Posts in the 'Liz' Category

BAB Throwback: To See Or Not To See … That Is The Question

Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.

BAB Throwback to see or not to see that is the question

From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.

It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.

Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.

Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography

Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of  you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.

Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?

And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.

So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

Got a question for our wedding planning guru Heather? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

 

Via.

Dear Liz,

I really like the idea of asking a friend to be a stage manager for the wedding, or possibly hiring a professional as a day-of coordinator. The venue where we’re getting married has their person, who is the one managing both the catering and the venue logistics.  She said she wouldn’t recommend bringing a planner in, since they tend to be grumpy,  and she’s got it covered. Should I just trust that she’ll do what we want?  We have a meeting well ahead of the rehearsal to discuss exact timing for the ceremony, for example, and her staff will even set up all the centerpieces and escort cards if we leave them there. Or, should I risk stepping on her toes and bring in someone who’s just focused on us? Am I worrying too much, or should I just appreciate the level of service the venue is offering?

Signed, 

Day-of Dilemma

Dear Dilemma,

I’ve worked a few weddings where after a couple of meetings I kind of think, “Okay, well, why am I here?” And the answer is “insurance.”  Having someone there who, as you say, is just there for you, and be your advocate in case the things you’re really worried about (whatever those are) go wonky. You don’t want to worry about anything, you want to enjoy the day, and you feel that having her there will make that happen. From your venue manager’s perspective, however, that’s great as long as they aren’t going to question her at every turn or try and fix a system that’s not broken.  This is probably what she meant by the word “grumpy”! So, be very clear with your friend – if you do decide to “hire” her – as to what her responsibilities should be. I’d focus on three things: Vendor management on the day of, bridal and wedding party wrangling, and break-down – what needs to get tossed, sent back to whatever company it came from, or carried away by friends and family. That’s always a scramble at the end of the night, especially if you have a deadline to get out of the space. But, most of all, make sure she asks the venue coordinator how she can facilitate what is already being done. How can she help them help you?  That’s the way that everyone wins.

Dear Liz,

How do you manage inviting groups of people like colleagues, sports groups, etc, when some are close friends but you don’t really care about inviting some other members (and much less their partners who you’ve only met once and were incredibly rude)? How do you compromise between keeping an intimate atmosphere at your wedding and not ruining your life at work afterward?

Signed, 

Picking Teams

Dear Teams,

If you really, truly do not want someone at your wedding, do not invite them. It’s your wedding, you don’t have to make any excuses before or after, and you may be worried about expectations that they don’t even have. “If I invite one member of the soccer team, I have to invite them all.” No, you really don’t. For the most part, people know where they stand with you. But, if you feel that in your particular circumstance, it’s going to cause problems for you that you just don’t want to deal with, then you have to change the way you look at it: You invited them because you “had” to, but you don’t have to hang out with them all night. Like relatives you haven’t seen since you were 12, you can stick them in the corner, go by and say Hi at some point, and enjoy the rest of your wedding. But seriously, if you are going to resent that they are there at all, and that’s going to color how you feel about them on either side of your wedding day, DO NOT INVITE THEM. Now is the time to be honest with yourself.

Dear Liz,

My in-laws expect a very traditional wedding and with our current financial situation, we are in no place to pay for it. I’ve had to cut corners here and there to stay respectful, and also to keep up proper etiquette. Do you have any words of wisdom for dealing with pushy in-laws who refuse to offer any help or monetary contributions, just endless criticism?

Signed, 

A Pain in the MIL

Dear Pain,

Own your wedding: “I love what we have planned, this is the wedding that I want.” “But you need to have a four-tiered wedding cake! “No, I want cupcakes instead, and I love the ones from this bakery. This is exactly what I want.” And then, change the subject to something non-wedding related, or get away from them. You love your wedding, you love everything you have planned. “How could you like this?” “This is what I like.” Smile while you’re saying it. If they get belligerent, “I understand how you feel about it, but I don’t want that, this is what we’re doing, and I love it.”  Do NOT apologize, do not let the words “I’m sorry” cross your lips.  It makes you sound guilty, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Do not say, “Well, it’s all we can afford,” because that could put them on defense and then you’ll never get rid of them ! Affirm what you’re doing, that you’re doing what you want, and then get the hell out of dodge.

