Bright are all of my memories of working with Debbie and Chris to plan their wedding. What a gift it was to be a part of their special day and to witness their joy! It was a beautiful day, full of love and churros. Shout out to Magnolia Weddings for capturing this amazing album!
I had the honor of coordinating Tina and Danny’s wedding at Deer Park Villa last December. We had an incredible team working together to make this wedding the absolute dream that it was, and I am in love with the photos Morgan Hydinger took!
Scroll to see the vendors to made this wedding a success.
As a wedding coordinator, my goal is to provide my brides and grooms with a stress-free period before their wedding, as well as a worry-free day that goes smoothly from start to finish. Part of ensuring that this happens is working with other wedding vendors to share information, particularly regarding the timeline of the day and any special requests of the bride and groom.
A photographer is key to a smooth wedding day. She is there for the entirety of the wedding day, from the moment the bridal party starts getting ready to the send off in the getaway car. I love working with wedding photographers because their craft is a true gift to the couples whose weddings they capture!
Booking a Photographer
If I am helping a couple book a wedding photographer, I suggest they meet with the photographer to see if the photographer seems like a good fit for them. I encourage them to find someone who matches not just their wedding budget, but their stylistic preferences and personality, as well. Once the bride and groom have made a choice on their photographer, the couple and I discuss a shot list. Typically, I suggest the couple come up with this with their photographer, since this is her area of expertise. I then request that they provide me with a copy so that I can help them create a timeline that will accommodate the pictures that they want.
Before the Wedding
In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I start communicating with each vendor. Each vendor receives a detailed timeline of the day. They also receive a wedding professionals contact information sheet. Finally, each vendor gets a reminder of the times and addresses for the wedding festivities. For the photographer in particular, I like to touch base to see if she has any questions about the flow of the day. I want to double check that she has ample time to get the shots that the couple has discussed with her!
At the Wedding
On the day of the wedding, I touch in early with the photographer. I remind her that I am available to answer any questions or address concerns. Then I go attend to the rest of my job while she attends to hers. My job is never to micromanage other professionals. It is to ensure that we are all able to do our jobs at the wedding in a seamless way. As the day progresses, I usually check in with the photographer to see how things are going. Sometimes, we discuss any last minute timeline changes as requested by the bride and groom. I also love when the bride and groom sneak off with the photographer for some pictures away from the party - such as a sunset shoot. My job then is to ensure that the party keeps flowing and that guests are happy so that the couple is able to have that time with the photographer. This time can result in some of the most romantic photos!
In addition to the collaborative work on the wedding day, here are some nice “extras” that I have experienced with some of the wonderful photographers I have worked with:
When the photographer stays in touch after the wedding and shares her work. We share information, write reviews for each other, and she allows me to use her photos to showcase my work on the wedding. All of this is done with a collaborative spirit!
When the photographer snaps a few images of me in action. This is such a nice surprise when I see them after the wedding.
When the photographer personally delivers her photos to the couple, either on a digital storage device or on carefully printed photos. I know couples who have had this experience really cherished it!
Keara Anne is a wife, mom, and a former teacher turned wedding coordinator. She lives and works out of the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania. Keara specializes in month-of wedding coordination, but tailors her services based on her clients’ planning needs. Her goal is to walk alongside each couple to provide them with a peaceful planning experience. That way, Keara believes, they are able to prepare not just for their wedding, but for their marriage. Check her out at www.keara-anneweddings.com.
Venue: Allied Arts Guild
Wedding Coordinator: Perfectly Planned Moments
Photography: Ty Pentecost Photography
Bridal Gown and Veil: Nelly’s Bridal Boutique
Bridal Jewelry: Blue Nile
Bridal Hair and Make-up: Vinnia via Susie Chhuor Professional Hair and Makeup Team
Suits/Tux: Men’s Warehouse
Florist: (Christina Yan) Bellevue Floral Co.
Ceremony/Reception Décor: Bellevue Floral Co.
Caterer: Caterman Catering
Baker: Mazzetti’s Bakery
Ever since Pinterest launched in 2010, engaged people have become obsessed with what is now commonly known as the Pinterest Wedding. And while it has definitely increased the scope of DIY wedding inspiration, it has also created a Pinterest Wedding Standard that tends to pressure couples into decorating their weddings accordingly.
This has created an interesting dynamic, since the Do It Yourself wedding photos of beautiful favors and painted mason jars do have their appeal, both in aesthetic and in potentially money-saving hacks; however, the Pinterest Wedding is not for the faint of heart, nor is it as original as it once was. Nowadays, weathering wedding planning with Pinterest around can be very conflicting. To help you out, listed below are some general rules to help keep you focused on what's really important. (Hint: it's NOT the burlap table runner your photographer will cry about when you show him.)
Pinterest Rule #1: Don't Fall For the Money-Saving Lies
"Make your own wedding favors!" they say. "It will save you so much money!" they say. This is not always the case. Those itty-bitty jars you're going to fill with handmade jam are only $2 each, but you have 150 guests. You're already at $300, and you haven't even bought the ingredients for the jam yet, the ribbon you're going to tie around it, or the cute labels you're going to hand print and stick on! And did I mention how much time you're going to spend making these? Uh, don't you have a wedding to plan? On top of spending $XXX on your wedding favors, you now have to shop for and prep these darned things! How much is your time worth? Is it really less than the cost of professionally crafted, shipped-right-to-your-door favors from Etsy? A better question: do you really need favors at your wedding at all?
