St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | Wedding Advice
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couple wearing masks as they meet with their wedding planner
Nov 13 2020

Let’s Talk About The ‘C-Word’

Our Cocktails & Details® team hasn’t been using the ‘C-Word,’ – COVID-19 – in our blogs, and social media. Instead, we’ve focused on sharing the fantastic images and stories of our couples.

Weddings Reimagined

Earlier this year, we talked with People TV and The Knot about reimaging weddings during COVID-19. We focused on reimagining intimate experiences that captured what our clients wanted in their original wedding plans.

Reimagining weddings focused on incorporating personal details and unique elements, but on a slightly smaller scale. 

The World As We Know It

As life moves forward, regulations in our little corner of the world, especially around COVID-19 and weddings, have become a little blurry.

What is required, interpreting guidelines, and what is enforced has become confusing for our couples and pros alike.

smiling bride and groom at a wedding planning meeting wearing masks

Rules that allow for fifty people in a space, but allow more than fifty people if you can maintain physical distancing, are hard to decode. For example, outdoor weddings are permitted and encouraged. Even wedding receptions in a tent are allowed – but just not a tent with walls.

Some venues are requiring masks inside. Unfortunately, other spaces are not enforcing masks. And, while we know guests are not required to wear masks while eating and drinking, many are getting a little too comfortable and not putting them back on after dinner.

Reality Of COVID-19 for Wedding Pros

We’re not here to bash people who are not enforcing the rules. We want to share the reality of our Cocktails & Details® team and many of the pros we know.

A majority of the wedding pros we are working with are wearing masks. Wedding pros who are fortunate enough to be working might be around multiple couples and their guests in a single week. Not only do we have families at home that we’re trying to protect, but we’re trying to protect you as well.

wedding vendor putting on a protective mask

Don’t be surprised if some of your wedding pros ask you to sign a waiver. We’re just trying to make sure we’re all safe and protected.

Sharing The Truth

And, it won’t surprise you that our Cocktails & Details® team will be completely honest with you. We’re liable to tell you, ‘yes, you can do this, but think about the complications!’

And honestly, we’ll get the job done, your day will be fantastic – but don’t expect any hugging or kissing from us. We love you, but we’ll get the job done from six paces away.

Suggestions for Safer Weddings

Here are some planning and design suggestions we have put into place or recommend for creating a safer environment.

Getting Ready

makeup artist applying lipstick to a bride
  • Whenever possible, request larger cottages or meeting spaces so that wedding parties can spread out while getting ready. This provides a more comfortable space for them. But also a safer work environment for the hair and makeup artists, photographers, and videographers working with them.
  • Take some time ahead of the wedding to gather your accessories, personal items, and things like invitations so they can be photographed away from the wedding party.
  • Consider the idea of choosing outdoor locations to do portraits, family, and wedding party photos wherever possible.
silhouette of a photographer giving direction to a bride and groom

Safer Ceremony Seating

We’re always mindful of physically distant seating when it comes to wedding ceremonies.

  • Outdoor wedding ceremonies offer more space to accomplish physical distancing and include beautiful design elements.
  • Indoors, primarily in houses of worship with pews, roping off every other pew can keep your guests safely separated. 
  • In some areas, houses of worship require assigned seating to maintain physical distancing. Our Cocktails & Details® design team can assist in creating seating charts and pew numbers, similar to those used for a wedding reception. 
  • Make masks available to wedding guests who have not brought their own. Providing hand sanitizer is always a nice touch as well.
masks and hand sanitizer for wedding guests

Cocktails & Details®

  • Whenever possible, take advantage of outdoor spaced for all or a portion of your cocktail hour.
  • Consider displaying multiple seating charts or dividing escort cards onto several tables to keep wedding guests from crowding together.
  • Our Cocktails & Details® team makes sure that high touch areas like your guest book or gift table are wiped down frequently. Including containers for new and used pens.
  • For your cocktail hour and late night snacks, stations and passed bites can be plated into individual portions. 
individually portioned French fries and condiments for late night wedding snacks

