Friday, February 27, 2009

Featured in Brides Florida Magazine

One of the perks of being engaged are the pre-wedding celebrations. Oh how I love to plan these as well! Take advantage of your engagement and enjoy all the excitement that goes along with it.Wedding planners are great to hire for consultation to get the scoop on the best locations, ideas, and ways to make all of your events that much more special than you could have even imagined. No, you do not have to have your wedding shower at Aunt Sue's and your bachelorette party can be swanky without being, ummmm, well, you know.


Look for some of our favorite places in the newest issue of Brides Florida magazine (Page 122). The editors came to Weddings by Socialites for all the great places to host your "other wedding parties". Namely, showers, rehearsal dinners, and bachelorette parties.
Oh, and isn't the cover gorgeous?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wedding Ceremony, Brunch, then party at Sunset


Have you ever noticed that the pages you're ripping from magazines are pictures of bright sun shiny weddings? Yet, so many brides and grooms plan evening events for their destination weddings. Hmmm. Well, I noticed. So, here are my thoughts.
Consider an early ceremony, between 9am and 10am. Then, have a brunch celebration followed by an evening dinner party. Brunches are typically the least expensive meal to serve, but are also usually one of guests favorites because there is such a grand offering. You can go much more understated on the decor, because the natural lighting and surroundings are the scene stealers. Perhaps something like some stunning potted Phalaenopsis Orchids.Since the dancing will be at the party that night, you can just have a cool saxophonist (or continue with the string trio you had from the ceremony) playing for ambiance. Getting married at the beach? How amazing would brunch next to the shore be? Yep, really amazing.
Think about the times you've eaten outside, next to the water. Wasn't it a great feeling? There's a reason why sidewalk cafes are so popular. Eating outdoors is a refreshing break from the norm.

Later for the dinner party, skip the cocktail hour and go right to dinner and dancing. What to do inbetween? Enjoy the day with all your family & friends!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I love J. Crew on sale

Wedding attire inside.

{Shopping alert} And this is a fabulous, do not hesitate to stimulate the economy notice.
Say sale, and I'll come running. But this sale...wow. And yes, I checked. There are even wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses and wedding planner attire. Lots of them. Go shop and be happy.
★Enter code SHOPNOW and get free shipping with a $100 purchase.★ Yes, it's perfectly normal to scream in sheer delight at this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Glad you want to come!

Just like weddings, there are always a few who don't RSVP until after the response date you've requested. Of course, you know I'd love to have you there. So, I've opened up ticket sales for the We Wed Brunch & Workshops this morning just until 12:30 this afternoon. After that, I really do have to make the finalize guest list so that our amazing venue host, Miromar Lakes Beach Club can prepare for our event.

Monday, February 16, 2009

If you could have it your way...

Website Survey - we just need a minute!

I promise, this will only take a minute of your time! If you wouldn't mind, please click on the link below and answer 9 quick, easy questions about different design aspects of wedding vendor's websites.

Quick Easy Survey for Brides!

We won't record anything about you other than what state or country you are from - we don't even ask for your email address so no spam or anything like that.

You will likely see this link on lots of other blogs and sites - this survey is being shared all over the blog-o-sphere so please take the survey only once.

If you have additional comments on the subject, please feel free to email me with those and I will share them with the other wedding vendors who are participating! We can't wait to hear what you have to say!

South West Florida Wedding Professionals:

Today is the Last Day for We Wed Brunch Tickets


It's going to be quite the gathering of wedding professionals next week! The attendee list is absolutely amazing. I'm really looking forward to enjoying brunch with so many of our industries best

★wedding planners ★photographers ★officiants ★talent coordinators ★wedding magazine reps. ★rental companies ★videographers ★stationers ★florists ★bakers ★venue catering & sales managers ★site coordinators ★musicians ★dj's ★Hair & Makeup stylists★

Don't let this be the event you're kicking yourself for not attending; this is an open invitation to all wedding and social event professionals of South West Florida.

☛Want to make someones day? Invite someone as your guest!

I would also like to take this time to mention:

BBJ Linen, who has sponsored our linensShari Bare, our official event photographer
Miromar Lakes Beach Club, our venue sponsor

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day from the team at Weddings by Socialites

We found these cute shirts and had some flowers left from tablescapes, so...Have a LOVELY Valentines Day from the team at Weddings by Socailites!

Ah, the art of being ridiculously silly midday.
L to R, Top to Bottom: Jacqueline, Michelle, Kelly, Andrea

Friday, February 13, 2009

My interview responses.

