Friday, September 23, 2011

Professional vs. WE TV Addict

Alright, time for some honesty.  Shocking, I know.  In the past couple of weeks I've talked to several people who titled themselves "professional wedding coordinators."  While speaking with these peeps I didn't really identify them as "professional wedding coordinators."  What came to my mind was a person who watched too much WE tv and wedding shows and decided that coordinating weddings was so easy they would just make a career change.  First off, HA! at the easy comment.  No, let's make that HAHA!

Anyway, with my recent experiences I felt it would be a great time to share with you some red flags to look out for when looking for a true professional wedding coordinator (from this point on wedding coordinator will affectionately be referred to as wc because wedding coordinator is too many letters to type out.  I'm lazy, and I'm ok with that).

~ I've got papers!:  Wedding coordinator classes do not a professional make (I've never understood those type sentences, but always wanted to use them. So booyah!). Anyone can pay, learn the information and receive a paper declaring them something.  However, learning something doesn't always mean you should do it. For example I read how to swallow a sword. Does it mean I should try it? Negative. 
(Disclaimer:  For those who attended/support wc classes I say bravo!  Good for you! Great job! But in my personal opinion not everyone who attends is qualified. Again, personal opinion. Please send your hate mail to those responsible for the new facebook layout).            

~ Drama Queen (or King):  
I don't like drama.  It's such a waste of time and energy.  However, there are those that thrive on drama.  They live for the issues/nonsense/problems and dynamics of the situation.  However, if they are sharing their drama throughout most of their meeting with you, my recommendation is look elsewhere.  And let's lump drama's nasty bff in there, too:  Gossip.  If your "professional wc" is running their mouth about vendors and/or other clients you should not only see red flags, but sirens and whistles and bells and everything else.

~ Rushes you:  If a person acts like they have somewhere more important to be than in your meeting, I would give them the advice that my grandmother gave my sisters when they were misbehaving (not me because I did not misbehave): "Don't let the door knob hitcha where the good Lord splitcha."  The wc's job is to listen to you, talk through things, share ideas and be there for you.  If they are acting like this during meetings then what are they going to do on your wedding day?  Run you down the aisle?

 ~ Reason for becoming a wc:  3 frequent reasons: 
(1) Oh I became a wc because I helped my friend with hers and it was so much fun!  (2)  I went to a wedding a couple of years ago, saw the wc and thought I could easily do that.  (3)  Oh it's such an easy and fun job!  We all have different reasons.  Some logical, some not so much.  Look for more professional answers as well as professional qualifications. 

~ I'm the star, you're the glitter: Some wc's feel your day is all about them. They have made everything happen, they are the reason, it's about them. Wrong. Your wc is there to help you plan, give professional opinions, make your dreams come true, and make your day what you want it to be with as little stress on you as possible. They should not force their ideas on you or make you do things their way.

~ Sketchy or no references:  People, I say this so often I say it in my sleep!!  Ask for references.  Most wc's offer these without being asked, but if they don't then ask!!  And don't just take copies of reference letters.  Ask for emails, facebook, digits.  Professional wc's are prepared to offer these with no hesitation and have the permission of the clients to share their contact info.  Talk to 'em! 

Finding the right wc for you is going to take a little work.  Just as important as references is a personal connection.  Meet up with you potential wc once or twice or many times until you're comfortable with them.  You're putting a lot of trust into them, so really talk to them and get to know them.  Making a personal connection with a wc is invaluable.  They are the one who has to see your vision, understand your needs and make your wedding day dreams happen.  If there isn't that personal connection then it isn't going to happen.

Bottom line is this:
Unprofessional Wedding Coordinator:

Professional Wedding Coordinator:

Most pics on here are stock photos.  However, this is an actual photo taken of our bride on September 03 by friend Anna-Fiona Cooke.  A picture is worth 1,000 words.

Stay Sane!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Uh-Oh! It's the Popo!!

My sweetie told me of an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that I just had to check out.  Fine by me!  I was looking forward to reading it, but nothing could really prepare me for the following:

Police:  Pa. newlyweds shoplifted reception food.

