When I got engaged it was over the winter holiday season, not knowing any better we set a date for a wedding that spring. That was more than 20 years ago, and I was hardly an expert, so I brought the question to Riverside Farm’s General Manager Peter Borden.
Peter says getting your wedding off the ground in 6 months is totally do-able, especially with the backing of a good team. Here’s Peter’s 10 step list. It’s not an exhaustive planning checklist, but if you can hit these 10 items in order, you’ll be in good shape.
ONE: How Big Is your Wedding Going to Be?
One of the first things you’ll want to do is rough out your guest list. Peter recommends this as a first step for two reasons. It gets you thinking about who will be a part of your wedding weekend, and that gets pretty exciting. It also helps you get a sense of scale, the size of your wedding may influence the venues you can select from.
TWO: Mountain, Beach, Farm or City Wedding?
Decide the overall type of wedding you have in mind. Do you want a destination weekend where guests can bond and spend time together making lifelong memories (that’s what Peter and his team provide Riverside Farm,) or do most of your guests live in one area where you’d like to have a simple one-day wedding experience? Do you want the rustic elegance of a venue like Riverside Farm, or is an urban or beach wedding more your style?
THREE: Get your Venue Booked!
You may have to be flexible with your date, but sometimes last-minute planning like this can work in your favor. Ask your favorite venues if they’ve had cancellations. Either way, get the venue locked in, that will be the hub of your wedding plan.
FOUR: Let Everybody Know!
Now that you have a venue and a date you can get your wedding party, bridesmaids and groomsmen, onboard and send out your wedding invitations!
FIVE: Ok – Style Time!!
Now the fun part for most couples! Do you have a style or theme in mind? What do you want your wedding to look like? Black tie, square dance, we’ve even seen a “Great Gatsby” themed wedding. Now’s the time to choose the dress, the tux, and decide what the rest of the wedding party will be wearing.
SIX: Let the Venue Help you
Set up a meeting with the venue’s coordinator. At Riverside Farm Peter’s team will help you understand what they take care of and what you need to plan for. They will suggest trusted vendors you can choose from for things like flowers, photography, catering, video, and rentals. They’ve seen it all and can help you get through the planning process smoothly.
SEVEN: Connect with your Vendors
Make sure you touch base with each of your service providers, from DJ and officiant to photographer and caterer. Some meetings can be done by phone or skype, for others (like the tasting) you’ll want to line up in-person meetings.
EIGHT: The flow of the Day
It’s getting real now! Step eight is to plan out the flow of the wedding day. Let the venue team guide you as you decide the flow from prep and makeup to ceremony, cocktails, reception, toasts and dancing. You should have your RSVPs by now, so this is a good time to determine your seating plan too.
NINE: Fun for your guests
Are there special activities, games, outings or favors you want to provide for your guests? For example, Peter says S’Mores by the fire at the rehearsal dinner are popular at Riverside Farm. They offer miles of hiking and biking trails on-site, and are a short drive from golf, tubing or skiing at Killington resort too. If you plan a destination wedding, it’s nice to have a variety of options for your guests to stay entertained, even if the activity is a fresh cup of coffee with a beautiful view.
TEN: The big Moment!!
This is it! The day has come. Now it’s time to set all your planning aside and focus on your friends, family and future life partner! Step back, trust in the professionals to have your back, and enjoy!