C+L's top 5 tips to prepare for your wedding day - WITH A FREEBIE! // Western Montana Wedding Designers
Can you believe wedding season is upon us?! We already had a taste of wedding season back in February. But we're excited for our first summer wedding on June 2nd! As we prepare for that, we wanted to share a few of the things we do to make sure our couples and vendors are prepared for their wedding day!
Email your timeline ahead of time // A month from your wedding date is a good time frame. Make sure it includes start/end times and exact things that must be done during that time.
Designate someone as the point of contact // The bride should not be the point of contact on the wedding day. You should be sipping champagne without a worry! Designate your maid of honor, mother of the bride or groom, Aunt Suzie. Anyone that will be willing to help put out fires the day of - no matter how prepared you are, fires will happen. If you have a good crew behind you, you will never know!
Create mockups of any design elements // This includes ceremony space, arch, reception tables, sweetheart tables, seating charts. Really, anything you want to make sure it looks a specific way! This means you can hand over your vision to your wedding coordinator (or whoever will be set up on your wedding day). Bonus points if you send these along with the timeline. Here are a few examples of mockups we have done:
These can be as complex as you want. Feel free to just draw them out on paper!
Create a layout map // Create designated areas for main elements, where catering will go, gift table, guest book. This way all vendors will know exactly where you want them! This doesn't have to be fancy (along with any mockups), a hand drawing is just fine. There's also a free website (AllSeated) that makes designing table layouts extremely easy.
Be prepared // On your wedding day, make sure the catering tables are in the catering spot ready for them. Have all the vases cleaned and ready for the florist to work their magic, make sure where the DJ is supposed to set up has an outlet.
BONUS // Ask for advice // Vendors are the pros. They've done this a zillion times. They know what works best. Ask them what is best.
EXTRA BONUS // We created a sample timeline for you! Google drive is a lifesaver for keeping all our wedding straight.
Gosh, now back to prepping for our June weddings!
Must ask questions for wedding venues // Wedding Tip Wednesday // Champagne + Linen // Western Montana Wedding Designers and Planners
One of the first steps of wedding planning (and the most fun) is picking a venue! Lucky for us Montanans, there are many options of all sizes, styles, and locations. It’s easy to get caught up in how beautiful a venue is, but it’s important to take a step back and ask the venue some practical questions. Here are the top questions we ask:
What is your capacity? Follow up with their seating arrangement options. Keep in mind that the weather can affect capacity. For example, maybe they have a beautiful outdoor space but a tent would be required if it rains. Tents are a little pricey, prevent sticker shock and ask ahead of time!
What is your deposit and refund policy? Life happens. Might as well be prepared for everything!
What is include in the rental fee? Hours, tables/chairs, arches, linens, etc. Keep in mind that sometimes rental fees are super low, but they only include the space. A perfect example of this is having a wedding on family property (or a park). This sound great, but not so much when you have to rent all the chairs, tables, linens, restrooms, generators. All. The. Things.
Do I need to use your on-site services (catering) or vendors on your preferred list? Sometimes it’s a lifesaver if you have to have all your vendors through the venue - hello one stop shop. Sometimes it will cost you an arm and a leg. Make sure you get quotes from any required vendors before booking.
What is your alcohol policy? Some venues require your to purchase alcohol through them, some allow you to BYOB, some only beer + wine. Also ask if you will need to purchase liability insurance or hire bartenders.
When will I have access to the venue? The more time for set up the better - and less stressful!
What areas do I have access too? Bridal suites, kitchen, restrooms, river access, gardens. Follow up with what time they’re available at.
What time does music have to be turned off? There is no greater buzzkill than having to have the music be turned off early.
When does the venue need to be cleaned up? The next worse buzzkill is having to be cleaned up at the end of the night - but you can always hire a day of coordinator to take this off your plate ;). And how “cleaned up” does it have to be?
What parking is available? Some venues have very limited parking which then requires transportation to bus people in. Some might not allow overnight parking. Know this before booking!
Is camping allowed? What a Montanan question. There are many venues that allow overnight parking, but there are some who allow access fees. Make sure you know this before offering this option to friends and family!
No answer to these questions is the wrong answer, just some might be better fit for you (and your budget). Don't be scared to ask questions, it is your big day and no one likes surprises!
So you recently got engaged!? Congratulations! You should elope!
It is no secret that we love elopements here at C+L Land. We wanted to discuss some key reasons why an elopement might be a valid option for you more adventurous couples. Or for couples who are working with a tighter budget. Or for couples who just simply don’t want to deal with the headache of planning a wedding.
Budget // Okay let's get the big reason out of the way. Eloping is cheap af. Or you can make it as expensive as you want. Because guess what friend? You have complete control over the budget.
Control // There are less elements to planning an elopement. Again, meaning you are in complete control. No need to worry about seating charts and family drama.
Intimate // There is nothing more intimate than elopements with very close friends and family. We are talking less than ten people if that. Or no one at all. You are under no obligation to invite your great Aunt Suzy who sends you a $5 bill every year for Christmas.
Sexy // Lets face it, eloping is extremely romantic. It is just you focusing on your significant other and celebrating your love. We cannot tell you how many couples tell us that they feel like they are planning their wedding to please their family.
Location // Two words: Destination elopement! We want to do a Glacier National Park elopement. We dream about it in our sleep. The vision is clear.
