General tips for planning your wedding
After being in business for almost 29 years, we have worked with a lot of brides & grooms, wedding planners, wedding vendors. Here are some tips we have learned over the years. We hope you can use even just one - or more - to help make your day more special and run smoothly - - - Enjoy!!!!
1. Be sure to have a master check list and separate file folder for each wedding service provider. Keeping all records, receipts, contracts, and being organized during the planning of your wedding goes very far in ensuring a smooth wedding day.
2. Be sure all of your service providers have excellent maps and directions to the church and wedding reception facility.
3. Be sure to have your florist, entertainer and caterer visit the reception facility beforehand. Arrange for them to have access to the room at least two hours before the reception for setup.
4. When arranging for a sitting with your photographer for your engagement and bridal portrait, bear in mind that the newspapers require a vertical format proof for the announcement.
5. It would be best not to schedule photos more than one hour before the wedding ceremony so the flowers can stay in the coolers until the last minute.
6. Encourage your guests to leave for the reception soon after the wedding. Your photographer will need about 30+ minutes with family and then just the bride and groom. (Your wedding party can help with this.)
7. It would be a good idea to have an extra "fake" set of rings in case the real ones get inadvertently left behind at hotel or somewhere else (it does happen).
8. If you are writing your own vows, or even if you are using traditional vows, you can consider adding this special touch. Have the minister ask the congregation of family members and friends to rise and answer to the following vow, "I shall." "Will you do everything in your power to love, honor, and support this union and this couple in their journey through life together"?
9. Plan to dispense with having a receiving line. People will be hungry and your elderly relatives cannot stand up for long periods of time. Be assured they will all come up and say hello to you sometime during the reception.
10. If you are decorating the wedding cake with fresh flowers, be sure it is decided ahead of time who will do the actual arrangement, the florist or the bakery staff. Special photographs can be put on rice paper -edible- (with use of a computer), and put on the top of the Groom's cake. Most bakers do this. At the Bridal Extravaganza visit the Gallery of Cakes for more ideas.
11. RE: cutting the cake. Especially if your reception is running behind, don't have an announcement that the cake is being cut. Just go ahead and do it. That will avoid a feeding frenzy. It should also be determined beforehand who will be responsible for cutting and serving the cake, bakery staff or reception facility staff.
12. Make sure your out of town guests have very good detailed maps and/or assign local friends or family to ride with them between church and reception. If you have a lot of out of town guests, consider renting a Trolley for their transportation.
13. Consider getting married on Friday or Sunday and/or during the winter months to get better prices from your service providers.
14. On your invitation reply cards, write a discreet number on the inside flap and keep a list. There probably will be some guests that return the card without putting their name on it. You can then match the reply card to your list.
15. You may need about four cake servers, two for each cake. If your reception facility does not provide staff for this, you should have someone selected as your "House Party" in advance to do this. House Party should have corsages and boutonniere.
16. Have an extra roll of scotch tape at the reception to securely attach (or re-attach) greeting cards to the gifts before loading them into a vehicle at the end of the reception.
17. If there is an opportunity, it can be suggested to guests to put an "enclosure" card inside the gift box.
18. Some guests may bring children to the ceremony regardless of how you addressed the invitation. (You can state "adults only" on your invitation if it is an issue with you.) But you should expect that someone may bring a child or children even if they did not indicate so on their response card. Usually the reception facility will charge a set price per person whether they are adult or child. Crying babies in the church will definitely interfere with the sensitive sound portion of video equipment. If there is a "cry room" at church, have your ushers direct parents with babies to this room.
19. You should get a specific list from your reception facility of services that are NOT INCLUDED. Helping load wedding presents into cars at the end of evening is a good example. They may or may not offer to store items you rented elsewhere to be picked up on Monday. In that case, you must remove them to your home or elsewhere. Ask your Groomsmen to stay and help with these matters. (Find someone with a van or pickup to help at the end of evening.)
20. For your gift registry, it is a good idea to select stores that have a very organized Bridal Department (many have the registry on computer to print out for your guests and as selections are purchased, it indicates that on the list.) Some great stores to use are: Macy's, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Williams-Sonoma. A good choice in registry stores will help later if you cannot determine who gave you which gift OR if you just need to exchange one. Many of these places offer on-line registry and you can keep track of gifts for thank you cards. If you are on a tight budget for your wedding, consider having friends or relatives "sponsor" (pay) for the Rolls/Classic Limo for you instead of giving some other expensive gift.
21. Even though you may be registered at several places and have chosen items of all prices to help your guests make a selection that is suitable to them and their budget, you can expect that some guests will do their own thing, and you may receive lots of crystal bowls. It can always be suggested, if a guest asks, that they get you something personalized with your name and wedding date, if they are at a loss of what to get. Another great idea is if you will inherit your mother's china or silver that has been discontinued, it can be suggested that pieces of these settings be purchased. We recommend the website: www.edish.com or visit David Lackey/china matching expert @ Antique Pavilion @ 2311 Westheimer in Houston.
22. If you do not serve a full meal at your reception, your attendance will be lower than if you did. (fact of life)
23. Have a game plan if too many people show up for the reception (more people than what you have paid tables and seating for). Have a select group of close friends or relatives who can be volunteered to go eat elsewhere and then return for the festivities. The other solution is to deliberately order 10 - 20 extra place settings and pay for them. Check with your facility to see how they prefer to handle this. Some facilities refuse to add tables at the last minute.
24. If you have tables RESERVED for family and the bridal party, be sure prominently raised "RESERVED" signs are on the tables along with a name card at each place setting.
25. If you are having a Head Table for Bridal Party (Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) make sure their spouses or dates understand they will not be sitting together to eat. (Single people seem to be bothered by this more than married people).
26. Have someone in your House Party or Bridal Party whose job it is to completely go through the reception facility at the end of the evening, including restrooms, to be sure nothing was left behind. This should be done along with a facility employee to be sure their property is not inadvertently taken.
27. Put fresh batteries in cameras and strobes so they will not go out in the middle of the reception or honeymoon. Also consider putting disposable cameras at each table.
28. Have a backup person who can make a toast in the event the best man has to leave for some reason. Every key person should have someone else prepared to do their job in case they are called away for an emergency. The show must go on!! If alcohol is being served at your reception, make sure the toasts are out of the way early before things start to get out of hand.
29. If the reception is at a hotel or public facility, assign someone to watch the door to be sure that those entering are invited guests. You could have "gate-crashers" who will try to slip in the room, eat your food (which you have to pay for), and also possibly steal cameras or purses.
30. When selecting vendors, check all of them using the automated phone system of the Better Business Bureau. All you have to do is enter their phone number to get a full report.
31. Your safest choices in Vendors are those who have been in the Bridal Extravaganza at least 2 years in a row. Every type of wedding business has to meet certain strict criteria to be able to have a booth in this show. Problematic or misrepresented vendors are not invited back.
32. Ask your jeweler to put your engagement diamond under black light. It should remain clear and not glow. Ask if he will buy it back at the same price within 30 days, then have the ring checked by another jeweler. Once you have determined your jeweler is doing right by you, cut your best deal on the engagement ring and both wedding bands all at the same time.
33. It is a great idea to have a "Brides Emergency Kit". Have someone trusted like your maid of honor keep charge of it. It should contain things like: a hair dryer, hair gel, lipstick, sewing kit/scissors, breath mints, blister pads for uncomfortable shoes (maybe enough to share with bridesmaids), safety pins, bobby pins, nail file, nail clippers, super glue, tweezers, Tums, toothpicks, makeup sponge, hair scrunchies, notepad and pen, eye drops, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, Velcro, and Lintbrush. You may think of other things to add to your kit, but this will get you through the day.
34. The bride and groom should eat a good meal and drink several glasses of water early in the wedding day. This is not a good time for low blood sugar levels or dry throat.
35. Ice carvings add a nice touch to the room. Usually the bridal portrait and flower arrangements will be in the foyer. Except for table coverings and centerpiece, the ice carving is really the only decorative touch you can add to the dining area. A great presentation is to have it on a revolving pedestal with a blue floodlight shining up on it at an angle. Your ice carver artist may also have suggestions.
36. All groomsmen should try on their tuxedos before leaving the store. Letting someone else pick them up for them is courting disaster. Also, select one groomsmen to take all of the tuxedo back to avoid late fees.
37. Having the bridal shower and the bachelor/batchelorette parties the weekend before the wedding is a good idea. Doing this after the rehearsal dinner will render key people in your wedding party groggy on the wedding day when they need to be able to function at their absolute best.
38. A book we highly recommend about wedding planning is The Wedding Guide by Emily Post. Another good book is Martha Stewart WEDDINGS . Check the Weddings section at Half Price Books.
39. We recommend the website www.theknot.com for planning, budgeting, keeping up with thank you acknowledgements, a webpage for the couple, your invitation list, etc. and the use of this tool is FREE.
40. Moving luggage and checking in to your hotel at midnight or later on your wedding night can be very tedious. Have as much pre-arranged as you possibly can. A suggestion is for the best man to take the luggage for the bride and groom to the hotel earlier in the day. He should check them in, arrange for champagne on ice at arrival time. He should then give the key to the groom.
41. It can be a big help to you later if you can pay all of your wedding bills by Visa/MC credit cards. That way, if there is a problem, you can dispute the charge and the person or business in question will have to resolve it. Read ALL of your contracts and invoices carefully and be sure what is and is not included. We have been in the wedding business since 1982. If you would like, we can refer you to wedding vendors we know personally who have an excellent track record and credentials.
42. Be sure you have cell phone numbers for all of your vendors and that they have yours and at least 4 other people in the wedding party. Remember, the Church Office will be closed on the day of your wedding and cell phones are THE ONLY WAY you can communicate.
43. Brides riding in a limousine should consider only drinking water or Sprite. Champagne or dark cola will stain your dress if it is spilled.
44. If you have last-minute unexpected charges to put on a credit card, check to see if you can use your parent's or friend's (wedding party?). You will need the credit limit on your card open for honeymoon expenses.
45. The Wedding Day is special for 2 people - The Bride and The Groom. For transportation, they should have the Rolls Royce and everybody else should be transported in a standard limousine or Trolley.
46. When you arrive at the reception facility or hotel, the groom should be seated in the back seat on the curb side. If he is seated on the offside, the protocol is for the driver (chauffeur) to open his door, walk around to the other side and the driver holds the door open while the Groom helps the Bride out of the car. Hotel Doormen should not open the door of the Rolls.
47. It is your responsibility to impress upon the photographer that you want several pictures by the Rolls Royce Limo with your name on the front license plate. It is "out of bounds" for the limo driver to tell the photographer what kind of shots to take. (See our handy "Suggested Wedding Photos with the Rolls Royce Limousine" on our website, you can just give this to your photographer.)
48. It is strongly recommended that you do not suggest that wedding vendors or out of town guests try to follow the limousine to the reception. This can be very unsafe as they try to run yellow lights to keep up. Make sure everyone has maps and directions and consider regular limousines or Trolley to transport guests not familiar with Houston streets (also helpful if there will be alcohol served.) You need to be very careful if you are using sparklers for the getaway in the Rolls/Classic Limo at the end of the evening. They are considered fireworks by the City and technically a permit from the Fire Department is needed to use them. Young children can get into mischief with them and the sparks can burn peoples clothes and nice shoes and heaven forbid, ruin the paint job on the Limo. If you use them, stop the lines ten feet from the Limo. If your guests are rowdy, probably better to use rose petals. The sparklers could also catch the bride's dress or hair on fire.
