The Fine Print: It’s tougher than you think, there are a lot of moving parts, the last few weeks will likely stress you out, BUT …. it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make for this special day but the good news is – you can do it! That should cover all the bases of what Live Well Farm has seen as concerns in the initial decision-making process.
1. Planner – If there’s any doubt about how we feel about contracting the services of a professional wedding planner, read our journal entry titled The Wedding Planner: Money Well Spent. This should be at the top of your priority list if you want to mitigate some of the aforementioned stress and moving parts while getting the most out of your DIY destination wedding.
2. Venue and catering are the two things that will make the biggest impression on your guests which will last well into the future. Live Well Farm presents that aesthetic Aha! moment while your caterer will solidify it with their menu. Take the time to research, visit, and get to know the venues you’ve put on your short list. Each one will have its special logistic and aesthetic appeal as well as some things for which you may have to compensate. There are no perfect venues (even Live Well Farm!). The personal care and communication a venue owner takes in understanding your vision will go a long way in this process. Catering is the next area where careful consideration is essential. Taste their cuisine, seek recommendations, and ask questions. In the end you have to be sure the ideas you have for your menu and service can be realized by the caterer at a particular venue.
3. 5-Hour Rule – Remember how your parents told you ‘nothing good ever happens after midnight’…? The same holds true that nothing good ever happens when the open bar at your reception stays Open for too long. This is your day and none of your guests will think you’re cheap or a party pooper by setting a reasonable limit on their alcohol intake at your wedding.
4. Hire a shuttle service – Continuing the theme of the 5-Hour Rule, your guests will appreciate you looking out for their safety following a day/evening of celebration if you arrange for shuttle or bus service to return them to their hotel. Don’t ruin the memory of this special day for you or any of your guests because they decided to drive when better judgement would have dictated otherwise.
5. Enlist help – If you have the budget, coordinate with your planner to have him/her hire the hands you’ll need to pull it off. If not, enlist some close friends to help. It’ll cost you extra places at the rehearsal dinner table but you’ll be glad you did. Remember this is a DIY wedding and the onsite set-up work typically starts on the day before the ceremony. You contracted a venue to put your own personality in it, not a cookie cutter country club with a full hospitality staff. Let this be a planner-driven component of your event as too much help can be almost as bad as too little! Your planner will know how many hands and when they’ll be needed to put the finishing touches on your event thus reducing your stress.