Doing Dinner Right

  • Ceremony structures and décor can often be repurposed for your reception. These can create decorative dividers that can work well for areas like the bar to keep guests from crowding. 
  • Display signage with Signature Cocktails, beer, and wine selections several feet out from the bar. Signage can assist in making choices before they reach the bar and keep the line moving. 
  • In addition to keeping dining tables six feet apart – consider a redesign for some smaller tables, keeping family groups seated together.
  • Plated dinner service can help minimize unnecessary movement. Consider a served salad rather than a preset salad. During dinner, Wine service is an elegant touch and keeps guests from moving around and gathering at the bar.
  • If you choose to offer a buffet dinner, sneeze guards are a MUST. But, also consider investing in additional staff to serve guests, rather than having them touch utensils.
a wooden box with a bottle of red wine for service at a wedding

Toasts, Entertainment, and Wedding Cake

  • DJs and MCs can usually provide additional microphones for the people making toasts – these can easily be wiped down before and after each toast or blessing.
  • Gathering on a dancefloor can be a significant concern. Creating multiple smaller dance floors around the ballroom or dancing outdoors can be creative and safe options.
  • If dancing is not an option, look at other entertainment forms to keep your wedding guests engaged. Specialty musicians, singers, or performances can add a unique and personal touch.
  • Photobooths can easily be adapted to include single-use props and provide hand sanitizer.
  • Consider a smaller version of your wedding cake for display purposes with the cake being cut and plated or boxed for your guests.
Intimate wedding cake to display while cutting remaining wedding cake in the kitchen

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg! 

We know that every couple, family, and situation are different. Our Cocktails & Details® planning and design teams are happy to work with you to create an incredible wedding day- memorable for all the right reasons.

Our Cocktails & Details® team looks forward to celebrating safely with you and your loved ones.  

finding perfect engagement ring, how to find out size of ring finger.
Aug 08 2019

5 Useful Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring within Your Budget

It looks like you are all set to make a lifelong commitment to your beloved. And an engagement ring symbolizes the love that runs deep and knows no end. But with countless choices for a diamond ring to signal you are getting married, which one will fit your loved one’s hand and your budget as well?

 

The “rule” about spending an equivalent of three months’ worth of salary on a ring only adds to the pressure. Instead of being burdened by the amount, use the same number of months to find the perfect ring, for the yes you’ve been longing to hear.

 

Start with the 4 Cs

Your search begins with a crash course on diamonds, which are the go-to choice for rings. To realize your money’s worth, you must know that the value of a diamond is hinged on four qualities that go hand in hand and thus have to be taken as a whole:

  • It is the unit of measurement for the weight of a diamond. Carat does not necessarily refer to the stone’s size, although both variables can increase its value, especially the weight. The typical diamond weight ranges from 0.25 carats to 2 carats. Indeed, 2.5 carat engagement rings  are a popular choice because they offer the size without the expensive price tag of diamonds weighing 3 carats, for example.
  • The stone can look bigger or smaller than its actual size because of the cut. But more importantly, the cut can make the diamond sparkle or lose some of its brilliance because of poor quality. Examples of popular diamond cuts are brilliant cut, princess cut, marquise cut, and oval cut.
  • As diamonds become colorless, their value increases. Colorless diamonds are harder to find than those with traces of color, like yellow or brown. You can look into a colorlessness scale, where D to F is colorless, G to J is near colorless, and K to Z is faint to light. This discussion does not apply to fancy diamonds, whose saturation exudes color.
  • The small imperfections and blemishes on the stone affect its clarity grade. The grading is based on how these inclusions look under the microscope. Flawless diamonds have no defects under a magnification of ten times, according to the American Gem Society.

 

Select Based on Their Style

Now’s the time to look closely at the kind of jewelry they wear and how they wear them. Are they adventurous with their accessories, mixing and matching fine and fancy jewelry? Do they go for classic pieces that look subtle and sometimes understated? Are they the type who prefers ornate over simple?

