Wedding Planning Tips (third of a series)

April 30th, 2012
Make sure everyone you hire is someone you want to see on your wedding day.

Make sure everyone you hire is someone you want to see on your wedding day.

Every wedding planner has a calendar or timeline laying out the important steps necessary to plan a wedding and reception. The timeline is an important part of planning your wedding, but there are other equally important things to think about in order to have the wedding you really want. Here is one of them:

When you are hiring vendors, I can’t stress enough how important it is to find people who are easy to communicate with. Any vendor who implies that they know better than you what you need is not someone you need at your wedding. Find people who listen to what you want and are enthusiastic about your ideas. Only hire people you feel comfortable calling if you have a change of plans or a new set of ideas. Make sure they are the sort of people you would want to invite to your wedding.

Earth Day Thoughts

April 23rd, 2012
Try a beautiful outdoor location for your celebration.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Try a beautiful outdoor location for your celebration. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Yesterday was Earth Day so I’m thinking about locations for eco-friendly weddings and events.  There are many choices you can make to have a sustainable location for your event.

For example, you can choose a LEED certified building, or rent from and support a location that has an environmental mission, such as a botanic garden or organic farm. You can also look at the Green Hotels Association to find a hotel with an environmental commitment.  Or you can find an eco-friendly restaurant through the Green Restaurant Association.  Celebrating outdoors, of course, reduces the power needed for lighting and air conditioning.  If you’re having more than one event on the same day (such as a wedding and reception), have them in the same location to reduce the amount of transportation needed.

There are lots of easy things you can do to make your wedding or other celebration more eco-conscious.  Every little bit helps!

DIY Weddings: Potlucks

April 16th, 2012

Do-It-Yourself is all the rage.  And there are lots of things you can do yourself for your own wedding (or a friend’s). But I have also heard some DIY ideas that might need a little more thought before implementation.  This is the first post in a series on the beauties and pitfalls of DIY.

This is NOT a potluck, DIY place setting.  Photo by Carasco Photography.

This is NOT a potluck, DIY place setting. Photo by Carasco Photography.

I have been to two potluck wedding receptions, and both of them worked out very well.  They were very different from one another and offer some interesting lessons on how to make this idea work.

One was in a church hall with no caterer or serving staff.  The other was in a rented hall that required a certified kitchen staff.

If you have no hired kitchen staff, the question is who will set up the food and–more importantly–who will clean up.  At the first potluck, the bride asked some of her friends (including me) to take charge of scraping and packing the rented dishes at the end of the day.  Fortunately, this couple have a lot of responsible (and sober) friends who cheerfully stayed to help them.  It was also a daytime wedding, meaning no one had to stay until 1:00 a.m. scraping dishes.  They also had friends help set the tables and set up the buffet.

The second potluck had a professional kitchen staff, which increased the cost but meant that the guests were not involved in running the kitchen.  If you are thinking of having a potluck buffet, this might be a better idea, unless you both have a hall that will allow you not to have hired staff and have friends who are sufficiently responsible.

There are other pitfalls to be avoided at a potluck.  The biggest one is not knowing whether you will have enough food, enough good food, or enough variety.  You can overcome this by asking your guests to tell you what they are bringing and making sure the best cooks bring large quantities.  That requires extra organization and extra time on your part.

And there is one more pitfall to a potluck wedding reception:  One of your relatives will be scandalized.  But if you can live with that, if you want an informal reception, and if you can figure out how to do everything that needs to get done, it’s not impossible.   But I would not recommend it for everyone.  Be sure you think it through before you commit to doing it yourself.

Wedding Planning Tips (second of a series)

April 9th, 2012
If it's the cake that has be to perfect, start early.  Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

If it's the cake that has be to perfect, start early. Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

Every wedding planner has a calendar or timeline laying out the important steps necessary to plan a wedding and reception. The timeline is an important part of planning your wedding, but there are other equally important things to think about in order to have the wedding you really want. Here is one of them:

For everyone, there are one or two elements of the ceremony or reception that will make you unhappy if they aren’t as close to perfect as possible. For me, it was the food at the reception. The meal I served my guests had to be better than anything I eat on an ordinary day. Most caterers just weren’t up to the job, and I didn’t care for their attitudes, either. I interviewed half a dozen caterers and tasted their food before I found one whose food and attitude I really liked. With the elements that are most important to you, take time early in the planning process to find someone to do the job you will be entirely happy with. See or taste samples of their work. Get at least two references. Don’t settle for second best or feel pressured by any vendor. You know what you want, and it is always possible to find it.