Burning Questions

So Hooray Babes, this blog post might have taken us a way bit longer than we expected, but we just cannot believe the AMAZING knowledge that our vendors have shared with you. It was so hard trying to figure out what to keep and what to cut, so we hope that all your questions are answered in this blog post!

After some careful consideration, we decided to break this into a 2 part series to ensure we keep all the juicy tips and advice you are going to be needing. 

All your burning questions were answered, plus some! So if you are feeling a little lost with your wedding planning, get a notepad, pour yourself a glass of wine and get ready to soak in some amazing behind the scenes knowledge, tips and tricks!

Without further adieu, lets hand it over to the planners, flower geniuses and decor specialists….

Cover Image: Luxe Events | photography by Michigan Behn

Emily Lockhart

Is it possible to plan your own wedding and not freak out and turn into bridezilla? 

DEBBIE, ETC EVENTS
It is possible if you are an organised person and not stressed out by challenges or changes.  However the week leading up to the wedding and ON THE DAY is definitely when you need a dedicated, professional, non friend or family member to ensure that your Wedding day is everything YOU want it to be.

JACKIE, WEDDINGS & FUNCTIONS BY JACKIE
Yes of course it is, however the unnecessary pressure you’re placing on your wedding experience & yourself is not worth the stress. Hire a professional to guide & hold your hand, mediate opinions, save money and assist you in spending your budget in the appropriate categories.

Weddings & Functions by Jackie | Photography by Wilma Towell

What is the going rate for a planner?
JO, OH HAPPY DAY
Every planning company offers something different and therefore charges differently depending on what kind of package they’re offering, so it’s best to do your own research as far as their offering and rates go. From personal experience, you can work on approximately 10% of your wedding budget as the going rate for a planner (give or take).

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
The going rate is somewhere in the range of R25,000 – R30,000 and there could be additional commissions charged on sourcing various suppliers. You must also remember that you usually hire a planner for 10-12 months – so it is this amount of work or hours that is required over this period. We charge a set fee plus a commission structure based on some of the requirements of our clients. The commission charge is there to cover the hours of work that go into finding the right vendor at the right price point and in the right location for the client.   

Natural Nostalgia | Photography by Michigan Behn

Where do I start? 

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
First decide if you would like the help of a planner. Having a planner is like having a best friend to bounce ideas off, ask for help and obtain guidance. Choose a planner that has lots of years experience and they can quickly put your mind at ease with a step by step guide of what to do and when. Obviously you should get on well with your planner as you are going to spend quite a lot of time chatting to them in person, on email and on whatsapp so choose someone you resonate with. Choose a planner that you trust and investigate them first by checking their social media pages, seeing their portfolio work and asking for past references.

LINDY, LABOLA
Assuming you are not making use of a planner… Decide on a budget and then find a Venue!! Choose a venue that can accommodate your guest count and your pocket. Once you have secured your date and location, then move on to decor, photographers and stationery.. the rest will flow naturally from there. Try secure and focus on one service provider at a time so you don’t get too overwhelmed. If you have a planner then they will create the process flow and assist you tick the items off your list (and of course, alleviate a ton of the pressure!)

Labola | Photography by Silver Dune Photography

Destination planning – how do you get brides to let go? 

LUCI, LUXE EVENTS
Having planned a few destination weddings myself, the best advice I could give is to research, research and research. Once you have researched your dream destination, make sure all communication is clear, in point form and that you have a paper trail of all details. Pictures and references will help with your look and creativity. When you arrive at your destination, at least three days before your wedding, have a detailed meeting with your venue coordinator, a walk through, a table/floral mock up and menu tasting. Once all plans are confirmed and signed off, trust your coordinator to deliver. Remember destination weddings happen at least three times a week and they are known to deliver unbelievable service. Let go and enjoy the moment knowing your wedding is in the hand of the professionals.

Luxe Events | Photography by Jerome Stoffels

We have booked our venue, photographer, videographer, DJ, flowers and make up. What’s next? 

