Advice from my Petaluma Post column on planning your wedding...
Wedding bells are ringing, not yet for you, but loud and clear here at the catering company. For actually catering events we are in our slow time of the year, but with the brides we are bustling. Did you get you ring for Christmas, New Year’s or maybe Valentines? You are wondering where to start to make your big day happen. I have been catering wedding for nearly 25 years and thought I could help out with a few hints. I tend to be very logical and a bit less bridal, perhaps it will help you start out.
The Date! Very often this is the first thing that is set. I recommend choosing a month vs an exact date, unless it has a sentimental reason. Why you ask? As you start looking you might pass by a great location or caterer if you are focused on a specific date. Maybe the next weekend would work out too. Choose a season that like and work within it.
First things to book are the site and the caterer. You know the site can only take one event in a day, and many caterers like us can only take one or two in a given day.
For your site, here are some questions to think about: Can you have both the ceremony and reception in the same location? How many guests do they hold? (this can help keep your guest list down if they are limited) Indoors or out? If bad weather happens is there a backup place on property? Price, this can really be a decision maker. Remember to think outside the box, family homes, parks and beaches can be a great settings.
For caterers, plan this to take up to 6 to 8 weeks to find, confirm and plan. We have an initial discussion with our couples to create the event you have in mind. I suggest you come with ideas, and a budget in mind. Not every wedding is Lobster and Filet but it can still be yummy and fun. What are your favorite foods? Where did you meet? This is a day for the two of you so add your special touches. Then we create an estimate with menu, rentals and costs. After that we often do a tasting. I highly recommend at least one site visit with my clients to complete the plans.
The next thing to book should be what is most important to you. Is it pictures of a life time, the bouquet you will carry down the aisle or rocking the night away to a hot DJ?
When thinking about your DJ or band there are many things to consider. Bands have a great energy, but a DJ can play a wider variety of your favorite songs. A DJ is more cost effective, while bands can sometimes have additional requests you will have to fill (stage, lighting, special food requirements). When looking at DJs there are independents and DJ companies that might have several to choose from. When working with a company I recommend that you meet your DJ, you want to make sure that you match well. Also how active do you want your DJ to be? Just play music? Make announcements? Some will even bring costumes and teach line dancing.
Photography can be very important, in 20 years you won’t have a piece of cake left, but you will have you photos. A current trend is to have an engagement session with your potential photographer - this is a great idea. Make sure their style and ideas blend well with you. Maybe you don’t want to stand in a fountain or you are a bit more adventurous it is good for your photographer to know. I always recommend that you make a photo list if there is anyone outside of traditional family that you would like photos with. It is also a great idea to designate a helper, the photographer won’t know who cousin Tony is (is it a girl or a guy even). But keep in mind you want to enjoy your wedding reception and keep your photos orderly and prompt so you can party!
Flowers are the delicate touch to your day. When looking a bouquets look at the style and color more than flowers. The flowers can be very delicate and seasonal. Flowers that can hold up to an hour of photo shoot might not hold up to a 90 degree wedding day on the top of a mountain. Be creative bring a bit of whimsy in - are you a country girl with wild flowers, a city girl with a bit of bling? This is your day.
The piece de resistance is your wedding cake. Here we can have lots of fun. Most cake bakers can take a few to several cakes in a day, so this does not need to be on the top of your list to get done. Do you like cake? The tradition of cutting the cake can be done with any dessert. It is supposed to represent the care that you will take of each other for the rest of your lives. Assorted desserts are very popular. Cupcakes and mini pies can be a lot of fun too. What about an ice cream station? Have you ever met a dessert you didn’t like? Neither have your guests
The next few months are going to be very crazy and busy. Remember to stop and take time for yourself personally and the two of you as a couple. Turn off Pintrest, put down the magazines and breath. It will be here before you know it.
You can get more advice from Preferred Sonoma Caterers website... I'd start with Cost Planning.