Eight Wedding Expenses You Might Not Be Thinking About

  1. They’re not exactly “hidden”, it’s just that you’re not automatically going to consider them as part of the budget. Sort of how your $5 latte at the cool coffee shop down the street is actually $5.45 with tax. Or, how you have tickets to Disneyland, but you still have to pay to park ($20), and eat (~$30 per person if you’ve already had breakfast). Here’s eight things that I’ve noticed takes my couples by surprise, with a resounding reply of “Oh, yeah, huh?”:

  2. 1. Tax and Service – Just about everything and everyone that you purchase or hire for your wedding is going to come with tax. Catering and bartending are going to add a service charge on top of that. Here in Los Angeles, that can add as much as 30% to her final costs.
  3. 2. Delivery and Setup fees – Rentals, flowers, your cake.
  4. 3. Including yourselves in the final meal count – People forget to do this all the time!  Just put the both you on your guest list spreadsheet now.
  5. 4. Including your vendors in the meal count – anyone who’s going to be working during your wedding reception needs to be fed. Some of them -like your photographer, videographer, and, uh, your wedding coordinator – bring assistants with them. Ask and count them up.
  6. 5. Stamps – I’m coordinating a wedding next month with 400 guests. Between 175-200 invitations. Stamps are 70 cents each, plus 49 cents for the RSVP cards (they went old school). So, roughly $200.
  7. 6. Marriage License – In California, marriage licenses start at $85, plus $15 to have it mailed to you. Bonus Tip: Pay the extra to have it mailed to you.
  8. 7.Hotel room for the night before your wedding – You have to stay the night before in order to be there in the morning to get dressed and ready. If you want to stay in a suite on your wedding night, most hotels will be happy to transport all of your things while you’re gone. But get a room the night before.
  9. 8. Transportation – How are  you and your wedding party getting from point A to point B? And then back again? Shuttle, separate cars, Uber/Lyft? How much is it, and who’s paying? What about parking? Plan it out and add it up.

What else do have questions about right now? Let’s talk about your wedding: Complete the contact form below, or call/text me directly at 323-592-9318, and I’ll get back to you to schedule your complimentary wedding consultation.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

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3 Assumptions You Should Stop Making About Your Wedding

 

A while back, I wrote Three Assumptions They’re Making About Your Wedding, a list of what people really won’t stop bugging you about, ever. But after talking to a lot of couples in the past few weeks, I’m starting to realize that you’re making a lot of assumptions about your wedding too:

1. That the minute you step into Wedding World, everyone is trying to rip you off.

This one drives me a little nuts, as you can imagine. Wedding World can get expensive, but a lot of that is because you’re buying in bulk — One $40 centerpiece is going to cost less than 10. One hundred meals at $50+ a person is going to cost more than one.

You’ve heard it a million times, and I’ve heard it a bunch recently: “Once you put the word “wedding” in front of something, it doubles the price.” It’s even considered a money-saving strategy to lie about the event you’re planning, in order to get a lower quote. First of all, that never works, eventually they figure it out, and second of all? It makes you look like a jerk.

Another reason is that weddings do require a little more effort than your average party. If you think about the combination of logistics and of meeting expectations,  it’s a lot of work to give you the wedding experience you want. Some of us charge more for that than others, true.  But just because you can’t afford it, doesn’t mean it’s a scam — you just can’t afford it. It’s like the Christian Louboutins I keep stalking at Nordstrom. Love them, cannot afford them, so I’ll have to stick to Nine West at Macy’s for now. And like you sticking to your budget, I don’t mind that much, because Nine West shoes are comfortable.

Bottom line: You do not have to hire me/that photographer/that venue if the price is uncomfortable for you. Instead, figure out what you can get with what you can afford.