Some tend to get self-conscious about the looks they get because of their engagement rings. Thus, it matters to have a good grasp of your partner’s style and personality so that you can get them the ring with the cut and style that they will love.

 

Look Into the Setting

Your choice for a setting plays a huge role in the style of the ring, which makes sense when you consider the points above. Some argue that how the stone is set or placed on the metal band is as essential as the center stone itself.

 

Engagement ring settings run plenty, but the more popular ones are the following:

  • A halo is created when smaller diamonds congregate around a bigger stone to create a giant sparkling piece.
  • The prong setting pushes the center stone forward with metal claws to bind the ring.
  • The pavé arrangement puts small diamonds on the band to add shine to the main stone without overwhelming it.

 

Setting metals can be gold or platinum. You may or may not need to resize your ring, but to be safe, ask which rings are open for resizing.

 

Shop Around

Arm yourself with patience, perseverance, and determination when visiting physical and online shops to get the engagement ring that gives you the bang for your buck. If you can get access to a jeweler, all the better to avoid getting scammed or shelling out more than what’s necessary.

 

Not all that sparkle are diamonds as some are look-alikes or are gems that are valued less. Give yourself time to assess, choose, and ultimately, buy.

 

Size Matters

 

With one knee bent, you ask for their hand in marriage and slip the ring onto their finger, but it doesn’t fit. To avoid this anticlimactic scenario and wasting the opportunity, you can ask them outright for the ring size and blow the surprise. Or get creative.

Casually borrow a ring they’re wearing, and pretend you’re interested in the design. Another way is to take their hand and make a mental note of their left ring finger. If stealthiness isn’t your best suit, enlist the help of their best friend, who must be sworn to secrecy.

 

Stay within Your Budget

Your loved one is lucky to have a thoughtful partner who takes great lengths to put a ring on it. Diamonds present such a dazzling display that choosing among them is challenging, not to mention cash draining, if you get too distracted.

 

Take heart, and remain steadfast to succeed in your task of finding the ultimate engagement ring for them.

 

 

This is a sponsored post from Brillianteers – Diamond Jewelry

Photo Credit

wedding photographer saint simons island jekyll savannah jacksonville
Mar 31 2017

What Your Wedding Planner Wants You to Know About Your Wedding Photographer

wedding photographer saint simons island jekyll savannah jacksonville

Your photographer is the one thing you can’t afford to skimp on.

It is important that you love your photographer’s work and like them as well– any discomfort, stress or personality clashes will be seen on your photos.  This is why it is best to do an engagement shoot with your photographer.  Don’t allow your wedding day to be a test run. Get a sense for their shooting style and demeanor.

In a world of instant gratification, Snapchat, and Instagram, accept that you are not going to get all of your pictures right away. Also realize that your photographer is not going to practice dark, magical arts and manipulate your images with heavy editing, gratuitous cosmetic filters and the like.

Your photographer is a storyteller.

Your photographer is an artist.

Stories take time to tell. Art takes time to create.

Know that your photographer has their own style and gift.  Don’t ask them to conform or copy someone else’s style.

Your photographer is not a magician.  Please don’t ask for face swaps, digital cosmetic surgery, and other astronomical requests in Photoshop.

You will not see every image  that your photographer shot on your wedding day.  They are not all going to be attractive and for consumption.  Your photographer wants you to see your wedding day in a well crafted way. Trust your photographer’s judgement in what they allow you to see.

Your photographer knows how important this day is for you and they also know how excited you are. This is why your photographer is going to take their time to carefully edit the images so that the timeless capsule into your wedding day is just right.

 

Jekyll Island Convention Center Wedding
Dec 26 2016

How to Plan Your Outdoor Wedding

Jekyll Island Convention Center Wedding

Jekyll Island Convention Center Wedding Photo by: Tamara Gibson Photography

Outdoor wedding planning can be nerve wracking– while you have the allure of a beautiful wedding ceremony at sunset and reception under the stars, you also have the possibility of dealing with blistering winds, excessive heat or torrential rains.We have some amazing wedding venues on Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island.  Many of these wedding venues capitalize on all the elements that make a perfect Southern destination wedding:  the live oaks, spanish moss and ocean views. Each year, many a bride crosses her fingers and prays Mother Nature takes mercy on her special day.

