St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | Wedding Advice
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The Worst Groomsmen Fashion Faux Pas

Groomsmen Fashion Mistakes

YIKES!

The crew over at Bows N’ Ties asked their Facebook fans to vote on what they thought were the worst groomsmen fashion faux pas for weddings. And they did.not.hold.back.  Granted, brides and grooms are going to do what they want to do in regard to their bridal attire. However, a lot of fashion crimes, regrets and “what in the WORLD was I thinking!?” don’t occur until after they see the photos and realize:

We just made the biggest mistake in the history of EVER.

poorly-fitting-tuxedos

 

Here are just a few from the list that you can see here, and yes, luxeling– they include pictures:

 

•  Ill-fitting tuxes or suits
•  Wrinkled clothing
• Bad shoes

Want to see more? Check out the list! Want to avoid some of these?  here’s how to avoid having your groomsmen in the wrong size  for his build, as well as some great looks for the men in your bridal party.

Backless Wedding Gown
Jul 09 2013

Bringing Sexy Back: Your Key to the Backless Wedding Gown

The wedding is in May 2014.

You found the perfect dress… and it’s backless (swoon)

You also just finished off the cheesecake.

Backless Wedding Gowns

Okay, girlfriend. No worries. We’re going to get your sexy back, well BACK!  We talked to Franci Cohen, a personal trainer, certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist in NYC. She says “A lot of women have trouble engaging their back muscles when exercising,” Franci suggests taking about 10 minutes and devoting it to strengthening your back.

Sadly, shaking the martini shaker doesn’t count.  Maybe the triceps?  These however, will help.

1.      Inverted Rows: This is a great exercise that can be done in every gym. All you need is a barbell that is rested on the weight stand. Get down on the floor under the bar and place your hands a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. Using an overhand grip and with your feet flat on the floor, raise yourself off the ground so that your chest touches the bar. The further out you extend your feet, the more advanced the exercise is. You should do 3 sets of 10-reps, and with each set move your legs out a little further.

2.      Russian twists: This exercise is mostly done to target the upper abdominal area, but the “twist” is what makes the exercise work all the way around to the upper back. Start by grabbing a 10 lb. dumbbell and sit down on the floor. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your back is straight. Then, holding the dumbbell in both hands twist to the left and tap the ground with the dumbbell right next to your hip, then twist to the right and tap down. Repeat this in 3 sets of 20 reps. If you are feeling strong, increase the weight of the dumbbell for each set about 5 lbs.

 

3.      Lat Pull Downs: This is a fun one that directly targets the upper back. Depending on your gym’s equipment, you will sit on the bench facing the machine and grab the horizontal bar using a wide grip. Start off with 25 lbs and bring the bar all the way down past your chin to your collarbone. Make sure to hold and squeeze your back muscles for about 2 seconds for each rep. Repeat 10-12 times and increase weight each rep.

These exercises are great for strengthening and toning, but if even after putting in hard work you don’t get the results you want.  Dr. Richard Chaffoo, a triple board-certified plastic surgeon in San Diego recommends FDA-cleared CoolSculpting®, a non-surgical alternative to liposuction.  CoolSculpting’s patented fat-freezing process helps women lose stubborn inches around their midsections quickly and easily.  During the hour-long treatment, a gel pad is applied to the treatment area followed by the CoolSculpting applicator. The applicator uses gentle suction to draw the skin and underlying tissue up into the cooling area.   Patients can typically return to normal activities immediately following a CoolSculpting treatment. Many people have CoolSculpting during their lunch hours and return to work the same day.

So there it is!  Keep up the good (hard) work, and I’m sure I’ll see you looking this fab too:

2013-07-08_003

 

do you need to seat everyone for your wedding? Cocktail wedding reception event party
Feb 26 2013

How to Have an Awesome Cocktail Style Reception

 

 

I’ve been talking to a few colleagues about this growing trend of brides wanting to do a cocktail style reception, yet having very heavy “buffets” that could be classified as a full meal instead of great hors d’oeuvres known as small plates.  We all came to the agreement that some couples unknowingly do their guests a disservice and  “if they have feet, they need a seat

Cocktail Style Reception ideas Photo by Harwell Photography

Photo by Harwell Photography

While I know there are differing opinions on this, but let’s consider the following:

•  If your food requires heavy dinner plates, it’s not necessarily a cocktail style reception, and a table should be offered to accommodate your guests.

