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Author Topic: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?  (Read 4323 times)

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Chipmunky

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Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« on: February 21, 2017, 07:57:16 AM »
Hello ladies!!

My very dear friend has just gotten engaged (YAAAY!) I've suggested these forums and the archives to her, and plan on lending her my copy of Miss Jeanne's book. She is a wonderful lady with a gorgeous personality, yet like all new brides to be, is nervous of being overwhelmed in the planning process. Right now, she's stated a desire to have sage green as one of the colors, and some touches of neo-Victorian design in her wedding.

She has asked me to accompany her to a bridal show in a few weeks, as "{I've} done this all before, know the questions to ask, and she knows I will be a good support/helpful" as she navigates things. She's already started asking me some questions about how I did my planning, and I'm happy to answer them.  She's not yet selected a bridal party (and I would not be so presumptuous to assume I'm in it), but we've been friends for over 20 years and I anticipate the possibility.

My questions here: 1) Any advice on how best to provide ideas, support, and suggestions without unintentionally pushing her towards one style or another? (ie, phrasing)

2) From your wedding experiences, what is the one thing that stands out to you as the best advice you received/thing you wished you had done differently the most?

Thank you!

Zizi-K

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2017, 08:09:41 AM »
I would tell her a couple of things:

Be prepared for everything to cost way more than she anticipates. Put the word 'wedding' in front of anything and the price triples or more. (i.e. "dress" vs "wedding dress".)

Practical advice: include a line on the response cards that says something like "dietary restrictions". That way people can list their allergies or restrictions without having to fret about calling the bride unbidden.

Since she is at the early stages, I would also recommend her starting a scrapbook. This could be a central repository for everything from ideas-images from magazines, to business cards from possible vendors, to the signed contracts--so they are all in once place. Organization is key!

Reika

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 08:20:08 AM »
This might seem obvious, but it's done mme a world of good.

Use a spreadsheet or something like Quicken to keep track of quotes and what's actually getting paid out to a vendor.  Most are on the up and up, but every so often there's  someone who starts padding things.

Chipmunky

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2017, 08:27:23 AM »
This might seem obvious, but it's done mme a world of good.

Use a spreadsheet or something like Quicken to keep track of quotes and what's actually getting paid out to a vendor.  Most are on the up and up, but every so often there's  someone who starts padding things.

My DH put together a google doc for our wedding in which we put in our allocations for each item, and then with the equations he put in, we could see how the prices changed based on number of attendees. We've sent that to her for her to work with, but I'll suggest a separate document with the quotes!

Reika

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2017, 08:46:54 AM »
This might seem obvious, but it's done mme a world of good.

Use a spreadsheet or something like Quicken to keep track of quotes and what's actually getting paid out to a vendor.  Most are on the up and up, but every so often there's  someone who starts padding things.

My DH put together a google doc for our wedding in which we put in our allocations for each item, and then with the equations he put in, we could see how the prices changed based on number of attendees. We've sent that to her for her to work with, but I'll suggest a separate document with the quotes!

The reason why I brought up the quotes was that when mom hhad her second wedding the caterer kept asking for more and more money. So that prompted  her to add it all up and realized that they paid almost double the contract. Something similar happened to a friend with her florist. I've heard similar over the years with different events, so figured it couldn't hurt to bring up. A wedding is expensive  enough as it is. :)

Oh Joy

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 09:33:39 AM »
The one thing I'm most grateful that DH and I wrote a three-word mission for our wedding, which we could check each decision against.

For us, we wanted the wedding to be "simple, joyous, and elegant."  Not every element had to hit all three, but it gave us pause before choosing something that would - for example - add elegance but take away from simplicity.

If you're helping her with planning, it may be especially helpful for you both if you have something from the HC to check against.

Best wishes.

FauxFoodist

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 04:44:51 PM »
Mine only helps if your friend chooses to hire servers (since not all caterers and venues provide service).  I wish I'd hired two more servers than I did (we hired two but could've used four; we tipped our servers handsomely at the end of the night, in addition to what we agreed to pay them, as they worked super-hard for us).  Also, if your friend is in the US/getting married in the US and chooses to hire servers to make sure they are currently Serv-Safe certified (not hard to do as they'd receive both a certificate and a card to carry around confirming their certification; I knew to advertise for servers at the local professional culinary school that I also attended).  Serv-Safe certification means they know proper and safe food handling and sanitation procedures.

Pod the advice to have a spreadsheet set up.  I set up a spreadsheet and wrote formulas to calculate and compare costs.  The spreadsheet also made it really easy to do the seating chart since I could easily move the cell contents around from column to column (each column was one table).  Also used it for guest names and addresses then it was easy to set up a mail-merge for the labels.  Really, except for the floor plan, I used my spreadsheet for everything, I think.

Finally, a to-scale floor plan of the venue would be great.  I did one for mine and had on it the table numbers, which then corresponded with which cake went where (my multiple wedding cakes doubled as centerpieces), and what additional tables and what went on them went where (such as the guest book table, the appetizer table, food tables, etc.).  Since it was to-scale, then I could accurately determine spacing for the tables (it was how I figured out that even if we could afford it, there was no way we'd be able to have a band as there was no room in the hall size we rented).