What’s the best way to plan your outdoor wedding?  Well have no fear, we’ve got some great perspective for you to consider as you start your wedding planning. Review these tips when considering your options for venues–

Consider Your Space.  Some venues have great options for both outdoor and indoor event spaces.  If you are having any element of your wedding outdoors, be it the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour or wedding reception, double check that your venue has adequate backup space for each of those events.  This may require a flip at some point, but you want to ensure that you can confidently and comfortably move your event if necessary.

Consider Your Guest List. There are several venues that offer both indoor space, with an outdoor overflow for seating. These type of venues are usually best for strolling cocktail parties versus buffets or sit down dinners. This usually causes a problem when whether concerns rear their heads as you end up paying for a venue and a tent. As a rule of thumb, if possible, it is always best to keep your guests together as much as possible, to avoid additional, avoidable fees.

Consider Your Budget.  If your wedding is completely outdoors, be sure to add in the costs of a tent as soon as you have selected your venue.  This is important.  You do not want to get caught the week of your wedding scrambling to put money together for a tent.  Moreover, keep in mind– if it is the weather is less than ideal for you, it is also wreaking havoc for other outdoor weddings in your area. This will cause tents to become in high demand on a first come, first served basis. To avoid this stress, consider putting a deposit down for a tent after you’ve booked a venue.  This allows you to have a tent reserved for your event ahead of time, avoiding the rush if the weather takes a turn for the worse.  If you turn out not to need it, you will lose your deposit, but you’ll still have priority of having a back up plan. Af

Consider Your Design. When we design for our clients’ outdoor weddings, we always design for two different events– one under a tent or indoors, and one with ideal conditions. This allows us to prepare our clients for the possibility of less than ideal weather. This always helps tamper down disappointment or the chance that our initial design does not translate well into a contingency plan.

Consider Your Time of Year. Tents aren’t just needed for rain.  It gets very hot here in the South– especially in June to August.  The sun can be unbearable during an outdoor ceremony where guests are waiting up to 30 minutes prior to its start.  If you cannot find an indoor back up for your entire wedding, consider a chapel or ballroom for the ceremony and tent for the reception.  Speaking of rain– it doesn’t just fall vertically. Rain can come in at an angle.  This means in addition to your tent, you’ll also need to secure tent walls.  Heaters and fans can keep your guests comfortable, depending upon the weather would also be a good investment.

Consider Protecting Your Investment. Hurricane Matthew turned our quaint coastal town into an near shambles, canceling many events in the process. Sadly, many couples did not have wedding insurance protecting their event from such acts of God or lost deposits from vendors. Wedding insurance provides coverage for all kinds of instances that could affect your wedding — from damage to weather, it is certainly an investment worth making.

May 11 2016

Tips and Trends for Destination Weddings

Paradisus Cancun by Sol Meliá destination wedding

While weddings in Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island are our thing, we always adore the opportunity to plan destination weddings abroad for our clients.  Turning your wedding into a full vacation experience is quite the selling point for couples and their guests.

Paradisus Resorts – a popular destination for destination weddings has provided tips and trends for international destination weddings that will make your trip stress-free and memorable.  With properties in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Paradisus Resorts feature romance offerings that are customizable to meet the needs of the most discerning couple. Paradisus Resort’s qualified Romance team is readily available to help guests create a romantic escape with an unsurpassed level of all-inclusive romantic luxury.

