Planning a wedding requires many small and large decisions. There are many decisions that make a wedding reflect your style. Where do you start?!
Define your style: The first decision is to spend some quality time looking at your home, your car, how you dress, what you do for fun, your job, the colors you love. Many times these factors can help you realize what your collective style is. There is no right or wrong answer. The more honest you can be with yourselves, the quicker it will help you develop a clear idea for the type of Chicago wedding you envision. This first step will help you make all your decisions much easier.
Some couples want the best of everything with 400 guests at a swanky downtown hotel; while others may want just a fun party at a nice hotel in the suburbs.
Many couples never do this and end up letting their budget dictate what they choose. As a result, they sometimes have an uneven wedding: Great venues, bad band, great flowers, average food. Always buy the best quality you can afford that fits into your overall budget.
Establish Your Priorities:
What’s most important to each one of you? This will help you determine how to divide your wedding budget so you both get what you want and have the funds set aside to do so.
Your Chicago wedding should only include the People, Music, Food, Flowers and Colors you love.
Here are some other ideas:
- Think about the best weddings you’ve been to. What did you enjoy about them?
- Think about the worst Chicago wedding you’ve ever been to. What did you hate about them?
- Ask your married friend, “If you could do it over again what would you have changed?”
- Look through wedding websites and magazines, what do you love or hate? The more specific you can be the better.
- Make sure any ideas that worked well for others fits YOUR style. That’s all that matters.
Other factors to consider:
- Your Age
- Your Ethnicity and traditions
- Your Family Size
- Your First or Second Marriage
- Your Number of Guests
Start with the Big Decisions:
1. The Bride and Groom:
You found each other. That’s the biggest decision. So give yourself some credit!
2. The Date:
- What time of the year would you like to get married?
- Do you want a Saturday Night Chicago Wedding?
- Or a Sunday or Friday Wedding?
- You can many times get better quality vendors for a discount for non-Saturday weddings? The same applies for January through March wedding.
3. The Venue:
- Estimate how many guests you are planning on inviting.
- Eliminate venues that are too small or too large.
- Do you want a downtown hotel or one in the suburbs?
- Think about if you have many out of state guests that may need accommodations. Can the hotel accommodate that number of guests?
- Is your wedding ceremony going to be at the same venue or at a separate Church?
- How far away is the church from the venue?
4. The Food:
If your venue doesn’t have in-house Chicago catering , you will need to secure an outside catering company. Many times the venue will have a select list of preferred companies they work with. I suggest using their recommendations, it will make the wedding run much more smoothly. The company will know the load-in information, the facilities, the layout of the room. It will make service that’s much easier and quicker for you and your guests.
5. The Music
Picture yourself 2 years from now. Your friends are all gathering for a Summertime BBQ. Your friend says, “We had the best time at your wedding, your flowers were so beautiful.” That means that you had a boring wedding. What they should say is, “We had the best time at your wedding, your band was awesome! We were dancing all night.” The quality of your music is what people are going to remember.
- Think about what styles of music you love.
- Think about the age of your guests
- Think about if you have a song that is YOURS.
There’s nothing worse than spending top dollar for a great venue, delicious food, and have to settle for a lousy band or even worse, a DJ. All the other wonderful aspects of your Chicago wedding will quickly be forgotten.
Find a music company that is flexible and experienced enough to perform the songs that you love.
6. The Dress
Like all the decisions you’ll be making, the dress should say something about you and who you are as a bride. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take the feedback of your family and friends, but ultimately you will be the one wearing the dress on the biggest day of your life. How do you feel when you are wearing each dress? If you feel like it’s a perfect extension of you then you may have found the dress for you.
7. The Flowers
Flowers have been described as “Nature’s way of smiling”. Chicago Florists are far more sophisticated than years ago. The best florists are truly artists. Communicate the style, colors and table size for your wedding. They will be able to give you several beautiful examples to choose from.
8. The Photographer
There are many excellent Chicago photographers with a variety of styles. Some use an older style with pull down screens for portraits and photos of guests at each table. Others use a more real life style. They act more like guests at the wedding that happen to be taking a lot of photos. You and your guests just act naturally. Websites can be a great resource for seeing their work. After you visit their website and review their sample work on their site, I recommend setting up a meeting with them. The personality of the photographer is important. He will be with you for 10 hours on your wedding day as well as for years after your Chicago wedding. Find someone that is flexible, professional and easy to work with. Remember, it’s your wedding.
9. The Videographer
Just like Chicago photographers, there are many talented Chicago videographers to choose from. They all have different styles. Some use multiple cameras, some shoot in HD. Obviously you’ll want to see as much of their work as you can. If they have referrals, ask for them. The quality of their equipment, usually but not always, indicates their level of commitment to their craft. Ask them what their turn around time is for a completed DVD. For both your Photographer and Videographer, they should be experienced and will guide you through the planning process. Let them know what your preferences are. For example, “Aunt Louise and Uncle Henry are celebrating their 50th anniversary that same day. I’d like a photo of the four of us.”
10. The Additional Services
This category includes Chicago transportation companies, linens, wedding favors, table, chair rentals among many other smaller decisions. Just keep in mind, do they fit my style and my budget?
For all your wedding vendors there is an old but true motto: Hire Who You Trust and Trust Who You Hire.
SUMMARY: Find your style Set your budget Establish your priorities Hire the best Chicago wedding vendors you can afford.
A great Chicago wedding, like a great meal, always start with the best ingredients and you will likely have the best results. Good Luck!