Wedding Wise Wednesday: A Slice of Heaven

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles, and around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

…and bragging rights. First of all, Congratulations to Rachael and Mike, my couple that got married last Saturday at Smog Shoppe. Before that, they shot their first look pictures at Delicious Pizza in Culver City. And then went inside and had a pie. Well, I always tell my couples that they need to eat that day. It’s good when they listen. You can find more pictures from their wedding under the hashtag #jonesgothisheartpierced on instagram.

The Events

Thursday, February 23

6:00 – 9:00pm
Noor’s Annual Bridal Show For the Modern Bride
Noor
300 E Colorado Boulevard #200
Pasadena, California 91101

Admission: Free
Cocktails, hors d’ouerves, and top wedding pros. I love Noor,  I was just there last week, and it’s a wonderful venue. I might stop by myself.

Saturday, February 25
11:00am-3:00pm
Legacy Ballroom Tustin Hills – Open House
11782 Simon Ranch Road North
Tustin Hills, California 92705
Admission: Free

Sunday, February 26
1:00 – 4:00p
Friendly Hills Country Club – Wedding & Event Soiree
8500 Villaverde Drive
Whittier, California 90605
Admission: Free

The Deals

Oriental Trading Company – They’re extending their President’s  Day Deal through Thursday – Free shipping on any wedding decorations order. GO.

What else do you need to create your unique vision of your wedding day? Let’s talk about it: Contact me for a consultation and a quote,or email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Mr. and Mrs. Zane and Elizabeth Coopersmith

p.s. Today – 2/22/17 –  is Zane and my 14th (!) wedding anniversary. It doesn’t feel like yesterday, but it certainly doesn’t feel like 14 years. FYI, Hanging out with the love of your life for the rest of your life is a good hang. Happy Anniversary, baby.

Wedding Wise Wednesday: Love is A Trapeze Act

Every Wednesday I bring you the best wedding stories, event and deals I in Los Angeles and around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

Offbeat Bride – Gabrielle and Laura’s pre-wedding photoshoot at Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle. Honestly, I just groove off the ideas that couples come up with. Not to sound like a Victorian 10-year old girl, but it is delightful. Go to Offbeat Bride for more pics. You’re welcome!

The Deals

Lovella Bridal – Sample dress sale this Sunday, February 19. Gowns up to 70% off, sale prices as low as $499. No appointment necessary, but this one gets crowded every year. GO!

The Events

Sunday, February 19

10am – 4pm
Bride World Expo
Sheraton Park Hotel
1855 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92802
Tickets are $6 online and $12 at the door

11:00am-3:00pm

Premier Bridal Shows
Long Beach Convention Center
300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, California 90802
Tickets are $5 online and $12 at the door

What else do you need for your wedding right now? Contact me for a consultation and to get a quote for any of our planning services, or email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Are you following me on Instagram @lizcharm? You should be.

Ask Liz: Rentals and How To Swing Them

Dear Liz:

 
We’re getting married in October, and we have to bring everything into our venue – chairs, tables, spoons, everything. I’ve started talking to rental companies, and I’m shocked at some of the numbers they’re giving me. Not with the cost – I’m fine paying 50 cents for glasses. But am I REALLY going to need 300 glasses for 100 guests. It feels like they’re trying to rip me off. 
 
Signed, 
 
Glass Half -Angry
 
Dear Half-Angry,

I know, it sounds like a scam, doesn’t it, 300 glasses for 100 people. But, if you’re having an open bar, then that’s about right. First of all, guests will not – nor will they expect to – re-use their glass. The cocktail hour usually comes out to about 2 drinks/glasses per guest. Some of your guests will drink less, but some of them will make up for that (and you know how they are). And then the rest of your glass order is for the rest of the night…which is why you might want to bump that up to 400.

I know.

And you can’t get the exact number of plates per person either, especially if you’re having a buffet. And you need extra knives and forks. And napkins. You won’t use everything, but you need to have it, just in case. There’s no way to tell how much people are going to eat, or drink, or spill, or break.

If you think you’re going to have the time or resources to wash dishes in the back, you’re wrong. It’s easier to just get another $4.00 worth of glasses. But, the excess and uncertainty drives me a little nuts, too.

