Archive for February, 2013

Don’t Lie to Your Vendors

Monday, February 25th, 2013

{This is a long one but I will throw in a few pretty pictures so you get a reading break along the way!}

An article was posted today on Huffington Post Weddings with tips on how to save money as a bride or groom.  One of the ‘tips’ doesn’t sit well with me (and based on the discussion on Facebook, it doesn’t sit well with a lot of people):

Don’t use the ‘W’ word

Resist the urge to refer to your wedding as your wedding when you’re talking to vendors. Fees go up 20-30 percent as soon as they hear that word because they know people will pay big money for their big day, Finney warns. “When you go to the florist or the reception hall, just say it’s a party. You’re having a party instead of a wedding reception,” she coaches. “If you can, have the flowers delivered to your house because it makes a huge difference in terms of cost. That’s the number one rule: don’t mention ‘wedding.'”

Really people?  Seriously?  That’s your money saving tip?  Lie to vendors?  I have a couple of issues with that little piece of advice even beyond the whole dishonesty angle!

First, regardless of what people tell you, I PINKY SWEAR that the vast majority of wedding vendors are not out to screw over brides and grooms because they are getting married.  Most of us are in this business because we love it, we love working with couples and truly want to help them have the best day possible.  There are some bad apples in weddings, sure – but there are some in any industry so it is annoying that wedding vendors get painted with a broad brush so often.

Second, weddings are more work for your vendors than an every day party and they cost more.  There, I said it.  This should not come as a surprise – they’re also more work and more money for you too because weddings and birthday parties are completely different animals!  Did you rent a location, have a formal ceremony, rent tuxes and make your best friends wear matching gowns, hire a DJ, photographer, baker, caterer, limo, florist, hair stylist, harpist, videographer, have an entire paper suite designed for your last birthday party?  If so, I really want to be your friend because that sounds like a heck of a birthday party!  Will you throw me one too please?

Reading break #1 – ooooh, romantic!


Still with me?  Okay, let’s get to the root of why weddings might be more work and therefore cost more.  If you work more, you’d expect to be paid more, right?  Why are wedding vendors any different?  I posed the question on my Facebook as to why weddings are more work for vendors – here are just 2 of my favorite answers, both from photographers:

Corey: I shot a wedding this weekend that was a 1 how vow renewal thing. In 1 hour portrait sessions I generally take around 200-300 images and I control the lighting, most of the posing and location. The wedding was around 600 images and I just have to roll with it. LOTS more stress, more wear and tear on gear.  Also, I can reshoot a portrait session if something goes wrong with gear, light, people etc. I can’t restage a wedding.

Stacy: For photography, weddings mean way more photos and editing. For example, in a two hour portrait session, I usually only deliver about 50-100 photos. A large amount of the time during a portrait session is spent looking for the best light, perfecting the pose, and walking from location to location, which is why there are fewer photos. Also, since I have more control over lighting, location, and content during a portrait session, that means less editing work afterwards. With a wedding, I can easily deliver 300-400 photos in that same timeframe because there’s so much more going on, and because I usually have little control over the subjects during a wedding, that can mean more editing. On average I spend about two hours editing a portrait session, and about 20 hours editing a wedding. Often weddings also mean album designs or rehearsals or venue walkthroughs are involved, which mean extra work. Also, weddings often happen indoors, which means I need to pay assistants to come and help me with lighting. I also bring a LOT more equipment to a wedding, because I have to be ready for anything, and I want to make sure I have backup after backup after backup.

Reading Break #2 – oooooh, handsome men!

IMG_0314Photo: Chelsie Burkhart

Back with me?  Onto florists – florists are often pegged with adding a mark up fee for weddings.  Think about it though – when was the last time you carried the bouquet of flowers you got from the grocery store around for an entire day?  Or wore a bloom or two on your shirt for 10 hours and hugged everyone you saw?  Wedding florals also involve a lot more design and structural work than a simple pick up bouquet.  In addition, florists often have MULTIPLE meetings with brides to get it just right.  Delivery, set up and pick up of all the flowers takes time and people – larger arrangements must often be built on site which also means extra time and people.  If you want to pick up your own loose flowers and throw them in a vase and put them on a table, that is a valid choice but that isn’t what florists do and so they do (and should) charge accordingly.