Here's the other problem with DIY projects: it's hard to stop at one. Not only because one handmade item cries out for another to join it for the sake of a cohesive decor theme, but because the idea of DIYing these projects is addicting. (Note that I did not say assembly.) On top of your favors you will want to DIY the paper flower bouquets, the assorted flavor cake-pops, the painted Chinese lanterns, the hand-embroidered ties for the groomsmen, and the freaking glitter-stuffed balloons you want to mail in your invitations for some reason.
...The point is, you're going to spend a lot of money DIYing things, thinking all the while that you're sure saving so much money! Listen to me: that is nonsense.
Pinterest Rule #2: You're Going to Spend So Much Time REMAKING Your Projects
Unless you're an expert crafter, DIY won't look as good as the professionally taken pictures. You just have to realize that the bloggers who create and post about these things usually aren't the Do It Yourself type like you're thinking--they're professionals who Do-This-Stuff-For-A-Living. If you end up attempting these things the week of your wedding thinking it'll be a cinch, you're going to be surprised and overwhelmed when you find that your version of the project that you followed to a T looks nothing like Pinterest's picture! You will have to try again! And...probably again. After the third time, one of three things will happen:
1) You will succeed and have a good product after spending more time and resources than you thought you'd have to.
2) You will have failed miserably and throw up your hands and finally say "Fine, I'm hiring a professional."
3) You will have a dreadfully embarrassing cake as shown above and below, you will be dirt poor from all of those late-night runs to Michael's, and you will then have to use your embarrassing cake at your wedding because you cannot afford another. Now that's #pinterestworthy!
Please take a moment to enjoy these other Pinterest vs. Reality photos.
Pinterest Rule #3: Substance, Not Just Decor, at Your Wedding, is important
Want to have a memorable wedding your guests will look back on with appreciation? Give them great food and drinks. Of course, you want your wedding to be beautiful, and it is YOUR day, so ultimately you should make your wedding look the way you dream of it, but if your main concern is having a wedding that will impress your guests, invest in things your guests, not just your photographer, will appreciate.
Pinterest Rule #4: Pinterest-Inspired no longer guarantees original
In fact, finding decor ideas on Pinterest and imitating them for your wedding isn't original at all, and some are so insanely overdone that your wedding vendors secretly cry about them together. (Read: burlap-anything, twinkle lights and mason jars. Seriously, PLEASE STOP WITH THE MASON JARS.)
Pinterest Rule #5: Telling Your Photographer What You Want with Your Pinterest Boards Limits Creativity
If it's on Pinterest, it's already been done! Pinterest is an awesome resource for IDEAS, but don't get swept up into trying to make your wedding an imitation of your Pinterest Board. Your photographer will not appreciate being asked to copy someone else's staged photos; instead, allow your photographer to create new photos worthy of their own Pinterest Posts!
Pinterest Rule #6: Be Inspired By Pinterest, Not Pressured Only to Copy It.
Hopefully throughout this post you've not come away with the idea that Pinterest is The Worst, because that's not at all true. Pinterest is a wonderful resource to use when planning--let's be real--anything! But it is not the end all be all of ideas. Let it start you off, however, remember that you too can come up with original ideas to make your wedding beautiful, memorable and photo-worthy. The last thing you should be concerned about is whether your wedding is adequate based on your ideas' exposure to Pinterest. You too can pioneer Pinterest-Worthy decor!
Last week I had the privilege of coordinating an absolutely STUNNING wedding at Menlo Park's Allied Arts Guild. A hidden gem in the middle of a lovely neighborhood, Allied Arts is an enormous garden with small artist shops in nooks and crannies throughout. What a beautiful day!
Looking forward to the next few weddings on my calendar this summer! Stay tuned for more.
Are you getting into unexpected fights with your Significant Other about napkin colors? Pouring your time, tears, and more emotional stamina than you have into guests lists? Have you stopped caring about who will give a toast at dinner?
...You're probably planning your wedding.
Weddings are notorious for bringing out unusual tension during the planning process in ways that you'd never expect, and may never experience again once the wedding is over. For sure, it's unfortunate timing, as you have a hundred other things to handle that are stressful enough by themselves. It can, However, be viewed as a good opportunity to work through never-before-seen areas of your relationship with your SO to improve your relationship post-wedding. Below are listed three ways to help you manage conflict during your wedding planning process, and afterwards too.
Keep in mind that a lot of relationship tension is stress-induced. Having the correct outlook on stress can significantly impact how it effects you. According to studies presented in This TED Talk, whether stress impacts your health depends on whether you think of it as a good or a bad thing. Stress looked at as a bad addition to your life can begin to break down your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, however, addressing stress with the attitude that it adds an extra bump of energy to your life will only serve to drive you forward, with no side-effects.
Take Time to Communicate
I'm going to be bold and assert that the biggest reason why most Relationship problems occur is not because people make huge mistakes worthy of our dramatic grief, but because we often fail to communicate to one-another. When problems arise between you and your SO (and they WILL arise at some point during the planning process), instead of immediately thinking the worst of them, take the time to repeat back to them what you think is going on or what they said. Chances are, you've misunderstood them. If you hurt each others feelings, use "I feel" statements instead of saying things like "You did..." When we properly communicate our thoughts and feelings, we are more likely to quickly and civilly resolve conflict.
