Trust the process

Planning is key because when getting hitched, you want things to go well, without a hitch

By Alyssa Schmitt

Photo: New Image Photography / Elegantz Eventz

Once the excitement of a recent engagement settles down, overwhelming feelings about planning an ideal wedding can take center stage. With ideas for floral arrangements or color schemes popping off a screen after a quick search online, some of the mundane but equally important parts of wedding planning may go by the wayside.

To help sidestep oncoming headaches or surprises, wedding planners Somer Khouri-Bedran of A Charming Fetê, Event Planning + Design in North Olmsted and Jennifer Zinkan of Elegantz Eventz in Solon give some inside tips for brides-to-be.

Taking first steps

Before ideas of gift bags or dessert trays even start to come to fruition, both planners suggest setting a budget.

“Have a solid number to fall back to because there are always ways to overspend on a wedding,” Khouri-Bedran advises.

Having a goal allows the bride to set a guest list, but once that’s completed, Khouri-Bedran sees some brides make the mistake of changing it. She says this can ultimately harm later plans like budgeting for a photographer or venue.

“I think a big thing is the guest count. (Brides) always under allow, so they say, ‘We’re only inviting 200,’ and then they end up having 300 – and that can affect the budget,” she says.

Photo: Jason Thomas Crocker and Nick Plus Danee / A Charming Fetê, Event Planning + Design

Once a budget and guest list are set, it’s time to talk about who is paying for what. While everybody involved is family and wants the wedding to be a success, Zinkan recommends setting defined roles to avoid a conflict down the road.

“While the budget is an incredibly important part of the decisions that need to be made, it is a very touchy subject in most families,” she says. “Who pays for what? Traditionally the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, the liquor at the reception and the bride’s flowers. The bride’s parents pay for everything else, such as the bride’s gown, food and décor. Recently, we are seeing more couples paying for their own weddings.”

Preparing for trouble

Photo: Kayla Coleman / A Charming Fetê, Event Planning + Design

A few inevitable hiccups will happen as the big day approaches. Khouri-Bedran and Zinkan have seen brides-to-be panic over problems only to realize – in hindsight – how small the issue was. So, they encourage brides to be ready for anything while taking each issue in stride.

Once a couple selects a vendor, Khouri-Bedran recommends they book it instead of putting it on the back burner. She said the sooner vendors are booked, the couple can start focusing on smaller details of the wedding.

“The faster you can book your vendors, the easier your year will be because you’ll have everything done,” she said.

Speaking of smaller details, Zinkan says to be aware of details like a tip envelope for vendors or a day-of schedule so as to avoid any last-minute decisions in the days leading up to the wedding.

“Start making notes of favorite songs you want played at the wedding as soon as possible,” she says. “So many couples leave it to the very last few days and get stressed out about it.”

Stress comes with planning a wedding, so when the RSVPs don’t come in on time as expected, Khouri-Bedran reminds brides to stay calm. Still, she suggests staying ahead of the game on invites by sending them out 12 weeks in advance and requiring RSVPs to be returned three weeks prior to the big day.

Be wary of trends

Pinterest can be a useful tool when looking for inspiration but tread carefully as it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of beautifully designed and ever-changing trends.

“(Pinterest) is invaluable to us,” Zinkan says. “While we do not replicate anything because we are a bespoke wedding company, … we can use the pictures to better understand the bride and groom’s vision.”

Photo: New Image Photography / Elegantz Eventz

While every couple’s vision is to have a perfect and successful wedding, that vision can change over time. Though changes are a part of the planning process, too many changes can take away the couple’s personal touch.

“Sometimes they come in with a clear-cut choice of what they want and then their style changes based on the trend,” Khouri-Bedran says. “We focus on making it their wedding rather than what the trend is out there. We focus on who they are as people.”

Khouri-Bedran noted couples searching the internet should remember where their wedding is taking place as not all ideas can be executed the same across different venues.

“Everything on Pinterest is beautiful but those are in particular settings,” she says. “You can’t make up an oceanfront wedding and put it in the middle of a backyard in Cleveland. It’s not going to look the same.”  jsw

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