LINDY, LABOLA
Have a glass of Champers and celebrate having your sh!t together!! Seriously though, enjoy the victory and then get back into it… Seating charts can be tricky so allow yourself some time to work on those, even if you don’t have all of your RSVP’s in, you generally have a good idea of who will be attending your wedding. Don’t forget to organise your bridal party outfits, all accessories and beauty appointments

What are things that are a waste of time and should be left out? 

DEBBIE, ETC EVENTS
Wedding favours! No matter how personal you think they are guests leave them behind.
Too much food! If you are doing canapes or a harvest table for predrinks, a starter is overkill. Dessert or a cheese board is better done as a buffet during dancing and not served. There is always wastage here.

Etc Events

What is the average cost of a wedding? 

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
As with all events it will all depend on how many elements there are. Is there furniture and a tent and additional lighting and portable toilets? Is your wedding for 60 persons or for 200? All of these elements will influence the cost of your wedding so it is difficult to give an exact figure. A wedding planner will first find out what you want to included or exclude and find out all the nitty gritty details first and then draw up a budget for you. This budget will give you a realistic idea of what things really do cost and you can then decide what you want to spend your hard-earned cash on.

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
How long is a piece of string? There really is no industry average here because every wedding has it’s own set of needs and priorities. Catering costs can differ between having a simple main buffet or a three-course plated meal. Venue costs can differ drastically and so can bar services (full open bar versus cash bar). I think you need to chat to your married friends to garner an idea of what weddings cost, or set up a creative consult with a planner who can help draw up a rough budget based on your needs.

Oh Happy Day | Photography by Vanilla Photography

My fiancé is simple and I’m flash…how can we compromise? 

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
Honey, compromise is going to be never-ending for the rest of your married life, best you find a way to master this art now, and find a middle ground. Find a way to incorporate both your ideas, and support each other’s perspectives (this day is about both of you, after all)…..

Any suggestions on including both my dads in my wedding? I only want my biological father to walk me down the aisle.

LUCI, LUXE EVENTS
It’s your special day and its a reflection on your life. We have had a bride this year that walked down the aisle with both her dads. I would suggest to include them both equally. It is absolutely ok for you to have them both walk you down the aisle. Your step father could walk you halfway down the aisle where your biological father is waiting to escort you the rest of the way and hand you to your groom. As far as the service, when the Pastor/Officiant says “who gives this woman”, both of your dads, (together) can answer “We do”. When it comes to dancing, do two separate dances or split a song where both dads get to have a special moment with you.

Luxe Events | photography by Dean Maber

I want my fur-babies at my wedding, am I being silly? The pictures look amazing! 

LINDY, LABOLA
This depends on how well your pets travel? How do they do in new places and spaces? We have had a couple have their pets as a part of their ceremony with great success, however they went through huge efforts and expense to ensure their pets were happy, calm and well looked after, both before the ceremony as well as during the reception. If you can’t guarantee the happiness and safety of your pets then rather leave them at home where they are most comfortable. You could always include your pets in your engagement photoshoot.

How do I get budget friendly decor and flowers, but it must still look glam? 

DEBBIE, ETC EVENTS
Sometimes simple and elegant can still look glam but being realistic with your budget and expectations are very important. This is where a Professional wedding planner and stylist can assist you with tricks of the trade. But understand that we cannot create a Pinterest/Kardashian wedding with a restricted budget. These weddings look like they do because of their unlimited budgets.

Etc Events | Photography by Christy Hosking

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
You just have to go to Woolies and buy a bunch of flowers from their floral bar to see how costly flowers can be (and that’s without adding any kind of vase or delivery or labour on top of that). What you’re paying for with wedding flowers is a product AND a service. You’re buying the flowers themselves AND the labor to design, transport and deliver or install the flowers.

I think brides need to be realistic when it comes to their vision and what can be done within their budget.

EMILY, EMILY LOCKHART
Use locally sourced in season flowers and source local decor. Fairy lights and Festoon lighting are a magical way to glam up a wedding.

