You’ve waited for this for a long time, and now it’s finally true! You’re engaged! You’ve got a ring and a date and now… Now you have a wedding to plan! The venue, the menu, the guests—Oh my! Many couples have been daunted by the stress of planning a wedding before, and that’s completely natural. You want to come up with a creative, unique wedding that celebrates your union while keeping both sides of the family and all of your friends and distant relatives happy—and sometimes that’s a tall order. Don’t let the stress overwhelm you! Shirley’s Catering has been de-stressing brides and grooms with their wedding planning tips for over two decades, and we can help you too! Let’s get started:
1. Get a Wedding Planner—Both Kinds!
First of all, for your own sanity and organization, pick up a wedding planning organizer book that has plenty of pockets you can use to stash brochures, pictures, swatches of fabric, etc. You can also go high tech and use one of the many wedding planning apps available for your mobile device. But don’t forget the human element—hiring a professional wedding planning team can really give you peace of mind because they can do a lot of the leg work for you so you can spend more time enjoying your engagement! Shirley’s Catering has been planning weddings for a long time, so we have a lot of ideas and are ready to help!
2. Agree on a Budget
One of the trickiest things to navigate, before and after the wedding, is your budget. Seriously, this is excellent practice for marriage! Be realistic about what you can afford, but understand that there are so many incredible, creative ways to make your wedding a dream come true, even on a tight budget. We have a lot of wedding planning tips that can help you get the most out of your wedding budget and help you get started on the right foot!
3. Choose Your Theme
Your wedding is your day to celebrate your love and the beginning of a new family! One of the wedding planning tips that helps our clients is to ask them these questions: What are some of the special places, songs, colors or events that led you two to this moment in time? What is your vision for your future? Every couple is unique—some have gone old-world traditional, while others have gone high-tech, Disney, 80’s themed… you name it. It’s your wedding! Think of some of those things and how they might be tied into the décor, music and food for your celebration.
4. Be Yourself
Oddly enough, this is one of those wedding planning tips that seem difficult for a lot of couples to grab onto. This is your special day—if you don’t want to spend it in high heels or with an inch of makeup on your face, you don’t have to! If it’s the middle of summer, a full tuxedo is going to reduce you to a puddle. If it’s the middle of winter, the strapless mini dress might not be the way to go. Don’t be afraid to design a wedding and wedding reception that makes you happy and comfortable! If you’re like most of the couples we know, it’s going to be a long, but exciting day and you should enjoy that cake as much as everybody else!
5. The Venue for You
Northern Virginia is gifted with a wealth of magical, enchanting venues for weddings and receptions. The Shirley’s Catering team is very well acquainted with pretty much all of them and then some! We can advise you as you narrow down your list of the venues you are interested in. And we can tell you the ins and outs of each location so that you can select the one that will best fit you and your guests!
6. A Menu for All
We’re not gonna lie—your guests are totally thrilled to see your wedding, but secretly, in the back of their heads, they’re thinking, “Where’s the food?” And after a long day of getting dressed, doing photos, the ceremony, packing for your honeymoon, traveling from one place to another, etc., you’re going to be famished too! Shirley’s Catering can help you plan all of the delicious comestibles you and your guests will just love! We have several potential wedding menu options listed here on the website, but if you have special recipes, ideas for dishes, Hors d’Oeuvres, fantastic cakes, midday snacks, salads, etc., we can definitely work with you to create a customized menu! And speaking of customization, if you or your guests have special dietary needs or restrictions, we are amazing at creating delicious treats that fit the bill, whether gluten free, low-sodium, vegan, vegetarian, Kosher—you name it!
7. Timing is Everything
One of the most crucial wedding planning tips we can give is to think about the timing and staging of the various events throughout the day to minimize unnecessary stress and travel for you and your guests. Consider having the photos done before the ceremony, or even the day before. Or if you will be doing photos between the ceremony and the reception, make sure your guests have something to do (like take pictures with those disposable cameras) and especially something to eat and drink during this time so they stay happy and comfortable. Make contingency plans for the weather if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception. We can help you think of all of those things so your day will flow smoothly!
8. Delegation is Essential
You can’t do it all by yourself. That kind of thinking leads to bride/groomzilla craziness. Pick a few trusted friends or family members that share your vision for your wedding, and call Shirley’s Catering and let us help you make arrangements, design action plans, menus, schedule and scout venues, etc. so that you can take a deep breath, relax and remember why you’re planning a wedding in the first place!