07 Jun 2012 3 Comments
08 Aug 2011 6 Comments
in Uncategorized Tags: Advice, Advice from a Wedding Coordinator, budget wedding, but...but...it's romantic!, caviar dreams on a mc donald's budget, heatstroke is not a good wedding favor, How to Get Married on the Cheap, Wedding Coordinator, wedding guests, weddings, work with me people
The Care and Keeping of a Wedding Guest
A Wedding Guest is a unique creature.
You and your partner have culled your guest list down to the few,
the proud, the relatives who don’t have access to your embarrassing baby pictures.
Most guests understand small budgets.
Most guests won’t be offended by cracker and cheese plates from Costco,
nor will most guests be offended by a cake and punch only reception.
All guests need a few things, however, to maintain that lack of offense:
1) Seats for the ceremony. If this is impossible, for whatever reason, have your officiant cut the ceremony down to 15 minutes maximum.
2) Comfortable temperature.
a) Outdoor ceremonies HAVE TO HAVE SHADE. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you put your guests in the sun, no matter how pleasant the day is, they will be hot, they will be squinting, they will get sweat on their nice clothes, and they will be grouchy. One memorable event I attended had the guests facing into the sun as it set because the bride thought that sunsets were romantic…
In Palm Springs. In 100 degree heat.
Please don’t do this to your guests.
b) Outdoor receptions must have heaters after the sun goes down. You may only need one or two, but if there is no place for guests to get warm, they will leave.
c) If you are going to have dancing indoors, please have fans and/or air conditioning. And crank those bastards up. Everyone will dance longer if they can cool down in between rocking it on the floor. And you really don’t want to get pit stains on The Dress, do you?
(Addendum to the Temperature Clause: If you are having an outdoor wedding, and the ground is soft, please let guests know so they can wear appropriate shoes.)
3) Water, water, water, water. Have a lot of it. Have it easily accessible at all times. If you don’t have a waitstaff, ask a relative or a friend to be specifically in charge of this.
4) It is normal for guests who are flying in to rent a hotel room.
Please let them do this if they wish.
If you offer a private home for those guests to stay in, basic consideration for their needs must be met: A bed or a *comfortable* couch to sleep on, sufficient blankets for those beds; towels and washcloths, shampoo and soap for showers; and basic breakfast foods must be provided. If you have pets, make sure no one has allergies. Additionally, said home should be clean and welcoming.
Remember that out of town guests don’t necessarily know where to get food quickly and easily–avoid inconveniencing people who have dropped hundreds of dollars on plane tickets to get to your wedding.
5) A word about family members or friends who are coming in to help before the wedding:
They are guests, too, and should be treated with courtesy. Remember that if you didn’t have their assistance, you would be paying a great deal of money for the services they are giving you out of love. Express your gratitude often and publicly…even if Aunt Ida is a loud-mouthed, opinionated blowhard. She set up your tables and took out the garbage after your reception. Smile and act grateful–you can bitch about her later.
6) Apologize when things (inevitably) don’t go as planned–even if you weren’t responsible. Someone will end up covering for you–driving out to the grocery store to buy another cake because yours fell into the dirt; pulling flowers from a neighbor’s yard at three in the morning because your florist didn’t adequately prepare the flowers for the ceremony, etc, etc.
If you take the first step of apologizing, people will be *much* more willing to continue covering for you.
7) Try to greet and thank every guest individually. Think of the weddings you’ve attended, and how nice it was to know that the bride and groom took the time to thank you for coming–it’s just a good gesture.
8 ) Favors aren’t necessary, but they are like the individual thanks above–a good gesture. Especially if the favor in question is tasty.
9) If you don’t have a lot of experience with planning events, parties, or haven’t been an integral part of making a wedding happen, please find someone who has this experience, ask for their help, and act on their advice. Your wedding vision may be beautiful, romantic, and meaningful to you and your partner, but if it means making your guests uncomfortable, you will need to adapt that vision.
10) Adapting your vision for the comfort and love of your guests does not mean you won’t get the wedding of your dreams. Keep your guests informed, demonstrate your gratitude, provide shade and water, and your wedding will be remembered with joy.
30 Jun 2011 6 Comments
in Uncategorized Tags: Advice, Advice from a Wedding Coordinator, Budgets, caviar dreams on a mc donald's budget, Comin' to Jesus, How to Get Married on the Cheap, Los Angeles, Say WHA?, Wedding Coordinator, weddings, work with me people, You Can Do It
I am a Wedding Coordinator.
This year will close out with my 17th wedding.
These posts are not meant to be rude or condescending (pinky swear!);
I just want to share a bit of what I’ve learned along the way.
There are things that I find common sense at this point,
which aren’t to a lot of folks because, hey, most of us
only plan one wedding.
So, from Becca’s Basket of Common Sense,
“The Comin’ to Jesus” Post.
Your wedding will cost more than you think.
What number are you thinking of?
Got more than 100 guests?
weddings are *like* great big parties,
except they’re not.
Weddings involve photographers,
and large groups of people,
and the smooshing together of two (or more!) families,
and the solemnity and joy of two people pledging their lives to each other,
and the traditions and expectations of everyone you have ever known,
and the wrangling of small children,
and the feeding and drinking of all of these groups.
Are there cheaper alternatives?
There’s the county courthouse,
there are cheaper ways of doing things:
1) Potluck reception.
(but remember that hot food needs to be kept hot,
cold food cold–there are expenses here, too)
2) Skip the flowers.
3) No booze.
4) No dancing.
(This avoids the cost of renting a dance floor, and/or hiring a DJ)
5) Non-professional photographer.
6) Costco cake (not a bad option, actually).
7) Afternoon wedding so you don’t have to worry about lighting or heating.
8 ) Have a long engagement in order to save up for the wedding.
(If that’s not feasible, how about getting married in a civil ceremony,
and have the Big Bash later when your budget can handle it?)
9) Cake and punch only reception.
10) No reception.
11) DIY DIY DIY DIY.
12) Call in favors–do you know someone with property who can rent it at cost? How about someone who rents chairs and tables? If you *know* people, you can often get costs seriously reduced.
Getting married outside in a public park saves a ton of money–
but what about inclement weather?
If it’s an evening wedding, you’ll need to rent heaters and lights.
If it’s a day wedding, you’ll either need to have shade on site,
or you’ll need to rent a tent.
Do you want folks to hear your vows?
You’ll need extension cords, speakers, and a mic–which many cheap outdoor sites do not provide.
Does the site provide adequate bathrooms?
If not, you’ll need to rent port-a-potties.
But above all?
Shrink that guest list.
specifically Southern California,
I can almost guarantee that if you have a guest list of over 100,
you should expect to pay between $8,000 to $10,000 for your wedding…
IF you’re doing stuff on the cheap.
Average wedding cost for this area?
Everything adds up–
most couples completely forget about the costs of purchasing or renting tables, chairs, tablecloths, napkins, silverware, plates, bowls, cups…
Even if you went to Smart and Final
to purchase disposable paper plates, cups, and plastic forks,
you still have to purchase at least twice the number of your guest list.
(Unless you tell your guests up front
to hang onto their disposable plate because they can’t get another
because there *aren’t* any more. UGH.)
I did flowers for one wedding
where only crudites, cake and punch were served.
Cheap solution, yes?
There wasn’t enough cheese and crackers for
even one serving per guest.
Folks who didn’t arrive to the reception site first
didn’t get anything to eat until the cake was cut–
an hour into the reception.
A lot of people left early because of this.
My point is,
even if you’re just serving cake and punch
(and boy, please put that on the invite,
so your guests know to not come hungry),
expect it to cost more than you think it will.
Ask friends for favors,
ask them if they can use their varied talents to help you and your fiance/e.
I’ve been doing flowers and coordinating weddings
at cost for friends for seven years.
The Boyo has designed wedding invitations at cost.
One of my friends made a dozen small cakes in different flavors for
Another friend is doing photography for The Roommate.
You cannot expect your friends to cover those costs *for* you.
(If they volunteer to do so, well and good.
But please please please don’t be the person who expects this.)
Flowers still cost money (if I’m lucky, I can keep it between $500-700 for a small bridal party, and little centerpiece decor–but if you choose to get married on a holiday weekend, flower prices double and sometimes triple).
Photography is eight hours on-site, and countless hours of post–
if you want prints of *anything*, that gets hella expensive in a hurry.
The ingredients for enough cake to feed over 100 people aren’t cheap.
It’s also polite to pay transportation costs for those who are volunteering their services to you. Not required, but polite.
You absolutely can get married on a tight budget in California.
However, you will have to give up a great deal of “extras” in order to do so.
I know this is a stomach twister,
but I am not exaggerating:
A wedding on the cheap in Southern California for over 100 guests
is going to run you around $10,000.