What Brides Need to Know

This is an article I published today on my website for wedding professionals, Think Like A Bride. I wanted brides to see it too. You as brides have the power and right to have the wedding you want. I encourage you to weigh in by leaving a comment. Tell the wedding industry what you think. I’ll make sure they hear it!

Who Is Your Customer?

I got to thinking about this today as I was following a fairly heated conversation on a couple of wedding blogs.

By and large, the customer base of wedding blogs and the wedding print media is wedding vendors, not the bride & groom.

Now think about that for a minute. Any information based business is going to advocate for their customer base. They are going to speak in such a way and feed their readers information that is going to enhance the position of their customers. Again, please remember, their customer is the wedding vendor.

What does this mean for the bride and our industry?

It means that today’s bride is being fed a steady diet that is not always in her best interest. She is being told what to do and what is hot based on what the wedding industrial complex wants to sell. Just take a look at the dramatic rise in staged photo shoots on wedding blogs. Yes, they are gorgeous, I won’t argue that. The problem is they aren’t reality, although they are often presented as such. Most are unreachable by the average bride. I hate to tell you, but not every couple is hipster or shabby chic. don’t even get me started on the wedding gowns shown in the major magazines editorial. I have ranted on that until I am blue in the face.

It is no wonder that today’s bride is turning to alternatives to wedding professionals. As heavily exposed as brides are to over the top weddings they are beginning to believe that they both will not be able to afford a “wedding” professional and that even if they could, said “professional”  wouldn’t listen to them anyway. It isn’t that they are exploring using professionals and deciding against it, they are looking for alternatives first.

Is there an answer? Maybe.

I think that every wedding professional out there has a blog, why not start using it to really advocate for the bride. There is this little thing called Karma. If you as wedding professionals start telling the truth, being an advocate for the bride, showing them that you do offer alternatives  they will come back. Not only that, they will see you as a savior, a bright light in the darkness and they will be your evangelists.

 

 

Disclaimer, the ads at the side of this blog are through an affiliate service. I don’t sell ads to individual wedding vendors. I probably should, but then I couldn’t be this honest with you. Karma, baby, karma.

What Flowers Are in Season for Your Wedding

Every book and expert will tell you to save on your floral decor budget choose flowers that are in season. Great, sure, I know EXACTLY what flowers are in season. Oh, come on, no you don’t!

Well now you do! Just go to the same place the pros go: the wholesale suppliers. You can be sure they know what’s in season when.

Mayesh Wholesale Florists are one of the largest suppliers of wholesale flowers in the United States. As such, they do not sell to the public, but their site is still a wealth of information; information from REAL experts for professionals. You may not be able to buy directly from them but you can still benefit from their knowledge and information.

I found this very handy Flower Library on their site. It lists flowers by color, by group and yes, by season.

What better place to get your information than from the authorities on flowers.

Picking Your Wedding Colors

One of the thing that so many brides seem to find to be a speed bump in their wedding planning is picking the right colors.

My advice has always been to start by looking in your closet. Face it, don’t you buy the clothes that look best on you? Well it only seems right that the colors you look great in would be a great place to start with the colors you want to surround you on your wedding day. Savvy?

So, look to your closet then look to your venue. How can you make those two work together? Still stuck? Throw the season of your wedding into the mix.

Now that you have some foundation of the colors you look best in and the canvas you have to work with, get busy with some of the best tools on the internet.

These are great for providing inspiration.

Preston Bailey’s Color Picker

Bride’s Color Studio for Receptions

Panetone Wedding by the Dessy Group

Still stuck? Here are a few tools that you can pop in a picture and it will break out all the colors in it.

ColourLovers

Big Huge Lab Color Palette Generator

Kuler

Ok, got your colors? You can search Google images by color and collect some image that inspire you and you are ready to make your inspiration board. Here are tool really easy tools for that.

Picasa

Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker

If you are anything like me, you have just spent an entire day playing with colors! I hope it helped you find the palette that makes your heart sing.

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4 Tips for Keeping Your Wedding Decor Budget Inline

Every bride wants a beautiful backdrop for her big day. When it comes to what you can spend on your floral and decor budget, the sky is the limit.

I was chatting with friend of the Dish, event designer extraordinaire Vicki Sanders yesterday and these tips came up. They are just little things to keep in mind that will trim your decor budget without resorting to the dreaded rose bowl with a single floating candle.

Wedding centerpiece with Stargazer Lilies, coral peonies

1. Limit your seating. Huh? Look at this, unless you are serving a seated plated dinner you do not need seating for every guest. By eliminating 2 or 3 tables you are also eliminating 2 or 3 centerpieces. If you are doing mostly heavy finger foods you could use a bit of lounge furniture and some smallish cocktail tables. Smaller tables, smaller centerpieces.

2. Choose your flowers carefully. I know that you already know that if you choose in season flowers you will save, but there is more to it than that. The minute you get you heart set on a specific flower, you are setting yourself up to spend more than you need to achieve your look. Work with your floral designer to determine which flowers will achieve your look AT THE TIME OF YOUR WEDDING. Short story, a bride simply had to have coral peonies, sadly her wedding was 2 weeks before they became abundant. By using coral roses and white peonies the florist could have saved her a bundle and still gotten her color and the fluff of peonies. If you absolutely have to have a specific flower, limit it to your wedding bouquet and let the florist make suggestions for the rest of your wedding decor.

3. Rent your containers instead of buying them. Even if you are going to DIY your wedding flowers this can save you significantly. You will get higher quality containers, you won’t have to figure out what to do with them after your wedding and you won’t have spent days and days running all over town trying to find them.

4. Think about your labor cost. Your floral design teams time is not free. Every little thing adds time. A bride recently told my friend that she wanted her vases lined with lime slices. Beautiful look. When she was quoted the price to do this she just didn’t get it, so she asked how much if she bought the limes and brought them to the florist. Fail. What was expensive was the time it would take to uniformly slice a case of limes and then double vase to hold them in place in the arrangement.  What you are requesting may seem like a minor detail, but take a minute to think about the labor involved.

These tips and tricks are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the knowledge that true wedding professional bring to the table. DIY or hiring a novice may seem like a great idea at the time, but in the long run, the true pros earn their fees because of what they know.

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Holiday Weddings

At first it sounds like a great idea; you have a long weekend or a special meaning and everyone is already in a celebratory mood. Let’s get married on(fill in your favorite holiday weekend here). Maybe your friends will have an extra day to travel and your hubs won’t forget you anniversary. There may even be the the added perk of things already being decorated.

That all sounds good but you may pay for your cleverness in the most time honored way: higher prices.

I was talking with a floral designer yesterday that was putting together a bid for a 4th of July wedding. No, her flowers weren’t going Wedding+Fireworks+1to cost more but a lot of costs were. First off, the rental companies were charging a premium for delivery and breakdown on a holiday because they had to pay their staff holiday pay. The same held true for the floral design staff. The venue the bride chose is notoriously packed on the 4th because of the fireworks display they host, so that required her to hire a valet parking company to handle the additional cars. Do you see where I am going with this?

Let’s look at Memorial Day. This is one of the most sought after dates for wedding in my area. You may not have the same problem of higher staff costs, but you won’t be getting any deals either. Your wedding professionals will likely be booked to capacity if not beyond. This may translate to more crowded venues, things you wanted to rent being already booked and limited choices on people like photographers, DJs or bands.

You know what happen on Valentine’s Day right? The price of flowers goes through the roof. You can ditto that for New Year’s Eve when a little thing called the Rose Bowl Parade sucks just about every flower produced.

I am not trying to rain on your parade, really I’m not. I just don’t want you to be blindsided when you start trying to book your goods and services.

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Save On Your Centerpiece and Eat It Too!

You want beautiful centerpieces for your tables. You want a yummy cake for dessert. You need to save as much as possible to make this whole wedding thingy happen. What is a girl to do?

