Another year is coming to a close and with another year gone by, we are ready to look ahead to the next one and talk about 2018 wedding trends. We shared our interview with Bridal Atelier Montclair discussing 2018 wedding gown trends, but here we’ll discuss everything from floor to ceiling.
Here is the top 10 list of things brides and grooms can expect to see in 2018 weddings. Don’t forget to share in the comments what trends you love and will be using for your own wedding day!
Can’t decide between silver or gold? Mixing metals is one of our favorite 2018 wedding trends, so don’t stress about deciding. Pops of metal look amazing when paired with candles too!
Strapless dresses are taking a backseat to detailed wedding gowns. 2018 will showcase detailed backs, off the shoulder gowns and sleeves of all types.
An absolute favorite in general and part of the 2018 wedding trends, is the gorgeous succulent flower. These have been popular for a few years now, but brides are getting creative and adding them into centerpieces, bouquets and other unexpected areas. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, succulents are perfect for every type of wedding.
Speaking of unexpected florals, 2018 will bring installations that we haven’t seen before. Brides and grooms are getting more creative and bring flowers past the tables and onto places like the ceiling and banisters. Just make sure your venue allows your design and there is enough time to set it up on the day of!
Purples and Blues
With Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year being ultra-violet, we expect to see plenty of this color throughout the year and into 2019. The past few years have been filled with neutral colors and shades of pink. We are so excited to see bold purples and deep blues make a return to weddings!
Not just for the altar anymore, couples will be using arches to create entrance spaces and substituting them for those popular flower walls. Enhance your walk down the aisle like our winter couple did here with a gorgeous arch in the ceremony space.
Searches for balloons are way up on Pinterest and we expect to see them as a big part of the 2018 wedding trends. We created this balloon ceiling display for The Knot Market Mixer a few years ago, so we’re so excited to see it trending now!
This look has been gaining in popularity ever since the rustic trend began. In 2018 we’ll see even more Boho Chic weddings complete with desconstructed bouquets, outdoor ceremonies and bolder colors.
Couples will get creative in 2018 with different types of guestsbooks and ways for guests to show their love. One of our favorites is this adorable box filled with hearts that guests wrote their well wishes on!
Our favorite wedding trend for 2018 is CoolSculpting which we talked about in another blog. You can literally eat whatever you want, not go to the gym, and still slay in your wedding gown. Without surgery. I know, right?!
What do you think of our top 10 list of 2018 wedding trends? Which will you incorporate into your wedding day? Share with us in the comments below!!
One thing I know as a wedding planner is that brides want to look their best on their wedding day. My clients ask me about everything from personal trainer recommendations to where the best spas are. I have incredible teams of stylists for the day of a wedding and I can even send brides coolsculpting leading up to the big day. I’m always learning about new products available and in the spirit of the shopping season, I have put together my list of the 10 best beauty products for brides.
Check out my favorite products below that are perfect for any bride to be. Whether you’re picking up these items for yourself, or as a stocking stuffer, there’s something here for every bride. Some items can even be received before Christmas, so don’t wait to get that perfect gift!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with Pink Travel Case
If you haven’t heard by now, Dyson makes hair dryers and they rock. A bride’s hair is pretty featured on the wedding day and it’s important to take care of it until then. Using the right blow dryer is an easy way to take care of your hair. This hair dryer monitors the heat on your hair so you’re not frying every strand. The great travel case makes it easy to bring to a destination wedding or even a honeymoon location. Plus, the drying time is cut in half so you can spend less time drying your hair and more time planning the wedding!
La Mer Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
With the winter wind constantly smacking me in the face, unless I wear a ski mask everywhere I go, my skin is rapidly drying out. La Mer is one of my favorite moisturizers and it’s truly the best of the best. If there was any time for a woman to splurge on her skincare, it’s while she’s wedding planning. La Mer reduces fine lines and is a well-known staple of the beauty industry. It was a no-brainer to include this product on my list of the top 10 best beauty products for a bride!
Kylie Cosmetics: The Nice Palette
This eyeshadow palette is so gorgeous! I am not a big fan of palettes that have one of two neutral colors with a bunch of bold ones, so this is one of my favorites. This is a great palette for brides to use on the day of the wedding and even bring along on the honeymoon. The pigments are incredible and the powder doesn’t flake onto your skin during application. Try this out before your wedding day and have fun discovering the look you want when you walk down the aisle!
Juvalips Lip Plumper
Lip liner can make your lips look a bit fuller, but injections can be too extreme for some. Juvalips lip plumper is the best choice for brides looking for something in between. It only takes two minutes for an instant impact as Juvalips increases blow flow to your lips. Results last for 8-10 hours, and longer with continued use. Pick this up now to use in the months before the wedding day, and be sure to use it on the morning your get married as well. Helping to make that first kiss even more amazing, Juvalips was an easy choice for my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides!
Kerstin Florian Night Cream
Kerstin Florian is my personal favorite for skin care and I had to include them in my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides. When planning a wedding, a bride can lose plenty of sleep, which is super bad for her skin. This night cream is super moisturizing and you will wake up with softer and more supple skin. So even if you can’t sleep because you’re worried about the wedding details, your skin won’t show it with this beauty product!
Majestic Castor Oil for Eyelash Growth
Every bride wants long gorgeous lashes, not just on the wedding day, but everyday. Even if you’re planning to wear false lashes on the day you get married, there are plenty of other times you won’t…like while on the beach during the honeymoon. An obvious choice for my top 10 best beauty products for brides is Majestic Pure Eyelash Serum. Castor oil has been used for years to increase hair growth and this product isn’t tested on animals and is completely cruelty free. Don’t wait to pick up this amazing product for your wedding day!
Amope Pedi Perfect
Besides winter taking a toll on the skin on my face, my feet aren’t exactly ready for sandal season. To get ready to wear those open toe slingbacks under your wedding gown, and those flip flops on the honeymoon, pick up this incredibly beauty product. Amope is heavily advertised and by now, everyone has seen the commercials. It has never been so easy to make your feet super smooth and look perfect in any shoe from any angle. Perfect for in between those pedicures you won’t get to during wedding planning, this is a must have beauty product for any bride to be!
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This product has been in my bathroom for over ten years now so I had to include it in my top 10 beauty products for brides list. Got a pimple? No you don’t…not with this! Pack up this little stocking stuffer in your overnight bag for the night before the wedding because it works that fast. Great to have for the whole wedding planning process, especially for brides that break out due to stress.
Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask
You’ve seen those crazy black masks that you peel off from your skin to get rid of blackheads. Well, this is the mask that actually works! Not only does it effectively clean out your pores like in those weirdly satisfying videos, but it softens and firms your skin too. If you’re worried about it being painful, then don’t. The secret is to applying a really thick layer all over your face before letting it dry to peel off. Brides will notice a different immediately and since I am all about instant gratification, this had to make it onto my top 10 best beauty products for brides list!
Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanner
This self-tanner is my total and absolute favorite self-tanner on the market. If you didn’t know this, let me inform you that I am super pale. Right now I can basically use my summer concealer as a contour because I look like a cloud. Self-tanners have always been tough for me to love because they are either too orange, or they streak or smell. I found Fake Bake Flawless about two years ago and I haven’t looked back since. With the mitt that comes with the spray, you get an even look that smells great and doesn’t streak onto your clothes either. Grab this to look great for your bachelorette weekend, the wedding, the honeymoon and forever as a wife!
