10 Little Wedding Planning Lies

I recently read an article that told brides not to worry about rain on the wedding day and their dress getting ruined, because they can just send out a bridesmaid to pick up a bunch of golf umbrellas, on the day of the wedding…. and maybe even in the wedding colors.

Because it’s that easy.

Reality? The bride and her bridesmaids are probably in hair and make up and there isn’t exactly time to have someone from the party run out and pick up coordinating umbrellas. It’s also probably very early in the day and many stores aren’t even open. And where exactly are you getting golf umbrellas? Did you also know that only bright colors show up in photos, i.e. white, pink, yellow and so forth? Golf umbrellas tend to be black, or have logos or designs on them, and all of that photographs horribly. But hey, send out a bridesmaid to fetch a few and just like that, photo magic just like you’ve seen on Pinterest!

And that was just one piece of advice in one article from one website. With more and more couples planning their weddings from their smartphones, it is no wonder brides and grooms are confused and overwhelmed on a daily basis. Hundreds of sites are competing for couples to visit their site over the rest so that they can get advertisers to spend money with them. Advertisers will take their money off the table if they aren’t getting new brides and grooms. So how does a site get the brides and grooms to keep coming back? By telling them what they want to hear.

Who is even writing half of these articles? Anyone can be a blogger, but who is writing the articles for wedding website hotspots? Ever google an author’s name from an article with brilliant advice like the golf umbrella nonsense? Would it surprise you to find out that many authors have little to no wedding background and that their full time and real jobs include anything from bartender to yoga instructor?

As long as couples are relying on the internet for inspiration and answers to their questions, there will be piles of outdated answers, half-truths and flat out lies. And while it’s impossible to educate everyone with real facts, it’s irresponsible to not even try.

So here are the top 10 “helpful hints” you are reading that are complete and total crap.

1. What to Book and When Treating weddings like they are all based on some mathematical formula is insulting and flat out stupid. Just because you give an app your wedding date and it spits back when you need to book your venue and all of your vendors, doesn’t mean it’s correct. Yes, there are basic parameters including booking your venue at least a year out and purchasing the gown at least nine months before your wedding date. But what happens when you get engaged and your wedding is three to six months later? How about the fact that certain wedding gowns can be ordered nine months out and some only need six months? If you have a Fall wedding date in mind (think: September-October), there is a strong possibility that you will need more than a year out to book your venue. These “wedding planning timelines” are, at best, full of suggestions. Kind of like speed limit signs.

2. In Season Flowers and BYOC There is this “thing” about only having in season flowers at your wedding in order to save you buckets of money. In reality, if you want a certain flower and it is in season, but I can get it somewhere else (Columbia, Holland, whatever) at a wholesale cost for less, then that’s what I’m going to do. This means going into a florist and demanding only “in season” flowers is a waste of time. A better idea is to go to a florist with pictures, ideas and the budget you are working with. Let the professional tell you what can and can’t be done and go from there. Also, ignore that bit about renting or buying your own containers and giving them to the florist to work with. Many times this won’t save you money and you’ll spend weeks and weekends looking for containers that measure the exact height and width necessary for your florist to work with. Plus, wedding professionals have relationship with wholesale companies (flowers and containers) and can absolutely get a better deal than you could. So, let them.

3. “Wedding” is a Four-Letter Word Do not waste your time arguing with every venue, caterer and vendor about what their costs would be if this was just a birthday party with 250 of your closest friends. Despite what these blogs want you to believe, just because you say it’s a “wedding,” doesn’t mean the cost is going to triple. A peony costs the same no matter what the event. The flower doesn’t know it’s an engagement party and not a wedding. I cannot give you a lower price on pipe and drape because it’s not for a wedding… Why? Because the fabric costs what it costs, and the team I have charges the rates they charge to set it up. Plenty of times my set up staff doesn’t know (or doesn’t even remember) what kind of event they are even prepping for. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. So, being snarky to the baker with cute questions like “what would this four-tier cake shaped like a rose cost if this wasn’t a wedding?” doesn’t make much sense. Plus… I’ve seen plenty of birthday cakes cost double and more than certain wedding cakes.

4. Barns, Museums, and Other Creative Spaces Save You Money It is trendy to get out of the ballroom and into a creative space. Barns are hugely popular and now plenty of couples want someplace different, including mansions, museums and private homes. Blogs will tell you that spaces such as these will save you so much on decor because there is so much to look at that who needs centerpieces? Um, well, let’s just say that’s true (it’s not, but let’s say that it is). These spaces are creative. Creative is an industry way to say “cool, unique and raw”. Raw is slang for “you are bringing everything in”. So, how much are you really saving here on decor? Minimal to no flowers needed on the table because the surroundings are just that good, but hey, you actually need to bring in those tables. And chairs. Ceremony and reception. And. And. And. Another industry term? “Estate Fee”, which translates to “the cost of walking in the door and using the space”. Some creative spaces have $30,000 estate fees attached to them, making them not exactly the best way to save you money.

5. Buffets Are Less Expensive Than Sit Down Dinners This was pretty much true for a very long time and if you show this to your parents they will say that it still is. As the wedding industry has grown and evolved, this too has changed. Buffets absolutely can be less expensive, but there are plenty of times where that simply isn’t the case. For instance, if your venue is one of those creative space types and you get to bring in your own caterer, there is a strong chance that a buffet will run you more money. Think about it: when you’re invited to a wedding, your RSVP card frequently will include your food choices and you will select one and send it back. A catering company then knows exactly what to prepare and the quantity of each dish. This means less waste and a lower cost. While a caterer can absolutely estimate how much of everything they will need based on your guest count, they know they are going to waste more than if it was a plated dinner. Sometimes this can save you money but it is not the rule anymore, so you have to ask and not assume.

6. What Things Cost, Especially “Too Good To Be True” Numbers The same websites giving out that super handy planning timeline based on formulas, are the ones telling you what everything costs. Here’s the deal: the national average cost of weddings is a very easy number to find. However, the national average is just that: national. That number (roughly $29,000) always has a little note next to it like this: *, and you’re supposed to go to the bottom of the article to find out that areas such as the NYC Metro area are about $20k higher. Many times, no one sees that little piece of information because they are being (mis)directed to another part of the site where your entire budget can be broken down by category. How helpful! I also hate to bring up that other word, but I’m going to: average. Do you want an average wedding? What’s an average wedding anyway? And where do these statistics come from? Ever wonder? I can tell you: Various areas such as magazine submissions that ask the couple what they spent, surveys that pop up on social media sites, and so forth. It’s a very flawed system to get to that $29,000 number. This brings me back to sites telling engaged couples what they want to hear and encouraging them with stories of how couples just like them planned a fabulous wedding for only 2 dollars. If the number seems to good to be true, it just might be. Keep an open mind when vendor shopping. 7. Substitute Candles and Decor Instead of Flowers To Save Especially helpful for couples that don’t like flowers or want to use something else, there are plenty of articles touting this as a great way to save money. First of all, not all flowers are the same price, and there are plenty of options. If you want flowers, get flowers, and work with an experienced florist and designer to create the look you want for the amount you can afford. But, if you don’t want flowers and prefer rental pieces, candles, or anything else, don’t let anyone tell you that this is a money saver. A trip to a craft or home good stores (online or in person), will illustrate just how much money you will actually need to budget. A side by side comparison of a centerpiece using affordable blooms versus one using vases and floating candles can yield similar numbers. If you buy these items yourself, then keep in mind that you will need to store them before the wedding, pack them up once the reception is over, and then be stuck with them. Forever. Because, let’s be honest, while selling them on websites seems like an easy way to make your money back, it’s not always a guarantee and it’s a lot of work too.

8. A Day Of Coordinator/Month of Coordinator, Same Difference Hiring a full planner for your wedding can be expensive and you might not have it in your budget. Websites that are already putting together your planning timelines for free are always going to suggest a “day of” coordinator as an alternative. They will define a “DOC” as someone who is there just on the day of the wedding to make sure everything runs smoothly exactly like you planned. The problem comes up when a couple starts reaching out to planners only to find out that “day of” is a media myth and “month of” is more realistic. However, a “month of” coordination fee could be higher (and is higher) than many couples expect because the words “day of” are engrained in their minds. I have been contacted by dozens of brides telling me they just needed me there on the wedding day, not two months before organizing a timeline with their vendors and so forth. The thing is, if a coordinator agrees to just show up to your wedding day without doing work beforehand (you know….coordinating work) then they are a hack job and you’d be better off just setting your cash on fire.

9. This Chain Store is AWESOME It’s typically painfully obvious when a website is trying to sell you something, which is why people are getting slick about it. Sure, you have your banner ads and features, but embedded in some articles are cute little advertising tactics. There are plenty of huge chains that partner with wedding websites and bloggers, and the angle of the articles is to get the couple to shop with them. In fact, plenty of times a write-up might have nothing to do with the store or even what it sells, but rather a funny wedding story or just some advice. Chain stores serve their purpose, but a couple would be better served at a boutique store where they will receive personalized attention and be working with someone that has been in the industry for a long time. When you shop at a chain store for anything (not just wedding related), you never meet the “owner”, and your salesperson could have started yesterday and be on to the next job by the time your wedding date rolls around. One of the best parts of the wedding industry is that it is filled with amazing small businesses to choose from. They might not be in those articles you’re reading, but they are the better choice.

10. Details Don’t Matter Be honest, you’ve looked at real weddings for inspiration. You’ve probably noticed that the majority of the pictures include shots of the invitation, the rings, the shoes, the table numbers, etc. They throw in a handful of people pictures, but that is never the focus. Why? Because the details pull the design of a wedding together. A cost-cutting tip spreading faster than poison ivy right now is to ditch the details. You don’t need the letter press invites/calligraphy/altar decor/cufflinks/sequin cake table/whatever, according to the internet, and just like that you have extra money in your budget. Look, maybe you don’t need that stuff, but maybe you want some or all of it. It’s OK to love the details, and if you want your wedding published, it’s mandatory to focus on them (and have a photographer get the right shots). Details can be affordable and they can also break the bank depending on what they are. All it takes is a little research and creativity, and you will find the details that are right for you (if you want them).

