When Parents Play a Crucial Role



Photography by Daniel Smyth

Sharon Forton of the Newport Syndicate offers advice about how to plan a wedding with the parents involved – so there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen. Check out a gallery of photos from Newport Syndicate below! 

 

Experience is the best teacher when your son or daughter is getting married. I have five married children and have been involved in the planning of more than 2,000 weddings in my career. In more than 30 years of wedding planning, one thing I notice is that the core event still has traditional roots. However, the personal touch is evident, and the planning process has changed for many families.

Parents of the bride can have quite a different role in most weddings. A good way to start the process is to invite the groom’s parents over to get a feel for their involvement. Many couples appear at our facility with both sets of parents; this is the perfect team for a happy planning process. Having the groom’s parents involved can be a way to reduce your financial burden and decrease the stress of the process. For example, wedding packages can be itemized to separate the bar bill. Communication is the key to solving most problems, and a definite plus in the planning process.

The most important task of meeting with both families is to establish priorities during the planning process. Are there family traditions to take into account? Will the reception be large or small? What time of the year is the wedding? Will the ceremony be held in a church or elsewhere? What is the budget?

The rehearsal dinner is the kick-off party to the wedding festivities. The excitement is high, out-of-town guests are arriving and the big day is finally here. Since it might be the first time many of the family members meet, encourage mingling with appetizers or a buffet to help the people become acquainted. Champagne toasts also bring an element of intimacy to the event.

Holding the wedding on-site of the reception has become popular for the convenience and is guest-friendly. If everyone is on board, it can be a wonderful experience.

Before you make a list of potential venues, these questions need to be answered. When you call a venue, you should get an average cost figure. If it is not in your budget, do not waste your time.

Here is where it gets fun. This is my promise; there are no wedding police. Today’s wedding receptions are a direct reflection of the families’ planning. A professional can help you put your personal stamp on your reception. For example, if you love to dance, make sure the entertainment supports that. Bands are great and can interact will the crowd as long as they play new and old hits that move dancers, and a stage is necessary to really engage the guests. The best DJs have years of experience and might cost a bit more. However, DJ’s can make a good party a great party.

The floor itself can encourage dancing. Size does matter in dance floors and the location is critical. A dance floor near the bar is best; libations have turned many a guest into a dancer, and dancers like the audience. The best receptions happen when the time between the arrival and the time the dancing starts is short. When your guests arrive, they become the reception hall’s guests. Good service and a welcoming staff help the party get off to a great start. Find out if the staff brings drinks to the guests or just serve food and remove dishes. Ask how many guests for each server. Three or four tables per server will keep the guests feeling serviced.

The main reason most guests attend a wedding is to share your happiness, but having a good bar paired with great food is always a hit. Use your “word of mouth” referral and your taste buds to choose the food. Does the venue offer a tasting? Can a few of the important dishes be tasted before you sign a contract? It could be the difference between a dining experience and just food. One of the reasons guests attend your party is for great food, so we take the time to make sure that is the case.

When you feel you have found the right venue, one that will provide quality food and drink in a comfortable and welcoming space, it is time to talk specifics. The contract should be simple: date, time of arrival and length of rental. The key piece of information is the guest count. If you agree to pay up front for a certain number of guests, that might leave you paying for people who did not attend. A better way to go is a room minimum, which is a dollar amount that you agree to spend. Guest counts can fluctuate, so plan for a big enough place for the number of people you think will attend. The best part of the wedding is the planning. Be the family that can say that. 

 

Newport Syndicate is located at 18 East Fifth Street, Newport, KY 41071. You can reach them at 859.491.8000 or visit their website at www.newportsyndicate.com.