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Do’s and Don’ts when planning a Large Wedding

A wedding, whether small or large, is an affair that involves hundreds of details. Even an intimate wedding, in which just the couple and their close family and circle of friends participate, has its fair share of challenges. So, you can imagine how much more complicated it is when you must plan a bigger wedding.

Typically, a large wedding is one where the guest count exceeds 200. If your guest count touches this number, you will have more work planning your wedding. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when you intend to have a large wedding of this nature.

DO book a venue that can accommodate your guests comfortably

While you still have the challenge of finding a venue that fits your budget, it is also important to find one that will fit your guests. Not only should the venue have space to hold so many people, but it should also have adequate facilities to make them comfortable during their stay there.

The venue should have enough space to seat all the guests during the wedding and reception. It should also have a sufficient number of washrooms to meet the needs of your guests. Apart from the ample parking space, the dance floor should be large enough so your guests can dance comfortably.

Ideal choices are banquet halls, museums, castles, and outdoor venues like parks or beaches. You should visit the venue before you commit to it. Seeing it is the only way to recognize whether it is right for your needs.

DO analyze and fix issues which can cause queues at the venue

Always consider the likelihood of long lines at the bar or bathroom. Analyze whether your venue has enough facilities to meet the needs of the number of guests attending your wedding. Your guests will find it inconvenient if it takes them forever for their turn at the washroom. Similarly, they won’t appreciate waiting indefinitely to get their chosen drink, at the bar.

Consider these factors in detail when you plan your wedding. If the venue has limited facilities, consider how you can alleviate issues. Simply arranging an extra lot of portable restrooms at an outdoor facility will help you overcome these issues. You can also have two separate bar setups at either end of your reception space to distribute the crowd evenly. Discuss your options with the venue manager and figure out the right fixes before the event.

DON’T cut down on what is most important to you

There is no question that a big wedding will be more expensive than a small one. However, this doesn’t mean you should cut down on what you love. Instead, redistribute your budget to include what you must have at your wedding. You can always let go of certain factors or choose cheaper options for what is less important.

Here is an interesting idea on this post on A Practical Wedding. This couple decided to save on centerpieces and elaborate florals, which can quickly add up to several hundreds of dollars. Instead, they had a cocktail-style party, where everyone could move around and socialize throughout the evening. Since there was no need for a strict seating arrangement, in this case, they went with simple tabletop arrangements and saved a huge amount of their budget this way.

DO remember that you still have to meet and greet all your guests

Whether it is a big wedding or a small one, you have to abide by some etiquette rules. This includes how essential it is to say hello to all the people who made the effort to participate in your wedding. Schedule enough buffer time in your wedding day timeline to accommodate this need. Set aside at least two minutes per guest, and it should work well.

Since waiting at a receiving line isn’t usually practical for this huge number of guests, it is a better idea to plan the day so you have opportunities to socialize and meet and greet everyone. Well-wishing guests will understand the practical problems you face with meeting all your guests. So, they shouldn’t complain if you couldn’t meet them personally. Nonetheless, it is best if you try to greet all there and avoid such a situation.

DO consider hiring help

While you can always attempt to pull off a big wedding by yourself, it is a Herculean task. With the number of details involved, you need plenty of time to do this right. Also, remember that even small tasks will involve time because of the sheer volume of work involved. Imagine addressing your invitations to 200 guests, and you will realize the time that it will require. Similarly, every small detail will quickly add up in terms of time and energy.

Professional wedding planners have enough resources and staff to handle such weddings. They can make your job much easier, and save you a lot of stress. Even if you intend to do everything yourself, consider hiring a day-of bridal planner. While he or she tackles the numerous responsibilities of the day, you can sit back and actually enjoy your wedding. Additionally, wedding planners can get you valuable vendor discounts, which is a big win in the case of a large wedding. More details on how you can make the most of their expertise to snag a bargain are here on this Brides website article. 

