Monday, September 27, 2010

How much does a centerpiece cost?

I'll bet you anything that you've asked this question or are wondering this question.  I'll also bet that in one of the dozens or hundreds of blogs and magazines you've read that there was an answer to that question.  The problem with that is the answer is most likely wrong.  Pricing for everything when it comes to weddings varies drastically from location to location, even from 1 neighboring town to the next and wedding professional to the next.
To prove my point, here is a centerpiece that I asked the professionals in my wedding twitter community to give me average pricing they would expect to pay based on their experiences:
3 piece centerpiece of roses, lisianthus, mums, hydrangea and stock

The prices I received back from 20 different wedding planners and florists in the US and Canada were:
$70, $80, $450, $225, $200, $250, $150, $175, $100, $350, $400, $165, $125
The bolded costs were the most frequent answers.

What does this mean to you?  You have to do some homework.  Now, I am not condoning a price war; let me be very clear.  There are price differences for very good reasons.  In this example of flowers you have to consider the reputation and experience of the vendor and the level of service that you receive with it.  Some vendors will just drop off the centerpieces to a corner of a room and that is all that is included, you must set and return the rentals yourself.  Others may deliver, set up, strike, and provide a full sample mock up prior to your wedding.  All these things should be considered.
So when you're working on your budget, keep this all in mind. You get what you pay for.  You just have to know what you're paying for!

Above Centerpiece by Signature Florals

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm planning a wedding for a couple that doesn't even know it yet.

That sounds incredibly crazy.  But its true!  I'm in the midst of planning and designing The Grand Wedding 2011.  We gave away this luxury wedding last year and it was such a huge success, we just had to team up with the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center to do it again.  Here's 3 quick photos from last years wedding that Sarah and Nick Mau won:
Photo by Ashley Brockinton
Calligraphy by Jennifer
Flowers by Floral Artistry

If you would like to win the 2011, or if you're engaged and just want to come to meet some of the best wedding professionals in the area, be sure to get your tickets for The Engagement Party Luxury Bridal Showcase.  It's Sunday October 3rd from 1-4pm at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center.  You can get more information on registering to win and about the showcase here on the official website.  You can get your tickets here.  Oh, and bring friends and family- everyone who comes gets an "audience vote" to pick one of the 5 finalists!
Photo by Impressions Photography
 Custom aisle runners by Sarah Hearts
Wedding gown and Tux from Lace & Roses Bridal

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What to bring with you to meetings and consultations

Brides Wedding Planning Box
Just a quick tip:
When you go to all your meetings, be prepared and as educated as possible.  It doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to bring out all 329 of the magazine rippings, spreadsheets, brochures and quotes you've collected; but it does mean that no matter where the meeting goes, you'll have something to help you "show what you mean".
Some things that are very helpful:
  • Photos of your dress and the bridesmaids dresses
  • A floorplan of the sites you'll be using for your events
  • Lists and contact info of any vendors you've decided to work with
  • Your instant answer sheet with tentative event dates, times, locations, budgets and guest counts
Also, don't be afraid to have more than a binder, sometimes an organized planning box is easier.  It just proves that you're prepared and ready to do business.  And for once in your life, this business is fun.  Please believe me when I say that the wedding professionals that you visit will be incredibly happy that you've walked in their door! 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How do I make a wedding budget? Vol 2

