Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quick tricks and tips in planning your wedding

Here are some quick tips that come to mind to help navigate your way through planning your wedding. There are too many to mention in one sitting but here are a few to wet your appetite!
1) Sign up for an email address that you use specifically for wedding research - give it out at bridal shows, to prospective vendors, etc so that you can keep your regular email clear of clutter after the wedding.
2) Going with the vendor on a preferred vendor list doesn't necessarily mean they are the best of the best- certain sites require vendors to pay to be on their "preferred vendor lists" but it can also be a good starting point to see what's out there - compare notes and see who is mentioned a lot, read reviews, meet vendors in person and decide for yourself. Seeing an ad in a magazine or visiting a vendor's website is not enough to make a decision off of.
3) Make sure you order extra envelopes with your invitation order and make sure your rsvp address is one that is a stable address (aka you won't be moving anytime soon). Otherwise, get a po box to rent for 6 months. Also remember that invitation quantities are by the # of addresses to send to not by the total number of guests invited.
4) Honeymoon registries - they say they are free, but beware, your guests are paying a service fee to make the transaction of depositing money into your honeymoon registry. If they really want you to have the full quantity of the dollar amount they wish to give you, they should just write a check and give it to you in your wedding card.
5) Budget bride tips - keep the guest count to the bare necessities (saves on the number of centerpieces needed for each table, on the reception price per person, and on invitation quantities), keep the bridal party small (saves on the cost of extra bouquets and gifts), have the ceremony at the same place as the reception (saves on transportation costs) and a place that has overnight accommodations is ideal to get discounted rates on your room (if not complimentary).
6) Favors - We've seen it all from candles to frames to cute little corkscrews and teaspoons... how sweet. But to the guest that isn't new to the wedding world... it's just something that they wish you didn't spend the money on. At anywhere between $3-$8 x 100 guests... that could really add up. If you think about it, the food, music, desserts... it's all one big favor to say thank you to your guests for coming and celebrating your day.
7) Registry information should not go on the invitation itself - these days you see it on bridal shower invitations or on wedding websites but never should it go on the actual invitation. It's improper to assume your guests are expected to bring a gift.
8) Cash bar - no, limited bar - better option (limits guests to beer,wine and soft drinks/juices), full bar- best option.
9) Champagne toast - could be costly just for a 5 minute toast. Instead, just have guests use the wine or other beverage they have at their tables if you're looking to shave a little money off your reception cost.
10) A good MC will make the difference between an ok party and an amazing party! They keep the flow of the event going, read the crowd, work well with the site in transitioning between events that happen throughout the evening, and get people on the dance floor!
11) You should feel very comfortable with your photographer and relate on a more personal level to them since that will shine through in your photography. I strongly believe you should never book your photographer without meeting him/her in person. An engagement session is a great way to have a "dry run" with him/her to see how well they can capture your personality and chemistry together through the lens. Many large photo studios just book a photographer for a wedding and you never get to meet them. I much prefer independent photographers that work for themselves since they are more invested in the work they are doing.
12) After the wedding, be sure to send a thank you letter to not only your guests for their wedding gifts, but to ensure you thank the vendors that worked so hard to make your day so special. It means the world to them to have that recommendation to share with others. Even a picture of you with the photographer, the cake, the flowers, etc...
13) One client of mine decided to bring some Santa hats to her wedding so that during the reception, she could get some Christmas card photos taken care of with her photographer to send to her friends/family later in the year. Very clever... always think ahead!
14) Get a credit card that has good points/rewards - putting your reception site costs, wedding dress, rings, etc on that can rack up some great honeymoon travel points! Just make sure you're financially responsible and don't spend what you can't afford and start off your new married life in wedding debt!
15) Being a fantastic host/hostess at your wedding - it's your day to shine and show friends and family how much you appreciate their presence. In the real world, we've never witnessed a Bridezilla... it's reality TV that gives brides a bad name. Even the brides that think they are bridezillas are not... it's perfectly normal to feel anxious and nervous about the moment you walk down the aisle. Remember to just stay cool - you're proving you are a grown woman and if any issues should arise at your wedding (and you don't have a planner to take care of things behind the scenes), you need to stay focused, calm and clear about what your plan b is. Throwing a temper tantrum is not one of the multiple choice answers, fortunately! :)

Happy planning!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Avant Garde's "aha moments" in the world of floral design

During my undergraduate years at Skidmore College, I took several art classes... one being avant garde. I didn't quite appreciate the concept until I actually started applying it over the years in my floral design and planning work. Avant garde is an innovative way of creating something out of the norm. How many times do you go looking for a vase for your flowers in the pipe section of your hardware store? Or see stretchy bracelets as a cool accessory to accent your bouquet? Sometimes it happens by accident. For example, one day when I was cleaning up the studio after a big event, I found one of my dangly earrings on the floor. I picked it up not wanting to lose it again and hung it over the top of my gooseneck vase. I thought to myself... "Now, how clever does that look! Vase jewelry!" Who knows if it will make it into a future bride's design ideas but at least it made me think a little more imaginatively about what can be done with a simple vase.

We're so used to following the rules, that when we train our brain to think outside the bubble, we see a whole world of options that are truly unique. Claim victory in defeating the rules of "you must do it this way, because that's always the way it's been done." Blah! If we all thought that way, we'd still be stuck with plastic bouquet holders with cascading bouquets of carnations and tulle. My inspirational thoughts for tonight would be to wake up tomorrow morning giving yourself the freedom to look past the obvious and let your mind find a new way to create something that turns into an "aha moment". At the studio, we are constantly experimenting to hit that moment and share it with our clients!