Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DIY or DIE?

I think it is safe to say that we have all seen “how easy” it is to do everything for your wedding all by yourself. From your own invitations to the flowers, brides need no one but themselves. Right?
I hate to break it to you ladies, but saving money may not be that easy.
If we take a look at what you’re worth as a starting point, you’ll recognize that all the preparation needed for some DIY (do it yourself) projects may end up costing you more than hiring someone to do it for you.
Invitations are the favorite DIY, but tying all those ribbons into bows, the cost of ink or a printer, the time it takes to center, word, customize a design and get into an actual product could take weeks, on top of your everyday job and commitments. A simple invitation, your Save-the-Date and even Thank You cards may be more practical DIY items. You want your invite to set the tone for your wedding, something without embossing or a professional touch can throw off the entire feel of your big day.
Reflect on your experiences when deliberating on your wedding DIY projects. Plan out your programs, for instance, and purchase a Program Package from your local office supply store, such as Staples. These packages tell you how to set up your “Print Settings” and “Page Setup” to get the perfect look. You can then print out one and bring it back to the store to make copies on your other program sheets. This saves you money on ink and hiring a professional to put together the entire program. Your job will be to fold, tie, staple or otherwise assemble them. **
This is just one example of how to separate each task into actual money-saving steps. Evaluate your strengths and go from there. If you know you’re terrible with computers, don’t plan a DIY project that relies solely on computers. If you’re great with finishing touches, take the finalizing step in each task- such as ribbon tying, bow making or hot gluing. Are you good with a calligraphy pen? Try doing your own place cards and addressing your invitations- get the envelopes shipped before the invitations are completed.
Whatever your wedding plans are, remember to ask for help and consider your time just as valuable as someone you hire. You need sleep and less stress- not to take everything upon yourself. Make small projects or one large one.
** There are event planners who will assemble programs and favors, address thank you, etc. for less than the company you order from (rates vary).

SMALL PROJECT IDEAS:
Tying ribbons/bows around candles and vases
Assembly of favors/invitations/programs
Handwriting your place cards
Printing menus for rehearsal/wedding

LARGE PROJECT IDEAS:
Making your own invitations
Addressing your own invitations (by hand- proper etiquette)
Doing your own flowers
Creating your own centerpieces
Making your own play list- iPod wedding
Making your own programs- start to finish
Doing your own d├ęcor at the ceremony and/or reception site

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ka-muu-ni-cate. Seriously.

Personal sarcasm goes a long way.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, the world will cry at your expense.
My sister and I are both happily married now (Congratulations Jess & Greg! 4-10-10), and we both learned lessons about communication on our respective wedding days.
I’ll start with my own story, so she can get the last laugh.
The morning of our outdoor wedding was wet, and by wet I men monsoon-like. 4 ½ inches of rain flooded my parents’ 2 acre property- the property they had erected an arch upon, perfectly landscaped and replanted with blue hydrangea, which needs the proper soil to turn blue. They day before had been perfect, hot and sunny with clear blue skies, but this day was gray and bleak. Rain drowned the area of Montgomery County with fury and force that morning. And so, nervous and unsure about the location, I impatiently waited for my Verizon Envy’s assuring vibration, but nothing came. We planned to move the ceremony to the beautiful reception site and began packing the car with everything we needed, including all 8 maids.
Finally, the familiar buzz of my phone! My groom-to-be! He said “hello” in such a timid voice, I wasn’t sure if I even heard him. Then he said sorry he was calling, but he wanted me to know it was all going to be OK that the wedding was moved. “I know,” I responded, “but where have you been?” I rambled on about how I didn’t know where he was and why he hadn’t called me earlier.
“I thought we couldn’t talk or see each other until the ceremony.”
Relief from doubts neither one of us had ever felt.
This was, by far, the most ridiculous morning ever. After a glass of champagne, I let myself laugh. What a silly man- he made my superstitions look like fairy tales. I needed to talk to him and he thought if he called he would be causing us some kind of bad luck.
Moral: Keep the lines of communication open- remember… he wants to know what you’re thinking and how to not get into trouble.

