We absolutely love dogs here at Thrifty Events, and there is nothing better than when couples incorporate their fur babies into their wedding day. Here are my tips to make sure you and your dog are wedding day ready!
While the wedding may be over, I have not stopped thinking about how amazing the entire experience has been coordinating my first destination wedding. This video is the second in a 2 part series. I'm sharing how the wedding day went, the things that made it extra special, and a few lessons we learned, plus some photos from Brianna and Will's big day. If you haven't watched Part 1, which covers the 4 days of wedding prep in Jamaica prior to the ceremony, be sure to check it out, as well!
We've been in Jamaica for 4 days, and this video covers all of the wedding planning lessons I've gathered pre-wedding day - from arriving, to planning meetings, and all the fun stuff in between. Look out for Part 2 to hear more about the wedding day!
You may have heard stories about couples waiting in line at the Parks Department to book their wedding venue and wondered to yourself if it's really that competitive. Well friends, I'm here to confirm, the stories are true. You certainly aren't the only one that has their eye on that perfect location for your wedding, not to mention all of the other families and businesses that want to host picnics, parties, and family reunions there, as well. That's why I'm sharing my top 5 tips to help you prepare and create a plan so you can book your dream venue without all the stress.
I'm sitting down with Meredith McKee of Meredith McKee Photography, and we're talking through the entire wedding day from start to finish and how you can create a timeline that works well logistically, but also allows your photographer enough time to get all of those beautiful photos you want so badly. Hint: we're sharing how much time you need to wrangle family, when to sneak away for sunset photos and so much more! After listening to her advice, you'll feel more ready than ever to create your wedding day timeline!
Thank you to Samantha Kent with The Sleep Help Institute for writing this article and sharing these great tips!
Wedding planning is often one of the most stressful times in a couple’s relationship. Between coordinating the guest list, the caterers, the venue, and making sure everyone is where they need to be, it can get overwhelming. When that happens, it’s common to have trouble sleeping, which, of course, makes everything else even harder.
If you’ve found this is an issue for you, you’re in luck! Here’s a couple of tricks you can try to help you sleep well the night before your big day.
Meditation is a great way to help calm anxiety, and also to help de-stress your entire body.
Meditation is calming for all of your body, and even if you can’t get yourself to fall into the moment the way you’re supposed to, you’ll still be relaxing a little bit. Clear your mind, take some deep breaths and give it a shot.
Stress and anxiety can be problematic for sleep. Our minds often worry when they’re supposed to let us sleep. Do you have thoughts about everything racing through your mind while you try to count sheep?
Something that might help is keeping a worry journal.
Does Aunt Sally still need to pick up the centerpieces? Is a bridesmaid stationed at the entrance to make sure someone else gets to where they need to be?
Writing those stressful thoughts down can help your brain think that it’s okay to stop worrying about them until you have to deal with them tomorrow. It also gives you a semi-complete checklist of things you need to do or delegate!
Another thing that will help is to write down all of the things you’re excited about for your big day, leaving your journal entry on a positive note.
3. Add Soothing Scents
Creating a calming environment for yourself is vital to a good night’s sleep. One way to do that is through soothing scents like lavender, chamomile, bergamot, jasmine, rose and sandalwood.
You can get those scents through essential oils, pillow sprays, wax warmers, candles and through lotions - whatever is the best option for you.
4. Include Plants in your Bedroom
If your centerpieces are plants, you might want to keep them in your room. NASA has suggested that maintaining cleaner air with houseplants has a positive effect on sleep. Also, make sure that your mattress supports your preferred sleeping position. Let’s avoid aches and pains on the big day!
Planning a wedding can be stressful, but don't let that keep you from feeling refreshed and relaxed on your big day. Using meditation, journaling and soothing scents can help you fall into a restful sleep before your wedding.
You'll usually have a one hour window for your wedding rehearsal, so you want to make sure you make the most of your time. In this video, I'm sharing how I run a wedding rehearsal and the order you should practice each piece to ensure nothing gets missed during your rehearsal.
It may seem silly to practice how you're going to kiss during the wedding ceremony, but trust me on this one, it's definitely something to consider! Kissing in front of a lot of people can feel awkward, so today I'm going to share some tips to make sure this moment is as picture perfect as you've imagined it.
You've walked down the aisle, all eyes are on you, now how do you make the transition to the front of the ceremony? This exchange between the bride, father of the bride (and sometimes her mother) and the groom is crucial! I'm taking you step-by-step through the process so you can nail these picture perfect moments and make the hand off a smooth one.
