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Four Wedding Planning Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe

image I love wedding glossies– I really do!  They are filled with great ideas, plenty of wedding porn (aka pictures), bridal fashion and trends.  However, they say a lot of things that sometimes, a luxeling like myself, just can’t get with.

So, here I am– ready to debunk a lot of the "stuff" and help you sort through the fluff and poppycock and get to the truth.

And we’ll laugh along the way.


  1. "You’ll Save More Money By Having Your Wedding During a Holiday Weekend" Thumbs-downNope!  Ain’t gonna happen.  You need to prepare yourself for the possibility that you could actually pay more than you had planned.  Vendors have higher premiums during event weekends, and while venues can say the same, they can also tack on higher food and beverage minimums.  Another big thing– your guests!  They will have to pay higher prices for airline tickets, and you will find stricter room block requirements, too.  But hey, at least you can use the festive decorations that are already up in your reception venue (isn’t that what the glossies say?)
  2. You can intimidate your way to a better deal Thumbs-down Yup, another loser here.  Well, I think that title is a bit  misleading. The magazines tell brides "Make sure you tell potential vendors that you intend to shop around or are interviewing other vendors" or "Put vendors on point and let them know that you are ready to play ball"… Let’s review a few of these, shall we?
  • "I am interviewing several other XXXX.  Why should I choose you over them?Sick This is not Miss America. You don’t want to hear my stance on war peace or starving children.  You don’t want me to give some self-absorbed why I’m great and what I can do for you speech. Instead, let it come naturally. If during the course of any meeting with any wedding vendor you don’t SEE for yourself the benefits of hiring that vendor, then that’s not the vendor for you.  And please don’t think that the fact that you told me that you are interviewing another planner will make me a.) lower my prices, b.) throw in freebies, c.) talk bad about the other planner to make me look better.  I’m not easily intimidated.  And you shouldn’t be either when you hear I’m interviewing other clients for your wedding weekend :)  It’s all bout finding the good match with personalities, if we click, we click. No need to play games.
  • "What did you do before you were a XXX.." Dont tell anyone(and other none-of-your-business questions).  Hi, I’m Terrica– I’m a Scorpio and I love to take long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners…come on now!  This is utter nonsense and rubbish!  Quite  honestly, anything personal or non-specific to your wedding that your vendor wants you to know s/he will tell you.
  • "Is this the best price you can offer?  Are your prices negotiable?" Thinking There is an old saying that "if you don’t ask, you don’t get". I would like to formally throw in my bid to remix that saying for 2008… "If you ask like a jerk or this is your first question to a vendor, you DEFINITELY won’t get".  Brides hate it when vendors look at them and see dollar signs. Guess what, we hate it too.  If you want something for nothing, or come into the meeting with a set agenda of talking us down, you won’t enjoy the experience.  It’s not shopping for a used car, it’s piecing together the perfect event team to work on the most important day of your life

3.  Destination Weddings are easier and cheaper. Thumbs-down This is true, and then not so much.  Destination Weddings can be a lot of fun, and with proper planning.  But you also need someone to corral your guests.  Why? Because your guests will think it is a FANTASTIC idea to go to Negril, Jamaica for your wedding.  But wait for the deposit time comes around, people become amnesiacs.   In order to reap the benefit of a lot of international resort’s wedding perks, you need to guarantee a minimum of 10-20 guest rooms.  So my suggestion is not to plan a get away wedding if you aren’t completely comfortable with either going alone (just the two of you) or with 5 other people.

4.  DIY EVERYTHINGThumbs-down Honey, put the glue gun DOWN.  You will burn out faster than a dollar store candle if you attempt too many DIY projects for your wedding.  Find ONE good project that you can make fabuluxe and do it.  Otherwise, your wedding will look tacky and shabby.  Why? Because you don’t have the facilities or capabilities to make it perfect for 5 projects 120 times. 


Things You Thought About…But Probably Aren’t A Good Idea for Your Wedding

Sometimes, brides run things past me that sound like a good idea in theory, but logistically and realistically, it’s just not meant to be.

Here are some of my favorites, and I’m sure pro buddies will have some other tips for you too.