Destination Wedding Paradisus Mexico Planner

 

Top Ten Expert Tips

  1. LocationWhile a destination wedding may be your lifelong dream, remember without your guests there is no event.  Consider travel costs and accessibility from where the majority of your guests will be traveling from when selecting a destination.
  1. Knowledge is Power:  Ask the hard hitting questions before making a commitment when shopping around for a destination wedding.
  1. Peaks and Valleys:  The best time of year to travel to the Caribbean and Mexico is the fall. Room rates are lower and some hotels reduce their wedding package pricing or offer added perks/concessions.
  1. Strength in NumbersMost hotels will offer reduced rates, incentives and concessions for wedding groups who commit to a minimum number of rooms under contract.
  1. Listen to the ExpertsHotels that are committed to destination weddings will have on-site wedding coordinators. Listen to their advice; who else knows the resort better than they do. They are your eyes and ears during the overseas, long distance planning phase. There’s no added cost to utilize the service and expertise of the resort’s coordinator.
  1. Keep it Local:  One of the easiest ways to cut costs is to keep it local. Instead of insisting on midnight blue orchids that have to be imported, use flowers grown locally. Don’t insist on bringing your own vendors. Ask the resort for a list of their trusted vendors and capitalize on the relationships built by the resort with these vendors.
  1. Time is on Your SideBook at least 9-months in advance for best date selection.  Last minute planning can result in unexpected costs. Plus, make sure the save-the-dates are in the mail well in advance to allow family and friends time to budget and plan.
  1. Legal is so “Yesteryear”There is no need to get legally married in the destination you’ve chosen. Take care of the legal paperwork in your home state to save hundreds of dollars on the cost of a legal ceremony in another country. You’ll avoid a variety of other ‘legalities’ such as needing to translate documents and blood tests.
  1. Arrive in StylePlan on arriving at your destination at least three days prior to the wedding day. Use the extra time at your destination and resort to scope out the place, get to know the staff, and meet with the resort coordinator and vendors.
  1. Don’t Go on Price AloneTrust in the hotels that are willing to show you their pricing upfront. Every ‘free wedding’ promotion has restrictions and requirements. Even better, work with a destination wedding planner to help guide you through the process without falling into common pitfalls.

Destination Wedding Paradisus Playa Del Carmen

Top Destination Wedding Trends for 2016

  1. ExperienceCouples are incorporating local culture and traditions into their wedding weekend to create an overall experience. For example, if tying the knot in Mexico, organize an off-site tour or host a tequila tasting happy hour.
  1. Food:Exciting culinary options that pays homage to the location of your destination wedding has become an investment for most couples. Live action Sushi station at the cocktail hour or a food truck at the after-party are unique ways to create a memorable culinary experience.
  1. Multiple EventsCouples are turning their destination wedding into an action-packed getaway. A true destination wedding is a minimum three-day event. A prepared itinerary for weddings guests filled with exciting activities will turn a destination wedding into an experience.

 

Where in the world would you say “I Do”?

wedding planning advice discounts groupon thumbtack
May 10 2016

Your Wedding Planner is Not a Groupon

There is a very common misconception that your wedding planner’s main job is to get you amazing deals with wedding vendors.

That’s wrong.

Very wrong.

If you want discounts and deals, I suggest you head to Groupon or Thumbtack. If you want an expertly guided and planned wedding, where you are matched with the best vendors suited for your style and budget, I suggest you get a wedding planner. It may sound harsh, but I assure you– nothing is more frustrating and exhausting than sitting with couples who believe your sole goal is to get them discounts. It discredits your talent, skill and experience with one question– “What kind of discounts can you get us?”

Some ill-advised publications have led couples astray with the concept with wedding planners send so much business to a vendor, they in turn, discount their services for the wedding planner. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I am saying, don’t bank on it, and most certainly make that your sole reason for hiring a wedding planner. Any discounts that a vendor extends is done so at their sole discretion, not as an expectation.

So if your wedding planner can’t get you discounts, what can they do?

Glad you asked.

