Wedding Planning Top 10 Essentials

Last year I put together a list of the Top 10 things you should know before you start planning your wedding, and to be honest, I didn’t expect it to get as many reads as it did, and I was shocked at the number of people who talked to me about it. Now with the wisdom of 2017 behind me, I decided to make a new updated version. SO without boring you anymore in this intro and going on and on (like, subscribe, follow) here it is in no particular order:

  1. Average Length of a Wedding
    • 5 hours and 30 mins. From the pre-ceremony start to finish, with the average ceremony starting at 5pm (depending on the sunset for pictures). This ends up giving you about 2 hours of dancing, which in my opinion is the perfect amount of time you want for a guest count around 150 people. General rule following that: A lot more guests, more time; and vice versa.
  2. Wedding Coordinators
    • Unless you’re a Type A or you planned your wedding from age 3 in daycare, without a doubt, you will need a coordinator to help keep your sanity and guide you through this once in a lifetime event. Your stress levels and enjoyment of your own wedding will depend on it! But just as with DJs, not all coordinators are wedding professionals. You need someone with lots of experience, charisma, patience, and good communication skills. Take your time and do your research, but a coordinator is definitely the first (not last) vendor you should look into hiring in the wedding planning process. Check my preferred vendor page for some absolute rockstar coordinators and other vendors that I’ve worked with in the past!
  3. Rain Plan Venues
    • A big take away I learned from 2017 is the rain plan. Somehow this year,  on every Saturday it was predicted to rain, the rain cleared up in time for the ceremony. If the plan is to flip the room, make sure you have enough staff to do so in a timely manner. If you’re still gonna want to have the ceremony outside if it rains before, make sure the grounds won’t be in a swamp of water or mud.
  4. Know your guests vibe
    • One of the best ways to figure this out is to (in your own creative way) ask your guests for a few songs they would want to hear on the RSVP/Invitation. Of course you can later on put the ones you like onto your own playlist, but it will give you a better idea of what other people are gonna want to listen to. A professional DJ should be able to read the crowd’s vibe and rock any wedding, but there have been times when the bride and groom thought the guests wanted to hear one thing and it was the exact opposite. Don’t be afraid to ask in the spirit of making it fun for everyone, but don’t give into playing the chicken dance or Uncle Bill’s song that no one has ever heard of.
  5. Sunday Weddings
    • Sunday weddings are usually more laid back than Saturday weddings. Unless there is a national holiday on Monday, or all your guests are from out of town, or you just have some crazy friends and family, you’re gonna want to start earlier in the day and have a shorter (1 hour less) dance segment. The other observation is that people usually drink much less to barely at all, and the main topic of conversation is something along the lines of, “So do you have work early tomorrow?” With that being said, I have DJed some amazing weddings that were on a Sunday – it mostly depends on the guests and circumstances.
  6. Best 2017 Trends
    1. Champagne passed out during pre ceremony
      • Fun way to start the festivities off that I haven’t seen before this year being done so much
    2. Having multiple best men or maids/matrons of honor
      • Another new one that I haven’t seen so much of till this year. Some of the funniest and unforgettable toasts I heard this year came from the BM or MoH doing a combined toast.
    3. Personalized vows/ring exchange
      • My personal favorite. A few couples this past year either recited their entire vows and ring exchange, with their officiant doing much less talking than usual OR not even having an officiant at all (married before legally in courthouse). To me it was an amazing display of confidence in each others love and beautiful to witness. Which brings me to my next point!
  7. Officiants
    • At the no officiant wedding that I did in October, the couple officiated their own wedding and it was one of the most beautiful expressions of love I have ever seen. If the officiant is your mutual friend, Just like the toasts for the BM, MoH, he should SHORTLY talk about how he personally knows the couple, and then their love and history together, and then wrap it up with the vows and the rings. All Im gonna say is, from 2017 experience, make sure you now what the officiant is exactly gonna say and don’t let them make the show about themselves.
  8. Dripping Springs
    • My personal favorite spot for DJing weddings currently is Brazos Hall; however, the second best place to have your wedding is any of the multitude of beautiful Dripping Springs venues. Out of the 50+ weddings I did, at least 2/3 were in Dripping Springs this year – with most weddings bussing their entire wedding from the downtown Austin hotel to the venue, and then back at the end of the night. Check all those venues out because Dripping Springs is the new wedding Capital of Austin.
  9. Summer Time Weddings
    • I told myself I was gonna stop doing summer time weddings because they are so hot now, but I love what I do and I’m still taking them. So here is my most important advice to anyone planning a summer wedding: Make sure everything is inside and the venue can set the temp to freezing (Below 68). Some venues can’t go below 74 or it will shut down their AC. However, if you really want those pictures in an outside space at the venue, sitting through a out door, summer ceremony is already uncomfortable enough, so plan for the entire pre-ceremony to take place inside until the very start of the wedding. But under no circumstances have the cocktail/dinner/dancing outside – guests will be clawing at the windows and doors like melting wedding zombies. Even setting the temp at 72 degrees warms up uncomfortably quick when people start moving, dancing, and opening doors to the outside. Hot temperatures can really kill the vibe of a dance party.
  10. Average Cost of a Wedding in 2018.
    • Be ready for this one cause most people don’t expect it. The average price of a wedding in Austin, Texas when everything is said and done is around 30k. And that is average! Do the time to take your research on everything because I have heard some unfortunate stories from this past year. When you’re spending that money, you don’t want to do it the wrong way. That being said, if it were my wedding in 2018 you would find me doing it the way Ally with In Her Shoes Coordination did hers. A small private family ceremony in Austin at Camp Lucy and then second ceremony and party in Mexico! Catch y’all in 2018 ~ Nick