Seriously?  Let's just let this sink in for a moment. 
I have literally tried to write this blog 6 times now, each time from a different direction.  I am trying so hard not to be judgmental, not to just type wth were you thinking?  So, trying to be nice I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

First, of course, stealing.  It's wrong.  Don't take something that's not yours.  Obviously.

Second, why?  Did they have champagne dreams on a beer budget?  Was it pressure to measure up to the weddings that their friends had?  Or was it their wants overpowered their judgment of right and wrong?
Third, weddings are stressful.  You not only have to plan an entire major event, but you have lots of people giving you their opinions.  There are those who have been married, or who have been in a wedding once, so naturally they are now expert planners.  Parents who are footing the bill for the big day, so are counting every penny.  Friends obsessed with weddings, who have planned theirs every since being told what a wedding was and have a collection of 20+ years of wedding articles, trends and materials that you can look at.  And then, of course, your own ideas and opinions.  All of this along with trying to get everything accomplished is enough to cause a person to have moments of insanity. 
But to push yourself to the point of committing a crime?  Weddings are stressful.  Life is stressful.  Everything is stressful.  Just keep in mind that although your wedding day is an important day in your life, it's just that:  ONE day in your life.  Don't let the stresses push you to the point of hurting those around you, showing your dark side, pushing yourself to the point of illness, or becoming bridezilla.
Don't you just love my originality there?

Overall remember:
  Your wedding is one day. 
Your marriage is the rest of your life.
(And a criminal record never goes away!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doggies and kitties and ferrets, oh my!

Before you get too far into this you should know that this article is kinda sorta geared toward dogs. Yes, I know that there are many kinds of pets and many kinds of pet owners. Yes, I know that not all pets have fur and yes, I know that not all pets are spazzes where they will freak out at stuff. However, dogs hold a special place in my heart, as do furry pets. So, it’s my blog and that’s the direction I’m going. No offense to the non-furry, non-dog pets or owners.

The cuteness, the warmness, the fuzziness. We love our little four legged pals. They love us unconditionally, live to please us, comfort us in times of sadness and make us laugh when we’re down. Well, unless you have a cat. Then you’re there to do those things for them, when they allow you to do so.

So it’s your special day and of course you want all of your family there to celebrate. I mean, if Uncle Jack’s third wife’s second cousin once removed is invited then by all means the fur-kids should be there! That’s logic people.

There is no question in your mind that the fur-kids are going to have a role in your wedding. Oh the costumes, the happiness, the squeals of delight, the uniqueness. All fun and games. Or is it?
 You have a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to include the fur-kids. That includes thinking past their outfits. First off will your venue even allow pets? The venue themselves are taking a big risk by doing so. Animals can have accidents, can break things or can even freak out and attack someone. I know what you’re thinking. Attack someone? Oh not my little Billie Willie Boo Bop…. He has never ever been aggressive. Stick him in a room of strangers, lots of smells, lots of noises and lots of stimulation and chances are little Billie Willie is gonna freak.

Ok, let’s move past the idea of Gizmo turning into Cujo and assume the venue will allow you to have the fur-kid there. Where will you put them before the ceremony? Does he usually stay in a crate or roam free? Is there a quiet area that he can hang out without every strange person on the planet stopping by to say hello to him, thus causing nervousness? If your answer is a miraculous yes to these questions then that’s settled and let’s move on.

Ceremony is over. Now what do you do with them? You basically need to ask yourself the same questions as you did for before the ceremony. Where are they going to hang out during big people time?  Oh! I have an idea! Let Fido run from table to table to beg for scraps! That’ll keep your guests entertained! Classy (not).

There is no doubt that all pets hold a special place in our hearts. However, as much as we always want them with us, there are just some times and places that aren’t appropriate. Before you decide to say your I Do’s with the fur-kids around, ask yourself this one main question:
            Is it what’s really best for them?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!

Weddings. You can’t think of the word without thinking of all the mushy mumbo jumbo stuff: cake, love, kisses, cake, new beginnings, a beautiful bride in her gorgeous new gown, cake, a handsome groom in his tux, cake and flowers (achoo, achoo, achoo!  It's rather family always sneezes in multiples.).

Flowers are lovely and serve multiple purposes. Bouquets, decorations, centerpieces, aisle decor, ceremony color. There is just so much to do with them. But what if you can’t handle the flowers? What if you’re allergic, or simply don’t care for flowers? No worries! There are alternatives!

