Archive for the ‘Weddings and Wedding Planning’Category

Whose Your DJ? [Thoughts on Weddings and DJ Entertainment]

ipod-djThis weekend, I had the pleasure of working with a cute young couple who had a very tight wedding budget. I was confronted with a few challenges while coordinating their wedding, not the least of which was the fact that the friend who officiated their wedding was also playing the role of DJ/MC. And while I must commend the bride and groom for their efforts in organizing a complete playlist of music for the evening, here are some of the glitches we encountered:
– There was no prelude music for the ceremony
– There was no exit music for the recessional
– The first dance song ended up on the wrong iPod (and we had to track it down)
– The music selections for dinner were a bit unorthodox
– The pre-programmed music selections did not leave any room for ‘playing to the crowd’
…and so on…

Fortunately they had me to help keep things running smoothly, and overall things went very well; the couple had “their day, their way” and they seemed oblivious to glitches.

When I’m wearing my “Day-of” coordinator hat, I must be careful to provide support, not criticism. As a Planner, I would strongly advise against this type of scenario and take appropriate steps to illuminate and eliminate potential glitches. However, when circumstances dictate that I play the hand I’m dealt, that’s precisely what I do. And let’s face it: if the couple could have afforded a wedding planner, they likely could have afforded a professional DJ as well.

Ironically, I returned home to find an email from a colleague who provides exceptional DJ services. Obviously, fresh off a gig and needing to vent – here is his email to me (but it reads more like a plea to Brides & Grooms):
AFFA Wedding-Junction 88
“Elisa – I wonder why brides don’t trust their DJ to play the right music? I have had way too many brides completely program their wedding music to the point that they have had to hear certain songs in a certain order and at certain times.”

“Most good DJ’s have the ability to read the crowd and know what to play when to play it. I understand that you may not want to hear a certain song or songs, but to totally program the entire function, just defeats the purpose of having a DJ. You might as well just bring your iPod. Oh that’s right, you would have to rent the speakers and no one would be able to talk on the mic and introduce you in…”

“If you trust your DJ to do that, then trust him/her to play the right music.
Most of us do this for a living. I personally do 75+ weddings a year, so I may have seen a wedding or two in my life. We don’t want you to be unhappy so we are going to do the best possible job we can. We are going to do a good job, trust us!”

I contemplated the situation he described and couldn’t help wonder why this is so… Where does it stem from? And then a thought occurred to me:

Picture the wedding I described – glitches and all – and then try to estimate how many of the 100 guests in attendance understood the entertainment arrangements. It’s quite possible that a few people (maybe more) were unaware that the DJ was not a hired professional. It’s also possible that an engaged couple or two were present, in which case they were likely wondering what to expect from their wedding DJ… Would they feel the need to dictate the entire evening to ensure their satisfaction? Hmmmm…. yes, I’d say that’s plausible.

© 2009 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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Tips for Brides & Grooms: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Uncertain Economy

According to The Wedding Report, wedding spending has declined significantly since 2007 – almost by 30% (averaged) overall. The vast majority of wedding vendors can attest to the a downsizing of wedding budgets, as well as a drop off in bookings (new clients). Consultants and Coordinators in particular have seen postponements and cancellations spike in recent months.

Everyone is feeling the pinch; while engaged couples are trying to save, Photographers, DJs, Consultants and Venues are trying to survive. Competition for new bookings is fierce, thus creating a buyer’s market which gives couples shopping for wedding vendors and services more purchasing power. But how can you spot a “true bargain”? I’d like to offer a few tips to help you make a sound investment:

1. Perform a Status Check – Do your homework to determine if the vendor’s company is healthy. A healthy company is “current”, meaning they have an up-to-date presence, including a website featuring pictures of current staff, projects and client testimonails. A company that is healthy is typically involved in Professional Associations, and may be known as a leader in their industry. Healthy companies are growing (even now) and are gearing up for a great 2009-2010 wedding season. Look for current blog posts, quick responses to emails and phone calls, and positive recommendations from others (friends, vendors, etc.).
2009 Wedding Client, Portofino Bay
Look for evidence of
a well established business
with a proven track record.

2004 Wedding Client, Maison & Jardin

2. Beware of the high pressure sales pitch: The best vendors are eager for your business but not desperate.

3. Beware of Part-Timers: A part-timer (sometimes known as a ‘moonlighter’ or ‘weekend warrior’) may be able to offer a very competitive price, but do they have the equipment and experience to deliver the quality of product or service you are looking for? What is their stake in the success of your event and are they driven to ensure your complete satisfaction? Does the Vendor’s Contract protect both parties?

4. Beware of Start-Ups: The poor economy has spawned a huge number of start-up businesses; people who have lost jobs or need extra income are becoming entrepreneurs. On one hand, it’s beneficial to the market to have more affordable options, but who is the person behind the start-up? Do they have any experience with weddings? Will they grow tired of this new business venture in 6 or 9 months and leave you in the lurch? Is it worth the risk to hire someone with no track record?

