Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three Things To Remember When You're Throwing a "Backyard" Wedding

Welcome to our very first Blog Hop for 2015!
This month we want to help you start the year off by getting organized as you’re planning your wedding or event. Get ready for some great ideas to help you reduce stress and enjoy the planning process as you move along through the blog hop.
You may just be starting the blog hop or may have come from Angela Christoforo's blog at Elite Wedding and Event Planning  on Natalie’s Blog Hop. If you get off track at any time, the full lineup at the end of this post will help you move along from blog to blog so you make sure to see and learn from all of the articles featured here today.

Three Things To Remember When You're Throwing a "Backyard" Wedding

With apologies to Jane Austen, it is a universally acknowledged truth that the best way to save money on your wedding is to hold it in any venue where you can bring everything in - chairs, tables, catering, everything. I call them "backyard" weddings, and no, it doesn't have to be in your own backyard! But like most universal truths, this one also needs qualification. More choice on costs means less cost, right? But it can also mean more stress, hassle, and, yeah, more expense, unless you remember these three things:

Daniel Cruz Photo
1. You're recreating a restaurant, first and foremost. You're responsible for everything that is available and possible when you sit down to dinner at The Olive Garden or wherever,  so take notes the next time you eat out. You're sitting at a table, but at your wedding you're going to bring in the table and the chairs, and set them up, so how is that going to happen? Where is your meal being cooked? How is it being kept warm, or in serving condition? How is it getting to you at your table, and who is bringing it to you? What is it being served on or in? What should be on the table when you sit down? The devil is in the details, and this is where you can get caught. Chafing dishes, but no sterno cans to heat them up. Serving utensils? Enough plates for everything that you're serving - appetizers, salad, entrees, and dessert? Even if you're having a buffet, especially if you're having a buffet, you want to keep it orderly and clean. What is your waiter doing during dinner? Not just serving, but bussing your table, too. Filling your water glass, wiping off the table. Replacing silverware. How are you going to accomplish those actions, or have alternatives to them? 
Sit down with our caterer. They'll able to tell you what size your serving dishes and servingware should be, and how many of them you should get. Have them walk you through your entire menu at least twice. Do you need salt and pepper shakers? Do you need a milk pitcher for coffee? Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions in wedding catering. Your caterer can also recommend local rental and event staff services, too. Price out event staffing before you reject it! Having a couple of people that know their way around food and serving is definitely a good idea.
Oh, and while you're scoping out the restaurant, look at the bar, too. And don't forget ice and trash cans!

Fondly Forever Photography
2. You're buying in bulk. This is where and why this stuff gets expensive. Ten guests is a table, 100 guests is 10 tables. Each table is 10 chairs, 10 plates, 10 forks, 10 knives, 10 napkins, at least 10 water glasses and one centerpiece. That's 61 separate pieces on one table, and you have to pay for all of them! And that's not counting bar glasses, ceremony chairs, enough alcohol, soda and water to last 4-5 hours, and a dozen other things that you've got to get 100 of. My advice, if you're on a budget? Start with the basics, upgrade later if you can. Generally speaking, you don't have the finalize rentals until much closer to your wedding date. So, back away from the chiavari chairs and put down the bottles of Jack Daniels. For now, at least. 

Honey Honey Photography

3. You're not actually in a restaurant. Which means that you don't have the backup that comes with having your wedding at a restaurant or a hotel ballroom. Back up like extra plates to replace dirty ones, or for a new dish or serving. Extra glasses when your guests want to follow up their water with a beer. Your guests will not expect to have to re-use their plate or their glass (NO, THEY WILL NOT), and neither would you. Get at least twice as many entree dishes as you need, 10-15% more silverware and napkins, and 3-4 glasses per person, depending on what drinks you're serving at the bar and how many your bartender is comfortable working with. Otherwise, you will  inevitably run low on something. Do you have someplace to wash dishes and a timely manner? Probably not, so get extra and avoid the scramble.  Budget tip - if you're trying to save money, serve less kinds of drinks. Less kinds of drinks means less kinds of alcohol, and less kinds of glasses to serve the alcohol in. The only thing you don't need more of? Cake plates. There is always cake left over, so getting 100 plates for 100 guests will work just fine. 

Yeah, it can get a little overwhelming, but the first step to resolving any challenge is recognizing that that there is one!  But, if you use what you already have - your vendors, any resources your venue does provide - to find out what you need, then you'll be able to create the wonderful wedding you want. 

If you would  like to get ten more of my tips on how to have a fantastic wedding, click on the link at the bottom of this post, and we'll email it to you immediately!  

The next stop on Natalie's Blog Hop is Amber Peterson at Cheers Wedding & Event Planning. Enjoy! And thank you for visiting, I hope to see you next month...

The Blog Hop: 

  1. Natalie Bradley at Natalie Bradley Events  
  2. Katherine Shorter at Creating Awesomenessity
  3. Kristi Richardson at Bloomed To Last
  4. Chantal Benoit at Chantal Benoit Photographer
  5. Elizabeth Batte at plainjane designs 
  6. Andie Freeman  at Andie Freeman Photography 
  7. Brenna Fields Taylor at An Elegant Affair LLC
  8. Irene Tyndale at Irene Tyndale Events 
  9. Sharon K Hyatt at Weddings with Sharon of Awesome Designs & Weddings
  10. Tessa Marie at Tessa Marie Weddings
  11. Peter Merkle at Chicago Wedding DJs
  12. Anshwa Lewis at SwaLaRue Events
  13. Deborah Ashe at Rev. Deborah Ashe
  14. Angela Christoforo at Elite Wedding and Event Planning
  15. Liz Coopersmith at Silver Charm Events  
  16. Amber Peterson at Cheers Wedding & Event Planning
  17. Maggie Evans at Maggie Evans Designs :: handmade bridal couture
  18. N'neka Scruggs at Images by N'neka
  19. Kelly Snyder at Southern Charm Weddings
  20. Cindy Clearwater at Something Blue Virgin Islands
  21. Kimberly Parks at KP Photography
  22. Simone R. Ross at Lil' Tux N Tiara's Event Sitters & Entertainment
  23. David Osborne at Sound Insight Productions
  24. Nicole Hill at Flora Bond
  25. Shaun Cox at A D.I.Y. Affair Weddings and Events
  26. Katrina McCullum at Made of Honor Weddings
  27. Sandy Salle at Hills of Africa Travel
  28. Rachel Huntoon  at Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast 
  29. Daphne Simpson at Elite Design
  30. Kishana Highgate at Kishana Highgate Photography
  31. Loraine McCall at Mojica Photography
  32. Teresa Rhodes at Nearly Nesters 
  33. Andrea Freeman at Andrea Freeman Events
  34. Nikki Michel at Ciao Bella Weddings
  35. Kelly King at Affordable Wedding Invites by Gossett Printing
  36. Christine Ringuette at Down The Aisle Wedding Planning & Design
  37. Myiesha Antwine at Kiss and Tell Weddings
  38. Ashley Rae at Ashley Rae Events
  39. Laurie Kuerlemann at Platinum Party Events Entertainment, Inc
  40. Lydia Wells at Writer Mom
  41. Melissa Pepin at Melissa Pepin Photography

Would you like to receive more of my tips on how to create a wonderful wedding day? Click here to sign up to get my free checklist, "Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding" and it will be emailed to you immediately.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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