Hello there crafters! I know I fell off the face of the earth for over a week which I suppose is very bad blogger etiquette, so I’m sorry about that! I have a new spring themed pop up card coming soon that I’ve been working on here and there and I’ll share it with you. Anyone have anymore tutorial requests? I do love teaching. Perhaps a video tutorial would be easier to follow?
In the mean time here is what I’ve been busy with – being a full-time working, part-time MBA student and a wedding-planning bride. Yes, that’s right, with everything else going on right now I am also a BRIDE!!!
So I thought I’d share some useful tips to the fellow busy brides out there who have a packed schedule and are trying to find time to make all the arrangements AND stay within a reasonable budget. I’ve got to admit – it’s quite a challenging balancing act, but it’s doable.
Here was my biggest rule of thumb that has helped me book all of my wedding vendors (including the caterer & reception venue) in 6 short weeks: Book vendors who are email-friendly.
I realized that there are two types of wedding vendors:
1. Those who email basic information upfront to give you a general idea of what their all about
2. Those who don’t email anything – whatsoever.
If you are a busy bride, like me, you don’t have time to sit and interview with 6 different DJs only to find out that just 1 person fits within your price range. And maybe the decently-priced DJ has not-so-great reviews online so you may end up back to the drawing board to email and interview with yet another 4 DJs until you find one that works. That sounds like way too much for me to realistically fit within my schedule. Yes this is an important day, but I don’t have the luxury of making this wedding my full time career, and quite honestly, I really wouldn’t want to!
So here are some of the steps I have taken to find the best wedding vendors:
* Check out this book – The Busy Bride Bible
I love this book because it is easy to skim through – has all bullet points and simple instructions, so you don’t feel like you’re sitting down reading a long novel. You can simply whip it out at lunch and poke through the different chapters that give awesome tips on planning and budgeting. I highly recommend purchasing this book for your busy bridal life:
* Use Preferred Vendor Lists
As mentioned in a previous post: Rhode Island Wedding Venue Reviews: Finding the Perfect Place, my fiance and I are having our wedding at the Glen Manor House in Portsmouth, RI. Like many venues, the Glen Manor has a preferred list of vendors with whom they work closely.
While sometimes, vendors on these lists can be EXPENSIVE, there are some who are reasonable and the best part about picking vendors from a preferred list is that they are familiar with the venue, have worked with the venue coordinator, and many have worked with the other vendors on the list too. So you basically are getting a whole team of high caliber vendors who are all very familiar with each other and the place. Why wouldn’t you want something as perfect as that?
* Choose Vendors Who Email Prices & Basic Info
The next important part of booking vendors as a busy bride is being able to get basic information and a general price estimate upfront right in an email. The most important things for me to know right away are: Is this vendor available for our wedding date? And is this vendor affordable? Since we are busy, we don’t have time to make phone calls all day or interview everyone and their mother in the limited precious free time that we have available – only to find out that they don’t have our date available and they are way out of budget. Plus, people who are email-friendly are probably going to be a lot easier to work with as the months and weeks draw closer to your wedding date. If you have a simple quick question, don’t you want someone working for you who is capable of emailing you back right away? It’s a bad sign when a vendor doesn’t have much of a website (or no website at all!), hardly any information on the site, and doesn’t even have an email address…
* Read Online Reviews About Vendors
The best thing to do to determine if the vendor is really fantastic is to read reviews. Do what you are doing now – read blogs that review your local wedding vendors or go on one of these wedding message boards listed below to discuss with other brides and learn their personal experiences with the vendors you are interested in. Nothing beats hearing someone else’s first hand experience! And I’m all about doing my research online before I make any purchasing decision – whether it’s an eye makeup product or a wedding florist – I want to learn about it on my own, from the comfort of my home, with my MacBook on my lap.
* Narrow Down Choices and Meet with Vendors
Once you have the basic info in an email you can easily compare the prices and information between the different vendors, and based on your online research you can pick which ones are worth your time in meeting with.
* Consider What You Can Do Yourself
Ok, I’ll admit that there were a couple times that I’ve had sticker shock in this process. But don’t be let down by it. I’ve found that many great vendors are willing to work within your price range, without sacrificing quality. It might be a good idea to think of things that you can do yourself – especially if you know that you’re crafty and creative! That way you can still have a person in charge of let’s say the flowers, but you can add your own personal crafty touch by making your own candles or decorating your own vases. It will add charm to your wedding decor and help keep the cost down.
* Get it Booked!
I’m getting married to the love of my life and that’s the most important part with all of this. I don’t want to be one of those brides who ends up pondering every little aspect and painstakingly fussing over each element of the wedding. Yes, I want it to be lovely, but it needs to happen within reason.
All brides, please remember:
THERE IS LIFE AFTER THE WEDDING.
Do not let the wedding become larger than life. You can’t sacrifice the things that are important to you – like graduate school, your full-time career, your credit, or your personal relationships with your bridesmaids who are in it for the long haul. Yes, make sure you do your homework and pick the right vendors, but don’t let this drag out too long. Make firm decisions and get things booked promptly so that all you’ll have left to do is to sit back and get excited for a wonderful wedding. Also, once all the big stuff is squared away, you’ll have many months to think of cute crafty ideas and lovely little details to add to your wedding, making it one of a kind.
* Make Your Wedding Unique and Packed With Cute DIY Details!
Check out my latest blog obsession: Style Me Pretty, recommended to me by my photographer, Jill Knight, who is also a friend and sorority sister from college. She previously worked for BRIDES magazine and recently had her own beautiful wedding in North Carolina. Check out her photography work by visiting: http://www.jillographyblog.com/. She is traveling to RI for our wedding so for those of you who are not RI brides, you could book her for your own wedding too!
Here is who I have picked for vendors for our wedding in Rhode Island:
1. Glen Manor House – Reception
2. Sayles Livingston – Florist
3. Jillian Knight – Photographer
4. Engagements DJ – DJ
5. La Bella Musica – String Quartet
6. Pranzi Catering – Caterer
7. AA Transportation – Limo
Hope this helps you out in your wedding planning! More craft projects coming soon and please feel free to continue to email me with your tutorial requests! Thanks and have a lovely day! 🙂