wedding family stress

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!

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.

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.