Your wedding planner will:

  • Help you establish and maintain a realistic budget
  • Assist in reconciling your vision with your budget
  • Match you with vendors that can help execute your vision within your budget

This can only be done through experience and good wedding planners have it.  With a wedding planner, their service and expertise is worth far more than a one time discount.  When managed correctly, your wedding planner can assist you in staying on budget and within vision, versus helping you afford vendors that may have  been out of your financial comfort zone.  And yes, your wedding planner may be privy to exclusives, price concessions and preferential treatment, but how they serve you is worth their weight in gold.

how much alcohol do i need for my wedding?
Apr 19 2016

Stocking Your Bar for Your Wedding

Many couples ask, “How much alcohol do I need for my wedding?”  If you are providing alcohol for your own wedding, this questions plagues and scares you not knowing how much alcohol to purchase.  If your venue provides your alcohol, this guide will help you gauge how much alcohol you may use.

These are some great starting points for your bar. We are estimating one drink per person, per hour. Dependent upon your preferences, or that of your guests, you may have to increase or decrease some bottles.  This is especially the case if you are having a signature drink that uses one or more of the spirits listed. For each bottle of spirits, you need three containers of mixers — club soda, tonic, juice, etc. Warm weather outdoor weddings call for more clear liquors (for vodka gimlets and gin and tonics).  Martinis are popular for cocktail parties and wine makes a perfect accompaniment to multi-course plated meals.

Select the size of your guest list and the type of bar you would like to provide

 

Want a printable copy for your planning? Download the guide here.

Download

 

accommodating guests with special needs
Apr 12 2016

Accommodating Your Guests with Special Needs

With all the details you have to worry about for your wedding day, one thing can go overlooked:  your guests and their needs.  Even thought it is your day, it is also a joint celebration.  You want to make sure that everyone you have invited can celebrate with you safely and comfortably.

Physical Needs

Guests who have issues with walking need to be taken into consideration for transport and seating.  This is especially true for grandparents, who may have trouble navigating outdoor weddings with difficult terrain (e.g., parks, beaches, etc.). For the reason, some grandparents elect to be seated at the start of the ceremony, avoiding inclusion in the processional. For those grandparents who do wish to walk down the aisle, allow them to stand at the rear of the seating so their walk is not too strenuous or difficult.

Guests who need the assistance of walkers or wheelchairs need extra space accommodations with seating. This is crucial to know before the day get started, as when your guests arrive reconfiguring the layout may not be an option. Preferred seating areas with adequate space and prime views can be created during setup.
For the reception, these guests should be seated close to areas where they  will need access (exits, restrooms, etc.) as well as a sight line to  key events (dining, cake cutting, dancing, etc.) Avoid putting guests with limited mobility near high traffic/loud areas (bars, DJ, etc.).  This will be important in figuring out your seating plan.

 

Dietary Needs

Another biggie! As someone who has recently had to drastically change their diet, knowing what I could eat at a wedding is a big deal.  Most guests with food allergies and dietary needs know what they can and cannot eat, however, it is still vital to relay anyone with food related needs to your caterer. This will give them the opportunity change the way they prepare or serve/display food. Having plenty of alternatives will ensure your guests with dietary needs aren’t forced to eat a plate full of one item.

You may also want to consider having a smaller dessert for those guests who cannot eat gluten. With wedding cake being the pièce de résistance at weddings, it’s a shame to have any guest miss out on a sweet ending.

 

Outdoor Weddings

If you are having an outdoor wedding in Spring, Summer or early Fall, be sure to communicate this to your guests via your wedding website or an enclosure in your invitation suite.  As someone who oversees countless outdoor weddings, I cannot tell you how utterly miserable some guests are when they come ill-prepared to fight pollen or bugs at an outdoor wedding.  Those with seasonal allergies or have worse than normal reactions/attractions to bugs, often find their remedies too late.  Bug spray (Off Wipes and No Natz are the best we’ve seen) will help greatly, citronella candles don’t put off enough of a guard, so look for sticks and tiki torches if possible.

 

Nursing Moms and Kids with Special Needs

One thing brides think of when they visit venues are to inquire about changing rooms. These rooms may also be a great place for a nursing mom to privately feed her baby without sitting uncomfortably in a restroom.    Weddings with their flashing lights, loud music and crowds can be overwhelming to those with autism.  This quiet area may also be a  great respite for children on the Autism spectrum to decompress.