Ok, so first things first…

1. Scented candles in the reception hall. I had one prospect tell me that she was going to have authentic Jamaican food and lilac, lavender, and vanilla scented candles on the tables and around the reception site. I almost died. Bad, bad, bad idea. Some people (believe it or not) absolutely abhor vanilla. I find it to be a comfort scent, but others H-8 it. Then, to mix that with the spicy aromas of food on your menu is asking for a headache or other unsightly adverse reactions. Always opt for non-scented candles.

2. Going Completely DIY. Even my gal pal, Khris, of DIY Bride says that going DIY for your entire everything is a bad idea. Unless you want to push yourself to drink and pop antidepressants like Tic Tacs, opt to do about 2 or 3 projects at the very most for your wedding. What should determine who many you should take on should be the quantities you must put out as well as the amount of detail. Quality is and always forefront with DIY. You don’t want it to look like something you made in preschool (a la macaroni necklaces for mom) or Aunt Ethel’s macrame plant holders. You want something couture, handcrafted, and totally YOU. Get where I’m going?

3. Buying flowers out of season. Those flowers may be pretty in those pictures, but it doesn’t work if your wedding is in December and you are looking at summer flowers. This will put a complete smackdown on your budget. Ask your florist for flowers that look similar, but bloom in your specific time frame. Also, re-evaluate the design of your flowers: do you like the flowers or do you like the concept and design? If it is the latter, your floral designer can easily substitute in season flowers in the same design you swoon after.

4. Bloating, gassy food. There are some foods you will want to avoid on your wedding day, and especially at your rehearsal dinner. You do not want to feel like a balloon that is ready to pop on your wedding day. You have enough to deal with. So avoid foods like cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. It can affect your shape and temperament!

5. Having a wedding during a holiday. This actually doesn’t save you more money. It can actually cost you and your guests more. There are several things you need to consider– airline tickets, room blocks, premiums, etc. We’ll discuss this more in an upcoming post.

5 Venue Assets that Will Fabuluxe Your Wedding

zaza I know what the mags tell you– they tell you to ask these incessant (and sometimes unnecessary) questions when looking for your venue space.  You may have an idea as to what you are looking at or looking for in a venue– but do you know how to capitalize on what is there to make your event the envy of your friends?


You want your venue to have:


1.)  Personality–  Boring events start with boring venues.  If a site jumps out at you, it will also jump out at your guests.  And of course, boring is all relative.  Nevertheless, you still want a venue that reflects your personality and adds panache to your event overall. It should jump out at you and say "I’M THE ONE!" as soon as you walk in the door.  Is it an old mansion?  A trendy art and history museum?  A chartered boat?  You want something that looks like it is well-kept and up-to-date.  When you go into look at the place, look at the fixtures, the floors, windows, etc.  What are some things that you could incorporate into your design scheme?  Art work on the walls?  Winding staircases?  What are some things you can live without?  You want something that complements your fete, not take it over.

2.)  Great Staff–The same personality that you love in your venue should roll over into its staff.  The staff should be engaging, dynamic and professional.  It has always been my position that regardless of how much you spend, be it one dollar or one hundred thousand, you are always the rockstar.  Period.  There are some venues who allow their status to go to their heads, which results in a poor showing to clients.  I can’t remember the last time someone paid me tens of thousands of dollars to mistreat them or give substandard service.  That’s because they haven’t.  You want a staff that provides stellar service– not over the top, but plenty attentive and always with a smile.

3.)  Great Lighting– I can remember many many many moons ago, there was a song by a group called Black Sheep entitled "Strobelight Honey".  A strobelight honey is a person who only looks good under the strobelight.  That being said, lighting does wonders.  It can complement textures and architecture as well as create shadows and depth in your venue.  Lighting adds dimension and character to an event– even on a natural level.  You don’t want your event to look warehoused or completely dark without some sort of complementary lighting.  Lighting can come from strategically placed windows, skylights, open doors and even fireplaces.  To enhance  lighting that is already there naturally, you can add special effect lighting in the form of spotlighting or pinlighting.  This is perfect for showcasing a cake table, sweetheart table or centerpieces.

