free wedding planning advice …

While we are veteran wedding planners (twelve years), we still learn things at each wedding. Seriously. Something new, all the time! Even though we have pretty much experienced (almost) everything.

So today, for you DIY couples that are planning your own wedding without the advice or direction from a professional planner, I’m going to give you some free advice.

free advice on wedding planning:

  1. Never ever, assume. This seems obvious, but this mistake happens all the time. You assume the bartenders will clear the tables after your wedding. You show your florist a photo of a centerpiece that you like and you are excited to see the low estimate for the same centerpiece. You assume the cake person will create a cake that looks just like the Pinterest photo that you gave them.
  2. Ask questions. You should clarify and ask what everyone’s roles are at the wedding reception. Bartenders do not clear, they set the bar and serve. Your floral estimate is within your budget (yay!), but you should know that it may mean there will be a lot less flowers in that centerpiece. Is that what you want? You think your cake will look like your photo and be placed straight on the your vintage cake stand, but instead it arrives like this:

cake

So why does this happen? I believe it is because we are all so busy and have so much information to process on a daily basis, that both sides think they are understanding what the other is saying, but they don’t. No one is being malicious. So my advice, which I will also follow, will be to ask certain questions, clarify the plans, and not take for granted that another person understands what you are wanting.

photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

how to cancel your wedding …

This week’s breaking news in the wedding world, is Bristol Palin (daughter of Sarah Palin) has cancelled her wedding for May 23, 2015. She did so, only four days away.

First, let me say, canceling her wedding is very courageous of her. At this point, everything is already paid for, so refunds aren’t an option. The family announced that they are going to have a party to “celebrate life”. I agree!!! Don’t let those stuff mushrooms go to waste!

Now you may think, SURE the Palin’s can cancel their wedding, they have got a lot of money. Listen, we’ve been through this with our clients. “Rich” is all relative and trust that no one wants to lose money or face the “embarrassment” of canceling a wedding. In other words, no matter what your economic status, it’s a challenging time for everyone involved.

what to expect if you cancel your wedding:

  • You are forfeiting your initial deposit, retainers, or payments made to any vendors. In some instances (and you’ll want to review your agreements that you signed), you may have to pay the vendor in full, whether or not you have the wedding. Venues, wedding planners, catering, decor – depending on when you cancel and their contract, you may be liable for the full amount.

Note: please don’t be mad at them for this. This is your situation and decision.  You initially selected and hired these vendors because you loved their work. If you cancel your wedding, they most likely have already turned away other couples. You would not want them to fire you because a higher paying client came along after they committed them.

  • Understand that businesses (small or large) have blocked out the date of your wedding so it is a loss of revenue for them. It’s unfortunate and difficult, but it’s the bottom line. Many will try to work with you. Photographers granting a credit for future photo shoot. Florists that may apply your deposit for another party. It depends on the vendor and when you have cancelled.
  • Be prepared for a lot of questions from friends, family and maybe feeling embarrassed. But don’t let that get you down. Hold your head high and push through. Better to lose some money now, than get married and divorced months/years from now. Trust me, it is way more expensive and heart breaking.

tips on how to cancel your wedding:

  • Try to do it as early as possible, gives you more time to negotiate with vendors.
  • Contact your planner first! He/She have relationships with these vendors and can give some valuable insight on your next steps and how to negotiate.
  • If a vendor cannot refund your money, then get creative. For instance, a venue that has been paid in full. Go to Facebook and your other vendors to see if there is another couple that would like to assume your date for maybe a discounted price? If the venue will allow it.
  • Sell your wedding dress. There are lots of online sites that can easily facilitate this.
  • Sell any DIY stuff you have purchased or gift to another bride. You won’t want this stuff lying around reminding you.
  • If you have sent out invitations to the guests and then cancelled your wedding, you will need to send a formal written announcement that the wedding has been cancelled. Don’t get into the details. Something like:

Friends and Family,
We regret to inform you that our wedding on May 23, 2015 has been cancelled. This is the best decision for us, at this time and hope that you will continue to think of us in your thoughts and respect our privacy during this difficult time.

  • If you have cancelled your wedding, but have only sent out the Save the Dates, it is my humble opinion that it is not necessary to send out written announcements. Some will argue with me on this. But my viewpoint is this: you have simply given a date and city and asked guests to pin this on your calendar. If you send out a formal announcement you will be bombarded with phone calls, text messages and lots of well-intended (but nosy), questions. Instead, have your wedding party and family discreetly get the word out to your guests.

