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5 Things you Need to Know about Pinterest Weddings

5 Things you Need to Know about Pinterest Weddings

If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve most likely spent some time on Pinterest.  I really love the platform, and I encourage my clients to use it.  But there are 5 things that you need to know about when it comes to wedding pins on Pinterest. 

The biggest thing to note is that many wedding photos are you’ll see are styled shoots.  That means that it’s not an actual event, but rather a collaboration of vendors working together to show off their work.  If you see only one reception table in an open field, or just a ceremony set up with only a handful of empty chairs, there is a good chance it was from a styled shoot.  

Now, I’m a fan of styled shoots, and have participated in a few myself.  The problem is that they are often not realistic for several reasons: 

1) Vendors want to promote new/upgraded/top of the line products.  This means you’re typically seeing their best products/services, which might not be conducive to a typical wedding budget.

2) If you’re looking at a photoshoot at your venue, the layout or set up might not be realistic.  For a styled shoot, you don’t need to worry about the guest flow, size of the event, or if the catering staff can make their way between the tables.  Make sure to discuss these details with your planner or the contact at your venue.  

3) You’ll often see fully set tables, or things set up that wouldn’t be set out for a typical wedding.  For example, most weddings won’t have the dinner plates set out prior to the guests arriving.  The guests will get them at the buffet, or the wait staff will bring them with dinner.  Because of this, your tables might not look as “finished” as the pictures, or you may want to rent charger plates to complete the look. 

4) PLEASE don’t ever put glass containers or candles down your aisle.  I absolutely love the look of an aisle lined with candlelight, you’ll see photos of them all over Pinterest.  The problem is that I can just about guarantee that a guest is going to bump into one, sending wax and broken glass everywhere.  And it’s going to happen just minutes before the ceremony.   

An alternative would be to use flameless candles set out on their own, or in lanterns.  I’ve seen some gorgeous photos of strand lighting along the aisle.  Make sure to consider guest safety, and not creating a trip hazard with where they are plugged in.  Keep in mind that most ceremonies occur earlier in the day when the candles or lights won’t be visible.  If this is the case, you most likely wouldn’t have the same visual impact as the styled shoot photos anyway.

5) And the final issue with planning your wedding on Pinterest is that you have no concept of budgets.  For styled shoot images, you typically see only one or two tables or settings.  If you were to replicate that design for all the tables, it could be a very expensive wedding!  Even if the photos are not from a styled shoot, often the most popular pins are from higher budget events.  It’s easy to fall in love with a look, only to be disappointed to find out what the actual cost would be to make it happen.  

Now that I’ve spent all this time warning you about the negatives of Pinterest, why do I still encourage my couples to use it?  

  1. The visual of the images makes sure you and your vendors to be are on the same page.  There won’t be any confusion over shades of pink, or the shape you’d like your bouquet to be.
  2. It’s a great place to get started, especially for those lost or confused about wedding design

Finally, I want to share a few tips with you to make the best of your Pinterest experience!

  • Do you love a table design, but it doesn’t fit in your budget?  You can use it for your head table, and use a more affordable design for the guest tables.
  • If you’re flexible with the type of flowers you use, ask your florist if there is a cheaper alternative available to create a similar look to an inspirational picture.
  • Add notes in the comments about what you like and dislike about the pin. You might love the flowers, but not the chairs or linens used.  Adding these notes in helps to ensure everyone to be on the same page.
  • Follow your venue and vendors for more inspiration for your wedding.  
10 Wedding Vendors Every Couple Needs

10 Wedding Vendors Every Couple Needs

Wedding Vendors You Need

Once you have your venue and date secured, it’s time to start thinking about the rest of the team.   So how do you determine what wedding vendors you need?  

Most couples will have the following  10 “core”members in addition to their venue:

1) Wedding Officiant 

A very important vendor, especially if your ceremony is NOT going to be at a religious institution.  Some couples opt to have family or friends take on this role, but it is also a professional position.  

2) Ceremony Venue

Whether it’s a church or your backyard, where you say your vows to each other is typically the first vendor/contract that is signed when it comes to wedding planning!

3) Reception Venue

Just about every wedding ceremony needs to have a celebration!  You might have just a small gathering at a restaurant with immediate friends and family, or a huge blowout at the fanciest of hotels.

4) Caterer/Bar

If your venue does not offer catering, you will need to hire an off-site catering company for food beverage services.  Some venues have strict requirements on who you can hire, others don’t have any restrictions. 

5) Music (ceremony and reception) 

Most couples go right to the question of band vs. DJ when they think about music, but don’t forget the ceremony and cocktail hour!  Many bands and DJs can provide this service, but it’s also a great time to add in a jazz trio or string quartet!

6) Photographer 

This one’s pretty obvious, you’re gonna want a photographer!

7) Florist 

If you are doing your own flowers, please remember these projects can’t be done more than a day or so in advance. This is already a busy time with final appointments and wrapping up other details. Adding in floral arranging can make those few days before the wedding unnecessarily stressful.  

8) Baker 

Similar to your caterer, this might be something that your venue already handles.  If not, make sure to ask if they have any required bakers that you must use, or if they must be a licensed bakery

9) Hair & Makeup 

Most brides choose to have professionals do their hair and makeup for their wedding day.  Before you can secure them, you’ll need to decide on where you will go (in salon vs. house/hotel), and how many in the wedding party will need services. Don’t forget those outside of the wedding party that might want to participate, like moms, grandmas, or siblings.  

10) Stationer (invites and other paper products) 

What’s the point of having a party if you don’t tell anyone about it, right?!?

What Wedding Vendors are “Optional” 

1) Wedding planner 

I’m obviously a bit biased here, but I truly believe that having a professional wedding planner on your team is the best sort of insurance you can have for your wedding.  Having a planner involved from the beginning (before securing any venues or vendors) can ensure that you are looking at the right options for your style and budget.  

Many of our full service clients hire us AFTER booking their venue, and are locked into pricing that may work with their overall budget.  A good planner will save you money in the long run, and will save you from many stressful moments and planning headaches.  If you are thinking of hiring a full service planner, they should be the very first thing that you book! 

1.5) ”Day Of” coordinator

While nothing beats the personal attention that you get from a full service planner, I highly recommend you have at least a “Day Of Coordinator”.   The name is deceiving though, as no professional can simply show up on the wedding day and be able to execute things seemlessly.  

Most planners begin their Day Of services a month or two before the wedding.  They will go through the details and suggest any adjustments or things that you may have overlooked.  They will connect with all of your vendors, and make sure all of the details are taken care of before the wedding day.  On the actual day, they will help to run the event, working with all of your vendors to bring it all together.  

I often refer to us as the “Team Captain” of the wedding vendors.  Our role is to make sure everyone has what they need to make the day absolutely perfect! 

Note on Venue Coordinators-

Many locations have in-house coordinators, some even calling themselves Day Of Coordinators.  Do not mistake this for having an outside planner involved in the wedding day.  The venue coordinator is there as the point person for any venue and catering details for that day.  They will most likely NOT be involved with the other vendors, wedding party, or other specific details that an outside planner would be there to cover for you.  Many times they are covering other events happening at the venue that day, and will be taking other appointments and tours while they are there.

          Generally speaking, their focus will be divided that day, whereas an outside planner will be dedicated to your wedding alone, making sure nothing is missed!  

2) Videographer

I often hear that couples would love to have a videographer, but it’s just not in the budget.  While I totally understand this, there’s nothing like hearing your vows, or relive your first dance on your anniversary.  Hiring a professional videographer is an investment, but please do give it some consideration.

3) Transportation 

This is typically pretty cut and dry, and very dependant on the venues you’ve booked.  If everything is in one location, you’re lucky enough to skip this category!  Many times, however, the ceremony and reception are in different locations, or maybe you want to take photos at on offsite location.  In this case, you will most likely have to arrange for a limo or shuttle for at least the wedding party.  Additionally, if you have a significant number of guests that live out of town, it’s often a nice consideration to arrange for them to get from the hotel to the venue locations, as they are most likely not familiar with the area.  

4) Rentals 

This is another category that is dependant on the venue that you’ve booked with.  Most will have what we refer to as “house” items, meaning the tables, chairs, and linens that come with the space.  If you’re at a more bare bones venue, you might be required to rent all of these items.  Alternatively, some couples simply don’t like the house options, and will choose to rent items that fit their design or look better.  

Outside of the necessary tables, chairs, and linens, so other common items that couples will rent are charger plates, lounge furniture, dance floors, and draping.  These are all optional, but can really change the overall feel of the event.  Many rental companies will offer special rates if things are booked together, or at the very least, you’ll save on delivery/set up costs if you book rental items together.  

5) Lighting 

If you’d really like to transform the look of your space, lighting can make a huge difference.  Dance floor lighting and uplights are the most common,  butchat with your lighting company about additional options.  Bistro lights, pinspotting, truss lighting, and stage lighting are not as common, but can also make a huge impact on the event design.

6) Photo booth 

While the traditional booths are still popular, there are now many other alternatives to consider.  This includes “open” concepts, live streaming, or other fun twists on the initial concept that include posting to social media.  Another fun throwback that’s been trending recently is a “DIY” photo station with poloroid cameras.  This allows your guests to take their own photos anywhere at the event, and they can incorporate these into a keepsake guest book.

Now that we’ve discussed WHAT wedding vendors you need, take a look at this post to learn more about how to hire your wedding vendors!

 

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Should you have Place Cards or a Seating Chart for your Wedding?

Should you have Place Cards or a Seating Chart for your Wedding?

Unless you are having open seating at your reception, you will need a way to let your guests know what table to sit at.  This is most commonly done with seating charts or place cards being displayed in the entrance or cocktail area.

For some couples, it won’t make a difference which option you pick.  However, there is one main reason why you MUST have place cards. Let’s get into that here!

If you are offering your guests a choice of entrees for your wedding reception, you will need to have a way for the wait staff to know what the guests ordered.  The easiest way to do this is by putting some kind of meal indicator on their place card.  You can have the inticator printed on the cards by the designer, or add a sticker to the card once you have them.

What if you’d like to have a seating chart, but do plan on letting your guests pick their dinner options?  You can have your seating chart out during cocktail hour, and the place cards can be set out at each guests seats before they come into the room.  This does mean you need to assign guests to specific seats at the tables, so it’s going to take a bit more time to work on.  Another thing that you need to consider before making this decision is who will set those cards out on the wedding day.  It is a time consuming task that needs to be done by someone organized, so it’s not always possible for the venue staff to do this.  

I always recommend that you put the place cards or seating chart out during cocktail hour.  This way your guests can take their time to look as they are mingling and chatting, and it’s not a long line as they all wait to find their names at the same time.  

The Biggest Seating Chart Mistake!

The Biggest Seating Chart Mistake!

Wedding Seating Charts

They are hugely popular on Pinterest, and can allow you to get really creative with your wedding design. But I want to talk about the biggest seating chart mistake that couples make.  There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before deciding to have a seating chart, however.  So make sure to check out this article here to learn more about the argument of place cards vs. seating chart

But that’s not what we’re talking about today.  What I’m hear to tell you about today is one of my biggest wedding related pet peeves, and it’s all about seating charts!  

So, you may have already started looking for images of seating charts, and I would bet that what I’m about to share went unnoticed.  Many of the most seating charts that you see on Pinterest or Instagram are laid out by table number.  It’s the most visually pleasing format, as it allows for relatively even groupings of 8-10 guest names per section. 

Don’t Make this Mistake!

But let me tell you why that is a big mistake, and one of my biggest frustrations on a wedding day!  Seating charts are ofter placed by the entrance into a reception room.  Doing this allows guests can find their table number as they are entering the space.  If they need to search though 10+ lists to find their name, it’s going to create a long bottleneck at the door, and throw your timeline off.  Plus, it’s just frustrating for your guests to not only have to wait in line to find their name, but search through all those table groupings once they get to the chart.   

 

Alphabetical is the Way to Go!

If you list them alphabetical by last name, they will be able to find their name very quickly.  This means the wait time will be reduced SIGNIFICANTLY.  I know, I know, it’s not as nice to look at with things aren’t perfectly lined up and symetrical.  I get it, it can definitely trigger my OCD sometimes too.  But I PROMISE you that you can still format it to look nice, and be the most functional at the same time.

One last thing to keep in mind as you are looking for your seating chart designer/printer.  Just because the image that you see on Etsy or Pinterest is shown with the groupings by table number, doesn’t mean that’s the only option.  Ask the designer if you they can do the same chart alphabetical by last name instead.  The will most likely be able to accommodate!

Oh Look! You can watch me rant in person about this!

When should I send out my Wedding Invitations

When should I send out my Wedding Invitations

When Do I Send out My Wedding Invitations?

It’s one of the most commeon wedding planning questions I get, so let’s get to the answer!  For the most part, it’s pretty straight forward, but we’ll explore some things to consider. 

If you’re looking for a quick visual, skip to the end, we have an infographic to pin to Pinterest 🙂 

Like many things in the wedding planning world, we’re going to start at the end and work our way backwards: 

  • 1 – 2 Weeks before the wedding – Your guest counts will be due to your venue, caterer, and other vendors
  • 2-3 Weeks before your counts are dueWhen your RSVP due date should be (make sure to give yourself 1-2 weeks “buffer” to follow up with those still missing
  • 4 Weeks before the RSVP due date – Mail out your wedding invitations 

Four weeks?! I know, that sounds like so much time, doesn’t it? But the post office isn’t called “snail mail” for nothing and in the last few years, the “snail” has gotten slower. So let’s figure a week for the invitations to get to your guests and another week for the response cards to be returned to you. Four weeks now doesn’t seem so long.

Other Questions about Mailing Wedding Invitations:

  1. Should I mail out international invitations earlier?

Yes – maybe a week or two earlier.  Please also make sure they you’ve determined what additional postage might be needed!

2.  Can I send my invites out earlier than 4 weeks before the RSVP due date?

Sure, but PLEASE don’t send them out more than 6 weeks before the RSVP day. If you send out your wedding invitations too early, your response rate is going to go down significantly.  The longer your guests have the invitations, the longer you are giving your guests to forget to return the response cards.

2.  What about a destination wedding? Should your invitations be mailed earlier for a destination wedding?

If you are having a destination wedding, I suggest that you send out save the dates at least 6 – 8 months before the wedding.  Then send out your invitations 8 weeks before the wedding. If you aren’t sending out save the dates, send your wedding invitations 6 – 8 weeks before a destination wedding. Everyone who is close enough to you to travel to a destination wedding knows when your wedding is and has already made plans. 

If you scrolled to the end for the fast answer, send out wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date!

Here is a pinnable infographic to help you figure out your date!