Wednesday, February 20, 2013

10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Sharing your wedding day with the people you love is what makes the day that much more special! This connection with your guests shouldn't stop with your friends and family, but should cross over to your vendors as well.

It is so important to hirer professionals for your wedding and their experience in the business is what will ensure that your day is everything you dreamed of and more. However, it is even more important that you find a real connect with these vendors as well. In addition to spending this momentous day with your loved ones, you will also be sharing a lot of it with your vendors; specifically your coordinator and photographer. When hiring these professionals think about not only what your are looking for from a professional service standpoint, but also form a personality standpoint. At the end of the day, your personal connection with your vendors is what will make your wedding day experience that much more enjoyable!

Here a few questions to ask yourself when you are meeting with photographers and coordinators for the first time...

  1. Are they experienced in the business? 
  2. Do they understand my vision?
  3. Do they offer services I am looking for?
  4. What parts of the day will they be involved in?
  5. Does their style or rang of styles compliment my vision? 
  6. Do they listen to what I say? Do they listen to my ideas and offer suggestions or are they pushing their own ideas?
  7. Do I feel that can express what I would like for my wedding day to them?
  8. Do I feel comfortable around them?
  9. Would I refer them to friends and family?
  10. Most importantly, could I see myself being friends with this person?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wedding Planner, Wedding Designer, Event Coordinator, Venue Coordinator - What is the Difference?

With today's information overload, sometimes the lingo of the wedding world can seem a little confusing and overwhelming. Planner, coordinator, designer - it's all the same right? Actually no...there are many differences between the types of wedding assistance you can receive. Below is a basic breakdown of how we classify each of the different types of wedding planning professionals...

Wedding Planner:
From vendor referrals to timeline management, a wedding planner is the perfect tool in assisting you from "Will You Marry Me?" to "I Do!"  A wedding planner is an experienced event professional who can confidently guide you through the entire wedding planning process. Their expertise is your navigator through the complex world of all things wedding! Although planners have a variety of service offerings, typically their services include: budget management, vendor referrals, venue selection, to-do check lists & confirmations, vendor meeting attendance, design assistance, creation of a detailed day-of timeline as well as wedding day coordination & management. Since a planner is seen as someone who can "do-it-all", a common misconception is that they will "take-over"  your wedding and control your creative freedom....quite the opposite! A planner is there to foster your creativity, inspire you with new idea's, share wisdom's from their experience and most importantly ensure all of your vendors understand and compliment your vision!

 Wedding Coordinator: (a.k.a. Event Coordinator, Day-of Coordinator, Independent Coordinator)
Although many use the words coordinator & planner interchangeably, for most, their roles are quite different. A planner is typically involved in the planning process early on, where as a coordinator comes into the picture further down the road. Often they start assisting a month or two before the big day. Their services typically included: gathering key information about your wedding, finalizing details, contacting and confirming your vendors contract obligations, establishing a wedding day timeline and most importantly facilitating & ensuring a smooth and stress free wedding day! All in all, a coordinators key role is to tie-up loose ends, bring all of your plans/details together and manage the day-of your event. So as you can see, a wedding planner is typically also a wedding coordinator, however, a wedding coordinator is not always a wedding planner.

Venue Coordinator: (a.k.a. On-site Coordinator, Facility Manager, Banquet Manager)
A venue coordinator is typically an appointed contact by the venue to assist and answer any questions you may have about the venue itself or its affiliates. Their services often include: providing a vendor referral list of vendors they have worked with in the past, creating a timeline for the wedding day in regards to the venues roles & responsibilities, assisting with the catering timeline  (if caterer is correlated with the venue) and assisting with the rehearsal & ceremony process (if ceremony is held at the same venue). Although venue coordinators are a great resource to have, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to the actual roles of venue coordinators. Many anticipate that a venue coordinator is more like a wedding planner or independent coordinator, where-in they will assist you in all planning aspects. Although some do assist with all aspects, most venues have a somewhat strict guideline of what they can assist you with. Some of their limitations include: they usually only have set list of vendors they can recommend, they can only assist with details that pertain the the venue itself, they can not assist you with your ceremony if it is held at a different venue, typically they will have one person assisting you with the planning and another person  there the day-of the event and typically they are not present for the duration of the event. However, they are an expert about their venue and are a great resource to have. Having both a independent planner/coordinator with a venue coordinator is great way to ensure nothing is forgotten or left out!

