Where NOT to Skimp: Key Wedding Elements

wedding rings

3 Wedding Things You Don’t Want to Skimp On

(Me:) What?  Only three things?  So unfair: I’m a wedding planner! – we know that EVERYTHING is important!   But, if you insist… I suppose I could narrow a few dozen things down to a few key elements.   And, it would take barely a breath for me me to rattle off a list; however, I’d prefer to share some ideas and experiences instead – because as we like to say: no two weddings are alike.

DIY wedding flowers

http://weddingfavorsunlimited.net

As founder and primary planner for my company, I have experienced hundreds of weddings and worked with such a wide array of couples that it’s difficult to even cast a client profile.   Nonetheless, I have noticed a few commonalities that I can share:

DIY Wedding (Type 1): Couples who have a very strict or tight budget need to watch expenses and will certainly benefit from help of a planner to advise them early on.  Of course you can save money by doing some things yourself, just be realistic about what is possible and what will send you over-the-edge.  I encourage these couples to invest in a seasoned planner / coordinator that can advise them and assist them the day of the wedding.  Don’t skimp on the venue, because food and built-in amenities (linens, interior space for contingency, staff, etc.) have tremendous value, and can make or break the entire day.  Don’t skimp on the photography because things such as limited hours (partial coverage), inexperience – which often times translates into timing issues on the wedding day, and inadequate or poor quality images & editing are not worth the expense.  Summary: Hire a planner to help you and for advice making wise budget decisions; secure a good venue to accommodate your guests comfortably and provide most necessities; hire the best qualified photographer you can afford.

An investment in experience is far wiser than savings gambled on inexperience.

Young & Fabulous (Type 2): Couples who enjoy the luxury of a larger budget have countless options and rarely skimp on anything.  They are able to plan an event with all the trimmings – spectacular décor, an amazing venue, the elaborate wedding cake, etc. However, even these couples eventually reach a point where they need to rein in costs.  For them, my advice is:  Be the best hosts you can be.  Don’t skimp on your bridal party – offer to pay for their accommodations, hair and make-up, and offset the costs of their attire.   Don’t skimp in any area that jeopardizes your guests’ comfort – anticipate their experience and make sure they are not too hot or too cold, or too far from one place to another.  Lastly, don’t skimp on taking care of your vendors – that’s an investment that will pay off in spades!   Summary:  If you have the money, invest it throughout.  The level of style and grace should be perfectly matched, and result in a great experience for all.    second wedding-beach wedding

Second Weddings and Blended Families (Type 3):  Almost without exception our second wedding clients are at least in their mid-thirties and beyond.  They are less inclined to host over-the-top events, or invest a lot in décor, and the guest lists tend to be less than one hundred.  Their priorities often center on quality, and we encourage them to splurge on Food and Beverage, Photography and/or Videography, Entertainment (wanting guests of all ages to have fun).   Summary: Set the tone for the wedding with a less traditional venue where guests can enjoy quality time and a lovely meal together; hire a great photographer to capture all the fun and memories; add an interactive element or unique entertainment to keep everyone amused and in the moment.

(c) 2012 E. Delgardio

Planner vs. Coordinator: A Discussion of Definitions

wedding planner wedding coordinator | by E Delgardio (c) 2012

Today I’m sharing an article by  Amanda Peterson, PBC, a fellow member of the  Association of Bridal Consultants and owner of Ocean Breeze Weddings and Events, LLC  based in Destin, FL.  (Hi Amanda!)

This article appeared in our ABC Florida newsletter and I was motivated to share it here on my blog for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, it centers on an important question that often comes up for discussion and debate: What is the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator?   Years ago – which could be defined as subsequent to the invention of TV but prior to the release of the movie “The Wedding Planner“, these terms were seen by most as interchangeable.  (And while you’re at it, you may as well throw into the mix: Wedding Consultant, Bridal Consultant and Wedding Specialist plus any other variations that may be familiar to you.)  So, while the topic is not new, it remains a hot-button issue among industry pros.   However, the good news is that as a result of all this talk, we – the event professionals – realize the true benefits of clarifying our roles so that we can align ourselves correctly with the duties and responsibilities of our chosen title.

