Huff and Puff….and Blow Those Suggestions Away!

Normally, I love The Huffington Post, but their most recent blog on moving saving tips for brides made my brain hurt. I also received an onslaught of emails and facebook messages that read something like this: “OMG Did you read this hot mess?!”

Yes, I read it, and you can read the whole thing right here:

With all due respect to The Huffington Post, I couldn’t disagree with most of their points more if I tried. As a planner, I pride myself on being able to show my clients how to save money, and I want to burn this list so that they never see it. The problem with things like this on the internet, is that everyone believe the internet as Gospel. How many times have you heard that Betty White died this year? She’s not dead. The internet said so though, and I had to throw a little at everyone that posted that nonsense.

Betty White can’t ever die by the way. She’s a genius.


Below are some of the points HP made, and what my answers are to them. Feel free to throw in your two cents regarding these points or anything else in the article!

HP says: 2. Go to a bridal shop, then go online.
When people say ‘never buy your wedding dress online’, I like to imagine what they really mean is ‘never buy online without trying the dress on first’. Though there is some risks with buying a preowned dress, finding the dress you love in a Bridal shop first and then heading to PreOwnedWeddingDresses can be a great way to save cash. Alternatively, try these 8 Etsy Bridal Boutiques.

Rothweiler Event Design says: OMG, no. Do not do this. I cannot believe this piece of advice is out there. As a planner, I fight this all of the time. This is a wedding gown, not a pair of shoes from This is possibly the most important piece of clothing that a bride will ever wear in her entire life. I strongly encourage brides to cut corners elsewhere because this is not the place to do it. Can it work out in your favor? Sure. But why roll the dice here? Figure out your budget, track down dresses and styles that you like, and then go purchase one from a reputable store that offers in house alterations. 

HP says: 6. DIY centre pieces and other DIY items
On one hand DIY can be a seriously cost efficient way of cutting out unnecessary price burdens. On the other hand, it can also be a COMPLETE disaster. Think carefully about your skills before taking on any DIY project and scout out cool printable items like these wedding table games.

Rothweiler Event Design says: DIY is fine and some couples are crafty and do enjoy this. But what many couples do not think about is a. the time is takes and b. the storage that is necessary both before and after the big day. Planning a wedding is a full time job, and if you’re adding arts and crafts on top of that, you will find yourself spending every weekend with a glue gun and glitter. Plus, where will all of your decor live leading up to the wedding? What about after the wedding? It’s not always easy to unload everything you made once you’ve tied the knot.

HP says: 7. Hey Mr DJ, take the evening off!
Welcome to the world of iPods, MP3 players and mobile phones. Update with all your favourite songs, make a super playlist and party away. If you’re like me and have a dubious musical library, why not ask a couple friends around for an evening of cocktails and musical playlist making. Still worried about being your own DJ? Check out DIYreception, these guys will create your playlist for you, covering a range of genres and can even create custom introductions.

Rothweiler Event Design says: In the grand scheme of your budget, a DJ is not a large percentage. What you are saving here is not worth it. A playlist is super for your work out at the gym, but you need a real live person to watch the crowd and play appropriate music. Even with a playlist, an experienced DJ will know when to change it up and how to get the crowd moving. 

HP says: 9. Set up a DIY bar.
A luxury for only the luckiest of couples, having the chance to host your own DIY bar can be one way to save save save when planning your wedding. Hosting your wedding at an owned or backyard property? Find out how to pull off the ideal DIY bar here.

Rothweiler Event Design says: What a great way to burn through a lot of alcohol really quickly. How does this save money? By not hiring a bartender? This is a recipe for disaster. A planner and/or a caterer will be able to tell you exactly how much and of what you need for your guest count. That way you are still able to buy your own and save money but not buy too little or too much. A trained bar staff will be able to correctly pour drinks so that you’re not completely out of alcohol by the first hour of the reception.

Snooki’s….No, Nicole’s Wedding Day.

Here comes the bride and she’s not wearing leopard. Thank. God.

