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The Style Council – The Wedding Planner aka Geri Jewitt

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Image Sources: 1) Art Deco Wedding Invitation & RSVP by The Languid Lion; 2) Vintage 1930s Dress by Very Tres Chic; 3) Filigree Rose Wedding Cake by Maisie Fantaisie; 4) Bulb Bouquet by The House that Lars Built ; 5) Recycled Cream Paper Heart Garland by Handmade by KATuck

WINTER WEDDINGS

“Stop. Breathe. It’s going to be okay. Planning a wedding can be a stressful, nerve-wracking, nail-biting, sleep-stealing, brain-frying event. But, I’m going to help you. We’ll get there together. It’s going to be a beautiful day.”

That’s generally what I say to all of my wedding stationery brides (often including their mothers). It varies based on how newly engaged they are, their general demeanor and their organizational skills (or lack thereof!), but the gist remains the same.

I offer a free little wedding planner to every client (whether they end up retaining me or not) as I remember wishing I had a great planner (I had 7 separate planners/books, myself) & I think every little bit helps with such a mammoth undertaking as a wedding.

My own wedding was VERY small (25 guests) and we created 80% of everything ourselves. Yep. 80%. Kind of makes sense that I would end up having my own related business 11 years later, eh?

We left the flowers to the professionals (we were married in an ancient building in Edinburgh, Scotland and the ceilings were incredibly tall) & the catering to the owners of the venue, but we created our stationery suite, the reception stationery (yep, ALL of it), the centrepieces and the favours.

So, it probably won’t come as a shock to you that about a month before the wedding, we were ready to elope…and very nearly did! And that was with 25 guests.

But, with the right attitude, organization and help from friends, family & those professionals you trust, a wedding can be a wonderfully beautiful & rewarding event to plan. And creating a lot of the components yourself makes it that much more special.

YOU’RE INVITED…

Planning your wedding usually begins soon after getting engaged. A date is often chosen for its special meaning to the couple, which is then followed by venue browsing and booking. A budget is often set in place & a wedding coordinator appointed.

Then, it’s time to announce your joyful news!

Your wedding stationery will set the tone for your entire wedding, so it’s a good idea to think about what kind of wedding you’d like to have; formal, informal, destination, big or small. Choose a stationer that you feel comfortable with & trust; you’re trusting a very important piece of yourself with them!

It’s best to meet with your stationer in person (or really, anyone who is involved with supplying anything to do with your wedding), but if that isn’t possible, Skype is a great way to communicate with them. I have found it to be invaluable with establishing a rapport and relationship with my clients that translates in my designs for them.

You should mail your invitations & enclosures at least 2-4 months prior to the wedding, so plan to begin the design process at least 1 month prior to that, usually more if they’re handmade and if you’re creating them yourself, leave at least 2 months!

A wonderful handmade & elegant option to finish off your wedding stationery is to have the envelopes addressed in calligraphy. Often stationers can print the address in a corresponding font as the suite, which is also a lovely feature. In both cases, usually one of the addresses is offered (the recipient or guest’s address or the return address on the RSVP/Reception Card), but for an additional fee, both can be done.

When it comes time to stuffing your invitations, why not make a party out of it? Invite your bridesmaids over and set everything up on a table in an assembly line fashion, beginning with your enclosures. It really isn’t polite to ask your guests to pay for returning their own RSVP, so be sure to stamp those envelopes!

Once those are done, lay out your invitations, then enclosures, then maps/directions and lay a square of tissue paper between each (if your stationer hasn’t provided this, it’s easy enough to get some from art supply stores – make sure it’s acid-free!)

Then, all you have to do is pass each package to the last bridesmaid (who’s been attaching stamps to main envelope in the meantime) & voila!

It will make the process go by quicker and can be a whole lot of fun… try to keep any food or drink away from the assembly line; eat & celebrate AFTER it’s all done.

