping you stick to your budget, timelines, and personal priorities throughout the planning process.
If hiring a planner seems like a stretch, fear not: Today we’re sharing six super-smart, sanity-saving tips from Dawn Mauberret, a Brooklyn-based wedding and events planner with 15 years of experience producing events in New York City and beyond. Dawn also co-founded Toasted Wedding Event, a national wedding expo that highlights small local businesses (including Etsy sellers) who bring something fresh, modern and progressive to the bridal industry. Meet Dawn and discover every little thing for your big day at the upcoming Etsy Weddings Event in New York City on April 29 and 30. Can’t make it to the event? Shop all of the sellers and products right here.
Read on for smart wedding planning tips that will keep your big day on track.
Black bowl by Laurie G Ceramics, $69; Copper tray by Copper Head Crafts, $24; Decorative Arrows by Sepia Smiles, $60; Illustrated name cards by STN Stationery, samples start at $0.75; Linen napkins by Hops Design, $36.
1. When it comes to picking a venue, always ask what the fee includes.
Traditional venues typically cost anywhere from $8 – $12k just to open the doors; others will have packages that come with the catering, bar, and staffing. Yes, a raw space like an industrial loft might seem cheaper, but when you take into account that you have to order tables, chairs, plates and cutlery – even trash cans – the inclusive option might be a better fit. And while we’re talking about venues: Don’t forget about your favorite restaurants. Doing a buyout is often cheaper than going through a traditional wedding venue and caterer. Not sure if your favorite spot does buyouts? It never hurts to ask!
2. Consider ordering all your paper goods from the same stationer.
Many people don’t realize that your stationer can also take care of save-the-dates, escort cards, programs, menus, and reception signage, and working with the same Etsy seller or vendor for all of these can save you both money and time. This person will have already learned your aesthetic and can keep all the printed elements within the same design theme. (Plus, they’ll probably offer a discount as your order size increases.)
3. Meet your photographer for coffee before you put down a deposit.
This person is going to be by your side for eight (very intimate) hours, so before you commit to anything, make sure that you feel comfortable around them. This is also a great time to hear about their ideas for shots. Some questions you’ll want to ask: Have you shot in this venue before? Do you have ideas for shots in the surrounding area?
4. Save money on flowers (without sacrificing style) by going heavy on beautiful greenery.
Ferns and palms make a big statement and are cheaper than fancy blooms. Also, consider herbs: Rosemary, lavender and thyme are fun options to have in the mix. And as always, local and seasonal is not only better for the environment, it’s generally cheaper. Another money-saving tip: Repurpose your ceremony flowers at the reception. If you have arrangements at the ceremony stage, have someone transport them and set them up at the reception area once you’ve said your vows.
5. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, you must have a rain plan.
Not making a backup plan is simply not an option; save yourself the stress of obsessively checking the weather by booking a tent in advance, just in case. Many tent rental companies have cancellation policies, and if the weather ends up being gorgeous, you might only lose a deposit — a small price to pay for peace of mind.
6. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re on a tight budget, consider hiring a wedding planner or coordinator.
Since they work in the industry, they have relationships with vendors and can often show you more affordable options if you’re quoted for something outrageous (which they will be able to tell from a mile away). When you consider the money-saving expertise and industry relationships of your planner, there’s a good chance that hiring one will pay for itself.