Despite speculation from planners (and the general public), Nicole has grown up and has decided that her wedding day is going to be Gatsby themed and glamorous, not Jersey Shore and leopard. We remarked on this a few months ago when we read comments from planners suggesting how to incorporate cheetah print into her decor, that we didn’t think that was the direction she was heading. To those planners we say “we were right and you were wrong. Better luck next time!”

We applaud Nicole for choosing a beautiful theme and timeless colors for her wedding day. She also chose the perfect venue to showcase her big day, The Venetian in Garfield, New Jersey. Between the marble floors and the attention to detail, this venue is everything that this reality star could wish for.

A Gatsby theme has been on and off popular for the past few years now. A color palette of gold and black is always classic, and for the dramatic couples, it’s a staple color combination. Below are a few ideas on how we would bring this day to life:

1. Ditch the linens. Get rid of them! Mirrored table tops are the new thing and this is the time to use them. Keeping the lighting low and adding candles to the table, a mirrored table top will reflect everything and add to the romance and glamour of the evening.

2. Orchids. Big, huge, white, cascading orchids. I see tall gold vases with orchids spilling over the top and practically touching the tables. White is a major trend in weddings right now, and orchids scream “regal”. 

3. Amber up and down lighting. Warm up this huge room (have you been there? It’s huge.) with candles and amber lighting up the walls and across the ceiling. Pink, blue and purple are great for birthday parties and Mitzvahs, but this is a wedding. 

4. Big entrance with sparklers. The room hosting Nicole’s reception boasts a double staircase. What a brilliant way to bring in her wedding party, and of course, the happy couple. All eyes will be on what will be a well dressed party (because no one will be in leopard) and then the new Mr. and Mrs. LaValle. We would love to see a huge entrance followed by a dramatic but fun first dance.

5. A fun signature drink. Kick off cocktail hour with an amazing mix! We hope Nicole and Jionni will spend the next few weeks mixing up liquors to find something unique that they love. Put it in a sugar rimmed martini glass, give it a fun name and cheers!

6. A cake to end all cakes. These two have a huge guest list and nothing would be sweeter than watching them cut the cake together. We recommend a 5 or 6 tier cake with alternating flavors. The Venetian boasts an impressive dessert hour too, so they’re covered in that department. 

7. A larger than life send off. When the party is over, we’d bring these two and all of their guests outside for their amazing departure. Whether that includes fireworks or not could be up to them. We envision a super amazing getaway car taking the newlyweds off to their honeymoon!

Congratulations Nicole and Jionni! We can’t wait to see pictures of your special day!

National Coffee Day!

It is National Coffee Day and we know how many of our readers love to indulge on this amazing beverage. This time of year so many brides are sipping their pumpkin spiced latte while updating their Pinterest accounts and flipping through countless magazines for inspiration.

We wanted to take the time to recognize National Coffee Day, especially since it is one of our favorite favors to recommend to our clients. That’s right, coffee!

Most clients are opting out of the favor world, cutting it from their budget mostly because they don’t know what to offer. Let’s be honest, favors typically end up in the trash. But not when you offer something to eat or drink!

Using labels complete with your event date and a thank you message to your guests, why not send them off with something amazing and original like coffee? You can offer it whole bean or not, and really make it special by selecting a blend from a notable part of the world. Rothweiler Event Design recently met with Meahuna Coffee to try some of their amazing blends. They offer their coffee in all different colored bags and will customize labels for you as well. The most important aspect of this favor is that it won’t end up in the trash!

Take a look at Meahuna Coffee to see what they are all about, and reach out to them for your next event. We promise you that your guests will be buzzing about this great idea, and we’ll even let you take the credit for thinking of it:

Did you offer coffee as a favor? What do you think about this idea? Please share your thoughts with us!

The Chair Conundrum

This is becoming a “thing” now, so I feel compelled to help on the education side of this…. conundrum.

In New Jersey, we are very spoiled with banquet halls that are all inclusive. For those of you reading this from outside the Jersey border, allow me to explain. New Jersey is the banquet capital of the country. In fact, there are 4 on the same street as my office. These banquet halls come complete with things you would think of like servers and bartenders and things you wouldn’t think of like chairs and floors. Yeah, floors.

