Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tradtions at a non traditional wedding

This summer I have an amazing wedding in the works with a non-traditional couple. At our last meeting, there was quite the discussion over cutting the cake. Something along the lines of, "Why are we having a wedding cake if we aren't having a tradtional wedding?" This lead to a few more similar questions all leading to the same general question, "Can you still incorporate wedding traditions at a non tradtional wedding?"

My answer? Absofreakinglutely.

If you love the look of the chuppah, but you're having a non-denominational wedding, use the chuppah. Why not? They do look pretty don't they?

If you're having a commitment ceremony & reception- you can still call it a wedding and you can still have a wedding cake, and still have the traditional cutting of the cake.

Some wedding "rules" truly are outdated. Plan the wedding you want- not the wedding that was appropriate 60 years ago. While some etiquette and traditional elements shouldn't be disturbed, I think its great to allow some leeway here!

Interns needed

This might be my craziest post ever, but here it goes. I am looking for 2 new interns. If sincerely interested, please send your resume to my gmail address...which is weddingtidbits@

Those who are not serious about wedding planning need not apply. Those who can't fathom working 16 hours straight on occassion and STILL being cheerful just because you love weddings that much, you shouldn't apply either. Nope, not kidding.

Please please do not call the office.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I cried 4 times this week

I know, I cry alot. But I cried for good reasons.
1. My dad got engaged and he asked me to plan his wedding. I am beyond excited. This past weekend I went to go find their venue. We had a blast.
2. I got the most wonderful voicemail from a bride I hadn't talked to in forever. She was a bridesmaid in a wedding and had to do a ridiculous amount of work at the wedding, chasing down a dj when suddenly there was no music playing and dealing with a snooty egomaniac photographer. Truly, it was the nicest most heartwarming voicemail I've ever received, and it made me sob.
3. Mail stops are always fun. I love to get the save the dates and invitations my clients send me. But even more, I love when they send me notes and cards. This week I got a card from Sarah & Billy who got married in '05. Man I miss them! So much so, I started crying in the post office. Actually, it was the aka Billy used- it brought back the most hilarious memories from one of their planning trips. Bobby Frapples...you had to be there.
4. My laptop crashed. BAD BAD BAD. Hence 3 days straight of crying.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Martha Stewart Show

A Wedding show!

I got cool news in my inbox tonight. This Friday (1/18), the Martha Stewart show will be all wedding. Yahoo! I'll be out on Captiva meeting with clients when its on, but you betcha I'll have the tivo set to record this one. Two Badgley Mishka fashion shows are planned, one with wedding dresses and another for their bridesmaids dress line. I'd take any of them- the preview looks really good (check the Martha website to watch the preview). Also planned for the show- the good stuff, aka cake and dessert. Oh, and it wouldn't be a wedding show without Darcy Miller!

Ooooh, if you haven't read the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Weddings- you're missing out. It's one of the best yet. How do I know? I folded down the corners on more than half the editorial pages. That translates to a whole bunch of stuff I'm dying to try.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Onsite coordinators vs. Independent Planners

Explaining the HUGE difference

I had 12 minutes before my clients were due to arrive at the florist on Friday, so I was really excited to take advantage of the time and read the new In Style Weddings. It's a great magazine, and their new wedding website is supposed to be launching soon. Anyhoo, I get to the etiquette secion and here's what I read,
"I'm having a destination wedding at a venue that employs an in-house planner, and she hasn't consulted me on some decisions. How should I handle this?"
While the answer given was good, it was very much incomplete. Here's why; the answer didn't explain that perhaps what the bride was expecting the planner to do, wasn't at all her job. You see, an onsite (or in-house) planner is typically only responsible for things that happen onsite and that are relative to the site and its staff- and NOTHING else.
So, then what's the difference? I'm going to clear this up once and for all. The best way to find out what exactly your "included" planner will do...ask. Here are a few really good questions. And yes, the crazy seeming ones, I have actually had to do.
"Hello Onsite Planner (insert name here)! I have a few questions for you. Yes or no answers please."