It’s a scary new wedding planning world out there with more and more couples relying on what they find online. Less in-person appointments are made, and more Skype and phone call consultations are happening to book vendors. There are millions of articles out there, and plenty of conflicting pieces of information. Truthfully though, if planning a wedding was just as easy as surfing the web, then planners, including yours truly, would be out of a job. Don’t get hypnotized with everything you read. Do your research, Google the authors, and watch out for hidden advertisements.

Happy planning!

Know Your Numbers

Whether you are in the wedding industry or you are engaged, there is a question that if you haven’t heard it already, you will hear it thousands of times in the near future:

“What is your budget?”

This is a question that every vendor either wants to ask prospective clients, or simply does ask. In fact, many vendors will not entertain a consultation without knowing what the couple has decided to spend on the big day. On the flip side, couples can react negatively to this question seeing it as a trap. There are plenty of brides and grooms that think the reason this question is even being asked, is so that the vendor can come in right around that number as opposed to giving a lower number.

While it doesn’t surprise me that couples think vendors are simply trying to take advantage of them, that is not (usually) the reason we’re asking for this information. Of course, there are so many “helpful” articles out there on wedding websites advising couples how to save money by being vague when speaking with vendors (or sending a mass app request to every vendor in their area asking simply “what do you charge?”) . Thus, many couples assume that vendors are the devil looking to shake them down. Shout out to all of the blogs, articles and talk shows for painting vendors in an negative light and making it impossible for couples to trust anyone with the biggest day of their lives. My favorite of these, of course, are the sites where vendors pay thousands of dollars to advertise each year on, only to basically be “wedding-blocked” by the same site. But I digress…

Frankly, I ask what the budget is from every prospective client that is looking to hire me for full or partial planning, as well as design and decor. This isn’t because I’m looking to just take 10% off their entire budget for my fee, but rather, it’s to figure out if that number and what they want is realistic and a good match for my company. When I’m not given a number, I hear one of these two responses:

1. “I don’t know.”

What do you mean you don’t know? How do you manage your finances for anything? I have gotten this answer from parents of couples, couples themselves and even couples planning their second marriage. When you buy a home, are you jumping onto Zillow and not putting in a range of pricing that you can afford? Nope. You are typing that you can a. either spend from “x” to “y” or b. that your maximum to spend is “y”.

When you’re asked what your budget is, a flat number isn’t necessary, and a range is perfectly acceptable. It is impossible to be respectful of your finances if no one knows what they are. I do not have a crystal ball in my office, but what I do know is “I don’t know” really means, “I don’t want to tell you.”

As I stated earlier, I understand (and many vendors do) why couples are on the defense. However, couples need to understand that complete transparency is necessary to not only secure the right vendors, but to have a solid relationship with these people throughout the process. If you’re shady about your numbers, we are going to wonder if you’ll be dishonest down the road, right up to the point where we have to worry if the review you write will be positive, or if you’ll write what bothered you even though you never brought it up to the vendor at any time.

I have been contacted many times as just a designer to handle things including florals, rentals, linens and decor. When I’ve been told by someone that they didn’t know what their budget was, I’ve asked to see pictures of what they want and hear about their ideas. From there I put a proposal together along with a quote, and believe me when I say that designing a proposal like that isn’t a two minute job. Many times, I’ve then gotten back comments along the lines of “that is more than I wanted to spend!”

Oh. So you DO have a budget. I mean, obviously you do if the number I am quoting is too high. What’s ridiculous about that situation is the amount of time and energy I took and my staff took getting inspired and putting something together for you. For free. The better way to handle this situation is for the couple to know their budget, know what they want and approach vendors with “this is what I want and this is what I can spend, and I need you to tell me what you can do for me.”

Now, if you truly don’t know what your budget is, then you are putting the cart so far in front of the horse that it’s in a different country. You simply cannot start planning a major (yes, major regardless of guest count and details) event like a wedding without knowing what you can afford. As a planner, once I know what the total budget is, we can then figure out what to spend and where. But before that, nothing can be done.

And for the other answer I receive…

2. “I don’t know what anything costs”

You don’t need to. What does what something costs have to do with what you can afford? Think of it this way: you’re going car shopping and you know what you want down to color, how many doors, and how much you can afford to put down and spend per month for payments. What you don’t know is the make or model that you are interested in, so you shop around. While you’re shopping around, you don’t know how much a Mercedes E Class car is…or who knows, maybe you do, but I drive an Outlander and know nothing about luxury cars mostly because every car I’ve ever owned has had to carry flowers, design pieces, my dogs, children and I don’t really care about cars but whatever…Anyway, the point is, it doesn’t matter how much any car is, it only matters what you can afford. If you start realizing that you can’t afford a Benz, then understand that there are other cars out there.

While shopping around for vendors, odds are that you will get quotes that are all over the place. This can be extremely confusing since you really don’t know what anything costs, and you feel you are getting quotes from A-Z for the same exact service or product. At the end of the day, if the price seems to good to be true, then it probably (aka absolutely) is. I have seen vendors undercut others just to get the job, full knowing that the job would be less than perfect for the client. It’s sad and pathetic, but some vendors in the industry don’t really care about anything other than the money, and it’s those vendors that you are being warned about that are out to get you, and your checkbook.

