Planning a wedding is an exhilarating journey, full of dreams and expectations.
Portia Zama, Banqueting and F&B Duty Manager at ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest Kokstad, has an intimate understanding of what it takes to orchestrate a flawless and enchanting wedding day.
Here are her seven pro tips that every bride should know for a stress-free wedding day:
1. Wedding venue coordinator vs wedding planner
Wedding venue coordinators are the behind-the-scenes proverbial conductors of your wedding orchestra, running the venue logistics like a well-oiled machine.
Important to note though that wedding venue coordinators are not wedding planners. Wedding planners whether that be a professional or your best friend, puts the vision of your entire wedding into reality. From managing your budget to the colour scheme, style and décor items. They work closely with the venue coordinator who is the point-person weeks leading up and on the day of your wedding.
The venue coordinator works for the venue and would be responsible for providing you with everything that has been agreed upon in terms of the contract and the venue’s facilities. They will give suppliers and your wedding planner access to the venue, ensure that the hotel facilities are in tip-top condition, and liaise with the staff on the night such as the catering, waiter and cleaning staff.
Be sure to chat with your venue coordinator to understand clearly his or her role and tasks. Then, connect with your suppliers and vendors for what they will be bringing in. Your venue coordinator will make sure all the moving pieces fit together perfectly. Think of them as the glue that holds it all in place!
Pro tip: The key is to arm yourself with a checklist of questions while hunting for your dream venue. Know what's included and what needs your personal touch.
2. Venue choice golden rule
Space is king! A venue needs to be the canvas that syncs with your creative dreams but don't forget to leave some wiggle room for those last-minute touches (and guests that forgot to RSVP!).
Pro tip: If a space says it can accommodate 100 people, then cater only for 70. You will thank me later! Bonus tip: The centrepiece placement (the bridal party table) sets the stage. As soon as we know where you want this placement in the venue, the rest of the planning falls into place.
3. Extra guests, no problem (not!)
You'd be surprised how often couples envision accommodating additional guests at the last minute. But reality can sometimes paint a different picture. That's where relevant experience comes into play. Although wedding coordinators have the ability to add last-minute guests while navigating the intricacies of logistics, it’s best to avoid this as far as possible.
Pro tip: Allow two RSVP dates for guests to respond to. One after the initial RSVP date, share a reminder message or mail to the guests who haven’t responded, encouraging them to confirm their attendance. If they have not yet responded by then, write them a short message saying how sorry you are that they won’t be able to attend and that you hope to catch up with them after the celebrations.
4. Trusted suppliers
Sticking with trusted suppliers helps to eliminate any unforeseen mishaps. Your wedding venue coordinator or planner has the experience and knows very well which trusted suppliers can help you turn your vision for your wedding day into a reality. Trust in their expertise in pointing you in the right direction.
Pro tip: Ask your wedding venue coordinator which suppliers he or she trusts, knows the layout of the hotel best and will offer you a first-class service.
5. Timeline triumphs A timeline is your trusty sidekick for a seamless day! Keep to it, especially to support the caterers and kitchen crew. Sticking to the schedule ensures your culinary items are served with finesse during the meal courses and your guests are engaged as your day effortlessly transitions between photographs, speeches and the first dance.
Pro tip: Slot in some buffer time for post-ceremony snapshots and designate a point of contact person from your squad to communicate with the venue coordinator and ensure all is still on track for a stress-free wedding.
6. Flexibility is key
Life's full of unexpected twists, and your wedding day isn't immune to surprises. Embrace the ebb and flow. Remember, Plan B can be just as dazzling as Plan A.
Pro tip: Balance your dream with a splash of adaptability.
7. Stick to your budget
For budget-conscious couples, here's a pro tip: Prioritise your biggest want, or need first and then inch your way through your checklist as your budget allows. Remember that not every shiny trend on social media translates well to your specific day or venue setup.