Should you hire a wedding planner or are you preparing to do it all yourself? Most busy working brides today need the help of a professional planner – for all or part of their weddings. A professional wedding planner’s advice and expertise can save time, money and sanity so don’t dismiss the idea out of hand.
When you meet with a wedding planner to talk about how much or how little you need him/her to do for your wedding, here are six key questions you should ask to guide that informational meeting.
1. Here are the vendors and venues I am considering using. Do you know anything about them? Who are your favorites and why?
- The planner can often give you some good feedback about a particular vendor and/or steer you away from potential trouble.
2. How many weddings of my size have you done?
- If you are planning on a small intimate gathering and the planner specializes in huge society weddings, you two may not be a good match.
3. If I hire you for my wedding, what is your role and what is mine?
- It is a good idea to have clarity around who is responsible for what and in a tight situation, who has the final say? Do you need to have the planner clear every little detail with you or can he/she make decisions based on early parameters you two have established?
4. How many weddings do you do each month? Do you have enough staff to cover all the weddings you book? You don’t want to be one of a multitude in June if the planner doesn’t have the staff to handle all of its commitments.
5. Ask for a client and vendor list and ask if you may call them for references.
6. Ask for an explanation of how he/she charges. Is there a flat rate, a sliding scale, extra charges for add ons?
7. Do you belong to any professional organizations or have any credentials for being a wedding planner?
The goal of all good wedding planners is to save you time and money….and most importantly for you to enjoy one perfect day!!!
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Posted in Weddings, tagged Bride, florists, List of wedding ceremony participants, Rehearsal dinner, Relationships, Venues, Wedding, Wedding reception, Weddings on May 15, 2012 |
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DO these two terms seem contradictory? At one time they may have, but more and more couples are looking for ways to place their personal stamp on their wedding plans. The term “unique” is heard more and more as brides search for ways to make their weddings memorable for them and their guests.
We have a lot of ideas on how to do just that so contact us about ways to personalize your wedding ceremony and reception.
- Consider replacing the traditional bachelor or bachelorette party with a get together that combines both events. Consider a hike, beach party, bike ride, cook-out, softball game or evening out at a skating rink or bowling alley.
- Rather than hold the rehearsal dinner at a typical restaurant’s party room, book an art museum, a university facility, a park or a historical building to serve as a special setting for your event.
- Supplement your florist’s handiwork and creative reception décor with native wild flowers, leaves, twigs, fruits and herbs from a local grower or farmer’s market.
- Some brides have decided to let their bridesmaids select their own gowns based on a color scheme and degree of formality. This works well when you admire their taste in clothes. It is wise to get some guidelines – degree of coverage desired, tailored or fluffy, plain or elaborate, length, etc. But within those parameters, maids, can choose their own wearable outfits. Many bridal salons have several designers who can work to truly individualize a bridesmaid’s gown within the “look” of the wedding.
- If you have a unique reception venue chosen consider hiring a local chef you admire or a culinary school to put a special spin on your reception menu. Think about including family food traditions that may be important to both the bride and groom. If you can’t afford a sit down dinner, there is nothing wrong with having a desert reception or a small plate limited cocktail reception and wedding cake.
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Posted in Brides, tagged Bride, Event planning, Help and Advice, List of wedding ceremony participants, Wedding, Wedding Date, Wedding planner, Wedding reception, Weddings on April 17, 2012 |
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As one wedding planner put it, “Just because you have planned something, doesn’t mean it is going to happen.” Here are some tips to help insure that everything works well at your wedding.
Getting Ready. Of course you want to look your best on this big day. You may have booked a hair stylist for yourself and your bridesmaids. Maybe someone is doing makeup for all. In order for everything to flow, treat this as a salon appointment and require everyone to be on time for the appointments. Work with the stylists to establish a sensible timeline and insist that your wedding party be on time. A lot goes on before you walk down the aisle, and you don’t need to add undue stress to the list.
Photographs. Every couple wants the album of perfect pictures from the wedding. Check out several photographers and insist on seeing their work. Some specialize in formal shots and other are masters of creative vignettes. Some do both. Make sure that everything goes smoothly by giving the photographer a list of the people you want to make sure are included in your wedding album. Your planner should make sure that each of those persons are available for photos. The photographer should spend his/her time shooting pictures, not searching out the people you want in the photos.
If you are planning a cocktail reception, make sure the caterer has wait staff ready with trays of cocktails as the guests enter. For the first five to ten minutes staff should focus on getting beverages into guests hands. Once that has been done, then they can start passing the canapés. Stress the importance of this to the caterer. You don’t want lines at the bar if you are having an open bar. Your planner can make sure that guests are not standing in lines waiting.
Order of Service. Think of your guests. If you have elderly relatives, make sure that they are served first. Unless you feel strongly about it, consider having the head table served last. That gives the couple a chance to chat with guests and socialize.