The wedding industry has grown substantially over the past few years which says great things about the industry. However, with so many people entering this field, education and standardized verbiage becomes more of a necessity. This is especially true when it comes to titles to describe your duties or what services you provide. Several years ago, the Convention Industry Council started to ask the entire event industry to standardize many of their activities and verbiage so customers could more easily tell the difference in services. Most areas of the event industry have done so, but many in the wedding industry have no knowledge of this and confusion has arisen between services actually being provided. When titles are standardized, it helps stop the confusion of the brides wishing to purchase services. They can better ascertain the differences between wedding planning companies as well as venues with all inclusive packages. I have also noticed this confusion roll over when vendors in the industry do not understand the duties pertaining to particular titles. For instance, there was a DJ who insisted that a planner was to only coordinate the ceremony and not actually have anything to do with the reception. This DJ refused to discuss the reception timeline with the planner and insisted in only speaking with the bride since a DJ is the only one to coordinate a reception. This confusion about titles and duties of vendors could have easily been avoided if standardized titles were better known. Many people in the industry believe that the titles “planner” and “coordinator” mean the same thing and they use them interchangeably.

To help in this area, the below definitions are based on the same recognized standard titles and duties in the corporate world. The only difference is the added term “wedding” in front of the title and the definition tweaked to describe the duties for a wedding.

Wedding Planner: This is someone who helps the bride and groom with all aspects of planning their wedding and the exact duties will differ from company to company and package to package. However, in essence, a planner is someone who will oversee all aspects of the wedding as required including finding needed vendors such as a photographer or DJ, set up site visits for ceremony and reception sites, set up tastings for cake and catering, negotiate vendor contracts, organize and manage room blocks, works with the bride to formulate the wedding day timeline, coordinate the actual wedding ceremony, reception and the farewell of the bride and groom. The planners are there to oversee all vendors, set up, break down and essentially make sure everything the bride and groom have ordered is provided and they take care of any unforeseen tasks on the wedding day. The planner does the actual coordinating of all aspects of the wedding day – not only the ceremony. (In the corporate world a planner is the person whose job it is to arrange every aspect of planning and conducting a meeting or event. – The Convention Industry Manual – 7th Edition)

Wedding Coordinator: This is actually what many venue and smaller wedding companies with preplanned packages provide and call it a “wedding planner”. A wedding coordinator runs the rehearsal and makes sure everyone knows where to go and what to do for the ceremony. On the wedding day, they will line up the processional and get the wedding party down the aisle then make sure the recessional is organized. They sometimes also line up the wedding party for the reception entrance. That is usually it because a coordinator works only on the ceremony. Church representatives will also fit into this category of coordinator instead of actual planner. (In the corporate event world, a coordinator is the assistant to the planner.)

I hope this gets everyone in the wedding industry discussing different titles and their duties so we can join the other organizations with standardization. Once we can agree on duties of provider’s titles, maybe we can discuss how wedding companies and venues can show how their services differ. This way we can help each other with business instead of having brides think that a hotel wedding planner provides the same service as a wedding planning company.

~Amanda Peterson, PBC

wedding-planner-wedding-coordinator

“Did you say chosen title ?”  Yes.  The wedding and special events industry is somewhat unique in this respect:  People are free to call themselves whatever they choose.   This is certainly a contributing factor to the overall confusion, and it’s quite unfortunate that most consumers are unaware of this.   I give tremendous credit to professional associations such as ABC for creating and trademarking terminology to designate levels of achievement (i.e., Professional Bridal Consultant, Master Bridal Consultant).  Advancements of this type are very important, as they set the bar.   Personally, I hope to see more of this type of credentialing in the future.  How about you?

(c) 2012 E. Delgardio

12

06 2012

The Ultimate Wedding Day Packing List

For all you list lovers, I am pleased to present the ultimate Wedding Day Packing List! It lists everything the Bride and Groom should remember to pack for the Wedding Day.

Tip: I recommend pulling out your suitcase or travel bag a week in advance so you can “pack as you go” – instead of trying to make time in the midst of everything else that is going on at the last minute.

