Posts in Event Planning Tips
Tried and True Wedding Advice from Newlyweds
 

Let’s be honest, planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming. Let us guess, you’ve been studying Pinterest at all hours of the day and night, and researching wedding planning blogs like crazy? Sound about right? However, you can never fully anticipate what your wedding day will be like until it’s actually here. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. We are here to make planning a wedding feel like a breeze. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of top tips from past couples and newlyweds. They’ve walked down the aisle, said their “I Do’s” and have fully enjoyed their receptions. And now they’re ready to pass on their knowledge to you.

PLAN AHEAD & CHOOSE YOUR VENDORS CAREFULLY

  • “Start early! (or as early as you can) - It really helps to have plenty of time, especially if you're getting married at a popular time of year. Things book up fast!” - Hillary

  • “Make sure you pick a great venue, caterer, and photographer. Those are so important! Also make sure to take time to actually enjoy the planning process. Remember it doesn't all have to be done at once!” - Leah

VISUALIZE YOUR PERFECT WEDDING DAY

  • “Start with trying to form your own vision. Pinterest/Etsy are great but can overwhelm you!” - Sequoia

  • “Your wedding is about you and your significant other, no one else. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when trying to accommodate everyone’s needs. Even if things don’t go as planned on the big day, in the end you are married and that’s is all that matters! Enjoy every minute of it, it goes by quick!” Allyssa, Bride

  • “Don’t worry about the guests, it’s YOUR wedding, just the two of you. If they love you enough they will make it to your wedding. Don’t plan stuff around them.” - Missy

ALLOW TIME FOR YOU & DELEGATE

  • “One piece of advice I would give to couples planning their wedding is to allow enough time off work before the day of the wedding to make sure everything is together and all the boxes are checked off. I work night shift as a nurse and I worked up until the Thursday night before my Sunday wedding and I felt so out of the loop on my vendors and all our decorations and I felt rushed to get everything together and make sure I had everything I needed.” - Paige

  • “Delegate and take it a little at a time. Planning can be very overwhelming, but if you have reliable vendors and help from family/friends-it will go smoothly!” - Claire

consider your guests

  • “Think about your guests! A lot of the decisions we made had to do with the flow and timing of the event. I pulled on prior experiences of weddings I was a guest at and thought about what choices were made in consideration of the guests and what weren't. Everyone will tell you that your day is all about you, and to a degree it is. But you wouldn't be where you are without the love and support of every person that will be at your wedding. They have given their time and resources to support you! So think of them when you are planning your event.” - Elizabeth

ENJOY IT

  • “Just know something isn't going to go as planned. Be ready to roll with it once the big day gets here, and don't sweat the small stuff.” - Matt

  • “Just enjoy every part! As much as I felt like a crazy woman running around getting everything done, it truly was such a fun time in our lives and I would do it all over again tomorrow! At the end of the day, forget about small details most people will overlook and just take in the fact you get to marry your best friend!” - Lilly

  • “Everything will work out in the end. I spent a lot of time stressing out over the smallest things, and in reality.. on wedding day it is all going to work out- your friends and family are all going to pull together that day to make sure your dream wedding happens. Nothing will ever go just perfectly, so don't be super disappointed if something goes off the track! Keep a good attitude about it and ENJOY YOUR day. People will always have their own opinion, but it is your day and between the two of you. As long as you and your SO are happy and having a blast, I promise everyone else will be too. The stress is silly so don't worry too much. Also, take time to enjoy every single moment and soak it in!” - Courtney

 
Top Tips for Touring Wedding Venues
 
Photo by Gabriel Van Heyking Photo

Photo by Gabriel Van Heyking Photo

We are officially in the full swing of engagement season! This is such a fun and exciting time of year where we get to show our venue to couples and hear about their dream wedding.