If you want a “definitive” answer for how much of this stuff you really should have on hand, talk to your caterer. You can be conservative with your numbers, but really, those are the people who are literally dishing it out, so find out what numbers they’re comfortable with.
REMEMBER REMEMBER REMEMBER to circle back to your rental company once you have an final rsvp count. 10 more guests is one more table, 10 more plates, ten more forks, etc.  Or that much less, you know what I mean? More than you need is annoying, but the worse thing ever is not having enough on your wedding day. Ever.

See you at the end of the aisle,

lizloveswinsLiz Coopersmith
Let’s talk about your wedding: Contact me for a consultation and quote or email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com.

Wedding Wise Wednesday: Good Powder

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, deals and events in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

LOVE the stuff you guys come up with!

LOVE the stuff you guys come up with! Photo: Clane Gessel, Aspen, CO

And I quote, from Photographer Clane Gessel’s instagram page, “When your couple comes to you and says “something different” and I say, “I got you.”  Yup. Whatever you do, do you.

The Events

Thursday, February 9
6:00-9:00pm
Toasted 

Ruby Street,6408 Ruby Street
Los Angeles, California 90042 .
Hip and modern vendors, cocktails & appetizers, $15

7:00pm-9:00pm
Big Fake Wedding Los Angeles
Seventh Place, 802 Mateo Street
Los Angeles , California 90021
Ditto the cool and food factor, $25.

Saturday, February 11

12:00pm-4:00pm
Annual Camarillo Ranch Bridal Showcase
Camarillo Ranch
201 Camarillo Ranch Road
Camarillo, California 93012
Free Admission

Sunday, February 12

Bridal Showplace – LA Resort Bridal Show
Pacific Palms Resort
One Industry Hills Parkway
City of Industry, California 91744
Admission is $10 at the door

The Deals

Adorn-earrings-middleton

The Middleton Earrings. Are you dead, yet?

Adorn – Diamond Jewelry rentals (!) are 15%  with promo code:Love2017

Tipsy Toasts – Customized wine bottle covers are 15%off with the code LOVELOVE at checkout

 

 

What else do you need to create a wonderful wedding? Take a look at my services and then email liz@silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

fondlyforever-book-instaAre you following me on Instagram @lizcharm? You should.

 

Eat Chocolate for Wedding Stress. Seriously.

Go for it.

Go for it.

 

Watching Katie Bressack’s latest free webinar last week, and I thought, you know,Chocolate isn’t just for wedding related stress. News-wise and life-wise, now is a good time for her guest post from awhile back. I mean, it even comes with a recipe. You’re welcome!

———

I was at a networking event a couple of weeks ago,  and I thought I overheard Katie – who’d already been introduced to me as a health and wellness coach –  telling another woman that she ate a lot of pure chocolate the week before her wedding, to combat hormone stress. Okay. “Excuse me?” I butted in. Did you say you ate chocolate before your wedding to combat stress??” “Nooo,” she answered, laughing. “Before my period. But, actually, I ate it before my wedding, too.” And, thus, a  guest post was born:  

If you are planning a wedding and feeling a little overwhelmed, trust me, I understand. Last year, while I was growing my business, I got engaged and got married. It was definitely one of the best and busiest years of my life.
As a Holistic Health Coach and Women’s Health Expert, I must take care of myself in order to support my clients. With everything I had going on, I did find it more difficult to take care of myself, so I made sure that I scheduled time out every day for yoga, cooking, and self care. 
It didn’t always happen, but at least I was still making “me” a priority. As brides, we are being pulled in so many different directions. We have the wedding plans, family and friend’s opinions, we have careers and yes, we also need to take care of our health and wellness.
It can be fun, but also stressful and overwhelming. So today I am sharing with you one of the best ways you can stay healthy during your wedding planning.
One of my healthy tips for brides is to eat a lot of chocolate. Yes, I am encouraging you to eat more chocolate, but the healthy kind – raw cacao. No worries, you will not gain weight or break out. Real chocolate has no sugar in it and is a superfood.
Raw cacao has tons of iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. You can buy it in a powder form or as cacao nibs. As women we tend to crave chocolate the week before our period or whenever we are stressed, because the iron and magnesium levels in our body drop rapidly, causing our mood and energy levels to drop, too. 
 
