Expert advice for making the occasion special
Planning the perfect wedding takes a certain amount of style and panache. It also takes paying attention to detail, a generous amount of flexibility and finding the right people to help put it all together. A wedding, after all, is more than just pictures of white rice frozen in the air: A couple’s wedding day is something they will remember ‘til death do them part.
But what happens after the nuptials? The perfect reception and honeymoon require some planning, as well. We talked to a couple of local event planning pros in Oklahoma City, who share their thoughts on creating a memorable reception and honeymoon.
“There is no right or wrong way to plan a wedding,” says Brian Ferrell, proprietor of Factor 110 Events. “We work with couples to create a memorable ceremony or reception that works for them – their budget, their family, their expectations. We encourage the planners and couples we work with to create their own unique guest experience, to explore creative solutions within their budget and to incorporate a personal flair.”
Ferrell’s company provides décor, linens, centerpieces, furniture, tents … anything needed to enhance the space where the wedding or reception takes place.
“Our favorite receptions to produce incorporate elements that bring the bride and groom together; things that unite them as one,” Ferrell says. “Of course, it could also be two grooms or two brides who are getting married. We love hearing stories of how the couple met, what they enjoy doing together, favorite foods and interesting design styles. Then we take that information and weave it into the reception. It’s the small accents that make it all about them.”
As the New Year begins, emerging trends for 2017 appear to be leaning more traditional, according to Kindt Steven Myers, owner of Kindt Events.
“As with any industry, trends are cyclical,” Myers muses. “We are seeing more traditional ceremonies in churches and less outdoors.”
Myers works with clients at all stages of the planning process. Typically he recommends planning at least 12-18 months in advance of the wedding date. “That is the preferred amount of time,” he explains, “but sometimes life calls for other plans. We have worked with clients who wanted to marry in as little as two weeks – and we were able to give them a spectacular and personal wedding ceremony and reception.”
Any budget can be made to work, Myers added, and he does not necessarily recommend a couple begin their married life by going into debt for a wedding and reception.
Another factor in today’s wedding industry is marriage equality, as more LGBT couples are tying the knot.
“We are seeing a more welcoming atmosphere these days, and necessary open discussion among professionals who would be serving same-sex clients,” Myers says. “There really isn’t a difference in receptions, but based on our experience we see same-sex clients often infusing more of their own personalities readily, where we sometimes work harder to help our straight clients do the same. It seems they are more steeped in tradition.”
So whether it’s a traditional church wedding or barefoot in the grass, both Myers and Ferrell agree that planning ahead, knowing what you want and infusing a couple’s own personality will set the stage for a lifetime of happy memories.
► Check List
Have fun! Enjoy the process, involve the family, and ask for help. Make decisions together and laugh along the way.
Make it yours. Find ways to make the experience unique and a reflection of who you are as a couple. Let your character be seen through the décor, entertainment, venue and food.
Don’t stress. If you are stressed about the planning, involve a planner or vendor.
Make decisions and move on. Don’t second-guess yourself. There are too many details to worry about and no time to be wishy-washy.
Planning the Perfect Honeymoon
When the last champagne toast has been made, the newlyweds can finally toss that bouquet and hit the road. It could be fun in the sun and toes in the sand, a trip abroad to the Amalfi Coast or somewhere closer to home in a quaint bed and breakfast – whatever the couple decides will be a reflection of their own personality and tastes.
“Exotic destinations are more popular than ever,” says Bonnie Hedges, VP of sales and marketing for Bentley Hedges Travel. “Cruising the Polynesian islands, honeymooning in the White Desert, Antarctica’s first luxury camp or touring the Galapagos are not uncommon honeymoon destinations. If you need closer to home or time is restricted, a couple might choose an over-the-water bungalow on Maroma Beach. It’s just a short distance from Cancun and gives that honeymoon couple boasting rights of a unique and out-of-the-ordinary honeymoon.”
It’s important to establish a budget for the honeymoon from the very beginning, Hedges said. Matching the honeymoon to the couple’s budget is a service her company offers. They also have a registration program where, in lieu of wedding gifts, friends and relatives can contribute to the couple’s honeymoon. And if the budget is tight, they can help with that, too.
“Because we are a storefront office with experienced and professional travel agents, we know of unique and quaint honeymoon spots,” Hedges smiles. “Someplace where the couple will feel like they have left the country – places local where they will be pampered and made to feel special. After all, this is their time and the beginning of a life together. A honeymoon close by is as important to us as a Silversea Cruise in Europe. It is our responsibility and goal to match the very best honeymoon to the budget, while still providing the same customer service to every couple who comes into our store.”
► Why try to do it all alone?
Your wedding can be more glamorous and easier to arrange with help from central OK’s many professional talents – click here for our full Wedding Resource Guide.