The Naughty List

Better watch out…there are some wedding trends from 2014 trying to creep their way into 2015. We want to leave them (we didn’t really like them to begin with) and break into the New Year with amazing ideas and concepts. What trends made it onto the naughty list? We asked you to write in with your thoughts and together we have listed what to avoid on your wedding day!

1. The superhero shirts. We first saw this trend make an appearance in 2013 and it was cute. Once. But once it wound up on Pinterest, suddenly everyone wanted to do it. If you’re unfamiliar with the trend, it basically encompasses all of the groomsmen wearing a superhero shirt underneath their tux and the bridesmaids pulling the shirts back in a cute post-ceremony shot. It was creative and then it was done to death. We would like to see this trend stay in 2014.

2. Crop top wedding gowns. Oh. Wow. Crop tops are super popular…at the club, on the dance floor, for girl’s night out, whatever. We see them on the red carpet, instagram and everywhere else. I love crop tops and I love how creative women are getting with them. Where I don’t want to see them is on a bride. Maybe (and I stress that word) for a reception party gown, or for the “getaway” gown brides leave in after their reception, then it’s OK. But there is this traditional side to me that says that I don’t want to see your crop top walk down the aisle. If you have a fierce body, I am all about accentuating it (tastefully) and there are hundreds of other ways to do it. You might look good, it might be different, but your gown will be in 90% of your photos and 25 years from now, you want to look classic and not trendy. They didn’t have puffy paint gowns in the 80s, so this shouldn’t exist either. 

3. Smoke on the dance floor. Coming in on a cloud of smoke? Please don’t. You’re not floating or flying. It’s something we see at Sweet 16s and Mitzvahs and it’s fun at those parties. For your wedding there are so many ways to create a grand entrance that don’t involve a fog machine. Leave this for the kids and work with your planner to create the “wow” factor without the stratus clouds.

4. Money dances. Why? Why is this still being done? We had numerous people write in saying that they attended weddings with money dances and they didn’t know what was going on. This tradition started in Poland and offered the men at the wedding a chance to “pay” to dance with the bride. I am far from a hardcore feminist but even I find that a little strange. Money can be pinned to the bride’s gown (do you really want your gown pinned…by people that are drinking?) or put on her veil, or in an apron…or her shoes. There are many variations depending on what country you talk to. We would like to see this all go. Weddings are expensive, people are already bringing you gifts…you’re now asking for cash to be thrown at you while you dance. That’s what happens at the Bachelor Party too, FYI. Odds are your guests have given you a card which might contain cash…when the money dance comes up, if they feel pressured, we have seen guests go to their cards and grab that cash to be used. We have then seen the bride freak out because there’s nothing in the envelopes. Well….it’s on your dress. So, let’s just not do this anymore, ok?

5. Hashtag LOVE FOREVER AT THIS WEDDING. Social media has taken over. In fact, the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction, that we have many couples asking us to collect cell phones before the ceremony. They don’t want pictures winding up on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else. In fact, they’ve even gone so far as to hire a professional photographer to make sure they get to see images from their big day. In 2014, we worked with couples to come up with a creative hashtag so that guests posting on social media could all do so under one album. In 2015, we’re hashtag over it. Include a note in your programs asking your guests to refrain from posting to social media. It’s bad enough when they are in the picture that your professional photographer is taking (waving their iPhone), but it’s worse when it’s on a social network and being shared by someone other than the bride and groom. 

6. Mustaches. I never really understood this. Is it funny? Is it cute? It’s a mustache….tied to a straw or whatever. Does it mean something? Whatever the purpose, it doesn’t matter. Let’s leave it in 2014 to never be seen again.

7. Ombre. Never been a fan of ombre hair, but ombre cakes, dresses, and so forth, that’s a different story. It’s a great way to not commit to particular colors (who wants to make a commitment on a wedding day?…pause for laughter), but everyone has figured it out. This is a trend that we really loved creating, but we’re happy to say that not a single bride has mentioned it for 2015. We’re hoping that it stays that way. Wishin’ and a hopin’.

8. Wedding tattoos. OMG stop the madness. There is this constant pressure on brides and grooms to “entertain” their guests. You know what’s entertaining? Good music, lots of dancing and an open bar. It’s not a circus and you don’t need “things to do” at a wedding. It’s a block of hours to take shots with your friends and family and tear it up on the dance floor. However, we started seeing (and now cannot unsee) tattoo “bars” at weddings. We have seen fake tattoos like the ones you get as a 6 year old at the circus and real tattoos. Yes, real tattoos being done by a licensed tattoo artist, at a wedding. This should not be happening. It’s just weird. 

