Posts in the 'Liz' Category

Wedding Time: The Big To-Do, Part II

EPLove

 

Photo: EPLove

Last week I said that while you’re planning your wedding — like, the actual planning and choosing and deciding — you shouldn’t focus on when you’re making those decisions or feel pressured to stay on track and not fall behind, whatever that means. You have a list of checkboxes, take them on by one until they’re X’ed out. Timing is not the biggest factor.

Well, not yet.

Your wedding day on the other hand …

It’s all the contracts. How many hours you have your photographer for. How long hair and makeup has to take. When you can set up your ceremony and reception. When you have to shut the doors behind you. There are so many things that have to fit into so many time frames, within time frames. Manage it by managing your expectations:

Swifter, higher, faster? It’s a Wedding dress, not a cape.

Nothing is going to take less time to do. You will not be capable of doing more in that time than you would normally be able to. So, if hair and makeup takes three hours, make sure you have the three hours, even if it means starting earlier. If your photographer needs an hour for first look and wedding party pictures, give it to her.

Create it in order to save it

The easiest way to stay on schedule is to buffer it — Hair and makeup starts at 9, make sure everyone shows up early and ready to go. Take an hour after hair and makeup, or after the last “event” that morning, for everyone to get their stuff before you jump into the limo. If you have two hours to set up your reception, be there before the doors open, prepared and ready to use all of that time. Tell your wedding party to meet at point B 20 minutes before your ceremony. Announce last call 15 minutes before the bar is gong to close. Twirl away the last dance an hour before you have to have everything out of the venue. Lots of people =- and  there are always a lot of people involved, one way or another — need lots of time.

Making up for lost time

It happens. There are so many moving parts to the day, and so many distractions (most of them fun) that sometimes you fall behind. 8:45pm, photography ends at 9pm, and you haven’t done toasts – yet. Or the cake hasn’t been cut or your bouquet tossed.  Or the music has to stop and you haven’t danced with your Dad – yet.

Jump on it, and get it done, quickest to longest. Cake cutting takes five minutes. And you never have to dance to the entire song. Tell anyone who’s toasting to keep it short and tell them why. And ask your vendors for help and suggestions, okay?
That’s what we’re there for.

Do you have any questions about saving time on your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Wedding Time, Part One: The Big To-Do

Wedding Time, Part 1 The Big To-Do

Photo: Persimmon Images 

It’s not always the first meeting. Sometimes it’s the second meeting where it comes up:

“The wedding timeline I found online says that I should have started planning this seven months ago. I’m supposed to have my engagement photos and my lingerie by now!”

Or something to that effect.

Basically, whatever  you’ve done so far, whenever you are, the clock on the wall and the page on the screen is telling you that you’re already behind.  And the clock is still ticking …

Guess what? You are not behind. You are not late. You are fine where you are.

Change the way  you look at it, and the way you look at it will change: Focus on the checklist, not the countdown. These timelines are pretty good about the order of what you should do (pick a date, find a venue, find a caterer, etc.), so stick with that. But it’a all about managing the (admittedly long) checklist. You can borrow my Rule of Threes, if you want.

The Rule of Threes:

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but for every wedding checkbox, there are a ton of choices, and a ton of choices that depend on other choices. In order to narrow it down, and, well, be flexible at the same time, I give my couples three options for each one. So, instead of picking one date that will work, pick three. That way, if you find the perfect venue, you’re not stuck with an unavailable date. Three wedding venues that will work with your style and budget, before you schedule your appointment, so, you’re not as disappointed if the first one won’t fly. Three caterers, three photographers, three dress shops. One at a time for a little less stress. Decide who you want to meet, and then decide who you want to hire.

But won’t that take a lot of time? Truthfully, once you knock one thing off the list, you can use it to find another thing. Venues will have a list of vendors that they recommend, for example. Photographers can recommend videographers and photo booths. If a DJ on your list isn’t available on your date, he or she can refer you to someone who is. Use what you have to get what you want.

Where Time Will Come Into Play

So, you are going to have to manage your expectations a little. You will not always be able to reach or hear back from your prospects right away; it might take a couple of emails and calls. Do both. Try to avoid contacting them over the weekend, because that’s when we all work. Most hotel and venue managers take Mondays off. And, again, figure out at least three days and times when you’re available before you schedule appointments. If you’re meeting face-to-face, expect it to take at least an hour, plus travel time.

There’s one wedding checkbox where timing does come into play: your dress. If you don’t buy off the rack, ordering your dress can take 4-6 months. You can have it rush ordered, but you know … rush fees. Be aware, and don’t be afraid to ask.

It’s the checklist, not the countdown. You’ve got this.

In Part Two, we’ll talk about time management on your Wedding Day, where, ironically, it’s the countdown and not the checklist. Sorry about that.

So, where in  your checklist are you feeling the pressure right now? Let’s figure it out in the comments below. And if you would like to learn more about my little part of Wedding World, visit me at www.silvercharmevents.com

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

 

 

Liz

The Holidays vs. Your Wedding

The Holidays vs. Your Wedding

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found out that the current number of Mrs. Coopersmiths would soon be increased by one  – my husband’s little brother got engaged. Yay! But then I looked at the calendar again and frowned. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. Seven weeks before New Years.

Here we go.

The best part of the Holiday season is the number of chances you’ll have to spend time with your  family and friends. And  if you ever lacked attention from any of them, you are definitely going to get it now that you’re engaged:

“Oh my God, congratulations! When are you getting married??”

“You got engaged last Saturday? Did you find a dress, yet?”

“How many guests are you having?”

“My wedding was so stressful. If I had to do it all over again, I’d elope.”

“What are your colors? Do you have a Pinterest board?”

“Where are you getting married? All the good places book up fast, so you need to start looking now.”

Umm ...

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is really happy and excited for you, and you need to remember that once you start contemplating murder. But, all of a sudden, they’re heavily invested in your wedding day, offering a stream of unsolicited advice, unsolicited opinions and a ton of questions that you don’t have any response to right now.  You’re still startled every time your new shiny new ring slides into your peripheral vision, now you’re feeling insecure about how you’re going to pull this all off, anyway, especially since  all the questions make it obvious that you don’t know what you’re doing, right?  Weddings cost how much? And how do you start looking for a wedding venue that’s not even going to be available when you find it?

Get it done and why haven’t you found it and what are you waiting for and NOW. And there’s that pressure even if you’ve been planning for a while, too.  That one question that will be asked over and over — “How’s the wedding going?” — can be a killer. Well, how is it going?, you ask yourself, thinking about the open checklist boxes, the invitations you’re still trying to choose, the bridesmaid dresses that came in the wrong color, the DJ you haven’t booked … yet. Not so great, you’re thinking as you reply while smiling bravely, “We’re working on it.”

Another deep breath. The season of peace, love and joy starts with you, so give yourself a break, first of all! You don’t have to know all the answers right now, you don’t have to accomplish all the things before your Mom’s annual Yuletide bash.  What you do need to do is give yourself credit for everything you’ve already done, even if that’s just finding the person you wanna hang out with for the rest of your life. Enjoy it. Bask, even. When you’re asked about the wheres and the whens and the whys? Shake your head, smile, and repeat after me, “We haven’t decided any of that, we’re going to talk about it next month.” Full stop.  And if you’re not so new and a wedding check-up is requested, list everything you’ve already finished (because you are a Rock Star), and the one (choose ONE) thing you want to check off before the end of the year. If they ask about anything else, shrug and repeat after me, “Yeah, we’ll get that done after the holidays.” Because you will.

So, how are the holidays going so far? Any crazy questions or unreasonable expectations from your nearest and dearest? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to find out more about me and my little part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

 

Liz

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz – Jumpstarting Your Wedding & A Few Words About Bridal Shower Etiquette

 With BAB taking the holiday off, save for an EPIC Ten for the Weekend full of Black Friday deals and other goodies — GUYS: Pay attention, because you will find out where to get rad deals on twinkle lights, OK? — it seemed like a good time to take a trip back. This classic Liz post takes on etiquette in regards to bridal shower guest lists and gives the super basic rundown of how to even begin to tackle this whole wedding planning thing.

Beau-Coup Gold and Glitter Decor Kit

Dear Liz,

My brother is getting married in May and his bride-to-be has asked for my help with planning the wedding. We will have to travel about four hours to where it is taking place. There will more than likely be 50 (or less) guests in attendance, which is what they want. She doesn’t feel terrible about leaving a lot of people out on her special day especially since she knows a lot of them wouldn’t want to make the trip. I was just wondering is it acceptable to invite uninvited guests to a huge bridal shower in her honor??

Signed,

Shower Struggle

Dear Struggle,

Yeah … no. You really can’t invite people to the shower who haven’t been invited to the wedding. Showers = gifts and money. So basically you’re telling them that even though they weren’t important enough to watch her get married, they can still travel X amount of hours to give her a blender. Plus, you’ll be positioning your future sister-in-law – publicly — as “the woman that didn’t invite them to her wedding.” At some point, to someone, she will have to explain why, and probably have to do so over and over again.  Trust me, someone will mention it or ask for details. Awkward. Awkward, awkward.  If you are worried about a low turnout, invite the guys, too.