The first and most obvious alternative is fake flowers. Don’t turn your nose up…these babies have come a long way! Use to you could spot a fake flower at 20 paces, but now days they are making them much more realistic! Sometimes they are so good that not only is the look deceiving, but the feel is as well.

Other ideas are:
Cloth flowers
 Sparkly Beads
 Creative Buttons
 Felt Flowers
Christmas Ornaments
 Sea Shells

Or use items that are personal to you.  Maybe your grandmothers had an impressive brooch collection.  Make a bouquet out of them or use some of them in your bouquet.  Whatever material you select, just remember that the creativity is limited only by the imagination of the creator!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Yay...It's All Over!"

Generally at ceremonies I'm the one who greets the new couple at the end of the aisle.  It's almost as exciting for me to see the joy and looks on their faces as what it is for them to be married.  Ok, not really.  Probably can't compare those two, but it is exciting for me nonetheless!

This weekend the bride said something to me that's never, ever been said before.  I said, "Yay!  You're married!"  The bride's reply was, "Yay!  It's all over!"  And my reply, without even hesitating was, "NO!  It's just beginning!"  She looked at me and simply replied, "Oh, yeah."

Wedding days are great!  It's nice to have your family and friends around to celebrate you and your spouse.  It's nice to see all of your hard work come together for your day.  And oh, the compliments of what a great job you did....nothing can beat that!  Right??  Well, how about the excitement of what comes next.  No, silly!  Not the honeymoon...I'm talking about what comes after that.  Have you thought that far ahead?  That's right...I'm talking about what is the most important item of all planning....your marriage!

Many people get so caught up in the planning and focusing on that one day that they forget the purpose of that day to begin with:  the celebration of two lives merging into one; the creation of a life long partnership; saying goodbye to the single lives and that stinky futon your hubby has had since college that smells like...well...we won't go there.  It's time for the most important thing ever:  The marriage!!!

So, you've planned your day, you've had your day, you went on your honeymoon and now you're back in your home.  Together.  Just the two of you.  The happy new Mr. and Mrs. X.  The awkward moment when you realize you're not quite sure what to do next and there is silence in the room.

So...what do you do now? start your normal, everyday, routine life together.  Now, I could give you some tips on how to do this.  A checklist of what's normal in a marriage.  But guess what?  I'm not gonna (because it's my blog and I don't have to if I don't want to!).  No, I'm not going to do that because you already have this information at your fingertips:  talk to parents and grandparents, look it up on the internet, go to a book store and visit their self help aisle. 

And the best resource of all:  communicate with your new spouse.  Talk about how you feel with one another, ideas they have, thoughts they have on how you should live your life together.  The only two that can successfully make a strong and healthy marriage are the two that it's between:  the new Mr. and Mrs. X!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NO! I'm Not Walking Down The Aisle and You Can't Make Me!!

Ahhh kids.  They are cute.  Adorable.  Precious.  Then you put them in pretty and uncomfortable clothes, make them stand for hours taking pictures with strangers and no food, and expect them to be all jolly and smiles when walking down the aisle in your wedding.  Seriously?  Under those conditions even Santa wouldn't be jolly. 

Kids are just  They don't understand the importance of smiling for your pics and keeping their clothes stain free.  And guess what...they don't care that it's "your" day.  To them it's all about them and you're just messing with "their" day.

So, what do you do when operation screaming child begins?  Counter act with operation screaming bride?  Haha...good luck with that! 

First, stay calm.  Kids can smell fear.  They know you're about to freak and your weakness will fuel their tantrum.  Breathe and remain calm. 

If the child is just whiny try and find out what the problem is.  Shoes too tight?  Simple solution...let them walk down the aisle barefoot.  It'll be adorable and a quick solution.  Past nap time?  Get them hyped up on caffeine.  Mt. Dews seem to work well.  Kidding!  Try a little drink of water or little snack to nibble on.  This might give them just the boost they need.   

If the situation escalates to where the little one is completely freaking, like screaming and flinging arms, find a less public place to deal with the situation, as well as find their parents.  If you try to discipline them more than likely the parents are going to get a little upset that you're doing so.

