If you’ve ever been invited to a wedding, at some point in the process you probably received a “Save the Date” card in the mail. That card is sent out before the invitations, roughly 6-8 months prior to the wedding date. Many couples choose to be informal and use one of their engagement photos for the background along with general wedding details. But that’s not the only reason why you totally need an engagement photo session prior to your wedding…
**Please note there are affiliate links within this blog post which means I may receive a small percentage of the price at no additional cost to you. No worries though, as I never endorse anything I don’t absolutely love**
As a wedding planner, I am always encouraging my couples to schedule an engagement session with their wedding photographer. Besides the fact that you’ll receive great photos of the two of you, there are multiple other benefits to consider. There are also things to consider as well as some misconceptions that I am going to share in this blog. If you are engaged and on the fence about setting up an engagement session, not sure about the details or just totally clueless, then read on!
“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
Those words aren’t exactly the ones that come to mind when you think about a wedding. But this week, there isn’t much else, as a popular Jersey City venue has closed its doors and countless couples have no place to say “I do.” It almost feels like a reality show or something you would see on Netflix…
…..I really wish it was.
Just last week, Battello, a restaurant in Jersey City, reached out to their private event clients via email from their attorney. This email basically said that the space would be closed on September 15, 2017 with the anticipated reopening date being sometime in April 2018. I covered all of the details in a Huffington Post article which I would urge you to read if the team from Battello’s didn’t flag it to death to have it removed. But they have nothing to hide, hence the harassment on my facebook page from the chef’s wife, the flagging of my comments by their marketing director and the endless “no comments” they gave to reporters yesterday…
Whatever, I will repost it here and they can flag off.
Yesterday, Battello closed its doors at 5pm.
Imagine being a bride, showing up to your venue 24 hours before your wedding and knowing that your venue won’t even be open in one month’s time. Now imagine hearing that your wedding won’t be happening either…as you drop off your champagne flutes, cake cutter and server.
What are you going to do?
Then there are the couples that probably breathed a sigh of relief knowing that their wedding was before the anticipated closing date of September 15, 2017. They’re out of luck too now.
My phone rang early Thursday afternoon about the couple getting married there the very next day. I reached out to every venue I could think of and every single venue that I reached out to via email called me back in under 5 minutes. All of them.
As I write this, that displaced couple is having their wedding day. For everyone else, I have taken the time to put together a “directory” of other venues as well as vendors that are willing to help out. For that information, scroll to the end.
After I wrote my Huffington Post article covering last weekend’s events, I was contacted by the media and countless couples with planned weddings at Battello.
The stories are intense.
The couples all seem to have one thing in common: they were not told about the closing of the parking lot and the patio on May 25th. The marketing director for Battello had sent me this letter earlier this week after we discussed the entire situation. But there’s no proof that it was ever sent to the couples. Furthermore, if this letter was sent, then why didn’t any of the couples say anything?
Oh what a tangled web indeed…..
As I mentioned in my Huffington Post article (the one Battello doesn’t want you to see) one of the brides I spoke to was also unaware of this May 25th letter. It was by her own outreach that she found out that the patio and parking lot would be closed. And she didn’t find out until July.
Another couple with a 2017 wedding was also unaware of this May 25th correspondence and spent all of July going back and forth with Battello once they did become aware of the construction on the pier. This couple had a credit card payment charged just 72 hours before Battello’s attorney emailed everyone letting them know about the September 15, 2017 closure.
The daughter of two immigrants and a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, is another bride now without a venue. She and her fiancé are praying that Battello doesn’t declare bankruptcy because they haven’t received their refund and their wedding is in 2017.
On a twitter account associated with Battello, there is a job listing for a pastry assistant for a new pastry chef. The date? July 28, 2017.
Who knew what and when?
On May 25th they allegedly sent out a letter to couples about the closure of the parking lot and the patio. No one I have spoken to has seen this letter. I haven’t been provided with proof of receipt. Not one couple pulled from Battello or demanded an explanation when the letter was allegedly sent. However, they did start asking questions when they found out on their own in June and July. One of those questions was whether or not to find a new venue.
