As a wedding professional, you come across many of the same questions being asked by brides over the years. So today we are going to do a little roundup of these questions with a friend, former colleague of mine and guest blogger, Emily Maksimowicz of Liberty Party Rental! She's spent years in the wedding industry and working with brides like you every day, so she knows a thing or two about planning a wedding in Nashville. Emily has narrowed her Nashville wedding advice down to 5 questions to share with you, and let me tell you, they are extremely helpful! If you read any post on Nashville Bride Guide, let it be this one! Take it away, Emily!
1. Why is renting more expensive than buying?
Working in rentals, I get asked this all the time. And simply put, it comes down to labor and storage. Buying that linen is less expensive than renting it, but who is going to wash and press them? Those sequin and velvet linens you love, are next to impossible to clean and are often dry clean only. The upkeep is expensive. And then you need to consider what you will do with them afterwards.
If you think it will be easy to resell them, most, if not all rental companies, won't purchase what you've bought. What if the purple linen you bought doesn't match their linens and comes from a different manufacturer? They're not even going to open that can of worms by mixing them in with theirs.
If you still want to buy some linens to cut down on costs, I'd recommend buying a few black, white, or ivory linens for your buffet, gift and guestbook tables. They are easier to resell in smaller quantities and you are more likely to reuse them.
2. What's worth buying?
There are a few items that are worth purchasing and not renting.
Votives, hurricane glasses, and tea light candles can be bought at Dollar Tree for less than renting. Either toss them at the end of the night or give them to other friends who are getting married.
If you love the look of a charger at your head table, you can usually find them for less online depending on the style, and you can reuse them for your next dinner party.
A cake serving set and champagne flutes on the cake table are sometimes gifted, or you can buy a nice set to pass on to your children. Check with your parents and grandparents, too! They might have some wedding heirlooms you'd love to incorporate on your big day!
3. Do I really need a wedding planner?
For all that is holy, YES! Pinterest and bridal magazines don't even cover the half of what goes on during your wedding day.
If it's not within your budget to get a full time or part time planner, that's okay! You can design and do a lot without one, but a month of coordinator is a must! They will review your contracts, catch anything you've missed, save you money, create a timeline, and will be the day of contact for all your vendors. They take all the stress and details off you, so all you need to do is show up and enjoy getting married. If that isn't worth investing in on your wedding day, I don't know what is!
Also, there is no such thing as a day of coordinator. If you hire someone to show up on the day of your wedding without any previous consultations or viewing of your orders, you're basically asking a surgeon to go into surgery without their tools. It will be a disaster.
Another important thing to note is that a venue coordinator is NOT the same as a wedding planner. They will absolutely help you where they can, but their main job day of the wedding is to make sure the venue doesn't burn down and that your guests don't get too rowdy and destroy the property.
4. Is it more economical to have a backward wedding?
The answer may surprise you, but depending on what you need, oftentimes it is more expensive than some venues in town. In fact, some of the most expensive weddings I've been a part of have been at people's homes.
Think about it. You're essentially building a venue in your backyard!
Since we can't truly predict the weather, you will more than likely need a tent. And even if you don't think you'll need a tent, go ahead and reserve one because during peak season, every rental company in town can, and will, sell out of tents on some weekends.
If it's cold, you'll need to add sidewall and heaters and if it's hot, you'll need to add fans or sidewall and an air conditioning unit. This alone can cost a couple thousand dollars depending on what you need and the size of the tent required.
Want to floor it? It's not as simple as slapping some dance floor pieces on the ground. The terrain will need to be assessed to make sure the flooring will be even and assembling it is extremely labor extensive. It often ends up being in the 10k-40k range... just for the floor.
We haven't even touched tables, chairs, dishes, catering equipment, lighting, draping, etc.
5. What's the most important thing to splurge on?
Food and entertainment are the keys to a great guest experience!
What do you remember most from other people's weddings? 9 times out of 10, you remember if the food was really, really good or really, really bad. Make sure you budget accordingly so there is enough food and drinks for everyone and that you find a caterer you love. I've known couples to budget for sushi bars, queso and taco stations, and late-night burgers. Who wouldn't want to attend that wedding?!
The next thing you remember about a wedding is if you had a good time. What was the entertainment like? Did they hire an awesome band or DJ you loved? Ask them who they hired! A band or DJ can make or break the party.
Also, I say splurge on a great photographer and videographer. A great and talented photographer can make any wedding look extravagant and it's something you will have to look back on for years to come.