The other situation is when you are receiving a lower quote from someone newer in the business that might work very hard for you, but won’t have the experience that could prove to be necessary on your wedding day. This is why it’s especially important while “price shopping” to not go back to vendors and let them know that you received a quote for the same thing but for less. Experience costs more, as it should and thus, you may think you are getting the same thing, but you’re really not. Buyer beware.

In any event, what things cost is going to vary for reasons like location, experience, quality of service and product and so forth. The only number that matters is what you can afford and that is the number that you need to communicate to your vendors in the beginning. It’s only a game if you make it one, so ignore those basic articles you’re reading about vendors who only want a number so that they can take the entire thing. Most of us are looking to work with you and let you know what can and can’t be done. But it’s disrespectful to expect any vendor to jump through hoops and design any type of proposal for free based on the budget you said you knew nothing about, but actually did.

Step 1: Know your numbers Step 2: Start planning

Everyone has a budget for a wedding, no matter what the number is. If you don’t take care of that boring but very significant detail before starting the process, the honeymoon will be over before it starts…if you can even afford one by then.

Stop Calling Yourself a Wedding Planner!

A wedding planner seems to be the easiest job in the world. I mean, it must be for so many people to just throw it on their signature lines. Girl gets married? Instant wedding planner. Recommended peonies to your sister for her wedding? You’re a wedding planner too! To go all Oprah in this article, “You’re a wedding planner, and you’re a wedding planner, everyone’s wedding planner!!” Just add water, and boom: wedding planner.

This stuff is ridiculous now and the industry is saturated enough without these people running around claiming to be a wedding planner. It’s not fair to actual wedding planners, and guess what? It’s really unfair to those couples that are looking to hire a real wedding planner. Why? Because sometimes it’s hard to tell a Prada from a Canal Street Knock-Off. So, I’m going to make it a little easier for everyone right here, right now.

The following people are not wedding planners and need to stop pretending that they are. I’m blowing away your smoke and shattering your mirrors.

1. Recent Bride I hear this all the time! What made you want to be a planner? “I had so much fun planning my own wedding!” Forgive me for rolling my eyes. Of course you did. It was your wedding. Many people have fun planning their wedding and yes, some then decide they want to plan for others. However, the ones that are successful go on to actually learn something about the business. This doesn’t mean joining every wedding group imaginable, getting certified, networking and living on Pinterest. Those that are serious start by working for another company or someone else, and learning what they don’t know. Let me ask you this: would you drive over a bridge that was designed by someone saying “I’m an architectural engineer”, didn’t actually have a degree, but was really good with their Lego collection? While I don’t believe that certifications or degrees (though I have a handful) are necessary to be a wedding planner, I do believe in experience. After years in the business, I learn something new every single wedding I plan. Why roll the dice with a planner who only learned what she knows by planning her own wedding? Continuing education is important in this field, but actual education in the first place is step 1.

2. DJs Jack of all trades and master of how many? DJs are responsible for music. Planners are not responsible for music. As a planner, I like to work with my vendors and defer to them when it’s their area of expertise. But more and more, I am hearing about DJs offering their services as a “wedding planner”. I know not one DJ that is going to find your gown or know how to bustle it on the day of the wedding. I do not know any DJs that will do venue visits with you to discuss a possible flower installation on the ceiling, or what a good floor layout would look like in a blank space. I partner with DJs that can vibe with my clients and create a phenomenal party atmosphere. I trust them to work on the music with them and the timing of the evening with me. Not once did I ever ask a DJ what time the bride should start hair and make-up, because that is not their area. It might be tempting to let your DJ be your wedding planner, because it’s only a few dollars more, but don’t go down this road. Your money is better off set on fire.

3. Venue Coordinators You don’t need a planner, right? Have you heard that from your venue coordinator? How about “we handle everything”? It is not the job of a venue coordinator to handle the logistics of your first look including the timing and location. Nor is it their job to give directions to your rental company that can’t find their way. A venue coordinator is never going to be a point person for your vendors and guests the entire day of the wedding, especially if anything takes place outside their playground aka the venue. Many venues don’t like planners because many planners don’t know how to play nice in the sandbox and will be in the kitchen telling the Chef how to prepare the salad. The answer isn’t to not hire a planner, it’s to ask your venue for planner recommendations. If they don’t have any, then while you are interviewing planners, make sure you ask how they communicate with venues and vendors during the planning process. If a planner says that they put together a timeline without speaking to anyone, you need to run.

4. High School Prom Planner This person has planned their high school prom, their alumni dinner, and some baby shower for a friend. What do all of those events have in common? They were volunteer jobs. Things change when there is a paycheck on the line and money is the ultimate motivator. Most planners want what is best for their clients, but you can guarantee that they will really want what is best if they are being paid. Look, planning is fun most of the time, and designing a space can be amazing. However, money talks, and sometimes it says “you’re not good enough to do this for a living”. If you are serious about wanting a planner, then it’s best to find a professional and not a hobbyist. While many planners found out that this is what they wanted to do by starting out planning random events, a true professional will have a client roster full of clients that paid for their services.