So, what should I believe? What should the couples believe?
The pier is not structurally sound and needs to be repaired. If couples were given this information back in May, with the option to walk away losing their deposit or stay and roll the dice, Battello would be absolved from all of this. Just as each couple chose Battello for their wedding venue, they should’ve had a choice here. Battello took that away.
That’s the problem.
It’s not about the pier falling apart or the alleged lack of communication from the landlord to Battello about the impending closure. None of the couples need to hear “we didn’t know either” from higher ups at Battello because it doesn’t fix it. You can’t fix this. Money doesn’t fix this. Time, the time you took away, wouldn’t fix this…but it would’ve helped.
As a wedding planner, I am usually on the side of the wedding professionals. For so many reasons that are too long and boring to explain, I tend to side with employees over clients. Believe me when I say that I did my due diligence to get their side and review with a fine tooth comb every last document their marketing team sent to me. I was desperate to find something, anything, to give me the ability to argue both sides.
I came up with nothing.
They didn’t handle this well.
When I interviewed with NBC News yesterday , the Battello pier and surrounding area was hostile. I was told, while sitting on a bench not on their pier, by their security guards, not to take pictures or film anything. Meanwhile, countless pictures have been taken in that exact same spot for years.
Reporters had to rely on the Jersey City Police Department, who allowed them to film off the pier but did not push them to the sidewalk. The second the police left, the Battello folks pushed them to the sidewalk. Someone approached me, claiming he was an investor of Battello, and practically went blue in the face insisting that they all were blindsided by this. That everyone is “really sorry for the couples” but they “didn’t know either.”
They still don’t get it and they never will.
“Your reputation is what others think of you, your character is who you really are. Battello lacks both.” – Former Battello Groom
My cell phone is basically a landline now as it has to stay plugged into my charger with all of the calls and messages I am receiving. Couples worry not only about their wedding details, but what will happen if Battello declares bankruptcy. As much as I would love to use direct quotes, every last bride and groom wants their money back first, because they are terrified they won’t see a dime.
The doors are shut, the staff is gone, and the promises of hearing from anyone inside Battello continues to be empty for every couple I have spoken with.
I was and am still overwhelmed with the support from my industry. The compassion and sense of urgency everyone felt and still feels to help out couples that aren’t even their clients, is amazing. I don’t personally have clients getting married at Battello, but this is what our industry is about.
No one should ever go through this, and below I have listed venues and vendors available to help, as well as contact information. I am putting this together in the hopes that it will be a helpful tool for those searching for a new venue and even new vendors.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope that every last couple will have their wedding day come together and that this will just be a story they can laugh about over holiday gatherings.
…..or one narrated by Morgan Freeman on Netflix.
Venues and Vendors
Please use this list to help you find a new venue and/or new vendors and don’t forget to mention that you are a Battello couple and you found this information on this blog!
Breeze Hill Farm, Long Island, Waterfront, 350 guests max, 2017 and 2018 dates available, 917.821.1201, ask for Kathleen
Greenery is the 2017 Pantone “Color of the Year” and many brides and grooms started using this trend before the announcement was made. But it’s not always easy being greenery. What is there besides table runners? How do you work with the color for a fall wedding? Is there a difference between eucalyptus and seeded eucalyptus?
In this blog, we’ll show you how to use greenery in your wedding décor and design. There are ideas for brides and grooms of every season, and you can pin your favorites for inspiration. Read on to see how to make this trend completely original!
A Gorgeous Greenery Backdrop for the Ceremony
Nothing frames a first kiss better than an amazing backdrop. We were inspired by our bride and groom’s boho forest feeling and worked with a talented florist to hang greenery at the ceremony location. Perfect for an outdoor or indoor wedding, you can use all types of greenery to create this look.
Rustic Initials for a Dreamy Escort Card Table
Perfect for a rustic chic or farm wedding, these initials created in moss were the perfect touch on the escort card table. Who needs fancy linens when you create a greenery piece like this? We also added in pops of color, to really surprise the guests as they picked up their seating cards.