•  It is absolutely horrid for guests to arrive at a reception without a seating chart or enough seating.  From someone who sees this a lot– they are very confused and at times frustrated.  From guests who want to sit together may find a table that lacks enough chairs to accommodate their party to being stuck  in an undesirable area that is far away from all the action.  Confusion grows deeper as it is not clearly communicated as to exactly whom is entitled to have one of the coveted tables. People get up and lose their seats which can be even more frustrating.

•  A lot of brides say, “We don’t need seating for every one because… my friends are young” or “they’ll be too busy dancing!” or “I don’t want it to be too formal”.  No one stands the entire time while drinking and dancing at some of the hottest clubs in Hollywood.  Why would you expect them to at your wedding, where they are expected to be treated as guests.  Expecting guests to stand for four hours is unrealistic.

•  It is extremely hard for some guests to juggle a plate of food, drinks, purse and whatever else they are trying to carry and enjoy themselves.  If most of the seated tables and cocktail tables are full, you have guests standing in open spaces trying to find a respite.  With non-wedding cocktail parties, this can work to an advantage, because not everyone is eating at the same time. People may be mingling, dancing, or participating in some other activity. With a wedding, most of your guests will be doing the same thing at the same time.  Be prepared for some guests to leave early.

Wedding Planning Advice Tips Ideas

To be clear, I’m not against cocktail receptions– I think they’re gorgeous, fun and allow for more mingling.  Most cocktail receptions, while lacking formal seating, does offer rest/lounge areas for their guests.  Brides believe that if their venue is small and they overinvite, they can switch to this style seating, under the premise of “not everyone needs a seat”.  A formal seat, no– not necessarily.  Somewhere to sit, absolutely. Here’s how to make it fabulous, but still with the vibrant cocktail party type atmosphere you want:

• You should have tables for at least 75% of your guest list.  You are not just limited full five and six foot tables. Incorporate a mix of different table sizes like cocktail tables, bistro tables  and even a banquet table or two to mix it up.  Offer a few with chairs and stools to give those a break if they need it.

Cocktail Style Reception Ideas

Cocktail Style Reception Seating Ideas

• If you don’t offer seating for everyone, then offer a lounge area where people can still relax, regroup and enjoy a cocktail and food.  Rent lounge furniture or incorporate furniture from your venue.  Make it your own by bringing in your own cushions and centerpieces to complement their furniture.

Wedding Lounge for Cocktail Style Reception

Wedding Lounge for Cocktail Style Reception

Outdoor Wedding Lounge for Cocktail Style Reception Ideas

• Don’t let this become a money issue.  Your guests would probably enjoy being comfortable more than a welcome bag or favor.  When we ask most of our couples what is most important to them on their wedding day, they say, “good food, good music and for everyone to have a good time”.  It can be hard to enjoy the good food from the five star caterer you hired or enjoy the smooth crooning of your 10 piece band if your guests are uncomfortable and frustrated.

•  Have a cocktail style reception because you want to. Not because you have to.  If your space dictates that only a certain amount of people can fit in your venue, be prepared to make the sacrifice.  With cocktail receptions, space and food are major issues.  You need enough room for people to flow in and out of the space comfortably, not spilling out and displaced.  You may have to sacrifice on the full dinner you wanted or cut your guest list down.  If you make the sacrifice, you still have many hearty options available to serve to your guests without them going away hungry.

Mini Burger Mini Grilled Cheese Mini Beer for Cocktail Hour Reception

Mini Fried Chicken and Coke Hors D'oeuvres Cocktail Hour Reception Corn and Crab Salad Hors D'oeuvres Cocktail Hour Reception

• Be sure there is something to do to keep people active and happy.  Naturally, you have your dance floor and your bar.  Some sort of table or seat will keep them busy and give them a place to keep their belongings, but get them to be interactive with games, a photo or video booth, a dessert or popcorn bar  or even a tour of your venue.  The more people have to do, the less they are standing in one spot.

