Thursday, October 13, 2011

Things To Consider When Taking On A DIY Project

So, you think you want to do it yourself when it comes to some or all aspects of planning your wedding. Well, before taking on a do-it-yourself project, I encourage you to think about what that means, and to answer these questions before diving in.

1. What Is The Purpose/Motivation/Reason for Taking on This Project?
· Are you doing it to save money?
· Are you doing it to express your creative side?
· Are you doing it to have hands on experience in planning your wedding?

2. Will It Really Save You Money?
· Do you have to take a class to learn how to do the project?
· Have you factored in the cost of materials, books, and the need for extra supplies to account for the mistakes you will undoubtedly make?
· Have you factored in the time it will take to drive around to get the material, etc.?

3. Will You Have The Time To Work on the Project?
· You’re working, planning a wedding, taking care of family, not to mention yourself. Will you have the time to take on this project?
· Taking on an extra task/project when your plate is already full is a sure recipe for stress, burnout and a meltdown

4. DIY Doesn’t Mean Doing it ALL By Yourself
· What this means very simply is it's okay to allow others to help you

Moral of the story: You are the bride not superwoman. Don’t let the fact that you think it would be nice to get the credit for pulling together such a fabulous event or project keep you from hiring professionals to do the job or at the very least, ask for help from loved ones and friends.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Ties That Bind

In a previous post I shared a few tips on documenting the details of your big day, and making sure your wants and wishes are clearly detailed in your wedding professionals contracts. Following are a few more tips to help you navigate the ties that bind.

· Get everything in writing because verbal deals are not binding.

· Negotiating is like a dance. It's give and take. Everything is negotiable! Howevever my next point is crucial...

· Think it through! What are your needs, wants, and absolute must haves? The time spent before signing the contract is called negotiating. Once the contract is signed, it’s called BEGGING.

· Here today, gone tomorrow. There is a high rate of turnover in banquet sales. The sales person who promises you the world today, could very well be off to another sales position tomorrow. If your sales person leaves – all the verbal agreements go with them and you won’t get what was “promised”.

· Professional wedding planners may seem like magicians, however if what you want is not in the contract, your planner’s hands are tied. Although your planner will go to bat for you, she may not be able to “make it happen” if it’s not in writing.

· As new deals, agreements and promises are made, make sure to get a new contract or signed addendum.

· If a verbal agreement was made, be sure to follow it up with an email confirming the discussed details and request a reply confirmation.

· Make sure you get a copy of every change, note, discussion, etc.

· No detail is too small to note, especially if it is important to the success and the vision you have for your wedding day.

Contracts are the least fun part of planning a wedding, but they are absolutely the most vital part of your wedding day success!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's In Your Emergency Kit?

Despite all of the claims of producing a “perfect” wedding, the reality of the day is that there will be some snafus. Unforeseen situations will arise that you did not plan for, stuff will happen, and people will be people. How prepared are you? If you are lucky you will have a professional wedding planner on hand to run interference and you will not have to tend to the issues yourself. However, if you decide to go it alone, an emergency kit is a must. The wedding day emergency kit that I prepare for each client is filled with over a hundred items. Quite honestly unless you’ve planned hundreds of weddings, some of the things you’d find in the kit would have questioning why. As a planner it is my job to think outside of the box and to see the whole picture. So, here are just a few “out of the box” thinking items you might want to include in your kit.

Toothpicks – are perfect for stabilizing a bent boutonniere. Simply run the toothpick through the center of the flower into the stem in order to straighten it out again and keep it from drooping.

Rubber bands – waist band too tight? Rubber bands are perfect for fastening pants and covering the waist band with a vest or cummerbund.

Floral Tape – is definitely a must for missing or completely destroyed boutonnieres. Solution: remove a floral stem from an altar arrangement or one of the bridesmaids bouquets, cut the stem down to size and wrap floral tape around it…and voila you are back in business!