Garland Draped Along the Stairs
What better way to make an entrance, than to walk down a beautiful staircase adorned with greenery touches? We mixed greenery types here to add texture and added pops of blush pink for added romance. Even if you’re not coming down any stairs, this look will definitely give your guests something to talk about!
Romantic Mantle Design
Create an elegant and timeless look with a mantle design and plenty of greenery! A mix of ivy, eucalyptus and hanging amaranthus, created a textured look for this rustic chic wedding we designed at The Ashford Estate. To pull everything together, our florist added flowers that were in the centerpieces for the reception.
Greenery in Glassware
For a unique twist on a big trend, we used green glassware to take these wedding guests by surprise. This tented wedding was full of bold and dark colors, so we couldn’t use clear basic stemware. This little touch was a luxurious statement against wood farm tables and sparkly black runners.
Wedding Cake Greenery Goodness
The wedding cake for this garden wedding included greenery cascading around the entire design. Our bride and groom got married at The New York Botanical Gardens, so we incorporated their flowers in this romantic design. A wedding cake is traditional, but your design doesn’t have to be!
Dramatic Ceiling Designs
At the Market Mixer we designed for The Knot, we wanted to create an upscale and rustic design. We used gold laser cut signage and draped greenery to frame the whole look. These ceiling displays were the perfect contrast against the warehouse where the party was held. Don’t forget to ask your venue if you’re allowed to hang things from the ceiling before you start creating!
Wondering how you can bring the greenery element to the flowers people will see the most at your wedding? These elegant centerpieces incorporated various types of greenery, but also used pops of white. The flowers were delicate and traditional and created an upscale look for this formal wedding.
Unique Table Names with Green Touches
Coordinating with her garden theme, our bride created these table names instead of using standard numbers. We love the added touch of greenery under the names and how she used locations that were meaningful to her and her groom. Even the menus that were tucked in the napkin fold had touches of the greenery we used throughout the wedding design!
Jaw-Dropping Floral Walls
This amazing floral wall was created with boxwood by one of our favorite designers for the Knot Market Mixer. It served as a perfect backdrop for photographs and was something different for guests to talk about. Using laser cut signage pulled the overall look together and complimented the ceiling décor we created!
Whether you’re having a rustic farm wedding or a chic black tie affair, greenery can be used in many different ways. Share in the comments below if you plan on making this trend a part of your big day!
As a wedding planner, I have personally witnessed couples lose their minds so much that eloping sounded like the best idea ever. These meltdows didn’t happen while looking for a venue or the perfect wedding gown though. In fact, that hard stuff is really nothing compared to the endless hours it takes most couples to figure out how to create their wedding day guest list.
Determining a guest list for a wedding is one of the more annoying tasks in life. It’s right up there with filing your taxes and getting your passport renewed. You’d think it would be easy since it’s simply listing people you want to spend time with. But it’s so much more than that.
There are plenty of charts and guides to help you decide which people make the cut, but it’s not just about inviting someone because they invited you to their wedding. Regardless of your invite rules, there will always be exceptions to juggle. Combine that with the people your parents would like to are making you invite, and pretty soon it’s a three ring circus.
But you can avoid flying through the air without a net by eliminating the guests with toxic behavioral traits. In my most recent YouTube vlog seen here, I talk about these guests, so make sure you check that out. Identifying people you know with these horrible traits (and not inviting them) is how to create your guest list for your wedding day. Sadly, sometimes that won’t be possible…
Below are the 10 types of people not to invite to your wedding, and what to do if they show up anyway (because sometimes that happens):
1. The Thunder Stealer
You probably already know the exact person in your life that would not think twice about making your wedding day about them. These are the guests that think nothing of proposing during your reception or taking a pregnancy test in the bathroom and asking your MC to announce the results. Maybe this doesn’t make your skin crawl, but I personally think it’s tacky and would’ve gone full on linebacker had this happened at my own wedding.
While it might not be possible to keep this person off the invite list, you should make sure they aren’t in your wedding party. Nothing makes taking the spotlight away easier than standing next to the people who are in it all day. Assuming they are just a guest, make sure it’s known how you feel about those “bouquet and garter tosses turn wedding proposal” videos you’ve seen.