5. Pop-Up Planner/Photo-Stealers This one is hard to spot….maybe the hardest, and that’s really sad. I, personally, am aware of people that have put together profiles on wedding websites using photos that don’t belong to them. These photos include tablescapes, florals, brides, full landscapes including tents, and more. Sometimes, to jump start a planning career, a planner will advertise using stock images. These images are available on the internet to be used in portfolios, and are perfect to grab the unsuspecting bride and/or groom. After all, it’s not very likely that a bride or groom will grab an image from a website and throw it into a google image search to see where it came from. However, I have seen images from vendors and venues that clearly were not theirs, and after doing a search, have found the same images on various famous wedding blogs (this is totally illegal and not the same as using stock images, by the way). These people are easy to spot because they suddenly appear, or “pop-up” on the scene and have countless reviews and a portfolio to rival any of their competition. But reviews can be faked and photos can be stolen. Again, this is a tough one for newly engaged couples to spot, so my advice would be to step back and even though what you see might excite you, do your homework and interview multiple planners until you find the “real deal”.

6. Wedding Websites Free venue assistance. Free inspiration. Free vendor matching. “Free” is appealing, especially when weddings can be so expensive. But “free” comes with a heavy price tag when you are drowning in bad advice given by people that have no experience as a wedding planner. Just because the wedding website you are signed up with is just that, a wedding website, doesn’t necessarily mean that the people working with it have a background in anything wedding related. Most of the time, you won’t know whom you’re speaking with, and a wedding is a personal thing. In fact, many of my clients have used the word “personal” when discussing what they want for the design and decor of their wedding. You can’t plan a wedding using some app, and there is a reason for that! For instance, I’m an accountant fan, not a Turbo Tax fan, because I like dealing with a real person that I know has real experience. Not saying that taxes and paying the government isn’t important or anything, but I’m pretty sure planning a wedding is right up there. Websites are great, forums are fun, but chatting through a computer or phone isn’t how you design the day of your dreams or get the real questions answered. Might be free, but it’s not worth it.

7. Your Friend, The Great Pretender I’ve been challenged, more than a few times, by the sister, maid of honor, mother, brother, father, sorority sister, best friend, you name it, that they knew better than I. I’ve been told by the sister that she would be developing the timeline and that’s why I wasn’t needed. To all of these challenges, I’ve shrugged my shoulders and walked away because those weren’t my clients. These brides were never going to hire a wedding planner because they already had a “planner” in their lives. Of course, when that friend went to try and negotiate a contract and never got a discount, or attempted to design something the bride saw on Pinterest but couldn’t afford, or failed at doing anything that a professional would succeed at, then I’m sure the bride wasn’t too happy. The point is, that person probably had another job, their day job, and that’s what they should be focusing on. Hobbies are cute, but while I love me some competitive karaoke and have some serious theatre experience under my belt (along with my AEA and SAG/AFTRA card), I’m not the next Beyonce or Meryl Streep. It’s ridiculous to think that any bride or groom would be getting the true “wedding planner” experience with their cousin that does it “on the side”.

Wedding planning is not easy, and the job can be viewed as something that anyone could do. The reality is, my job as a wedding planner is a real job that requires real work and real experience. There is constant education, and the wedding world is evolving everyday. Sometimes it’s not always easy to spot a good wedding planner from a fake one, but if the stitching is frayed and the zipper doesn’t zip, you might be holding a knock-off.

Ring Shopping Survival Guide

Now is the time of year that we in the wedding industry call “engagement season.” Why? Because close to 40% of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Families are all home to celebrate, the holidays make the months extra romantic, and it’s just that time of year that engagements happen. If you are one of those people looking to pop the question during this time and you’re taking advantage of that little “Black Friday” thing to go shopping, then this is for you.

1. Look at her jewelry as a guide.

Ok, you know her and hopefully you know her style by now. Take away what hangs in her closet, and focus on what she wears around her neck, on her ears, around her wrist and on her fingers. I’m talking about her jewelry. Does she wear multiple pieces together or does she keep things simple and classic? In other words: have you ever looked at her and thought that she had way too many pieces on, only to find out that it was one necklace? Or, have you ever asked her why she wasn’t wearing any earrings only to get a nasty glance as she pulled her hair back to show you that she actually was? If you’re really not sure what her style is, then get into her stash, take a look, take some pictures, and bring that with you when you shop. Basically? Be a ninja.

2. Go shopping. Together.

Does it take the romance out of proposing if you go ring shopping together? No. Why? Because you’re not just going to propose with the ring she falls in love with right then and there at the store. That’s not how it works outside of the movies. Just like she will learn that not every wedding gown she loves in the magazines looks good on her, you both will learn what looks good on her hand. Assuming you’ve had the whole “hey, where’s this relationship going” conversation and the answer is “down the aisle, duh”, then going ring shopping isn’t spoiling the surprise. Not only is this a chance for you both to see what looks good, but you also get to see what she likes and doesn’t like, and you get her ring size. Buckets of winning, my friend.