If you have to make this decision, we wish you strength and peace!

featured photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

10 things to stop saying to a wedding planner …

Wedding and event planning is often an industry that is envied by many people. Because it just seems so easy and fun. What they don’t know is the dark parts. Here are a few things that wedding planners would like you stop saying to them.

1. I planned my own wedding, I could totally do your job!

Awesome. Planning your very own special day and selecting every vendor, making every single decision to please yourself is EXACTLY like running a business. Where you have to sell your services, please dozens of brides at the same time and get hundreds of vendors on the same page.  It’s exactly like that.

2. People actually hire party planners in this area?

Nope. I pay my bills with little sweet paper notes outlined in glitter and sticker hearts. Took awhile for my mortgage company to get on board, but they finally did after our eleventh year in business. And don’t call me a party planner.

3. Would you like to help us with our (insert any name) charity?

We adore charities and giving back to our community. However we are a small business and simply cannot donate full-blown decor for your 600 person gala. Besides, we just met you 3 minutes ago, so perhaps you could give us another 20 minutes before you ask for donations?

4. My daughter wants to be a wedding planner, can she come shadow you?

Thank you for the employee referral. We actually prefer our potential team members to reach out directly to us, send in a resume, and read our website. You see, we carefully watch how they come across and if they can follow directions.

5. I would love to help you with your next wedding!

Awesome. Just so you know you’ll be giving up your Friday evenings and your entire Saturday. At most weddings we spend an average of 12+ hours on our feet working. Sound, good? Them: *crickets*

6. How much do you make?

When is this ever an appropriate question to ask someone? Next we’ll be sharing our number of sexual partners. I guess what you are really wanting to know is if this is a viable business that you could make a living doing, since you see me being successful. I’ll put it this way, there are many other jobs I have had and made more money. But those jobs sucked the life out of my soul every single day.

7. Your job must be so fun.

It is fun. It truly is and there are some awesome perks (um, food tastings). But this is truly a job. A career. And there are so many other not fun things that we have to do: budgets, spreadsheets, finding new business, receivables, payables, selling new clients, dealing with difficult vendors, working long hours under incredible pressure, waking up at 3am wondering where your next clients will come from … it’s work. Trust me.

8. Can you tell me the best photographer in town? I’m planning my daughter’s wedding and wanted to make sure we get really great pictures.

Ahh … the free advice question. We make a living on giving referrals. It’s our job on knowing vendors and who would make the best dream team for our clients, as they are all unique and individual. But I understand, sometimes this topic will just come up. Perhaps a better way to phrase this would be to ask if we have worked with (insert name) photographer. We’ll most likely nod, smile and say yes.

9. (from a vendor) We haven’t worked together in a while, when will our next event be together?

As soon as you refer us, I suppose. Referrals are a two-way street, darling. Do you ever bring up to your clients that you know a fabulous wedding/event planner? Or do you simply give them lots of advice on vendors, decor, etc based on your experience. Which is usually not from an aerial viewpoint that we may offer. We know you love it when we send a client to you, because we have basically pre-sold you. Think about reciprocating.

10. Where did you get those beautiful linens and vases from?

In order to remain valuable to our clients, it is our job to find unique decor and hard to find props. That’s what sets us apart and garners us more clients. Please don’t ask us for all our little trade secrets that helps put food on our table. We have to hold them close.

Did I miss any? Add your own thoughts below …

plan on!

planning your wedding too early …

Is there such a thing? Being too organized?

Wedding planning is a process, it takes time. No reason to rush and no reason to get ahead of yourself. Sometimes we find that clients will change their minds too often or second guess their choices.

Or simply, even though it started out to be a really fun project, after 15 months of planning … you’re just, well, over it.

So pace yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself if you have missed deadlines. Sometimes it’s better to put forth concentrated effort and is often more productive.

featured photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

hello! from the pfe team

We’ve been busier than this wedding season than ants at a picnic, so the blog has taken a hit. however what’s great about taking a hiatus is that we come up with all these ideas to share with you, from real weddings.

Like this past summer. We had clients who held a private resident wedding. They rented a bathroom trailer for the ladies and porta-johns for the men. And to make extra certain only the women used the trailers, they did this to the urinals:

urinal-plant

Here’s to hoping these plants didn’t get watered during the reception. Wait for more to come!

featured and blog photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!