Nobody wants to look awkward while standing in front of all their family and friends during their wedding ceremony, which is why today we're talking about what to do with your hands - from how to hold your bouquet to getting that perfect photo of placing the rings on each others' finger - you'll know where your hands belong during each part of the wedding ceremony.
I'm sharing the traditional wedding processional order and ways that you can mix it up when your wedding party or family doesn't quite align with what's usually done. I'll give you some practical alternatives and fun options to help you create the perfect wedding processional and recessional order for your wedding ceremony.
Today we are going to tlak about the things that you should consider before you decide to DIY the catering portion of your wedding day.
Catering tends to be the largest part of most wedding budgets, and for good reason. Food is a big part of any wedding day. Caterers will provide and serve appetizers during cocktail hour, the dinner, sometimes late night snacks, and often they will also be your bartender and serve desserts. They have a big part in your day, they are on site for a long period of time, and that's why it's a big budget item. Because of this, though, many couples consider DIYing this part of the wedding day to save money.
There are a few ways to do this:
1) You can order food from a restaurant that will deliver the food, and then you manage serving it on your own.
2) You have a family member or friend cook all of the food and manage serving it.
There are some big things to consider before tackling this part of your wedding. After reading this, you'll have a better sense of the questions you need to ask yourself to decide if either of these options are a good fit for you, or if you actually should bring in a professional caterer.
First, you need to determine if you know someone that has the ability, and wants to cook on your wedding day. Now, there is a big difference between finding a family member that is used to cooking for 10 or 20 family members and an actual chef that is used to cooking for hundreds of people at one time. Try to find someone that is a chef, or has experience working in a commercial kitchen.
Then, find out if they actually want to cook on your wedding. Keep in mind that the person cooking will not be participating in the rest of the wedding day activities. They will be in the kitchen cooking and prepping food during the ceremony, and won't be available for pictures, and certainly won't be enjoying dinner with the rest of your guests.
Next, you need to consider staffing on your wedding day. I recommend having designated individuals that are solely focused on being in the kitchen, stocking the buffet lines, and clearing plates after dinner. Keep in mind, again, that if someone is working in the kitchen, they really won't be enjoying the other parts of your wedding day, like the dinner, toasts, first dances, etc. Try to set really clear expectations and responsibilities between staff and guests at the wedding day, especially if you are using family or friends to help. You need those individuals really focused on the food service piece, otherwise, things can fall behind schedule and serving the meal will start to feel disorganized.
If you DIY the meal for the wedding, that also means that you'll need to handle all of the rentals and serving ware. Often times, catering companies will bring everything they need in the kitchen and to serve the food, but if you have someone cooking, you may need to rent these items on your own, like heating ovens, chaffing dishes, tables, linens, and serving utensils. For the serving ware, like plates, silverware, and glasses, you have the option to rent glass or china, or purchase a disposable hard plastic or paper, but you are still responsible to order or purchase the correct quantities and have a plan for how those items are getting to the venue, and for rented items, you'll often need to make sure they are cleared of any food scraps and returned on time to the rental company afterwards.
Finally, and this is a big one, you need to consider what your venue allows. Some venues will allow anyone to come in a serve food, while others will require it's a licensed catering company. And the same is true of bartenders. Some places will allow self-serve, and others will require a licensed bartender serves all alcoholic beverages. On top of that, though, you should also consider the amount of liability you want to take on for your wedding day. You may know someone that is a great cook, but what if someone got sick or got food poisoning? Again, cooking for small groups is different than cooking for large groups, and it's important you have someone that knows how to cook all of the food safely. Ultimately, you need to make sure you know how much liability you are willing to take on for the event. If you are going to DIY the meal, you are responsible if someone were to get sick or if something were to happen. That's true for the food, and also the bar. If you have self-serve without a licensed bartender, then you would be liable to manage your guests' intake.
I've seen weddings that have successfully DIYed the meal, where they had restaurants deliver food and had designated servers, and it all went really smoothly. Not to mention, the couple saved a ton of money! But, it definitely took more planning on the front end to bring those pieces together and make sure all of their bases were covered to ensure it all went well. If you're willing to take that on, then DIYing the meal may be a great plan for you. If not, then I'd recommend hiring a professional catering team to handle all of this for you.