Wedding Designer:
A wedding designer is your creativity muse. Their role is to ultimately design the look and feel of your wedding. From color swatches to theme creation, their job is to draw out your vision and make it a reality. Their responsibility is mainly focused on the design element of your wedding rather than the planning or coordinating aspects. However, many planners and coordination also incorporate design elements in their packages.

At the end of the day a planner or coordinator is there to make your wedding dreams come true!  Why spend 12 months planning and creating your dream wedding only to have the day-of left to chance?

Friday, November 30, 2012

8 Tips for Wedding Reception Seating

Just like any formal dinning situation, formulating the perfect seating arrangement at your wedding can be quite tricky. Whether you have table assignments or specific seating arrangements, here a few tips to think about when designing your seating lay out...

  1. Even if you (the bride & groom) do not have your own table, make sure you are centrally located so everyone can see you throughout the reception.
  2. If you have elderly guest make sure they are seated far from the speakers, but close enough to still see  all of the main events.
  3. Place tables in groups with other table where guests know each other. This will promote cross table mingling.
  4. Will you be having a buffet service? Allow for elderly guest to see near the buffet stations so they do not have walk as far through a maze of guests.
  5. Make sure each guest knows at least one other guest at their table. (Just because you have a group of single friends, it does not mean they are all social and you don't want anyone feeling left out)
  6. Allow for enough access on and off the dance floor. (Give a little more room between tables that are located on the perimeter of the dance floor)
  7. Will you be using escort cards? Make sure the cards are neatly arranged in alphabetical order  so it easier for your guests to find their name.
  8. Will you be using place cards? Make sure you have a clearly marked chart or map at the entrance of your reception so guest can find their table quickly.

Hope these few tips help you with your table arrangments!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weddings - So Much to Be Thankful For

What a better time than Thanksgiving week to sit down and think about what we are really thankful for!

During the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, sometimes what we are truly thankful for can seem to get lost amidst the frantic store wide sales, cookie decorating madness and holiday party obligations. It is during this crazed time that even the smallest act of kindness or show of thanks can really make the difference in someones life!

Wedding planning can often seem like you are in the "Holiday Season" 24/7. Sometimes amidst all the planning, store searching, web browsing, party obligations, gift giving and receiving we can loose touch of the big picture.

Here are a few ideas to show some of your love and appreciation to those who matter most!

  • Write love letters to your bride or groom throughout the engagement process. Share all the things you love about them, funny memories about the process, excitements, dreams and most importantly why you are so thankful to have him or her by your side!

  • Sometimes you need a little boost just because. This cute little DIY frame is a great way to let your spouse know that you noticed when they did something sweet. Just use a white board marker to fill in the blank and place the frame somewhere noticeable (i.e. next to where you put your car keys). It will be sure to brighten his or her day!

  •  Don't forget about the Dads! This heartfelt handkerchief is a great way to show thanks to your dad for all of his love and support!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Spin on the Wedding Guest Book

Many of today's couple are all about mixing the old with the new! In other words they love the idea of the long time wedding traditions, but like to add their own spin on them. Take the traditional guest book for example. What was once a way to acknowledge and respect the bride & grooms transition into marriage is now more of a fun way to interact, enjoy and reflect such a momentous day!

Couples today are all about getting their guest involved, and what better way than to start off your reception with a fun and interactive guest book! Below are a few ideas to get the creativity flowing... 

1) Love to play games? Try the Jenga guest book. You will be sure to have some good laughs and fond memories as you play this game as newlyweds!


2) The thumbprint wedding tree is a great way for your guests to leave their mark on your special day!

3) Are you a musical couple? Think about your guest signing your favorite instrument... you will be sure to become the "rock stars" of your own wedding!

4) Finally, always a favorite is the photo booth guest book. Stir things up even more by adding props or chalk boards where guests can write messages to the bride and groom in the photo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding Day Time Capsule

With all the buzz and mountains of details surrounding the actually wedding day, post-wedding mementos tend to be forgotten or left until it's too late. Your wedding memories are not something to just be cherished for one day, but rather for a lifetime!