Let’s talk music.  Preparing for a wedding is quite a bit more work than for a party or other event – meeting with the couple to make sure the DJ has a vision of what they want, that s/he has the exact version of their special songs, that s/he can pronounce the 18 bridal party member’s names.  They also serve as MC for the evening and help to keep things flowing.  Those preparations generally aren’t needed for a party or high school dance.  Bands do all that plus they usually learn new songs for the couple so they have practice time to take into account as well.

Your wedding cake will be the most elaborate, most photographed cake you will ever have at any event.  Getting a sheet cake with little to no decorations from the grocery store is a valid option but again, that isn’t what wedding cake designers do.  Wedding cakes are decorated in a much different way than a sheet cake – all those swirls and dots and decorations that you found and love on Pinterest?  Those take a lot of time and skill and will absolutely cost more than slapping frosting on a flat slab of cake.  In addition, the internal structure of a 3 or 4 or more tier cake is different than a flat sheet cake with Dora on it from Kroger.  Wedding cakes are as much construction as creation!  Then that 3 or 4 or more tier cake has to be delivered to your location and set up all while NOT bumping or smearing or disturbing the frosting or flowers or sugar birds that you ordered.  I used to decorate cakes in college – really, I worked at the bakery attached to the MSU hospitality department – and to this day, I don’t touch a wedding cake unless I absolutely, positively have to.  I know what goes into those gorgeous, yummy creations and I don’t want to be responsible for ruining HOURS of work with a clumsy hand!

As far as planners, I absolutely do charge differently for weddings than I do for other events.  I also don’t spend hours and hours and hours before the event creating a timeline, working through to do lists, answering phone calls about crazy Aunt Shirley and the white dress she wants to wear, walking through the venue 4 times, contacting other vendors, and meeting multiple times about the smallest of details when I plan a corporate event or a birthday party.  All that time before the event doesn’t even take into consideration the wedding day details – the team I need for 2 locations, managing the needs of everyone involved on a highly emotional day, and all the other things I do on wedding day.  Again, parties and weddings are completely different animals and my fees reflect that – so does the intensity of my involvement.

Reading Break #3 – Ooooh, pretty Maid of Honor toast!

Final-0945Photo by Benjamin James Photography

I will close with these final thoughts, what you spend on your wedding is ENTIRELY up to you.  There is no right or wrong on this – just what you are able and willing to spend (and sometimes those aren’t the same thing either!).  There are vendors for each and every single budget out there.  Don’t assume because someone charges more than YOU are able or willing to spend for their services, they are gouging.  They are charging what they think their work is worth and there are a lot of factors to that number.

If you do decide to follow this fashion blogger’s advice (yes, she’s a fashion blogger and her ‘expert’ is as well, these aren’t wedding professionals so you might consider the source on this and any other time you decide to take advice) and you do lie to your vendors about having a party not a wedding – expect them to be upset when they find out.  They won’t be upset because they missed out on extra money, they’ll be upset because you lied to them and because you won’t be getting the level of service that a wedding often demands and absolutely deserves because you weren’t up front with them.  Would you like it if someone lied to you and hindered your ability to do the best job possible?  Then why do that to the people you are trusting on your wedding day?

How to Smile Naturally for Photos

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Remember the Friends episode where Chandler and Monica take engagement pictures but Chandler winds up looking like this?


You’d be surprised how many people tell me they can’t smile naturally for pictures.  Usually it is the groom – my theory is this is because women tend to take so many more pictures of their friends.  I mean when was the last time you saw a group of guys taking pictures of themselves before they go to dinner?  Probably been a while.  Women just have more practice!

I found this video and while it is goofy, it has some solid advice for how to get a more natural smile in your pictures.  Share this with anyone in your life who is nervous about the pictures on wedding day, it might just help them be a little more comfortable in front of the camera!

