wedding planner

Planning your wedding without stress

Photo credit: Tuscany-Hills-Styled-Shoot-Mishaun-Arrington-Photography

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful and not knowing where to turn for guidance can be very overwhelming. The main struggles most engaged couples face during the wedding planning process involve having one too many people wanting to run the show. Their opinions are based only on what they think wedding etiquette should be, but modern couples have adopted new trends and are branding their weddings, moving away from a cookie cutter or size fits all wedding. Having so many ideas and the mountain of advice can drive the couple absolutely insane. So, to assist with the decision making, I’ve put together six steps to ease your anxieties and a give you peace of mind as you prepare for of the most important days of your life and have a stress-free wedding.

It;s your party

Photo Credit: Tuscany-Hills-Styled-Shoot-Mishaun-Arrington-Photography

It’s Your Party

Cardinal rule number 1 is to remember this is “Your” wedding and everyone is celebrating this special milestone with you. The bride and groom are the ones getting married after all, so you should be the ones making the final decisions on the style, theme, colors, food, etc. for your big day. You have to put your foot down and not be overrun with the ”You Should Do’s” because everyone has an opinion on how a wedding is structured, but little do they know each wedding is customized to suit the engaged couple because after all, they are the ones spending their future together. The gathering is to celebrate the joining of two families and their customs. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask someone to back off by simply saying “thank you for your suggestions we will keep it in mind or we are going in a different direction with the planning”.

Family members, the wedding party, and vendors need to have a clear understanding that final decisions will be made by you (the couple). When one too many opinions get intertwined with the planning process, things will get confusing for all parties involved, and this can cause unwanted stress for you both.

Photo Credit: Tuscany-Hills-Styled-Shoot-Mishaun-Arrington-Photography

Planning Help For Your Wedding

If you intend on hiring a planner, you’ve made a smart choice that will add benefit to you during the month leading up to your wedding. The event planner has forged relationships with vendors in the wedding industry which can have a huge impact ($avings) on your wedding budget.

If you opt out of hiring a planner, appoint someone you can trust to coordinate and execute your plans down to the very last detail; remember you can’t be a bride and a planner because both roles are way too challenging to do at the same time. Also, consider the level of responsibility you are placing on the shoulders of the person you are handing the reins to. They will not be able to celebrate the day with you. Also, if you both are in the spotlight, they can’t troubleshoot while all eyes are focused on you.

If you never remember anything else, remember to always have a backup plan for everything. There are so many things that can go wrong on the day of the wedding; you want to be prepared for any and everything that is thrown in your direction. Make sure you discuss it with your planner or point of contact for the day.

Select attendants wisely

Photo Credit: Tuscany-Hills-Styled-Shoot-Mishaun-Arrington-Photography

Select Attendants Wisely

When selecting attendants to stand in as your wedding, try to keep the number to a minimum because the more people in the wedding party, the bigger the headaches can be. It can stem from dress style to hairstyle to the reluctance to wear a bow tie and the list go on.  I recommend gathering the people you intend on asking to take an active role in the wedding and explain what is expected of them as members of the wedding party and clearly explain what their roles and financial obligations are for the wedding; also make them aware of the meetings and fitting schedules.  Setting clear expectations will save you the time it will take to replace the attendant and the stress it’s going to cause replacing the attire if you are fitting the bill.

Stick to your budget

Photo Credit: Hart to Hart

Remember Your Budget

Never bite off more than you can chew…. Everyone wants a lavish wedding, but don’t drive you crazy and break the bank to get it. This is a great the time you for you to consult with your planner and use their recommended vendors. Remember you can always have your dream wedding without the costly price tag. You can always find s elegance that fits into your budget. Research is the key; you can always find a good bargain.

Stick To A Timeline

Always know that timing is very important, they say NEVER PUT OFF WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY FOR TOMORROW. I say this because before you know it, your wedding day is weeks away and you both are left with a mountain of chores that need completing before the wedding day. Make sure you are giving yourself ample time to place orders on all items and make arrangements for every aspect of your wedding as soon as possible, so you won’t have a mile long to-do-list.

