So you just got engaged and you think to yourself I need to find a place to get married. You begin to surf the internet for venues, feverishly making calls and you begin to feel overwhelmed. After what seems like a gazillion appointments and endless salespeople, beautiful presentation folders with prices and menus and preferred vendors you think to yourself; how do I interpret all this? It can all be so overwhelming.
Time to hit the pause button. Take a deep breath and make yourself a cup of coffee. Then sit quietly and list the pros and cons of each of the venues that you visited. Then create a cost comparison spreadsheet. When comparing locations it helps if you compare apples to apples, meaning; if the “really cheap” venue is offering 2 appetizers and the really great venue (the one you think you can’t afford but love) is offering 6 appetizers in their package see what the cost would be to upgrade to 6 tray passed appetizers at the inexpensive location. If the great place offers valet in their package price see what the valet would be at the less expensive location and write it down. How many courses are each of the places providing. Which one will let you choose a cake vendor, which one charges for the ceremony and what is the charge for an on site ceremony. Once you have your prices for each of these venues listed out by category simply add up each column and see if the less expensive place is still less expensive.
If something seems too good to be true that is because it usually is too good to be true. Be weary of the places that hide their costs and break them down and spread them around their presentation folder. I know when I look at a proposal my eye automatically goes to the largest numbers on the page or the final number/total at the bottom; afterwards, I pause to see what do all these costs really mean and stand for. Then, I too do a cost analysis. So, do yourself a favor and take the time to actually understand what you are getting and what it is going to cost before you commit. These few minutes can save you a lot of tears.
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Be Happy It is Your Wedding Day!
Letting go of your fear has got to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I remember as a bride I was petrified to walk down the aisle. I thought I wanted to be the center of attention, and was upset with my husband’s mother and sister because they weren’t welcoming the arriving guests. Instead they thought that they should have a “Grand Entrance” too. When the moment came for me to finally walk down the aisle I thought I would die, all those people looking at me- and the only thing I could do was obsess over the fluff of my dress, and worry about my hair—All that angst on what is supposed to be the most amazing day of my life
Then, I spent the entire day worrying about whether or not my guests were having fun. I was so anxious and worried about everything and everyone and what they thought that I don’t think I had fun. I just remember that when the day was done, and as I got out of my gown I felt every muscle in my upper body let go and begin to relax. It was not pleasant and took a few hours for the pain to subside.
Now 24+ years later I can certainly tell you walking down the aisle was the easy part. Today my youngest child takes her driving test. Letting go of the fear that surrounds this is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. We give birth, raise and protect and nurture these wonderful little beings into adult hood only to let them fly away with wings that we helped to grow. So many things can happen or go wrong when you drive. Today, I realize there are so many more important things to obsess over than a fluffy wedding dress- or the perfect centerpiece.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you that your wedding day should be anything less than perfect and that you shouldn’t want to look and feel your very best. What I am saying is that you should ENJOY your wedding day- it is yours, created especially for you, the bride. It is the only day when the world actually stops, and focuses on you and your wishes. So what if it doesn’t go as planned. Nothing ever does! Furthermore, no one at your party knows that the centerpieces were supposed to be yellow roses not pink, or that you picked Chilean Sea bass not salmon. No one knows what you planned! They only know what is presented to them. Your guests take their cues from you. So, be present, be gracious and be grateful and most of all be happy! Paste a great big smile on your face and let the good times begin! It is one day and there are no do overs. Choose the joy that you so very much want. It is all up to you and how you choose to see and be on your wedding day.
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Grace, Gratitude and Happy Planning
This post is based on a true event.
Last weekend my neighbor’s son got married. The wedding took place at his parent’s home. This is just a taste of what we got to experience as their neighbor.
Saturday afternoon I arrived home to my cul de sac at around 3pm to be greeted by massive chaos on my street. There were cars and trucks parked everywhere; making it difficult to drive down the street.
No big deal, right? People have parties, do construction create chaos and mess all the time. You just get used to it, take a deep breath and move on. Especially in a city like Los Angeles.
Around 6pm my husband and I leave to meet with friends, my son is off to Santa Barbara and my poor daughter, a junior in High school is home studying for finals. We get back home at around 10pm. The street is still crazy, music is still blaring. Wow, 7 hours later- must be a great party!
We go into our house and get ready for bed- around 10:30 the music dies down and as we are drifting off to sleep we are shocked awake by footsteps coming up our back deck stairs and in a flash there is a giant shadow of a man standing in our bedroom window. We both scream and jump out of bed, I have seriously never been so scared in my entire life and am shocked that I was able to pick up the phone to call the police.
We soon discover that the large male intruder, the one who scared us awake, worked for the DJ company that ran or played at the wedding next door. Apparently he got drunk and managed to get lost and ended up in my backyard- which is completely enclosed with a wrap around wooden fence… In addition, the next day- my husband lets me know that our backyard was covered in beer bottles.
You are probably wondering how this relates to my topic of why you should hire a Wedding Planner for your wedding?
Because, when you hire a planner you are going to have qualified, professional vendors with work policies regarding how their employees are allowed to behave at your party. I know, our work is fun- we create atmosphere and energy for your event. But, the key word is we are working! We are there to provide a service, not party like a guest.