Friday Favorites: 02.22.13

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Happy Friday to you all!  Busy week getting ready for a corporate event tonight, working on Cakes for a Cause and our upcoming weddings!  Yay for 2013!

Favorite Gown: If your shoulders are one of your favorite body part, you could draw a ton of attention to them in this one strap silk chiffon gown from J. Crew!  I love the skirt on this one too  – so pretty and drapy and flowy.  The price tag of $675 isn’t bad either!  (on a side note, does the model look like she has a bruise on her forehead?  Weird, J Crew.)


Favorite Bouquet:  How amazing is that HUGE blown open rose?  This bouquet of Honeysuckle, 3 different roses, Snowball Viburnum, and Tulip is so soft and pretty – I do love me some big blooms and lots of texture!


Favorite Boutonniere: I love this darling hyacinth wreath with (what I think is) a dusty miller leaf at the top.  So, so different – it might be a tough sell to the groom but I think it is gorgeous!



Favorite Cake: Who says every layer on your cake has to be the same height?  Not me!  I love the depth that different sized layers gives to a cake.  The cake itself becomes part of what makes the cake beautiful – not just the icing.  This one was from Kate Moss’ wedding – gorgeous right?


Favorite Decor: I think Chivari chairs are beautiful but there is nothing wrong with a little extra touch – especially for the bride and groom’s chairs.  This chair tie was done with 2 sashes – notice there is a difference in the front and back of the fabric of the sashes, if that bothers you pick a matte finish rather than a satin like here.


Favorite Extra: Confession: I am obsessed with sprinkles.  Call them funfetti, sprinkles, jimmies – whatever, I love them.  I just want to put them on ALL.THE.THINGS – including these scones!  These might be getting some time in my kitchen this weekend!


Have a fantastic day and an even better weekend!  Go have some sprinkles on something really bad for you.  Or on something good for you – the sprinkles will help make it feel like its bad for you.  I’ll be at the Creekside Event Center open house this Saturday – if you are attending, swing by and say hi!

Something Romantic for Thursday

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

It’s cold here.  Like don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed cold.  Like-the-wind-goes-through-every-layer-straight-to-the-bone cold.  Like I-went-to-Hot-Yoga-this-morning-JUST-TO-WARM-UP cold!  It’s also gray and a bit gloomy – it is February in Ohio after all and we’re used to it but I think everyone could use a little pick me up.

Do yourself a favor and click here (if you are a crier and have time to watch all the videos, grab some tissues first):

The 50 Most Romantic Things That Ever Happened

I can’t even pick a picture or GIF or video to bring over because I loved them all so much but number 38 wrecked me – may we all find a love like that.

Happy Thursday and stay warm!

Shopping Trip: World Market

Friday, February 15th, 2013

{Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebrating with someone or something (fur babies count too) you love!  If you are a newly engaged bride or groom, welcome and congratulations!  And feel free to drop us a line to get started planning!}

I stopped into World Market today to pick up some mints that I’ve only been able to find locally there – Wilhelmina Peppermints if you are curious – they’re Dutch and I did grow up in Holland, MI.  They sold them in the gift shop at my first job – Windmill Island.  I gave tours of a windmill.  Wearing wooden shoes and a Dutch costume.  And I danced in said wooden shoes and Dutch costume. There are pictures.

But I digress, while wandering around, I noticed a few pieces that would be pretty fantastic for a wedding and wanted to share!  I saw these at the World Market in Dublin, Ohio so check your own store or online to see if they’re available in your local store.

I get a lot of requests for lanterns so when I saw these, I was really excited!


These would be lovely as aisle decor, to mark a path to a tent, or hang from a tree.  They’d even be pretty incorporated into centerpieces.  They had 3 sizes and at my store were $9.99 for the largest, $7.99 for the middle size, and just $2.99 for the smallest lantern.  They already have the black hanger on them so they’d be easy to hang on shepherd’s hooks and they had clear, red, orange, green, aqua/blue, and purple at my store!  Fun, right?


