Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm a Maid of Honor ... NOW WHAT?

The bridesmaid plays an important role at the wedding -- the perfect bridesmaid is supportive without being intrusive, offering her help to the bride-to-be at all stages of the wedding planning, and always available for a pre-wedding shopping spree or spa day!

The Maid or Matron of Honor in particular has a vital role in all preparations leading up to the day and plays a supporting role to the bride throughout the wedding day itself.

Here’s a guide to what you can expect to have to do during the wedding countdown;

Twelve to nine months to go
You may be asked to be involved in discussions and decisions in the planning stages and to be used as a sounding board for the bride’s ideas right from the start. Your main duty is to be the bride’s personal assistant: someone who can be relied on to chase vendors if required, or just to calm her down when stress gets the better of her. An important task for any Maid of Honor is to be an honest yet gentle critic when it comes to choosing the bride’s gown. Make sure she gives you some idea of what she is looking for. Then be constructive about the styles and colors that suit her best.

Along with helping the bride select her dress, as Maid of Honor you likely be involved in choosing outfits for yourself and the other attendants. Ask the bride to tell you the colors and styles she’s thinking of, and offer to do some preliminary shopping with her. You can be especially helpful by getting the other bridesmaids to fittings on time.

Six to four months to go
If the bride’s trying out a new beauty or fitness regime before the wedding, your support will be very welcome! If she’s going to “bridal boot camp” or has taken up jogging, try to go along to keep up her morale, or at the very least, offer what encouragement you can.

Having a makeover is always a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon. Try out some new brands or even make-up artists for the big day and see what suits you, or just plain enjoy yourselves doing something girlie, a pedicure perhaps?

You might be asked to act as an intermediary if difference of opinion occurs, perhaps between the bride and her parents or parents-in-laws. Hopefully this won’t be necessary, but disagreements do happen from time to time, and your support will mean the world to the bride-to-be.

Now’s also the time to offer your help in planning a luncheon for the brides attendants. This can be held at the brides home, her parents home, or even a restaurant. Brides often use the attendants luncheon to give a small gift or token of appreciation to attendants.

Bridal Showers
Most brides will appreciate a bridal shower, which you as the Maid or Matron of Honor may host. A Sunday brunch, an afternoon tea, perhaps cocktails, almost any theme from lingerie to linens will be appreciated, especially by the first time bride. Before beginning plans for any shower, it’s always a good idea to ask the bride herself if she’s aware of anyone throwing her a shower. If you do host a shower, feel free to ask the bride what kind of shower she’d like, and whether or not she’d like it to be coed so that her groom can join in the fun. Be sure to review the guest list with the bride to ensure no one's overlooked.

The day before the wedding
If circumstances allow, you may want to spend the day or evening before the wedding with the bride, especially if she’s nervous or spending the night apart from the groom. Encourage her to talk about what she thinks tomorrow will mean to her -- the day itself will go so fast it’s a good idea to get some of the contemplation in beforehand. Be sure to ask if there’s any last minute details she needs you to take care of. Above all, your job as Maid of Honor is to calm and support the bride in any way possible.

Emergency kit
I’m a big believer in having a wedding emergency kit. One never knows when a button will pop, a headache will crop up, a stubborn strap will refuse to stay hidden. Here’s my suggestion for what to pack into your emergency kit;

* An extra pair or stockings or panty hose
* Tissues
* Baby wipes
* Breath mints
* Safety pins
* Comb/brush
* Lipstick
* Nail file
* Clear nail polish
* Hair spay
* Spare earring backs
* Double sided tape
* Aspirin/Ibuprofen
* Pen
* Small sewing kit with two needles

So there you have it. Your job as Maid or Matron of Honor is done, the bride and groom have said their vows and everyone’s off to the reception. Have you a prepared a toast to the happy couple? Nothing will be more appreciated than your sincere wishes of happiness. You’ve done a grand job … that smile on the brides face is (at least partially) thanks to you! Sip some champagne, slip off your high heels and take a much deserved rest.

Well done!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hiring a Photographer

Before you hire your wedding photographer, get to know them by asking some questions;

1. Do you have photos of entire weddings that I can see?
Request to see the images from a few complete weddings, instead of just a sampling of several events. This way, you can better judge the photographer’s work and see how she/he photographs the entire spectrum of a wedding—the bride and groom getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, and the portraits. If possible, try to see a proof book: a collection of raw prints before they were retouched.

2. Do you have references I can call?
Ask to speak with two or three former brides. Ask them: Would you recommend the photographer to your best friends, and why? Was the photographer on time? How was he or she
dressed? Was he or she professional to work with throughout the entire process? Did the guests have any comments?

3. Do you post the proofs online, or will I receive negatives?
If your photographer shoots on film, you will receive traditional negatives. If he or she shoots digitally, the proofs should be posted online. Digital proofs posted on the photographer’s website
or on another specific site are usually available sooner than negatives, and they allow you to share your photos with family and friends soon after the wedding. Be sure to ask how long the
pictures will remain online.

4. Who will be photographing my wedding?
If your photographer works for a large studio, he or she may be one of several other photographers working for the company. Since every photographer has his or her own style, technique, and personality, it’s important that the person you interview and like will be the one doing the picture taking. Some studios do not know who will be shooting a wedding until the very day of the event. If the studio cannot guarantee you your first or second choice of photographers, consider moving on. You do not want to risk ending up with a photographer you
won’t be happy with.

