You’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, and if you live in Austin you can do that probably 9 months of the year (at least). But as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait 5 minutes.
Weather is unpredictable. So you’ve planned your wedding during the summer months? My first summer in Austin it rained almost every day. They actually closed area lakes because the levels were too high. A few years ago on a gorgeous August day, right as the family began to process down the aisle, it started hailing. Yes. HAIL. On an otherwise sunny and gorgeous day.
Conversely I got married in mid-December out on a deck at the Oasis – it was a
temperate 65 degrees.
You never know.
So if you are planning an outdoor wedding, make sure you have a firm plan B in place. Does your venue have a large enough indoor space to accommodate your guest list? If not, what will you do?
Do not assume your venue has a plan B in place for you. Most likely that decision and plan making is entirely up to you. And if your venue cannot accommodate everyone inside, there is really only one option…it is time to rent a tent.
Except it isn’t even as simple as that. You can’t wait until the last minute to rent a tent because then you and every other couple in town are all vying for the same limited number of tents. And sadly, you have to pay for the tent whether you use it or not. And they are not cheap – not the good ones.
Find out from the venue if they have tent restrictions. They might only want tents secured by barrels or maybe they have a select list of preferred vendors.
Make sure you know exactly what you are renting. I once had a couple that rented what was essentially a plastic tarp on poles. Not only was it not the most attractive setting for their ceremony but it did not hold up to the torrential downpour we experienced. Don’t just rent from someone you find online. Ask if you can see examples of their tents in person. Will the tent have sides? Will they be clear or have windows?
And you might have to add a lighting package as well. Make sure you ask if the tent rental comes with lights, are they purchased separately, or do they have to be contracted with another provider? What kind of lighting will it be?
Be sure to ask about delivery and set up. You might be able to save some money by having your tent set up on a Friday as opposed to Saturday. Does your venue have an event Friday night? Perhaps that couple would be willing to split the cost of the tent with you. But don’t forget to ask the venue if it is okay to have it set up early!
But rain (and hail) aren’t the only reasons you may need a backup weather plan. What if it is unseasonably cold? It might be a gorgeous day so you don’t need a tent, but there is a chill in the air. What then?
Check into portable heaters – the tall kind you see on restaurant patios. Provide inexpensive blankets or shawls for your guests during the ceremony – and what a lovely keepsake to remember your wedding by! Does your venue have a firepit you can use? Take advantage of that and provide the necessary ingredients to make s’mores. Now that’s turning a negative into a positive!
And the number one type of weather couples tend to forget about? Heat. I find my slowest months tend to be June thru September due to average temperatures creeping into the triple digits. If you must have an outdoor ceremony, please plan for an indoor reception. You will be the most miserable of all in that gorgeous wedding gown/suit/tuxedo! Provide ice cold water or popsicles for your guests during the ceremony and let them inside the reception space as soon as the ceremony is over (rather than mingling around outside for cocktail hour). Print your program on fans, provide colorful parasols, and choose shade over full sun. Think about the comfort level of your guests – you don’t want anyone to pass out from heatstroke!
Whatever your backup plan is, have one. It’s the only way to Be Carefree.
Thanks in part to Pinterest, it is so easy to get caught up in planning your dream wedding that budget virtually becomes a four letter word. And yet somehow when couples start looking for ways to save money, they try to book budget professionals. While I strongly believe you can find the right professional within your budget, there are better ways to cut costs.
- Favors. Unless it’s food – and even then there are almost always leftovers – most couples are left with a bunch of favors at the end of the night. Save your money – skip the favor.
- Programs. Sure everyone might glance at them and it can be a very effective way to publicly acknowledge and thank your nearest and dearest but almost no one takes them home at the end of the night. Even if you print them yourself you are still probably going to spend $200. As an alternative, paint a canvas with the details of your party and then hang it in your home. Or how about a large chalkboard if you are going with a more rustic/shabby chic theme?
- Menus. You don’t need a menu – but if you do, then you probably don’t care about budget anyway. Once again, a sign or two at the front of the buffet is fine if you really feel the need. But since your guests aren’t actually picking what they will eat – or they already did with the RSVP – this is another unnecessary (and out-dated) expense.
- Flowers. Flowers can really bring an event together but they are also one of your larger expenses. Think of alternatives. Going for a soft, romantic vibe? Try just baby’s breath. This filler is so much more affordable and when bunched together alone is quite lovely. Going for something whimsical? Why not use pinwheels or oversized paper flowers instead?