You came back for more,  That's good.  You might be mad now though because you saw bigger numbers than you expected.  Please believe me when I say that, I get it.  The only reason I don't freak at the numbers anymore is because I'm educated on why those numbers are so high (basically what goes into the products and services wedding professionals are offering you).
Alright, back to business. The budget.
Now that you have your priorities and foundations set, you can break your boundary number into each of the wedding categories:
  1. Printed details & Communication
  2. Food & Beverage
  3. Locations
  4. Professionals
  5. Attire & Beauty
  6. Decor
  7. Photography & Videography
  8. Music & Entertainment
  9. Travel & Transportation
  10. Gifts & Gratuities
  11. Honeymoon
I think it works best to do this in an excel document so that you can play with percentages and move numbers around easily.  The most important thing to do is make sure that your bottom line is never greater than your boundary number. If you need to know what actually ends up in these categories, you might want to gather some good wedding planning books.  Be very careful to list everything!  For instance, your gifts and gratuities should include everything from wedding party gifts, to welcome bags, to bellman tips.
The more research you've done, the better your estimates will be.
Now, based on your original priority list, make your decisions on who, what, when, and where.
Now that you know what you estimate your costs to be, prioritize the above list.  Then, assign amounts to each of the above categories, based on your priority and the research you've done on estimated costs.  As you make your decisions, move funds around.  Just be sure that you aren't taking too much from one place to cover another that really isn't a priority for you.  What will happen is you'll end up having to give up something that you really wanted.
Need to review? Click here for Vol 1

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How do I make a wedding budget? Vol 1

Your friendly budget watchers
This should be one of the first five questions you ask yourself once you embark on your wedding planning journey.  Yet, it rarely is.  It's not that the topic is a complicated one, but it is a priority that isn't fun, so it often gets avoided. this is probably going to take a few posts, so prepare for 2 to 3 volumes.

Okay, now that you know you're going to set up your budget, what to do first?

ONE: Write down the boundary number.  This is the scariest part because chances are you have no idea what anything costs.  Honestly though, that shouldn't matter.  What does matter is that the number you put here $_______________ is a number that you (or whom ever is paying) is comfortable spending on the wedding.  It does NOT mean that you have to spend all of it, or that it will even be necessary to.  But you have to establish your boundary number first.

TWO: Prioritize  What is most important, 1, 2 or 3? You might change your mind later, but it will be best if you're honest with yourself now and write it down.  If you change your mind later, you have to start a new budget.  Always have a working budget.
  1. Guest list (Whose invited to the wedding)
  2. Location & Style (Where your wedding will take place, both ceremony & reception AND Indoor/Outdoor, Casual/Formal)
  3. Date (also consider day of the week if you're flexible on this)
Now that the 1st wedding discussion (argument is more likely) is over and everyone is done yelling and screaming (somebody is probably crying too), its time to do some research.  Based on what you've prioritized,

THREE: Research what is out there.  Based on your first priority, what are your options?  It's time to do some online research and make a few calls so that you have a reasonable idea of some options and costs. DO NOT fall for this:
"The average U.S. wedding costs $23,000"
Wrong, wrong, wrong.  It totally depends on where you are, how many people are coming, and the kind of wedding you're planning.  No need to completely rule anything out yet.  Just get ideas.  Do not look for hard and fast answers.  They will not apply until you've made many more decisions.  You may or may not be in sticker shock after this step, so we'll take a breather and come back for vol. 2 later.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I love Martha Stewart Weddings

There is no denying it.  I have been a loyal fan for as long as the magazine has been in existence.  When they added the website and blog to the mix- as Rachael Zoe (my favorite celebrity stylist) would say, "I die".  What I love about Martha Stewart Weddings is the uncompromisable standard of quality and loyalty to the wedding world.  I adore that its always been about the joy, beauty, and fun of a wedding.

By the way TODAY is the last day this issue is on newsstands!
Well, the summer issue this year was hands down one of my favorites (yes, I say that every time, but its true).  I was ripping pages out left and right.

One of my favorite reasons I loved this issue was that there was a bit of a focus on my favorite wedding element- cake.  In my opinion, wedding cake is what takes a great dinner party to a wedding dinner.
Somehow classic and contemporary at the same time.  Don't you think?

This one, to me finds a way to be sophisticated and whimsical.

What will be on the newsstands tomorrow?  The fashion issue.
Yes, I am sure it will be one of my favorites ever as well.  Do you have a favorite issue?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Indian Inspired Destination Wedding Vol. 5

I can not stress enough how important it is to consider what your spaces will look like as your wedding day goes by.  While your ceremony may be in complete daylight, your cocktail hour may be in daylight and dusk, and your dinner and dancing may begin with just an hour of daylight and then lighting is required.  For this reason, make sure everything that is going to be seen in natural sunlight also works with the fixed (and designed) lighting.
Here is the Indian inspired wedding spaces later in the evening:

I hope you've enjoyed this series!  Special thanks again to Deborah Cull Photography and Signature Florals.

