Destination Weddings & Welcome Basket Checklist

Over the past three or four years, we have realized that we are an amazing resource for local brides who are getting married more than two hours away from home. In our world, more than two hours away from home-base is considered a Destination Wedding.

Some of the more-than-two-hours-away locations our brides have tied the knot in are: St. Thomas, USVI (see Tammy and Troy’s portfolio); Andrews, North Carolina (see Katie and Brandon’s portfolio); St. Simon’s Island, Georgia; Silver Spring, Maryland, and other corporate events all over the world (Bangkok, Thailand; Orlando, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; etc.). Our brides have told us that the benefit of hiring a planner that is local to them versus a planner that is local to the venue is that we can spend more time with them and really understand what it is they want for their wedding weekend. We can be available for a coffee appointment because the bride spent several hours on Pinterest and now has a new direction for the centerpieces. Otherwise, all of that would have to wait until she went back to the beach to meet with the planner there.

We’re really excited about working with some great ladies this coming year to plan their destination weddings. Keep an eye out as we’ll be posting pictures in the coming months from Cashiers, North Carolina; St. Simon’s Island, Georgia; and Savannah, Georgia.

Have you been thinking about a destination wedding but want to develop a relationship with your planner in person, rather than just on the phone and when you visit two or three times in the next year? We would love to help.

In the meantime, don’t forget about your guests who are making the trip to your destination. A welcome basket in their hotel room is always a nice touch. Here is a checklist to get you started. (Oh, and by the way, we can help put these together and deliver them to the hotels for you.)

{Starter} Welcome Basket Checklist for Destination Weddings

Countdown to a Stress-Free Wedding

In honor of the New Year and your own “big to do,” we’ve created a New Year’s Countdown to help keep your wedding stress-free. We’ve come up with ten possible areas of anxiety in your wedding and how you can beat that stress.
Photo Credit: Altmix Photography

10:  Select the Right Vendor Team
Putting together the best vendor team is huge. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your vendors and should surround yourself with people you like, relate to, and enjoy being around. It can be very stressful to discover that you don’t get along with your vendors and that won’t help add any excitement to your planning. Be sure to meet each vendor before you sign a contract with them and if you aren’t feeling comfortable with them don’t hesitate to interview another vendor in that category to get the best fit for your wedding.

9:  Detailed Wedding Website
When it comes to wedding details, everyone wants to know everything. This can get a little overwhelming when the bride and groom and their families are constantly answering their guest’s questions on the wedding logistics. The easiest way to cut down on these questions is to make sure you have a detailed wedding website that your guests can easily access. Be sure to include the date, time, and location of the ceremony as well as directions and special instructions for your guests. This is also a great opportunity for personalization; let your guests know your story as a couple not to mention where you’re registered.

8: Dress
The dress is one of the most important details in many weddings and with that comes lots of opportunities for added stress. There are things you can do from the very beginning to make sure your dress experience is anything but overwhelming. Be sure to start the dress search early to allow time for it to be ordered and fittings. Before you head to the bridal shop decide on a budget and have some ideas of what details you must have in your dream dress. When getting fitted, remember that it might not fit like a glove the first time but this is normal and alterations will easily tailor it perfectly to you.

Photo credit: David Murray Weddings

7: Communicate
Just like in every aspect of life, during your wedding planning process communication is key. Communicate with your vendors, communicate with your wedding party, and most importantly communicate with your fiancé – you are going through this process together after all.  It’s easy to lose track of who knows what information but the more you share with others, the less of a burden will be on you. The more you communicate to your vendors the easier it will be for them to understand your vision and create the wedding of your dreams.

6:  Assign jobs
We understand there’s a lot to do for a wedding and if one person tries to do it all, they can get easily overwhelmed. But the great thing about a wedding is its set up with a built-in support system. There’s family, the wedding party of your closest friends, and of course your fiancé who all want you to have an amazing day and not be stressed throughout the process. Give them jobs ranging from bringing the rings to the ceremony to helping make labels for favors. They’re willing to help so why not assign them tasks that will take some pressure off you.

Photo credit: Jason Braverman

5:  Thank you notes
Writing thank you notes can seem overwhelming when you consider the growing pile of goodies arriving every day from your registry. The best way to handle this is to write each thank you as the gift arrives and here at A Big To Do Event we recommend following this thank you note rule that will help motivate you to get those thank you’s off your to-do list: After unwrapping the gift, you can’t open the box or use the present in any way until its personalized thank you note is in the mail to the sender. This way you can use that new dishware or coffee maker without having the stress of the thank you note weighing down on your shoulders.

4:  Shoes
No wedding day look is complete without the perfect pair of shoes. Gone are the days where you had to have your shoes dyed to match your gown, these days anything goes and the more fabulous, the better. However, even the perfect wedding shoes can end up causing stress on your wedding day because of the one thing as women we’re willing to sacrifice: comfort for fabulousness. To reduce this stress, be sure to give yourself plenty of time before the wedding to break in your shoes. Wear them while you vacuum, wear them to the grocery store, wear them while you watch tv. Just make sure these shoes are not going to be a big pain, literally, come wedding day.
Photo credit: Jenn Schliestett at Photojenik

3:  Coordinator
Handing over the reins on your big day is the best way to ensure you can relax and truly enjoy your wedding. We know that giving up control can be difficult but come wedding day you’re going to want someone else to oversee the setup and an experienced wedding coordinator is your best option. Here at A Big To Do Event we are passionate about making your day perfect. We want you and your guests to be able to rave for years to come about how fun and perfectly “you” the wedding was.

2:  Day-of Checklist
Wedding day is filled with lots of little things to remember. At A Big To Do Event, we love checklists so we give our brides Day-of Checklists to make sure packing for the wedding day is as easy as crossing an item off the list. We’ve shared our checklist with you here to make sure you’re on the way to a stress-free wedding.

1: Be present
The most important thing to remember to make your wedding day stress-free is to really be present. Give over control, take in every moment, have “me” time. This is your day after all and you’re going to want to remember every moment of it. Don’t let the day fly by while you’re caught up in the small stuff, be with your friends, family, and new spouse and enjoy every minute!
Photo Credit: Matt Yung Photography

Happy Planning!

Checklist: What To Bring To Your Wedding Day

If you know us at all, you know that we are lovers of checklists. In fact, you can follow Erica on Twitter using her handle @ChecklistQueen.

Our mission is to make sure you are the most comfy person on your event day. To make that happen, our motto is Preparation Prevents Panic.

Here is a handy checklist for what to bring with you on your event day. Don’t worry… if you forget one of these items, we’ve got it in our emergency kit!

Checklist: What To Bring To Your Wedding


Baby It’s Cold Outside

Many of us haven’t left our couches for the past three days.  Many haven’t gotten out of pajamas.  If you’re a bride, you’ve used this snow time to do lots of research and blog stalking.  Hopefully our blog has been one of the ones you’ve checked out regularly.

It’s really important to us that you have all of the checklists and planning tools you need to make your wedding planning process easy and fun.

One of our brides is using this snowed in time to address her invitations.  If that’s you, here’s a great guideline for how to address your invites correctly.

Guidelines for Addressing Invitations

Guidelines for Addressing Wedding Invitations

Guidelines for Addressing Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitation is the first impression your guests have of your wedding day. The worst thing you would want to do is to offend a guest by calling them Mr. or Mrs. instead of their title of Dr!

Provided below is an etiquette guideline for addressing invitations to avoid any social blunders, and it is beneficial information to know on avoiding any blunders.

Guidelines for Addressing Invitations

Invitations – Just a Piece of the Puzzle

In the sales world, we know that it takes 5-7 repeats (or “touches”) for a sale to be made to a new prospect. When hosting an event, it is imperative that the host understands he/she is in essence “selling” the guest on the idea of spending their otherwise free time with the host. Invitations are just a method of Marketing for an event. They are a “touch.”

I5 (Invitations to the 5th Power) is a marketing method for event attendance success. The I5 system assumes the host has at least one or two touches with the attendee, meaning the attendee will at least know the name of the host when the invitation comes in the mail. Note: for those events geared to gaining face time with “suspects” or business prospects who are not yet familiar with the company or host, more than five touches will need to be made.

For the purposes of counting to five, we will start at Touch 1. However, remember, this is not truly the first touch the host has had with the attendee.

Touch 1: Save the Date Card. These need to be mailed (email is ok, not preferred) no later than eight weeks prior to the event. This allows the attendee to put the date in his/her calendar and/or change his calendar to accommodate the event.

Touch 2: THE INVITATION! These should ALWAYS be mailed. Hand addressed. With a stamp. Your invitee will appreciate getting something so personal in the mail. This allows the host to set the tone for the event (formal/casual/byob/etc) and to establish rsvp expectations. These should be mailed during week 6 prior to the event.

Touch 3: Follow up email. This should go to all attendees. If they’ve already rsvp’d, that’s great. This is just one more reminder of the party. Those who haven’t rsvp’d, this is a good reminder to do so. These should go out during week 3 prior to the event.

Touch 4: Thank you notes or emails to early RSVP’ers and phone calls to those who haven’t. It’s important to recognize the behaviors we want to see repeated. RSVP’ing in this day and age is definitely a behavior we want to see repeated! Phone calls to those who have not rsvp’d. It is absolutely appropriate for you as the host to call those who haven’t been polite enough to tell you if they plan to eat the food you’re providing. You don’t want to run out of food do you? Or worse yet, you don’t want to over-spend to accommodate those who might show up. These should happen 7-10 days prior to the event.

Touch 5: Send Thank You Cards to the attendees. Some hostesses look at me and say, “They came to my house and ate my food; why should I send them a thank you card?” Because it’s good manners and those attendees will remember you and come to your party next year! These should go out the week after the party.