Whatever your beauty routine is, every bride wants to take it to the next level. Now it’s even easier with my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides and I can’t wait to hear which ones you try. What are you looking to improve before the big day? Share your beauty secrets in the comments below!
CoolSculpting: The hottest wedding trend for 2018 that you may have heard about but maybe not. Well, what if I told you to eat whatever you want during the holidays? What if I said you don’t need the gym in 2018? What if I said you could target problem areas without going under the knife?
No more “what if”, because now, you can.
What Is CoolSculpting?
Essentially, CoolSculpting targets fat cells by freezing and killing them. There are no needles, no incisions and you are awake the whole time. It’s painless and a fraction of the cost of any invasive procedures. The best part? The fat never comes back no matter what you eat. Obviously, CoolSculpting isn’t just a hot trend for 2018, but rather, it’s the hottest.
Can I Really Eat Whatever I Want?
It’s hard to believe right? When I visited with our partner, Below Body Bar, I had to ask Monica about 30 times to make sure I heard this correctly. While no one on their team advocates an unhealthy lifestyle, it is true that the fat will never return. Monica walked me through how it works and explained how fat cells stop developing after a certain age. Basically, if they stop developing, and you kill off the ones you have, you’ll never see more. Amazing right?
Wedding Trend Winner for 2018
When I was first introduced to CoolSculpting, I knew very little about it. Now, I can’t imagine why anyone would spend money for a surgical procedure when this is offered! There are no scars and no down time, and the procedure is relaxing and chill…see what I did there? You can finally spot treat problem areas so you look amazing in your wedding gown and on your honeymoon.
What About My Squad?
If you’re the bride looking for an amazing spa trip with your bridesmaids and moms, this is totally for you. Besides offering CoolSculpting, Below Body Bar has everything from Cryo-Facials to increase collagen and reduce fine lines along with an infrared himalayan salt sauna that burns up to 600 calories a session. You can create the ultimate girls’ night out and customize a package as Below Body Bar will close the spa for your private event!
How Do I Do It?
Our friends at Below Body Bar recommend visiting for a consultation early in the wedding planning process. During this consultation, you’ll discuss your goals and the staff will create a program just for you. With background in health and wellness, they also offer nutrition and work out counseling. Best of all your consultation is complimentary when you visit the website and enter the code: BFITWEDDING
CoolSculpting: The Hottest Wedding Trend for 2018
Whether or not you’re planning on making (and keeping those New Year’s Resolutions), coolsculpting will help you achieve your best wedding day look. From cryotherapy to cryofacials, you can create any kind of package with Below Body Bar. Don’t forget to use the code BFITWEDDING for your complimentary consultation with our amazing partner. Get that wedding day and honeymoon look you are dreaming of and tell them Rothweiler Event Design sent you!
As a wedding planner, I am always asked about wedding gifts. The bride wants to know something crazy amazing to get her groom. The groom wants to know what to get that isn’t jewelry. They both want to know what to get their wedding party and their parents. A lot of my couples start this search early because leaving it to the last minute is like leaving holiday shopping to Christmas Eve, which everyone hates. Well if you’re looking for such a gift, check out the list below of 10 crazy amazing wedding gifts and where to get them!
My couples know that when they work with me as their wedding planner, they have access to all of the advice they need. As their planner, they can trust the advice that I give them because it stems from real experience. The amount of surprise gifts I have helped plan with my brides and grooms is more than you could ever guess.
Amazon is Amazing for Wedding Gifts
I am a firm believer in the art of gift giving and taking the time to find something amazing. Whether it’s the couple buying something for each other, gifts for the wedding party or their parents, it’s a way to say “thank you” to these people. But what can you buy that isn’t some version of something you’ve already bought before?
Amazon is the website that has it all. Seriously. Like, everything is there and yet none of my couples consider this resource (until I tell them). They even have those wedding gifts that are on a totally different level like…
1. Rolex for Him
Everyone knows that a watch is the classic gift for a bride to give her groom. Of course, if you’re me, your husband doesn’t wear a watch because “Why should I wear a watch when I have a cell phone?” So, this wasn’t something that I could’ve considered and if you’re in the same boat, there are other options in this list, don’t you worry.
If you know the groom will love a watch as a wedding gift, but you don’t know how to compete with his already massive collection, this is your answer. First off, it’s a Rolex, and even those groom’s that already own a Rolex will want another one. Second, it’s likely to be different than anything else he already has, and a watch collector always appreciates diversity. This amazing wedding gift is one of a kind and will remind him that you are too.
2. Rolex for Her
If you’re that couple that first bonded over your love of watches, then obviously the perfect wedding gift is a watch. For the bride I am obsessed with this Rolex and the details like that pink dial.
This watch is perfect for any bride, whether or not she is a collector. It’s a classic piece that she can wear everywhere from the mall to the first wedding you attend as a married couple. What truly makes this an amazing wedding gift is that she can wear it everyday, which means she’ll be thinking of you just as much.
3. Personalized Frame for Mom and Dad
There is a reason that many of the most popular wedding gifts involve some level of personalizing. It shows time and thought went into the purchase of the gift and it also means that no one else has exactly that gift. Total home run for parents of the bride and groom, trust me.
This wedding gift can be given to mom and dad before the wedding or after as a birthday or holiday gift. If given before, you can include photos from a special day you had together. After the wedding, this can be given as a little extra thank you with your professional wedding photos that you know they want to display at their home.
4. Tried and True Wedding Gift: Those Hangers
If you haven’t been in a wedding party and been given one these hangers, I know you have seen them before. Maybe on Pinterest, maybe in someone else’s wedding photos, but you have seen them.
This wedding gift is a trend that I have loved as a wedding planner since the day it became “a thing”. The bridesmaids all need a hanger for their dresses and gifting them these hangers with their names is a beautiful sentiment. Bonus? They look great in photos, unlike whatever random hanger your girls bring on the day of.
5. The Tote Every Bridesmaid Needs
Let’s be honest, ladies stuff their purses with plenty of stuff daily. This means on the wedding day, when they can’t fit everything into their dress pockets or itsy bitsy clutch, they will need something to hold their stuff.
I always loved the idea of the bride presenting a few small gifts to her bridesmaids instead of one big ticket item. It’s a more thoughtful wedding gift when there are a few small items like this tote. If you’re the bride that wants to select the necklaces that your bridesmaids wear, you can even use this tote to act as the packaging. Surprise! More stuff!
6. Shave and a Haircut
Assuming the groomsmen have been in a wedding before, or are over the age of 21, it’s safe to assume they all have flasks already. Even if they don’t, unless you have some weird concealed alcohol bond with your guys, a flask is a wedding gift that is done and over.
This shaving kit is such an awesome wedding gift for your groomsmen and even the father of the groom and father of the bride. On the day of the wedding, while the ladies spend 17 hours getting ready, I recommend to my groom that he takes the men in the group for traditional shaves and haircuts. It always results in great pictures and amazing memories. This is the perfect wedding gift whether or not you decide to hit up the barbershop on the wedding day, and one your guys will appreciate.
7. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Jewelry is the number one wedding gift from a groom to his bride, but after the hardship of selecting the perfect engagement ring, most grooms are done. No matter what your bride wears, if that engagement ring is a diamond, you can bet she’ll wear that same stone in her ears too.
The grooms I work with all want a piece of jewelry that their bride can wear down the aisle. Common concerns? That she won’t like it and then won’t wear it (or will wear it and be miserable). Grooms also worry that their jewelry wedding gift won’t work with the gown, or that the something borrowed will be worn instead. Diamond earrings are classic, so they go with any gown…just check in with mom to make sure you’re not competing with her wedding gift.
Being a bride can be stressful, but being a bridesmaid can make any girl lose her mind. Between attending vendor appointments with the bride to paying more than they thought for the dress and that bachelorette party in Miami you just had to have, it’s not always easy being part of the squad.
Let your ladies know that you appreciate their efforts and you recognize things weren’t always easy with this super cute Revel and Glow wedding gift. It comes with fun bath bombs and anti-wrinkle under eye masks for those tired eyes. This product can check off boxes in the organic, natural and vegan categories too, which means it’s not just an amazing wedding gift, but a really thoughtful one too.
9. Tears of Joy
The one item that I have to replace in my emergency kit after every wedding are the tissues. While the bride and groom might cry, it’s the parents of the couple that tend to shed the most tears. Show how much you know your parents and present them with something they can hold onto all night to wipe away their tears of joy.
You can use the words provided, or you can use your own to be printed on this personalized handkerchief. It’s the perfect accessory for a parent of the bride or the groom, and something they will cherish long after the big day is over.
10. For the Romantic Marriage Ahead
When the wedding is over and the honeymoon has ended, many couples go through a stage of sadness as their is suddenly nothing left to plan. If you spent the better part of a year (or longer) planning your 5 hour party, there’s always a let down when it all comes to an end. This is why I love wedding gifts that can be used for your future.
This picnic bag is the perfect wedding gift for a bride to give her groom or vice versa. Complete with a wine bottle holder, plates, utensils and even a blanket to sit on, this bag has everything for the newlywed couple and the couple going on 20 years. Every time you use it, you’ll think back to your wedding day and be able to look back on how far you have come as a couple.
What wedding gifts are you planning to give? I’d love to hear what creative ideas you all have so be sure to share in the comment section below!
If you’re engaged, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably visited a wedding website or 50 and come across their version of a wedding planning checklist. What you don’t know is why those wedding planning checklists totally suck.
You know the type of checklists I’m talking about: what to do first through what to do last and when to do it. They all start the same way telling you to get that gown and venue somewhere between 9 and 12 months before your actual wedding date.
But what happens when you have a 6 month long engagement?
How can you secure your wedding venue and your wedding gown 12 months before your wedding when your wedding is only 6 months away?
It’s basic wedding math.
Actually, no, it’s just basic math. Because 12 is bigger than 6 and that’s just 1 reason why those wedding planning checklists suck for 2 people getting married.
And I’m going to tell you all the other reasons these checklists suck in this blog. So get ready to delete those sites you’ve bookmarked and remove all of those planning checklist pins. This is what you really need. Straight up, no chaser.
To make this easy to apply to any wedding, I have listed some basic wedding planning “to-do” items and when to do what. I am also sharing my secrets that you might never have thought about. Because, yes, despite what those self-proclaimed number one wedding websites say, it actually does matter when you get married.
Those Standard 12 Month Out To-Do Items
The Wedding Gown
Picking out the dress is almost always done first when planning a wedding. Of course, this is primarily because it’s basically shopping. However, it’s shopping for the most important piece of wardrobe you will likely ever own. Getting the gown makes the engagement feel “real” for many brides.
Ideally you should purchase the gown a full year prior to your wedding date. Many designers will need upwards of 9 months to create and send the gown to the store. Then you have to account for any time needed for alterations. Personally, I like to add in extra time in the off chance that my bride either has buyer’s remorse or something goes wrong with the order.
Something frequently ignored by these wedding timelines is the very real time it takes to actually get things done. In this case, it’s important to consider the time it takes to actually find that gown. I mean, if it takes over 20 years to find the groom, then it’s not going to take 20 seconds to find the dress you want to wear when you marry him.
There are so many moving parts to consider when figuring out how much time you will need to shop for your wedding gown. First and foremost, weekend appointments book up quickly, and it can take up to a month to secure a date. You also have to consider the schedules of anyone you want to have with you when you shop. Lastly, if you think you’ll need multiple shops to visit, you’ll also need multiple days for said appointments.
These are just some of the reasons why the wedding gown should be ordered one year in advance. Obviously, that isn’t always possible if your engagement is shorter than 12 months.
It’s not hopeless if you’re engaged in January and getting married in June though. You should make finding your gown one of your three first priorities (the second one is next), but you don’t necessarily need a full year. Here are a few wedding planner secrets:
Purchase a sample or “off the rack”
When you go to try on wedding gowns, every gown you try on is considered a sample or “off the rack”. Many times these gowns will be available for purchase at a reduced cost. The three things every bride should be aware of are:
- These gowns are sample size i.e. 10-12 dress which translates to 6-8 real size. It’s a lot easier to shorten a gown and make it smaller than it is to add length and let it out. It’s also less expensive.
- Sample sales are typically final, so if you aren’t in love with it, don’t buy it.
- Since these gowns have been tried on, there will be imperfections and not all of those imperfections will be fixable. Sometimes this will be as minor as a hem needing to be re-stitched and other times it’s major like missing beading.
Set up your appointments on a weekday if possible or a weeknight as a second option.
I’ve already mentioned this, but weekend appointments are hard to come by since people, you know…have jobs. If you’re in a rush to say “yes to the dress”, a weekday appointment will be available sooner and you’ll likely not be rushed through the appointment and able to try on even more gowns.
Bring only 1 other person with you
I am 110% against entourages when shopping for any wedding wardrobe, but especially when looking for a wedding gown. Your bridesmaids aren’t “like that”…until they are. Opinions always fly and all they do is take up time during the appointment and delay your ability to make a decision. You also have to work around their schedules and pray you can find time when you’re all available. If you really need your crew (which many bridal salons don’t allow FYI) then bring them to show them what you’ve already chosen.
Look for designers that can turn a dress around quicker than average
Not every designer needs 9 months to deliver a wedding gown. Before you crack out on Pinterest and need to have a dress by a certain designer, find out what designers are available at your local salon and when their gowns come in by. Hint: Pronovias frequently can turn around a dress in under 6 months and I’ve also had luck with Moonlight Bridal.
Speak to the wedding salons about rush orders
If you’re really in a bind or fall in love with a designer that takes longer than you have, speak with the salons about paying to rush your order. Sometimes this can buy you as much as a month, but coupled with buying from a designer that’s quicker than the rest, you might be good to go.
Just like buying a sample, you can go the vintage route and pick up a pre-worn gown. I do not, like really do not, advocate buying your wedding gown online. However, you can find some really beautiful vintage wedding gowns at reputable small stores. In fact, there are stores literally dedicated to selling vintage gowns. If you’re wedding is incorporating this hot-never-going-to-die trend, then look around for a shop like this.
Attend trunk shows
Trunk shows are great for two reasons. The first reason is that you can get anywhere from 10-20% off of the gown’s full price. The second reason is that you can see an entire collection from a designer as opposed to the 3-10 pieces the salon currently has. This is perfect for the bride that wants a specific designer’s wedding gown as it takes away the need to bounce from store to store looking at options.
Your Wedding Venue
The second major priority when planning a wedding is finding the venue.
Sometimes, 12 months isn’t enough time to get this done though. With wedding season spanning the months between May-November and peaking in September and October, your dream venue might be booked up to two years in advance. I cannot tell you how many couples I have worked with that had to make the decision whether or not to extend the length of their engagement solely to get their venue of choice.
If that’s not an option for you, then it’s best to be flexible with your venue choices. Not just normal flexible either. More like Gumbi flexible.
The venue is also going to set your wedding date. I know, you thought you had control over that one didn’t you?
Believe me, most couples contact me with a wedding date picked out and don’t have a venue locked down yet. Then they have to decide if they want to see venues that aren’t available on their “date” or if they are open to that date solely representing the time of year they want to be married.
Because the venue essentially sets your date, you should always venue shop and venue book before going dress shopping.
When you make appointments to go try on wedding gowns, the first question they will ask you (besides budget) is your wedding date. Don’t make the mistake of giving them a date you’ve selected, only to purchase a wedding gown and then have to scramble when the venue you want isn’t available for that date. You might find yourself needing a second gown (like a sample) because the first one isn’t coming in on time if you end up booking a venue for an earlier date than your original date.
You know…the date that wasn’t real because you didn’t have a venue yet…
If you have over a year to plan, don’t sleep on getting the venue. Just like it takes time to shop for wedding gowns, you will need all the time you can get to find a venue. Odds are, you will need to coordinate schedules with your fiancé and possibly both sets of parents. Weekend appointments book up first and some venues won’t tour if a wedding is taking place on the same day.
All of that adds up to needing a ton of time to find the venue for your wedding day. Of course, if you can schedule tours on weekdays and look at venues that are in close proximity, you’ll need less time than normal.
Also helpful is to do as much research on these venues before committing to an appointment. It’s not always possible to get pricing from a venue without setting an appointment. In fact, one of the many reasons to hire a wedding planner is that we tend to have that information already or we can get it without much struggle.
Before you do anything past establishing your overall budget, if you’re going to hire a wedding planner, that is your Step 1 in the planning process. So, if you have 1 month or 1 year, do this before the rest of the tasks. A few reasons why:
Reputable and professional wedding planners book up to if not over a year in advance, especially for peak wedding season dates. Many planners, myself included, will not take on more than one wedding or event per weekend.
Hiring a planner for full service means they can do all of the work for you including finding the perfect venue and vendors. That’s right, you basically just have to tell them what you want and just like magic, options will appear.
A full time planner can speak with venues and vendors at the hours that you can’t. You know, like 2pm on a Tuesday. This means that more planning gets done in a shorter amount of time because planners have the same hours as venues and vendors. No back and forth voicemails and emails needed here.
If you’re only looking for someone to handle “Month Of” Coordination, many planners will not book that package until you’re under the 6 month mark. To be blunt, most planners would rather hold out for a last minute full service client than to lock up a weekend with a smaller package. The good part here is if you are a couple with a short engagement only looking for this type of help, you could easily have some solid options to choose from.
All that said, the number one way to get your checklist all checked off? A professional wedding planner…as soon as possible and before anything else.
The Big Ticket Vendors: Photo/Video, Music and Florals
Photo and Video
Always listed on wedding planning checklists around the 6-8 month mark are your photographer, videographer, music and florist. On average, most couples will have at least 6 months to plan. However, just because they have 6 months, doesn’t mean getting these vendors booked will always happen at that time. Remember how venue and gown come first?
Many photographers and videographers will only be available for one wedding per day unless they work like an agency. It’s very important to meet these people before hiring them. I know, you totally do not have time to do this, right?
Invent it if you need to.
Your photo and video team will be with you almost the entire day of your wedding. If you’re not comfortable with them, it will show in those photos and videos you get back. There are no do-overs and it’s not enough to just love the work or the product.
In addition to meeting/interviewing these people, I always recommend an engagement session with your photographer because that’s basically practice for the real thing. The real thing being your wedding day.
As a planner, I like to book photo and video 9 months to one year in advance. I know, that’s totally not what the internet tells you to do, right? Silly them…
If you plan to do an engagement shoot (I mentioned you should and I meant it), odds are your photographer will have more availability on a weekday. Since weekdays are a problem for many couples, then you will need a weekend and guess what tends to be a problem for wedding photographers?
This means that you could be waiting months to take your engagement photos and if you want them outdoors, you’ll have to leave time for rescheduling in case it rains. You also won’t be able to shoot outdoor photos for a handful of months if you live in a state where winter exists. Pretty soon you’re taking your engagement photos 1 month prior to your wedding and that is no bueno.
If you have longer than one year, start this process at the 9 month to one year mark. This is especially important if you are getting married during peak season since you might get a lot of “sorry, already booked” responses. If you are pressed for time, then shop for both photo and video simultaneously (a general rule of thumb anyway) and line up appointments via Skype if that’s the only way you can schedule a weekday.
It doesn’t matter if you have a band, DJ or both, sometimes 6-8 months isn’t enough time to book. Like the other vendors that you will need at your wedding, many bands and DJs book up peak season 9-12 months in advance. If you want something specific, such as an electric violinist or a DJ that can provide live musicians to accompany his music, then I recommend shopping 7-9 months prior to your wedding date.
While I know many people (and many planners) will probably disagree with me here, I am going to say that seeing these people in person is essential. If you want a live band, there is no better way to hear what they really sound like than to attend an in person showcase. Sometimes, there will only be showcases available once a month or every other month. If you’re not available on the one date they have, then you’ll be forced to wait until the next one.
If you’re going with a DJ, an in person meeting or interview isn’t mandatory but I wouldn’t recommend booking without a least a Skype or phone call. Any DJ worth hiring will be passionate about music and even more passionate about selecting the right music for your wedding. It’s equally important to know how the DJ works and to make sure the way they work is in line with what you imagine for your wedding.
For the couples with shorter engagements, it’s a good idea to get a hold of videos of past performances of bands and DJs. Showcases might not always be possible and you might not have the time to sit down and interview DJs. However, even if it’s 11pm at night, you should make the time to watch and listen to any recordings the music vendors can provide to you. Also consider looking into any bands or DJs you heard at weddings you attended and fell in love with.
As a wedding planner, I insist that my clients meet florists that I recommend before signing a contract. While it doesn’t matter so much that you’re vibing on a personal level, it is important to know that they understand what you want. It’s just as important that you are confident in their ability to create it.
You will never get that from an email exchange. Period.
However, most florists will only be available to meet on weekdays, which can make setting anything up totally impossible. If you don’t have 7-9 months before your wedding date (which is when I recommend securing a florist), then doing your homework prior to a meeting or in place of one is essential.
Before you go sending your 597 pins of centerpiece inspiration out to every florist within a 50 mile radius of your venue, narrow those pictures down. Way down. It’s more important for a florist to know your colors and the feel of your wedding. It’s less important for them to know the exact height you picture for each centerpiece and how if you don’t have peonies you’ll throw yourself off a bridge.
Another way to save time is to look at websites of florists and see if their work is similar to what your style is. If you find yourself drooling over a website but don’t see your style displayed, you can reach out to the florist and ask them for additional examples.
For instance, if you have a vision of greenery suspended from a tent, but don’t see it on a florist’s website, there is no harm in asking if they have done that before and if they have, could they share pictures. If you’re tight on time and having trouble choosing between florists, consider paying for a sample centerpiece to help make your decision easier.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? There’s a lot to this wedding planning stuff and knowing when to do everything can be a lot to digest. In order to avoid throwing anyone into a meltdown and running off to elope, I’ll continue the rest of this timeline in the next blog.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you’ll know when to come back for the rest of the to-do list and when you want to get started on those items. In the meantime, share below if you’re on the fast track to the wedding day and what you’re doing to check stuff off your list!
I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, I was pumped. Seriously, I was like way excited. Maybe it was because the past few years I have been less than thrilled with the selection. Maybe it was because I loved using that color and already had ideas.
Or maybe it was because I placed a bet in October on what the color would be and won.
Whatever the reason, I was (and am) super happy that Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is “greenery”. Yes, that is a color and you can read all about it on Pantone’s official website right here.
Greenery: New Year, New Beginnings
Greenery symbolizes new beginnings in the same way the green leaves in spring time do. I love using green in wedding and event designs because there is so much you can do. [tweetshare tweet=”There is a greenery for every bride and all styles of weddings.” username=”RothweilerEvent”] In fact, it’s more than just a color. It’s a feeling.
In this blog I am sharing a few ways I have used Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year in the hopes to inspire you for your wedding day. Don’t forget to pin the photos you love the most and comment the ways you’ll incorporate Pantone 2017 Color of the Year!
Boho Chic Ceremony Backdrop
Everyone’s seen Fern Gully right? Am I like super old and weird right now? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Fern Gully was a movie that took place in the rainforest. It was about deforestation and other depressing stuff, but the colors were bold and magical and (spoiler alert) the main characters lived happily ever after.
The whole wedding design from the beautiful colors to the heavy amount of natural greens we used reminded me of those beautiful colors from Fern Gully. The bride had a vision of hanging greens for the ceremony backdrop, and our florist created the best frame for their first married kiss.
These greens were a mix of bright and deep shades not unlike the leaves in spring that inspired Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. Putting aside the pinks, reds and oranges that made up the rest of the wedding colors and just using green for the ceremony made the space feel more intimate. There were no distractions and when the bride and groom became man and wife, it was a serene and beautiful moment.
If it hasn’t become obvious yet, I am a big fan of greenery used as garland. Don’t get my wrong, I love green as a color, but my favorite way to make it work for almost any wedding is to keep it as a backdrop. That doesn’t mean it has to literally hang in the back, but more so that it supports the rest of the design.
This farm location had a barn on site and whenever I see a banister, I feel compelled to dress it up. I totally blame “Father of the Bride” for this unhealthy obsession I have.
Soft and romantic, the green garland we used here was draped around the spiral banister from top to bottom. Like the ceremony site above, it was important to create a look as if the greenery just appeared there, naturally. As if it sprouted from the iron banister magically because that’s what Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year does. The final touch here was to incorporate the other wedding flowers, so we pinned everything together with some pink roses and dusty miller.
Mantle Greenery Goodness
Much like a banister, if there is a mantle at a wedding location, you will find me adding “we woke up like this” style florals to it. Mantles are more than shelves for photos and many are ceremony backdrops. As a designer, I like to incorporate the design into every corner of the space, and this is a big corner.
There are countless ways to dress up a mantle at your wedding, but it’s hard to do without greenery. This picture is from a wedding venue with multiple mantles. In fact, you can see all the gorgeous details here. Each mantle was different, but they all used the greenery found in the centerpieces to tie the look together. My favorites here were the hanging amaranthus and the eucalyptus because they added dimension to the piece and still looked formal.
Long Tables With Greenery
We all know that long tables are a hot trend and they have been for a few years now. These gorgeous farmhouse tables can cost a pretty penny if your venue doesn’t already have them included. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these without robbing a bank (seriously, they ain’t cheap), then greenery garland is a must.
This table was part of our design for The Knot Market Mixer last Fall. My favorite part about designing this event is being able to create whatever I’m dreaming of. In other words, I got to do what I wanted and what designer doesn’t love that?
I wanted to create a warm and inviting tablescape and have greenery be the base of the design. Working with my florist, the garland worked as an anchor for the rest of the flowers and draped down to the floor. I’d recommend using greenery like this to any bride worried that her guests won’t see over tall centerpieces.
Speaking of Tall Centerpieces…
The garden where this wedding took place was the inspiration for the greenery found in the centerpieces. Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is all about spring and clean starts, and this centerpiece is just that.
Besides the obvious greenery pieces (you know, the green leaves), there are more subtle ones as well. While the only two colors used were white and green, that didn’t mean green leaves and white flowers only. A popular flower for centerpieces (but not for bouquets so don’t please) is hydrangea. Hydrangea comes in a bunch of colors including white and…wait for it…green!
The clean look of the clear glass vase and candleholders with the greenery and white made this garden wedding the picture of spring….even if it took place in the summer.
So, like, let’s all take a minute to recognize that not every piece of wedding décor is going to be at eye level. It doesn’t need to be at eye level and in fact, eye levels are different. Not that you’re inviting a bunch of NBA players to your wedding (or maybe you are and I should be planning it…) but creating designs from the floor to the ceiling makes an impact.
Signage is a huge trend and it’s not just limited to chalkboard and aisles. This lasercut sign is from our event with The Knot and is hung from fishing line. Really strong could rope in Jaws, fishing line. If you’re not onto how I work just yet, I like to make my designs appear organic. This is probably another reason why I am in love with Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. For this sign (and three others), I worked with my florist and asked them to drape greenery in a deconstructed way. I mean, it totally looks like the sign grew out of the ceiling. Score!
The floral wall is something that is popping up all over Pinterest, and we worked with Once Wed Walls to create this one for The Knot Market Mixer. Since I have been obsessed with greenery long before it was the Pantone 2017 Color of the Year, I wanted one using green as the base. The top was covered in more greenery and pops of pinks, oranges and cream flowers to match the rest of the room.
These walls are, bottom line, really awesome. It was a natural backdrop for photos all night and everyone was talking about it. A great alternative to a blank photobooth backdrop (or a photobooth in general) is using one of these walls. Since this can be a custom piece, the wall can be made to fit like a backdrop for people and as small as a backdrop for your wedding cake. If you’re on the greenery bandwagon with me (though I’ve been driving it since like 2007), you can keep a natural look using boxwood like this.
Oh those farm and barn weddings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why should they? They totally rock. If you’ve followed my work at all, you know that I’m a big fan of non-traditional weddings. [tweetshare tweet=”Give me a mountain top and a fluffy white ballgown and I’m in.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
If you’re the bride that runs from basic bling and marble floors as fast as I do, then you’re probably considering a farm for your wedding location. Mega points to you for not being lame! More points if you find a farm with animals.
This final way to use Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year (though there are plenty more) involves a horse. We used an Icelandic horse on this farm to drape a eucalyptus wreath around and create total greenery magic. You could easily do this design on other animals including dogs, goats and alpacas too. This wreath was created on site, so it’s important to make sure your florist will have the time they need on the wedding day.
Using Greenery on Your Wedding Day
You don’t have to be on a farm to get the most out of Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. The bright green color will bring your centerpieces to life whether you choose tall or low runners. No matter how you use greenery in your wedding design, remember that the color represents new beginnings. If that’s not a good enough reason to use it on your first day as a married couple, then I’m not sure what is!
What do you think of greenery? Will you use it for your wedding? Share in the comments below your favorite idea or if you have one that we didn’t mention!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. That said, if I say I love something, I really truly love it.
Many of my engaged couples are looking for beautiful wedding invitations at a low cost. The truth is, custom invitations start at $12 a piece and most average between $20-$30 each. If you are inviting 300 people, that’s 150 invitations and a minimum of $3,000. Now while I love me some custom stationery, I also love being able to afford things like food.
What is wonderful about custom wedding invitations, besides being gorgeous, is that they are one of a kind. This means you will sit down with a real person who will design your invitations from colors to font to enclosures. And no one will have seen it before.
But for my brides and grooms that think their guests will trash the invitations, I need to offer an alternative. As a wedding planner, I recommend purchasing invitations online and creating custom stationery for the day of. Then again, if paper just isn’t a priority, many websites offer things like menus and table numbers that match your wedding invitation.
One thing I love about these websites is how far they have come since first becoming a thing. There are countless ways to customize your invitations and there are real designers involved as well. While you won’t be sitting down with anyone flipping through swatches, you will have plenty of options to choose from.
Here are 5 affordable ways to make your wedding invitation stand out without going the custom route:
A great option for the bride and groom that love shine but not glitter is the foil press invitation. The background can be any color, but darker jewel tones like navy blue, deep purple or even black will really make the words stand out. This look is chic and elegant but is appropriate for a black tie wedding just as much as a laid back wedding on the farm.
This invitation sample is from Minted and like many others can be customized with various colors. The foil is a rose gold which is perfect for a romantic wedding at any location. Foil is available in rose gold, standard gold and of course silver.
Letterpress invitations are probably the most formal of all and perfect for a black tie wedding. Not that you couldn’t use this type of invitation for a backyard bash, but that’s not where you see it most. Since it is the style used for those upscale and luxury weddings you see regularly on reality shows, it is also typically pricey.
Online wedding invitation sites absolutely offer more affordable options than a custom designer would, but letterpress will be the most expensive on the site. If you are having a formal wedding, this raised printing will let guests know that jeans are not an option. The printing isn’t just about the wording either. Letterpress can be used for any design on your invitation as well. [tweetshare tweet=”A word of caution though: stick to one or two colors with this style so that it looks clean and upscale.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
Gone are the days of boring off-white envelopes that are simply used to hold the pretty wedding invitation. I love when the whole wedding “look” comes together and envelope liners are another way to get that job done. If you are all about the details then you will love this as much as I do.
Depending on your invitation colors and design, the liner to the envelope is available in everything from solids to sparkle. My favorite type of liner is a floral pattern in deeper colors, but you can really do anything. Sometimes when you receive your order, you will have to DIY the liners and put them onto the envelopes yourself. Before you decide to jump on this trend for your wedding, find out if it’s an arts and crafts project for you first.
This is such a cute trend and there are about 459 different ways to do it. If you’ve never heard of belly bands, it’s basically stuff wrapped around the invitation suite. That “stuff” can be anything from paper to ribbon, and it bands around the belly of the enclosures. Get it? [tweetshare tweet=”The belly band is seen as an accessory to the invitation and it really does enhance the entire look.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
The reason I love this so much is because it works for all types of weddings. I’ve seen these done in nothing but glitter just as much as I’ve seen florals, solids and monograms. It’s also a nice way to present an invitation so when it’s taken out of the envelope, it doesn’t fall apart. Think about it, you’re sending an invitation along with a RSVP card, direction enclosures, RSVP envelope and sometimes more. All of that put into one envelope can be a mess, but a belly band will keep it all together.
My absolute obsession is lasercut anything. Such a hot trend for over a year now, we are seeing laser cut cake toppers, laser cut signage, laser cut drink stirrers and of course, laser cut wedding invitations. You. Guys. Lasercut is amazing. Join me on my little freakout moment, won’t you?
This style is fun and funky but make no mistake, this is totally perfect for a black tie wedding too. It reminds me of those snowflakes you would make in kindergarten where you would fold a piece of paper and go crazy with the scissors. No? You know what I’m talking about right? Well that’s what this is and it looks awesome. So if you want your guests to say “oh that’s cool” when they open that envelope, go for lasercut and don’t look back.
Those are my top 5 ways to create a unique but affordable wedding invitation. If you are a bride or groom that doesn’t want to spend a lot on the paper part of your wedding day, check out sites like Wedding Paper Divas and get 20% off if you order before March 31, 2017!
I always say that it’s best to see invitations in person, so make sure you order a sample before committing to “the one”. Follow the link to get your three free (told you this was an affordable blog) samples from our friends at Minted.
Don’t forget to tell me in the comments what your favorite style is for your wedding invitation!
I recently wrote a blog about wedding contracts and the importance of reading every last word. If you didn’t catch the details, make sure you read all of them before continuing here. This blog will cover the vendors I didn’t talk about yet and how their wedding contracts can affect your wedding plans.
Side note: This isn’t meant to freak anyone out or send brides and grooms on a scavenger hunt looking for the “traps” in wedding contracts. We’re all friends here and as a friend (and a wedding planner), I want to make sure you know what you’re signing before you sign it.
Moving down the list of vendors you’ll typically encounter when planning your wedding…
The Stationery Contracts
Doesn’t matter if you are the type to get custom invitations or order simple stuff on the web. You sign a contract either way, whether it’s handed to you by a person, or you simply check off that you agree to all of the terms. And if you didn’t read those terms, then it will catch up with you down the road. What could I possibly be talking about?
- Invitations, menus, programs and all other paper products have one thing in common: wording. You will have to get the correct wording to the person (or computer application) designing all of this stuff. This basically means getting slightly important details like your wedding date, time and location, all 100% correct. There will also be a deadline as to when this information is needed by. If you delay on doing your work, then the stationery designer will have to delay on doing theirs. Signing a contract here implies that you understand what happens when you don’t get the information sent in on time.
- Another agreement you make when you sign this wedding contract is getting what you pay for. Revisions can be made but there’s always a limit unless you’re willing to open your checkbook. Don’t ignore the lines in the contract that tell you how many revisions you are entitled to. Otherwise, you’re bound to get pretty angry when you’re asked for additional funds because you can’t make a decision.
The Hair and Make Up Stylist Contracts
Quite often, brides will hire a professional team of hair and make up stylists for the big day. The stylists usually take care of the bridesmaids and mom figures as well. I book stylists for my clients at least 7 months prior to their wedding. This means they have to know how many people are getting hair and make up done way far in advance. I’ve seen brides ignore this contract entirely. Not good and here are two reasons why:
- Every contract is different, but the information the stylist asks for, helps them create the quote and proposal as well as prepare for the day. Odds are, you will have to commit to the amount of people being booked and what services you will need. Right down to airbrush versus traditional and false eyelashes versus mascara, decisions need to be made in advance. Is there flexibility for a changed mind on the wedding day? Potentially. But it’s not owed to you since you signed off months earlier.
- Prep details are included in the wedding contracts and these helpful hints often end up in the trash. Believe it or not, there is a reason that stylists want you and your ladies to read what they wrote. Included in these guidelines are mentions of how hair cannot be wet, that flatirons should not be used prior to hair services, and that anything more than moisturizer on a face is no bueno. [tweetshare tweet=”You’d think that much of this would be common sense, but I’ve seen things, let me tell you… ” username=”RothweilerEvent”] I’ve also seen a bridesmaid lose her mind when she was charged a fee for showing up without blow drying her hair. Yup.
The Hotel Block Contracts
If you’re setting up rooms at a hotel local to your wedding venue, you will enter into a contract that is duller than a book on tax law. Doesn’t matter because why? You need to read it anyway. Not only does this wedding contract affect you, but it also affects your guests. And this just in: guests tend to complain about wedding issues. Don’t give them ammo by ignoring this contract and especially these points:
- It will be very clear in the contract when the rooms are no longer available. This doesn’t mean that your guests can’t still get a reservation, it just means that there are no guarantees anymore. So if a hotel releases the block of rooms to the public and Uncle Sal calls after the release date (that you agreed to), he might be out of luck. Trust and believe that you will hear about this and then expected to fix the situation. That will also happen less than a month before your wedding and ZOMG do you really want that kind of stress? Memorize that date and share it in your invitations so that you can ask Uncle Sal why he didn’t read everything, instead of him asking you.
- Believe it or not, a majority of hotels will put in their wedding contract that outside alcohol is prohibited. That means no poppin’ bottles post reception in your penthouse suite. Nope. Not allowed. Can you get around this? Of course. Don’t make a bunch of noise on the balcony and party like it’s 1999 and things will probably be cool. The reason things go left is because the couple didn’t read that fine print and guests are calling the front desk to report the noise. Read the fine print to know what rules you’re about to break.
The Photobooth Contracts
Most times when working with a DJ, there will be a photobooth add-on option. There are also companies that exclusively handle your photobooth needs. Between the two, you really can have anything you want in terms of set up and photos delivered. Photobooths seem simple though so what could possibly be in a contract that even matters?
- Remember in the last blog when I said that the wedding contracts affect each other? Here is a classic example: the photobooth. Just as you might think this contract is no big deal, this vendor is viewed as lower on the totem pole by industry people. Probably because everyone and their mom has one now and it’s not considered an essential wedding item like you know, food. That doesn’t make the contract any less legally binding, so read it and pay attention to anything regarding a power source and table. Odds are, you will be asked to make sure there is a certain amount of electricity and that it’s only 20 feet away from their set up location. Photobooth vendors always ask for a small table as well, and it’s your responsibility (because you agreed to do it when you signed their contract) to make sure it’s there.
- Photos from a photobooth can be delivered hundreds of ways. You will have the option to decide on the size of the photos, how many copies are printed, and if you want them all on a flash drive at the end of the night delivered via giraffe…Kidding, I just put that in there to see if you were still reading.. Before you even decide which company to book, you need to know what your options are. Once you agree and sign, there is no “Oh I thought everyone got a copy” on the day of the wedding when you and your 20 bridesmaids pile into the booth. Wording can be tricky here so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification until you’re all on the same page.
Those are the vendors involved in most weddings and some highlights of their wedding contracts. Depending on the details of your wedding you might hire others including an officiant if you’re outside a religious house for your wedding. The contract with an officiant is generally simple, but just as important as the rest. [tweetshare tweet=”Because if the officiant doesn’t show up because you moved your ceremony time and didn’t tell him, then ain’t no one getting married that day.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
For anyone getting married at a location that doesn’t provide catering, those couples will enter into a wedding contract with a catering company to handle food and beverage. Yes, this does also mean alcohol, so read that contract twice. Common things brides and grooms have said “but I didn’t know that” about on their actual wedding day? Oh, just little details like how they were supposed to provide ice, or that they were responsible for getting the food orders from their guests before the wedding day.
No matter the vendor or how long and boring the wedding contract is, read it and read it again before signing on the dotted line. Nothing is worse than arguing with a vendor and having them quote the contract that you didn’t read. It’s a pain in the ass and watching paint dry is more entertaining, but if the booze is warm, the DJ doesn’t have enough electricity to play music and the venue refuses to let a vendor in because they have no insurance, you will remember your wedding day for all the wrong reasons.
And since we really are all friends here, be sure to share that time you signed a contract without reading it? What about those of you that did read the contract but were surprised by what you read? Share in the comments below and let’s see even more reasons why reading a wedding contract is mandatory.
Be honest. You have signed a contract before that you didn’t read. Or maybe you read most of it, but then figured it was just standard legal stuff to ignore. Too often contracts are treated like those annoying “terms of service” boxes where you just scroll down, click OK and get on with your life. But the simple reason behind why you want to not only read, but understand the contracts you sign while wedding planning, is because they all affect one another
I cannot tell you how many times I have been hired in the middle of the wedding planning process. A couple has picked the date and the venue and perhaps a handful of vendors. Maybe they were getting overwhelmed or just tired of planning, but quite often I have been asked to put on my planner hat halfway down the aisle.
The first thing I ask for when working with partial planning couples is to see a copy of every contract they have entered into. I can’t change what has already been agreed to, but I need to have a foundation for the house I’m trying to build. Too often, I have said to couples, “Did you read this?”
And I already knew their answer.
So if you’re getting ready to plan the details of your wedding day, then this is mandatory reading material. No, you won’t have to sign anything and there won’t be a quiz at the end. But you can bet your sweet little white dress that once you realize why reading is important, you’ll be more likely to actually do just that. I’ve broken this up into two parts, so make sure you read both in order to be fully prepared to do battle…or…um….plan your wedding.
Here we go!
The Venue Contract
The venue will have the longest contract and is almost always the first item checked off the list when planning a wedding. After all, you can’t really give anyone a date if you aren’t even sure what is available. [tweetshare tweet=”As easy as it would be to assume it’s allowed if it’s not written, make sure to discuss it with a sales or venue coordinator first.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]I’ve worked at and researched thousands of venues both locally and internationally, and regardless of location, many contracts are similar. Here are a few major details to look for in a venue contract and the reasons why you need to know them:
- How many other events might take place before, during and/or after your wedding? Most brides don’t want another wedding going on while they are having their own, but they almost never think to ask about what happens before that. If a venue can host an event prior to your own, they are likely to do so unless you purchase a “buy-out” of the entire space. If an event doesn’t get booked for the earlier the same day, there is still a chance that your venue will not be open until the 2 hour mark before your wedding begins. This means that not one vendor, including your florist, will be able to set up until that time. So if you’re going crazy and pinning elaborate floral displays, slow your roll since there might not be enough time to get that done. If a buy-out isn’t in the budget, keep reading. Regardless, make sure you know how much time you really have.
- Speaking of vendors, the rules that a venue has always come first. Sometimes that grand entrance complete with dry ice isn’t going to be allowed. If you have your heart set on anything that will take place at the venue, look and see what the contract says. As easy as it would be to assume it’s allowed if it’s not written, make sure to discuss it with a sales or venue coordinator first. It’s also worth mentioning that the answer from the venue is the final answer. Even if you hear from someone that got married there or a vendor that has worked there in the past, and they say that what you want can be done…if the venue said “no”, then take them at their word. A few things that are “pin-worthy” but not always venue friendly: dry-ice/smoke, hanging anything from the ceiling, candles that aren’t covered, and wish lanterns.
- Another issue that tends to come up when I get brought on mid-planning is the set up for the day. Your florist is responsible for their stuff, but for items like pictures you want to display or any signage, it’s important to discuss if the venue will handle that or not. If the venue will take care of things like placing 250 chair covers, double and triple check if a labor fee will be added on with your final bill.
- While it varies in terms of amount needed and which vendors need to provide what, the venue will always ask that insurance is provided. At a minimum, your florist, photographer, cinematographer, all music and your photobooth will have to provide what is called a “Certificate of Insurance”. If you’re bringing in outside food and beverage, they are in the same boat and lately, many venues are asking that all outside vendors provide this document. It sounds scarier than it is as every professional vendor already carries this. Just make sure you know what the venue’s requirements are and ask for this document as soon as you book your vendors.
The Photographer/Cinematographer Contract
Selecting someone to capture the details of your wedding isn’t always easy. There are countless photographers available at the click of a google search, and separating the professionals from the wanna-bes can leave you too tired to read the details of a contract. Even though you now know better than to skim and sign, here are things to look for first:
- The amount of hours that a photographer and/or cinematographer is on-site can be anywhere from 6 to 14. While it’s not always possible to decide the exact amount of time you will need until you’re closer to the wedding date, you want to factor in for possible overtime costs. 8-10 hours usually is just fine, but if you can land a package of 10 hours, I’d suggest doing just that. Always confirm if travel time is included and what the actual per hour (or half hour) overtime fee is.
- While your BFF may say to not sign with any photographer that won’t hand over all raw images and the rights to your photos, that is something you won’t always get. In fact, many photographers refuse to deliver raw images to their clients as they don’t want any modifications made including 500 different Instagram filters. Don’t even ask about owning the rights. Listen very carefully to what is included and then read about it twice.
- Pay close attention to how your photographer is your only photographer for the day. There are variations with this clause, but the main point is that there will be no one else taking photos or shooting video. Couples generally glaze over this because they cannot imagine how this would be an issue. Let me tell you where the issue is/why photographers put this into their contract: DJs. You’ve been to the weddings where photographs from earlier in the day are shown on big ass flat screens, right? Well, sometimes the DJ brings a “photographer” for those images. This is a whole different subject to delve into, but just know that this is why the issue exists. Respect it and handle it before you sign a contract with your DJ.
- Like any other vendor present during your reception (wedding planner, music vendor and photobooth usually), the photo and video crew will get hungry. These people are human (except for a few I’ve dealt with) and the human body requires food and water. Most contracts will state that a vendor meal must be provided and even if it’s not written it still has to happen. Because common decency. Yes, it’s an extra cost, but it’s for food not a brand new Prada shirt, and plenty of vendors will bounce from your reception to pick up pizza if you don’t feed them…and it will say so in their contract.
The Florist Contract
Picking a florist is usually a fun task for my couples and usually they go with one that has similar floral designs on their website as the ones they want for their wedding. However, there is more to think about than if someone is good with peonies or not. While a contract will not be the first piece of paper you receive from a florist, it will be second only to the proposal. That proposal will be put together after a consultation where you will discuss what you want and the rough quantity needed. [tweetshare tweet=”It’s important to know from the florist if they can accomplish your vision and if they will need extra staff (AKA: more money) to do it.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]A common misconception is that the first appointment will include a sample centerpiece, so don’t go into that meeting expecting to see one. Here is what you can expect to see in their contracts though:
- The payments you will make will be broken up, but that last payment could end up being a full 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding date. Flowers get ordered at different times, and many florists need 14 days to make sure the order comes in correctly. Some florists will let the final payment go until the wedding day, whereas others will want the money before they make the order. Either practice is fine, but make sure you know when your payments are due.
- Going back to the venue dilemma and having limited set up time, make sure you clear with your florists during the consultation exactly what they are working with. If the venue has a set of rules for florists, make sure to provide that along with any timing restrictions. It’s important to know from the florist if they can accomplish your vision and if they will need extra staff (AKA: more money) to do it.
The DJ, Band or Both Contract(s)
No matter if you have a DJ to handle all of the music, or a band to handle the reception with a bunch of violins for the aisle walk, these contracts are just as important to review before signing. Just like the vendors mentioned above, all of these people will have to provide insurance documents, guaranteed. There are differences between their contracts, but here are two similarities to look for and talk about:
- A major reason that insurance is required from your music vendors is that they could potentially use a ton of electricity. Once you are under contract and in the music planning stages, there will be a discussion of where the band/DJ is placed and where the closest power source is. Even if you are in a standard banquet hall, it’s really important to look over the contract in regard to how close your music vendor needs to be and what happens if they are too far away. Bands and DJs do not bring extension cords or generators with them, and adding stuff on like that last minute is going to cost you.
- Pay careful attention to what is actually included and what will cost you more. As a planner, I know what will be needed and what the right questions are. Brides, however, do not. A question to ask here (should it not be outlined in the contract) is: what microphones do you include? It’s a thought that doesn’t cross a mind until no one can hear the vows or any of the toasts, but by then, it’s too late. Don’t wonder or assume anything about microphones. Check the fine print because it might be addressed while you weren’t looking.
The Transportation Contract
If you need shuttles for guests or a bunch of limos and party buses, you will probably work with one transportation company. A big “however” here though, is if you are setting up a hotel block (addressed in the next blog) and they provide a shuttle service. There probably won’t be a contract here, but an invoice and some fine print is typically what you would receive. Whatever you book, read what you are given and look out for this:
- Overtime hours and costs associated with any transportation provided outside of the standard 3-3.5 hours should be considered. You might not think that this will be an issue, but when you’re running late or sitting in traffic or take more time with photos than expected or….or…or….. No one likes paying bills after a wedding because that’s like dealing with student loans. The party is over, the bills should go away, right? Make that happen by putting together a package for the time that you need and be realistic about it.[tweetshare tweet=”Ask about this before you book as it won’t come up (probably) and then it will be buried deep in the invoice…so deep that you won’t see it. ” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
- You won’t ask because everyone assumes, but 9 times out of 10 you cant eat or drink in the limos you book. That’s right, no champagne on that party bus is a total possibility. The thing with this is that no one realizes the reality of this situation until the bride is jumping into the limo with her bridesmaids and a bottle of bubbly and the limo driver says “no drinks allowed”. Ask about this before you book as it won’t come up (probably) and then it will be buried deep in the invoice…so deep that you won’t see it.
The contracts I spoke about above are ones that pretty much go with every wedding, no matter the guest count, location or style. In “Part 2” you’ll see the other things to look out for including a deadline in stationery contracts that most couples never read. Until then, please share your thoughts in the comments section! Did you ever sign a contract without reading it and, if so, what happened? What language in your venue and vendor contracts are you glad you saw before you signed? Tell your story and come back for more in the next blog!