Today we are going to chat about one of my biggest pet peeves - the plethora of “one size fits all” wedding planning timelines. If you do a quick search on Pinterest or Google, you will easily find pages upon pages of graphics that tell you how to plan a wedding in 6 months, or 9 months, or 12 months, and while these can sometimes be a helpful starting point, I am here to tell you to stop following them like they are your wedding planning bible! There are so many problems with these timelines, which I’ll discuss, but the main issue is that they end up causing more stress, anxiety and FOMO than actual guidance and support. Here's why.
1. Most of these timelines are created for and posted to reach a national audience.
Your wedding here in Seattle may be nothing like a New Jersey or New York or Alabama wedding. Those locations have totally different peak wedding seasons, different trends, different spending habits and different vendors available. Try Googling “New York City wedding” and “PNW wedding” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. They have completely different styles! And that means very different priorities during the planning process which can impact your planning timeline. To give you another example, Southern regions will have very different seasons than places with harsh winters, and the length of warm weather in an area has an impact on the number of weddings happening during summer months. Here in the PNW, we get nice, sunny, warm weather from about July to August, and anything outside of those two months has a higher chance of rain. But, in places like Texas, their summer is much longer and the wedding season often extends much further into the spring and fall months, which gives couples many more weekends to choose from for a wedding with good weather. So, usually the shorter the summer season, the more weddings there are and the more competitive it may be to find available vendors and therefore, the longer you may want to plan.
2. These timelines assume you are wedding planning every single month, week and weekend.
Spoiler, life is still happening while you’re wedding planning. You have your job, family, social life, vacations and so much more that you need to plan around. It’s impossible to plan in every bit of spare time. Even the most excited couples get burned out on wedding planning eventually and will need a break. And that’s totally normal! Goodness, I’m a wedding planner, and I can’t keep going 24/7. I need vacations, too. These timelines, though, can get so detailed, and while their intentions may be good because they are trying to make sure you don’t forget anything, it gives you a massive to-do list which can easily take over all of your free time.
3. these timelines often make couples feel behind, even when they are actually doing a great job with planning.
The feelings of overwhelm are all too common when wedding planning, and most of this happens when your to-do list is long and FOMO begins to creep in. You may start looking at these one size fits all wedding planning timelines and they’ll include everything from save the dates, invites and wedding programs to guest favors, dress alterations, and beauty-prep tips, and suddenly you feel like you have to include all of these things in your wedding day, even if they don’t really fit your style, personality or budget. I’ll be the first to admit that my beauty regime leading up to my wedding day consisted of just trying to get a full nights sleep and remembering to shave my legs the night before. Everything else I left to my make-up artist and hair stylist to work their magic on. Now of course, if you are really into beauty products, that may be totally different for you, but I’m here to tell you that one person’s plan may not be the plan for you to follow, and some of the small details that work great at one wedding may seem out of place at your own. Don’t be afraid to cut things that just don’t fit for you or are causing you stress throughout planning.
Overall, most of these timelines are unrealistic to follow to a T, but I know many of you may be thinking, “oh great, what am I supposed to do now? What are my other options?”
My biggest piece of advice is to stop following them as if they are the end all be all to your wedding planning. Often times couples will search online and find the really detailed timeline that includes the most items, thinking that’s going to set them up for success, when in reality it becomes overwhelming and not a great match for their actual planning style.
1. Look for timelines that keep things fairly basic, and focus on getting the big pieces in place.
Once you have that, then you can always look for a more specific timeline that’s geared toward the details that you are looking for. So, let’s say you have all of your vendors booked, but you want to know when you need to get paper products designed, ordered, and sent. You can definitely find specific timelines for this, and often times, they will be created from stationary companies that actually know the ins and outs of that portion of wedding planning.
2. Try to find timelines or guides that are created by wedding professionals.
Anything that’s created from someone that planned their own wedding and suddenly thinks they have expert level knowledge to guide your wedding planning is not someone you want to follow. Wedding professionals are creating tools and resources based on hundreds of weddings, not one single wedding. Be aware of who is creating the tools that you are using!
3. Try to find resources and guides produced by local wedding vendors.
Almost all wedding planners have blogs, so do a quick search for planners in your area and scroll through their resources online. The tips they are providing are directly related to your region or city and will likely be much more applicable to your wedding. Not to mention, you may find a great, knowledgeable vendor to book in the process!
4. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to tailor the timeline to fit your needs and wedding ideas.