- Food. If you are short on budget, why not consider an afternoon wedding and serve cake and punch instead? If your event is after 5:00, your guests will expect a meal. But between 1:00 and 5:00? Not so much. Or have a morning ceremony and serve waffles and mimosas. If you just have to have an evening ceremony then keep in mind that light, finger food appetizers are all you need – there doesn’t have to be a huge variety. Save your money and skip the veggie platter – not enough people eat it (unless you are a largely vegetarian/vegan crowd then I withdraw my statement). You should also give your caterer your budget and let them offer you suggestions unless you have something very specific in mind. Depending on your event size you may be surprised to find out how affordable a plated meal can be…buffets are not automatically cheaper.
- Cake. Cakes are so beautiful and delicious but so expensive! Consider a smaller version of your dream cake to use for photos but have a sheet cake for serving. Or ask your baker to do faux layers to add height that your budget wouldn’t normally allow. You don’t have to have a groom’s cake either.
- Officiant. As much as I love officiating weddings, and as much as I firmly believe in hiring professionals, this is the ONE aspect of a wedding I can endorse a friend or family member working. Officiants can cost up to $500 – sometimes even more – so having someone close to you do it can be a huge savings. But you should definitely give him or her a thank you gift.
- Rehearsal. Not all money is spent on the wedding day. Your rehearsal dinner only needs to include your close family and wedding party. Keep it relaxed and informal by having a backyard barbecue or pizza party.
- Wedding Party. You don’t have to ask EVERY close friend to be in your wedding – you need someone to be a guest, right? I’ve seen wedding parties with 12 on each side. That’s 24 not including flower girls and ring bearers. And generally speaking, you really need to buy a gift for each one of them to thank them all for being there on your wedding day. See how fast that can add up?
- Bar. Instead of a full open bar, and rather than a cash bar, consider a signature drink and beer and wine. And if you are ordering through a third party alcohol supplier like Spec’s, you can return unopened cases. So you don’t have to worry about over buying and being stuck with leftovers.
Places not to skimp are photographers and DJs. Spend the money – it’s worth it.
And of course I’m going to say your Wedding Planner/Day of Coordinator. Remember if you book us early enough in your planning process we can potentially save you money too by directing you to professionals that offer discounts to our clients.
How are you planning to save money for your wedding?
The art of the Thank You Note has been waning in popularity in the last decade. This is partly due to technology advances, time constraints, and let’s face it: it is not much fun and it can hurt your hands! The fact remains, however, that you should ALWAYS find the time for your thank you notes for your wedding guests!
Some people are of the opinion that you only need to worry most about thanking the guests that extended you a gift… I have to disagree with them. I went by this “advice” for my smallish wedding, and I will always regret not sending every one of my wonderful guests a thank you note! Some guests made it out to my wedding at their grand expense, and they did not give a physical gift. We did not mind one bit that they did not give us one, either! We told them in person how much we appreciated their presence, but I regret not sending a physical card to say thank you and to let them know how much their being there meant to us. You will have no regrets by sending a card to every guest, you will actually feel great after, and so will your guests! J
Of course, it can hurt your hand writing out 100+ notes, but it is worth it, not just for you and your partner, for peace of mind for your guests, too. Your guest may not know if you got the gift or not without a thank you note. It is very considerate to let them know you did, and they will be happy to know their card did not get blown under a table or swept away by a cleanup crew after you made your grand exit. Here is a list of some “Thank You” do’s and don’ts to help you get through this task as efficiently and politely as possible - and don’t forget to keep a smile on your face. J
- Hand-write each note. If you or your new spouse need help in the legibility department, practice and do your best J the sentiment really means more than penmanship.
- Personalize the note to include the gift that was received, and if it is a physical item, what you may do with it.
- Make sure both partners sign the note, no matter which one writes the bulk of it.
- Get to it early. Get the notes in the mail within 30 days of the wedding.
- Consider sending thank you notes to your venue staff and other wedding vendors as a gesture of kindness. They may not expect them and it will make their day!
Tiffany and I are really feeling the love right now, and have decided to offer a fantastic special! We know weddings can be expensive – they don’t have to be, but they usually are. And as much as we firmly believe in the value of our Day of Wedding Coordination services like the Peace of Mind package, we know that budgets are tight. But you still want to Be Carefree, don’t you?
So…starting today and running thru February 29, 2016, we are offering a Relaxed Bride (or groom!) package! You will have to contact us for all of the details but it includes a Wedding Details Coordinator and one assistant for up to 7 hours on your wedding day for an unbelievably low price!
A deal this great doesn’t last forever, so contact us as soon as possible to book your date or free consultation.