Tuesday, July 29, 2008
WeddingWire in partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has given brides a way to search for local vendors. You can find reviews posted by brides that have worked with these vendors and even request more information. There are also discussion groups and wedding planning tools available. You can even receive free gifts for just writing your reviews.
Check it out, it's pretty cool.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Let’s talk a minute about programs. Programs are a relatively new invention in the world of wedding planning that has become increasing popular and expected by guests. I realize they are something you can do without. Some brides want to skip them to save time or money. I say don’t do it. Your guests will miss them. I have had a few weddings where the bride chose not to have programs and the guests were constantly asking us for programs.
Programs are not that expensive to buy, downright cheap to make yourselves and an easy way to let your guests know what is going on. Besides having a listing of the order of the service, they list all the important players and can even contain information such as the address and directions for the reception. Programs can tell the guests who the memorial candles are in loving memory of and even list your new address if you are moving after the wedding. It’s a great place to thank all the people that helped you put the wedding together, parents, friend, etc. (I’ve even been thanked in quite a few.)
So do your guests a favor and give them something to read that 30 minutes or so that they are seated waiting for you to come down the aisle. I’m sure they will appreciate it.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It’s the weekend, so I’ll make this one short and sweet. Remember when printing your invitations to include the actual street address of the ceremony and reception site (same goes for your rehearsal dinner).
If you don’t include the address on the actual invitation, be sure you have it on an enclosure or on your wedding website. Yes, your guests in town may know where the Uptight Country Club is located, but your out of towners don’t. In this day and age of GPS in nearly every car, your guests will want an address to enter into their helpful directions finder. They will rely on being directed by the little box straight to your venue. Which reminds me, check your or a friends GPS and make sure it does give the correct directions, they have been known to be wrong.
Also, be sure directions (including the actual street address) to the reception site are listed on the program. That way guests will have them in hand on the wedding day.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
When choosing your reception area, layout and flow are two very important things to keep in mind. By layout, I mean where will your guests enter? Where will the food be located, the bar, the restrooms, and etc? Are they easily found? Will they be easy to locate when the space if filled with people. Guests are not comfortable unless they can easily find the things that are important to them, food, alcohol and restrooms.
When touring possible reception sites, once you have located where the important three (food, alcohol and restrooms) will be, you then need to think about the actual flow of your event. Will guests have to do a lot of changing locations? Your best plan for guests is no more than two changes, the cocktail hour in one room and main reception in another. If your guests will need to be in one area for cocktails, another for dinner, another for dancing, another for cake cutting, and on and on this is NOT a ideal plan. Guests will lose interest in viewing your events when they have to continually change locations and your older guests may not even be able to make all the moves. You don’t want Grandma to just not be able to make it down the stairs, one more time, to see your first dance.
Guests like to find a seat to claim as theirs, if only to leave their jacket or purse on, and use that as home base for your event. Don’t make them continually have to gather their personal items and move to another spot. It is irritating to say the least.
When looking at flow, also be aware of food placement, if the buffet is going to be placed near the entrance doors, ask if it can be relocated. Nothing is worse from a guest’s point of view than to be stuck in a crowded hallway or stairwell, because the buffet line is backed up. Move food to the rear of the room so guests can easily move into the room. Try not to have a buffet against the wall. It is always better if guests can go down either side. The quicker guests can get through the line and find a place to sit, the happier they will be.
And speaking of seats, I don’t care what the site tells you, you do need at least a chair for everyone. I have had brides that say “it’s a cocktail reception, people can just walk around”. Well, I’m here to tell you, they won’t, at least not for long. You need a seat or a place to balance food available for every guest. People are always coming up to me at these types of receptions, wanting to know where they can find a seat. It is a fact of life, believe it!
Where is the dance floor located? Is it in the center of the room with plenty of room on each side for guests to stand? That's perfect. Is it located in the front or back corner of a room, not so good. Remember you want your guest to be able to see your entrance, your first dance and the parent dances. If there is little room around the dance floor, the people in the back of the room are seeing nothing. This situation does not make for happy guests. The same goes for the cake. Make sure it is in a open area that guests can get to, or better yet see from their seats.