Then take it one step further and instruct whomever controls the microphone to not allow anyone to use it except for those you know about. In advance.
Oh you’re pregnant? Sorry, can’t hear you.
2. The Guest That Wants You To Fix Everything
This helpless soul makes you wonder how they survive getting through the day. Prior to the wedding, they might ask how they should get a hotel room when the block is full. Meanwhile, it’s full because they procrastinated and missed the cutoff date. During the wedding they could expect you to fix everything from an incorrect food order to your sister’s attitude problem.
There are several ways to prevent having to hold this person’s hand while simultaneously planning and/or enjoying (God Forbid) your wedding day. In the instance of a hotel block, make sure that your RSVP date coincides with the date that the hotel rooms will be released. You can read more about how to do that here in my wedding planning timeline blog.
From not securing their hotel room in the block you set up, to expecting you to handle their super specific vegan, gluten-free, no carbs entrée request, there is nothing they will not ask of you. This is why you make sure that they ask someone else. Discuss, in advance, whom is responsible for handling Aunt Sally’s complaints about everything under the sun.
3. The Photographer
For the life of me, I cannot figure out how wedding guests lose all common sense when it comes to taking pictures at a wedding. I have seen wedding guests turn into Stretch Armstrong and reach across an aisle to take the picture of the couple’s first kiss. Meanwhile, they completely blocked the photographer and now he doesn’t have one of the shots you really wanted.
Thanks Aunt Sally.
It’s impossible to keep these people off your invite list (because it’s everybody), but you can take preventative measures. Consider having an “unplugged” wedding, where guests are asked to not take pictures. If that is too extreme, you should at least do this for your ceremony. You can guide your guests with signage, notes in the program and even announcements made by your officiant and MC.
[tweetshare tweet=”Most importantly, communicate to your guests that no pictures are to be posted onto social media until you and your spouse want them to be.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]This can mean no posting until the reception as long as they use your hashtag, to nothing posted until you get your professional photos back. Guests should respect your wishes here, but they need to know what those wishes are.
4. The Illiterate RSVPer
Somehow, sending back the RSVP card is basically the absolute hardest thing in the world for some people. When you create your guest list, this is a personality that will be tough to avoid. In fact, you probably can already guess which people will fail at RSVPing correctly. Now add 10 more people to that list to even come close to being accurate.
I have seen cards come back without names on them, with additional guests added (up to 5), questions handwritten to the couple and just missing information in general. Everytime I see a response card come back late and/or with missing and/or incorrect information, I am reminded why certain warning labels exist.
Be sure to develop a wedding website where guests can constantly access information and put the web address on your Save The Dates. The invitations should have all of the information needed but be designed in a way that is easy to read. If you’re having a black tie wedding without children, putting that in fine print buried under calligraphy is a great way to get people showing up in jeans with their little ones in tow.
Once you receive the responses, both the late ones and ones missing information, reach out to those people immediately. One week prior to your RSVP date, call every single person that you don’t have a response from yet. You’ll get the inevitable “but the RSVP date isn’t until….” nonsense, but you can’t wait until then to call so just ignore it.
5. The Passive Aggressive Guest
Maybe it’s just me, but nothing makes my head explode more than someone being passive aggressive. I’m a super direct person and it’s challenging to call these people out since their response is frequently “I didn’t mean it like that”.
When you know they did.
A passive aggressive wedding guest will express themselves during your wedding planning by using words like “interesting” to describe your venue, your dress, your everthing. It’s not a negative comment but it’s also not positive and needs to exit stage left from your guest list.
When they aren’t commenting on how interesting everything is, they are side-stepping you by calling your mom to confide in her about how your lack of a “plus one” option has hurt their feelings. They always make sure to preface everything with “don’t tell” while full knowing that it will be told to you. Which, of course, wasn’t their intention…except it was.
If you can’t leave this person off the guest list, you have two options about how to deal with them. You can choose to appease them in their requests delivered third hand through your mom and just let it roll off your back. However, if you know this will start bothering you, anticipate the behavior and let mom (or whomever) know that you expect them to diffuse the situation and not take it you. It is very important that you have a support system while planning your wedding, so ask for one.
