Monday, April 4, 2011

Step 37 - Interview and Book your Decorator

(6 Months to 9 Months before the Wedding)
The wedding reception facility should inspire and awe! The first time your guests see the place they realize they are truly at a special occasion. Everything looks so perfect, you feel like your in heaven. Everyone feels like it's the best day of your life. That's why you need the services of a decorator to get you to a blissful place.

You can start by looking at lots and lots of websites or magazines to give you inspiration. You can focus on wedding related websites and you want to search for decorators as well as decorations, remembering to keep to your theme and color scheme. Cut out or print out images that interest you and put them into a baggy that goes into your wedding planner/organizer. Remember to staple the bag to your tab for wedding decorations. Jot notes down too, if anything tickles your fancy.

After a few months, you need to decide, do you need to find a decorator or do you want to take on the decorations yourself. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to interview a few decorators, if you find one to your satisfaction, great, if not you might be able to pick up some ideas.

Decorators come under a number of different headings, and the one to choose depends on the vision you have for the decoration style, the venues decor and if they have any restrictions, and your budget that you have to work with. The type of decorators you have available to you are; the true wedding decorator, a party decorator, the event planner, some wedding planners include decoration as part of their services, some florists also do decorations, and some balloonists do decorating with a balloon focus. You might investigate all of these but the best pros tend to be the decorator and event planner.

As you begin your meetings with each decorator, you should provide the decorator the specifics such as the date and location of your wedding, the amount of guests you are expecting, the budget you are working with, and bring along the pictures and printed pages that captured your attention. You want to interview the decorator, ask about their background, how much experience and training they have and you want to see work from weddings they have personally decorated in the past. You want to see their work, but can draw inspirations from pictures from other weddings.

The important thing in your interview with the decorators, does your sense of style and their sense of style do they meld, and does your communication and personalities meld. You want a decorator that you can brainstorm ideas with. You don't want a decorator that just takes what you say and runs off with it. A good decorator works with you on a two way street, discusses ideas, investigates, reports back to you, shares the possibilities, gains your approval, and puts together a beautiful plan.

Although your budget is important, be wary of decorators with prices too low, do some background checks on decorators you are thinking to go with from the better business bureau, put in their business name in a search engine and have they had any complaints, check their website out, and get referrals from other couples that decorated their wedding. Also, check if they are decorating a wedding in the upcoming weeks if you can stop by to take a glimpse at it. A successful decorator should have a thriving business. Also ask for their business card, do they have insurance, does their email address make sense? If they have a showroom and/or office check their location out before deciding to book with them.

If the budget is very tight for the wedding, you can save a lot by decorating the wedding yourself. You need to keep to your wedding theme and color scheme and make your own step by step plan of action. If you have some artistic instincts, you may surprise yourself and may even blow your guests away. Your guests may be amazed when they hear that you created the decorations yourself!

You can start at the wedding ceremony entrance, with a guest book, signing pen, and color themed fresh flowers or topiaries on a small table. One idea is to replace the guest book with a wedding scroll. Put a large engagement picture of the two of you on an easel nearby. If there are steps leading up to the site, place inexpensive pots of flowers or plants on every step or if there are a lot of steps every other step. The pots can be given away as favors later at the wedding reception. Have an immediate family member not in the wedding stand at the entrance and greet the guests and hand out colorful wedding programs, explaining the wedding program, schedule, and directions and include facts, stories, pictures, and poems about and from the wedding couple.

Along the aisle, consider an elegant red, white, or ivory carpet and line the pews or chairs with pew bows, and depending on the width of the aisle place three inch wide velvet, white, or color schemed arches connecting every third row of pews pr aisle chairs. Potted plants or flowers can line the aisles too. If there are chairs consider white, ivory, or color schemed chair covers. Don't forget to have the flower girl sprinkle elegant rose petals down the aisle right before the bride.

Decorate the altar too with large bows, potted plants or color schemed flowers, two candelabras on either side of the altar, and decorate the remainder with flowers, ribbon, and tulle fabric. Purchase a beautiful unity candle set and decorate the base with flowers. Decorate banners, railings, or columns with ivy garlands, swags of flowers, and wrap around them white Christmas lights.

