Event Planner @ IDL Ballroom lends Summer Wedding Tips to Tulsa World.

Meghan Headshot

Wedding tips help ensure your big day runs smoothly

By BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer on Jul 9, 2013, at 2:23 AM  Updated on 7/09/13 at 7:57 AM

Jenny and Craig Saunders’ wedding day seems like a blur now, but what the bride vividly remembers is the “cold front” that luckily came into town, right in time for the couple’s late-June wedding.

A weeklong heat wave with triple-digit highs had broken, and temperatures “dropped enough to make our outdoor ceremony picturesque and tolerable for us and our guests,” Jenny Saunders said.

The couple’s good friend Joe Mathis of event-planning firm JA Mathis had coordinated the day’s events – which took the stress off the couple.

Of course there was still the typical day-of scrambling around, Saunders added.

But somehow, “I felt oddly calm until about 10 minutes before the ceremony,” she said.

The big day had its frantic points, and then before the two knew it, it had slipped away.

The Saunders reached Paris on their honeymoon Monday.

There’s always some last-minute rushing around, but Saunders and wedding planner Meghan Hurley, owner of Concepts PR, offer some tips to keep in mind for those getting married later this season, next summer or really any time of year.


Summer in Oklahoma can be a tricky time to get married, Hurley said.

The weather can be unpredictable, so if you do decide to have an outdoor ceremony, “Have a plan B and possibly a plan C in place.” In choosing an outdoor wedding location, make sure you have room enough for a tent that’s an adequate size for the number of guests. If a tent is not an option, the venue should have some sort of cover – preferably indoors.

Luckily, the weather cooled for the Saunders wedding, but in the event it decided it didn’t want to cooperate, the couple’s venue was large enough to provide multiple options for guests find relief from the elements.

Hurley said industrial misting fans are a must for those considering using a tent or gazebo.

Guest accommodations

Have someone keep up with helping out-of-town guests secure rooms.

Summertime is prime time for all types of events drawing crowds into town, filling up hotels and competing with wedding parties.

“Hotel rooms can sell out,” Hurley said.

Have someone in each hotel you’re working with designated to help with blocks of rooms for your wedding.

“They’ll be able to give all the advice on how early to book rooms,” she said.

Three months out is a good idea, but “the sooner they know, the better,” Hurley advises.


Your florists and baker need as much information as they can get about your reception – especially if it is outdoors.

Being mindful of the weather, the vendors will make sure not to bring out delicate items too early and take extra steps to make sure they hold up when they do.

“Their reputation is on the line,” Hurley said. “They want to know.”

She suggested using someone who has experience with Oklahoma weather.

And on the note of weather, as intuitive as it might sound, make sure your venue has an icemaker. Otherwise, make plans to have some delivered.

“You can have all the drinks you want, but if they’re lukewarm, nobody’s going to be happy.”

Make sure your band or DJ will bring adequate sound. Definitely keep this in mind if you’re planning an indoor/outdoor event.

“That’s one of the hardest things to deal with when you’re wanting to do the cake-cutting or toasts and guests are in another part of the house or outside and they don’t know what’s going on.”

If someone other than your sound vendor has to make the announcement, this can be awkward, Hurley said.

“You want to keep things moving.”

Odds and ends

Whether it’s due to the economy or a spirit of craftiness and frugality, more people want to do things on their own, but Hurley said some things should still be left to the professionals.

Consider having a reputable planner or designer on site so you don’t have your best friend wearing many hats and doing many things at once.

Take chair ties for instance.

“As much as they are beautiful, they take forever to put on – especially if you’ve got 200 chairs. That takes time,” Hurley said.

It’s also likely that at the same time family and friends are scrambling around buttoning up last-minute tasks, they probably are supposed to be somewhere having their pictures taken.

Limit the stress and designate somebody to think of the things that will trip you and your wedding party up in the moments leading up to the main event.

The dress

We’re not necessarily talking a run-through here, but maids of honor, if you can be with the bride at her final gown fitting, make plans to be there. There, you’ll learn how to zip, button or tie the bride into her dress. Many brides want a long train, so be there with the bride to know where the bustles are. Figuring these things out on the big day isn’t ideal.

Jenny Saunders said the best advice she can give future brides is to make sure their day is a representation of the couple. Don’t feel held in by traditions and expectations that don’t match your personality.

“We did our wedding and reception midday and didn’t do anything traditional other than cutting the cakes,” Saunders said.

Yes, cakes – plural. The couple loves sweets.

Their nervousness diminished when the couple saw their family and best friends all dressed up to celebrate their marriage.

It eased the butterflies, Jenny Saunders said.

At the Oaks Country Club, the venue of the Saunders’ outdoor wedding, the walk the bride and her father took to the altar helped, too. It was jovial. They joked about the coral tie he wore, “and before I knew it, I was hand-in-hand with my husband to be.”

The Saunders intertwined old and new that day, conducting a tree-planting ceremony with soil from the groom’s family farm and the bride’s grandmother’s house in New Hampshire.

If Jenny Saunders could give one word to her wedding day, she would call it perfect.


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