QMEP Blogs So You Can Party
It's so important to stay calm during the planning process especially the final days leading to your wedding. When dealing with your vendors, keep in mind that they are most likely dealing with several clients and weddings. In this industry, your wedding may only be three weeks away and what seems like a short period of time to you may seem like an eternity to your vendor because they have 15 other weddings ahead of you in that short time span. It's like a great athlete that says the game slows down for them when it is so fast for everyone else.
It's vital to remain patient and trust the professionals you have so deligently researched and hired to address your needs as soon as possible. Imagine a checkout line at your favorite market or even a popular deli where everyone has to take a number in order to get service.
It seems we have allowed ourselves to become spoiled due to all the different technology at our fingertips to the point that we are expecting instant gratification in almost every situation. It's not always realistic. If you don't immediately hear back from your vendor, it doesn't mean your vendor is going out of business all of sudden or has forgotten about your wedding. Sometimes, the reality is you just have to wait your turn.
Many receptions have a point when the Wedding DJ invites all the single ladies to the dance floor for the bouquet toss. Naturally, some ladies are not so willing to be "singled" out of the entire wedding party. Everyone is staring at them, the photographer gets ready and suddenly these ladies are thrust into a competition at what was supposed to be a nice, elegant evening of dinner, conversation and dancing in their lovely cocktail dresses!
Then it's the guy's turn to dive, jump or wrestle over the garter often in a drunken stupor. Even worse, I've seen weddings, in a moment that seems to occur in slow motion, where the garter slowly floats down to earth after being tossed by the groom because no single man makes any attempt at catching it, preferring to watch it land before simply walking away.
How can we avoid these awkward moments? We call it "The Dance Through The Decades". This dance will encourage participation, evoking the spirit of true support and recognition while creating a sentimental mood of love involving many more of the wedding guests.
The DJ will request all "Married Couples" to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. Being invited guests at the wedding, most couples will certainly comply. As a result you'll have immediate participation. As everyone makes their way to the floor, the DJ plays a nice romantic tune. A few moments into the dance, the DJ makes a request: "If there are any couples that have been married for less than one day, please step to the side".
The response may be surprise, but the guests will soon catch on. After a few moments more of dancing, the DJ makes another announcement: "If there are any couples that have been married five years and less, you may have a seat as well. Thank you for participating". Now everyone will realize what is happening. Conversation grows as the dance continues, with everyone trying to figure out which couple has been married the longest. The DJ continues as the music plays, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and so on.
As the dance gets closer to highlighting your longest married couple, the DJ should encourage the other wedding guests to applaud each couple as they are eliminated. Having performed this event for over 18 years now, I have often finished the dance with couples who have been married for over 50 years!
Once the longest married couple has been determined and everyone is cheering, the bride presents her bouquet or a special toss bouquet to the winning couple. Sometimes we include the garter as well, just depends how you feel about it. The DJ acknowledges all the participating couples and can even ask the winning couple to offer some advice to the newlyweds. The Dance Through The Decades usually only takes a few songs, which is nice. It creates a special moment, without taking over your wedding.
There are so many elements and details that go into planning a great wedding. From the timeline that creates the right flow and rehearsal setting the tone with your bridal party to the design you've always dreamed of having and coordinating with your vendors so they know what to do and when to do it...it can be overwhelming.
The most important thing is that you are able to enjoy this moment in your life, relatively stress and drama free, with your friends and family. It's better to hire a professional event planner rather than leaving your wedding in the hands of an unexperienced person with good intentions.
Of course, there is always QMEP and we're great but there are some other event planning companies in the Bay Area that do a great job as well. Here are a couple that I recommend considering;
Dreams on A Dime www.dreamsonadime.com
A Monique Affair www.amoniqueaffair.com.
The San Francisco Bay Area even has some great caterers in the East Bay that feature legitimate and experienced professional event planners.
We have always enjoyed working with Karen Zachary from Miraglia's Catering (www.cateringandmore.com) in San Leandro. We know that if Karen is planning an event, there is nothing to worry about. She is great at taking care of all the details and touching base with the vendors. She is a true professional.
The talented Amanda Fabbri from Carrie Dove Catering (www.carriedovecatering.com) in Emeryville is also a QMEP favorite. Amanda goes the extra mile for her clients and does a great job working with other vendors to make your vision a reality!
Imagine you're at a wedding and the DJ goes to introduce the Best Man to give a toast, but for some reason your glass is empty! As you look around you notice everyone's glasses are empty and most of the people are wandering around. The photographer is nowhere to be seen and their is a surprised look on the Best Man's face. Now, he's uncomfortable and we don't know what's going to come out of his mouth because he just got put on the spot. Now imagine thisis your wedding.
Does this really happen? Yes, it does. How? Simple. The "friend" who has always wanted to be an event planner has told the DJ it's time to do the toasts without taking the necessary steps to plan for the moment.
A professional event planner is going to make sure the caterer has poured drinks or invited guests to the bar if they are not pouring to the tables. The planner will also let all the vendors know the toasts will be happening in X amount of time and where they will be taking place.
Your planner should be giving anyone who is going to speak about a 10-15 minute heads up so they can prepare and are not shocked when it's time to deliver that awesome toast in front of your guests. A professional planner will ask the DJ to make an announcement prior to inform your guests the toasts will be happening in about 10 minutes. The planner should also verify that the DJ actually knows everyone's name. All of these things should happen before the DJ ever introduces the Best Man or anyone else.
The toast is just one example of a small but important part of a wedding. Now, I ask that you think about all the other important moments, specific details and duties that will need to somehow be facilitated. You will need a professional.
Think about your other vendors for a moment. Who will they be comfortable working with? Will you be able to get the highest level of performance from your DJ, the best shots from your photographer, great sound bites from your video and great service from the caterer and bar if they can't rely on your event planner? The answer is No. The event planner effects everything.
Stay tuned. Part 3 of this blog will be posted in a few days!
As a professional vendor in the wedding industry for 20 years, I have experienced the friend, co-worker, family member or wannabe event planner that has been brought in by the bride and groom to help plan their wedding, many times. And for the most part, this has been a huge mistake.
If you think this will give your wedding a more "personal touch" or help with your budget's bottomline, it won't.
Hiring a professional event planner can save you time and money overall when accounting for industry connections, experience, knowledge and discounts. This is time and money you would unnecessarily spend due to a lack of those real intangibles.
Maybe you don't think a professional event planner is really needed. You wouldn't hire your cousin to extract your tooth, unless they were a real dentist, would you?
If you find yourself in a place where help is needed, and let's face it most people do need some help planning their wedding, it's always best to hire a professional.
So much time and energy goes into this special moment in your life, a day you'll always remember. Do you really want to leave it in the hands of a family member because they're familiar, your co-worker that seems "organized" or a friend who has always wanted to be an event planner?
It's not the same thing, not even close. It doesn't translate to running a smooth wedding and your wedding should not be a test dummy!
This topic will be in three parts. Part 2 will be posted in a few days. I will provide real experiences why hiring someone other than a professional is a bad idea.
In Part 3, I will provide a couple of great event planners that actually work for some of our favorite caterers here in the Bay Area!