He finally popped the big question and hopefully you got the engagement ring your heart was set on. Now the real work begins, you need to plan for a wedding i.e. the wedding of your dreams. You need to pick a date, set a time table, pick your style and location, determine your budget, agonise over your guest list, agonise further about your wedding party and finally pick your wedding vendors. One of the keys to a great wedding – budget permitting – is to quickly identify and lock down the key wedding vendors. Don’t just go for the cheapest or the one your aunty recommend because she knows the owner instead you need to carefully weigh up important features and characterise of each key vendor to make an informed and hopefully hitch free decision.
1. Get your Wedding Information grove on – There are several sources of general wedding information available to you either online or in magazines or directly from professionals etc Wedding magazines such as http://weddaily.com/tag/wed-magazine or https://mobridals.wordpress.com are available to provide stylish ideas, inspiration and advice. Browse online for further ideas on beautiful dresses, get expert tips on saving money and steal loads of ideas from photographs of other weddings posted online. Get your advice not just from your relatives but the professionals or the bloggers or even the self promoting wedding vendor sites (sic). Wedding professionals are largely impartial, knowledgeable and have the latest trends and ideas. Whether you’ve got N50,000 or N50,000,000 to spend on your big day, you’ll find everything you need right if you just look around.
2. Look at Wedding Planners like http://zapphaire.com or http://oakenevents.com etc because when you consider all the things that have to get done such as inviting guests, choosing colours, picking ushers and brides maids etc the list of things to do seems never to end. In addition to all of the personal decisions to be made, you need to select a venue, hire a caterer, hire a florist, decorate; it’s another seemingly endless list but with the help of a professional wedding planner, you can eliminate much of the stress that goes with planning a wedding. Are you ‘exclusively’ available on my wedding date? This should be your first question — you don’t want to waste time if they’re not free. However should your dates remain flexible then consider a reschedule in order to work with someone you really love. Other questions to ask are; What’s the cost of the average wedding you plan? If you haven’t determined a budget yet, planners can give you an idea of what your budget could be? Wedding planning services should be about 15 percent of your overall budget, so if their baseline is way above the budget you’re aiming for, you may need to consider another planner. What range of services do you offer (coordination on the day, full-service event design or a la carte planning)? Full service wedding planners are ready to handle every detail of your wedding and reception, including hiring a venue, decorating, contracting with florists and caterers, and generally looking after every detail of your big day. Many wedding planners also offer partial services, or “day of” coordination. For example, if you’re super-organized and have time to follow up with booking other vendors yourself, then you may want someone for more of a coordination role. How many weddings have you planned? Wedding specific experience is a must, so don’t be a newbie’s guinea pig, ideally you’d want someone who’s planned at least a few weddings. It’s great if they’ve also planned parties and corporate events, but it’s never the same as weddings have the unique nature of families, friends coming together and the romance of once in a life time event feel that other parties don’t. Have they planned any other weddings at reception venue? If they’ve planned a wedding at your venue before, it’s a key advantage as they’re probably more familiar with the venue personnel, layout and logistics, which can help things go more smoothly. They may also have specific suggestions or design ideas they’ve learned from working in the space before. Are there specific wedding vendors you like to use? Otherwise can we be involved in the selection process? Going through wedding planner to hire your other vendor can help you save time and snag a discount you may not have gotten if you’d hired them on your own. During your meeting with the planner, jot down some names of professionals they prefer to work with ahead of time, so you can also do your own research. How many people on your staff will be at the wedding? A wedding planner’s role isn’t just to manage the pros, but your A-team of friends and family too, which isn’t as easy as you might imagine.
3. Reception Venue – The best place to start is for you and your fiancé/e to sit down and discuss what type of reception venue you are drawn to. Are you interested in historical properties? Gardens? Hotels? Event Centres? Marquees? We advise writing a list of what you’re looking for from a venue, such as ‘terrace seating, high ceilings, natural light, outside space, dancing space etc. By starting at this point you can easily eliminate the types of venues which don’t appeal to you both. This will instantly make the venue finding process easier and a lot less time consuming. If you plan to hold your wedding ceremony at a different location from your wedding reception try to look for venues within a maximum thirty minute drive from your chosen ceremony location. How many guests do you want, and how mobile are they? While people will accept that a certain amount of travel is unavoidable, problems with cars, traffic jams, and navigation can take the edge off your guests’ enjoyment. See a list of things to consider when choosing a wedding reception venue – http://welcomecentrehotels.com/?p=50 . Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of suitable venues, you can start visiting them one after the other. This phase of your wedding planning will take the most time but it’s recommended to book the space and block the date before you being hiring other vendors! When visiting venues pay attention to the little details, like routes your guests will take, what the bathrooms are like, whether there’s adequate air conditioning and where the power sockets are for your band / DJ / sound system/ fridges etc. Choosing a venue should also involve an element of gut reaction e.g. We know 100% when couples who walk into Welcome Centre Hotels Lagos if they’ll book or not – you can simply see it in their eyes. If you fall in love with the venue, ask the questions so that you get a full understanding of what the options are open to you, but there is nothing more important than being excited about your chosen venue. If you get that gut feeling- go with it.