6. The Competitor
Know someone that just got married? Do they consider themselves a wedding expert? Are they always reminding you how fabulous their wedding was? Leave them off your wedding guest list.
Look, it’s fine to look back on your wedding day and how perfect it was. However, recent brides (and even some grooms) can take it to Level 11 by giving you a steady stream of unsolicited advice and then backing it up with evidence from their own flawless wedding day. If you’re able to roll your eyes and laugh with your fiance about this, then just ignore it. If not, you can limit your interaction leading up to the wedding day as well as on the actual day of.
On the flip side of that is the bride that offers advice to you based on the mistakes she made that she doesn’t want you to make. I’m a big believer in not giving advice unless it’s asked for, so if this scenario bothers you, speak up. You don’t have to be a mean girl about it either, and a simple “thanks, we’re good so far but will let you know if we need anything” will suffice.
When designing your seating chart (a whole separate type of hell), place this person with people she either knows and that can handle her, or with people she doesn’t know at all. If she is with people she doesn’t know, she might think twice about talking about how fabulous her own wedding was while attending yours.
7a. The Guest That Doesn’t Care Where She Sits (Except She Does)
If you haven’t reached the point in your planning where you are designing your seating chart, it’s not possible for you to imagine how tortorous it can be. Somewhat of a juggling act, you’ll have to contend with people that don’t like each other, people that don’t know each other and people that will be offended if they aren’t sitting near you. Those are just three of the hurdles.
A little different than the passive aggressive wedding guest, this person is only concerned about one thing and it’s where she is sitting. Some of my couples have told me stories of guests asking where they would be sitting before the invitations were even sent out. Presumptious much?
Passively, this guest will tell you that it doesn’t matter one bit what table she is located at, but just in case you were curious, here are 40 places she would prefer not to be. Unlike the next example, she will sit where she is told, but best believe you will know she isn’t happy about it. This is also another reason not to have a receiving line aka an assembly line of complaints passed off as concerns by your guests.
It’s always a good idea to leave whiny brats off your guest list in general. If you find yourself contending with one and stuck in a conversation of where an appropriate seat for her would be, how you react will set the tone going forward. If you can brush it off, just do that and go about your business of wedding planning. If you can’t, depending on your relationship, you can either be upfront with how this discussion is stressing you out or you can use sarcasm and suggest a seat on her couch for the evening.
7b. The Guest That Plays Musical Chairs
While the guest mentioned above has a full understanding of sitting where you’re supposed to sit, this guest is YOLO about the situation. On many occassions, I have been approached by guests that when they walk over to me look like they are going into combat. As I hold the seating chart in my hands during the cocktail hour, many want to know where they are sitting, especially if they can’t find their escort cards.
But then there are those guests that aren’t satisfied with the answer. Instead of looking at the escort board or cards on their own, they usually want to see the list I am holding which shows each table and the names of the guests at each one. Typically, I just ask this guest whom they are looking for, tell them the people at their own table and call it a day.
Whatever the approach, many guests have asked (rather, told) me to switch their seat. It never matters how hard the couple worked to create the seating chart or that it’s their wedding and their call. It also never seems to matter that this could affect the place settings, the food orders, or anything else. They just need to be moved and never tell me why.
Spoiler alert: I have never moved a guest. Ever.
Do not feel pressured to cave to this guest’s immature and unreasonable request. Should they approach you directly or through someone else, you say nothing more than “I will see what I can do.” Then do nothing. The bottom line is, this guest is an adult and they can find ways to avoid the table unless it’s time for dinner by visiting the dance floor or the bar.
Not your circus, not your monkeys.
8. The Really Bad Gift Giver
I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but let’s go there anyway.
When you are planning your wedding, part of the floor chart for your reception will include the placement of the gift table. This is typically a small table, anywhere from 30-48” (or if you’re a certain bride of mine, 6 feet and she’s lucky I adore her). On this table, you will place a card box/birdcage for guests to place their cards of well wishes.