Stress is the number one cause of hormonal imbalance. When our hormones are imbalanced, like when you are planning a wedding, we tend to crave more magnesium.
Most of us are deficient in  our magnesium levels and often mistake a headache or loss of appetite as a result of our stressful day, instead of what might be missing in our diet.
We might eat a bag of peanut M&M’s (my old vice) instead of giving our body the real stuff. This only makes it worse!
Instead of reaching for that candy bar next time you are feeling overwhelmed with wedding planning, add some raw cacao into a smoothie.  Or,  make raw chocolate macaroons, keep them in your fridge, and eat one a day. I guarantee that you will feel more balanced, energized and happy. It definitely worked while I was planning my wedding.  And, just for you, here is a quick and easy recipe for my raw chocolate macaroons.
 
xo,
Katie 
Instagram @katiebressack
What else do you need to create your dream wedding experience? Contact me to schedule a consultation, and we’ll talk about the details.
See you at the end of the aisle,
Liz Coopersmith

Wedding Wise Wednesday: Candy Land!

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

Genius. You want it, don't you?

Genius. You want it, don’t you? I know I do. Photo: Save the Date Magazine

This amazeballs. The English have upgraded the dessert table and made it  into a candy trailer. With CANDY.  Your guests walk in, grab a bag, get all the candy they want. I have not seen this in L.A. yet, if you have, email me, or just do it and tell me. Seriously!

The Events

Bridal Show World is dark this weekend, but there are two cool events to choose from next Thursday that you should check out:
Toasted – Thursday, February 9 at Ruby Street. Hip and modern vendors, cocktails & appetizers, $15
Big Fake Wedding Los Angeles – Thursday, February 9 at Seventh Place, ditto the cool and food factor, $25.

The Deals

Monique Dao Photography – She’s running an Instagram special, follow her @moniquedaophotography and take $100 off any Wedding Collection. Go to her page for more details.

What else does your wedding need right now? Contact me and let’s talk about the details.

See you at the end of the aisle,
Liz Coopersmith
liz@silvercharmevents.com

 

Ask Liz: Why Aren’t Vendors Calling Me Back?

 

Umm, hello?

Umm, hello?

Dear Liz:
I got engaged last month, and I was so excited to start planning my wedding. But it’s taking so long to even get to see any venues, we aren’t going to visit the first one on my list until this Sunday. It’s also been really hard to get a hold of photographers too, and I don’t know what to do.  Is this the way it’s going to go, I just have to keep calling and emailing over and over until I get to meet with anybody? How am I supposed to hire people if they won’t call me back, or can’t see me for weeks?
Signed,
Bride Blocked

Dear Blocked,
A big part of my job as a wedding planner is trying to get in touch with one person or another.  Believe me, I get your frustration. I know it feels like bad customer service, and, well, some of it is. But a lot of it is also bad timing. Bad timing and busy, busy schedules. The venue you’re going to see this weekend most likely has a wedding right after your visit and another wedding next weekend. Same thing with photographers, plus they spends their weekdays editing wedding pictures they’ve already shot, too, so those have to take priority. Your wedding is months away, and not actually their wedding, yet. It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle…or at least feel like you are.

Knowing what to expect helps. Generally speaking, the best time to contact any vendor is between Tuesday and Thursday. Venue managers usually take Mondays off. Friday is not great because everyone is gearing up to work that weekend. Photographers are the same. Never try to contact them during the weekend – anyone you want to work the weekend of your wedding is probably working this weekend too. Never drop by without an appointment.

In your initial contact with any vendor, give them as much information as you can. Date, guest count, location, overall budget, anything you know about your wedding so far. Try not to create a phone tag situation – if you are emailing or have to leave a voice mail, tell them best time and wait to get back to you. If you reach an assistant, find out the best time to reach the boss, and try again. Figure out your schedule beforehand too: If you can only meet in person on a weekend because of your schedule, say so. If you can meet after work or at lunch, say so. Give them specifics to respond to. Always give specifics.