3. Friends. They Know.

Odds are, her friends know that she is expecting a ring and already planning her wedding by putting together 1,457 Pinterest boards. These same friends probably know what type of ring she wants right down to the cut. If you don’t want to go shopping together, then this is the avenue for you. Not only will her friends know what she wants in a ring, but they will probably have other useful information for you. For instance, I am currently holding onto proposal ideas, ring ideas and more for several of my girlfriends that are hoping for a ring soon. This way, when their clueless boyfriends (sorry, no offense) reach out to me, I already have all the information they need. And then some.

4. Budget First.

If you’ve already done the above tips and you’re ready to hit up the Black Friday sales and such, then the last thing to do is to figure out your budget first. Do not walk into these stores with no idea of what you want to, or what you can actually spend. 3 months salary is old news and frankly, it’s not what’s done any more. You want to spend as much as you can afford without going into a mountain of debt. Have that number ready to go when the jeweler asks you what you want to spend or what your budget is. Then based on what you want along with what you can spend, they will let you know what is realistic and what you might have to compromise on.

5. Speaking of Listening…

When you’re ring shopping you need to listen to two things: the jeweler and your gut. Assuming you have gone to a reputable jeweler, it’s important to pay attention to what they are saying because they are the experts. If you give them a budget and a list of “must-haves”, they will be able to tell you what you might have to compromise on, if anything. Perhaps you won’t be able to get that exact carat you (read:she) wants without increasing the budget, or maybe you will have to forgo the platinum for white gold. Whatever it is, listen to the experts. When they are done talking, listen to your gut. Are the words of the jeweler stinging your ears? Does your face tense up when you think of popping the question with the ring that she almost wanted? Don’t let the jeweler tell you something that you need to be convinced about. Remember, they work on commission, but your gut doesn’t.

6. The Compromises.

If you’ve spoken to your soon to be fiance about ring shopping and style (you should if you haven’t), and you have her list of what she wants, then you need to also have her list of what she can do without. Oh, she wants a 4 carat solitaire flanked in platinum? That’s nice. What if you can’t get that for her? Don’t just sit there while she tells you everything she wants and then smile and nod like she can expect even more. You know what that leads to? A crinkled nose covered up with a smile and a strained “oh, how pretty…” as you slip a ring onto her finger that is not what she expected or wanted. Think about it, this woman wants to show off her ring to everyone. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. Hell, some girls get manicures every single week solely because they want the first pictures (straight to Instagram) to include the perfect ring on the perfect hand. It’s important to find out what she can handle not having for the rest of her life, whether that’s less clarity, darker color, a different setting, or whatever.

7. Clarity. Cut. Color. Carat.

The 4 C’s are your bible and odds are, you already know this. While carat is the “c” that most women focus on, you should be focusing on everything in this list. This is an area where you can apply another “c” word: compromise…you know, from number 6 on this list. If you can afford the 4 carat diamond by compromising on the clarity, that might be an option to look into. Frankly, size does matter and carat is the most important word on this list for a reason. Certain cuts are more expensive than others and many cuts are similar to each other. Understand what these four words mean and use that to your advantage when shopping.

8. It’s About Her.

Very often the groom’s style conflicts with the bride’s style. As a wedding planner, I see this happen in everything from deciding on centerpieces to what the wardrobe will be for the wedding party. In most cases, the groom ends up just going along for the ride and throwing in an opinion here and there. While I believe that wedding plans and details should be a joint decision, the ring is all about her. She has to wear it every single day for the rest of her life. So, if you are sitting there and all about some ring that you know would make her vomit, then put it down and just buy her what she wants. This isn’t the time to get cute and creative, especially if you’ve done your homework and know what she wants. Do you know what she wants? Good. Get that.

9. Diamonds are not every girl’s best friend.

Of course diamonds are what most people think of when the topic of engagement rings come up. However, not everyone wants a diamond on their hand. This is, again, why it’s important to have the ring conversation with your bride to be, take her shopping or at the very least, speak with her friends. Diamonds are traditional, but if you’re not with a traditional girl, then she might not want a traditional ring. Thankfully, there are countless options including beautiful gems like sapphires, rubies, emeralds and more. Does this make picking a ring out any easier? No. In fact, you might have more hurdles than you think. Sorry buddy.

10. Insure that thing.

Health insurance might be difficult to come by, but ring insurance is pretty cut and dry. Do not blow this off like you do the extra insurance when renting a car, or that travel insurance when booking airline tickets. This insurance is the insurance that you actually need. There are different ways to get ring insurance, and sometimes it will mean getting your home insurance policy involved. Whatever you have to do though, it doesn’t matter. Just get it done. Don’t sit there and think that nothing is going to happen to that ring when it could be damaged or stolen or simply go missing very easily. When shopping for the ring, ask each jeweler you meet with what insurance they offer. And then buy it.

If you are in the market for an engagement ring, I wish you all the luck in the world. It’s a serious amount of pressure and most likely the most important gift you will ever give your significant other. And once you get the ring, then you have to plan the perfect proposal. Oh, sorry….did you think you were done once the ring was purchased? Consider that your halfway point, and the proposal planning the other half. Because you’re smart and once you follow this guide and she loves the engagement ring, you’ll know to tell her to hire a wedding planner to handle the details going forward, while you sit back, relax and congratulate yourself on a job well done.