Panty Liners – work extremely well under the armpits of a very nervous groom :-)

Straws – reduces the need for constant lipstick touch-ups for bride and bridesmaids who need to drink water or their beverage of choice while waiting to take pictures and partake in other wedding day festivities.

Crochet Needle – an absolute MUST have for buttoning those tiny buttons on the back of the brides wedding gown!

Stain Remover – Those “Shout Wipe Pads” are the best thing created since sliced bread! Inevitably, the bride is going to get a mark or smudge or something on her gown between the time she puts it on and the time she heads to the ceremony…never fails, so stock up!

Again, these are just a few items you should consider having in your kit. It’s better to be prepared and not need them, than to need them and not be prepared.

I would love to hear from you. What potential wedding day disaster was averted because you or your coordinator was prepared with a well- stocked emergency kit?

Monday, August 29, 2011

It’s A Matter of Time – Wedding Day Itinerary Construction Tip #1

When constructing your wedding day itinerary, there are three points of views to be considered. The first of which, is from the view point of you as the couple, your families and the wedding party.

The last thing you want on your wedding day is for those involved (including yourselves) to feel anxious, harried, rushed or unprepared for the wedding. If the day starts off running behind schedule it will create a snowball effect for the rest of the day, and you will find yourselves trying to play catch up as the day progresses.

One of the first things to take into account is the preparation time (hair, make-up, grooming, and dressing) needed for the bride, groom, attendants, parents, etc., and the travel time needed to get all of the players to the ceremony site on time. Keep in mind that on time doesn’t mean the start time but at least 45 minutes to an hour before. Here are a few tips to help you better manage your preparation and travel time.

Hair and Make-up

· If it is at all possible, please avoid getting your hair done on the day of the wedding. Of course every bride and for that matter bridesmaid wants to have a fresh hair style on the day of the wedding. This can be accomplished by getting your hair done the day before and getting it touched up on the morning of the wedding.
· Get all coloring, cutting, perms and weaves done a day or two before the wedding day…these processes will eat up time that you do not have on the wedding day.
· Get all facials, waxing, plucking, etc. done a week or two before your wedding. The last thing you want is to have to spend "time" tending to a swollen, pimply, red, blotchy face on your big day.
· If you will be having a make-up artist do your make-up as well as the make-up for your bridal party, plan accordingly. Generally speaking make-up artist require 30 to 45 minutes for each face, and like to have at least an hour for the bride.
· I don’t want to leave out the groom and groomsmen on this one. Similar to the advice for the bride and bridesmaids, gentlemen please get your haircut and shave a day or two before the big day. Your wedding day is the one day it will take a little longer to prepare yourself, and you don’t want to be delayed by the barber.

Travel Preparation

· When it comes to scheduling your travel itinerary, obviously you want to be on time. In order to do that, be sure to take into account such things as weather conditions, traffic patterns during your travel time, and construction that may be taking place on your travel route.
· Be sure to factor in the number of people and the time it takes for them to get in and out of the vehicle.
· If you will be using a larger vehicle, such as a stretch limo, hummer, etc., be sure to make allowance for the extra time these vehicles will need to navigate through streets that you normally drive with ease.

Organization is Key

· One of the best pieces of advice I can give on the subject of preparing yourself on the morning of the wedding is to be organized. There will be a lot going on as everyone will be trying to get themselves together, and assist the bride and groom in their preparation. A clutter free environment is the goal. If multiple people are getting dressed in one location, it is wise to get organized by hanging up attire, lining up shoes, laying out jewelry, and packing necessary items that you will need during the course of the day as you go along. Be sure to get rid of unneeded bags, boxes, etc., and designate a separate area for hair and make-up.

Be sure to check back later for tips on how to construct your wedding day itinerary from the point of view of your vendors.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Gown Of Your Dream Can Make A Wish Come True

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of combining my two loves – working with brides and volunteering for a worthy cause at the fund raising event “Brides Against Breast Cancer” – for the granting wishes organization “Making Memories”.

