The Wedding Planner and Emotional Landmines

November 24th, 2014
Every detail requires decisions.  Photo by Peter Coombs.

Every detail requires decisions. Photo by Peter Coombs.

There is nothing like a wedding to bring out emotional reactions from your friends and family.  For the most part, these are the happy, joyful emotions you want associated with your engagement and wedding.  If only it were always that easy!

Sometimes, in their eagerness to help you or their complete happiness for you, a family member or close friend may start to insist that you “have to” do things at your wedding a certain way.  I know many people who have had this experience.  It generally comes from a place of love, but it is also not always appropriate.

So, what does this have to do with your wedding planner?  One of the things I can do for my clients is help them to navigate through this emotional minefield.  One the one hand, you want to maintain relationships with those who are close to you; on the other, you are planning your wedding, not theirs.  I can give perspective on the situation and help you with a tactful answer.

For example, a client once had a family member who insisted that corsages had to be provided for the mothers.  This demand arose two days before the wedding.  I was able to, first, reassure my client that no etiquette expert gives a requirement for any such thing.  I also pointed out that the florist had already put in the flower order for the wedding and it would be very difficult for her to produce two more corsages on short notice.  With this information in hand, my client was able to explain to the family member why there wouldn’t be corsages.  I believe there were no hard feelings and everyone was able to proceed to the wedding day happily.

I’ve had many similar situations, and I’m always happy to help my clients navigate through them.  It isn’t always easy and there isn’t only one right answer in any situation.  I am here to help figure out what the right answer is.

Vendors I Know: Agnes Malorny

November 17th, 2014
Here's one of my favorite photos from Agnes Malorny.

Here's one of my favorite photos from Agnes Malorny.

I haven’t featured a photographer here in quite some time.  I’d like to introduce you to a terrific one:  Agnes Malorny.  I’ve worked with Agnes more than once and had the pleasure of having clients hire her just this past summer on my recommendation.

Naturally, I would not recommend a photographer (or any vendor) unless the quality of her work was outstanding.  Agnes’ is always quite lovely.  She does equally well with portraits, still shots, and action shots.  But I also appreciate her work ethic and attitude.  She has always been a pleasure to work with and just to be around.

What Is Full-Service Wedding Planning?

November 10th, 2014
Do you want to decide what the cake looks like?  Just tell your planner.

Do you want to decide what the cake looks like? Just tell your planner.

If you want to hire someone to plan your wedding, do you know what that means?  What parts of the planning will the professional do and what won’t they do?  Who will make the decisions?  Every planner has her or his own answers to these questions.  Here is how I see it.

When I do full-service planning, I generally take care of all the parts of the wedding and reception, except clothing, jewelry, and invitations.  I have found that most couples prefer to do those things themselves.  Of course, I can recommend vendors for all of those categories and I am able to help you with them, if you need it.  Every couple is unique and I spend a good bit of time in the beginning of the process to discover what they need me to do.

As for decisions, there are two different ways they can be handled.  Either my clients can make all the final decisions, or they can tell me which decisions they want to make and which they want me to make.  At one extreme, you could tell me that you want me to make all the decisions.  I don’t necessarily recommend this course of action, but it is a possibility at one end of the spectrum.

At the other end of the spectrum, I would make recommendations on vendors and so on and let you decide what to do.  I’ve worked this way with clients and find that the results are very good.  But if there are things you don’t really care about, with a full-service planner you can offload those choices and simplify the process for yourself.  The important thing is communicating your wishes to your planner.

Wedding Schedules: Fact or Fiction?

November 3rd, 2014
Remember:  The schedule is a guide, not a rulebook.  Courtesy of

Remember: The schedule is a guide, not a rulebook. Courtesy of

One of the most important things I do for my wedding clients is create a schedule for the day of the wedding.  This can start with hair and make-up appointments and go on to photographs, ceremony, reception, and after-party, if need be.  Where most people get bogged down is in the reception: How long does it take to serve and eat dinner? What time should the cake be cut?  When does the dancing begin?  Are the toasts during dinner or before it?

Because I have made up so many wedding and reception schedules, I have a good idea of how long things will take and when they should happen.  But I’ll let you in on a little secret:  On my version of the reception schedule, I rarely put exact times any more.  While wedding ceremonies often start and end more or less on time, and cocktail hours are often just about an hour long, everything else at a reception is not likely to go by the clock.  It’s more important (to me) to know that the toasts happen after the salad is served (whatever time that ends up being) and that the bride and groom’s first dance is after dessert (whenever that happens) than the clock time that is on the schedule.

One time, a bride had created a schedule for her wedding day that was precise to the minute about when things should happen.  It turned out that the ceremony was ten minutes shorter than had been planned, so the cocktail hour started and ended ten minutes early.  When I went to get her for introductions before dinner, she was reluctant to go ahead because it was earlier than the scheduled time.  I had to talk her into doing things a few minutes early by reminding her that the guests had not seen the schedule and didn’t know that we were off our timing.  I thought it was better to treat the schedule as a guideline (if not an inspired work of fiction) rather than have the guests sitting at their tables for ten minutes waiting for something to happen.

So, do make up a schedule for your wedding day.  Do include all the things you want to have happen.  But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t all happen at the exact time you thought it would.