Venue. Dates. Guest Lists. Colors. Flowers. Attire. Stationery. Food. Decorations. Planning a Lake Martin wedding might seem a daunting task, especially when the wedding is a destination – more than 100 miles from where the bride lives – but the lake offers so many options, from opulence to downhome, that creating a dream wedding at the lake is easy and fun once the initial questions are answered.
“The place to start is a conversation with the bride and groom,” said Curtia Moon of MXK Events, a party planning company in Alexander City. “How do they want the day to flow?”
Flow of the day may depend on the number of guests and the venues for ceremony and reception, so those are the first questions to answer when planning a Lake Martin wedding, said Jeff Long of Jeffery Long Designs.
“The most important question is the venue, mainly because that sets the whole theme for style. At Lake Martin, we have so many options, so the first question I ask is ‘where are you getting married?’”
Emily Spink, Manager of Special Events and Catering Services at Russell Lands, said one of her first questions to a bride touring lake venues pertains to the date.
“The date is crucial, along with whether or not they can be flexible about the date. If there are circumstances that lock them into a particular date, some venues may not be available at that time,” Spink explained.
Not only the date but the season also is an important factor, Spink added. The Grand Oak or Church in the Pines may not be the best choice for a winter wedding, but The Stables or the Children’s Harbor Chapel could be very comfortable, as well as attractive.
Often, she said, a bride falls in love with a particular venue, and that may set the date for the event, as well as the tone.
The number of guests also is important in choosing a venue, Long said. Choose a venue that offers guests room to mingle and comfortably take part in planned activities, whether those dancing under the stars or lawn games on the Town Green.
With date and venue decided, brides can turn their attention to the tone of the festivities.
“I ask what style of wedding they are looking for,” Spink said. “Rustic? Elegant? Do they want a casual beach feel?”
From that point on, Moon said, every decision relates to the couples’ vision for their special day, so she starts talking about invitations and colors.
“The invitation sets the tone for the wedding day,” Moon explained. “It is an indication of the wedding style, and guests will take their cues for dress from it.”
Color plays an important role in wedding décor, as it unites all of the activities in theme and style, from the rehearsal to the couples’ departure from the reception, she said.
“Color is the essence of the décor. It’s the second piece of the puzzle,” Long said. “The color palette is how we make all of the elements – bridesmaids, flowers, time of year, groomsmen’s tuxes – link up to create a beautiful wedding.”
The style and flow of the day also dictates the menu and serving style. An elegant invitation would set the tone for a sit-down dinner; more informal stationery indicates a buffet.
While online sites may be treasure troves of style and decorating ideas, Long said, he advises brides to express their own thoughts about the day’s décor as well.
“I hear so much Pinterest-this and Pinterest-that, and there are some great ideas there, but sometimes, that’s not the best thing to do. Everything about the day should be centered on the wishes of the bride and groom, not just pretty things they found online,” he said.
The one wedding choice that shouldn’t be influenced by the flow or style of the day or even the budget, Moon said, is the photographer.
“Choose a really great photographer because when the day is over, the pictures are all that is left,” she said.
And pictures spark the memories of a lifetime of happiness for the bride and groom, their families and friends. When the venue, date, style and flow of the day set the tone for everything else in the Lake Martin wedding plan, the setting will make beautiful pictures.