4. Photographers create an everlasting memory of your wedding day; a beautiful and timeless account of the most important day of your life. The photographer’s skill means the bride still looks great even when mascara is halfway down her face after blubbing all the way through her vows. Make sure you ask to view all of their images (not just the favourites they pick for their websites!) so that you can check the image quality is consistent throughout. Be aware that photographers have different editing techniques. If an image is heavily edited then chances are this will be a common theme within their photography portfolio and is usually an attempt to try to cover up poor quality. Additionally though, try not to shop on price! When budgets are tight it’s easy to look at the bottom line before the work,talent or ability. Have a look at http://duduguyphotography.com; http://tomsaater.com or www.spicyincstudio.com/blog/ for starters.
Try to research photographers that tick the boxes visually and then narrow down to what fits your budget. In order to get the best images, it is imperative that you feel comfortable and relaxed with the photographers. You can usually tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, whether you feel a rapport or connection as photographers also need great communication and interpersonal skills because on the day they will be giving out instructions to the couple, wedding party, family and friends trying to get them to all hold still in unison and something getting them to hold for poises when they rather be doing something else. It’s not imperative that you choose a wedding photographer who has already worked at your wedding venue but if they haven’t…insist they visit the venue before the wedding day as its to your interest they scope out the venue for the best background shot locations.
5. Caterer – The catering and refreshments will very much depend on the type of reception you would like. When making appointments to interview wedding caterers, try to schedule a tasting session as well. Don’t forget to ask them the questions below, and then choosing a caterer will be as easy as pie. A simple wedding layout and buffet will suit some couples, where others will prefer a more luxurious event. It’s your day; be sure to ask for what you want. Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food or service? Will the caterer provide tables, chairs, plates, table linens, silverware, salt-and-pepper shakers, and more? Ask to see these items to make sure all angles are covered. Will the caterer work any other weddings on the same weekend, the same day, or at the same time as yours? (You want to be sure they will devote sufficient attention to you). Does the caterer handle all table settings? Will they put out place cards? Where will the food be prepared? Are there on-site facilities, or do you, the caterer, and the site manager need to make additional arrangements? How will the caterer arrange the food on the buffet table or on plates? Can you see photos of previous work displays? if you enjoyed easting at a wedding recently, why not ask the couple who catered it. Can you speak to previous clients? (Get at least two references that had a similar number of guests and a similar menu style.) Does the caterer also do wedding cakes? Not sure important as you can use an outside baker if you desire.
6. Band & DJ – Your music choice is either between a Live band, a DJ or maybe even both. Hiring a live band usually tends to be more expensive than your typical DJ excerpt of course if you opt for a celebrity DJ. It’s best you meet your prospective music providers, even if the vendors were chosen by your event’s organiser. It’s a great opportunity for you to gauge their personalities. Make sure you agree a play list, timing and schedule with them in advance. Most bands and DJs will have a repertoire list but are open to suggestion, especially if you have favourite songs. It’s your day, so you should really hear what you, your family and your guests like. Besides you are in a better position to know what songs you like than the DJ. If necessary agree the attire your band will wear on the day if only to avoid any horrified surprises. By finding out the brand names of the equipment and sound systems they use, you will quickly be able to gauge the quality of DJ/band and this should help you to decide whether or not you want to use their services for your wedding reception. Remember proper equipment will give good sound quality as there is nothing worse than being seated next to a poor speaker at a party. Give your guests good music and not a bad headache! If you want to find out more about hiring a band or dj in Lagos contact Nosa on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
7. The Master of Ceremonies (or MC as they’re often called) is quite important in the scheme of things because they will be the one(s) making sure the introductions are done, inviting guests to sit, explaining any rules, making announcements, introducing the wedding party, thanking guests for coming and ensuring that the speeches run on time. Good MCs also tell the funny stories about you and your bride to keep the audience warmed up between speeches. Other than the wedding planner, they run the show whilst they are up there at that podium. However pick a poor MC and they can kill the atmosphere at your wedding, possibly embarrass you or your fiance/e and generally screw up the whole thing. So choose wisely as your chosen MC speaks throughout the event – ideally working to a reception itinerary that has been created with your approval. Don’t pay and let them leave early because the MC needs to be “around” throughout the entire night. A good tip is to choose an MC whose personality fits the desired feel of your wedding reception. If you want a funny, casual, interactive reception, choose someone who is outgoing, funny, casual, and interactive! If you’re looking for a celebration that’s more reserved and formal, choose someone whose personality is more subdued and understated (usually older, but not always!). Sit down with them to knock a few ideas around and let them know what is expected of them at ‘your’ wedding.