Be aware of “down time”. Weddings can lose energy after the food course. Guests are at different points in the meal. This can be a good time to introduce one or two toasts.
For many other helpful ideas to keep your party flowing nicely, please contact us for assistance.
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- Quiet elegance is always in style.
- Consider a few white lilies for the bridal bouquet instead of an elaborate arrangement.
- A garden luncheon can be as charming as a 5 course sit down dinner.
- Select fewer attendants. The larger the wedding and number of attendants, the greater the expense.
- But no matter how limited the budget, the rules of etiquette still apply.
- Having a reception which serves only punch and cake is acceptable. Asking guests to buy their own dinners is not.
- Having an alcohol free reception is fine. Have a cash bar is not.
- Registering for things the couple would like and need is fine. Asking for money instead of gifts is not.
- Sending email invitations instead of printed or handwritten ones for a small intimate wedding isn’t OK.
- Neglecting to send thank you notes within an acceptable time frame is not appropriate.
Every part of a wedding, even one done on a very limited budget, should be done with style and good taste. An affordable wedding can be just as memorable as a lavish one. Guests will remember the beautiful personal touches, not how much was spent on the wedding.
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An invitation is coming your way from a family member or a good friend or both. It is an honor to be selected to help those close to you celebrate a wonderful part of their life.
If you RSVP with a positive response, you become an official guest at this party. You will no doubt bring an appropriate wedding gift, but did you know that another gift you could give the couple is the knowledge of how to be a good guest, and the wisdom to use that knowledge.
Here is a checklist of do’s and don’t that can follow to insure that your behavior will not cause the couple to grimace on their 10th wedding anniversary as they recall events from their wedding.
- Make sure to send your RSVP in a timely manner.
- Arrive at the wedding at least 15-20 minutes before the ceremony is to begin.
- Stay standing at the back of the church if you are going to be late.
- Keep your cell phone on silent.
- Dress appropriately.
- Have fun dancing but do not call attention to yourself or your partner.
- Respect the couple’s wishes even if they aren’t what you would choose.
- Change your mind about attending. Don’t cancel and then show up anyway.
- Sit in a front row. That is for immediate family only.
- Text, tweet or blog during the ceremony.
- Wear jeans or sweats unless requested by the couple.
- Get in the way of the professional photographer doing his job.
- Take ceremony or reception photos unless the couple approve.
- Trash talk the couple’s choices.
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Selecting the music for a wedding ceremony and reception is an important consideration. Music should frame the ceremony – not dominate it. Picking the music should be an important aspect of the planning process.
Make an early meeting with the officiator a must. Churches tend to have constraints imposed on the kind of music allowed. It is good to have that information early in the planning process. Some churches limit the options by presenting the bride a list of music from which she must choose. Others may opt to screen her choices.
If the bride wants a certain music that is important to her and/or the groom, and the church can’t /won’t play it, she has the option of diplomatically asking if she can bring in her own musicians. More and more brides are requesting instruments instead of the “old” organ. Some brides want to be lead up or down the aisle by bagpipes. Others prefer the sounds of a string quartet. Allowing sufficient lead time to clarify any issues around music is a smart move.
Brides must remember that music needs to be selected for the prelude, the processional, the ceremony and for the reception. Musicians need to be chosen and booked early in the process.
Many budget conscious brides are opting to use MP3 players or other electronic media for their cocktail hour or as background music during dinner.
The bride should spend time researching her music. Screen pieces, listen to CD’s and take advice from musicians you know. Audition any musicians before hiring them. Check references. Volumes of advice and suggestions are available online. Think about your personal preferences and music that matters to you both as a couple as you assemble your “must play list”.
Many couples are creating a CD of their favorite music and making it available as a thank you gift to their guests.
For other ideas about the role of music in your wedding, please feel free to contact us for assistance.
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As society changes, so do the social amenities that prevailed. But class is class and something we see done in the name of the “princess bride’s wishes” remain in poor taste.
A bridal store reported having a bride ask how to let her guests know that she wanted all of them to dress in black or white or a combination of both. Her wedding theme was that of a black and white ball and she didn’t want it ruined by someone in a blue suit or a colorful print dress. The store gave her good advice – “You can’t.” One doesn’t tell people what to wear anymore than one would tell a hostess what kind of food to serve. The bride can control the dress of the wedding party, but that is all. Shad heard the phrase, “It’s the bride’s day”, but had to learn that it didn’t mean everyone must bow to her wishes. Friends can spread the word but no demands must be made.
Another store reported dealing with a bride who wanted 250 guests to attend her wedding but she planned to walk away from the ceremony and to save money, meet 45 of her favorite guests for a sit down dinner at a restaurant. The advice to her was Don’t Do It! She was advised that it would be far better to serve light refreshments to all guests following the ceremony. This would give everyone a chance to extend their best wishes to the couple and socialize with others in attendance. If she wished to celebrate with a special group of friends, she should do it after the official reception. The guiding principle here is that a couple should never do anything to show preferences to one guest over another.
