Ceremony & Reception Venue: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center | Florist: Bloom Floral and Event Design | DJ: Scottish DJ | Wedding Dress Shop: Casablanca Bridal, Style 2215 | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridal Boutique | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Videographer: Craig Sikora (Sikora Film Company) | Catering: From Scratch Catering
Ceremony:St. Bernard Church Madison,Wisconsin | Reception Venue: Best Western Premier Park Hotel | Florist: Mary Jean Erschen | DJ: SpotlightEvents | Wedding Dress Shop: Vera’s House of Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Videographer: Films Nouveau | Cake: The Cupcake Camper |
Ceremony Venue: Grace Lutheran Church | Reception Venue: Bartolotta’s Grain Exchange | Florist: Green Ivy Greeting & Floral | DJ: Milwaukee Airwavest | Wedding Dress Shop: Paloma Blanca | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Minted | Videographer: Simply Love Films
Tips to Find the Perfect Destination for Your Wedding
There are a lot of details, both big and small, to consider when planning a wedding. The ceremony, the dress, the menu for the reception. But if you’re planning a destination wedding, the biggest question is the most obvious – where are you going to go?
Finding the perfect destination for your wedding involves some careful consideration and may mean making a few compromises. You may have some creative and exotic ideas and dreams, but unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll probably need to think realistically at some point along the way. To help get you on the right track, here are some handy thoughts and tips on finding the perfect destination for your wedding.
What’s your style?
A perfect destination should be one that matches your personal tastes, and reflects what you like to do. Think about it – if you’re both avid outdoors people, which destination suits you better: a country inn in the mountains of Utah, or a trip to California? Remember, first and foremost, that you want surroundings that you’re both comfortable and happy in. And really, won’t those mountains in the background look better in the wedding imagery too?
How big is the guest list?
If your wedding guest list includes a lot of people (and you really want them to be there), you’ll need to choose a destination that’s practical for them to travel to. If your wedding guest list is smaller, you’ll have a lot more flexibility in your choice of destinations.
What’s your budget look like?
Most wedding planners and guides will tell you that the first thing to consider in wedding planning isn’t the dress, the photographer, flowers, or wedding video editing. It’s the budget. Its good advice and especially important when you’re considering a destination. It’s simple math, of course. If you want the beach for your wedding, price makes the difference between a secluded Carribean resort or the Gulf coast. Both can serve, but your budget will, by necessity, be a big part of the decision you’ll make.
Consider the season
A tropical paradise may seem like the perfect place for a special wedding, but if you put it in the wrong season you may find yourself sweltering and swatting insects rather than enjoying the sunset (even the best editing might have trouble cutting all of that out!) Find out the best seasons for your destination before you settle on the destination and date. Of course, remember that the best season will probably be the busiest, which brings us to the next point…
Be realistic and plan ahead. It’s important to realize that popular wedding venues and resorts may be completely booked a year or more in advance. As you’re considering your potential destinations, create a short list of your favorite, plus some backups. You don’t want to get your heart completely set on one particular destination and have your hopes dashed when you get the bad news that it isn’t available when you want it.
Consider any special requirements
Choosing a destination for your wedding can make the event special, but it also means that important parts of your wedding, like wedding & photo & video editing and more, may be out of control of local professionals you would have had a chance to interview and work with before the ceremony. Check reviews from others that have used the destination and see what you can find out about the wedding professionals you may need to work with at the destination
It all starts with the invitation, the centerpiece of your wedding stationery. But, what else needs to go in that ever important envelope? Your wedding invitation sets the tone for your wedding and tells the who, what, when, where of the day. It can be very confusing (since you only pick these out once in your life!) to know what parts you need to include in your invitation and why. I’ve broken down, below, what are the essential components of your wedding invitation and some optional items you may want to consider. We recommend checking out Basic Invite for everything from Wedding Invitations to Bridal Shower Invites.
This piece is indispensable, the main component, which all of the other pieces turn. Information to include is the bride and groom’s names, the date, time, and location name with addresses at the minimum.
The RSVP Card
In an effort to make responding easier (and to gather a more accurate head count for seating arrangements and catering), RSVP cards became a popular inclusion to the wedding invitation. Also, don’t miss putting an RSVP deadline for your guests have a timeline as to when you need their response information. I recommend a deadline of no less than two weeks before your wedding date.
The RSVP Envelope
Some brides choose a postcard style RSVP. However, whether you choose a postcard or a card/envelope combo, don’t forget to include postage to make your guests’ job of returning it as easy as possible.
The Reception Card
The reception information should be on a separate card and list the starting time of the reception and the address of the venue (if it is separate from the ceremony venue).
Optional items to include with the wedding invites…could do without, but you probably shouldn’t.
A Directions Card
If most of your guests are from out-of-town, consider a directions card, which will guide them from the ceremony venue to the reception site. This card is also indispensable for locals if either site is in a difficult to find the area of town.
An Accommodation Card
For guests who are traveling, it is often helpful for them to know which hotels you recommend. If you’ve booked a block of rooms for your guests at a local hotel, be sure to include the hotel code on this card so the guests can get the reduced rate. Now that you have all your invitation components to get you started. You may be wondering when do I need to do all these things? Timing is so important and should not be ignored. Here are some answers to questions concerning wedding invitations and the timing you will need to know.
This pre-invitation mailing officially announces your wedding date and lets guests know that they will, in fact, be invited to the celebration. Save the dates are a great way of letting friends and family know to keep a particular date free or organize any travel plans that may need to be made. These should be sent out six to nine months before the wedding day, especially if you are planning a summer wedding. Save-the-dates are usually just a single card or postcard containing very basic information (couple’s names, wedding date, and sometimes the location).
When should I start looking for wedding invitation designs?
Whether you are going to purchase a pre-designed invitation or design one yourself, you should start shopping or designing about 6 months before your wedding day.
When should I order my wedding stationery and how many?
Ideally order your invitations as soon as you have your wedding day schedule finalized. A good amount of time would be four to six months before your wedding. Each family/couple/guest will need their own invite. Order a few extras in case of inevitable mistakes.
When should I start to address my invitations?
Start addressing the invitations 3 months before the wedding. If using a calligrapher, they might need 4 months prior.
When should I send out my wedding invitations?
Wedding invites should be sent out no later than eight weeks before the wedding. I like to plan for 10 weeks especially if you have a large amount of family and friends traveling for the wedding. It gives them time to make travel arrangements. I, also, like to schedule the RSVP deadline to be two weeks before the wedding. This ensures that you have time before your guest count numbers have to be to the caterer. Inevitably you will need to give a few guests a call or email that have not RSVP’ed.
When should I expect my RSVP’s to be back?
Ideally, all RSVPs should be back two to three weeks before the wedding. It is appropriate to follow-up with any RSVPs not back before then with a phone call or email.
A couple last tips…
Postage. Please be aware when you are creating your invitations as to how much the invitation and all the added components will weight and the amount of postage it will require to send it out. I advise taking a sample to the post office and ask it to be weighed so you know the accurate postage it will require.
I recommend to each of my clients to place a small (in pencil) guest number that refers back to your guest list. Unfortunately, just a few guests will return the RSVP card but forget to enter any of the needed information. This, in turn, will assist with knowing who they are and if you need to contact them to gather additional information.
Most of all, give yourself plenty of time and plan ahead! You do not want to rush through this part. So…get some help. If you would like some help, please give me a call. I can come alongside you and assist you with this stage of your wedding planning and much, much more. Or ask others to give you a hand and make it fun!
Marsha VanArk, Wedding Planner & Owner
Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events, LLC