This is YOUR Day
If your mom wants all of her friends to come to the wedding but won't financially contribute to it, your best friend is insisting on wedding colors you don't really like, and your cousins from out of state want you to have the wedding in their town so they don't have to travel...you just need to put your foot down and say "NOPE." This wedding is not about them. You choose the guests you want at YOUR wedding, and where it will be held, and what colors it is in. Pleasing everybody will not result in a happy wedding. The more you try to please everybody, the less "you" this wedding will become, and--believe it or not--the less happy people will become with you because there is simply not enough room or money to compromise for everyone. If you compromise for one person, but not another, you're asking for trouble to arise. Be solid from the start that the wedding choices are yours by setting boundaries. This doesn't give you permission to go Bridezilla, but rather, to respectfully listen to others' ideas and request that they respect your wishes if you say "no."
Last week was a dream! It was the first wedding I coordinated to kick off the season and it was so wonderful. My clients and I have been planning their wedding for nearly a year now, and to see it finally come together was beautiful.
Here are some of the photos captured by Tyler Rodrigues, the fabulous florist.
The Sweetheart Table
A Groomsman's Boutonnierre
The Bride's Bouquet
The Bridal Party's Bouquets
The Banquet Table Setup
The Beautiful Ceremony Arbor
The Reception Banquet Room
My next wedding is in just a couple of weeks, and I am so excited to share more photos as soon as they are captured.
Continuing the previous post on cakes and dessert options for your wedding, let's get right into icings to be considered.
There are many different types of icings to choose from, depending on what texture and look you want for your cake. Different icings vary in how they taste, pair with cakes, and dry on cake. Here are descriptions of the most common icings you will find on cakes.
Made of real butter, eggs, and sugar, this icing is smooth and dries soft and shiny. Keep in mind that buttercream needs to be refrigerated, and easily melts, as its base is butter. It is not the ideal icing for an outdoor wedding where it will sit in the sun, but is instead a good choice for an indoor event where it will more likely be in an air-conditioned place where the integrity of its shape will be maintained. It is an incredibly versatile frosting choice, as its flavor is easily paired with nearly any cake, and can itself be flavored with choices like almond or mint.
Fondant icing is poured over a cake as a liquid to coat and dry on small cakes, or is rolled into a sheet, and molded around larger cakes like a dough. It tastes similar to marshmallows, and holds up well in heat, as it is very thick, and dries hard and smooth. Because it is thick, it can be shaped into decorative items like flowers, leaves, and other fun cake toppers.
Marzipan is very sweet-tasting paste made from ground almonds and vanilla, which can be used similarly to fondant.
Modelling chocolate be can white,milk or dark chocolate. It can also be applied like fondant, but is prone to melting in sensitive environments just as buttercream is.
This icing is made of eggs, icing sugar, and lemon juice. It's very sweet and hardens very quickly, but is a great choice for decorating with because it keeps it shape, and has a pretty, glossy look, like glass or porcelain.
Meringue is light and airy, with a mildly sweet taste. It dries hard, and holds up well in heat as long as it has time to set. It has a very mild taste that complements most cake flavors. It is also a good choice for decorating with.
Icing is not just frosted. It can be piped in hundreds of different shapes to create beautifully elaborate or elegantly simple patterns on your cake, similarly to the cake in the picture above!
Other Decorative Options
If using flowers on your cake, go for flowers that match the ones in the bridal bouquet, and--if possible--in colors that match the wedding colors. Ask your confectioner about edible flower options. Inedible flowers can also be used so long as they have not been sprayed with pesticides and are removed before serving. Obviously, silk flowers are also an option.
Ribbons are often used to call attention to the layers on a tiered cake. They can be made from silk or created from icing options such as fondant.
Wedding cake toppers are best known as being a tiny replica of a bride and groom, but can also be 3D words sitting atop the cake, flowers, crystals, or nearly anything else! Get creative!
Other Cake Details To Be Aware Of
Signing the Contract
When you've decided on a confectioner and a cake option you like, it's time to sign the contract. Remember to read everything first before you sign it. Make sure what you're signing is what you agreed to when you talked to your confectioner! In the contract should be the following details...
The deposit and date the cake is to be paid for (often 50%), and when the remainder will be due should be laid out. Make sure this includes delivery fees and all rental costs (such as toppers, cake cutters, cake displays, etc).
The Date the Cake will be Prepared
Sometimes cakes take multiple days to prepare! The start and end date of the cake's preparation should be included.
It is usually the confectioner's job to transport the cake to the venue. Make sure the date of the reception, it's location address, and arrival time are listed.
Make sure a list of cake ingredients is included, as well as a list of acceptable ingredient substitutions for ingredients that may become unavailable when the cake must be baked (I.E. seasonal fruits).
A complete description of the cake, including the number of tiers and layers, flavors and fillings and icing, as well as its decor should be listed. Sometimes pictures can be included to ensure design accuracy.
Saving The Top Cake
It is traditional for the bride and groom to freeze the top tier of their cake and eat it on their 1st wedding anniversary. If you are serving cupcakes but have a small cake for this purpose, it is customary to cut from that cake to feed each other a bite during the reception, but to then wrap the rest up for freezing. Ask your confectioner to help wrap it up to avoid freezer burn.
Other Dessert Options
If you would prefer not to serve a wedding cake, you can choose cupcakes instead! A cupcake tree is a popular option, similar-looking to the picture above.