Custom Cornhole for Weddings

Photo by Anna Pociask Photography

Chocolate Dessert Bar for Wedding

Photobooth for Weddings

What the Superbowl and Grammys Have to Do with Your Wedding

Yes, I know this is a bit late. You’ll have to forgive me– we’re ve been in complete Euphoria with my Baltimore Ravens’ win!  As well yelled, cried, cheered, stressed and danced our way around the house that fateful night, I couldn’t help to be struck by some things that made me gasp, sigh and admire in terms of pulling off an event.  I thought, “I havegot to tell my brides this!” Your wedding, in essence, is the Superbowl of your  life.  You’ve worked hard in your relationship to get there. You’ve invested quite a bit of money for it to turn out splendidly.  There can be no margin for error.

beyonce superbowl intro

To ensure we are all on the same page, let’s agree that Beyoncé rocked it.  With the stakes already high with the “Harbowl” (the first time in history two brothers, in our case, the Harbaughs, have battled for a championship), the pressure was on to pull off an exquisite performance.  The challenge was accepted and met.  What did we learn, luxelings?

Special Effects Can Change Everything.    A show with fire, sparks, lights and unique staging, the running joke was that “I went to a Beyoncé concert and a football game broke out”.  Her performance made you forget you were at a football game in a closed stadium.  Special effects and lighting can do the same thing for your venue as well. If you love your venue location, but let’s say, the room makes your vodka curdle, consider bringing in some spot and uplighting.  A soft color wash of your room, even when coupled with a few gobos can truly transform your space.

Be Prepared.  Clearly, the power company and those at the Superdome were not. With my team on the cusp of a huge blow out, the power cuts off.  In my buffalo wing and martini rage, I’ll admit, I blamed Beyoncé.  But it turns out, she had her own generator for her performance.  For whatever reason, what happened at the Superdome was their snafu and theirs alone.  Can you imagine– in the middle of your wedding the power just cuts off?  Or the caterer runs out of food?  The bartender shrugs and says the rum is gone (makes me giggle and think of this clip from Pirates of the Caribbean– “Why is the rum gone!?”) Accidents can happen, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you have a power heavy event, especially in a historic or outdoor venue, consider bringing additional power.  What good is your band or DJ if no one can hear them?  Check with your caterer to discuss their policies for overages.  Plan accordingly for your bar, especially if you want to incorporate signature drinks.  Many signature cocktails consist of several liquors, you will want to make sure they are easily replenished throughout the evening.

Not to be outdone, the Grammy’s put on some great collaborative performances, but it was their after-party’s that got my attention.  I absolutely adored the Recording Academy’s Bollywood inspired affair, as  Red Line Management’s after party.

belly dancers for wedding with themed tent

You’re Not Limited to Just a Band or DJ for Your Entertainment.  With the Recording Academy’s party, their entertainment matched their theme. Belly dancers performed as well as danced through the aisles of the tables and lounge areas with acrobats and musicians. It gave the feel of an old eastern celebration, not only transforming the space, but transporting your guests as well. You can’t beat that kind of experience.

jewel tone bollywood event inspiration

Don’t Be Afraid of Color.  If you’re daring, explore beautiful jewel tones for your tables and chairs, especially if your event space is extremely large or dark.  These pops of color keep your event from looking overly sparse and adds tremendous character. Also look to create a unique lounge area for your guests– rentals from gorgeous places like Raj Tents  can help you duplicate this sultan type affair with these vivid tents.  You can also create other unique lounge areas with plush sofas and ottomans.

modern style glass tent for weddings

Modern is the New Black.  I love, love, love this clean look at the Mondrian.  In addition to the SAG Awards Deco Glam party, I’ll admit I am very happy to see the shift from the vintage and rustic styles head toward a more lush glam and streamlined modern look. Going modern is truly not that hard, as you can see with this clear tent and monochromatic theme.  What makes it stand out re the lines and styles of the furniture and the details.  The key with the less is more approach is to make it look intentional, not sparse.  Find great containers for your centerpieces, add a pattern, or bring in lighting — the possibilities are endless!

P.S.– Also from the superbowl, want to know why your photographer won’t send you all of your pictures?  This guy will tell you.

