Planning a wedding – that sounds like a lot of stress. But it does not have to be: Our experts know how to handle the wedding preparations with the left hand!
Stella is managing director of the wedding agency Genteelness and takes care of everything that makes the big day even more beautiful – from the marriage proposal and engagement, location finding and decorating ideas, to the marriage anniversary.
She describes herself as creative, diplomatic and analytical, writing to-do lists and ticking off is one of her favorite pastimes. Perfect conditions to plan a wedding! For us she chats out of the ring box and reveals what really matters in a successful party.
❤️ Wedding planning: The best tips from wedding planner Anja Kellersmann
BRIGITTE: What is the point of successful wedding planning?
Anja Kellersmann: If it is a great wedding party, on which the guests feel completely comfortable and in which they like to remember, the newlyweds can celebrate in a relaxed manner, must be angry about nothing and have a wonderful day – even more beautiful than expected – then you could not have planned better.
So it’s the mood of a wedding special?
Yes. And the big and small highlights that guests have never met at a wedding and that increase the anticipation of the bride and groom during the wedding planning. A creative wedding theme causes guests to experience the wedding as an event with many surprises. And those are the things that stay in good memory.
How could such a wedding theme look like?
Sometimes the season simply dictates the location, the location of the location (beach, apple orchard …) or the ambience on site (manor, castle, barn …). Sometimes, however, a special commonality of the bride and groom is obvious. Maybe a story of a story, a cultural difference or a shared passion that guests also know and translate into a theme.
And if no specific wedding theme seems appropriate, then the style can follow a common thread. Last year I developed the working title “authentic, exclusive, relaxed” with a bridal couple. This is exactly how the wedding celebration should be performed by all guests. For this we have defined a suitable color code and adapted all elements to it. That worked out great and in the end brought about a round wedding concept.
How long in advance should wedding planning begin?
Usually my clients come to me about a year before the wedding. However, if a bridal couple wants a large selection of beautiful venues and has a specific desired date in one of the summer months, then it should start one and a half to two years before with the wedding planning. But that does not mean that you have to keep planning: Once the location has been found and the most important service providers have been booked, you can spend a little time with the rest. The season also plays a role: From October to March, the offer is still quite large in the short term.
What mistakes do newlyweds often make?
Many underestimate the effort behind wedding planning. This clouded in the last few weeks, the anticipation and worried about whether everything really can be done until the big day. After all, the stress is always greatest just before the wedding. There are some customers who come to me in this phase at very short notice, so that I can “save” them.
Many newlyweds are also unaware of the importance of communicating with service providers prior to the celebration. No photographer, no DJ, no location operator can read minds. Even if everyone does their job well, the more concretely the bride and groom expresses their wishes, the more professionally everyone can work. I give my customers a lot of guidance on what to discuss with whom and to what extent.
Finding the perfect location is often difficult …
It is helpful to define the desired style (modern, rural, maritime …) and to know the approximate number of guests before starting the search. Other important criteria can be overnight accommodation, wedding theme or budget. As a wedding planner, I have a good overview of the various locations. Thus, the bridal couple a lengthy Internet search and various viewing appointments spared. Whether it’s the perfect location, often reveals the gut feeling. The bridal couple should feel comfortable and have a good idea of their wedding in this place.
Keyword Invitations: What belongs in and when should they be sent?
A save-the-date info should be sent as soon as the appointment is fixed and the location is booked. This may also be a year before the wedding. Especially summer weddings often fall on vacation, and many families book their holidays at the end of the previous year. Basically, the invitations should be sent about six months before the wedding. If there is a save-the-date-info, it may also be two to three months.
The most important information in the invitations is the venue with the address, the time of day and the sender – together with details of the contact details and a request for acceptance or cancellation up to a certain date. This deadline should leave the bride and groom enough time for the final planning steps.
Useful additional information: Gift wishes, dress code, contact for contribution coordination, accommodation, if needed directions and parking, query of food intolerances and possibly information on child care.
And if we would like to invite more people than our budget allows?
My tip for every bride and groom: Better celebrate the dream wedding in a small circle and fulfill the most important wishes as a stripped-down version for a larger group of guests. Because the wedding is a very special event and should especially please the bridal couple!
If the big circle of guests is the most important thing or simply can not be reduced, there are the following possibilities:
- relocate the wedding to the day and forego an extensive evening wedding dinner
- have the dinner in a small circle and invite to the subsequent party more guests
- celebrate the reception after the wedding with many guests and let the evening end with a smaller circle.
What do we do with people who we would just invite out of sense of duty, but actually do not want to have it?
It is important to consider the consequences of a non-invitation. Can I live well with it after the wedding? It is best to consult with relatives their own parents, as they think about it. The argument to celebrate the wedding for budget reasons only in the closest circle, is often accepted.
For the relatives, the neighbors, the colleagues or the club can be organized after the wedding for “compensation” its own small drink event. Or one resorts to the old tradition of the bachelor party, which can also be implemented with little financial means.
Speaking of financial means: How much does a wedding cost us as a whole?
This can not be answered on a flat rate and depends on various factors. Of course, a photographer costs less for five hours of use than for a full-day reportage. The DJ will be twice as expensive if he has to put all the play and light technology. A BBQ buffet from the Village Butcher costs a third of the luxury BBQ of a fine caterer. All this should be made aware of in the budget planning and make a cost calculation for all positions, before you book the service providers.