Photo Credit: Hart to Hart

Ask Vendors Questions

When picking a wedding vendor like a videographer always remember to do the following:

  1. Check their work. Look for high-quality work with special effects, so you know there is no limit to the things that can be done with the wedding video.
  2. Please, please get references. Try to speak with at least 3 clients to ensure you are getting someone people who will get good reviews based on the quality of their work. Of course, with social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) you have access to the vendor’s clients and reviews.
  3. Make sure you ask questions about timing. How many hours will the vendor cover your event? Verify if charge you extra for overtime
  4. If the primary camera(s) used stops functioning during your event, is there is a backup?
  5. Ask the vendor how many copies you will receive. Will they give you the unedited version on the wedding video?
  6. Ask about the turnaround time for the completed project.

Asking your vendor these few questions will let him know that you mean business and you will be able to determine if they are a right fit for your special event. Following these simple steps will help you both have a stress-free wedding day and make the planning process a breeze.

Bio: This blog was written by Rochelle Hart of. Hart to Hart Events (H2H Events), a planning serice with the motto You said “Yes” We do the rest.

Established in 2004. Hart to Hart Events, based in Douglasville, GA provides services for all special events. What they offer includes floral arrangements, wedding planning; onsite coordination, event designing, anniversaries, baby showers, bar/bat Mitzvahs, birthdays, bridal showers, engagement parties, graduations, corporate and holiday events, proms, quinceaneras, and sweet 16 celebrations. 

H2H can provide full-service coordination and planning, partial planning, or day or month of coordination, while also specializing in floral design. 

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Prepare for your Mexican wedding

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Yay! Congrats! Woohoo! You’ve decided to tie the knot in Mexico! You are in for a treat. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would one day love Mexico like my own home and become a huge advocate for travel to Mexico I would have laughed in your face. But the day I hopped on a plane and flew to a convention in the Riviera Maya zone that changed my life forever. I instantly fell in love and my local destination event planning business became an international one. And I could not be more excited for you to host your destination wedding in Mexico and share this beautiful country and its lovely people with your family and friends.

Planning Your Destination Wedding In Mexico

Before you get wrapped up in the planning details, there are some things you should know in advance. Here’s a short (but by no means comprehensive) list of some things to prepare you:

Making your destination wedding legal

Making it Legal

Running off to Mexico to get married sounds as simple as running off to Vegas. You just show up, make a run to the courthouse, find a drive-through chapel, and you’re married, right? Not so fast! Getting legally married in Mexico has a lot of steps and it can take up to a few days to complete them. You’ll need to bring all your documents – marriage application forms, an original birth certificate and a copy, a blood test taken in Mexico within the past 15 days, copy of official photo ID’s, and more. Oh yeah, and all your documents must be translated into Spanish and then once you’re married you’ll need to get your marriage certificate apostilled in Mexico to ensure it will be accepted back at home. Fortunately, most resorts can assist you with this legal process, but you can plan on shelling out about $1,000 for everything you’ll need to do.

Don’t fret; there’s another option that will make getting married in Mexico a breeze! It’s called a “symbolic” ceremony. In this option, our couples go old school and run to the courthouse in their home city and get legally married a week or so before they leave for their Mexico wedding. Since most US states have short waiting times between the issuance of the marriage certificate and the time that the ceremony can take place, this works for the vast majority of our couples. This route is a heck of a cash savings since most US marriage licenses are less than $100 and a heck of a time savings since you no longer have to wait in your hotel room for hours on end waiting for the guy to show up and take your blood, losing a full day of vacation! Now that you’re legally married in the US you can have a symbolic ceremony in Mexico and no additional paperwork is needed. Shh! You don’t even have to tell your friends and family you’re already married!

Master the details of your destination wedding

It’s Not As Easy As It Sounds. There Are So Many Details!