How did you decide who to invite from your office? Are the parental units giving you a hard time about your wedding choices? Let us know (and feel free to vent your own wedding woes) in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of wedding world, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: The Wedding Things You Just Can’t Do

Food and money. Man, oh, man. Isn’t that the broke-ass life? You always try to have enough of both, but what about when you’re trying to throw a big ol’ party? That’s where the stakes get raised, and some good, timeless advice from erstwhile BAB team member Liz, of Silver Charm Events, swoops in to soothe the nerves.

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I LOVE a good party. We have budgeted for 150 guests at our wedding, but there are more than 150 people that we want to celebrate with us. The long and short of it is: we cannot afford to feed everyone. We are having a great local cover band, and we would like to send out secondary invitations for those acquaintances to join us, after dinner has been served at the reception. Is is tacky to ask an additional chunk to come at 8:00 for dancing and drinks but not the ceremony and dinner? How should we word those invitations so as not to offend anyone?

Signed, 

Down to the Count

Make ‘em fit, or leave ‘em out. Anything else is asking for trouble.
(Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Dear  Down,

Not to be harsh, but I don’t really see that going over very well. Basically, you’re saying that you don’t like them enough to invite them to your wedding and pay for their meal, but just enough to hang out with them when it’s going to cost you less money. It’s not what you mean, but it’s definitely what you’re saying. And I don’t know if you sent Save the Date cards to them, too, but if you did, eyebrows are definitely going to rise, just like their expectations did.

So, what to do, what to do? A couple of things, I think. Figure out how much each additional person would cost you, and look at the various pieces of your budget to see where you can make some cuts to accommodate. One step down for your meal, or one less appetizer? Stick to beer and wine and a specialty drink? Don’t go top shelf on the liquor? I don’t know what you’re doing now, but there are almost always places where you can cut and still be comfortable with what you’re getting.

And, realistically? Not everyone is going to be able to attend, anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of B-listing potential guests, mostly because it’s a lot of work, but try and make it work for you. Send your invitations out early enough to the 150, and then for every “No” you get, send one out to the B list.

But, I would definitely do a budget check, first.

The only other option is to not invite them, period. And, yes, this means that you won’t have everyone you want at your wedding, but most couples face that reality, sooner or later. You’re really not doing them, or yourself, any favors by sending out a half invite. Invite or do not invite. There is no “try.”

“That’s so funny! Together, we spent over $3,000 to be in our friend’s wedding!”

Dear Liz, 

 I am a bridesmaid in my childhood best friend’s wedding. I knew I’d have to shell out some bucks, but I had no clue how much I was expected to spend… until now. She’s had an engagement party, a bridal shower, a honeymoon shower, and now her two-day destination bachelorette party is coming up. I told the Maid of Honor that I wasn’t sure I could go if it’s going to cost me more than $300. She has already booked the hotel, but every time I ask her for the total amount I am expected to shell out, she dodges my questions. This has happened three times, so far. It’s getting to be frustrating. I’d hate to cancel last minute on it, but she really won’t communicate with me. Plus, it’s a surprise for the bride, so I can’t talk to her about it. I also have to have a minor surgery a week before this shindig. I don’t want to jeopardize my recovery process by going on this weekend trip, either. My question is, do I stay or do I go? I feel that I will risk the friendship of not only the bride, but also the Maid of Honor (who is another childhood friend) if I didn’t show up. I wasn’t at her bridal shower (same day as my grandma’s 90th birthday party) so I feel obligated to go to this bachelorette party. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I will be physically after this surgery, and I do not want to go broke because of this bachelorette weekend. If I do not go, how do I break the news to the maid of honor? This is really stressing me out!

Signed,

Bridesmaid Bummer

Dear Bummer,

Bottom line? You can’t go. I’m really sorry, I know you want to celebrate with your friend, I know you’re worried about your relationship with her and your other friends. But you will be a week out from SURGERY, and if you’re talking about a “recovery process”, then it isn’t that minor. Not only is it a really good excuse, it’s a really good reason. Plus, it’s not going to help your stress level, before or after surgery, if you’re worried about how you’re going to cope, financially.

Being a bridesmaid is expensive. The last time I was one, about 4 years ago, it cost me over $1,000, and I see girls in my weddings spending that and more. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of my friend’s day, as are all the other bridesmaids I’ve met and known. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it. But, that’s not a small amount of money — it just isn’t — and that should be taken into consideration.

So, how to tell the MOB? Tell her that you’re having surgery the week before, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel after it, or what you’ll be physically able to do. So, you can’t go. If you think you can pull it, give her $50 – $100 to buy a round of drinks at the party, or figure out how to get it to the bride, with your name on it.