8. Videographer – Videographer is probably the newest vendor service area in weddings. Even more so than photography. A wedding video truly captures the spirit and magic of your big day—in living colour. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, your event will not be about cameramen dragging large, obtrusive analogue (VHS) cameras around that were standard 10 years ago as most videographers now shoot with small, discreet digital video cameras. Check if your videographer is full or part time. How many shooters and how many cameras. What time of year? What time of day? How formal or informal? Have you set your priorities? Did you listed all the details your wedding photographer and or videographer needs to know? Traditional photography, album photography emphasizes posed snap shots. Photojournalism, like video, captures details of the wedding as they happen. You can gauge a particular videographer’s style by first checking out the website (e.g. got to http://www.namywedding.com/guide/videography for suggestions) where you may be able to view sample reels. If the videographer doesn’t have a web site, or if it’s poorly designed, take it as a sign that he or she is not technologically up to speed. And if that’s the case, keep looking! Discuss the style of coverage you desire e.g. documentary style video, commentary from family and friends. The “in-vogue” choice is to have your wedding captured on motion picture film—8 mm, or even 16 mm, the format in which most of those lush, silky-looking Hollywood movies are shot in. While a “film version” of your wedding day is as glamorous as you can get, it’s also a luxury product and as such will cost quite a penny.
9. Drinks – You’ve bought booze for a party before, sure. But what about for a 100 to 500 to 2000 people, one of whom is your grandmum? Getting the quantity and service of booze right in your wedding is beyond crucial. If you have ever been to a booze less wedding before you will appreciate the gap better a fully stock wedding reception and fully tee total party. It’s appreciable that the first miracle Jesus performed was correcting the drink or ‘lack of’ situation at a wedding. Know your crowd and hire a proven drinks catering firms to handle the supply and service. If it’s a small wedding that requires just one bar man, then work out what your guests would like e.g. If your family is definitely going to want to hit the brandy, make sure you have plenty of Hennessy, Remy martin etc and mixers available. A serious crowd of vermouth drinkers? Great, make sure to have various martinis and olives on hand. If half your guests don’t drink, adjust accordingly. If your invited relatives drink bitters, but hate wine, well, don’t have a wine-only reception
10. Decorations – Wedding decorators have lots of ideas but they can also take your suggestions and come up with a more personal approach that further reflects your individual style. It’s a good idea to get an outline of the wedding area from the venue; draw in the stage, band area, and cake tables, bathrooms, guest book table, food and guest tables, chairs and chair backs, walls, doors, ceilings and floors, where you may need to add colour or hide architectural flaws and areas that don’t fit with your design plan. There are several elements of design features to incorporate into visuals of your wedding such as flowers, table centrepieces, bomboniere, table linen including napkins and rings, chair covers & sashes, chavari chairs, place names, table plans and even wedding cakes. You can tie all these elements together by using a consistent colour scheme or material as well as using it in the bridesmaids’ outfits and the bride’s bouquet. Beads and jewels such as crystals are becoming popular for wedding decorations, and these can also be added to table linen, bombonieres, place names and centrepieces.
Finally, after choosing your planner, MC, caterer, photographer, DJ etc do remember to get a contract written and signed. Pay your deposits promptly and write out post dated cheques for the balance. Not every wedding vendor may be not keen on providing formal contracts, but if they are a professional setup it shouldn’t be a problem as they are providing a service with certain set of requirements. Once you have all ducks in a row, you are now set up for a hitch free wedding. Congratulations and here’s wishing you years and years of marriage bliss
Hope you got some useful tips. If you know any wedding vendors you would like to recommend please add their contact details below in the comments section.