This annual event serves a two fold purpose. It gives blushing-brides-to-be a chance to find the dress of their dreams at an amazing savings, while making wishes and dreams come true for women and men who are losing their fight against breast cancer.

Gowns are donated by bridal shops, designers, manufactures and individuals alike. Proceeds from this sales event help to bring moments of joy into the life of someone for who a cure is too late.

Hats off to the Making Memories Foundation and others like it, and to the brides-to-be such as Danae and Parisa, who I met while volunteering, who thought it not robbery to make a piece of their day count in the life of another.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Plan Well My Friend – Plan Well

I like the slogan for “Cure Auto Insurance”. It simply says…drive well. That got me to thinking about “insuring” the success of your wedding. Great weddings/events don’t just happen, they are planned, and if they are planned well, will leave you feeling all aglow for years to come and have your guests talking for months on end. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you plan well.

Your first test in wedding planning flexibility will be in choosing a date. It would be a wonderful thing if the first date your chose was available for all involved. However, if it turns out that it is not, you then have to determine what’s more important to you: the day, the date, the availability of the venue you want, your pastor/minister’s availability, the month, the time of year, the availability of your best friend to be in the wedding, etc.

How busy will you be prior to your big day? Life will continue to happen as you plan your wedding. There will be work deadlines, vacations, holidays, doctor appointments, children and elderly parents to care for, celebrations for family and friends, etc. The list is endless. It would do you well to do some forward thinking to determine if the date you decide will conflict with other life responsibilities and happenings.

The style of wedding you want should be considered early on. Knowing your wedding style will help you to determine your date, venue and other wedding planning elements. If, for example, you want a Garden Themed wedding, you’d probably lean towards a date in April or May, and you might be attracted to an arboretum or tented outdoor shindig.

The location of your wedding is a critical element. It sets the tone. It tells the story. It serves as the backdrop for the start of your new lives together. What you need to know and understand is that venues, especially the more popular ones book years in advance. If you have fallen in love with a venue, and it is a non-negotiable for you, my recommendation is to book it early on. Keep in mind you may have to sacrifice the date you want for another that is available.

These are just a few examples of planning well, my friend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Had The Time Of My Life

As you begin to plan the details of your wedding, keep in mind that the wedding is not just for you and your sweetie. I often say that while marriage is for the couple, the wedding is for your friends and family to enjoy. The wedding gives those you love and are close to an opportunity to share in the happiest day of your life, and to have a great time in the process. As you are pulling the details together for your big day, following are some common mistakes to avoid:

Seating Guests At A Table Where They Don’t Know Anyone
Putting together a seating arrangement is challenging. But the goal to keep in mind is for everyone to have a good time. This is not the time to play “match-maker” amongst your single friends or to create a “family affair” with yours, mine and ours meeting for the first time. Small talk makes for an awkward experience. You want each table to come alive and have their own little "private party"…trust me it makes for a wonderful time to be had by all. For more suggestions on how to put together your seating arrangements, click here.

Playing Music Too Loud
Although this is the time to get your party "on", you do not want your guests leaving the party with ringing ears and a splitting headache. This is especially a sensitive area for your older guests. If the music is too loud, it is not only uncomfortable to sit through, but also hinders conversation and can put a damper on your reception. When you meet with your DJ or Band, be sure to discuss the sound levels and make sure they do a sound check in both the front and back of the room.

Not Giving Your Guests A Chance To Congratulate You As The New Mr. And Mrs.
Guests, without a doubt want to have an opportunity to greet you as husband and wife and offer their congratulations. If you are not having a receiving line because of time constrains, space issues, etc., please be sure to make your rounds as a couple, throughout the reception to greet each guest and give them the opportunity to offer their well wishes.