Make sure you are planning around the other things going on in your life, and cut the to-do list items that don't apply to your style or wedding day. Your wedding is unique to you, so make sure your planning timeline is unique to you, as well.
If you have access to a private property to host your wedding, then consider yourself extremely lucky! Not only does having a backyard wedding save you a ton on renting a venue, but it also offers you more flexibility when it comes to the timeline, and sometimes a much more relaxed atmosphere. However, there are some serious logistical items that need to be considered before committing to a backyard wedding.
Even a small wedding will mean more cars than usual parked on the property, so considering available parking options is a must. Is there an abundance of street parking? An open field or lot? A nearby business or church that will let you use theirs? Or will you need to have guests park off-site and offer a shuttle to the property?
First consider if you want guests going into the house or not. The backyard weddings we’ve hosted have been about 50/50 on this, so there is no right or wrong answer here, it’s simply what you prefer. If you want the house off-limits, then you’ll need to rent port-a-potties. If you are using the house, consider how many bathrooms there are, how easy they are to find, and if you are on a septic system, make sure it can handle this influx in people using the bathrooms. There will be a lot more flushes than you normally have, and nobody wants backed up bathrooms on their wedding day.
3. Level surfaces
This is important for chairs at the ceremony and tables during the reception. Remember, what may seem like a slight slope with nothing on it may become much more noticeable once you’re sitting in a chair that’s leaning or trying to eat on a crooked or wobbly table. Consider the slope of the yard when planning your layout to avoid uneven ground.
4. Cost of rentals
When you’re starting from scratch, everything will need to be rented, from the chairs and tables to a tent for a covered space just in case it rains or to protect you and your guests from the sun. While you may be saving on the venue, these costs can definitely add up. The good news, is that you can save on delivery fees by allowing things to be brought in a day or two early and picked up a day or two after the event.
5. Power and outdoor outlets
You’ll need power for lighting, but most importantly for the DJ or band. Make sure there are outlets, or nearby power sources for where the DJ will need to be set up for the ceremony and reception
Keeping a backyard looking lush and green during the summer takes a lot of work. If the owners take care of this regularly and enjoy gardening, then you’re in luck, but if not this will be a big undertaking. It costs quite a bit of money to update landscaping, install lighting, keep things watered, etc., not to mention the time it takes to maintain it. If it’s not your property, this is a great area to offer to help so the burden doesn’t fall completely on the property owner. Last week I shared Kirsten and Kris's backyard wedding on Bainbridge Island, and this was a perfect example of a gorgeous property and the work they did prior to the wedding day on the landscaping. This couple went to the parent's home on the weekends to help plant flower beds, lay gravel on the pathways, trim trees and keep the lawn watered and mowed. It was a team effort and a great way for the couple to show their appreciation for allowing them to host their wedding on the property.
I love weddings on private properties, and as long as you take these logistical items into consideration, I have no doubt you’ll be able to host a successful backyard wedding!
Today's topic can be a bit of a touchy one because we are going to discuss money. Now, some of your may be excellent bargainers, but others may try it and feel uncomfortable and awkward about it. When you're wedding planning on a budget, though, it's sometimes necessary. Here are my tips on how to tactfully ask for a discount so you aren't offending anyone. Now, of course, there may be some vendors that get offended, and some that may even be offended that I'm making this video, but I don't live in a bubble where I pretend no one ever has or ever will ask me for a discount. I did name my business Thrifty Events after all ;) I live in the real world where I know the importance of sticking to a budget, so I'm sharing my tips so you can do this really well and aren't left guessing how to go about asking for a discount.
1. Do your research.
When you aren't finding the right vendor within your budget, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to find vendors that are over your price point by just a few hundred dollars. The reasoning here is that it's much easier to ask for a small discount than ask someone to completely slash their prices to meet your budget. Next, look for vendors that offer off-peak rates, or have recently offered some kind of special. Sometimes you can find this information on their websites, but often times you'll have better luck looking at their social media feed. Most vendors don't delete old posts, so if they had been offering a discount, you may be able to still find it. Then, when you reach out, you can mention that previous discount and see if they'll still honor it.
2. Be willing to compromise.
Find out if there is something in their package that you might be able to cut. If they are bringing down their price, then it's only fair that you're willing to budge on what services or products are offered. To give you an example, I've had clients come to me in the past asking for a discount on my day-of coordination services. There are certain things that I know I can be flexible on to help meet budgets. Now, it's not something I usually recommend doing because I've designed my packages to offer couples everything they'll need on their wedding day, however, it's great when the client knows exactly what they are looking for versus what they are able to handle on their own.