These are not the answers I gave that bride all those years ago, this is current. I decided to share this because I wanted to show how important it was to invest some time into researching your key vendors. Great websites, clever blogs, and preferred vendor lists aside- be an informed consumer.
By no means should you use this questionnaire to rule out or hire a wedding planner you are considering. Rather, use the answers as a piece of the decision. A face to face or phone interview is crucial, to make certain that your personalities are a fit!
My Wedding Planner Interview:
1. Is wedding planning your only job?
* Yes. The only way I could do anything else would be to make days 32 hours long.
2. How many clients do you have right now?
* 11
3. How many weddings have you planned, start to finish?
* More than 60, but not sure exactly how many without doing some serious digging.
4. How many weddings have you planned and executed in the last 24 months?
* 27. Well, 27 ended in the last 2 years- some started planning prior to that time.
5. How many weddings have you coordinated in the last 24 months?
* 4
6. Who were the last 4 photographers you worked with?
* Susan Stripling
* Ashley Brockinton
* Michelle Reed
* Impact UK
7. What venues have you worked at in the last 6 months?
* South Seas Island Resort
* Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach
* LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
* Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa
* Rosen Shingle Creek Golf & Spa
* Casa Ybel Resort
* Grandezza Country Club
* Dolce Vita
8. Can I get a recommendation from one of your last 4 full service clients?
* Absolutely.
9. Can I get a recommendation from one of your last 4 coordination clients?
* Absolutely.
10. Where can I see samples of your creative or design work?
* My website or my planning studio
11. Are contracts with vendors with my name or yours?
* Always in yours, unless it’s for something that I can only get as a trade professional.
12. Do you only work with select vendors or at select locations?
* I only recommend certain professionals, but am also happy to work with others who will uphold both yours and my high standards.
13. Have you ever worked for the venues you now plan weddings at?
* Yes. I worked at one 10 years ago, before I had anything to do with the wedding industry (accounting, can you believe that?).
14. Do you accept any kick-backs or commissions?
* No.
15. Do you offer invitation etiquette assistance?
* Yes.
16. Can I order any products from you, such as linens, invitations, and chairs?
* Yes, but there can be restrictions, based on your wedding venues.
17. How quickly can I expect replies to phone calls and emails?
* Usually within a day, but 72 hours is the longest you’ll wait. I’ll email you if I’ll be out of touch longer for a special reason.
18. Do you have assistants that will be helping at my wedding day? How many?
* Yes, at least 1. The exact number depends on the size, location and complexity of your wedding.
19. Will you be on site the entire length of my wedding day?
* Yes, before you arrive, and after you leave.
20. Are your rates negotiable?
* No, rates are not negotiable, but fees are customized for each and every client.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wedding Planner Interview for Brides

I came across this while I was archiving my emails late last night and I thought that it would be great to share with brides. It is by far one of the most thorough interviews I was ever asked to complete. After I sent it back to the potential client, we had a phone consult, which we could use to talk more about her wedding- so efficient. I should have known; turns out she was an event planner.
1. Is wedding planning your only job?
2. How many clients do you have right now?
3. How many weddings have you planned & designed, start to finish?
4. How many weddings have you planned and executed in the last 24 months?
5. How many weddings have you coordinated (wedding day coordination)in the last 24 months?
6. Who were the last 4 photographers you worked with?
7. What venues have you worked at in the last 6 months?
8. Can I get a recommendation from one of your last 4 full service clients?
9. Can I get a recommendation from one of your last 4 coordination clients?
10. Where can I see samples of your creative or design work? And are all the pictures on your website weddings that you planned?
11. Are contracts with vendors with my name or yours?
12. Do you only work with select vendors or at select locations?
13. Have you ever worked for the venues you now plan weddings at?
14. Do you accept any kick-backs or commissions?
15. Do you offer invitation etiquette assistance?
16. Can I order any products from you, such as linens, invitations, and chairs?
17. How quickly can I expect replies to phone calls and emails?
18. Do you have assistants that will be helping at my wedding day? How many?
19. Will you be on site the entire length of my wedding day?
20. Are your rates negotiable?

Want to know my answers? Check back tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Preferred Vendor Lists

Recently I was meeting with one of my clients, reviewing all the plans for her wedding. When we got to the videography tab in my planning binder, I asked a few basic questions and her answers lead me to realize that she had hired this company without doing research. I cringed. She had selected them simply because they were on the venues preferred vendor list. She hadn't seen one of their wedding videos or even a wedding clip, She didn't know what her tangible product would be or what options she would have, or how this compared to other vendors who charged the same amount. This isn't the first time I've heard this from clients.
You wouldn't choose your venue ONLY because you saw it in your favorite magazine, so don't take this path with any other part of your plans.