I love the idea of a scrapbook.  I didn't consider that when planning.  However, while in the midst of decluttering and sorting through paperwork, I've come across wedding-planning items here and there that I set aside to keep, and I think a scrapbook of those items would be great.

So not to seem like pushing her in any direction, maybe suggest she take pictures, get samples (like fabric colors, dresses, cake styles, etc.) of all the elements she's considering so she could lay them out together and see what of her ideas works/doesn't work?

My wedding occurred during winter in Northern CA, and my family all came from Southern CA so I made sure to mention on our wedding website to dress warmly.  Your friend might want to keep temperatures in mind if her wedding is outdoors.  DH and I went to a family wedding a few years ago where the reception was outdoors.  It got cold and breezy pretty fast as the venue was near the ocean; several guests either sat there clearly cold or had gone to their vehicles midway through the reception to grab a jacket.  It was clear even the HC didn't consider that part by having an evening reception as even the bridesmaids were seen wearing the jackets of the groomsmen as no one had planned for it to get cold outside (it was summer but we were a mile or so from the ocean).

Quould

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 10:08:31 AM »
Hello ladies!!

My very dear friend has just gotten engaged (YAAAY!) I've suggested these forums and the archives to her, and plan on lending her my copy of Miss Jeanne's book. She is a wonderful lady with a gorgeous personality, yet like all new brides to be, is nervous of being overwhelmed in the planning process. Right now, she's stated a desire to have sage green as one of the colors, and some touches of neo-Victorian design in her wedding.

She has asked me to accompany her to a bridal show in a few weeks, as "{I've} done this all before, know the questions to ask, and she knows I will be a good support/helpful" as she navigates things. She's already started asking me some questions about how I did my planning, and I'm happy to answer them.  She's not yet selected a bridal party (and I would not be so presumptuous to assume I'm in it), but we've been friends for over 20 years and I anticipate the possibility.

My questions here: 1) Any advice on how best to provide ideas, support, and suggestions without unintentionally pushing her towards one style or another? (ie, phrasing)

2) From your wedding experiences, what is the one thing that stands out to you as the best advice you received/thing you wished you had done differently the most?

Thank you!

Hello Chipmunky and congrats to your firends, hope they had or will have a best wedding of their life, i want to say what you gave them good advices for they future wedding, ask them to read as much as they can about that event organization or just have to employ somone who is organising those events. I have a good feeling as if I am going to need some benzos like klonopin in that day to calm myself down as I know myself very well. good luck!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 03:38:50 AM by Quould »

cattlekid

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 10:05:39 PM »
Here's a couple of tips that I used that served me well:

1.  Figure out what are non-negotiables and where you are willing to cut corners.  For us, the non-negotiables were music and food.  Therefore, we booked our bands right away as soon as we knew the date and the venue.  This helped us as we had the bands on lockdown during a popular season for weddings.

2.  For the cutting corners, if you can, avoid using the word "wedding" or going to "wedding" vendors when negotiating purchases.  As soon as the word "wedding" starts getting thrown around, prices seem to double or triple.  For example, I got my dress at a second hand store, shoes at DSW, got my veil at Hobby Lobby and DH bought his suit at Men's Wearhouse.  These were easy ways for us to save money as we didn't need or want to spend a lot of our budget on these items.

3.  If you are having a big reception, get a smaller size cake and sheet cakes decorated to match.  This saved us a lot of money as the cake was cut in the back and when it was served, no one was the wiser.

Good luck!

Chipmunky

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 07:22:21 AM »
Thank you for all the advice, everyone!!

Friend has officially asked me to be her Maid/Matron (I'm married, but she doesn't care about the title one way or the other) of Honor, and I have accepted.

I attended a bridal show with my friend and her mom yesterday, and met up with her fiancÚ for dinner last night (DH was having Daddy/daughter time). Lent her my copy of Ms. Jeanne's book, and I suspect she'll be reading the archives soon (I'm going to refresh myself on what not to do as a bridesmaid, hehehe).

First things first is finding the venue- given their budget and the preliminary guest list, it will take some doing, but they will probably be trimming the guest list as they get a better idea of total costs.  They have some friends in various industries (music, floral, bartending) who have offered services as a gift, and are considering taking these individuals up on the offer, so that should help somewhat.

Will definitely be suggesting the sheet cake option!!

FauxFoodist

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2017, 12:50:48 AM »
3.  If you are having a big reception, get a smaller size cake and sheet cakes decorated to match.  This saved us a lot of money as the cake was cut in the back and when it was served, no one was the wiser.

Will definitely be suggesting the sheet cake option!!

When I ordered my wedding cakes, that's exactly what the wedding cake coordinator told me -- that the tiered cakes fed blah-blah number then sheet cakes decorated and prepared the same as the tiers would also be provided and would look the same as cake-tier slices cut from the center as there would be no frosted edges, just the tops.  This helped cut down on the price per serving as the sheet cakes per serving didn't cost as much as the tiered cake per serving.  We ended up going with a different option altogether though (the smallest two-tiered wedding cake we could order then nine of their retail cakes -- every cake, including the wedding cake, a different flavor so we had ten different but nicely decorated cakes).  Our guests were OTT thrilled having so many options to choose from.