For outdoor weddings, start with a white lattice arch or gazebo with lots of decorations with white or ivory tulle, or color schemed fabrics. Add ribbons, flowers and greenery creating a beautiful place to stand while exchanging your vows. For other ideas on ceremony locations spots consider places with stained glass windows or scenic locations with beautiful architecture or scenic background on a beach, lake, skyline or cityscape. For an outdoor wedding, be sure to cover the chairs with color schemed chair covers. Rent torches to place at the entrance and regular intervals especially if there are mosquitoes in the area. Decorate tree branches with small white lights. Put a theme adornment near the entrance location to give your guest's an inkling what's ahead.

At the reception entrance, provide a guest book table and pen, adorn with flowers, and place a large photo of the couple on an easel. Have a second easel with a seating arrangement or the names of guests in alphabetical order on a decorated table. You can have the names of guests on a folded card at the entrance table or on a tag holder at each of the ceremony tables. You can have a family member stationed at the gift table as guests arrive, creating a pyramid effect with smaller gifts on top of larger gifts. Use a color schemed decorated box to collect the cards. You can decorate the gift area with flowers or plants.

If gifts are being collected at an outdoor space, collect them using a country wagon, a large cart, stacked hay bale, a hammock, a picnic basket as a centerpiece, or other country scene. If gifts are to be opened at the reception site use a large upholstered chair with two coffee tables on either side and chairs surrounding the spot. Decorate the space with color themed flowers or clusters of balloons.

For the reception area start the decorations off with color themed fabrics for the tables, chairs, place mats, and napkins. Place clusters of balloons or potted plants at the entrance and each of the corners. Also you can place helium balloons tied to the back of every chair. Best colors of balloons for weddings are white, ivory, gold, clear or color schemed. Consider confetti or other balloons inside of the balloons for a striking effect. Remember to place the balloons high enough so they don't block the view of your guests, fill helium into the balloons as close as possible to the wedding ceremony. Helium in many balloons lose their gas over time and will float to the floor around seven hours into usage.

As for table centerpieces there are thousands of different decorating ideas you can incorporate. You can hang decorations from the ceiling. One idea is to start with a 5 to 10 inch foam ball and cover with hot glue and decorate with colored flowers, plants, ribbons, colored fabrics, and different ornaments. You can use a guy wire overlaid with tulle fabrics, starting from the corners to the center of the room using white, ivory, or color schemed colors creating a glamorous effect. You might consider balloon arches or a balloon drop which can coincide with the cutting of the cake or couples departure.

There are thousands of ideas for wedding table centerpieces, there are many different styles of vases that can be used for decorations that can be filled with plants and flowers, pillar candles, mini lights, water, dyed water, water marbles, colored marbles, rocks, colored light tubes, and even add pyrotechnics. Other ideas include using bowls, water or colored water in bowls, decorated styrofoam, candles, votive candles, mirrors, flowers, flower petals, or sculpture designs. Even the bridal bouquets from the bridesmaid can double as table centerpieces.

Elegant color scheme wrapped wedding favors and decorator name tags can add some more elegance to the decor of the reception table. The lighting in the reception area can be enhanced too with updraft flood light, white or color schemed Christmas lights or even Chinese lanterns can be hanging from the ceiling. Don't forget to decorate the buffet tables with hors d'oeuvres, desserts, coffee, or even candy buffet. They can be decorated with color schemed fabrics and strategically placed mirrors, candles, plants and flowers.

Lastly, don't forget the wedding cake, the wedding cake table should be set up away from a wall and away from a dance floor and on a sturdy table. The table too should be decorated with white, ivory, or color schemed fabrics. The wedding cake is the centerpiece of the wedding ceremony. It should look scrumptious and fabulous and include a beautiful unique cake topper. You can add some edible glitter, decorations, and flowers to the cake. Another location for the bridal bouquets are the four corners of the table if the wedding cake table is square rather then round. Silver or crystal punch bowls remain popular for weddings, coffee bars with espresso, lattes, or liquor are popular too.  Also consider chocolate fountains, candy buffets, and ice sculptures add to a fabulous wedding. Don't forget the champagne.

If you do use a wedding decorator make sure everything agreed to is covered in the contract, review the contract thoroughly with the decorator. Put the decorator in contact with the florist and leave with the name of the florist you are working with, their phone number and email address. Pick up a business card from the decorator. Arrange for a meeting with the two preferably at the ceremony site and reception center or at one or the other's place of business. Touch base with the decorator at least once a month and especially at the last week before the wedding to work out the details.

So that's the story of interviewing and booking your decorator, see you next time on the other side!

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