Dear Liz,

I just got engaged! Is there some type of simple check list, for starting to plan a wedding? Like…

1- Budget

2 – Guest list

3 – Dress??

I’m so overwhelmed by the whole process!

Signed,

In the Deep End

Dear Deep,

Welcome to Wedding World! First of all, bonus points for putting your dress third. That sort of practical thinking will get you far around here. Start with your guest list — his list, your list, and your parents’ lists. And, yeah, if your budget is a consideration, figure that out while you’re getting your guests together. You should reserve half of your budget for your ceremony and reception site, and your catering. A little perspective – a comparable wedding dinner at Olive Garden for 100 guests would be around $5,000. Those are also the first three things you need to pay for. Once you got that done, I give you permission to start shopping for your dress. You should probably book a photographer first, but there’s no reason to be a saint. Have fun!

Who did you invite to your bridal shower? How long did you resist shopping for your dress? Just engaged, and got questions? Let me know below! And, you can find out more about me and my slice of Wedding World at silvercharmevents.com.

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

 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Weeding out Your Wedding Nightmares

There is one wedding-related recurring nightmare that I hear about over and over and over. Yes, more than the one where you look awful, despite hours of hair and make-up. Yes, more often than your groom/bride not showing up. Or the one the one where you can’t show up because you’ve locked your keys in your car. Somewhere in Siberia, which is  even worse because you’re afraid of bears … like the one staring at you over the hood of your locked car.  Okay, fine, that was just one bride.

Hey Nearlywed That Wedding Nightmare It's Probably Not Going To Happen

Nope.

The most often recurring wedding nightmare I hear about is where none of your guests are having a good time. Over and over and over. They’re going to hate the food, they’re not going to dance, they’re not going to talk, they’re going to ignore the candy buffett/photo booth/chocolate fountain, and stand around and stare at each other, and at you, with deep regret and condemnation.  You wake up in a cold sweat (again) at 4:00 a.m. One thought goes through your head: It’s going to be the worst wedding ever.  All the hard work, all your vision, for naught. YOU. WILL. FAIL.

Instead of anticipating the day, you’re stuck future-tripping over, dreading all the horrible things that could occur.

#REALTALK

This is 10 years of wedding planning experience talking to you right now: Things might go entirely according to plan, or just go wrong, this is true. But all of your guests having a bad time at your wedding? With the one or two exceptions that you can name — because you know how they are —  It’s not going to happen.

(yes, it will, you’re thinking at me)

No, it won’t. Why? Because you have gathered your favorite people, some of whom you haven’t seen for years, in one room. As much as you’re looking forward to seeing them, they are looking forward to seeing you, and seeing each other. And that’s what they are going to do.

(they won’t like anything, you mumble in your head)

Not true, but your guests will follow your lead. If you’re having fun, they’re going to have fun. So, open the photo booth by dragging a couple of bridesmaids into it. Grab your brother and attack the candy buffet. Go up to the bar and order a signature cocktail. Be the first one on the dance floor. Tell everyone you talk to how glad you are that they came. You created this wonderful day, you’re marrying the love of your life, while surrounded by everyone you both love. Look forward to it. And when you when you get there, enjoy it, all of it, and your guests will, too. I promise. Repeat this as often as you need to: “I’m going to have fun, so everyone else will have fun.”

Seriously, who doesn’t turn into a giddy 3-year old at the sight of a candy buffet?

So, what’s your other recurring wedding nightmare? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share mine with you from my wedding 500 years ago.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

Got a Wedding Budget? Then Start With Your Wedding Budget.

drink ceremony

Credit: Beyond the Ordinary

The bottom line is the bottom line: Weddings cost a lot of money. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $27,000, although I read one article that said that $16,000 is probably closer. You know, as if that wasn’t a bunch of cash, either.

I know what some of you are thinking – you don’t have to spend that much on your wedding. And you’re certainly not going to! Well, you’re right, you can spend less, of course you can. But if you’re going to, or you have to, then you need to pay attention to where it’s all going. I have watched many a couple set a budget, and then slowly, line item by line item, toss it out the window and themselves into debt, a $175 peony centerpiece and a new (or pre-owned, for that matter) Monique Lhuillier gown at a time. And then becry how the “wedding tax” has destroyed their budget.

The truth is, you’re not paying a tax. You are paying in bulk, paying for labor, and really, paying for your expectations, all of which you can manage.