If your not a cake fanatic, don't worry! Serving cake at your wedding isn't the only option at all. Pies are also good choices, as are chocolate fountains or s'mores. You can serve a candy bar or a build-your-own-sundae bar. Or, if you don't want to focus on anything specific, you can serve a dessert table filled with a variety of cookies, chocolates, cakes, pies, mouses, squares, the list goes on. Get creative!
As you can see, while the variety of cake options is huge, the dessert sky is the limit! Forget about tradition, if that's your only reason for choosing cake. Choose the dessert you like the best! What is most important for your wedding dessert is that you're happy with it. Choose the dessert that best suits who you and your fiance are! Your guests will be sure to love it.
What comes to mind when choosing the ideal cake for your wedding may be things like the style, the size, and the flavor; but there are some other crucial parts that may slip your mind when you think about your cake. For example, how the cake reflects the theme of your wedding, or how appropriate the size of your cake may be when considering your guest count. Let's begin to cover some of these aspects to ensure that you'll choose the perfect cake for your wedding.
Portion cost: How much one portion of cake will be per person. One slice may be anywhere between $4-10, which, multiplied by your entire guest count, can add up quickly!
Cake size is another big factor to consider, because over- or underestimating how big of a cake you need can really mess up your budget--or cause guests to go without cake!
There are several types of cake to choose from:
- Tiered Cakes (which are stacked cake layers resting on wooden or plastic dowels sticking into the cake for support.)
- Small cakes (often a personal cake for the bride and groom to cut from and then take home, while the guests are served something else.)
- Cupcakes (individual cakes for each guest, often served in very creative flavors.)
-Styrofoam Cakes (Styrofoam shapes covered in frosting on display which are taken away after the initial cake cutting and replaced by cake slices from Sheet Cake cut up in the kitchen, which are then distributed to guests.)
Bakery Location vs. Reception Location
The location of where you get your cake can play a big role in how much you are going to spend on it, along with how easily the cake will transport to the venue. If your venue is in San Francisco, remember that bakeries in high-end cities can charge high-end prices. Ordering from a bakery nearby but not in San Francisco may improve costs.
A few other things that need to be considered when choosing your cake:
Transportation of The Cake
It is a good idea to keep in mind that a long or difficult transportation of your cake to the venue and be costly as well. For example, if your reception is in the mountains and there are no local bakeries nearby, you may have to pay some hefty transportation costs to get your cake to the wedding from whatever bakery you order from.
Always make sure that your cake matches the environment it will be in, taking into consideration the sensitivity of the ingredients in the cake. It wouldn't be wise to have an ice cream cake if your wedding is outside in 90 degree weather. And don't forget about frosting! Butter cream can be very sensitive and melty in the heat, just as a pad of butter tends to melt at room temperatures in your kitchen in the summer. You DON'T want a sad, droopy wedding cake! In situations where the cake is outside for a lengthy period of time in heat, consider choosing fondant as your frosting, which tends to hold up better.
There are lots of different flavor options to choose from when it comes to cakes (bakers are so innovative these days!), especially when you're forced to choose a cake flavor, the filling, and a frosting as well! Remember that you can choose multiple flavors if you have multiple cake layers, or if you're offering cupcakes! Choosing flavor combinations makes attending a cake tasting before signing any contracts especially important.
The average cost for a tasting can be around $25-50, which is because the baker must be compensated for the time it takes to prepare the cakes you're tasting, and for the supplies it costs him. In the event that you taste the cake and end up choosing a different baker, this baker has not lost time or money that he was not compensated for.
Please don't forgo the tasting and sign a contract before knowing what you're going to end up with on your wedding day! Cakes are costly! Choose wisely.
Lost when it comes to deciding what flavors to choose? Look no further than your dinner menu! Just as restaurants that serve multiple course meals pair specific entrees with desserts, you can do the same to ensure that your meal flavors compliment each other well. If you are serving such a robust flavor as steak, pairing it with a rich red velvet or chocolate cake makes sense. Similarly, if you're serving fish, or something on the lighter side, going with the wonders of airy and delicate angel food cake, or a cake with a fruity base, may be just the thing.
Try and take into account the people at your wedding who may deal with allergies. It's always polite to let people know if there are any major ingredients that are known for being allergens in their cake (try choco-peanut butter bliss cake). Avoiding common-allergy flavors, offering multiple flavors or gluten- and dairy-free options, or simply placing a small placard next to the cake to communicate the allergen to those interested is always appreciated.
Getting the Opinion of the Baker
Always be willing to have an open mind when you're discussing the cake with the baker; he knows what flavors go well together, and may suggest combinations you wouldn't have thought about!
Take Into Account How Perishable Your Cake May Be
Understanding the technical side of cake-decorating when ordering a more delicate cake will ensure that it will not perish before it's served to guests. For instance, if your cake is filled with fresh fruit, and the outside of the cake requires your baker a full day of decorating, by the time it is served to guests, it may be unsuitable to eat. If you want a very delicate design on the outside of the cake, you will need a sturdy cake with filling that does not require refrigeration. If it's very important to you that you have a fruit-based filling, you will simply need to sacrifice having an intricate outer design.
Food and drinks, how different can they be?
Not so different for the consumer, but dealing with the vendor providing drinks can be a different animal when it comes to alcohol. In this blog post, I want to outline some important details that you should be aware of if you're planning to serve alcohol at your wedding, discuss alcohol purchasing quantities for those not going through their bartender, and define the different types of bar options that you have to choose from.
Let's get down to it!
