-- The Wedding Planning Experts at JuJu Lee Events Presents --
-- The Wedding Planning Experts at JuJu Lee Events Presents --
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So you think you want to plan and run your own wedding yourself?
Great, you totally can!
But unless you take the time to educate yourself on what to expect, what to consider, how to allocate your budget, how to construct a timeline for your day-of, how to get all your vendors on the same page, what can go wrong, and how to make it all go right, etc., etc.,…. you’d be setting yourself up for failure.
Fear not, we got you covered.
Hi, Amy Stefanik here, founder of JuJu Lee Events. Having planned, designed, and executed hundreds of weddings and events (we currently have 105 weddings on our books), at dozens and dozens of different venues, in multiple states, I can tell you…
When it comes to planning your own wedding, you just don’t know what you don’t know.
There’s nothing wrong with that - it’s to be expected.
I totally get being constrained by a budget for your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should have to settle for anything less than amazing.
We feel every couple deserves the wedding of their dreams.
So if you’ll allow me, I want to use my and my team's expertise and experience to help you have it all go smoothly (let’s face it, the last thing you want is for your wedding to be memorable for all the wrong reasons).
Just like I did recently for a friend of mine that reached out for advice before planning her own wedding.
“Amy, as you know Mike and I are engaged and I’m thinking about planning my own wedding,” she said.
“We just don’t have it in the budget to hire your team, but any advice you could lend would be greatly appreciated…”
Here is my response:
The first thing to consider after the proposal is the venue. There are a lot out there and it can be very overwhelming, exhausting even, trying to find the one that fits your needs.
Regardless of budget, there are a few things you need to consider when it comes to the venue, such as:
If you are working with a budget, then you typically want to choose a venue that will allow you to bring in your own vendors.
After the venue is chosen, you will want to focus on booking the vendors that book out the quickest. These include your DJ, photographer, and videographer along with your caterer.
When you review your videographer and/or photographer packages, make sure you book at least an eight-hour package. You will want them to capture everything from pre-ceremony photos, like setting up, hair & makeup, etc. through the ceremony, to post-ceremony fun like cake-cutting, bouquet toss, dancing, and whatever other foolishness and nonsense that may ensue.
If you go with less than 8 hours, like a six-hour package, it will cut into the prime items you want captured. Remember, the hours you book are consecutive - you can’t just have them shoot for a few hours, take a few hours off, and then shoot some more lol.
Okay, so let's talk about food. Your caterer is the second most expensive vendor, and for good reason. You are typically feeding everyone twice - once at cocktail hour and then again at the reception.
Keep it simple. I know “stations” (like coffee bar stations, ice cream stations, etc.) sound fun, but they add cost not only for the food, but for staffing and decor as well. Going “plated” also has staffing costs.
You can cut down on these extra costs by doing a buffet.
Do not get your linens, flatware, and other rentals through your caterer as this will also add unnecessary costs to the bottom line. There are rental companies that will do this for a lot cheaper. Most caterers would just be outsourcing these items and up-charging you anyway.
After you have checked off securing these vendors, then you can dive into design, which includes your florals and any additional decor rentals (like lighting and signage) you may need.
Florals can get costly, but silk (fake) flowers are not necessarily cheaper. Look into your local wholesale markets where you can buy individual flowers in bulk and then put together your own centerpieces. This will save you a ton!
The typical places for florals are your tables, arbor, and of course your bouquets and boutonnieres. Some wholesale markets will put these items together for you - just ask!
Your rentals are next to check off your to-do list.
You will need table linens and trust me, you do not want to purchase these yourself. Linens come shipped very wrinkled and an iron and/or steamer do not work. Ask me how I know lol.
So to get the wrinkles out, you’ll need to take them to get pressed after purchase so you end up spending more than just renting them.
You can get your plates, glasses, and flatware through Amazon or at your local Dollar Tree type stores. Search for acrylic items that look real but will save you hundreds over glass, porcelain, or ceramic.
Lastly, let's get your cake.
There are so many options when it comes to sweets. You can do an assorted cookie table, a cutting cake, cupcakes, or you can go traditional and get your three-tiered wedding-style cake.
I know this might sound like the perfect time to call up a favor from a baker in the family, but unfortunately every venue I've ever worked with requires anyone who serves food (and alcohol) to be licensed and insured.
I have found local grocery stores like Publix to be a tremendous asset for cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. They truly are a hidden gem when you are on a budget. Their cakes and treats are amazing and they can decorate a wedding cake like a pro and at a fixed cost - usually at least half the price of a bakery.
We’re all for shopping local, but avoid local independent shops for your sweets. It’s like they hear the word “wedding” in front of your requested items and suddenly the cost shoots up 10-fold.
On the day of your wedding, you will need a pre-set timeline and someone to keep everyone on schedule. It’s important that this is NOT someone in your wedding party. You can ask your DJ or photographer if they can keep you on track but someone needs to lead the show.
Finally, be sure to keep in mind when everyone has to be out of the venue as you will want to allot time for cleanup. You might get charged extra if you go over time and/or leave things untidy.
Hope this helps!