Posts in the 'wedding advice' Category
One thing I see over and over again are couples who have issues with a vendor’s performance, and don’t quite know how to proceed. For instance, I just heard about a wedding photographer who has not delivered prints for a wedding that happened two years ago. Can you imagine?
Here are the steps I suggest you take when you have a conflict with your vendor, and you are not yet ready to hire a wedding lawyer. Please note that these are general steps. Every case is different.
1) Gather all of your supporting documents. Hopefully you have a contract with your vendor. This will likely be the most important document. Whether you have a contract or not, gather all of your emails, text messages and voicemails. You really want to organize whatever correspondence you have with your vendor. If you have a relevant voicemail on your phone, note that you may need to have that message officially recorded so that a court may listen to it. At the very least, be sure to transcribe it for now.
2) Review the documents. Try to find the place where the vendor agreed to do whatever s/he did not do, or did negligently. For instance, with the wedding photographer example, you would try to find the place in the documents where the photographer agreed to deliver the photos by date “x.”
3) Draft up a demand letter. Draft a letter, and attach all relevant documentation. Keep the letter professional, and leave your emotions out of it. Even when there is conflict, you will still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be polite, but firm. Be sure you clearly spell out all relevant facts in chronological order. In your concluding paragraph, specify what you want. For instance, using the above example, if you want your photographs, then specifically ask for those. If you want your money back, then ask for that.
4) Include a response time. Give the vendor a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. I personally, generally, like 2 weeks. Make it clear to the vendor that if the conflict is not appropriately handled, then you will proceed with contacting an attorney or filing a lawsuit.
5) Send the letter. Send the letter via fax (yes, fax machines still exist!), or email and send a hard copy. You might also consider sending it via certified mail. You want some kind of verification that your letter was received.
6) Be patient. Wait for a response. Hopefully you will get one, by your deadline. This can be a frustrating time. Also, demand letters are the first step, and not always productive. Try not to think about the wait too much. During the wait, catch up on your blog reading.
7) Follow up. If you don’t get a response by the deadline, follow up. You can follow up by sending a concise letter or email and attaching the initial demand letter. Simply stating something to the effect of
“Dear Vendor: I have not received a response to my letter of December 28. I remain prepared to file a lawsuit. Kindly let me know if you have any response.”
You know your vendor, so apply the follow up principle according to his or her personality and what you think will be the most effective language. Don’t forget to be polite, though!
8) Consider your next steps. If you still don’t receive a response, or the response isn’t what you wanted, considering filing a lawsuit or consulting with an attorney. Contact your local small claims office to determine if the amount of damages fits into the jurisdictional cap, which varies by state. In California, for instance, the cap is $10,000, with some exceptions. Other states have caps of $5,000. The information will likely be set forth on the court website.
If your claim is more than the jurisdictional amount, then it would be advisable to consult with counsel. Although small claims cases are generally informal, and friendly to non-lawyers, non- small claims cases are much more complex.
You should not hesitate to move forward if you feel you’ve been wronged. There are finite time limitations on causes of action. So, don’t delay in proceeding with whatever course of action you
As always, you can consult with an attorney. Your case may be too complex for small claims court. And, if you do go to small claims court, the key to winning is having an organized and succinct argument with supporting evidence. A wedding lawyer can help coach you to success.
Christie Asselin is a sixth year, California licensed, litigation attorney with a background in personal injury and business disputes. In 2012, she began to explore legal issues related to weddings including vendor negotiation, and contract review. She loves all things weddings and has a personal and deep love of Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown. She also adores Oceana roses, and cathedral-length wedding veils. You may visit her website at: yourweddinglawyer.com.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information stated above is general legal information, and not legal advice. Please also note that the author is admitted only to the California State Bar, and to no other state. Attorney Advertising. This communication may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. No Attorney Client Relationship. The use of any content provided in this article and your provision or submission of any information while using this site will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Ms. Asselin. Please be aware that any information that you provide by reason of your use of this article is not privileged or confidential. The content of this article is provided solely for informational purposes: it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax, career and/or other professional
I’ve never had to have the best. Growing up in a small, rural town that suddenly turned into a McMansion Mecca where housewives hauled a whole two kids around in Hummers, I learned by middle school the cool kids table was closed unless your purse cost a car payment, and I thought it was shitty.
When I started planning my wedding, I assumed my blah-ness toward brand names was going to make things a heck of a lot easier. No, not for me.
I don’t have to have the best, but I sure like to be the best.
I’m an overachiever. A perfectionist. A control freak. I may play to my strengths, but I’m quite accustomed to achieving at high levels, both personally and professionally, in most everything I do, and nothing sickens me more than letting people down.
I don’t see my wedding as “all about me” or even as “all about us.” I see it as a communal celebration among our friends and (large – on both sides) family. We plan on a large reception because, for us, it’s a way to tell the people who have fostered our relationship and been with us through hard times and great times and fun times and confusing times how much we love them and how grateful we are for their role in our lives, and I am so scared of letting them down.
I don’t have to have the best, but I want to be the best at planning a wedding.
I want to make my best friend happy and my mother proud and not to step on anyone’s toes and not to make anyone feel left out or slighted or uncomfortable in any way. I want everyone to say it was SO meaningful and SO beautiful and SO fun. I’ve broken down in tears because I’m worried I’m not going to be pretty enough and might be a disappointment to the people who’ve told me I’ll make a beautiful bride (WTF, right?) Hell, I’ve worried over my vendors not having a resume/portfolio-quality opportunity and feeling like they’ve wasted their time with us. I’ve let myself get so consumed with stress and worry that I literally told a photographer whom I’ve known for about eight years that we weren’t going to be able to afford a wedding “worth her talent” to shoot. I told someone that I wasn’t good enough for them. When the hell has that ever happened? (Answer: never.) She wrote me back to tell me the very thought was pretty absurd, and she was right. She explained that her very favorite thing was capturing the love of two people whether it was an intimate elopement or a ballroom fete.
That was a major turning point for me.
Sometimes you’ve got to put down the Pinterest and back away from the bridal mags and really question what you want, why you want it and what you’re willing to do for it.
I want to marry the man I love.
I want our friends and family to celebrate with us and have a blast.
I want to look flippin’ phenomenal.
That’s not an incredibly tall order because, guess what? Just because your place settings look like a picture in one of those magazines that panders to the Wedding Industrial Complex doesn’t mean you’re more married to someone who loves you enough to want to spend their whole life with you. Paying for peonies over carnations (seriously, wrap four carnations together and you have a peony look for less) sure doesn’t make the occasion more fun for your guests. This whole website is peppered with ways to save money and still get the style you’re hoping for.
Yes, having a wedding on a budget takes some work. I can’t guarantee there aren’t going to be tears; I’ve shed my share, but I realized that I was so worried about people I love and who LOVE ME picking apart our choices and offerings that I forgot to remember that a person who does that isn’t very nice and, frankly, isn’t worth my effort to impress. A person who loves you isn’t going to do that. My mantra became (and still is) “This is NOT a Competition.”
This is about love.
Really, that’s it.
It’s about love. It’s about two people expressing that love. It’s about two people expressing that love and promising forever. It’s about two people expressing that love and promising forever and sharing a celebration with other people they love, but the root of everything is love, love, love.
Perfect flowers and chandeliers and candles isn’t beauty; it’s aesthetics. I love aesthetics. I want aesthetics. I’ve freaked out because aesthetics cost money, but I channeled my inner Martha and whipped out a few of the DIY mercury glass bowls and reminded myself that I am smart, creative, resourceful, AND I have a really awesome man who’s there to encourage me every step of the way. I’ve got this!
And you do, too.
It’s easy to get bogged down in what you can’t have when you’re watching your dollars, but take it from me: this whole thing is a lot more fun when you focus on what you do have, and I hope above all else, it’s love.
Photo: Chasing Glimpses
Weddings are complicated creatures. There are a there a lot of things about your wedding that you can extrapolate from real life, and a lot of that you can find out by asking obvious questions. But there are also the unknown unknowns, the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know. And you don’t – or wouldn’t — know, because you haven’t done this before.
As a wedding planner, finding your photographer is always the next thing on our checklist, after your venue and a caterer. For one thing, it’s usually the next most expensive line item on your budget. Your wedding pictures are the only permanent thing, other than your spouse and your ring, that you’re taking away from your wedding day! But wedding photography is filled with unknown unknowns. What is that you don’t know that you don’t know about your wedding photography?
Choosing a Good Photographer
Like most art forms, “good photography” is subjective. So, first of all, look for pictures and styles that personally appeal to you. Look for pictures that are focused, whose subjects are are well-lit, against backgrounds that don’t distract from the photograph.
There are also no standard costs for photography, though here in Los Angeles, you can expect to throw back a few thousand dollars. When you’re deciding between photographers that you like, try and compare apples and apples. What services do they each provide, what are you getting for what you’re paying? How many hours on site? Are engagement pictures included? An album? A disk of pictures? And if one photographer doesn’t offer one apple that another does, ask how much it would be to add it. Either way, you’ll be able to find a great photographer in your price range. But don’t settle – sign that contract knowing that your pictures are going to be beautiful.
And, seriously? Choose a photographer that you like. They are going to literally be in your face all day during your wedding and you’ll be dealing with them after the wedding while they’re finishing your pictures and albums. You need to be okay with that.
