Did your Wedding Resort Really Do That Wedding?

Wedding cake

Sometimes I see some really dubious stuff out there in wedding world, and this one has my blood boiling.

While most bloggers and social media managers are entirely honorable and professional, sometimes there’s a bad egg out there…one that can wreck your wedding. Case in point: a destination wedding showcased on a resort’s blog, with the resort claiming this wedding to be the work of their own wedding team. Except it wasn’t. A wedding coordinator designed the gorgeous florals and tablescapes, the wedding planner’s team did a ton of work, and the wedding reception wasn’t at that resort at all. The ceremony was.

The blogger just said that it was all the resort’s work.

It’s easy to be fooled by such misguided marketing, and wind up with a wedding planning team that’s not half as talented as the experts who styled the wedding you saw.

So, here’s what I suggest: when you see a real wedding featured on a blog for any resort or venue, just Google the couple’s first names and ‘wedding’ and the location, and you’ll likely see blog posts done by the wedding planner, photographer, cake baker and all the other pros who worked that wedding. That’s where you’re going to see that the ceremony was at that resort, but the reception took place at a nearby restaurant. Those stunning tablescape photos you saw, and the background view, the elegance, the lighting — you’ll then know if it’s something that resort did, or can do at all.

Sorry to add an extra step to your research, but this one is important. Sometimes you have to cut into what you see, to see what’s really going on inside.

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Newly-Engaged? Here’s the First Thing You Should Do

brides guide to freebies

An important part of planning your wedding is knowing what you DON’T want, which clears away the clutter and all those suggestions from other people, allowing you both to get clear about what you DO want.
And talking together about your Don’ts gets you communicating about what’s most important for your wedding day.
So print out and use the following worksheets as an essential part of your planning process…
[Plus, it makes life easier when you can hand these worksheets  to your vendors!]

Click on the links below to download the lists

What the Bridesmaids Don’t Want For Their Dresses
What We Don’t Want For the Wedding Cake
What We Don’t Want In Our Ceremony
What We Don’t Want For Flowers and Décor
Foods We Don’t Want Served at the Wedding

What We Don’t Want for the Honeymoon
Songs We Don’t Want Played At the Wedding
What We Don’t Want For Our Wedding Vows
What I Don’t Want For My Wedding Gown

Visit my site www.sharonnaylor.net for more free worksheets to get your wedding planning started off right!

Fab Find! Speak Wedding Flashcards by Wedding Expert and Trend-setter Annie Lee

speak wed 1

speak wed 2

In order to create your dream wedding with your wedding professionals, you have to speak their language. They’ve had 30+ years in the bridal industry, and you’re ultra-new to this world that’s far more detailed than you ever imagined. When you learn the lingo, you can share your vision with your wedding pros and understand their comments and questions sent to you.

Grooms? They definitely need Speak Wedding cards to help them communicate with your wedding pros, and with you as you plan the big day.

Helping you speak your wedding pros’ language, is Speak Wedding, the new beginner-level flashcards developed by award-winning, trend-setting wedding expert Annie Lee of Daughter of Design® with artwork from celebrity wedding invitation designer Ceci New York.

Here’s a bit about the cards:

Wedding vernacular seems foreign to those new to nuptials, but with these beginner-level flashcards, anyone can speak Wedding with confidence. Each of these stylish 50 cards developed by wedding expert, Annie Lee of Daughter of Design ® with artwork by Ceci New York, teaches common terminology, abbreviations, and other wedding vocabulary to help familiarize novices with wedding culture and have them sounding like natives in no time. Not only do the cards teach necessary wedding lingo, they also act as a great tool to start conversations on topics like what the Mother of the Groom will wear to the wedding and if the Bride and Groom will want to see each other before the ceremony. Read the wedding term on the front of these two-sided flashcards then flip the card onto its backside for a full explanation, correct usage, pronunciation, and other helpful tips. It’s the perfect gift for a newly engaged couple and a fun new bridal shower trivia game!