We understand that choosing your wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you will make during your planning process. Our staff at The Colonnade at Revolution Mill are seasoned wedding pros and want to help you make the best decision. We enjoy sharing our event knowledge and answering all your questions during a visit. As you prepare for your venue tours, consider these tips to help you get the most out of your visits:

DO PREPARE IN ADVANCE

How often have you gone to the grocery store and forgotten your list? You don’t remember what to buy, do you? The same can go for this type of situation. Prepare a list of your most important questions to bring with you during your tour. You won’t be caught off guard or draw a blank when it comes time to ask the questions that mean the most to you and your special day. The Knot has a great list of questions to start you off.

Photo by Jodi Gray Photography

Photo by Jodi Gray Photography

DON’T OVERCROWD YOURSELF

Yes, it’s important to get your loved ones input on your big day. But when touring a venue, having too many people (and their opinions!) can put a damper on your excitement. Instead, take photos and jot down some notes to share with your friends and family later.

DO CHECK BEHIND THE SCENES

Don’t forget to check the restrooms, dressing suites, parking area and other often over-looked points of the venue.

DO ASK ABOUT RESTRICTIONS

Ask about any venue restrictions. Can you bring in outside alcohol? What outside vendors are permitted? Do you have have to leave by a specific time? Are there decor restrictions?

DO CHECK OUT THE HYPE

Before you go on your tour, read up on any reviews. Make a note of any potential issues, and ask the venue their thoughts.

DO PAY ATTENTION TO PARKING OPTIONS

Will there be enough parking space for your guests? What if it rains - will the parking area get messy? Is there an area to drop off and pick up guests with special accessibility needs?

Photo by Jamie Blow Photography

Photo by Jamie Blow Photography

DON’T OVERDO IT

Of course you’re excited to begin planning and you want to check out every available option! Keep in mind how much time each venue tour may take and factor in travel time in between each space. .


Finding your wedding venue shouldn’t be stressful. If you follow these tips to help ease some of the pressure and enjoy the process. Our Wedding Guide is your all inclusive guide to selecting and planning your wedding at The Colonnade! Be sure to check it out.

Contact us to set up your visit.

 
Your guide to tipping each wedding vendor
 
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Aesthetic Images

Aesthetic Images

Today we’re going to tackle the tricky subject of tipping wedding vendors. This is a topic we are asked about quite often as couples reach the final stages of planning. Here are some suggestions:

  • While it is customary to tip some vendors, deciding to tip is a personal choice and shouldn’t feel like an obligation. It’s a kind and generous gesture to those who go above and beyond for your special day.

  • Consider tipping vendors (whether they are owners of their company or employees) that are hands on at your wedding.

  • The gratuity should go to the lead person (i.e. catering supervisor, band leader, etc.) to be disbursed to their team.

  • Organize gratuity in cash envelopes prior to the wedding. Give these cash envelopes to your wedding coordinator or another responsible person to distribute according to your wishes.

  • Allot room in your budget for gratuities. If your budget doesn’t allow cash tips, consider a small personal gift or a thank you note. Writing a glowing online review or offering to be a reference means a lot!

Vendor Categories

If you choose to extend gratuities to vendors as a “thank you!” for providing exceptional service, consider these suggestions to help you plan in advance.

PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER/WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR/FLORIST

Suggested amount: Tips are generally not expected by these vendors, but are a great way to appreciate their hard work and attention to detail.
5-10% of fee or a personal gift.
$25-50+ per assistant, depending on their level of involvement.
When to tip: At the end of their service

Catering wait staff/chefs/Bartenders

Be sure to check your contract to see if a gratuity has already been added to avoid double-tipping or forgetting to give staff a tip, since it’s customary.

Keep in mind a “service charge” or “operational charge” is generally NOT considered a gratuity. This should be spelled out in your contract, but ask your catering manager if you’re not sure.

Suggested amount: 15-20% of food and beverage total or $20-$50 per staff member

When to tip: It’s best to give this tip (in cash that can be easily divided up) to the catering supervisor to distribute accordingly to servers, chefs and bartenders. It can be done at the end of the event or following dinner.

event manager/BANQUET MANAGER

Suggested amount: $50-$150
When to tip: At the end of the event

catering manager/Food & Beverage Director

Suggested amount: $50-150 or a personal gift
When to tip: At the end of the event

Jennifer Strange Photography

Jennifer Strange Photography

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Suggested amount: This is one area tips are expected. Provide 15-20% of fee, just as you would for a normal hair appointment.
When to tip: After services are complete

LIVE Musicians/Band

Suggested amount: Sometimes this is included in your fee, so check your contract. $20-$50 per entertainer.
When to tip: At the end of the event

DJ

Suggested amount: $50-$100 is a nice gesture if they did a great job, especially if they had to move heavy equipment during the event.
When to tip: At the end of the event
 

Ashley Latham Photography

Ashley Latham Photography

Officiants

Suggested amount: While it isn’t common to tip religious officiants, if you want to thank them you can make a donation to their organization or house of worship. A $75 to $100 donation would be appropriate. It’s also a nice gesture to invite them to stay as a guest for dinner.
When to tip: At the rehearsal or before
the ceremony

Delivery/setup STAFF

Suggested amount: $5-$20 for each person, depending on how much labor they provide.
When to tip: At the completion of delivery


SECURITY

Suggested amount: $20-$50 per person
When to tip: At the end of the event

TRANSPORTATION DRIVERS

Suggested amount: Check your contract, as gratuity may already be included here. Otherwise, $50-$100 per driver is appropriate.
When to tip: After services are complete

VALET/COAT CHECK

Suggested amount: $.50-$2 per guest. This total would be split among the workers.
When to tip: After services are complete

Gratuities are a great way to show your appreciation and let vendors know they’ve done an outstanding job on your wedding day.

 
Your Timeline: The Key to Your Wedding Day Success 
 

The following is a guest post written by Larry Martin of A & A Disc Jockey Service. For more on A & A, visit their website or call (336) 292-5446.


Why have a timeline

Photo by Jamie Blow Photography

A complete wedding timeline will cover everything from arrival of the vendors, pinning on boutonnieres, to what time linens will arrive. For our purposes, because it's the part of the day I'm involved in, I'm going to focus on the timeline for the celebration. 

You absolutely MUST know your objectives. A wedding celebration consists of a lot of moving pieces. Think of it like a jig saw puzzle. If you have no idea what it is supposed to look like once it's complete, then it is more difficult to put all the pieces together in the proper order. Find your vision for what you want it to look and feel like.

Ask yourself some questions about your dream celebration: 

  • How do you want your guests to feel about your day? 

  • What do you want them to say about your celebration as they drive home that night? 

  • What are the most important memories you want to have when it is over? 

Once you have a clear idea of a destination or your goals, determining the correct path will be much easier!

In the southeast, most of the wedding receptions average about 4 hours in length. Roughly, they usually break down this way: Approximately an hour for cocktail hour, about an hour for the meal, and then that leaves 2 hours for several traditional activities (bouquet, garter, formal departure, etc.) and open dancing. This is usually enough time for everything you wish to do, however you can always add more time if you like.

 

Purpose of a Timeline

1. It establishes your goals for the event. 

2. It sets out YOUR priorities for your event. If you don’t set them, someone else will. 

3. It assures things that are important to you are done and not overlooked in the excitement of the moment. 

4. It allows you to set the tempo and mood for your celebration.

5. You can use it to arrange activities in a way that flows smoothly and tells your “love story”.

There are certain activities that must be established and demand specific time allotments, so those must be set first to build a logical time. Keep in mind that almost anything you include in your timeline can be planned for and worked around. Anything that happens that isn't in your timeline, simply puts you behind schedule and cuts into other activities. 

Photo by Danielle Defayette Photography

The ceremony: What time does it start? Keep in mind that your prelude music should start approximately 30 minutes prior. How long is your ceremony? Ask your officiant because the denomination matters. Vendors will be asking you what time the reception begins. Calculate it: start time for ceremony + length of ceremony + travel time (if any) for guests to get from the ceremony to the reception = the start time for your reception. 

Photos: Unless they take the majority of your pictures before the ceremony, most photographers will need some time to take post wedding photos after the ceremony. How much depends on your photographer and you. Are the photographs one of your highest priorities? If so, you might want to allow a little more time to get a few more "creative" shots. Include that time in your timeline and you can plan other activities around it, but be aware of extremes. 

Food: One of the most important reasons to have a reasonably accurate timeline is for your food service. Food has a short window of optimal time to be served and your caterer wants your guests to get their food within that window to maximize their enjoyment of it. 

Photo by Aura Marzouk Photography

Toasts: Want to know what a difficult job is for a bride? Try going to your dad (who may be paying for all of this) and telling him to please keep his welcome speech short. It is going to be a difficult conversation, but we did an event last year where the bride's dad (while guests were waiting to eat) spoke for 25 minutes, even as his daughter was running her finger across her throat, which is a sign that we thought was universally understood!

Weddings are emotional times and if any speaker gets on the microphone without a script or at least bullet points to keep them on topic, they could ramble on longer than you would like them to. Perhaps the easiest way to deal with this is to simply contact each person that is doing a toast and set some parameters, if you want to maintain control over your schedule for the night. 

Photo by Jodi Gray Photography

Party Time: First, let me state, no MC or wedding director will let you leave the night without cutting your cake or doing your first dance if those things are on your schedule. The party time is one area where you have some flexibility. If you’re running ahead of schedule, you’ll have more time for you and your guests to dance and celebrate your union. If you are running behind schedule, then this is the area of the celebration that will have to be cut. Here’s where knowing your priorities will help. If you know that your family and friends aren’t big dancers, this is not a priority for you and time could be cut from that if you get behind. No matter which events during the night are most important or least, you must not allow yourself to get too far behind. 

Photo by Aura Marzouk Photography

Your Ending Time: One of the most important times to get from your venue is the time by which everyone (including your vendors) must be off the premises. As an example, the average DJ will need at least a solid hour from the time they play your departure song to pack everything up and get off the premises. If you added extra lighting and other equipment or in the case of a band it could take longer. When doing your timeline allow for your vendors to pack up and get out. 

Summary:

It may sound like just another piece of paperwork you have to complete, but your timeline is your opportunity to take control of your celebration and make certain that your priorities are observed. There is an old saying: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." One of the reasons I've always put a premium on proper planning is that I am, at heart, a bit lazy. And I have found over the years that it takes much less energy to avoid a problem, than it does to fix one after it happens. If you have questions or need assistance as you tackle your personal timeline, feel free to call.

 
Wedding Day Resources for every type of bride

Once you’ve said “yes,” wedding day prep can become a bit of a whirlwind. All of a sudden you’re faced with a million small decisions – it’s not just picking the dress, it’s picking what kind of table cloths will be used, what time the ceremony will be, organizing a seating chart, and hiring a whole team to help you pull off your special day.  

To help you enjoy the build-up to your special day, we’ve pulled together four must-use wedding resources that can help you make it all happen… with minimal stress.

 

WeddingWire

Wedding Resources for every type of bride | RME Events

WeddingWire is here to take the stress out of planning your big day – they have tools available for picking your wedding date, planning your seating chart, determining your budget, and managing vendors. 

They also have a huge database that lets you search vendors by location. You can browse for everything you need, including venues, photographers, officiants, bands, jewelers, wedding planners, and more. 

Need inspiration? Pinterest is not the only place -- you can get all the inspiration you need on Wedding Wire. You can browse dress styles, check out the user forum, or take advantage of their expansive blog. 

Website: www.weddingwire.com

 

The Knot

A popular alternative to WeddingWire, The Knot is another one-stop wedding planning shop. On one easy-to-use online hub, you can manage almost all your wedding needs including your:

  • Registry

  • Guest list

  • Budget

  • Wedding day timeline

  • Vendors

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, The Knot even has a free quiz to help you define your wedding day style. After you take the quiz they’ll help guide you to the right vendors to make your vision a reality. 

Website: www.theknot.com


TriadWeddings

Looking to get more local? TriadWeddings is a premier wedding resource and planning guide in Greensboro. Browse local wedding resources or download their free local wedding guide

One of our favorite parts is The Real Weddings section, where you can browse photos of other area couple’s weddings. 

