Having worked in the Waimanalo event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Waimanalo, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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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.
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.
One way to narrow down your choices is to choose either an indoor or outdoor wedding reception. Then, make a list of potential locations and start visiting them as soon as possible.
Think about your budget and only look at options that fit your budget
Your budget will play a big part in deciding where to have your wedding reception. Depending on where you live, the average wedding can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000.
If you are having a large wedding with a limited budget, you may want to stick with indoor wedding facilities that offer reasonable wedding reception packages.
Outdoor tented weddings tend to cost a little more. Things like silverware, chairs and glassware will have to be rented, and you will have to work with a caterer that specializes in tented weddings.
Book wedding vendors early
In addition to booking your wedding reception location early, you should book your other wedding vendors like photographers, bands and florists as early as possible.
Good wedding vendors are booked up more than a year in advance. To ensure you get your first choice, start researching and meeting with your vendors shortly after booking your wedding reception space.
Choose a wedding theme for a unique reception
If you want to stand out a little from the crowd, consider incorporating a wedding theme into your reception. A wedding theme can be as simple as a certain type of flower, like daisy, or a season, like fall harvest.
More elaborate wedding themes include Cinderella or country western.
A popular option with any type of wedding theme is to include a signature drink. Different types of martinis, like apple or blue, are great options.
Ask a family member or good friend to take your gifts home
The last thing you want to be worried about when leaving your reception is the location of your wedding gifts.
Ask a good friend or family member (preferably someone reliable and sober who won't forget) prior to the wedding to be in charge of collecting your wedding gifts and moving them to a secure location after the reception.
Take a few moments to look around and enjoy the reception
Weddings take a lot of time and effort to plan. During your reception, take a few moments to look around and enjoy the results of all of your hard work.
Eat the food from your caterer, have a few signature drinks, admire the floral arrangements and enjoy your family and friends. Wedding receptions only last a few hours, so make sure you step back and soak in the atmosphere.
The above 6 ideas aren't everything you will need for planning your wedding, but it is a good start towards the perfect end result which is a wedding memory that will make you smile for the rest of your life.
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When planning an event, you must think about if you need centerpieces. Personally, centerpieces are one of my favorite parts of an event. They can be big, small, quaint, or flashy. Centerpieces can really add something to the event and make it look complete. There are some things to think about though. You don't want to make a centerpiece too tall that you can't see through at a social event. One time, we were planning a Christmas banquet and we thought it would be a great idea to use mini Christmas trees as the centerpieces, though we were wrong. The trees were too thick to see the people across the table, so the guests took the trees off of the tables. Talk about a centerpiece disaster. Another time, we planned centerpieces that had big, tall branches painted silver. These worked out fine because the branches weren't too flourished. You really have to think about the setting and events happening at your event when planning centerpieces, otherwise they can hinder the success of your event.
Invitations are not as simple as they appear to be. Invitations are the very first impression you make on your guests. You make the first impression completely without even seeing them and weeks in advance. Your invitation sets the tone for the event. Your guests get a feel for the event before attending.
How soon should you send them out you ask? If planning for a wedding, it is suggested you send them out 8 weeks before the wedding. If planning a party, it is suggested you send them out 3-6 weeks before the event depending on the specifics. Make sure you give people enough time to plan. Make sure to include all important event info, as well. Who, what, when, where, why, what to wear, and how to RSVP.
Get creative with your invitations! Personally I love invitations that are an actual object to be used. Maybe you make a mixed CD of your favorite songs and send that as an invite? When I was a kid, my mom always had the coolest invitations for my birthday parties. One time she laced shoe laces up a paper roller skate for a skating party. Another time she wrote all of the party info on a beach ball for a pool party. Your invitations don't just have to be paper sheets. Think outside of the box! It will also make your guests more interested and excited to come.
Some people argue that the best part of any event is the food. When choosing food for your event, you really need to think about the audience you're catering to.
Are you planning a kids or family event? Pizza is always a safe option for kids. Most children like pizza and it is easy for you. Planning an event for college students? College students just like free food. You're pretty safe with anything. As for adults, it depends on the formality of the event? A black tie affair, then of course you will have a course meal. A wedding? It's up to the couple if they'd rather go the buffet route or the plated meal route.
You also have to decide whether you want your event catered or if you will make the food in house. Of course this depends on the size of your event. The bigger the event, the more food you need, the more likely it's better to have it catered. A smaller party could be taken care of in house.
Overall, the food should be a high priority on your planning list. People love food and expect it to be delicious.
Your venue truly depends on what type of event you're having. A wedding? Your options are very very broad. A corporate meeting? Your options are a little more narrow. Maybe you're just throwing a party? You can really choose wherever fits your theme. Your venue sets the tone of the event.
Venue options include:
Outdoor event space
Your options are really endless, but you need to put some thought into the feel you are trying to go for. You also will always want to have a back up plan for outside events. Maybe you'll want to hand out fans if it's hot outside? Or maybe you'll have covered awnings in case it rains? Whatever the case may be hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
Decorations can change the feel of the entire event. Your decorations can make or break the event. But remember sometimes less is more as well, so don't think that you have to use a million different things. Also the type of event you're planning might not need decorations. Evaluate the type of event you're having and the level in which you want to decorate to. Good luck and happy decorating!
Follow these guidelines and your event is sure to be a hit!