Sunday, December 4, 2016

What Not to talk about at your Work (or any) Christmas Party

Every year I publish a list of topics that should be avoided during Holiday parties, these mostly apply to work and networking group parties, but feel free to apply them to friends and families as well.

1.  The election/Trump's America/The Recount

No one wants to know who you voted for.  It's over, it sucked everyone dry and everyone is trying to get over it.  Associated topics to avoid:  the protests, Trump's America, recounts, Jill Stein, and cabinet appointees.

2.  The Kardashians/Kanye West

Can they please please just go away?

3.  The College Football Playoff

Ok, this is year 3 and I thought that this would not be an issue anymore, but every year things get crazier, and crazier.  Please note I am posting this before the final selection, but I imagine it will be even worse after.  I bet you can't tell who we are cheering for!

Phrases to be avoided:

I saw it on Facebook.
I think I have a picture on my phone, do you want to see it?

Actually the list is pretty short this list sort of, #1 is alittle big.

Let me know what I missed!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Who gets invited to the Wedding

The guest list, next to budget, is probably the hardest thing about your Wedding.  Everyone is so happy for your and  you are so happy, and you just want to invite everyone.  Love is in the air.  Budgets are not about love, they are such an ugly word.  The fact is that the guest list is a huge factor in your budget.  The bottom line is that guest cost money.  Initiations, postage, food, booze, favors, they all add up per guest.

How do you put together a list?

Bridal Party

Please do not forget that at the end of the day they are guests, with a per plate catering charge, and a bar bill.  All members of the bridal party should be allowed a plus one and and their children (if you are having children) should also be invited.


Get both sets parents involved, especially if they are helping pay the bill.  Ask they to give you a list with addresses, having them handle the immediate family will free you to work on the rest of the list.


This is the hard part of the list.  Where do you draw the line.  I do not like grouping friends into buckets, but it might make it easier.  Are they 5-minute friends, meaning these are relatively new friends, 5-year friends, meaning that you have known them for awhile, but your relationship might by still be pretty casual.  Then there are the forever friends, the ones that make you the happiest, and you couldn't imagine not sharing this day with them.  Remember, you might have only known someone 5 years and they are a forever friend, it's the feeling not the timeline.

All single friends, should be allowed a plus one, and married friends invites should include their children.


You do not have to invite your boss.  You do not have to invite your cube mate.  You do not have to invite your biggest client.  You do not have to invite the co-worker that put together your work bridal shower.  You do not have to invite any of your co-workers.  They will understand.  They get that you are typically friends because you are in the same building 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Show them pictures.  They will still be overjoyed for you.

They look like they are ready for a Wedding.


Do people really have b-lists?

They do, alternate backups once you find out that your cousin from Seattle cannot come, it opens up a spot for one of the 5-minute friends.  This is not a fun list to be on, and know that they know they are b-list and may not show.

Does everyone get a save the date?

Not necessarily.  You certainly can, but those are mostly for out of town guests.  Check out everything else you need to know about them in my last post.

Do I have to invite someone because I was invited to their wedding?

Urgghh.. I would say if it has been with the last 6 months, yes.  Longer than that it not necessary, but if you have room for them and they will know others there, then invite them.

I know it's hard but in the end, everyone will just be happy for you, and any hard feelings will drift away as time passes.

Happy Planning


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Your First Holiday Post Engagement...Questions, Questions, Questions...

Aren't the holidays great.  They are filled with old friends and family, just spending time together catching up.  This time of year is especially exciting for the newly engaged.  It is a time to spread the word, and answer questions.  So many questions.

How did it happen?

Where did it happen?

Let me see the ring!?!

When is the BIG day?

Will it be a big wedding?

Answer the questions, tell them over and over about the engagement, show them the video if there is one.  Enjoy it.  Be honest about your wedding plans, if you don't have any, tell them that you are just getting started with the planning and haven't ironed out all the details.  If you are having a small wedding and some of them will not be invited, this is a great time to set the expectation, that the guest list might be small.

I would suggest if you are not inviting extended family or old friends that you will run into over the holidays to not send out your Save the Dates cards out until after the first of the year.

Get ready.  After the questions comes the advice.  Those of who are married loved to talk to engaged couples and tell them all about our fabulous weddings.  Today I was thinking about that and I think the reason why is that we like to relive the wonderful time in our lives where we had no idea what we were doing, and we didn't care we just wanted to have a perfect day.

Listen politely to the advice and laugh 90% of it off it, but maybe there is some gold in 10% of it.

This is also a no pressure time to take to that 2nd cousin, who is also a photographer about them have any interest in helping a cousin out.

Listen to people's plans, I'm not one for pushing your wedding day because your Aunt and Uncle are going to Hawaii but if it's important for you to have them there, take note of the dates.  Also, make sure that you take note of anyone that might have moved, and make sure to get their updated information.

Do not commit to anything.  Sure it sounds like a good idea to plan a bridal show and night out with your cousins in June, but do not commit to a date, it's easy to say "I'll text closer to the the day so we can make plans" - same goes for Grandma's wedding dress.

Also, one last thing, get your nails done so that show off that beautiful ring!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kids and Weddings

Just for the record, I am totally pro kids at weddings.  That being said I can understand why someone would choose not to invite children to their weddings.

Kids are fun to have a weddings because they are adorable all dressed up and they run around and entertain everyone.  They are not so fun when they are screaming and crying during the vows, or destroying decorations it took you 3 months to make.

The real problem with kids are that they get bored, and tired and that's when they start to fall apart.  Keeping them entertained is the key to having a successful wedding with kids.

The Guest List

If you have lot of guests traveling to the wedding, you may what to consider inviting kids.  Many guests may not want to leave their kids for an entire weekend (many may jump at the chance!)  It may also cause hurt feelings if the couples nieces and nephews are attending and they were not allowed to bring their own children.

The Ceremony

I am all for having a babysitter at the church for the ceremony.  Alot of times, if it is a church you attend regularly, you could probably ask one of the regular nursery monitors to watch kids during the ceremony, please pay them.  If they are unavailable, ask one of your friends that has children to recommend a sitter (or sitters) that they trust to monitor the children, so their parents can enjoy the ceremony.  If you are not having ceremony in church, ask you venue contact if they have a room that could be set for the children, fill it with coloring books, crayons, and maybe a portable DVD player.

Children in the Wedding

Oh, the little scene stealers.  These are your flower girls, your ringbearers.  They are often super cute and you love them a ton.  That being said, you don't need them standing between you and your soon to be spouse while you say your vows.  I always suggest that flower girls and ring bearers walk down the aisle and then move to sit with their parents (if one of them is not in the wedding), Grandparents, or a designated friend that could remove these cutie pies at the first sign of restlessness.

The Reception

Children should sit with their parents.  If both parents are sitting at the Bridal party table, they should sit with the Grandparents or the family friend that is 'in charge' of the child.  If you have the room, and an extra table, I would suggest creating a craft table for the kids, someplace where they can color or make a picture, maybe a card for the bride and groom.  I would position it near the photo booth, and you never know maybe the adults might get alittle crafty!

Happy Planning

Monday, October 24, 2016

Event Planning and Your Small Business

Special Event and Social Committees provide a valuable service to companies, big and small.  The events that they plan help employees feel important, and part of team, maybe even a family.  It promotes moral and helps management build relationships with employees.

Where these committees start to lose their shine is in the planning and execution of these events.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent over the past 20 years, in big companies and small, in these meetings debating chicken versus beef, sit down versus buffet.  Typically these committees are staffed by members representing each department of a company, all worried about how far behind this meeting about cupcakes will make them.  One person takes charge, and everyone resents them and then doesn't want to work on the idea, and then you end up with one (or small group) of people doing all the work to pull off an event.

What if there was a better way?  What if you could hire a 3rd party to develop ideas around a theme or holiday, present those ideas to the committee in a presentation, a vote is taken. we take it from there, managing the details, and even make sure you don't run out of cupcakes.

How does this benefit your company?

-Allows your employees to spend their time running your business instead of ordering cupcakes.
-Complete Budget management to make sure event comes in below or at budget.
-Reduces stress surrounding an event, and allows all the employees to enjoy the event.

We would be happy to put together a proposal for company. Please contact us at and let us know what you need.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Do You Need Wedding Insurance

Nobody wants to imagine anything going wrong on their wedding day.  It is always sunny and goes off without a hitch when you are running it through in your mind.

But, what if on the morning of your wedding did you wake up to a thunderstorm that knocks the power out to the church?  That beautiful old church that is full of the dark wood and the stain glass windows?  Might be alittle dark (even with candles) to hold a wedding there.  Panic mode would sends you scrambling.  Does the reception venue have space for the wedding?  They sure do, but now there are more costs, costs to reset the room, twice, chairs, arches, etc... How would you pay for it?  What if the power was also out at the bakery and your cake was ruined, needed a new one at last minute, twice the price?

