Sales Manager Merrissa Burleigh and Catering Manager Sarah Utterback are two of our top wedding experts at the Salem Convention Center. These two have assisted hundreds of couples plan their perfect wedding day and have seen it all.
In last month’s post, Ask Merrissa: I just got engaged, now what do I do? , Merrissa Burleigh said that setting a budget should be your first step because it will help guide most of your decisions, including the number of guests you will invite.
Once you have set your budget and have an idea of how many guests will attend, Merrissa says to book your wedding venue as soon as possible. “Booking your wedding 9-12 months in advance will assure that you will receive your desired date. However, our professional staff is great at helping with short term weddings too,” she says.
Sarah Utterback agrees. “Several Salem venues offer quite a bit with their room rental and it would be silly to pick out all of your décor when you could have received it for free,” she says. “Pick your venue then form all of your other details around it…that is the best piece of advice that I can give!”
Here are some more expert tips for newly engaged couples who are planning a wedding in Salem, Oregon:
Wedding Planning Tip #1- Save Money by Planning a Summer Wedding.
Many brides don’t know this, but the best time of the year to book your wedding at the Salem Convention Center is in July and August. Besides, sunny and pleasant Oregon summers are an ideal time for a wedding! We offer amazing deals to our brides this time of year, some of which include a complimentary bridal suite at the Grand Hotel Salem, a champagne toast for your guests or a complimentary rehearsal dinner room. Ask us about our AMAZING July 2015 & 2016 special!
Wedding Planning Tip #2- Organize your thoughts with a “Wedding Notebook”.
A wedding notebook is a great way to organize every aspect of your wedding. Bring your notebook to each and every meeting so that you have all of your wedding details with you at all times. Sarah recommends www.planning-your-wedding-for-less.com. “This site breaks down each aspect of the wedding experience and makes sure you don’t miss a beat when planning your big day,” she told us.
Wedding Planning Tip #3- Always Book the Venue Before the Vendors.
Ever heard the saying “Don’t put the cart in front of the horse”?
Merrissa says the most common mistake engaged couples make is booking wedding vendors BEFORE setting a budget or deciding on the venue. “I’ve seen excited couples immediately book a vendor such as a caterer or DJ, only to find out their desired venue is unavailable on the same day,” she says.
Wedding Planning Tip #4- Save Time and Money by Booking an All Inclusive Venue.
All inclusive venues are a very popular option in Salem. As many couples get busier and busier, they tend to overlook small details and logistical challenges that may arise from having events in multiple venues (parking, guest lodging, directions, transportation, traffic, etc). Each venue may have it’s own policies which adds to the time and energy required to plan.
The Salem Convention Center saves you from having to rent numerous items such as glass centerpieces, tables, chairs, linen, cloth napkins, staging for a head table & ceremony, full place settings and a dance floor. In addition, we have an onsite hotel, a rehearsal dinner venue and an amazing wedding coordinator and a professional service staff to assist with your every need.
Wedding Planning Tip #5: When Shopping for Wedding Vendors, Ask For Referrals.
Check with the venue and local wedding planning professionals before you hire a specific vendor. They may be able to help guide you in your decision. Merrissa Burleigh is always happy to share her recommendations. “We have an amazing vendor referral list here at the Salem Convention Center. Only our most trusted partners make this list so you are ensured to be in good hands, “she says.
Wedding Planning Tip #6- Look for Bridal/Wedding Shows in Your Area.
Wedding showcases are great resources for brides as well. Showcases bring excited, experienced local vendors together to cater to you. There are several giveaways and discounts offered at these events. Showcases are a great resource whether you are need of your entertainment, flowers, décor, cake and venue or all of the above!
Now that you have the knowledge, it’s time to make your next move! Visit our Weddings & Events page to learn more about weddings at The Salem Convention Center. Click here to start planning your big day!