Wedding in 6 months or Less

by / Monday, 02 May 2011 / Published in Resources, Wedding Planning

A Beautiful Wedding in 6 months or less

by Nona Castillejos-Clemente / C & C Creative Concepts

10 years ago, planning a wedding was so much more different than planning a wedding these days. In recent years, it has become too overwhelming for a bride to plan a wedding for such short period of time especially here in the Philippines where most weddings are organized way in advance as many Catholic churches, gardens, ceremony sites, and reception venues get booked pretty fast like one to two years before the wedding date. So by booking early, couples get to choose the best venues and the best vendors. And best of all, couples are relieved of the stress that goes with the overwhelming requirements of planning a wedding.

So with the clock ticking, many couples are still asking,  is it possible to plan a wedding in 6 months or less? Can it still be done? Well, absolutely, Yes!

Planning a wedding when you are chasing time can be twice the fun as planning it 1 to 2 years ahead.  The only difference is you now have less time to plan, less time to research and less time to book the most suitable suppliers for your budget and specific requirements. But with a clear vision of what you want to achieve given the limited time to prepare everything and an open mind to accept the challenges and compromises that can go with planning a wedding in less time, then everything else should fall into place and your dream wedding realized soon enough.

So now let’s start planning your Dream Wedding as we count the days to your Big Day!

FIRST THINGS FIRST

When planning a wedding or any event, you have to have a checklist of the items that you need to do, book and accomplish.

  • Get a journal and an organizer. – This is where you have to jot down all the things that you have to prepare for your wedding; where you’ll keep contracts, payment receipts, business cards, suppliers’ information, magazine clippings, fabric swatches, etc.
  • Set a date – Be realistic when choosing a date. You are only a few months away from the wedding so chances are your preferred dates are already taken by this time. So setting a feasible date and having an alternate one in case your preferred date is already taken is important.
  • Set your budget  – no matter how simple or grand you want your wedding to be, set a budget.
  • Hire a Wedding Coordinator – to save you from the stress of scouting for available venues and vendors with your budget and preferences, hiring a wedding coordinator to help you in the selection and budgeting process can be a wise decision in the end.

If your budget is tight, consider getting the help of people you know has the same taste and interest as you. Make sure that the person you are getting (be it your mom or a friend or your sister) will not dictate and impose on what they like and want for your wedding ruining your chances of personalizing your wedding and making you stressed out in the end. Let this opportunity be a fun and enjoyable bonding for you and the people assisting you.

  • Start your Guest List – narrow down your list as the total no. of guests will account for how much food you have to serve. The food is one major  item that will affect your overall budget. By scaling down the size of your guests, you can save extra thousands for upgrading the menu and other essentials for your wedding.
  • Select and reserve your Ceremony and Reception Sites –

When you don’t have a wedding planner by your side to assist you with all the details of planning a wedding, you have to know a few guidelines when choosing your ceremony and reception sites:

CEREMONY SITE

In choosing one, consider the following:

-         Formality of your Wedding

-         The time and month of the year

-         The number of Guests

-         Your Religion

Ask Church Guidelines and Restrictions regarding the following:

-         Photo and Video

-         Music

-         Decorations

-         Candles

-         Rice or Petal-tossing

HOW TO SAVE MONEY:

  • If you are getting married under a non-Catholic religion and wedding rites are allowed outside the church, have your ceremony at the same facility as your reception to save a second rental fee.
  • Ask if there is another wedding that day and share the cost of floral decorations with that couple if they also wish to decorate the place. You may agree with the other couple to keep the floral decorations in the church white so whatever motif you both have will not be affected.
  • At a garden wedding, the caterer can provide extra chairs to seat your guests during the religious rites without extra cost. Make sure this provision is included in your Caterer’s Contract
READINGS – Make sure to discuss the readings that you want to include in your ceremony with your Officiant. In some Catholic churches, there are standard readings to follow. Some churches may not accept the readings that you like. Consult your Officiant and the Church.

RECEPTION VENUE

This will account for most part of your budget. In choosing your reception venue, consider your number of guests and the amount of money you’re willing to throw for your reception. Also, consider the following:

-         SIZE OF ROOM

-         FOOD SELECTION

-         DECORATIONS

-         CORKAGE FEES

-         AMENITIES

-         PARKING

-         HANDICAPPED FACILITIES (if you have handicapped guests)

-         RESTRICTIONS

OPTIONS: Hotels, Club House, Restaurants, Parks, Gardens, Museums, Yachts, Private Homes, Halls

RECEPTION SITE: the space size of the venue you will choose will depend on the number of guests you are inviting to your wedding and the approximate number of guaranteed people who are actually attending.

Other considerations would be its availability, rental price, formality of your wedding and its distance from the ceremony site (if different).

Some reception sites charge only for the rental of the place and have accredited caterers to choose from. Most venues of this type are parks, clubhouses, gardens, and village halls.

Reception sites such as hotels and restaurants have their own catering facilities and as such would charge you on a per person fee which already include a set of amenities such as the food and complete party necessities.