"Will you...
1. Call all the vendors on your preferred vendors list and see if they are available for my wedding and in my budget? And if not, will you get me 3 more options who are?
2. Create a budget for me for everything wedding day related?
3. Write and hand out both wedding party and guest list itineraries?
4. Compile all the goodies for the welcome bags and make sure all the hotels get them just before guests arrive?
5. Give me stationary and etiquette advice?
6. Keep my mother at the cocktail hour, far from me during photos, with a full gin and tonic and away from crazy Uncle Steve?
7. Schedule and attend all the vendor meetings with me?
8. Review all the contracts I'll have to sign?
9. Prepare a detailed timeline for my day as well as one for all the vendors working at my wedding?
10. Go out and find my new father-n-law size 12.5 brown leather lace free yet wedding appropriate shoes when his sole falls off during the ceremony and make sure that you're back in time for him to be introduced into the dinner reception?
11. Call and confirm all the vendors have been paid, are going to show up, if they need anything further, and that they do in fact know not to say anything about the surprise grooms cake.
12. Find a replacement tuxedo for the best man the morning of the wedding when it arrives blue and not black?
13. Help me create design options for my wedding?
14. Research and find favors, a unique escort card display and super cool fun things for my guests to do at my wedding?
15. Help me plan a welcome reception, grooms outing, bridesmaids luncheon, and rehearsal dinner? Oh, and a farewell brunch too? Oh, but not all at your site of course.
16. Figure out all the rentals I'll need, order them, and then oversee the installation?
17. Stay for the entire wedding and then check under every single table for lost shoes and purses after everyone leaves?
18. Run the rehearsal?
19. Email me when you find flip flops on clearance at Old Navy and then fight with them until they agree to send all 775 to you, even if it does clean out their stock?
20. Have an emergency kit prepared for me and my bridesmaids?
21. Make sure there are hsopitality baskets in the restrooms?
22. Politely explain to the make-up artist that my eyes look ridiculous so I don't have to feel awkward?"

Here is one thing I want to make perfectly clear- onsite planners or coordinators are wonderful and very helpful and are responsible for an enormous amount of work that you will never even realize. I just feel that its important to know that what an independent wedding planner such as myself does, is not what 95% of onsite planners do...2 different job descriptions. Picture above, me and Jen Dube (onsite planner for Casa Ybel- and she rocks.)

Oh, and the 775 flip flops- the UPS guy thought he had seen it all until that delivery. And my husband, well, he "pointed out the 17 boxes in my living room" every day until we were down to 12 boxes. Now, "Remember when we had 775 flip flops? The 600 left seem like nothing huh?"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The 2008 Platinum List

Did you notice the new logo on the top of the left sidebar?

This is pretty exciting news for me. Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. Wow. I absolutely adore this publication and to be a part of it is more than a high point for Weddings by Socialites.
Thank you to all of my amazing clients and all the outstanding wedding professionals I've worked with over the last 7 years who were a part of making Weddings by Socialites what it is today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hair & Makeup

Who would have thought it would be so hard?

Problem: Did I ever tell you about my horrible wedding day makeup? No? First of all, let me say that I didn't have a wedding planner...I didn't know they existed. Had I- my wedding day would have been so great and not the chaotic disaster that it was. Anyway, the spa I went to with my bridal party didn't have the appropriate staffing and I had to get my makeup done at "a counter in the dept. store". I had 1/2 inch thick GRAY foundation on. It was HORRIBLE beyond horrible. The girl actually highlighted a very unfriendly blemish suddenly showed up after the downright mean hairstylist had to CUT MY VEIL to get it around the disaster he called an updo. Don't let this happen to you.

Solution: Book a professional- a trained wedding professional. It won't be cheap, but your veil will be in 1 piece and your face won't be gray either.
It's true. In this area there are just a few really good hair & makeup artists who are top notch talented and reliable who will travel to your getting ready location. And when it comes to weddings, talent and reliability are not flexible terms.
I have been so fortunate to book Nikol and her girls from Fresh Beauty Studio on a few upcoming weddings. They're pretty much booked solid on a regular basis, so yea, I feel lucky when we get them. Whats great about Fresh Beauty Studio is that this is their focus, its what they do, and they do it all the time. These aren't the girls from the kiosk in the food court. Your planner is always the best place to start for referrals, but your photographer may also have recently worked some weddings with an onsite style crew that showed up on time, finished on time, and made all the girls look wedding day gorgeous.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Jenn & John, The Directors Cut

I love video. Special thanks to AMC video, they always take such great care of my clients and make sure I cry every time I see the cut!