A little perspective on just the ceremony and reception:

  • The average hotel room in this country is 325 square feet, and costs $139 a night. The average ballroom that holds up 150 people is 2,706 square feet. And someone has to set up and break down the tables and chairs, monitor the AV, etc. You’re kind of getting a deal, there.
  • A comparable wedding meal at Olive Garden — appetizer, salad, (1) drink, one of their higher-end entrees, and a piece of cake is over $50 per person, not including tax and tip. At Olive Garden. That’s $5,000+ for 100 people.
  • Waiters at most restaurants serve 2-3 tables at a time. So, 100 guests is 10 tables = call it 5 waiters, for 8 hours , let’s say at about $15 an hour with service (which is lowballing in L.A., and probably where you are, too.)Setting up, serving, bussing, cleaning. Plus two chefs and a bartender, who will make at least twice that. At least. Are you adding this up?
  • Every table is 13 plates (salad +entree+cake) , 10 forks, 10 knives, 10 napkins, 10 chairs and a table linen.  Every one of those is being cleaned and packed and unpacked and set out and then packed again. Labor.
  • Every table is a centerpiece. Every centerpiece is a dozen or so flowers, depending on what you want.  You’re paying a florist for materials, skill and labor, which you will have to buy and develop if you do it on your own.
  • Every guest is at least four glasses (water + bar drinks + back-up)
  • Which means every guest is at least four drinks.
  • Every guest is one ceremony chair, although you can use one for both the wedding and for dinner. See, saved you money right there.
  • Every guest is a favor.
  • Every bride and every bridesmaid is a bouquet. Every groom and every groomsman is a boutonniere.

“Bulk” is the new four letter word. You are paying for a lot of stuff, whether you’re providing it yourself or your venue is. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away. Being realistic about this and owning your budget gives you the power to decide what everything is going to look like, and how much each one of these things is going to cost. The chairs could be $12 each or they could be $1. The plates could be $0.75 each or they could be paper. And, there is plenty of room in between.

You have plenty of resources to come up with a wedding budget you’re comfortable with – I like Wedding Wire’s calculator – and plenty of resources, like this website and everyone here, to figure out how to use what you have to get what you want and need. Don’t give away your money with a shrug. Don’t act like your wedding expenses are something that’s happening to you. The bottom line is YOUR bottom line. Keep your eye on it!

So, how are you keeping track of your budget, and what are some fantastic ways you’ve found to spend less. Let us know in the comments. And, if you’d like to find out more about me, come visit at www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Tough RSVP Convos are Tough

In light of all the guest list talk around BAB this week, Liz’s post about RSVP conversations that should and really, let’s face it, NEED, to happen is very appropriate. Yes, this one deals with kids, much like Mellzah’s post, but it’s kind of a good jumping off point for all those other tough conversations — whether it be a kid, a fairly new significant other or that “Dude, he could be the ONE” after one night person that really, honestly, you don’t know and aren’t ready to have at your wedding. Because you guys, you can and will and sometimes have to just say no. Consider this your fill-in-the-blank advice for those conversations. – Christen

Ask Liz Tough RSVP Convos are Tough

Dear Liz, 

Our RSVP cards have begun to arrive in the mail! I found myself in a state of disbelief when I opened an envelope containing a card filled in with “Mr. X, Mrs. X, and 18-month-old Baby X will be attending.” Why disbelief? Because the invitation was addressed to Mr. X and Mrs. X only. We are not having any children at our wedding per my parents– who are 100% footing the bill. My fiance and I were in agreement until this happend. Now my fiance is upset that he has to tell his friend he cannot bring 18-month-old Baby X to our child-free wedding. I am, naturally, caught in the middle. Can you advise me on how to handle all parties in this situation (parents, fiance, X family…)? Thank you! 

Signed, 


No Extra Guests Please

Dear No,

It’s a tough conversation, but if accommodating his friend’s child isn’t possible, then you or your fiance are going to have to tell him that – that your contract with the venue does not allow children to attend, which is why you’re having a child-free wedding. You don’t have to go into why they put their child’s name on the RSVP in the first place  or that your parents are paying for it and it’s a budget issue.
You don’t have to apologize.  Just, it can’t happen, and you hope that he and his wife will be able to find childcare arrangements and attend on their own. That last part is important. Keep it casual, and keep it quick.
Seriously, though. You’re either going to have the tough conversation with your friends, or a tough conversation with your parents. Pick one.

 if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit  www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Self-Catering Rules

Ask Liz: Self-Catering Rules

 

Photo: Andrea Chesley

Dear Liz,

How to do your own food (with a bit of help from willing friends/family) for your reception??? Food item suggestions and logistical tips especially!

Signed,

Self-Serving

Dear Self-Serving,

Funny thing is, I  talked to someone this morning who catered his own wedding, and he did not have fun with that.  Logistically, it’s a nightmare. You have to buy the food (for 100 people), then store the food before you can cook the food (for 100 people), wherever that’s going to be. Then you have to figure out when you’re going to cook the food (for 100 people) before or in between getting ready to get married, getting married, and whatever you have to do after you get married – take pictures, talk to your guests, and generally enjoy your wedding without worrying about the food. Plus, how you’re going to serve it, where you’re going to serve it, and who is going to serve/monitor it? A buffet will not relieve you of that responsibility. And, even if it’s for less than 100 people, you still have to figure out when and where you are going to do all these things. It’s not less work, it’s definitely not less stress, it’s just less food.

So, the first thing you need to do, way before deciding on a menu, is address each of the above points, every single one. When, where, how and who? And, remember that everything is going to take more time than you think. And everything takes longer if you have less people to manage it.

Menu? Keep it as simple as possible. No more than two entrees, no more than two side dishes, plus a salad. Stick with stuff you already know how to make, or that you and your family and friends can (and will) practice cooking before your wedding. Good but simple food. Not a lot of chopping, not a lot of ingredients, not a lot of steps.

Hey, you asked.

It’s doable, but obviously, I’m not recommending it! If you’re trying to save money, there are tons of restaurants – probably some of your favorites -that will cater less expensively. If you want to serve a particular dish, you can make that and add it to the buffet. But, if you are determined to do it yourself, don’t ignore everything you’re going to have to do in order to pull it off.

Does anyone reading have any experience catering their own wedding, or helping someone else do it? If you’ve got something to add, let me know in the comments below. And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit  www.silvercharmevents.com.

 

See you at the end of the aisle ,

 

 

Liz

Budget Wedding Myths That Need to Die

Last week on Facebook, a friend of mine, who’s also a wedding planner, linked to a blog about a $6,000 wedding. It was on her personal page, and it definitely wasn’t one of her weddings – that’s well below her usual clients’ budgets.  She wasn’t posting it because of  the budget, at all, she was focusing on the potential griminess of the Doritos bar the couple created. Yes, these are the sort of conversations we vendors have while amongst ourselves. We also talk about shoes a lot, but that’s a discussion for another day. Anyway … Budget Wedding Myths that Need to Die It was a very cute hipster wedding in a loft in Brooklyn. The bride wore Converse and a $300 dress, of course. The groom wore a bow tie and tight pants. It really did look like a lot of fun, and I personally, would be all over that Doritos bar.

But  $6,000 for a 100-guest wedding?

Photographer? $2,400.

Their clothes and accessories? ~$1,500.

The loft? They found it on Airbnb, $1,100 for 3 days

Rentals? $860. Metal chairs, uncovered plastic tables, and a small stage. I’m not judging, this is what they had, per the pictures.

Servingware? ~$300 Dinner?

Not included in the breakdown, because they got a, and I quote, a “huge” discount from a caterer friend.

Dessert: Ditto.

Videography? Ditto.

DJ: Ditto.

Appetizers from Whole Food? Also not on the budget breakdown.

The bar? Not even mentioned.

Decorations: DIY, pom-poms, spray-painted bottles with flowers in them, put together by family and friends.

Material costs, even? Nope.

At this point, I was gritting my teeth. Basing the actual cost of this wedding on prices in L.A., which are significantly cheaper than New York? At least $10,000-$15,000 is missing from this budget. Which is just … GRRRR … NOT FAIR.

And not helpful. Because, come on, you guys. Why don’t you have friends who are caterers, bakers, videographers and DJs? Why can’t you rent a loft from  a company that, in my experience, is fairly adamant about not renting for large private events? Why can’t you spend two days setting up and a whole day breaking down for your ceremony and reception ? Don’t you have space to spray paint 50 mason jars and store the flowers to fill them? Why come you can’t figure out how to only spend $6,000 — or less — on your own wedding?

The Myth of the Budget Wedding is that if it’s this cheap and easy for them, it should be just as cheap and easy for you, too.  But, trust me, this wedding was not that cheap, and definitely not so easy. I give the bride credit for acknowledging how lucky they were to have those hook-ups, though, I really wish they’d been more upfront about what they spent and how much they saved. Actually.

Is it possible to have a fantastic wedding for $6,000? Of course it is. But you need to have realistic expectations about what’s possible, what stuff costs, and how much time and energy you have or are willing to put in. Is it worth it? It will be. So, what do you think? Do you find these myths as frustrating as I do? What are you doing to realistically stay on budget, yourself?  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,

Liz