5. Beware of “Free”: “Free” is a hook; it’s a term that often denotes an extra added value. Conversely, free also has no refund value, so like it or not, you’re stuck with it. (ex: “That free album you gave me was poor quality.” “The free candle centerpieces only lasted halfway through the reception.” …Get the picture?)

For additional pointers on what to look for when hiring a professional wedding planner and coordinator, please visit A Flair for Affairs website.

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Fun & Festive Wedding & Party Favors [ Kernel Encore, Orlando ]

Here’s an idea that sure to please everyone on your guest list! Custom flavored popcorn treats, wrapped & ready to go, in every color of the rainbow!

Below, our purple and lime green color theme was complimented by individual bags of custom blended flavors: Peanut Butter and Grape, Grape & Green Apple and Caramel Apple.

Popcorn by Kernel Encore, Photo by A Flair for Affairs Popcorn by Kernel Encore, Photo by A Flair for Affairs

Our guests could not believe their eyes and were so excited to receive such an original favor! Pricing is quite affordable and shipping is available to any locale. These make great gifts, too! Please visit the Kernel Encore store in Orlando or visit their online store

25

02 2009

Picking the Perfect Wedding Cake

Courtesy of Damon TucciThis post is long overdue! I have a few words of advice on the topic of wedding cakes and I will try to keep it short and “sweet”.

There are many things you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the cake that’s right for you. My experience has been that Cost, Purpose, Flavor, Style and Size are the most important factors to consider, although every couple will prioritize these factors differently.

I coach my clients to approach the cake selection process like this:

#1 – Identify the purpose of the cake: Will the cake be the ‘dessert’ for the event? Or will you have other sweet treats, for example, a chocolate fountain or a plated dessert that will be served to your guests? If the cake is the singular dessert that will be served after the meal, you will want to pay particular attention to the size and flavor of the cake.

#2 – Consider the cost: Many of my couples are looking for ways to trim excess expenses from their wedding budget (especially in today’s economy!). Here are some money saving tips:

  • Simple = savings! Wedding cake prices can vary widely and oftentimes a large part of the cake’s cost can be attributed to the complexity of the design and how it’s decorated. Fondant icing and intricate designs will drive up costs; foregoing these options is cost effective and will not affect your guests enjoyment of this dessert. Likewise, a ‘kitchen cake’ (a simple iced sheet cake that’s kept in the kitchen) can supplement the number of servings at an affordable price.
  • What are you saving it for…? Make your cake go farther by serving the top layer. Honestly, you don’t want to eat that cake a year later! Here’s a fresh idea: consider using a bakery that offers an anniversary cake.
  • Grocery store cakes are not always cheaper! Set a cake budget and then look around for a custom cake baker who can work within that budget; chances are you will be able to find an independent baker/bakery who can make the cake of your dreams at a price you can afford. (Note: Always get references, taste samples and ask to see pictures!)

#3 – Make it flavorful: I always recommend serving the best tasting cake you can, especially if the cake will be the primary (only) dessert. And, whenever possible, order layered cakes in multiple flavors! Three layers of yellow cake with white icing screams ‘boring’. I realize that some people just prefer vanilla or chocolate, but when it comes to your wedding cake, why order something you can buy any other day of the week? Make it memorable! There are so many options available to brides today – why not take advantage of them?

#4 – Selecting the perfect size: As a general rule, some guests may decline a serving of wedding cake, or some guests may leave before cake is served. While bakeries seem to provide serving information based on very small pieces (my opinion), odds are you will not run out of cake if you order the cake based on your guest count. Here are some money saving tips:

  • When the wedding cake is not the only dessert, you can likely order less servings – up to 10% – 20% less!
  • If a Groom’s cake will be served in addition to the wedding cake, you should deduct an equal number of servings from the size of the wedding cake. For example, based on 120 guests and a groom’s cake sized to serve 40 guests, you would order the wedding cake to serve 80 people.
  • Another thing to be aware of is that bakers/bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes have perfected the baking methods that allow large cakes to be stable; this means that the cake is firm without being dry, and easy to cut. Cakes that are overly moist, undercooked, or filled with chunky fruit (such as fresh strawberries, for example) can result in a lot of wasted cake.

#5 – Stylish cakes rule when it’s all about the look: Style is the highest priority for some of my brides, and there’s not much that can top that joyous gasp of, “Look at my cake!”. In these circumstances, cost is less of a concern, but using ‘dummy cakes’ (iced and decorated styrofoam layers) to boost the height of the cake may save a few dollars over ordering more cake than you require. On the other hand, you can plan to use the extra cake at the wedding brunch or arrange to donate uncut cakes to a nursing home.

One last bit of advice: be sure that your baker/bakery provides boxes for leftover cake!

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23

11 2008
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