If I know the intended wedding budget of my clients, then this is one of my first acts at the beginning of the planning. The bridal couple can thus get a better overview of which budget is available for which post. Price negotiations are generally easier if the wedding is in low season.
💛 Planning your wedding: An overview of the checklist
1 year before the wedding
- Determine the type of wedding (church ceremony, free wedding, just civil wedding ?)
- What budget is available to you?
- Set frame? (How many people are invited?)
- Wedding Place (City and Wedding Location)
- Choose your wedding date
12 to 6 months before the wedding
- Appointment at the registry office and possibly the parish office
- Appoint witnesses and ask
- Choose wedding dress
- Ship “save the date” invitation cards
- Book catering
- Choose photographer
- Request a DJ
- Plan and book honeymoon
6 to 3 months before the wedding
- Buy suit for groom
- Make conversation with a pastor
- Select final wedding menu
- Make wedding decorations or order
- Engrave wedding rings
- Make or buy wedding invitations yourself
- Table Cards (to print)
- Create wish list for the gifts
- Organize accommodation for wedding guests
3 to 1 month before the wedding
- Bridal hairstyle pick
- Bridal make-up pick
- Order wedding cake at the pastry chef (Or: bake your own wedding cake )
- If necessary, change bridal gown / groom suit
- Brides shoes are wearing
- Request wedding car
- determine the final seating arrangement
- Pick up wedding rings
- discuss the exact course of the wedding day
- Prepare wedding speech / marriage vows
4 to 2 weeks before the wedding
- Talk to the most important people (DJ / band, organizer, stylist, etc.) again
- Get a guestbook
- Make appointment for manicure
- Bring hairdressing for groom
- Make appointment for facial treatment
💜 You are planning the wedding for a girlfriend?
You do not organize for yourself, but for a relative or friend? Wow, that’s an honor. But that also means there is a lot to do. Wedding planner Katharina Rathert knows how to keep an eye on the nerves and everything.
Even if it is difficult: A “No” in the right place can save the celebration
A wedding planner must be able to stay hard. Green wedding dress, embarrassing games, trumpet contributions from the neighbor’s child: Bride, groom and guests can come in the course of preparations on all sorts of ideas that will not be well received by all. Since the couple is usually emotionally involved and some guests often think it too good, there is only one instance that thinks clearly: the wedding planner and he must be able to say “no” .
2. For all your assertiveness, diplomacy is always in demand
Disappointed mothers and howling brides guarantee a failed wedding. A tact is not to be expected from either the excited bride or the parents involved. When a thunderstorm rages, action must be taken immediately, but so that no one notices something. It is not important to have the solution, it is about understanding all, even without diplomatic service.
3. bring order to chaos
Lists are the best friends of the wedding planner. So you keep track of the wishes of the marriages and surprises that plan the guests. But beware: always stow away well and do not accidentally email the wrong person.
4. The Wedding Planner will keep you in good spirits during the breaks
Registry office and church are done, until the party starts in the wedding location, it takes a while. Brides and grooms often overestimate the time required between each program item. To prevent boredom among the guests , the wedding planner always has a plan B in her pocket . Depending on who the guests are, drinks can bridge the breaks, a city tour or small talk.
5. The bride is allowed to do everything – until she says “yes”
Even if you have already exchanged the bridal gown three times, have tasted it five times and must settle continuously between a quarreling couple: The bride is the boss and is always right. At least once. After the wedding most of the hysterical brides come down again and can laugh about the anecdotes.
6. You are perfect – but only with the help of others
If the celebration exceeds the closest family circle, it is difficult to reconcile everything alone. Care for helpers who can assist you in advance and also assist on the day of the wedding. For who should fix the apartment or the hotel room of the bride and groom, when you are at the photo shoot? Or make for table decoration when you sit with the bride at the barber? Just.
7. Besides the bride, mother and mother-in-law are the most important persons
Most important rule for you as a maid of honor: No matter what your relationship with his or her mother is, you ‘ll love them from now to the wedding . No matter how. Make them allies and make sure that both tasks are done and used. Make them feel that nothing works without them and they belong to the exclusive circle of the knowledgeable about surprises, gifts, guest list and menu planning. If necessary, there is a whole B-flow for the celebration, which – oh miracle – shortly before quite differently developed, as the two thought.
8. The wedding planner also has to recover from time to time
Charge your battery: the one from the phone anyway – you wonder how many people still remember two hours before the wedding, that they need a gift, and turn to you for help. But you also have to maintain your own internal battery: Plan a weekend where you do not have to think about weddings – no planning, no cell phone, no bride. Only you and things that are good for you.
9. Always remember: it’s over
You want to quit everything two weeks before the party , your lover puts his gun on your chest, because he does not see you anymore, and the boss has already asked three times, when he finally gets the presentation. This is just reality in the last weeks before the wedding. And then everything goes back to normal.
10. Looking good is mandatory – but not better than the bride
It is the day of the bride, she is always the most beautiful woman of the day. But that is no reason to go into sackcloth and ashes. Finally, the common pictures should be cool in 20 years. Hairdresser, make-up and great outfit are mandatory for the wedding planner. What does not work: tight skirts, which prevent you from getting quickly from A to B, as well as too high shoes that look good, but are not suitable for running.