(Editor's Note: Article provided by Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel )
TeriLynne Petersen, Director of Catering and Weddings for Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel, has seen it all: the DJ who thought the “Chicken Dance” was a modern-day hit; bridal party members who showed up to the ceremony exhausted and bleary-eyed from the night before; brides and grooms who have gone so far over budget they’ll still be paying off their wedding on their tenth anniversary.
In her role, TeriLynne has been witness to several nuptials gone awry and helps the many couples who celebrate tying the knot at Wyndham Virginia Crossings avoid such headaches on their big day. The Richmond-resident has planned over 500 wedding receptions during her 25-year career; she has also helped many couples plan their ceremonies on the grounds and in the gracious banquet rooms at Wyndham Virginia Crossings, which was recently named by The Knot as a top Virginia wedding venue.
“Many wedding day headaches can be prevented with thoughtful and organized planning,” she says. “Couples often get engulfed in the excitement of the wedding -- as well as the stress that comes with preparing for marriage -- and sometimes do not think in terms of the big picture. At Wyndham Virginia Crossings, we are there every step of the way to help couples plan a smooth and memorable day.”
What can couples do to avoid wedding disasters? TeriLynne has tenhelpful tips for planning a wedding day free of troubles:
1. Do it in Style - Yours
Many brides and grooms forget to infuse their own personalities into the ceremony and reception when planning. The wedding should be representative of the couple and the life they will have together. Elements like invitations, favors, flowers and vows can be personalized to make the couple’s wedding their own.
2. Choose the Officiant and Master of Ceremonies with Care
Lackluster officiants and bland MCs can ruin ceremonies and receptions. Petersen recommends couples should consult with married friends and family, as well as the staff at their reception venue, for recommendations. Furthermore, establishing a respectful and cooperative relationship with these key people and providing them with the information they need will help make the day a true celebration of the couple.
3. Stick to a Budget
It is incredibly easy to spend beyond your budget in the blink of an eye. Many couples throw costs and caution to the wind, but being in debt is not the ideal way to start a life together. TeriLynne says couples should determine a budget and use it as a tool to figure out what is important to them, what they can cut, where they can save and where other income may be available.
4. Have a Back-Up Plan
Many couples forget to plan for worst case scenarios. If having an outdoor wedding, she advises couple to have an alternate plan in place in case of inclement weather. She also recommends providing a trusted person a list of vendors, phone numbers and expected times of arrival and bringing a bridal emergency kit with essentials for last minute snafus.
5. Remember: the Ceremony is the Main Event
The wedding ceremony is the main event, while the reception serves as a celebration. Put thought into the music, readings and vows that will make the ceremony memorable and personal.
6. Don’t Over-Indulge the Night before the Wedding
TeriLynne says the night before the wedding is not the best time for a bachelor or bachelorette party or over indulgence at the rehearsal dinner. The bridal couple and bridal party should have fun, but also be well-rested for the next day.
7. Be Considerate
While the wedding day is about the bride and groom, she counsels couples to act as good hosts and take others into consideration. For example, she recommends couples be clear with the bridal party about expectations and commitments. Couples should take action to ensure guests are comfortable and know what to expect: make water and fans available during warm temperatures and provide guests with activities during down time. Petersen also encourages couples to recognize that guests may have prior plans or experience difficulties coordinating travel for a holiday-timed wedding.
8. It Takes Two to Wed
Wedding planning can and should be the responsibility of both people getting married. Petersen suggests couples set aside regular time to talk about ideas and set wedding-related goals with realistic timelines.
Consolidating many or all of your wedding services at one venue can provide greater efficiency and cost savings.
10. Ask Questions
The only bad question is the one couples are afraid to ask. Every question is important. TeriLynne encourages couples to call or e-mail wedding vendors with questions to help put minds at rest and stop trouble in its tracks. Finally, if something does go wrong on the Big Day, brides and grooms should practice taking deep breaths, thinking about the big picture and, above all, keeping a good sense of humor!