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accommodating guests with special needs
Apr 12 2016

Accommodating Your Guests with Special Needs

With all the details you have to worry about for your wedding day, one thing can go overlooked:  your guests and their needs.  Even thought it is your day, it is also a joint celebration.  You want to make sure that everyone you have invited can celebrate with you safely and comfortably.

Physical Needs

Guests who have issues with walking need to be taken into consideration for transport and seating.  This is especially true for grandparents, who may have trouble navigating outdoor weddings with difficult terrain (e.g., parks, beaches, etc.). For the reason, some grandparents elect to be seated at the start of the ceremony, avoiding inclusion in the processional. For those grandparents who do wish to walk down the aisle, allow them to stand at the rear of the seating so their walk is not too strenuous or difficult.

Guests who need the assistance of walkers or wheelchairs need extra space accommodations with seating. This is crucial to know before the day get started, as when your guests arrive reconfiguring the layout may not be an option. Preferred seating areas with adequate space and prime views can be created during setup.
For the reception, these guests should be seated close to areas where they  will need access (exits, restrooms, etc.) as well as a sight line to  key events (dining, cake cutting, dancing, etc.) Avoid putting guests with limited mobility near high traffic/loud areas (bars, DJ, etc.).  This will be important in figuring out your seating plan.

 

Dietary Needs

Another biggie! As someone who has recently had to drastically change their diet, knowing what I could eat at a wedding is a big deal.  Most guests with food allergies and dietary needs know what they can and cannot eat, however, it is still vital to relay anyone with food related needs to your caterer. This will give them the opportunity change the way they prepare or serve/display food. Having plenty of alternatives will ensure your guests with dietary needs aren’t forced to eat a plate full of one item.

You may also want to consider having a smaller dessert for those guests who cannot eat gluten. With wedding cake being the pièce de résistance at weddings, it’s a shame to have any guest miss out on a sweet ending.

 

Outdoor Weddings

If you are having an outdoor wedding in Spring, Summer or early Fall, be sure to communicate this to your guests via your wedding website or an enclosure in your invitation suite.  As someone who oversees countless outdoor weddings, I cannot tell you how utterly miserable some guests are when they come ill-prepared to fight pollen or bugs at an outdoor wedding.  Those with seasonal allergies or have worse than normal reactions/attractions to bugs, often find their remedies too late.  Bug spray (Off Wipes and No Natz are the best we’ve seen) will help greatly, citronella candles don’t put off enough of a guard, so look for sticks and tiki torches if possible.

 

Nursing Moms and Kids with Special Needs

One thing brides think of when they visit venues are to inquire about changing rooms. These rooms may also be a great place for a nursing mom to privately feed her baby without sitting uncomfortably in a restroom.    Weddings with their flashing lights, loud music and crowds can be overwhelming to those with autism.  This quiet area may also be a  great respite for children on the Autism spectrum to decompress.

 

Some of these considerations can have a great impact on your wedding as well as your guests’ ability to enjoy it.  Contemplating them before you select a venue or menu can be easier than trying to find quick fixes on the day of the wedding.

 

Photo :: Peacock Photo & Video

pinterest for weddings
Sep 08 2015

How Pinterest Will Ruin Your Wedding

pinterest wedding ideas pins boards inspiration wedding ceremony reception

Despite the title, I really love Pinterest. Perhaps that was a bit drastic.

Like most users, I’m addicted to Pinterest.  It’s like Target– I go in for one thing, come out 40 minutes later with a bunch of stuff I didn’t know I wanted.

Pinterest is great for inspiration.  It can show you things you didn’t know was possible or take your vision further than you’ve ever thought.  That’s great.  That’s also a problem.  I can’t tell you how many times brides send us their Pinterest boards or pins for their wedding want “exactly this” , having their heart set on beautiful bouquets, stylized tables and elaborate seating.  Visually, Pinterest is a dream.

bridal bouquet of roses and peonies Jekyll Island Beach Wedding Package

When the quotes come in, it’s a loud wake up call. Pinterest doesn’t tell you:

  • If the flowers in your pins are in season
  • How much the flowers in your pins cost
  • How much the rentals in your pins cost
  • The full scope of the venue

Classy wedding setting

These are some pretty important factors to consider.  In addition to the list above, many photos on Pinterest are styled shoots.  It’s far easier to produce such grandeur on a smaller scale than for 100+ guests. I’m not saying that Pinterest is the devil, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great source of inspiration, not replication.

