You’re Engaged, Now What??? 5 Important First Steps to your perfect mountain wedding

Congratulations on your engagement!!! It’s an exciting time in your relationship so take a deep breath and try to relax enjoy it. Whether you’re thinking of a rustic backyard BBQ with close friends or a large elaborate soiree, the task of planning a wedding can seem overwhelming. Especially if you don't live in the Boone area of NC and are planning from afar. The good news is that if you stay organized and look at everything one piece at a time you’ll get through it with a smile on your face.

Step 1 - Budget

It’s important to match your wants and expectations to what you can actually afford so before you start looking at guest list and venue you’ll need to get a ballpark figure. If you’re paying for it yourself sit down together as a couple and get on the same page about how much you want to spend and how you will set the money aside. If parents or other family members are helping out make sure you have that discussion right away. If they are only helping with a portion try to either get a hard number from them or ask them to cover one portion of the event – photography, food, venue, alcohol, your dress etc.

Step 2 - Priority List

Sit down with your fiancée and make a wish list in order of what aspects of the wedding most important to least important.

Step 3 – Guest List

Mapping out your guest list can be one of the most daunting tasks in your planning process, I know it was when I planned my own wedding. My advice is to sit down together as a couple first and get a solid A and B list together. The A list maps out the absolute definite people you want to have at your wedding. The B list includes family and friends that you would like to have there if it’s possible within your budget. You might even want to have C list of people to invite if a lot of the A and B list are not able to attend. After you and your fiancée sit down together you will want to sit down with your parents or whoever else is in on the planning process and compare your list to theirs. This will undoubtedly open a whole other can of worms but it’s important to negotiate your guest list with your families earlier instead of later.

Step 4 – Research Venues and Possible Dates

The NC Mountains are a very popular destination wedding location so venues can book up more than a year in advance. Your first step is to figure out where and when you are having the wedding. Keep your date flexible until you see what the availability of the venue is. A good jumping off point is to pick 3 different dates and 3 different venues and then contact the venues to see what’s the best fit. Also decide whether an “off” day or time can work for you if the venue you have your heart set on doesn’t have a Saturday available.

Step 5 – Revisit Your Priority List and Get Organized

Once you have your venue booked everything else can fall into place. You’ll have a lot more perspective and information to work with now that you know what your venue provides. Sit back down with your fiancée and look at the money you have left to work with and talk about how you want to spend it to get the most out of your day. Make a list of the vendors you still need to book and start researching prices, availability and services. The High South Event Professionals is a great resource for finding local vendors in the greater Boone area of North Carolina.

Obviously you have a lot more planning ahead but if you take these 5 steps first you’ll have a solid foundation to work with and be well on your way to making your dream wedding a reality.

If you have any questions or would like to see a detailed breakdown of services that The Whole Shebang offers to help you enjoy a relaxed, stress free engagement and wedding please contact us directly at 828.719.9171 or

Six tips for planning your destination wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC

If you're planning on tying the knot in the Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis or Banner Elk area, Congratulations!!! The Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina offer endless possibilities for a once in a lifetime destination wedding. Here are some things to think about as you are putting together the details of your Big Day.



– As you probably know, the weather in the mountains can be very unpredictable. Make sure that your guests know to dress appropriately for the season and are prepared for independent variables. Even in August it can get chilly quick when the sun goes down. It’s also important to have a solid rain plan if you are planning an outdoor wedding.


– Unless you are planning on going straight from a church ceremony to an indoor reception without “passing go”, leave the stiletto's at home! The mountain terrain is rocky, uneven, unpredictable and it’s just not practical. Wedges or a thicker heel are a much better option if you don’t want to wear flats. Make sure that your bridesmaids keep that in mind as well. If it’s a casual affair, think about placing a bucket of flip flops by they dance floor for guests who didn’t get the memo.

Booking Vendors

– The NC High Country is a destination wedding location. Since most weddings take place April-October, wedding vendors and especially wedding venues book up fast for those months. You’ll want to try and book your venue at least a year in advance if at all possible. Stay flexible with your date until you see what availability your favorite venues can offer. Also think about whether you would consider a Friday or a Sunday if the venue that you want is not available on a Saturday.


– First of all, tell your guests not to rely solely on their GPS. They are often wrong and even if they do get you there, they sometimes take you a much longer route. Be sure to have really really really good directions on your invites. Have a few people that are familiar with the area look over them to make sure that they are accurate. Depending on how far your guests are staying from the ceremony and reception sites, it might be prudent to arrange some form of transportation. There are several companies in the area that provide transportation specifically for weddings and large events.


– Yes wind gets it’s own category. The main reason I mention this is because if you have an outdoor reception you’re going to have to find some way to keep those table cloths down. Even if it’s just a little breezy it the wind in the mountains can pose quite a dilemma. You also need to let your florist know if it is an outdoor reception so that they keep that in mind when arranging the centerpieces. If you’re a DIY bride putting together you own centerpieces just be sure that they are not top heavy.

Guest Accommodations

– Everyone knows that the Summer is “peak” wedding season but they might not be aware that the Fall in the NC Mountains is the busiest season of all. Not just for weddings but for tourism in general. The changing leaves bring people from all over the world to the High Country. There are also ASU football games to take into account and all sorts of fairs and festivals. My best advice is to make guests aware of that fact when you send out Save the Dates. You don’t have to give them all of the specifics but at least give them a heads up that hotels and cabins book up quickly, especially in the summer and fall, so they will know to make arrangements way in advance.


Feel free to contact me directly if you have further questions or need a wedding planner or coordinator to help you put together all of the pieces so that you can relax and enjoy both the planning process and your wedding day in style!


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