5. When will my proofs, prints, and wedding album be available?
Find out your photographer’s turnaround time. Also, ask how long you have to choose the photos from your proofs and order your prints and album.

6. How many pictures will you take?
A photographer usually shoots about 500 exposures at an average wedding, but how many of those images will you have to choose from? Some photographers charge per roll of film, so find out that price as well.

7. What happens if you show up late or can’t make it to the wedding?
The photographer should let you know his or her backup plan in case of an emergency. He or she should supply you with the complete contact info of another photographer on call that day and the studio’s after-hours phone number.

8. Can I see a sample contract?
Your prospective photographer should be open with his or her procedures before you sign anything. The contract is a binding document that is agreed upon by both parties and should protect both. If he or she doesn’t show you a contract or use one, pick someone else.

9. Are you part of any professional associations, or do you have extra training in your field?
Someone who keeps up with the latest technology and information in the industry is serious and passionate about his or her work, which will show in the photographs and how he or she works with you.

10. What type of cameras do you use, and will you have any backups in case something breaks or doesn’t work?
If you want the best pictures, hire someone who uses the latest top-quality equipment. A true professional will arrive at the wedding prepared with more than one camera and lens.

11. How many years have you been photographing weddings?
Since a talented pro with fewer years of experience can outshine a 30-year veteran (and vice versa), what you want to know is whether weddings are the person’s specialty and if he or she enjoys photographing them.The photographer’s enthusiasm will translate into sharper pictures.

12. What do you charge for overtime?
Make sure the contract specifies the amount of time the photographer will be on the job and how much it would cost to keep him around if the celebration runs longer than scheduled.

Tell me again why I need a Wedding Planner

A wedding planner helps engaged couples coordinate the logistics of a wedding day. It sounds simple doesn't it? And it can be, if you have a wedding planner who believes that weddings aren't cookie-cutter events. While no bride really wants to be a "Bridezilla", there's no reason every bride can't have Her Day - Her Way.

Here's how I can help you ensure that your wedding vision becomes your reality;

Typically, a wedding planner's services include the following:
* several meetings with the couple to establish the couples vision and theme for the wedding as
well as to learn their expectations, needs, and to review their budget
* phone and email contact
* reviewing wedding vendor contracts to establish vendor obligations
* calling vendors to confirm details such as time of arrival and extent of services
* creating a timeline to schedule the events of the wedding day
* coordinate the wedding rehearsal
* provide in-person coordination of the events of the wedding day at the wedding venue

Many weddings are so elaborate that the bride can go crazy trying to organize it all by herself. This is where a wedding planner can be helpful. The planner is usually hired by a bride, and therefore treated as a vendor who has promised to deliver a service. The planner will stay in constant contact with the bride throughout the entire wedding planning phase, sense when there is a problem, and find a way to take care of it so as not to further stress the bride.

Wedding planners may actually be able to save the bride some money, even with their own fees factored in. Many planners have relationships with specific venues and/or vendors, and by providing them with multiple clients, may be able to receive discounted services .

Wedding planners usually have a thorough knowledge of a specific city/area, which may benefit brides monetarily as well. Planners know which venues are worth the money, and which are too good to be true, ensuring that the bride gets a fair value for the money she's spending.

Are you a bride who prefers to do the planning yourself? Do you just want someone to take the reins on the wedding day itself? I can help!

As a Day of Coordinator (or DOC's), a wedding planner is hired to work only on the wedding day, instead of the whole planning period. This way, the couple has total control over every aspect of the wedding, but has the ease of mind letting someone else make sure it comes together on the big day.

Like full blown wedding planners, DOC's are responsible for catching and troubleshooting any issues that may arise on the wedding day, so that the couple is free to focus on what they need to do personally to get ready.

This year, 21 percent of those marrying will use a wedding planner, according to Shane McMurray, author of the Wedding Report, a market research website.

There are so many components of a wedding - from the ceremony, to all the activities that take place during the reception. A wedding planner makes sure that you keep on schedule, maintain a great flow, handle any crises that may arise and make sure the day is worry and stress free for you.

Love U Mean It believes that every bride deserves to have her day - her way, and I'm here to help you do just that.

Contact me at to schedule an appointment to meet to discuss how my talents can best serve your needs. Since no two brides are exactly alike, all of my wedding planning packages are customized to your personal needs, with fees based accordingly.

Let Love U Mean It give you Your Day - Your Way!


Planning Your Wedding, Your Way

Welcome to Love U Mean It ... a wedding planning service for the bride and groom who wants it THEIR WAY on THEIR DAY. And why not? Why shouldn't you and your groom be the stars of your biggest story?

With Love U Mean It ... it's YOUR way, every step of the way. Big budget or small, home wedding, hillside, church or country club, I'm here to help you turn your dreams into reality.

Whether you want help planning every detail from A-to-Z, just a little guidance (such as contract review and vendor recommendations), or Wedding Day only assistance, Love U Mean It is here to meet your needs and take the hassles out of planning your wedding.

Contact me today at 623-330-0301 for a free consultation.

If you like what you learn, let Love U Mean It help you plan Your Wedding Your Way!