As for Jessica...
Jess texted Greg* early in the morning asking him if he needed his extra shoes (she was packing for the wedding night). She never got a response and as a million texts were coming in she deleted and, eventually, forgot she texted him.
At about 2:00, when she was getting her hair done, because she had not heard from Greg yet, she texted him “Happy Wedding Day.” She got the response, “No”. After 45 minutes of tears and phone calls made to everyone from Greg’s mom and sister to the Best Man’s family, the Country Club pulled Greg off the green- he had NO clue what was going on. He sent a text, in summary, saying how happy he is and how he’s never wanted anything but this. After we all shed a joyful tear and laughed at our dramatic-woman-tendencies, we finished our hair and went to the club… the rest, well, that comes under “Happily Ever After”.

*went out golfing EARLY in the AM with Ross David, his best man.



Moral: When you’re golfing, bring your phone, even if you’re not supposed to have it on the course- if it’s your wedding day or your wife is pregnant, the club will understand.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

...and so it goes

This began as a "bridal blog"... a place to vent the sarcasm and fuel the ridiculous, but as I show up for work everyday, I realize: some people will never change, but I can!
This is a blog about Chelley. About work, not-work, marathon training and eventually potty training (for the future me(s), I've got potty-ing down pat).

My latest vent does, in fact, have to do with work and how hair pulling and crying in a corner isn't just for Butler patients anymore!


A family I had seen before came into the venue where I work as a consultant... long story short, they had been there before with a 2 year old child, bouncing a soccer ball, wearing just a diaper and tank top (male). So, as they entered, I cringed inside (never outward- always smile!). After 2 hours, said boy removed his diaper. I told the mother (all of 17 years of age... yes, he is 2) "J***d*n is naked," to which she replied, "what?" I said, "I can see his penis." She laughed and picked him up off the floor, where he was pantless, diaperless and rubbing on the carpet, and put his pants back on (sans diaper). Two more hours pass... and he poops on the floor. I clean it up.
I go to work in a suit and heels so you can show up in pajama pants?
I don't think so. Please America, find some class, regardless of your actual class.
Love always,
Sarcastic as ever,
Degraded to cleaning your kid's poop,
The Anti... lots of things

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Debark the Bride

A favorite bridal story of mine isn’t even mine (for shame!).
I can recall an evening my husband and I were watching television at my in-law’s (we don’t won a TV for a reason- there is trash on it!) when we paused on a bridal show.

The bride’s husband-to-be’s father had a heart condition that landed him in the hospital two nights before the wedding. She yelled at her groom-to-be, asking if she was just supposed to postpone her wedding because he was sick. The groom assured her this was not the case, and, after much ado and fuss over her, the groom’s father checked out of the hospital the morning of the wedding and was able to attend- happy as any man can be when watching his son go off with a psychotic woman.

Although this is not always the case, as I am well aware of the way television makes someone the bad guy and someone the good guy, there was no good way I could see this story to be spun to make the bride look better. She was self-centered and self-righteous about her big day.
How do planners stop this behavior? We never let it start.
I, personally, like to remind the bride that I am here for her every whim, but coffee at 2am is not a whim, and I am never hired as a personal whipping-girl.

Some brides need to be debarked to nip their bite!

My advice to the maids, moms and grooms:
Remind the beautiful, blushing bride that she looks like a furious raccoon with no sleep and sounds like a spitting banshee in the night when she is flustered. Let her know and assure her that you want to help and would love a list of “to-dos” to make her life easier. Don’t give up too much ground, or you’ll end up giving a mile, but remember your own special day or think of how perfect you want everything to go for her- even if it all sounds like a crock to you- keep things on a more than civil basis to avoid the all out bite of bridezilla. Why? Because bridezilla can alienate friends and family so far during the planning process that by 11pm wedding night, all her friends have left the party and never call again. Nobody wants a war- so squelch the battles.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Co-Workers...

The customer my not always be right... but your coworkers can always be wrong!

There are certain respects given to event specialists who have been in the business a bit longer than others- going on a decade of extravaganza planning, I, as well as my fellow planners, expect the newbies to act accordingly.
This being said, there is no reason to step on toes, when you can delicately glide over your coworkers feet without leaving an impression upon them.

Please, follow guidelines laid out by years of corporate expertise in your handbook, and read between the lines. Remember to always observe your fellow workers and how they treat each space in the office. Is certain software only available for use on one or two computers- give up the one someone needs for space planning while you email somewhere else. Is there a fitting room shortage- ask the bridal party if they can share rooms, or if they mind taking turns. Is there a pictorial wedding book that multiple brides need to see- try to pull the images up from the internet or make color copies to look at while you wait for the real deal.

Expressing concern and respect for your coworkers time and energy will help you climb the ladder of success, rather than knocking yourself down a rung or two when you upset someone who has some form of seniority.