Emily Lockhart

What happens if you hate your initial mock? 

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
If you hate your mock, just be honest with your stylist! She’s there to make YOUR dreams a reality, so be honest enough with her about your thoughts and make sure she ‘gets you’ before you pay for something you don’t really want. On the other side of the coin, if you aren’t honest with her, she’s going to think she’s done what you want and this could turn into a disaster for your wedding. Honesty is key. You won’t offend her if it’s not what you want, that’s a promise!

LINDY, LABOLA
Your table mock is a critical part of the stress relief when it comes to your decor and florals. We insist on doing this for every wedding we do. It is a working session and should be a safe space for brides to fine-tune and finalise their decor and floral decisions with the guidance of their service providers. Brides, always be honest and clear in communicating your vision so that your planner / florist / decor supplier can guide you to where it needs to be.

Labola | Photography by Derryn Schmidt

What is the starting rate for flowers? 

DEBBIE, ETC EVENTS
Once again how long is a piece of string.  Are you wanting a single elegant rose or a large arrangement of elaborate peonies? Budget and vision need to be aligned with your wedding planner to ensure these are both achievable.  Seasonal flowers also affect budgets.  Some flowers are not available at certain times of the year so always be aware of this when planning the month of your wedding if you have a specific floral you are adamant to have at your wedding

How do I budget for flowers and decor? 

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
Ask your floral and decor designer for an initial quote. Send through your ideas and get a first draft of a quote of your ‘ideal wedding’. The initial quote may far surpass the figure you had in your mind or in your budget for flowers and decor. Then sit down and ask questions about your quote. We offer line-by-line quotations which means each element and item is quoted on separately. Each item can either be extravagant or basic. Sit down with your chosen vendor and see where you could cut or save in some areas or where you could omit certain elements to get the quote more in line with what you had budgeted.

Natural Nostalgia | Photography by Summertown Pictures

I want peonies for my big day! What’s the chances of being able to get them? 

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
Peonies – they are soooo beautiful! However they are only grown locally for a few weeks of the year depending on weather, but usually in November. We also usually only get pale pink and white. For the rest of the year you are looking at imports. The imported peonies usually come during the European spring which is April through to May.

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
If you’re willing to pay the import rate, the chances could be pretty high! However, they’re not cheap so if this is a pre-requisite for you and your vision, you will need to budget accordingly.

Oh Happy Day | Photography by Bright Girl

What is the most inexpensive way of achieving a tropical oasis? 

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
Hire plants from your local nursery – you’d be surprised how many allow 4 day hires over a weekend.

LINDY, LABOLA
I would opt for large, oversized leaves in big clear vases. Most of these leaves can be foraged (Delicious monster, Palms, Banana Leaves, Ferns) Just make sure you follow the foraging rules and don’t damage the plants!

Oh Happy Day | Photography by Vanilla Photography

Would love advice on calculating how much alcohol to buy? 

LINDY, LABOLA
This is something that is quite unique to each wedding and the demographics of the guests. As a general rule of thumb… allow 1 drink per guest per hour. You will need to look at your guest list specifically and estimate what percentage are wine drinkers/beers and ciders/liquor.. etc. and then split the quantity of drinks by those percentages. Don’t forget the non-alcoholic drinks too, and loads of water! Most bottle stores will allow you to buy on consignment with some rules of course, if that is the case then I would work out the list and then get an additional 10% as a buffer.

How do you decide on a DJ? Like you can’t really see his work? 

LINDY, LABOLA
Referrals from industry professionals and friends who have recently gotten married or attended a wedding. Meet with your shortlist options and chat about their experience and taste in music to ensure you get the right fit for your special day.

Labola

Gift registries. How do you add it to your website without seeming like guests HAVE to get you something? 

LINDY, LABOLA
There are so many lovely ways of wording the gifting options… my current favourite is:You being at our wedding is the best present of all. However if you were thinking of giving us a gift. Please use these gift registries….