Here is how to use Pinterest to your advantage–

  • Search efficiently – First, start with a search of your wedding venue to see what has been done there and what works.   Next, search for inspiration ideas with the flowers that are in season. Picking flowers that are in season will help you keep your costs down, as well as your hopes aligned with your inspiration. Don’t know what flowers to pick for your wedding? Get our wedding flowers in season download.   See what you like and don’t like.
  • Reality Check – Make sure the linens, tables and that you’ve found during your search will work in your venue.  For example, if your venue comes with round tables, but your centerpieces that you love are on wood farm tables, the translation will not be the same.
  • Request Quotes – Request quotes from florists and rental companies with the inspiration and ideas you’ve gathered so far. Be sure to include the florals that you found to be in season, as well as your rental needs (chargers, chairs, linens, etc.).  Most importantly, include your budget.  If you’re not sure how much to budget, check out our How Much Do Weddings Cost post.

 

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.

Stay Stylishly Organized with Your Wedding Planning

Wedding planning is full of details, notes, and logistics! One way to maintain your composure and stay excited about your wedding planning is to make sure your planning environment and tools are pleasant to look at!  These new tools will help you with maintaining your planning zen!

 

 

 

 

These great stationery designs from MeebleMail can be used with your wedding email account (if you have one!) to help keep you festive.   The new wedding category has gorgeous designs from top   designers Lela Rose, thomaspaul, and Bonnie Marcus!  And don’t worry– there are over 600 other beautiful, fun, modern,and quirky designs if you need a break from the wedding stationery, too!  MeebleMail  transforms the ordinary look of everyday email into stylish personalized stationery that inserts directly into Gmail, AOL, Windows Live/Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail.  Users can personalize their email designs just like paper stationery with their name, monogram, address or a motif. Each design is only $4.99 which includes unlimited usage and can be used for invitations, notes to bridal parties or even gifts!

custom notebooks for wedding planning journaling event planning

 

If you are more into the written word, then you will adore   MAY BOOKS— which was born from this husband and wife team where function fell in love with whimsy. With Mica’s creativity and Jonathan’s practicality, function and design coexist and together they can produce something truly remarkable.  Mica says, “Life is too short for ugly books!” (I agree, honey! I agree…)

May books wedding planning notebooks

May Books offers stylish notebooks for you to easily keep track of all the preparations you need to create your dream event.The ’”He Loves Me!” wedding planner is divided into sections where you can organize your notes on various aspects of your celebration. From calculating the budget to creating a honeymoon checklist, no detail will be overlooked.

Not only are May Books tailored to take care of all your wedding concerns, their Green-e Certified Canvas Covers make them resilient, water-proof, and durable. Each notebook is bound by sewing machine so that pages don’t fall out and covers won’t fall off, making sure that you can bring them anywhere as you go about getting ready for your big day. By using recycled materials for their canvas covers and partially recycled paper for the pages, May Books are just as good for the environment as your wedding.

May Books custom notebooks for wedding and event planningMay Books custom notebooks for wedding and event planningMay Books custom notebooks for wedding and event planning

May Books also creates notebooks that are 100% customizable. You can choose from a wide range of designs to create uniquely personalized gifts for your guests!

 

What are your favorite designs?