New Jersey brides are spoiled because they don’t have to think about a large portion of what actually goes into a wedding day, because the banquet hall has it all covered under one roof. You pay a “per person” fee and you get your food, alcohol, plates to eat off of and glasses to drink from. You need a seat? They’ve got chairs!! Did you want your ceremony in the same location? No problem because they can most likely set that up too.

But what happens outside of these banquet halls? More and more of our New Jersey brides are turning their noses up at the thought of “cookie cutter” weddings and want something different like a farm, or a loft, or a penthouse in upper Manhattan. The idea of a “blank slate” is sexy and appealing because they can make it whatever they want. And our destination brides don’t even know what a banquet hall is.

Having a blank slate means bringing in everything and knowing what “everything” actually is. Thankfully, you’ve hired a planner (or are about to hire us, because, duh, why wouldn’t you?) and we know everything that you will need right down to the silverware. These weddings tend to be more expensive because they are essentially “ala carte” and you are paying for things individually. Your caterer might be charging you $150 per person, and that will include food but it may or may not include: chairs, tables, linens, alcohol, etc. Each caterer is different and since we like to keep the vendor list to a minimum, we prefer caterers that can provide the most. 

The chairs are the biggest issue we are seeing this year and a question that many of our couples ask us about. Inside the banquet halls, it’s easy to move chairs from the ceremony to the reception space during the cocktail hour. They have the resources and the man power to get this done in a very short amount of time (moving 300 chairs in 1 hour takes at least 20 people.) Typically, they are moving the chairs from room to room, which is easier than say across a field, down a hill or around the courtyard. The more chairs you have and the farther they have to go, the more people you will need to move them. You know what that means? More of this: $$$

Many of our brides wonder if they can save money by using the same chairs. After all, the chairs for the ceremony will be used for all of 30 minutes, but the reception chairs need to be available for 5-7 hours. Is it worth it to rent a separate set of a chairs? 

You bet it is.

Here’s the thing: the money you would save by using the same chairs, will be wasted on paying people to move them.

I know what you’re thinking (because this has happened): it can’t/won’t take that long.

Oh yes, it will. As much as we can advise our brides to not do this and to simply find a couple extra hundred dollars for more chairs, they don’t always listen. The result? A 2 hour long cocktail hour destroying the rest of the timeline for the day (that cake cutting just got pushed to midnight now AFTER your photographer is scheduled to leave), and finding other people to help move chairs…those people are probably supposed to be doing other things like pouring champagne, but now they are pulled to do something else. Which means when your guests finally do get to sit down, there’s no champagne on the table. 

Pretty picture right? It’s happened, it can happen to you and you should be very afraid of this happening. 

To make it worse, we recently saw an episode of “Four Weddings” where the couple had their friends carry their chairs from the ceremony to the reception area. Women in dresses carried their own chairs. Honey bunches of NO. What?! I couldn’t tweet about that fast enough.

The bottom line is this, outside of our fantastic Jersey banquet halls is a world of beautiful venues that offer nothing but a blank canvas. Your guests need a place to sit and it is far less expensive to rent a second set of chairs, than to hire people to move them. Again, don’t ask your guests to do it, because that’s just tacky. 

Two sets of chairs. That’s the answer. Problem solved. Ta-da.

What’s Your Budget?

“What’s your budget?”
“What are you looking to spend?”
“What number is the maximum?”

These are all variations on a question you will hear endless amounts of times during the planning of your wedding or any other event. Put down the gloves and your defenses, because there is a reason you are being asked this question.

One of the first things we ask our clients, frequently before we even begin working with them is “what is your budget?”. We need to know the overall budget so that we can break it down into categories, and we also need to know what you want to spend and where. For instance, if flowers are the be all and end all, we want to put a little more in that category and take from something else that is less important to you. If you have your heart set on a certain venue, then we will need to spend 50% of your budget there instead of 45% of the budget. 

But we can’t do any of that unless you are honest with us and tell us what you are willing to spend and what you are capable of spending.

Now I know, how do you know what anything costs? Countless websites will tell you how you can plan an entire wedding for $5,000, while others will tell you that centerpieces worth looking at start at $350 each. The internet is tricky that way, and like Web MD, if you rely on it to plan your wedding, you will be diagnosed with cancer. 

