Wedding Planning in a Nutshell Part 2: Major Details

Hello there, beauties!

We are cruising through our “Wedding Planning in a Nutshell” series. First we shared our chart to help visualize this whole wedding planning thing broken down. Last week, we talked you through the first three groups of  items to attack. Today, we’re back to continue with the next three tiers of our chart.

During the middle three segments of the wedding planning process, it is  time to narrow down your design details and think about how to save our wedding day memories. From rentals to florals and from makeup to transportation, this middle section is where you’ll nail down the majority of your wedding day vendors. So without further ado, here it goes:

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Tier 4 – Rentals, Printed Items, & Videography

Once you have your venue and design plan in place, you’ll want to get the word out to your guests. Save-the-Date cards can be sent out anywhere from one year to six months prior to your wedding day. It is the first chance for your guests to get an impression of what your celebration will look like, so be sure to carefully choose or design this piece so that it is a true reflection of what your guests will experience at your wedding. Formal invitations are sent out later in the process, (according to wedding paper etiquette, eight weeks prior to the wedding). Here is more information on printed items in our blog series about the “who,” “what,” “when,” and “how” of wedding invitation etiquette. While you work on getting those save the dates into your guests hands, you can start to focus on event rentals! The ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception need the appropriate lighting, tables, chairs, linens, etc. to develop a foundation to your wedding design. Your caterer may also need a number of items included in your rental order in  order to make your wedding dinner happen. Sometimes we are able to get everything we need from one general rental company, while other times we may bring in up to four specialty rentals companies to bring our client’s dream to life. The final thing to prioritize in the fourth tier of wedding planning is videography. Many of our couples want real life footage of their happy day. Although not all couples choose to bring in a vendor for this. We at Marisa Nicole Events are big fans of wedding cinematography and think there is no way to relive a day that goes by far too quickly quite as well as a mini movie of your day (I watch mine every year on my anniversary… and cry).

Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Tier 5 – Transportation, Floral Design, & Entertainment

The fifth tier of our wedding planning “cake” includes any potential transportation needed for your bridal party, family and guest both to and from your wedding. Transporting all your guests can take up quite a chunk of change, so be sure to plan for this in your budget if your ceremony and reception are in two different locations, have a slew of out-of-town guests, or just want your guests to have a rad time without having to worry about transportation logistics. This is also when you want to start planning out your floral needs. Think through your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception start to finish, as well as who in your bridal party and family will need a floral adornment to get a full picture of what your floral order should include. Our rule of thumb is that every surface needs some kind of decor (no naked cocktail tables, please!), and every person you want to honor needs something on them that allows them to stand out from the other guests and look like they are a part of the group in posed group images. From there, it is time to start thinking through the soundtrack of your day! People generally choose to hire a DJ, full band, or some kind of hybrid of a DJ with moments of live entertainment (such as a string quartette during the ceremony, jazz band during cocktail hour, or dancing performers during dinner). The possibilities are endless. For those of you going the DJ route (which tends to be the most cost effective), here is another resource booking the DJ that is right for you.

Photo Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Tier 6 – Hair & Makeup, Cake/Dessert, and Specialty Rentals

One of the most coinescental things that go along with weddings is the cake. Most of our couples do choose to have some kind of cake at their celebration. Whether that cake be something petite just for cutting or something large that will serve as the dessert for your whole guests count, you’ll want a delicious cake that matches the design of your wedding look & feel. Some of our couples choose to do sweets instead of or in addition to a traditional wedding cake. From donuts to fondue and from pies to ice-cream, the possibilities are endless. Click here for alternative dessert options for your wedding! Now it is time to find your hair and makeup artists. You’ll want to do a trial or two prior to booking the glam team for your wedding. Here are some of our tips on how to get your wedding hair and makeup right. Finally, if there are any additional touches you may want to add that your rental vendor(s) don’t have and/or you don’t want to DIY, specialty rentals are the way to go! We love bringing in lounge furniture, colored pieces of varying glass, marquee signs and more to add a little flavor to our designs and make our client’s weddings feel special and unique.