Those are our (and yours) Top 8 trends that are on the naughty list! We’ve seen them, we’ve done them, and now it’s time to say “Bye Felicia” to all of them.

What else would you like to see go in 2015? Share with us in the comments below!

Bachelorette Party. That’ll be $2,000.

You’re a bridesmaid and there are the typical expenses: your dress, your shoes, your hair and make up, throwing a shower…and now, throwing a Bachelorette Party. The concept of the Bachelorette Party is so new, that my computer literally doesn’t recognize it and changes it to “Bachelor” every time I type it. But I digress…

This party is to honor the bride with the idea that it’s her last “girl’s night out” and that all fun will cease to exist and there will be no more excursions to strip clubs (like you were going there on the regular anyway) once she says “I do.” Frequently, we assist our clients and their bridal party with planning the perfect party. Now, however, it involves travel agents and airline reservations. Furthermore, we start getting emails and phone calls from the maid of honor or any of the bridesmaids complaining about the price tag and putting us in the middle, when really, the bride, is our client. 

Frankly, my own Bachelorette Party was a small disaster and it made me happy that it was the end of my “girl’s night outs” especially since I was never *that* girl to begin with. I’m more of a “lady who lunches” than a “fly to Vegas to get shitfaced” type of chick.

That’s right, I said “fly”. More and more I am hearing these stories about brides who are *demanding* a 3-5 day trip to somewhere warm that requires an airplane. This can be anything from the Dominican Republic to Vegas to Napa to Cancun. You know what this is also known as? Spring Fucking Break. Didn’t you do that already? 

Is it clear what my opinion is on these types of trips?

When you take on the duty of being in a wedding party, you are expected to swallow the fact that you will have to pay for certain things. No, this doesn’t give the bride the right to select $500 bridesmaid dresses, but you do have to expect to pay up or shut up in many circumstances.

How much though, is too much? I posted on my Facebook to get some answers from brides, their maids and just the general public. And in case there is any confusion, the vodka in NYC tastes the same as the vodka in Vegas and this woman right here is not getting on a plane to celebrate the end of your single life. Nope. Don’t ask me.

Many of the people that spoke to me told me that they would be happy with a night out for dinner and dancing and yes sometimes a strip club. Others opted for a full weekend of shopping and spa treatments and yes, a hotel stay. Close to 100% wanted to book a party bus to avoid the whole “drinking and driving” stuff, which I think is the wisest investment you can make for one of these things.

Here are some quotes from brides we know:
Do not want one, not having one, and would NEVER expect anyone to spend insane amounts of money for one!”
And what happened to a fun night out?? Why does it have to be a whole weekend?????”
And whether we like it or not, as brides, it is our responsibility to consider the economic situations of our bridal party members before demanding big-ass bachelorette parties, bridal showers in country clubs, or $400 bridesmaid dresses.”

Here are some quotes from people we know that are going to/are invited to these parties:
Considering on the weekend in AC (Atlantic City) a room goes for about 200-250 I’d say thats an enormous amount, even if you split that a few ways, you also have to consider the dinner, partying, and things you might buy the bride. That could run you 300 hundred easy. That’s a lot of money when you can just go to dinner,or a place more local.”
My childhood friend had her whole bridal party go to Mexico for a 4day weekend. I didn’t go because it was too expensive.”
…..$500- $1000 pp for a weekend is just too much! After already spending close to that to be a part of the bridal party.”
I couldn’t AFFORD to go to Texas for a 4 day weekend and pay for both my flight, food/drinks, hotel, AND a portion of all of that for the bride. There was no way! The way they laid it out, it was going to cost me two months’ salary. I was devastated.”

Then there is an opinion of a bride, now married, that had a party in sunny Key West:
After bridesmaid indecisiveness over where to go, my girls planned a trip to Key West. Flight then 4 hour road trip to a house. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Laying on the beach, scarfing down seafood, and bike riding and drinking. Besides being extremely fun, we would take different parts during the day and have serious talks about life, our past, hopes for the future. I found out things I’ve never known about girls that have been in my life for 10 and 20 years. It was a great bonding experience. As far as traveling, they paid for my flight, though I would have paid my way. I would do the same for any of them. We have jobs, bills, and obligations, but the fact that we were all childless is a big plus in being able to make a trip like that work.”

Currently, I am inundated with emails from MOHs telling me that planning just a simple night out is not going well because people don’t want to spend the money for transportation…their total bill? Around $200-$300. So, if that’s too much, getting on a plane is going to be out of the question for most. 

What does all of this mean? I think a few things:

1. Plan this in advance. Yes, you should factor in the bride’s opinion, but if she is expecting a full ski weekend in Switzerland, someone has to bring her back down to Earth. It’s like when I have a bride that wants to get married on Memorial Day Weekend…I tell them that many people won’t show up, and then *they* decide if they want to keep the date or change it. At least warn the bride of the possibilities of not only a small guest list, but a possible bitter one.

2. Factor in the lives of those being invited. Are the women attending already married? Do they already have children? How flexible is their schedule? I will say this, as a wife, mother and business owner, if I have a spare moment for a vacation (usually 1 every 3 years) it’s going to be with my family, not taking body shots in Cancun off of a bride. Look at the people you are inviting.

3. What are the wedding party expenses already adding up to? Are the gowns expensive? Is this a destination wedding? What’s the grand total you are asking these people to already spend before this trip? 

4. What would *you* do if you weren’t the bride? Would you go on this trip? 

5. If you are invited and you do commit to going, do not be a bitter bitch and pout the entire time. This means, no bitching about the costs, what it takes to get there, trying to change plans so that the costs come down…none of that. If you say “yes” you say “yes” to it all. If you know that you can’t show up without being Debbie Downer, then decline and stay home. 

6. Be realistic. If you’re in the wedding party, you agreed to a magical floating contract that isn’t in writing. You agreed to wear the dress you’re put in and pay for it, you agreed to share bridal shower expenses if the mother isn’t picking up the tab, and you agreed to a Bachelorette Party. Everyone has financial issues and obligations and the bottom line is this: if you cannot afford these things, politely decline being in the party. Nothing is worse than a MOH or bridesmaid that just doesn’t show up to these events and isn’t a part of them. You agreed to it, so suck it up buttercup.

What do you think? Are you a bride getting ready for her weekend away? Did you have a sick Bachelorette Party and think every bride should demand the same? We know you have an opinion, so please share in our comment section below!       



 

I’m goin’ to get married, bitch!


It’s official, Snooki is married. In a traditional church ceremony (we called it) and a formal non-cheetah print reception (we called that too!). Nicole and Jionni were married this past Saturday. I must have hit the “refresh” button 100 times on Sunday morning until pictures finally were posted. Much to my dismay, the only pictures anywhere to be seen were just wardrobe related. While I’m dying to see how this Gatsby-themed party actually looked, I am certainly happy to throw my two cents in about everything else.

First and foremost, can we all take a minute to applaud Nicole for not only selecting two outstanding and classy wedding designers (Eve of Milady and Ines di Santo) for her gowns, but for also putting her bridesmaids in form-fitting black dresses? A class act all of the way! I also want to say a huge “I told you so” to every planner, florist, “expert” and so forth – that had her going all “Jersey” for her style. Major kudos for not putting her bridesmaids in leopard anything. Winner.

Many brides cannot afford two gowns but we have plenty that wish they could. Clearly, Nicole wanted a gown to get married in, and a gown to party in. If you have been living under a rock, you probably didn’t know that Nicole is no longer a meatball but a thin, fit and healthy woman with an outstanding body. What woman wouldn’t want to show that off?

This is why we’re confused that both of the dresses didn’t accentuate her body.  In fact, they covered it all up. Don’t get me wrong: conservative dresses are totally OK by me, but they need to fit you. The first picture I saw was Nicole in her ceremony gown and while the details were beautiful, I just shrugged my shoulders and said (outloud) “this is it?” This was what I was waiting for? It’s fine and all, but it was underwhelming. The straps needed to be tighter and the waist of the gown should’ve been brought in at least another inch. This dress needed an alteration the week of the wedding and if it was altered, it wasn’t done well.

Then I saw that she had a second gown and it was designed by Ines di Santo. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that Ines di Santo is my favorite designer and I declared her the winner of Bridal Fashion Week, Spring 2015. That said, I had high hopes that Snooki’s reception gown was going to stop traffic.

I was wrong.