When we ask what our clients want to spend, what we really need to know is the limit. This doesn’t mean that if they say “$8,000 on flowers” that we are going to go out and get them a $7,999 quote. This means that we take that number and don’t go over it. How?

You tell us: $8k for flowers (or photography, or videography or whatever)….We then take that number to our vendors and go through everything you are interested in, from the style of the flowers to the amount of photographers for the day to the labor, to the set up and break down and everything you are not even thinking about. We then make it very clear that we are working with a hard number. Then, after a day or two (and work, this involves WORK) we will come back to you with a rough proposal of what we can provide within your budget. 

For example: $8,000 on photography and you want x amount of pictures, hi-res retouched everything, 4 parent albums, two photographers, 10 hours of coverage and a partridge in a pear tree. We will then work with photographers that we know, make sure they have the date available, the style you want, and put together a package for you to review. There is no need to waste your time with vendors that are outside your budget or cannot work with you and we do all of that homework for you and present you with your options.

But….if you say “I don’t know”, “I have no idea” or “I really can’t give you a number”….what happens then can be tragic. We will spend hours, sometimes days, working with our vendors (taking time away from other work that we need to be doing) to put together something for you based on what you want, but not what you want to spend…because you haven’t told us. We have NO IDEA what you want to spend because you have not given us a number. We’re not guessing, we’re not trying to bleed you dry, and we only have the information that you have given us. 

From there, we can present you with a rough proposal. 90% of the time we either don’t receive a response back or the response we do get back, is negative. Frequently, that number is too high and needs to come down. But needs to come down to what?

Look at it from our angle: you have given us nothing to work with but your ideas. We know the market, we know what things cost, and as planners, we can get you the best deals. So we are working to present you with something very real, and that work we do to put something together is no joke either. When you come back and say nothing or tell us that the number is too high, it’s very frustrating on our end because how were we supposed to know?

I guess the point of this blog is: it’s not a conspiracy theory. We want to get you the best deal for what you want, so that’s why you will keep hearing that question “what is your budget?” The best advice I can give you is to have a number in mind that you will not be willing to go over and then proceed from there. Proposals and quotes can be tweeted, but if the blind is leading the blind, then nothing gets accomplished and everyone has wasted their time and is now aggravated. 

Don’t lie to your doctor, publicist, attorney and especially not your planner. We cannot help you if you do.

Questions? Comments? We would love to hear them!

Pinterest: The Blessing and Curse

Every single bride we work with has a Pinterest account and we always ask to see it when we begin working together. We like to see what visually attracts them, where their minds are, and what ridiculous concept they are dreaming of that is more expensive than they could ever imagine.

Pinterest is a blessing and a curse.

Chock full of unbelievable photos and amazing inspiration, Pinterest is a great site to find foundation ideas for your wedding. You can find out what types of flowers you are drawn to, what colors look good together and really explore both traditional and non traditional designs. We love to use Pinterest to put together what the general feeling of a wedding will be for our brides.

However, Pinterest is full of death traps like linking brides to blogs about how they too can plan their entire wedding for under $5,000, and pins and pins of ceiling flower installations. If a bride isn’t careful, she will get sucked into the vortex of these pins and suddenly be wishing for a wedding that has a much higher price tag than she originally budgeted for. Or, a bride will be lulled into a false sense of security that her dream wedding complete with calla lillies and orchids, can be thrown together for her 300 person guest list for $10,000. 

Hello, this is Earth, come in bride! 

We wanted to take this time to offer a word of caution to all brides pinning their weddings on this amazing site. Take it for what it’s worth: a ton of amazing pictures to give you ideas about your big day. Do not use it as gospel, bible, or anything other than just a fun site to browse. While it’s helpful for us as planners to see what you really like, it’s tough to fight the bride that wants the clear tent with lights and is convinced that it exists for much less than we are quoting her. 

Put a filter on your pinterest. Go there to find colors and concepts, but don’t get carried away. It’s our job to help your vision become a reality, but let us keep you grounded along the way and not spend what was going to be a deposit on your first home together as a married couple.

Happy pinning!

Photo credit: Fusion Photography Studio

Same Sex Wedding Giveaway, Take 2!

Rothweiler Event Design is proud to announce New Jersey’s second Same Sex Wedding Giveaway! Last year, we made history when New Jersey legalized same sex marriage, and Kris and Wesley won a complete wedding package to celebrate their union! One year later, same sex marriage is being celebrated again as we have partnered with Vegas NJ in Randolph to giveaway another wedding package to one lucky couple!
If you and your partner are engaged in New Jersey, or if you know of a deserving couple, please send in a story complete with pictures to The deadline to enter is October 24, 2014.
All finalists will be invited to a cocktail party on November 6, 2014 and MUST be present to win this incredible prize!
We are looking forward to another amazing celebration and cannot wait to read your story! Don’t delay!
1. Contest is open to all same sex (man and man, or woman and woman) couples that reside in The State of New Jersey and are engaged to be married.
2. Couples must each be 21 years of age or older at the launch of this contest (August 27, 2014).
3. Couples agree to allow their essays and photographs to be published on the social media sites of all participating vendors that are donating their services. These pages includes but are not limited to Rothweiler Event Design and Vegas NJ.
4. Couples are to “like” the pages of all participating vendors which will be updated on the Facebook page of Rothweiler Event Design throughout the contest.
5. Finalists will be contacted on or before October 31, 2014. If, for some reason, any finalist is unreachable, or unable to be contacted by that date, they will forfeit their spot and another couple will be selected.
6. Each contestant agrees to be present for the announcement of the winner on November 6, 2014 at 7pm at Vegas NJ in Randolph, NJ. 
7. The winning couple will be selected by the participating vendors. All decisions are final.
8. The winning couple agrees to work with each individual vendor that is giving away their services for their wedding day. The packages that the vendors are giving away are at the sole discretion of the vendors.
9. The winning couple agrees to allow their wedding to be photographed and published in multiple media outlets.
10. The winning couple agrees to allow their wedding to be recorded for future media use.
11. The winning couple agrees to hold their wedding on a date that has been pre-selected by all vendors involved. This date is non-negotiable. Should the winning couple not agree to this date, they will forfeit their prize, and another couple will be selected.
12. The wedding guest count giveaway includes up to 70 guests (including the couple). If the couple chooses to have more than 70 guests at their wedding (maximum 150), they agree to pay the difference to all of the vendors involved to cover the additional costs if necessary.
13. The winning couple agrees to be interviewed for the media and publications regarding their wedding planning, relationship, etc.
14. The winning couple will be awarded various prizes for their wedding package. These prizes have already been pre-determined and are non-negotiable.  

No ring? No planning!

We’re not sure why this is becoming common, but more and more we are seeing non-engaged people already planning their wedding. This isn’t about the endless Pinterest boards with wedding ideas for a day long in the future, this is about actually venue and vendor shopping without one necessary item: an engagement.

A few years back we were contacted by a woman that wanted to consult with us for planning services. We set up an appointment and took time out of our day to meet with her for close to 2 hours. Her ideas were lovely and the entire concept she had in mind sounded so exciting. She was a bit non-traditional, so we didn’t question her when she showed up without any bling on her finger.

And then we found out. Engaged? Nope. She later admitted to us that “he hasn’t given me the ring yet, but I know it’s coming.”

Stop. The. Madness.

Recently, we spoke with another professional in the field who also met with a woman sans engagement. In fact, her boyfriend probably won’t be proposing to her anytime soon, but she is venue shopping for the future. This non-engaged girlfriend toured a venue and took up an appointment for a wedding that may or may not ever happen.

We get it, weddings are exciting and planning is fun. But if you aren’t engaged, just stay on Pinterest until you are. There is not one reason, at all, to be setting up appointments to view venues that you like or meet with any vendors for your special day. One of the first questions you will be asked is “have you set a date?” or something along those lines….so it will come out that you haven’t set a date because no one has even asked you to marry them yet.

Besides wasting your time, it wastes the time of the professionals you are meeting with. Maybe the ring is coming soon and maybe you’ve even been shopping together, but if you don’t show up with a little sparkle on your finger, you are going to be questioned. Plus, the engagement period should be exciting and fun and you will be racing from appointment to appointment to show off the new bling. Until then though, he is not your “hubby” and you are not his “wifey” (in fact, please don’t use those terms without that second ring called a wedding band).

We want to celebrate with you and plan your special day, but it is unfair to everyone involved (you too) to start planning without blueprints. What happens if that ring never comes?

….and that girl we met with years ago? The one where the ring was coming? 

We never heard from her again…..

Congratulations: Kris and Wesley!

This blog post is long overdue….

Earlier this year, Rothweiler Event Design hosted New Jersey’s first Same Sex Wedding Giveaway. We partnered with our favorite New Jersey venue, The Wilshire Grand (it’s not a secret, we love it there) and some seriously talented and dedicated vendors to give away an all inclusive wedding valued at over $70,000. 

Late last Fall, couples were asked to submit their stories or nominate a couple that was deserving of this amazing prize. We received plenty of entries and then narrowed the field down to 10 finalists. These finalists were invited with their friends and family to celebrate New Jersey making same sex marriage legal and to find out who the winner was. On January 9, 2014, we announced Kris and Wesley as the lucky couple and the planning took off!

On July 27, 2014, Kris and Wesley had their special day. Surrounded by their closest friends and family members, their wedding was complete with love and support. We were more than excited to have Mitch Maged (aka Mitch the Minister) preside over their ceremony and announce them as husband and husband. The grooms looked stunning in wardrobe provided by Robert’s Tuxedos, and the ladies were decked out in bling provided by Elizabeth John’s. Live music was provided by The Smokin’ Section for both the ceremony and the cocktail hour, before Ambient DJ took over and got the party started at their reception.

From the signature drink cards to the menus, escort cards and more, designs by RSVP to Me were seen everywhere and added the southern charm the grooms were looking for. Rothweiler Event Design provided the flowers and decor and used sunflowers (the grooms’ request) as a base in the centerpieces. 

Even though the food was abundantly provided by The Wilshire Grand Catering, desserts were plentiful as well. Their cake was modern and fun from Confectionary Designs, and they also enjoyed a late night cupcake service from Polka Dot Cupcakes.

Above all, Kris and Wesley were all smiles the entire day. Their story won them this incredible wedding and we were ecstatic to put this together for them. We believe that love is love and celebrate everyday that New Jersey has legalized same sex marriage.

Congratulations to Kris and Wesley!

Planner and Event/Floral Design: Rothweiler Event Design
Venue: The Wilshire Grand Catering
Stationary: RSVP to Me
Officiant: Mitch the Minister
DJ: Ambient DJ
Live Music: The Smokin’ Section
Men’s Wardrobe: Robert’s Tuxedos
Women’s Jewelry: Elizabeth John’s
Videography: Gabelli Studio
Cupcake Truck: Polka Dot Cupcake
Photography: Al Ojeda 
Cake: Confectionary Designs
Horse and Carriage: Dream Horse Carriage
Photobooth: Goodwin’s Good Time Photobooth
Hair and Make Up: Deeva Beauty

Thank you also to Erik Kent of for being the gracious media sponsor of this event!

  • Event Planner Rothweiler Event Design (Danielle Rothweiler)
  • Catering and Accommodations Wilshire Grand Hotel
  • DJ Entertainment Ambient DJ Service (Gregg Hollmann)
  • Photography Al Ojeda Photography (the beautiful images in this blog are courtesy of Al Ojeda Photography – follow them on Facebook to view the complete gallery! )
  • Videography Gabelli Cinema
  • Photo Booth Goodwin’s Goodtime Photo Booth (Gus Goodwin)
  • Hair and Makeup Deirde Mahon from Deeva Beauty
  • Media Sponsor (Erik Kent)
  • Invitations RSVP to Me
  • Ceremony Officiant Mitch the Minister
  • Wedding Cake Confectionary Designs
  • Cupcake Truck Polka Dot Cupcake Shop (Little Ferry) (thank you for serving us a heavenly late night Red Velvet cupcake!)
  • Horse & Carriage Dream Horse Carriage (Tania Lawson)
  • Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music The Smokin Section
  • – See more at: 