4.)  Flexibility and Space–  Some of my favorite venues have space upon space that is at the clients’ disposal during their event. This could include a lawn outside of the venue, a covered veranda or a courtyard.  This works in your favor when you are creating that luxury event experience for your guests.  You can have separate, yet spacious, areas for your cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, etc.  This allows you to design your space according your event’s theme or vision.  That could include creating an elegant pre-reception area for meet and greets to a swanky lounge area for guests to relax in during the festivities.  When you aren’t boxed into one particular room, your possibilities are endless.  If you do find yourself with minimum space, you want to make sure that your design scheme will not be too cumbersome for the staff to turnover in as little time as possible to avoid those gaps between scheduled events.

5.) An Extensive PVL (Preferred Vendors List)Some venues don’t call it a PVL, but may give you a list of vendors that they work with frequently.   If you run into a situation where your venue is also your exclusive caterer and baker, that of course, leaves you with other vendors that you must hire.  There is no better place to start than a list of vendors that the venue has done business with before. In this case, you are sure to build an event team that is familiar with your venue and can help you troubleshoot and design through your current vision.  Of course, you want to fact check both ways:  Ask the venue about vendors you are interested in prior to booking them, and vice versa.  You want a team that can work together seamlessly without playing a game of "Quien es mas macho" (who is more macho).

A few other tips on choosing that perfect venue:

  • Never look at more than five venues for your event.  After a while, they all start to look the same.  Do preliminary searches via the internet, ask exploratory questions of vendors and the venue’s staff to narrow down which ones will work for you and what you have planned.
  • I would encourage you to go back a second time to look at a venue. Even if your site is away from home– try to visit it twice during your initial stay. You will find that you will see things that you did not see the first time around. 
  • Take great notes so you can compare after you visit your sites.  Before you visit any, write down key words you want to describe your event, and then revisit those notes to see which venues come close.


{Photo: Hotel ZaZa}

Hear Terrica on the Wedding Planning Audiocast

I was a featured guest on The Wedding Planning Audiocast. I had an opportunity to sit and talk with Ralph Mucci, the show’s host, and let him in on a little known secret– our great little islands!

Their guests to date have been some of the biggest names in the wedding world such as Colin Cowie, Marcy Blum, Jennifer Brisman, Michelle Rago, Ron-Ben Israel, Sylvia Weinstock, The Bridal Bar, & The Wedding Gown Specialists to name a few. These professionals have all offered such fantastic advice, tips, & secrets on wedding planning topics & issues, which is a wonderful asset to both professionals and brides.

They’ve also had on some of the biggest gown designers such as Watter & Watters, & Adele Wechsler, along with many many more. Their “You Look Marvelous” show segment which addresses hair, makeup, & skincare is awesome, because it doesn’t just reach out to brides but to all women, and being a women myself I love any beauty tips & advice that I can obtain. They’ve also had on some of the biggest names in the celebrity makeup world on such as Carmindy from the Learning Channel’s #1 hit show “What Not to Wear”, Sephora, Benefit Cosmetics, Mally Roncal, Elke Von Freudenberg, Billy B., & Shalini Vadhera. They just don’t seem to leave any stone unturned. Their shows are straightforward and right to the point, which is what I really enjoy about them, and they have some of the coolest music throughout their shows.

I recently had the pleasure to appear on their “Destination Wedding” show segment to inform their listeners about The Golden Isles of Georgia. These four islands– Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons, & St. Simons are all beautiful places if one is considering a destination wedding. I have orchestrated many destination weddings to these islands and all have been spectacular & memorable events. However most people aren’t aware of these islands and have been pretty much a well-kept secret up until now. On the show we inform the listener & cover all the elements and ingredients one needs to know if their considering a destination wedding one of these 4 emeralds. Without giving to much away about the show listeners will be very surprised to learn that one of the islands can be your very own if you choose.

Have a listen to the show! I had a great time, and Ralph even read a few of the New Rules!Have a listen to the show!
Be sure to subscribe, because like I said The Wedding Planning Audiocast has some great topics and wonderful guests on there!
Thank you, Ralph!

Odd Man Out: Inviting Guests to Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Going to weddings can be a lot of fun for people.  For others– not so much.  Why do you think that is?  Well, if you are the significant other or spouse of a member in the bridal party or a guest, chances are you’re in unchartered territory.  New town.  New people.  Lots of Travel.  It’s always nice for the bride and groom to extend invitations to the SO’s of the bridal party for events that include the bridal party.

For example, if you’re having a rehearsal dinner, make sure you invite your Maid of Honor’s boyfriend or fiance…especially if they have flown in to spend this time with you.  Nothing is worse than hearing “Hey honey, I have to go to the rehearsal and then to the party afterwards. You stay here in the hotel room”.

Yep, kinda awkward.

If you cannot afford to invite significant others to the rehearsal dinner– then seriously reconsider the type  of rehearsal dinner you want to have.   And definitely don’t make the mistake of allowing one and not the other.  If you aren’t hosting the rehearsal dinner, talk to the person who is.  You can either pad the budget or assume the event yourself.  Besides, do you really want to risk slighting those friends and family who have agreed to stand up with you and have shown their support both financially and emotionally?  It could make for awkward or even ill-feelings the next day, which should be the most important and stress free day of your life!

Now playing: Billie Holiday – I’ll Be Seeing You
via FoxyTunes

It’s the Little Things…

I’m all about maximizing my time and my money. Even if you’re on a strict budget, your wedding doesn’t have to look like it.

I think it’s safe to say that every couple wants their wedding to be memorable, fun and classy. However, it can be extremely easy to journey into the world of McWeddings if you aren’t careful. One road sign on that journey says “You’re trying to do too much with too little money: McWedding…5 miles”. I thought I would give some ideas on little things you can do to make a big impact.

  • Add color. Even in the tiniest of introductions, color can really pop against blah bland white linens. I don’t mean color in the obvious places such as flowers. Let’s forget those for a minute. Think instead of colored votive holders– as the night draws on, soft hued light saturates your room. But it also adds dimension and depth to the table in the light. When placed strategically, they can look very chic. Cudge is an awesome resource for great votives and holders.
  • White Out. Go white– ALL white. I recently blogged about P. Diddy’s White Party. These parties are all the rage in celebrity events– especially those taking place on the sea or in a coastal region. It looks very upscale and is SO easy to do. This would include bridesmaids’ dresses as well. Silver accents naturally found at your venue (i.e., the silverware, candelabras, etc.)
  • Attention to Detail— Little things can really set you apart and look upscale: elegantly designed menu cards, colored napkins and/or designer napkin treatments, wall and floor decals, etc. The idea is to create an experience for your guests; you want something out of the ordinary.
  • Play Dress Up— While you do want to have a cohesive and fluid look, if your budget does not allow for you to completely design your event dress up part of venue. Go for an uber decked out sweetheart table that is the focal point of the room: use different colored liners and overlays, elaborate centerpieces, etc. and tie in the rest of your tables with a coordinating liner or napkin (a less expensive option).  You could also just splurge on chair covers or chair decor, cake table decorations, props, etc.
  • Bottoms Up!  Nothing says a great party like great drinks and food.  Introduce a signature drink during your cocktail hour. Dress it up with rented ornate glasses and get creative with your presentation.  Have servers pass them on clear acrylic trays.   When your guests are coming into the cocktail hour you need to be prepared to wow them. Even though it is only an hour (or so) long, it is the introduction into the night and were you need to set the tone.  Splurge on dressed up cocktail tables and centerpieces (these can moved later to an area in the reception if necessary).   Get creative with your hors d’oeuvres as well.  Stuffed mushrooms are delicious, but they are downright ugly when piled up on a platter and shuffled around between 100 people.  Talk with your caterer about great presentation ideas.  You may find stations may allow you more creative license and could prove to be less expensive.  Passed hors d’oeuvres can be beautiful too– check out a nice shrimp or gazpacho shooter!
  • Go interactive.  Invite your guests to the fun by having a photobooth or hand drawn caricatures.  A little too expensive? No problem!  Rent a popcorn or cotton candy machine for some late night fun.

Whether you use one or all, these are ideas that you can incorporate into your plans that will make your event feel and look like a million bucks!
Now playing: Fergie – Glamorous (Feat. Ludacris)
via FoxyTunes