Although your wedding photos will serve as a great memoir for you wedding day, sometimes it's those little extra tidbits that can truly spark a great memory! A Wedding Day Time Capsule is a great way to capture all those special little moments. Some capsules like the one above, can be ordered with preset items to assist you in gathering your mementos. However, below are a few more ideas we wanted to share with you...

  • Newspaper clippings from the day of your wedding
  • Love letters to each other written just days before the wedding (no peeking!)
  • A picture of your first kiss as husband and wife
  • Fabric swatches from your bridesmaids dress and table linens
  • Dried flowers from your centerpieces or boutonnieres
  • Photos your guests took of the wedding day or from your photo booth
  • Little trinkets to signify funny memories ( i.e. a safety pin with a note tied to it explaining how a button popped off the back of your dress right before you were about to walk down the aisle. Luckily your Maid of Honor stepped in with a safety pin laughing and saying "I've always got your back" while pinning you back together.)
  • Words of wisdom from your quests (Have each guest fill out a note card with marriage advice. See how their advice helped when you read them again years later)
  • Each write out a timeline of where you think you will be and what you would like to do in 5, 10, 25, 50 years from now...see how far you have come along!
  • A sample of the perfume/colonge you each wore
  • A trinket from your wedding night

After you fill your capsule, seal it up and then open it again on every milestone anniversary (1st, 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th...) Not only will it be fun to revisit old "scrapbook" type memories, but it will also be exciting to see how your thoughts of the future compair with the realities of today!

**Think about enjoying your "unveiling" with a bottle of your favorite wine or with the wine you drank on your wedding day!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Things Many Brides Forget

It's hard to imagine with all the planning you are doing and with all the tools available to brides, form bridal 101 books to planning binders to organizational websites, that you might have left something out. But from our experience, even with all these tools and guidance at least one of the do-to's slips off the list. As planners we try to make sure that you have thought of everything and below are a few reminders we share with our brides of items that tend to be forgotten.

  1. Final Confirmations/Timelines for Vendors - Many professionals have their own system that works best for their type of service when it comes to organization information for your wedding. If you do not have a day-of coordinator or point person for the day-of your wedding, some of the details can be slightly different for one vendor to the next. It is important that you confirm times and locations with all of you vendors at least a week out to make sure everyone is on the same page. Or create a master timeline for all of your vendors to follow. Your bridal party will also have a busy schedule that day, with hair, make-up, pictures, toasts etc...make sure you give them a break down of the day as well so they are not overwhelmed and know where to be when.
  2. Bringing the Legal Documents - This is one of the most important aspects of you wedding day; after all it is the signing of the marriage certificate that legalizes the entire marriage.  Make sure to apply for you Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month and one day before your actual wedding day. Also don't for get to bring multiple copies of the marriage certificate to sign after your ceremony!
  3. Bringing Your Overnight Bag - Many couple get so excited with the wedding itself and the honeymoon after that they forget about planning for the night in between. Often you can check in early to your overnight suite and have a friend drop off these items before hand. If not, designate someone to to hold onto your bags or drop them off later. 
  4. Know Who Takes What - After you have celebrated at your reception, said your final good-byes and are whisked off to your honeymoon suite, there are still many items that need to be collected or taken care of. These items include gifts, left over favors, centerpieces, toasting flutes, cake serving wear, cake stand, flowers, guestbook..etc. Of course after a long day of fun, clean up is the last thing you want to think of. If you do not have a planner/coordinator to collect these items for you, make sure you designate a few people before hand to collect these items. With a team of helpers, they should have things gathered in no time!
  5. Picture Time - Your wedding photos will become one of the most cherished mementos from you wedding and often times you only have one moment to capture that perfect picture. It is important that you really outline with your photographer what photos you want and with whom. Remember, unless you tell your photographer, they probably don't know who aunt Sally is or that she flew over 3,000 miles to be in this once in a lifetime family photo. Make sure your photographer has a complete list of who you want in each photo. Also, tell your family and friends that you would like to be in your photo's were they need to be and at what time. You don't want to spend have of your time looking for wandering family members.