I was so bored with this gown on her and I was really hoping that she pulled a Kim K and had a third gown lined up. The di Santo gown was in a whole different league than the ceremony gown was, but it wasn’t the right gown for her AND it didn’t fit. It swallowed up her tiny body and it wasn’t really the party dress she described it as. Reportedly, it had a removable skirt, but there are no pictures yet to back that up. That skirt, by the way, was a drop waist and it really needed to either be pulled up or dropped altogether. I would’ve put her in to something more fitted, flattering and less poufy for the reception. Ines di Santo doesn’t make bad gowns, this gown was just bad for her. Between the silk taffetta and the pleated skirt, this dress is not made for petite women.
Here is the gown on the runway:

The dresses were bought from the same store, and were probably altered by the same person. The bust of the reception gown was not fitted enough and you can see the gap between her skin and the dress. This is a common problem with strapless gowns and the only way to fix this is to get it altered as close to the wedding day as possible. Many brides will lose anywhere from 2-5 pounds the week of the wedding, so last minute alterations have to be done!

Her bridesmaid dresses were on point though! Black, form-fitting mermaid gowns were not only perfect for her theme, but classic and elegant. With such a huge wedding party, Nicole was smart to put her ladies in something simple so that it wasn’t a hot mess of fabrics and patterns.

What else do we know? She hired a band (I LOVE that), held her reception at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ (love that too), and used a bouquet of bling (love love love) instead of traditional flowers. She also had an After Party with unhealthy fried food which is a huge trend that everyone should be doing. What we don’t know is what the decor and centerpieces looked like, if she had an entrance and what the rest of the details were. This just means that this is just part one of our blog about Snooki’s wedding.

Looking forward to seeing more pictures and absolutely can not wait to see the entire day unfold on the last season of ‘Snooki and JWoww’.

What did you think of the dresses? Were you expecting something else? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!

Soda. Yummy.

Happy Friday everybody! Here comes the “ruffle some feathers” blog of the week. The topic? Open bar? Necessary at a wedding?

YES. IT. IS.

We’re seeing a whole lot of blog posts on other wedding sites go up this week asking the question if people are having an open bar and is it OK not to offer one. We’re also reading plenty of comments that basically say “if people need to drink at your wedding, then they are alcoholics.”

Paint me “alcoholic” then. Anyway…

It’s a wedding, and an open bar, or at the very least: wine, beer and a signature drink is *mandatory*.

There is the argument that open bar or alcohol is expensive. Right, but so are plenty of other things that you can cut down on when planning a wedding. The bar is not where you cut costs. We manage to save our clients money in every other category, but this is something we insist that they don’t skimp out on. You can change your decor, cut your guest list, pick a less expensive time of year to get married…the list goes on. What you can’t do is cut the alcohol. Diet Coke with dinner? Bad.

We also saw the argument that “my fiance and I don’t drink” for not offering a bar. Whatever the reason is that you don’t drink is fine, but you two are not the only people at the wedding. That’s like offering soy everything because you’re a vegetarian. Vegetarians eat soy, right? You have to cater to your guests. That’s why it’s called “catering”. Your guests aren’t necessarily looking to get wasted (though plenty will), but they do not want to have a soda with their chicken, beef or fish either.

Then there was the “if people don’t want to come because there won’t be alcohol, then I don’t want them there,” argument. Yes, you do want them there, or else you would not have invited them. Do you want your guests to pick vodka over you? This is a bad time to stand on ceremony and see who your “real friends” are. If it’s a dry wedding, make sure that is clear in the invitation and that way your guests aren’t surprised when they go to order a Pinot Grigio and are handed a Shirley Temple. Flask anyone?

The only thing worse than a dry wedding is a cash bar. STOP. THIS. MADNESS. Your guests are coming to celebrate your marriage and are spending the entire day with you. There are travel expenses (no matter how small), other things they could be doing, and a gift they will be giving you. To slap them in the face with a “that’ll be $12” comment from your bartender is in really poor taste. Your guests should never have to take their wallets out at your wedding. Everything is included. They want to tip the bartender, the valet, the coat check, that’s on them. However, paying for their drinks is so tacky and we hate it. We forbid you to have a cash bar.

That’s really all there is to say on this. We know, we know, plenty of people will be up in arms over this but we have Emily Post on our sides on this one….and plenty of major wedding magazine editors, too. 

Team Open Bar.

Got Photographer. Got Photos?