3. Take advantage of wedding show discounts and seasonal specials.
Often times at wedding shows, vendors will offer discounts and giveaways because they are trying to book as many clients from that show as they can. This is an easy one. Simply attend the show and sign up for any giveaways at their table. Usually the discount will automatically be applied, so you don't even need to ask!
4. Know your budget.
It's never appropriate to ask a vendor how low they will go on their package pricing. If someone sends me an email saying my day-of coordination package is out of their budget and asks how low I can go on the price, I'm likely not going to entertain that request. They are essentially asking me to cut out all of my profit, expenses, or chance of paying myself, and that's not fair. Instead, know your budget, be upfront about it, and ask the vendor if they are willing to meet your spending limit. If someone emailed me and said, "We only budgeted $1300 for day-of coordination, is there any way we can chat and are you able to meet my budget?" I'd be much more open to having a conversation with them and hopefully finding some kind of compromise.
5. Explain any special circumstances that may sway your vendors.
Let's be real. We're all human. And all wedding vendors want to ensure that every couple has an amazing wedding day. Sometimes really unfortunate events happen during the wedding planning process that are going to be relateable to wedding vendors because they understand more than anyone that these things happen. I recently had a couple come to me that had originally booked a wedding venue out on the peninsula, and then went to book hotel rooms for their guests at the resort, but the hotel didn't have any rooms left available. This was a huge problem since all of their guests would be travelling a significant distance to get to their wedding location. They ended up having to cancel their booking and selecting a new venue in Renton, just south of Seattle, at a hotel where their guests could still get rooms. They even had to change their wedding date in the process. The previous venue was offering a coordinator as part of their package for a lower rate, but when the bride met with me, I could tell she had done her research. We are located really close to Renton, so there was no travel for me, and their wedding was now on a Friday, so even though it's still peak season, it's an off-peak date, and she came to the meeting knowing everything that was offered in my day-of coordination package. She had really clear ideas of what she didn't need help with and what she did. Now, I wasn't able to meet her original spending limit exactly, but we were able to compromise and find the perfect middle ground.
When you do your homework and come to a meeting prepared, you can confidently ask a vendor to meet your budget without offending anyone in the process.
Choosing a venue can be a tough decision. There are so many options to choose from, and yet, it can sometimes feel difficult to find one that has everything you want and need. Or, more likely, you don’t really know yet what amenities you actually need, so everything sounds like mumbo jumbo, wedding industry slang and it's making the selection process that much more difficult.
It's also likely your first big wedding planning decision and contract/payment, which can feel a little scary. It’s hard to know if you’re setting yourself up for a decision that’s a smart one financially, so I’m going to share some of the things that many venues provide that I’ve found to be the most helpful in wedding planning, and that can save you quite a bit in your budget if you don’t need to pay extra for them.
Did you know that the white folding chairs can cost anywhere from $2-3 each and those fancy Chiavari chairs can be upwards of $8-10 each? Multiply that by your guest count, and then add in any delivery and set-up fees, and you could be spending hundreds of dollars on those items. When the chairs are included, and there are enough for both the ceremony and reception, that can make a huge difference in your budget.
Along those lines, having tables on site can save you quite a bit in terms of rentals and delivery charges. Check their quantity for each size, though, so you know that there are enough for your guest count.
3. On-site kitchen
Whether your caterers are cooking on site, or just need space to prep the food and clear dishes, having a designated kitchen for them will make food service go much smoother. There are also a few things that you may be required to provide if there isn't a designated space for your caterers. The most common is a covered space, which would mean a tent rental with walls around it. You may also be required to provide additional tables for them to prep food on, and sometimes they may even need warming ovens. You can get all of these items from a rental company, but when you don't need to provide them, it can save you a lot of money. It can also be great if your venue has running water so your caterers to rinse your dishes, that way when they're returned to the rental company, you're not stuck with any additional cleaning fees.
4. Rooms for getting ready
When you can get ready on site you’re saving yourself the headache of finding a large enough space for all of the girls to get ready off-site. That means you can save money because you won’t need to rent hotel rooms or an AirBNB style home. Not to mention, it’s really nice to arrive to the venue and stay on-site the entire day, have a place to store your bags and personal belongings, and not need to pack up mid-day to change locations.