How about centerpiece cakes?wedding-cake-centerpieces{source}

Back in my previous life as a cake designer I would do some very elaborate centerpiece cakes that cost mucho dinero but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you do a standard size cake from a good bakery and either add simple decorating or fresh flowers or fruit you can save a bundle.Centerpice Wedding Cake{source}

Think about it, a nice little 8′ or 9″ cake will generously(compared to standard wedding size servings) serve the 6 t0 10 guests at each table. Depending on what you choose and where you buy them, you will pay from $10 to $30 each, add $5 to $10 worth of flowers or fruit. So, on the high side you are looking at $40 per table.

Let’s look at an average wedding of 120 people. Six people at a table=20 tables.

Floral centerpieces with traditional wedding cake:

20 centerpieces @ $65 each=$1300

Wedding cake for 120 @$4.50 per person=$540

Total spend=$1840

Centerpiece cakes with DIY decorating:

20 tables @$40 each=$800

Let’s see, that looks like a savings of $1040.

Maybe you use a hundred of that for a bigger cake for the head table and you are still saving a bundle.

You can do this.Centerpiec cake with gerber daisies{source}

Tips:

Look around for your cakes at traditional bakeries and upscale grocery stores or even Costco.

Use flowers or fruits that are in season. If you use fresh flowers put a doily on top of your cake to protect it from contaminants in the flowers.

Put it on a cake stand. Treat it with honor and make it LOOK like a centerpiece.

Great Wedding Venues Outside the Box

There aren’t many good things you can say about our current economic times but we all know that every cloud has a silver lining. Well I found this one:VENUES.

If you are still looking for you venue your should look outside of the traditional box of hotels and country club. Every week I hear about some new venue opening up, mostly as a result of a recession based FAIL.

This example just made it’s debut last week as an event venue.Spaces in Belle Meade. In it’s original state it was a high end mini mall sort of affair; a few walls were taken down and the space opened up a bit and now it absolutely rocks as an event space.

SPACES

SPACES

Keep you eyes open for unique new spaces in you area.

Here is the 411 on the event and venue above.

Many thanks to Anne Clayton at Music City Tents & Events for a fab party. (AS ALWAYS)

How To Save On Your Winter Wedding Décor

If you are planning a winter wedding, now is the time to be stocking up.Winter Wedding Cake If you are going to DIY your décor for your winter wedding stop thinking wedding and start thinking Christmas! Head to Home Depot or the local WalMart.

Beyond the obvious twinkle lights, look at all that yummy garland and those cheap wreaths. Green, you say? Not for long I say!  A few aisles over is white spray paint, grab that. On your way home hit the craft store for white or iridescent glitter. Paint lightly, sprinkle with glitter while wet and !Voila! snow covered evergreens. Now I bet you wished you had stocked up on the paint and glitter to work your magic on the naked branches you can just cut from your yard. Plop those in a heavy vase, add a few crystal and you have a centerpiece.winter wedding decor

While you are at the big box store, look for mulit-packs of ornaments in white and silver to tuck into the greens. Last year HD had sets of 50 assorted ornaments in white & silver for under $30. Two of those will go a long way.

Don’t forget the fake snow. Buy bunches!biosnow1year

Check the dollar store for plastic snowflakes; again buy bunches. They are something like 4 for $1 for the small ones. This one is from Home Depot and is 12″ across so it is a bit pricier, but hey, you could still get a couple to hang from the ceiling.snowflake

Don’t forget the candles. You are in luck, white is usually available in bulk.

While we are on the topic of saving serious money on your winter wedding décor, here is one you may never have thought of: baby’s breath.

Baby’s breath is unbelieveable cheap. That is why so many low price florists use it as filler. But here is the deal: used in over the top abundance, by itself it can be pretty cool. Think of it as clouds of snow! Check out these two pictures.babysbreath
winter wedding centerpiece using baby's breath

All you really need to round out your look are the odd pieces of clear glass and silver. Beg, borrow,rent or thrift shop those and you are on your way.

Winter weddings really are the easiest to DIY. I did the cake for one on new Year’s Day a few years back. The family worked with their church to get permission too use the Christmas decorations in the parish hall. The day before, they pulled every bit of red out of the room decor, took all the fresh evergreens outside and flocked them white, replaced all the red with ice blue and it was DROP DEAD gorgeous! It looked like a winter fairy land.

You can do this. Just think outside the wedding box.

Click thru images to view source.