DIY Decor and Your Day-of Coordinator

July 31st, 2017
DIY allows you to express yourself.   Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

DIY allows you to express yourself. Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

If you’re on a budget (and there are a lot of budget weddings), you might try to save some money by having most of your decor be DIY.  Or maybe you are just crafty and want to have your own artistic vision featured at your wedding.  These are both good reasons to  have DIY decor.

But let’s talk about the practical side of the matter:  How do you get from concept to installed finished product–and how do you do it without sending your day-of coordinator into screaming fits?

There are some coordinators who hate dealing with DIY decor.  There are others who charge extra because they know that it requires extra work on their part.  When you hire a coordinator, be sure to ask them how they deal with DIY decor.  It is good to know before you hire.

I don’t hate DIY.  In fact, I think it is a lot of fun and makes for visually unique events.  I also don’t charge extra–unless the decor requires that I put in extra hours or hire extra hands.  But in my standard contract, you will find this one little sentence:  “Decor design and implementation are to be decided and communicated to me in advance.”

The reason that sentence is there is because one too many times, I have walked into a wedding venue and been confronted by unlabeled boxes of decor items.  In a limited amount of time, I have had to figure out where to put all the many objects and how to make it all look beautiful and intentional.  Naturally, I can do this and make it all look fabulous, but it’s much more work and much more stress than is necessary.

So, what does this mean for how you handle your decor if I’m coordinating your wedding?  It means you have to decide in advance what you want your tables (and walls, and bar, and….) to look like.  It means you have to draw diagrams or take pictures and send them to me.  It means you organize things in ways that make it easy to set things up.  It means you label everything.  And it also means that we have some detailed discussions in advance so I know what you want.

One exceptionally organized bride who had enormous amounts of DIY decor put all the objects for each table in their own boxes, so all I had to do was pull it out and set it up according to the pictures she had sent.  Another included a list in each box with the name of the object and its location.  Sometimes a bridesmaid or sibling has been designated to be the liaison and helper.

It doesn’t matter how you organize the objects and communicate your vision.  All I ask is that you make it as easy as possible to set up decor, so I can also do everything else that needs to be done to make your wedding as wonderful as possible.

Featured Wedding

July 17th, 2017

KED Design's flowers complemented the orange and purple color scheme.  Check out the bride's shoes in matching colors.

I did full planning on a wedding that was featured on the blog A Bicycle Built for Two.  It’s a blog that says it is “real wedding inspiration for lesbians, queers, and everyone else.”  I love what they do!  They show real people and their real choices for celebrating.

So, please check out the post about the wedding I planned.  And take a look at their archives.  There’s a lot of good stuff there.

Photos from Grove Wedding

July 10th, 2017

I was at one of my favorite venues the other night, the Redfield Estate at The Grove in Glenview.  It was a vow renewal ceremony for the couple, and they had a great time with their family and friends.  Here are a few pictures that I took of the reception.

cocktail hour at the grove grove pavilion guest book mr and mrs pavilion reception rose centerpiece wedding cake

Throwing Rice…is Actually Fine

June 26th, 2017
Should you ask your guests to throw bird seed instead of rice?  (Photo by Peter Coombs.)

Should you ask your guests to throw bird seed instead of rice? (Photo by Peter Coombs.)

I bet you’ve heard this one:  You shouldn’t throw rice at weddings because the birds will eat it and the rice will swell up inside of them and they will explode.  Did you ever wonder if it is true?  I certainly believed it when I first heard it, but something about it started to seem not quite right.  So I looked into it.

And it turns out that it is totally not true!!  No one seems to be quite sure where the idea came from originally.  The first place it is documented is the Connecticut state legislature in 1985, but its origins before that are shrouded in mystery.  The story spread, though, despite attempts by ornithologists to correct it.  For some reason, the idea of pigeons exploding seemed to capture the collective imagination.  Think about it, though:  Did you ever see a bird explode?  Or see the remains of one that had?  Me neither.

A university biology professor proved this conclusively (as told in this article) by, first, simulating the conditions of grain inside a bird and, finally (and only at the insistence of his students), feeding rice to his own pet doves and pigeons.  The result?  No exploded birds.  In fact, they seemed to like it a lot.  It turns out that birds eat rice in the wild all the time without any harm.

So, what does this mean for your wedding?  Can you encourage your guests to throw rice (should you wish to follow the ancient tradition)?  First, check the contract with your venue.  Some venues specifically prohibit throwing rice or birdseed or confetti or various other things that are difficult to clean up.  If it is permitted, also keep in mind that small grains on a hard surface (like a sidewalk) can be a slipping hazard for people wearing slippery shoes–such as your guests who are wearing their best clothes.  If you want to be on the safe side, skip the tradition.  If you do decide to do it, you know the birds will thank you.