Kids are going to do what makes them happy, and sometimes you have to go with the flow.  If they start down the aisle and run to a parent let the parent walk them down or let them stay put.  If they go half way and then turn to run let a family member catch up with them and watch from the back. 

Mainly you have to go with the flow and shrug it off.  If you act like it's no big deal then guests will follow in your footsteps.  And more than likely once you see the beauty of the day you'll forget all about the adorable and darling little one!      

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Uniquely You!

We’ve all been there. Wedding after wedding, friend after friend who are all getting married close to the same time. Trends are great, but if there is no imagination or personalization popular trends can cause events to have similarities. Sometimes to the point that it’s like same event, different couple. These are commonly referred to as “cookie cutter weddings.”

So how do you avoid having a wedding where people feel like they’ve been there, done that? Simple…find ways to insert your personalities into your day. It’s okay to use trends, but tweak them to make them represent you.

I know what you’re thinking: “Tweak them?” “Find inspiration?” “I’m OCD and you want me to insert my personality into my wedding??” “Are you crazy???” The answer to all these will be revealed soon. Well, except that last question…that’s between me and my shrink.

Inspiration can be found everywhere. Movies, books, the seasons, hobbies, interests, flowers, colors… EVERYWHERE!

Let’s start with an easy one: color. There are a billion ways to incorporate colors into your day. If you’re going with hot pink then wear hot pink shoes, or a clip in your hair. Use hot pink flowers for the boutonnières or have the guys wear vests of that color.

Big on traveling? Collect postcards and use them as table decorations. Or have each table have décor related to somewhere you’ve been or want to go (have centerpieces with sand and sea shells for the beach, or tulips and mini windmills for Holland).

College sweethearts? I know this will come as a shock, but most brides don’t want a wedding planned around college sports. I‘ll wait for the “gasps“ to subside. There are simple ways to incorporate that love of your alma mater with going full on pep rally. Maybe a touch of school colors here and there, such as with table runners or with flowers. The topper of the groom’s cake can be the school logo. Or even have engagement photos made where you’re sitting in a classroom and passing a note.

Love ice cream or desserts? Forego the traditional wedding cake and have a dessert bar filled with your favorite sweets. Bring in an ice cream buffet where guests can select their flavor and then put on their own toppings.

If you like it then use it! Look for things that incorporate your own personalities. By personalizing your day you are guaranteeing your guests will have an experience like no other! One that is uniquely yours!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I am a winter person. I like the cold. I love the snow. I’m not good at driving in the snow, but I try. I am much more happier putting on layers of clothes then I am with stripping them off. Ironically people around me are happier with me putting more on than taking more off. Coincidence? I think not.

So, as you can imagine, right now I’m not the happiest. It’s hot. H.O.T. At 7 am it’s hot. At 9 pm it’s hot. Walk outside and you start melting. This heat is nothing but miserable. But, misery or not, life goes on. Including weddings. If you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor summer wedding, your dreams may be a little dashed because of the heat. But what if you’re determined to go forward with your outdoor summertime dream wedding regardless of the heat? Good for you! Bad for your guests! Yes, it is all about you…but some accommodations can be made for your guests, too.

Here are a few tips on ways to keep the cool during summer:

1. Obviously timing is very important. If you have a 2 pm ceremony, not much can be done to avoid the heat. Consider having your ceremony later in the day, at least at 6 or after.

2. If you’re having a tent make sure to avoid the clear top. Yes, star gazing while dancing with your sweetheart is romantic, but the greenhouse effect isn’t.

3. Have a cooling station near by and easily accessible. This can include items such as cold beverages, fans and even parasols.

4. You can add air conditioners to your tent, but to have effective ac you’re going to need to add to your budget. A lot. Don’t have that kind of mola? Look for alternatives, such as hanging fans or even port-a-cools.

5. Make the dress a little more casual. Guys will be much more comfortable in a dress shirt than a coat and tie. And ladies, let’s face it…anytime we can go without panty hose is a much better party!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7 Wedding Coordinators and A Confused Couple

Finally....he's popped the question and you're so excited to start planning that you don't know what to do with yourself!  Should I start with venues, florists, cake, food, alcohol...ahhhhhh!!!!  You're freaking out before you even start to plan!  The groom was stressed before you even screamed, "YES!" and now he has how many months to deal with you like this??? 