What are the tricks you used to afford all the guests you want? And, what do you think about Bummed’s predicament? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my little part of wedding world, visit my website at www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: Alcohol and Office Guests

In light of the multitude of questions The Broke-Ass Bride has received as of late regarding alcohol and your reception, specifically how much, we’ve decided to bring back this classic post by Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events. Plus, you get the bonus of etiquette surrounding inviting your office crowd!

Beer for Everyone! Seriously.                         (Courtesy of One Love Photography)

Dear Liz,

Our wedding is next weekend, and we’re providing the alcohol. We’re just serving wine and beer for 100 guests, but how much should we get?

Signed,

Bar Verklemptkeeper

Dear Bar,

More than you need. But start here: On bottle of wine per two people per hour; two beers (bottle or keg pour) per person per hour. I use Martha Stewart’s calculator, and it hasn’t let me down, yet. But let’s talk about  “hours” for a minute. Hours and ice. If you’re shutting down the bar early to assure that your guests get home alive, my recommendation is to buy enough alcohol to cover that last hour, anyway. Better to have too much than not enough. You can always return what you don’t use – ask your bartender not to open any bottles before he or she pours them.

Ice. Ice melts, which is only one of the things that drives me nuts about nature. Martha calls for one pound of ice per person per hour, but  if using for both cooling and pouring, I’d get another half pound.  Ask your bartender to go a little easy on the ice, too.

 

Dear Liz,

I work in an office setting and I am getting married in 42 days, I want to give out invites but I don’t want anyone to be offended if I don’t personally invite them, so I was going to just give one to the office staff as a whole rather than personal ones. What do you suggest?

Signed,

The More the Merrier

Dear Merrier,

Ooh, that sounds like a fantastic idea! Probably the best way to keep of track of who’s coming is to send out email invitations, through e-vite or pingg, or one of those. Not sure what Emily Post (or Martha) would say about that, etiquette-wise, but I’m down with it.

 

So, what do you peeps think? Would you send a wedding e-vite to your office guests, or give them all an individual one? Are you inviting anyone from work at all? Let’s talk about it in the comments…

 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Ask Liz: The Wedding You Want

 

Dear Liz,

My fiancé and I have been together for 8 years and have a 3 year old daughter. He proposed to me 1 year ago and we are wanting a Las Vegas wedding.  He has been married before,  so he is wanting me to plan everything. I am torn between wanting a simple elopement and having a small nice wedding. Either way I want the dress and I want my dad to walk me down the aisle. I can’t see spending thousands of dollars on a wedding when we are pretty much married already, but then, I do want the actual wedding. My question is, how many people regret having the extravagant wedding and spending thousands of dollars, is it really worth it? Please help!

Signed,

Un-bling the Ring

 

Dear Ring,

Wedding cost regret is pretty subjective. It depends on your definition of  “extravagant”, it depends on whether or not you wanted a big fancy wedding in the first place, etc. Every couple couple has a budget, and no matter how big it is, someone gets bummed if it gets broken – but, hey, I warned  them that it would. But I digress. That being said, please keep in mind that you, specifically, don’t have to  spend multiple thousands of dollars to get what you, specifically, want. If you don’t want to have an overly expensive wedding, you don’t have to – it’s not an either/or situation. Keep the guest list to family and/or a few close friends, and you can have your dress and your Dad walk you down the aisle, without the stress or the debt. Dresses are easy, so all you need is an aisle. Vegas is a good choice if you’re looking to keep it cheap and keep it small – destination weddings keep your guest list manageable. You don’t have to high-tail it to the Elvis Chapel of Love, either, you can get married at one of the hotels. You could get married at a park, or in someone’s back yard. My point is, you have lots of options for saving money while you’re having the wedding you want.  Look at each carefully, and decide which one works for you. No pressure, you  can take some time with that.

So, this is my last regular column for The Broke-Ass Bride.  First of all, unending gratitude to Dana for this gig, and to YOU, for sending in your questions and coming back every week for the answers!  For the past three years, I’ve loved having the opportunity to help you feel better about planning your weddings, and to show you better ways to plan their weddings, too. You want to have a wonderful day, and you will. I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it one more time: Wedding planning isn’t just a check list, it’s also a state of mind. Be patient, and be patient with yourself. You have  time to find what you want, the way that you want it.  The last vendor you meet with is not the only option you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you feel like you’re driving yourself crazy, simplify the solution. Remember – Planning your wedding isn’t  an obligation, it’s a choice, so please choose to enjoy the ride. Look for the Fun. Embrace the Pretty. It is just one day, but it’s a day where you get to look gorgeous, bring in a bunch of cool stuff, and, most of all, be surrounded by everyone you love. It’s going to be a great day. Believe it.

As for me, I’m working on some new projects this year, so like the Silver Charm Events Facebook page to learn about them as they come up. And, follow me on Pinterest.  I’m always around, and I’d love to hear from you. Thanks again, for everything.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Complicated Parents are Complicated

Got a question? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Photo by Fondly Forever Photography

 

Hey Liz, 

I’m getting married in April and my parents have had a rocky, nasty relationship for the past few years, which has led to their not so wonderful relationship with me. They are once again together, against the advice of most of our loved ones. Now, my mother wants my father and her to walk me down the aisle together. She sprung this on me after she insisted on paying for multiple aspects of the wedding. I’m very torn on how I feel about anybody walking me down the aisle, but I feel like I have no choice considering their financial contribution. 
I was just wondering if it is proper etiquette to go with her wishes. 

Signed, 

A Long Walk Down the Aisle

Hey Walk,

The good news is that etiquette has nothing to do with it.  The bad news is that it’s all about being honest with yourself and your feelings about the situation. I know – FUN. Basically, what you’re asking is if it’s okay to tell her that you don’t want them to walk you down the aisle. And, yeah, it is. You do have a choice, no matter how much money they gave you. But, every choice has consequences. Yes, you’re probably going to hurt her feelings and possibly cause a little extra drama. Yes, you might feel guilty that they’re helping you pay for the wedding and you’re rejecting them, but I’m not sure there’s a reason to.   If you let them walk you down the aisle, though, are you going to resent them for “forcing” you to do it, and resent yourself for going along with it? Because if you do decide to go along with this, you need to take responsibility for your choice and you have to let the resentment go. Otherwise, it is going to fester, forever.

And, if you’re trying to figure out how to tell your Mom “No,”, keep it simple. You want to walk down the aisle alone, that’s how you’ve always pictured it – you walking down to your fiancé, alone. You don’t have to be angry, just clear and final. You may have to repeat it a few times, but stick to your guns, “This is what I want.”  Make sure to acknowledge your parents and their help in some way during the wedding or reception, though – that part is where etiquette comes in.

 

Dear Liz, 

So I have the start of a big problem with my future in-laws. They are starting to brainwash my future husband into thinking they get to plan our wedding. His family was bummed I didn’t involve them in picking out the cake, or my wedding dress and such. They aren’t contributing money – they want us to use what was leftover from his sister’s wedding last July. Now his dad wants to take him suit shopping and help him pick out his rented tux. 

I know i’m going to hurt some feelings by telling them that their ideas just don’t fit into my vision. Is there an easy way? I don’t want to look like a Bridezilla but I have a feeling i’m going to have to be to get my point across.

Signed, 

From Zero to ‘Zilla

 

Dear ‘Zilla,
I’m not sure where the “brainwashing” is coming in. Plus, that word is a dangerous one to use when you’re describing  him, mostly because it implies that you’re now facing off against each other. They are brainwashing him, which means he is against you. Trouble.
Rule #1 – You’re a team, and you need to see yourselves as a team. Team members stick together, team members agree on a plan and stick to that, too, so you have to give him the benefit of the doubt, just as you would expect him to give you the benefit of the doubt. Once he starts turning into the enemy in your head, you’re screwed.
Think about this in another way: You also have to remember that these are his parents, and like most parents, they want to be involved in their child’s special day, no matter how much control they have on the outcome. And since they don’t have any control on the outcome, there’s no problem. Look, wedding planning wedding causes a lot of emotional pressure, and it is easy to feel like you’re fighting a war. But, you’re not fighting a war, you’re planning a party! Brides become Bridezillas when they feel like they are losing control of their wedding, but you’re not, and you’re not going to.
Deep. Breath.
When his parents ask questions or offer their own ideas, just tell them you and their son are doing it another way, and you’re really happy with those plans. Full stop, emphasize the Happy. Remember, they don’t have any control on the outcome.
Finally, you should let the tux shopping thing go.  Decide, as a team, what type of tux he is going to get, and then let him go shopping with his Dad – it’s something that Dads and sons do.
Are you having trouble with your parents or in-laws? Or, just trouble with my advice? Let us know in the comments below! And if you want to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit me at www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Getting Married – How and Where, Exactly?