A WORD OF CAUTION:

When booking a hotel venue, check out the time you can set-up or decorate the place.  Also, check if there’s another event booked after you. Some hotels accept bookings that are too close to each other leaving no room for the next event to set-up the place.  In other cases, (if there’s a next event after you), you and your guests will be forced out of the room to give way to the next function. It is also important that you ask the hotel’s  Banquet Coordinator to include in the contract the name of the function room that you are booking. This will save you from being moved to a smaller venue when another event that is bigger in size suddenly books the place. Also, indicate the number of hours you can use the function room.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY:

  1. Try as much as possible to limit the number of your guests since your reception accounts for most part of your budget.
  2. Consider having a Breakfast Wedding or a Brunch. It’s less costly and easier to manage than a formal evening dinner.
  • If you have the space at your own house, consider holding your reception there and just hire a caterer. However, make sure there’s a space where your guests can park and a proper permit (if necessary) has been requested from your village home association.  Consider providing temporary sticker (or day sticker) for all your guests to show the village guards so they won’t have to be stopped at the Guard House creating a long queue of cars at the gate.
  • Guarantee only  85 to 90 percent of your final guest count to your caterer or Banquet Coordinator (if you feel that some of your guests are unsure of attending). Most reception sites provide a 10% allowance or extra food anyway.  Should your guests do not show up, you will have extra savings.  If they do show up, your caterer should have enough for everyone and will just charge you on a per head basis if needed.
  • Select food that are not expensive and too time-consuming to prepare.
  • Beverages add to your expense. Consider serving punch, wine or non-alcoholic drinks only. Also, host the first-round of drinks only, then go on a Cash Basis. This means that the waiters or servers should politely inform the guests that the next drink is already on cash basis (should there be any request for a second round).

3 Types of Bar Set-ups

Cash Bar – the first round of drinks is free. The second round will be charged to your guests as they request.

Open Bar – drinks are free flowing and guests can order as they want. The final bill including all the drinks ordered by your guests will be charged to you.

Hosted Bar – limited Open Bar. A certain time and price per head has been pre-agreed with the venue. Drinks ordered after the allotted schedule of serving will be charged to the guests as they request.  This is advisable only  if you know that your guests are wine drinkers. If they are not, this is not a good option as you might end up paying more as the price per head has been pre-set.

  1. If you are not serving free flowing drinks, avoid serving salty foods such as potato chips, nuts, pretzels, or hams. These foods will make your guests thirstier and will tend to drink more.
  2. Check for any Corkage Fee that your reception site may imposed for any food or drinks you will be bringing in other than those of the venue.
  • For your Service Providers, ask the hotel or your caterer what meal alternative they can provide and where they can eat.  You don’t really have to feed them the same  meal as your guests. An extra small  room may also be provided for them so they don’t mix with your guests. But if you have enough on the Buffet Table and you’re willing to welcome them in your feast, inform your Service Providers before the function so they know when and where to take their meals.

Note: If you have a wedding coordinator, it is his or her job to inform the suppliers when and where to take their meals. It is important to know what your suppliers require for the crew meals as some will request for served food during the event while others will just request for a certain amount per head times the number of persons in their team to avoid troubling the couple of worrying about where and when they should eat.

  • Reception venues and/or your caterer usually have wedding packages that already include decorations for the place. Check this out in advance. You may also look at some pictures of their past weddings with the same type of decorations so you would have an idea. If you are opting to get a separate designer or set decorator or a florist for your wedding venue, advise the hotel or your caterer and check where you can trade-in the decorations that are part of their package.

There are several ideas on how you can transform your reception venue into something really wonderful. Your wedding coordinator and your florist should be able to suggest to you some ideas that are not very expensive depending on the theme of your wedding. If you don’t have a wedding coordinator, consider browsing local wedding magazines (as the flowers they use here for pictorials are most likely available in the Philippines) rather than taking inspiration from foreign magazines.

  • Ribbons on the chairs add a certain touch of elegance and can accentuate the overall look of your reception site. Check out from the hotel or your caterer if they can provide such at no extra cost.  Most caterers now provide tiffany chairs as part of their catering package. These chairs are elegant-looking enough that ribbons may no longer be necessary.
  • Prepare to give the customary gratuity to your caterer, waiters or servers. The average is 10% of your food and beverage bill. Some caterers or reception sites already have these included in their fees (Service Charge). Please check the cost up front before you sign the contract with your caterer or reception site.
  • Check out the Parking facilities and if there are  fees for Valet Parking. Ask for complimentary parking passes from the Hotel or Caterer. In choosing a venue, this should be one of your main considerations. If there are no parking spaces available for your guests, your guests might just leave in disappointment. Also, check out handicapped facilities if you have handicapped guests.
  • Announce your Wedding Date to your Guests – as soon as you have a wedding date, start spreading the good news to your guests. This way, you don’t surprise them with an invitation card much closer to the wedding date where they might not be able to prepare for a vacation leave or cancel appointments at short notice. It is always best to inform guests ahead of time so they can block the date on their calendars.
  • Create a wedding website if you can to speed up the announcement to all your guests – this is a very good way of informing guests about the wedding. It is also a way of telling your love story, how you met, the proposal, your color motif, your bridal entourage, the venue, date and time of the wedding.. This is also a good platform for RSVP replies.
  • Book the following:

-          Officiant

-          Food and Beverage/ Caterer

-          Wedding Cake

-          Rentals (tent/ tables/ chairs/ etc)

-          Couple and Guest Transportation

-          Light, sound and AV Equipment

-          Photography

-          Videography

-          Music & Entertainment

-          Hair and Make-up

-          Cocktails

-          Invitations & Envelopes

-          Misalettes

-          Giveaways with Favor Tags

-          Thank you Cards

-          Flower Requirements & Decorations

-          Bridal Gown & Accessories

-          Groomswear

-          Entourage Ensemble

-          Wedding Rings

-          Guestbook

-          Gifts for Parents & Sponsors

-          Professional Emcee or Host

-          Hotel Accommodation

  • Submit all legal and necessary requirements to your church. – the Philippines is a pre-dominantly Catholic country so it is not surprising to have most weddings held in Catholic churches in this country. There are a number of paper works that you have to submit prior to the wedding. Plus you’ll have to attend pre-wedding seminars and canonical interviews. Ask your church about the necessary requirements you have to submit and prepare them as soon as possible.
  • Send out invitations and ask coordinator (or your families if you have no wedding coordinator) to help you out in following-up the RSVP replies from guests. It is however a pity that Filipinos are still not used to sending replies back to the couple whether they are attending or not. So it is best to follow-up by calling them up one by one. No matter what their response will be, consider it and account it for the quantity of food you are ordering.
  • Arrange for fittings – whether you are ordering from a designer or getting your clothes off the rack, make sure you have fitted your gown (same goes for your groom and the entire entourage ensemble). You would not want to wear an ill-fitting gown to your wedding.

Discuss your preferred style and fabric with your designer. Ask how many fittings you will have to get the perfect fit of your gown. Ask how long it will take for your gown to finish. When your designer gives you a schedule of fittings, try to make it to avoid delays in finishing your gown. Designers usually have timetables to follow.

If it is in your custom or still following traditions such as not trying on the bridal gown before the wedding, inform your designer right away. Some designers may just request you to try your gown lining or your gown’s pattern instead of the wedding gown itself.

TIP: December and January are the busiest months of weddings in the Philippines. If you are getting married in these months, make sure your designer can finish your gown in time for your wedding. Indicate this in your contract with the designer.

  • Talk to your florist and discuss your floral requirements.

When trying to think of an idea, choose materials that are not expensive. Also, check out the flowers that are available or are in season during the time of your wedding.

The centerpiece for the presidential table or your head table should have a larger arrangement than the other tables. You must also consider the height of your centerpiece to make sure that it does not block or hinder conversation among your guests seated across from each other.

  • You may choose the color of your flowers to match the motif of your wedding.
  • Announce wedding rehearsal date to everyone involved – If you are planning a wedding rehearsal, schedule it around lunch time a day before the wedding. This is a good time for everyone to meet and have an idea on what your attendants and bridal entourage are assigned to do during the wedding day.
  • Discuss program with your Program Host – hire a professional host if you can and discuss the flow of the program with him or her a few days before the wedding.
  • Discuss music requirements and song requests with your musicians – make a list and discuss with your musicians.
  • Finalize guest count with caterer one week before the wedding – by this time, you should already have a clearer idea on how many people will be attending your wedding. Discuss the final count with your caterer so they know how much to prepare.
  • Have a trial make-up – this is a must. Do not trust any make-up artist without having a trial make-up with him or her. What is good with another bride may not be good for you. Choose someone that you are comfortable with.
  • Book your facial and body spa and pedicure one week before the wedding – if you are planning a facial and body spa prior to the wedding, do not schedule it too close to the wedding date as the exfoliation from the spa treatment might leave your skin reddish. Do not do your pedicure one day before the wedding as toe nails can tend to swell up right after a pedicure. You would not want to walk down the aisle on barefoot.
  • Have your manicure at a salon one day before your wedding – unlike spa treatments, it is advised that you do this one day before the wedding. Have your pedicure polished by a top coat.
  • Endorse to your wedding coordinator (or your trusted person) all the contracts and balance payments for your suppliers in individual envelopes for easy distribution on the day of the wedding. You would not want to be the one distributing envelopes to your suppliers on this day. Make the endorsement one day before the wedding so you can free yourself from any more worries of the following day.

In less than 6 months, you have prepared a beautiful wedding. Enjoy the memories of this day!

by Nona Castillejos-Clemente, C & C Creative Concepts

This article appeared in Wedding Planner Magazine Premier Issue

Below is a video of a wedding that was planned in only 2 months:

Rich Mae + Ralf from imacron on Vimeo.

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