Furthermore, I absolutely know that at the end of one of my parties or weddings my vendors will not be wandering the neighborhood casing out the homes and opening you (the client) up to a possible lawsuit. When the party ends they will be loading their stuff into their trucks and leaving- and they are leaving your home and your neighbors homes the way they found them- no one’s lawn will be strewn with beer cans or empty wine bottles. I think a little peace of mind and tranquility for all are wise choices when it comes to planning your next home wedding.
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Grace, Gratitude and Happy Planning!
Are you obsessing over all the details that go into planning your wedding?
Are you worried that your party won’t be fun?
Are you stressed out and taking it out on everyone around you?
Does this sound like you?
Believe you me I know how stressful it is to plan your own wedding.You stay up at night thinking about all the things that could go wrong.When you wake up the next day instead of being fresh you are anxious and worried and exhausted.Your nerves are frayed and you can’t stop crying.
Well you need to stop this behavior and you need to stop it now. All this fear and craze is not good for you, your fiancée your family or the energy of your party.
On the day of your wedding your guests will pick up on your energy and feed off of it.They take their cues from you the Bride! So if you are experiencing worry your guests will feel it the minute they walk through the door. Trust me this is a huge energy drain on your day for both you and your party.
No one chooses to be around pain and suffering. In fact, one reason to attend a party in the first place is to escape your own life; similar to going to the movies, reading a good book or taking a vacation. Your wedding reception should be engaging and fun.
So, practice being “in joy” in the final days leading up to your wedding day. Do things that make you feel happy and relaxed. Get a massage, do your nails, run a bath with candlelight and soft music. Shut off your phone. Remember, things do go wrong but that is not what you or your friends and family care about. They are there for you. They want to embrace you and celebrate and share in you and your happiness, love and joy. As long as you are happy they will be happy and they will not notice what is wrong unless you point it out.
So, remember happiness is infectious. Embrace your day and don’t pay attention to what went wrong only focus on what is right. You get to walk down the aisle and say “I do” to the man of your dreams. The one you have been waiting for!
Know your intent. If you are planning a party know what you want. Be clear with why you are having it. Is it to celebrate another persons life, is it an open house, is it a Wedding, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
Personally, I think parties are about joy and celebration for milestones, achievements and life changing moments.
The most important outcome for a party, any party is fun. I think as a host it is part of your job to think about your guests and their comfort. Happy guests means happy party.
In my opinion one of the best ways to inspire your guests to share and participate is to make them feel welcome:
If parking is a problem hire a valet.
If it is cold have heaters or shawls.
Greet your guests at the door with a specialty cocktail to help them settle in.
Remember, the purpose of your party is to celebrate. Welcome your guests into the party and let them know how happy it makes you to have them there with you. They will reciprocate in kind. Happy guest mean a party that has a packed dance floor. What more could you ask for?
How important is having a Master of Ceremonies (MC) for your party? And should that person be in addition to the DJ and or Band leader.
In my opinion a good MC is the most important person you hire. He will after all be running the party. One of the things to look for in your MC is the ability to multi task – kind of like a catcher in a baseball game. He has to be aware of the group and read them quickly. Within the first 20 minutes of the party this person should know your party and what music to play throughout. If you go with a band he can be the Band “Leader” if you decide on a DJ hire one that offers you a separate MC as these are 2 very distinct jobs with distinct functions and the last thing you want is someone running back and forth between dance floor and his equipment or worse yet, someone who stays put behind a table all night.
Make sure your MC is good at public speaking and that you like his voice cause you will be hearing it all night long. He should be able to have the ability to memorize well. A personal grievance of mine is when the MC has the mic in one hand and his cheat sheet in the other standing on the edge of the dance floor reading his notes. He should not be reading them he should know them! If you were at a play would you want to see the actors reading their lines from the script?
Your MC should be able to interface and communicate with the banquet manager and your planner. He should be able to watch the event and know when the food is finished being served, where people are in their meal and when to turn up and down on the heat.
Most importantly he should also make sure that before announcing the first dance he has the bride and groom in the room and that he has both the photographer and videographer present. You do not want to have to repeat the first dance because the photographer was in the bathroom. – The same principle should be applied to all the formalities of the day. I find it completely frustrating when I am at an event and something gets announced and then the guests have to go on a scavenger hunt looking for a bride or groom, parent, grandparent …. It is really important for the MC to be on top of his game and communicate with all necessary parties prior to announcements. And if there is a planner involved he needs to communicate with them and they will make sure all people necessary are present.
Have a relationship with your MC beforehand. Make sure he knows you and your family. Meet him a few times- email him your favorite songs and the things you do not want to hear. Let him know if he should take requests from the crowd. Communication before hand is so very crucial. Make this person your friend- but please respect their boundaries. I know you may want to call him at midnight, every night leading up to your party, but stop and think for a minute- would you want someone calling you at this time of day/night? How you guys relate prior will make all the difference to the energy of the night. Now on the day of- leave him do his job! Micromanaging him never makes the party better!!!