Father of the Bride Advice: Managing Emotions to Vendors
The experience of planning a wedding at a hotel can be overwhelming, especially for fathers who are new to the process. Here, James LoBosco, executive VP of Southern Management, shares the insights he discovered first-hand going through the process and those he’s developed from his years as a father and hospitality professional.
This message is specifically targeted at dads to provide some insight on what to expect and how to effectively navigate planning a wedding at a hotel. Insights are based on over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry and nearly as long as a dad.
We recently celebrated my daughter’s and now, son-in-law’s wedding at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. While the wedding couple was hesitant to book at a location that wasn’t their alma mater or an exclusive destination venue of their dreams, once they visited the hotel, they immediately envisioned the awesome potential.
Because of my affiliation with the hotel, I was intentional about remaining unbiased, but I knew the property was ideal and the staff would deliver excellent service. I honestly did not expect the team to far exceed my expectations!
Executing any successful event is predicated on effective planning and attention to every detail. Executing a successful wedding celebration adds a substantial twist and one that I wasn’t exactly prepared for. In our case, every detail had a significant amount of emotion attached to it and no short supply of opinions. Some as significant as who will officiate the ceremony to how the napkins will be folded. There are hundreds of details and most come with multiple conversations, any one of which could set you over the edge. I tried to keep in mind the advice of a close friend…relax, this is supposed to be a fun experience! He, too, will learn as his four kids come of age.
I can promise you, if you follow some basic lessons learned when it comes to planning a wedding at a hotel, you will look back as I did and say it was all worth it, and it was one of the happiest days of my life!
My Father of the Bride Advice
Tradition: There are a lot of traditions that have evolved or changed entirely, but to the best of my understanding, the bride’s parents are still on the hook for the wedding. The elope option is up to you, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider offering it, but happy I didn’t. Be careful not to impose too much of what you or others want or expect
Authenticity: What works for one couple, may not be what makes another’s special. Remember, this is about celebrating who these two individuals are as they join and needs to be a reflection of them…the wedding is for a day and the marriage is a lifetime, make it about them.
Budget: Expect to go over and like it.
Emotion: They will ebb and flow. When it gets intense, be the one to make it safe again and reign it in.
Beyond your control: While there are things, such as the weather that are just beyond your control, despite what your daughter demands…accept it and figure out how to weave in the contingency plans to make them as good if not better than the original plan.
Planning: Hiring the right planner, who got involved 3 months out was a godsend. Highly recommended.
Venue: Venue selection is the most critical decision to set the stage for any successful event. We selected The Hotel at the University of Maryland, because we were able to have multiple events in one location. Each event is in a different and distinct location, but all conveniently under one roof. Having your guests stay and interact throughout the weekend and not have to travel or rely on shuttles to various events was not only convenient, but also a key component to everyone having a great time throughout.
I had the benefit of knowing the team, which created a key connection. I would highly recommend visiting the location you choose often, dinner, drinks, weekend get-aways in advance of your event. This will provide you with an opportunity to get to know the staff and them you. Establishing human connections will drive engagement and enhanced performance. In our case, each of the areas where we had celebrations were already outfitted with great décor, which reduced our expense on decoration and flowers.
Welcome Reception & Brunch: We were fortunate to have a groom with generous parents. Following our rehearsal, they sponsored a cocktail reception inviting all visiting guests for the wedding and an informal brunch at check-out. The welcome reception was critical in setting the tone for the weekend and provided guests with an opportunity to get acquainted or reconnect.
Service team: You can be in the best, most beautiful location, but if the service team is not up to the task, the event will not meet your expectations…and there’s no dress rehearsal. By patronizing the property multiple times, you’ll not only develop human connections, but you will see the team in action.
If you have read this far, you must be planning a wedding. I would strongly encourage you to consider the Hotel at the University of Maryland as the bar is high, and they will leap over it for you.
Congratulations, and feel free to reach out if I can provide any assistance.
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