Your Day, Your Way

Your Day, Your Way: Expert tips on wedding planning from a local professional
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Event planner Katie Garnett of Asheville has over fifteen years of experience creating magical, memorable wedding days for couples in the Western North Carolina mountains. Together, with Mary Bell Events, she helps brides and grooms take advantage of the area’s favorable climate, gorgeous scenery, and stunning venues. Garnett has worked with many different event spaces; from classic locations like the Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Inn in Asheville to Old Edwards Inn in Highlands and smaller farms and barns in between, she’s adept at planning for any size celebration. Here are some tips from Garnett on how to pull off the perfect day. 

Think well in advance
Ideally, it’s nice to have a year to plan your event, but I’ve had clients who reach out up to two years in advance for the bigger ticket venues with wedding dates that are in top demand.

Choose an expert
Ask your prospective planner if they have experience with the venue you’re interested in or experience with the type of wedding you want. Research their past client reviews. They don’t have to know that particular venue, but it can be enormously helpful. Mostly you want someone who has a good track record and that you trust because it’s an ongoing relationship over several months to a year or more.

Listen to your intuition
My top planning tip? Go with your first gut feeling when making decisions. It’s easy to get lost in what’s trending or in seeing so many images, but to customize an event and make it yours, you’ve got to trust your gut.

Day-of advice
Try and stay together throughout your event as much as possible! If not, you end up experiencing two different weddings. It’s easy to get pulled away towards the many different people, but at the end of the day, couples have a more memorable experience when they enjoy their day together.

What’s trending
A recent trend I’m seeing—and loving—is wedding parties sitting down during the wedding to allow for a more intimate ceremony between the couple. Other more private moments I’m seeing are a last dance at the end of the night for just the couple, or a private or more subdued cake cutting without any onlookers.

Create an authentic event
Bring out who you are as a couple on your wedding day. Keep elements of tradition, but then think about what you can incorporate that’s unique and special. And do whatever makes you feel at ease and comfortable. Not into a bouquet toss? Skip it!

Bang for your buck
Determine your budget by what’s important to you. For some couples it’s music, so hiring a top-notch band is a must. For others, it’s florals or food and beverage. It can also be the view, location, etc. for who you are as a couple.

Small vs. large
Consider budget, family dynamics, and what is most natural for who you are as people (ie. limelight vs low-key). You want to strike the balance of what’s appropriate for the space as well. You don’t want a large venue to swallow a small guest count or max out at a venue to the point that it’s uncomfortable.

Be hospitable
Consider your guests’ comfort. From hot and cold, to bugs, and being thirsty or hungry, make sure those aspects are carefully considered so that at the end of the day your guests are treated well. As pretty as the flowers could be, it’s what they’ll remember.

Destination: known
Hire a planning company that knows your venue well. Very clear communication for guests traveling is a must. Send your Save The Dates as early as possible so they can plan. It’s also important to recognize if you have a lot of personal items, there may be some extra planning to ship or travel with them. And always insure!

Take it in stride
At the end of the day, let things be what they are in the moment; you can’t control every aspect and things may not go exactly as you envisioned (hello, rain!), but be open to enjoying the day for what it is.

Plan Ahead
To learn more about Mary Bell Events, call (828) 450-2209 or visit their website, marybellevents.com