Finding the perfect photographer for your wedding or next big event can be a daunting task. Pretty much anyone can label themselves as a photographer now, so the first step is to find the professional amidst a sea of amateurs. Once you’ve done that, it’s all easy right? Not if you’re one of those people that thinks they are getting all of those pictures on a disc as soon as the event is over. Here comes trouble for you…that is, if you don’t read this blog.

Many photographers we work with offer up various package options. In these packages you will see items like parent albums, engagement portraits, and other types of printing services. Now, you might be the person that only wants the pictures and would be find with them all sitting on a flash drive so that you can upload them to Facebook when you feel like it. Many people, however, want to use those photos in some sort of print form. Maybe they will be the “save the date” or invitation cover, perhaps they will be printed to hang above a mantel, or maybe they want an album for themselves or their parents. File all of that under “the photographer’s job”.

Yeah, sorry, but not too many photographers will be keen on the idea of handing you over raw files so that you can go print up a book on Snapfish. How unreasonable! It’s ridiculous for what they are charging! Right? Wrong.

You hired a professional photographer so that your pictures will come out kick ass. After all, why are you spending all of that money on design, decor and wardrobe just to have some hack job with a big flash and long lens not take a single good picture? If it’s that easy to realize that your photographer needs to be a good shot, then it should be even easier to understand that they want their work represented well.

If you take a picture that your photographer shot, and upload it to a picture book making site, the resolution is going to suck. Sorry, but there is no nicer way to say it. No matter how you choose to print it, whether you do it at home, at a store or send it off to some website, the picture will be grainy or blurry or distorted, but the bottom line is, it is NOT what you paid for. Now, the photographer’s work looks like garbage because you didn’t ask them to print it for you.

I could get into copyright issues here, but it’s boring and if you are really annoyed with all of this, you will probably google it. 

I’ve seen (and heard) many people start arguments with photographers that they “paid for” the prints, when in actuality, they didn’t. They paid for the session and whatever else was in their package. My advice is to read the contract that the photographer gives you and truly understand it. If you don’t understand it (and if you are assuming things) then speak with the photographer to make sure you are all on the same page. 

Are there photographers that will give you your hi-res images on a disc? Absolutely. We think those images belong on your social media pages and should be emailed to anyone you want. We do not think those images should be printed. If you want them printed, go back to the photographer and work it out. 

It’s expensive? Yes, it probably is. But, in the long run, you want those images to look as perfect as the possibly can be. The only way to accomplish this is to go back to the photographer and talk to them about how to get your printing needs me. Whether it’s before or after the party, it doesn’t matter, but you should always go to the photographer about this.

Surely this blog has ruffled some feathers or those planning and already stretching their budgets. We’re sorry, but this is something that had to be said. Too many blogs are out there stating that photographers basically “owe” their clients photos, when that is a lie.

The Guest’s Guide to Giving

Giving a gift to a couple for their wedding sometimes proves to be a difficult task for guests to accomplish. I am frequently asked what my recommendations are for a good gift to give a couple. I am also frequently told by my clients about the gifts they received that they hated, and worse yet, the gifts they never received from people that attended (drank and ate at) their weddings. Thus, here is today’s blog.

First and foremost, is the couple registered anywhere? There are a few ways to find this out. Google is this nifty little website where you can search out things on the internet. Put in the couple’s name, the word “wedding” and see what happens. If they are on www.theknot.com like many other couples, their registry will pop right up (if they have one). Of course, you could also go straight to TheKnot.com and use their search function to find the couple’s registry and wedding information. 

If nothing comes up, then flat out ask the couple if they are registered. If they didn’t include a registry note with their invitation, they might have completed their registry after they sent out their mail. Trust me, if a couple is registered, they want you to know.

Once you have their registry, buy from it. I cannot tell you the amount of people that look at a registry list (and it could be a mile long) and say to me that they hate everything on there. Well good thing the gift isn’t for you! A cardinal sin would be to buy something from the store they are registered at but ISN’T on the registry. Put down that Waterford bowl because they did not ask for it.  You think they will love it anyway? I doubt it. Oh, they can return it if they don’t? How nice of you to give them a gift they didn’t want and then force them to bring it back to the store (because you have a lot of down time when planning a wedding) to get whatever credit they can. Do you like making store returns? Those lines at the register and the banter back and forth are your thing? I didn’t think so.

BUY. FROM. THE. REGISTRY.

