I’ve got Amanda Hancock on the blog today to help you with your wedding planning!
I’ve worked with Amanda for some of my favorite weddings! She’s organized, sweet, and totally there for you every step of the way! Her eye for bringing colors and textures together is on point!
Amanda, can you tell me about your experience so far and your wedding planning business? What has your experience with Victoria Rose Photography been like in your weddings together?
I do not have my own wedding planning business, but I enjoy coordinating weddings for Maranatha [Baptist Church, MI] over the past few years (and help with various weddings prior to moving back to Michigan). I have worked with a few different photographers, and really enjoyed working with Victoria Rose Photography. Vickie does well with communicating with me and coordinating the wedding day with my schedule so that everything runs smoothly for the bridal party. She is cheerful, professional, and punctual.
How far in advance do you beginning the actual wedding planning with your clients?
I usually begin the planning process as soon as a bride approaches me to ask for my help with her wedding. I start early on with an initial meeting with the bride and groom to let them know how I work, and to listen to them brainstorm about their day and what their wants are for the ceremony and reception. Getting on the same page is important early on. Typically, for the weddings I have coordinated, this is anywhere from 6 months to a year before the wedding day.
What tips do you have for dress shopping?
The wedding dress (and bridal party clothing) is usually number one for most brides. That’s the first thing they want to do. This is good because sometimes alterations are needed and that can take time. For most brides, I suggest they have their dress and bridal party clothing squared away as soon as possible or 6 months before the wedding day. This allows time for alterations and needed adjustments.
When should a couple have their engagement pictures taken?
Engagement pictures can be taken whenever the couple wants. If they want to send out save the date cards with their pictures then, obviously, have those done early on in the engagement (1-2 months after being engaged). Usually, couples do this before they really take off with wedding planning.
When should a couple send out their save the dates and invitations?
In general, it’s good to send out save the dates 6 months prior to the wedding date. Typically, if it’s a destination wedding and most of your guests would have to travel far, 8 months is even better. Wedding invitations should go out 6-8 weeks before the date of the wedding. Too soon and people forget. Too late and…well… 😉
How long is the actual wedding day typically?
Actual wedding DAY is long. I am up with my bride and her girls making sure everyone is tanked up on coffee and good food. Keeping everyone happy and fed until they walk down the aisle. I end my day once the bride and groom leave in the getaway car. Usually, clean up plans are well in place by the brides parents and I leave those details up to them. 🙂 So for a typical afternoon wedding, my day starts at 7am-and ends around 4pm. If it’s an evening wedding, noon-8 or 9 is not uncommon.
How can a couple save money when planning their wedding?
A money savvy couple will save a lot by keeping the costs centered mainly on the food, reception, and photography. Now, I know that sounds like the main budget points of a wedding but let me tell you…there are LOTS of little tiny ways people blow money on wedding budgets. Here are those ways: Wedding décor, party favors, and paper (hear me out on this one).
- Décor: I always suggest keeping the ceremony decorations simple. If you want lots of trees for your wedding…get married outdoors. If you want to get married in a church, pick a beautiful building and let the building itself be your backdrop. The thing about a lot of the church weddings I do, is that it’s at Maranatha. Which is fine (especially now that it’s remodeled), but no one really wants mauve carpet and old wood paneling in their wedding pictures so they spend a lot on décor to try and “cover up”. I know because…I was that bride. Haha. I actually went really simple for mine, but totally don’t like my indoor pictures now because I wasn’t a fan of that backdrop. Pick the right spot and let it speak for itself. Make sense? Or, if you insist on marrying in the mauve carpeted church…be simple with a few great floral arrangements. You can’t hide the mauve and old wood no matter what you do…Let your bridal party be beautiful and have great music that your guests will be talking about.
- Party Favors: Another money saving tip would be let little things like “party favors” go. I know, it’s not traditional…but you are feeding a bunch of people. Make memories with great food that people will talk about later. Those are their party favors. They can take a great piece of cake home.
However, be sure to THANK your guests for coming by sending out a thank you card, which brings me to my third way to save….PAPER.
- Paper: Save the trees. Actually, save your bank. You are already paying to print out save the date cards, invitations, shower invites, and thank you cards. Save a few hundred extra bucks by NOT printing ceremony programs. Use the extra money to go towards food or your awesome photographer 😉 Print out one main program for the ceremony, frame it and put it near the guest book or cake table or something. Those programs end up laying all over the place for clean up anyway. Lots of paper to print…no purpose. 😉 I know…totally not traditional, but I have a feeling the only person who complains about no ceremony programs is your grandma. Not yours specifically, but you know what I mean… 😉
Do you have any additional, possibly random, advice for your clients?
I usually encourage my bridal party to have fun and enjoy the day. 🙂 It really is a lot of fun.
Wow! Thank you so much Amanda for all of your great tips and advice!!!
I’ve personally loved every interaction I have had with this awesome lady! If you’d like her help planning your MI-based wedding, just shoot me an email! I’ll get you both connected!
Amanda, you’re awesome!