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5 Tough Wedding Day Questions Answered

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You’re planning your wedding, minding your own business and then from out of left field you come across something that doesn’t seem quite right. Or even better, you’re asked a question by a well meaning family member or guest and you aren’t sure how to respond. Sweet I Do’s has been doing this wedding thing for almost 10 years and we have the answers to 5 of the toughest wedding day questions, ever!

Can we bring our kids to your wedding (and you don’t want them to be there)?

The answer is simply, no. But nothing is simple in this minefield of a question. You don’t want to be the bad guy and tell everyone, no or get flak from actually daring to say you want an adults only wedding.

It’s okay, just say that due to venue restrictions you just can’t have any children at the reception. No one needs to know that those venue restrictions are coming from your personal preferences.

If you continue to get pressure to allow the kiddos, then state that your event insurance doesn’t allow for children at an event where alcohol will be served (this one only works if your wedding will actually have alcohol served).

If you are having your own kids or immediate family member kids only, then tell inquiring minds just that. The only children at the wedding will be immediate family.

Compromise - If you can swing it in your budget, you can offer to have a licensed and insured sitting service provide on-site care in a different area of the venue.

Is it okay to only serve beer and wine?

The answer is, yes, it is perfectly okay to only serve beer and wine at your wedding. We understand that alcohol can be expensive and having 100+ people drink for a few hours can cost big $$$$. Just don’t try and pull one over on your guests and have a secret stash of a little something for just you and your partner. It tough on the bartenders to have to tell people over and over that that particular thing is only for you.

We want all the money!! Can we just tell guests to bring cold, hard cash for our gift?

No! No, you may not. First, you never get to assume that someone will bring a gift to your wedding (they should, but you know abut that whole assuming thing). Second, while we have changed a lot of traditions with regards to weddings, asking for cash is just rude in any situation. People aren’t stupid. Create a small registry for the die hard gift givers and everyone else will get the idea - no honey fund or cute poem needed.

Plus ones, yay or nay?

This one is really hard for me. I’m of the opinion that no one should get to define another persons relationship status, level of commitment or ability to handle social situations. Trying to draw the line at married or not, number of years in a relationship, playboy or playgirl tendencies or how well they know and will interact with other people at your wedding is stressful and not something I think you should do. Just speaking from the heart here. Plan your guest list to give everyone a plus one. While I know it isn’t ideal to have potential strangers at your wedding, I promise unless it is a super intimate wedding, you won’t have time (or eyes) for anyone but the love of your life.

I’m not really close with my (insert family member here). Do I have to do the traditional wedding “things” with them?

No, you don’t HAVE to do anything. It is your wedding day. If you have talked about it with your partner and you both are on the same page, then do things your way. Having a wedding planner or wedding day manager will help make this situation go smoothly and no one will be the wiser. Our goal is to make sure that your day fits your vision and that you have all the best memories!

Have a question that we missed? Let us know!

4 Wedding Day Emergency Items You'll Forget To Pack

We know it will happen. It has happened before and it will happen again. My team and I are putting the final touches on a beautiful wedding and an embarrassed member of the wedding party comes up and says, do you have __________, we forgot to bring it. While we have yet to be stumped on a request (well there was that one time that the couple wanted special toasting flutes, but forgot to actually order them, but that’s a story for another day) we do want to tell you about the most forgotten items and remind you to put them in the bag, in the car.

Black Socks

We actually have 5 pairs of mens black socks in our wedding day emergency kit because this is the number one item that is forgotten. I know it’s weird, especially since more than likely the guys are renting their shoes with their suit or tux, but socks aren’t included. And no, your white knee high socks just won’t cut it.

Phone Chargers

We have chargers for both Apple and Android phones in our emergency kit because, while you may think about charging your phone at the end of the night, those babies are getting a workout on wedding day and you may need to charge them before the wedding to ensure they last all night long. Remember to pack the cords with the wall plug because finding a USB port is hard and no the DJ won’t let you plug into their laptop for just a few minutes.

Tampons

Yes, we said it. Pack some just in case. Again, we have some in our kit, but our brand may not be your brand. And nerves have a way of wrecking havoc on Mother Nature and her schedule.

Prescriptions

This includes all drugs as well as prescription glasses/sunglasses/contacts. While we do have some over-the-counter medications in our wedding emergency kit, we don’t care prescription anything with us and there are times when we’re in remote locations that don’t have a pharmacy around the corner.

A great wedding day manager will have a pretty extensive wedding emergency kit, but it won’t have everything. If you normally take it with you on an overnight trip, pack it and thank us later!

What Is In Our Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Let’s chat about wedding day emergency kits! So, I know that most couples when planning their wedding use Pinterest to help keep track of all the ideas and visions of things they like or want to have for their wedding. Inevitably there are pins on emergency kits that contain things to make sure your wedding day emergencies are covered. I thought it would be fun to talk about what a wedding day manager includes in her kit and the why behind it.

