Saturday, March 28, 2009

Five plans to ensure a successful outdoor wedding

The old saying if you fail to plan, you plan to fail applies to the success of an outdoor wedding. Here are a few things you can do to make your wedding amongst the elements comfortable for all...

  1. The weather channel is your best friend: Do some research in advance with weather almanacs to see the pattern of weather for your wedding date. There are several sites that can predict long term weather forecasts. Closer to the date start following the weather channel and the local news weather forecasts to get a feel for what you will be up against. Below you will see a few weather links:
  2. Have a rain back up plan: The best rain back up plan is booking a venue that has indoor facilities to host your wedding in case of stormy weather. If this is not the case consider reserving a tent. The price of reserving the tent and not using it is worth the peace of mind. Always rehearse your rain back up plan with your bridal party and choose decor that can be moved and looks great in your alternate location.
  3. Chilly or Breezy weather plan: If electricity is available opt for renting outdoor heaters. Also spread the work amongst guest to bring a jacket or wrap. In the case of your decor make sure everything is anchored down properly for the wind. Choose heavier fabric table cloths for the outdoors. In the same case as rainy weather booking a venue with indoor space is a plus.
  4. Heat Plan: Parasols in your wedding colors could add a festive touch as well as protect your guests from heat. Having a cold water station is a must for extreme hot weather. Programs that double as fans is a savvy way to serve two purposes. Make sure your ceremony seating in not facing the sun, as this is uncomfortable for your guests to watch, and it is not great for your pictures. A tent and/or outdoor fans are good options to protect from the sun.
  5. Uninvited guests Plan: Bugs can spoil the party at an outdoor event. Having bug repellent on hand for your guests would be much appreciated. Use torches and/or citronella candles. Make sure you inspect the area in advance for ants, and make sure the grounds are treated prior to your wedding.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wedding Disaster

I would like to share this post with you from one of my fellow Association of Bridal Consultants members: JEANNIE WARD of Wedding Jeannie . This is something I feel all brides should read when considering hiring a wedding consultant....

My blog is a place where brides and grooms can come for good advice with a smile. Normally, I wouldn’t post anything with a negative tone, but I’m compelled to warn you about what can happen when you don’t hire an experienced wedding planner.
Recently a bride called me inquiring about hiring me. I was already booked for her day, but referred her to another planner that I know and trust. Her wedding was 45 days away and she still didn’t have a DJ. Even though I wasn’t her planner I referred a great DJ to her, and she hired him.
Monday after the wedding, I heard from my valued DJ. The bride decided not to hire a planner because she didn’t want to pay the fee, and she was confident that her family members would take care of the details. Unfortunately they didn’t, and her wedding was not all she was wishing for. Here is a list of what went wrong, and how it could have been avoided.
The bride was 30 minutes late for her own wedding. We make a detailed timeline of the entire day, from the time the make-up artist arrives, to the time the limo picks up the bridal party, etc. We even contact your hair and make-up artists to tell them what time they should start and finish, to keep the bride on time.
The florist was late and didn’t have an assistant to help him. He was putting down the aisle runner and petals while the guests were seated and watched. A professional coordinator’s timeline is detailed. Each vendor (including the florist), is called two weeks before the event to discuss the duties and what time they need to start work and finish work. The florist is called again a few days before the wedding to confirm. I always have an assistant, and often times an intern. If a vendor is late and needs help to finish, we all jump in to get it done.
Kneeling benches were to be used for the ceremony. The bride’s sister was to pick them up from the rental company and bring them. She didn’t do it! Her own sister didn’t do it. Prior to every wedding, I’m mentally prepared for every possible problem. I know what rental company is nearby, and could have had my assistant pick them up within ten minutes.
Seating cards were to be placed outside of the ballroom. Assigned seating was the order of the day. The bride left this task to her beloved and responsible cousin. Guess what? She forgot them! It was a seating “free for all”. Important family members were relegated to the back of the room, because people who took the seats closest to the couple refused to move. We require that the seating cards are given to us the night of the rehearsal. We place them and assist guests in being seated.
The ceremony was one hour late and the priest threatened to leave because he had another wedding to perform. He instructed the DJ to start the music and send the bride down the aisle immediately or he would leave. The bridal party was running around visiting with friends and would not stay lined up. The brides father couldn’t be found when it was time to start. The Bride had to walk down the aisle alone! This is absolutely heartbreaking. There are always two of us at every wedding. I stay with the bride and her maids, and my assistant stays with the groom and his men. We keep everyone in line. The latest I’ve ever started a wedding was 10 minutes.
Photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. You get one opportunity to capture “moments” on film. The photographer at this wedding was eating hors’ doeuvres and sitting down. The DJ caught him sitting down on several occasions, not taking pictures. He had to continually hound him all night to do his job. It is not the job of the DJ to help with all of these problems. This couple was very lucky that this DJ is very caring and wanted the best for them. A coordinator would have made sure the photographer was doing his job. If necessary, my assistant would shadow him and keep him on his toes. It’s our job to oversee that the important shots are being captured.
A video montage was to be played during the reception. The bride assured the DJ that there would be a projector and a screen provided. She forgot to inform the venue. No screen, no projector. Luckily the DJ had a backup projector in his vehicle. He convinced the venue manager to allow them to use their screen (additional fee for the couple). We do a final walkthrough with the venue to go over the timeline and flow for the day. The mistake would have been indentified and corrected at that time.
In the long run, the couple were married. Isn’t that what really matters? Of course it is. But the bride was especially distressed about everything that went wrong. Most brides are sure that their family will “take care of them that day”. I can attest to the fact that when a family member has been assigned a duty, 8 times out of 10, they don’t deliver. It’s not that they don’t love you, but your wedding is not their priority. We see it happen every day. That’s why I carry in the trunk of my car, an extra sign in book, toasting glasses, garters in every color, place cards and pens.
We are trained floral designers. If the florist forgets grandpa’s boutonniere, I can make one in one minute. My emergency kit contains, florist’s wire, tape and pins. We can put together an amazing cake topper from flowers from your centerpieces in five minutes.
Pardon the sound of anger in this post. I am so heartbroken for this couple. For the cost of hiring an experienced planner, these problems could have been avoided. Let me break it down this way.
Wedding Coordinator- Month Of Package…$1500Walking down the aisle with your dad….PRICELESS!!!

Thank you Jeannie for this helpful post!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Q & A with A Vow Two Keep

I had the pleasure of talking with Cheryl Raby of A Vow Two Keep. She is a very charming person, as well as an excellent wedding officiate. She is very passionate about her ceremonies and goes the extra mile to make sure every ceremony is unique and personalized to the couples preferences.

A Vow Two Keep

(904) 226-4658 cell telephone

(904) 220-4139 office telephone

How long have you been in business?

Since 1998

What was your motivation to start the business?

A very dear friend (my adopted daughter) convinced me to become a notary public to perform her wedding ceremony. I enjoyed performing the ceremony so much that I decided to start the business.

What types of weddings do you officiate?

As a Licensed Minister and Notary Public for the State of Florida I can perform any type of wedding from contemporary to traditional as well as from civil to non-denominational religious ceremonies.

What other services do you provide?

We are a full service beach wedding company (Simply Beachy). We provide ceremony decor, arches, chairs, walkways etc. Photography, and full PA music system as well as baby naming ceremonies.

What areas do you cover?

All of Northeast Florida from Flagler to Nassau County.

What is the most unusual location you performed a wedding ceremony?

On a sail boat off the coast of Jacksonville Beach and Amelia Island.

How many weddings have you performed?

Over 800

What are your favorites?

Color: Purple

Food: Mexican

TV Show: CSI

Thanks Cheryl for sharing with us!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thank You

Wedding styles and traditions have changed over the years, however one form of etiquette remains, and that is the thank you note. Some believe that if you thank the gift giver in person or via the phone this is sufficient, and this is just not acceptable. With technology today there are several savvy ways to send a thank you, but the old fashioned hand written thank you note is still the way to go. Three rules to remember are...
  • Thank you notes are mandatory
  • Thank you notes should be sent to anyone who gives you a gift
  • Thank you notes should be received in a timely manner

Exactly what does in a timely manner mean? Several etiquette sources mention three months, six months or even a year. My personal recommendation is three months, as one year is too long, and six months is pushing it.

The groom is also responsible for writing his share of the thank you notes as well, so do not hesitate to divide the list in half. (If you saw the movie You Me and Dupree, hopefully he wont have his friend Dupree write his share)

Thank you notes should also be sent to your wedding vendors whose services you were happy with. Also include family members and friends who volunteered time, service or donated items (or money) to assist you with your wedding.

If a gift arrives broken avoid mentioning the fact that it was broken to the gift giver. Instead if it was sent by a department store, contact the store direct to request a replacement. If you receive duplicate gifts and have to return some, never mention this to the gift giver, and most definitely do not thank them for the gift you exchanged their original for.

Make the thank you note writing fun. Don't consider it a chore. After all your friends and family thought enough of you to make sure your marriage gets off to a good start by showing their generosity in a gift. Find your inner Shakespeare and lets write some thank you notes!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bridal Show

I would like to thank everyone that stopped by the Association of Bridal Consultants booth last Sunday. It was a pleasure to meet you. For more information on the Association please visit I would like to give Kudos to Heather and Sharon of Jacksonville Bridal Connection for putting on a wonderful show. Ladies you did an exceptional job, best of luck on many more successful shows in the future. For the brides that are still sitting on the fence about hiring a wedding coordinator I leave you with the following remarks:

A wedding coordinator is a part of your budget not and extra expense.

A good wedding coordinator is priceless

Don't wait untill your wedding day to realize you need a coordinator

Your wedding is not a dress rehearsal. There is no take two.

Keeping with the theme of our booth: If you are drowning in a sea of wedding plans...

Let us throw you a life saver.