Save The Date: Committed 2018

December 11th, 2017
Committed 2017 had gorgeous displays by talented vendors!  Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

Committed 2017 had gorgeous displays by talented vendors! Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

Remember the fabulous wedding show put on every year by the Green Wedding Alliance?  Well, the 2018 show is coming right up.  You can put Sunday, January 21, 2018 on your calendar right now.

The event will be at Greenhouse Loft, 2545 W. Diversey Ave., 2nd Floor.  It’s a beautiful venue and just right for this event.  Committed gives you a sneak peek at some of the finest wedding vendors in Chicago, all of whom are themselves committed to sustainable practices.

Here are some more photos from last year’s event, to whet your appetite.  All photos by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

Committed_2017_010 Committed_2017_022 Committed_2017_029 Committed_2017_040 Committed_2017_097

Green Resource: SWANNC

December 4th, 2017
Photo by Ryan Timm Photography.

Photo by Ryan Timm Photography.

Okay, so technically this is not just a resource for weddings, events, and parties.  It’s for everyone, all the time.  And it’s not glamorous.  I’m talking about the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (or SWANNC).  Even for people who don’t live in Northern Cook County, this website has a huge amount of information that is useful.

There is a directory of resources for reusing and recycling that covers everything from Appliances and Automobiles through Fire extinguishers, Make-up containers, and Shoes to Wood recycling and Yard waste.  Many of the resources are local, but many can be found regionally or nationally.  My favorite discovery so far is places you can take polystyrene (Styrofoam) to be downcycled into other materials.

If you look under business resources, you will also find a Green Meeting Guide and a Zero Waste Event Guide.  They are designed for use by businesses and mostly for corporate events, but there are some good tips that would also be useful for social events.  Check them out if you’re planning a party and want to go green.

If you have questions about recycling, about donating goods, about composting–about pretty much anything that has to do with disposing of things–check out SWANNC and make them part of your next party.

Re-Run: Sign on the Dotted Line

November 27th, 2017

I’m re-running some old posts since I think they have some useful information.  Here’s one from a few years ago that never goes out of style:

This bakery had a good contract--and good chocolate!  Photo by Carasco Photography.

This bakery had a good contract–and good chocolate! Photo by Carasco Photography.

I want to share with you some information I give to many of my clients.  It’s on a subject that is hardly glamorous, but is very, very important:  Contracts.  I’m not a contract lawyer, but this is what I have learned by experience.

When you are planning a big celebration, you will have to deal with a number of vendors, and each one of them should give you a contract.  And each one will require a certain amount of your attention.  You should read carefully each contract you are given.  Make sure you agree with every point in it before you sign it.  Because once you sign it, it becomes a legally binding document that might be very hard to get out of.  It’s much better to negotiate it before you sign it.

And all contracts are negotiable, no matter what your vendor says.  The point of a contract is to come to an agreement between parties, so don’t be afraid to negotiate your part of the agreement.  I’m not saying that you can get everything you want into (or out of) every contract, but you don’t have to take whatever they give you without a murmur if you don’t like it.

Every contract should contain a certain minimum of information.  It should have the vendor’s name, address, and phone number on it.  If the vendor wants you to contact them some other way than by phone, that information should also be on the contract so it is easily available.  The contract should also state clearly exactly what the vendor is going to do for you and when they are going to do it.  Likewise, it should say how much you are expected to pay and when.

It is a good idea to include details in the contract:  When and where will deliveries be made?  Will the vendor only bring their goods to the venue or will they also set things up?  If you change your mind and want something extra, what happens?  And what will it cost?  What happens if one party or the other fails to live up to the agreement?  Finally, the contract should be signed and dated by both parties.

Florists and bakeries (in my experience) are notorious for offering incomplete contracts.  Often, small shops don’t have the resources to put together complete contracts.  In this case, you should not hesitate to hand write the missing information onto the contract before it is signed, and make sure the vendor initials the changes.  This will protect both of you.

I learned some of this from my dealings with a certain florist.  What passed for a contract from this florist was just a list of floral options and prices, with one of them circled.  There was no information on delivery or set-up.  I understood from my client that the florist was going to bring all the floral arrangements into the venue and I would set them up.  I even discussed delivery with the shop in the week before the wedding.  Oddly, no one mentioned that the centerpieces weighed between 50 and 100 pounds, somewhat more than I can carry on my own.  The owner of the shop showed up with the centerpieces, carried them down a flight of steps, and placed them where they belonged.  I thought all was well.  Five days after the wedding, I got an e-mail from the floral shop asking for additional payment because the owner had had to do extra work on the delivery.  Fortunately, I had a copy of their contract and was able to explain that they should not expect to recoup their losses from me.  It also might have been better if a complaint had been made on the spot so I could have solved the problem before it happened.

That experience is also one of the reasons I always insist on having copies of every contract that a client has with their vendors.  I can head off a lot of trouble if I know exactly what is expected of each vendor.  So, read your contracts, make sure you agree with their contents, and send a copy on to your planner.  You’ll be happy you did.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20th, 2017

dinner buffet

I’d like to wish a happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  It’s the season of gratitude, so I’d like to say that I’m very grateful for all my clients–past and future–who trust me with the planning and management of their weddings and other celebrations.  It’s an honor to participate in your happy occasion.  And I’m grateful for the ability to earn a living helping people throw parties, and helping them solve the sometimes thorny problems that come between them and the celebration they are imagining.

Thank you to everyone and enjoy your Thanksgiving!