Website: www.triadweddings.com



Triad Bridal Association

Sometimes deciding which vendor to opt for can feel like a real stab in the dark. However, the Triad Bridal Association takes the guesswork out of picking a vendor. 

When you hire a Triad Bridal Association member, you will be working with one of the area’s top wedding professionals. Someone with plenty of experience, who is not learning on your wedding. All of the Members adhere to a Code of Ethics, and you’ll breathe easy knowing that you (and your wedding) are in good hands.

Revolution Mill Events and Pepper Moon Catering are proud members of the Triad Bridal Association!

They’ve also got a section dedicated to local wedding shows where you can even snag a discount on a future show!

Website: www.triadbridal.com

 

Other Resources

  • Evernote: If you’re looking to stay organized, this app (available on desktop and mobile) will keep everything on track. You can make multiple notes/notebooks, add pictures, or set reminders for yourself.

  • Google Docs: Check out all the tools available with your Google account! You can use Google Drive to store photos, Google Sheets to make spreadsheets of vendors, and even Google Forms to gather RSVPs. All of your files will be easily shareable and available on your mobile and desktop.

Our Resources

If you’ve narrowed down your venue to The Colonnade, we provide a free wedding guide to walk you through everything you need to know about our venue. You can get an idea of a typical timeline, find answers to frequently asked questions, and see what’s included with your rental. 

 
 

If you’re ready to start planning your reception food and drink, you can view Pepper Moon’s Catering menu HERE

Wedding Planning: Table Sizes and Seating Charts
 

Once you have your guest list, it’s time to figure out how and where to seat everyone. First, you’ll want to figure out what types of tables you’ll be using. 

Traditionally, round tables are a popular option. We also love the trend of mixing table shapes like rounds, squares and rectangles.  Between your ideas and our experience in designing within our event spaces, we’ll come up with the perfect layout to fit your vision. 

Here’s how many people we can fit at each table:

Wedding Planning: Table Sizes and Seating Charts  |  Rev Mill Events
Wedding Planning: Table Sizes and Seating Charts  |  Rev Mill Events

TO ASSIGN SEATS OR TABLES? 

We recommend for you to assign a place for guests to sit – either a table or specific chair. When guests first arrive, they are looking for direction. Minimizing confusion on where to sit creates a smoother event and welcoming environment for your guests. 

Guests can be assigned a specific table, where they will choose a seat, or they can be assigned a specific chair. Either approach will work well, you can decide what’s right for you.

 

SEATING CHART

Once your guest list and layout is finalized, it’s time to work on your seating  chart.  Unfortunately, this task must wait until close to the wedding after all the RSVPs have come in. 

We suggest working through this task with your partner and other decision makers, so you can talk through the potential issues of where to place each guest.

It's helpful to start by grouping people that already know each other - think tables of families, coworkers, and college friends. However, mixing in a few people that don’t know each other yet will keep things fun and get everyone making new friends. 

A few quick tips: 

  • Group people who don’t know each other with those who are similar ages or have shared interests
  • Try to balance male and female guests at each table
  • Make sure not to put ex-partners together or people who you know don’t like each other
  • Instead of having a leftover or “single” table, mix in guests who fit this category at the other tables
  • Try to place elderly guests where they’ll have easy access to the restroom and away from the music speakers
     

SEATING CHARTS, PLACE CARDS, AND MORE

Once you’ve got your seating chart set up, you’ll want to make sure your guests know where they’ll be seated. If you have assigned guests to specific seats, you will need to create a seating chart, table numbers, and place cards. If you’ve assigned tables you can skip the place cards. 

We suggest a poster sized chart you can display near the entrance to the seating area. You can organize your seating chart by either alphabetical guest name or table. Depending on the size of your party, listing alphabetically makes it easier for people to find their names. 

You’ll want to make sure table numbers are easy to read and are prominently displayed on the table, but not so large they keep guests from being able to see each other across the table. 

 

LOOKING FOR SOME INSPIRATION? 

Check out this gallery of table set ups for ideas!