You'd consider the costs, the location, the menus available, the atmosphere, the contract terms, what you get for your dollar, etc.
The good thing is that you can trust that preferred vendors are well versed on the property. Most of the time (please note that I did not say always), its okay to trust that the professionals on venue lists are quality, dependable wedding vendors. But this is not always the case, and there's much more to consider than this.

A few things to keep in mind when you start your vendor planning:
1. Realize that some venues charge vendors to be on their venue list or pay a commission every time they work there.
2. Realize that there may be many other reputable high quality vendors that are better for your event, better suited for your personality, offer better services/products.
3. Invest the time to compare. Get samples of each professionals work that applies to what you are asking for, and compare to other professionals.
4. Don't rule out vendor lists, but don't make them your play book either.
5. Get referrals from everyone, other vendors and previous brides (recent brides, married in the last 16 weeks).
6. Check out wedding planners blogs. Wedding planners are notorious for only highlighting good professionals because these are vendors who are good to their clients.
7. Remember that price is not everything and that great marketing is just that- great marketing (look deeper).
8. Look for experience and talent.

A few wedding planner-bloggers who highlight great wedding pros (and there are many many more (check out "My Friends say" on the right sidebar):
www.blog.emilieduncan.net
www.perfectpartysolutions.blogspot.com
www.weddify.com
www.greenweddingshoes.blogspot.com
http://www.stellaeventdesign.com/blog/

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My email is down

Good evening everyone. I wanted to let you know that my Weddings by Socialites email has been down and out for the majority of the day today (Sunday Feb. 8th) and may be down for a couple days. The "engineers" are working on it, and hopefully it will return sooner than later.
In the meantime, please email me at the WeddingTidbits{at}gmail.com address.
Thank you very much in advance for your patience and even more so, for reading my blog!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Engagement Sessions for just $25!

One of my favorite photography studios, Impressions Photography, is having their annual engagement portrait mini session day on March 1st.
You know what makes me really happy to pass along this information? The session fee, which is typically $150 (and worth every penny) is just $25 and its going to be a donation to the Animal Refuge Center!
Oh, and remember this mornings post about the PWG blog? Here's a link to their blog post on making the most of your engagement session. One of the things they mention is having your hair & makeup professionally done for the shoot. I agree something fierce.
Hmmm, I wonder if they'd take a picture of my pooch since I'm already married?
Don't wait to reserve your session, the day is certain to sell out.

Scrappy Jack Bauer McWilliams

The Perfect Wedding Guide

{Resource for you} If you haven't figured it out already, not all wedding pros are listed in one place. Can you imagine how awesome that would be? Anyway, browse the web to get a good idea of who is out there.
Last week I bumped into the Perfect Wedding Guide (via twitter) and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found! They have very easy to use planning tools. The seating chart manager alone could keep you from losing your bridal sanity. There's also about a million wedding vendors listed (slight exaggeration), bridal show listings, tips and giveaways.
And of course, they have a blog. More importantly, a good blog- full of tips that are worth searching the archives for.
The PWG doesn't have a big presence in our immediate neck of the woods (they should come to the We Wed brunch!), but if you're just about anywhere else in the country- you are in luck!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Because I love to look at chic things


Add the word "wedding", and I'll usually come running.
I love this book and I think you will too. Colin Cowie nailed it again. Frankly, he never fails me. So yes, this was my book buy this week. There are so many fabulous ideas and pictures to get you started on making your wedding that much more special, it's amazing.

Next week I think I may go after this one, Beautiful Weddings, by Carole Hamilton, which I just found on Amazon:

A "Super" Big Announcement!

The We Wed Brunch

I have been dying to share this big news with all the wedding professionals of South West Florida! I thought Superbowl Sunday might be a good day just because its super news.

In our industry, what you know is important and sometimes who you know is better. However, who knows you is the key.
How about an amazing brunch at one of our areas most exquisite locations, Miromar Lakes Beach Club? Here is your opportunity to gather with all the best wedding professionals of SW Florida. Take the morning to meet the professionals you've been hearing about, talk to each other about what we're experiencing within our industry, learn about how we can support each other, and what we can do to take our area to the next level.

Although there isn't enough room for absolutely everyone to attend The We Wed Brunch & Workshops, I'm looking forward to having brunch and talking "weddings" with as many of SW Florida's wedding professionals as possible. Don't wait to register...it really is limited seating!How about free tickets to the workshops ($40 value!)? Comment below with who you think will win the Super bowl (Steelers or Cardinals). Winner will be randomly selected and announced post game.
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Sharing is encouraged.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons