Children at Weddings

July 25th, 2016
Kids are always the first (and last) ones on the dance floor. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Kids are always the first (and last) ones on the dance floor. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

I read an article in Salon recently about inviting kids to weddings, and it sparked a long, divisive conversation in a group of wedding professionals.  Half the people in the conversation (or more) were of the opinion that children don’t belong at weddings.  The rest of us thought the opposite.

The arguments against children at weddings were that they are disruptive to the proceedings and that parents get drunk and don’t supervise their children.  As several people pointed out in the discussion, there are some underlying assumptions to these arguments that ought to be considered.

For example, what is your wedding all about?  Is it an expensive performance that is expected to go flawlessly, like a stage show?  Is the reception a boozy party for adults to let their hair down and get drunk?  Or is it an inclusive family celebration?

I would argue that if you are putting on a performance, then you might want to avoid having small kids there.  They can be unpredictable and spoil the illusion.  If your reception is all about everyone getting drunk, then definitely leave the kids off the guest list.  It’s not appropriate to have unsupervised children at a bar.

But if your goal is to have a party where your families and friends can come together to enjoy the company and celebrate your wedding day with you, then it would be very sad to leave the kids out.  Sure, one of them is likely to do something unexpected, and some poor parent may be stuck in the church lobby with a wailing baby.  But that’s what happens with children, and is no cause to leave them out.

News from Consumer Reports

July 18th, 2016
Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, you probably associate the magazine with reviews for cars and appliances.  Every once in a while, though, they do something else.  Their June 2016 issue has some reporting on wedding pricing that I found interesting.

The CR team made phone calls to wedding/event vendors in several markets and asked for pricing on two identical events, a wedding and an anniversary party.  They found that some types of vendors were more likely than others to have a wedding surcharge.  Specifically, photographers and limo companies were most likely to increase their prices for a wedding.  Some caterers also have higher wedding prices.

Interestingly, they found that florists, photo booth rentals, and bakeries did not generally have a mark-up for a wedding.  (For bakeries, they only priced sheet cakes, not wedding cakes, which are notoriously expensive.)  I was glad to read this research, since it matches my experience, as well.

I don’t rush to judgment on vendors who raise their prices for a wedding.  In any field, there are always some people out to gouge their customers, but, for the most part, it’s likely that the extra level of service required of weddings is a good justification for higher prices.  After all, you don’t want to skimp on service!  But this information is helpful to savvy consumers on a budget who want to know where their wedding dollar is going.

You can read the whole article on the CR website.

Getting Around

July 11th, 2016
I've worked on more than one wedding that used a school bus for transport.

I’ve worked on more than one wedding that used a school bus for transport.

Weddings and events often have a need to move people from one place to another.  At a wedding, for example, everyone needs to get to the place where the wedding is taking place.  If there is more than one location, then people need to move from one place to the next.  And then everyone needs to get back home or to their hotel.

There are lots of ways of accomplishing these basic feats, from the mundane to the festive.  And there are pros and cons to all of them.

At one end of the spectrum, everyone can be responsible for their own transport.  At the other, the hosts of the event arrange to do all the moving of people from place to place.  Most weddings, I’ve noticed, fall somewhere in between.

Sometimes, especially if there are far-flung venues or a majority of out-of-town guests, the couple will charter buses to get guests from place to place.  Often, though, hired transport is only for the wedding party.  This is usually one of three things:  a limo, a bus, or a trolley.  There are, of course, other options: horse-drawn carriage, bicycle taxi, public transit, etc!

If you’re thinking of hiring a limo, you should know that many limousine companies charge a premium for wedding transport.  If you object to paying more just because you’re getting married, shop around until you find one who will give you their standard rate.  Bus and trolley companies are less likely to charge extra, but it is always worthwhile to ask about their policy.

So, what kind of transport should you have for your guests?  That is a decision you can base on practicality (Is it needed? Would it be very helpful?); budget; and your personal taste.

Happy Fourth to All!

July 4th, 2016