Setting the Date
I think most people fantasize about getting married on a perfect summer's day. A sunny, hot day with blue skies and a slight breeze to cool the air! In reality these picture perfect summer days are few and far between in Cape Town. Unfortunately, weather is the one thing we cannot control and I have done many weddings in January, February and March where it has rained and, by the same token let us not forget that we can have pristine days in the middle of June. If you are having a beach wedding, particularly up the West Coast, you have to consider the wind factor and, if you are getting married in the Winelands (Stellenbosch/Paarl) you can experience extreme weather temperatures during the summer months. I personally can think of nothing worse than sweltering in a beautiful bridal gown, make-up dripping and rivulets of sweat running down my back. Interestingly enough, a photographer once told me that she would rather take wedding pictures on a slightly overcast or even slightly rainy day than in a howling south-easter. I speak about the weather as it is something we need to contend with and if you are planning an outdoor wedding make sure a Plan B can be put in to place should the weather turn inclement.
Now that you are engaged the next thing you will need to do is set a date for your wedding. Unless you plan to have your wedding on a specific date for a special reason try and keep yourself flexible for as long as possible, at least, until you have chosen your venue. Your response to the question "when is the big day?" can be : "we are looking to get married next summer" or "we fancy sometime in November, but first want to see what dates the venues we choose has available". It is my opinion that choosing the right venue is paramount. Does it provide the right setting for the reception you envisage? Does it offer the correct facilities for the number of guests you intend to invite? Do not get carried away with verbal promises and the enthusiasm of over eager function managers. Read the small print before signing and paying deposits. Are you sure that the all inclusive cutlery, crockery, linen, chairs etc., that they offer are the quality and type you want? Ask to see the linen and check that it is in good condition. Do the table cloths touch the ground when the table is set or, as believe me, is often the case, sit half mast up the table leg? Are the chairs acceptable to you or are they conference type chairs which will need to be adorned with chair covers? Will the venue supply the chair covers or do you have to hire them yourself? If the venue is a restaurant will they serve their usual lunches until 15h00 and therefore only allow your florist, co-ordinator to start setting up thereafter? What is in the small print regarding the use of draping or hanging lanterns from the ceiling? Do you wish to have your ceremony at the same place as the reception? Is the venue happy and co-operative regarding your using your own co-ordinator/supplier at the venue? Does the venue allow you to bring in your own wines and what would the corkage be? Check out the bar prices. Last but not least check out in their terms and conditions regarding music. Does your music need to end at 24h00? Do they have a restriction on the decibel level? This is often the case with venues in residential areas and/or on Estates.
At this point if you are going to be using a wedding co-ordinator perhaps you can make contact, check that they are available on the same date and chat to them about your choice of venue. Most co-ordinators will be able to give you their valued opinion regarding venues. Once you are happy with everything you can sign on the dotted line. You have set your date!
In my next post I will discuss budget.