Apr 01 2011

Why Wedding Coordination Costs “So Much”

NewImage

 

I have noticed that many couples don’t understand the importance of wedding coordinators and some wedding planning professionals have cut wedding coordination out of their list of services altogether.  As such, it seems that many brides and grooms fail to appreciate the role of a wedding coordinator and their costs– as I have heard things said like:

  • “I only need someone for the day. Can’t you just come on the day of?”
  • “I’m a type-A personality and highly detailed so I enjoy the planning, so I don’t really need a lot of help”
  • “We’ve done all of our planning and have about $400 left for a coordinator”

 

Now, this isn’t the norm– but with the economy’s downturn, people had become very creative with their inquiries and excuses.  So when they hear that wedding day of coordination could cost thousands, they are shocked.  Let’s clear up some misconceptions:

 

First, no one is just “showing up” on the day of your wedding to coordinate it.  That’s not day of coordination. That’s damage control.  This is much like you going into a doctor’s office and saying, “I don’t need you to do any tests on me, I’m pretty smart and really detailed.  So, what I’m going to need you to do is just show up at the operating room and do the surgery for me”.  You basically want the doctor to do a procedure “cold”, without knowing anything about your medical history, predispositions, or the medical team of nurses, anesthesiologists, etc. you’ve secured.   The same is said for clients who expect wedding planners and coordinators to do the same thing.  It is expected that the clients want someone to appear a few hours before the ceremony, set up a few place cards, fluff the peonies, tell your grandmother when to walk and cue you when to cut the cake.  That is truly the watered down version of what a wedding coordinator does.  That is only what you see.

 

It takes more than one day to coordinate a wedding.  Truth be told, it takes anywhere to 4 to 6 weeks to coordinate ONE day.  Those weeks consists of pulling together logistics, reviewing the event team’s contracts to confirm responsibiities and obligations, contacting your bridal party to make sure they know their duties and needed locations, finalizing payments, scheduling load-ins and strikes, creating timelines, event layouts, seating charts and more.  By the time your wedding day rolls around, your coordinator will have put in at least 8 hours on your wedding. I’ve heard many brides laugh and say, “Oh, I don’t need all of that”.  I laugh right back and say “Of course you don’t. But your caterer and photographer does…” It’s your job to be the bride, so there are many details that you may not have thought of.

 

Think of it as major motion picture company finding the right movie director for their new hot blockbuster.  While a movie producer finds the talent, supervises and controls the funding, and other important duties.  The parallel would be your full service wedding planner.  The movie director is the person who directs the making of the film.  They control the artistic and dramatic aspects, and work to visualize the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision. That, my friend, is your wedding coordinator.  You supply the vision, they make sure that everyone else is on the same page so that the vision can come to fruition.  With something as important as a blockbuster movie, as an investment, the motion picture company would never bring in a director on the day of a final shoot.  Directors are hired early enough to get a feel for the film so that they know it like the backs of their hand.  This allows them to know which cameras need to be where, The location of boom mics, pans and zooms and so much more.  Again, the same is said of your wedding coordinator.  S/he is able to see your event before it happens, making it possible to avoid pitfalls, timing clashes between vendors and other important factors.

 

So this is why wedding coordination “costs” so much.  The experience, commitment and savvy your coordinator brings your wedding is an asset and benefit to your event as a whole.  I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my team before each and every wedding: there are no do overs.  While you may be extremely detailed, a planner by nature or profession, or have a really good friend or Maid of Honor who can help you, wedding coordinators do this every weekend.  You’ll only do it once.  They know the ins and outs, what works and what doesn’t.  What sounds good in theory, may not work at all for your wedding. Nothing replaces the ability of having your own personal event director/producer on your side to make sure that your vision happens while you’re enjoying your day.

 

Stepping off my rhinestone soapbox in the Ambertina Louboutins…

P.S.– Keeping in mind what I just described about what the weeks prior to your wedding could entail production-wise, beware of $200 “wedding coordinators” or “free” wedding venue coordinators.  You get what you pay for, luxeling.

What’s your thought?

Like Us on Facebook for a Special Gift!

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Some one is celebrating a birthday soon at Cocktails + Details!

To celebrate, we are offering gifts for all new clients who book in October.

Check it out–Like us on Facebook and get the goods!

(Not a client? Like us anyway. We’re awesome. Share us with someone you love.)

 

Happy Birthday cake is a miniature cheesecake with shortbread crust wrapped in white/gold-tone imported Belgian chocolate by Horchow, $200.

Get Your Man (Involved with Wedding Planning!)

wedding planning by fOtOdOjO.

More often than not, almost every bride at some point complains that her groom isn’t doing “enough” to assist with the wedding planning.  Depending on her scale of sanity, these expectations can be range from realistic to insane.  For those ladies who have been “blessed” with a Groomzilla, this isn’t for you.  It could be that he doesn’t know how to help or where to begin, or he recognizes your infinite wisdom and believes you have it all under control.

Remember, this is a totally new territory for your guy.  Your dad, God bless him, has a slight edge in that he’s already done this.  He’s experience it from a different vantage point, but he can recall everything involved.  Your man, however, has been thrust into a world filled with lace, glossy bridal magazines, linen samples, and other bridal atrocities that make me want to go off to the deep end.  Long gone are the days shooting pool with the guys or reading his kindle.  His life is now consumed with wedding planning, and he really wants a bailout. 

Honey, I’ve been married for ten years and I will tell you three things that a man will always be interested in:  food, fashion and fun.  These vary on the scale of importance to each man, but you know your guy…where does his interests lie?  No matter the case for what can appear as his lack of enthusiasm, we’ll help you get through it:

Food:  The old adage says the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Very true.  If your guy is a health nut, foodie, or just loves to veg overall, let him take the steering wheel with the food.  Don’t worry, he won’t make any bad decisions (he’s got you, after all, right?), but in the very off chance he seems to be deviating from the course, gently guide him back or offer him one of his outstanding ideas he hasn’t thought of yet (i.e., make him think he came up with it).  For example, if your guy says at the catering consult that he just wants burgers and fries (trust me, it happens)—tell him that’s a fantastic idea and come up with some gourmet sliders and fresh cut fried potatoes for the cocktail hour or as a snack at your after party.  What ever his likes are, find a way to incorporate them.

Fashion:  While some guys are perfectly fine with a pair of shorts or old jeans and flip flops, your guy is meticulous about his looks right down to the  hair on his head.  Call around to tuxedo retailers and get catalogs for you to give to him.  Listen as he gives his thoughts.  Look through ads and shows of his favorite designers.  What are some of his signature styles?  Does he always wear a scarf or argyle socks?  Make that mesh with the wedding look!  Let him take the lead and watch him get completely enthralled with planning.

Fun:  What does he like to do for fun?  What do you two enjoy doing together?  Is there any way that can be scaled up or down and integrated into your wedding?  Let him handle the band or DJ—including the musical selections, setup, etc.  Inspire other great ideas like a miniature golf set up if yours is a casual fun affair or even an interactive Wii station as the night goes on.  Whether it’s music, games, lighting or a combo of the three—he’ll be game.

 

Happy Planning

 

:: Photo by fOtOdOjO

Why You Should Let Your Wedding Vendors Do Their Jobs

There is nothing like a perfectly executed wedding—seriously, there’s nothing like it.  Everything just flows.  Why does everything flow? Well, look, it’s easy.  I’ll show you:

 

1.  The photographers show up and work with ease knowing the flow of events, allowing them to transition easy and comfortably, resulting in stunning shots.

2.  The DJ/Band, without distraction, can take time to read the crowd and build a plan to keep the party all night.

3.  Your caterer is free to prepare your food, thoughtfully with each guest in mind.

 

What typically happens is that a bride decides to rely on other vendors to fulfill the capacity of another wedding professional.  Most don’t mind.  However, after speaking to many florists, caterers and photographers last week, I will tell you that each and every one said that it takes away from their work.  You didn’t hire this award-winning wedding photojournalist whose fashionable style is to die for to come and pin on boutonnieres or build your timeline.  The same goes for your caterer and DJ.  While they can assist you, they are there to do one job and do it flawlessly, successfully  and basically—the job you hired them for.  Any wedding pro will tell you, that they don’t mind helping, but they absolutely love when they can show up and do what they’ve been paid to do.  It means it is one less shot they didn’t miss, one more song that could’ve been played or flawless service provided by the catering staff.

 

The moral of the story:  get a wedding planner, or at the very least, a month of coordinator.