2. That you have to do things the way they’ve “always” been done “traditionally.”

You only really need five things to get married: You, your intended, an officiant, a marriage license, and a public affirmation that you want to get married. The rest of your wedding is up to you,  so, do what you want! If you don’t want to walk down an aisle, don’t walk down the aisle. If you don’t want to sit, on display, at a sweetheart’s table, sit with your friends at their table. Long tables instead of rounds? Go for it.  If you don’t want cake, have cookies. If you don’t want to wear a white dress, wear black. Create a wedding that you’re going to love and your guests will remember. Why not? Don’t ask “Can we do that?” ask, “How do we do that?” There’s always going to be someone around with an answer.

3. That your wedding exists outside time and space.

On your wedding day, it is still going to take however long to get from point A to point B, and then twice that to get back again. If it rains, it’s going to rain on you. If it’s 100 degrees outside, it’s going to be 100 degrees on you. If you have to be out of your venue by 10pm, 11:00pm is not going to work. If your photographer is contracted for 6 hours, seven hours is not going to fly. The bar, like at your favorite restaurant, needs enough bartenders to serve all its guests. If there isn’t a kitchen, one needs to be built. If there is a kitchen, it needs to be staffed. Just like your favorite restaurant, guests need to have a place to sit, and a reasonable amount of time before they eat. And I could go on.

But, A) you’ve never done an event this big before, and B) you’re picturing the forest, instead of the trees that make it up. Example: you want to serve coffee to your guests. You order the coffee maker, but forget about the cream pitchers. Or the sugar pot. Or the coffee, for that matter. Because it always comes with it, right? Map it all out, and plan accordingly.

What other questions do you have about the day? Fill out the contact form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP to schedule a consultation, or call/text me directly at 323-592-9318.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

 

 

 

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Wedding Wise Wednesday: The New Program

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

Bear Hug Events –  Cinema Signs are the new wedding program. I LURVE this. I love it. I’m working with a couple right now that would love this. England has got their wedding jam these days, but I know a few companies in LA that can make this happen. God Bless Instagram.

The Deals

Wedding Chicks – is having a moving sale on their wedding style t-shirts and accessories. GO.

Cool, too:

Martha Stewart Weddings article – Why are there so many decisions to be made for a wedding?  Martha’s breaking it down and clearing it up, as always.

What else do you need to create an amazing Day? Let’s talk about your wedding: Complete the contact form below to schedule a complimentary consultation and get your questions answered.

See you at the of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

 

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3 Ways to Beat Early Invitation Time Trouble

Photo: Silver Charm Events, Rancho Del Cielo, Malibu

  1. It’s too late to change it, but here’s three things you can do now to make it work:
  2. 1. Proaction – Get ahead of any potential issues. Again, your first guests (I swear) are going to be there 30 minutes before your stated ceremony time. What needs to be done and out of view by the time they get there? What do they need to wait comfortably for the next hour? Chairs, definitely. Do they need programs? It would be great if the place card/escort table was done, too, so you don’t have to scramble during cocktail hour or the ceremony. Make a plan to have those things in place by 4:30pm.

2. Communication – Let your venue manager, your DJ/musicians, whoever is supposed to be onsite during the ceremony (including set-up) time on your invitation. They might have to make changes as to when or how they set-up, and get started. Have that conversation.

3. Obfuscation – By which I mean, “hiding and distraction”. Where can you put the stuff that’s not finished yet, so that it’s out of guest’s sight and out of their way, but where you can access quickly? I’m thinking mostly of the escort cards and welcome table, but think about what else you can hide at 4pm and get back to (not much) later.

What else do you need to know right now to finish creating an amazing day? Fill out the contact form below to schedule a consultation, email liz@silvercharmevents.com, or call/text 323-592-9318.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Are you following me on instagram @lizcharm? You should be

 

 

 

 

 

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Wedding Guests: The Human Beings In Your Spotlight

 

One of my favorite wedding-related quotes is by photographer I worked with a couple of years ago, “There are three things no one wants to be at a wedding: First, last, or wrong.” Of course, it’s mostly you in the spotlight on your wedding day, but your guests feel the pressure, too.  Everyone wants to get it right, so everyone – including you –  can enjoy the day. No one wants to stumble, or go the wrong way, or be late, or early, or embarrassed or embarrassing.

