Dreams Do Come True: Wedding Guide

Today marks the very important day where I answered yes to Nate's proposal! Still, to this day, I can honestly say our wedding day was one of the most perfect and joyous days of my life. Marrying my best friend was a dream come true and then to top it off, Mayfield Events made our wedding day/process completely easy and magical. I wanted to share a blog post about our wedding experience and process to help all of you Bride and Grooms plan the wedding of your dreams.

The Proposal

Ladies, I got lucky and found myself a keeper:) No offense to Nate, but I still cannot believe he pulled off keeping the proposal a secret! I'm super into romantic movies and constantly want my life to be like a Hallmark film, so knowing this, Nate planned the most breath taking proposal ever! Here's how it went: One of my dear friends had asked if I would take sunset pictures of her and her boyfriend at the dock (where Nate and I had our first date) so naturally being a photographer, I agreed. Earlier in the day, Nate had also planned to have another one of my good friends come into town so we could get our nails done (guys reading this, your soon-to-be fiance will be so happy if this is done before the proposal, trust me). So, I woke up January 10th, 2016 thinking it would be a normal day catching up with a friend to get our nails done, taking pictures that evening, and then going to dinner that night. But nope, Nate had different plans for me. Also, to make it easier on him not to spill the beans, he was gone almost the whole day because he "had to go home to help his dad and mom with housework". In order for me to be dressed somewhat cute for pictures (since I had no idea I'd be in any) Courtney called me a few hours before and asked if her and I could take a few "friend" pictures while we were together. Come picture time, we first stopped at the park to take some photos (now I know they were just stalling so Nate could set things up and that I would show up just in time for the sunset). Then as we drove to the dock, Nathan (Courtney's boyfriend) was secretly recording a video for what's to come. As we get out of the car and start walking down towards the dock, I could barely walk because I wore heels that were way to high, so the whole time I'm just focusing on not trying to roll an ankle before we get out there to take their photos. As we get closer to the dock, I hear Thomas Rhett's "Die a Happy Man" playing and see a large crowd. I also notice some of the people were holding signs that said "Will", "You", and "Marry..." so I immediately stopped reading the signs and panicked! I tried to turn around and basically run away telling Courtney and Nathan we have got to go because we are about to ruin someone's proposal. Only for Nathan to polity point out I needed to look at the man on the dock holding the "Me?" sign. It was Nate, obviously, and I was in utter surprise! It was so perfect! The dock was lined with candles and rose petals, he had invited a lot of my close friends and family who held signs, a beautiful song was playing, my reaction was recorded through videos and photos, and it was all organized without me having a single clue. So guys, if you're trying to plan a big proposal, my man should be your go to guy ;) Thank you Jennifer Lynette  Photography for capturing our proposal photos!

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The Wedding Planner

(Which also included: DJ, Guest Photo Booth, and Florist)

We used Mayfield Events Complete Wedding Planning for our wedding and it was easily the best decision! Working with Laura and her team was honestly a blessing because I had no clue what I wanted or how to go about the planning process. During our first meeting with her, I remember feeling nervous because I was unsure of what to expect and I was worried about planning the wedding of my dreams while also staying in budget. From the moment Laura started talking, I completely felt at ease. She was very kind, had a plan, and most certainly knew what she was talking about. They were able to bring to life our wants/needs while staying in our budget. My mom, Nate's mom, and myself met with her several times throughout our engagement to ensure everything was staying on track of what we wanted. Because we booked the complete planning package, Laura was with us every step of the way. She even set up the food and cake tasting and was there for both of the meetings with the vendors. I will forever be grateful for her team. Then to top it off, they surprised us with a flower arrangement at the wedding alter that brought me to tears. Adding flowers at the ceremony was out of budget, therefore, I was not expecting anything fancy to be out there, but before the wedding Laura pulled me to the side and said she wanted to show me around the venue. Everything was breathtaking! Her floral team and decoration team did amazing, and then we step outside and there were the flowers hanging above the alter! Her team gifted us with flowers outside at the ceremony making my heart so full! They even went above and beyond to get a police escort for a trip to the Men's Warehouse when my brother showed up with the wrong sized pants right before the ceremony started. So would I recommend using their services? Absolutely!! They offer many different packages to fit all types of budgets. We used them for our decorations/flowers (stunning), our DJ (they did awesome), and for our photo-booth (again, very impressed).

Things to discuss together before hiring or meeting a wedding planner:

- Have a budget in mind

- How many people are you planning on inviting ( A great rule of thumb for trying to decide who to invite: Have a total goal number and then divide it by 3. For example lets say you plan on inviting 200 people, the bride and groom get to make a list of 100 people, brides parents make a list of 50 people and grooms parents make a list of 50 people. I would even recommend each of the bride and groom make your own separate list. Then compare both of your lists to find out who you both felt was important to be there on your wedding day).

- Your preferred wedding date

- Your vision for your wedding. The planner will obviously help with this but it helps them when you have an idea of things you like and want. Create a board on Pinterest and have it ready to show your planner!

Questions to Ask the Wedding Planner:

-Do you have our wedding date open?

- What made you want to become a wedding planner? (It's important to really get to know your planner, find out why they work in the wedding industry, and make a good connection with. This will be the person you will be working very closely with during your engagement and you want to be able to trust that they have your best intentions at heart and that you will both be able to work together to develop your dream wedding without either one of you stressing the other person out).

- Describe the most challenging wedding you planned and how you handled the problems that arose.

- How many weddings have you planned, and may I see a portfolio? (if you are planning on booking them for decorations).

- Is wedding planning your full time job or part time job?

-How often and what time can I be in touch with you?

-Are we required to book only vendors you recommend or can we hire outside vendors you haven't worked with?

-Will you be present at all of the vendor meetings and will you assist us in reviewing all of the vendor contracts and making sure everything is okay?

-Will you invoice us for all the vendor fees or will we need to pay each one of the ourselves?

-For vendors who will be on site the day our wedding, can I provide you with checks for final payment that you will distribute to them?

-If issues arise with the vendors before, during, or after our wedding will you handle them or are we responsible for this?

-What packages do you offer?

-What parts of the planning are we responsible for?

-How many assistants will you have?

-If something prevents you from not being at the wedding who will be the backup planner?

-What time will you arrive and depart the day of our wedding?

- Will we be responsible for cleaning up or will that be you and your team?

- Will you stay on site after our wedding to ensure that everything has been broken down and all vendors have left the location?

-Will a timeline of the wedding day and a floor plan be provided?

-How many meetings will there be before the wedding?

-Is the wedding day rehearsal included in your packages?

- Do you offer any packages that include assistance in finding wedding dress and wedding party attire? If not would you provide that service for an additional charge?

- Will you provide us with a breakdown of how the money is going to be allocated?

- How do you charge for your services? Hourly, percentage of the wedding cost, or flat rate?

-What is your payment policy?

-How much of a deposit is required to book your services, and when is the final payment due?

-What is your refund or cancellation policy?

(Scroll right to see more photos)

The Venue

We toured several different venues before booking the perfect one. My advice is to do your research online by first making a list of 5 venues you are interested in and then be sure to tour all of them before making any final decisions. Some venues look good on paper, but don't always live up to your dreams while other venues aren't really on your list but end up being your favorite ones. I instantly fell in love with The Wellington- Banquet & Conference Center the moment I walked in. I had not actually planned to even tour there, but I'm so very happy we did. I took my mom and mother in law with me for the tours. I recommend bringing a notepad like they did (I was unprepared, oops) and taking notes about each place. Write down things you liked about it, things you were not happy about, their prices, things they include, and things they do not include.

Have a list of questions prepared to ask the venues such as:

- What dates are available in the month I'm considering?

-How many people does this location accommodate?

-What is the rental fee and whats included with that price?

- How many hours does the rental fee include, and is there an overtime fee if stay longer?

- How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable?

- What is the payment plan for the entire bill?

-What forms of payment do you accept?

- Can I have the ceremony here as well. Is it an additional charge?

- Are there changing areas for the bridal party?

- Can we have our rehearsal dinner here or morning after brunch, if so at what additional charge?

- What is the cancellation policy?

- Do you have liability insurance?

-Do you provide a in-house caterer or do I have the option of using an outside caterer?

-Will I have access to kitchen if I provide my own caterer?

-Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I need to have bring my own?

- Can we bring our own wine, beer, champagne, or hard liquor?

-Do you provide a bar staff or will I need to provide one.

-Am I allowed to supply my own decorations?

-Do you have an inventory of decor such as lighting, candle holders, or vases we could borrow?

- Can we use candles, confetti, sparklers, fireworks... etc.

-Do you offer on-site coordination? What services does this include?

-What security services do you offer? Will I be responsible for providing security?

-What time can my vendors start setting up?

-Are there noise restrictions?

-Is there parking on site?

-How many restrooms?

-What overnight accommodations do you provide? Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds?

-If no accommodations are available, what are the nearest hotels to the venue.

-Is this site handicap accessible?

-Can decorations be picked up in the morning?

-Ask for phone numbers of the person in charge of unlocking and locking up the venue.

-Do you give discounts booking through a wedding planner?

MOST IMPORTANT READ READ READ THE CONTRACT BEFORE SIGNING IT. If there is anything in the contract you did not discuss or agree upon during the tour be sure to call for clarification.