Now, I’m not saying that I haven’t run into wedding pros who simply will not respond in a timely manner, because I have. But that’s not the norm. Most are eager to talk and find out more about your wedding and, well, get paid. A good rule is if you do not hear back in two days, move on to the next company on your list. If they miss a scheduled phone call or meeting, seriously, keep moving down the list.  It’s not going to get any better once you hire them – it shows disrespect for your time that is not going to change. RUN.

See you at the end of the aisle, lizloveswins

Liz Coopersmith
What else do you need to know to create the wedding of your dreams? Contact me to schedule a consultation and let’s discuss the details.

Wedding Wise Wednesday: All is Clear and Green

Every week I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

One Stylish Day – Ohh, I just like this so much. Ferns in a Balloon. So pretty and clean and clear and delightful. All the companies that handed you this perfection are in all in the UK, but they don’t call it #weddinginspiration for nothing. Bask and Enjoy.

The Events

Saturday, January 21
10:00am-2:00pm
Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club Wedding Open House
Meet the clubs preferred wedding vendors and enjoy appetizers, champagne and cocktails. Probably some cake in there, too. Admission is free, but you have to RSVP.

The Deals
(may contain affiliate links)

Photo: Kinja via Amazon

Photo: Kinja via Amazon

Jezebel and Kinja – Great deal through Amazon. Two sets of LED string lights for $5, if you use the code BP526S4Y at checkout.

Minted-gardenlights-inviation

Minted, Garden Lights Invitation

Minted – Save 10% off wedding orders of $150+, $15% off orders $250+, when you use the code BOUQUET at checkout. Invites, table numbers, escort cards, programs, everything weddingish. BUT the code is only good through Monday, 1/30. GO.

What else does your wedding need right now? Contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation – I’d love to find out more about you and your wedding!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Your Wedding Bar and How to Swing It

Ah, yes the bar at your wedding. The thought  alone, brings a smile to your face. It’s the place where the party gets pumped up, where the corks are popped and the glasses clinked. It’s where your groomsmen can be found at any time during your wedding, and where a chunk of your reception budget is going to go, too. 

Oops! Frowning

 But let’s take a look at that, shall we? We’ll start with the basic premise that you want a hosted (“open”) bar at your wedding, which means you pay for the booze and your guests don’t have to spend a dime. When you’re throwing a party, you don’t make your guests pay for their drinks. We’ll talk budget friendly tweaks in a minute, though. 


 So, hosted bar. Logistics are usually managed by either your venue or your caterer, so start there. Can you bring in your own alcohol? This can be a god-send for your budget and for your joy level. Two reasons: You get to serve your favorites, for one, and you can control how much gets served, for another.  If you live in California, you CAN’T return unopened bottles, however, so keep that in mind. if you do end up with leftover bottles, make sure you grab enough to keep your liquor cabinet stocked for a while, and then give the rest away at the end of the night. If you’re not in California, call your local liquor store and ask what’s possible. 

How much alcohol are you going to need? Here’s a great wedding bar list to get started. You can get four glasses out of one wine bottle, think at least 2-3 glasses per person. You can’t charge for drinks, but you can limit the alcohol.  You can host a “full”  bar, where your guests can order whatever they want in terms of alcohol and cocktails, or a “limited” bar with a list of choices. 

Either way, post a menu on the bar,  so your guests know what’s available. Limited bars can be really fun – I had one couple who created their own specialty cocktail, which they served with wine and beer. And, speaking of bear, last year another one of my couples brought in cases from their favorite brewery in Michigan. And remember: It doesn’t matter if your wine is “two buck chuck” as long as it tastes good. Slap on a custom label and no one would be the wiser! Some of the best wine I’ve ever had cost less than $10. Don’t forget about sodas and water, too. Oh, Lord, and ice – 2.5 lbs per person, which will also cover any bottles (wine, beer, sodas) that need to be chilled. If you don’t have room in your fridge or car to bring that over (you don’t), get it delivered. It’s less expensive than you think. 