With all the bridezillas in the world, we don't want to go creating EventPlannerZilla, too... right?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time...

Just a sarcastic note, as the weekend is busy for this planner!

If YOU are in a rush, this does not mean I am in a rush.
Please, if it is so important that I help you immediately- the very instant you walk in the door- please call ahead of time- make an appointment- or wait until you have a few more moments.
Do not force a lot of paperwork on me in a moments notice and ask me to figure out a seating chart, font or find an order for you in less than 5 minutes.

Thank you... and enjoy your Spring!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Beadazzled... or not.


Jewelry is like a fine sprinkle topping on your cake... after it has been iced. Defining, finishing touches can make or break your pictures- brilliance, or earthy? Bohemian or glamorous?
Have you seen the bride who has earrings the size of her head? Or more necklaces on than you actually own? The bicep-cuff, with a tulle gown? The diamond collar with a tea-length dress?
Such opposing styles are not for your wedding day. You're looking for a whole look- take your favorite style and go for it! If you want to dress up, do that! Add your own quirky details (cute shoes, a feather), but keep the wacky for a Tuesday.
Wedding jewels can cost upwards of $200, but when you're wearing pieces that you can wear again, what's $200? It's the fine line of "everyday" vs "wedding" that you need to blur to find those perfect pieces.
The perfect neckline, though perfect, may need a little pendant. A diamond you can wear again, or a CZ (keep jewelry off the cotton that comes in the box- there is a chemical in it that causes tarnishing). Too much on the neck takes away from you AND your gown. I'm sure you've heard "too much is just too much"... in this case, too much. -->
When you have a beautiful neckline, think of a nice cuff, or a headpiece that speaks for your personality and your wedding day (a tiara at the beach, too much- a crystal headband, perfect).
In the case of wedding jewelry, all jokes aside, please remember you will have to look at your pictures for the rest of your life- if you look like you've framed your face in cheap crap, than you will look like cheap crap.

Some places to check out on both ends of the spectrum:
http://silpada.com/public/
http://www.ice.com/

Best wishes on beadazzlement. Remember- you're not a holiday decoration.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Your consultant and the truth.

Have you ever cheated? Have you ever lied?
If the answer is 'yes', which we all have at one point or another, ask yourself if it was for personal gain, or to make yourself feel better. Did you feel guilty? In the end, would it have been better for you to say the truth, or admit your shortcomings?
Your event consultant comes with a fee, both monetary and emotional. We invest our hours trying to make your day everything you have ever imagined, and our emotions, becoming involved in every decision we can, from your dress to your votive candles.
If something is not to your liking, or too expensive, or you're just not happy, LET US KNOW! The more time and emotion you waste being upset, thus upsetting your friends and family, the more time is wasted not being able to help you!
Don't lie or make up a story about being sick, your dog dying or your grandmother being unhappy with a service, just let us know you need a different offering to fit your ideal wedding day vision.

Sample story:
A bride, Mary*, came into a floral shop where Lisa*, a fellow planner of mine worked as a wedding day consultant. Lisa did not personally work for the brides, she created the center pieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, and other arrangements and was in charge of delivery and pick-up of rented items. Mary was having a small wedding, and when she received her estimated expense from her consultant, Kelly*, it was too high a price to pay. Kelly was never advised to Mary's dismay, because Mary never told her, or anyone. She came in and told the manager on duty that her mother was upset with the service she received from the shop, and would not be using them for her wedding. This became an issue for Kelly, but that is not the concern here. The end of this tale comes when Mary made her way back in, with her mother, when another manager was on, and Kelly was off. Lisa, having to always be at work to put every arrangement together, was aware of who Mary was, and wondered why she was back.
Mary sat down with a new consultant and worked out a whole new plan for her wedding day "florals", with smaller center pieces and no bouquets for the moms, which significantly lessened her bill. She walked out, very pleased with her service.
When Lisa realized what happened, she alerted Kelly to the situation. They were upset with the blatant lie they were told about the service; Kelly because she had a firm talking-to and the manager because the (non)issue occurred on her shift.
The new consultant was awarded the commission, as she had done the new work, and Kelly was left with disappointment and mass confusion.
Since this time, Mary has been married- it was a beautiful occasion this past June that Lisa prepared and set-up.
She still stays clear away from Kelly when she comes in to buy flower arrangements for her home.

