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Wedding planning: on budget and on time

“We are able to offer unique locations for all of your wedding plans and events. Plus, we can also accommodate overnight stay guest room packages to help simplify your planning even further,” says Tricia Coonan, Wedding Sales Manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront. (Photo courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront)

Bay City, Mich. – Planning a wedding can be a stressful task, especially if it is your own! Selecting the best vendors to fit within a budget, putting together a realistic timeline, and pulling together a look or a theme can be daunting, so it is important to pull the experts in for guidance.

Consider and all-in-one location

One way to simplify things is to choose a venue that can accommodate many of your needs and work through one or two contacts versus several. Some venues can offer locations for your bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions and after parties. Tricia Coonan, Wedding Sales Manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront, says “We are able to offer unique locations for all of your wedding plans and events. Plus, we can also accommodate overnight stay guest room packages to help simplify your planning even further.”

Does your venue offer planning assistance?

Venues who offer planners such as Tricia can assist with every detail including handling the placement of special items, such as place cards and favors, on the day of your wedding so you and your family can focus on the special occasion ahead. “At the DoubleTree, we feel that our all-inclusive option is a real value versus planning each event and vendor separately”.

Using a location’s event planner and staff will provide you with access to a wealth of knowledge to help create a personalized event. “We strive to make sure each bridal couple feel as if their event is unique and spectacular and could never be recreated,” says Coonan. Through your event planner’s guidance, you will receive help and advice with finding the best outside vendors such as florists and entertainment that would work with each couple’s budget and theme. Coonan says “Bridal couples who book with the DoubleTree can take advantage of having a wedding coordinator on site as well as using the services of a wedding stylist who has access to décor such as chiavari chairs, plate chargers, and non-floral centerpiece options – all completely customizable of course!”

Size is important

When planning your venue, you need to know how large of a wedding and reception you are planning for. You want to avoid the crush of an overpopulated space, but you also want to avoid booking much more room then you need. When visiting your prospective venue, Coonan suggests you should have a rough headcount for both your ceremony and your reception. “Our hotel can accommodate receptions for 30-500 people and ceremonies for up to 220 people,” she says. “If we know the size of the party you are planning, we can help you plan accordingly for your big day.”

Location, location, location

When scouting for your perfect venue, you also should consider the location. You want your guests to be able to find the location easily, and you need adequate parking so that your guests do not have to park off-site. Or, consider valet parking as an option.

Picture perfect

Long after your wedding day, the photographs will live on. When looking at a venue for your wedding or reception, do some scouting of the location for photographic opportunities. Tricia says “The DoubleTree by Hilton also offers the region’s best photography opportunities. Located on the riverfront and near the Wenonah Park, there are many beautiful backdrops for portraits. Just a block or two away, the downtown offers unique shots as well. The Riverfront Square ceremony area is set perfectly along the Riverwalk overlooking the water and is painstakingly manicured to include white flowers in a gorgeous landscape.”

It also is a good idea to snap your own photos of the views while you’re scouting the location so that you can not only remember details later, but also share photograph ideas with your photographer.

A matter of taste

Many would consider the menu to be one of the most important parts of any wedding reception. When planning for your reception, it’s advisable that you look for a venue that offers a tasting. This will allow you to select the menu items that you’d like to have served.

“At the DoubleTree, bridal couples are invited to a group tasting where they can try most of the entrees and hors d’oeuvres offered on the wedding menu,” says Coonan. They can also visit with local vendors and meet the DoubleTree staff. Coonan has turned this occasion into a grand event which now includes a variety of tables set with décor options and the chance to add on options for their event at a discount.

DoubleTree Wedding Stylist Amanda Dinan says she is also available that day to meet the bridal couples and give suggestions. Her goal is to help couples maximize their budget by utilizing the in house décor to supplement or replace outside options. “Using our décor such as centerpieces, overlays and specialty chairs can really make the room pop,” Dinan says. “You would be surprised at the low cost we can offer because we own the items and use our labor to place them.” She also is proud to say that the DoubleTree does not have “cookie cutter” weddings. “I work with the brides to find what is most important to them and work within their budget to make their dreams a reality. That is what makes my job so rewarding and fun!”

Tricia and Amanda are available for site tours by appointment. Inquiries can call the sales department at the DoubleTree by Hilton at (989) 460-1707 for more information.

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