Things to Keep in Mind
- Bartenders have to have a license in order to legally serve alcohol. Qualified bartenders are also trained in how to safely serve guests. Specifically, they know when to dilute drinks for guests who frequent the bar too often to be safe, and how to refuse drinks to certain guests altogether. This can be pivotal to the success of your wedding if you have an open bar with guests who may abuse the luxury.
- If you are hosting an outdoor reception, your bartender may need to provide a portable bar (depending on the venue's set up) that may include generators, refrigeration units, glasses, and all other items needed to serve guests--not to mention the alcohol!
- Make sure, before signing a contract with your bartender, that you see proof of the bartender's license and other credentials. If you don't see this in the contract, ask for it. If he won't provide any evidence that he is licensed, DO NOT HIRE HIM.
- In the contract your bartender provides, make sure all working hours, corkage fees, overtime fees, and bartender's hourly wages are specified. Who provides the alcohol and exactly what drinks are to be served should also be written out clearly In the contract. No technical details that you agree to should be excluded from the contract.
- Often, couples will serve one or two "Signature" cocktails at their wedding. These can be the favorite drinks of the bride and groom, and are a good personal touch.
- If there is to be a toast, non-alcoholic drinks should also be provided for those who cannot or choose not to drink.
- Consider providing non-alcoholic drinks free of charge, even if your guests must pay for all alcoholic drinks. This encourages guests to drink responsibly.
- If you choose to provide the alcohol for your own wedding, you may save money despite corkage fees! Buying wholesale can get you significant discounts, and any unopened bottles can often be refunded.
- Keep in mind that as the hosts of a wedding, whether at home or at a venue, the bride and groom are legally responsible for the well-being of their guests. It is their responsibility to ensure that no underage drinking take place, that no one drinks and then drives, and that everyone gets home safely after the wedding. If anything happens, it is possible that the couple will be fined or taken to court! Serve responsibly!
- That's another reason why having a professional bartender at your wedding is a great idea! They are professionally trained to avoid over-serving alcohol to any one person. However, if you have multiple bartenders, keep in mind that some guests can avoid notice until too late.
- It is a good idea to provide some sort of transportation from the venue in order to ensure that guests who cannot drive safely are not stranded. Having a taxi company on standby, or providing a shuttle service are good options.
Alcohol Proportions for Every Hundred Guests
These proportions should be considered suggestions to be discussed with your bartenders before making any large purchases! If you're only serving specific alcohol, only invest in those types!
Red Wine: 8 Bottles
White Wine: 9 Bottles
Beer: 2 Cases (24 bottles each)
Whiskey: 1-2 Liters
Bourbon: 1-2 Liters
Gin: 2 Liters
Scotch: 3 Liters
Light Run: 2 Liters
Vodka: 6 Liters
Taquila: 1 Liter
Champagne: 9 Bottles
Dry Vermouth: 2 Bottles
Sweet Vermouth: 2 Bottles
Types of Bar Options
Open bars serve an unlimited amount of drinks to guests, free of charge.
Limited Open Bar
This option serves free drinks to guests for the first few hours of the cocktail hour and reception. After a cut-off point, such as the end of dinner, the bar starts to charge for drinks.
This method of bar service is becoming more common--it has the limit on the amount of alcohol served rather than the amount of time it can be served in. For instance, if the couple is providing their own alcohol for their wedding, their bartender may serve the couple's alcohol free until it has run out, and then will charge for drinks once he begins using his own bar's supply.
Cash Bar with Mealtime Drinks Provided
The couple provides meal time drinks--such as wine--free of charge, but any cocktail hour or post-meal drinks must be paid for by the guests.
Cash Bar with Drink Tickets
This option is dated and has dealt with a great deal of controversy between those who feel it is tacky vs. a great way to save money. In my opinion, it is both. Wedding's are not circuses that should require Admit One tickets... Drink tickets communicate to your guests that they are worth a limited expense; they are also very impersonal. Would it be weird to invite your guests to dinner and hand them drink tickets at the door? Would you be comfortable accepting "payment" for their drinks throughout your dinner and then cutting them off once they run out? If it's weird at a dinner party, it's weird, and even insulting, at a wedding. Don't choose this option!
Full Cash Bar
This option requires guests to pay for all drinks during the wedding.
If there is a toast during the wedding, Champagne is often offered free to guests.
This is an uncommon option, sometimes found at religious weddings that prefer to serve no alcohol. Dry weddings have no bar and serve only non-alcoholic drinks.
Whatever option you choose--remember that weddings are a time not only to honor the happy couple, but to appreciate the guests' many important roles in the bride and groom's lives. Taking care to show that they are appreciated at the wedding by offering them quality food and drink is one huge way to do this!
This is not going to be the standard, "So you need to find a caterer within your price-range, taste the food, and viola! You've booked a caterer!" blog post. It is my desire to go deeper, and discuss the details that are often forgotten, overlooked, or mere afterthoughts in the realm of booking caterers. I'm not going to discuss the basics here, as there are plenty of other posts out there that go over those many details.
Let's get right down to it!
Types of Catering
There are more than just Buffet and Plated food services to consider.
- Family Style Service is a great option for those concerned about guests waiting in long lines. It's a kind of happy medium between buffet and plated service. Rather than stand in line or wait for pre-plated meals to be served from the kitchen, platters of food are brought to and placed at the tables by servers and guests are able to dish their own plates.
- French Style Service is another option, although much less common, because it requires a lot of staff. French Style has two servers per table plating food. One server holds the tray of food options, and the other dishes it onto each guest's plate before placing it on the table.
