Stress Buster: Humor!

September 30th, 2013
Here is a very small sample of the dresses you will see.  Yes, that's Hello Kitty.

Here is a very small sample of the dresses you will see. Yes, that's Hello Kitty.

Sometimes planning a wedding or other event can be stressful.  So, what do you do to blow off steam a little?  How about looking at ugly bridesmaid, prom, and wedding dresses?  Ugly is usually good for a laugh or two.

Catering vs. Full-Service Catering

September 23rd, 2013
Full-service caterers create a beautiful buffet.   Photo courtesy of

Full-service caterers create a beautiful buffet. Photo courtesy of

I have noticed that there is often some confusion about caterers and what they do.  I’d like to lay out the distinction between “catering” and “full-service catering” for you.

Any restaurant, chef, or catering company can do “catering.”  That might be as simple as bringing big foil pans of food to your location and dropping it off–along with a few napkins and plastic forks, if you’re lucky.  Especially when restaurants say that they do “catering,” often they mean only that they can make quantities of food for a crowd and bring the food to you.

“Full-service catering,” on the other hand, is almost always done by companies that specialize in it.  The services offered by full-service catering companies generally include:

  • Hiring service staff (servers, bartenders, etc.)
  • Coordinating rentals (dishes, furniture, tents, serving equipment, etc.)
  • Event planning
  • Furniture set-up (ceremony and reception) and table setting

A full-service caterer can take care of many of the details that otherwise cause headaches to those who are planning parties.

You might wonder, then, why would I need my own event planner if I hire a full-service caterer?  The answer is easy:  The event planner you hire is your advocate who is there to supervise all the vendors, including the caterer, to be sure they do what you have requested.  Your event planner coordinates among all the vendors, looking out for your interests at all times.

Of course, if you must have your favorite restaurant cater your event and they do not provide full-service catering, consider hiring an event planner early.  Your event planner can work with companies that provide servers and bartenders; recommend rental companies and work with you on rental lists; plan the timing and layout for your event; and make sure it all runs like clockwork.

Throwing Things at the Guests

September 16th, 2013
This garter was not seen by the guests at the wedding at all.  Photo by hannahelaine photography (

This garter was not seen by the guests at the wedding at all. Photo by hannahelaine photography (

I’ve noticed a trend at weddings lately, and it’s something that is not done, rather than any other kind of innovation.  More and more of the couples I have worked with have done without the traditions of the bouquet toss and the garter toss.  I’m not sure if this is just my clients, or if the phenomenon is more widespread.

There could be several reasons for this trend:

It could just be a fluke.  That’s what I thought at first when it was only two or three couples in a row.

It could be that couples who want to work with me are already thinking about doing things non-traditionally.  Maybe the bouquet toss is still popular outside of my little niche.

It may be that as wedding planning becomes more elastic, it becomes easier to dispense with things that have no resonance for individuals.  Or as people marry later, they want more sophistication in their celebrations.

The bouquet toss becomes less attractive when more of the bride’s female friends are already married.  I’ve seen DJs cajoling women onto the floor to catch the bouquet when there were very few single women present.

The garter ritual has gotten a bad reputation, not only because it can be done in a way that may be offensive to some sensibilities, but because its unsavory history is beginning to be known.  (Apparently, in the Middle Ages, it was customary for the local men to rip clothing off a newly married bride to “loosen her up.”  Brides began carrying extra garters to throw to them in hopes of escaping.)

None of this is to say that these traditions can’t be done any more.  I’m sure there are many weddings every year where the bride tosses the bouquet and where the garter is tossed to all the single men present.  But I have noticed that many people are rethinking these traditions and deciding for themselves whether or not they want them at their wedding.

Eco-Friendly Weddings Re-Run: Location

September 9th, 2013
Try a beautiful outdoor location for your celebration.

Try a beautiful outdoor location for your celebration.

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.  The place you choose can have a large impact on how sustainable your celebration is.

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), you can 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!