Save-the-Dates are a great idea if your chosen wedding date is during the week or at a particularly busy time of the year… these should be sent at least 6 or more months ahead. This will ensure that folks are given enough time to set it aside just for you!

If your wedding date is in the winter months of December & January, here are a few things to think about:

  • December is one of the most busiest months for handmakers, so plan far enough ahead to make sure that they will be able to produce any orders on time.
  • Shipping times & costs can increase during December, so bear that in mind when scheduling your orders.
  • Blankets of snow & twinkling trees can be incredibly romantic, but slush & salt can ruin not only your shoes, but your guest’s as well, so bear that in mind when choosing a venue.

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Image Sources: { diy } Bulb Bouquet by The House that Lars Built VS { handmade } Bridal Bouquet Pink & Grey Fabric Flower by Blue Orchid Bridal

HANDMADE VS DIY

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It would be extremely unusual if you were able to create EVERYTHING for your wedding yourself. Pretty darn awesome, but unusual. So, it begs the question,”which things can I do myself and which should I leave to the professionals?”

You’ll have to find that fine line for yourself, but have a look at your budget first (and if you don’t have one, make one now… please!). It will generally dictate where you have some room to maneouver and that will ultimately steer you in the right direction.

Also have a look at your schedule (again, if you don’t have one, make one now… pretty-please!). It can be wonderful to think that you can learn to crochet those beautiful doves you saw pictured in that magazine by the time you need them, but really… do you want to put that much pressure on yourself?

Figure out what you’re currently proficient in creating and choose those things to customize for your wedding. Everything else should either be given to people that YOU TRUST and know what they’re doing, or play with your budget and go with the professionals.

PLANNING SCHEDULE

If you’re getting married this month, congratulations! Here are a few reminders to keep you on track and ensure that you have a most wonderful day & fond memories for years to come:

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  • Begin your seating plan & write (or approve your final proof of) your place cards, name cards, table cards & menus.
  • Brides, have your final dress fitting with shoes, lingerie & accessories – you don’t want any surprises!
  • Confirm your guest count with your caterer.
  • Brides, break in/practice walking in your wedding shoes.
  • Begin writing your toasts for the reception & rehearsal dinner.
  • If you’re going away on your honeymoon, make sure you have someone to look in on your house & collect your mail.
  • If you have ordered/created wedding announcements, address, seal & stamp them.

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  • Finalize your seating plan & check on reception stationery order
  • Brides, pick up your dress or better yet – have it delivered!
  • Confirm your reception details with your caterer, including final head count
  • Assign specific responsibilities to your wedding party – these can be as broad or narrow as you feel comfortable with!
  • Confirm your honeymoon arrangements – it’s a good idea to leave them & your itinerary with a friend or family in case of emergencies.
  • It may seem premature, but pack for your honeymoon – one less thing to worry about!

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  • If you have wedding announcements, give them to a member of the wedding party (usually your bridesmaid) to mail the day after the wedding
  • Brides, have a manicure & pedicure… it’s not an indulgence, it’s a serious mood-lifter!
  • Rehearse the ceremony
  • Hold your rehearsal dinner & if you have any (& you really should), give your gifts to your wedding party & if it’s appropriate, give those parents a gift to thank them for their support!
  • Confirm transportation arrangements for the ceremony & reception
  • If you’re paying for them, prepare the tips & payments in separate envelopes for your officiant & vendors & give them to a member of the wedding party to distribute them on the day

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  • Relax & enjoy yourselves… have a little bubbly – it’s going to be a great day!

“Stop. Breathe. It’s going to be okay. Planning a wedding can be a stressful, nerve-wracking, nail-biting, sleep-stealing, brain-frying event. But, I’m going to help you. We’ll get there together. It’s going to be a beautiful day.”

Join me next month for another installment of The Wedding Planner.  In the coming months, I’ll be fielding questions from readers & covering specific topics, so if you have any, please email me here.

Geri xx

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