- Russian Style Service, also called White Glove Service, is the most formal service style. Servers in white gloves serve food items on plates already placed at the table, allowing guests to decline items they don't want. So fancy!
Pricing and Quality Considerations
Obviously, there's the general rule that "you get what you pay for" to keep in mind...especially with food! Beyond this, here are some more in-depth ideas to think about.
- Any kind of sit-down food service requires additional staffing, which can increase the bill exponentially! For every two tables of guests, one server should be there to accommodate them. Think about it as a restaurant set-up! Is it efficient for a restaurant accommodating your guest count to run on the same amount of staff as at your wedding? If you feel it’s not, then you should seriously consider adding more service staff to your catering contract.
- Unlike the myth, buffet is generally cheaper not because less food is served (based on the idea that guests decline the food they don't wish to eat) but because less service staff is needed. Buffets actually have to prepare MORE food than a plated meal might, because people serving themselves may choose more or less than a standard serving, and the caterer needs to ensure that every guest, served first or last, has every food option available.
- Don't forget about tipping your caterer's service staff at the end of the event! Sometimes contracts include this already, but not 100% of the time. Service staff deserve to be tipped 10-15% of the total catering cost, just as waitstaff at restaurants expect tips. This tip will be split evenly between each staff member.
- Is your caterer licensed? Just because they have a website doesn't mean they're licensed to serve food. Most generally, are, but it's always smart to check. Ask to see a copy of of it. You want the food you're paying so much money for to be top-notch, so it's worth the effort to check.
- This is a more common money-saving tip, but it bears repeating. Choose seasonable produce to help control the ingredient costs. If you're having a wedding in the winter, don't choose summer fruits and veggies for the sides! This will be so much more expensive on the caterer's end, and he'd be foolish not to charge extra for it. Ask your caterer what seasonal sides he recommends serving.
Picky Eaters and Extra Meals
- As allergies and specific diets become more common, caterers are getting better about offering these specific accommodations. Take advantage of this to accommodate any friends with food allergies or preferences. Consider ordering some options for vegans and vegetarians, and serving some common allergy-friendly goodies, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or nut-free sides and desserts. Making a small sign out of card stock to indicate these allergy-friendly foods will be greatly appreciated, as those with allergies often will just skip over foods that commonly contain allergens. In addition, signs indicating foods that DO have these common allergens in them will also help prevent any guests with strong allergies from having reactions!
- Vendors working the wedding have to eat too! It is courtesy to feed your photographers, DJ's, coordinators, etc. at the reception if a meal is being served. Give your caterer the vendor count, letting him know that they are vendors, as they won't need all the fancy embellishments he may be planning for your guests.
- Sometimes extra guests who didn't RSVP (or +1's who weren't invited!) show up too! Have your caterer plan for around five extra meals for unexpected guests. It's worth it to be prepared. If in the end they go unneeded, you have extra food you can take home!
- Speaking of headcount, do keep in mind that your caterer will need the final headcount number about a week before the wedding. Plan to have your final RSVP count by this time.
Weddings are notorious for their long buffet lines...
- Setting up the buffet tables so guests can walk down both sides of them helps eliminate guest wait time.
- Setting up serving “stations” (i.e. multiple buffet tables) can also help the line go faster.
Does your caterer offer more than just food?
- Ask your caterer if they provide rentals, such as chairs, tables, linens, tableware, etc. to consolidate vendors. Often, adding extra services to a package with a vendor you're already working with will be cheaper than adding an extra vendor to your team.
- Does the caterer also make cakes or bar tend? This can make the menu more cohesive, eliminate additional staff, and consolidate your vendor team.
- Remember to get as many details included in your catering contract as possible. Some good details to have on the contract (in addition to standard items, such as menu, pricing, etc.) are the caterer's arrival, set up, dinner, and tear-down times, server-to-guest ratio, and any fees, such as overtime, delivery, cake cutting, and corkage fees.
Whew! That was a lot of information! Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be! If you find the right caterer, they will walk you through the process and make your wedding food experience amazing. Questions? Feel free to ask down below.
I'm so excited to announce that three more flower crowns have hit the Etsy shop as of last night! I labored over these many an hour while watching Gilmore Girls, and I must say what a lovely combination those two things are. It feels like I'm hardly working! Head over to the shop to check these beauties out!
Your wedding day is coming, and of course, you are going to have a video version of the entire thing. However, a mundane wedding video is just an extremely long film that features the beginning of the wedding ceremony and the reception afterwards. The picture quality is far superior to the one we had in the past, but you should also create a more impactful and meaningful video.
Don’t make a casual wedding video, when you can turn the whole experience into a romantic documentary. Basically, you can treat your wedding video like any other feature film and the following article will give you some good reasons to do so.
Wedding Videos Are Also a Story
Your wedding day is itself a story on its own, and if you simply start your video with the footage of the groom and bride, then proceed to the wedding ceremony, then with a long shot of the guests entering the restaurant, and a series of shots of people dancing and people sitting and eating, you've already created a cohesive story. It is how most wedding videos are done, and it can be so much better and much more meaningful.
Your wedding video can tell your whole story in a much better fashion and incite a stronger emotion. Also, you can use some top quality music, and improve the feeling even further.