 

 

The Last Week of Wedding Planning

Here it is… the final week leading up to your wedding.  How are you feeling?

Nerves frayed?

Stressed and overwhelmed with details?

Burdened with a zillion questions from family and friends?

Here’s how to make it through:

Monday…

If you haven’t already, begin assembling, alphabetizing and arranging important details of your wedding reception.  Alphabetize your escort cards and separate them from the mix. If you have place cards designating each guests meal preference, make sure it is something that can be quickly ascertained by the catering staff.  Finish compiling programs, favors, etc. remembering auxiliary items that assist in their function (matches, buckets, tape, etc.). Start this now, so that if you need to carry it through the week, you’ll still have time.

Update your wedding website with information you think people are bound to ask– where are the supermarkets, nearest restaurants, hospitals, etc.?  If you have guests who have allergies or food preferences be sure that you let them know they will be accommodated.  Add any transportation pickups and parking information that might be necessary.  Designate one person you trust to handle all of these questions for you in the event that people incessantly call or email you.

Continue to break in your wedding shoes. Vacuuming in your Louboutins is fabulous, honey.

Tuesday…

Look over the timeline from your event planner to go over any additional details or changes.

Deliver finalized version of the seating chart to your event team.

If you are leaving immediately after your destination wedding for your honeymoon, pack separately for your stay at your wedding location and for your honeymoon. Send your local bags back with a friend or your parents.  Be sure to include your necessary travel documents in your honeymoon luggage.

Wednesday…

Take your dress to be pressed if you are traveling to your wedding location.  This is will ensure that it is done by your wedding date.

Finalize the details for your rehearsal dinner: décor, menu and entertainment.

Prepare box of finished items  (escort cards, programs, personal photos, favors, send off items, menus, restroom baskets, etc.)  for your event planner.

Thursday…

Get your manicure and pedicure done today– it will save you time.   Many brides opt to do this on the Friday before their rehearsal or rehearsal dinner, but doing this in large groups can push your schedule to the max, forcing you to be late for ultra important events.

Pick up/purchase your liquor from the appropriate sources if you are supplying alcohol for your bar.  Arrange to have this at the venue or have  someone deliver it the day of the wedding (as most vendors are not equipped to handle extended storage of your items).

Deliver any welcome bags to your guests’ hotels or arrange for pick up from your event planner.  Be sure you include proper local information about the area to spearhead unnecessary calls.

Friday…

Do a final walk through with your planner and caterer to discuss the plans, layouts and details for the next day so that they can remain fresh in everyone’s minds.

Pick up your wedding dress and any formal wear as necessary.

Go through your rehearsal and allow your event planner to disseminate any important information and details to your family and bridal party. Exchange box of finished items with planner or leave them on site (if allowed).

Enjoy your rehearsal dinner!  Limit your alcohol and increase your water intake to avoid bloating and puffiness for the special day!

 

 

How To Get Guests to RSVP to Your Wedding or Event

RSVP This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of planning for brides when it comes to their weddings:  handling the RSVPs.  Some guests assume that you know they are coming so they need not send a response in.  Others are procrastinators, cards are misplaced or worst yet, they come back without a name on them. What’s a couple to do?  Your best bet is to make your guests feel like the world will utterly shatter and spontaneously combust if they do not receive your response. Okay, not that bad, but make them feel included!  It has been a staple in planning to know that the wedding invitation sets the tone for the event and prepares your guests for what is ahead.  While this is true, most couples and designers fail to put much forethought into the most important and needed card in the invitation suite:  the RSVP card.  Here are some ideas to help your RSVPs roll in: Photo RSVP Photo RSVP Card Here, your guests can see your personality and excitement, and they’ll “have to say no/yes to your face”.  Get creative enough and your guests will know there is a major party ahead. Themed RSVP Cards Themed RSVP Card Unique RSVP Cards Full Invite with RSVP attached Themed invitations, and by default the RSVP cards get people extremely excited for your wedding and event.  If you’ve put this much thought into the invitation, surely the party will be just as or even more phenomenal, right?  They are fun, clever and make an impression on your guests who will actually stop to respond. Change Up the Wording

