This is the third in our wedding planning series. Follow along in upcoming issues of XX for more advice on the entire process.
“Design must seduce, shape and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response.” – April Grieman
So you’ve made it this far. You’ve booked and made a down-payment on your venue of choice. You have made a guest list, and reviewed it several times until you decided on your final list. You’ve selected a caterer and a bar provider, and you have chosen what type of bar you would like to have at your reception.
Now it’s time for the magic.
How do you take a plain space and make it fit for a fairytale?
Well, unless you are David Bromstad from HGTV, you don’t. You are neither a designer nor decorator; the same goes for your cousin who can sew curtains. You need to contract the services of someone whose work you have seen before, who has experience decorating for weddings and who has the time and resources to execute the job without any major issues.
If you happen to have a family member or friend who is fits the above description, lucky you! I am not encouraging you to choose a stranger as your decorator as opposed to a family member or friend, however I urge you to ensure that the person is capable (not just willing) of professionally executing the decorating for your big day.
XX TIP: When you have chosen your decorator and you are ready to begin actively planning this aspect of your wedding reception, you should set up a meeting to discuss in detail your budget, your design ideas and tastes, and your expectations.
Turning your visions into reality: Creative discussion with your decorator
What is your colour scheme? What would you like the general aesthetic to be? What mood would you like created? What would you like used to decorate the space: drapes and flowers or candles and table runners? Do you even want centerpieces? Do you want pink tablecloths or white table clothes with a pink table runner ontop? Get as detailed as possible to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment.
XX TIP: You can look for design inspiration online and then email the photos to your decorator so that she can get a visual idea of what you want!
Getting down to the nitty gritty: Technical Questions You Should Ask Your Decorator:
In terms of cost, is there a flat charge for her decorating services or is she charging an All- inclusive fee or package deal that covers the rental of certain décor items? If the latter ensure that you ask her to define clearly what is covered. With respect to the decorating team, find out who will be working with her and how many persons. Does she have any time limitations, is there any time leading up to your wedding that she may be MIA due to personal reasons? what types of reviews have they gotten from clients? What about transportation? Ask her to confirm if the suppliers will deliver and pick up their items or if she will be organizing transportation separately.
During your initial meeting, be sure to ask your decorator which vendors she will be utilizing and do some research on the vendors as well. Find out what types of reviews have they gotten from clients in the past. A disorganized and inefficient vendor can bring your decorator and yourself a lot of stress. For instance, if flowers are going to play a huge part in your decoration, find out which company she is planning on getting the floral arrangements from, so that you can do your own social research to ensure that you will be getting value for your money and that you are not going to end up dealing with a troublesome supplier.
XX STORYTIME: I recently witnessed an example of how badly things can go when you use the wrong supplier. A decorator asked (and paid) for cocktail tables to be delivered to the venue for an event. Not only were the suppliers two hours late, but they also refused to bring the tables upstairs but left the unassembled tables, downstairs in the venue’s lobby. The decorator was then forced to ‘toat” the items upstairs herself along with an assistant.
Your choice of a wedding decorator is very important because that individual will be responsible for renting tables and chairs ( if these are not included with the venue), table cloths and chair covers and chair sashes, centerpieces, candles, lights and flowers and organizing the transportation, delivery, load in and load out of all of these items. If this is poorly executed, and any rented items are lost or damaged due to negligence and inefficiency, this will cost you!
As a bride (or groom) to be planning the décor for your wedding reception should be at best a memorable and fun experience, or at least an interesting one. With the tips and tricks above, you can do your best to avoid it turning into a horror story.