Navigating 2020

Hi y’all, I guess it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything! What a weird year we’re living in.  To say it has come as a shock to the system, is an understatement.  After many months of navigating, over-dissecting things with every vendor under the sun, and lots and lots of wine, we’re feeling a little more at peace with things.

Here is some great advice and words from our guest blog today, MILK Books.  Take a look and let us know how you’re handling things too!

What Every Couple Ought to Know About Planning A Wedding During This Crisis
No one expected the world to come to a standstill. Most of everyone’s lives are on pause, commitments postponed, and scheduled events cancelled; most probably including your wedding. 

And it might be difficult to find a reason to celebrate during a pandemic, but it should not stop you and your partner from finally beginning this journey in life together.

These times are uncertain, and every decision we make can be easily changed tomorrow. Organizing a wedding is already exhausting and quite expensive. It’s even more so if you have to do it on the premise of a Coronavirus-free setting. Treading these unprecedented waters might be intimidating, but that’s why we’re here to help. Here are some of the things you ought to know about when making important wedding decisions during this crisis.

Tedious Consultations

More than ever, couples need to be consistently talking with the people involved in organizing the wedding, most especially the vendors. Regular updates on vital information is necessary to keep the flow of information going in these uncertain times. That is why planning a wedding during this crisis can become a tedious process due to the many unknown factors in the future.

(Virtual) conversations with your vendors frequently also entails that you have to sit down and discuss all your options and fallbacks if in any case something goes wrong. Make it a point that every decision made has a backup plan for when things don’t go as expected. You have to check for the availability of your resources, schedule availability and whether they are still open for business in the future.

For instance, if you suddenly need to postpone your wedding once more, make sure your agreed flora with your florist is in season for the postponed date. Also check in on your photographer or videographer’s availability on the newly set date. Most importantly, secure the availability of your wedding venue both for the ceremony and the reception.

Other than that, do not forget to also consult with your invited family and guests. They are involved in the planning process as much as you are since rescheduling a huge event like your wedding and bringing forth such uncertainty in their timeline will not guarantee their presence in your special day.

Financially Challenging

Regardless of our financial capabilities, no one would want to spend a lot more than their original budget. Organizing a wedding in itself is an extremely costly event with no return of investment. Especially now with COVID-19, a lot of suppliers will charge extra fees to have some sort of security in venturing into this commitment with you while there is still a great unknown.

That is why it is necessary to sit down and discuss your terms and mutual obligations with all of your vendors once more. This part is absolutely central to making sure that you are aware of where your money goes during this wedding planning journey. There are cases of couples who have had to pay for wedding postponement or cancellation fees due to the pandemic which they were not previously informed about. 

However, these fees are completely understandable since it is highly likely that your initial fees were already used up in preparation for your wedding. But that is with the assumption that there isn’t going to be a pandemic which is just not the case at present. So do make sure that you are versed with your contracts, clarify the complicated and gray areas, and clear off any misunderstandings and false assumptions.

High-Risk Commitment

The huge difference between planning a wedding before versus planning amidst a pandemic now, is the very high risk. Nothing is definite at present and having to conduct such a costly event with a high risk of it not happening can cause you to lose money and your months or years of hard work. 

At the same time, multiple postponements of your wedding is impractical and wasteful. There is an acceptable time of prolonging such an event and at such time, you have to put your feet down and decide whether to just cancel, to keep on postponing or to finally give the green light.

If you decide to do the last, there are various ways of organizing a Coronavirus-free wedding. The first factor you need to be reconsidering is your guest list. In some places, any type of gathering is not even allowed while some others are a little bit more lax. That is why it’s important to be updated with your area’s quarantine or lockdown guidelines, too.

With that in mind, couples have been getting more and more creative and resourceful just to finally be able to celebrate their special day. This could also be an opportunity for you to follow the unconventional path and go with the flow of the times. Some couples decided to simply host their wedding ceremony in their backyard, while some opted to broadcast their ceremony via video conferencing so that their family and guests wouldn’t miss out.

You could also take some of the tasks off of your vendors by using this downtime wisely and slowly working your way through the grunt of the work of your wedding planning. You can test out your creativity by crafting your wedding invitations and have your partner contribute as well. If you have an eye for photography, maybe have your take of what you want your wedding photos to look like. 

For starters, you can try a quarantine-themed wedding photoshoot to make sure that it’s safe and at the same time, you get to be creative and resourceful. Afterwards, you can try having it printed with a beautifully crafted photo book as your memory keepsake.

By the end of the day, whatever you decide, the fact that you are getting married amidst this crisis makes your wedding so much more memorable than others because despite the circumstances, you powered through the pandemic, said your vows, and began this journey into the unknown together. 


Meet: Frenzel Studios, from SoCal to Nashville

Upon my arrival to Nashville, I was overwhelmed with how many people had the same idea to move to this amazing city.  I had lived in the melting pot of Los Angeles for 12 years, so I am very accustomed to the idea of transplants, but it seems like people from all over are coming to Nashville by the truckload!

Now as you may guess, 90% of these people are coming for the music, so I was elated to meet another “bi-coastal” vendor like myself in the first month of my settling in (in case you didn’t know, Nashville is the “third coast” according to the locals).   Sarah and Derek, a fab photography duo with a team of support, were in the works of moving their business from SoCal to Nashville as well, while still working with their Cali clients.  Of course I knew that we must have so much in common, and I was right!  They moved here with their family in tow and are settling in to begin shooting a little more country and a lot of love.  We are looking forward to working together in the future.

So meet Frenzel Studios, we know you’ll like them as much as we do!
IMG_0924 Jessica & Luke Cedarwood Shoot-0122 Michelle & Charlie Wedding-0262 IMG_6315 Jackie & Mario Wedding-0295 Kristie & Tim Wedding-0526

Help a Vendor Out…

Rejection: it stings, it hurts, it is painful, it is an inevitable part of life. And it is also an inevitable part of wedding planning.

It is obviously our hope that you fall in love with every piece of your wedding the first time you see it. Your venue, the date, the vendors, and of course the dress! But the reality is, that doesn’t usually happen. The venue may not have the right atmosphere, the catering might not be in your budget, the invitations just not the right shade of purple. Heck, you might not just mesh with the wedding planner you had coffee with.

And guess what? All of that is okay! We here at CLD ultimately want you to have the best vendors that work together to produce your perfect wedding.  You are taking a good deal of time and spending some money to create a stellar event, and you will need to try quite a few things until you find, “the one.” Try, try, try away!

But we have a huge favor to ask of you.  After you find all the perfect pieces to your wedding puzzle, you have to properly reject the ones that did not fit. Anyone that took some time to chat with you, meet with you, or provided you something, deserves to know that you are moving on. This is not only out of politeness (although we do love proper etiquette), but for practical reasons too, as there is a couple out there who will want that New Kids on the Block cover band on that one specific date.  Just think of how annoying it is for you when you send an email and don’t hear back.  It’s rude!  We understand it can be awkward, but how many times did you have to deal with that as a teenager?  This should be a piece of cake.

There is no need for drama or fanfare. Just a simple email or phone call will do. Tell the vendor you appreciated their time, but you have decided to go in a different direction.  The point is, you don’t just ignore their emails or calls and never get back to them.  If you have a planner, you can ask them to kindly send this email on your behalf. Feel free to elaborate if you’d like, ‘this doesn’t fit our budget (read: they still may be willing to work with you on this, so ask!), or ‘we are going for a different style’, whatever! It is at your discretion to provide details, and if you just didn’t like the person, feel free to leave it at ‘we are going in a different direction’.  Done.

FYI: we know we are not a perfect fit for every client! Yes, the rejection stings a little, even for us. We wish we could work with every single couple we meet, but sometimes things do not work out. But simply letting vendors know will allow everyone to move on and focus on creating someone else’s dream wedding!

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!