This is where wedding insurance could help you out, sure you would probably have to pay out of pocket the day of but you would be reimbursed.

How Much Would You Need?

Coverage amounts are set based on alot of factors.  Cost of the wedding, location, amount of insurance that our vendors and venues already carry.  The conversations you would need to have would be with your vendors and your insurance agent.

Ask vendors are they covered to reimburse you if they, at the last minute are unable to provide their service?  Read the contracts carefully.

Ask you agent, what would be covered, there is a good chance that you will supplemental riders for things such as photography and video (these are are the where they might give you a re-do if your pictures, negatives are damaged.)

Other supplemental polices could be purchased to cover jewelry, and personal liability.

How Much Will it Cost me?

Be prepared to budget for $500 for basic coverage, if you are looking to include photos, video, jewelry and your honeymoon it could be closer to $1,500.  Using your insurance agent could help you defer costs with bundling with current policies.

What Else to Know.

Wedding insurance doesn't cover a broken heart.  If the wedding is called off, it will on cover the cost of dresses, deposits or ice cream.

Engagement rings will likely need to covered under a different policy (ask about homeowners or renters.)

Now let's go back to our happy, sunny place and imagine this day going exactly as planned!

Happy Planning


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Everything you Want (and Need) to know about Save the Dates

Save the dates have become really popular over the past couple of years, they have become a great way to communicate information about the big day, the where, and when so they can get ready for it.  But, sometimes they are alittle over the top.  There was time in the early 90's where people were sending out magnets with their pictures on them, when and how would you get rid of that?  I thought that alittle guide to help.

Who gets them?  Ideally you would send one to everyone on your guest list.   I know it seems like alot, so you can pair down the mailed to out of town guests, immediate family and the bridal party.   Before you ask, yes those need to be mailed.  A digital version can be emailed out, posted to your wedding website and wedding Facebook page.

What information should it contain?  When and where the wedding will be.  You should also include hotel information, and your wedding website.  Please fight the urge to write 'Invitations to Follow' on the bottom.

When should they be sent?  4-6 months before the wedding

Now let's talk alittle bit about design.

These can be as simple as a photo card from the drug store, with your information printed by your engagement party to as extravagant as handmade and homewritten.  They should be in your style. Because they are going out so far before the wedding they don't necessarily need to fit in with your theme.  That being said it is also a good way to establish theme.

I hope this helps.

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Breaking Down Your Budget

A couple weeks ago we talked about how to start the conversations regarding your Wedding and it's budget.  Now it's time to dig alittle deeper into the budget and put some real numbers into your budget.  I've broken down the major categories and given you some numbers to go with those categories, as well what they categories represent, and the best way to save some money in those categories.  All the figures  come from a great article on The Knot, click on the link for more information.

Let's start with this figure.  The average Wedding in 2015 cost $31,213.  Let that sink in.

Reception. 48 - 50 % of your budget, $14,982 - $15,606 in 2015 dollars.

This is your biggest expense.  This includes:

  • Food, including appetizers, dinner, cake, and midnight snack
  • Venue Rental
  • Open Bar
Influencing Factors:  size of your guest list, serving style (sit down, stations, family style)
Where to save $$: consider dropping or down sizing the midnight snack, close the open bar an opt for wine service only during dinner

Photo/Video.  10-12% of your budget, $3,121- $3,745 in 2015 money.
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Photo Booth for Reception
Influencing Factors:  the number of hours both are on site, photo package
Where to save $$: don't skimp here, if you need to skip the photo booth

Flowers.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Ceremony Flowers
  • Reception Flowers (Centerpieces)
  • Family Flowers 
  • Wedding Party Flowers
  • Brides Bouquets (one to carry, one to throw)
  • Pew Bows, pew decorations
Influencing Factors:  size of wedding party, amount of flowers
Ways to save $$: limit who in the family gets flowers, stick with immediate; re-use ceremony flowers as decorations at the reception, consider making your own pew bows

Attire:  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Brides Dress(es)
  • Groom's Clothing
Influencing Factors: theme of dress(es)
Where to save $$:  consider only have one dress (think removable train), rent all the tuxes from one place, typically the Groom's will be free

Entertainment.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.

This mainly just covers your DJ or band.  Unless of course you are planning on having a clown at your reception.  

Influencing Factors:  length of the reception, how long you will have them play
Where to save $$: Provide your own music (think Ipod) during the cocktail hour and dinner

Transportation.  2-3% of your budget, $624-$936 in 2015 money.
  • limo, to the venue, from the venue to the hotel
Influencing Factors:  size of limo, party bus needed
Where to save $$: see if the hotel has a shuttle to pick the wedding party up 

Ceremony.  2-3% of your budget, $624 - $936 in 2015 money.