Not All of the Moments Are Equally Important
Truth be told, not every second of your video is important, and if you are going to receive raw and unedited footage anyway, you won’t lose anything if you opt for making a wedding movie. If you carefully edit the video, you can have an impactful story that is interesting from start to finish. So, hire someone who is an expert in video editing, like video caddy to create a real movie from your wedding footage.
Once the wedding is over, you are going to invite your friends and family to watch your wedding video. Sure, you will start and pay attention for a first hour or two, but soon, you’ll start to skip and fast-forward the video. Then, you’ll start to recall the memorable moments and spend hours searching the footage just to find that one moment you wish to see again.
In other words, you can cut the unnecessary footage, and preserve all the important moments, and still not lose any crucial parts from your story structure.
It’s the Most Important Day of Your Life; You Deserve a Quality Video
Lastly, this is the most important and the happiest day of your life, so creating a real movie-like video will do it justice. You do not want to have a video that will put you to sleep as you watch; you want to go over it again and again! Moreover, it is something you are going to show to your kids, so it is in your interest that they sit through it.
Well, hopefully, this will inspire you to opt for this solution. Create a one of kind experience from your wedding video. It is a good way to have a something that will actually look better than you remember it. You’ll have perfect shots of the first dance, of the wedding ceremony, and it will all be romantic and touching, just like in Hollywood movies.
If your big day is coming up, I’m sure you must have gone through the entire World Wide Web to find the most extensive checklist – and that’s exactly what you need to do if you want everything to go just perfect.
However, with that many tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture, stay nervous 24/7 and be tense all the time because you have that feeling you forgot something. Well, whenever you’re in doubt, you should remind yourself of these five wedding planning secrets and I promise things will become simpler.
Wants & Needs
You need to learn to differentiate what’s necessary from what you want. With an unlimited budget (that unfortunately not all of us have) you can do anything – you can even enter your wedding riding an elephant. Considering the fact that this probably isn’t your case, you need to sort each budget dilemma by placing your problems in one of the following two columns – wants and needs.
Don’t Get Subjected to Expectations
Parents and the rest of your families can be extraordinarily difficult when it comes to weddings and you should be able to understand why that is – they have been waiting for this day probably longer than you. It’s OK for you to meet some of their expectations, but the bottom line is that you’re the one getting married and if their desires are contradictory to yours, you need to learn how to say no.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Overpriced
It’s not necessary to spend a small fortune in order to have a beautiful wedding. Small weddings can be absolutely charming, but if you have a really tight budget, you need to be very careful when making decisions. The most valuable piece of advice I can give you regarding this is that you should start at least six months earlier – that way you’ll be able to explore every option, find the cheapest solution and harmonize all the details into one gorgeous wedding.
Rehearsal of Everything
The only way to be certain that everything is going according to plan is to rehearse it. So, before you make the final decision regarding your wedding menu, make sure to taste every piece of food so that you’re positive that your guests and you will enjoy everything. This goes for wedding dress and bridesmaids’ outfit as well, and don’t dare to forget the final rehearsal dinner, because that is when you can adjust some details if you don’t like a thing or two.
The Big Picture
And I do mean the big picture – having an experienced wedding photographer is very important because they are the only one in charge of all memories you’ll be left with. Many engaged couples often forget to ask what’s included in the overall service and I’d like to remind you to ask about video editing services and whether or not you can expect them. Naturally, this is something you should require from your videographer, so make sure to learn about their style.
If you have your goal in mind – which is starting the rest of your life with a person you love – you should be aware of the fact that nothing else matters. Organizing a wedding is the first test for a couple that is going to get married, and if you join forces I’m sure everything will fall in its place.
I am so excited to announce that I am finally launching my product line of flower crowns! As of early this morning, they are listed on Etsy, as Etsy's site makes listing simple, and shipping very affordable for customers.
I have been hoping to do this for some time now, as I enjoy being creative with my hands, and I am absolutely IN LOVE with flowers! Working in floral design for any amount of time will do that to a person. There's something so...wholesome, and good about working with beautiful, live flowers. Silk flowers do give me less of a nurturing feeling, however, they're still lovely to put together, and I appreciate the opportunity to be artistic with different designs, textures, and colors. (I can also put them together while watching some of my favorite shows! Hello, Gilmore Girls.)
I would be so honored if you'd head over to my shop and take a look!
As always, more updates to come!
I believe deeply that we should never stop learning. Learning who we are, learning how to handle life, learning to expand on what we know. It's because of this philosophy that--even though I already have my certification as a wedding planner--I am continuing to take classes. It was last January that I started my wedding and event planning course; how fitting it is that this January I am starting a whole new course... Except, this time, it's accounting.
"Uhm, yuck?" You might say. But I'm honestly very excited, because I think it will be refreshing to take a college class that I feel is immediately relevant to my life (unlike many of the GE college classes I've taken in the past). The class squeezes right into the last few months of the wedding off-season, so I won't have any wedding weekends until after finals, and the class ends right before April, when I'll have to do my taxes. Call me a nerd, but THOSE TAXES ARE GONNA BE DESTROYED once I know how to get everything organized!
I'm also excited to make friends with other business-bound students. Coffee friends are wayyy awesome.
Speaking of coffee friends, have I raved yet about this amazing network called The Rising Tide Society? It's this huge group of entrepreneurs, many of which are involved in the wedding industry, who believe in community over competition. This enables us to unite--even when we're in the same line of work--and learn from each other, complain together, rejoice together, work together on projects, and feel less alone, which is important when you're the only member of your work-at-home business like me. It has been such an asset to my growth as a business-owner that I find myself recommending it to every remotely business-y person I come across. Are you a business person? Oh my goodness. Please go Check it out.
As an end of the week update, I'm happy to report that my accounting class is going very well. I enjoy the peers and the professor, and am already thinking about how to write up my businesses financial statements to make life easier on my tax-guy, come April. Everyone warned me going into the class that it would be the most boring mistake I could possible make, however, so far it's been very interesting. I attribute that mainly to its relevance to me now that I'm responsible for this kind of bookkeeping, but hey, interesting is still interesting.
Business owners, I'd love to hear how you do your taxes! Do you know much about accounting? Let's start a discussion in the comments below!
I've been on the hunt for a venue for some clients recently, and I've run into numerous all-inclusive venues with some tempting offers.
All-inclusive venues can be known for taking advantage of clients by requiring that certain services--such as catering and alcohol--be purchased in addition to just the venue, else you pay some meal and corkage fees. They get a bad wrap for being expensive...but as I researched and compared pricing for independent vendors vs. all-inclusive venues, it began to appear that the all-inclusive venue might actually be the better deal...
1) Less Vendors to Keep Track Of
How convenient would it be to make a couple of large payments, rather than a dozen or more small ones to pull your wedding together? Imagine how much fewer emails you'll have to manage, consultations you'll have to attend, and wedding liability issues you'll avoid altogether if your venue is handling the food, the bar, the chairs and tables, your decor... All you'll have to do is bring in a photographer, officiant, DJ, and a few other vendors and you're be set!
2) Less Set-Up and Tear-Down to Manage
When your venue provides everything that involves any kind of set-up or tear-down, it means that they are responsible for doing just that. This means you won't have to rent your venue for the hours it would take to set up and tear down, and you or your coordinator won't have to be there for set-up and tear down. How convenient!
3) Less Staff To Pay
One of the reasons all-inclusive venues are on the pricier side is due to the fact that these venues have a larger staff to pay to be present for the duration of your event than a venue that doesn't offer extra services would. Because of this, you're not just paying for the use of a space, but the hourly wage of a dozen or so staff's time. How much staff would independent vendors also add up to, though? Rentals and catering alone require a group of people, as does floral decor... Additionally, the staff at this venue are trained and experienced to work at that particular location, and will most likely do a better job at solving and preventing common problems, ensuring things run smoothly, etc.
In the end, how much more would your all-inclusive venue cost? Of course, in some cases, venues are just very pricey; but if you find the ones within your price-range, and compare them to the costs of paying independent vendors, you might be surprised at how little a difference there is in favor of the vendors.
On a budget? That doesn't rule out all-inclusive venues, guys! Do some exploring, and you might be surprised at the great deals you'll find!
Oh, and my favorite venue site right now? https://www.wedding-spot.com/
You'll thank me later.
You know what I'm talking about.
You get to the end of the year and you've eaten your share of holiday nostalgia, dropped the workout routine "due to necessary family commitments", and spent so much money that you're afraid to look at your bank account balance. We're such wrecks by the end of each year that New Year Resolutions just seem like the perfect opportunity to--forgive the stereotypical expression--start all over again.
But come on, how effective are they really if we habitually forget about them after two weeks? Every single year?
I wrote a blog post about this last year on another site where I stood adamantly against New Year Resolutions, holding fast to the idea that commitments like the ones we use for for them ought to be implemented immediately if we really believe in their value, rather than waiting until January 1st. After all, it's because we don't believe enough in their value that they only last the stereotypical two weeks.
This led me to campaign to my friends, family, and LinkedIn about how--rather than setting lofty goals for January 1st, we should focus more on setting goals we can implement immediately.
Time passed. I started my business this summer and have been working, picking up speed, and am now living and working at such a fast pace--meanwhile pushing to the side priorities like taking the time to eat well, vacuuming the house, and updating my Business Instagram--that a clean slate come January 1st sounds really good.
I came to realize that the New Year Resolution may not even be about the actual Resolution. Maybe it's something we've created to give us the mental clean slate that we need after a year of the crazy, especially after a month of holiday binging, overworking, or whatever your vice is. I know that I need this; in the same way that I clear my morning thoughts with a fresh To-Do List even if yesterday's still has some unchecked boxes, every year needs a new, fresh start. And if that means adding a "Go to the gym" box to your daily routine, that's great!
Sometimes life needs to be changed up a bit. It's a good thing. Even if you do give up on the thing you originally set out to do, sometimes the setting out part is all that you need.
On the other hand, let's talk about the actual resolutions that we tend to set. Working out and dieting are healthy goals, but let's be real: they're overused, and there are so many other (more interesting) resolution options out there!
For instance, this year I want to say "thank you" more, and try to complain less. To empathize with people instead of judge them.
How life-changing would it be to resolve to unplug our social media when we are spending time with friends and family-members? To resolve to give to the homeless, or to a charity we care about, on a regular basis? What about controlling our tempers, and focusing on calmly, verbally expressing our feelings instead of whatever it is we do instead?
There are so many things we can resolve to do that can make a bigger difference than our physical appearances can. Obviously, taking care of our physical health is important, and we should be doing that regardless of what our New Year Resolution is. Something more internal might stick longer though...and it has the potential to turn something that was negative into a new good habit!
So this year I'm not turning my nose up at the New Year Resolution. Instead, I'm going to adopt one that personally matters to me...enough that I think it might last longer than the first couple of weeks of January. Who's with me?