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You are recently engaged, and now it is time to start researching wedding reception ideas. But where should you start?

All good weddings start with a plan, and listed below are 6 tips that you can use to make sure you plan the wedding of your dreams.

Small Wedding

Start looking for a reception location early

The first step is to figure out when you want to get married. Summer and fall weddings open the opportunity for an outdoor wedding reception; however these are also the most popular times to get married.

You need to move fast and start early to make sure you get your first choice of reception location during the busy seasons.

Event Planning - Take Your Event From Good to Great!

One reason you might not socialize as much as you could with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or others may be the barrier of supplying them with food and drink. There is stress in planning any summer outdoor party when you must purchase large quantities of food and prepare it for your friends in a way that will impress them. What is lost in the process is your time speaking, dancing, and catching up with the people you invited. With a top-notch catering team, you can forget the preparations and mingle until your feet tingle in your backyard, by the pool, in the gardens, or wherever you choose.

Enjoy the summer weather and the palate-pleasing fare whipped up by people like Chef Carl of the Franklin Market Basket. In states such as Michigan, we live for the few nice summer months where the flowers are in bloom, the sun is bright, and the trees are not bare. Don't miss the opportunity presented by this weather and the company of your friends; seek out a reputable caterer in your region and let them take care of the most problematic aspect of any party: the food.

Just as you would take a large group of co-workers out to lunch at a restaurant rather than to your house, apply the same thinking to your summer gathering. It comes down to how you want to budget your time. You can spend hours at the grocery store overloading a cart with odds and ends, and inevitably forgetting something; washing dishes in the kitchen while you watch the party progress outside in your yard; and having the blood vessels in your eyes explode when you hear a cousin complain about your cooking skill. Hand the job to a professional and head outside, umbrella-adorned drink in hand. Remember: no one moves to Michigan to shovel snow. A good party catering service can move you in the right direction in the summer months-outside.

Event Planner Contract

A Wedding Planner was once thought of as a luxury, only used by the wealthy.  Now an event coordinator is essential to a well planned affair.  It is important to remember that your Wedding Planner is not there to make a decision for you but to guide and assist you in making informed decisions.

Every bride dreams about their perfect wedding but find it's not easy making that dream wedding a reality.  Brides can average around 250 hours organizing their wedding.  The engagement period should be a time of fun and excitement but most brides and grooms find themselves running around sourcing suppliers and reception venues, choosing invitations and arguing over guest lists instead of enjoying this exciting time in their lives.  Combine this with working and is it any wonder, come the wedding day, they are totally stressed.

What will a Wedding Planner do

A Wedding Planner will do as much or as little as you want.  If you want a completely stress free wedding your Planner will source and negotiate prices with all suppliers, assist you with decisions regarding themes and colors etc. for your wedding, basically they will do all of the legwork and you will only have to make the decisions regarding which suppliers to contract.  Your Planner will also assist with any pre-wedding parties, if required. They will also be there on your wedding day to make sure everything runs smoothly and on time.

You may prefer to organize some part of your wedding yourself and use a Planner to source suppliers for you or you might want to organize your entire wedding and just have a coordinator on hand for your wedding day so you can enjoy your big day without worrying about anything.  Most Wedding Planners will offer a range of packages and hourly services.

This will just be an added cost

A Wedding Planner will save you valuable time and money as they can take advantage of discounts not available to private parties.  They will do all the legwork and present you with a list of options within your budget.  Their expertise in negotiating with service providers means they can secure the best deal for you.  Wedding Planners build up a network of top quality vendors in the wedding industry and they only recommend the best as this impacts their own business.  They negotiate very good discounts with these vendors and, in most cases, you will find that your Wedding Planner will not be an added cost on your budget as the discounts they obtain will cover their costs.

Where to start

When you first meet with a Wedding Planner they will provide you with a starter kit which will detail their services and costs, along with checklists and ideas and suggestions that will assist you to make a decision regarding themes, colors, flowers, number of guests etc.  This is also an opportunity to see if you are comfortable with the Planner and if you will be able to work together.  This initial consultation and starter kit is usually offered free of charge.  When you make the decision to go ahead a contract will be presented to you detailing exactly what is expected of both parties and the cost of the services provided.