My kit is huge, for real, it is a four case rolling makeup kit plus side bag full of all the things you can think of (and a few I bet you can’t) that have been needed at a wedding or event. Take a peak…

Huge, right!?!?!

So what’s inside my Mary Poppins bottomless kit of all things wedding?

Typical Stuff

Yes, we have a ton of the typical stuff you’d expect to be in an emergency kit - Tylenol, Advil, Imodium AD, Pepto, Midol, Shout wipes, a Tide pen, tampons, pads, nail glue, eyelash glue, super glue, tape, envelopes, note cards, SO MANY PENS, lighters, scissors and on and on. Probably half of the kit is filled with things that are in your bathroom medicine cabinet and your kitchen junk drawer.

No So Typical Stuff

Then we get into the kinda unusual, but once you think about it it makes sense stuff - zip ties, s-hooks, t-pins, fabric glue, double sided fashion tape, a sewing kit, boutonniere pins, tweezers, hand sanitizer and so many more things. This would be the odds and ends in your laundry room and household repair kits.

Strange and Unusual

Finally we get to those things that just don’t seem to have a rhyme or reason - extra black socks, fake rings, garters, shoelaces, extension cords, umbrellas, bug spray, a cake cutting set, table numbers, batteries (every size imaginable), flashlights, chalk (a wedding dress’ best friend), cash, phone chargers (all brands), bungee cords, a complete tool set, a hatchet, garbage bags, toilet paper and that is just the tip of the kits goodness.

Everything in the kit has been needed at at least one wedding or event. And sometimes the emergencies just keep happening and the kit keeps giving up all its treasures. I can’t remember a time that I was asked for something and was unable to make it happen (thank goodness for over prepared wedding day managers).

If you’re a wedding vendor, what is the most unusual thing in your kit? If you’re getting married, what is the one thing you hope your wedding day manager or wedding planner has in their kit? Just married, what did you need to use from your kit (or your manager or planners kit)

5 Reason You NEED To Plan On Doing A First Look

You’ve met with your photographer for your wedding day and they ask if you want to do a first look (or maybe they don’t ask (sigh), which is another blog post entirely). Before you make up your mind, check out 5 reasons this wedding day manager feels that you NEED a first look.

  1. Timing

This is probably the biggest reason I strongly recommend having a first look. If your wedding day manager or planner has worked your timeline to its fullest advantage, you would be done getting ready at virtually the same time regardless if you were planning on a first look or not. Where timing gets a little sticky is after the ceremony. The sunset waits for no wedding and getting a little behind in taking pictures after you get married means you run the risk of pushing the rest of the night into crunch mode. Having a first look means you have more time after the ceremony for whatever you need it for and you know you have amazing images from earlier in the day.

2. Calm those nerves

This is a big one as well. Even if you’ve been with your partner forever, you will still be nervous on your wedding day - nervous to be getting married, nervous being up in front of all those people, nervous seeing the love of your life on the day you pledge to be together forever. Taking those 15 minutes to just see each other, talk to each other, touch each other will make all the difference in the world. And you will still feel all the butterflies when you see each other at the end of the aisle for the first time.

3. Enjoy cocktail hour

You spent all that time picking out fabulous food and drinks for cocktail hour and then you don’t get to enjoy it. Why? Because you spend the entire cocktail hour taking pictures. Having a first look can cut that picture taking time in half (depending on when you ask your family to arrive for pictures before the ceremony). We see this as a win win situation for everyone. You get to enjoy cocktail hour, your photographer has more time to capture your wedding day and your guests can even sneak in a few extra minutes with you.

4. Photographers love the extra time

Sometimes timing just is against us and things happen - people are late, dresses don’t fit quite right, spills happen and the time that the photographer would have been able to use to capture detail images and cocktail candids gets eaten up capturing wedding portraits, wedding party and family images. By having a first look, you free up your photographer to grab all the detail shots and fun candids that happen during cocktail hour. Plus they can get creative with the time that they do have to take you to fun location and try interesting poses.

5. Venue disadvantages

You may have found a venue that only gives you a certain number of hours for your ceremony and reception and there just aren’t enough hours for everything that you want to do. Or it is a pretty place, but doesn’t have that “wow” location that you’ve always dreamed about for wedding pictures. By having a first look, you can get more bang for your buck. I know, how will scheduling a first look that takes time work in your limited time favor? Hear me out. Scheduling a first look allows you to pick the spot and decide how long you want the session to last - first date location, favorite park, water background, desert back drop, the choices are almost endless. Plus, you can take as much or as little time as you’d like (just let your wedding day manager or planner in on it so they can schedule the timeline accordingly).

I know there are a few things that may cause you to question having a first look.

It’s tradition.