 What if you can’t bring in your own alcohol? Wedding venues and caterers also offer full and limited bar packages,too, which usually cover up to 4 hours of service. Which is where the panic sets in. Four hours? How are you supposed to keep a good party going if alcohol is only going to be served for four hours?? 

Well, hang on a second. Say your wedding goes from 5 – 11pm. So, ceremony from 5-5:30, and alcohol doesn’t get served until the Cocktail hour at 5:30pm, so from from 5:30-10:00pm. No, no, chill. Your wedding ends at 11pm, yes, but you’ll  want to shut down the bar about an hour – 10:00pm – before your reception ends, so people can sober up a little bit before they have to drive home. Plus, everyone is free to get as many drinks as they can carry before the bar closes, they just can’t get anything after it closes. 


If you still don’t feel like that’s enough time, many venues offer two options  – an extra hour for x amount of money, or drinks based on consumption. Consumption? That means that you agree to put down a certain amount of money for the bar, and once that is used up per-drink, the bar is automatically closed, OR you can pay more money at that time to keep it open. Ask about it. 

 Finally a parting gift. A few years ago, I held a wedding budget class called The Recession Bride’s Workshop. To get you started, here’s a recipe for the Recession Bride’s Cocktail, created for me by Deana Deacon of 701 Cocktail Kitchen. It has the maximum amount of yummy with the minimum amount of money spent on ingredients, and you can subtract the non-alcohol elements and it’s still awesome. Feel free to call it something else when you serve it at your wedding:

muddle then add:

  • 1oz citrus vodka
  • squeeze of fresh lemon

add ice to shaker
Shake for 20 seconds
strain into martini glass
garnish with lemon sorbet ball
 

Enjoy! 

See you at the end of the aisle, 
Liz

Are you ready to get the help you need to create a wedding day you’ll love? Contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation and tell me what you want the day to look and feel like.

Ask Liz: 10 Steps to A Fantastic Bare Venue Wedding

 

Bare venues – wedding sites where you have to bring EVERYTHING in, never go out of style. But they do come with complications.  Here’s a partial transcript of the teleclass I held a while back about the subject.

Okay, I think we’re ready to go. Welcome, Everyone. This is “10 Steps to a Fantastic Bare Venue Wedding.” I just want to welcome everyone, and I encourage you, all of you, to take a deep breath. You’re on this call now because you’re worried about your wedding, and stressful challenges you’re facing while you’re planning it. You’re spending a lot of time, and a fair bit of money, I’m sure, on what you’re hoping will be one of  the best days of your life. And it will be. You’re taking a great move towards that right now. So, deep inhale and exhale and let go of some of the craziness and confusion you’ve been experiencing.

I also want you to remember one more thing: You’re not supposed to know how to do this, you’re not supposed to know how this “wedding thing” works. It’s your first time planning one! I give you permission to give yourself a break.Ready to get started? Let’s Go:

What I love about bare wedding venues is that they give you a great opportunity to create. You’re going to hear that word a lot tonight. You can create the atmosphere you want, bring in your own food, your own decorations, with much fewer limitations than in what I call “ballroom venues”, full-service sites that only offer a few options. Bare venues give you a better opportunity to control costs, too. Across the board, they offer more freedom. But as they say, that freedom comes with a lot more responsibility.

Bare Venues create three distinct challenges to you, that ballroom venues don’t, necessarily:

1. Your budget. This might come as surprise, because for a lot of couples, this is one of the main reasons that they choose a bare venue. They’re often less expensive, and you feel like what you’ll save in site fees, you’ll continue to save as you add in rentals and catering and decorations. But the truth is, depending on what you want your wedding to look like, and the choices that you make, you could end up spending just as much, or more, than you would in a full-service, “ballroom” venue. If you are on a budget – and, trust me, pretty much every couple is – then you have to watch your expenses very carefully. There are always ways to cost costs, but there are smart places to do that, and not so wise ones.

2. The unknown unknowns. The stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know, that can bite you in the butt. These will come up, and you will have to take care of them, in one way or another, or suffer the consequences.  Examples like: knowing how long it takes to set up a reception for 100 people. Or, having the right extension cords so your photo booth, which needs a three-pronged outlet, can plug into the venue’s two prong outlet. I coordinated a wedding a couple of months ago, where the bride’s mom bought chafing dishes to warm the barbecue she had delivered – but didn’t realize that the dishes didn’t come with sterno cans to heat them! Luckily, I was able to run to the nearest grocery store and hit up the hardware section, fortunately. And I always have extra extension cords, too.