 

Some of these considerations can have a great impact on your wedding as well as your guests’ ability to enjoy it.  Contemplating them before you select a venue or menu can be easier than trying to find quick fixes on the day of the wedding.

 

Photo :: Peacock Photo & Video

pinterest for weddings
Sep 08 2015

How Pinterest Will Ruin Your Wedding

pinterest wedding ideas pins boards inspiration wedding ceremony reception

Despite the title, I really love Pinterest. Perhaps that was a bit drastic.

Like most users, I’m addicted to Pinterest.  It’s like Target– I go in for one thing, come out 40 minutes later with a bunch of stuff I didn’t know I wanted.

Pinterest is great for inspiration.  It can show you things you didn’t know was possible or take your vision further than you’ve ever thought.  That’s great.  That’s also a problem.  I can’t tell you how many times brides send us their Pinterest boards or pins for their wedding want “exactly this” , having their heart set on beautiful bouquets, stylized tables and elaborate seating.  Visually, Pinterest is a dream.

bridal bouquet of roses and peonies Jekyll Island Beach Wedding Package

When the quotes come in, it’s a loud wake up call. Pinterest doesn’t tell you:

  • If the flowers in your pins are in season
  • How much the flowers in your pins cost
  • How much the rentals in your pins cost
  • The full scope of the venue

Classy wedding setting

These are some pretty important factors to consider.  In addition to the list above, many photos on Pinterest are styled shoots.  It’s far easier to produce such grandeur on a smaller scale than for 100+ guests. I’m not saying that Pinterest is the devil, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great source of inspiration, not replication.

Here is how to use Pinterest to your advantage–

  • Search efficiently – First, start with a search of your wedding venue to see what has been done there and what works.   Next, search for inspiration ideas with the flowers that are in season. Picking flowers that are in season will help you keep your costs down, as well as your hopes aligned with your inspiration. Don’t know what flowers to pick for your wedding? Get our wedding flowers in season download.   See what you like and don’t like.
  • Reality Check – Make sure the linens, tables and that you’ve found during your search will work in your venue.  For example, if your venue comes with round tables, but your centerpieces that you love are on wood farm tables, the translation will not be the same.
  • Request Quotes – Request quotes from florists and rental companies with the inspiration and ideas you’ve gathered so far. Be sure to include the florals that you found to be in season, as well as your rental needs (chargers, chairs, linens, etc.).  Most importantly, include your budget.  If you’re not sure how much to budget, check out our How Much Do Weddings Cost post.

 

Aug 04 2015

How Much Will Your Wedding Cost?

how much will my wedding cost

Attempting to get an idea of your wedding costs can be extremely daunting. Having never planned a wedding before, running into proposals and pricing can give you a serious case of sticker shock. After spending countless hours on Pinterest, you’ll think that your favorite pins and boards performed a major miscarriage of trust.  Who knew those luxurious tall centerpieces were so much!? They want how much for that wedding cake?

We get it.  You don’t know what you don’t know. Falling in love with a vision and finding out it’s crushingly out of reach hurts.  So, we’re here to help.

But first, we need to do one thing.  And it’s kinda non-negotiable, okay?

Determine Your Budget. The most frustrating thing as a wedding professional is to speak with a couple and hear about their vision, and inquire as to how much they would like to spend and the response is “We don’t know how much this stuff costs”.  While that may be true— it also doesn’t answer the question.  This is the crux of your wedding planning.  Here’s an example, I would love a brand new Lexus LFA. . . but I don’t want to pay more than $30,000 for it.  I have no idea how much an Lexus LFA is, but I do know that if it is over $30,000 (which I’m 98.6% sure it is) I won’t be in it, and I know not to look at pictures or do a test drive. So, there’s my budget— $30,000.  The same applies to weddings. And trust me, everyone has a budget.