    Event Planning/Floral Design and Decor: Rothweiler Event Design,

  • Event Planner Rothweiler Event Design (Danielle Rothweiler)
  • Catering and Accommodations Wilshire Grand Hotel
  • DJ Entertainment Ambient DJ Service (Gregg Hollmann)
  • Photography Al Ojeda Photography (the beautiful images in this blog are courtesy of Al Ojeda Photography – follow them on Facebook to view the complete gallery! )
  • Videography Gabelli Cinema
  • Photo Booth Goodwin’s Goodtime Photo Booth (Gus Goodwin)
  • Hair and Makeup Deirde Mahon from Deeva Beauty
  • Media Sponsor (Erik Kent)
  • Invitations RSVP to Me
  • Ceremony Officiant Mitch the Minister
  • Wedding Cake Confectionary Designs
  • Cupcake Truck Polka Dot Cupcake Shop (Little Ferry) (thank you for serving us a heavenly late night Red Velvet cupcake!)
  • Horse & Carriage Dream Horse Carriage (Tania Lawson)
  • Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music The Smokin Section
  • – See more at:

    20/20 Vision

    “I wish I had….” said the regretful bride.

    Probably one of the most painful moments I have as an event planner, is hearing the regrets of my clients that either didn’t listen to my advice, or worse, listened to the advice of their friends while planning. They ignored their gut and let the outside world influence them. Only on the day of the event did they see what they should have done, and by then, it was too late. Now, they shout from the rooftops “don’t do what I did!” Is anyone listening?

    Hindsight is interesting. Frequently, people believe that they know what is best and there is no convincing them otherwise. You can use spreadsheets, a slideshow, puppets, it doesn’t matter. It’s not until something blows up in someone’s face and they actually see it that they actually believe it. So I was wondering what are some of the major regrets clients had, and I caught up with my friends over at Elegant Ensembles in New Jersey. They have provided amazing live music for many events we have put together, and as an established vendor, they know what the clients “shoulda, coulda and woulda” done differently.

    A whopping 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment. Almost 100% of brides say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment. 

    I believe it.

    I see brides spending over 50% of their budget (please refer to a previous blog where I say not to do that) on their venue and then digging for change in their couches to pay the rest of the vendors involved. 

    Here’s the thing about entertainment: if it sucks, so does your entire event. Empty dancefloor? No one will care about anything else. I could bring in ceiling flower installations, top caterers from across the country, vodka direct from Russia that is served by bears on little bikes and none of it will matter if the entertainment is sub-par. 

    We are seeing more and more clients pick up bad talent for their entertainment. This includes radio DJs that have never performed at a wedding before and probably never ever should. A good DJ/MC combination (if you prefer to not do the band thing) is essential. You need people that will communicate with you as clients, your crowd throughout the night, and especially, your wedding planner. Too often $5 DJs are hired and make the entire event about them and their music. They ignore your timeline, forget the bouquet toss and announce the wrong people as they enter. All that matters to them is playing music. That’s great, but then your caterer plates the food late (how much did you pay per plate again?), the cake doesn’t get cut until everyone leaves, and your mom is making her entrance to the wrong damn song. Just say “no” to the radio DJ and those that make it about them and not about you. Because if a DJ is doing his own thing, there is little to nothing that can be done by us to fix the problem….aside from “grabbing the microphone” and “taking over” as was suggested to us to do at a wedding one time. PS- that’s not our job. Nope.

    Going the band route? Awesome. There are so many to choose from and we recommend meeting with them and hearing samples, live if possible. The amount of bad music and really bad pitchy singing that is out there is extraordinary. Don’t have a great ear for this type of stuff? Bring someone with you that does and ask that person to be honest. You do not need some Christina Aguilera wanna-be riffing flat notes all night. 

    Finally, with any music, this is not where you cut your budget (go after that 250 person guest list instead). Bad music=bad event. There is no way around it. Always ask your planner for their recommendations because they will be working with them to time the entire event. 

    When asked, 81% of guests say the thing the remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.

    Don’t be a hindsight disaster. Kick “shoulda, coulda, woulda” to the curb.

    Thanks to Elegant Ensembles for providing the statistics! Check out their website for your music needs: