Ahhhhhhh hello… welcome to my first ever rants post in Temecula Wedding House! I started this list of wedding do’s and don’ts a good while back and over the years I have slowly added to the list and even cut some things out. What ya see below is a short list of things to consider in order to have a seriously kick ass time on the best day ever!

What!? You say you’ve never done this before?! …you are in uncharted waters and unsure about how to approach or tackle the in’s and out’s of planning your Temecula wedding and details?  Well, good news for you.. I’ve done a few of these over the past half dozen or so years… I’ve seen the good, bad and down right ugly:

  • Bride falling through her own cake?? check!
  • Brother of the bride fist fighting dad and driven away in the back of a cop car!?  check!
  • Wave crashing and soaking a bride as she walks down the aisle?! yeah, that happened too..

Weddings on the whole are planned events that are often laced with totally unpredictable results. However, all of these disasters that I just listed could have been avoided had they just been planned for even the slightest bit.

Lets start from the beginning. You are engaged and need to find a place to get married. You are thinking somewhere out in Temecula?? So far so good!! Temecula is a beautiful place to get married with a lot of variety. Choose between outdoor rustic DIY or even something on the classy side at one of the dozens of wineries in the area. There are sooo many ways you can take this and we are here to help! Know that once you settle on the Temecula wedding venue that will play the background to your day you will need to determine what is most important to you when it comes to finding all the rest of the pieces of your dream wedding day. A local Temecula wedding photographer, DJ, officiant, cake, flowers, are all primary and essential pieces of the puzzle… not to mention all the added pressure these days for all kinds overly cutesy pinterest type details. Try not to get overwhelmed by all of this and let this list below help guide you to the most excellent wedding partayyyyy ever!

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Wedding Dos

  • SET A BUDGET – these things get out of hand REALLY quick if you let them. You can find your self 5 or 10K over budget if you don’t maintain control and keep things in perspective.  But how to keep in control?? Keep reading…
  • WRITE A LIST – prioritize what is MOST important to you for your wedding in Temecula. Put it up top of your list. then work your way down to least important.  EXAMPLE: you are most concerned about having a kick ass party, one that you and ALL your guests will remember!! You will need to start with a venue and lock up a date. For a rocking party you will need either a Friday or Saturday wedding. Don’t even bother with Sunday [even if its a better deal] unless its a long holiday weekend. Guests bail early on Sunday weddings cause they “have to work” the next day. Its the LAMEST excuse on how to slip away from the most expensive party you will ever throw on the biggest night of your adult life. So make sure you lock up a key party night [fri/sat] which allows your guests a full day to nurse their hangover! Annnnd while we are talking about venues.. you might wanna make sure to find one that wont pull the plug on ya at 9 or 10pm cause they are outdoors and have some lame noise ordinance policy. Unless you are cool with that! Cause if you are dropping 10-20K on this party, it needs to end when you want it to and not once it gets primed up for takeoff!  Once you figure out the “where” and the “when”, next on your list will probably need to be entertainment and coverage.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT – An amazing wedding DJ or live band will keep your party rocking till the bitter end. You know when the shirts come off and the ties go around heads like Rambo and people end up in the pool. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the most cringe worthy, gawd awful DJs out there. No mixing ability. Messing up the couples name. Computer crashes, music dies. no playlist… or straight up NO SHOW. Yeah, it happens and I’ve seen it all. Spend the few bucks extra on someone with amazing reviews online and ask em if you can come pop in on a wedding they are rocking. Most any confident and kick ass band or DJ wont mind you watching them shine. Evaluate how they are not only when playing the music but speaking to the crowd. Some DJ’s can mix but fall short of MC skills. You don’t want a overly polished car salesman cheese-ball, but at the same time you dont want a dude that struggles to pronounce your [new] last name and is stumbling over his own words.

  • PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEO –  You said you wanted to remember the day, right?? well then you are going to want coverage. GOOD coverage. Cause I’ve been there before and I can tell you at the end of your wedding day… its gonna be kind of a blur with stand out highlights here and there. Time speeds up and slows down… its emotionally and physically exhausting. When its all done and the cake has been eaten and the flowers get tossed out the ONLY thing you are going to be looking forward to are your photos/ video. A good wedding videographer / photographer not only lands the expected moments… but also the ones you didn’t even know were happening. Make sure you hire someone whose work EXCITES you. Even if that means skipping on your daily latte habit for 6 months and drinking dirty toilet water coffee. You’ll thank me later [once you get the taste from your mouth].  .  .  .  Whats that you say?? someones friend wants to practice on ya?? for free?? no thanks! This is a day you leave to the pros. Someone with proper PROFESSIONAL camera equipment and a few dozen weddings at the very least under their belt. Cause just cause someone says they are a photographer does NOT mean they can handle a wedding. Now to shed light on the other side, cause as photographers developing, we all gotta start somewhere. I know I did… and when I was first starting out in Temecula Wedding Photography tossing $600 packages with 8 hours coverage [including engagement shoot] I didn’t know what the HELL I was doing. The people that hired me liked my portfolio at the time so they gave me a shot. I learned what to do and what not to do on them. I missed a lot of shots along the way to where I am now so if you don’t mind missed moments and blown opportunity then photography will be lower on your list and you will be fine going the cheaper route and letting a beginner build portfolio on ya 😉  I could honestly do a whole post on this part of the budget [so click here –> if you want the scoop on hiring a kick ass photographer for your wedding] just know that when it comes to coverage [most of the time] you are paying for gear and experience… years upon years of it. That experience is knowing where and when to be in order to land epic shots. There are no repeats or do overs on the big day… Soooo if you want awesome moments like the one above, keep that in consideration and choose wisely.

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  • HIRE A COORDINATOR – If your wedding consists of multiple locations, more than 100 guests + large bridal party  you probably want to consider hiring yourself an experienced local wedding coordinator. An experienced wedding coordinator is the difference between your dream wedding and a nightmare. They are your buffer. I’ve seen it. The world could be burning down around you and you’d never know it with a good coordinator cause they know how to roll with the punches and get things back on track. If you don’t want every problem smacking you in the face throughout the evening, do yourself a favor and hire an amazing wedding coordinator to keep things going smooth. Feel free to check out our hand picked wedding planners in our wedding vendors section.. we got ya covered.

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  • WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS – This is a big one. Remember how I said your wedding day is going to be a blur?? Well, when you come down the aisle is when time slows down. Up in the front of everyone is intense and time speeds back up. It can be so intense that the words you are going to be told to recite by the officiant will go in one ear and right out the other, GUARANTEED. That is if you can even recite them when prompted. You’d be surprised how often this happens.

Officiant: “now repeat after me….”

Groom: “______. ”

Lost in a moment, he never even processed a word that was spoken from the person marrying them. He takes a nudge from his best man back into reality and tries to recover, stammering over words that don’t even compute… trying to push through. Yeah.. it can be brutal up there especially if you aren’t one that likes to have ALL eyes on you. So if you want to connect to the moment and enjoy it you are going to need to be present and nothing makes you more present than writing your own vows. It keeps you connected. Not only that but you will each be hanging on each others every word. It brings tears from guests, from each other and makes for amazing photos. So just pony up and write your own damn wedding vows… even if its only a few short sentences.

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  • FIRST LOOK – Again, another bit I could do a whole post on… and I think I have in the past but let me break it to ya like this. If you want to alleviate stress on the big day and slow the speed of things down and enjoy your party then you have to do a first look! For those who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about… a first look is when you will see your lovely for the first time on the big day, and it takes place BEFORE the ceremony! A private moment, just the two of you [no brides maids or groomsmen, unless you want them]  your photographer will set you up to see each other and document those moments. There are no outside distractions, just the two of you, in a bubble of excitement. Its beautiful and makes for amazing photos. These pics are a slam dunk cause you are all sorts of giddy and excited.. totally in your own world together and some of the best pics of your day will come from here. Bridal party pics and sometimes family photos can follow depending on how much time you allow. Its stress free shooting and you are getting it out of the way early so that after your wedding you can chill with guests, hit your cocktail hour if ya want.. or even slip off just the two of you and decompress and bit. I can’t tell you how many times I am told by our brides and grooms [after the wedding] just how thankful they are to have done a first look and that they had that quiet moment together before it got hectic. The day goes by fast and there are a number of standout moments that will stick with you. This is one of them.

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  • HOST YOUR BAR  – All night is ideal! You’ve been a guest at a wedding, you know how nice that is to not have to buy drinks at a party you were invited to!!  At the very least you must host your cocktail hour… Hosting is the best way to keep your guests raging into the early hours of the morning [if you want]. IF you can’t afford to host it after cocktail hour, try a different approach and ONLY host beer and wine. That will keep your tab down and it’ll go farther.  I’ve seen entire tables roll up and order rounds of shots on top of premium cocktails. Quick way to kill a bar tab. So unless you brought the booze in yourself to this party and are simply paying the regular cost of things it might be a good idea to keep hard alcohol off your tab. If someone really needs a shot they can buy one, trust me… it becomes easier and easier to do the later the night gets and the more they consume.

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  • EAT DINNER –  Soooooo many times the bride and groom don’t even eat their own dinner. It’s nerves, I think? but I’ll see their plates untouched as they go table to table saying “hi” to 200 guests. Then what happens is they get thirsty and drink.. and after a loooooong day of buzzing around and not eating and then skipping dinner and pack the booze in, you can ruin your wedding night by getting shitfaced on just a few drinks. Remember that bride I mentioned that fell through her cake??? yeah, too much booze.. and it wasn’t even that much. No food on board will do it every time.

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  • GET SOME SORT OF OUTSIDE ENTERTAINMENT –  If having a party to remember is important to ya then consider pulling in some sort of outside entertainment for your Temecula Wedding. Photo booth rentals for weddings are popular as ever.. as are other games like oversized Jenga or corn-hole. Perhaps bring in live music and have them just for a set or two to break things up. Dessert trucks like Cool Haus or even ben n jerrys are popular but I’ve even seen roll your own cigar bars, Chinese dragon dancers, and fire-breathers roll through and perform to liven things up. If having a kick ass party is on your list get creative and have something to break up the night so its not 4 hours of DJ set… unless you happen to lock up a killer DJ, then by all means, let the beat rock!  😉

Alright, alright, enough of the Wedding day do’s.. I’m sure there are more and I can always add to it but how about some DON’Ts ?? cause if you want this party to go off right then there are definitely a few things you shouldn’t do.

DON’T: 

  • GET MARRIED IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER – This one is pretty straight forward but I’ll use it to move into a few other points as well. Don’t make your guests sit in 110 degree weather to watch you get married in order to save a few bucks. Nobody wants to do that… you know what its like being a guest, just put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “would I wanna be doing what I’m are requiring of them?”  It gets hot in Temecula in the summer.. I swear the desert heat has jumped the mountains and many days can push well past 100 degrees.
  • OUTDOOR RECEPTION IN THE MIDDLE OF “WINTER” – On the heels of that I will say if you are having a November or December wedding then you are going to need to make sure you have adequate heating. If your wedding in Temecula is at one of the many outdoor winery locations just know that off-season IT GETS COLD at night out here. Even with a dozen space heaters spread out I can already tell you what your reception photos are going to look like on a cold night >> A bunch of people crowded around space heaters!! THAT IS, unless you have the alcohol hosted. FACT: alcohol makes you warm and fuzzy and may even make your most uncoordinated guests break out on the dance floor [which also makes’em warm] so the more booze the better in a winter outdoor wedding.
  • GO AGAINST GUT FEELINGS – This one is obvious but so many times ignored! If you get a weird feeling about something during the wedding planning process or even on the day of, listen to it. This is the universes way of saving you from disaster. I can’t tell you how many times stuff goes down and a bride or groom tells me they thought that it was gonna happen. For whatever reason, they saw it coming. Now there is a fine line between being a dooms-dayer and getting an obvious feeling about something… so you are going to have to know yourself and stay in tune but I do honestly believe that gut feeling is a thing on the big day and in planning everything leading up to it. So from choosing a venue, to meeting with all your vendors along the way… Don’t disregard your instincts.
  • MAKE YOUR GUESTS DRIVE MILES AND MILES TO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS –  Sometimes you have a couple that gets married in a church but wants the party wayyyyy the hell out in the hills for a rustic vibe. Guests have to navigate treacherous windy roads to get to your next spot. Blame Siri but they often get lost, sometimes break down and most every time are guaranteed to be running late for one reason or another. Make life easy for your guests. Find locations that are nearby hotels or other lodging facilities. Book a shuttle if the distance between hotels and your venue is far. That way they can enjoy the party, have a few drinks and not be burdened by the fact they drove to your party !!
  • SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF – I know it gets crazy the day of and if you are a nervous person and have anxiety its important to keep yourself in check. Things are going to go beyond your control. Did you hire an awesome coordinator?? If you did, you’ll be fine. If not… well best of luck in the events of the day and I hope things go smooth. But listen, if things start to unravel its important not to fixate on them and let them ruin your day. Especially something as trivial as a boutonniere missing or not enough centerpieces. Nobody really cares about the details. I’ve had brides lose their shit over stuff that didn’t matter in the scheme of things and in turn totally waste their day/night upset about something they no control of. Be gracious and be in the moment. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

AND THAT IS THAT! YOU FOLLOW THESE GUIDES AND YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO AN AMAZING DAY

MY FINAL BIT OF ADVICE I LEAVE YOU WITH:

BE IN THE MOMENT! Pinch yourself if needed! You will likely never again have all your favorite people in one place like this celebrating you… so it is important to be present and enjoying what you do have… not dwelling on any tiny detail that didn’t come together.  Yeah, this is your day but you are hosting the party. BE A MOST EXCELLENT HOST!! Make it a night to remember. Take these tips above into consideration and I guarantee you will have the most amazing wedding! One your guests will remember and talk about for years to come.

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