Today’s episode is a You Ask, We Answer, as is our end-of-month tradition.
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FB Group Question
Ask: Hey brides! My entire ballroom is being flipped during my cocktail hour (about 1.5 hours). The ceremony with 200 guests will be turned into the reception room with ~25 tables, dance floor, 2 buffets, etc. My venue manager seems nervous about this but my month-of coordinator is very confident in the flip.
As a bride, is there anything I can prepare ahead of time to make sure this goes smoothly? How did you organize your decor to make it easier for the staff/wedding planner? Thanks!
Answer: The main goal is to make everything as easy as possible for the staff. Big notes:
Use low centerpieces and decor so that the table can be carried with the piece on top.
Do not take post-ceremony photos in the reception space, get all of the guests and wedding party out of the room as quickly as possible!
If the manager thinks they need to add an extra person to ensure the smoothness of the transition, I suggest paying the uncharge.
If you can, repurpose parts of the ceremony for the reception (ie- altar becomes cake area, etc.)
In general, just make sure everything is ready to go before the ceremony, so that the staff is able to use your cocktail hour to make the space perfect.
Red Flag On Vendor Contract
I was reaching out because we were reading their contract and came across what we believe is a red flag. The contract had a "disparagement" clause, which I'm sure you guys may have seen when reviewing contracts? I dug a little deeper and wanted to get your opinion on some of the things I realized. I guess in the excitement and the fact they worked for Disney Weddings previously (I love Disney and used to work their too!), I didn't ask all the questions I should have. I'm going to ask these at the contract review, but I realized or assuming it seems they're actually new to the local scene. I asked during the interview process what their favorite wedding was to work on and they named a stylized shoot they did in town, which was beautiful and how I actually found them - which is how I think they're getting themselves out in the market. They must have partnered together after working with each other at Disney? I can't seem to find any reviews and I want to believe it's because they're new to the scene or it's because of the disparagement. But with a disparagement it prevents negative reviews and I can't find negative or positive reviews - they're not even on WeddingWire or the Knot. I figured even with a disparagement there would still be positive reviews, but I haven't seen any.
That being said, the disparagement is still not good. I figured they picked this up from Disney because while Disney has a special place in my heart, they're still a corporation. I might be making excuses, but I really like them. Based on their stylized shoot, I was really expecting them to be out of my budget, but again because I think they're new to the area their proposal wasn't bad, fueling my assumption now. I know I should be running from this but I really thought it was meant to be until I saw the disparagement. If it's not something that can be removed or revised - J does not want to work with them, which is fair. I'm going to ask again in more detail about their experience, so maybe they'll be willing to negotiate, but besides that do you have any advice on how to go about pushing it in that direction?
Answer: I don’t love this clause - I do think it’s a red flag. It’s also an amateur mistake. Some disparagement clauses are actually illegal, depending on how it’s written.
A styled shoot is very different from a real wedding. I have LOTS of opinions about styled shoots. (We may make it our next bonus ep rant). They aren't even close to running a real wedding. I'm not saying that this company won't do a good job - but it won't have anything to do with their styled shoot experience, which is why it's concerning that they named that as their fave. Everyone has to start somewhere. I am a way better planner now than I was when I first started, that's only natural. But I was pretty cheap when I started, and I was transparent about my experience with every one of my couples that first year. I worked my ass off and learned a lot. This company could do a great job for you, but you absolutely should ask about their actual wedding experience and to see some of their work if possible - not photos, but timeline examples, set up lists, stuff like that. Just because they worked at a company like Disney doesn't mean that they are great wedding planners.
I agree that you should ask them to totally remove the disparagement clause. Ask more questions, write some out. Vet them a little. Ask for a couple references. I provide potential clients with a few email addresses of previous clients if they ask.
How to THANK Parents
Ask: First off, I just have to say I love listening to your podcast! I started listening randomly to different episodes a week after I got engaged and it has helped my fiancé and I so much when it comes to everything weddings. It also helps me get excited and dream about the wedding when I’m at work. Not very many people at my job really want to talk/hear about weddings so I don't really get to talk weddings during the day, but listening to you guys makes me feel like I’m talking to my girlfriends and just getting excited! So thank you!!!
Anyway, I have a question for you guys that I was hoping you could answer. My parents and my fiancé’s parents have helped a lot with our wedding that is coming up on October 12th of this year. My parents are paying for about 3/4 of it and have actually had a wedding fund since they knew they were having girls. They are so excited about it and also the best supporters ever. They never ever ever push their opinions on us and when we ask them for their opinions always want us to decide what my fiancé and I want. They are supportive through everything, listen to us talk about the wedding and even contact people for us. They were exceptional when it came to the guest list and only wanted us to invite who we wanted, they were so good I actually had to get stern with them to tell
me who they wanted because I want them to have the people they want to be there. Anyway, I can’t say enough nice things about either of our parents and feel very lucky. My fiancé and I would like to thank our parents somehow during the wedding or on the wedding weekend. I have thought about maybe paying for our moms to go the spa or something like that and I definitely want to make a very short thank you speech during the speeches of the wedding. But can’t think of anything else, do you guys have any suggestions for ways to thank parents at weddings? Things that you have seen or done yourselves? We just want to show them how much we appreciate them in some way even if it’s a little thing that we can do.
Thank you again for any help you can give in advance, I know you are both super busy and I really appreciate the time you give to all your listeners.
Answer: Hayley! Thank you so much for this email. We get SO many emails from listeners having a hard time with their parents during wedding planning - especially the paying/pushiness topic. Or people have really sad, difficult things going on with their parents and are struggling with whether to invite them or not! You are so very blessed to have the parents you do and it is clear that you don't take that for granted! I love this email.
Include them in toasts on the wedding day - making sure everyone there hears you thank them profusely for their support and love and also for hosting the wedding will be very impactful.
A spa day for your moms - or arranging something similar for them to do (maybe together?) the day before
Consider paying for the day-of hair and makeup of course.
A written thank you card - to each parent, from both of you, will be a lasting impression and I am always pro-thank-you-note.
Other fun ideas:
Include the songs your parents danced to at their own weddings as a surprise - tell the DJ to announce that it's a special song and why.
Display their wedding pictures at the wedding, or a current photo of them together is also a nice touch. Perhaps share why they’re so special to you.
Write out a thank you paragraph to your parents and put that in the ceremony program so that everyone can read it as they are sitting waiting for the ceremony to begin, and it's something your parents can keep afterwards.
Lots of options! All will be very appreciated, I'm sure. Hope this helps!
FB Group Question:
Friend as Day of Coordinator
Ask: Unfortunately, we are unable to afford a month-of-coordinator for our November wedding. We have a close family friend (who is organized) that was gracious enough to fill in for that position on our wedding day (so lucky). Does anyone have advice for what I’ll need to do to prepare and help her prepare for the big day? I want to make sure this is as seamless as possible for her. Thank you in advance!!
Answer: (Answers from Christy and other recent brides/grooms!)
Working on a full day-of timeline with her is the biggest priority. This will include every vendor's arrival time, start time and end time, plus day-of contact info. It will include the time that the venue is yours, the time the party ends, and the time strike must end. If the venue has given you any terms/conditions/rules, make sure you pass those on to her. The other big thing is the Ceremony Layout - it's like a map/guide that she will use to help facilitate the rehearsal and then she'll have it in hand when she is lining people up and cue-ing them for the processional. This layout should include the song selections for processional and recessional, plus any reserved seating assignments in the first two rows. -C
Some advice would be to have a detailed day-of timeline for them. Don’t forget to include who to take pictures of in case you need to organize people for family photos. Help them know who the family members are and introduce them to key vendors. Also, if they have authority to make decisions for you, let the vendors know. Oh, and make sure family and friends know to contact them and not you if you want that separation. Be prepared to enforce that if necessary. And lastly, appreciate and recognize them for their hard work. - Christopher (we consulted with him!)
One of the most useful things I’ve seen is putting decor in boxes by area and setting them in that area first thing- so people know exactly how many string lights you want on the patio for cocktails and how many in the fabric reception backdrop, for example. Also sending a photo folder to your DOC of how you want things set up. It saves bunches of time and questions! - Mandy, listener
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