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!


*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!