10/21 Ten Things You Don’t Know About Your Wedding

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If you read the Broke Ass Brigade Newsletter yesterday, you know that I’m rebooting my “What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding” teleclass series from last year. Talking with a DJ on Wednesday, still working on interviewing a bartender. And for those of you who won’t be able to get on the call live to ask questions (Because it’ll be 9pm/10pm where you are, and “Modern Family”/”Revenge” is on), just get on the list and I’ll send you an .mp3 later.

There’s  just a lot of stuff you don’t know. And you’re not supposed to, because this is the first time you’ve ever planned a wedding. Not to mention your last, hopefully. It’s like asking you to be lead surgeon on a heart transplant. Less at stake, yes. Still not going to happen without a bunch more experience. So, in no particular order, except how they’re occurring to me under deadline pressure:

1. Tax and Service and Delivery – Seriously, the first question you should ask any vendor after you get a quote. $35 per person for dinner sounds great, until you add almost 10% for the tax and 20% for service, which throws another $10 on there.  Granted we’re expensive here in L.A., but do your local calculations and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t faint when you add it up for the bar. $5 chivaris – Yay! $150 delivery? Hmm…ASK AND CALCULATE.

Sooo pretty. And You're never going to see them all again.

2. No matter what you do, you can’t get everyone to RSVP on time. Even if you use e-vites. Even if you ask them to RSVP online. Even if you give them a later RSVP date. Even if you give them an early one. You are still going to end up calling and emailing stragglers after the date has passed. Sucks.

3. Same goes for showing up on time.

4. Same goes for showing up at all, period. As a coordinator who knows what it took to get there and what it cost per person, there is nothing more annoying to me on your behalf, than empty seats at a table. And it happens at just about every wedding. Sometimes there are good reasons, but still. KHANN!!

Oh, so THAT'S Why...

The Secret Lives of Wedding Photographers (Courtesy of the International Society of Wedding Photographers)

5. There is a reason why you won’t see pictures for a few weeks after your wedding. They say that for every hour a photographer shoots your wedding, they do 4-6 hours of work on your pictures. Editing, color correcting, admin work, posting to an online gallery. And this is for every wedding they do, not to mention all the other stuff they have to do to maintain their businesses. Photographers are usually pretty realistic about how long it’s going to take – they are NOT  being lazy or brushing you off. But you’ve seen their other work. You know the end result is worth it.

6. You won’t be able to return all of your unused alcohol. I know, right? If you had to chill it, you won’t be able to return it, whether  you opened it or not. Once it gets back to room temperature it’s going to skunk pretty quickly, and most stores won’t take it back at that point. And, of course, you can’t return open bottles of anything, so tell  your bartender not to open a new bottle or jar until the last one is empty.  You would think that would be intuitive, but not always.

7. Buffets aren’t necessarily cheaper than sit-down. “Yes, they are!” a Caterer friend said to me. “Well, yeah, the way YOU do them!” I shot back. Buffets require less staff, but possibly more equipment and rentals. And it depends on the menu you choose.  Sit down and compare Apples to Apples, cost to cost.

8. Three things that will be left over: Programs, Cake, Favors. Keep 10 programs for yourself and your family, recycle the rest. Ask the bakery about to-go boxes when you order the cake. Food or candy are the only favor that completely disappears.

9. With a few exceptions, your family actually wants what’s best for you, I swear. They just think that they know what’s best for you, and they think you don’t. How could you? You’re a kid, still. Don’t prove them right – no tantrums, no fights. Confirm, with a smile,  that whatever it is that you want is what you want, and the way you want it will work out fine. And then keep moving until you reach a safe distance. Repeat as necessary. Hey, I didn’t say it was going to be easy!

10. This is all going to work out. You are going to find all of your vendors, get everything scheduled, dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and have  a wonderful wedding during which you will be absolutely gorgeous. It might seem harrowing right now, but it’s going to come together, I promise.

So, what are your questions about this list? Would you add anything to it? Let me know below!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • meital

    I like number 3. Simply said 🙂

  • cupcakegirl

    Can you please ask about tipping? Who do you need to tip, how much? etc.

  • Love this! Especially the tax & delivery, and the RSVP tips. I'm doing my RSVPs through our wedding website precisely because I don't want to waste money on little extra cards, little extra envelopes, and 44cent stamps on slackers. I know my friends and family, and a lot of them are flakes. If hunting down RSVPs is inevitable, I'm not giving them free stamps for the pleasure.

  • lizcharm

    @RogueBride – Yeah, the best thing to do is what is most convenient for you. I personally love online RSVPs.

  • I’ve seen buffets quoted at higher prices than plated meals quite frequently. That one is a shocker to alot of people, though.

  • ….helpful. Def.

  • Anne L

    Good tips!

  • amber

    I just got married (like, at noon today). Relating to 2, 3, and 4: your carefully organized table assignments may be taken as little more than suggestions. We had some major drama due to table-hopping that displaced some family to the back of the room.

  • I would actually disagree with #6. Several liquor stores we talked to said we could return any unopened bottles. The store we used we took back a couple cases of wine/champagne and received a $350 refund, no restocking fee. That part was nice, especially after I just spent all that money on a single day! 🙂

    • I guess the key word there was ALL. Of course we couldn't take back the half full keg … to me that was assumed.