One more important item, is your event handicapped accessible? Are there elevators? Do they work? Are there stairs to negotiate? “Well I don’t have anyone handicapped in my guest list” you say. Ok fine, but keep in mind your wedding is probably nearly a year away. A lot can change, grandma can fall and break a leg, you never know. I’ve seen it happen. Plan ahead!
Flow and layout are the most important elements to making your reception a pleasure for your guests. Make sure when touring possible sites, you always keep this in mind.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
According to Rebekah Anne and Ami Elizabeth, “after months of development and research, we are launching a new resource for brides. The Library is filled with hundreds of useful links, from photographers to shops to stationers. Our goal is a simple comprehensive list that will help every bride, no matter her location, find the vendors and inspiration she needs for a beautiful event. In addition, we’ll be interviewing recent brides for reviews on the site.”
What a great idea and what is even better is Willrich Bridal and Special Events is on the list. I was thrilled to see that we are listed. I feel honored.
Check it out.
As a bride, it is easy to get so wrapped up in the behind the scenes details that you forget that this day is not just about you and what makes you happy. It is just as importantly about making sure your guests have a great time and walk away remembering your wedding as one of the best. With this in mind, I thought we would, in the next few days, go over some of the things that you need to be aware of to make sure your guests have the unforgettable great time you want them to experience.
First up is the heat, if your guests are hot, they are not having a great time. Make sure your venue has proper air conditioning and that it will be turned up early in the day before your guests arrive. If the site is not cool to cold before the guests arrive, it will never cool off after they do. Adding hundreds of people to an already warm room is a sure way to have very uncomfortable guests.
Along with this goes size and by size I mean the size of your guest list and the size of your room. Just because your site says you can have 200 people for a cocktail reception, does not mean 200 people fit comfortably. Nothing is worse than being jam packed in a small area. If your crowd is too large for your area, the guests can’t get to the food or the bar easily. The people toward the back of the room can’t see your grand entrance or your first dance. Be aware of the size of your guest list before you chose your site. Don’t fall in love with a small site and then try to cram your guests in. It just won’t be a great experience for your guests.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The press release states “Zen is an ideal venue, adaptable for business meetings or presentations, intimate dinner parties, art exhibitions, or swanky black-tie affairs. It boasts a state-of-the-art audio, visual and lighting system, and features a 3,000 square foot Japanese-style garden. In addition, it offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen, and gives its clients the flexibility to feature the caterer or chef of their choice.
The space at Zen may be utilized in a number of ways, whether for 15 people or 400 people. Some of the options are shown below.
The Gallery is a sophisticated lounge space featuring a backlit bar, 20 foot high Venetian plaster walls, and contemporary seating. The Studio is a stylish warehouse space flanked by grand windows providing beautiful views of the Japanese garden and patio. The Mezzanine showcases a beautifully appointed conference room and private lounge overlooking the Studio.
Designed with clean, contemporary lines, the atmosphere of Zen is a chic interpretation of east meets west. The architectural goal was to keep the space light and transparent. Sliding glass walls and light-reflective materials such as stainless steel and polished concrete helped to achieve this aesthetic.
Zen is taking reservations this fall for events to be held winter of 2008. A public grand opening will also take place around this time.”
I can’t wait to do an event there.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The gorgeous basket given on the show was designed by yours truly. I received a request to help create a “whimsical” shower gift to be used in a scene on the show. The contents of the basket are from a store named Baby Bloomers in Charleston, SC and if you’re curious about the cost, it is worth over $300.00.
That's Beth Langston, an employee of the store and a good friend.
Monday, July 14, 2008
If you are not quite trendy enough to go for candy colored shoes with your wedding dress, why not put them on your bridesmaids. I have seen some great pictures of bridesmaids all in black with luscious hot green shoes or even dressed in black with each girl wearing a different colored pair of shoes. I love it.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The best answer to that question, is all day. If it is possible to have your space available from let’s say 11:00am to whatever time you plan to end your reception, that is the best possible scenario. I know this is not always possible or affordable but it is your best plan.
That being said let’s talk about why you need more time than say the 4 hours of your actual reception. Your florist will need to get in as early as possible to set up your room. Depending on the type of arrangements you have, some may need to be actually constructed at the site. Remember the florist has to set both your ceremony and reception site, so he will want to start as early as possible.