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

We’re almost done with our chart! Next week, we will give you the last, but not least, details needed to perfect your big day. We’ll be talking about DIY aesthetics, and final lists needed to keep every event organized. If you’re a type A person like me, you won’t want to miss it!

Wedding Planning in a Nutshell Part 1: The Foundation of Your Big Day

Happy Wednesday, friends!

As we know, planning your wedding can be extremely stressful. In our last blog post, we shared a basic visual of how to plan your wedding the “MNE way.” Just as we promised, here is the breakdown of the first 3 tiers of our chart. The best way to work through this chart is by imagining a wedding cake with many tiers.

Tier 1 – Find Your Other Soul Mate: Hire a Wedding Planner!

The first tier in planning a wedding is one that may seem obvious, but actually isn’t to many couples. It is in your best interest to hire a fabulous wedding planner (one like yours truly) before you do anything else to not only help make your dreams come true, but also guide you throughout the wedding planning process in a strategic way. A wedding planner will know exactly how to tend to your wedding needs and be the partner in crime you need for your big day. Leave the stress with us, and we can deal with all the extra logistics on this chart so you can enjoy one of the best days of your life!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Tier 2 – Venues, Values & Saying Yes to the Dress

In the second tier, we move onto booking your venue, working through the administrative plan for your wedding, and finding your dress. After securing your wedding planner, it is time to get yourself centered. Sit down with your fiance and talk through the various items you could spend time and money on for your wedding and decide together what items are and are not important to you. These decisions will help determine your budget. With your values in hand, sketch out an initial estimated costs breakdown so that keep your budget in mind as you enter into wedding related contracts (check out this blog to help you work through the budget process). Once you have a working budget, it is time to book your venue. You can’t book anything else without having a date and location, so it is important that we attack finding your venue before doing anything else. The venue you choose is also the single most decision that will throw you into the path of staying in or exceeding your budget. This is why we suggest choosing a planner prior to starting the venue search process, so we can help pair you with venues that will not only allow you to get hitched in a setting that is a good fit for you, but also in a venue that sets you up for success financially. For a few venue ideas, check out our blog series on amazing spots in the greater Los Angeles area (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Once you have found the ideal spot to host your big day, the next step is to find that stunning dress that works in your setting and makes you feel like a million bucks.

Photo Credit: Sam Lim Studio

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Tier 3 – Catering, Design Plan, & Photography

The next item to focus on is feeding your guests. It is good to figure this out early on in the wedding planning process, as it will take up a big chunk of your budget. From food trucks to a fancy full-service catering company, and everything in between, you’ll need to decide how you want to provide the food and drinks that will keep your party going. While you are working on finding your caterer, now is the time to start working through your design plan so you can go into booking your floral designer, printed items, rentals, lighting and more with an overall look & feel in mind. This is also a good time to research photographers. Be sure to check out their portfolios to discover which photography style that you like the best! For help in this area, check out this post on finding the photographer that is right for you.

Photo Credit: Becca Rillo

This was a glimpse of the top three layers of our wedding planning cake. We’ll be back next week to give you the nitty gritty on floral designs, hair and makeup, specialty rentals, and just a few more. Stay tuned!


Wedding Planning Cheat Sheet

It’s officially fall and many couples getting married in 2018 are just starting to plan their wedding. There are tons of “to-do” items and things to think about throughout this process: creative designs, fresh florals, functional rentals, the perfect venue… the whole thing can be more than a bit overwhelming. Here at Marisa Nicole Events, we understand the stress the accompanies planning a wedding. We suggest approaching the project that is your wedding in a strategic manner. Don’t try to attack everything at once (you’ll drive yourself crazy!). Some items you will want to wait on until you lock in other aspects of your wedding (for example, you don’t even want to start trying to figure out your rental needs until you’ve booked a caterer). For other items, if you try to nail them down too early, you’ll likely change your mind and end up wasting time working on the same project twice (your music play list and seating chart, just to name a few). To help our couples wrap their minds around what you need to approach and when, we created a wedding planning flow chart cheat sheet. We’ll be diving into details for each section next week, so be sure to check back in with us for more info! But for now…

Wedding Getaway: Tips for Hosting the Perfect Wedding Weekend!