FOR THE BRIDE: Don’t forget these important items on your wedding day…

 

packing wedding veil jewelry

iamabride.com

Attire
___ Pre-wedding clothes, such as a jogging suit or a simple dress, and a robe
___ Wedding dress, veil and headpiece
___ Shoes, hosiery and undergarments
___ Bridal slippers or flats
___ Handbag or clutch
___ Gloves, if wearing
___ Keepsake Garter & Toss Garter
___ Departure Outfit, if changing

Personal
___ Cosmetics, Perfume and Toiletries
___ Jewelry and accessories
___ Sunglasses, glasses, contacts
___ Something old, new, borrowed and blue
___ Copy of wedding vows, if writing your own
___ Gift or card for Groom
___ Wedding bands and clean Engagement ring
___ Prescription Medication
___ A separate tote/suitcase as your Honeymoon Bag

Tech
___ Cell Phone and charger
___ Songs or Music (that you promised to bring)
* Assign someone else to take candid photos, watch the weather radar, and track time

Wedding Folio
___ Copies of vendor and bridal party contact list and timeline for the day
___ Copies of guest list, meal choices, and seating diagram
___ Copies of Photo shot list

Documents, ID, Misc.
___ Marriage license
___ Envelopes with tips for vendors
___ Driver’s License and/or Passport
___ Airline flight tickets – if you’re leaving soon after the reception for your honeymoon
___ Digital or printed copies of Itineraries, Confirmation Codes, Reservations (Hotels, Limos, Bookings, etc.)

FOR THE GROOM: Don’t forget these important items on your wedding day…

etsy.com

___ Cash / Checkbook / Credit Card(s) – prepare for the unexpected

Attire
___ Pre-wedding clothes
___ Tux or Suit
___ Underwear (including white t-shirt),
___ Socks to match
___ Shoes (if not rented)
___ Tie (if not rented)
___ Handkerchief

Personal
___ Travel Bag to hold Overnight Items & Toiletries
___ Watch, Cufflinks / Tie Bar
___ Sunglasses, glasses, contacts
___ Copy of wedding vows, if writing your own
___ Gift or card for Bride
___ Wedding band(s)
___ Prescription Medication

Tech
___ Cell Phone and charger
___ Personal camera, charger, chips
___ Personal devices needed before or after the wedding
___ USB or sync cables for devices

Documents, ID, Misc.
___ Marriage license
___ Envelopes with tips for vendors
___ Driver’s License and/or Passport
___ Airline flight tickets – if you’re leaving soon after the reception for your honeymoon
___ Digital or printed copies of Itineraries, Confirmation Codes, Reservations (Hotels, Limos, Bookings, etc.)
___ Car Keys (if needed)

Prior to the Wedding Day, deliver and distribute:
___ Wedding Party Gifts
___ Wedding programs (give to venue coordinator or wedding planner)
___ Wedding favors (as above)
___ Other Personal Items & Accessories for ceremony and reception (as above)
___ Copies of Readings for the ceremony
___ Directions to the Reception

Click to DOWNLOAD the Ultimate Wedding Day Packing List

Did I miss anything? Please let me know!

It’s Only A Wedding, Sit Anywhere

There are 127 seats – just pick one.  Really.  We’re cool like that, so when you come to our wedding sit anywhere.  Except at the Reserved tables.


When you invite people to an event, do them a favor and tell them where to sit.  They want to know.   After all, you are the host (hostess) and they are expecting to take direction from you.  They don’t want to make decisions and run for tables like seats on a bus. (Hey Barb – save me a seat!)

I often hear “We went to a wedding (party) and they didn’t have assigned seats and I thought it was great”.  Ok.  And some people like eating with their fingers, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in all settings or at all times.

“. Large receptions, over 30 people, can be chaotic if there is no assigned seating. Often couples elect not to assign seating because they don’t want to offend anyone who ends up seated in the back. But, honestly, guests feel more comfortable when they know where to sit. They won’t have to battle for a “good seat” or argue over who sits by whom. Etiquette and courtesy dictates that parents of the bride and groom and elderly family members or friends should be seated in the front. Do the best you can to seat families or groups together. You won’t be able to please everyone, but don’t sweat it. Most people won’t stay in their seats for long anyway.”   Source: www.bridalgathering.com

We have a saying in the business:  Asses in seats.  It’s the way things are done.  Leaving people to sit anywhere is like saying you don’t care where they sit.  And Reserved cards at tables don’t cut it.  If you really want to offend someone, tell them they can’t sit at the tables reserved for…. Umm…. who exactly are they reserved for?  (Personally, I’m never quite sure since it doesn’t say anything more than “Reserved”)

reserved sign

Creating a seating plan doesn’t need to become a major ordeal.  There are resources available to assist with this task, such as  Perfect Table Plan.   Also, sites like WeddingWire.com and TheKnot.com  have helpful (free!) tools for seating charts and table layouts.  If you don’t want to mess with creating placecards, contact our friends at PlaceCards.com.

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