RSVP Cards with funny wordingModern RSVP

Fun wording for whimsical RSVP Fun Options/Story on RSVP Card for WEdding Graphic Choices  with Fun wording on RSVP One way to inexpensively shake up the RSVP routine is to add your personality with the responses guests have to choose from. Go Interactive Full Interactive RSVP Card Mad Libs RSVP Cards Interactive RSVP Card Multiple Event RSVP Allow Guests to Doodle or Make Notes on RSVP Special Note to Couple on RSVP Card Let Guests Leave A Note on RSVP Card Mad Libs on RSVP Card Allow Guests to Pick Songs Music Requests on RSVP card Interaction is always fun!  Don’t believe me?  Look at the spike in photo/video booths at weddings. People love to have fun, be heard and make their mark.  Doing something as simple as adding an additional line for guests to add their favorite songs  or leaving empty space for them to leave an endearing note, words of advice or favorite recipe for a future family cookbook, involves your guests in a special way.  Want to really have fun?  Cook up the Mad Libs from your childhood as part of your RSVP and have them on display during your cocktail hour for great laughs.   Other Tips for Handing Your RSVPs Use invisible ink on the back of your RSVPs to track If the unfortunate circumstance happens where your guests forget to put their names, you can write it in invisible ink to track them later.   Another way is to number all of your RSVPs on the back and refer to that number on your master list when tracking responses. RSVP Basket to separate responses Need a way of separating your RSVPs during the process? Have basket for those who will attend and those who will send regrets. Two different RSVP Cards for Yes and No An easier method is to have two different RSVP cards– guests will choose the one with their response and send it back. For more great tips on RSVPs and your wedding, dig into ourdelicious post full of advice.

5 Ways to Increase Attendance at Your Destination Wedding

We have a special guest blogger today– Nusair Bawla from HotelScouter!  Nusair shares his expertise and knowledge regarding planning successful destination weddings for you and your guests.

Most of us don’t have access to a beach and many of us don’t have a gorgeous mountainside in our backyard where we can get married. In fact, most of us Americans live in the mainland so it’sno wonder that when it comes to planning a wedding, going away is always a popular choice.

In addition to a great location, a destination wedding is also more intimate and in many cases, cheaper than an at home wedding. However, this intimacy comes at a price.

Destination weddings have low attendance

Most destination weddings suffer from a lower attendance percentage than at home weddings. Traditional weddings can have attendance in the 8-90% range (and in some cases, even higher) whereas a destination wedding where the 50% mark is more common.

Most invitees turn down destination wedding invites for two reasons, cost and timing. And if you can figure out how to overcome those two objections, you’ll be able to get more people to attend.

In this article, we are going to go over five things you can do to ensure that your destination wedding is well attended.

Send out save the dates early

That means quick. As soon as you get engaged, start looking at potential wedding dates. Once you have decided on one, send out save the date cards to family and friends.

The earlier you send them out (preferably 8-12 months, if not more), the better. Doing so will give wedding guests enough time to plan their vacations, and holidays while incorporating your wedding into the mix.

To ensure absolute compliance, make personal phone calls (yes, harass if you have to) to guests and get a verbal “yes”.

Plan your destination wedding in a long weekend, not a holiday weekend

Long weekends are perfect for destination wedding because it gives everyone the flexibility they need. Families can stay the entire week if they choose while others can go back to work without having to use up personal or vacation days.

One thing we would not do is plan a destination wedding on a holiday weekend. Many of your guests have commitments for holidays (thanksgiving being a big one) and many families have a tradition of getting together during these times so its best avoid them if you can.

Select a well known large destination

If you want more people to attend, then don’t select a location that is hard to get to or is in a remote region that requires three connecting flights, a 2 hour cab ride followed by a ferry. Select a destination that has lots of direct flights from a lot of cities so wedding guests spend a minimum amount of time traveling.

For example, If you’re getting married in the Caribbean, go with either Puerto Rico or the Bahamas instead of Nevis or Barbuda (need a ferry for this one). The smaller the island, the less optionsyour guests will have when it comes to direct flights. What’s more, costs to get to these remote locations are much higher, leaving your guests with a lighter wallet too.