DO try to skip the little extras

Unless you have a budget that cannot be extinguished easily, it is wise to skip the little extras when planning a big wedding. Although these items will help make your wedding unique, they can also quickly add up with the extended headcount. For instance, you will run up several extra dollars if you decide to send out Save-the-date cards in addition to wedding invitations. Similarly, special touches like calligraphy, monograms and personalized wedding favors will be expensive unless you DIY.

Rather than splurging on these items, it is better to save your budget for the more essential parts of the wedding. Better quality food and drinks, for example, will be more appreciated than these elements.

DO consider repurposing and reusing items to take your budget further

Certain items at a wedding are non-negotiable, like flowers. However, they are expensive as well. To get the best bargain on such items, we suggest that you consider using them to the greatest extent possible.

Take the advice of event planner Kristen in this article on the She Knows website.  You can get your money’s worth for the flowers at your wedding by putting them to more than just one use. Take the flowers off your arbor and use them in centerpieces. Or put your bridesmaids bouquets into vases and use them at your cocktail table after the ceremony.

All you need is an organized friend or professional planner to handle these details. It will save you more money than if you have to use more flowers for the purpose. And, more importantly, it will also lessen scope for wastage of wedding resources. Other options are to choose centerpieces that double up as wedding favors and choosing non-perishable décor items that you can reuse after the wedding.

DO consider a bigger bridal party

Consider yourself lucky if you have a number of friends and family members who want to be closely involved in the wedding. With a little tact and foresight, you can use their help to the most at your wedding. The benefits of having a bigger bridal party are immense. This gives you more people who will assist you on and before the wedding day. For a bigger wedding party, this means you have many hands to help you handle the various details.

Your bridesmaids and ushers will be valuable in helping guests find their way around, on the day of the wedding. They can also assist with tasks like helping the photographer round up the right people for each wedding shot. You can request their assistance with setting up the venue, distributing favors and meeting and greeting guests. Nonetheless, the extent of success will also depend on the personalities of the people in your party. Choose wisely, and enlist the help of each person for tasks they are best suited for.

DO allow enough time between events

The logistics of planning a successful wedding timeline can be challenging when you have a huge wedding party. The flow of the event will be affected by the number of people there. Although this can be sorted out to a great extent by making multiple arrangements for dining and washroom facilities, it may not be enough.

We also suggest you plan your wedding timeline at a relaxed pace, with more buffer time for special moments. This will allow people to move to settle in comfortably and be ready for the next event on the timeline. Avoid packing in a tight schedule and make sure you consider the distance and space they have to maneuver to be in place for the next important part of the day. This will ensure your wedding timeline progresses as expected and that the day winds up on time.

DON’T risk booking unreliable vendors

Whether your wedding is big or small, unreliable vendors can totally ruin the show. Nonetheless, the chance of fixing a goof-up is tougher when the guest count is higher. It is simply impossible to find a replacement at short notice who can cater to such a large crowd without prior notice. This can end up as an emotional and stressful disaster, and spoil all the fun of your special day.

Hence, make sure that every vendor you hire for your wedding is reliable and has always delivered the service they promise to. Apart from online reviews, also ask for references before you commit to a contract. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will be able to suggest reliable vendors for various jobs. They will also have likely alternatives if any of the plans go south. Finally, ensure your vendor contracts contain practical solutions as emergency plans, in case of cancellations at the last minute. Make sure you can work with their solutions before you decide to be optimistic and sign up for the service.

DON’T forget to account for all the extras

There are many extras that you may miss adding to your budget. Many couples overlook factors like tipping and gratuity, wedding dress alteration charges, extra costs at the venue for service, etc, when planning their budget. Although some of these may seem insignificant, it can quickly add up when you consider the headcount at your wedding.

So, make sure you discuss all overheads before you book a service. Also, calculate these factors so you can create a practical budget. When booking a service, mention to the vendor what your total budget is, so they can direct you to the service accordingly. Also, don’t hesitate to cross-check and ask whether you will have to pay anything above and over the mentioned amount to get the service you book.