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Dear Liz, 

I have a burning question! My  fiancé and I have been engaged for over a year. We are so ready to get married but we just don’t have the financial means right now. So a friend of mine who is ordained said that she would marry us. This is a great option for us due to our lack of finances and our lack of patience. I’ve never heard of this type of wedding until my friend said that she could do it. I’m a little embarrassed that I am so excited to get married but have absolutely no idea about how this process might work. What I do know is that she will be signing papers for us but what I don’t know is with those types of ceremonies is it typical for the couple to exchange vows or to even call it a ceremony or is it simply just signing papers? Please help me.!!!!

Signed, 

Blinded By The Aisle

Dear Blinded,

She’s ordained to perform your ceremony and sign your marriage license as the legal witness to your marriage. Sadly, that’s th best I can explain it. I’m a wedding officiant, too, which makes it even sadder! The  rules in every state are different as far as getting your license and how.  Here in California, for instance, the couple needs to appear together at their county courthouse in order to get a license. The officiant gives it to sign after the wedding ceremony. Vows are an essential part of it, and they have to include  an acknowledgement that the two of you have freely chosen to be married on that day. You can make your vows, and the rest of your ceremony, as simple or as elaborate as you want. But you need to start the legal process first, so google “Marriage license (your state)” to find out how.

 

Dear Liz, 

We got engaged on New Year’s Eve. When I told people at work last week, everyone was really nice, but they kept asking me if we’d picked a wedding date and venue, yet. I guess it’s a standard question, but I keep thinking that we just got engaged, do we have to start planning the wedding right away? I said this to the last person who asked, and she told me that I should start thinking about it, because all the best places get booked up quickly. I didn’t want to spend forever planning my wedding, my sister took over a year to plan hers and it looked and felt like hell. But, I thought I’d have more than a couple of weeks! Now I’m panicking that I’m not going to find a good place. Do I really have to start looking now?

Signed, 

Rushing Past the Ring

Dear Rushing,

Don’t panic, it’s not useful. Congratulations on your engagement,and welcome to the show. If you do want to get married this year, then, yeah, you should probably start searching for a venue now-ish. You know, at least before the next round of brides joins the pool after Valentine’s Day! I’m kidding, sort of, although it does seem that venues are getting booked up faster every year. That being said, it also depends on your definition of a “good” venue. So, that’s the first thing you and your fiancé  should do – figure out what kind of place you want to get married at – indoors, outdoors, ballroom, barn? And, how many people you’re inviting. And, if either of you had your heart set on someplace specific. And when you can actually do this thing – come up with three dates that will work with your  schedules.That’s a conversation over dinner.

Don’t panic, plan. If there is a specific venue you like, call them and ask about availability ASAP. Tuesday-Thursday are the best days to reach the right person. You could get lucky and the first place you see is the one you love, but be prepared to let the process take a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And  - deep breath – try not to get frustrated. The next “wrong” place brings you that much closer to the right one. Annoying cliche, but still  true.

So, who’s “marrying” you? Are you feeling the pressure to get your venue locked down? Got questions of your own? Let me know in the comments below. And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

Ask Liz: Over-scheduling Your Destination Wedding Guests

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

 

Dear Liz,

We live in Los Angeles, and I’m planning my wedding in Lake Arrowhead on Labor Day weekend, about three hours away. We’re both from New York, so most of our guests are coming from the East Coast. I’m worried about how to keep everyone entertained and make sure they’re having fun that weekend. Most of them are arriving on Friday, and the wedding is on Sunday. The hotel lodge has a lot of activities – kayaking, boat tours, field walks – and I’m trying to figure out what I should sign them up for, and when, when they’re not attending the wedding. I’m also thinking about scheduling a welcome cocktail reception or dinner that Friday night, but should I do a breakfast or lunch on Saturday and Sunday, too? I feel that if  I don’t structure their time outside the wedding, they’re going to end getting bored. What should I do?