Here’s where you can get your Speak Wedding boxed sets: http://www.speakwedding.com/about/

FREE Chapter from my New Book “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies!”

bride's guide to freebies

It’s time for another FREE chapter of one of my wedding books! This time, it’s my newest, “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies,” which is all about getting freebies the RIGHT way, and working WITH your fabulous vendors to score budget-saving items and services for your big day. As I always say, you’v got to hire great wedding vendors. They know where fantastic freebies are and can help you get them!

Chapter 2: What’s Realistic to Ask For

You’ll have far more success in securing freebies if you stick to realistic requests. Wedding experts have to buy everything that’s needed for your wedding, and the time they spend pre-, during- and post-wedding to fulfill your wishes is valuable. So asking for $10,000 in free catering isn’t going to be received very well. Asking the videographer to edit your video for free will make him laugh. Video editing is very time-consuming, often taking dozens of hours more than the time he spent filming your wedding to get just right.

To keep from insulting your vendors, or from looking like you’re completely naïve about how much food, liquor, flowers, fabrics and other items cost, stick with these rules to help improve your odds of getting a Yes when you ask for a freebie:

  • Ask what a vendor already has. As you’ll read in upcoming chapters, some vendors have storerooms  full of glass vases, pedestal centerpiece bowls, candelabras, linens and other items that were left over from prior weddings or not used because prior weddings were canceled. If you ask to see their stock, you might be able to have those pretty bowls or linens used in your wedding décor for free.
  • Ask for low-time items.   The reason a wedding cake is so expensive is that it takes the cake baker many hours to pipe on frosting in lace designs or make 200 sugar paste daisies to decorate it with. If you ask for an element that comes without a ton of labor, your freebie odds increase. “I had a bride who asked for thirty short-cut ranunculus centerpieces, and since they take a few seconds to make, I threw in half for free,” says one grateful-for-the-easy-task floral designer.
  • Limit your freebie-ask to one thing, such as an extra cocktail party station or an extra dessert, not an entire class of free things like an entire dessert bar. Managers are far more likely to reward your modest request with that one station you asked for.
  • Be open to non-identical things. A vendor may have, or may be able to get, small collections of coordinating chargers or table runners, and can mix and match in your reception space to great effect.
  • Ask for local things. If a vendor can pop to a local store to buy all the settings you need, she may give you a freebie because you haven’t required her to drive two states away, or organize a difficult order from overseas with customs hassles.
  • Ask for what’s in-season and plentiful. If your caterer can get bushels of seasonal apples from a local farm for next to nothing, she may throw in extra desserts or a hot cider bar. Visit LocalHarvest.org to see what’s in-season in your area during the time of your wedding as pre-research.
  • Ask for a style upgrade. I spoke with Marni Gold, from CreativeCustomCardBoxes.com about her  decorative card boxes that guests pop those gift envelopes into, and she said that when a bride orders a two-layer box, she happily adds on an extra decorated layer to a great design of card box to make a great impression.

What’s not realistic to ask for:

  • Food, flowers and other large-volume supplies that are the foundation of the day and come to the vendor at a sizeable price. That would be too much to ask them to pay for.
  • Free labor by their assistants. It’s not their job to iron your 50 tablecloths for free, nor is it fair to ask them to work your wedding day without fair wages. That’s actually illegal.
  • Free labor by other workers, like bartenders and valet workers.
  • Free shipping or delivery.  Fuel is expensive, as is the pay for delivery workers and set-up crews, so don’t ask for this one to be thrown in. (If it’s offered to you, great!)
  • A greater-value item than  one you’re replacing. If the florist calls to say peonies aren’t  available, so you’ll have to choose another type of bloom, don’t expect free orchids and tropical plants as the replacement.
  • Anything that YOU wouldn’t want to do for free!

More time that the vendor can comfortably spend on your wedding. This is important. When you book a coordinator, he or she gauges the scope of your wedding, how much work will go into your plans, and then how many other weddings he or she can book for that same time. If you start expanding your plans and being the Headache Client, you’re not likely to get freebies.