The same advice holds for brides who insist on adding corner copy to their wedding invitation that reads: Cash Gifts Preferred. Granted, more and more couples would prefer cash as a help for a down payment on a house for instance, but that does not mean that it is ok to include on the invitation to the ceremony. That kind of news needs to be spread by word of mouth by the bride’s family or friends, or may be included in the website if one has been created. This kind of request is known in some circles as doing a “Kardashian”.
Let us help you solve puzzles and questions as they arise in the course of your planning needs.
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Inviting friends and family members to share your happiness or your pending marriage is a wonderful and exciting part of being engaged. And one of the most important decisions you’ll make is the selection of all parts of your paper trousseau. We are your best source for ideas, information and advice on these key decisions.
You should plan to order all of the items you’ll need at one time to insure that all pieces coordinate. We will help you develop the list of various paper items you will need as you begin the search for the perfect wedding papers.
If you are planning to invite several out of town guests or if your wedding planned for a holiday weekend, it is very wise to send Save the Date cards. These are usually sent out four – six months prior to the wedding date. But a word of caution: Be sure that those guests who receive a Save the Date card remain on your invitation list. That means that you must have the number of guests planned for the wedding and reception firmly in mind when you place the invitation order.
Because invitations offer guests a preview of the formality and tone of the wedding, a great deal of thought should go into their selection. Formal wording should be used for formal weddings. Individuality can be expressed by choosing unique sizes, textures, colors, overlays and/or ribbon trims.
Unless the wedding is an extremely small and intimate affair, a reply card with a self-stamped, pre-addressed envelope is usually enclosed with the invitation.
Programs, while operational, are very nice to have for guests as they describe the ceremony and the identity of the participants.
Thank you notes should be ordered at this time as well. There are several options for incorporating the names of the couple on these notes.
Plan to send your invitations six – twelve weeks before the event.
We would be delighted to assist you with advice and guidance in all your paper trousseau selections.
*Photo credit of Tiny Prints
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Reflecting both economic issues and generational trends, we are seeing some shifts in the wedding sites being chosen, the foods served and the size of the wedding itself. We meet with brides who are asking for ideas for their “smaller but tasteful” weddings.
These are some of the key ideas brides are embracing as they plan receptions.
They are trimming the guest list. After creating a rough draft of all the possible guests and multiplying that number by the caterer/reception venue chef’s estimate per person costs, couples are balancing the guest list with their budgets.
Budget conscious brides are selecting other days and times than Saturday evening. By selecting a morning or afternoon wedding and reception, there can be up to a 25% reduction in reception costs for food or beverages. If the couple were to select another evening other than Saturday, the savings can be approximately 10%.
We are also seeing a change in foods served at evening weddings. We are seeing trends toward smaller portions. More couples are choosing to serve passed hors d’oeuvres and appetizers instead of a sit down dinner. Couples are choosing finger foods – foods to eat while walking around and talking.
While couples will still have a wedding cake for pictures, it tends to be much smaller than those previously ordered. In place of the large wedding cake, they are serving cupcakes, cake bites, cake pops on sticks and push cakes – all part of the “finger food” trend.
In some areas, dessert “stations” remain popular additions to the centerpiece wedding cake. Brides have chosen cheesecake stations, chocolate stations, pie stations and sundae/frozen yogurt stations that feature mini root beer floats and ice cream sandwiches along with various toppings.
If interested, please contact Accent on Events to give you many more ideas to create the wedding that is smaller, more intimate and more reflective of your life style.
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Newly married couples have been given gifts for centuries. At one time, after the couple furnished their home, they were expected to return any practical gifts they received but did not use. Today’s couples are congratulated by gifts from friends and family and the gifts they receive help the couple stock up on the items needed to make a house a home.
To truly value and enjoy the gifts that a couple will receive, we suggest that they make excellent use of bridal registries.
Don’t hesitate to register. Your guests really want to buy you something you want and will enjoy. Registering saves your guests time and keeps you from having to return duplicates. Don’t feel like you are “begging” for gifts. Rather, you are in fact, providing a welcome service to your guests.
Don’t wait until the last minute to register. Many of your guests will want to buy gifts well before the actual event. Some buy engagement and shower gifts from the registry as well.
Include your partner in the selection process so that the registry includes things that you both will enjoy.
Register at two or three places. This gives your guests a range of options without overwhelming them. Pick at least one specialty store, a mid-price supplier and an inexpensive retailer. It is recommended that your list include an equal number of mid-priced items and lower cost items and smaller list of big-ticket items.
Our experience has shown that brides who are planning large weddings should register for a lot of items which those who have smaller guest lists might consider registering few items.
You may wish to list your registry locations on your web site. But never, never, never, include them in your paper invitations.
For answers to more questions, contact us. We can guide you through the process and make very helpful suggestions.
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