Have you suggested she sign up here to get some advice on her wedding planning?

ebelie

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 09:34:27 PM »
Others have mentioned the ones I found most useful:

Decide what's a priority and what's not.  What do you want to splurge on, and where will you cut corners?  For us, the photos were a priority, my dress was somewhere in the middle, the cake wasn't and we dispensed with wedding cars altogether.

Make up a budget fairly early on.  Be as realistic and as detailed as possible.

Also, how much time will you actually have available for wedding planning/prep work? 

For instance, we chose a relatively simple invitation design.  The shop would either sell you the materials, or you could pay extra and they'd assemble them as well.  I was willing to pay the extra because I'm far more likely to glue my fingers together than the invitation.  But as I tried to pay my husband intervened and said he'd make them.  I asked if he was sure, and insisted that I wouldn't be helping.  He said of course he was sure and it'd be fine.

It wasn't fine, and it felt like I spent half my time nagging him to make invitations and the other half just doing it myself.  He hadn't really understood how hectic things'd get, and his work also got busier than expected.  The invitations turned out beautifully and almost ten years' later I'm still proud of them, but the stress just wasn't worth it.  So my advice is try to be honest about how much time you're actually likely to have available and don't overcommit if you can avoid it. 


AccountingIsFun

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 12:46:40 PM »
One thing I would suggest to both partners is to keep in mind a couple of things. 1st and foremost - what is more important? The wedding or the marriage? Wedding planning can get hectic and challenging so if she and her spouse share the duties in order to both help each other out as well as to keep their relationship good, it will help with both of the goals - to have a good marriage (most important) and to have a wedding that they will remember fondly. Another thing to keep in mind is that nothing ever goes completely to plan, so it is the reaction to things going off of plan that will make the wedding a good celebration for them and their guests. If the happy couple handle things with a good sense of humor and keep in mind what is the most important, if and when things don't go to plan, they will make things much more comfortable for their guests.

As you are helping her with planning, be sure to help her take her time with the whole thing and to accept the help of friends and family. My dad's employees gave me as a gift the salads for the wedding. They were the BEST salads ever, but not the ones I would have chosen to start with. Accepting the help meant I lost some control - but that was more than made up for by the fact that my guests were happy and that we had a fun time that day and that the salads were excellent (I had a pig roast for the protein... it was yummy).

Good luck and have fun!

TootsNYC

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 07:59:46 PM »
Here's the generic planning-a-wedding advice I always give:

Pick 3 things that you really care about--big category, little item, etc.

Like, maybe it's the dress, the cake-cutting ceremony, and the DJ/music.

Then do whatever you  need to get those to come out the way you want--be stubborn, be tenacious, be almost rude if necessary.

And everything else? Have a general idea of what you'd like, but don't invest that much energy or stress in them if they come out a little different.

Dindrane

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Re: Providing planning assistance and advice- best tips?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2017, 01:24:45 AM »
Here's the generic planning-a-wedding advice I always give:

Pick 3 things that you really care about--big category, little item, etc.

Like, maybe it's the dress, the cake-cutting ceremony, and the DJ/music.

Then do whatever you  need to get those to come out the way you want--be stubborn, be tenacious, be almost rude if necessary.

And everything else? Have a general idea of what you'd like, but don't invest that much energy or stress in them if they come out a little different.

Agreed.

Also, it's not a whole lot of fun to think about things not going the way you want when you're at the beginning of the process, but I think it helps to try to keep perspective as you make decisions about things. The wedding is one day. It's one really important and celebratory and awesome day, but it is still only one day. If it isn't perfect (and it won't be), that doesn't mean it won't be fun and special and a lovely memory. The more you can accept that going in, the easier it is to roll with things that don't turn out the way you thought they would.

From my own experience, I would also say don't try to save money on the things that are really important unless you know for a fact that you won't be sacrificing quality. Two of the things I cared a lot about were my invitations and the photos. I designed, printed, and constructed the invitations myself because paying someone else to get exactly what I wanted would have been cost prohibitive. That particular decision worked out, because I had lots of time, I do have the necessary skills, I was able to source good materials, and I would have been willing to throw in the towel and buy/do something simpler had it become necessary.

With the photos, though, I ended up having one of my brother's friends take them (who is a skilled but amateur photographer). The pictures themselves are perfectly fine, but the lighting was more challenging than I anticipated, and when my brother's friend didn't deliver on his promise to edit the photos, I didn't feel comfortable pressing the issue. So I have a collection of photos that need photo editing, and they've sat unedited for six years. I tried to edit them myself, but I don't currently possess the skill to do that well, and I just don't have it in me to try to learn. Over the years, I've gotten to the point where this is a relatively minor regret, in the grand scheme of things, especially since when I was making plans, I thought the whole wedding would cost more than it actually did (we had an unusually high decline rate because of the number of guests we invited who didn't live anywhere near where we got married). So it is only with the benefit of hindsight, but I do still wish I'd devoted more money to photography so I could have just hired a professional.