You've said "Yes" and you've told your parents...
You have a basic plan for what you're going to spend and how you're going to spend it...
It's time to pick the perfect date and the perfect venue to host your nuptials. For some of you, the date will be easy. There's that one special date that symbolizes your love for each other perfectly. First date...first kiss or perhaps a year from the day he asked!
Or there's a date that is more convenient for both of you and your families because of scheduling or season. Families with lots of children may want to stick to a date during a school break. If you want a spring or summer wedding, your geographical location will dictate the best date. Whatever decision you make, try to stay flexible and have a few other alternative dates to choose from. This ensures that those family members close to you can attend your wedding. Having a few dates in mind will also help you when choosing your venue.
Which brings me to the next part of this post...
Hotel or Event Hall?
If you opt for a hotel or event hall, many of the resources you need will more than likely be at your fingertips. These types of venues are in business to host events like weddings and will have all or most of the equipment, food choices and vendor referrals you may need. The other good thing about hosting your ceremony and reception in a full service venue is that it saves you the cost of transportation. There is no need to hire a limo or car service to move you and your guests from one spot to another.
In some cases it will also save you money on your other vendor fees. Florists sometime charge extra to move flowers from one location to another. Photographers will sometimes charge you based on having to shoot in more than one location. And finally, if you opt to have your celebration in one location, there's really no need for a separate reception card when ordering your invitations. You can just include "Reception immediately following" at the bottom of your invite!
Park or Mom and Dad's backyard?
This option is going to take a bit more planning. Why? Because you have to source everything! Tables, chairs, linens, heaters, umbrellas (ella, ella...). Seriously though, one of my first BIG weddings was a 300 guest tent affair on the brides parents' estate. It was a week long production that required lots of rentals and lots of hired staff. Katie and I couldn't do it alone.
The ceremony was in the front yard area and the reception in the back. Valet company, portable bathrooms (they were GORGEOUS, by the way...no port-a-pottys here!) caterer, tent, tables and chairs for ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, electricity, coolers (it was in the middle of June!)...the list goes on. And THEN all of those vendors, equipment deliveries and setups needed to be organized and timed just right for 300 guests!
I know...you're thinking, "we can do this...we have backyard barbeque's all the time!" Not the same thing. At backyard barbeque's there are plenty of helpers around to do all the work. Do you honestly want to have your guests help you set tables, decorate and then bus tables afterwards? I didn't think so. I know I'm over simplifying but you get the picture. There are many moving parts to a production like this no matter what the size. Do yourself a favor and hire a wedding planner or at least consult with one on how to put it all together. We'll be happy to hear from you and you'll be so happy you did!