Summer is one of the most popular times in Austin to get married, and for good reason. The picture-perfect blue skies and low-risk for rain make it the ultimate moment for memories and amazing photos. Plus, it’s easier for guests to take off time to travel if need be. How do you make sure your wedding stands out among all the others, though? Here are a few tips for throwing the wedding of the summer.
Set the Date
Summer is a prime time for weddings–and vacations. Since most of your guests will be planning ahead for this time period, be sure to send an announcement out well in advance. For out-of-town guests, be sure to also include information about fun things to do in Austin while they’re in town. Your wedding website or a separate print-out that goes in the mail with their invitation are great ways to pass this info on–plus your guests will love how thoughtful it is!
Finding the Perfect Venue
Austin and central Texas are filled with an array of diverse wedding venues–from hotel and resort properties to private venues and even ranches! There’s plenty to choose from to suit your needs. And with the summer heat, picking the perfect location for your ceremony and reception is especially important to ensuring everyone has the best time. A pro tip: choose an venue that has both indoor and outdoor options. The Hyatt Lost Pines, Hideout on the Horseshoe, and Mercury Hall are all great locations. Your guests can float freely through the different party areas, such as a ballroom and an outdoor terrace. Everyone will stay comfortable in the air conditioned spaces or can enjoy the outdoor elements if they so choose.
Plan the Party
Of course, the ceremony is the most important part your big day. It’s the moment you commit yourself to your partner amongst family and friends. But after it’s all said and done, it’s time to party! After the ceremony, the music will easily make or break the evening. It’s important to hire a DJ that can work with your requests and read the crowd to ensure everyone has a great time.
There are many different ways to entertain guests at a wedding reception. While some couples choose to DIY a photo booth, the best way to really involve guests and capture the moment is by setting up an actual photo booth. Guests will surely enjoy any props you set out. It’s also a great opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind guest book by having guests place the photos next to their names.
Let’s face it: your dress is up there on the “most-important-things-list” when planning a wedding. To keep your cool (and the photos chic) stick to lighter, flowy fabrics such as cotton, chiffon, or crepe. For the men, be sure to keep their tuxedo fabric breathable as well, and opt for open-backed vests for maximum comfort. If your wedding is outside, skip the long train that will only gather grass stains, and avoid skinny heels that will get stuck in the summertime grass. As for your hair, curls and sculpted updos tend to fall out in the hot, humid weather. Work with a hairstylist to find an option that will withstand the weather and make you feel like your most beautiful self, like a low ponytail or trendy braids. Guard against a shiny face with plenty of blotting papers tucked into your purse as well.
Food (And Cake, Of Course)
From large to small, there are numerous ways to make a nod towards local Austin cuisine at your wedding. Start with the natural crowd-pleasers, like barbeque or creole cooking. If you’re looking for something a more refined (and little less messy–BBQ sauce is no fun to wash out of a wedding dress), you can work with a local chef to create a gourmet version of classic Texas dishes. If you’ve planned your wedding to be in an especially super-hot piping time of summer, lean towards a light and airy menu. Summer salads of mixed greens and seasonal fruit are a great option, along with a cool summer soup and fish such as tuna, halibut, oysters, and shrimp. The heat can do terrible things to some of these menu items though, so be sure to keep all seafood, cheese, and meats stored in supercooled serving dishes to avoid spoilage. Be sure to also keep your cake in the fridge so it won’t melt in the hot sun. An extra special touch–add frozen drinks to your bar menu to keep your guests extra comfy and happy.
Florists know this time of year makes it challenging to keep your flowers fresh. Be sure to select an arrangement with seasonal buds, and remind your florist to pay extra attention to their water sources during transportation. Bouquets of Austin and Gypsy Floral are two go-to local florists. You may also want to prepare for pictures by having a backup bouquet just in case!
Adding an Austin Touch
Wedding themes should reflect the style and taste of the bride and groom. The decision you make will resonate in every decision from here on out, from the venue, to the food, to even the style of table you choose. To really add an Austin touch, find a wedding favor that showcases the local flair, such as a custom-labeled Texas BBQ sauce, a bag of secret-recipe chili spices from your favorite restaurant, or a gift from a local leather maker.
All Things Considered
It’s important to consider the time and money your guests have invested in your big day. If your wedding is set for a Saturday evening, it might be helpful to supply guests with nearby activities and attractions.
Dedicating a special area for guests to refuel will also do wonders in keeping the party fun (especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony!). Rent water dispensers and set them up at the entrance of your ceremony so guests can grab a cold drink before they settle in their seats.