Finally, when selecting a destination, try picking something that is close to home. For example, ifmost of your family is on the east coast, then select a destination wedding on that side of the country. Florida, the Caribbean or North Carolina would make for some great destination wedding locations. Hawaii would not.

Plan your wedding at a family friendly resort

You will have tons of time to hang out at a super romantic place on your honeymoon so why not plan your wedding at a family friendly resort. Think Beaches resorts or even a Disney wedding and your family will be more than glad you did.

Just because the resort is family friendly does not mean that they are not romantic. Lots of Disney resorts have tons of romantic things that you can do and Beaches has a wedding program specifically for couples with large families.

Get married during the shoulder season

We saved the best for least. Don’t plan your wedding during peak season. Not only will wedding vendor prices be double or triple than normal, airfare and hotel rates will be astronomical as well.

It’s better to book a date that is a month or two before or after the peak season (called a shoulder season). Things are calmer, vendors are less hurried and your wedding will be more enjoyable and better attended.

While there are another half dozen ways to increase your attendance at the destination wedding, the five above will remove most of the objections that your wedding guests may have. And getting rid of their objections is a great way to increase that attendance number.

 

This article was written by Nusair A Bawla, the founder of GroupTravel.org. His website provides an easy way to get group rates for hotels without making a phone call.

 

 

Yes, Decor Matters.

outdoor wedding ceremony with chiavari chairs and sculpted petal aisle

This can be a touchy subject.  Nevertheless, it needs to be said.

Sometimes, brides are stuck between the hard place of having great decor or some other vital portion of their menu.  After pouring hour upon hour on Pinterest, message boards and bridal magazines, they become inspired, depressed, agitated and resigned… in that order.  The rationalization from friends who are uber crafty and older relatives who “just got married at the church and were happy” is that “No one really notices the flowers or the linens”.

Honestly, that’s not true.

There is a huge difference between this:

white wedding wedding receptionand this:

elegant ethereal wedding with uplighting linens and florals

What if I said picture one is at a seaside luxury resort and the second picture is at a local VFW.  As a guest, how would you feel walking into picture one?  What about picture two? Granted, those are vastly different existing on separate ends of the spectrum, but you get my point: Decor Matters.  The worst thing in the world is to have a world class venue, DJ or band, five star food and the details to tie the wedding together are nonexistent. Having this type of lopsided event gives the impression that the money ran out for the decor.

Glam Iridescent Table Decor with Rhinestones and Centerpieces

Your environment sets your mood.  

Picture this:  you move into a new, stylish apartment.  To celebrate, you decide to throw a dinner party for your nearest and dearest friends.  The apartment is the talk of the town with the sleekest architecture and views.  However, like most apartments, it’s painted the standard, generic white.  No matter how beautiful the building is, it’s the personal details and decor that makes it stand out.

Tall and Low centerpieces on estate tables

Your centerpieces, when done by a talented, professional designer  can add depth and warmth to your room.  They can guide you into perfecting your color palette to create an enchanting look for your venue.  Decor only looks small and incompetent when it has to compete against your venue.  Work with your venue and you can create something amazing.  Here are some tips:

  • If your venue has ugly walls, chairs or floors,  find out how much it will be to rent chairs or chair covers to eliminate the problem.  Find colors that don’t compete with the floors or walls.
  • Lighting can change everything.  Simple uplighting around a room will give you a soft wash of color over the entire room.  This creates a beautiful canvas to enhance your tables and centerpieces.
  • If the budget is limited, avoid white polyester linens for your tables.  These should only be reserved for your food tables.   While these can be the cheapest linens to acquire, they will also swallow and dwarf any plans you have for your centerpieces if you do not fill the table. If your centerpiece budget is limited having only one centerpiece on an expansive white six foot table will only compound your decor issues. Instead, opt for color to add vibrancy or texture (pintuck, bichon, taffeta, etc.) to add depth.
  • Runners and overlays are a great way to add variety to the table.  Make sure your runners are actual runners– not chair sashes.  This isn’t for what they were intended, so their impact isn’t as fluid as a true runner.  Additionally, runners and overlays look best when they are paired with complementary liners (the base linen).  A colored overlay over a white tablecloth has a “restaurant” feel to it.  Look to add depth and texture with a runner or overlay atop of a liner of the same color or in the same shade family. If you want to go bolder, use the colors in your palette.
  • Just as we have to consider the width of a table, when planning your centerpieces, also consider the height of the ceiling.   Centerpieces that are too low will also make your room look larger and your tablescape very minimal.
  • Napkins are ways to add pops of color from other shades in your palette.  Creatively folded or presented, it can add more depth to your table, filling it more with a functional necessity.  Consider having your tables completely set, even for a buffet to avoid your tables looking too empty.