Here are some other kick ass elopement destination:
Split It Up // You don’t have to choose! You can easily have a small cozy ceremony and though throw a huge reception for all of your family and friends later on.
The most important thing is you and your partner and an elopement is the perfect way to celebrate the two of you.
Photographer // Tiffany Photography
How to build a kickass wedding timeline // Wedding Tip Wednesday // Champagne + Linen // Western Montana Wedding Designers and Planners
There's so much that goes into a wedding before the couples stands at the altar. Time to talk to logistics - the fun part of planning a wedding that everyone looks forward to. But really, I love the logistics. It’s like a crazy puzzle that you have to put together. One of the most important task you have before your wedding is finalizing your timeline. This is basically your guiding document for the entire day. It should contain the who/what/when/where of your special day. If you have a kickass timeline, you should be able to hand it off to your MOH, a family member, or day of coordinator and not be disturbed your whole wedding day!
There are four guiding rules for building your own wedding timeline.
Include vendor arrival and end times // This may seem obvious, but not everyone does it. Include anytime someone is supposed to drop off items or start their services. This way whoever is managing your timeline can keep track of vendors. If you want to be an overachiever, attach all contracts to your wedding timeline.
Ask your wedding vendors how much time to budget // Ask your hair and makeup artist how long it will take. Ask your officiant how long they think the ceremony will be. Ask your photog how much time to budget for family pictures. Ask your caterer how long it will take to set up and clean up the meal. Please. Ask the questions. If you ask, you won’t have any surprises. Which leads me to….
Budget more time than you think is needed // Think your wedding hair and makeup will take an hour? Think again. Only need ten minutes for speeches? Dear God, think again. What’s the worst that can happen if you finish something early? Drink an extra mimosa? Shucks.
Schedule some couple alone time // Take thirty minutes in the middle of your reception to take some golden hour pictures with you and your new spouse. Seriously, you won’t regret it.
We assist our full and month of coordination couples with building their timeline, but we always want to give some pointers to our day of couples too! Do you have any questions on how to build your wedding timeline? Any additional advice? Maybe a timeline horror story? We would love to hear it!
Planning the [destination] bachelorette party of your dreams // Wedding Tip Wednesday //Champagne + Linen // Western Montana Wedding Designers and Planners
We’re on a dream kick, can you tell? It must be this winter-spring-gray grossness we’re going through.
Well, last week I had a wonderfully nostalgic dream. I was at an extravagant beach mansion attending a some ridiculous pool party - maybe a wedding, it seemed like a wedding? I was talking to my dear friend Phaedra about the OC when Georgia walked in looking all LA adorable. The next thing I know we were at the bar - per usual. Cooper was bartending, she handed glasses on glasses of champs. I looked through this confetti + balloon fog and saw Logan, Ana, and Alex walking over. As this was happening We Can’t Stop, by Miley Cyrus started playing - essentially the anthem of our senior year. It was too much.
I just dropped a lot of names, many of you won’t know, but I had to get them out there!
It was an amazing dream. I was reminded on how much I miss these dear friends, which lead me to bachelorette parties. They’re a great way to bring all your great friends back together. When your friends are scattered all over the US, sometimes it takes a wedding to bring them all together. We’re talking about destination bach parties this week.
In many ways destination baches are the same as local ones. You still spend time with loved ones celebrating the bride. But there are very many things that are different. Some things to keep in mind when planning a destination bach party:
Who to invite // Allllll the squad. In my case, Vegas was a pretty central place for my friends to fly to. Just be prepared, some people aren’t going to be attend. It maybe taking the time off, it may be that they can swing it financially. Don’t be offended. It’s the price you pay for having a destination bach party. Don’t worry though, even though there may be less people, you’ll have the time of your life. *Cue Time of Your Life*
Where to stay // STAY ALL TOGETHER. Whether that means all in the same house, hotel, room. Just do it. It will save everyone time and money, and you get to spend more time together! Take a look at airbnb. I’m always amazed by the good deals on there.
Decorations // You have to be pretty strategic here. If you’re flying, you are constrained to a suitcase. Even if it a simple banner, make a little effort for the bride! Side note: be careful with glitter. You don’t want to get charged a cleaning fee.
What to do // Do what the bride wants - go out, play games, watch movies, go to the spa, eat delicious food. Whatever it is, do what the bride wants. Being in a [somewhat] unknown area means you will most likely want to do a little exploring. Make sure not to plan too much! Stick to one main activity a day, that way you can spend time exploring. Plan a few surprises, whether it be a nice dinner out, taking her on a scavenger hunt, or taking her to get her nails done. Show her that you care!
Organizing // Get yourself a shared google docs. Seriously, they're a lifesaver. You can have everyone upload their travel information, suggest restaurants, really, everything.
Now, if I say bachelorette party, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Vegas, right? Well, Vegas is great - it is where mine was held- but it isn’t the only destination.
Love the city? Check out Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, NYC, Chicago.
Love the beach? Miami, San Diego, Cape Cod, Santa Barbara.
Feeling adventurous? Hit up New Orleans, a National Park, Disneyland, Aspen.
Destination also doesn't have to mean out of the state. Take a short drive to a local lake or into the mountains. Really, it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you're surrounded by your squad.
Destination bach party isn't your thing? Don't worry. Stay tuned for local bachelorette tips.