Got your figure?  Now, let’s talk about what everyone else wants to charge. Keep in mind this is for our service area for Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island weddings.  These figures can fluctuate in different locations. Additionally, these are averages— there will be services that fall below and above the prices given.

venues :: $2000+

An average venue rental will start at $2000.  If the venue is attached to a hotel, you can expect to pay more or be required for mandatory room blocks.  The likelihood of a the venue having exclusive catering rights (meaning you have to use their caterer for food and beverage) grows higher with its affiliation to a hotel or convention center.  These types of venues may also have a food and beverage minimum to meet in addition to the venue rental.  These can start between $5,000 to $10,000.

Catering :: $35+ per person

This  is an average that should include your hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour, dinner and non alcoholic beverages such as tea, water and lemonade.  This rate will vary according to the reception style you choose (e.g., buffet vs. plated) as well as the menu selections and quantities. Keep in mind this is menu pricing only, you will still have to factor in labor (which will vary according the number of guests and dinner service you will have), tax (6%) and a service charge (will vary between 18-22%). Some caterers include the costs of plates, flatware and glassware with the menu price, others do not.  Be sure to view quotes in their totality when comparing them.

Wedding Cake :: $4-8 Per Person

Like your catering, this price will be determined by your selections and guest number.  Customizations such as flavors, fillings, cake design and even shape can add to the price.  If your caterer offers cake, you can add this to your menu price. If you are hiring an outside baker, remember to leave cushion for delivery as well as cake service (cake cutting, plates, forks, etc.) from your caterer.

Alcohol :: $18-$60 Per Person

One of the great thing about having a wedding in Saint Simons Island or Jekyll Island is the abundance of venues that allow you to bring your own alcohol. If you are purchasing your own alcohol, expect to pay anywhere between $1500 to $4500 or more depending on the number guests, type of bar (beer and wine vs full bar), what type of liquor you wish to provide (well vs top shelf) and how long you intend to provide a bar (the typical reception is 4 hours).  If you are having your wedding at a hotel or convention center where they require that you purchase your alcohol from them you can opt to pay by the drink with a consumption bar which ranges from $5 to $10 per drink or about $45 per person for a drink package that lasts four hours.   Our planners have a great alcohol guide to help you budget and plan for your bar.  Remember if you plan for authentic martinis and champagne, you may need to rent the appropriate glassware.

Photography & cinematography :: $2500+

One of the major things that affect price for cinematography and photography are the length of hours shooting, as well as the style of the shooter.  The longer the coverage and the more modern and stylish the product, the higher the rate.  The above rate is a general average for about 4 hours of coverage.  Full day coverage, additional shooters and multiple locations may affect pricing.  Remember to consider the costs of post production such as additional disks, full length movies, albums and portraits which are always an additional cost.

entertainment :: $1000+

A typical wedding DJ will start at about 1000 for four hours of service. A band starts at about $2500. This will include the cocktail hour and three hours of the reception.  Additional locations and hours for the ceremony or extension of the reception will require additional hours.

Florals :: $2000+

Some of the most pinned images used for wedding inspiration are of lush bouquets and elaborate centerpieces.  These are typically comprised of a multitude of large, exuberant blooms in varying heights and accents. Usually, a bridal bouquet will range anywhere between $150-$300, with complementary bridesmaids’ bouquets being half that.   Centerpieces can have several different concepts with some designs being tall and others low.  Tall arrangements depending on their size and proportion can start at $175 and go as high as $400.  Low arrangements can start at $75 to $200. It’s always best to ensure you are picking in-season florals to keep your costs in a doable budget.  Here is a really great breakdown of floral costs of magazine worthy florals.

Final Thoughts. . .

These are just averages to give you an idea.  Your wedding costs will be specific to your needs, size of guest list and time of year ( this plays a major part in the seasonality of certain foods and flowers).  You should set aside at least 10% of your budget each for a wedding planner, photographer and florist.

If you need additional help, check out our mini guide to having a wedding in Saint Simons Island Jekyll Island.  If you’d like to know who are our go to vendors, venues as well as resources and sage advice about planning your Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island wedding, treat yourself to The Little Blue Wedding Book. We’re even happy to offer you a congratulations gift to start your wedding planning: use the code FABWEDDING to take $15 off the price.