Did you just get engaged over the holiday and now you find yourself asking – now what?!
Well, it’s time to hop into the wedding planning process now, because the sooner you get started, the more you will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy being engaged! To help you get started today, we have outlined five steps for you to take to begin planning your wedding with ease (and still have fun while doing it)! So, let’s get started!
#1 Hire a Wedding Planner
You can immediately eliminate a ton of pressure from the start by hiring a wedding planner. Who else will have all the best tips, tricks and ideas than a person whose entire career is spent planning weddings? You might ask what a wedding planner can do for you? In amongst many things, a wedding planner can help you establish a realistic budget for your big day while educating you on current trends, venues, and vendors.
Additionally, a professional planner (And I’m not talking about your Aunt Sally turned wedding planner for the day) can help you choose the best venue that fits your style, wedding size, and budget. A planner can refer you to florists, bakers, caterers, photographers and DJ’s whom they know personally and trust! You can cut down on the number of phone calls, and the time you would have spent communicating with vendors through hiring a planner because they will handle that for you. In turn, having less worry and stress will make the days leading up to your ceremony much more enjoyable.
#2 Begin Compiling a Tentative Guest List
It’s never too early to start planning your guest list. Choosing exactly which people you do (and don’t) want to invite to your wedding can be one of the most challenging parts of the planning process – so it’s a good idea to start early! Sit down with your fiance and start talking about who is most important. You can start by asking yourselves who must attend your wedding. Once you’ve established that, then you can begin chatting about which guests are still significant but a bit lower down on your list. Getting an idea of the exact number of guests you hope to invite is especially important when choosing the size of the venue you’ll need.
#3 Choose a Few Possible Wedding Dates
Flexibility is beneficial when planning your wedding, so we suggest selecting two or three potential dates for your big day! This advice might sound strange but imagine if your heart is set on one particular day and then you, unfortunately, learn your perfect venue is booked that day. With a few different dates in mind, you can more easily secure the venue, caterer, photographers, and of course DJ that you really want. Also just as a side note, some venues may have discounted rates on certain days – so being more flexible with the date of your wedding can also save you money if you are on a budget.
#4 Select and Secure Your Wedding Venue
Once you decide on your guest list and find a venue available on your day – book it! Do not make the mistake of waiting because most wedding venues book up very quickly, some as much as 18-24 months in advance. When it comes to wedding planning, it’s not just about “saying yes to the dress” but also “saying yes to the venue.” It’s imperative that you book your venue at the beginning of your wedding planning process. The venue quite literally sets the stage for every other step that follows it.
PS. If you need recommendations, we know some GREAT ones!
#5 Research and Hire Your Wedding Vendors
As we mentioned earlier, a wedding planner is a tremendous asset when it comes time to choose your wedding vendors. However, if you decide to do all the planning on your own then make sure you do your research. Bad vendors can destroy a wedding! Now is when I would like you to please pause and reread the previous sentence because I cannot emphasize it enough! This principle applies to your photographer, videographer, florist, baker, caterer and most certainly applies to your DJ and Master of Ceremonies!
Next, once you have done your research and decided on the professionals that you would like to use do not hesitate to book them. It may be surprising, but as a DJ company we have some dates that book out as far in advance as 12-18 months for us, so it is critical to book early especially if you are planning to get married on a Saturday, or during popular wedding seasons such as the Spring or Fall.
We know that all of this info is a lot to take in, but based upon our experience we promise that if you follow these five simple steps you will be on the right track to planning one memorable wedding! So Cheers from Brandon and I, and happy planning!! Oh and if you need a super cool and crazy fun DJ…..let’s chat!
Recently, Brandon and I had the privilege of being interviewed for a guest blog piece on Twin Oaks Farm Wedding’s Blog (see the original post here). Laura Lyn did a great job drawing us out with the questions she chose to ask, and we thought all of you might like to know us a little more intimately as well. So here you go!
Will you share your love story with us? How did you guys meet?
Brandon and I met while I was visiting a friend of mine in Albany, GA for the weekend. I lived in Florida at the time, and Brandon was down in Albany visiting the same couple on the same weekend. I found out later that he had heard I was coming and wanted to meet me. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no idea who he was until I met him that weekend. I didn’t even pay him much attention until Saturday night when everyone decided to begin singing karaoke. He went up to sing, and to my surprise, he was very good! It peaked my interest in him, and the rest is really history. We’ve been together ever since.
What was your wedding like?
Our wedding?! Well, let’s start by saying this. From the time we got engaged to the time we got married was 7 weeks!! Yes, we planned our wedding in 7 weeks, and no, we weren’t pregnant. lol Our schedules were just very busy at the time and spring wedding season was quickly approaching and is one of our busiest times from a business standpoint so we decided why not just go ahead and get it done. Thanks to the fact that we had so many great friends in the wedding industry we were able to pull together an amazing winter wonderland themed wedding in just weeks. We had a small intimate garden ceremony with only 30 guests and then followed up with a large 250 guest wedding reception in Downtown Macon. It was truly a blast and we wouldn’t change a thing!