Color, texture and florals set the tone and enhance the experience for your guests. It can transport and transform them.  Who doesn’t like to get dressed up  and go somewhere nice for a special occasion?  Dining and dancing in a beautiful room truly adds to their experience and participation level.  All things being equal, not all weddings can afford an expansive decor budget.  All weddings, though, can and should be beautiful.

 

How to Talk Yourself Out of a Good Wedding Vendor

One thing we hear a lot from brides is “We’ve never done this before, so we don’t know what to expect”.  An awesome vendor will explain their work process so that you know how they operate.  You’ll find that the wedding industry, just like wedding planning, is very different from any experience you’ve encountered.  If you approach it in an us vs. them mentality, you could very well lose out on the best vendors for you.

Here’s how you’ll talk yourself out of a good wedding vendor:

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  1. You make/demand your own terms.  More likely than not, your wedding professional has had several industry leaders and legal teams review or write their contract.  Negotiating is one thing.  Rewriting a vendor’s contract is extremely rude and sets a tone for your relationship that can be hard to overcome.  It’s like you are saying that you don’t trust the vendor or their professionalism.  The same can be said about not wanting to adhere to the vendor’s payment terms. For example, most wedding professionals will require a non-refundable retainer to hold your event date on their calendar. If you cancel, they have likely turned down other couples to work with you.  That retainer helps them recoup that loss, as well as get started on your event.  Additionally, most wedding professionals will require your final payment two to four weeks prior to your event. This allows them to prepare to assign staff, buy food, order flowers, etc.  Believe it or not, there are some shady brides out there who will attempt to pay a vendor the week of the wedding or even the day of the wedding and put a stop payment on the check or dispute the charge with their credit card on the sly.
  2. You try to make them into someone they’re not.  We know you want to do some comparative shopping in order to find the best vendor for you.  However, do not send Vendor A a copy of Vendor B’s proposal or service offering and ask them to match it or give it to you at their rate.   If you like Vendor B’s service, then hire Vendor B.  It’s the equivalent of going into Burger King with a recipe for the Big Mac and asking them to make it.  The industry is extremely close;  we know who offers what, at what rate and how they offer it.  Playing us off each other or trying to make us do someone else’s work will get you left without Vendor A or B.
  3. Do NOT ask for a discount.   I know a lot of brides learn from magazines that it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Remember when your parents would chide you for immediately asking grandma “Where’s my gift?!” or “What did you bring me!?”? This may seem odd, but discounts are like personal gifts. It is up to the discretion of the vendor to extend this courtesy to you.  Your vendor may have other ways of enhancing their service to you by providing a few freebies, but to outright expect it can be extremely annoying. While you are asking for  the 5 star service at a 3 star price, you are also asking that vendor to come up short on their mortgage, paying their staff or their little girl’s dance lessons.  You’re telling the vendor right off the bat that I value price more than your service.  It wouldn’t matter how well they do their job, because you think they shouldn’t be paid the full price for it, but you expect the full benefits.  It puts a sour taste in a vendor’s mouth.  If you have a specific budget that you need to stay in, by all means, tell your vendor.  They will help you find creative ways to get what you need, not just want you want, while keeping you within your financial comfort zone.
  4. You try to play “good cop”/”bad cop” or act like WE owe you something.  Weddings are fun, festive occasions.  To be in the industry, you really have to love what you do, have talent, work well under pressure and have the ability to work well with many different personalities.  If you play nice, but get your mom or fiancé to play enforcer or the bad guy, you are giving us what we believe to be a window into the planning process or wedding day.  If you act this way over coffee, when the weather changes on your wedding day or 5 additional people who didn’t RSVP show up, we do not want to be in your warpath.  I sat down for one consultation where a groom came in late while his fiancée and I chatted over desserts and as he nonchalantly greeted me, he asked “Several of our vendors are giving us discounts.  What are you going to do for us?”  I had another tell me he didn’t need a crucial part of a service collection that was virtually essential to the success of their wedding day and would prefer that I add some other duties that were clearly out of the scope of my service.  I politely referred them to other planners, with the understanding that I was not the planner for them.
  5. You have way too many DIY projects or “friendors”. Don’t get me wrong, here– I have seen some amazing DIY projects that have completely transformed a wedding more than anything we could have bought.  I’ve worked with friends of the couple who have mind-blowing  talents to share for the wedding.  This isn’t speaking to those instances.  This is speaking to those occurrences where couples insist on doing 50% or more of their wedding themselves: making/providing linens, doing their own flowers, an aunt who will make the cake, a friend of a friend who will DJ the wedding reception, etc.  Red flags instantly go up  because we worry about how much you are taking on and how much will actually be done efficiently.  The same can be said with friends who donate services or volunteer to help.  When a vendor has to rely on a bride or her friends to get things done, there is concern about if these things will ultimately get done in a timely and correct manner, especially when it affects their ability to provide their services.  While it’s understood that while DIY projects personalize your wedding and also a way to to save money.  In some instances, though, you end up paying more with your time or out of your pocket to pay a professional to correct any mistakes or implement your ideas.  Be up front with your vendor and they can help you come up with some contingency plans to ensure a beautiful wedding.

