Archive for the ‘Quick Tip’ Category

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!

Quick Tip: Gift Cards for Rehearsal Dinner Restaurants

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

If you are having your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower or day after brunch at a restaurant, you might want to check the website and see if they are offering any bonuses with a gift card purchase this holiday season.

A little local research turned up the following offers:

Cameron Mitchell: $25 for every $100 spent on gift cards good at Cameron’s, M, Molly Woo’s, Martini, Marcella’s and Ocean Club among others.

Hubbard Grille: $25 bonus for every $100 spent on gift cards.

Due Amici: $25 bonus for every $100 spent on gift cards.

Bravo: $20 bonus for every $100 spent on gift cards.

Champp’s: $10 bonus for every $50 spent on gift cards.

*One thing to note here: before you drop a bunch of money on the gift cards, call the restaurant and ask the manager if you can use the gift cards on your event – most have restrictions and some have expiration dates!  When in doubt, please call and ask!

This list is by no means all the offers I found, just a small sampling of places where past couples have held various events – there are bunches more out there but again, please double check that the cards (gift and/or bonus) would be valid on your event!

Of course, even if the bonus cards aren’t good on the event itself, they might be good for some relaxing dinners out with your future spouse before or after the big day – date nights are a good thing!

Quick Tip: Sunset Calendars

Monday, October 15th, 2012

As we get into the darker months of the year and next year’s couples are in full planning mode, I thought I would share a quick tip about lighting and sunset!

As you begin to work on your timeline, make sure to check when the time of the sunset on the day of your wedding so you have enough light for outdoor pictures if you want them.  There are a lot of websites out there that will give you the exact time of sunset for any given day – Sunrise Sunset and Time and Date are two of my favorites.  If you want outdoor pictures, make sure you allocate enough time well before sunset or consider doing a first glance – your photographer and planner will be able to help with making that choice as well.

One thing to note – if there are different types of twilight listed, you should be looking at civil twilight.  Civil twilight is the time when we would generally turn on headlights – nautical and astronomical twilights are when the sun is already below the horizon and it is way too dark for pictures!


Quick Tip: Seating Chart Order

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Seating charts are a lovely option in lieu of escort cards and/or in addition to place cards but please, please, please make don’t make it a scavenger hunt!  If you have a seating chart, make sure you list your guest’s names alphabetically by last name.

Your guests don’t know what table they are at – if they did, you wouldn’t need the seating chart, right?!

Definition refresher:
*escort cards are cards that assign guests to their table they are seated at and are generally displayed on a table during cocktail hour.
*placecards are cards that assign guests to a particular seat at their table.

(Special thanks to Corey Ann Photography for this beautiful picture from Katie and Grey’s wedding)

Quick Tip: Flickr

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Once upon a time, brides and grooms would buy disposable cameras for each table at their wedding with a list of suggested shots to capture or just let guests have some fun with them.  After the wedding, the couple would spend a pretty large chunk of change developing the film to get lots of lots of badly exposed, low res, badly lit pictures.  Some would turn out great but some…well, how many pictures do you need of your friend’s boyfriend that she broke up with 2 weeks after the wedding anyway?

Nowadays, we don’t see disposable cameras much because pretty much every guest at a wedding has a camera on their phone.  Those cameras produce MUCH better pictures than those throw away cameras but it can be a chore to get those pictures from guests after the wedding.

Flickr makes it easy to give your guests the chance to upload pictures to your Flickr on the fly!  Simply set up a Flickr account and go to this page to get your upload by email link:  Print out signs to place around the reception with that email address on them so guests can upload pictures during the reception or distribute small cards to send home with guests to they can upload pictures after the fact.

Extra pictures at no cost to you and your wedding budget?  Perfect!

Quick Tip: Eye Glasses

Monday, November 28th, 2011

This might be a strange one but something a lot of people don’t think of – what will your glasses look like in outdoor pictures?

A good photographer will have no problem with regular glasses in pictures – they can mitigate (or photoshop) any glare or sun spots.  You might face an issue if you have Transitions lens (the kind that darken into sunglasses when they are outside).  If you have lens that become sunglasses automatically, you might want to talk with your Optician about getting some non-changing lens for the wedding day.  You could also see about finding a way to pop out the lens during pictures.

This came to mind as I was going through formals from a wedding while working on my 26 things list – the mother of the groom had Transitions lens and she stands out as she is the only one wearing “sunglasses” in the outdoor formal family pictures.  If you know a parent or bridal party member has these glasses, I would suggest talking to them about wearing non-changing lens or simply not wearing their glasses at least some of the formal portraits.

It might sound crazy but lens that change automatically will hide your eyes and given that so much emotion in a picture comes from the eyes, they need to be seen and not hidden!