There’s this impression that a destination wedding is so easy. I mean, how hard can it be? Book some flights, book your hotel, pick out some flowers and wedding details, and everyone shows up for a weekend of fun. If only! Think about the last time you booked an extensive vacation for yourselves. Remember the hours on end of research? Remember stressing about all the details – renewing your passport, notifying all your bank and credit cards that you’ll be out of the country, deciding what to bring, lining up airport transportation, and a gazillion other things? Now multiply that by the 50 guests that are going to your destination wedding with you! Who do you think they’re going to call with every single question they have about your wedding, flights, hotels, activities, and more? You, of course! And they’ll be calling you with all of this and more while you’re also in the middle of planning the wedding.

Do yourself a favor and get some help. 71% of all destination weddings enlist the assistance of a destination wedding planner. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the other 29% are wishing they had! Destination wedding planners range from those that charge no fees and handle just the travel portion of your wedding vacation for you and your guests to those that charge several thousand dollars and will help you plan every single detail. There’s a destination wedding travel planner out there for every situation and every budget.

Get travel & wedding insurance

Purchase Travel Insurance AND Wedding Insurance

Your health insurance doesn’t work in Mexico. You might be able to file a claim with your health insurance once you return to the US but you must pay for any medical care you receive, on the spot, in Mexico. That can be quite a surprise! Purchase great travel insurance where the health insurance portion is “primary”, meaning that it works immediately when you have an incident. Most travel insurance works secondary to your personal health insurance, which means you must file a claim with your own health insurance and your travel insurance may only kick in once (and if) your primary insurance denies your claim.  

Travel insurance doesn’t cover your wedding. You must purchase a separate wedding insurance policy that covers your destination wedding details. Things like weather so severe that it causes a total cancellation of your wedding, a vendor no show, or theft of your wedding gifts.

Between the flights, hotel, and the wedding itself, you’ve likely spent a lot of money on your destination wedding. Though the proper insurances may set you back several hundred dollars it’s a small investment compared to the significant financial loss you’d face in the event of a complete wedding cancellation or a medical emergency.

Welcome to island time

Island Time. It’s Real And It Will Drive You Crazy!

Sure, island time is awesome when you’re on the beach sipping a margarita and have nothing planned but a day of nothing planned but when you’re needing an answer from your resort it can make you insane waiting on a response. Don’t distress about delayed email and phone response times. At home, we expect immediate responses and want our whole wedding planned down to the detail many months in advance, but in Mexico once you book your wedding date and room block your resort may not circle back to you until 3 – 4 months before your wedding to finalize details. This is totally normal, even though it can be really frustrating for those of us that want everything. RIGHT. NOW.

I recommend keeping a running list of what you want for your wedding and for each category of vendors – photography, flowers, food, bar, entertainment, decorations, etc – so you’re prepared and ready to make decisions once your resort’s on-site coordinator is ready to get down to details with you about your wedding. Be as specific as possible with descriptions if what you’re asking for is not included in the wedding package that you might have chosen. This is a great time to send any pictures you have of those things you want. Alternatively, if you really just can’t wait to get started, put all your notes into one succinct email to your on-site coordinator, listing all of your wedding details and any questions you have, instead of sending multiple emails about multiple subjects.

It’s my hope that these tips will help either point you in the right direction or give you some peace of mind about what you can expect.  You are going to have such a great experience hosting your wedding in Mexico. These memories will be with you, your family, and your friends for a lifetime. Spend time together exploring the jungles, take strolls along the beaches, enjoy the nightlife, take a moment to breath and soak it all in – make the most of your Mexico destination wedding!

Help finance youe wedding dreams with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Enjoy your destination wedding

Bio: Guest blog by Cheryl Bailey, owner of Yellow Umbrella Events & Travel 

Cheryl and her husband, Shea, specialize in destination weddings to Mexico and have been voted Best Destination Wedding Planner in Texas for 5 years in a row. They work one on one with each couple and their wedding guests, helping through the entire event planning and travel process.

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