Or, if you are asking for money then I would recommend informing your guests as to what the money is going to be used for so that it is a bit more personal. You could say something along these lines… To help us on our way, a contribution towards our honeymoon/new car/home would complete our special day.

Who pays for what when it comes to bridesmaids? 

LINDY, LABOLA
Typically… I think the bride and groom should pay for the bridal party outfits, accessories, hair and make up. Some bridesmaids are happy to buy their own shoes, provided they can choose the store and the style. If your budget allows then I think it is lovely for you to pay for the shoes too. Don’t forget that your bridesmaids put a lot of their own time and money into looking after you, not only at your bachelorette party but throughout the planning process and wedding day too. Not to mention the pressure of gifting you something special as your wedding gift. If you can’t afford to contribute then reduce the number of bridesmaids, or only have a maid of honour. If you are expecting your bridal party to chip in, then be upfront and clear about the costs involved when you ask them to be a part of your day in order to avoid any dramas and resentment down the line.

Oh Happy Day | Photography by Bright Girl

How do you get people to go from one spot to the next without asking them to do so? 

JO, OH HAPPY DAY
If you need your guests to move from one spot to the next, it’s going to require some form of communication, whether you like it or not. I suggest that you communicate the order of events with your MC and make sure he knows what he needs to be doing at what time.

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
I have learnt from my experience that people in groups behave quite differently. They are often so busy chatting, catching up and having a great time that they tend not to notice certain obvious things around them. I am a big fan of SIGNS – signs that are fun, quirky, personalised and beautiful that show guests what to do or where to go. Also having a captivating and interesting Master of Ceremonies is critical. Someone who is confident and helpful and can assist the planner with ensuring the day runs smoothly and that the guests know what to do when or where to go and how!

Natural Nostalgia | Photography by Vanilla Photography

How do I work out my wedding timeline?

KIM, NATURAL NOSTALGIA
Your planner will be able to give you a concrete timeline that will help you with the order of the day. I always like to put my fixed timings in first such as ceremony start time and venue close and then work backwards or forwards. Look at your timings and make sure you are spending enough time with your guests and actually enjoying your wedding yourself and having the best time. Ensure the formalities are done earlier in the evening when your photographer will still be there to capture these special moments without running over his/her fixed package of hours. And always leave enough time for partying – the day flies by in the blink of an eye and opening the dance floor early enough ensures everyone has some fun too!

LINDY, LABOLA
Start with the ceremony time and work backwards, allowing enough time for each part of the buildup, final touches, bridal portraits, getting into your dress, hair, make up, shower and breakfast (make sure you allow some to relax and soak up the morning) Once you have that side done then jump back to the ceremony, allow time for congratulations, photoshoot, a few minutes at the pre-reception celebration (assuming you want to experience that part of the day with your guests), and then don’t forget a few minutes to freshen up before you enter the reception. You then need to build in enough time for guests to be settled into their seats, charge their glasses and listen to the house rules. Food service can be split up with speeches, make sure you allocate time for the dishes to be cleared. Don’t forget the other traditions like first dance, garter toss, etc. Always, always check your timeline with your photographer, venue and caterers to ensure you are all aligned. If you get stuck, there are loads of resources online. We also have a wonderful template that we would be happy to share with you!

Etc Events | Photography by Christy Hosking

And the last piece of advice from Lindy…
Just an extra tip… when choosing a venue, find out what their back up plan is for load shedding, do they have a generator????? How does load shedding affect your day?
And lets not forget the dreaded C word (COVID-19) are your service providers adequately prepared? Find out what sanitation measures they have put in place! More to come on this, soon!

Ladies, thank you so much for sharing your insider tips with all our brides today. We are sure you have helped put their minds at ease and given them some direction for their future wedding plans!

If you would like to get in touch with one of these lovely ladies, click here:

Jo, Oh Happy Day
Kim, Natural Nostalgia
Lindy, Labola
Debbie, Etc. Events
Luci, Luxe Events
Emily, Emily Lockhart

Jackie, Weddings & Functions by Jackie 

 

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