Category Archives: 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths

Hiring the Best Wedding Vendors

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, Event Planner, Facebook, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Wedding Planning Checklist, Wedding Vendor Negotiation | No Comments

By Dee Gaubert | Owner, No Worries

Every year as the holidays roll around, the wedding industry clamors about “engagement season”- and yeah, this is the time, from December through January, where we get super busy taking incoming inquiries and generally book up to 60% of our dates for the coming year.  It’s appropos then to share some insight about booking wedding vendors.

Remember, there is no real barrier to entry for most wedding vendors.

A DJ has to have specific technical skills, sure, but has he or she practiced mc’g in front of large crowds?  A florist doesn’t necessarily need to be formally trained to start his or her own business. And wedding planners and coordinators need really NO technical training, nor does there seem to be any formal qualifications and standards set by a leading organization to follow. (Corporate planners can get their certified meeting planner designation, which is respected as definitive by the industry, but in the wedding world there are a variety of certification programs by competing organizations for weddings and none of them are considered “the” one to get.)

So when you interview a prospective vendor, it’s good to see how they are viewed in the industry. Do numerous venues sing their praises?  Is their Yelp page full of 100s of reviews? (Remember, Yelp isn’t the end-all be-all of legitimacy, but it is a good indicator that a business has been around for a bit.)  They don’t need to have graduated from “DJ School,” but they should have a solid level of experience and savvy in what they do.

Tray passed appetizers wedding vendors Los Angeles Wedding Jenna Janelle Rose Wedding photography cost of wedding catering

Your wedding: Not the time to go cheap on food. Tray passed appetizers here are by Huntington Catering Company, Photo by Jenna Rose (JennaJanelleRose.Com)

Benchmark prices carefully.

I know weddings aren’t cheap these days, and it’s a struggle couples go through. But if you go cheap on a vendor, you’ll pay a price.  I’ve had weddings where, to the person, the vendors that were charging below-market price were the ones with which we had significant issues – including a florist that was sloppy and left damage at a venue that would have cost the client hundreds to thousands in their security deposit. (The florist came back later and managed to fix the damage.)

First, put together a solid, cohesive budget.  Then, carefully compare prices from competitors in a variety of categories.  If there is a vendor that is significantly less expensive, there are a few reasons why:  1.  They may have another job, which isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s important to make sure they will uphold reasonable work ethic and response times, which is easy to check by calling a few references; 2.  They may be just starting out – so it’s important to see what prior experience they have, since anyone can pretty much get a business license for performing work in the wedding industry; and/or 3. They do a very high volume of work for very low prices.  I speak from experience when I say this means you will get a longer response time and less of a personal touch from these vendors, nearly every single time. For a wedding cake, maybe (maybe) this is no problem. For a photographer or DJ, you will want a more intensive flow of communication.

Norris photo los angeles church wedding vendor

A church wedding ceremony can be cost effective, support the community, and provide a gorgeous setting for your wedding. Photo by Don Norris (Norrisphoto.com)

 

A good wedding vendor sets boundaries.

My life changed a few years ago, when I added office hours to my contract.  A good vendor has good boundaries, and ultimately they help the client.  It’s important to know when wedding vendors are usually available (this blog post is helpful as to what is typical in the industry), and to understand that if a vendor can compartmentalize when and how they work for you, they can manage your event better because they are focused on pre-set, efficient work hours and deadlines and can be super productive in the times they devote to your project.

Does that mean I haven’t squealed with delight and texted right back to a client who shot me a photo of her dream dress at 7pm on a Monday night?  Or that I haven’t suggested a Skype at 8pm with an out-of-state client that works 60 hour weeks, or a weekend walkthrough of a venue? Of course, I am flexible and meet clients halfway whenever possible with my time. But be aware, and respectful, of wedding vendors, and ask ahead about when they usually take appointments and correspond with clients.

For more solid, realistic advice, my guide the Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths will steer you well; and hang around our Facebook page to learn when we’ve posted a new article on the blog.  Happy Planning!

Best Wedding Blogs: Companion to Wedding Myths Podcast #3

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, I Thee Dread, Internet Wedding Resources, J Huffman Photography, Offbeat Bride, The Budget Savvy Bride, The Productive Bride, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you’ve checked out my third “The Five Biggest Wedding Myths” podcast, then you’ve probably come here to get direct links to the websites I mentioned in the episode.  The third wedding Myth we discussed is “The Internet Has All the Answers” – i.e., couples may mistakenly believe they can seamlessly plan their entire wedding based on advice and tips online.  While there are tons of great info out there, that’s exactly the problem – there’s TONS of it, too much to wade through, and some of it is conflicting.

The interwebs can be handy when it comes to your wedding - like for sharing your memories on social media! Photo by J.Huffman Photography

The interwebs can be handy when it comes to your wedding – like for sharing your memories on social media! Photo by J.Huffman Photography

The podcast (and the book) illuminate how to interpret all the information you will come across with a discerning eye.  For additional doses of top notch tips, tongue-in-cheek humor, and stylish yet budget-friendly advice, I recommend these sites:

The Budget Savvy Bride

The Productive Bride

Offbeat Bride

Jezebel.com – I Thee Dread

There is one link in particular under “I Thee Dread” that really sums up one of the dangers of wedding planning:  Overthinking.  Sometimes couples dwell on a small, itty bitty detail that may not even effect the wedding day itself, and I urge them not to overthink things.  This post definitely helps adjust perspective when drowning under all the wedding details!  Remember – the most important thing is to enjoy the day to its fullest.  Keep things in perspective, so you can actually have fun and enjoy the planning process!

An Night Out For Brides: Fashion and The Five Myths

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, La Soie Pasadena | No Comments

I first thought of the concept “The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths” last year, in 2014, after consulting with many engaged couples that needed serious help navigating the wedding planning process. Confusion over budgets, vendors, and the DIY craze led to a lot of heart to hearts and troubleshooting sessions with my clients, all with excellent outcomes, but I realized a quick but concise guide about event planning was sorely needed in the market place.  It was my goal to educate the consumer in order to let the bride and groom feel in control of the planning process, not confused or overwhelmed.

One of my top recommendations for bridal salons is La Soie. Their salons are calming oases with absolutely stunning gowns. The ladies at La Soie Pasadena teamed up with us to host an evening out for brides, featuring a fashion show, a reading from the book with a Q&A, and delicious food from Amy’s Culinary Adventures and gorgeous (and yummy) cakes by Roobina’s Bakery. Photographer Shani Barel, videographer Shawn Tanowitz of Pivotal Media, and Lotus and Lily Floral and Event Design also contributed their talents, and Pop Champagne and Dessert Bar also provided libations. Very special thanks to all who made these elegant evening come to life!

Our monthly newsletter and podcasts about the Myths are full of expert, excellent tips for brides and grooms; sign up to receive emails here.  Happy planning!

All photos by Shani Barel.

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Blond flutter dress.shanibarel.com182

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Dress La soie with cake.shanibarel.com056

Garden roses Jackie lasoie.com116

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LASOIElace dress.com167

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The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #5 – “I can DIY my entire wedding!”

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Budget Weddings, DIY, Jackie Combs Lotus and Lily, Katie Robertson Photography, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Wedding Budget, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth 5: DIY/”Friend-or” weddings.

The DIY movement enpowers brides and grooms to add personal elements to their event, and fold in their buddies to the big day, as well.  We’ve had friends play guitar for the ceremony, or brides bake a grooms cake – small contributions make up for big, heartfelt gestures. But totally replacing a major vendor with a friend or your own DIY efforts? That’s flirting with – or hurtling headlong into – disaster.

One of the best examples of this myth is the “FRIEND DJ.” (Settle in kids – I’ve got a few fun stories for ya.)

Here’s the thing: music is inescapable. If the music is suddenly off, the WHOLE crowd notices. It’s also the international sign for, “Show’s over, Folks! Time to leave!” Unlike a drink that is a little too strong for one particular guest, or one centerpiece that is a bit wilty on a table of twelve, the music is everywhere and affects everyone, not just a handful of guests. Thus, your wedding tunes have a huge impact on the success of your event. At the end of the day, how much are you really saving?

A bride wisely provided her own lovely and easy to assemble candle centerpieces, but hired a professional florist (Lotus and Lily) for the more complex bouquets.

A bride wisely provided her own lovely and easy to assemble candle centerpieces, but hired a professional florist (Lotus and Lily) for the more complex bouquets. Photo by Katie Robertson Photography.

We no longer work events where a “friend is managing an Ipod,” and per our contract, all non-professional vendors are SOLELY responsible for the integrity of their work. For example, we’ve had a “friend-DJ” space out and not immediately turn the music back on after the bouquet toss, causing confusion and guests to start leaving. After our urging to get the music on, he panicked and had a hard time finding the next song – and by then, in just that minute or two that passed, we lost a dozen guests at a wedding that already had a low guest count. The wedding died out shortly thereafter.

At another event, a “friend DJ” did not know at all how to work the rental equipment, and had to use the one speaker on the venue’s property. This speaker was a low-quality piece of equipment that was typically used for the less complicated ceremony sound. So, it sounded muffled – like it was underwater: in a word, terrible. Even worse, this DJ started using an online song source ON HIS PHONE. The music stopped every time his phone buffered!

I mean it: Get a professional DJ, florist, officiant, – the whole nine yards. Also, most venues now require every vendor to have insurance, so right off the bat that takes away the option to involve an amateur.  Reserve friends’ talents for small touches, like providing the ingredients and recipe for their special signature cocktail, or to craft a lovely gift card box for you. Otherwise, let the pros safeguard your beautiful day with their savvy services.

Apply your talents to DIY touches you can do well before the event – like namecards, table numbers, or other printed goods.  Definitely don’t try florals – honestly, that’s a whole other blog post – unless you’re pre-building tissue or paper florals.

Make sure your vendors know your tastes and preferences so that the day is still all about you and your fiance’s personality – and then you, and your friends, can just relax and enjoy the day.  Happy planning!

The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths – Myth #4: “I can coordinate my own wedding!”

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Day of Coordinator, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

#4 in our series of the Five Biggest Wedding Planning myths: The risks of not working with a professional wedding coordinator.

Certainly, a bride or groom with common sense, an eye for numbers, and solid time management skills allow him or her to organize a wedding from the ground up. But no matter how on point you are, you need to be present as the guests of honor on your wedding day, not actually ‘working’ the day itself. It’s like a play – the lead actors cannot also serve as the stage managers!

Also there are logistical and permitting issues at play in a variety of cities, that the layperson is not aware of. Having the bare minimum of expertise to guide your wedding will save you from doing the dirty work of brass-tacks logistics.

A few things to keep in mind:

Vendors do not all communicate with each other or the venue. In other words, they often don’t know what they don’t know about each particular wedding until someone shows them a timeline, a scout video, etc. Once they receive that initial information, numerous questions and concerns come to the fore, and a coordinator can then expertly answer them, while the client focuses on more fun things – attending a flower mockup, trying on the dress one more time, and sorting out her guest list.

Most other vendors – like the DJ, onsite banquet captain, or photographer – hate taking over as coordinator. They do not have time to answer multiple questions or perform certain tasks (i.e., repurpose the bridesmaid bouquets to the head table; discuss adjusting the main course service time due to the bride and groom taking last minute sunset shots; coaching the terrified maid of honor through a dry run of her toast, etc.). The DJ is constantly adjusting volume and his or her mixing board, double-checking the speaker system, and prepping for the next toast or announcement. Your photographer is catching the most essential, important moments of one of the biggest days of your life, scanning the room for those special moments. They do not have ample time to circle back with the banquet captain to keep things flowing. The biggest danger here is going seriously off your timeline and running so late that you go into overtime with your vendors or the venue.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony.  Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony. Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Experience counts. There is no governing body that declares someone fit to start an event planning or coordination business. No bar exam to pass, or board certification to earn. Anyone an their mother (literally) can sell themselves as a planner, with little to no practical experience.

The assistance that a good, qualified coordinator provides is evident throughout the planning process, as well. Here’s an example of just a small percentage of the work – the tip of the iceberg, really – we recently provided to a coordination client:

  1. Advised on floor plan and gave floor plan changes to the venue manager, who mis-read them twice. That’s about 30 minutes and 4 emails back and forth that we took on, on behalf of the client. This is just a small sample of the hours and number of emails (typically 600-800 per event) that we expend on behalf of a client.
  2. Provided ideas for how to create risers and, thus, more space, on their favor table so there was enough room for their cute but bulky favors.
  3. Consulted with their DJ on a jam-packed timeline to ensure it went smoothly on the day-of. I sent multiple emails back and forth and drafted at least 3 revisions of the timeline, and ran it past multiple other vendors to ensure it worked with their service time frames.
  4. Advised on quantities for dessert bar; myself and my associate sat on hold multiple times with the bakery to discern how long the desserts would be stable at room temp, as well as to confirm delivery time.
  5. On the day of, we dealt with serious issues at the venue on the clients’ behalf. First, we showed the venue manager the contract to ensure everything we and the client originally confirmed with them, was provided accordingly. Then, we asked for a $500 credit at the bar for the client…and got it.

A coordinator protects your best interests and removes a lot of wasted time and guesswork from your planning process. As soon as you hire one, you’ve come the closest to truly guaranteeing your emotional and financial investment in the big day is fully realized.

Our door is always open for a complimentary consultation about the peace of mind and stress savings a coordinator can provide.  We can be reached at dee@noworriesep.com or 310-562-3306.

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth # 3 – The Web Has All The Answers

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, Wedding Budget, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

In this blog series, we’re tackling some of the misinformation and misconceptions out there about wedding planning. Today’s myth:  “Want to save money/time/stress? Just ask the Web!”

Like a lot of brides, we loooooovvee looking at wedding blogs, viewing the latest in advice and planning strategies, and absorbing all the great information out there.

While the web can help with wedding planning, it doesn’t have all the answers.  Each wedding is like a snowflake: No two are the same.

For example, Google ” save money on wedding” and you can find such dream-shattering advice as “Slash your guest list” or “have a cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner.” Picture 30 guests at a bunch of cocktail tables – that’s a happy hour, not a wedding!

No matter how stressful or overwhelmed you may get, this is the moment that's most important:  The walk down the aisle. Photo by Shani Barel.

No matter how stressful or overwhelmed you may get, this is the moment that’s most important: The walk down the aisle. Photo by Shani Barel.

Other budget tips simply don’t add up to much savings: “Have a backyard wedding!” (cue the restroom rentals, kitchen equipment rentals, etc. – before you know it, you’re way over budget). “Use bigger tables to save on centerpieces” – that’s a nominal savings – maybe $150 or so per table.

You get the idea – there are good strategies out there, but interpreting them for your particular event is the challenge.

That said, the web CAN be helpful, Just read between the lines. While the Internet is a huge source of inspiration, the reality behind the façade can best be found on uber-honest forums for brides. Try to hone in on regional forums geared towards brides in you area for the most accurate information.  Double check bids from vendors for accuracy and question any fees you do not understand.

We have knowledge that only comes from road-testing our expertise on over 100 events.  Call or email us anytime for a consultation:  310-562-3306 or dee@noworriesep.com. Happy planning!

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #2 – Haggling = Negotiation

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Event Planner, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Vendors, Venues, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Vendor Negotiation | No Comments

MYTH #2:  Haggling = Negotiation

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth #2: “I can haggle my vendors down to nothing!”

A powerful sign that a wedding vendor is worth every penny is when they don’t offer drastic discounts. That means a) they have experience and know-how, and understand exactly how much they need to charge to make sure you have all the resources (time, labor, materials, etc.) you need from them and b) they are so secure in their reputation and referral base that if you don’t choose them, then they’ll find another client who values them for their actual worth. It’s as if they are saying, “Go ahead – find someone new, inexperienced, and low priced, and best of luck to ya. I’ll wait for the next client who comes along and truly values me.”

Tip:  When negotiating, be reasonable. Fridays and Sundays almost always mean price reductions at venues; Fridays in particular have become very popular in the wedding world, and tend to last as late as Saturday night weddings. Also, meet the vendor in the middle – whether it’s shaving off an hour of the time frame for the photographer’s active time or letting the florist pick more cost effective blooms that still stay in your color scheme.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

Tip:  Also keep in mind the wide swings in pricing from one vendor to another. If Vendor A charges $1800, and Vendor B charges $1500, but Vendor C charges $700, something is way off with Vendor C.   That’s just the economics of supply and demand, simple as that. Vendor C may be a diamond in the rough just starting out and building their clientele – but you better check solid references on them just to be sure. Why? Because they have not established a market value – what the consumer is willing to pay for their services. And they won’t be charging that little for much longer at all, because eventually – no exaggeration – they will make more money slinging lattes.

 

Find a way to make it work, and remember the realities you are working with. Once you understand actual and realistic costs, you can learn to move forward making smart, cost effective decisions!

 

We’re no strangers to negotiation and far, win-win agreements between clients and vendors.  Contact us anytime here or at 310-562-3306.  Happy planning!

 

 

 

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #1 – The Bargain Basement Wedding

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Planner | No Comments

In this blog series, we’re busting the five biggest wedding planning myths, starting with this doozy:   “I can have the wedding of my dreams for a bargain basement price.”

The majority of our clients want a quite formal, high-end affair based on the gorgeous blog photos they see online or in magazines. Thanks to the numerous “10 easy ways to cut your budget!”-type articles out there in the world, many couples think that the average cost of a wedding (close to $30,000 at last survey) is exactly what they’ll spend – or less.

A perfect example of a fun, DIY project that can be done ahead of time - simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

A perfect example of a cost effective, DIY project that can be done ahead of time – simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

I wish I could say that was the truth in Los Angeles and other big cities. But several factors come into play, along with the metropolitan area you live in: Your personal taste; the venue, and so on. There is a unique formula that needs to be applied to exactly the type of wedding you want. For example, If you choose a hotel, you’ll pay a more inclusive price than a private estate – but at an estate, you can bring in alcohol and save on the bar service. There are a multitude of pros and cons. It’s hard to say exactly what is most cost effective, because no two weddings are the same.

 

A view like this doesn't come cheap.  Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks.  Photographer:  Dave Richards Photography

A view like this doesn’t come cheap. Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks. Photographer: Dave Richards Photography

 

TIP: Ask recently wed friends about realistic costs, hire a wedding consultant for an a la carte budget consultation, even ask for baseline quotes when contacting prospective vendors – do your research before investing one penny into your wedding day. A consultant can build a budget that entails every single cost down to the penny, from risers for the band you want to hire to the generator you’ll need at the state park venue you love so much. The budget may look way higher than you expect, but there will be no surprises. Another tip: ask to see a recently wed friend’s budget and ask about their total costs, if his or her wedding venue and scope is similar to your vision.

Above all, don’t rush your decisions. Look before your leap – and you’ll sleep better at night during the entire wedding planning process.

We offer complimentary consultations for all couples, an informative hour where we can illustrate further how important it is to truly know and research your budget.  Call or email us anytime – we’re happy to help!  310-562-3306  / dee@noworriesep.com