Typically, this table is near the cake table and sweetheart table, and there is no room for large packages. However, some people think a card and a check is just unacceptable and that you would much prefer a hand cut, 450 pound, crystal Waterford vase that looks like something in your grandmother’s house that she got at her wedding. This box will also come wrapped in really tacky and usually reflective wrapping paper.
Being that the gift table is only available during the reception (usually), there is no opportunity for guests to drop their cards until that time. This means they will carry it with them during the ceremony and the cocktail hour. Envelopes fit easily inside purses and suit pockets. Not so much in the case of the vase that you don’t need.
To avoid watching Aunt Betty (because let’s give Sally a break) walk around with a package that seems so heavy her hips might break, hide all of your wedding registries the day of your bridal shower.
Guests sometimes refer to these registries when they want to actually give you something and when they see they no longer exist one of two things will happen:
They ask your mom (sorry moms) what happened and what to get you. Prepare mom to say something like “they’re all set really/honestly a check will be just fine.” Be prepared to say the exact same thing should you be asked directly. You might still get a gift, but at least you tried to avoid it and hopefully the receipt is included.
They shrug their shoulders and just go the check in card route.
Of course, there is also the option of having a registry for your honeymoon through sites like Honeyfund where guests can purchase excursions and such for you in advance. If you think your guest list is chock full of people that have to buy something because a check is so not personal (like my mother), consider setting up something like this so that everyone’s happy.
9. The Financial Analyst
Weddings are expensive and even though people never like to talk about money, that awkwardness about the subject seems to vaporize when people want to know what you spent on the big day. Whether it’s a direct question or beating around the bush, you will likely have a guest or two want to know what everything cost.
Now, to be fair, many wedding guests want to know what you spent per plate so that they can cover that cost in their gift/check in card. However, with some venues starting at the $200 per person plus plus mark, it’s not likely that information will help as I know of few wedding guests cutting $400 and $500 checks.
For whatever reason, you will be seen as rude if you don’t answer “how much were these flowers?”. There isn’t one good reason to give an answer and you wouldn’t believe how offended some guests get when they found out what you spent. I mean, no one is questioning the amount of money Aunt Sally is spending on her sterling silver collection, so…
Dance around these questions with non-answers. If you’re still planning, then just say that the final bill hasn’t come out yet. Follow it up with a playful, “Why? Do you want to cover it?” That should shut it down moving forward.
When the questions come past the point of knowing what everything costs, say anything but a number. Phrases like “we got such a good deal”, “so much less than we thought” and “I can’t even remember anymore” are good pacifiers. But never ever give a number and remind yourself that it is inappropriate for anyone to ask in the first place.
10. The Drunk
It happens. It’s a wedding. Weddings have open bars (the good ones at least). You can’t keep this person off your guest list, but you can keep the wedding going without being kicked out. Assuming this drunk or the drunks are friendly and not bitter angry drunks that want to smash centerpieces, here are a few preventative measures to take:
Give a head’s up about guests you’re worried about to your venue, the catering staff and anyone handling liquor such as the bartenders. Make sure you understand the shot policy and that they have the right to cut people off, and make sure they know you would like that strongly enforced.
If there isn’t a “no shot” policy, make it one
Don’t service any alcohol prior to your ceremony.
Keep these people out of your wedding party if possible.
Have a strict list of people that are allowed to use the microphone and give a copy to your MC, wedding planner and venue coordinator. No toasts unless you’re on the list.
Ask a few people close to you to keep an eye on anyone you’re worried about and if they see things getting out of control to speak to the coordinators about how to handle the situation.
Designing your guest list can be a nightmare and should be one of the first items on your to-do list. If there are guests you are on the fence about, push them onto a B list or off the list completely. A great group of guests can make or break a wedding day and there are no do-overs. It’s perfectly fine to be cut-throat when making final guest list decisions.
But if you can’t remove everyone you want to, now at least you’ll be able to handle them.
What guests are you worried about attending your wedding? Is there a type that I missed and you want to warn other couples? Need more advice? Leave me a comment and share your stories below!