Sunday, September 18, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Manage Reception Costs

The best advice we offer brides on budgets is "Spend where you need to, save where you can".
Couples who come to us for ideas on how to save money without crushing their bridal dreams find wonderful and practical ideas.  Done in the right places, there are many ways to save costs and take nothing away from the wedding they have planned.

Because receptions tend to be the biggest ticket items, major savings can be realized through some minor adjustments.  Consider these!
1.  Find a location that both fits the occasion and requires very little decorating enhancements.  Many spots are fine the way they are.  If a bride is determined to add to the decor, most wedding planners would agree that creating one large decorative element is not only dramatic, but also more budget friendly than a dozen or so smaller elements scattered about the room.
2.  When planning for decor enhancements, always imagine the room full.  We counsel brides not to spend money on decor items that only the first few guests walking in will see.  Don't waste money decorating the skirting of any tables.  Think tabletop and up!
3.  During receptions, caterers will say that people tend to take less food if it is passed by the wait staff than if it is placed on a buffet table.  This also tends to be true about beverages like champagne or a special themed cocktail.  The good news about this factor is that less food and liquor can be ordered and your guests still feel pampered.
4.  If you feel you must serve a sit down dinner, we suggest that you consider instead of ordering one high end entree consider half portions of two main entree items.  For example ordering half portions each of prime rib and chicken breast, you will likely bring down the cost per plate while offering guests a selection with depth.
5.  If you have a band or entertainers, order sandwiches for them rather than full banquet meals.  Have them available in a separate room.  It gives them a chance to "take a break" and provides food that is "grab and go" if it is necessary.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Safety Check

All the pre planning you have done is in place.  It's going to be a beautiful wedding.  There is one more thing to do - a safety check if you will - hold a pre event meeting with all of your suppliers and venues.  Professional planners do this as a matter of course and you should as well.

Schedule meetings with every one of your vendors.  In person is best if they are all in the same town.
The purpose of these meetings is to insure that there are no surprises.  Review your plans with the florist, caterer, photographer, musicians, location manager etc.  Confirm details.  Bring along your point person or helper or personal attendant you've enlisted to help to make sure everyone hears the same information.  Try to hold these meetings two or three weeks before the actual day.

Remember that you are the client and it is your wedding day.  You've been working on these details for some time and it needs to be delivered in the way that you planned.  It is your vision for your wedding and you have hired these professionals to make your vision a reality.  These pre event meetings will serve as a double check that everything will be done and nothing overlooked.  Ask any questions you want.  Be confident of the answers and then relax and let the professionals do what they've promised.

If you don't have a professional wedding planner assisting you, stop in and let one of our experienced consultants help you review your plans and prepare for your pre event reviews.  Our staff knows the kind of questions to ask and can help you evaluate your plans and vendor promises.We can assist you in your final check of details and help you hand off plans to those who will turn your plans and dreams into reality.

Monday, September 5, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Stress Even in Happy Times

You are to be married.  You are happy.  But with all of the details and decisions you must make, you are also feeling stress.  You ask yourself - "How can I feel stress when this is a special time?"  Guess what - you have the wedding jitters!  And it is not unusual.

To relieve your stress or at least manage it, we suggest the following:

1.  If money issues are causing the stress take the time as a couple to determine and reaffirm your priorities.  Review the items of most importance to both of you.  Make a list of the top 10.  List them in order of most important to less.  Take the top five - in priority order - and know that these are the items on which you are less likely to compromise.  Then review your budget.  You "borrow" from the other items to keep your budget in balance.  If you have your heart set on a particular gown, you can help pay for it by saving money on flowers, revisiting the reception plans or reviewing your plans for wedding favors.

2.  If the stress you feel is coming from family, be clear about the source and then deal with it.  Be honest about your feelings.  Talk out the issues with your parents, friends and those involved.  Be gracious but firm about expressing your views and concerns.  Don't "stuff" the feelings so that they end up hurting the relationship.

3.If the stress is coming from the crush of events and the sense of being overwhelmed by everything you know should be done, SHARE the responsibilities.  Hire a wedding planner, enlist the groom, ask parents to take over specific jobs.  Get yourself a wedding planning book and be faithful about entering plans as they are made.  Be aware of workable schedules that are suggested.

4.  Get enough sleep and take care of your health.  Eat well.  Use your gym membership and exercise away the stress.

5.  When it all seems too much, come in and speak with our experienced consultants.  They can help you put it all in perspective and remind you of what is really important in this wedding you are planning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Are You Coming?

It is always amazing when seemingly well informed people don't RSVP when the invitation clearly requests it.

Knowing the total number of expected guests is critical at weddings and other large events.  Costs and deadlines involved in meal planning and preparation require that information.  One wonders why some people don't feel the need to reply.  Emily Post has said, "No one is obligated to accept an invitation or to explain their reasons for not accepting.  However, when someone is kind enough to extend an invitation, one should be just as kind and reply to the invitation."  Not everyone gets it!

What can you do when you have invited someone to your wedding and have included a reply card with a return date and you still haven't heard?  Ask for help!  A good solution is to ask family members and bridesmaids to help you contact those people who have yet to reply.  If a phone call is in order, helpers can say something like this:  "Hi ______.  This is ________ and I am calling to make sure that you have received the invitation to ______________'s wedding.  The bride has not heard from you as yet and needs to know if you plan to attend.  The guest count needs to be in by _____________.  Everyone is looking forward to seeing you.  Will you be there?"  If you are leaving a voice mail message, add "Please call me back at ______________.

If you are an invited guest, here are helpful hints for you to remember.

  • ·         Respond in the same manner that the invitation was issued.  If it came via email then an email response is in order.  Likewise with a text message.  Hopefully few wedding invitations come that way.

  • ·         Reply as soon as possible.  Don't put the invitation in your "to do" pile unless you need to ask the availability of the other person whose name may be on the invitation with yours.

  • ·         Keep your reply brief.  If you cannot attend, there is no need to go into great detail about why you can't be there.

  • ·         If a reply is not requested, it is not necessary to respond.  However, it is nice to let the host know when you cannot attend.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

WEDDING NOTES™ - Aisle Cloths

Some brides wouldn't consider being married without an aisle cloth.  Others don't want one and won't consider it.  Here are some thoughts about how they came to be and today's versions to help a bride decide.

The custom originated in medieval times when royalty would enter cathedrals for worship services.  With birds in the rafters of churches and peasants' muddy shoes, the aisles were usually a mess.  The aisle cloth was a necessity to keep the trains of the gowns of the ladies of the court clean as they walked to the seats in the front of the church.  It was a practical solution to a problem.

Over the years, the aisle cloth has come to signify that someone special is coming.  It remains one of the universal customs of society and has been adapted by Hollywood at the Oscar awards.  In fact, the phrase "appearing on the red carpet" lets us know that a celebrity is due to appear.  With our society's emphasis on brides as "queen for the day", the tradition has remained.

The aisle runner is usually installed by the florist and is not unrolled until after the bride's mother has been seated and processional is about to begin.  While the majority of them are white fabric, some florists do have colored runners available to match wedding colors.  If you plan to use one, consider using fabric and not a paper version that can be easily torn by high heels, slides easily on some floors and carpets and can be noisy as the wedding party walks to the altar.