5. Garbage disposal
This is probably one you haven’t heard about, but some venues require that you take the trash off-site at the end of the evening. That may sound easy, but consider for a moment the amount of trash that’s produced from 100+ people eating and drinking heavily all night. And trash bags full of food and drinks are messy! Save yourself a trip to the dump, and save your cars interior, by choosing a venue that provides the disposal on their own. Or, this may be the only time I recommend you splurge and pay their trash disposal fee, if they have one.
6. Additional decor available on-site
This doesn't mean they'll have everything you need to style your wedding, but sometimes venues will have larger pieces on-site that can be rented and set-up before you arrive. This could include large furniture pieces, vintage tables, arbors for the ceremony, etc. It can save you a lot of time if these types of items don’t need to be sourced from another vendor, and while they may have an additional charge to use them, it’s usually less than the cost to rent them elsewhere and have them delivered to the venue.
Today we're going to talk about the things that you should do first after you get engaged.
1. Celebrate with your fiance!
Now, I know that everyone's mind always goes first to telling their friends and family and posting it on social media, and we'll definitely talk about those things, but I want to highlight the importance of actually taking time to celebrate together, just the two of you.
2. Tell your family and friends.
What you may want to consider first, though, is the order that you're going to tell people. You want to make sure that no one is going to get upset that someone else found out before them. Of course, you don't need to tell everyone those details, but it's still good to consider. Everyone's family and friends are going to be a little different. How you communicate with them on a regular basis will likely impact how you tell them about your engagement. There is no cookie cutter way, and while there are many people that will tell you it's inappropriate for family and friends to find out over social media or by a call or text instead of in-person, but if you're not with your family, or you aren't able to communicate regularly with them, it's totally fine to use these methods. At the end of the day, it's your decision.
3. Practice saying, “We don’t know yet, we’re just enjoying being engaged. We’ll give you more details when we have them.”
This is going to be your answer for almost every question, because right after you get engaged, they're going to start asking you about the wedding. And clearly, if you've only been engaged for a few hours, you won't have answers yet. Get really comfortable with this sentence. Let people know that you're just enjoying the moment, you aren't jumping in to wedding planning right away, but you'll fill them in once you get started.
4. Decide how and when to share on social media
This could include your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., just make sure that you and your fiance our on the same page about it. There are a lot of ways that you can share the news. You can post a picture of the ring, you can do a simple status update, share some photos of the two of you together, or go in-depth and share your love story or the story of the engagement. It's totally up to you and you can do as much or as little as you'd like. Don't feel like you have to post a picture of your ring, though, if that makes you uncomfortable, or don't feel like you have to tell the proposal story details if it's really personal to you. As long as you and your fiance are in agreement, do what feels best for you.
5. Start thinking about your wedding
First, make sure you're talking about the vision for the wedding day with your fiance. This should be a conversation that you have together to get on the same page about everything before you start looping in your family, friends, or anyone that has an opinion on what your wedding should be. What's most important is that your wedding day is what you two want it to be, so take some time to discuss this together, just the two of you, before you share those details with everyone else.
6. You can secretly enjoy your beautiful ring
It's totally fine! It's shiny, it sparkles, it's going to catch the sunlight and then catch your eye. It's totally normal to look at it and play with it. What's not acceptable is shoving it in other people's faces and saying, "Look at my ring!". That's mean and rude. Only show it when people ask, and trust me, they will ask. It's beautiful and they want to share in your excitement, and part of that is admiring your ring. Just make sure they ask first. When you're alone, you can admire it all you want! ;)
It’s officially 2018 (yay!) and with the start of any new year comes lots and lots of wedding shows, so today we’re going to talk about the different types of wedding shows available to you and how to make the most out of them.
To get started, you first need to understand a little bit more about the types of wedding shows available for you to attend.
These usually take place at a convention center and each vendor will have a booth to display their product or services. All you'll need to do walk through the aisles to meet everyone.
Pros: You get to see A LOT of vendors all at once and in one place.
Cons: You're meeting A LOT of vendors all at once, so it can be difficult for you to remember all of them and keep them straight.
These take place at multiple venues and each venue will be set up like a wedding and showcase one vendor from each category.
Pros: These are a great time to check out venues because they are set up like a typical wedding. It's also a great way to see the work that vendors can do, such as flowers, design, transportation, music, coordination, etc. Similarly, tours are a great way to gather ideas and style inspiration.
Cons: Tours are usually longer days, and while some are self-guided, others provide transportation which means you'll need to stay on the route and see all of the vendors, even if you aren't interested in them.