How Much Time and Work is Invested in Your Pictures
There’s the lead-up to your wedding, the consultations about what pictures you want, the ones you don’t and discussing (several times) the general flow of the day. Engagement pictures usually take 2-3 hours. They are at your wedding for 8-12 hours. If you don’t have a planner, they’re going to be running the day with help from your DJ. And, depending on your venue and your guest count, there could be two photographers. And, no kidding, those photographers are going to take thousands of pictures. So, after your wedding, thousands pictures have to be sorted in chronological order, duplicates and blurry shots have to be deleted, and the rest have to be edited and touched up before you even see them. Raw images are not an option you want. So, it takes a few weeks! And, how fast you get your album after that depends on you and how fast you can pick the pictures you want in it.
About Those Pictures On Your Wedding Day …
As you’ve probably figured out if you’ve been reading for a while, I’m into wedding timing. How to manage it, when to ignore it, and when to pay very, very close attention to it. Pictures take a lot of time. Assembling everyone, for one. Posing. Posing again. Different locations, different shots. Groomsmen wander back to the bar, other people blink during group shots. This can eat up the time you have between hair and makeup and leaving for your venue, and it can definitely make your cocktail hour hectic! You don’t have to do it (you don’t have to do anything) but talk to your photographer about taking pictures of you and your fiance before the wedding, and getting as many group shots as you can after that. Less pictures during the cocktail hour, more of a chance for an appetizer and a drink, and to marvel in wonder that, WOW, you just got married! Ask your photographer about other ways to streamline the day. Trust me, they’ll have a ton of suggestions.
Are starting to look for photographers? And if you’ve already picked yours, how many did you talk to before you made a decision? Have you decided to do a first look? Let me know, along with any questions, in the comments below!
And if you would like to find out more about me, and my little part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.
Credit: Elizabeth Bates Photography
It can be a cruel world out there for brides on a budget. So much of the pretty can be out of reach, and it gets exhausting trying to keep up with the Joneses. Bridal Burnout can take place way early on, because there is a butt-ton of brain juice going into your wedding. That’s why, here at The Broke-Ass Bride, we stress the importance of priorities and focusing your energy in the areas that matter most to you, rather than tossing your hard-earned cash at something you don’t necessarily care a great deal about. The Wedding Industrial Complex has a way of pre-shaming brides into having the biggest, the best and the prettiest, and the this and the that and just the absolute MOSTEST BESTEST.
And also why I want to bring attention to this really shitty thing that happened around the web this week. Our girl Jessica at The Budget Savvy Bride posted a great wedding tip in her series of budget wedding tips — which includes advice on cutting the guest list, bringing in your own booze or even doing non-floral florals. The particular tip in question? No. 18: DJ your own wedding. You know, like set up the iPod to rock the soundtrack to your reception. Not unheard of, right? Well, Jessica did it for her own wedding. We’ve had many Real Weddings featured that have done the same. I mean, I did it. Hell it’s something we’ve been suggesting on BAB since 2010, y’all.
But once Budget Savvy Bride’s tip hit Facebook? A massive shitstorm of vitriolic vile flooded the comments … from “professional” DJs. One even went so far as to use “#killyaself”. UM. Really? Budget Fairy Tale compiled some of the other putrid spew that came forth from this.
If having a big ol’ dance party isn’t your thing, and you’re just not that into the music, DIYing your wedding music is a really great way to provide ambiance — and even just make sure you get the version of a song you want, because not everyone has a copy of Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” laying around — without shelling out the big bucks that it takes to have a professional, whether it’s a DJ, band or a fucking opera singer, at your wedding. But hey, man, if you can afford it and it’s a priority for you, DO IT. But there should be absolutely no shaming involved.
Weddings are super, super personal. And they should be. They should represent you as a couple, and they should be something you’re comfortable with. Because, really, what good does it do you to host a party that you don’t want to attend? No good at all. Really.
But here’s the thing for us bitches on a budget: We put priority on different things. Tiffany and Justin totally cared about booze, so they got married at a brewery. Kate gave zero fucks about real flowers, but wanted literature — hence, her book flowers. Courtney and Carli got married in the morning in the loft of a barn. Bianca bought her dress for $10 and it’s still one of my all-time favorites while her groom spend $200 on his duds. Each wedding is different and special, because each couple is different and special. Weddings are personal.
No couple, ever, should be made to feel bad about the decisions they make for their wedding, as long as it’s right for them and their circumstances. Family may be involved, for some, and not for others. Budgets may be huge for some, and not for others. And sure, some weddings might not be super amazing for all the guests, but it’s not really about the guests. It’s about celebrating love.
And if a vendor, or anyone really, gets pushy and especially if they dare venture into being condescending or start shaming you? You might not want to work with them. Know who you’re hiring. It’s important, because it’s your money.
As Liz once said:
“A lot of time brides feel pushed to do this or that, but really, there aren’t any “haves” in Wedding World, just “wants.” If you don’t want to spend the money, and you don’t see the value of it, don’t do it. That goes for all of your future wedding choices, too.”
So, let’s stop being assholes about the decisions people make for their own weddings and appreciate the differences and similarities we all have. Let’s not compare ourselves to the next person, nor expect them to measure up to us.
Credit: Powell Pictures
So, I’ve been checking in with my 2015 couples a lot this week. March’s backyard wedding was relocated to another backyard. May wants a photo booth. I’m looking at venues with July #2 this weekend. June #1 is in way better shape than she thinks she is. And, actually, so are you. Remember that the next time you start to wonder.
What’s been interesting is that each of them asked about managing their wedding party. And managing their families. Or, rather, managing their wedding party and families’ questions and expectations.
There are just so many of them, you know? Wedding party and family members. And questions.
When is the bridal shower, where is the bachelorette party? Should all 10 of your family members wear the same color as your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen? When should everyone, or anyone, fly in for the wedding? And on and on.
Should you let them choose, or just tell them what to do?
Well, yeah, definitely one or the other.
But here’s the thing: It’s up to you, what they get to choose, and what you want to dictate. And it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Most of the time, wedding-wise, people want (cough, cough, NEED) direction. But if it’s something that’s not a big priority for you, it’s okay to let them make the choice .
But let them know one way or the other. And if the answer is, “This is what we’re doing,” remember to smile and say “Thank you.” And if it’s “Whatever you want to do,” give them a deadline to let you know, well, what they’re going to do. Every choice needs to come with a deadline. Every mandate needs to come with gratitude and a smile. Got it? Now go forth and plan …
What’s the last detail your wedding crew has thrown back to you? And which way did you decide to go. Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,
Credit: A Sight of Love
A few weeks ago we had the first meeting with a minister from our venue, who we hoped would be the one to marry us. Luckily, she was totally lovely, and we checked another box off our (ever-increasing) wedding to-do list. She’s going to do some pre-marital counseling with us, which was something I felt was important. While the real bulk of the counseling starts at our next meeting, she asked a few preliminary questions to get us thinking about more than just which readings to have during the ceremony.
The questions were pretty basic, such as “What do you feel are each other’s goals for your life together?” As I pondered my answer, the first things that popped into my head when I thought of our shared “goals” were material: a four-bedroom house full of awesome vintage furniture, juxtaposed with all the latest gadgets. I continued moving down our list: a really nice washer-dryer set (I guarantee a decade of L.A. apartment-living will move this to the top of anyone’s fantasies), money with which to travel to exotic locales, money with which to go shopping without guilt about how I should be saving it, money with which to retire! But as I opened my mouth to answer, I knew these things were all wrong; I shut it and kept thinking.
We are by no means poor, but our dollars are certainly accounted for at the end of every month. Between both of our living expenses like rents and bills, food, transportation, pet care, and, now, wedding/honeymoon savings, we’re not at the point yet where we can splurge – especially in a city where surging living expenses are seriously outpacing incomes. But over the last few years we’ve weathered the stress from layoffs, unexpected bills, and education expenses with the best of them, and our relationship has felt a little more solid by the end of every storm. The realization I had can best be described as one of those “life flashing before your eyes” montages from a movie, as I remembered specific moments of affirmation from those times past.
I finally landed on a memory from only a few days before, right after Thanksgiving. Taking a walk hand-in-hand, we’d fantasized about the family we would one day build and which holiday traditions we’d create. Ah-ha! We wanted those bedrooms in our home to shelter kids and beloved visitors, money to take vacations so that we can give our children the same memories and learning experiences that our parents provided for us. A loving family was our shared goal, above all.
The strength we’ve found through love and creativity is why we’re proud to be a Broke-Ass Couple. I like to think that Broke-Ass doesn’t mean we don’t have money, it means that we have other priorities. Nick and I felt strongly when we got engaged that we should not spend a lot of money on the wedding, but by necessity of having the big family gathering we envisioned, we were forced to increase our ideal budget. Talking with our minister, who likes to work family into the ceremony as much as possible, reinforced the reason we’re doing all this in the first place: the actual marriage – the blending of two families into one, and the foundation of a new family unit.
As much as I’m stressing about catering (more on that next post), it’s been nice to take some time to focus again on actually getting married. What a relief, that the most important part of our whole wedding day doesn’t cost a damn thing.
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.
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??
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.
I just got engaged! Is there some type of simple check list, for starting to plan a wedding? Like…
2 – Guest list
3 – Dress??
I’m so overwhelmed by the whole process!
In the Deep End
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,
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
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!
No Extra Guests Please
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,
Photo: Andrea Chesley
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!
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 ,