Article by Pam Black, owner of Celebration House. First appeared in Die Beeld/Die Burger newspaper.
Many newly-engaged couples are alarmed to discover that a wedding today can cost as much as, if not more than, a small motor car! With this in mind, they naturally want to ensure that they make the right decisions when choosing service providers.
It is not unusual for popular service providers to be booked up to a year in advance and so while a short engagement might seem attractive, having time on your side, so that you are not forced into rushed decisions, is obviously the best way of making sure that you will not have to settle for second best. It also gives you the chance to see exactly what is available.
As your venue charges will more than likely represent the major cost of your wedding it is important to choose wisely and, to avoid disappointment, to book early. Before visiting a venue, always make an appointment, otherwise, if you happen to arrive while there is a function on the go, you will not be able to see all that the venue has to offer.
There is no denying the usefulness of the internet when planning a wedding, but a degree of caution also needs to be exercised when using it. I have often been alarmed at the inaccuracies found on some wedding websites and saddened, too, by the tales of woe from brides who have been disappointed by the lack of professionalism of some inexperienced service providers they have chosen from the internet. If you have found a service provider’s details on a website you feel unsure of, when contacting him or her, ask for references of weddings they have recently been involved in – and then check them!
It is for this reason that we strive to have up-to-date information on our website www.pamblackweddings.com and promote only service providers whom we know to be trusted names in the wedding industry.
When choosing service providers, try to find out as much as possible about them and their company and also how long they have been involved in the wedding business. Just because a bride has organised her own wedding, does not automatically qualify her as a professional function coordinator!
Remember that after you have sold the dress, eaten the cake and had the glorious honeymoon, all that you have left to remind you of your wedding are the photographs. It makes sense, therefore, to spend time on choosing the right photographer. When making your choice, ask to see examples of their work (preferably photos of a full wedding – not just their best shots) and unless distance makes it impossible, always endeavour to meet with them beforehand. Bear in mind that if you are having an evening wedding, the photographer could be around you for as long as eight hours, so it is vital that you feel relaxed and at ease with the one you choose.
As videographers also have different styles, it is advisable to view their work as well before making your choice.
When contacting a musician to play at your wedding, ask if it is possible to hear a CD of their work or, better still, if it is possible to view them in action.
Before making any bookings, you need to have settled on the style of your wedding and the number of guests you are planning to invite. Also make sure too, that you are happy with your dates and that there will be no need to change them. It is important to check that your Marriage Officer and venue are available on the day you have chosen before booking any other service providers.
Get it in writing!
Maybe it is because I am married to an attorney, but one point I also cannot emphasize enough is how vital it is, when making your booking, to get everything in writing from all the service providers you use. Ensure that you have written confirmation of all that has been agreed upon. This is especially important when dealing with large companies. If there should have been a change in staff after your booking and before your function takes place, you can then provide proof of just what was agreed to.
Always remember that, at the end of the day, it is your money, too, that is paying for the event. You cannot ask too many questions. Too often we are too polite and feel embarrassed to ask questions – don’t be!
The Cape Town Wedding Festival
One of the big advantages of attending a Wedding Festival is that it gives you the opportunity to meet, face to face, many of those directly involved in the wedding industry and to see first-hand what they have to offer, as well as how they present themselves.
Come and join us at the 15th Cape Town Wedding Festival and discover how planning a wedding can be stress-free – and lots of fun!
While wandering around the beautiful gardens of Rustenberg Wines in Stellenbosch with their stunning array of flowering plants and an interesting viewpoint around every corner, you can:
- view marquees filled with impressive displays – all you need for a successful wedding
- have the opportunity to receive advice from experts in the wedding industry
- be inspired by creative décor ideas
- take part in the Festival Competition and put yourself in line to win wonderful prizes
- relax in a stunning garden with a glass of delicious Rustenberg wine and light refreshments while you listen to live music by some of Cape Town’s top musicians
Best of all, because only recommended service providers are invited to exhibit at this show, you can rest assured that you will be meeting professionals with excellent track records!
We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!
We have ten free double tickets to the Cape Town Festival to give away.
To put yourself in line to win tickets, please call 0861 PAM BLACK.
The first five callers will each receive two tickets to the Festival.