You’re right, it was tradition, back when couples were part of arranged marriages and the parents of the bride didn’t want the groom to run away. All joking aside, if you are truly tied to the tradition of not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle, consider a first touch or blindfolded first look.

I won’t have that “wow” moment/feeling.

You will have that moment, promise. If you have a first look, you get to have that moment twice. Nothing will take away that feeling of seeing your beloved walking down the aisle to pledge themselves to you.

I have limited time with my photographer.

Most photographers have a time limit on their package. If you are already having them capture getting ready moments, then they will be there pre-ceremony anyway. If you are not having them there pre-ceremony because you feel you need them through the end of the reception, work with your wedding day manager or planner and shift all the must have moments to the time period before the photographer leaves for the evening. Doing this will allow your time to begin earlier and you can have that first look.

4 Things You Should Expect From Your Wedding Day Manager

We understand! Planning your wedding is hard. This is probably the first time you have planned something this large, with this many moving pieces and to be frank, this expensive. You want to know that you have made all the right decisions and spent your hard earned money well. So you hire a wedding day manager (day of coordinator, planner, wedding manager, etc.) to help with the stress and to ensure your hard earned money and all your tough decisions play out perfectly. How do you know you’ve put your trust in the right person? Take a look at 4 things you should expect from your wedding day manager.

Involvement

Your wedding day manager should be involved before the week of or day of your wedding. While not a full or partial planner, they are still responsible for knowing your vendors, venue and your vision for your wedding day which they can’t reasonably do if they don’t get involved sometime between 2 and 3 months prior.

We are passively involved from the moment you sign our contract - gathering documents, reviewing contracts, offering referrals and being available to answer questions. We become actively involved 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding - working on your timeline, floorpan, reaching out to your vendors gathering needed day of information and working with you to put all the little details together.

Availability

Like any business your wedding day manager may have office hours and may have even limited communication based on the package that you purchased with them. Totally understandable, we have them too! However, their availability to you should not be completely cut off until a certain date passes. Not being available to you before a certain date means that they have to go into potential crisis management mode and play catch up, plus they can’t advise you on decisions that may have consequences that you are unaware of.

We want to know all about your wedding! Talk to us as much as you would like!! We are available to answer questions during our business hours via email starting the day you sign your contract. We want to know what is going, what you are thinking and how your wedding day vision is evolving. Knowledge is power and we want all the information!

Communicative

This one should go without saying, but your wedding day manager should communicate with you on a semi regular basis, from the time you contract until your wedding day (monthly communication at a minimum) just to check in and make sure everything is still proceeding on schedule. What shouldn’t happen is that you send them some money and then not hear from them until your official “start work date” occurs.

We talk to you about how often you want to hear from us. If you want us to check in every couple of months, we will. If you want monthly check-in’s we’re happy to do that as well. Our open door policy truly encourages you to reach out to us as well!

Friendliness (and TBH controlling, too)

Your wedding day will be one of the most emotional days of your life. You will experience high highs and low lows. You need a friendly face around and you also need to know they are in control of the entire day. Your wedding day manager should be friendly but in control at all times. At no point in the time leading up to your wedding should you feel like a burden, like you aren’t important or that they aren’t in control.

One of the reasons we like to talk face to face before you hire us is so you can get to know who we are as people. What you see is truly what you get. We want to ensure that we click and that you trust us absolutely. On your wedding day we are your cheerleader, your advocate, your director and yes, occasionally your bouncer.

If at any point in your planning process you don’t feel that your wedding day manager is fulfilling your expectations, have a sit down chat with them. You need them to be in your corner every single step of the way.

Haven’t hired someone yet? Reach out and schedule a FREE consultation so we can get to know each other, let’s see if we click!

Wedding Hot Button Topic - Venue Coordinators versus Wedding Day Coordinators - Is there really a difference???

We exhibit at a bridal show a couple of times a year. We love meeting all the newly engaged couples that are looking for ideas and of course are looking for vendors like us to help make their wedding day amazing! One of the things that we have noticed lately, more so than other years, is the influx of people commenting that they don’t need a wedding coordinator, their venue has a day of coordinator included in their price. When we ask what specifically is included, the answer is - “They say they do everything you do, so to not waste our money.” This makes me sad on so many levels because 99% of the time it just isn’t true. And by the time the client figures it out (if they ever do) it is way too late to do anything about it. Keep reading to learn more about what they typical venue coordinator does and what we do.

Venue Coordinator

Also known as a venue manager, and can be merged with a maitre d’ or banquet captain, venue coordinators are working for the venue. That is who is signing their paychecks and who they must keep happy in the end. They handle all of the details specific to the venue - tours, bookings, contracts, communicating with set up staff, banquet staff and housekeeping/maintenance.

Some venue coordinators will do some minor set up of client provided items. Some will do a little more. They will more likely than not leave before the end of your wedding reception and hand you over to someone you have never met before and knows nothing about you or your wedding beyond what their BEO states. Venue coordinators have a high turnover rate so the person you starts with may not be the person you finish with. If there is a dispute or issue that concerns the venue, they will focus on the best outcome for the venue and not you.

Wedding Day Management Specialist

Also known as a wedding coordinator or day of/month of coordinator, wedding day management specialists are working for you, the couple. You are the one signing their paycheck and you are who they must keep happy. They handle ALL of the details for ALL of the vendors including the venue - meeting vendors, reviewing contracts, creating and maintaining the timeline, assisting with all aspects of the wedding day from the minute you wake up until you leave the reception.

Most wedding day management specialists will set up client provided items. The majority of them will stay until the end of the night. If they are working multiple events, you will know in advance and will know and have worked with your lead coordinator prior to the day of. If you have a dispute or issue with the venue they will be your advocate and have your best interests at heart. They know you, know your wedding details and your vision. They know all the things that are the most important to you.

Big Picture

There are some AMAZING venue coordinators out there. They work well with all the vendors, they care for their couples and do way more than the average.

We love working with most of the local venue coordinators!!!! But they don’t do everything we do.

The great ones will welcome an outside coordinator with open arms because they know that they can’t focus all of their attention on the client and they can’t handle all of the details, especially if they are trying to handle multiple events at the same time. They know that by working as a team, nothing will be left to chance, that all the bases will be covered and that any issues will be dealt with quickly and with little to no disruption of the wedding.

If your venue coordinator tells you that you don’t need an outside coordinator, please stop and ask them why. Ask them to provide you a list of duties they execute, in writing. Then use our handy guide to compare what they do versus what we (and most coordinators) do.

10 Things You NEED In Your Wedding Day Getting Ready Room

It’s time!!!! Grab your wedding dress, your veil and head over to your bridal suite to begin getting ready, it’s time to get married!!

Before you head out, take some tips from this wedding day manager on a few extra things to grab, just in case -

(Oh, and a little heads up - We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. What this means is, if you click one of the links and purchase a product on this page, I receive a small monetary compensation from Amazon. The price you pay is not increased in any way to cover this compensation.)

Now for the good stuff!!!

Reusable StrawS

You’ll want these throughout the day, but especially after you have your lipstick on. Not only do you need to hydrate, you’ll want to keep your lipstick fresh and keep the possibility of spills down to a minimum!

Button-down Shirt

We know that the cute t-shirts that match are all the rage. all over Pinterest and let’s be honest, you want them for the cute pictures! Instead, opt for a cute button-down shirt with embroidery or in fun colors to make it so much easier to get changed into your dress without messing up that expensive hair and makeup.

Snacks and Water

Please, please, please take (and eat) some healthy snacks and loads of water to drink while you’re getting ready. You will be so busy - getting ready, taking pictures and saying those I do’s (YAY!!!) that staying hydrated and having energy will be the last thing on your mind, but will be the first thing you miss (especially if you’re the type that gets hangry).

Needle and Thread

Inevitably someone will pop a button, rip a seam, or tear a dress. Be prepared with a small sewing kit.

 

Spray Deodorant

While spray deodorant may not be your thing typically, you’ll want some on your wedding day. Trust me, you’ll want to apply one last time after you get into your dress and apply some on your thighs (chafe on your wedding day will not be your friend)!

Shout Wipes and a Tide Pen

Spills happen, especially when you have a lot of people in a small space, with make up and hair products and snacks and drinks and possibly even little ones all in one place at one time. This is another one of those would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it things - trust me!

Note Paper and a Pen

Take a few minutes while your getting your hair and makeup done and write down a few things that you love about your partner and a couple of memories from the day. Send the note to your partner and then keep it to look back on.

Charger Cords

I know this one seems like a no brainer, but I can’t tell you hw many times I’ve been asked for an extra cord for a phone, iPad or Kindle (and I have them all). And make sure you bring the wall adapter.


 

Fashion Tape

This one isn’t just for you - depending on the dresses your ladies are wearing they may need to keep things more secure - no wedding day wardrobe malfunctions!

 

Boutonniere Pins

So, this one is for the guys! If your florist doesn’t use magnet backing, they will typically only send one pin with each bout. You will need two - get the black headed ones and make sure they are extra long!

 

I know that you don’t want one more thing to think about, and if you are a Sweet I Do’s client, these are things we have for you because we want you to be in the moments and making the memories! If you aren’t a client, reach out and see what we can do for you!

First Looks - They Aren't Just For Your Spouse To Be

Some of my favorite moments of a wedding happen just before the ceremony. I adore watching all the details come together, seeing all of the beautiful people and watching all the moments unfold. As a wedding day manager I encourage a first look - it helps with nerves and it allows you to get a ton of the formal, posed pictures out of the way allowing so much more time for couples portraits.

But first looks aren’t just for couples!

I also strongly encourage (if it is at all possible, I know sometimes it just can’t happen) a first look between a bride and her dad, a groom and his mom, a bride and her mom, a groom and his dad or any other combination. Having those moments when a parent sees their child, all decked out and about to walk down the aisle about to become someone’s amazing spouse, recorded for all time is so very precious. Images evoke memories and these memories can be so emotional that I want to ensure that if it is at all possible to arrange, it happens. Taking those five minutes now will be so worth it in 20 years!

Ask your photographer to help make this happen!

When your photographer reaches out and asks about your must have images, ask to have this moment added in to the mix. It can be done just prior to your first look with your future spouse and won’t add that much time to your timeline. Keep it sweet and simple and have your makeup artist on stand by to do a little touching up before you cast eyes on your fabulous spouse to be!

Wedding Alcohol Calculator

Buying the alcohol for your wedding? Have no idea how much to buy? Let us help! Check out our guide below!

Tips

  • Buy in bulk and/or by the case. Most Sam's Club and Costco's will allow you to shop without a membership and will accept returns of unopened bottles/cases. Bevmo will ice and deliver your alcohol if you purchase more than $500.00 in products.
  • Make sure to get a licensed/insured bartender to serve your alcohol.
  • Get event/wedding insurance with an alcohol rider to protect yourself and your guests.
  • Ask your bartending service if they provide glasses, ice, napkins, mixers, etc.
  • Tip your bartender through their contract/personally and ask that they not put out a tip jar.

 

You Can't Save Money By Avoiding the "W" Word

And trying to lie about it may cost you in the end!

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You've gotten engaged and are busily planning your wedding. You think you have a good idea what everything will cost. You start shopping around and discover almost everything seems to cost more that you expected!!!

The Myth

You do a little research and think you've discovered the reason - everyone out there (i.e. all the "experts" on the internet) claim that you're paying more because you're using the word "wedding". That there is this huge conspiracy of professionals that are part of the "wedding industry complex" just waiting to take advantage of you.

The Reality

Wedding professionals do typically charge more for a wedding. Now, I know what you are thinking - "I told you I was getting taken advantage of by saying it was for a wedding. I'm just  gonna say it's for a party and save some $$$$!"

You may save some money, but you will lose many, many things.

The Losses

  1. You'll lose your professionals trust. It's not a great way to start a relationship by lying to your vendors/professionals. They won't trust you for the rest of the night and trust is a hard thing to work without.
  2. You may void your contract by lying. Big deal right? Once they show up what are they going to do, leave? No way! They'll still do the work, so you win a discounted fee for the same service, right? Wrong!!! They can chose to leave, to refuse to work unless their fee (probably at a higher cost then if you had just told them the truth) is paid or hold your end product hostage until you pay up.
  3. They won't be properly prepared for your wedding. Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt because you lied and said it was a casual party versus dress clothes - a real possibility! Show up a little late because timing isn't critical to a birthday party - sure thing! Bring the incorrect items or amount of items because you didn't give an accurate head count or portray the importance of no substitutions - count on it! Reduce the amount of staffing because it is just a party and has no critical moments or needs any extra care - yep! And the list can go on and on...
  4. You'll lose the time and extra care that goes into a wedding. I know, I know, every event should have the same amount of time and care, but reality is a wedding is a one time, one shot deal. Every pro that I know takes a little more time, a little more care, puts little more work in when they know that they have one chance to capture/work/create that once in a life moment.

Truth

Do you want to know why products and services cost more for a wedding?

Because there is a level of expectation with a wedding that doesn't exist with most other events.

Photographers capture more images, have more people to pose, have a vested interest in making sure that every single image is flawless. And to do this it takes TIME and TALENT, both of which cost money.

Florists hunt up the most perfect blooms they can find, spend extra time arranging and rearranging those blooms, spend extra time ensuring each and every flower will withstand the rigors of posing, moving and handling that occurs during a wedding. This takes TIME and TALENT.

Bakers spend more time ensuring that every decoration, every angle of a wedding cake is perfect. Typically a head baker handles the wedding cakes and an apprentice or new team member handles low key event cakes to "practice" on.

Do you see the recurring theme here - TIME and TALENT.

Weddings take more time and talent to execute. To get that Pinterest/IG worthy wedding takes time and talent.

Time and talent rightfully cost more money. You wouldn't be happy if someone came into your place of employment, had half the skills and education you did and worked half the time you do, but made the same salary as you. Why would you expect your wedding professionals to work for less and produce more?

I know this seems preachy, and it is. This lie that we charge you more just because has got to die. We charge more because we do more. If you don't see how or understand why, please just ask. We'll be happy to explain all the more that you get when we are working a wedding versus any other event.

Did You Really Hire That Vendor? - Why You Need to Double Check and Then Check Again

You've been busily planning your wedding for months.

You've reached out to a ton of vendors and picked your favorites.

You're fairly certain that everything on your checklist is completed and all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted.

STOP!!!

If you don't have a planner or coordinator working for you to follow up and ensure that everything is done, contracted, paid for and confirmed, you need to take a step back and look at everything again.

What you need to look for

Starting with your venue and going down the list of all of your vendors and yes, even those small Etsy purchases and Amazon Prime shipments, double check that 

1. Every contract has been fully executed and details out specifically what you are getting and when you will be getting it. If you don't have a contract, double check that the receipt shows paid in full, what you ordered and when you will receive it.

2. That all payments have cleared your account. Regardless if you paid by debit card, check, auto-withdrawal or some other form of payment check to make sure you can prove that you have paid everything in full.

3. Remember that conversation you had with your florist after your consultation about adding an extra corsage to your order and that you wanted flowers for the cake? Check to make sure it got added (and paid for if necessary).

4. Keep track of all online purchases and make sure that you completed the transaction and you know when the items will arrive. Be diligent if your estimated shipping date has passed and reach out to get a revised date. 

5. If you aren't sure that something will be provided, ask the question. It's better to ask and find out you need to get it versus expecting it and having no way to get it on your wedding day.

I have coordinated so many weddings where something was implied or casually discussed and never made it into the actual orders for the wedding - cake stands, extra flowers for the cake, cake toppers, cute favors that never shipped, things that got delayed and couldn't be used at the wedding and couldn't be sold or returned afterwards. Protect yourself from that moment of sadness when you realize that something that meant enough to you to find and order it or ask for won't be happening - track your vendors and purchases and revisit this list frequently to ensure everything is exactly the way you want it and arrives on time!

Bonus!!!

You can use this checklist of purchases when packing everything to take to the venue, then nothing will get left behind!

 

Waiting to Hire Your Wedding Vendors at the Last Minute? 5 Reasons You May Want to Change Your Mind

I know there are a TON of articles out there telling you about all the amazing deals you can get if you wait until the last minute to book your wedding vendors. What I found interesting was none of them addressed the things that can go wrong if you wait until the last minute. Always one to remedy a known deficiency in providing information (lol), here are the horrible, bad and just annoying things that can happen if you wait to hire your wedding day team.

1. Limited choice

And by limited choice we mean in both actual vendors that are available and dates that are open. Usually the "best" vendors, venues and dates are booked a year (or more in advance). While you may luck out, that is truly what you are doing, spinning that luck wheel and hoping it lands on what you've been dreaming of. Reality is you will probably be settling on almost all of it. But we still say spin the wheel, reach out to your preferred venue and vendors and ask about your date. 

2. Limited selection

While you may score a great deal with your florist, cake, or caterer, chances are you may end up sacrificing your wants and dreams for what they "can get on short notice". I've had clients ask for a candy or dessert table the week of their wedding. While normally I can accommodate them, they are limited on what I can provide to what is locally available or what I may have on hand. Sometimes they are really disappointed that they can't have their favorite treats in their very specific wedding colors. If you are going to go this route, be super flexible and roll with what can be procured for your fabulous wedding.

3. Potentially booking a weekend warrior, a new vendor lacking in experience or the vendor that no one else wants to book

I hate this one as it implies that ALL weekend warriors or new vendors are bad. They aren't. But there are pitfalls associated with hiring them. They may not have the flexibility to meet with you in your very limited time frame (and it will cause you stress trying to work into their schedule). They may not have the knowledge to quickly and efficiently work their way into your wedding timeline. As for being left with the vendors that no one wants to book, that is a definite possibility if you wait until the absolute last moment to hire a pivotal vendor. In some cases however, something is better than nothing. Don't skip a vendor just because they may be new or only work on the weekends.

4. Being forced to hire someone without being able to do all the research and vetting needed

A condensed time frame to hire means you have little to no time to research and compare vendors. To look and see if they have a license, insurance and are a proper business. To get references or look at reviews. In a nut shell, no time to actually make a thoughtful considered decision. I would think twice before I hired a critical vendor that can't quickly and easily provide at least proof of insurance and a business license.

5. Thinking you're going to get the deal of a lifetime

You may, or you may end up paying rush fees and premiums, or you may pay exactly the same as if you had booked months earlier. There is no guarantee that any vendor or venue will cut you a deal, just because they happen to be available. Some vendors may feel that you don't value their profession because you waited. Some may prefer to work for full price or not work at all. And some may be thrilled to fill a date in on their calendar, even if it means working for a little less than normal. Be prepared to pay full price, but it doesn't hurt to ask the question on if they offer a discount. The answer is always no until you ask the question.

If you're a flexible couple that truly just wants to get married and doesn't want to (or can't wait to) tie the knot, go for it! Look up a fabulous coordinator (like Sweet I Do's) to help with all the details and make everything run as smooth as possible.

3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a "Part-Time" Wedding Vendor

Let me tell you a story. It is 4:30 in the afternoon of an amazing day.

I have a super cute couple that will be walking down the aisle at 5:00.

My assistant and I are in the reception hall setting up the final details when a friend of the bride asks me

where the flowers for the bride and bridesmaids are.

I’m slightly perplexed as I spoke with the florist and she assured me that everything was set and ready to go. I go over to the bridal suite and look around. I see a cascading orchid bouquet that is falling apart, a few individual calla lilies and not much else.

I text the florist (this is the only way she will communicate as she has a full time job that doesn’t allow her to take phone calls during the day) and ask where the bouquets are at

and I will never forget her response

“when I went to the wholesaler yesterday, the roses that the client wanted didn’t look right so I just substituted individual calla lilies instead.”

I was floored and the bride is almost in tears.

Communication was rough all along with this vendor, but for her to make the call to just change the order, without prior knowledge or agreement of the client was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

While I took up this huge mistake with the vendor I was driving to the local Trader Joe’s (this was a destination wedding) picked up some gorgeous white roses, created beautiful hand tied bouquets and my couple walked down the aisle on time (this is the main reason I highly recommend you hire a wedding coordinator by the way).

So there is a happy ending and a moral to the story.

Throughout the whole process this vendor was difficult to talk to, she could only meet on certain days, at certain times and would only communicate through text. She would not return phone calls, would not confirm details and was very unprofessional. She was a weekend warrior and didn’t take the commitment she made to clients, that paid her, very seriously. While not all part-time vendors are this egregious when it comes to taking care of clients, it does happen more often than not.

In the end my team was able to save the day, maintain the timeline and stave off tears and stress, but we shouldn’t have had to.

When choosing your vendors, don’t be afraid to ask the question – “Do you do this full time?” and if the answer is no find out what limits their job will place on their ability to do their job properly.

1. Limited availability

Part-time vendors usually can only meet when they are not working or do not have other life commitments. While all vendors will have limits to their availability most full time vendors will have ample options during the day and at night, during the week and on weekends.

2. Unable or unwilling to utilize all forms of communication

Part-time vendors usually cannot take personal phone calls while they are working their “real” job. They may also be limited as to when they can check and respond to emails and text messages. Full-time vendors can answer their phones whenever they are not with another client or working with another client and have fewer limitations as to when they can respond to email and text.

3. Unprofessional business approach

Part-time vendors have a tendency to skip the necessary items to running a business – business licenses, insurance, contracts, back up plans and staff. Full-time vendors know that they are holding your dreams in their hands and they want to ensure that you have every confidence in them and their business.

While my story had a mostly happy ending, the vendor never apologized for the stress and drama she caused. She didn't willingly refund any money. She didn't care and that is probably the hardest lesson that clients that hire part-time vendors may have to learn - some of them just don't care about their clients.

Full disclosure and reality check - I have worked with loads of "part-time" vendors, but you would never know that they were running their business part-time. They are fabulous!! At the beginning of my journey I was a "part-time" vendor, but none of my clients knew it. It has a lot to do with you as a person, how well you can handle multiple tasks and how you structure your business. I won't say that you have to steer clear of "part-time" vendors, but do your due diligence and understand exactly what you will be signing up for. 

Happy Wedding Planning!

Guest Blog - Professional Wedding Planning Advice; What The Experts Want You To Know

Every once in a while we get asked to offer some tips and tricks for other wedding and event professionals to include in a blog post. Please check our latest advice on how to help ease the stress of bringing together two families during the wedding planning and wedding day! 

Professional Wedding Planning Advice; What The Experts Want You To Know

Thank you to Phoenix Party Bus for asking us to help couples make things a little easier during their wedding planning.

What was the most stressful thing for your family when you were planning your wedding?

Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). We help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we're focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.

Don't Make This Wedding Budget Mistake - Plan For Gratuities, Thank You Gifts and/or Tips!

When creating a wedding budget it is so easy to remember to account for all the big ticket items – venue, dress, photographer, flowers. But, it is easy to forget all the little things that can quickly add up. One of those little things that is usually forgotten is the gratuity or tip for your service providers. Should you tip every single person that provides a service? Not necessarily. But knowing who and how much ensures that your budget doesn’t take an unnecessary and unpleasant hit in the last few days leading up to your wedding. To help you make a more accurate budget and to navigate the tricky waters of tipping, we’ve created a handy checklist and provided a little bit of insight into the murky waters.

While no one should ever expect a tip or gratuity, certain service providers are almost always tipped, while others only receive one if they have done and amazing job and have went above and beyond what they were contracted to provide.

I am going to fly in the face of tradition on aspect of tipping – if a service provider (be they the owner of the company or just a hired employee) go above and beyond what they are contracted to provide, if they make everything more amazing than you ever felt possible, or provide you with those few extras that you wanted but couldn’t get, tip them. Going above and beyond their contract means that they didn’t include it in the cost of their original services and are not getting any money for doing it.

Wedding Planner –

Your wedding planner has been there from the beginning. They organized all of your hopes, dreams and ideas and kept you grounded when you needed it. They don’t expect a tip, but if they went above and beyond what you contracted them to do, show them you appreciate it. Send a heartfelt thank you card when you get back from your honeymoon (or before if you aren’t leaving right away) and include a tip or personal gift. If you can, include a few pictures that they can use in their portfolio of them in action.

Hair Stylist and Make Up Artist –

Your team of beauty experts has made you picture perfect for the day that you are the center of attention. You will have more pictures taken of you this day than you have since the day you were born and they are the ones that made sure that your look came together. Just as you would tip your salon stylist, tip your beauty team. Have a few blank thank you cards with you and jot down a quick note as your team is cleaning up to leave. Have a big bridal party utilizing their services? Have everyone write a few words in the card. When your photographer arrives, have him take a few pictures of the team in action and a few close ups of the amazing job they did and send them along when you get a chance.

Officiant –

Without your officiant, your wedding is just a wonderful party for you and your family. If your officiant has done an extraordinary job in telling your story, created an amazing and unique ceremony that is just for you, added elements that require research or additional work or have just done an outstanding job in performing your ceremony thank them by giving them a token of your appreciation. Ask in advance what the guidelines are for tipping your officiant. Church pastors, priests and rabbis may be prohibited from taking a personal cash gift, but you can make a donation to their personal fund or church.

Ceremony and Cocktail Musicians –

Ceremony musicians lend ambiance to your ceremony, they set the mood, may have to learn new songs and add that certain something to your wedding. Tip them if they have had to learn all new songs for your ceremony or if they have created something custom and unique just for you.

Photographer/Videographer –

These are the two vendors that give you lasting, concrete items from your wedding. They will spend hours on site with you and even more hours editing and putting together amazing albums and DVD’s for your viewing pleasure. Definitely tip any second shooters, as they are more than likely not getting an equal portion of the original contracted amount. Consider sending along a tip when you see your final products, or send your thank you cards, especially if they deliver their final product sooner than expected or if they throw in a few extras like prints or a teaser video.

Reception Staff –

Includes your venue coordinator, maître d’, banquet managers and servers. Check your contract and ask if the included service charge is a gratuity that will be split among the day of staff or if it is an additional fee. Also check if there is a gratuity line, to whom does it go to and how is it split. If anyone goes above and beyond, please tip them a little something extra, and offer any left over cake, food or favors to the staff. The same with any fresh flowers, who doesn’t love a little something pretty to take home?

Reception Attendants –

By attendants I don’t mean your bridal party, but the people that attend to the needs and wants of you and your guests – bartenders, wait-staff, parking attendants, bathroom attendants and coat-room attendants.  As with reception staff, check the contract for included service charges or gratuities and ask who will receive a portion and how the portion will be split. If there is no provision for these attendants, ask for a head count and plan accordingly.

Reception Band/DJ –

Responsible for so much more than just pushing play on a computer your reception band and DJ guide the flow of the party and assist your coordinator on keeping the reception on track and on time. Be especially aware of tipping this pro if you have asked for a number of obscure songs, have an extensive must play/do not play list or have a complicated reception that requires a large amount of emcee work. Make sure you take care of any sound technicians or other assistants that help with making your reception the party you wanted it to be.

Transportation –

Check your contract to see if this is included, but be prepared to tip your driver. Be generous if you ask for additional stops, run late, or have a mishap in the vehicle. Make sure to budget for guest transportation gratuities, as well as your own transportation. Generally be prepared to tip, in cash, after the last guest has been dropped off or you are safely ensconced in your hotel at the end of the night.

Optional vendors to tip – once again flying in the face of convention, there are a number of vendors that other resources will tell you not to tip, that I feel, if they have gone above and beyond, deserve a little note of appreciation.

Bridal Salon –

If the salon goes out of the way to ensure your clothing and accessories are to you by arranging for special delivery, adjusting their hours or fitting you in to a last minute appointment, send a note and some yummy cookies or flowers to the staff. The smaller bridal salons will also love reviews and a few professional pictures of their lovely gown and accessories as well.

Cake Baker –

Again if the baker goes above and beyond what they are contracted to do such as changing the cake and frosting flavors the night before, repairing a cake that has been damaged or working around a difficult delivery situation, send a note along with a tip and some amazing professional pictures for use in their advertising.


Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). We help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we're focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.