Negotiating With Wedding Vendors

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.

I work with some of the best wedding professionals in the world and most are more than willing to bend over backwards to ensure your day is all you dreamed. However, there comes time when even they lose patience. By holding strictly to the letter of the contract, a wedding professional can step back and let you suffer the consequences.

Such was the case recently. This bride was doing anything and everything to cut cost, understandably. The problem was the way she was going about it. Rather than working with her vendors to find alternatives and solutions, she brow beat and demanded. At one point she actually said, “I know I have pissed off every one of my vendors.” By the end of the day, even her sister wasn’t speaking to her.

Take for instance the florist. She had been so nickel and dimed, browbeat and berated by this bride that there was no way she would do anything extra for this woman. When the bride realized that she had neglected to have the friend that was making the bouquet put together anything for the mothers the bride told her sister to go get any leftover flowers and make something. Now anytime a florist is doing anything on site there are always extra flowers hanging around. Guess what? Awww all the left over roses had been beheaded and put on the cake table. Sorry. But the cake table looked great.

Florists charge for candles and for rentals. This bride didn’t want to pay for either so she borrowed candelabrum from a friend and bought her own candles. The bad news is that the first time the florist got to see the candelabrum was on site at the event. Great. The flowers barely fit and the candles not at all. If we had used the candles provided the whole thing would have gone up in flames. Did we or the hotel have taller candles or another option available? Of course we did. Did we tell her? Nope. The hotel (which had been pushed around enough that the head of sales came into handle the event personally) simple said Sorry, no open flames. Do without.

There were just a million and one little things that went on like this throughout the entire day. No one did anything wrong or unethical; all they did was hold the bride to the letter of the contract.  I don’t know how to convince you that you will get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Thanks to Foxy Wedding for the heads up on this video.

Stamp Out Cookie Cutter Bridesmaids

*You cannot expect your bridesmaids to conform to one look. The bridesmaids should feel lucky to be part of your big day-not pressured.

I found that quote on Blogger Brides this morning and I couldn’t agree more. One of the great things about the women we choose to surround ourselves with through our life is that they are all different. We love them all for different reasons.
Since you have picked these ladies to celebrate this important life event, why not celebrate those differences.
Hopefully they are there because they love and support you, not to be props for your wedding photos.
Bridesmaids in different color dresses

To that end, I have put together some images to inspire you. If you will notice, in the best of these shots there is some continuity, whether it be style or color or length.

And finally, the ultimate tribute to friendship and style, Carrie Bradshaw’s wedding from SATC. Need I say more?Bride&Bridesmaids

The images are all from a thread on Yahoo Ask. Thanks to all the lovely posters. Nothing beat the collective brain power of a group that are all focusing on the same question.

Escort Cards

Escort cards are a necessary evil if you are having a sit down dinner or brunch reception. How boring is it to just set them out on a table. They take up an absurd amount of space that is left empty as soon as the seating begins leaving you with a big ‘design hole’ in your beautifully laid out décor. ~Sigh~


Instead, why not have a bit of fun with them and use them as a major design element.Birch Log Escort Cards  Michelle Rago

Michelle Rago

Beach theme Escort Cards  Gray PhotographyGray Photography, Courtesy of

Michelle Rago Seashell escort cardsMichelle Rago, from her blog

Bluebird Escort Cards

Courtesy, Snippets & Ink

Chalkboard Seating Chart

An industry insider aside…

If you are having escort cards, please have them arranged alphabetically for your planner. I have seen way too many planners get them on the day of the wedding in a great jumbled lump. They then have to take at least an hour at the last minute to sort them all out; taking valuable time away from getting the rest of your reception details in perfect place. At the very least, if you must, get them to your planner well in advance so they can get them sorted out before the last minute. I’m talking like a week here folks; if you think you are busy the week before your wedding just imagine how busy they are. Or you could forget the whole thing and just make a seating chart!

Just sayin’…

Courtesy, Snippets & Ink>>>>>

How to Choose a Photographer(s)

One of my favorite photography teams is Gray Photography.

Zach & Jody Gray

Zach & Jody Gray

Jody and Zach Gray not only have amazing talent behind the lens but are just a lot of fun to be around. If you want to help insure that you have fun and laugh through your wedding day take these tips from Jody to heart.

How to Choose a Photographer(s)

by Jody Gray

Have you ever been a part of a wedding and you’ve seen this guy as the photographer?

What Not to Hire!

What Not to Hire!

First few thoughts that come to mind:
No Fun
These photos are going to stink
This is going to be the worst and longest day of my life

Quite a few years back, I (Jody) remember being in a wedding where everyone was on edge and tense all because of one person who was making the day quite unbearable… I’m sure you can guess the role the person had at this wedding – The Photographer!

Sometimes a bride underestimates the importance of having her wedding photographer be one who she “clicks” with (pun fully intended). A wedding is the one of the most special and personal days of your life, and the last person a bride wants capturing her day is Mr. Crabby-Photographer-I-Yell-At-Everyone-All-Day.

Let us, as photographers give you one word of advice – Make sure you click with your photographers!!

Yes, it is VERY important that you like their shooting style, and that they can actually shoot a wedding, but please do not forget about liking them as a person! Your photographer (or photographers in our case 🙂 )will be with you at the most intimate and emotional times of your wedding day, and the last thing a bride wants to feel is uncomfortable because her creepy photographer is well, creepy, and mean as well.

Let your wedding be fun and a joy, and by choosing a photographer who you click with, you’ll feel as if you have your friends right along with you capturing your day, and the images will be all the much better!
Questions to Ask Yourself to Find the Photographer(s) to ‘Click’ With

1. Do they have a creep factor?
2. Is this someone I can see myself hanging out with and sharing my wedding day with?
3. Have they shown an interest in me as a person and not just asked questions about our budget?

Ask for a few bride/coordinator references to get the real down-low of how the photographer was their wedding day

*Please keep in mind that we are not saying you have to find a photographer who has to be Best Friend Potential… simply someone you feel comfortable with!

Brides are really fortunate these days to have a many wedding photographers available for them to choose from. As a bride, don’t be afraid to have high expectations and to really go after what you are wanting. Let the picking process begin!

Love Your Photographer

Love Your Photographer

Be sure to check out Zach and Jody’s website and for more tips on your wedding read thier blog. Here at the Dish we just love Jody’s sense of humor so hopefully she will keep guest blogging.

Tented Weddings

Having your wedding in a tent in your parent’s backyard has long been a tradition in Great Britain; but in the states tents are thought of as a Plan B for bad weather. Bah humbug. I think tented weddings are some of the most beautiful you will ever see.

Tented Wedding Brunch

Tented Wedding Brunch

Using a tent you create the environment from the ground up. You aren’t stuck with ugly carpet in the wrong color or walls so ugly you want to hide them. Take a look at some of the tented weddings I found on Carnival Marquees Hire website. Yes, they are in the UK but don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of tent suppliers in the US. Check with your local rental firms or better yet your event planner/designer. The really top notch companies ship all over the country.

Tented Wedding with Dramatic Lighting

Tented Wedding with Dramatic Lighting

It won’t necessarily be less expensive than hiring a hotel or country club since you do have to bring in literally everything from the floor to the ceiling. It may, however make for a great excuse to limit your guest list which does help the budget. “Oh we just could not imagine having our wedding anywhere but in the yard I grew up in. Sadly that does restrict the number of guests the location will hold.” HeeHee. Now you don’t have to invite that obnoxious receptionist at work or you Aunt’s extended family. Tres cool

Just look at how gorgeous your site will look as your guests arrive.

Wedding Reception Tent Lights Up The Night

Wedding Reception Tent Lights Up The Night

You’re Engaged! Now What?

It’s that time of year, the Christmas Holidays. Traditionally in the Unites States and the UK more couples get engaged at this time of year than any other. This little statistic has stood for years and I doubt that this year will be any different. If you think there may be a tiny little box with a shiny bauble lurking under your tree I have some timely advice for you that may make the whole planning experience run a bit more smoothly.

