Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Should Social Media be a part of your Wedding?

Whether we like it or not, social media is an integral part of our lives.  I once had a bride who used social media sites to detail her every wedding move.  The result.... by the time the special day came around, she was crazed with all the advice others were giving her and she was disappointed because nothing was a surprise to her guests.
Social media can be a great way for you to decide what friends and family know about your personal and professional life.  You may have a thousand friends following you, but are you prepared to invite them all to your wedding?  

There are social media etiquette points that should be adhered to when planning your wedding.  When you become engaged I recommend going the formal route by sending an announcement in the mail not by blasting it on social media.  While it may be less expensive to announce your engagement through social media it is far more special to receive an engagement announcement in the mail.  And while you might think it’s okay to detail your every move from selecting shoes to buying a wedding gown and picking flowers, your documentation can be seen as a bit self-centered and less about sharing excitement.

My advice to brides, refrain from over-documenting your wedding planning and actual wedding on social media sites.  Leave a little to the imagination and more for your wedding album.

Until next time ...


Friday, March 4, 2016

How many Bridesmaids will you have?

I recently came across this article from which lists Charleston, SC as the "Bridesmaid Capital of the United States" averaging over 5 bridesmaids in a typical wedding party.

I must say that I have seen more of a trend to smaller wedding parties and personally, I prefer it.  My opinion is to just let your friends and family enjoy the day without having the formal commitment of a role in the wedding.  Also, think about the budget, not only do your bridemaids have to spend more on dresses, hair and make-up, you have the extra expense of bouquets and gifts which can add up quickly.

My recommendation is to keep the bridal party small and just focus on a wonderful experience for all of your guests.

Until next time...


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How much can you realistically expect to spend on a New York City wedding?

I am baffled by the amount of misinformation that is published regarding the cost of weddings.  As a result, brides are confused about what they realistically need to spend.  I do think it is time for a reality check.

What really made me feel the need to speak out was this article I recently saw in the New York Post: Why Your Wedding is Ridiculously Expensive?  As I started reading, I thought the article had promise as I agree that cost of weddings, especially in New York City, has been on the rise.  When I got to the quote that the average wedding cost in New York City is just over $16,000 I was floored that any publication could print such misinformation.  My current rule of thumb is that couples can expect to spend at least $1,000 per person.  While brides may scoff at this number,. when they start to add everything up they see it is a very real starting point.

Fortunately, there is some accurate information on the internet from reliable sources like the Knot who is quoted in this article on Average wedding cost.  Also, there are wonderful destinations that are far less expensive.  This is why I love planning weddings in Charleston and the Finger Lakes; you can get so much more for so much less.

Well, I have said my piece and would love to get feedback from other New York City planners about your thoughts.  I feel more wedding experts should speak up so that accurate information is provided to brides and grooms  

I look forward to hearing from all of you and...


Friday, February 19, 2016

How to Book Wedding Room Blocks

After my brides and grooms have chosen a date and confirmed their venue we take the next step in confirming hotel room blocks for guests.  While my team and I do this almost every day, the process for those who don’t have the pleasure of a planner can be a bit confusing.

Today I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks to securing rooms for your wedding guests.

The first thing you need to do is determine how many guests will need accommodations. Remember, if you’re expecting 100 guests it would generally mean about 50 rooms. However, keep in mind, unless your wedding is a destination you most likely can cut that number to 25.  And if your wedding is a destination, you want to make sure you have enough rooms for all your guests.

Once you know the number of rooms I recommend making a list of all the hotels in and around your wedding venue.  Start with calling the larger hotels and work your way down to the boutique hotels.  When calling the hotel ask to speak with the person in charge of room blocks.

Keep in mind there are several ways hotels will set aside rooms for your wedding.  There’s a thing called “the courtesy block” and one called a “financial guarantee”.  We always recommend staying away from the latter. We prefer a courtesy block allows you to set aside a certain number of rooms (usually 10 on the outset without putting any money down) at a reduced, fixed rate.  The hotel will require you to sign a “contract” but that contract usually states that within 30 days of your wedding they will release any un-booked rooms into the general population.  The latter (the financial guarantee) will ask you to sign a contract and either put a deposit down on each room. If all rooms are not booked you will have to pay a percentage regardless of whether or not the room was booked.  Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want to pay for something I didn’t use.  So that’s why we always shy away from that option.

The great thing about a courtesy block is that as the rooms fill up you can often ask the hotel to add more to the block, of course subject to availability.

We always tell our clients to keep a few things in mind.  You can certainly go onto or other sites and find the same rooms and sometimes they may be at a reduced rate.  And sometimes the hotel will match that rate, but often they do not and in reality they have no control how a site like that buys up their inventory.  Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have someone with say, an AARP discount, they may not be able to get both the room block rate and their discount.  So if they want the bigger discount they may not be part of your block.

We also recommend giving your guests a choice of hotels with different rates.  Let’s face it, everyone’s budget is different so it’s nice to help your guests out.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while you may want all your rooms to be together, the hotels can’t guarantee it no matter how often you beg and plead for the rooms to be together.  So if your uncle is upset that your grandmother can’t be next to him you know why.

And finally, while it’s great to give gift bags or boxes as guests arrive to the hotel, keep in mind there may be an additional cost.  Most hotels will charge to distribute at the front desk and most dread when you want each to be placed or delivered to the room.  The reason, guests don’t show, they change rooms and then the hotel staff has to chase down where each guest is staying.

So while it may be a bit of work, I hope this helps you as you set forth and help to make your wedding guests stay a bit more comfortable.

Until next time…


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Don't give in to pressure from a wedding vendor

I love what I do!  I truly do, so when people ask my occupation I’m all too happy to tell them.

Recently I was speaking with a bride and I asked all the typical questions.  When’s your wedding?  Where are you having it?  And who is she wearing?  So red carpet of me, I know.  But as a wedding planner I want to know!

She proceeded to tell me what I would equate to a horror story.  She and her mom went to a few wedding dress boutiques in Dallas.  She told me none of them really had what she wanted; however every time she told them she was getting married in September each proceeded to get a look of horror on their faces.  One in particular told her she was way behind the eight ball and she needed to get her wedding dress that day or she would risk not having a wedding dress on her wedding.  So, reluctantly she put a deposit on a dress she didn’t want.  The more she thought about it the more nervous she got and the more nervous she got the worried she got and until the point she wanted to change the wedding date so she didn’t feel so pressured.

Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Flanagan

Honestly I was mortified any wedding boutique would play this card.  I’ve planned weddings in 4 weeks, some in two months and never were my brides not able to find a dress that they felt like a bride in.  The woman at the boutique even talked her out of going with an Israeli designer telling her the dresses always get stuck in customs and she should go with the dress she tried on.  Now it is true some dresses take longer to make, some take longer to fit, but why put added stress on the Bride just to sell a dress.

There are few things wrong here.  First, as wedding professionals, our job is to ease any worry the bride might have.  That’s not to say we don’t manage their expectations by cautioning them on this and that.  Our job is not to cause more stress.  Second, this is the prime example of why wedding planners exist.  Our job is to take that burden of worry off their plate and to solve problems.

Out of curiosity, I called a NYC boutique who carries the particular wedding dress the bride liked just to see if the dress she liked could be ordered in the timeframe she needed.  Indeed it could be ordered and there would be no issues with customs or fittings.

Photo Courtesy of Maring Visuals
I’ve yet to find out how this story ends, but I can say this, shame on any wedding vendor who uses scare tactics to make a sale.  And shame on the wedding boutique in Dallas that did just that!  That’s taking advantage of the situation and putting unwanted fear when there should be none.  All wedding professionals should be just that, professional, kind and manage expectations without the use of fear.

Until next time…


Friday, January 8, 2016

Myths in wedding planning

Every so often I come across an article that I think is spot on and I feel needs to be shared with my readers and anyone planning a wedding.

I have to shre this article from the Huffington Post because I think it is so on target.  It discusses a number of misconceptions in the wedding industry and what is the reality.  With so much information on the internet, much of which is really not accurate, I think it is important to be able to see the truth.  Just click on the link below and you will see what I mean.

I would love to hear your input on the article and some of your experiences planning a wedding.  Feel free to leave your comments.

Until next time...


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Communication is key when planning any wedding

A couple of days ago I wrote about “Who to Please When Planning Your Wedding” and it occurred to me I never truly closed the loop on how to handle unruly family and friends when you are planning your wedding.

While I’m not a family therapist, and have no intention of becoming one, (although some days I do feel like I play the role) I often have to step in and iron out family matters and smooth over ruffled feathers.

Photo Courtesy of Maring Visuals
The truth is, families are complicated and they get even more complicated when planning a wedding.  The mothers want to feel like they are contributing, especially when there is a planner involved.  Some siblings want to help, but aren’t sure where they are needed.  And others members of the family really don’t care or perhaps they care too much.

So what is a bride to do when it comes to planning her wedding and dealing with family dynamics?  Communication is the key…While it may not solve all problems and while not everyone involved will truly understand, communication is the key to almost any relationship.

I often recommend to my brides and grooms who have sticky family relationships to sit down and clearly communicate what their vision is for their wedding.  Notice, I said “their”.  It’s because it is about the bride and the groom, that’s not to say others opinions shouldn’t be counted, but in the end it is about the bride and groom.  By clearly communicating what they desire it will hopefully be a springboard for how others will react and respect their choices.

Photo Courtesy of Fifth Avenue Digital
Also, by clearly communicating the roles they wish family members to take it will help set boundaries and in the end open the lines of communication.  I’m not saying there won’t be heated discussions here and there, but what I am saying is that if everyone comes together and clearly communicates their desires, their wants and their “don’t want’s” then it puts everyone on the same page and it creates mutual respect.

Again, I’m not a therapist, and I don’t pretend to be one, but after many years of planning weddings with hundreds of different personalities' the one thing I’ve learned is that if everyone is on the same page, whether they want to be or not, it does make planning a wedding a bit easier.

Until next time…