Now, no registry? No worries. That means they want money. That does not mean for you to go shopping somewhere else for *that gift* that they must have. Unless you are amazingly creative (and I mean really be honest with yourself), then do the easy thing that they want you to do: write out a check. At almost every single wedding there is a card box put out on a table. As soon as you get to the reception, drop your card off in the box and boom, you’re done! That card needs to have a check in it. Seriously. A card with no check is no bueno. 

Money isn’t personal? They don’t care. Really, trust me. I have never had clients complain to me about all of the checks they received at their wedding. Instead, they are putting that money to pay for whatever wedding expenses are left, or to a new house, or to other items that weren’t purchased off their registry because Aunt Millie was super positive they wanted a particular slow cooker that they did not ask for. 

Worst of the worst offenses: not giving a gift. I don’t understand it, at all. Yes, there is this little bit of etiquette that states a guest has up to a year to give a gift after the wedding. I disagree with Emily Post right here. There is no reason to wait to give a gift. If you’re having monetary issues, then speak with the couple and let them know. Don’t play slick, show up to their wedding, drink their alcohol and eat the venue food that probably cost upwards of $150 for just you, and then not give a gift that same exact night. They had to pay for you in advance so you best show up with a gift.

Last piece of advice: don’t leave your card on the table. While our clients don’t have to worry about this, since we check the tables and hand deliver the card box to the person or place of our client’s choosing, not everyone hires us (super weird, right?). If you leave your card on the table, odds are that the catering staff will wrap it up in the linens at the end of the night and your card will wind up in the laundry. Meaning you won’t get a thank you note from the couple and that just leads to years of awkward run-ins where they want to ask why you didn’t give anything and you want to ask why they didn’t thank you. 

That about covers the gift giving advice that we can offer. We hope that couples will share this as they plan their wedding because the truth is, a lot of guests don’t know right from wrong. Education is important. The more you know….

RSVP Education for “That Person”.

You’re invited to a wedding! You get the invitation with the RSVP card. It is addressed to you and your spouse. Well that’s careless of them! You have two children…they must be so busy and stressed with planning the wedding that they simply forgot to write in “and family” on the envelope. You’ll do them a favor and pencil in your children’s names on your RSVP. What an awesome person you are….and thoughtful!!!

Nope.

When you receive an invitation, etiquette dictates that the people listed on the envelope, are the people invited. Does it say “and family”? If not, then your children are not invited. Does it say “and guest”? If not, then you are not welcome to bring a guest. It’s pretty simple. 

For some reason, it has become acceptable practice to write in the names of everyone you are bringing with you to the wedding. This is not an informal BBQ in someone’s backyard, it’s a wedding. You don’t just get to bring anyone you damn well please. It’s not an election ballot where you write in a name, it’s your RSVP card where you either accept or decline. You don’t add people. You just don’t. No. Never. Ever. 

Think that the host forgot to invite you with a plus one? Think they meant to invite you with kids but this was an oversight? If you really think that and it just doesn’t sit well with you (although you should just build a bridge and get over it), then ask the host. Don’t just write down “accepts” and add 5 more people to the guest list.

When planning a wedding, the number one thing that drives up the cost is the guest count. Perhaps your host can only invite a certain amount of people. You are now upping that number. And if it’s OK for you to do, why is not OK for everyone else? That table chart that they have to create, which is basically the seventh circle of hell, just got a little more complicated because you want to bring a caravan of people.

Seriously: don’t do it. 

Your host will receive the RSVP with your written in names and will be put in a very awkward position. Do they call you and say “hey, you screwed this up,” or do they let it slide as to not create drama? Are you a family member and they can’t say anything to you because you’ll run and tell their parents, and then their parents will scold them? You have now put them in a spot where nothing they do is going to be unacceptable and that’s not fair because you are the one that created the problem in the first place. Frankly, if they call you and make you feel uncomfortable, you deserve it and bravo to them.

I hear this all of the time from my clients: so and so wrote in extra people, so what do I do? I tell them to call these people and politely apologize for any confusion the invitation might have caused. Clarify whom is invited and do not give a reason why. Why? Because it’s your party and you’re paying for it. If these people truly have a problem, then they don’t need to come to your celebration. Yes, it is as black and white as just that. 

If you have received an invitation and it’s not what you want…meaning, you want to bring your +1 but weren’t given that option, or want to bring your children and weren’t given that option either, then simply decline the invitation. Do not call and explain why you aren’t coming or what would need to change in order for you to come. Contrary to popular belief, planning a wedding is hard and time consuming and if you add to that stress, then you’re “that person”.

