Planning a Wedding is quite a process, whether your event is two months away or years in the future... And every insight, every tip & trend, is like gold. Read on for a few simple ideas from a variety of wedding pros, to help your planning move along smoothly!
Choosing Your DJ / Emcee:
As most couples realize, choosing music for your reception is an easy way to add ambience to your event... set the atmosphere... and of course bring flavor and vitality to the party you want to create - whether it is a refined and elegant affair with a string quartet in the background, or an all-out midnight til dawn dance extravaganza with multiple DJs and emcees.
Music is also an easy way to spotlight your own style: choosing with care the First Dance song, adding in to the mix all the sappy love songs that are important to you and your partner. And it's also a way to include a nod to your heritage: planning ahead so that your DJ/emcee can announce references to particular selections, such as kicking off the first notes of a favorite polka by mentioning that your family's roots extend to Eastern Europe.
One of our favorite DJs from In The Mix Event Group (based in Eastern PA), when offering a helpful Planning Tip to couples attending one of our LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, suggested that you make it a priority not only to provide your wedding DJ with a playlist of your favorite tunes, but that you also spend a good deal of time deciding what songs NOT to include in the mix for your reception... and that you make sure your DJ is well aware of that not-to-play-list. Great tip! Those 'what not to do's' can be, in some cases, the important details that make your Wedding Day that much more personalized and fully enjoyable.
Another of our favorite DJs, Jose with L.E.M. Entertainment (based in Union, NJ), offered this simple but important reminder: There are dozens and dozens of DJs in your area to choose from... and most of them are really talented and enthusiastic and capable of handling your fesitivities. But while there are lots of factors to consider when booking your DJ, such as budget, experience, references, etc... one of your top reasons for choosing a particular DJ should be that you find that you connect with them. Not just professionally, but on some kind of personal level. You want them to really 'get you' and understand the vision you have for your reception. That way, you can rest assured that the DJ you hire can effectively read the room throughout your event, adapt as necessary, and keep that rhythm going in a way that helps bring your vision to life.
In The Mix Event Group
De-Stressing... and Integrating Playfulness:
Planning a wedding, whether your guest list tops 200 or numbers in the teens, is an intense process! Take time, throughout those weeks and months leading up to Your Special Day, to find ways to de-stress... such as remembering the importance of Date Nights, going out with friends, planning time at the spa, trying a new hair style, indulging in a favorite hobby, or simply pampering yourself with a new book or re-read of a treasured old one. Make it a priority to carve out pockets of time when you can really leave all cares about the wedding aside!
Another idea to keep in mind is finding ways during the planning process to include de-stressors and playful interludes...
Getting crafty is ideal for many people, whether just one of you is interested or both of you enjoy that little indulgence together:
*Pick out elegant or festive rubber stamps and ink, and add simple accents to your paper napkins, programs, menus, keepsake borders, photo mattes, or other paper essentials you plan to include in your celebration. Consider a swooping floral pattern (ivy, a draping stem of flower blossoms) at the top corner of your napkin, program or menu. Add a monogram, emblem or themed graphic such as lovebirds, intersecting hearts or dual totems as a central image stamped in to complete your design.
*Create a Unique Customized Wedding Favor: personalized tic tac toe games... Purchase small fabric bags online in bulk: these should be of a color and style that are easy to write on with a fabric pen. If they are imprinted, be sure the message reads something like 'THANKS!' or 'LOVE is FUN' or customize as you like. Also purchase small wooden hearts: you'll need a lot of them! Once the fabric bags arrive, on the back of each one, draw a simple tic tac toe board with a fabric pen. Make it dark enough so it will last and appear at a glance. You'll need ten hearts for each bag: with an indelible marker, write your first initial on five and your partner's first initial on the other five. Or... paint each one: Choose 2 of your ceremony colors and color five in one color such as red, and five in another color such as black. -Make a bag for each of your guests as a takeaway keepsake!
Many floral designers today have commented to us here at RainbowWeddingNetwork that one of their suggestions for couples is to tell them frankly.. and perhaps surprisingly... that it's not necessary for them to think about decorating their entire venue with florals. Even tabletop centerpieces for every flat surface are not needed. However, they tell us, couples are encouraged to keep in mind that a floral display of some kind, centrally placed, is definitely worth consideration. This, in the main entrance, or enhancing the couples' table, or polishing a particular interactive area, is important. It brings in the florals, which for many immediately shouts 'Wedding!' and sets the tone they're wishing for... and a central display of this kind provides a Wow! factor that brings the room together. -Usually more than a fabulous centerpiece, this might include a hanging display of some kind, such as the popular floral 'hoops,' along with nostalgic signage or inspirational message along with your wedding date. Check out a variety of photos online for ideas, and definitely discuss with your florist and wedding planner.
*Be realistic, and honest, about your floral budget. Some couples delay making a plan about including florals... and this is not ideal. It's helpful if you can start having conversations about florals (and other decor) early on in your planning process... and when it comes to live florals, you want to be up front about your budget from the get-go. This simply helps your wedding professionals plan accordingly, and pull together successful ideas that you'll love, without having to scale back later on.
Keeping the Guests in Mind...
It's helpful to keep in mind that while Your Special Day is all about the two of you... it is also about your guests. You want to make their time with you throughout your wedding day a wonderful and enjoyable experience... and create ways for them to support the two of you during this momentous occasion.
Remember, they want to CELEBRATE the two of you. Finding opportunities to share with them highlights about your own love story is an engaging way to make your ceremony personalized and meaningful. You can spotlight details about your own love story through your decor, during interactive wedding games, through emcee announcements and music, and more. Ask your wedding designer and other vendors for suggestions! Here are a few to get you started:
*Fun, Nostalgic Reception Table Placecards: Brainstorm with your fiancee about places (cities, streets, locations) that hold fond memories for each of you, or are an important part of your story as a couple. For instance: "Pine Street Bridge - we walked across this special bridge on our trip to New England, and it was in that moment Ben was sure that Alex was "The One!"" Each Table Marker will spotlight a fond memory, serving as a conversation starter and simply a joyful little addition for all the guests who join your celebration. To make the Table Markers, search online for ideas using cardstock pre-cuts, a photo you took either mounted or framed, or simply make use of mini chalkboard signs. These can be an extremely cost-effective way to add one more personalized accent to Your Special Day!
*Unforgettable Mementos: Post a short prompt alongside your Guest Book, inviting guests not only to sign in but also to record a memory about you as a couple... or note the time and place they met each of you... or the moment in which they realized the two of you were meant for each other. It will be a keepsake you'll enjoy time and again throughout the years ahead!
*The Happy Couple's Trivia or Bingo Game: Provide your Emcee with lively questions about the Newlyweds... Add a unique way to keep track of which table comes up with the correct answers (Bingo cards / decorative tally board up on the stage / A/V screen to post ongoing results / decorative chalkboards as part of each table's centerpiece ...) There are endless variations to this idea but it's an upbeat, casual way to get all your guests involved, and to let them in on some of the lesser known details about you and your partner and your relationship: "Where did we meet for the first time?..." "What are our middle names? Astrological Signs? What will our last name be now that we're married?..." "Where did we go on our first date?..." "Who proposed?..." Games like this are often thought of for Engagement Parties, but they're a fit for many couples' Receptions as well!
*Consider varied centerpieces to spotlight your diverse interests or goals as a couple - Love Travel, Cooking and Classic Movies? Take time throughout the months leading up to your wedding to indulge in retail therapy, and make it a fun scavenger hunt! Seek out various items that match your hobbies and build unique centerpieces to make each table at your reception different and interesting. (Remember, no need to buy new: thrift stores are a fabulous option too!) Travel books, a small globe, a map, faux passports, decoratives such as the Eiffel Tower or a flag of your favorite country, a mini-basket filled with little beach balls and sunny colored "towels..." Cooking books,a canister set as vases (filled of course with florals mixed with kitchen utensils), doilies or stacked kitchen towels, a crystal bowl of sugar cubes... Film reels, a tower of DVDs, mini movie posters on easels or in a frame, an autograph book set for all guests to sign in their most flamboyant style... With each of your hobbies you can easily find fun ways to incorporate trinkets or keepsake items for your guests to take home with them, that match your decor! (Don't forget to check out dollhouse accessories for some unique options, if you need a few extras - everything from tiny kitchenware to seasonal accents)
One of our favorite photographers, Danielle Richards (based in Teaneck, NJ), recently exhibited at two of our signature LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, and wisely reminded our attending couples of the following:
Remember, the most intense part of your wedding should be the planning process... It should be the effort and research you put in to choosing which wedding pros to hire. After all that is done, try your best to relax in to the enjoyment of it all. TRUST the vendors you have taken such care to book, and allow them to work their magic without trying to micro-manage. Not every detail will go to plan on Your Special Day, but that won't matter. Seriously, it really won't! What matters is that you have found each other, and you've made it to this amazing day to celebrate your love. Let that joyful notion carry you. -CONGRATULATIONS!!
Danielle Richards Photography