Wedding planning can be stressful. Who knew there were so many components that goes into planning one day?

Although there are so many details that will compete for your attention, there are five core components that we feel are the most important and will leave a lasting impact. The little details, such as wedding favors, are sometimes nice, but often your guests won't even notice if you skip them. These big pieces of the day will be noticed and will impact everyone's experience. 

1. Your Venue

Choose a venue that you love but will also be enjoyable for your guests. Make sure that there is plenty of room for everyone on your guest list The Barn at Kennedy Farm (Erika Brown Photography)and they will be comfortable. 

If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, visit the location at the time of day you are planning your ceremony to see what it is like. Talk to those at the venue about what it is like at the time of year of your wedding. Don't put your guests on an open patio in the middle of a summer afternoon, and a quiet evening by a pond may include bugs. Consider all factors when selecting the location and time of your ceremony. 

Also, if you are planning a two-venue wedding, such as if you will be married at a church and then everyone will travel to a reception location, keep the travel distance reasonable. Usually, about 20 minutes or less is ideal.

There are so many fantastic venues in Hendricks County it's hard to choose or list them all. Some of my favorites are The Barn at Kennedy Farm in Lizton, the Blanton House in Danville and the Washington Township Pavilion Center at the Washington Township Park in Avon.

If those venues don't fit your vision, there are so many more to choose from. Visit Hendricks County has an entire site dedicated to wedding venues in Hendricks County. You can take a look and see what fits your plans the best. 

2. Your Photographer

Wedding at The Blanton House in Danville (Erika Brown Photography)I am obviously biased in this area, but this is why we do what we do. We are wedding photographers because we have a passion for preserving wedding memories. So, make sure you find a photographer that you love for your wedding day.

The food will be eaten, the flowers will wilt, and your guests will go home. Forty years from now, you will still be looking at your wedding pictures. 

Here are a few important questions to ask as you narrow down your decision. Obviously, start by finding those who's work you love. Then, here are what I believe are the most important questions to ask. 

  • What is your experience photographing weddings? 
    • You want someone who is experienced and comfortable photographing a wedding day. They know what pictures to get, they know how to organize the day so that it runs smoothly and they know how to not be a distraction.
  • What will you do to prepare for my wedding day?
    • An experienced photographer will ask you questions to get to know what is important to you as well as create a timeline so that your day can be used efficiently so that you can enjoy your day but also get the pictures of your dreams.
  • Were all the images I have seen taken by the photographer who will be at my wedding? 
    • The images that you see in their portfolio should reflect what you can expect to receive. Additionally, some photographers have associate photographers working under their brand. Make sure you are clear about who will be photographing your day, and you have seen examples of wedding photos taken by that individual. 
  • How will you handle the lighting conditions that you will face on my wedding day?
    • For an experienced photographer, this is a much more important question than if they have photographed a wedding at your specific venue before. If your wedding will include low light elements, you want to make sure that your photographer can handle that confidently.
  • Can I see a full wedding gallery?
    • You don't know how many weddings it took to get the pictures that you see on their website. Seeing a couple full galleries with pictures taken by the photographers who would be at your wedding is essential to understanding exactly what to expect from start to finish.
  • There are other questions such as payment expectations, turn around time and number of images to expect, but the above are the most important questions that will affect the quality and experience of the photographer that you will have on your big day.

Rustic centerpieces can save money. (Erika Brown Photography)

3. Decorations

Your decorations for your wedding day will do almost as much to set the tone for the event as the venue you choose. If it's in your budget, flowers from a quality florist always make an event pop and are the perfect decorations. You can see a list of some Hendricks County florists in the current edition of the Hendricks County Bridal Guide.

A good florist can guide you to help you find your style and exactly what you need. If a venue full of professionally arranged florals are not in your budget, consider at least getting your bridal bouquet professionally made. A professionally done bridal bouquet is a gorgeous addition to your wedding day attire and will be included in so many of your pictures.

Consider purchasing cut flowers and assigning a crafty someone you know to do the floral arranging to save money. If you can, use real flowers over artificial as it really just takes everything up a notch, and if priced right, may even be cheaper. Discount stores and grocery stores may be sources for cut flowers that you haven't considered. 

You don't have to have flowers, though. We've seen centerpieces of books and vintage serving ware, sometimes even found from Goodwill. We've seen bouquets made of paper and antique broaches (warning, that one was super heavy). Get creative and put your own special spin on the decorations, and it will be lovely! 

Also, if your budget allows, and your venue does not offer a day of coordinator, consider hiring one to take care of the decorating and little details so that you and your family can enjoy the day.

4. Your DJ or Band

A quality DJ or band will do more to help the experience of your wedding than you may imagine. Not only will they play the music that will entertain your guests, but they are the ones who keep the reception organized and moving well.

Before you are even at the reception, they are already entertaining guests, helping them know what to do and keeping them informed about what's coming next. There are several quality DJs based in Hendricks County but three that we know are Brian Whitis, Jared Wade and Eddie Prather.

They each have their own style, as any DJ or band you will find, so interview as many as you feel necessary and find someone who feels right for your wedding day.

5. The Food and CakeDoughnuts are becoming a popular reception choice. (Erika Brown Photography)

While serving your guests a great meal and having an impressive cake is always fun and nice, it is one of the first places that I suggest getting creative if budget is a concern.

You can have a dessert table with an assortment of pies, cakes and desserts made by your friends and family, or you can still have a tiered cake, but ask the baker to make only the level that you cut actual cake and the other layers can be decorated styrofoam. Your guests won't even know the difference. Just serve cake from sheet cakes, and everyone will be happy! 

Your food can be anything from a plated, multi-course dinner, to simple finger foods. If your wedding time hits during a normal meal time, your guests will expect to be fed, and if they aren't, they won't stay for very long. So, if you want your guests to stay and have fun, you'll want to fill them up.

There are yummy but inexpensive options. Just choose a quality caterer who knows food safety and will handle the food well. Once again, the Visit Hendricks County Wedding website is a nice resource to find the perfect caterer.

Of course, there are so many factors that go into planning a wedding. I hope that outlining these important elements will help as you work through all of the details of your wedding day.