All said and done, your wedding is a special celebration of the day you and your partner become husband and wife! It is a special moment, that should be celebrated with all those who matter in your life. If this means having a big wedding, so be it! The challenges pale in comparison with the joy of the celebration. Just make sure that every moment counts, you stand by every decision you make and enjoy this special day in your life.

For all that you need for your wedding day, from your all-important wedding dress to dress alterations, attires for the bridal party, wedding favors and more, come visit our Best for Bride shop. With four locations and an impressive inventory of everything wedding-related, every modern bride can find all that she needs for her special day. Find more details about our wedding dress collections, services, and more at the Best for Bride website here.

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Wedding Tasting Etiquette: 10 Insanely Useful Things That You May Not Know and Should Be Aware Of

The food that is served at your wedding has an important role in determining the overall wedding experience. Most of the guests, if not all, will look forward to the food that is provided on your wedding day. So, you do not want them to be unhappy with the meal offered, while everything else was done to perfection.

Most wedding vendors offer a wedding tasting session before you book your order. With this option, you can actually see, taste, and experience the food that will be served on your wedding day. We suggest that you take your caterer up on this offer of wedding food tasting and make sure everything is just right, so there are no regrets later.

Outdoor wedding reception

As with anything wedding-related – from the bridal shower gifts to choosing the perfect ring, there is a catering tasting etiquette that you should adhere to. We will be looking at the do’s and don’ts of wedding food tasting etiquette. But before we move to this list, let us first try to understand what you can expect at your tasting session.

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The essential guide to tipping for Wedding Services

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Is it obligatory to tip every vendor at your wedding? Or is it alright to assume that the vendor charges cover their services and you needn’t add gratuities into your already-stretched wedding budget?

Wedding tipping is a tricky area, with no set rules on what is right and what isn’t. More often than not, it is up to the couple to decide whether they want to tip a vendor or not. If you aren’t really sure of what to do, this guide will help you recognize who you should tip and who you can skip.

Ground and set-up staff

These people do most of the hard work, like moving or setting up equipment and furniture at the venue. So, they deserve a tip for their efforts. You can budget roughly $10 per person. This list also includes anyone who delivers gifts or the important items from your baker, florist etc.

At your reception venue, unless you have taken an all-inclusive package, you will have to pay the staff in charge of serving wine or cutting cake, separately. In both cases, it is common practice to tip these attendants, and you can put aside roughly 15% of the food expenses for this purpose. To avoid double-tipping, check your contract for whether it includes service charges and make your decision accordingly.

Hair and Makeup

Similar to when you visit a beauty salon, these staff expect a tip for the service they provide. How much you pay will depend on how well you think they performed the job.

Florist and Baker

It isn’t usually necessary to tip your florist or baker, as their rates normally include gratuity. One way to know whether it would be appropriate to tip the person you are dealing with, is to read your contract. If it includes service charges, you do not have to tip again. Another thing to remember is that you needn’t tip a vendor who owns the service, but it is alright to tip employees.

Wedding planner

It is optional to tip your wedding planner, but you can always do so if you appreciate the effort the team put in, to make your wedding a success. You can also show your appreciation by giving them a nice gift instead of cash. Don’t forget to send a thank you note to your wedding planner if you loved what they did, and make sure you do this soon after the wedding. A good review and photos for their portfolio would be nice too.

Photographers and Musicians

It is optional in both cases, but if you are happy with their service or if they exceed your expectations, don’t hesitate to tip them. Again, if the photographer is the owner of the business, you can always skip it. For the musicians, if they did a splendid job and kept the evening alive and active, you can tip them.

Apart from the customary tips, you should appreciate anyone who has made a special effort to do the job well. Don’t think of the rules if you think they did a splendid job, and also send out a thank-you note afterwards. In a business where customer satisfaction decides a vendor’s business prospects, it will be well-appreciated if you can provide them a good online review or recommend them to your engaged friends

To obtain more wedding advice and tips, and also find everything you need for your wedding, visit us at Best for Bride.