Clients who want luxury weddings are also striving for perfection. They have a strong attention to detail and a huge emphasis on the style of the event. They include the details that go above and beyond and are carried throughout the whole event. One of the reasons that luxury clients are expecting such perfection at their events is to impress their guests. They want their events to be memorable. They are creating an experience. They want their guests to have a feeling of anticipation as they move to the next phase. They want them to walk away with a feeling of excitement and joy and talk about what a great event their wedding was. With that being said, service is paramount. These people’s everyday lives are already luxurious. In order to impress them, to make them feel extra special, you need to raise the bar. Luxury events are about exceeding expectations of those whose everyday lifestyles are already fabulous.
1. Hire a Luxury Wedding Planner:
You must hire a LUXURY wedding planner. A regular wedding planner will not have the experience or the relationships to take your event to the next level. Many wedding planners will add the word “luxury” to their title and to their marketing efforts. Do your due diligence and research them. Ask friends who have had extravagant events who their planner was. This is not the place to save money or hire based on the planners stellar marketing. Luxury wedding planners have put in the work. They have clawed their way to the top by consistently delivering great service and creative ideas. They typically have years of experience, great connections, and have a portfolio and references to show you.
2. Host Multiple Events:
Soon after the couple is engaged an engagement party is thrown. Traditionally, this is hosted by the brides family. However, with couples living all over the world it is totally acceptable for the engagement party to be hosted by other family members or friends.
Bridal Showers. There may be several showers. The couple may have friends and family host one as well as their office and coworkers.
As the wedding date gets closer most couples will go their separate ways for their Stag and Hen parties. This again can be as simple or elaborate as the couple wishes.
A few days before the wedding couples who have several out of town guests flying in will host a Welcome Party. This is a great way for family and friends to mingle and enjoy each other before the more formal setting of the wedding.
Then there is the rehearsal dinner. Some couples invite only the bridal party and their significant others, some couples invite bridal party and extended family. This is traditionally hosted by the grooms family.
On the day of the wedding the ceremony and reception take place. There have been instances when the ceremony and reception take place on separate days, or when a couple has multiple receptions in multiple locations. This is quite common with destination weddings.
The day after brunch is hosted after the wedding, for the family members and close friends who are still in town. This is usually very well done but less formal. It is most often catered. If it is at the family estate they will typically rent in tables, linens, and dinnerware. If this is hosted at a club or restaurant then the venue can provide these items. This is also a great opportunity repurpose the florals from the pervious days festivities.
While the couple and key members are handling the last minute wedding items, it’s customary to have activities for your guests. Some activities may include chartered winery tours, cute trolly or pedicab city explorations, or a few rounds of golf and some spa vouchers.
3. Keep a Theme:
Just like any successful business person will tell you, branding is essential. It sets the tone for the event and it lets the guests know what to expect. From the style of the engagement party all the way through to the morning after brunch, your event should have a signature style.
4. Have an interesting Venue:
We have all seen the ballrooms, the barns, the beaches, etc. If you want to create a luxury event you have to make a statement. Either you find a non-conventional venue, or you do a traditional venue differently.
5. Style the Space:
I cannot stress this enough. You can transform a whole space with the right items brought in. To bring a space to the level you would expect of a luxury event you will need an event stylist. The event stylist is separate from the wedding planner. They may be with the same company, or they may be a referral from your planner. The event stylist will know how to use draping, lighting, upgraded chairs, luxury linens, imported dinner and glassware, signage, displays, feature elements, the sky is the limit. Your event stylist will work with your planner to make sure your vision is being executed, and that all possible avenues are covered.
It has been said that food is the new fashion. With everyone posting their last meal on social media, food is a huge focus with the younger generations. There are several styles of dining and several different options for food choices. Most often with luxury weddings there is a plated, several course meal. The caterer should be an expert in fine dining, pairings of flavors and beverages, and have a defined style. It is not uncommon to bring in a celebrity chef. The catering staff should be well trained. Depending on the venue, the chef, and the desires of the couple, dinner service should be synchronized. (I will have more on this in a later post.) The catering site manager should be in contact with the planner making sure that the food, and the service, is staying on track with the provided timeline. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. At a wedding there isn’t the time to extend dinner a few more hours while everyone chats and samples more wine. There is a reception to get to and dancing to be done.
I love luxury weddings because they are usually so gorgeous, but also so much fun. The entertainment aspect of these types of events is usually way over the top. From bands or celebrity musicians, aerial dancers, flame throwers, Cirque Du Soeli performers, grand entrances, the possibilities are endless.
8. Wardrobe Changes:
I have yet to be at a luxury wedding where there wasn’t at least one outfit change. Most couples who host a luxury event love the social scene, love to have a great time, and want to be feeling their best. Bridal gowns are sometimes very heavy, very hot, and not the easiest to dance the night away in. Brides will select a fun cocktail dress that is much more comfortable and easy to dance in. Depending on the style of the event, some brides will even change a third time into a getaway outfit. Grooms will do wardrobe changes as well. If they opted for a classic ceremony they will most often change out of their tuxedo into a more party appropriate dinner jacket. Most grooms wardrobe changes consists of custom made pieces.
9. Lounge area:
After hours of celebrating, the wedding guests will appreciate a few lounge areas set up. The lounge should be set up so the guests can refresh their drinks, have great conversations, and still be part of the mix. They don’t want to leave the excitement, they just want to watch from the sidelines. Depending on the style of the event there are several elements that should be considered for a successful lounge area. The main points are guests comfort and making sure that the lounge is in line with the event style. This can also serve as an opportunity to bring in yet another aspect of entertainment. Some options are a bubble and bourbon bar, a cigar roller, or a live wedding painter.
10. Details, Details, Details:
Oh the details. The details will make or break your event. Most guests will go through the event taking it all in. There of course are moments that stand out, details that they notice, and aspects that they will talk about for years to come. However, the majority of the time they won’t know exactly what it was that made the event so spectacular. The reason for this is because a well planned and well executed event takes into consideration all five of your senses. The distance your guests need to walk, the temperature of the room, does the scent of the florals take away from the taste of the food, making sure that all of the linens are pooled effortlessly at the base of the table and that each base plate is the same distance from the edge. There should be pre-ceremony cocktails being served, guests should be greeted and escorted, the list goes on. Some simple details that can take your event over the top include using sophisticated colors, having high and low centerpieces to had depth to the reception, live escort card displays using ushers with white gloves and silver trays, providing ample transportation to and from the various events and offering valet for those who prefer to drive.
11. The Money:
Luxury events are not about the money. I know you think that is crazy since the average luxury wedding budget is in the six figures and about 10% of them have budgets over 1 million. But really, it’s not about the money. Luxury events focus on the experience and exclusivity. You can have a very luxurious wedding and have smaller guest count. Having a smaller guest count will probably mean that you won’t be spending up into the six figures, yet the guests who are lucky enough to be invited will still feel like royalty.