wedding

4 Reasons You Should Hire Professionals (and let Uncle Bob attend as a guest)

I get it, truly I do. Getting married can be expensive. You will probably experience sticker shock at least once during the planning process. And it may be tempting, especially if you have any well meaning family members or friends that “do (insert product/service you are looking for)” as a hobby or maybe even “professionally”, to save a few dollars and either ask for or take them up on an offer for a hugely discounted or free product/service.

9 times out of 10 THIS WILL BE A MISTAKE. Why? I’m so glad you asked!

You’re Not A Client

I’ll say it again for those in the back. You are not a real client with a contract to protect you and the person providing the service. A contract can be the single most important thing you will receive from your vendor team. It will detail out what they will provide, what you need to provide, when it will be provided and it provides you with protection in case they don’t show up or perform according to the terms of the contract.

You’re Not A Client (Again)

We have a tendency to not have as high of expectations from family and friends as we do a complete stranger. We also tend to not want to be as aggressive and self-serving when it comes time to ask for the things we truly want. And family and friends tend to think that because you are family or friends that it’s okay to not be as on, as complete, as on time, as professional, as honest as they would be with a stranger. After all you still have to sit across the table from each other at Thanksgiving or see each other at work or spend time socially together after the wedding.

Your Venue May Not Allow Non-Professional Vendors

This is a big one, especially anything to do with food, music and flowers. A professional vendor is typically defined as someone with a business license and more importantly general liability insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000.00 in coverage. Most hobbyists don’t carry insurance and aren’t operating a true “business” (reporting income, paying taxes, registering with the proper agencies, etc.).

They Have No Backup

Have you ever asked someone to house sit and the day before have them say something came up and they can’t help you out? Have you ever asked Cousin Sue to make cookies for a party and have to throw them in the trash because they look (and taste) terrible? Have you every asked someone to help set up tables and chairs at Thanksgiving and have them get there late (with no warning)? No big deal in these situations, but on your wedding day, it could be a disaster. Running late, not showing up, bringing inedible food are all things that (typically) don’t happen with a professional unless it is life or death. And even then, a professional will have a network of other professionals to take care of you.

Reality Check

That picture at the beginning of this article really happened at a wedding I coordinated. I didn’t know until the day before that the client was self-tenting their reception space. I was assured that it would be okay, that additional sandbags would be used to anchor the tent. And I was counting on the weather to be typical Arizona weather and be gorgeous. Between a freak wind storm and a non-professionally staked tent, the picture above was the situation we had on our hands about 2 hours into the reception. The professionals that were on hand helped handle it and we took the entire structure down to ensure that we didn’t have any injuries due to flying tent pieces. But could this whole thing have been avoided by hiring a team to install the tent - you bet!

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.

Real Wedding - Michelle & Andrew's Wedding Candy Buffet - Grayhawk Golf Club - Scottsdale, Arizona

Michelle & Andrew wanted something to add a bit of whimsy to their semi-destination wedding at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. They reached out to us and together we created a pretty pink and gray candy buffet that was just a little bit whimsical and a little bit classical and a huge hit with their guests.

The Details

Michelle & Andrew chose a few classic candies and a few fun candies to complete their vision. Guests were able to select chocolate or yogurt covered pretzels, strawberry or pina colada gummy bears, Trolli Strawberry Puffs, watermelon rings and pink and gray sixlets (these are delicious! They taste like a Whopper but have the consistency of milk chocolate!!). The treat containers were pink and gray organza bags with a cute personalized tag. Floating candles, silver votives and a fun sign completed the table.

Real Wedding - Debbie & Steve's Wedding Candy Buffet and Dessert Table - Anthem Country Club - Anthem, Arizona

Debbie & Steve are an amazing couple that wanted a beautiful wedding and to celebrate with their families and friends. Debbie's mom reached out to have us set up a fun candy and dessert table that was filled with chocolate and a couple of non-traditional dessert items.

The Details

The gorgeous Anthem Country Club was the setting for Debbie & Steve's candy buffet and dessert table. Guests were treated to traditional M & M's, Snickers, Hershey's fun size bars, doughnut holes, chocolate covered Oreo's and popcorn for that salty touch. The guest treat containers were organza bags in wine and cream with a personalized tag - "It was sweet of you to join us! Steve & Debbie March 17th, 2018"

Real Wedding - MaryJo & Perry's Wedding Candy Buffet and Dessert Table - Anthem Country Club - Anthem, Arizona

MaryJo & Perry are the cutest couple! Their wedding was all about their guests and they did everything they could to create an amazing experience, while still keeping it personalized. Their wedding took place at the gorgeous Anthem Golf Club in Anthem, Arizona.

 

The Details

MaryJo & Perry loved the idea of having old fashioned candies, mixed with some amazing desserts and alternative options to a full on candy table.

Their guests were able to choose from yogurt pretzels, brownie bites with caramel and chocolate drizzle, pina colada licorice, kettle corn, doughnut holes, root beer rock candy sticks and York Peppermint Patties. The guest treat containers were kraft tin tie bags with a personalized label and hand applied copper and grey ribbons (the wedding colors).

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!

 

Real Wedding - Sharnay & Seth's Wedding Candy Buffet - Las Sendas Golf Club - Mesa, Arizona

We were contacted by Sharnay's amazing sister Monique to help bring a touch of color to her sister's wedding at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Wanting to keep it classic and still full of yummy candies, Monique, Sharnay and I worked together to choose candies that fit into the color scheme of the wedding and were delicious to eat.

The Details

Guests were able to choose from silver and white sixlets, yogurt raisins, classic Hershey's Kisses, silver wrapped lemon flavored hard candies, silver and white milk chocolates and yogurt pretzels. Sharnay and Seth chose organza bags in silver, black and burgundy for their guests to take their treats home in. We added lovely silver mercury candle holders and floating candles in clear glass vases to add a touch elegance to the table.

Real Wedding - Nastaran & Mehran - Chateau Luxe - Phoenix, Arizona

Every wedding should tell a story, a love story of two people who want nothing more in this world than to share a little bit of their love and happiness with their closest family and friends. Nastaran and Mehran brought together family and friends from all over the globe for their gorgeous Persian wedding aghd (ceremony) and mehmoonee (reception). Every detail reflected their heritage, their love and most importantly to them their family ties. From the ceremony that included traditional Persian wedding songs sung in Farsi by Nastaran’s mom to the presentation of the gifts from the parents to the couple to the private vows presided over by Nastran and Mehran’s church priests every moment was part of a beautiful homage to their Persian culture and family values.

The Ceremony

Their ceremony, held in the beautiful entrance of Chateau Luxe under the gorgeous chandelier, was a mix of western wedding traditions and Persian wedding traditions. There was no wedding party, however Nastaran and Mehran’s sisters acted as ceremony emcee’s and guided the guests through the ceremony elements, read excerpts from the Quran and acted as witnesses to the signing of the marriage certificate. Nastaran’s mom sang traditional wedding songs in Farsi (a hauntingly beautiful language). The aisle was roped off so that Nastaran was the first person to walk down it towards their Sofra Aghd. The Sofra Aghd is a low table that is at the head of the aisle and in Persian weddings takes the place of the traditional arch or other item at the head of the aisle in a western styled wedding.

Mehran was waiting at the head of the aisle for Nastaran to enter with her mother and father. After a number of readings from the Quran read by their sisters, the couple was asked a number of questions by their priests. Unlike a western wedding, these questions and their vows were private and only the couple and the priests were aware of what they were at the time (they were repeated later for video purposes). After the ceremony, Nastaran graciously shared her vows with guests that asked – “I swear to our love. I swear to our lives. I swear to every single moment together. I swear to your smile. I swear to my life. I will always love you until the end of our every moment together. I love you and everything you are. I will stay your love until the last moment and beyond“ (this is the English translation of her Farsi vows). 

The Reception

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour with traditional Persian appetizers - kibbeh maklieh (lamb with mince and pine nuts), falafel and puff pastry stuffed with beef. A mixed reception followed the cocktail hour (traditionally Persian weddings separate the genders and only the groom is allowed to be in the same room as the women). This is when the party began! Nastaran and Mehran wanted a western styled grand entrance with their families getting to dance into the reception space, and the dancing didn’t stop for almost 30 minutes! The majority of the guests finally took their seats to enjoy dinner – chicken shish kebabs and beef koobideh on a bed of roasted tomatoes, grilled carrots and saffron rice and were back on the dance floor in what seemed like minutes. There was a small break right after the traditional knife dance (to bless the knife prior to cutting the cake) and then the dancing continued for the remainder of the reception – almost four straight hours! 

At the end of the night, the couple asked for one large group picture, gathered their gifts and left to enjoy their wedding night and honeymoon. They were still dancing as they left!

Meet the Fabulous Vendors

Venue/Catering/Cake - Chateau Luxe

Coordinator - Sweet I Do's

Photographer - Rachel Baker Photography

Videographer - Corona Films

Hair & Makeup - Makiaj Beauty

Pianist - Nathan Jude

Dress - Silhouette Bridal

DJ - Reza Ghorbani

Officiant - Mr. Dehghan and Mr. Mostaghim

 

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!

Desert Boho and Romantic Desert Wedding Style Shoot at Tercero Weddings by Aldea in Glendale, Arizona

Have you ever had an idea in your head that you just can't seem to forget about, no matter how busy you get or how many other things are going on in your life? When I first heard about this fun and fabulous new wedding venue that was going to be opening on in the west valley of Phoenix, an idea planted itself in my head and wouldn't leave, no matter what. An idea that I, after being in business for almost 9 years, should design a styled shoot, and not just any styled shoot, but one that would showcase some of my favorite vendors, introduce me to a whole new group of "friendors" and allow me to add some gorgeous pictures to my portfolio. The result, a collaborative styled shoot that had 7 photographers, 2 couples, 2 designs and a ton of amazing details!!!

The Vendors

Venue - Tercero Weddings by Aldea

Photographers - Amber Kay Lonski PhotographyGraced by Light Photography              Poppyseed PhotographySandra Patricia PhotographyShea Brie PhotographySweet Sunday PhotographyTwin Lens Studios

Coordinator/Designer - Sweet I Do's

Florists - PJ's Flowers & Events (romantic desert design) | Poppy Design Co (desert boho design)

Cake/Desserts - Amour de Sucre

Rentals - Tremaine Ranch

Stationery - Paige Poppe Art (desert boho design) | Posh Invitations (romantic boho design)

Farmhouse Table/Benches - Elegant Farmhouse Designs

Lighting - Divinity Event Lighting

Menswear - Celebrity Tux & Tails

Bridalwear - Lovely Bride Phoenix

Hair and Makeup Artist - Makeup by Carmen Orduno

Models - Julie & Brian Read (romantic desert design) | Gina Baker & Ryan Warling (desert boho design)

The inspiration

Living in the middle of the desert in Phoenix, AZ you would think that it would be almost impossible to draw any inspiration from our landscape. When people think of the desert they think of scorching sand and loads and loads of brown and tan nothingness. And while typically true, we have some of the most amazing sunsets and right after the rains our desert turns a beautiful variety of succulent and cacti greens with the most vibrant flowers imaginable. I drew my inspiration for the desert boho design from those colorful sunsets and cacti blooms pulling in magenta, purple, orange and yellow. For the romantic desert design I looked no farther than our beautiful succulents choosing the soft greens, pale pinks and almost translucent blue/gray.

The result

Having 7 photographers taking pictures of the same designs in the same location may seem like over-kill, but I saw it as an opportunity to see what 7 different styles and perspectives of the same elements would look like. I have to say I was thrilled! Check out some of my favorite images in my galleries for each photographer.

Be sure to follow everyone on IG to see more of their amazing work (links below)!

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert wedding at Tercero Weddings by Aldea Image by Amber Kay Lonski Photography Glendale Arizona

Amber Kay Lonski Photography

IG - @aklonskiphoto

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists boho bride in bridal suite at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Graced by Light Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Graced by Light Photography

IG - @gracedbylight_photography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho bride and groom at Tercero Weddings by Aldea images by Poppyseed Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Poppyseed Photography

IG - @poppyseedphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert floor level wedding guest table at Tercero Weddings By Aldea image by Sandra Patricia Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Sandra Patricia Photography

IG - @sandrapatriciaphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert wedding bouquet at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Shea Brie Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Shea Brie Photography

IG - @sheabriephotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho wedding cake at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Sweet Sunday Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Sweet Sunday Photography

IG - @sweetsundayphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho wedding guest table at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Twin Lens Studios in Glendale, Arizona

Twin Lens Studios

IG - @twinlensstudios