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Guest column: Planning a wedding
by Frank Andonoplas
2016-08-24

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Planning a wedding can be a very stressful and time consuming time of your life. Here are some helpful tips for those planning their own wedding that I have found couples find helpful in my 24 years of designing, detailing and managing Weddings.

—Hotel blocks for guests: Make sure you use a hotel that does not have an attrition clause. You can't control where you guests will stay, as many are loyal to their hotel brands. This way, you are not contractually obligated to sell all the rooms in your block. Any unsold rooms will be released to the general public one month before your wedding. Also, a few weeks before your block cutoff date, request a rooming list so you can review it and make sure that if any key out of town guests haven't reserved, check in with them and remind them they only have a few weeks left

—RSVPs: I actually number the guest list, and then write that number on the back of the RSVP card. It will speed up the process of recording that RSVP when it comes back. Also it saves you when you can't read the handwriting of the guest or they forget to put their name on the RSVP ( oh, yes this happens ) you will know who it is. Many don't even use a return address, which also helps remedy this.

—Seating: Most of the time you will assign guests what table via escort card and some times which seat at the table via place card to be seated at. This process always seems to take longer than anticipated. Realize that someone will not be happy at where their table is at and who they are sitting with. Guests need to respect you as the host and/or hostess of the event have sat them at a specific table for a specific reason. It's only 90 minutes or so, and they should be able to sit elsewhere after dinner ( or lunch or brunch ) is completed. Additionally if you are offering a pre selected choice of entrée ( on the RSVP card ) you should "code" the top of the place card so they wait staff know which entrée that guest selected and they don't have to ask. Most guests forget anyway. If you are not doing formal seating, I suggest reserving a few tables for family this way Grandma knows where to put her purse.

—Floral: Try and repurpose everything, from the ceremony to the reception. It will save a lot of money. Whether its floral arrangements from the Church altar relocated to the reception entrance or on each side of you head table or orchestra, or using your centerpieces to create an aisle at the same ceremony venue, you will save money by reusing these Florals.

—Transportation: To save money, try and charter one larger vehicle instead of several smaller ones. Not only will it save you money, it will keep everyone together, especially when you are trying to get photos done in a few hours between ceremony and reception.

Lastly, if you are not using a wedding consultant or planner to assist you with the whole wedding, consider hiring a wedding pro to assist on a limited basis. I offer an option of a few hours to be our lifeline during the planning process. I make myself available to answer question, give advice and referrals to vendors. It can save you a lot of time as well as save you from making an expensive mistake. Also think about hiring a wedding day director to be there to manage all the little details on the wedding day. This way you and your family can relax and enjoy the most important day of your life.

Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP, owns Frank Event Design. See FrankEventDesign.com .


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