3. Time. And, by that, I mean taking the time to find exactly what it is that you need. Or, in a lot of cases,feeling that you don’t have the time, and getting frustrated. Frustration is the number one cause of wedding stress, and I see it a lot in my first consultations with clients. Many couples get fed up, give up, and end up settling for less than the wedding they want. Depending on where they are in the planning process, I like to help them backtrack and pinpoint which unsatisfying choices they’ve made, and see if we can shine them up a little. There is always a solution to every challenge, you just have to be open to finding it.

Tonight we’re going to go over the ten steps you need to take to create a fantastic wedding in a Bare, BYO venue. These are based on the many landmines that I’ve seen my couples encounter, and that I’ve have helped them avoid or work around.

Let’s get started.
1. Your first step, before anything, is to get over the idea of a one to one ratio. Forget about it. What do I mean by that? You can’t rent just one plate per person, one fork, one knife. And you’d be surprised how many people get caught on this. Why do my guests need an extra plate? Why do we have to have more than one fork per person? Think of it this way: If I were to walk into your kitchen right now and open your cabinets, I wouldn’t find just one plate per resident! And that’s the same reason that you wouldn’t do that at your wedding – plates and silverware  get dirty, and you’ll need clean ones right away. You probably wouldn’t eat two meals off of the same plate, not to mention dessert. And if you’re having a buffet, your guests definitely won’t expect to, either! You can’t provide one bottle of beer per person, because what if someone wants a second bottle? If you go out to Happy Hour and order a second drink, the bartender doesn’t ask you for the glass from your first drink. I’ve probably made my point. You are going to need at least two or three of everything per person, and that’s one of the places where the cost comes in. But, it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. You don’t have to go overboard, but you do need to figure out the best ratio formula, and your caterer and/or rental company can tell you that. This doesn’t have to kill your budget, but but definitely go with the numbers they give you.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. You may have a wildly original idea of what you want your wedding to look and feel like, but you you still need to figure out how to pull it off, using the current laws of time and physics. Your vendors have seen it all, or can extrapolate from what they HAVE seen, so use them as a resource. Don’t waste time trying to come up with something new.  You could find the right answer, or you could end up doing twice as much work to reach a less satisfying conclusion. Use your vendors as a resource.

3. Follow the rules. You can’t start earlier, or stay longer than you’re contracted for. If you’re forbidden to tape things, nail things, light things? Don’t. Every venue has a damage deposit that they require, just in case you break the rules. And, they will keep it, if that happens. You can find another way to accomplish what you need to do. I did a wedding at a historic site this summer, that has some…questionable figures and symbols on the property.  My couple was afraid that their guests would be offended. Most of the symbols were covered up, but when I arrived at the venue, I found my bride trying to rip the sign, out of the ground (!) that explained the history of the symbols. NO. Once I stopped her, and calmed both her and the very upset venue manager, I was able to offer a solution – cover it up with an extra tablecloth, and decorate the the cloth with a directional sign to the wedding. Or some extra ribbon. Or just leave the blank tablecloth on it all by itself. But either way, don’t break the rules.

4. With whatever you’re dealing with, be it rentals, flowers, the cake, the food, always think about these five things: Who, what, where, when, and how. It’s just like journalism. For example, who is bringing the chairs in, and is it the same people who are setting them up? If you’re only getting one set of chairs for both the ceremony and reception, who is taking them over to the reception area? How are they getting out of the venue? And when? How is your food getting there? Is it being delivered? Does someone need to pick it up? Who is going to make sure that all flows smoothly? Where are the leftovers going? Who is going take the catering supplies back to the caterer? What catering supplies are they providing, and where are the rest coming from? Where is the trash going? What condition does everything need to be in if and when you return it? And, who is going to be in charge of making sure that every individual part of that happens?