49. Seriously consider using an Independent Bridal Consultant (or Wedding Planner). They know what works and what doesn't. They know who to use and who to avoid. Most importantly, they are good at persuading your parents to use the products and services you need to have a really beautiful, well choreographed wedding. We work with several that repeatedly produce exquisite weddings and we will be happy to recommend some of them to you.
50. Ask your photographer when he will release your proofs or CD of your wedding. Usually they do not have an additional charge for this. The standard seems to be 2 or 3 years after your wedding. Be sure they are using medium format (not 35mm) cameras and/or high quality digital cameras (6 megapixel or higher).
51. It is important for your wedding day that you have a schedule and stick to it. You should plan to start your walk down the isle right on time regardless if there are guests or relatives that have not shown up. Usually there are alternate seating arrangements for late arrival guests. The church or reception facility may have a wedding right after yours. Also the food will not keep and must be served within 30 minutes of time specified. Have someone in your wedding party strongly encourage the guests to leave the church soon after the ceremony concludes. Ensure them you will visit with them in a relaxed manner at the reception.
52. As you enter the Reception, someone with a loud and commanding voice, USUALLY the DJ, should announce, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mr. & Mrs..". Have a backup person if you don't have a DJ, or your first person is not in position. If needed, the limo driver can do this for you. It is also a nice touch for the wedding party to be announced as they enter the room.
53. If you have a lot of songs that you want played at your reception, see if your DJ can do shorter versions of the songs. Have a priority list in case time runs short. Be sure you have a few slow songs for your older relatives & friends to dance to.
54. At the reception, the Bride and Groom should visit each table as a couple. Be sure you talk to everyone who came. Try to avoid being monopolized by anyone, you should "work the room". Your guests have been waiting patiently just to have a brief conversation with you and wish you well.
55. Arriving at the hotel at the end of the evening, the chauffeur should put all bags on the curb and ask the Bride and Groom to confirm they are all accounted for. Only then should hotel personnel touch the luggage. (Hotel personnel should not be allowed inside the Rolls or to root around in the trunk.) The driver and the groom should then quickly search the seating area to be sure no purses, cell phones, cameras, cuff links, etc. were left behind.
56. If you are staying at the hotel where your reception is, consider doing a "fake getaway". The Rolls Convertible is ideal for this, a very romantic touch. A great photo opportunity is to have the bridesmaids line up behind the car as the bride throws the bouquet over her shoulder as the car slowly drives off. You can then be driven around for about 20 minutes and then return to an alternate hotel entrance.
Another version of the fake getaway is to leave around 10pm so you can release the photographer/videographer and your older guests and relatives can leave feeling they have seen everything. You can then be driven around for a few minutes and then returned to celebrate and party til' you drop. You can do a real getaway at midnight or later unless you are staying there for the night.
57. Consider having a professional build a website for your wedding. You can have your bridal registry, photographs, directions to the church and reception, wedding planning tools such as budget and lists to manage gifts and thank-you cards, and a guestbook for friends and family to leave messages. You can keep the website up for years and it is good for out of town family/friends who could not attend the wedding. We can refer you to professionals who specialize in this.
58. On your honeymoon, be sure to pack at least 30spf sun block if you're going to a tropical destination. Never swim in deserted areas, due to strong currents, sharp coral, & sharks. The night before you leave clear your hotel tab and arrange for breakfast in your room, bags collected, and airport transportation at precise times. Write down the name of the clerk who makes the arrangements and complement them.
59. If you are blocking a large number of rooms at a hotel for your out of town guests, they will usually entice you with a lower per-room price and the complimentary use of their courtesy van, surburban or limousine. You should be aware, however; that if you say 20 rooms and somebody else comes in after you and books 40 rooms, who do you think will snag the courtesy vehicle? Better to not leave that item to chance and consider the trolley.
60. Looking at your budget, you have have decided to not have a videographer. In that eventuality, you should ask someone in your bridal party to have their cell phone handy and do a 30 second video of you driving off in the Rolls Royce at the end of the reception and then e-mail it to you.
61. In 2010, the average wedding size was 168 guests with five bridesmaids and five groomsmen.
62. When choosing a limo, consider one other than white. The brides dress should be the focal point of the portrait. If you have a white fress, a white car, and a white church, there isn't enough contrast. Black is not a good choice as it is considered a color for funerals. Black cars are also hotter in the summer. Our 1960 Bentley is silver over platinum, the ideal colors to highlight the bride and her dress. Go to our website, click on vehicles and then click on Bentley Scrapbook to see pictures from other weddings using that car.
63. If you would like to use the 1963 Rolls Convertible for your grand getaway at the end of the evening, you can always pretend like you are Princess Kate leaving Buckingham Palace or Westminister Abbey. Remember this little ditty as you wave goodbye to your guests; "Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, touch your pearls and blow a kiss."
64. This is something special you can arrange with your DJ ahead of time. For the father-daughter dance, pick a really sentimental song by someone like Ray Charles. The DJ will have you come in before the wedding and make a recording. Halfway through the song, the music will be muted and you will make a short testimony about how much you appreciate all that your father did for you growing up. At the end of your testimony, pause and say "I love you Daddy', and then let the last 60 seconds of the song finish as the volume is raised. Do this as a complete surprise for everyone in attendance and tell no one ahead of time. People will remember this special touch for a long time.
65. When you go to Bridal Shows, be sure to visit the booths of reception facilities. most of them will have really elegant open houses within 30 days after the show. Some of them require you to sign up at the show. They are free of charge and you can usually do two or three the same day with your mother or maid of honor. You will be able to find the place best suited for your wedding, get some ideas for your ceremony and reception whether you choose that place or not, and get to sample some of the best food in Houston. A very worthwhile expenditure of your time.
66. Neither the bride nor the groom should drive themselves anywhere on their wedding day. You will be tired and under more than a little stress. You could benefit greatly from the serenity and tranquility that would be provided by a professional chauffeur who is not emotionally involved in the days events gently and gracefully transportation you from place to place.
67. There are other pages on our website that have more information to help you with your planning. Please click on "Frequently Asked Questions" , "Suggested Poses for the Photographer" and "Getting the Best price on a Limo".
68. You need to feel very comfortable with not just your Limo Service, but all your service providers. We encourage you to call all of them and see if there is good chemistry. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but anyone can build, or have built, a beautiful website. Go old school and call them. If they are not gracious and courteous during the week, how could you expect them to act any better on your wedding day? Ask the person you are talking to if they will be onsite during your wedding. Sometimes the front office people are wonderful but the people actually send out on your wedding day may not be quite as professional. If you choose to visit vendors, see if you can get them to e-mail a copy of their contact ahead of time. Do your homework. Never be afraid to ask too many questions. it is our strict company policy that there is no such thing as a dumb question from a customer. If something is important to you; it's important to us.
69. If your wedding is in August or September, be sure to ask all your vendors what their Hurricane Cancellation Policy is. Most will re-schedule to a later date. Full cash refunds are not something you should not hope for. You should consider getting Wedding Cancellation Insurance for those months. Some good sources are wedsafe.com, protectmywedding.com, and nasep.com.
70. Wedding toasts should be done early in the reception and should
be short, three to five minutes. Tell the people presenting the toasts
to focus on 1-3 items and then sit down. Waiting until late in the
evening for toasts after the presenters have had a lot to drink
could lead to some inappropriate comments.
71. Go to radio silence on your wedding day. On your voice mail, e-mail,
facebook, twitter, etc, put the following message: "Today is my wedding
day and I will be unavailable to communicate with you until:__________;
If you are a wedding guest or vendor and have an immediate issue, please
contact (Wedding planner, mother, maid of honor, etc) at:_____________
You might also consider getting a one-day cell phone and only giving that
number to one or two people.