The most important part has one of the smallest budget lines.  This will include the donation that the church will require.  If you are getting married at the same venue you are holding the reception the there should not more that a minimal cost, if any.

Miscellaneous.  8-10 % of your budget, $2,497 - $3,121 in 2015 money.
  • Wedding Party Gifts
  • Stationary: Invitations, programs, Thank you notes, postage
  • Rings
  • Licenses
  • Hotel welcome bags
  • Favors
Influencing Factors: Quality of stationary, size of Wedding party
Where to save $$: only send save the date cards to out of town guests, put the welcome bags together yourself

Of course these are all just averages, you may choose to save alittle money here, spending alittle more over there.  Over the coming months we will dig even deeper into all these categories and help you decide where you want to spend and where you want to save.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions -

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wedding Traditions, the Do, Skip and Maybe

Does the idea of Wedding traditions conjure up dollar dances and drunk bridesmaids fighting over the bouquet?  Should you even plan to include these outdated traditions?  I will admit done right most of these traditions are worth keeping.

Throwing the Bouquet

Why?  It stems from an old tradition where the bride would tie together fabric from her dress with some flowers and throw to the single ladies, who wanted to 'catch' her luck.  I love this tradition, how many of have waited to be the bride doing the throwing instead of the one of the girls in the back pretending to not be interested in catching it?

Verdict:  Do it!  Have the florist put together a 'throwing bouquet" of silk flowers, use it to decorate the cake table and then throw it when you are ready to have the reception start winding down.

Garter Toss

Apparently this started in the 14th century when the Groom would throw the Bride's garter to all the single men.  I hate this tradition, it is my least favorite.  It think it is stupid, but alot of people like it, it keeps the crowd going.

Verdict:  Your call.  I was unable to talk my own Groom out of it.

Not Seeing the Bride Before the Wedding

As we have all heard this is bad luck.  But today's timelines really don't allow for this.  Many weddings aren't until the evening and with entertaining out of town guests, and pictures it may not be feasible.

Verdict: Skip it!  If you feel that strongly about it, honor the tradition, if your timeline doesn't allow for it.  Don't worry about it.  Have fun, enjoy your day together, that is truly what it is about.

Groom's Cake

Who can forget the Armadillo cake that the Groom's Aunt made in Steel Magnolias.  This originated in Great Britain in the 18th century and was a liquor soaked fruit cake (yum!)  The flavor of it was different from the Wedding cake which was referred to as the Bride's cake, and was a second option for guest.  Today is used to show some of the couples personality.

Verdict:  Do it!  My one true Wedding Day regret.  My advice, don't make a huge one and make sure the guests leave with either a piece of the Groom's of the Bride's cake!

Dollar Dance

I take it back about the garter toss, this is my least favorite tradition.  Started as a way to give the Bride and Groom alittle cash to start their new lives.  It's completely outdated.

Verdict:  Skip it!  To quote my sister "tacky with a capital T" - Guests are already starting to view Weddings as a money grab, I think that the envelope in the card box will be enough to get you started.

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Getting Started on your Budget

This is seriously the least fun/most stressful conversation(s) to have around your Wedding.

Who is going to pay for it?

Even typing that give me an anxiety flashback from gearing up to have that conversation with my parents around my own wedding.

The truth is that weddings these days are combination,  Brides family, Groom's family, the couple themselves.  Gone are the rules of Emily Post which neatly distributing the bill based on some old society traditions. Many couples want the freedom of planning that paying for the day gives you.  Many feel they are too old to have their parents pay for their weddings.

The budget might be the most stressful conversation, but it is truly the most important.  It determines the big 3, when, where and how a wedding will take place.  What can you afford?  Are you willing to push your date out to give you more time to save?

I urge you to sit down with your parents once the fairy dust of your engagement settles.  Do not be defensive and don't mad if the number they are willing to offer is not what you expected/wanted it to be.  Be thankful for what they offer and start planning.  The worse thing you can is argue with your parents for 12 months while you are planning your wedding.

The one thought that I will leave you with is.  It truly is one day.  It is one great day of your life.  You will not remember that you didn't have room in the budget for seat covers.  You will remember the smiles, the stories and how happy you were with plain out chairs.

Over the next coming months we will get deep into the specifics around the budget and what you will/should spend on each aspect of it.

Happy Planning..