Here is Jenn & Johns Directors Cut
I'm still amazed that just 3 weeks after a wedding, they have this edited and online for all to get a sneak peek. So cool. For those who are new to directors cuts, trailers, previews, etc...it's a recap of the wedding set to one song. It's just a little added something that goes a long way. These cuts are in addition to the extended edited video that take months to prepare, they don't replace them!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I can't decide! Band or DJ or both?

This last wedding season we had a new trend emerge- the wedding reception with a band and DJ. Really, I have to admit, I loved it. I thought it was the perfect combination. It came about when my clients simply couldn't decide between the two. Here's why its hard to decide but what can also help you decide.

The thing about a band, is that it's live. There's nothing like live music is there? For example. Everytime you hear that new Gwen Stefani song on the radio in your car you turn it up, 'cause you dig it. Then you hear her sing it live on one of those awards shows, "Oh that was so good!". Last month you went out dancing with the girls and you totally boogied down to it on the dance floor. Last week, she comes in concert- you didn't think it could actually be that good- but it was. On the way home from the concert, you hear pop the cd and you turn the volume way up and listen to it 3 times in a row because now you really love the song.

The advantage of a band is the feeling you get from hearing it live. It's got an entertainment and emotional factor. At your wedding, it's like a private concert with a big ol dance floor. The disadvantage; playlists. A band is limited to what songs they know. That's why its so important that you go through the playlists of bands you're considering and make sure they have lots of songs that you love to dance to.

The advantage of a DJ- any song, any genre, by any artist that you want to hear, when you want to hear it. Kind of like getting the VIP room at your favorite club. The disadvantage, you lose the ambiance of live. But if you think about it- You loved the song when you heard it in your car- and you totally loved dancing to it when you went out that night.

Lastly, the costs. A band (>=4 pieces)is typically,not always, but typically more expensive than a DJ. Costs vary drastically from region to region, so I can't say what you'll find in your area- your planner will guide you in the right direction and let you know what's reasonable. The most important thing to remember- its ultimately the people you invite to your wedding that make it a great affair; not the person(s) playing the music. So make your guest list your priority. After you know who you guests are going to be, make them a part of your decision making process. Do you have a wide age range calling for a plethera of genres? Not every song pleases all, but what pleases the most?

Ok, so how to blend the 2. These days many bands fly on auto dj (aka ipod) during breaks. This is a great time to get in all those songs that you're dying to hear, but the band doesn't play. Just give the band a list of the songs you'd love to hear. Warning! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to determine what song gets played when and in what order. Leave this to the professional that you paid for (ahem , the band). They know what songs will work best for your crowd ans schedule it as such.
Have the band play the first couple hours (Dinner, traditions, and early dancing)and then break out the DJ for the partying crowd. And by no means am I saying Aunt Ida and Uncle Fred won't love a DJ as much as your cousin Heather. I've seen plenty grandmas get down to Timberland.
Photo Credit: Nick Adams, Impact UK

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The 2007 Weddings

(and a not quite wedding)

Happy New Year! I truly can't believe another year and over a dozen weddings have gone by. I thought a little photo recap of 2007 would be fun:

Not exactly a wedding... (I took this one)
Jen & Chris (Gigi Hamlet photography)
Amanda & John (Impressions Photography)
Vanessa & Greg (Michelle Reed Photography)

Donna & Jim (Cadence Photography)
Traci & Steve (Julie Goodacre Photography)
Susan & Jim (Gigi Hamlet Photography)
Marguerite & Tripp (Julie Goodacre Photography)
Keri & Dustin (Not quite sure who took this!)
Jenn & John (Denise gets credit)
Becky & Mike (Gigi Hamlet Photography)
Rebecca & Marc (Gigi Hamlett Photography)
Susan & Chip (Denise again!)
Gina & Frank (Jim Dean Photography)

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons