RALEIGH, NC--(Marketwire - February 15, 2011) - Wedding fever is upon us! With a large majority of couples getting engaged over the holidays and on Valentine's Day, the race is on to find the perfect Raleigh wedding venues, select the best dress, and coordinate every detail for a fairy-tale wedding.

Julie Lee, Senior Catering Sales Executive, CWP, at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, who has over 22 years of experience working for Marriott International, has been on hand to coordinate more weddings than the average woman will ever attend in her lifetime, and knows all the latest tricks and trends for Raleigh event planning.

With many couples waiting until they are well established in their careers before tying the knot, Julie is seeing a more mature, sophisticated client. "Oftentimes the bride and groom are contributing significantly or paying for the entire event themselves. As a result, they are more involved and want their special day to reflect their personal style," notes Julie. "A venue therefore needs to be open-minded and creative in order to suggest enhancements that infuse bits of the bride and groom's individual cultures, personalities, and culinary tastes," she adds.

Here's the advice Julie can offer newly engaged couples:

  • Be realistic about your budget. Make a list of "must have" and "wish list" items. Do your research and find out who offers the type of service you are looking for and at a cost you can afford. And remember that cheaper is not always better. Read reviews, ask for references, and interview several vendors before hiring them.

  • Couples today are looking for wedding venues in Raleigh with both ceremony and reception space. Not everyone belongs to a church and it is far more convenient to have all events at one location. This is particularly helpful when there are many out of town guests. Choosing a venue that features accommodations as well as rehearsal dinner space, ceremony location, reception space, post wedding breakfast space, etc., all at one address is a one-stop shop concept that busy brides really love.

  • Today's most popular trend is lighting. Nothing says "wow" like walking into a ballroom and seeing it transformed by a wash of your colors throughout the space. Customized gobos and uplighting technology have come a long way in the last few years. This is also a terrifically economical decor upgrade that will give you a ton of bang for your buck!

  • Your wedding day will go by in an instant. Make sure you have your own "David Tutera Moment" by having a private peek into the Raleigh event venue before all of the guests arrive. It is a moment that you will remember for a lifetime and you can savor these few minutes to catch your breath and look around alone and take it all in before the party begins.

  • There are many ways to save money for your wedding without comprising on style. First and foremost, analyze your guest list and cut it down to those who are the most important to you. It is not necessary to invite every acquaintance and co-worker you know -- especially if you are working within a modest budget. If cutting the list is out of the question, consider going with a time and/or day other than a Saturday night, which is the highest demand time of the week. Brides often don't realize they can have a very comparable celebration and save 20% or more by choosing a non-peak night of the week. Brunch and lunch options are also very trendy today. Consider a "Breakfast at Tiffany" theme or stylish luncheon/dance Raleigh wedding receptions. You'll find that guests will consume less alcohol during the day than at night. If you can be flexible with your dates, vendors will often be more flexible in their pricing.

The Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley hosts approximately 50 weddings per year. The hotel's grand ballroom features over 6,000 square feet and can comfortably accommodate up to 300 seated guests with dancing. The property also features a variety of smaller intimate spaces for private toasting and family gatherings including post-wedding brunches and rehearsal dinners. The hotel also offers a free airport shuttle for out of town guess and complimentary overnight suites for the bride and groom when a wedding is held at the property. For additional information on planning a wedding at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, RaleighMarriottWeddings.com or call Julie Lee at 919-571-5304.

Marriott Hotels & Resorts is Marriott International's original and most widely distributed brand, with 500 hotels and resorts in 60 countries. Marriott continues to inspire a balanced life on the road for discerning and high-achieving business and leisure travelers, offering warm, professional service; sophisticated yet functional guest room design; lobby spaces that facilitate working, dining and socializing; restaurants and bars serving international cuisine prepared simply and from the freshest ingredients; meeting and event spaces and services that are gold standard; and expansive, 24-hour fitness facilities. All Marriott hotels participate in the award winning Marriott Rewards frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information visit www.meetthedriven.com, or follow us on Twitter, at www.twitter.com/marriotthotels.

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