Short on Time? Here’s How to Handle a Quick Engagement

The decision to get married is one of the most important choices most people make in life. Some couples spend years planning their future together while others see no reason to wait any longer and jump right in with no regrets.

There are no set rules when it comes to the length of the engagement, but it’s important to remember that the bigger and more complex the wedding is, the more time it takes to plan. There are a lot of things that need to be coordinated, so it makes sense to begin booking as early as possible.

According to The Knot, the average engagement period is around 14 months – or a little over a year. Some people take longer, but for couples hoping to tie the knot on a particular date or those who have another reason to expedite the process, the limited time available for planning can be a problem.

If your anticipated wedding date is only a few months away, never fear! It is possible to pull off a dream wedding if you’re short on time. Here are some things to keep in mind as the big day quickly approaches.

#1 – Don’t panic!

If you are planning a short engagement, you need to act fast, but not too fast. Rushed planning often leads to mistakes, so taking the proper steps can help you minimize problems. Nearly everyone encounters some sort of scheduling snags when planning a wedding, so you’ll not only need to act quickly, but you’ll also have less time to make decisions and analyze alternatives.

#2 – Set a realistic budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning weddings is underbudgeting. Since many people only plan one wedding in their lives, it’s easy to underestimate just how much things actually cost, and expenditures add up quick. On top of that, many vendors may charge more if you try to book on short notice – if they’re even still available – because it will require extra work on their part. It’s important to keep that in mind and temper expectations accordingly. This may be the biggest day of your life, but it’s up to you to decide how much of a financial burden you’re willing to take on to make that happen. It’s not hard to rack up some serious debt if you don’t stick to your budget, and that’s not a fun way to begin your new life as a couple.

#3 – Cover the basics

If you don’t already have the date set, now is the time to do that. The more flexibility you have here, the better. If you’re planning a quick engagement, it’s important to keep in mind that the more people you want to invite, the more schedules you’ll potentially have to work around. Flexible dates will also open up more options when it comes to venues and vendors.

In addition to picking a date, it’s now time to ask your attendants, find a venue, and a caterer. If you don’t know who to hire, ask friends or look online to see if there is a wedding network in the area. Another great option is calling your local florist because they often have close relationships with many vendors who will be able to offer suggestions.

Once you have the venue secured you can begin booking vendors such as the florist, officiant and, musicians. The next step is to pick out a dress because they can often take up to three months to arrive. If your engagement is brief, you might have to pick something off the rack and have it altered.

#4 – Choose the right vendors

Make sure to do your homework, ask friends and co-workers for suggestions. Once you have a few possibilities, check out their websites and social media to determine if their vibe and price point would be a good fit for your wedding style and budget.

Call each vendor you would like to potentially work with and find out first and foremost if they are available for your wedding day. If they are, set up a consultation as soon as possible. If they are not available ask them for a reference.

Make sure to review examples of the vendor’s work during your consultation. This will help you have an overall sense of what the vendor’s capabilities are. Be sure to ask, “What will you need from me prior, during, and after my wedding?” Lastly, find out who will be the person providing the service on the day of your wedding.

Now is also a good time to order your invitations, notify any out of town guests of the event, and book the honeymoon.

#5 – Dive into the details

Now that you have a date set in stone and a venue secured – and have also booked caterers, musicians, and officiants – it’s time to pay attention to the small details because they make a big difference when it comes to making your big day exceptional.

Remember that renting equipment doesn’t just include tables and chairs for your reception. You can also rent silk plants, candelabras, and ceremony extras like arches, for example.

Make sure that you choose a reputable company to assist you with equipment rental. Just like the other vendors you are contracting with, it is important to find a company that is known for the quality of their equipment and the reliability of their staff. Ask those closest to you for recommendations in addition to referrals from your florist or local wedding network.

To save time and potential headaches with this step, a good idea is to create a “wish list” of what you would like to reserve. Refer to your other vendor contracts for what they do and don’t provide as a starting place.

You should also be ready to pay a deposit and remember that this is traditionally one-third of the total package price. Also, be prepared to spend a chunk time – because now is the time to really focus on your bridal vision and get creative. Be ready to ask a lot of questions.

At this point you should also begin sending invitations, setting up wedding registries, picking out wedding bands and renting groom and attendants attire. Remember that out-of-town attendants will need to get fitted prior to the ceremony date and have their measurements sent to the shop you will be renting from.

#6 – Choose a photographer

One of the pivotal decisions that must be made by a bride and groom when planning their special day is the photographer. This is a very personal choice, especially when you consider this person will be hanging around you and your guests for a whole day. It’s important to be sure you like their photography style and are comfortable with their packages and pricing. Review full wedding albums and not just their highlight reels and ask a lot of questions if there are things you don’t understand.