Alright, tell me a little about your DJ business. When did you open? What do you specialize in?
Brandon created the business in August 2011 under its original name Macon Nite Life. When he initially started, his focus was on small events and evening karaoke gigs because at the time he was still employed full time as an electrician. We met in February 2012, and I still remember asking him what he did for a living, and he said, “I’ve been an electrician for 12 years, and that’s what I do full time, but I’ve also recently started a DJ company.” When he mentioned the “DJ company part” I literally laughed and moved on to something else because it didn’t sound like a “real job” to me.
Well fast forward a few more months, and I went with him to a wedding he was DJing. As I was there, I started to see that being a Wedding DJ is so much more than the random party DJs that I had seen in the past. As a wedding DJ, you truly have to command your audience. You have a lot on your shoulders and so many things to coordinate. There are no second chances once you pick up that mic, it’s on you to make sure that your couples special day is exactly the way that they wanted it. To my surprise, Brandon did this very well, and I thought to myself I think we should do this DJ company thing and if we are going to do it, we need to do all that we can to be the very best.
So…..six years have now past since that wedding, and many changes have been made. Brandon said goodbye to electrical work. We now are known as Legacy Events 119, and through much personal sacrifice and hard work we managed to create an award-winning luxury entertainment company specializing in DJ/MC services, lighting design, and photo booth rentals that spans two states. What a ride it has been!
For any other couples that may decide they not only want to do “life” together but also want to WORK together…like you guys, do you have any worthy advice for them?? 🙂
It’s important to set boundaries and know each other strengths. In running our business Brandon and I each have our owns roles and assignments. Brandon obviously handles the events and is the face of the brand. He handles wedding flow, wedding vendor relations the day of, and of course all of the entertainment needs of the day. I, on the other hand, am in charge of branding decisions, marketing, social media, and networking. By capitalizing on each of our strengths and remaining “in each other’s lane” has allowed us to truly work together successfully. Now when it comes to our home life and who is in charge of what chores…..well we still haven’t really figured that one out yet! lol It’s a work in progress.
Let’s talk about brides and grooms for a minute. What is your biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms when hiring not only their DJ but all of their vendors?
To be blunt….you get what you pay for! This applies to every vendor category, but specifically when it comes to hiring a DJ it cannot be stressed enough. When you begin researching DJs while planning your big day you will quickly find that there is a very wide price range. In short, there is a reason for this. There are amateur DJ’s and professional DJ’s out there and unfortunately unless you do your research on this before your wedding day (which we beg you to do) you will not realize the key difference between the two until after your big day has already happened and it didn’t go the way that you had hoped. To summarize, a professional wedding DJ/MC handles far more than just playing music at your wedding. Simply put, playing the music is the smallest part of what a wedding DJ does. The key to a awesome wedding DJ at the end of the day is how well they can handle the flow of your event and do they do it with class?! You must always keep in mind that the DJ you chose is standing in front of your guests representing you and is responsible for creating a welcoming atmosphere for you and your guests throughout the entire event. In summary, you have worked so hard planning your wedding day. You have the most beautiful flowers, the most awesome venue, you have found a dress unlike any other bride that came before you, and your photographer is fire….. don’t leave the “experience of your wedding day” to chance. Studies have shown that guests remember two things at the end of the night, Was the food good? and Did they have a good time? The experience matters so make sure to give it lots of thought when planning your very special day.
I may be a bit presumptuous, but I think that almost all couples want a FUN wedding. What’re the keys to success for a fun wedding?
Interactive couples! Through the planning process, we need as much input from the couple as possible. What makes them happy? What is fun to them? Over the years what genres of music have they enjoyed with their friends? What music did they listen to with their friends in college? These are all important things to share. When wedding day arrives though there is one thing that truly effects how “fun” a wedding is…. Brides and Grooms must join their guests on the dance floor! Guests feed off of their couple, and if the couple insists on hugging the side wall all night often times their guests will be more inclined to as well. Everyone loves to see the happy couple on the dance floor enjoying themselves. They came to celebrate with you, so make sure you celebrate with them!
We are just getting into 2018 wedding season. Do you foresee any big trends when it comes to receptions for this year?
Hands down the biggest wedding trend of the year is having a fireworks show! We have already had the pleasure of celebrating with two couples this year that included a fireworks show at their reception, and have another upcoming couple planning to do the same. It makes for lots of fun, and the guests truly enjoy it.
What do you feel like you guys provide to your couples that sets you apart from others in the industry? Like, what do you “hope” that your couples say after working with you?
Well here is where we could go on and on and bore you by saying that we have the most state of the art equipment, lighting that can transform any room, and an awesome online planner that couples love to use. And, all of those things would be true, but one of our recent brides wrote a review about us after her wedding and said one of the best things we had ever had written about us. Caitlyn said, “They are just all around genuine and cool people that you want to be your friends long after the wedding is over!” That one sentence summarizes what we hope all of our couples feel after working with us.
You guys have worked at venues all across the Southeast. What kinds of things make your job easier when working at a venue?
Good communication! We like to know in advance where we are to set up when we arrive, where power is located and if their are locations on the property where power isn’t available, is there shelter for our equipment at all times, where are we permitted to load in our equipment, and one of the most important things for us to know is where can we park during the event. Parking can be a real challenge, especially at inner-city venues.
Fun Facts About Us Rapid Fire Style!
What do you listen to in your car?
Lindsay: Depends on my mood! But, its usually between country music or hip-hop and every once in a while I throw in some old school Sam Cooke or 90’s artist such as Jewel or Alanis Morissette.
Brandon: My XM pre-sets in my truck are- Pop2K, 90s On 9, The Highway, The Heat, SiriusXMFly, and The Blend
Your favorite song to play for ceremonies?
Lindsay: Hands down “My Last Name”-Dierks Bentley
Brandon: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”- Stevie Wonder as the ceremony recessional
Current favorite song to play at receptions?
Lindsay: “Finesse” Bruno Mars & Cardi B
Brandon: “I Want To Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston
Most cringe-worthy song request?
Lindsay: Honestly I am so over brides walking down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. I can say this because I even used it to walk down the aisle at my own wedding, but it is now truly the most overused wedding ceremony song to me.
Brandon: “Single Ladies” by Beyonce for the garter bouquet, Saying that this song is overplayed and overused would be an understatement.
What’s your prediction for hit First Dance songs for 2018?
Lindsay: “You Make It Look So Easy” Jason Aldean
Brandon: “Millionaire” Chris Stapleton
First Dance song that you consider tired and overused?
Brandon & Lindsay: “Thinking Out Loud”-Ed Sheeran
Favorite wedding food you’ve ever eaten?
Lindsay: Any wedding with a mashed potato bar. Mashed potatoes bars are my jam!
Think about the last fun wedding you attended. What do you remember most about it? Among the first things to pop into your mind were probably the food, the drinks, and the music. Those are the top three aspects of a wedding that guests say they remember the most. Now that it’s time for you to plan your own wedding, we are sure that you want your family and friends all to have a good time, and remember your special day for years to come. So we put together eight steps you can take to ensure that your wedding is as fun as it can be!
1. Provide transportation
Providing guests transportation is crucial in the event they will be coming from out of town and staying in a hotel. Offering them a ride from the hotel to the wedding venue will keep their planning to a minimum. Plus, they’ll probably have a great time riding a bus or trolley to and from the wedding venue together. This will help keep spirits high and contribute to your guests’ feeling involved.
2. Allow your single friends to bring a date
This might drive up the cost of your wedding, but allowing your single friends to bring a date will pay for itself in good times. Go ahead and pay for a few extra plates of food and invite them to bring their significant other, even if you don’t know them. Who knows, your wedding could be the start of another beautiful relationship, and soon you might get an invitation in the mail for your best friend’s wedding.
3. Give your guests an itinerary
You have worked hard to plan the events of your wedding day, so why not share the plan with your guests? This will help make your guests feel that they are fully involved in the wedding, and with specific times for each event, they’ll know what to expect and when. You don’t have to go crazy with this. Just include the essentials, like what time intros will begin, what time dinner will begin, and when the dance floor is scheduled to open.
4. Keep downtime to a minimum
Plan the timeline for your special day to ensure that you keep the action constant. Too much downtime allows room for guests to become bored. A great way to prevent this from happening is by providing music during cocktail hour, drinks, hors-d’oeuvres or even a photo booth. There shouldn’t be any question about where or when guests can grab a drink, and don’t keep them waiting too long before you open the floor for dancing. As long as the drinks are flowing, the music is upbeat, and there are plenty of snacks before dinner, your guests will feel satisfied and welcome.
5 . Make sure the music isn’t just for you
It might be tempting to choose all your favorite songs for your wedding playlist, but you have to consider your guests. Feel free to pick plenty of songs you love, but make sure you sprinkle in some that your guests will enjoy, too. Keep the music upbeat and fun so your guests won’t have to think twice about getting out on the dance floor.
6. Ask toasters to keep their speeches short and sweet
Wedding toasts can be fun, but if they drag on for too long, your guest’s minds are bound to begin to wonder. Nobody wants to listen to your best friend drone on for twenty minutes about how much she loves you. Politely ask your toasters to keep their speeches short, that way you and your guests can get back to the party.
7. Offer late-night food options
Even after eating a full meal, drinking and dancing takes a lot of energy. It’s a good idea to consider offering some munchies for your guests to eat toward the end of the night. This doesn’t have to be a full second course, just something simple like chips and dip, sliders, or mini tacos. Choose something that fits the theme of your wedding, and offer it to your guests to snack on while they party.
8. Lead the way by having fun yourself
Perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring that your guests have a great time at your wedding is by having fun yourself! If your friends and family see that the bride and groom are happy and enjoying their wedding reception, they are sure to join in the fun. Don’t let the stress of wedding planning carry over to your wedding day. That’s all behind you now, and you deserve to enjoy yourself.