Sapphire Engagement Ring

Sapphire Engagement Ring

DON’T TELL ANYONE! Ok well that may be a bit drastic since I know you will want to scream it from the rooftops but hear me out first.

From the moment you announce your engagement every single female that has ever loved you will want to plan your wedding. You will get more ‘helpful’ advice than at any time in your life with the exception of your first pregnancy. Inside every aunt, sister, cousin, BFF and most strangers lurks a frustrated event designer. Don’t even get me started on the Moms! Most likely your Mom has been planning your wedding in her head since the very day she found out she was carrying a girl in her womb. Yikes! Whose wedding is it anyway?

Well my dear, it is your wedding. This day belongs to you and the boy; grab hold and hang on to it. That is why I say don’t tell anyone; at least until you two have talked it over and gotten a vision of the wedding YOU TWO want.

I don’t mean plan the darn thing down to the baskets in the bathrooms. I mean get a broad generalization of what each of you has pictured for this day and reconcile those two images into a untied front with which to face the coming onslaught. That way when Mom utters the words Cathedral and Country Club you can honestly say “(the boy) and I have already decided on a garden wedding.” If you have a vision in mind you can deflect a lot of trouble in the future by staking claim to your wedding from the very beginning.

Just a little bit of wisdom from some one that has been there done that.

Choosing Your Wedding Album Pictures

Guest blogger Kathy Ziegler is back with more of her wonderful insight on photography for your wedding.

I’m always asked by my brides how to choose the images for their album. My suggestion is to make it about the story of your wedding day, make sure there are lots of pix of you & your new husband, not a collection of face forward family pictures; you can always put those in frames around the house. The way to do that is to choose the more candid, camera unaware pictures & use transitional images as you move from one part of your wedding day to another. We’ll help you get some of those more candid looks, even as we do posed pictures, no worries. And you know that’s your Mom, even if it’s the side of her face!

Set the scene with some getting ready images &/or your venue’s details, use images of you & your wedding party or parents walking places or getting in & out of cars or limos. Use the images that cause you to feel great emotion either because they are of the special people in your life giving you a hug or, it’s the most beautiful or fun picture you’ve ever had of yourself, or maybe it’s gorgeous lighting that draws you in. Be sure to include the pretty details you worked so hard on & make your last image have impact or the ahhhh factor.

This is why it’s important to avoid looking the camera but play to it as well; it makes for great, unobtrusive storytelling pictures to use. Read the last article about “Getting that Photojournalistic Look”. Your photographer is always willing to let you know the stunners you should probably not forget to include, take their advice for the best results.

Kathy Ziegler has been a successful wedding photographer for 12 happy years in San Diego. She recently moved East to enjoy the beauty of Mt Juliet Tennessee with her loveable husband of 19 years & her 2 dogs & 2 horses. Her work is fresh, fun, classy & timeless.

The Real American Wedding

You see it everywhere, the average wedding in America is $28,000. Well do you know where that number came from? I do, and it’s wrong!

There are 2 entities perpetuating this myth, The Wedding Report and The

Here is the problem with that number. They took the total spent on weddings in America and divided it by the number of wedding. What happens is you get one or two million dollar wedding and it skews the whole number. Kind of like the old joke about Bill Gates walking into the homeless shelter and suddenly the average net worth of everyone there is over a million bucks. It just isn’t true.

I have dissected these numbers to death on Think Like A Bride and I don’t know why I never shared it with you. Here is the truth, 82% of the weddings in America fall below that $28,000 benchmark. 82%! How is that for skewing a number?

The truth is that the Average Wedding in America falls more realistically at $14,000 and below. They powers that be in the wedding industry want you to believe the higher number so you will spend more.

If you have ever read the sidebar then you know I am not a big proponent of bigger is better when it come to weddings. It’s time to end this myth.

Here are a couple of blogs to get you started on the road to not breaking the bank.

$10,000 Only

$2000 Wedding

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