On December 25, 2013, my client list got a little bigger. It wasn’t a nonprofit organization or corporation. It was a bridal client, and that person was me. When Joshua and I first started dating, he told me a story about penguins. When a male penguin wants to spend the rest of his life with a female penguin, he finds a perfect pebble and gives it to her. That Christmas morning, in front of his family, Joshua got down on one knee, handed me a pebble and asked me to marry him.
After the initial shock of the proposal wore off, I began doing what every good event planner does. I purchased a binder and a flash drive, and set off to develop my spreadsheets.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
Wedding planning is no different than planning an event for a client. My husband-to-be and I set a modest budget. That helped us determine venue, save the date cards, invitations, photographer, food and drink, wedding attire, and décor. (It’s important to note that every good event planner has a line item in his or her budget for contingency. You never know when an unexpected cost will arise and you’re unable to pay for it.) We researched vendors and requested quotes. From there, we were able to decide on the most romantic wedding destination in the world – Mackinac Island.
My advice to any bride-to-be doing their own wedding planning, or even a client, is to research other major events taking place on or around your wedding date. For our wedding, we happened to choose a date in the middle of Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival on Friday, June 12. And, of course, springtime is highly desirable to have a Mackinac Island wedding. Because of those factors, we booked our venue and reserved our hotel block as soon as possible expecting an increase in tourism AND other bridal parties to contend with.
We also created a backup plan. We chose to have an outdoor wedding located at the beautiful Somewhere in Time gazebo; however we had an indoor location in case of rain. I also purchased a golf umbrella to keep us dry during our wedding photography session. I’ll get to the weather in a moment.
“Oh, what fun, I can’t wait ‘til the future gets here.” Ben Folds
As with client event planning, a to-do list should be created with date and notes columns. This will help keep you on track and meet deadlines. The time will go by quickly and you don’t want to scramble at the last minute to get things done. Since I had 18 months to plan for my wedding, I was able to pace myself and keep my sanity.
My wedding planning came down to the very last detail:
- Photographer’s shot list
- Welcome bag contents (including Mackinac Island-themed gifts, tourist guide and timeline)
- Menu (chicken, fish and pasta dishes)
- Bouquet flowers (roses, peonies, lisianthus and ranunculus)
- Wedding favors (personalized boxes of fudge)
- Wedding ceremony
- Run of show (down to the minute)
- Wedding vows
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller
My wedding day finally arrived. I was able to execute my wedding plans and marry my best friend. That morning’s weather forecast did not look favorable. Instead of worrying about it, I chose to embrace what was predicted because we had a backup plan… and an umbrella. I was all set to walk down the aisle. Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to use the indoor location because the sky cleared up, the sun came out and the temperature was a perfect 68 degrees.
On the day of my wedding, I was lucky to have the assistance of my matron of honor and an amazing co-worker who also happens to know a thing or two about event planning. I would not have been able to enjoy my day without their help. They ensured tasks got done and vendors were paid.
I gave myself the difficult task of being the executive producer, director and lead actress of my wedding, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I didn’t sweat the small stuff and in the end, I planned my perfect wedding. I wish I could relive that day, but I have awesome photos that serve as a reminder of the best day of my life.
Did you recently plan your own wedding? Share your wedding planning tips and tricks in the comments below.
Andrea Kenski is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. While she’s not planning to quit her day job, she is contemplating moonlighting as a wedding planner. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl and connect on LinkedIn.