 
Using games to infuse fun into corporate events

It’s no surprise that people love to get out of the office – but there’s also a number of business benefits to hosting corporate events. When done right, corporate events will help build relationships, boost employee morale, and cultivate creativity. They’ve even been shown to increase employee retention! 

Think beyond a corporate happy hour – consider getting out of the office and into a new space for your next meeting. Something as simple as shifting employees to a different surrounding can have a notable impact on their collective performance. 

Different surroundings can spark fresh discussions and generate ideas that might not have come from the confinement of your team’s everyday work area. In addition to providing a new perspective, it can relax employees, help with problem solving, and forge stronger working relationships. And, it shows your workforce that you’re willing to invest in new, and perhaps better, ways of working for them.

If you’re looking for something beyond a new meeting space, planning a fun corporate outing can be a little tricky. In order to be energizing and rewarding, your event needs to be fun, interactive, and engaging. Our suggestion? Consider incorporating games into your next gathering.

 

Icebreaker activities

To get the atmosphere going and put attendees at ease, open up with an activity that involves interaction and team work – prompt them to find a solution or work together to figure out an answer. As an added bonus, this type of game will subtly replicate the kind of dynamic needed back at the office.

 

Breakout

Put everyone into teams, give each group a set of numbered envelopes with the same clues enclosed, and challenge everyone to ‘breakout’ of a mythical room by solving each hint. This will ensure everyone has to get talking - without forcing it - and will get their creative cogs turning.

To add a bit of tension, you could set a countdown clock on a big screen to really channel everyone’s inner competitor and get the energy pumping.

 

Quiz

An alternative icebreaker could be the traditional quiz. It’s another easy way to get everyone interacting and it’s simple to set up. To make sure it doesn’t lose its spark, keep the questions fairly light-hearted, keep up a good pace, and include some polls that tie into the theme of the event.

To take it to the next level, consider giving each team a funny buzzer to sound when they think they’ve got the right answer - it’ll soon get people chuckling, and the competition among teams to push their button first will spice things up a bit.

 

Super-sized fun

Every event has some natural down time, but the last thing you want is for the energy in the room to go stale during these periods. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to have optional activities sprinkled around the room.

To put an enticing spin on what could otherwise be seen as lame board games, think big and supersize them! From Connect 4 and chess to yard pong and giant Jenga, we can make lots of giant sized games available to you. 

Because of their supersized stature, they’ll soon draw people in and get people engaged and mingling during the times when you’re not hosting.

 

Bingo

A round or two of bingo is a great way to sprinkle some corporate information into your event while maintaining the fun factor. You can tailor the contents of your bingo cards to anything you want - past success, key learnings, employee awards, short or long-term goals. But, be sure you pick out an entertaining emcee who can keep people engaged. Just because the content might be corporate, it doesn’t mean you can’t put your own spin on the traditional bingo approach.

 

Classics

Inject a bit of nostalgia by creating a corner dedicated to some old school classics, like Pacman, Twister, Hungry Hippos, or Monopoly . The trip down memory lane alone will spark discussion and get people sharing their past times, which is a great way for attendees to naturally build on new or existing relationships.

 

Casino corner

If a classic game corner isn’t your thing, or if you’ve got enough room to segregate multiple activity areas, a makeshift casino could be the perfect set-up. Simply provide everyone with a limited number of make belief casino chips and let their risk taking sides shine -- after all, taking risks is a big part of business too. 

If you can, try and think of clever ways to tie the odds back to your company. For example, instead of using 21 as the magic number in Blackjack, could you change it to an iconic number relevant to your business? Like how many year’s you’ve been in business for or how many employees you have? 

 

Prizes

To encourage participation and healthy competition, remember to provide some prizes. They don’t have to cost a fortune - it’s the thought that counts, but they’ll bring out the inner-competitor in everyone and increase all-round uptake at your event.

To keep them on topic, your prizes could be something self-branded (like a cupcake or stationery, for example) or something free from a sponsor or exhibitor. 

For help organizing a corporate event that reaps all your desired rewards, download our complete corporate and social event guide here, or get in touch with us here.