Most larger venues – banquet halls, hotels, etc – have an employee whose job it is to work with bridal couples. They are there to help you make choices associated with the venue, and then make sure all runs well at the venue on the wedding day. Often, this person sports a title like, ‘On-Site Coordinator,’ or ‘Event Manager.’ These titles are misleading, however, to bridal couples who assume that by booking that venue, they now have a Wedding Planner.
This simply isn’t true: the venue’s employee works for the venue, and their first priority will be to make sure everything the venue is responsible for happens smoothly. When you have questions in the months leading up to your wedding, it isn’t their responsibility to come up with answers. If on your wedding day your dress tears, you forget the toasting glasses, or the floral arrangements arrive all wrong, the venue’s coordinator may not be able to help. Not that they won’t care – and many, if time permits, will do their best to be of assistance in these emergencies. But, ultimately, those things just aren’t their problem. They will be busy making sure the room is set right, the bars are stocked properly, and the kitchen is on schedule. So, don’t assume that you’ll be able to lean on your venue’s staff for extra help. No matter how much they might want to, often, they simply can’t: it’s just not in their job description.
(And, to those who say, “but, I’m paying a lot of money for this venue – they are working for me!” True, to a point – your event’s fees will cover a portion of the on-site Coordinator’s salary this week. But, they will still be there next week, another event will be in that room, and their paycheck will still have the venue’s name on it. Their final loyalty and responsibility must lie with their employer.)
So, if you want someone to be there on your wedding day who will be focused on you and making everything run smooth-as-silk – hire a Wedding Planner.
Heather, The Events Conciergetm
I love Chinese lanterns. They come in so many beautiful colors and sizes, and can really perk-up a reception space without spending a bundle. An accessory that used to be limited to Asian-themed décor, the Chinese lantern can be found adding pops of color at many weddings today.
However, because they are most often lined-up along the roofline of a tent interior or hung from tree branches, the look has lost a bit of its impact and flair. I still think they are fun, though, and just need a little more creativity in their use.
Here are five ideas to use lanterns in unexpected ways:
1. Ceremony Backdrop: This is a simple installation, but with great impact. Choose white or a soft color for a subtle effect, or one bright shade for real pizzazz. Watch that the lanterns don’t outshine the real stars of the day, though!
This would be perfect for a ceremony under a tent. Use the largest diameter lanterns you can find, and hang them in pairs above your aisle. Go monochromatic, or embrace the ombré
effect by using colors that shade from dark to light.
3. Pom-Pom Tent Fringe: Instead of scattering the lanterns throughout your tent, concentrate them around the perimeter, creating a fun fringe of ‘pom-poms’. A mix of sizes and colors (within your wedding palette, of course) would create a whimsical effect.
4. Head Table Highlight: Group your lantern display above the head table, adding color and glow to you and your honor party. This look could work equally well with mixed colors and sizes as something more ‘regular.’
5. Cake Table Chihuly:
If you are at all familiar with the work of famous glass artist Dale Chihuly
, you’ll immediately see where I’m going here. A densely-grouped reverse pyramid of lanterns installed directly above your cake will truly make a statement. While a variety of sizes would help this work best, you can decide if you want the statement to be bold or less-so through your color choices.
However you choose to use them, make sure to have enough. Part of what makes all these ideas work is the sheer quantity of lanterns in the design. Don’t skimp, and the impact will be sublime!
Heather, The Events Conciergetm
Photo © Astra Creative
Years ago, if you wanted professional photos taken at your wedding, you had relatively few stylistic options available to you. All wedding photography was formal and posed, with very little variance within that. One photographer's work often looked much like that of another, and there was no need to spend much time reviewing different portfolios.
Well, no more.
Today’s bride had a wide variety of photographers and styles to choose from. However, among all the variety, three basic categories still arise: Traditional, Photojournalistic/Candid, and Hybrid. Many of today’s photographers fall somewhere in the ‘Hybrid’ category, although there is much variation in style and balance among them.
Let’s define the categories.
Just as it sounds, this is your mother’s wedding photographer – perhaps literally. Photographers who fall into this category will focus mainly on posed, formal images. Think: various family and bridal party groupings taken at or near the church altar. Some candid shots may be included during the ceremony and at the reception, but even these often have a formal feel to them. Traditional photography is a good fit for the bride who has many family and bridal party members she wants to be certain are photographed, as well as the bride who dislikes having photos taken when she is unprepared, or un-posed (candid.)