72. Appoint gatekeepers. Have all calls coming to your hotel
room routed to your wedding planner and/or the hotel wedding
coordinator. Instruct them to screen all calls and make every
effort to resolve any issues themselves before putting the call
through to you. Have them say something like, "I will be glad to
pass your wishes on to (Your name) and I assure you she will
be looking forward to visiting with you later this evening at the
73. Delegate, delegate and then delegate some more. Make it very clear to your Maid of Honor and best Man that they were chosen for their leadership abilities and that is their responsibility to see to it that everyone is in the right place at the right time doing the right things. Tell them you are very grateful for all their help on this important day and also tell them you are counting on them and that what they are doing is
74. Make your bridal suite your own private sanctuary. Do the
makeup and hair styling in a different room. It is important that
you be hydrated and have proper blood sugar levels. Force
yourself to eat a breakfast with carbs and protein. When you
hear of a bride fainting at the altar, it's because they were too
nervous or preoccupied to eat breakfast.
75. A lot of strange thoughts will be messing with your head.
Things done or said that normally wouldn't bother you can get
you distracted. People you wished had come to your wedding
didn't and some people showed up you wished had stayed
away. Old, bad haunting memories will creep into your
consciousness. This is all excess baggage that you should
put in the closet in your bridal suite and close the door. Move
fast, move light and enjoy the day. As you go downstairs to get in
the Rolls to go to the church, you should exude confidence,
serenity, tranquility, happiness and total inner peace. This is
YOUR day and it WILL go as you have
76. Keep high-strung overly emotional people out of your
bridal suite. You know who they are. They are likely to go
completely bananas over the slightest irrelevant issue. Give
them something to do elsewhere in the hotel. You need to
gather your composure and surround yourself with one or
two of your quietist and most down to earth calming friends
77. A nice touch for your reception is to have your caterer have eight waiters in tuxedos and white gloves come to a table of eight, slowly surround it and at a prearranged signal, they all set the course down in front of the guest at precisely the same time. Then they go on to another table and do the same. This works well for a small reception (Or a large one if you can afford the extra waitstaff).
78. NEVER USE YOUR OWN CAR FOR THE GETAWAY FROM THE RECEPTION. Your "Friends" will take great delight in sabotaging the car and using white or black shoe polish to write obscene and vulgar comments on the side of the car. Then they will pull one or two spark plug wires so the car will backfire, then they will shove a potato up the tailpipe so it will start with a loud bang. Then they will let almost all the air out of one of the tires so you will have to stop and change the tire on the way to the hotel. Then for years afterwards, you will be the butt of jokes at the locker room of your gym or country club or sports bar as they howl with laughter and say, "Remember how we sabotaged John's car on his wedding night; wasn't that a hoot!" Using one of our cars, the chauffeur will politley but firmly tell your buddies that doing bad things to the car is simply not permitted.
79. CONSIDER BUYING SOMEONE ELSE'S CANCELED WEDDING. It happens. Let's not dwell on the possible reasons. If you are flexible on your wedding date and where the reception would be held, you should look into this. It's a win-win for everybody. You get a fairytale wedding at a fraction of the cost and some poor bride somewhere gets some of her money back. Who knows, her wedding dress may even fit you. This is for serious bargain-hunters only. Now you know, if by using just this one tip ended up saving you thousands of dollars, it would only be right and fair to spend those savings with us and get the Queen for a Day Package or the Rolls-Trolley Combo! Check out these websites: www.canceledweddings.com, www.bridalbrokerage.com. Again, not for the faint-hearted.
81. In the history of the world, there has never been a large, formal wedding that went off totally without a single little problem. If you assign people with specific jobs and have them prepared to do the jobs of two others on very short notice, you will probably be able to contain problems before they spin out of control. Once the reception gets going, the guests will be celebrating, socializing among themselves and probably not notice much of anything except how fabulous the Bride and Groom looked. Anyway, relax, enjoy, be married........
These Tips are provided to you Compliments of
--- Jordan Limousines.....