Signed,

Destination Nowhere

Dear Nowhere,

Couple of things: First, most people see destination weddings not just in terms of the wedding, but also as a personal vacation. They are there for you, yes, but it’s also a chance to get away! So, go easy on them. You do want to provide opportunities to hang out with you, but you don’t want to mandate a strict itinerary. The last thing anyone wants to feel forced to do, after a 6-8 hour flight, is get dressed for dinner! So, keep it casual. A get-together that first night is a great idea, but let them know (via email, wedding website, invite insert, what have you) that’s it’s okay if they can’t make it. A nice touch would be to add something about how late the restaurant or room service is open that night, just in case they’re hungry when they do arrive. You can even schedule another (casual) get together on Saturday, after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Otherwise, pick one thing that you really want to do and book that as a group activity – like the boat tour, for example – and invite them to join you. But, definitely let everyone know that kayaking, the guided field walks, and whatever else the lodge has to offer is available, and they can contact the lodge if they are interested.

Second thing: Don’t worry that your guests are going to get bored. It’s not as easy as you think, getting bored at a wedding. There are people each of them is looking forward to reconnecting with, and there are new people to meet.  There’s an unfamiliar and beautiful location to get to know and enjoy. There is a ton of stuff to do, if they want to do any of them. Or, they can relax, and not do anything, which might be the best wedding “favor” of all.

So, how are you “structuring” your destination wedding? What’s the one “fun” thing you want to do when you get there? Let us know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Your Wedding vs. Your Catering

Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what’s up!

First of all, I want to give a shout out to the all the Newbie Brides and Grooms out there. Welcome to Wedding World. It’s very pretty, you’re going to love it!

Photo by Robin Dini Photo

Dear Liz, 

My partner and I are deciding between having our wedding at an upstate location or in the city (New York). We could do a Central Park wedding at 11am with 100 people, then go to a restaurant and do a lunch/brunch with 40 people? and then meet the rest of the dinner folks at a rented venue with music and passed food. But then I thought what if all 100 people go to brunch/lunch after the ceremony and then we pay for only 40 of those people, and the other 60 pay for themselves. Is that a bad idea?
 
Signed, 
A Forty-Percent Solution
Dear Forty,
Yeah, no, you can’t really do that. First and foremost, you’re going to get some serious etiquette-related blowback on that, and I think you probably know that! For another thing, the logistics of making sure that only certain people are paying for their meal would be insane – just think about it.
I totally get that you want to have all 100 people at your wedding/reception, but you don’t think you can afford to do that. This doesn’t have to be so complicated. Invite 40 to the ceremony, invite all 100 to the appetizer reception that night. Sounds a lot cheaper that way, too.

Dear Liz, 
I’m planning my wedding in Rhode Island, and to save on catering, I’m opting (or trying to opt) for a cocktail reception with lots of yummy hors d’oeuvres instead of a full sit-down meal.  We’re hoping to stock the bar ourselves and hire a bartender, as well.Today I received a catering proposal from a company who wants to charge us $10,000 for a cocktail reception for 100 people.  That’s $100 per person for 4 hours of snacks and drinks! When I told her I was hoping to spend around 1/3 of that, she said “We’re not the caterers for you” and told me to check out a local grocery store. Am I crazy to expect to not spend more than $3,000-3500 for this?
Signed, 
Catering Cash Chaos

Dear Chaos,
No, you’re not crazy, that caterer just can’t work with your budget. That’s all. Keep looking, but next time, tell them what your budget is before you ask for a proposal. A little perspective: $100 per person for 100 people over  4 hours, breaks down to $25 per person, per hour –  2-3 pieces and a drink (or two)? That’s maybe a couple of bucks more than you would pay non-happy hour at a restaurant, if you think about it. Plus, and I haven’t seen the proposal, obviously, but it sounds like they’re not only charging for the food and drinks, you’re also paying for staff and labor,  people to make it, maintain it, serve it, and then also clean up after it. So, they’re including that in your $25 per hour price, too?

“Go to a grocery store,” is kind of (!) a snotty response, but seriously, if you want to cap it at $3500, you’re going to have to think small and simple, because that’s only $35 per person. Definitely supply your own alcohol and limit the bar menu. Think less types of appetizers, or more appetizer stations, or less passed appetizers. Consider having the food dropped off and set up,with a couple of staff to monitor it and clean up.  Before you despair, I’ve found restaurants and caterers here in L.A. who can swing that, so Google “(Your city) catering drop off menu,” and go from there.

And, FYI, this is why the answer to the question, “Is a cocktail reception cheaper than a sit-down or buffet dinner?” is, “Not necessarily.” Sorry about that.

How are you managing catering for your wedding? Or do you have questions about catering your wedding? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you want to learn a little more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,
Liz