So, back your guests up, where you can. First of all, be clear about what time your wedding starts. If the ceremony is at 5:30pm, don’t put the start time as 5pm. That can back first spectacularly, since most guests will arrive around 4:30p, which cuts into your prep time, and the guests you’re expecting to be late will still show up late. Have clear directional signs at your wedding and reception, including to the bathrooms. Have someone standing by to help them find their place cards. Put the place cards in alphabetical order by last name, not by first name or table number. No one has any clue what their table number is, but they all know how to spell their last name.

And, there are some things you don’t need to worry about. they don’t have to be assigned a particular seat at a particular table. No one is going to freak out if you’re serving Coors Light and $5 wine instead of their choice of martini cocktails. If your brother didn’t tell  you that his girlfriend is a vegan, it’s their own damn fault, try and accommodate where you can, apologize where you can’t.  What would you want if you were a guest? What would you need? Make sure that’s covered. Don’t think babysitting, just think “flow.” You can’t please everyone, but you can make it easier for them to enjoy themselves. And really, it’s a party, it’s a celebration, everyone is pretty much going to have wonderful time. I promise – you’ll see it for yourself.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

What else do you need to know about your wedding right now? Let’s talk about it – go to the contact page or email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com to schedule a free consultation. I can’t wait to find out what you want your day to look and feel like.

Wedding Wise Wednesday: Eat the Date

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

SweetCheeks Cookies and Cakes – Well, this will definitely make the date stick in their minds! I always say that food and sweets are the best wedding takeaways, and these cookie save the date definitely preps your guests for a fun day. They recommend that you order extra, because you’re probably going eat a few while you’re mailing them out, LOL! This company is in Australia (I know), but let me know if you need recommendations for local bakeries that do the same.

The Deals

Simply Paper Company – Save 30% and get free envelope addressing with all orders.  Thanks to Wedding Chicks for the find.

What else do you need right now to create an extraordinary day? Contact me and let’s talk about your wedding!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

5 Reasons Why Having Less Guests Will Still Be Great

Definitely Get the Group Shot! Photo: @fran_sauce

I’ve been watching a lot of wedding envy lately…wedding shame…wedding SHAMING..around small weddings. You wish you could afford more than 100 guests. Your family is giving you a hard time about having less guests. First of all, you should have the wedding you want. And, “want” is about a lot of things. And, most of all, you should have a wedding you love, where you have no regrets. I had a small wedding myself, five million years ago, and it was wonderful. Here are five upsides:

  1. 1. You can get all of your guests in one group shot. One, frameable, picture of everyone who was at your wedding. Mobile home screen suitable, and a delight to all. Not so easy to do with 300 guests.

2. You know, for sure, that you’ll be able to talk to everyone. Because there will be less people you have to get to. More interaction = more fun. And more fun is always the goal.

3. Smaller dance floors mean a bigger party. A smaller dance floor + less guests = a Rave. If you can, rent one. If there is already a dance floor at your venue, crowd around it with tables, chairs and furniture. If you have a photobooth, dessert table, move them as close to the dance floor as possible. And then, dance, dance, dance!

4. Only the people you really wanted to be there, are there. Weddings are the best – and happiest – opportunity to get everyone you love and like in one room. Small weddings usually mean that those are just the only people you have in the room!

5. You’ll save money. Because let’s be serious. Each guest is a meal (at the prerequisite $99+ per person) two appetizers, three drinks, a piece of cake. One centerpiece for a table of ten. And that’s not counting favors. This is why the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $25,000. The average in Los Angeles, where I am, is around $32,000. The money you’re going to save by having a smaller wedding could go towards a house downpayment, grad school, a honeymoon. If those are your priorities, don’t be ashamed of them. And at the end of the day, you’re still married. And that’s what everyone is there for, too.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

What else does your wedding need right now? Go to our Contact page to schedule a consultation, email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com, or call/text me at 323-592-9318.

 

 

Wedding Wise Wednesday: Princess For A Day

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week

Brides Magazine: A wedding in the Philippines featuring Disney Princess Bridesmaid dresses (!!!). I love this, and for some reason, the Ariel dress just KILLS me. You must click through for more pictures, the bride and groom serenaded each other with “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, while pictures were projected on her wedding dress. I LOVE the stuff couples come up with. You are welcome!

