Announcing 2015 Price Increase

October 6th, 2014

altar-flowers

Photo by Peter Coombs.

I try very hard to keep my prices reasonable, but I will be increasing my prices to keep up with inflation and increased costs starting January 1, 2015.  If you want to book me for next year at this year’s prices, be sure to get in touch with me before the end of this year.  If you hire me by the end of December, I’ll be happy to offer you current prices for any wedding or party in 2015.  Email me now!

Re-run: DIY Weddings–Planning and Coordination

September 29th, 2014

If you hire a good planner, this is all you should have to think about on your wedding day.

If you hire a good planner, this is all you should have to think about on your wedding day. Photo by MWD Photography.

I’ve written a lot about do-it-yourself weddings lately, and here are my final thoughts (probably) on the subject.  Should you plan and manage your wedding yourself?  Yes–and no.

Most people can do much of the planning themselves.  Hiring vendors is not difficult.  You will probably also want to plan the decor yourself so that it reflects your taste.  Of course, if you’d rather not handle all the details yourself, by all means, hire a full-service wedding planner!

The place where a lot of people get stuck in the planning process is scheduling the wedding day and the logistics of making everything happen.  It turns out that these are special skills.  And so you will likely want to have a professional planner on hand.  One of my favorite parts of this job is taking a tangled mass of good ideas and turning it into a usable plan.  Actually, I really like seeing the smile of relief on my clients’ faces when I do that.

Even if you are able to do the scheduling and logistics yourself, actually managing what happens on your wedding day is another matter.  I like to use a theatre metaphor to describe it:  You are the star of the show; you can also be the director and the producer.  But you need a good stage manager to make sure that you shine.  Also, on the day of your wedding, you should be able to focus on getting married, not on whether the flowers are delivered on time.

This might be predictable coming from me, but I have seen enough problems and near-disasters to know that it really does make a difference:  Make sure you have someone with practical, hands-on experience managing your wedding day.  Don’t try to do it yourself.

Re-run: DIY Weddings–Decor

September 22nd, 2014

If you have the time and skill, you can go all-out and make a chandelier, as this bride did.

If you have the time and skill, you can go all-out and make a chandelier, as this bride did.

I’m still thinking about DIY weddings, and about when DIY is a good idea and when it is not.  One of the most successful kinds of do-it-yourself wedding planning is in the area of decor.

There are some kinds of decor that are better left to professionals.  Things like flowers (see my thoughts on that here) and lighting fall in that category.  If you want to hang large objects from a ceiling, I would recommend hiring someone for that, too.

But there are lots and lots of things that are suitable for DIY:  table runners, table numbers, card box, place cards, photo props, menus, programs, favors.  Especially if you are planning unique decor, it may be easier and cheaper to make it yourself, rather than hunting down the perfect item at craft shops, second-hand stores, rental shops, and the internet.

Of course, it takes extra time–sometimes lots of extra time–and a little skill to do it all yourself.  As always, plan carefully and leave yourself enough time.  You don’t want to end up like a friend of mine who was frantically hand-writing place cards late on the night before her wedding.  Plan to have it all done early and get help if you need it.

Re-run: DIY Weddings–Dessert

September 15th, 2014

The homemade sweet table can be both pretty and tasty.

The homemade sweet table can be both pretty and tasty.

Here’s another good DIY idea:  Dessert!  While I strongly recommend that you do not cater your own wedding, dessert is a completely different matter for doing it yourself.  Better yet, get other people to do it for you.

I’m not talking here about making your own wedding cake.  While I’ve seen cakes made by talented friends and family members, that’s a job that is probably best left to professionals.  I’m talking about sweet tables.

We all know people who make fabulous cookies or pies or cupcakes.  You can take advantage of this by asking people–instead of bringing gifts–to bake for your wedding reception.

DIY sweet tables, like all DIY projects, do require a little more advance planning and coordination.  You’ll need to ask people enough in advance so that they will have time to bake.  Your caterer will need to be alerted to the DIY nature of dessert.  People who bake will need to drop off their baked goods at a specified time.  (Your coordinator and caterer will help determine the right time.)  You’ll probably want to coordinate your bakers so that you have some variety.  It’s also a good idea to have your volunteer bakers include a list of ingredients with their baked goods so that people with allergies can find out what is in each dessert.  And you’ll have to be sure the quantity is sufficient.

If you feel like you can handle all these things, the DIY sweet table is definitely an option.  It might not be as fancy as a sweet table from a bakery, but it can save money and be a way to have your friends and family closely involved with your reception.