A Winnipeg wedding custom

A Winnipeg wedding custom

A pinay’s guide to planning your big day

If there’s one absolute Manitoban fact, it’s this: everyone’s been invited to a wedding social. And I bet you a good chuck of us have experienced the wonderful premarital madness.

If you’re a newbie to our city and haven’t had the pleasure of attending a wedding social just yet, it’s guaranteed you’ll get an invite in the not-too-distant future. In a nutshell, it’s one massive party held in a local hall where friends and family celebrate your upcoming nuptials with a late night of drinking and dancing. Silent auction prizes are often raffled off, including (by not limited to): beauty baskets, lottery trees, “perfume” raffles and other fun themed packages. Oh, and did I mention there’s food?

Make no mistake – planning a social is oftentimes just as daunting, if not more so, as planning your own wedding. I’ve spent sleepless nights wrapping packages, countless hours soliciting donations, and weeks upon weeks delivering tickets to friends and family members at all ends of Winnipeg.

Is all this effort in vain? Not if you plan properly, put in a little elbow grease and hustle hard leading up to and on the day of the festivities. After planning my own wild wedding social, I’ve learned some things and have a few tips to share with future social planners.

1.Build a budget template. A boring but necessary evil. Make sure you thoroughly list all expenses, including the hall rental, liquor, DJ, décor, tickets, food, prizes and security (if required). Also include a projected revenue total and how many tickets you’ll need to sell in order to meet your goal.

2.Speaking of goals – It’s helpful to know how much you want or need to make. If you’re paying for your own wedding, you may need to raise X amount of dollars to actually afford it. If you’re fundraising for a honeymoon, price your trip out and use that number as a rough guide.

3.Book early. Just like your wedding venue, social halls fill their calendars fast. After you’ve decided on a budget and what kind of capacity you need to work with, do some research and find the ideal hall with ample parking, a workable layout and a reasonable price tag.

4.Be resourceful. Tap into online and human resources. There are a few great websites enlisting general event planning tips and a stockpile of local donors. Better yet, scan your address book and cash in on favours from well-connected friends and family.

5.Don’t be afraid to ask (remember, rejection is inevitable). Unless you’re loaded, you’ll probably need all the help you can get. Don’t be afraid to ask your favourite stores or local shops for donations – even if you think they’ll say no. If they recognize you as a regular, they may be open to the idea of supporting your social while also promoting their business.

6.Know your market. Depending on what age you get hitched at, it’s important to understand who will be attending your event. Will the room be filled with people your age, older family members or younger family friends? Choose your prize offerings and entertainment options accordingly.

7.Get creative. People are bombarded with invitations to attend socials, weddings, birthdays, showers, and a plethora of other outings. The cost of admission piles high, and therefore people get selective with what events they ultimately choose to go to. Take risks in standing out with creative print design and cool activities on the day of, like social games, a photo booth or unique entertainment.

8. Spread the word. Create a Facebook event and share invitations on social media. Create a sense of urgency to get people excited about being there. Bonus points if you can configure an online payment process, which eliminates having to manually drop off every ticket.

9.Hustle. Everyone, including your fiancé, wedding party, parents, siblings, and close friends need to bust their butts and become expert salespeople. Build an army – after all, you can’t do this alone. Give everyone a quantity they need to get rid of so they’re accountable to you.

10.Don’t forget to have fun. It’s easy to get caught up in planning a massive fundraising event, but make sure you find opportunities to enjoy yourself and laugh with loved ones. After all, it’s your party and you can cry if you want to (tears of joy, of course)!