Get it at Barnes and Noble in paperback or NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-brides-guide-to-freebies-sharon-naylor/1111267553?ean=9780762780013

Get it at Amazon in paperback or Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Brides-Guide-Freebies-Enhancing/dp/0762780010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367504654&sr=8-1&keywords=bride%27s+guide+to+freebies

Bridesmaids’ Wedding Budget Saver: Get on the List!

bridesmaidonabudget

Bridesmaids, get ready to save a fortune on your wedding dress, shoes, accessories, bridal shower invitations and decor, and more. Since bridesmaids often spend over $1,000 during their time in just one wedding party, you’ll be thrilled to know that this one little tip can save you up to 85% off your bridesmaid gown, shoes, accessories, and up to 60% off the supplies you’ll need to throw a fabulous bridal shower and bachelorette party. You can even get things for free.

So what’s this magic secret? Here it is… Get On the List. Sign up for every mailing list possible at a range of bridal gown and bridesmaid dress shops, department stores, outlet stores, and craft stores, and you’ll get advance, VIP notice of members-only sales and clearances that will save you a fortune.

At a bridal gown shop’s VIP access trunk sale that only people on the mailing list know about, you can save 50%, 60%, up to 85% on pretty, designer bridesmaid dresses – and if you already have your dress, you can get the same savings on your shoes, jewelry, gloves and other accessories. There’s no rule saying you have to shop for a dress at these super-sales! (It may even be safer to be in the accessories section while all those other dress-hungry bridesmaids elbow each other to get to that sophisticated sage stunner!)

At the craft store, members on mailing lists get valuable coupons via e-mail, access to members-only shopping times, advance notice of clearances and sales, and invitations to craft-making classes led by their experts. If you’re not on the list, you miss out!

Be smart when you sign up. Getting on mailing lists will generate a flurry of junk e-mails, so use a separate, dedicated e-mail address just for your bridesmaid activities and provide that one when you sign on. Set your spam filters to accept e-mails from these stores you’ve chosen, and you’ll soon get a goldmine of money-saving offers! And check your spam files to see if your computer re-directed a legitimate, wanted message over there so that you don’t miss it.

The List may be an actual signup sheet in the store, or a form filled out on their site, Liking their Facebook page, filling out a form at a bridal show; when you give them your chosen, safe contact info, you could very well save a LOT of money…which is welcome news if you’re the bridesmaid with less money than the other bridesmaids, or if you’re in more than one or two weddings this season!

I have tons more savings for you in my book Bridesmaid on a Budget: How to Be a Brilliant Bridesmaid Without Breaking the Bank, and you’ll find budget tips and planning ideas in my best-selling Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book. Also, find free worksheets at my site www.sharonnaylor.net!

The Top NEW Wedding Tips for the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom

motherofthebridelargestMother_of_the_Groom

 

Moms, you have it good these days when it comes to the wedding! So much has changed in the past few years, giving you more opportunities to join in the fun of planning the big day…and lots of other fabulously fun events surrounding it.

Today’s magnificent mom isn’t being left out in the cold while the bride and groom plan and pay for their wedding (as we saw for a few years there.) She’s a welcome member of the bridesmaid circle, helping to plan and co-hosting the bridal shower, attending dress shopping trips with the bride, going to cake tastings and site tours. And she gets to dazzle in her wedding day dress, not to mention hosting a number of great parties.

So here are some top tips for you, moms of the wedding:

  1. Engagement parties are back! Parents are once again throwing parties to celebrate the big news, and these at-home or restaurant parties are impressive even on a budget. They can be casual backyard cookouts, or champagne cocktail parties, even family-style dinners with just the family present. You get to plan a chic or simple party of your own styling, using your choice of colors and themes, picking the menu and even designing the cake!
  2. You get to wear an amazing dress. The bride isn’t telling the moms what color to wear. She does get to say whether she wants you in a long or short dress to coordinate with the bridal party and match the formality, but your dress trying-on excursion with the bride has you making all the calls about the color you’d love to wear, the amount of sparkle you want on your dress, and the style that you feel best in. Gown designers offer the most stylish dresses for moms that we’ve ever seen, so you’re ultra-lucky to be the mom of the wedding now with so many fashionable choices open to you.
  3. You may get to co-host the shower. With bridesmaids spending over $1,000 for each wedding they’re in, they need an extra planner to share the work and the cost, so moms are often welcomed into the circle to make that great bridal shower possible for the bride. You’re not the lead planner – that’s the Maid of Honor – but you are a part of the circle, with your ideas likely included in the celebration.
  4. Connect with the other mom, or moms. It’s old-world etiquette for the parents of the bride to invite the parents of the groom for a meeting. You might already know each other, but if you don’t, and even if a get-together isn’t possible due to your locations, it’s now a Must for the mother of the bride to reach out to the mother of the groom to share her excitement and say she’s looking forward to working with her on the big day for the bride and groom, and to being an extended family after the big day.
  5. You’ll work with the other mom, and step-mom. You might think that certain tasks are yours, according to etiquette – like the rehearsal dinner being the mother of the groom’s to plan, and the morning-after breakfast being for the mother of the bride. But now, the wedding couple might ask you both to pair up to work on one of these parties, or on other elements of the wedding preparations.
  6. Your skills come into play. You may have a talent or a craft that can save the bride and groom a ton of money, so you might be asked to graphic design their save the dates, or make a cake for the bridal shower, sew the table runners, or make any DIY favors or décor items.
  7. Your contacts come into play. If you know someone who owns a floral shop, your contact can get the couple a great Friends and Family discount. So look through your contacts list and check with friends to see who they might be able to connect you with. Your network can get a fabulous wedding location, flowers, food, décor, a classic car…you never know.
  8. They get to create the guest list. You may want all of your best friends and colleagues at the wedding, but the bride and groom get to decide how big a wedding they want, and that they want to personally know everyone there. So expect that you might only be ‘given’ a few extra invites, and skip the big drama that so many other moms experience when they forget whose day it is and want more of their own friends there than the couple has of their own.
  9. Be there for the bride. Planning a wedding is stressful, so make sure you take the bride out of wedding world every now and then for a girls’ day out or for coffee, with no wedding talk allowed. Just let her have time with her mom.
  10. If your ideas aren’t accepted for the wedding, save them for your own parties! You can also plan your own after-party with your close friends and relatives, or a welcome soiree for your circle at the start of the wedding weekend, or you might even save your brilliant plans for your wedding vow renewal, or some other party you’ll plan in the future.
  11. Here’s the big one, the best for last: don’t offer to pay for everything, or for anything big, at the start of the engagement. The bride and groom will count on that when they start booking their sites and pros, and if something happens along the way that takes a chunk out of your funds, you don’t want to crush them and feel horrible if you have to cancel your offer. Just hang tight, and wait a little bit before you make any huge financial promises, and it’s a smart idea to stash the money needed for your promise into an untouchable savings account so that you can deliver on that promised element.

I have tons more tips for you in my books, so get them here:

The Mother of the Bride Book

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Of-The-Bride-Book-Daughter-Wonderful-Wedding/dp/0806527188/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360688069&sr=8-2&keywords=mother+of+the+bride+book

Mother of the Groom

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Groom-Everything-Enjoy-Wedding/dp/0806526459/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360688100&sr=1-1&keywords=mother+of+the+groom

 

Free Wedding Worksheet! From my book “Your Wedding, Your Way”

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You can’t dive into wedding planning without first knowing what you and your groom really want for your big day, and setting up a wedding plans Priority List helps you protect your plans from well-meaning parents who have their own suggestions. With your priorities listed out, you know where the biggest chunks of your wedding budget will go, and you’ll be able to tell your parents that you’ve already decided on the location for your ceremony, the kind of cake you want, etc.

These free wedding planning worksheets will save the day:

Our Wedding Priority Lists

Bride’s Top Priorities:

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Groom’s Top Priorities:

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Lesser Priorities Others Can Help With

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From my bestselling wedding book Your Wedding, Your Way, www.sharonnaylor.net