Don’t be “that person”. RSVP appropriately. 

Who is Your Wedding Coordinator?

It’s interesting to see how fast people will waste their money on “$500 Day Of Coordinators” with no experience, but think that they are actually saving money by not going with a professional that has a higher rate. There is that old saying “you get what you pay for”, and we would like to speak with you about what it is you are actually paying for.

The inspiration for this blog is a recent Facebook post that we saw. It was a planner (so she claims) posting in an open group for those in the wedding industry, and she was asking for another planner to help her on an event. The event is scheduled for a few days from now and she needs someone else because her assistant is sick.

Does she have Ebola? She’s sick? The event is a few days away and she is already calling out?

And you don’t have a backup?

So this “planner” (picture me using air quotes and rolling my eyes) comes to a Facebook group looking for an assistant. If you were the bride, and you found out that the planner you trust is coming online to just find someone to help, how mad do you think you would be?

When we have consultations with our clients, we talk to them about the years of experience that we have and the projects that we have completed. We also mention that we always work with an assistant and depending on the project, may have a third one along for the big day. God forbid I get sick or die or something like that, there will be a back up. That backup will not come from Facebook, Craigslist, Tindr…Tinder..Timber? Whatever that site is….That backup will be a trained coordinator even if I have to get a coordinator that has his or her own planning business. 

My best guess as to what happened here, is that the couple that hired this planner wanted to spend next to nothing. Who knows, maybe they were even in my office and couldn’t imagine actually paying more than $500. Now they have this person running their wedding day that is hiring off of Facebook. There is so much wrong with this that it is painful not to post the screenshot and shame this “planner”. 

I have said it before and I will say it again: a real wedding coordinator is not going to charge you $500 for day of…the price is going to be higher. In fact, if you get that quote and you hire them, you are basically throwing your money into a pile on the floor and setting it on fire. Don’t hire this planner and if you cannot afford the professionals, then don’t hire one at all. Save your money and put it towards something else. Do not hire a planner just to say that you hired a planner. The real ones, the ones that help you will start their prices above the $2k mark and go from there. 

Just to break down the math of the $500 planner for “Day Of”/Month Of Coordination.

6-8 weeks of work prior to the wedding, 7 days a week, 8 hours a day (it’s more than that, but let’s just keep it simple)

$500 divided by 6 weeks=$83 per week.
$83 divided by 7 days=$11 per day.
$11 divided by 8 hours=$1.48 per hour.

Now, is the planner working all 8 hours a day on your file? Probably not. But there will be days where they might work 12 hours on just your file, and every other day they will be on call to work on your file. We get calls at 2am, 7am, 10pm….every day of the week from our clients. 

Get quoted $3,000 for “Day Of”/Month Of? Here is what that looks like:

$3,000 divided by 6 weeks=$500 per week.
$500 divided by 7 days=$71 per day.
$71 divided by 8 hours=$8.93 per hour.

So basically, if you hired a planner that is getting paid $1.48 per hour to work for you, trust and believe that her assistant probably came from Facebook or a similar site. That assistant is also (most likely) being paid even less….how motivating for them to make sure your day is perfect.

Please stop hiring hackjobs for what will be one of the most important days of your life.

*drops mic*

Hurricane Sandy

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since Hurricane Sandy came tearing through New Jersey. No one was prepared for it because it’s NJ, not Miami and we don’t get hurricanes here. At least, not hurricanes that can paralyze a state for weeks and months on end. Snow storms? No problem. Superstorm Sandy? Big problem.

Rothweiler Event Design had a wedding on November 2, 2012 which was just a few short days after the storm ripped through the area. In fact, I was at the bridal shower for the bride the day that the storm approached. I remember looking outside and watching the sky get dark. And then I remember the entire state going dark as everyone lost power.

During the week of the wedding, we speak with all of the vendors to finalize the timeline. This includes everything from limo pick ups to hair pull downs to when vendors are allowed to set up inside the venue to when shuttles will pick up guests at the end of the night. It’s a challenge to get this all together, but it’s even more challenging to do this without anyone being able to use a phone or email. 

That week we had to change the rehearsal dinner location (as the location previously selected had no power) as well as the church for the ceremony (same problem). Thankfully, The Palace of Somerset Park, did not lose power, and we were still able to hold the reception there. 