The Controversial Wedding Date

We’ve blogged in the past about dates to avoid when selecting your wedding weekend. Dates we’re not crazy about include the summer holidays (Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July and Labor Day Weekend), Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, etc. But recently, a good friend of mine and a fabulous member of the wedding industry, wrote and asked about a date that I have never touched on: September 11.

This year, September 11 falls on a Friday. September is the most popular month to get married in the Northeast, and it’s quickly gaining popularity around the country. In a wedding world where more couples want to have their event outside, the need for a month without rain is important. September happens to be the driest month over in the NYC-NJ area, so it books up quickly. In fact, we’re completely booked up…except for September 11.

Personally, I would prefer not to plan a wedding for that date. I lost friends that day and it will never be the same. I don’t know that I could separate what happened that day from planning a day where everyone is supposed to be happy. I almost find it disrespectful. I’ve never been asked to plan on that day, and I hope to never be asked.

This friend of mine happens to work at a venue that overlooks the skyline of NYC…the skyline that used to be very different from what it is now. Personally, if I were going to plan a wedding that weekend, I would want to be as far away from downtown NYC as possible. However, her venue, looks right at it. I feel like people that attend a wedding on that date, don’t need that view right in front of them. If you’re going to get married on September 11, it’s probably best to have it as far removed from NYC as possible. Like on a field in the middle of Nebraska.

My friend is asked constantly about this date and if it would be a bad omen to have your wedding on a date when thousands lost their lives. I don’t think it’s a bad omen, but I certainly wouldn’t want to share my anniversary on that day. On the other hand, our friend had a bride book her wedding for that date because she lost a family member in the attacks and it was a way to remember that person and have them “there” at the wedding.

This one is tricky because like the dates listed above, you have to consider your guests. The reason I say to avoid holiday weekends is because your guests don’t want to use their only free time going to a wedding. Likewise, they might not be too thrilled to celebrate on 9-11, especially if they lost someone near to them.

What do you think? Did you get married on 9-11 or are you considering that as your wedding date? This year it’s on a Friday and next year it falls on a Sunday. Two days where you can catch a break on your cost. Would you plan for that day if you found the perfect venue and could only afford it on an “off” day instead of a Saturday?

Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this…

How to Work with a Wedding Planner 101

You’ve decided to hire a wedding planner, congratulations! Hiring a wedding planner is one of the best decisions you can make once that ring is on your finger. Maybe you hired a planner because you’re simply too busy to handle all of the details or you just want to know that you have someone in your corner. Whether you’ve decided to bring one on for “Day Of” Coordination, partial or even full planning, there are some tips you should follow when working with your planner.

1. Listen. Your planner has experience (I hope) in the wedding and event planning industry and knows what they are talking about. It is your planner’s job to steer you down the right path and away from danger. Think of them as the selection you always want to pick in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Option one: ignore the planner, option two: listen to the planner. Know what happens if you pick option one? You get eaten by a dragon/fall off a cliff. It seems so simple, really. You’re investing some of your wedding budget into this planner, so don’t brush off their suggestions. For instance, if you’re hosting a wedding that requires you to bring everything in from tables to chairs to catering and lighting, listen to what your planner has to say. If they recommend that you have one set of chairs for your ceremony and another set for your reception, spend the extra money and do it. If  you don’t, don’t blame your planner that the chairs didn’t get moved in the right amount of time. A good planner will tell you what can and can’t be done, and how to get things done the right way. They aren’t trying to spend more of your money, they are trying to make your day run smoothly.

2. Read What They Send You. There will be countless contracts that go back and forth during the wedding planning process. Each vendor will have a separate contract and those contracts will contain what they are (and aren’t) responsible for. Your planner will read the contracts and even negotiate them, but they will also assume that you are taking the time to read them as well. Planners aren’t mindreaders and they can’t figure out what you did or did not read. For instance, we sent a contract to a client once outlining everything they had selected for their venue, along with all of the costs associated with it. They signed off on it but when it came time to put the deposit down, they screamed that the price was wrong and that they never agreed to it. “It” being the contract that they signed. Planners can’t spoonfeed you everything. Be an adult and read what  you are signing.

3. Read THEIR Contract. Speaking of reading…your planner will present to you a contract which will include what they are responsible for (well, we do, at least). This will be an outline of everything they will be taking care of and what you have contracted them to do. Go over this multiple times and ask tons of questions before you sign. Did you want your planner to be responsible for something that isn’t in their contract? Speak up! Don’t want until your wedding day to ask why certain things aren’t being done, because you may hear “it’s not my job”. As much as I don’t like to make that an answer, there are situations where my team and myself are so busy doing our jobs, that it’s unfair to expect us to do someone else’s. Trust that your planner is doing the best that they can to complete their tasks and if they can pick up someone else’s slack, they will. But know their job.