3) Open Houses
These usually take place at a single venue, and usually have a variety of vendors on site, but they may not cover every category and you won't see nearly as many vendors as expos and tours.
Pros: These are free events for the public and a great way to tour venues.
Cons: Sometimes these can be difficult to find out about because invitations are sent to the vendors' clients and prospective clients. If there are particular venues or vendors you're interested in, I'd recommend reaching out them directly and asking about any upcoming open houses that they are hosting.
Now that you know a little more about the different types of wedding shows, it's time to set some goals and intentions for what you'd like to accomplish at the upcoming wedding shows.
So first, let’s talk about your goals.
If you’re newly engaged, wedding shows are a great way to gather ideas, see what’s out there, what your options are, gather some pricing information, and just overall kick start wedding planning.
If you’ve been engaged for a little while, your goal may be a bit more focused, like finding a photographer, or tasting foods from different caterers, finding a florist whose style you really like, or finding a dress.
If you’re mostly finished with planning, you may want to use the shows to finalize small details, like calligraphy or signage, or you may even want to attend just to check out the vendors you’ve hired one more time in person.
Regardless of where you’re at in the planning process, wedding shows can be very useful, but setting your goals and intentions before you arrive is really important.
Once you know your goals, it’s time to determine which shows will help you achieve them.
1) Check the dates, times, and locations of the shows to ensure you are available.
I'd recommend giving yourself the entire available time for tours, at least 2 hours for the larger expos, and about an hour for open houses.
2) Check the vendors that will be participating in each show.
Look at the overall number to gauge the size of the show, and check the number of vendors within each category, especially if you have specific goals for a particular category.
3) If you find vendors that you like, check out their websites ahead of time so you can prepare questions for them at the show.
Once you've chosen a few shows to attend, here are a few extra tips:
1) Buy your tickets online, if possible, to avoid lines. Some shows will offer discounts for pre-ordered tickets, as well, so take advantage!
2) Bring a bag for brochures, giveaways, and other goodies.
3) Invite your friends or family. This doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t need to attend, and honestly if you can both make it, that’s even better. But having a trusted friend nearby to ask questions and help you choose vendors that fit your personality can be helpful, too.
One of the best ways to kick start your wedding planning is to attend a wedding show. I know there’s nothing worse than finding out about an event after it’s taken place, so I've put together a complete list of upcoming wedding shows, expos, and tours throughout Western Washington from now through the beginning of the summer. Mark your calendars and get your tickets because there’s lots to see and do in the coming months!
* Any show with an asterisk means Thrifty Events is a participating vendor.
*January 6th & 7th: Tacoma Wedding Expo
Hosted by Bridesclub, the Tacoma Wedding Expo features over 150 wedding vendors, a fashion show, and gown sale. It’s a great way to kick off wedding planning! The expo takes place at the Tacoma Dome from 9:30am - 3:00pm on both days. Tickets are $16, and if you’re purchasing them ahead of time, you can get 3 tickets for $33.
January 13th & 14th: Seattle Wedding Expo
The largest wedding show in Western Washington, the Seattle Wedding Expo features over 400 wedding vendors. It takes place on Saturday, January 13th from 10:00am - 5:00pm and Sunday, January 14th from 10:30am - 5:00pm at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time for $18 or at the door for $20 each. For those attending on Saturday, they’ll offer an option to have your hand stamped so you can return for free on Sunday. I’d recommend taking advantage of this, as it’s a lot to see in one day!
*January 20th & 21st: Everett Lynnwood Expo
Hosted by the same group that puts on the Tacoma Wedding Expo, this show is a great opportunity for couples located north of Seattle. The expo will feature over 150 vendors and takes place at the Xfinity Arena in Everett. The show runs from 9:30am - 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15, or you can purchase them in advance to get 3 tickets for the price of 2.
January 27th: Skagit Wedding Show
The Skagit Wedding Showcase will take place at the Skagit Center from 11:00am - 4:00pm on Saturday, January 27th. Tickets are $8 each and can be purchased at the door. This year, they are also hosting a Wedding Expert Panel Breakfast for $35. Gather information over breakfast and champagne. Vendors will give a short presentation followed by Q&A. Pre-sale tickets are required for the breakfast.