Hand-held fans are another great way to cool down under a hot sun, plus they look great and are fun for guests to take home. Most times, you can have these customized to a color and print of your liking to coordinate with your theme. Sunscreen is also a great and necessary party favor. Be sure to have insect repellent ready too if the sun will go down during your ceremony.
Gratuity for wedding and event vendors is a subject that has various opinions, from various people. If you're planning a wedding, quinceanera or event, in our market (Austin & central Texas), or anywhere, then you're likely wondering about gratuity for all your vendors. Be sure to read every contract, thoroughly. Many vendors actually require a certainly percentage for gratuity, and it's stated right in their contracts. We often see 18% - 20% added on to the total bill.
Is this fair? Depending on who you're asking, the answers will vary. My thoughts are, what if you're not happy with your service? Are you still required to give a tip? That part doesn't seem fair to us. Tipping should be completely optional, and it is with us. We certainly are always happy to receive gratuity, but it's never a requirement. We do encourage our clients to tip, if they feel like the service deserves it.
We are aware that many companies are owned and managed by completely different people than who will actually work your event, so this is a way for those companies to offer a nice incentive to their employees, as part of working with the company. The people who actually work your event usually get paid a small fraction of what your total cost is, in most cases. So gratuity is certainly appreciated by those staff members, of course.
I won't take a side on whether a company should pay their staff more, to avoid the staff from depending on tips, but for us, this is what we choose to do. We want our staff and clients to be happy. We pay our DJ and photo booth staff very well, in order to keep them happy and so that they don't have to depend on a tip. If they do get a tip, it's a nice bonus, but never expected.
Our one suggestion would be for brides, grooms, parents, or whomever hired the staff, to actually be the ones to give the tips. It's much more meaningful and appreciated when the client(s) directly give(s) a tip and mentions how happy they were with the service. We know that people are busy at the end of the night, but it's certainly a nice gesture and is always appreciated.
Another reason we encourage clients to directly give tips, is to consider the possibility of the planner or coordinator losing the tips. This has actually happened at one of our events. The coordinator came up to us at the end of the night and asked if we saw any money on the floor. We didn't. She said, "well, I had the tips, but I think they fell out of my pocket." She then proceeded to give us a crinkled up $20 bill and said, "here's your tip. I didn't lose your tip, I lost mine." We thought it was odd, but just said "thank you." We then helped her look around, but didn't find anything. We're not saying that this will happen, but know that it can; it only happened to us, once.
Additionally, we've also had a few brides and grooms come up to us, at the end of the night, thank us, and say, "I left your tip with the coordinator." We of course said thank you, but never actually received a tip from the coordinator. When we mentioned it, the coordinator said "they never gave me a tip, sorry." We left it alone, but this has happened a few times. We're not suggesting that anyone was lying, but we thought it was strange that this happened. The good thing is, we set our rates so that we don't depend on tips. So if we get a tip, great. If not, that's fine, too. :)
Overall, be sure to thoroughly read your contracts and find out exactly what is required. Ask questions about the requirements and be sure to ask "what happens if I'm not happy with the service or product?" If you're completely happy with your service, sure, feel free to tip. In lieu of a tip, it's always nice to leave a review for your vendor. For us, great reviews are just as appreciated as gratuity!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
We're excited to announce that we've added a magazine to our website! Our blog is quite popular and is updated by us, weekly, but we didn't want to stop there. We've added our magazine for even more information on weddings, quinceaneras, parties and more. Find wedding planning tips, wedding-related stories, party planning tips, wedding trends and more! Please visit our magazine, to read plenty of great articles, updated daily!
The best part is that it's great info for weddings and events, not just in the Austin and central Texas area, but everywhere! Simply click the link, below.
Austin's Best DJs Wedding & Events Magazine
We love Amazon and are in no way affiliated with Amazon, but we have to tell you about this awesome article in our new magazine! Besides providing music and entertainment for weddings and events throughout the Austin and central Texas area, Jason & Diana are also certified wedding & event planners. They write the hand little blog that gets over 10,000 visitors per month! We do this to help our clients and anyone who is planning a wedding, quinceanera, party or event. Whether you need a DJ, photo booth, lighting, wedding planning tips, or anything else for your event, you can find our helpful articles, here on this blog! Check out the article about Amazon wedding planning, below.
How Amazon Can Help You Plan Your Wedding!
If you're planning your wedding, then you're most likely very overwhelmed, right now! We know exactly how stressful wedding planning can be. There are so many details to think about and so many details NO ONE ever thinks about! Luckily, Jason & Diana, of Austin's Best DJs, are certified wedding/event planners and we're here to help!