Hello lovelies!

Three day weddings are all the rage! We love a good destination wedding (Hawaii, Costa Rica, Amalfi Coast, oh my!), but many of our couples are reluctant to plan a wedding that isn’t accessible for all their nearest and dearest to attend. More and more couples are coming to us wanting the destination wedding experience, where all their guests spend the entire weekend together at multiple events, but here in SoCal. We love helping our couples host these events and today we’re sharing a few tips & best practices to help you plan a smooth, successful and super fun wedding weekend, start to finish!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Tip #1: Have everyone stay at the same place

This makes for simple coordination when traveling from event to event! If you don’t want your guests to splurge on just one single place, try looking for a city or neighborhood that has hotels within walking distance from each other at different price points. That way your guests can still feel included in the weekend but not have to break the bank!

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

Photo Credit: Colby Elizabeth Photography

Tip #2: Choose your location (wisely!)

Especially for a Southern California wedding that might not seem like a destination to you, could be an extravagant trip for your guests near and far! Los Angeles and the surrounding cities (Palm Springs, Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, Temecula, Lake Arrowhead, and the list goes on and on…) are home to some of the most unique and beautiful venues and areas, which means your guests will still call it a destination wedding, even if you reside in the area!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Tim Ronca

Tip #3: Offer activities & options in between scheduled events

These can vary depending on your guests, and even your personal interests! A few suggestions are yoga, shopping, golfing, spa treatments, or a hike! It’s a special way to let your guests explore the city you are hosting your weekend in, and gives you some fun free time with friends & family.

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

Photo Credit: K Stone Photography

Tip #4: Provide transportation to and from off-site events

You want to make sure your weekend weekend is accessible and safe! For guests who might not know the area well, or who have a drink or two, providing transportation is the way to go. If your guests are tech-savvy, you can coordinate Ubers to each destination, or explore some rental options like sprinter or school buses. Be sure to research the accommodation locations as some hotels or resorts offer transportation between certain destinations.

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Lukas VanDyke

Tip #5: Invite everyone to every event!

It is so important that your guests feel a part of every aspect of your wedding weekend, even if they can’t make it to every event. Be consistent with your invitations and communications with all of your wedding guests so they know where/when to be at each event during the weekend (feel free to add in optional events as well!)

Photo Credit: Matthew Bronner

Photo Credit: Amanda McKinnon

Tip #6: Make sure guests have easy access to food & beverages throughout the weekend

Nothing is worse than having a group of guests looking to you when they are hungry! If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure to give guests info on how to access the hotel bar, gift shop, or restaurant if they are looking for a bite or a drink. If you are leaning towards casitas or a mansion, figure out a way to hire a personal chef for a few hours a day to prep snacks that are always accessible.

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

Photo Credit: Hello Studios Photos

Tip #7: Distribute a detailed packing list prior to the wedding weekend

It is super important and helpful that your guests are adequately prepared for the weekend. On your invitation, add in a brief schedule for the weekend and include everything they could possibly need! If you are going to have a pool party, people need to know to bring their bathing suits. If you are offering a golfing excursion, serious enthusiast will likely want to use their own clubs. The more thorough, the better (your guests will thank you later!)

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Prim & Pixie

Tip #8: Find new ways to surprise your guests at every event!

This could be as easy as using a different customized cocktail napkin, having different decór element for each event, or simply offering a variety of new cocktails or appetizers when munching throughout the weekend. It sounds very straightforward, but in the age of technology, when people are Snapchatting and Instagram story-ing non-stop, they’ll be so impressed and happy with new details (or even a small gift!)

Photo Credit: Erin J Saldana

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

We hope you grabbed some ideas to use as you plan your fun, fab wedding weekend. We love seeing our tips & tricks coordinated into couple’s weddings. Be sure to shout us out if you add some of your personal flair to our advice, we love a client who knows how to personalize! Stay stylish, beauties!