Breathe.  Relax.  Simmer down.  One of the greatest investments that you can make for your wedding will be to find an awesome, knowledgeable, easy to get along with wedding coordinator.  So now you're thinking, " expect me to turn the most important day of my life over to a total stranger and just trust them?"  Well...kinda sorta.  Not a complete stranger, but someone you get to know and understand.  Someone you can communicate with and have confidence in.  Ok...better now?

So, you do an online search for your area, only to find that there are many people around you who call themselves coordinators.  And the freaking out begins again.  How do you know who to go with?  What matters when selecting a wedding coordinator?  They are gonna cost me what?!? 

Here are some tips to help you find the person who is going to keep you from freaking out so much:
1.  What's your first experience with them? 
Friendly and informative or rushed and pushy?  Good coordinators will take the time to explain things to you and share information.  So what if you have a habit of asking the same question 12 times.  The coordinator for you is going to answer the question each time and provide the information for you so that it eases your worries.
2.  Do you feel comfortable talking to them?
Of course there is bound to be a little awkwardness at the first meeting, but that should soon be forgotten and you focus on what you're there for: planning your wedding!  Coordinators have the information or know how to get the answers, and you should find someone who you feel comfortable talking to and asking anything.  And I do mean anything.
3.  What experience and references do they have?
Now, first and foremost, taking a class does not a wedding coordinator make.  If coordinators want to take those classes then great.  However that does not mean they are qualified or good at what they do.  Just because my crazy aunt has taken a class on shooting a gun does not mean she should be allowed to hold one.  I read books and magazines and a gazillion articles online, but you become an awesome coordinator in one way:  Experience.  Don't be afraid to ask them for multiple and current references.      
4.  Is this going to cost me a horn and a hoof?
Price is a big factor when selecting anything to do with your wedding, and wedding coordinators are no exception.  Many coordinators have a percentage fee, which means their charge is a percentage of how much your total budget is.  Others have a set fee with specific duties they perform.  This is very important for you to consider and decide which type is right for you.  If you go with the percentage fee, the more you spend and add on the higher their cost.  You will need to make sure they don't encourage you to make pricier choices or select higher end vendors so that they are paid more.  If you go with the set fee just make sure you understand the cost as well as exactly what's included.  Need a service that's not included?  Ask them if it's an add on option for a reasonable fee.
5.  Meet more than one!! 
Even if you absolutely love the first coordinator that you meet, meet one or two more just so that you can compare notes about them.  I loved bacon the first time that I ate it and felt there was nothing better in life.  But now that I tried bacon with chocolate (and don't give me an eewww until you've tried it) I am amazed that I didn't discover it sooner!  So meet multiple coordinators...all it costs to talk is a little bit of time!

Take your time, ask questions, be yourself and overall trust your gut instinct.  If there is anything that you're hesitant about explore that.  This will be your confidant, your stress remover, your sanity installer and the person who you trust the most with your wedding.
Breathe.  Relax.  Find a great coordinator! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't leave your guests waiting forever!

It's your day.  It's your time to shine.  It's the time for all the attention to be on you and everything to revolve around you.  Well, kinda sort of.  While these things are true, there are other people to take into consideration on your wedding day.  Such as...ummm...I dunno...all of the people who have taken time out of their busy schedules, spent money on travel and gifts and suffered through catching up with family.  Yep, you got it...your guests!!  

The ceremony is over and you're busy, busy, busy:  photos, greeting guests and talking to people, cutting the cake and getting something to drink.  But while you're zooming around here and there, what are your guests doing?   Sitting and catching up?   Yeah, that will keep people entertained almost as much as reading a magazine about road paving.  Your day being about you doesn't mean that consideration of others has to go out the window! 

What are good things for your guests to do? Here are a couple: Appetizers, drinks, getting to know one another games, unique ways for them to find their seats, disposable cameras on the tables, photo booths (home made or professional), board game area, professionals (magicians, artist to draw pictures, dancers) and even slide shows.

 The bottom line is that if you want your guests to hang out throughout the reception, keep them entertained. Keep things moving and keeping them wanting to know what is coming up!