Rentals



There are so, so, SO many details to consider when planning your wedding. One of the errors that is hard to catch ahead of time, even for me as a coordinator, are missing items from your rental order. And when things are missing, it’s a scramble (or even slightly disastrous) to deal with this on your wedding day. Here is my number one tip for making sure your rental order is in tip-top shape:

  1. When possible, go with your caterer’s rental company AND have your caterer place the order.

Most of what’s on a rental list is for the caterer’s use: plates, utensils, tables for buffet, tables for prep area, pipe and drape to hide prep area, cake plates, extra forks for cake, and on, and on, and on… If your caterer places the order, they have the best shot of covering all their bases. If they miss something and they catch it, they can call the rental company to fix it and that’s one less call you need to make!

If you’re not able to use your caterer’s recommended rental company because your venue has a preferred vendor, then make sure to have your caterer go through the rental order with you TWO WEEKS before your wedding. Caterers have multiple jobs running at the same time and usually don’t double check the list until a few days before your wedding. It’s extremely stressful to troubleshoot rentals days before walking down the aisle. Not to mention it’s frustrating to have last-minute costs pop up! So if you are ordering the rentals yourself, here are the different areas to review and discuss with your caterer and rental company:

  • Guest tables & chairs
  • Place settings (plates, utensils, glasses)
  • Extra plates & forks for cake/dessert
  • Linens (tablecloths & napkins)
  • Tables for caterer (buffet, prep area)
  • Tables for other things (DJ, cake table, gift table, bar, etc.)
  • Pipe & drape to hide the prep area
  • Additional lighting for the area
  • Additional bar needs (glasses, napkins, etc.)

Happy planning!

 

Minimergency Kit



As a wedding coordinator I am always stocking up on my emergency supply of, well, emergency supplies. The obvious list includes things like safety pins, a Tide stain pen, tissues, gum, etc. The not so obvious list includes things like duct tape, chalk (for stains on stain dresses), or cute rocks (for vases that want to tip over or programs that want to fly away). So when I laid eyes on the Minimergency kit I was excited to check it out. Here’s what I think!

Pros:

  • It really does have everything you’d need for a bridal emergency
  • It’s small, so it will travel well 
  • The bag is super adorable 

Cons:

  • It’s tiny…like really tiny. I saw how small it was in the picture, but it feels smaller in person. 
  • The bag is so small that once you use the 1-time deodorant wipe (for example), there is no hope of throwing in a travel-sized deodorant to replace it. 
  • It is packed so tightly that once you unpack it to use something, you might not be able to figure out how to get everything back in. It’s like bridal Jenga. Ha!

Overall it’s a really cute idea, but it is truly a one-use kind of kit. For me as a planner, it’s not quite what I was hoping for. For a cute day-of bridal gift, though, I’d give it a thumbs up.  But if you’re looking for a kit that works for the day-of and for days-to-come, keep looking or make your own. 

 

Details, Details



The list of things a wedding coordinator takes care of before and during a couple’s wedding day is long and strong.  There are vendor arrival times, room setup, tablescapes, cueing music, keeping everyone calm and happy, and on and on. But the most important thing a wedding coordinator can help with is …

A Detailed Event Timeline

The reason a detailed event timeline takes the cake in terms of importance is three fold:

1)      It ensures that absolutely every single detail has been addressed ahead of time.

When a timeline has been created properly, brides and grooms have literally combed through every. single. minute. of their wedding day. Who is doing what? What goes where? Who is showing up when? Detailed event timelines leave zero (I mean ZERO) questions about the day. That level of organization and pre-planning is just the ticket for a couple to relax and enjoy their day.

2)      It gets all your vendors on the same page. Literally.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a million moving pieces/people for a wedding. So often vendors know what their part is, but they are in the dark about others’ timing. Detailed event timelines allow your paid professionals to operate at their best. Photographers and DJs will be especially grateful to have a solid working document to run with.