Here is our free, sample wedding day timeline template. This template is perfect for anyone planning their wedding, whether you're a DIY bride, or you just want a little more control over your wedding day and let's be honest, who doesn't? :) Using this template helps you easily plan your day of timeline. If you're a DIY bride, this is a great starter template. If you already booked a planner or day-of-coordinator, this will help him or her get a better idea of your wedding day vision!
All you have to do is download the file below and enter the details specific to your wedding. This is a general template and not every detail is included, since each wedding may have different details; however, this is a great template to start with!
There are lots of 2018 wedding trend articles floating around the internet. We've also written an article, discussing 2018 wedding/event trends in the Austin and central Texas area, which are the same trends everywhere, as well. We came across this great article in the Huffington Post, discussing 27 Genius Ideas, as well. Here's the article: 27 Genius Wedding Ideas Your Guests Will Talk About for Years to Come.
We've seen several of these in our fall weddings, and many of our clients are choosing to add many of these options for their 2018 weddings. Some of the more popular ones from this list that we're seeing added to many weddings and events are: Karaoke, lawn games & giant games, glow stick send-off, photo guest book, and more. Contact us for more info about adding optional upgrades for your wedding or event!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
When Do You Send Out Wedding Invitations?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions planners get asked, as well as one of the most frequently searched wedding- related questions. If you're planning your wedding or event, this is certainly one of your top priorities, since your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It's special, mainly because it's one of the few days where you get to have all your closest family and friends, together, to celebrate your special milestone with you! So let's answer this question, thoroughly, along with several other frequently asked wedding invitation questions.
First, once you have your wedding date picked out, you need to determine how much planning time you have. Ideally, you should have at least 12 months to plan your wedding. More, if possible, but 12 months is plenty of time. After you've booked your venue and other vendors, and you've created your tentative guest list, you should send save-the-date cards (or digital reminders) to your guests. Save-the-date cards should be sent out 6-8 months in advance.
When to Send Out Wedding Invitations
When you send out your wedding invitations will depend on where your wedding is. If you're having a wedding in your city or town, and the majority of your friends and family live in the area, then 6-8 weeks in advance should be fine. This gives your friends and family plenty of notice to write it in their calendars, make plans and arrangements and clear their schedules to be there. If some of your guests have to fly in, then you need to give them more advance notice.
If you're having a destination wedding, you certainly need to send out invitations earlier. You should send out invitations at least 3 months in advance, so they have time to make travel arrangements. This also goes for a non-destination wedding, for those guests that need to fly or travel long distances, to be at the wedding.
When Should You Make the RSVP Deadline?
Be sure to make your RSVP date at least 1 month before your wedding date. This gives you plenty of time to make the last minute emails and calls to guests who have not responded to your invite. You can also make a private, Facebook event, to communicate with your guests, too. Many couples also make a personal wedding website on one of the wedding websites, such as The Knot or Wedding Wire. Be sure to include your wedding website info, or Facebook page info, on your save-the-date cards. For your formal wedding invitations, you can include a card or insert, with your website/Facebook info.
At the one month mark, you have a pretty good idea of your headcount. At the three week mark, you've already followed up with guests who have not responded, and you should have your final headcount to send to your catering vendor, baker, florist, and you can also begin your seating chart(s). It's a good idea to give this headcount to the DJ, as well, since they will need to know how many people you're expecting (so they know what type of set up to bring for the ceremony and reception).
If you're having an adult-only wedding, be sure to make this very clear on your save-the-date and/or invitations. If there are a lot of children in your family, perhaps consider searching for a babysitting service, or even kid-friendly entertainment on the property, but away from the reception, with people to monitor the kids (family, friends, or babysitters). We've seen some weddings include a few kids activities and a jumping castle, which worked well. We never saw a kid on the dance floor the entire night! :)
How do You Explain Your Wedding Dress Code?
This is pretty straightforward. Simply write your dress code on the invitations or online invites. You can write "formal, black tie, cocktail attire," or "casual attire" on your invitations or inserts. Most people are aware of dress codes for weddings, but it never hurts to write it, just in case.
How do You Limit Guests and Plus-Ones?
If you're on a tight budget, and some of your guests are not in a serious relationship, you can certainly address the invitation to only that particular guest. Most people will understand that if the invite does not specifically state "plus-one," then it's only for them. Those guests who aren't sure, will most likely simply ask you if it's okay to bring a guest.
Can I Invite People Only to the Ceremony or Only the Reception?
Generally, you should invite people to both the ceremony and reception. If seating is limited for the ceremony, it's okay to send out separate invitations to guests for only the reception portion, but it's not common. We've seen clients invite guests to the dance portion, only, which is fine. If possibly, plan on inviting your guests to your entire wedding.
Overall, these are the most common invite practices. There are obviously exceptions to all of these things. Simply do what's best for your situation and budget. As always, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask us and we'll be happy to help. You don't have to be our client! :)
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
The week is finally here, yay! If you have done all of the other things, listed in our other 2 posts, you shouldn't have too much to stress about! Here are the final things to do, the week of your wedding.
Overall, we know planning your wedding can be a long, exhausting journey, but rest assured, it's worth it! As the company owners and certified wedding/event planners, weddings are our life! We're always happy to help with any tips or suggestions. Please feel free to send us an email and we'll be happy to provide help!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
If you're planning a wedding, quinceanera or event, chances are, you have already created a Facebook invite, maybe an Instagram hashtag, and perhaps a wedding website. Though we're in the Austin & central Texas area, we know that this is the case for most weddings and events, worldwide! Cell phones have become such a major a part of our lives that most people simply cannot attend an event, or even go through a regular day or two, without texting, or using social media to post about their daily activities. It's the norm and it's just what we've become used to.
Believe it or not, there was a time before cell phones, where people attended weddings or events and did not take pictures with their phones (remember the old disposable cameras), did not text people, did not post on social media, etc. People simply enjoyed the event and lived in that moment. We actually attended a comedy show, with Dave Chappelle, a few weeks ago, here in Austin, Texas. Dave Chappelle created a no-phone policy and had everyone get a "Yonder" pouch upon entry. Everyone placed their phone in the pouch, and it was locked by a staff. You could keep your phone with you, but you had to have it on silent or vibrate and could not access it, until after the show, when they opened the pouch for you, at the exit. I thought wow, he must be very concerned about people taking video of the show and sharing it online; however, I also thought, wow, this is the first time I've come to an event in a while, and did not use my phone! What a brilliant idea!
Well, why not "unplug" your wedding or event? You'll already hire a photographer and possibly a videographer, so there will be plenty of great pictures and videos. If you want to share those pictures and videos with your guests, you can always post them on social media, later, or send them via email or Google drive, etc. You don't have to go and buy lockable phone pouches, but simply ask your guests to turn their phones off (or on silent) and to please not take pictures or post on social media. Then, you and your guests can fully enjoy the moment, with no distractions, just like the days before cell phones! All thanks to Dave Chappelle or to our blog! :) Just kidding, but really, it can be done!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Wedding Sparkler Send-Off
When it comes to send-offs, by far, the most popular send-off for the weddings we do in the Austin and Central Texas area is the sparkler send-off. It looks GREAT in photos and is easy to do! You simply need to buy sparklers, bring a way to light them, and a bucket with water! Buying sparklers isn't too hard, either. There are plenty of websites that have them for sale. The prices can really vary, depending on the seller and on the size you need. We recommend 36 inch sparklers, since they last about 3-4 minutes, each. 20 inch sparklers are okay, but they only last 1-2 minutes. You'll need longer time, since you have to light everyone's sparkler, before the couple walks through!
The site we use to purchase our sparklers, is "Wedding Day Sparklers. They have the best prices and great products. Find your sparklers, here: weddingdaysparklers.com/wedding-sparklers/
Wedding Bubble Send-Off
Bubble send-offs also look great for pictures! Keep in mind, however, that the lighting has to be bright, so the bubbles show up well in the photos. If you want to do a bubble send-off, try scheduling a "mock send-off" early. You can have all your guests line up, early in the evening (just before sunset photos is a great time) and take send-off photos! They'll look great and all your guests will be in the photo. Then, you can go right back inside and party! :)
Neon Glow Sticks Send-Off
If you don't like the idea of actual fire or if the venue does not allow sparklers, glow sticks are a great alternative! They look great in pictures, too! These can work in day or night settings and you simply need to have your guests grab one on their way out. No time wasted, waiting for everyone to light their sparklers. Keep in mind many of your guests may be "tipsy" so lighting sparklers can often take longer than it should! :)
Other more environmentally friendly send offs are great too! Bird seed send-offs, which have to be done in brighter settings, unless the photographer has the appropriate lighting, which they should. Another alternative is leaves! In the fall, the various leave colors look amazing in photos!
These are the most popular send-off ideas that we commonly see in the Austin and central Texas area. There are plenty more ideas, of course. Thanks for reading!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths Team
Austin's Best DJs
We've taken our decades of experience and compiled it into a few helpful articles, to help you plan your wedding or event!