 These made my eyes light up – they are candle holders but the larger one would be a great base for a floral arrangement too!  They are recycled glass so they have a green hue to them.  From largest to smallest, they run $24.99, $19.99, $14.99, and $6.99.  I don’t have sizes on the smallest or the largest but the middle two were 16″ and 12″ – I would guess the tallest was around 24″ tall.


If you are at a venue that doesn’t allow real flame – Columbus Museum of Art and the Ohio Statehouse come to mind – but still want candlelight, LED flameless candles are a great option!  I didn’t know World Market carried them but they actually have lots of sizes!


They had 4 sizes in store and a quick peek online shows they carry 5 in all – I didn’t see the votives (4 for $7.99) but in store there were a set of 4 tealights for $4.99, 3″x3″ pillar for $7.99, 3″x6″ pillar for $9.99, 3″x”9 pillar for $14.99.  Pricey but if you have your heart set on candles in a candle-free venue, they’re an option!

Anyone else been to World Market lately and spotted something fun?  Happy shopping!

Friday Favorites: 02.15.13

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Happy Friday to you!  Hope you had a fantastic week and have something fun planned for this weekend – maybe a late Valentine’s Day celebration?  I am apparently feeling colorful this week so without further ado, this week’s favorites:

Favorite Dress: This Tara Keeley ivory Alencon lace has a sweet chapel length train and a beautiful beaded ribbon belt. Perfectly elegant but yet it is still so danceable!


Favorite Bouquet: Dahlias, mini callas, roses.  I love the color mix – something wonderfully bright for this gloomy February Friday!


Favorite Boutonniere: Celosia, fiddlehead fern, billy ball, ranunculus, a cute little flag, and a bright pink ribbon wrap – so very fun!


Favorite Cake: I am a little in love with all things ombre…maybe a lot in love. I love this fun tangerine ombre cake. I could see this in pretty much any color – the clean lines keep it from feeling too busy or too informal.


Favorite Decor: Love these crepe paper chandeliers!  These would be so much fun in a tent for a mid-summer wedding.  You could also do these with ribbon although they would be much heavier and a lot more expensive to create.


Favorite Extra: Word.


Happy Friday and Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you celebrating a little late!

Friday Favorites: 02.08.13

Friday, February 8th, 2013

{One of my favorite non-wedding blogs has a series called Friday Favorites that I always enjoy reading.  I have found so many fun things through her blog and I love the idea so I am snagging it and mixing it up a little to be (mostly) wedding related.  Hope you’ll join me every Friday for my favorite gowns (bridal and bridesmaids), favorite bouquet, favorite boutonniere (can’t forget the guys!), favorite cake, favorite decor (could be anything pretty), and favorite extra (something wonderful!}

Favorite Gown: I love this gorgeous silk dupioni number from Lea-Ann Belter.  Her name is Emily which I thought it was fitting for my first Friday Favorite post!  I love the front but that back…oh, the back!  *sigh*

Lea-Ann Emily

Favorite Bouquet: I saw this stunner on Style Me Pretty over the summer and haven’t forgotten it!  I love the mixed textures and the rich colors and the non-traditional floral elements.  This would be just so lovely for a late fall, outdoor wedding in the woods!

SMP Bouquet1

Favorite Boutonniere: I am a little biased as this is from one of my weddings but I just loved the big succulent that Eva from EcoFlora used for Jason’s boutonniere – they were used throughout the wedding as well.  So pretty and we’re seeing them more and more – I love the organic feel they lend to the florals.


Favorite Cake: Can you believe those flowers are all sugar?  Pure art!


Favorite Decor:  Hydrangea blooms broken down into smaller pieces and put in tall vases with water.  Lovely (and not overly expensive) way to add color to an aisle!

Hydrangea Aisle Markers

Favorite Extra: In case you need a smile to start your weekend – how cute is this little guy?  We’ve all made that face when the stethoscope is cold!


Have a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!  We’re off this weekend – season starts in a couple of weeks so we’re enjoying the down time with a little sledding!  Winter Storm Nemo seems to have skipped most of Ohio but to all my friends in the NE, stay safe and warm!