Also, if you are having rentals delivered they need to get there as early as possible, if they are not being delivered the day before. The venue can not set tables until table, chairs and linens have arrived. The florist can not decorate until these rentals are in place. The more elaborate your reception plans are, the more time for setup you will need. We have done weddings where setup actually started 3 days before.
If you are planning to get ready at the reception site (always the best way to go) you will want to be there at least four hours before if you are having hair done on site. If you are only dressing and having makeup done on site, you want to be there no less than two hours before.
You cake will need to arrive at the very latest one hour before the reception starts. Remember your florist and cake person will most likely need to be at the site at the same time. The florist will put the flowers on the cake and the baker will do any touch ups needed.
Your DJ will also want to arrive at least one hour early to do all his set up, even more time is needed if you are having a band. Your planner will need to have time to get to your reception site and do all your detail setup there, before being required at your ceremony site. Keep in mind that some guests will skip your wedding (for various reasons) and come straight to the reception. These same people always tend to arrive 30 minutes early and you don’t want them watching your vendors struggling to do last minute set ups.
Also, do not forget that after your party ends, your vendors will need at least 30 minutes to tear down and get out. So when your venue says you have to be out by 11:30pm, remember that means the party ends at 11:00 and your vendors have 30 minutes to pack up. So best case scenario you have your reception venue available for the entire day. If that is not an option, then you will need at the very least two hours before the start of the reception to allow for setup and at the least a half hour for tear down.
Never hire a venue until you are aware exactly how much time you will be allotted on the wedding day and if that amount of time works for your vendors. Always ask vendors during your first meetings how much time they will need for setup and tear down. This will allow you to plan your timeline and venue rental time accordingly.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
One of my tasks as a wedding planner is to find new, different or previously unavailable wedding and reception venues. I am always on the search for places to add to my list of venues, so when I get a call about a new venue opening I’m always excited.
A few weeks ago, Lindsey called to invite me to tour the West End Community Development Center. For those of you who are long time Greenville residents you may know this as the Allen Temple Community Development Center. They have recently changed their name and opened up their facility to the public for rental for events.
The thing that got me really excited is the fact that the Allen Temple Church is also available for rent. For those of you trying to find a downtown church to rent for your wedding, you know how few and far between these facilities are.
If you are interested in learning more, contact Lindsey at 864-233-4191 or go to http://www.westendcdc.org/
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Being the first wedding held there we did run across some “quirks” with the building (elevators that wouldn’t run, lights that wouldn’t come on, stairwells that were locked) but my Willrich team handled them and everything turned out like a dream for the bride and groom.
Travis Bell was the photographer for the event and as soon as I get some professional pictures I will post them, but until then here are some of the ones we took.
Here are the bride and her girls getting ready in the Clemson Tigers locker room.
This is the cocktail hour area. We placed wedding pictures of all the parents and grandparents and even some great grandparents on the tables. Each was labeled with the name and wedding date. It was so sweet.
Here are views of the room set up and ready for guests. Flowers were done by Dave McMillan of Memories by McMillan. We had one end of the room as the cocktail area with couches to recline on, and butlered signature drinks along with wine and beer were served to guests as they entered the room. A fruit and cheese display was set for the guests to enjoy. The middle of the room facing the staduim was used as the ceremony site and later after the chairs were removed it became party central with the dance floor jam packed all night. The far side of the room was where the heavy hors d'oeuvres were served. We had everything from a mashed potato bar to shrimp and grits. Aramark did an excellent job on the food.
The cake by Holly's Cakes was beautiful. Look at the view of the stadium behind the cake.
The ceremony was beautiful and touching. They did the blessing of the hands as part of the ceremony. It's a favorite of mine.
Now there is a picture you don't see to often. That's Travis Bell getting those great shots.
It was a honor to get to help such a great family plan their wedding and to be a little bit of history too.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Want to know what makes a wedding planner’s heart sing….a thank you note like the one above.
Nothing gives me a warmer feeling than knowing that the bride’s family was happy with the outcome of all our hard work. When someone takes the time to handwrite me a thank you note, I know they really meant it.
So when you are taking the time to write those thank you notes to guests, you just might want to send one to your vendors that worked so hard for you. Wedding vendors, contrary to what some of the wedding shows would have you think, are in a business that can be pretty thankless. If you have a vendor that you were really pleased with, take a moment and let them know. Thank you’s (and new business referrals) are the best thing you can do for your wedding vendors.