Why have a Coordinator?

I have heard that question before.  “Do I need a Coordinator?”  “But my venue already has someone on site. They’re going to ‘supervise’ the whole event.”  And I’m sure they will, and I’m sure they’ll do an excellent job at supervising the event … but who’s going to supervise your specific needs?  And make sure you have what you need when you want it?  And tell the DJ that you actually want 15 more minutes of dancing before cutting the cake. And help find Aunt Sue for the family portrait?  Or realize that the photo booth delivery is 45 minutes late, and find your lipstick or grab your flip flops from you bag in the bridal room?

I can tell you who’s not going to do it.  The on-site Coordinator.  And they shouldn’t!  It’s not their job.  Their job is to watch and protect the venue.  Of course they care about you and want you to be happy with everything, but they’re not going to set up all your little details and then pack it up for you at the end of the night.  They will kindly tell you that you need to remove all your items from the venue that evening, and you get stuck asking family to grab things.  And let’s be honest, your maid of honor Jessie probably isn’t in the best state to be grabbing your burlap wrapped mason jars, and mom’s feet are ready to collapse.

Your personal Wedding Coordinator is the person who is going to take care of you.  They are going to be looking out for you, number one, at all points of the process.  Your coordinator will be in contact with all your vendors before the event, make sure they know addresses, call them if they’re running behind, and be their point of contact. They will work with the site coordinator and distinguish responsibilities so you are covered in every context.

They will make you a timeline with enough time for everything so you’re not rushed or flustered. And then they will get you when you are needed and help guide you through the evening.  They will stop things from happening out of order and check with you every step of the way.  And at the end of the night, they’ll gather your things so you don’t have to remember anything, and wish you a goodnight on your way to your Honeymoon Suite!

I have not met a single bride or groom who just “threw a wedding together”.  They all take time, thought and energy, no matter how simple the affair.  The couple spends money on gorgeous venues, the best photographers and organic food.  But then for some reason, they think they can forgo a coordinator, and it makes no sense.  After so many hours of your time planning and slaving away, don’t you want to spend the little extra to make sure the event goes off without a hitch?  Don’t you want some assurance that someone out there knows every vendor, is watching the guests, is looking out for you and is going to be your problem solver should something arise?

I know it can seem superfluous to spend more money on this day when you’re not getting something tangible.  But you are getting a service.  An important, valuable service, and you are investing in peace of mind so you can enjoy this day that you have worked so hard to plan and waited so long to happen.  A good Wedding Coordinator will prove their worth by relieving you from the worries that you should rightfully not have to give a moments thought.    And you will never have been so happy you hired one.

 

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Do I Have to Give a Gift??

Wedding gift etiquette.  It’s a tough one and can sometimes be super awkward when you’re not sure what’s an old custom and what’s the current requirement.  So we’re gonna give a little breakdown for you, though keep in mind, some of these you have to use your best judgement. There is not always a “right” answer for everything.
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1. How much do I spend?
This totally varies.  Are they a really close friend or family member?  Are they someone you work with and don’t know exceptionally well?  Is there one or two of you attending?  Are you doing well financially or are you 22 and just starting off on your own.  All of these are factors.  In general, you spend a little more on close friends and family than you may have to on a casual friend.  But a range of $75-$150 for a single person to a couple is acceptable, and a gift from $100-$200 is acceptable for an older couple who is more well off and of close familial relationship.  To give a gift determined by how much your dinner costs per person is just an old and silly rule.  No need to spend $400 because you go to a fancy $200pp wedding!

2. I can’t make the wedding – do I have to send a gift?
This one is your call, believe it or not.  I think the common misconception is that you have to send a gift if you’re invited to the ceremony.  But the truth is, if you’re not close with them, you can make the call if you’d like to send a gift.  It is not mandatory. Sometimes sending a congratulatory card is nice.  Really, the couple should consider who they’re inviting before they send invites, because it does put pressure on a person to feel they need to send a gift.

3. It’s a destination wedding and I am already spending so much.
Sorry, this does not automatically mean you don’t have to give a gift.  I know the costs add up – travel, hotel, bridesmaid dress, eating out, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t also give a gift.  It 100% allows you to scale down immensely on the price of your item.  Sending something small but thoughtful is the best way to go.  And if you really can’t find the extra money, send a card thanking them and congratulating them.  They will at least know that you thought of them and it will be understood that you couldn’t afford a gift as well.

4. Should I give off their registry?
I am married to someone who likes to go strictly from the registry.  I personally hate to give gifts off it!  I want to shop and seek something out that feels like “them”, but my husband wants to make sure they get something they want (and then reminds me of gifts we didn’t particularly love).  My advice: go with your gut.  But if you buy something off registry, include a receipt so they can always exchange it.  As for cash, perfectly acceptable to give inside of a card.  It’s 2013.  Everyone gladly accepts (and appreciates) cash!

5. Do I bring the gift to the wedding?
This depends on the location of the wedding.  If it’s a local wedding (to them!) and in their hometown, then yes, you can bring the gift.  But if you are going to a wedding in your town and the guests are not from there, think of what a pain it will be to have to drive or send their gifts home.  Bring a card or ship their present ahead of it.  Same goes for showers.  Feel free to ship the present if you know they are visiting from out of town.

6. I forgot to buy a gift, do I get a year after the wedding to send one?
Nope.  Sorry to bare the bad news, but this is pretty unacceptable. I have yet to meet one bride who actually received a gift one year after their wedding from a friend who forgot.  It is rude and inappropriate when you have known for so long about the wedding.  The maximum time you get is 3 months to send a gift, or it’s just not polite.

7. I’m a plus one – do I have to bring a gift.
Technically, no.  But it is appropriate to talk to your date and offer to contribute to the gift.  Chances are they will say no, but you should certainly make the gesture in case they were feeling like you should contribute since they asked you along. If you are the date of a sibling, then you should definitely give a gift! Especially if you are just a friend and invited to keep them company. The sibling won’t be giving a typical gift, so make sure you contribute or give a gift of your own.  At least give a card to the couple to say congratulations.

8. My whole family is on the invite, do I have to give my own gift?
If you’re 20 or younger, probably not.  But if you are 22 and living on your own (and especially if you’re bringing a date!), then you absolutely need to bring a gift.  You are an adult now and should show appreciation for an invitation in an appropriate manner. Feel free to spend closer to your budget, even if that means you spend $30 at Crate & Barrel.

9. It’s the second marriage, do they need a gift?
Not necessarily.  If it is a second wedding for both newlyweds, then you do not need to send a gift.  You can and it is always appreciated, but it is not frowned upon if you do not.  If it is the second marriage for one of them and you are friends with the first-timer, then yes, you should give a gift. If you are friends of the other spouse, it is polite since they are still starting a life with someone new, but it is not mandatory.  You be the judge, as it should really be a judgement call on the couple, their needs and your relationship.

10. I’m the bride, how do I tell them where I’m registered?
This is one of those thank God for the internet moments, because you can put where you’re registered on your wedding website.  Where not to list it? Your invitation.  It is definitely looked at as inappropriate to put where you’re registered on your invite.  If you would like to give your guests a reminder, you can include an insert that reminds them ti visit your website for complete details.  Otherwise, it’s up to your mom and family to spread the word.  Don’t worry, people will find out.

While you have to use a lot of circumstantial judgement on these tips, they are good rules of thumb to go by.  When in doubt, send a small gift and a card.  Everyone loves acknowledgment!

Love … forever?

Today we are stopping by the Marriage Corner for a cup of joe with CLD.  I’m going to chat a little bit about marriage, because I am obviously a huge expert after two years of it and 6 total years with the same goofball of a man.  Right.

Now if you’re like most couples, there is that time right before the wedding where you want to kill your fiance.  Okay, (hopefully) not with a knife, but with your eyes and with your mind a little bit.  Because you can’t see why helping you fold escort cards is so difficult, and he can’t see why his friend can’t bring his girlfriend of one month to your $200 a plate wedding.  Then a snap of the fingers later you’re at your wedding and it is absolutely amazing and wonderful and you love each other to the nth degree of elation and beauty is everywhere and there are stars and sparks and cheers and hearts in the air!

And now you’re married.  And those ebbs and flows never stop. Never. Marriage looks easy, but it is hard.  Seriously.  Even if you’ve lived together for two years and you’re all like “but we’re so ‘same same'”.  Doesn’t matter.  Don’t you have a best girl friend that you’ll love ’til the end of time but could never live with?  That’s what it feels like at the most random moment. Hard because things you never thought would bother you because they’re “his deal”, are now your deal too because you’re married.  You’re a team. A team that you have to fight hard to not let break up like the Spice Girls. And you both have to want it.  As long as you never stop wanting it at the same time, you can make it last forever.

He used to tease you about how many lotions you use on your face, but now that you share bills he doesn’t understand a) how much they cost *and thinks there’s a conspiracy theory at the derm office*, and b) why you need so many different types.  And you don’t understand why you have to pay more every month for ESPN 2, the golf channel, boxing and insert-your-least-favorite-thing-ever-here.  Oh yeah, and all those fantasy leagues.  ‘Winning’ $20 in the end does not count as winning when you paid $50 to enter, btw.  And those are just the little things.  So when you get to the real issues like holidays with in-laws, trying to have babies, down payments on houses and cutting back on monthly expenses – things that don’t occur when you’re 26 and falling in love, marriage can get fairly strained in your household.

So let’s go back to that blissful wedding … My number one thing to remind couples to do in their wedding is to stop, take a step away – just the two of you – and look at what’s going on around you.  Look at each other. Take it all in and realize how blessed you are to have found this great love and to have so many people around you supporting you and celebrating it with you.  That is key. But the real value in that lesson is that you have to never stop repeating that exercise.  Because there will be times when it’s hard to remember, but that is why we remind ourselves.

It goes for your marriage too.  You need to take a moment, step back, turn off the tv, turn of the kids (possible?), and look at each other.  Remember what brought you together and how much you love that person next to you.  Remember why.  Do those little things for each other – even if you don’t want to – because hopefully, it will bring it out the reciprocal in them too.  If you can try from the start to repeat, you are setting yourself up properly to keep remembering the love that you have.  And if all else fails, go with my girl Gwyn’s marital advice.

The Perfect Gift

Well of course the planner in me would tell you that there is no such thing as a “perfect gift” that fits every bride or groom. But I have say, this comes pretty close. Not in the sense that this will get “used” the most like new dishes or the perfect knife set (I strongly recommend registering for a tomato knife, it will change your life), and not in the sense of of satisfying the “need” category like an actual good vacuum or wine glasses that don’t have a vineyard’s logo on it (yes, wine glasses are a need in my book). But this is a gift of different meaning – a gift of sentiment. A gift that will be kept forever and touch anyone’s heart.

I had the fortune of meeting the lovely Lindsey Passen just a month ago at a soiree, and of course immediately fell for her delightful personality and chic style. It was only then that I found out that she was an artist, as all cool people are. Even better? She specializes in drawing bridal gown illustrations! My heart melted and I instantly knew we had to be friends.

So remember that feeling how your fell in love with your dress and you couldn’t stop looking at a picture of it every day and you would just *sigh*. Now think of how cool fashion designers are (Project Runway anyone?) and you see them sketching their fab ideas on paper which look like mini pieces of art in their own right. This is kinda the reverse. The talented Lindsey Passen takes an image of YOU in your gown, then goes backwards and whips up a delectable drawing of you in your gown for you to keep forever. It’s your own artists sketch of what your dress is, on you, as art. So that fortune you spent on the gown? Not gone to waste, because it’s essence has now become artwork on your wall! And the best part? You don’t have to starve yourself to fit into it again because you’ll forever be remembered as that perfect size!
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Whether for yourself, your sister, your bff or someone who deserves a bad ass gift, Gown Illustrious is the way to go. Or you could always just leave the website open for your new spouse to see … Check out Lindsey’s work here and learn more about her process and how you can get your one of a kind image and the perfect gift! And of course, she ships everywhere:)