Our bride had ordered a custom runner from Original Aisle Runner which we had our limo drivers pick up on the way to the church since there was no way to do that during the storm. After a little fight with the priests (Catholic churches tend to frown on and not allow runners) we were able to put the runner down the aisle for our bride who remained calm during all of the chaos. 

Conversations that needed to happen during the week, happened at the set up, and the location for the outside photos was changed as the park we wanted to use was under several feet of water. 

Hurricane Sandy was probably the biggest challenge I have ever faced as a wedding and event planner. You cannot plan for something of that magnitude until you actually go through it. The power going out, not being able to communicate, and the gas shortage was just unreal. The eerie stillness of the streets with dead traffic lights and no one on them looked like something out of a zombie movie.

It was an experience every planner and every vendor should have to go through once. Because if you can handle Sandy, you can handle anything.

Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Coordinator

“But our venue comes with a coordinator, so we don’t need a planner.”

“Our venue told us that they have an on-site coordinator, so we don’t need to hire a planner for the day of.”

“The venue said that they handle everything that a planner would.”

I have heard all three and frankly, I have heard enough.

Hiring a planner for your wedding or event is often seen as a luxury item and less of a necessity. Necessities would include vendors like a photographer, caterer, florist, and so forth. But what happens when none of these vendors talk to each other before your big day and the timeline falls apart/the food comes out cold/your photographer misses your first dance/the shuttles don’t arrive on time/etc.? Your venue is not going to save you even if they said they would.

Many venues come with an on-site coordinator. This coordinator works for the venue. Their job starts at either the ceremony if it is on site or at the cocktail hour. You may not even meet this coordinator until your final walk through the week of the wedding.

A planner’s job starts months if not years before that (depending on your package with said planner) and concludes on your wedding day….at the end of the day. Your wedding planner will work with your venue and all of your vendors to put together a timeline for your entire day. That timeline will include things that are outside of the venue such as hair and make up preparation, first looks with your sweetie, transportation pick ups and more. 

Your venue coordinator will be at your venue (probably showing up an hour or two before your vendors do) dealing with venue stuff. Why? Because that’s their job. If the shuttle that you have picking up your guests doesn’t arrive at the hotel where your guests are staying, do not call your venue coordinator because that is not their job.

I am hearing more and more often that venue coordinators are telling couples that they do not need a planner. I had a venue coordinator say that to my couple while I was standing right there, in fact. That’s a bunch of garbage. 

Russell Pinto of Little Red Bean Productions had this to say:

“Venues and caterers have taken the role of their existing catering captain or on-site venue operator and spun it into a perceived value-add on of their services. I urge my brides not to be fooled.”

He went on to say,

“It’s the wedding planner that works directly for the bride! We are the bride’s voice, as we understand every single detail of the wedding- the ‘venue coordinator’ will not.”

We couldn’t agree more. The venue coordinator has their own issues to deal with and on the wedding day you will want someone on your side dealing with everything else that goes on outside of your venue. The wedding “day” not the wedding “five-six hours” is your planner’s responsibility.

Danielle Aspromatis of d’Luxe Events talked to us about this issue as well, saying:

“Venues often confuse couples by saying they have a day of coordinator. Their coordinator is a bridal attendant that will get the couple food and drinks, as well as have communication with the Maitre D as far as timing for the introductions into the ballroom. What they neglect to tell you is that their ‘coordinator’ is not going to coordinate your day from the time you wake up until the time your head hits your pillow at night.”

The timeline is a major duty of your wedding planner, and getting the entire day right requires a planner that communicates with all of your vendors. Danielle also added,

“The bridal attendant knows nothing about their (bride’s) style, vision, details or how you want all of your day of items displayed. A true wedding coordinator needs to be involved WEEKS before your event and should be involved day of from hair and make up onwards…the wedding day does not just begin with cocktail hour!”

One of the hardest things to do as a planner is to educate couples as to why they need one. They will drop thousands on a vendor that will be there for a few hours, but not put anything aside for the one person that can be with you every day from day one. There is only so much warning that we, as planners, can give to couples about what can go wrong without a professional planner (i.e. not your mom or sister that planned one wedding) on the day of the wedding. Frustration is the client that didn’t book with us, that comes back after the wedding and tells us that they wish they had…and yes, that has happened.

A planner might not be for everyone. But trust and believe that a venue coordinator will not act as a substitute for a wedding planner. Ever. 

Make sure you visit the pages of the planners we interviewed for this blog here:

www.littleredbeanproductions.com
www.dluxeevents.com