January 28th: Weddings in Woodinville
Weddings in Woodinville is a tour style wedding show, taking you to 7 different venues (transportation provided!) and featuring over 100 wedding vendors. Each venue will feature drinks, tastings, and a completely styled space. The event runs from 12:00pm - 5:00pm, and the tour itself takes roughly 4 hours to complete. Tickets are $48 and must be purchased in advance.
January 28th: Bellingham Wedding Expo
This smaller expo will take place at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites. This one day expo takes place on Sunday, January 28th from 9:30am - 3:00pm. Advance tickets are 3 for the price of 2, or $15 each at the door.
*February 10th & 11th: Northwest Bridal Showcase
For those on the north side of Seattle, the Northwest Bridal Showcase will be at the Lynnwood Convention Center. The show takes place from 11:00am - 5:00pm on Saturday, February 10th and 11:00am - 4:00pm on Sunday, February 11th. You’ll be introduced to over 100 wedding vendors, as well as special guest speakers, a fashion show, and gown sale. Tickets are $15 each.
February 11th: I Do Sodo
Another tour style wedding show, I Do Sodo highlights 8 venues and over 100 vendors in the Sodo district of Seattle. This tour provides parking at Safeco Field and shuttle service between each venue. The event takes place from 12:00pm - 5:00pm, with the tour lasting about 4 hours. Tickets are $35 for a single ticket, or $25 each for groups larger than 2. This is a 21+ event.
*March 24th & 25th: Tacoma Spring Wedding Expo
A second wedding expo for couples located south of Seattle, the Tacoma Wedding Expo features over 150 wedding vendors and takes place at the Tacoma Dome. The spring expo will be on Saturday, March 24th from 9:30am - 4:00pm and Sunday, March 25th from 10:30am - 4:00pm. Tickets are $16 each, or 3 for the price of 2 with this coupon.
May 6th: Whatcom Wedding Tour
Hosted by Whatcom Wedding Professionals, this self-guided tour will take place on Sunday, May 6th and features venues and vendors in Whatcom county. Check their Facebook page for more information as the date approaches.
*June 3rd: Snohomish Wedding Tour
Hosted by the Snohomish Wedding Guild, this is one of the largest wedding tours in the area, featuring 17 wedding venues in Snohomish county and over 100 wedding vendors that serve the area. The tour takes place on Sunday, June 3rd from 10:00am - 4:00pm. The tour is self-guided, so you can travel on your own to see as many venues and vendors as you’d like. Tickets are FREE this year! Upon signing up you’ll receive confirmation, a map of the venues, and information to plan your route. No on-site registration required. Simply choose your favorite venue and begin there!
I recently launched a new online wedding planning course for engaged couples, Wedding Building Blocks. It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. It’s a step-by-step guide to get you through wedding planning. It eliminates the overwhelm of not knowing where to begin or how to progress through planning, and gives you an easy guide to follow.
What’s included in the course?
The course contains 10 chapters covering 3 major areas - organizing, planning, and executing. In the organizational section, we cover big picture planning topics like choosing an overall budget, the look and feel of your wedding, and when you’d like to get married. From there, we discuss establishing your guest list, and how to prioritize your vendors. And finally, we wrap up the prep work by creating a budget.
In the planning section, we cover how to find and book your venue and all of your vendors, as well as how to efficiently use Pinterest to assist you with planning. Pinterest can easily cause FOMO, and we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to stay more organized with your Pinterest boards, as well as keep realistic expectations for DIY projects.
In the last section, execution, we discuss how to create a wedding day timeline, and how to track all of the small details.
Beyond the content in each video, the online course also includes downloadable worksheets and templates to help keep you organized. Each has instructions, and we discuss how to use them in the corresponding videos to ensure everything is easy to use in your own planning.
And, if all of that isn’t enough, you'll get curated content from other wedding industry pros. Taking the time to search and sift through the many blogs, articles, and planning websites to find what you’re looking for can be frustrating, so I’ve taken the leg work out of it for you. For chapters that you’re looking for more information, you can follow the links to find great information from other professionals discussing their particular area of expertise.
That’s the course in a nutshell!
It’s jam packed with great information, and laid out in an easy to follow guide. You can enroll in the course through my Teachable page. To celebrate the launch, when you join by the end of the year (December 31, 2017) you can use the coupon code “LAUNCHSPECIAL” to get VIP level access for the price of just the course. VIP’s get access to the private Facebook group “Wedding Building Blocks”. In this group, you’ll be able to ask questions and share your progress, and I’ll be going live weekly to share even more wedding planning knowledge. I hope to see you in the group!