When wedding days run so smoothly, it never just happens by accident. It was clear from the beginning that Amy had taken care of business behind the scenes to ensure that nothing interrupted the bride and groom’s enjoyment of their wedding day. As a photographer I appreciated this because there were no surprises; we talked several times before the wedding and worked out everything in advance. On the day of the wedding, I actually had a little extra time for pictures, which in my industry is almost unheard of.

Eric {Paperwhite Photography}

3)      It may even allow for you to forgo (gulp) an actual wedding coordinator.

Clearly the best case scenario is to have a day-of coordinator onsite at your wedding. However, budgets don’t always allow for that. I too was a bride on a budget and all I could afford was to have a friend coordinate my special day. She is one of the most insanely organized and talented friends I have, but what can I say? I run with an exceptional crowd. Anyway! The point is if you have a great event timeline you may be able to eek by without a coordinator. I helped one bride with pre-planning and a detailed event timeline, but wasn’t able to do day-of coordination for her because I was already booked for another wedding. Here’s her take…

… the week before the wedding we sat down and she helped us figure out all the small details for the day of. She was unable to be there for the day of coordination, but the preparation she helped us with made it run smoothly.

Jackie {Bride}

So if you cannot afford a full-blown wedding coordinator for your wedding day, focus on a super detailed event timeline. And if you’re not even sure where to start for a timeline, I’d love to help.

Happy planning!

Color Me Rad



Deciding on a color for your upcoming wedding? Wondering what’s on trend? Look no further! Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid.

 Whether you want to be bold or simply just tip your hat to this color, here are a few fun ideas for this chic shade. 

 

 

 

Keep Glowing



Lighting is an extremely effective way to set the tone of a wedding. And, most of the time, it can be  really affordable! Canned uplighting warms up a room instantly. An amber light “gel” is the most neutral color to create a cozy and romantic atmosphere because it replicates candlelight.  Most DJs actually offer canned uplights as an add-on to their services, so you don’t have to worry about working with an additional vendor. 

Photo courtesy of http://ourdjrocks.com/tag/amber-uplighting/

And DIY lighting is always a great money-saving option. I recently coordinated an outdoor wedding where the bride and groom felt the quote for lighting from their rental company was too high. So they opted to string their own lights. It was fantastic! It created a really intimate feeling for their summer wedding. And they saved a huge chunk of change in the process!

DIY Lighting

Oh, baby!



As you can tell by the date of my last blog post, I’ve become delinquent on my blogging. I have a good reason, though. This guy…

While I’ve got babies on the brain, it raises a great question for wedding planning: kids or no kids? There is no “right” answer, but kids as wedding guests definitely change the tone of an event. If you are planning to include kids in your wedding festivities, below are a few things to consider:

  • Kids make noise! I’m sure many of us have been to weddings where some blessed babe starts screaming during the ceremony. My observation is that guests will only feel awkward or uncomfortable if the bride, groom, and families do. At one wedding, I witnessed the palpable implosion of a mother of the bride as she tended to a restless flower girl and missed her daughter’s walk down the aisle. At another wedding, however, the officiant was reading a blessing and the ring bearer began pouting. The bride simply wrapped her arm around the little dude and things continued without a hitch. This act was not only too precious for words, it also calmed the kiddo and set a very inclusive, family-friendly tone for their day.
  • Be ready to get upstaged on the dance floor! Kids love, love, LOVE to dance. And there is almost nothing cuter than a child shaking his booty. So even though it’s “your day”, it will be their dance floor. Let the dance-off begin!
  • A group babysitter ain’t a bad idea. When you give any parent the opportunity to celebrate, have a drink, and get their groove on they are going to take it and RUN! So I can guarantee there will be a certain time during the night when there are no responsible adults in the room (except for your coordinator and vendors, of course). A babysitter allows your grown-up guests and pint-sized partiers alike to have a great time, worry-free.

