Meet: A Wedding Registry Game-Changer

Oh, wedding registries. Couples both love and fear the wedding registry. Love comes from the fact that you get to make a huge list of items you want to start your new life and home, and your friends and family generously purchase some of them for you. Fear comes from registering for too many things, for the wrong items, or the fact that you may end up with that weird butter dish you had to register for to get the cool extra gift, rather than the new coffee maker you have been lusting for. And taking the bar-code-scanning-thingy to use to your heart’s content in Macy’s is actually really fun, but quite time consuming!

But times, they are a-changing! Like nearly 90% of everything we do, registries can now easily be made through stores’ websites. This actually can be quite handy if that perfect place-setting isn’t available in your local store. And thanks to everyone’s favorite website–that would be Amazon.com people–you can now build registries full of items from a wide variety of stores. You are no longer restricted to picking 2-3 stores.

Another great new trend revolves around the simplest gift of all: cold, hard cash. Card boxes seem to fill more easily than the gift table at weddings and gift cards are sometimes the easiest option to select (especially if you waited until the day before the wedding!). We know people think you need to take the time to pick out that personal, thoughtful, “this made me think of you!” gift, but that is a really hard thing to do! Luckily, cash is no longer viewed as the impersonal gift of choice.

So, let’s combine both of those new trends–the internet and cash–and present to you what could be the end-all-be-all for wedding registries: Zola.com. This amazing little site (which is still in the start-up phases) allows you to do so many things:

  • Create the cutest little registry site with greetings and photos.
  • Add any gift from nearly anywhere: you can shop their featured items and brands or put direct links to items from any website. For other websites, Zola will pull all the relevant information and send the cash for that gift directly to you to purchase.
  • Barcode scanner. Miss the experience of finding items in store? Upload a pic of the bar code and Zola will upload the item for you.
  • Want a big ticket item? No problem. You can create “group gifts” meaning people can contribute any amount towards that item. Even if you don’t get 100% of the money for the gift, Zola will still send you the funds.
  • Want people to contribute to your honeymoon or directly to the wedding? You can make different wedding categories or honeymoon experiences for people to contribute cash funds to. Similar to Paypal, there is a small processing fee, but you can give people the option to cover that fee for you.
  • One of our favorite things: experiences. Available in a few select cities (including Los Angeles!), guests can actually purchase curated experiences or services. Cool options include cooking classes for the couple, farmers market meal delivery service, CSA subscriptions, even cleaning/painting/handyman services!
  • Makes shipping super easy. The website allows you to decide when gifts should arrive (like after the honeymoon!), and how and when you transfer funds from the website into your own personal account. Another interesting option? You can convert cash gifts into credits to use for items in Zola’s online store.
  • Gift tracking all in one place. Addresses are logged for anyone that purchases you gifts (including the group gifts), so thank you’s are a breeze!

Pretty awesome, huh? We are sorting of wishing we could re-do the registry thing now… Happy shopping!

Know: Have Fun!

So, maybe it’s the heat of summer (or the rain in Oregon–it was pouring during a recent CLD trip up there!)… but it seems like everyone I am meeting right now in the wedding business is stressed. Hitting their limits. And I am so sad that I have even seen a few brides about to hit their insanity stage.

We get it, we seriously do. Wedding planning is HARD (which is why you have hopefully hired an amazing wedding planner to make it easier). But we also know that even if you have a wedding planner, there are times you are going to stress and totally freak-out: you have a lot of decisions to make, you might not always get every little thing that you want, that bridesmaid might be getting on your last nerve, and oh-my-goodness can you just be married already!!! Yup, we have had that conversations with our brides and in our own minds (because we were once brides too!).

This might sound totally lame, but it bears repeating: this process is pretty fun. We can’t promise it will be fun 100% of the time (floorplans are just the worst) but the really great parts will always outweigh those moments of panic (you had the perfect excuse to stuff your face with cake at the 3 tastings your scheduled).

When in doubt or in a moment of panic, we suggest you try remembering these moments:

– When you first received your engagement ring (or you had just received an acceptance of your amazing proposal), how excited you were?

– How diving into the wedding planning process was thrilling?

– How you felt when you found THE dress??  Or THE venue? Or picked THE date??

Let those happy moments flow through you, giving you awesome energy. Just keep breathing, keep smiling and power your way through. You are bound to hit something fun soon 🙂

Know: Regret

Yikes.  We all hate that word: regret.  It’s that agonizing feeling that looms in the back of our minds that we can’t quite shake.  It keeps us up at night, it makes us *wish* we could do something again.  You can only re-hash something so many times or annoy your bff with the same details so often if you want to keep her from sending you to voicemail.  So how do we live without regret?

Prevention.

Just like home insurance and car insurance and life insurance (ahem, and pet insurance … yep, Type A here).  We get these things to protect ourselves and loved ones in order to decrease our odds of the problems that could come ahead.  We had an awesome seminar from spokesperson from mywedding.com this month.  Being a medium for thousands of brides, it was great to hear him reiterate what we try so hard to tell our clients.  Hiring the right team will decrease your chances of regret.

So how do we do this when it comes to a wedding?  You hire a wedding planner.

The number one thing HE heard from clients was “I wish we’d spent more money on ___, it would have been worth it looking back”, or “If only I’d know, I would have ____”.  We’re not asking you to throw your budget out the window, and the catch 22 is you’re not supposed to know!  You’re busy with work and life and love, you’re not expected to know the whole wedding planning process when you’re only going to do it (hopefully!) once in your life.  That is why you need a team of professionals to help you.  That is our job, and we decrease your risk level when you hire the right team.

For whatever reason, a planner has the tag-line of “luxury item”.  Well, we disagree.  Do you want to be that person who finds out after their wedding that they should have hired someone to help?  Nothing is more painful for us than when we meet a newlywed and they say to us “it was so stressful and I didn’t really enjoy myself because I was so worried about ___”.  UGH.  If I’d have known then what I know now …

Well, this is us telling you!!!  You can’t claim no one has told you that you need a planner.  This day happens once.  You spend a lifetime thinking about it and up to a year getting details together for an event that takes 6 hours.  Is it really worth chancing it and looking back thinking “if only”?

A Toast to Tastings!

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This week at Christina Logan Design we had the awesome opportunity to attend a tasting with a potential caterer with one of our lovely brides! Food is a critical component of any successful wedding or event, which makes a tasting just as crucial. When checking out your potential caterers, we thought we would give you a few pointers, tips, and good questions to ask:

Get the details. Is the tasting complementary? How many people can attend? How many different selections will you be allowed to try? Attempt to get as many details aligned and set before you head off to your appointment. This also allows you to set a good precedent with your potential vendor!

Bring the right people. Obviously you and your fiancé are the most important people in attendance, but are there other opinions that are important to you? If a family member is helping with the wedding bill, it might be a good idea to invite them so they understand how much you value them. Finally, bring your planner! They have been through this routine before and can further assist with a successful tasting. However, don’t bring the whole wedding party. Keep the tasting party limited to those whose opinions will make a difference.

Bring the right documents. If you have an agreed upon menu, bring it along to ensure you are tasting the right things. Further, also bring any bids or contracts that a potential caterer has prepared for you. This is important as caterers usually provide more than just food—chairs, linens, beverages, and much more. Having the bid right in front of you can help you make any necessary changes, compare pricing, and ensure that you have everything covered.

Take notes. The menus and bids are also good places to take some notes on. Was that crab cake a little salty? Or was that sauce for the steak just not quite right? Do you think you should maybe only do 3 appetizers instead of 4? How much will it cost to upgrade your barware? Take those notes to keep your thoughts and preferences straights.

Speak up! If your notes feel a little critical, that’s OK! You need to tell your potential caterer what you like and what you don’t. Chefs will usually be able to provide alternatives and suggestions that will make your tastebuds happy.

Tastings can be a fun adventure! If you prepare yourself with the right people, documents and mind-set, you are well on your way to finding fabulous food!

Super Incredibly Important Advice

Okay, there are like 50 different things that fall into that category, but I thought I’d start with sharing one of my most favs that was passed onto me by a great friend who has been happily married for 28 years.  This one has nothing to do with the success of your marriage and future, but about living in the moment.

The wedding is next week.  You’ve been planning this stupid amazing wedding for 12 months. You are exhausted over explaining (again) to your fiance why you don’t think his college buddy should get a plus one since you’ve never even met the current flavor of the month. She is not worth $150, sorry. You really could do without another piece of “advice” from anyone on your hair or shoes.  You are tired of making decisions that won’t matter in 8 days.  You love your fiance but don’t like him right now, and you just want to be married already.

Now it’s your wedding day.  Let it all go.  Remember the moment.  Every moment, because you will never have it again.  Even when something goes wrong, just laugh. During your reception, pull your new spouse to the side.  Take 5 minutes and just look at each other, look around, soak it in.  See, really see all those people around you who came her JUST for you.  Because it is going to be over in the blink of an eye and you want to remember it.  All that stress will totally be worth it.

To Tip or Not to Tip…

This is a question I get asked a lot.  How do you determine who to tip and who not to tip?  I often get asked if the DJ should be tipped, but what it comes down to is that everyone you hire for your wedding is providing you with a “service”.  We know that 95% of the time tip is included for catering and servers, so why is their “service” more important than others? There is make-up, hair, DJ, photographer, planner, videographer and officiant and so on.  That is a lot of people and a lot of extra money if you start tipping everyone!  So how do you decide?

There are a few ways to look at it.  A great place to start is if the vendor works for a bigger company.  Sometimes, if you hire a DJ (for example) for a company that has several DJ’s that they contract and send out on jobs, then it is customary to ask during your initial meeting if a tip is expected for the DJ.  This is because the DJ who works the event is not taking the entire profit, but is being paid a sum for performing on behalf of the company (who receives the other portion).   The company will typically say it is up to you, in which case you can judge them on their performance and handle accordingly.  You can either give them the tip at the end of the night or give it to your planner to hand out.  If their performance was just so-so, then don’t feel you have to tip.  Tipping is for exceptional service and should not feel obligatory if you received sub-par service.

If another vendor (your photographer or planner for example) works for themselves, then you may not feel as comfortable being so forward as to ask if a tip is expected.  In any case, they will likely say no.  They are charging you already for what they feel the cost of their services is and typically will not expect a tip.  The same rule applies, however, for service.  If they go above and beyond and stay longer or take extra pics that aren’t contracted or are helpful beyond your expectations, then it is at your discretion to give them something extra at the end of the night.

It is a fair rule of thumb to use these two guidelines as you thank your vendors at the end of the night.  Same goes for hair and make-up.  If you are in a salon, you will typically tip.  If they come to you and are doing a bunch of girls’ make-up at $100 pp, then you can certainly ask (when contracting) if tip is included (since they get all the profit) or if it is expected on top.  It is far better to have all questions asked up front and feel awkward for a brief moment than to find out after the fact that they were expecting a tip all along and you thought it was taken care of!