Do you get it? She could have saved herself hassle and time, running around and avoiding people, if she had just told Kelly the price was too high! And Kelly, too. Who got in trouble at work, missed out on commission and never got the chance to help Mary realize her dream.

At the end of the day, it really boils down to knowing that you will feel guilt for lying, and you may be cheating yourself out of a really great experience with a super consultant. If you can't make your appointment because you overslept, tell your consultant. It's not shameful- we wish we were still sleeping, too! Please, do not tell us you have a flat tire. Or if we call, and you're not interested in our service, don't hang up or never return voicemails, just say, "I'm all set now, thank you so much."

We would, well, be thankful we can stop bothering you!

SPEAK UP! WE'LL LISTEN!

*all names have been changed

Monday, February 1, 2010

To be, or not to be... a bridesmaid

Being a bridesmaid is more than showing up and looking decent. More and more, I'm finding ladies seem to be confused about what their actual part entails, when signing up for such a prestigious role.
First, please remember you are being asked to be a member in the biggest day of someone's life- a friend, relative, or even stranger (sometimes a place just needs to be filled). Whether you're "besties" or "frienemies", know your rights (Clash). The most important being, you can decline. A simple handwritten note does the trick, and is classy. A Bride will thank you for your honesty up-front, instead of being involved in the planning when you decide to back out. If asked verbally, "I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time to commit to such a big event! I want your day to be everything you've ever imagined, and I don't feel like I can give you that. I would be honored to attend, and help, if I can, but to be in the bridal party is just too much for me," is another way to decline without drama. If drama ensues with either of these acts, cut and run... the Bride is going "zilla" on you.
If money is an issue for you as a whole, decline immediately. There are wedding expenses above and beyond what you can plan for. If you lose your job, speak with the Bride immediately and ask her what she would like you to do, "Jamie, I've just lost my job, and I would still be honored to be a part of your big day, but I'm not sure if I can pay for all the little things. Would it be easier for you if I step down, or can I work with you on the dress expenses, such as purchase and alterations?" This gives the Bride the option. If she asks you to remain in the party, be sure to speak with the other maids about things they will be helping with, as well, such as the shower, group gifts, bachelorette party, etc. Maybe you can do more leg work, like researching locations, offering to have the shower at your house, or doing a majority of the clean up, cooking, DYI favors or putting the programs together- with more time on your hands, offer it up!
Maybe time is a concern for you? There will be group dress shopping, mass emailing, lunches, dinners, rehearsals, the actual day, a day of recovery, possibly travel. Can you handle all the time commitments of a bridesmaid?
Always think of the Bride in matters of ease. If you're going to be a drag, you're going to sink the ship. The bridal party should try to be a cohesive unit, even if you don't know one another. If there is something you can't do, own up to it BEFORE it becomes an issue.

Some monetary things to consider:
Dress $100-400
Alterations $0-150
Shoes $25-75
Dye (shoes) $5-15
Engagement gift (individual) $50
Shower gift (group, per person) $50-100
Wedding gift (individual) $100-150
Hair $50
Mani-Pedi $30-50
Makeup $50
Shower (venue, invites, favors, cake) $100-300 (depending on location and number of maids)
Bachelorette party $50-100 (per bridesmaid)
Out-of-state (travel, hotel) $200-700 (could be more with air travel)

Some time things to consider:
Engagement party
Group meetings, 3-4 afternoons or evenings
Dress shopping w/ Bride, 1-4 afternoons
Bridesmaid dress shopping, 1-2 afternoons
Bachelorette party
Rehearsal dinner
Wedding day*
*Associated travel time

Groomsmen have it easier, but if your man is saying "yes", let him know he has some responsibilities, too... paying for strippers is extra.
To think about:
Tux Rental $150-200
Wedding gift $150
Bachelor party (depending on festivities) $50-400
Jack-and-Jill shower gift/Engagement gift** $50-75
Groom's gift (some guys like to give a gag to their lost bachelor comrade) $25
Grooming (haircut, professional shave, man-icure) $25-50
Travel time for wedding +
* Engagement party
* Bachelor party
* Rehearsal
* Wedding day
**If called for

These are just rough estimates... in the end, just remember you're being asked a serious question, not to just stand up with that person, but to support them in all their wedding-craze, to throw them parties, buy them gifts and pamper yourself... all at your time and financial expense. It's an honor with a price-tag.

Good luck to all those maids out there- it's a rough terrain you're entering! ***
***Keep your gripes to yourself... remember, I warned you!