Planning Your Ceremony

Planning Your Ceremony

Sometimes the wedding ceremony planning can take a backseat to the dress, flowers and all the other details of your special day, but don’t just let those precious moments fly by in a blur. Here are 6 things to consider in preparing a meaningful and memorable ceremony.

 

1. Think about your guests

You may think that your guests have simply resigned themselves to sitting through a ceremony so they can hit the open bar and dance the evening away. But the truth is that we all hunger for the meaning behind important milestones. Weddings symbolize hope, the future – and love. Is there anyone who doesn’t need to hear that? Couples cherish these moments to remind themselves of their own special day. So take time to think about what your guests could get out of your wedding ceremony.

 

2. It’s your Wedding Day

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to convince younger couples (and sometimes even remind more mature ones) that this is their day to celebrate their bond, their relationship, and that it can be exactly what they want it to be – and doesn’t have to be anything that they don’t want it to be. So take the time to consider who you are as a couple and what special elements you want to include in ceremony.

 

3. Tell your Love Story

What do you think will be remembered and talked about most? The candy bar? The table linens? Doubtful. People will remember your Love Story, what was expressed in words, symbols, and rituals, and all the elements that reflect the authenticity of who you are as unique individuals and as a unique couple. These are the things that resonate with people. Don’t feel pressured to do things that are not comfortable for you. If you are uncomfortable speaking in front of people, don’t write and read your own vows.  All eyes are on you, so only do things that make you and your finance comfortable. The things that you consider important in life as individuals and as a couple – your core values and beliefs – should be woven throughout the ceremony. You are completely unique and have deeply held convictions. Express them.

 

4. Love Matters

Love is transcendent. It is a spiritual condition, and set apart from other human experiences. Your wedding is an opportunity to honor it as such, and to remind everyone present that Love is a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with. Love matters, and we all need to hear that.

 

5. Size doesn’t matter

Three hundred guests at a huge banquet hall or twenty guests in your backyard, your wedding is still a deeply meaningful milestone event – for you and your community. It isn’t a competition. So take the time to consider who is really important to be included in the celebration of your marriage.

 

6. Key Players

Take the time to consider who will officiate your wedding. A personal connection with the officiate will make your ceremony more personal. If you do not have a relationship with your officiate, take the time as a couple to meet and get to know each other.  The ceremony is a great place to include other special people in your lives. A scripture or quote reading is a great place to incorporate a family member or special friend.  If you have a special person that can sing or play an instrument (and who is tremendously talented) ask them to consider preparing a special song for your ceremony.

 

Finally, communicate your ceremony layout with your coordinator and officiate. Allow both of these individuals to help you think through all the details. Ceremonies should be discussed with your officiate at least one month prior to your wedding.

 

Happy Planning!

 

 

Your Wedding Dream Team

Your Wedding Dream Team

Enlisting a team of wedding professionals who compliment your style can often be a daunting task. Navigating online reviews and bridal shows can be completely overwhelming and misleading in giving you the best understanding of a vendor's’ ability, reputation, and personality. Below are some tips for choosing quality professionals you’ll come to trust and adore!

Ask your Venue Coordinator.

Venue coordinators have great experience with a variety of local vendors so they're an excellent source of reliable insight and recommendations about who can best help carry out your vision. Many venues have a list of “Preferred Vendors”. This does not mean you must choose from their list, it’s simply a collection of professionals who have proven themselves to provide a great product and service. They’ve proven their word is golden and that’s something that matters on your wedding day! Also, when you choose from the list of preferred vendors, you often are given special deals such as no delivery fees, special package pricing, etc. As you hire more vendors that you like and trust, ask them for their recommendations. You will definitely want a team that works well together, especially your videographer and photographer as they work long hours side-by-side capturing the same moments.

Talk to friends and family.

Nothing beats a personal recommendation; someone who is tried and true in your circle. However, that’s not always the best solution as your decision is extremely personal based off of your unique personality and vision. Ask to see examples of the work or a few other friends and families options of the specific wedding. Additionally, your big day is NOT the day to let a friend build their portfolio or try out their new found hobby. You’ve invested a significant amount of money for your photographer and want your makeup looking High Def and gorgeous. Likewise, you’ve chosen your dream venue and décor that you will always want to remember. Don’t lose those precious photo opp’s because your photographer doesn’t know how to adjust his/her camera settings or manage their timeline.

 

Ask to meet in person.

Reading online reviews can be so tricky. Most clients going online to review their vendors either had incredible or dreadful experiences, so it can be difficult to develop an unbiased opinion.  Set up a meeting or interview to discuss each vendor’s style and timeline expectations for the day of the wedding.  Make sure you like the people you’ll be working with and feel their professionalism each time you speak with them. You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with some of your vendors, so you want to make sure you are completely comfortable with them.

 

Once you have chosen your vendors, stay in touch with them.

Schedule a hair and makeup trial, have that food, wine or cake tasting, and schedule your engagement session before the big day! This is your time to speak up about what you do or do not like and true professionals will have no problem working through any hiccups BEFORE the wedding day.

 

Review contracts with a fine tooth comb. Look for any extra charges or fees so there are no surprises and make sure you understand the services you are getting. There’s nothing worse than having a photographer jet out hours before the grand exit or a band start to pack up when the night is still young.

At the end of the day, trust your own instincts. Be open with your communication to yourself, your future spouse, and your vendors. Ask yourself the hard questions. Are you comfortable with this person? Is this person within your budget? Does their vision align with yours? Do you trust this person to do as they say they will? Don’t be afraid to pump the brakes if something doesn’t feel right.

Don’t forget that we are here for you…just ask! Even if you’re considering an outside vendor, chances are, our coordinators have had recent experience with them and aren’t afraid to give an honest opinion.

You're Invited!

You're Invited!

Photo Credit: The Tarnos

Photo Credit: The Tarnos

You’ve set a date. You’ve chosen a venue. Things just got real.

We’ve got your essential and practical tips on creating a guest list, sending save-the-dates and invitations, and keeping track of your RSVPs.

Guest List: According the The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Studythe average number of guest attending weddings in 2015 was 139, down from 149 in 2009. Today’s couples are choosing more intimate celebrations which can be appealing in a number of ways: friendlier budgets, extravagant guest experiences, and more time to devote to interacting with your guests the day of the wedding. Large weddings are certainly not out, but ensure your budget adjusts accordingly to your social circle. Try your best to not step on anyone’s toes as your families come together to create your guest list. Having an open conversation (or two or three) with your parents and in-laws about essential invites will be critical.

Save-The- Dates: Save-the-dates typically should be sent 4-7 months prior to your big day. While these may be tempting to send out soon after your engagement, refrain from sending these puppies prematurely. The details of your ceremony may change slightly and your guest list may evolve through several revisions. It’s wise to include the URL of your wedding website on this announcement. Budget tip: Explore electronic save-the-date options from sites likePaperless Post.

Invitations: Plan on sending your invitations 8-10 weeks prior to your wedding.  Vendors for custom invitations are endless. Want something uniquely your’s? Inquire to a local print designer. We recommend Touies Design from Norman, OK. Need a little more structure, but still want the ability to customize to your style? Check out an online vendor like Wedding Paper Divas. Be sure to include a note regarding the style of the reception following the ceremony. We also recommend including an enclosure card with essential details such as: directions and accommodations. It is also courteous to include a pre-posted response card with the invitation (we’ll talk more on RSVPs soon). A huge no-no is listing registries on your invitations. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is certainly going to try to convince you otherwise, but let your guests ask around for your registries or visit your wedding website for such information.

RSVPs: Ask your guests to RSVP 4 weeks prior to the wedding. Doing so will allow you extra time for those late responses to roll in before you finalize the headcount with your vendors likely 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding.

 

Photo Credit: Tammy Odell Photography

Photo Credit: Tammy Odell Photography

Advantages of Hosting a Weekday Wedding

Advantages of Hosting a Weekday Wedding

When mentioning the possibility of a weekday wedding, most couples typically hesitate. This should so not be the case, let us explain.

  • Value

It is no secret that hosting a wedding on a weekday will be significantly less expensive than booking over a weekend. Weekdays would be dates most vendors consider as a bonus booking and would likely allow them to reduce their rates in order to accommodate your needs. Therefore, you’ll enjoy first pick on the best vendors & venues! Also, if you want to go big on floral or food (& who doesn’t), those dreamy florals and quality caterers can be a reality where it was possibly out of reach paying full venue and vendor pricing on a budget. Yay!

  • Significant Dates

Rather than getting as close as possible to a meaningful date in your life, you have first dibs to the ideal date. We’ve known brides to share their parents’ wedding anniversary or honor a noteworthy date meaningful to their own history. No need to settle for the closest Saturday; the importance of a date will be cherished for a lifetime.

  • Intimacy

The purpose of having a wedding is to celebrate with those who have supported you and your fiancé’s relationship and loved you both into a place where you decide to spend forever with each other. For some, yes, this needs to be a large number. However, nothing is sweeter than bringing those who have played the biggest role in your relationship together and showing them just how cherished they are in your life. For couples looking to spend their big day with a small guest count, a weekday wedding is the perfect way to accomplish this.

Side note: Your traveling guests will thank you for cheaper airfare and lodging.  

If you are looking to host a weekday wedding, please consider Southwind Hills as your wedding venue to pull off the greatest day of your life! Let us talk details and customize your ideal wedding at a dream venue.

(405) 837-9463 , events@southwindhills.com