Quick Tip: Sparklers

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

If you are planning a sparkler send off for your wedding, this week is a great time to pick up those sparklers on deep discount! Now, if you are thinking that you need the special wedding sparklers, bear in mind that the average sparkler burns for 30-45 seconds – plenty of time for you to make your way through the shower of sparks to the car.

Good luck bargain hunting!

Quick Tip: RSVP %

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Standard rule of thumb for the industry says that about 75-80% of your guests will RSVP yes to your wedding.  I used to use the same rule of thumb but now insist that if a guest is invited, there will be room for them – i.e. no inviting 200 people to a wedding venue that can only hold 160.

Why do I insist on this for my couples?  Because of Lindsay and Nick’s wedding.

Lindsay and Nick were married on private property under a gorgeous tent overlooking Bass Lake in Cleveland in July of 2006.  The invited guest list numbered 184.  We reserved a tent that would hold 160 plus a dance floor – a generous cushion or so I thought.  Lindsay began to get a little worried about 5 weeks before the wedding when literally every one of their RSVPs were yes.  I assured her that most of the time the yes responses come first with the no responses coming in later and not to worry – the nos would be coming!

I was wrong.  I was so very wrong.

When all was said and done and all the RSVPs were in they had 179 guests attending.  They had a 97.3% positive RSVP rate.  5 people said no.  FIVE.  Our planned for tent wasn’t large enough, we had to order more tables and chairs and a bigger tent!  We also just had to hope it didn’t rain because the property barely had enough room for the bigger tent unless we wanted to seat guests on an embankment and there was no nice wide aisle if we had to seat people at their tables for the ceremony!

On wedding day, it rained (and a mini tornado came through the day before during set up – that’s a story I only tell over drinks!) so the ceremony had to be held inside that tent with guests seated at their tables – it was cramped and the aisle wound through the guest tables and it was humid and muddy but everyone had a GREAT time which in the end is all that matters!  I was thankful that we were at a location that allowed us to up-size everything at the very last minute.

Go ahead and plan on 75-80% of your invited guests attending but remember Lindsay and Nick and budget and space plan for 100% to be on the safe side – you just never know what could happen!

Quick Tip: Receiving Line

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

The vast majority of my clients don’t do a receiving line but occasionally a bride and groom either want to have a traditional receiving line at the church or their parents insist on it.

Truth be told, I try to talk people out of receiving lines or releasing rows for the simple reason that they are a huge time monopolizer and tend to be impersonal. Most of my brides and grooms realize they will have more meaningful interactions with their guests if they circulate at the cocktail hour or go from table to table after dinner to greet their guests. The conversations are not as rushed, your guests don’t feel like cattle and you can say more than “thanks for coming” which is all that a receiving line allows because there are 180 or more other guests staring you down, standing in uncomfy heels and too tight suit coats to shake your hand!

Obviously, my advice is to skip the receiving line but if you really want one or a parent is insisting, make sure you allocate enough time for it in the timeline! My rule of thumb is assume it will take on average 10 seconds per person for each guest to move through the line. 250 guests? That receiving line is going to take just under 45 minutes. See why I recommend greeting guests at other times?

Quick Tip: Plus/Plus

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

While looking at venue and catering menus, you will quite often see a dollar figure with two plus signs after it – i.e. $50.00++ – but do you know what that means to you and your budget?  If not, read on:

Plus/plus refers to the service charge (usually between 18 and 25%) and tax rate that many caterers and reception sites add onto their per person rate.  That means that if you are looking at 3 different meals or packages on the menu listed for $40++, $50++ and $60++ at a location in Franklin County with a 20% service charge, your final cost for each would actually be $51.24, $64.05 and $76.86 per person.

If you are like me and don’t do well with doing math in your head on the spur of the moment, a little homework before you start looking at venues and caterers will save some confusion and possibly heartbreak in the long run! A good place to start is take about 45% of your budget and divide by the total number of people you are inviting – NOT the number you think will attend.  (Yes, everyone you plan to invite – better to be safe than sorry and not be faced with a huge overage in your budget at the last minute because lots of people want to celebrate with you!) That number would be the plus/plus number. Divide that by the service charge and then by the tax rate to get your base per person.

As an example:
Total Budget: $40,000
Number of Guests: 200
Reception Budget: $18,000 (45% of the total budget)
Plus/Plus Number Per Person: $90
Base Per Person: $70.26 (This assumes a 20% service charge and 6.75% Franklin County Tax Rate)
In this example, you would want to concentrate on menus that are less than $70 per person to stay within budget.

There are some companies that do not charge an extra service fee but charge for staffing – this should all be clearly stated in your quote.  If it isn’t, make sure you ask!