News from Consumer Reports

July 18th, 2016
Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, you probably associate the magazine with reviews for cars and appliances.  Every once in a while, though, they do something else.  Their June 2016 issue has some reporting on wedding pricing that I found interesting.

The CR team made phone calls to wedding/event vendors in several markets and asked for pricing on two identical events, a wedding and an anniversary party.  They found that some types of vendors were more likely than others to have a wedding surcharge.  Specifically, photographers and limo companies were most likely to increase their prices for a wedding.  Some caterers also have higher wedding prices.

Interestingly, they found that florists, photo booth rentals, and bakeries did not generally have a mark-up for a wedding.  (For bakeries, they only priced sheet cakes, not wedding cakes, which are notoriously expensive.)  I was glad to read this research, since it matches my experience, as well.

I don’t rush to judgment on vendors who raise their prices for a wedding.  In any field, there are always some people out to gouge their customers, but, for the most part, it’s likely that the extra level of service required of weddings is a good justification for higher prices.  After all, you don’t want to skimp on service!  But this information is helpful to savvy consumers on a budget who want to know where their wedding dollar is going.

You can read the whole article on the CR website.

Vendors I Know: Vistaprint

June 27th, 2016
Need a menu printed?. Photo by hannahelaine photography (

Need a menu printed?. Photo by hannahelaine photography (

When you’re planning an event or a wedding, you might find that you need printing services.  If you plan to send paper invitations, you’ll need invitations, envelopes, and reply cards.  You might also want to have a program for your guests or a menu at dinner.  And you could want signs to direct your guests to the location.

There are many options for all of these items, but some of them are expensive.  Traditional engraved invitations, for example, are costly.  They can also take several weeks to be printed.  But it turns out that the place where you can get inexpensive business cards is the same place where you can get some or all of your wedding or event printing done:  Vistaprint.

A recent client of mine used Vistaprint for her invitations, place cards, and signage, and she was very happy with the service–and, especially, with the turn-around time.

The only drawback to the service is the designs.  If you like their designs, then it is a convenient service. If you don’t find one to your taste in their gallery, you can upload a design for them to print, but that means that you still have to get the invitations designed.  It’s great if you are a designer yourself and can do the work.  But if you’re already working with a designer, then you probably also want to use whatever printing services they recommend.

You might not think that a service that is primarily thought of as a business service would be good for weddings and events, but it turns out that under some circumstances, it can be both convenient and economical.

Band vs. DJ

May 23rd, 2016
Here's a hot dance band.

Here’s a hot dance band.

So, you’re planning your wedding and you are wondering what kind of music you should have.  Should you hire a band?  Or hire a DJ?  How do you decide?  Both options have things in their favor.

Hiring a DJ is definitely one good choice.  You get a wide range of music and it’s generally less expensive than hiring a dance band.  Quality DJs can not only be your reception MC, but they know how to keep the dance floor full and make sure that everyone has a good time.

If you have the funds, though, there are a lot of high quality bands available.  With a band, you get almost everything that a DJ offers, and you get a more vibrant sonic experience.  While a band might not have the breadth of repertoire you can get from a DJ, there is something about the sound of a live band that says “party.”  The best bands have a wide and deep song list with something for everyone, and they also bring their own unique sound to the dance floor.

Either way, you really can’t go wrong.  Make your decision based on your taste, your budget, and your preferences.

Wedding Trends

March 7th, 2016

I’ve noticed a trend in the weddings I have worked on in the last year or so.  It’s not at all universal, but I am seeing a certain number of wedding receptions where there are no floral centerpieces on the tables.  All of these couples say they want to keep things simple, and that is definitely one way to do so.  They generally compensate for the lack of flowers by using a lot of candles, instead.

If you search for “wedding centerpiece no flowers,” you’ll get lots and lots of photos of elaborate tablescapes.  That’s one way to do the job.  But if you are trying to keep expenses down or if you just don’t want a lot of visual fuss at your wedding reception, you can keep it simple.

Here are two images from recent weddings with only candles for centerpieces.  The first one is as simple as possible, while remaining elegant.  The second one is more colorful and whimsical, proving you can express your taste and stay simple at the same time.

Photo by Becca Heuer Photography.

Photo by Becca Heuer Photography.

head table