4. Trust. Hiring a planner is a difficult decision because everyone wants control of their special day. I understand that because I am an OCD control freak and no way was I allowing a planner to do anything for my wedding. If this is you, then don’t hire a planner. Seriously. It’s OK to be like this. Some people just can’t allow anyone else to do anything for them because they know that no one can do it better. I relate and understand. That said, if you hire a planner, you have to trust them. Trust their suggestions, trust their everything. I’m not saying not to question them, by all means, if you have questions, then ask…ask away! But you have to trust that they are there for you and in your corner and that you are their only priority. Personally, I protect my clients and know how much trust it takes. I respect that and do my best to give them the day that they envisioned.

5. Hire Their Vendors. This one is tricky because it will test just how much you trust your planner. Many planners take commission from vendors, which means their recommendations are complete bullshit. I can’t recommend someone I don’t trust and that I wouldn’t work with, and no amount of money will buy my recommendation. So, if I’m recommending a photographer, DJ, officiant, etc. know that it’s because I trust them and would work with them on my own events. While I am more than happy to reach out to new vendors and someone that you suggest, I can’t speak for them and therefore, I can’t guarantee solid service. What sucks about that is that if they screw up, then my company gets blamed. Your DJ ignored your timeline that I put together with him because he was drunk and never did a wedding before in his life? Yup, you’re going to put that on me when really, it wasn’t my fault, wasn’t in my control and it wasn’t my vendor. It’s not our job to jump behind the DJ booth, grab the mic and take over. You hired him, he’s your problem.

6. Be Honest with your Budget. You’ve pinned everything but don’t know what anything costs. Why should you? With thousands of blogs out there telling you that you can have your dream wedding for 4 pennies and a bag of sand, why would you think that it can’t be done? Because it can’t be. Planners know what things cost and that’s why we need to know what you are willing to spend. We’re not judging you, we just need a number. I will assist my clients with their budget and then do the best I can to keep them inside those numbers. Sometimes, it’s not always possible and there are extras that come up, or the vision changes or we need to go slightly over to make something work. It happens. But always be honest with the total amount that you want to spend and let us handle how to break it up.

7. Show up to your Appointments. Planning requires meeting with vendors…a lot of them. We will give our clients countless recommendations until we find the right person to work with them. However, we require that our clients meet with many of these vendors to make sure that they click. If you don’t meet your vendor before your wedding, bad things can and will happen. I had a client never meet her DJ before her wedding, and that DJ flaked on the rehearsal, and was a disaster on the actual wedding day. In fact, all he cared about was getting paid (and I have the countless text messages to prove it). Had she met him before the wedding, maybe she would’ve gotten the bad vibe from him and never hired him in the first place. We know the vendors we are recommending, but we want to make sure that you like them too. I will schedule appointments for my clients, and all they have to do is show up. Never ever cancel last minute (unless someone is dead) and never ever flake. It makes your planner look really bad, and yes, that’s a problem. If you need to cancel, 48 hours notice is best. By the way, that DJ that flaked, was not one of our vendors. Duh.

Those are my top 7 tips for working with a wedding planner. You’re investing in them, so spend your money wisely. Ask questions, read everything, and know that your planner is always on your side and fighting for you.

Happy New Year! Always Bet on R.E.D.

Happy 2015 everyone! We are so excited to get back in the swing of things now that everyone is back from holiday! It was super quiet around here throughout most of December, but now it’s engagement season and we’ve already brought new couples into the R.E.D. family!

2014 was a crazy busy year for us and we kicked it off at The Wilshire Grand as we hosted New Jersey’s first same sex wedding giveaway! We received entries from all across the state, and on January 9, 2014 we announced Kris and Wesley as our winners. Their wedding took place in July 2014 and was a smash hit.

Given how successful our first event was, another venue wanted to show their support for the LGBT community, so we hosted the second annual contest. This year we are planning the wedding for Greg and JP and we can’t wait to give them their special day!

2014 brought us a lot of rustic brides and grooms looking for barns and farms. This was a super popular trend and we have plenty of it in 2015 as well. It’s safe to say that we are the experts in rustic design and decor and we love it! If you are looking to plan that type of wedding, please reach out to us so we can help out.

We also traveled to California to work on a wedding that will be coming to Bravo in the next few weeks. If you’re a fan of the show “Vanderpump Rules”, be sure to check out the amazing wedding of Scheana and Shay this February! We worked with this couple (and they are, by the way, so in love it’s adorable) for their beautiful wedding at Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley, California. Be sure to tune in to see all of the details and drama. PS. It was 100 degrees out!

There are also some amazing trends for weddings in 2015 that we can’t wait to see. Of course, rustic chic is still big, and pink is still a popular color, but we’ll be seeing lots of all white weddings, as well as jewel toned ones in the Fall and Winter. Our couples this year have so many amazing ideas and we can’t wait to show you the pictures!

The first wedding of our year takes place next week in Rivera Maya, Mexico. This couple has been working with us for over a year now and they are taking off in just a few days. If you’re looking to plan a destination wedding, we can help you with every last detail, starting with finding the perfect venue. We want to wish Steve and Cheryl lots of luck as they walk down the sandy aisle and become our first married couple of 2015!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for behind the scenes photos, feature stories, blogs and more! We’re also in the process of updating our website so make sure to check back soon for that.

Happy New Year! Let’s kick some ass!

Danielle Rothweiler
Rothweiler Event Design
….always bet on R.E.D.

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!