Ever since I started this business there has been a typical pattern- work your tush off every weekend for 10 months out of the year from March through December then re-coup for a little bit in January and February. It is always a nice time to catch up on little projects and clean shop- our version of the Spring Clean! But the other great thing about these few quieter months is that I meet with so many potential clients who have been recently engaged over the holiday season and are excited and eager to get going with their wedding planning. The new year offers a great platform to start scouting and booking locations and vendors, planning design concepts...and even day dreaming about the most beautiful, unique wedding possible.
Here are a few of my suggestions to get you on your way in regards to envisioning and planning all the little design details:
*Tear Sheets from magazines are a great way to find color palettes, design concepts and inspiration. Pull what you like- even it is just one aspect of the image like the colors, the types of flowers, etc. If there is something that caught your eye- pull it!
*Keep a little camera/phone (obviously!) in your purse to snap spontaneous photos of things that catch your eye. You may see a window display or a blooming plant in someones yard that can offer great inspiration.
*Ask your friends that have gone through this process who they like and recommend as good vendors. If you are the first of your friends/family to get married hold onto that big ol' book of yours because when it is their turn they will be asking for your opinion and info!
*Look at as many locations as possible. Just like your dress, you may think you know exactly what you want until you try it on! Visiting different locations of all types can open your mind to new inspiration and could get you thinking out of the box
*Speaking of visiting many locations, ask for their recommended Vendor List. These are vendors that have worked many times at that specific location and are well received by the staff there. BUT, also keep those lists in mind even if not booking at that location. For a vendor to make it on to a Preferred Vendor list they would have shown to the Catering Managers that they are professional, competent, friendly and talented- A great resource to start looking for vendors if you don't know where to start.
*As far as time frame goes, 6-10 months pre-booking is about the average for us. We do book up quickly for May and the summer and fall months, which tend to be the busiest wedding times for most vendors. But, we have also had those random weddings that we book two weeks before the big day! I would recommend at least calling and making appointments to meet with vendors to get proposals and ideas of a realistic budget. We personally always offer preference to the client we happen to meet with first. So, if there is a popular day it doesn't hurt to get started early and receive bids.
* Be prepared to be somewhat flexible with the budget. I would imagine that planning a party as big and intricate as a wedding is a first time thing for most people. I know when I planned mine I had very little knowledge of what things cost until I started to call round, get bids and proposals (and I had already been doing my business for 4 years!). Of course, it is a good idea to have some parameters but unfortunately, that standard percentage breakdown that has always been used (i.e. 50% for that , 10% for this, 10% for that) may not hold true. Especially if there is one aspect of the wedding that is more important to you than another.
* Most of all- have fun and be creative--or hire someone to be creative for you!!! :)