Perhaps the biggest wedding photography buzzword of the last decade, true Photojournalistic photographers are actually hard to come by. This style includes absolutely no posed images – only the documentation of the events of the day as they happen – nothing else. Most brides fear that someone will get missed, and therefore shy away from a purely photojournalistic approach. However, if you always feel uncomfortable and smile awkwardly when you know the camera is pointed your direction, this might be just the right style for you.
As you might imagine, this is a combination of the other two basic styles of wedding photography. In general, most wedding photographers today fit somewhere in this category. They will do some posed group shots, sometimes in a very formal, traditional manner, and sometimes in a more artistic, informal manner. They will do both posed and semi-posed shots with the couple, often using the areas surrounding the ceremony and/or reception sites for interesting settings. Then, they otherwise work to capture the moments of the day in a candid manner, without disturbing you or your guests. Within this category, many different approaches exist, so if this is your preferred approach, you’ll have to do your homework.
Make sure, regardless of the shooting style category that is right for you, that you view plenty of samples from potential photographers, including at least one complete wedding album. It is important to see how a photographer covers the full event, not just the highlight shots from many beautiful days. Even grandma is sure to end up with at least one great image from the day – you want to be certain you’ll have bunches of great shots to memorialize your wedding day.
Heather, The Events Conciergetm
Integrity. We talk a lot here at L'Evento about how our professionals are all pre-screened. That's because we truly do want every client who comes to us for assistance to receive the best possible service. We depend on each of our independent vendors to provide that stellar service, and most of the time, they come through with flying colors, and more.
Sometimes, people and businesses miss the mark. They fall short of expectations. Sometimes we're lucky enough to have this happen before the event, so that there is time to make a change. Sometime, disaster strikes.
What to do? Insurance? Maybe - but if a vendor flakes out on the day of the wedding and doesn't show, there may be no one available to fill-in, no matter how much insurance you have. Use only vendors from the Venue's list? Perhaps; those are probably people who have worked at that site before - a good thing - but that does nothing to ensure their level of professionalism.
This is why we screen each of the Professional Members at L'Evento. We also monitor them, making sure they continue to provide excellent service. Because, ultimately, their reputation is completely tied up with ours. If a vendor you select from L'Evento's membership messes up, we're just as much responsible, and that's exactly how we feel.
It's not about liking someone - it's business. And, it's your event on the line. We cannot allow the success of that to be at risk. Please know that we are always looking out for our clients, to make sure you receive the utmost in service.
The Events Conciergetm
The top 5 stress-causing things in wedding planning from my perspective are:
1. Budget: Issues arise where there are disagreements on how to allocate the available funds, or when the amount available to spend is not sufficient for the style or services desired. To avoid this, make sure you have conversations with every person who will be contributing before you start making decisions. If you get your heart set on a lavish five-course meal in the city's swankiest venue with a guest list of 300, and then find out your budget is $10,000 - you're going to be disappointed. Know what's available to spend first, and how those contributing feel about how it gets spent, before you start planning.
2. Family: Planning and paying for weddings has shifted to fall on the couple and both sides of the family, creating more opportunities for confrontation. Additionally, "difficult" family dynamics can create a great deal of stress. This is just like to #1 - talk first, plan later. Figure out what the expectations of all the top figures are (like your parents), and do your best to be accommodating. You won't be able to make everyone happy about every aspect of your wedding, but people usually respond better to things not being as they'd like when they feel they've at least been heard. Remember, it is your wedding, but it's not just about you.
3. Unrealistic expectations: Most couples enter into wedding planning without a frame of reference for the typical cost of a wedding in their area. Therefore, they often mis- or under-estimate the amount that will be needed, or begin to make plans that will not be attainable. Do a little homework before you have that money conversation with everyone - that way, you'll have an idea of whether the rough figures are adding up or not. And, if they're not, start adjusting.
4. Vendor concerns: Couples must put a great deal of trust into each of their wedding professionals. The process of finding and hiring people to perform these services can be nerve-wracking, at best, and devastating should the vendor fail to perform as promised. In this situation, some kind of assurance of a vendor's professionalism can be invaluable. This is where L'Evento Event Resource Boutique or a qualified Wedding Consultant or Planner can really help out. We investigate and hand-select all our preferred vendors at L'Evento, so you can be certain the pros you find here will perform as agreed. An experienced planner will have an address book full of professionals with whom they've worked and were pleased with before, too.
5. Too much DIY: The trend today for many couples is to DIY their wedding - from invitations to flowers to music, couples are choosing not to hire professionals and instead do-it-themselves, sometimes to the detriment of the event. When a couple takes on too many projects, or tries to do things they are not familiar with how to do or the level of ability needed to complete, couples cause themselves additional stress in trying to complete these projects. Before planning to DIY, take stock of your own skills and those of your friends, your patience threshold, as well as the free time you have available. If you are a graphic designer by trade, then creating your own invitations makes sense. However, if your only experience with design is a two-week module on Microsoft Publisher in high school, then you may want to rethink that plan. Remember, too, that DIY projects often take more time than originally planned, so allow for that as well.
Finally, remember that we're here to help at L'Evento, in whatever way you need. From budget to design advice, to helping you find the prefect professional, we'll give you our best answer, or find someone who can!
Got questions? See something we missed? Comment & let us know!
With the multitude of wedding magazines, websites, blogs, television and more out there today, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the choices available to you. My suggestion? Before you look at the first wedding anything, look around your home. What magazines and books do you already own? What draws you to them? What colors are on your walls, your furniture, your accessories? What kind of style - contemporary, country, classic...? Whether you have a passion for fashion, gardening, home decor, or something completely different, think about how these natural "likes" could be reflected in your wedding.
It's easy to flip through a wedding magazine, and find many, many beautiful things that you love - and you will love them - but if you haven't already determined what you love outside of wedding design, you could very easily end up with either: A) a wedding that does not reflect your genuine style, or B) a hodgepodge of ideas that get tossed together, regardless of how they coordinate.
Finally, check in with your other half. Each of you should make a list of two-three favorite colors, plus activities and hobbies. Think of things you share - perhaps you have a sport you enjoy together, a favorite shared hobby, or perhaps a special vacation spot? What is it you each adore about the other? What makes your bond unique? Answering these questions can create a firm foundation on which to create your signature wedding look. (This isn't to say you should use everything on your lists - edit accordingly. However, you just might learn that your second favorite color is the same on both your lists - an obvious place to begin a wedding palette.)
Just remember to start with who you truly are first, then layer the wedding look on top of that. You'll be thrilled with the end result!
The Event Concierge
Hope you didn’t think we forgot about the all-important honeymoon! Last week we gave you some info on non-traditional registry alternatives. We had some interest in the honeymoon registry, so it’s about to have its own blog!
Most honeymoon registries are listed on a couple’s wedding website, with pictures and information about the upcoming getaway. Locally, our own Carmel Travel Company was able to shed some light on the questions surrounding your honeymoon registry. Owner Melisa Keiser says, “I explain to our clients that a honeymoon registry is just like the registry you set up at Macy’s or Target.” The only downside is the percent that goes to the registry service. “Couples have the opportunity to decide if they will be the ones paying the percent or if the gift givers will pay it.” Check out more about Melisa and the Carmel Travel Company at: http://www.carmeltravelcompany.com
Some of the more modern approaches to the honeymoon registry have allowed guests to purchase services or activities for the couple to enjoy while they are away. For example, a couple may list their destination, resort, and a few things they are interested in participating in while honeymooning. A guest can browse the page and purchase any of the listed activities or give a general monetary gift of any amount towards the honeymoon.
Common services and activities to consider including in your honeymoon registry are:
> Couples massages
> Scuba diving
> Elegant dining
> Private boat, safari, mountain, or city tours
> Wine tasting
> Spa packages
> Extreme sporting adventures
> Anything you can think of that the two of you will enjoy!
A great advantage of using an online registry is the ability to keep track of gifts to personalize those Thank-You’s. Be sure to thank your family and friends for allowing you two to partake in activities you may have otherwise gone without during your honeymoon. Those experiences will be with you forever!
Couples may see a honeymoon registry as asking for money, but a few years ago the new sensation of honeymoon registries was reviewed in The Wall Street Journal. "A honeymoon is a perfectly appropriate gift to request," says Peter Post, president of the Emily Post Institute, in Burlington, VT., a well-known etiquette think tank. "There's no objection to it from an etiquette point of view." This actually makes the gift giving process easier, more simplified for wedding guests.
Last week we talked about the history behind traditional bridal registries. This raised some questions about the larger, contribution-style registry ideas out there. Keep reading for more information about some of these ideas and find out how to get what it is you two really want or need.
Some couples have been married before, live together before the wedding, or had the patience to let love find its way to them. These situations can mean a marriage of more than just two people, but two households! What do you do when you’re getting married, but you already have all of the material household things you typically find on a registry?
There are great non-traditional registry options for the couples that already have everything! Some of the options are to create a honeymoon registry, a charity registry, a home down payment registry, or even a business funding registry. With secure, online registries you won’t have to handle all the envelopes on your wedding day and you can have an account of your gifts and givers to send those Thank-You’s. All of these registry options can help you, as a couple, achieve those big dreams you’re dreaming and have your friends and family to thank.
A charity registry can show your guests what charitable endeavor drives you as new couple, while allowing them to support that passion. Check out the I Do Foundation for more information on giving back, or starting a charity registry: www.idofoundation.org
A down payment registry with registered cash gifts qualify towards the down payment of a house, in accordance with FHA rules. Payments made toward a registry can make the entire process less stressful and more efficient. Be smart! Use a service that pays interest on your gift money and charges low fees for the registry services. We recommend starting with your local banker to explore the options available to you.
If you and your beloved are entrepreneurially inclined, you may be interested in establishing a business funding registry. Kickstarter is an online pledge system for funding creative projects, business ideas, or your next big company purchase. In this particular registry, Kickstarter collects money through Amazon payments and both companies will claim a percentage of the funds raised. On the flip side, they do not claim ownership over the project or work produced by the funds. For more information, or to start your own business venture, visit www.kickstarter.com
These are all great alternatives to establish a goal-setting registry and help the two of you begin with the end in mind. Don’t be afraid to try new things, new ideas, and new registries, but if you’re still unsure, feel free to ask us here at l’Evento for some gift guidance!
If you walk into a store that offers a bridal or wedding registry, some associates are happy to explain their company exchange and return policies and give you a suggested checklist of registry items. Others will simply turn you loose in their store and hope you bring them business! What you’re really there to do is get what you want, right? How did these registries become so extensive in the first place?
Bridal registries were originally started for brides to choose a china pattern and let their guests' generosity work toward completing an entire set. In 1924, when the first bridal registry was made available at Marshall Field’s the bride listed her choices of china, silver, and crystal. Years ago, although there were options for china patterns, there were not many options for your blender, toaster, or kitchen utensils. The bridal registry has now expanded to include the newest options a newlywed couple has to choose from when thinking about their household.
With so many choices for our modern-day bride there are different kinds of registries to suit your wedding, your guests, and your needs. A universal registry is able to compile all of your desired gifts, regardless of which store they are from, in one single list. A contributory registry or contribution registry allows multiple guests to contribute toward the purchase of a single, larger gift for the couple.
So, let’s figure out how to make the most of your registry, regardless of where it originates and how large it becomes. A good rule of thumb is to list two gifts for each guest or party invited to your wedding. Even if they cannot attend, guests will often send a gift. Offering a variety of high-end or costly gifts and balancing these with some that are less expensive gives your guests the freedom to choose, within their personal budgets, what they can get you.
See if this helps you develop a “scanning strategy” when the stores turn you two loose and check back next week to find out what else a registry can do for you!
How do I invite the right people to my wedding?
We all have a couple of friends on Facebook we haven’t actually met, right? So, how can you go about finding the right mix of family, friends, extended family, and acquaintances to invite to your wedding?
The first and biggest decision made regarding your wedding guest list is the number of people you can invite. This can be restrained by the budget, the venue, the equality of guests by comparison with your partner, or even the intimacy desired and expressed in your ceremony, reception, and vows. It is your special day, so think long and hard with your spouse-to-be about how many people you want to share it with. Don’t take too much time, though: as we said before, this is an important step in the wedding planning process, because it also dictates many other decisions down the road.
After you set the number, start getting that list of names together. Starting with family is a given, but "close" versus "extended" family can become a gray area for some. Inviting guests out of guilt is never a good enough reason to send an invitation. This is why wedding announcements, placed into the mail the day of your wedding, with small engagement photos are a great alternative. Sending something to family and friends that don’t keep in touch frequently or live far away keeps them in the loop without making them feel guilty.
The type of audience you want may depend on how you see yourselves and your wedding as a couple. While most friends you may know could easily bring a date, boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t forget about the married couples with children. Older and younger demographics often require extra thought, consideration, and accommodations for food, venue, music selection, and overall ceremony and reception tone.
Remember to check with all the players involved: both sets of parents included. While whomever is footing the bill gets a greater say in who is invited, everyone needs to have their opportunity for input. Listening (and maybe a little compromising) now will pave the way for smoother wedding planning down the road.
Deciding on your guest list is a fun, great way to spend some time together with your spouse-to-be before making other decisions. Get to know and talk about each other’s friends and family, before meeting some of them for the first time. Just make sure it all gets worked out to whatever feels right for both of you at your wedding early on in the planning process, remembering that figuring this out now makes it all a little bit easier later!