Ultimately photographers are vendors you hire, so like the other companies you have contracted with, we suggest getting personal recommendations and check out local vendor sites.

Don’t forget to ask about:

  • Shooting fee
  • What is in each package
  • Additional costs like special effects or an engagement shoot
  • Your rights: In most contracts, photographers own the rights to all photos they take. If you want to order photos from another source you’ll probably have to buy the rights to the images.
  • Post wedding details: How long does it take to get proofs of your images? How many images should you expect? When are the photos retouched? Is that prior to getting your proofs or after selecting your images?

At this point in the planning process, you should also be reserving transportation, picking music, buying your attendant gifts and reserving a suite for your wedding night.

#7 – Piecing it all together

Now you’re in the final stretch, and it’s time to take care of things such as writing vows and determining what readings you will have in your ceremony and who will read them. This is also the time that you should be finalizing your menu, going for your final dress fitting, and attempting a dry-run of makeup and hair.

While you’re at it, get blood tests (if required by state) and a marriage license. It’s also a good time to make a seating chart and book house/pet sitter for the honeymoon.

#8 – The big day!

Even if you have done all the work yourself up until this point, it might be wise to hire a “day-of” wedding coordinator or enlist a trusted family member to handle any last-minute issues that arise because you’ll be too busy with other things to put out fires.

Just remember – there will be fires! In fact, you can almost count on some last-minute issues popping up on your big day – it happens to everyone.

The most important thing you can do is not let those things stress you out or take your focus off one of the most important days of your life. This day is all about you and your loved ones, but now is not the day for you to try to make everyone happy.

Thanks to your careful planning, everything will be fine and people will have fun! The day will be a blur and will be over before you know it, so make sure to take some time to enjoy it while you’re in the moment. Remember, your honeymoon is right around the corner!

 

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Avoid These Common Pinterest Pitfalls When Choosing Your Wedding Flowers

In April, we discussed how to choose the perfect florist for your wedding. Now that you’ve found us, here are some common Pinterest pitfalls and how to avoid them when working with your florist!

If you recently changed your Facebook status to “engaged,” congratulations! We hope you have a florist in mind, but if not, we know a great one!

We absolutely love wedding flowers! For us, working with couples to set the tone for their big day is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. We think you’ll enjoy it too, but there are some important decisions to be made – that’s why it’s important that you and your florist are on the same page.

Pinterest is a fantastic resource for wedding inspiration, but people often make several key mistakes because it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the vast quantity of pictures they find online. In order to make your wedding flower experience as smooth as possible, we identified a few common Pinterest pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid.

1) Falling in love with everything – You might be starting off on the wrong foot by arriving at your consultation and showing the florist 3,000 wedding pins you like. In years past, most brides only had pictures of weddings from people they knew, or from a few bridal magazines.

Today, thanks to social media, we’re inundated with millions of professional wedding photographs and many of them make the flowers look amazing in all sorts of different settings. In reality, the same flowers that look picture-perfect in a photo of a beach wedding could look out of place if your wedding is in a church or a rustic rural venue.

A good strategy is having an idea or theme in mind and then showing a handful of favorites to your florist and letting them work their magic. They typically have a great eye for design and once you’re on the same page, it’s much easier to work out the details.

2) Not having an accurate budget – At this stage of wedding planning you should, at least, have a “ballpark” idea of how much of your wedding budget is allotted for decorations and flowers. It’s important to be realistic and accurate as possible to avoid major changes later on.

There are some incredibly cool ideas to be found on Pinterest, but it may not be feasible to include everything you want and still remain within your budget. Having an accurate budget goes a long way towards minimizing the stress of having to cut details that you really want.

Wedding florists are experts in making the venue as beautiful as possible, but they need to have a good idea of your budget in order to start their planning. In many cases, they’ve worked with your particular venue in the past, so they know what works and what doesn’t. They should be able to give you options, offer you alternatives, or give you advice on how to make the most of your allocated budget.

3) Not being flexible or having unreal expectations – Pinterest is definitely a welcome addition to the wedding industry, and we certainly recommend that anyone planning a wedding use Pinterest during the initial stages to gather ideas, but remember that it should be thought of as a place for inspiration and not duplication.

Your wedding to be unique; it should tell your story and reflect your style and personalities without being a carbon copy of someone else’s ideas. Relying on Pinterest to plan every last detail will only lead to disappointment because there are just too many variables in play.

Many weddings are big productions that require multiple vendors working in unison to make sure everything comes together without a hitch. Often times couples dream big initially but are forced to sacrifice or cut back on certain aspects of their big day. Unless you have an unlimited budget (wouldn’t that be nice?) you might have to temper your expectations or modify some details. Don’t worry, it happens to almost everyone, and that’s why you hire experts.

Chances are, your wedding won’t look exactly like one you saw on Pinterest – but that’s a good thing. You never know; a year or two from now anxious couples may be looking at your wedding photos for inspiration of their own. The important thing is to make the day yours!

We know most people don’t have much experience when it comes to wedding flowers – it’s just not something you do every day – that’s why our goal is to make your wedding look fantastic! Give us a call at 800-556-6610 and we’ll help walk you through the process and set up a consultation.

How to Pick the Right Florist for Your Wedding

Choosing your florist is one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make for your wedding. Flowers set the mood and tone for the day and will be live forever in wedding photographs, so this isn’t a decision to take lightly.

After you pick a date, set a budget, and secure venues for the ceremony and reception, you’ll need to start finding vendors for nearly every aspect of the big day. For now, though, we’ll focus on finding a florist.

Most planners suggest booking a florist at least 6-7 months in advance of the ceremony, but that is only a guideline and can vary depending on the florist and the time of year. It doesn’t pay to wait, though, because the longer you do, the greater the chances that someone else will book your date. In fact, you may want to start looking for florists fairly early in the process; just be sure you’ve already booked your venues and decided on your colors.

Do Your Homework

Before you begin searching for your florist, you need to two things, one is a ballpark budget, and the other is the floral style you want for your big day.

Since it is early in the process, you may not have an exact budget allotted for flowers, but at this point, you should have a general idea. It is very important for the florist to have both of these bits of information so they can plan accordingly and make sure expectations are met.

When searching for a florist for your big day, it’s always a good idea to ask friends and co-workers for suggestions, especially ones that were recently married. Wedding websites are also a good reference since many of them let you search vendors by city or zip code. Once you have a few possibilities, check out the florists’ websites and social media to determine if their style and price point is a good fit for your vision and budget.

After you’ve narrowed down a few florists, call each one you would like to potentially work with, and find out first and foremost if they are available for your wedding day. If they are, set up a consultation as soon as possible. If they are not available, ask them for a reference. Be honest about your budget when soliciting quotes because that may eliminate some options right away. It’s better to know right off the bat if a florist is not a good fit than to waste your time and theirs.

It’s a good idea to meet with or have a call with anyone you’re strongly considering so you are able to see how well their style and vision for your wedding matches up with your own.

During your consultation, be prepared to spend a chunk time and ask a lot of questions. This is the time to really focus on your bridal vision and get creative. It’s also a time to make some important decisions if your vision doesn’t align with your budget.

I found the perfect florist! Now what?

As soon as you find a florist you like and agree on a budget and style, the florist should present you with a proposal. This document should spell everything out in writing and will likely include some provisions you’ll want to be aware of. Now is the time to negotiate or ask for changes if you are uncomfortable with something listed. Once you sign the proposal, it becomes your contract, so it may be a good idea to have a lawyer look it over before you agree to everything.

Once you sign on the dotted line and pay your deposit, which almost every florist will require – congratulations – you’ve hired your florist and can cross one big item off your checklist! Be sure to notify your florist if any sudden changes happen prior to your wedding day and be available if they need to contact you with questions or concerns.

If you’re recently engaged and are starting to plan your wedding, Congratulations! We want to be your florist! We specialize in weddings and would love to make your special day as beautiful as you imagine it to be. Give our wedding specialist a call at (800) 556-6610 to set up an appointment. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Coming in May – Now that you know how to find the perfect florist for your wedding day, you’ll want to read some tips on what NOT to do when working with your florist.

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Hottest Wedding Trends for 2016

This year’s wedding season kicks off with some bold new looks and time-honored trends. From the wildly popular use of copper and rose gold metallic decor to the tone-on-tone or monochromatic effects of colors and textures, let the professional wedding designers at Topper’s European Floral Design help you create a ceremony that is truly a one-of-a-kind reflection of your style and personality.

Here is some inspiration from some of the hottest wedding trends of 2016, and tips on how you can make your special day one that will never be forgotten.

Bridal Guide’s List of Wedding Trends for 20161 - bridal guide27 Wedding Trends We Have to Look Forward to in 20162 - glamor14 Out-Of-The-Box Wedding Trends You’ll Soon Be Seeing Everywhere3 - theknot9 Wedding Trends That Are About to Dominate 20164 - lovelyWedding Trends to Watch for in 20165 -smp

The Top Wedding Flower Trends for 20166 - planperfect