Cool, too

Martha Stewart Weddings – How to Create Your Own Candy Buffet. Down to how and where to get everything. I love Martha, sometimes.

The Deals

Groupon

Groupon – 10Ft. 300-LED Warm White String Curtain Light for only $12.99.  I saw this, and thought, perfect for an arch, or to bring a little more Pretty and Light to an outdoor reception. GO.

What else do you need right now to create the day you want? Let’s talk about your wedding! Contact me or call/text 323-592-9318 to schedule a consultation.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

 

 

Ask Liz: Giving the Groom His Thing.

Dear Liz:

My daughter is getting married next month. I’ve been helping her plan the wedding for almost a year now, and it’s going to be a beautiful, elegant celebration. Her father and I very close with her fiance, he’s quiet and reserved and a wonderful person, but he also likes superhero movies and video games. At my husband’s birthday party last month, he told me that he wanted to do a special performance in the middle of the reception. He wants it to be a special surprise for my daughter, but he told me because he needs my help to keep it a secret until it happens. When he explained that it would involve Star Wars stormtrooper costumes and music, I nodded but didn’t really say anything. But he brought it up again this week, and I think he might be serious. I asked him how long he thinks the whole thing would take, and he and his friends would have to leave the reception for at least 45 minutes to get changed and ready, and then perform for 20 minutes. He can’t just disappear for 45 minutes! It doesn’t fit in with what we’ve planning for the night – their wedding is supposed to be a stylish, grand evening, and I’m afraid he’s going to ruin it. How do I get him to change his mind?

Signed,

Mortified MOB

Dear MM,

Okay, full disclosure: I’m a little bit of a geek, so this actually sounds kind of cool to me! Plus, in my experience, guests love this stuff. Groomsmen rap battles, choreographed wedding party dances, skits, go over really, really well. Trust me, people dig it.
That being said, I know she’s your kid, and you have this vision of what her day should be, but that’s her guy. She knows him, and she knows what he’s like. It’ll be a surprise for her, but not really a surprise, you know what I mean? And, if he’s been talking about it for a while now, odds are he’s sure she’ll be cool with it. Plus, it’s his wedding, too, and he should have something that he wants in it.

Don’t make him stop, help him make it work.

Because, you’re right, he definitely can’t disappear for 45 minutes in the middle of the wedding. It will be noticed, to say the least! Honestly, he’s got about 15 minutes before your daughter looks around and wonders where her new husband is, then asks if anyone knows where her new husband is, then sends someone out to go look for her new husband. After that, she’s going to start looking for him herself, which turns it into a whole new thing. I’m guessing he thinks it will take 45 minutes because he has to go…somewhere else… to get to the costumes and change? He should talk to the reception venue about finding a closer room to do all that, so he can cut prep time to the 15-minute vague “He’s probably in the bathroom” window. Ask him if he can trim the “show” time down by a few minutes, too. Explain to him that it’s a cool reveal, but 20 minutes is the length of four Saturday Night Live sketches. Four. He wants to keep people happy that it’s happening instead of hoping that it’s going to end. And, bonus, the less time it takes up, the better you’ll feel about it, too. Shorter is sweeter.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz
Are you trying to figure out how to to make your cool wedding thing work? Go to my contact page or email me directly at liz@silvercharmevents.com

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

Join Me At The Bruncheon on April 9!

I’m thrilled to be invited to speak as a wedding expert panelist at The Bruncheon on April 9th! There’s definitely a twist – instead of a traditional bridal show, Brides and grooms will enjoy brunch and mimosas while participating in a Q&A session with some of L.A.’s top wedding professionals. It’s your opportunity to get all your questions about Wedding World answered, one on one. Join us! Save 20% on your tickets with the code CHEERS.

See you at the end of the aisle (and at the show),

Liz Coopersmith

What else is bugging you about your wedding right now? Contact me or email liz@silvercharmevents.com and tell me what you need.