When it comes to designing wedding events, Linda Howard of Linda Howard Events has produced some sensational celebrations that have been seen in the pages of Inside Weddings for years. Based in Los Angeles, California, Linda works hard to make her clients her top priority in order to ensure that they have the wedding they always envisioned.
Find some of her expert advice to frequently asked wedding questions, below. An expert in making brides feel beautiful, confident, and relaxed on their wedding days, Linda also offers her tips for staying calm on the days leading up to the big event.
Q: What comes first, the guest list or the venue?
A: Make certain to solidify your guest count before falling in love with a venue. How sad would it be to cut out people that you want to be there due to a reception room and a dance floor being too small?
Q: How far in advance do I need to shop for my wedding dress?
A: I suggest scheduling your first appointment 8-10 months out. If time is not an issue, enjoy “shopping” for your most favorite wedding gown. You will be surprised to see that you will fall in love with a gown, and will then spend the rest of the time comparing the other gowns to it. Stores will try to get you to commit, but gowns can still be received on time if you order them 5 months out. So, do not get nervous… enjoy the experience!
Q: What questions do I need to ask the venue?
A: How many people can the ceremony site hold? Reception site?
How large will the dance floor be?
Are there any sound restrictions?
What time can the reception go until?
Can we bring in specialty desserts, candy bars, etc.?
What time can the vendors come in to set up?
Can we bring in our own wine or liquor?
Can we bring in our own cake designer?
Q: Who, exactly, should be invited to the rehearsal dinner?
A: Customarily, your rehearsal dinner will be made up of your bridal party, their significant others, your immediate family, and your out-of-town guests. But, if your spending limit does not accommodate that, you can plan a rehearsal dinner for your bridal party, their significant others, and your immediate family. Around 8:30 p.m., you can invite all of your out-of-town guests to join you for a “welcome dessert reception” where everyone will be together to participate in the fun and festivities.
Q: How do I stop feeling like I forgot something? What is the most common thing brides forget to plan for their wedding?
A: The best way to feel “prepared” for your big day is to organize your thoughts on paper! I always suggest that my brides keep a pad of paper and pen next to their bed at night. That is when all of the thoughts come swirling into your head. If you don’t write them down at the time you think of them, you will never remember your thoughts in the morning. Create a checklist of items to bring with you on the day of the wedding. Take the time to check off each item.
Linda Howard's 3 Tips for the Days Leading Up to Your Wedding:
1. The best way to stay calm and relaxed is to be organized. The week of your wedding should be spent getting ready, greeting all your out-of-town guests, and enjoying the special moments. If you do not have a wedding planner, then make certain to hire a day-of coordinator. You should be able to pass over all of your paperwork and let her take over the coordination of all of your hard work and planning.
2. Purchase a portable-and-collapsible clothing rack. Begin to try on and place the clothing, shoes, and purses you will be wearing for the rehearsal dinner, your wedding day, and the morning-after brunch. Do this the week before your wedding, and then don’t think about it again! It is best not to go into your closet for any of these items. Also, you should think about the jewelry you will be wearing for these events, and place the selected pieces in a box the week before the wedding.
3. Remember to get a floor plan from your venue a month out that shows where your tables will be placed in the room, along with the dance floor. Number the tables. Place all of your guests at their tables two weeks before your wedding. Create place cards for everyone according to their table number. Do not wait until the week of the wedding to do this because it will stress you out way too much!
Opening photo by Laurie Bailey Photography