Indian Inspired Destination Wedding Vol. 4

After the wedding dinner we moved from the clear-span tent to the dance tent and Indian lounge.  The afterglow took place under the riverfront pavilion and lawn.  Here is what I will say "made the space": Lighting and tons of furniture with accent pieces.
 You might notice that there are some Moroccan pieces in these spaces I designed.  I am absolutely about making it all come together and look good.  That's the point right?  Sometimes that means you design with what works and not what is.  In this post I'll show the daylight photos and in the next post I'll show you what these same spaces looked like after sunset.

You can catch this entire series by clicking here. One more post to come...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Indian Inspired Destination Wedding Vol. 3

As much as I want to just sit here and type away about this wedding, I think the pictures tell the story quite well.  Just a bit of background though.  The brides family was from India, and that is where the Indian comes into the picture.  Some of the details, like the table runners and favors, we purchased and shipped from India.  We tried to be authentic when at all possible.  For the dinner, we had as many American dishes as we did Indian dishes.  My favorite of course was anything and everything with curry!
Notice the chairs are missing?  We moved the ceremony chairs over during cocktail hour.

We used different table types because the tent was so large.  It made it not so overwhelming.

Each guest received a wood box with a message embossed inside.

These lanterns were hanging everywhere.  Just one of the details that warmed up the space.

The ever popular photo station was a hit.

Little details DO count.  Even the tealight candle holders.  Imagine this table with your standard glass votive.

We hung these stars everywhere we needed to add a touch of color.

These cupcake stands almost didn't make it!  The heat that day was off the charts!

Grooms choice, Red Velvet cupcakes from Masons.  They were so good.

I just love this picture. Gorgeous.

There's just something about this view that is so intriguing. Or maybe I'm just hungry.

There's more to come (so many great images to show off).  Click here to see what you already missed.  Oh, and you can see more pictures in the Fall issue of Destination I Do magazine (you can also follow them on twitter)!

All images by Deborah Cull Photography

Indian Inspired Destination Wedding Vol. 2

Now I'd like to highlight the star of this wedding.  The flowers.  Oh my the flowers.  Signature Florals nailed it.  When I said red, orange and gold and I needed to avoid a tropical feeling...she found a way.
The aisle treatments later filled the dinner tent

The Bouquets

We purposefully didn't overwhelm the dinner tables with flowers.  The tables were designed for a more dinner party feel.

These 3 arrangements are what made this space a bit more intimate and finished. It doesn't appear as just "white" in the background of the ceremony. This often happens with waterfront ceremonies.

On the round tables, we added the "aisle" arrangements from the ceremony tent.
 Click here to see all of the Indian Inspired destination wedding posts.
Who took all these lovely photos?  The fabulous team at Deborah Cull Photography.

Indian Inspired Destination Wedding Vol. 1

This was one of my favorite destination weddings to design because I was able to incorporate all that is rich and lovely about the Indian culture. Oh the color!  I just adore all the deep reds and golds and orange.  This wedding took place at a venue so expansive, we were able to transition four times: A Pre-ceremony cocktail hour, ceremony, dinner and finally the after-glow, each in a new location on the groungs of the Burroughs Home in historic downtown Ft Myers.  I was so fortunate to work with Deborah and Matt Cull for this wedding.  They really took the time to photograph each detail with such an appreciation for the surroundings- never trying to "escape" the palm trees or the Edison Bridge.  Because its photographing these environments that make all weddings unique and the memory of the experience true.

This custom designed aisle took about ten hours to hand paint and then petal.  Each petal was hand glued!

I love how traditional this ceremony was,embracing the history of The Burroughs Home.

Pretty  much always my favorite "aisle" photograph

There's something about a groom in a white jacket that I just love.

This picture with all the hundreds of guests was quite the undertaking, but so worth it.
 There will be 3 (maybe 4) volumes in this them all here.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons