saving you money, may cost you more

Everyone (no matter how much money they have) has a budget or total investment in mind when it comes to planning their wedding. Perhaps it’s a total dollar amount and for some people it’s a dollar figure by vendor category (photographer, planner, catering, et al).

Your choices on how much to invest in each area of your wedding is primarily based on personal importance and what you deem is worthy for your investment.

less experienced vendors:

Often less experienced vendors will offer a lower price point when compared to a more seasoned wedding veteran. And it’s understandable to lean towards these vendors because you can save money. The DJ that has great equipment, but really never worked at a wedding. The planner that is earnest, but has no previous experience, nor resources. The photographer that does really great portrait shots, but has never shot a wedding.

It’s your money and it’s your wedding. But before you sign on that dotted line, please take this into consideration.

Sometimes what may seem to be saving you money, may cost your more in the end. We’ve seen it happen too many times over the ten years we have been planning. We watch our brides grow frustrated at the lack of returned phone calls or emails. We watch them be concerned at whether or not this newer vendor will perform what they have promised.

We receive the 2 am emails from our brides…

[quote author=”Stressed Out Bride”]I can’t sleep and my mind is racing about Vendor Z because I haven’t heard back from them for weeks. Are they going to show up? And now they are complaining that they don’t have this or that. What should I do?[/quote]

It takes all the restraint in the world to not answer, “Why did you hire them in the first place?”

Sure you may save $500 or $1,000 or whatever dollars. What is it worth to you in having peace of mind? 

hiring friends as your vendors:

We were just chatting with a 2012 bride this weekend. Her exact words to us were:

[quote author=”Real Bride”]Please blog about NOT HIRING friends as vendors. We were pretty disappointed with our photos.[/quote]

It happens all the time. A friend is a friend, and it’s hard to mix business with pleasure. Especially if there are problems to discuss.

plan on!


wedding insurance …

“Insurance” is certainly not your favorite wedding topic, but an unfortunate reality. Don’t believe me? Call some couples on the east coast this past weekend. Over a year in planning and *poof* a hurricane named Irene comes through and cancels your big day.

There are other super-duper good reasons as well…

  • Venue requires additional liability insurance (many venues here locally require this)
  • Wedding vendor goes out of business
  • State or County shuts down reception venue
  • Additional liability insurance to cover private residence wedding/reception
  • Additional liability insurance to cover mishaps from guests drinking at the bar (yes, extra…even with licensed bartenders. Remember, attorneys and insurance companies go for the deepest pockets).
  • Illness or accidents to Bride or Groom
  • Wedding vendor never shows up
  • Venue construction prohibits wedding from taking place
  • Natural disaster
  • Photographer’s storage discs are stolen or damaged at wedding
  • Wedding gifts stolen
  • Property damage to rentals or venue

Okay, we’re freaking you out! BUT THESE THINGS HAPPEN.

We recommend visiting WedSafe. They have been in business since 1999 and are Underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company – Markel has a rating of “A (Excellent)” from A.M. Best. They are competitive and should be looked at, even to compare to adding an additional liability package off of your homeowner’s insurance.

This is what you’ll want to purchase:

[boxparagraph]Event Cancellation / Postponement Plus Insurance and Liability Insurance and Optional Host Liquor Liability[/boxparagraph]

There are ten different levels you can choose from (you can get a free quote online right now without filling out personal information). The average wedding in this area would be looking at $350 – $450. A drop in the bucket when you look at all the other expenses you’ll have.

Just think about it. We’ve had numerous weddings where our clients, HAD they purchased wedding insurance would have been able to recoup some of their money from rental companies and contracted vendors.

ps That photo was taken after quarter-inch hail and thunderstorm came through during dinner at a private, outdoor residence wedding reception. We lost the band because all their wires were submerged in 4 inches of water. Clients would have been able to recoup the rentals, some decor and the band expense.

plan on!


cash bar vs open bar

Ever have this happen to you? Your good friends invite you over for dinner and as they serve your meal with a nice glass of wine, they inform you that your drink will cost $3.50. I hope you brought some cash.

I know. This has never happened. But it does at weddings and honestly, guests feel like it is the same thing. I’m not suggesting that every wedding couple have a fully stocked, open bar for their guests. Depending on the size of the guest list and the venue, that could be cost prohibitive. Your goal is to offer a variety of beverages to sooth your wedding guest’s tastes.

Complimentary beer and wine is pretty much the status quo. An alternative for the hard alcohol lovers is to pick 1-2 signature drinks. This won’t dent your pocket book as much as a fully open bar and you are being a good host.

featured photo credit: jesse and gena

plan on!


tip your wedding vendors?

My clients ask me about tipping the vendors all the time. Yes, you really should tip a vendor that has done an exceptional job – unless the gratuity is already included (for instance, read your banquet & catering contract). However, I have to stress, to tip or not to tip is solely at your discretion.

But here are some tips on tipping (hehe, I crack myself up):

· You will want to have separate gratuity (cash please) placed in envelopes prior to the wedding day. You won’t have time to fumble around. And you can give these to your wedding planner to distribute.
· Tips you should remember: limo drivers, valet, bartenders, musicians, hair/makeup artists, altar boys/girls etc. Tipping your photographer, DJ, wedding planner, florist, etc is your call. Ask yourself if they went above and beyond?
· Incorporate tipping into your budget early on so you aren’t surprised.
· In the very least, always send every vendor a hand written thank you letter. Heck, we’ll take emails even!!! Vendors work so hard every single weekend making sure their clients have the best wedding day they possibly can – we really appreciate a thank you and take it to heart!
· Priests and Ministers are not “tipped”. It’s a donation to the church and the typical amount in this area is $100-$200. Protocol is to put the cash in a thank-you card and give it to the best man to deliver. Never have you coordinator do it – it’s too impersonal.

plan on!