Beyond Bridzilla…

We’ve all had them, we all expect them; it’s part of the job as being a wedding planner. We are to anticipate the possibility of a once sweet, calm “I just want to keep it simple” bride transforming into the overly stressed “ I want the shoes, purses, accessories, nails, flowers, dresses and mascara…to be the EXACT SAME”. However, you may also run into what I refer too as the “bridal party/family-gong show” and yes it’s as intense as it sounds.stressed-bride2
This situation extends far past the bride and may include but not be limited too: The mother of the bride, the soon to be mother in law, a bridesmaid or all bridesmaids, maid of honor, sisters, aunts….the smurfs! I know it sounds extreme however, weddings are a very “female dominated” event and when many women get together or need to work together things can become problematic. I say this with love and empathy to all my fellow women out there…we can’t deny that there is a little part in all of us that likes to have things our way. Period! However, it can be stressful the bride to listen to and attempt to please everyone.

Additions to guest lists, changes to bridesmaid’s dresses, who is doing the wedding shower, switching caterer’s among many other things could be subject to change. Sometimes these changes are suggested, in some cases disputed, demanded or even expected. The most difficult aspect can be that these instances occur from the people closest to the bride and groom. Dissention is ill-advised as much as possible for many reasons: maintaining of relationships, to ensure planning can continue smoothly and it’s to everyone’s benefit that the bride and groom are happy. Still, sometimes things are called to question and a decision needs to be made and it is our job as the planner to help the bride and groom come to the best possible choice for them.
Despite the wants, opinions, demands and potential “tantrums” of others, I advise you to keep the following in mind:

1) The timeline discussed between yourself and your clients. The moment a date to wed is decided upon between the bride and groom- planning begins starting with your budget. You will assist them in setting “lock in” dates for securing the venue, purchasing the dress, finalizing the guest list etc . Once the “lock in” dates have passed… it is not recommended that additional changes be made since this could cause potential delays and more work and in some cases stress for everyone involved.

2) The budget you have established for your special day. It would be wise to plan within a certain amount of money in case of an emergency switch in vendors or unforeseen expense- as this would be considered proactive. At the same time, if something that has already been decided or “locked in” ends up being disputed or argued over and could incur another expense that is unreasonable- stand your ground. If the bride and groom can spare the expense then by all means but if this stretches their budget, remember as the planner, it is your responsibility to ensure they stay within their budget.

3) What do the bride and groom want? We know that our male counterparts can be NID’s (Not into Details) but it is important to note that it is about the joining of the bride and groom that matters most. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have parents and or family aid in large monetary contributions towards incurring costs. Therefore, if the bride and groom are paying for the majority of the wedding themselves, it should be what they want.

4) How much stress is this causing or how much stress does this have the potential to cause? Is it really worth it? Is everything else taken care of besides these changes? Is it possible that changing things now will create more commotion and possible quarrels?

Don’t lose sight of the most important thing; marrying the person of your dreams and letting nothing come in the way of that happening. Of course you want your day to be as close to perfect as possible but it must also be a stress free and happy day as well. So no matter the detail, or who is causing the rukus… speak with your better half and your planner and see what is best for the bride and groom.

Don’t Be Hasty…

When presented with the opportunity to plan a grand event, or you have recently gotten engaged whatever the case there is always that initial extreme excitement. Your mind begins to race at the possibilities: What will you wear, how long do you have to prepare, how many guests will you have, how much money can you afford, I have to call everyone and make sure they are available, where will the venue be….and the list goes on.

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of excitement, often you end up making quick decisions and forget about the details and important logistics of your event.  Before you think about wardrobe, decor, music, photography and the belly dancers….focus on these 4 key things that are the foundation of your entire event: Number of guests, budget, venue and the date. After these things have been secured and locked down…go crazy on the mint leaves and rasberries that will be frozen in your icecubes!

I am not saying you have to write down everyone’s names including your best friends brother’s godmother but it is essential to have a MAXIMUM number of guests that you will not exceed.  As long as there is a maximum you can scale down that number as you need too. Without a ball park idea as to how many people you want to attend or in some realistic cases how many people you can afford to have attend, you won’t know how large or small the venue will need to be.  This falls right into having a budget ready so you know what you can and can’t afford, just as the number of guests and venue size go hand in hand. Having too many people in a small cramped venue because you didn’t budget properly and didn’t realize you invited too many people can put a damper on the atmosphere you want to create. Your guests WILL talk about it during and after the event.

Once you have determind the number of people that you wish to attend, begin to outsource your venue based on that number, the occasion and theme of the event and budget you can afford.  Make sure you ask questions and you physically go and see the event space.  The last thing you want is to have pillars in the middle of your sightlines for a fashion show and no one can get in a good picture. Ensure there are no extra costs depending on what time of year it is I.E Coat check.  Do you get billed for the service or is it included in the pricing for the venue rental? What about extra security? Is it required…?  Very important to make a list of questions for when you visit potential venues and make sure the needs of your event will be met.

Once the venue has been decided and there are no surprises, ensure you have several dates in mind in case the venue is booked or is unable to accommodate your first choice. Flexibility is key when it comes to booking, if the venue is exactly what you need but they are booked on the date you want, you need to be willing to push back or forward- if it is worth it.

Believe it or not…this is the most difficult aspect of planning an event…but if you can get through the excitement phases and put on the “Logistics” hat for a few weeks- it will be smooth sailing!