Why You Want a Day-of Wedding Coordinator (Reason Number Two)

July 27th, 2010
The bride was heading toward the altar when she discovered the cake wasn't there.

The bride was heading toward the altar when she discovered the cake wasn't there.

The bride came down the staircase of her parents’ home on her way to the altar in the back yard.  In her rather emotional state, she just noticed that the wedding cake was not on the dining room table where she expected it to be.  “Where is the cake?” she asked her wedding coordinator.  “It’s on its  way. Don’t worry,” was the reply.  And by the time dinner was served, the cake was on the table.  The bride and the groom were perfectly content.

Now, here’s what really happened:  The mercury that day was over 90 degrees.  A more experienced baker probably would have frozen the cake so that the buttercream frosting didn’t melt.  But this baker just loaded the cake into her van and drove through the heat.  By the time she reached the house, the cake had imploded.  Someone buttonholed me before she went back to her kitchen, so I had a minute to talk to her.  Needless to say, she was in a bit of a panic.

“What time do you have to have the cake here?” she asked me.

“You have exactly three hours,” I said.

“I’ll be back before then.”  And she was.  She ended up bringing a small wedding cake and a sheet cake, instead of the larger cake she had promised.  But it was still a small miracle that she managed to deliver at all.

Now, when the bride came downstairs and saw that there was no cake, I knew that the cake had fallen and that the baker was, at that moment, frantically re-baking it.  But there was no way I was going to let on to the bride that anything was wrong.  She had been very stressed earlier in the day, and I didn’t want her worrying as she went to marry her sweetheart.  Nor did I want to lie to her.  So, I told her the minimum amount of information she needed to know and made sure she didn’t worry.  Her family and friends didn’t have to deal with the situation.  And, in the end, everyone was happy.

New Photos from May Wedding

July 18th, 2010

I just got the photos from the wedding I wrote about back in May.  They are really nice photos and are all posted in my photo gallery.  Click on the photo below to go straight to the pictures from this wedding. Many thanks to Christy Tyler for sharing her photos.

Photo courtesy of christytylerphotography.com.

Photo courtesy of christytylerphotography.com.

A Little Advice To Start Planning

July 12th, 2010
One step in the process of wedding planning:  decor.  Photo courtesy of Agnes Malorney.

One step in the process of wedding planning: decor. Photo courtesy of Agnes Malorney.

A cousin of mine recently announced his engagement to the lovely woman he has been seeing for a few years.  The family is thrilled.  When I sent them my congratulations, I also let them know I’d be happy to help them with the wedding planning.  Today, I got an e-mail from them asking if I had any advice on where to find a wedding planning checklist and how to get started planning.  Here is what I wrote to them:

Dear Cousins,

For wedding checklists, there are probably 100 to be found on the internet and in wedding magazines.  They are all a lot alike.  I think the best thing to do is to take any random one you find and tailor it to your own use.  For myself, I would put it into an Excel spreadsheet, but there are lots of ways to make it useful.  Delete all the things that don’t apply to you.  If you don’t know yet if something is relevant, hang onto it for now and see if it is needed.

At this point, the three or four things you probably need to be working on are all interconnected:  date of the wedding; location of the ceremony; officiant, if that doesn’t come with the location; location of the reception (assuming you are having a reception–I make no assumptions); and finding a caterer for the reception (assuming ditto).  Of course, there are a lot of other decisions you will need to make in order to make those few decisions, so you may end up working backwards a little and then going forwards.  After you have that framework in place, then you can look for other vendors to help you:  florist; photographer; wedding coordinator; clothing; rings; jewelry, etc..  Then it will be time to work on decorative stuff (assuming you aren’t planning to do it all yourself–because if you are, you need to start on that yesterday):  invitations (functional as well as decorative, of course!), any other paper goods, reception decor, if any, etc.  After that, there will be a lot of little details.

I will caution you about two things:  There is the thing that NPR’s Car Guys call the Wedding-Industrial Complex (or the “Marital-Industrial Complex”).  It is real and it can be dangerous.  It is the bridal industry’s marketing machine that wants you to believe that you can’t have a wedding without having all the stuff provided by all the various vendors.  Don’t buy into it.  It’s not true.  All you really need in order to have a wedding is the two of you and someone who can sign the paperwork–and in some states you need witnesses.  Everything else is optional.  I like to advise my clients to do the things that have some meaning for them and to skip anything else (unless it makes your parents happy, for instance).  So, don’t believe the hype.  Just do the things that will make you happy.

And here’s the other thing:  There are a lot of scams in the wedding industry.  There are unscrupulous vendors who know that you’ve never done this before, and they will not hesitate to jack up prices or insist that you do things their way.  But there are also lots of vendors who will help you to do what you really want to do.  Make sure you find those and steer clear of the others.  Trust your instincts.  If it doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t right.

Take a look at this previous post of mine, this one and also this one for some tips on how to protect yourself against some of the most common scams and pitfalls of the wedding industry.  There is also a wealth of resources on my non-traditional weddings page, including some on the same topic.  And feel free to keep asking.  It’s my pleasure to help you two have a wonderful wedding!

Vendors I Know–Tweedle Press

July 6th, 2010

tweedle-logoI generally like to feature vendors I have worked with directly, but I have been so taken with Tweedle Press that I thought I ought to pass along the good news.  Nina, the owner of the press, does all letterpress printing.  I didn’t really know what letterpress was until I visited her studio and she showed me the 70 year old, heavy machines that print by putting an impression on the paper.  This is printing with texture.  She also makes her own paper sometimes, which makes for even more texture.

She also does design, so it’s a one-stop shop for wedding or party invitations; menus; thank-you cards; or any other paper goods.  Her commitment to environmental practices is strong, too.  The only possible drawback is price:  Her prices are best for large orders.  It’s beautiful work, though, so you might find that it’s worth it to spend a little more for beautiful, stylish, eco-friendly paper goods.