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The Trouble with Head Tables

We’ve talked about this before— to have a head table or not to have a head table?

Increasingly we’re finding more couples looking to do head tables, but are amazed at the blow back from either their budget or from family and friends when they make this choice. I’ve seen some mothers insist things like “You two will have the rest of your life to sit alone. You should sit with your friends who paid all that money to be in your wedding.” Point taken.

Just so you know, I’m completely biased. I am Pro-Sweetheart Table.

There is some truth to the mom’s theory– you will have the rest of your life to sit together alone, and there has been a significant investment your family and friends have expended to participate in your wedding.  Yet, sitting down for the first time after being a bundle of nerves, taking a thousand pictures, making it through your ceremony and sitting down and having a moment together is equally, if not more, important. Besides, how close are you going to get to the person sitting at the end of your head table?

8.3.

That’s how many hours your groomsmen’s girlfriend spends alone.

That’s the rehearsal, hanging with the guys, getting ready, pre-wedding photos, post wedding photos, etc.  She’ll spend another hour alone during dinner if she doesn’t really know those  with whom you’ve assigned her to sit.  Likewise your groomsmen may want to get back to their significant other after being primped, prodded and posed all day.  And to be fair, the same can be said about your bridesmaid’s boyfriend!

When couples opt not include their bridal party’s significant others in the head table, either by choice or dictation of the budget, it can create an awkward situation for that person.  After being alone all day, they then have to make forced conversation with, at times, people they don’t know while their better half is put on display.

I also hear some brides say “I don’t want every one staring at me” as a refusal of the sweetheart table– to which I make a note to immediately begin researching a private bunker to hold the wedding ceremony.  You’ve already been on display, everyone has already stared at you– remember that whole walking down the aisle thing?  Standing up in front of everyone trading rings? See…it’s not so bad!  Besides, you can get a quick rest, enjoy a bite to eat with your honey and then go from table to table to speak with guests and avoiding the dreadful, antiquated receiving line.

Okay. Still not convinced?

In addition to the consideration factor, also be mindful of cost and size of a head table.  You may take up precious real estate out of your wedding’s floor plan if you have 5 or more in your bridal party on both sides, plus their significant others.  This means more linens and more tables since you can only sit on one side of the table.  Additionally, you’ll also need more centerpieces/decor to perfect the appearance of the table.  Just remember to allocate for these when doing your floor plan and making your orders.  If you can’t, or choose not to have the significant others sit with you, consider having them all at their own special table.  You can even be super nice by planning an activity for them to do pre-wedding to establish a relationship so that they won’t feel so alone.