If you are ready to embrace the unexpected, play things by ear, and create a family atmosphere then bring on the kiddos! If this isn’t your gig, it is completely within your right to let guests know, “While we love the little ones, this is an adults-only affair.” Some parents might be a little miffed about this, but speaking as a new parent…we will all live. Cheers to the bride and groom and a fun night out!

Calcu-liquor



For the lucky ones who can bring in their own wine and liquor to their wedding! Thank you, Real Simple!

J.Crew Bridal SALE



I love me some J.Crew. It’s simple, classic, and always beautiful. What’s better than that!? Ummm…duh, J.Crew on sale! Now until March 3:  THE ONE & ONLY WEDDING EVENT: 20% OFF GOWNS, BRIDESMAID DRESSES & EXTRAS. USE CODE LOVE. ONLINE & IN STORES. 

 

 

How to Cut a Wedding Cake



My adventures in cake cutting

Many of you may think, “How hard could it be to cut a wedding cake!?” Well, let me assure you – HARD. When one of my wedding couples opted out of the cake cutting fee I ended up pinch hitting. The things wedding coordinators do for the love of a client! Anyway, this dummy (that would be me) wishes I had Googled some instructions ahead of time, but instead I winged it. While the cake was still magically delicious, I totally butchered it! Sigh… Here’s what I learned in my adventures in cake cutting:

  1. Try and negotiate the inclusion of the cake cutting fee in your overall pricing before signing the contract. If that doesn’t work, bite the proverbial wedding cake bullet and pay the cake cutting fee. The caterers will do suuuuch a better job than your well-intentioned wedding coordinator. And if that won’t work for your budget, see #2.
  2. Remove the top tier first for the bride and groom. Have a box for this tier all ready to go. A) Ask the cake vendor to provide a to-go box for this tier. If they won’t/can’t provide you with anything… B) Find your own box that is bigger than the actual cake so you can easily slide it in without mashing up the frosting. C) Cover the inside of the box in plastic wrap or tin foil. D) Move this to the kitchen/catering prep area.
  3. Have a thin knife, cake server, multiple rags or napkins, and a pitcher of warm water at the ready.
  4. Cut slices about 1.5 inches wide and then do your best to get it neatly on the plate. The first slice is the hardest, for sure. Don’t give up!
  5. Dip the knife in water and wipe off after each slice. You may need to do this for the cake server too.
  6. Have an assistant move the plates to a clear side of the table and/or pass the cake out.
  7. Once you’ve tackled the middle layer, move onto the next layer until you’ve slayed the sugary beast. Even if there are different favors of cake in each tier, just cut one tier at a time. If you cut into multiple tiers at once you end up with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is extremely scary. I would know.

***A couple of extra notes:

  • The cake is usually cut at a time during the reception where most have enjoyed an adult beverage or two or ten. So if you don’t have a wedding coordinator to rely on for this service, choose someone you know will be “in a good place” to use a knife and deal hygienically with cake.
  • Most professionals cut the cake behind the scenes because, no matter how you slice it (pun intended), it’s a messy job. Caterers would usually disassemble each layer and cut it completely differently than I described above. However, if you forgo the cake cutting fee, you usually forgo the help of your friendly caterers and thereby have to cut it in plain view of guests. So when you see your coordinator or friend butchering your cake, just smile and remember you saved about $2 per person.

Friends & Family



Yesterday was a busy day of wedding coordinating! I coordinated a surprise wedding, where the bride-to-be was proposed to and married all in the same day. Not to mention the engagement took place in Long Beach, the ceremony was on Catalina Island, and the reception was in Newport! Despite the many moving pieces and important planning aspects of the day, this wedding was a clear reminder that one of THE most important parts of the day is friends and family. This bride and groom had the best, most supportive, most fun friends and family I’ve worked with in a while. A surprise wedding is no small feat to pull off and as one friend toasted the bride and groom, he remarked that this wedding “took a village.” That it did. And what a wonderful “village” they have!

While wedding planning is a vital part to a successful wedding day, I’m also reminded to stay focused on the important things. That, of course, is friends and family.

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