These are just a few guest "pet peeves" if you will. I will share more in a future post. Happy Planning!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Planning a bridal shower or baby shower? Undecided about what to give as a favor gift? How about treating your sister friends to this adorable personalized vanilla scented lip balm? Present them as a way of saying thanks for their support during this special time in your life. Check out to choose from a selection of 17 designs and 4 color options. Your friends will definitely kiss you for it :-D

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bridal Survival Tip #4 - Allow Yourself Some Flexibility

It’s your wedding…I get that. You’ve always dreamed of this day…I get that. You want the wedding party to wear plaid (okay, maybe I’m pushing it), but the point I’m trying to make is that just because it’s your wedding it doesn’t give you cart blanch to be inflexible, stubborn and unrealistic about what you want. Here are a few of the disadvantages of having this type of attitude towards the planning of your wedding.

It creates undue stress & tension on an already emotional experience.

It shows insensitivity towards the feelings of others.

It takes the pleasure out of planning – for you and for those around you.

To avoid experiencing these negative feelings, my advice is to be flexible with some of your desires. I promise this will keep you from snapping under the pressure of planning.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's A Matter of Time - Timeline Tips Series

Timelines are an absolute must when it comes to planning your wedding. They provide a detailed snapshot of EVERYTHING that will take place on that day, and in some cases, detail the days leading up to the big day. A well thought out timeline will cover every detail from sunrise to sunset, from setup to breakdown and everything in between. To ensure your wedding day success, your timeline should be shared with everyone involved with executing the days events. Developing a detailed timeline is no light-weight matter. A professional planner can offer this service to you and save you countless hours of frustration and stress. For those of you who decide to go it alone, I will share with you in this series, tips on what should be included in your timeline and provide you with pertinent information that will keep you on track and on schedule on the most important day of your life. Be sure to stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Key To Hiring A Wedding Planner That Meets Your Needs

When it comes to building your team of wedding professionals who will work together to give you a picture perfect day it is important to do your homework up front and equally important to know what you are looking for. This rule of thumb holds true for every aspect of product or service…from caterer, to photographer to wedding planner, which brings me to the reason for this post…

Not all wedding planners are created equal. As it is with other services, wedding planners also have specialties. The keys to finding one who is a perfect fit for you is to know where your areas of weakness lie, and to know what you want.

If for example you find that you lack a flair for creativity and uniqueness, then you are most likely in the market for a planner who is skilled in designing. This type of planner can create a “wow” experience for you and your guests. Preston Bailey, David Tutera and Colin Cowie fall into this category. Creating a unique and memorable experience is the aim and expertise of this type of planner.

Like many brides, you may have budget constraints or you may be short on the time that is required for planning a wedding. You would do best to look for a planner who is skilled in getting you more bang for your buck, and fitting you with vendors who match your budget, style preference and personality. This type of planner has many years of experience and a pool of quality vendor with whom she has established relationships with and has the leverage to “negotiate" the best prices and services for your money.

Now if you find yourself completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of details involved in planning or you are disorganized and frazzled then you need a planner who is detailed oriented, and thorough in guiding you to the “what’s next” on that seemingly never ending checklist of things to do. This type of planner is skilled in logistics and can move you from point A to point B in an effortless manner.

Most professional planners are proficient in all three areas, however as it is in most things in life, they may excel in one area over another. Again, what you need to know and understand is what your specific needs are and research a planner that fits that need, and when it’s all over, you will sing the praises of her name. Happy Planning!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Thoughts On Creating Your Own Wedding WOW

In the previous post, I talked about envisioning your big day: the sights, the sounds, the experiences you want your guests to walk away with. Today, I want to talk about how incorporating a theme plays a huge role in creating your own wedding wow.

Choose an element (theme) and carry it throughout the wedding. Themes bring cohesiveness to your wedding. You want to have a rhyme and reason for the elements you include in your day. A theme can center around a color, a symbol, the story of how you met, a menu item, a season, a period in your life, etc. The ideas are endless. The point is to pick an element and build on it, and remember that less is best, subtlety is the goal. Avoid tipping the hodge podge scale, which brings me to my next tip:

Don’t try to have it all. I know, I know, it’s all so “pretty” and you think you must have it for your day. But this is where most brides make their mistake and find themselves feeling overwhelmed and scattered because they lose focus. That is why it is so important to start with a vision and to agree upon your priorities, so that as you begin to research the possibilities, you do so with your vision firmly in mind and you won’t be tempted by all of the pretty elements that will undoubtedly beckon your name.

Plan within you budget. Remember, it all adds up and it does so very quickly. Once your budget is set, commit to staying within those constraints. This will keep you from “just having to have this or having to have that”. And there you will have it…Wedding WOW…and peace of mind in the process!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Make Your Mark!

Monograms are a classy and elegant way to carry out the design or theme of your wedding. The following ideas are a great way for making your mark on your day!

In addition to the ideas pictured above, here is a list of a few things on which you can "make your mark"
Stamped on your Wedding Stationary
Custom Made Postage Stamp
Envelop Seal
Custom Made Aisle Runner
Out-of-Town Welcome Bags
Guest Book
Place Cards and Menus
Cocktail Napkins
Table Numbers
Wall or Door Banner
Favor Labels

If you have a unique "make your mark" idea that you would like to share, we would love to here from you!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“Plan A” – Enjoy Each Other During The Planning Process

“If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere…” as I began to write this post, those lyrics started playing in my head. Why you may ask? Well, if you and your sweetie can make it through the planning process without losing sight of “each other”, then I’d say you are off to the start of what will be a long and happy marriage.

If you are not careful, the next 6 months to a year (the time it takes most couples to plan their wedding) can take a toll on your relationship. Here are a few tips on how to avoid putting a strain on your relationship and how to include your sweetie in on the planning of your big day so the two of you can get a head start on living happily ever after.

He has his ideas, you have yours and never shall the two meet or agree. Not so fast ladies. Although your sweetie may not be as emotionally attached to the planning as you are, because he is thinking with a rational mind, it might do you well to listen to what he has to say. Don’t discount his input. Be flexible and remember it is his day too, and without him, there would be no wedding, so give your sweetie a little wiggle room. Contrary to popular belief, we are not the only ones with a vision for our big day. You both want to look back on the day with fond memories of the day you both planned "together".

Have a "no wedding plan" discussion. Make it a point to engage in conversation with your sweetie and talk about any and everything he wants to talk about, without bring up wedding details. I know it may not seem like it, but there are other things to talk about other than your wedding. Consider this, set one day aside each week that the two of you agree upon to sit down and discuss wedding details.

Schedule time away from work, wedding plans and the mundane day to day things. Start now to keep the fire burning in your relationship. Make plans to do things together that you both like that has absolutely nothing to do with the wedding. Enjoy your favorite hobby, exercise, spend some time enjoying each other. You might as well get a head start on your marriage…which will be the focus long after the wedding.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Creating Your Own Wedding WOW!

One of the most exciting things about planning a wedding is coming up with a vision for the day. In today’s wonderful world of wedding planning there are as many ideas for doing so, as there are brides/couples. Each couple comes with their own style, experiences and story. Incorporating these elements is what creates a “Wedding WOW” experience. Consider this in creating your own.

Envision the whole picture. What is your vision for your day? With all of the wedding magazines, websites and television shows it’s easy to experience sensory overload and lose your focus. Before reaching for a bridal magazine, before surfing the web, before entertaining advice and input from well-meaning loved ones and friends, sit down with your honey and decide together what you want for your big day. What story do you want to tell? What is the experience you want your guests to walk away with? What are the sights, sounds and smells of the day? Once you have your vision firmly in place you will not fall victim to trying to have it all and driving yourself and everyone around you crazy. With a vision you can move out with confidence and a plan for your own wedding wow!

Create a wonderful experience for your guests. People are gonna talk…that’s a given. So “plan” to give them something to talk about! Sharing in your celebration, partaking in great food, experiencing good company, and having an opportunity to have a wonderful time, is the order of the day. Plan with these thoughts in mind!