Face it, COVID-19 is here to stay and winter wedding season is right around the corner! Before you get cold feet, there are many ways to work around the pandemic so that it doesn’t outshine you or your groom. We asked the experts themselves, Love Event Design, to share their greatest piece of advice on stress-free wedding planning. From catering tips to recycling everyday items, normalizing this process is certainly possible.
To see more of these lovely ladies from Love Event Design, check out our event highlight here!
Advice From Emma: Catering Tips + Current Wedding Trends
Creating a priority list for your wedding day? Not sure what should come first? The one topic I always suggest to prioritize is Food and Beverage. Check out these three tips on planning for the perfect catering company and service!
Tip #1: When you are searching for the perfect venue, be sure to ask the venue “What are your food and beverage policies?”. Some venues will have what is called an Exclusive Caterer, meaning one sole company and no allowance of outside catering. Other venues will provide you with a list of Preferred Caterers, who are either approved or suggested as who to work with for your food and beverage. Finally, there’s an Open Policy – feel free to bring in your own food from whoever or wherever! My top suggestion? Exclusive catering. This gives you reassurance that they are familiar with the property. You are knocking out two tasks at once when connecting with a venue who provides you with food and beverage. One less vendor to work with and one less contract to keep tabs on.
Tip #2: Who doesn’t love a good package deal? Always ask your catering company what they include with their services beyond the obvious. Most companies will provide things such as flatware, plates, and glassware for the event. Some caterers will also include linens and chargers. Caterers may work with outside companies to provide rentals – cute glassware, chargers, textured linen, all of the things to make your special day YOURS!
Tip #3: The bar! Take a minute to think about two things. One, the budget you want to spend on the alcohol for the wedding. And two, the ways you can customize the bar.
Fun ways to spice up the bar are by choosing a Specialty Cocktail (or two!), renting a bar to fit the “theme” of your wedding, or even just a fun menu displayed for your guests. This is a great way to bring out the personality of you and your fiancé or even showcase a moment that carries deeper meaning.
When thinking of your budget, consider what the guests are offered as selections. Maybe you only want beer and wine or including a couple liquor options. These are ways to minimize your bar tab and avoid spending a few thousand dollars that could be used elsewhere. Ask about a Consumption Bar, also known as a Limited Bar or Tab. With this service, the bar remains monitored to ensure things are not getting out of hand and more importantly, out of the budget.
Wanting to find out what’s in this season?
When creating a floor plan for your special day, think about the shapes. Do you want all round tables for your guest seating? Maybe all rectangles for a Family-Style look? I have an idea… Do both! Having mixed table settings is a trend that I hope sticks. Doing a combo of tables means you can take a fun route on your centerpieces and table settings as well. Consider florals at different heights, glassware and flatware design, along with linen colors and textures for the tables.
Another huge trend is hosting outdoors. There are so many ways to spruce up a reception when outside. A MUST have is a tent! Do not let the rain stop your shine. Get creative with the ambiance of the reception. Things to think about – mood lighting, dance floor and décor. Add twinkle lights, up-lighting from your awesome DJ and market lights to the top of the tent. Your decoration vision can grow to new heights with greenery trimming the tent, standalone plants and large floral centerpieces. Always remember a dance floor is needed when hosting outside, you would hate to land in mud in your new pair of heels!
Advice From Shannon: How to Utilize Used or Everyday Items to Jazz Up Your Reception
When it comes to jazzing up your reception using everyday household or reused items – anything goes. As people start getting more creative with wedding design, they are using more and more everyday items and unique pieces in their wedding décor, making this a perfect opportunity to save some money on your nameplates, centerpieces and table numbers, while helping the environment by reusing and up-cycling thrifted or household items.
Centerpieces + Table Numbers
Believe it or not, items that you likely already have laying around your house or would typically throw away might make great centerpieces or table numbers for your wedding. One of the best things is it doesn’t all have to match either – the mix and match look is very trendy so get creative with all different types of things when thinking of what to use for your centerpieces or table numbers. Chances are if you don’t personally have these, you should be able to find some at a local thrift store for a great price. Here are some of my favorite items that can be reused in your wedding reception décor:
- Old Light Bulbs: These can be used for a range of things but one of my favorite ways is to place them on the table around your main centerpiece. You can put fairy lights in them or flowers/greenery to make small vases
- Glass or Ceramic Pitchers: Look around your house for glass or ceramic pitchers to use as a table number. You can get some laminated sticker numbers printed and stick them on just about anything in your home. The pitchers are perfect for a boho style wedding.
- House Plants: If you’re anything like me you might have an extensive collection of house plants. Why not use these for your centerpieces? You can gather a few and mix and match the styles for a day-time garden style wedding. Plus, this can save you a bunch of money on some flowers while being a super unique touch.
- Old Books: I love reusing old books for so many different wedding themes. You can stack them up on top of each other and place your florals or table numbers on top of them to add some height or event put a number label on them to use for your table number.
- Wine/Beer/Liquor Bottles: Remove the labels and clean used wine, beer or liquor bottles and these can be repurposed for both centerpieces with simple florals, feathers or pompas inside. They can be used in their natural colors or spray painted to match your event color scheme and theme.
Seat Name Plates
Name plates are a really fun thing you can get super creative with when browsing your home for items you can reuse for your wedding reception. There’s no need to spend a bunch of money on name plates for your guests when you can use items that you have right in your house or backyard. Here are some of my favorite items you can reuse or repurpose for your guest name plates:
- Wine Corks – One item you can reuse from your house and turn into name plates is wine corks – ask all your friends and family to save up their wine corks every time they drink a bottle and reuse these as nameplates for your guests.
- Leaves – Head to your backyard where you have a bunch of plants and pick out your favorite style of leaves. Elegantly write your guests names on these and you instantly have a very chic way you display your guest’s names at their seat.
Really, anything goes! Some other fun items you can browse your house or shed for when trying to jazz up your reception is old windows for bar signage, ladders for dessert displays, old pieces of wood planks for directional signage and old doors or shutters for seating charts. There are no boundaries when it comes to your wedding design so get creative and have fun!
Advice From Carlyn: How to Normalize the Planning Process During a Pandemic
If you told me as a wedding planner I would have to help brides not only plan their weddings but plan their weddings during a global pandemic I would probably laugh and say that’s not a thing. Well here we are! It’s 2020 and COVID19 has really rocked the Wedding industry and taught us all how to pivot and make the best out of bad situations.
Here are a few things that you can do while planning your wedding to normalize the experience during this VERY strange time.
Keep the Planning Momentum: This might not be easy if you have had to postpone your wedding, but my advice during this time would be to continue moving forward with all of your planning. Look at the items that you can control, finalizing your guest list, spending time on your décor. This could also be a great time to think of photos that you would want on your shot sheet and maybe a few of the details that sometimes get overlooked because we are rushed for time. Lean on your vendors for support and guidance as well. You hired them because they are professionals and can help you navigate any questions or concerns you might have.
Take Time for Yourself: planning a wedding can be stressful, and adding another layer of difficulty can be hard to navigate. Take time from thinking about your wedding by doing something that you enjoy, that could be a calming bath with a glass of wine or binge watching a TV Show or two ☺ maybe just a night chatting with friends.
Staying Positive: I am sure that at this point you are tired of hearing this but sometimes we do need a reminder. With everything going on, it’s easy to forget the reason why we are planning a wedding and how special this day will be and that the end goal is to marry the love of your life. Remind yourself daily of how lucky you are to have found that person and the life you guys will create. Believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
These are just a few of the things I like to tell my brides, this is a difficult time for most and if we can try to normalize it as much as possible then that’s all we can ask for.