5. Don’t skip staffing. This is one of the first places where people try and make cuts, and it’s usually a mistake. And, I’m not just talking about hiring an event staffing company, which is the optimal solution. I’m talking about not having enough people on hand to manage all the moving parts of your wedding. This is especially important when it comes to the meal service. Do yourself a favor – the next time you go out to a restaurant, or even a bar, observe what’s going on around you, and what every waiter, busboy, bartender is doing. If you’re serving food, even if it’s a dessert or appetizer buffet instead of a sit-down or buffet dinner, you will be reconstructing a restaurant at your venue. Someone needs to monitor  food service, bussing tables, cleaning up every so often, making sure that the sodas and alcohol are kept cold, and fifty other things that go into any catered event. You are not in a restaurant, so all these things will not be automatically provided for you, which means they need to be provided BY you.

Dishes, glasses, silverware and napkins are going to pile up on tables or fall to the ground, if someone doesn’t move them. Trash will end up everywhere and anywhere that is not a trash can. This is one of the many reasons I come with at least one assistant, and for bare venues, I bring two. But even with that, it is good to have a few more people around who have serving experience – the “rule” as it were, is to have at least one person per every two tables. And if you’re worried about the cost, think of it this way: There are ways to stagger the staffing so that you’re not paying for 7 people or whatever for the whole time. And, catering staff can also work double duty, helping you set up the rest of your wedding, chairs, tables,  and then break it down at the end of the night. That saves considerable time and worry. That being, YOUR time and worry. It’s going to be a long day, don’t make it any longer.
And, speaking of which,

6.  Realize how limited your own time is. Even with friends and family helping out, everyone can’t be everywhere all at once. And if they haven’t done this before, it will be hard for them to prioritize what actually needs to be done, and what can be done in the time they’re given. Another example: working with a couple right now, who hired me shortly after their engagement party which they planned and executed themselves. They told me that set up for their party took so long, that they weren’t even able to get dressed for their own party before guests arrived! Be realistic about your time, and time in general. You don’t want to be that couple.

Constructing a wedding ceremony and reception takes HOURS. Breaking it down takes less time, but it still takes HOURS. Not an hour, not 30 minutes. HOURS, even with people helping. And, you need to be taking pictures, you need to be getting dressed, you need to be getting married, so you can’t do that much else, not on that day. You either need more time, or you need more hands on the ground. Both are possible.

7. Avoid scrambling. Have everything that you need close at hand, and know where it all is, and where it’s going. Make those decisions BEFORE your wedding day. Keep your wedding and reception area compact, and everything close to get to from anywhere else. Memorize where the bathrooms are. Keep everyone’s numbers in one place on your phone – that includes vendor numbers. Get each vendor’s CELL PHONE, the number that will answer on your wedding day. Never scramble.

8. Another tip to avoid driving yourself crazy about your budget, and one that I pass onto each of my couples. When it comes to your rentals, start out with the least of what you need or want. As you get a better idea of what you want your wedding to look like, you can choose to add the extras, or not. This also works with flowers, and with food, actually.

9. Given that, be very clear, and STAY clear, about what your vendor contracts allow you to do, and what they do not. Everyone asks for a deposit, what does that deposit cover? Can you downgrade if you need to? Can you upgrade? When is the deadline for you to decide either? Put it in your calendar ASAP.

10. And this is most important: Don’t ever, ever, ever assume anything. Ask. This is the actually the #1 thing that drives me a little nuts. First of all, there is so much fear associated with not asking. Fear that you can’t get what you want. That you can’t find what you want. That you’re just going to be constantly rejected.  So much fear that you’re even afraid to ask, so you figure you’ll just deal with it if and when it becomes a problem. THAT’S a problem. Or the flip side is the assumption, that whatever it is, is going to happen automatically, so you don’t need to check. Never assume, always ask. And start with this question: What else do I need to know, or should I know? Any vendor will be able to rattle off any number of things that have tripped up their clients in the past, and help you avoid the pitfalls. Your venue and your vendors are your best resource for finding what you need. And there you have it.

If you would like to talk about your wedding, contact me and tell me what’s going on and what you need, and I’ll get back to you to schedule a free consultation. I’d love to find out what you want your wedding to look like!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith