Q and A

Q. If I want to plan a wedding on the Florida gulf coast for the spring of 2012, how early do I need to actually have a wedding and reception site booked? Regarding catering, how much should I plan to spend per person for a sit-down dinner for 60-90 people? Also, will hiring a planner save me money in the long run even though I’ll pay for their services? I really need to stick to a budget, but still want a fabulous, stress-free event. I’m feeling overwhelmed and really don’t know where to begin!

A.  It sounds like you could really benefit from the help of an experienced wedding planner! A planner’s knowledge and relationships with the local vendors will absolutely help you maximize your budget, while saving you a TON of time and stress.

As far as booking your venue(s) . . . ASAP! The most popular sites will book well in advance. Why wait?

Great question about catering! However, there are soooo many factors to consider when determining the cost per person:

  • Venue – what’s included? (kitchen, tables, chairs, china, stemware, flatware, etc.)
  • Menu choices
  • Type of bar
  • Service / staffing
  • Rentals

This really only begins to scratch the surface of how your wedding planner can really help you – and give you guidance into making the best decisions for YOU!

Q. I am planning an outdoor ceremony in September. The thought of holding my entire wedding under the stars is something I’ve always dreamed of, but realize that rain is always a possibility. What types of suggestions can you recommend in the case of rain? The thought of moving everything underneath a tent isn’t appealing to me at all – and I’m afraid my dreams of a wedding under the stars would be completely crushed. Help!

A. This is a great question! Because 90% of our events are held in an outdoor venue, the weather is always something we have to take into consideration. As soon as your venue is booked, we reserve a tent. Every rental company has its own policies, but when planning for an event like yours, we will place a tent on reserve in case of rain. This ensures we have one if the weather becomes an issue. Three days prior to your event, we’ll keep a close eye on the weather; if it looks ugly or even questionable, we will move forward with Plan B and have the tent erected. The decision of course is ultimately up to you – but in our experience, we’d rather see you be safe, than sorry! Because your team will begin setting up your event early in the day, even a five-minute sprinkle can – literally – put a HUGE damper on your entire wedding.

Q. I am getting married on the beach in November. How should I determine the best time for my ceremony?

A. As soon as you say, “beach wedding”, everyone imagines the beautiful sun setting as the bride and groom walk hand-in-hand along the beach. So, the initial reaction is to have your ceremony at sunset, right? Well, not exactly. Assuming you are interested in capturing those amazing photographs, you’ll need to plan your ceremony at least an hour prior to sunset. A typical ceremony (from processional to recessional) should last approximately thirty minutes. As your guests are headed to cocktail hour, your photographer will have enough time to capture your families and your wedding party while saving the best lighting for you and your new husband!

Q. I am a medical student in Tallahassee and need someone to help me with the entire planning process for my wedding – from start to finish. The wedding and reception will be held somewhere in Santa Rosa Beach. Should I hire a planner from the Santa Rosa Beach area, or from Tallahassee?

A. It sounds like you are very, very busy – like so many of our brides these days! I highly recommend obtaining the services of a planner in the area where your wedding will take place. A good wedding planner has developed relationships and has experience working with the local vendors. This knowledge will be invaluable throughout the entire planning process – and even more so on the actual wedding day. Your budget should go further as well. The wedding planner will know which vendors will work best for you – and give you the “best bang for your buck” (so to speak).

Q. What’s the best way to travel with my dress? I’m flying from Colorado – so I’ve got a layover and change of planes!!

A. My advice would be to keep your dress in the hanging bag – and fold it as neatly as possible. Line a box with plastic (so it’s protected from any weather) and place your dress in the lined box. Ship it to your wedding planner or venue director the week before the wedding via UPS or FedEx, and ask them to arrange the pressing or steaming for you.

Q. I have 12 bridesmaids, and would like to provide them with a schedule for the big day – but don’t really know where to start! What’s the best way to figure out a general timeline for my wedding day? There are so many things to consider, and it seems so complicated!

A. You’re right – this can certainly be a huge undertaking to try and figure out on your own! Because there are SO many moving parts on a wedding day – everything from hair and makeup appointments, to your photography schedule(s), to flower delivery (to name a few) – determining the best timeline can be complex, and a task best left to the pros!

As your wedding planner, we will begin to contact your entire team of wedding professionals 2-3 weeks from your wedding date to discuss last-minute details, relay expectations and discuss the timeline as it relates to their role in your event. We will begin with your photographer, and work backwards from there. Because everything hinges so tightly on your photography schedule, sunset time, and the start of your ceremony, we use a very precise method to ensure your timeline works best for everyone involved – and takes the burden off our brides! Our wedding day itinerary is our “claim to fame”, and will allow you to enjoy the day with your bridesmaids – mimosas and all!