Before we begin, let me start by reminding you that we are Wedding Directors...in essence, Day-of Coordinators. As such, depending on how early in the planning process we are booked, we don't always have the opportunity to let you know which vendors are reliable and/or give the biggest bang for your buck.
Yes, many call us "life-savers", "magicians", etc., but let's try to avoid some problems from the get-go, shall we? A wedding day is already packed with enough things to coordinate, from set-up, to following the itinerary, to tear-down. Much goes on "behind the scenes" without additional adventures!
Of course, we are more than happy to be there for you to really save the day. That's why we you hire us! Nevertheless, let's proceed to the 'bumps':
1- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Two recent clients, with the same wedding day, booked a particular florist. Both brides were aware of the florist being sketchy (from yelp reviews, and friends/family who had experience with the florist). We knew what each brides centerpieces were supposed to look like, per the samples made by the florist. We know the florist, and warned the brides of possible problems. Especially since the florist had booked two large weddings on one day.
Needless to say, one wedding had the wrong vases, and no bouquets for the bridesmaids (5 of them), with a Matron of Honor bouquet that was more appropriate as a toss bouquet. The other wedding did not have the details that were specified by the bride and discussed with the florist, AND included in the sample centerpiece. Plus, the vases were dirty.
Would you want your wedding flowers in this?
(We didn't think so)
What did we do? I made bouquets with one of the florist's employees out of scrap fabric in the truck and random flowers found. The florist never showed up to this wedding, regardless of promises to be there, and also after several phone calls from us and employees. I took one of the bouquets we made and combined it with the Matron of Honor's bouquet to make it more worthy of holding. The vases, incorrect as they were, were still pretty, but in order to make up for the error they made, I had them add orchid stems so we had orchids submerged in water for the vase bases.
The other wedding, you ask? Well, my team had the florist's employees correct and add as many details promised as possible. They also cleaned the very dirty vases they intended on using for our client's wedding.
Let's not forget a cake we have had to replace... again, because they didn't want to pay the extra dollar.
Oh, yah, and the cake for one of those same weddings came leaking and the fondant was cracking! I called a great cake vendor of mine, and she advised that the cake was leaking because the cake was frozen, then delivered to the ballroom. She said the fondant was cracked because of incorrect ingredients used. She gave instructions to salvage the cake, and so we did.
As Shakar Bakery says, "I stand by my pricing because I believe that art should be valued. Imagine if Prada clothing was sold at Forever 21 prices.Everyone would be able to afford something that's high quality, and although that's wonderful, it makes Prada lose its value. The same goes with cake. If you want great quality detail and work, then you have to be willing to pay the price. It's also important for customers to remember that we pour in a lot of time into their cakes and we make a living off of their orders. It hurts us when they ask for discounts and devalues our efforts. No one asks their hair stylist for a discount for their services!" Well said, Shakar Bakery, well said.
Another recent wedding, again with a very unreliable vendor, chose a rental company that has a track record for shorting on rentals (including linens!), rentals of poor quality, and the worst customer service once he has received payment in full (prior to the wedding day). The linens provided were not the correct measurements, as specified in the invoice. We had to get creative with our use of linens to make them look floor-length. Some of the overlays were unusable because they were damaged. The staff did not arrange the rentals provided. For example, they just wanted to drop off and leave. Not cool.
2- PLAN YOUR DAY REALISTICALLY REGARDING EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY COCKTAIL HOUR
We completely understand that many couples take the time between ceremony and reception to take the majority of their photos as husband and wife. And we love it. You NEED those photos, which means you have to TAKE those photos.
The problem is that sometimes, those photos take very, very long. What does that mean to us? Well, it means that we have guests that are in cocktail hour mode for way too long. We have angry guests by the time we can let them into the ballroom. You might say, "Susan, let the guests in earlier!" Yes, we would love to, but in many cases, we can't without jeopardizing the open bar time frame or without having guests wait inside the ballroom without anything going on.
The cocktail hour problem also arises from miscalculation on the couples part to calculate when guests will arrive at cocktail hour. Just know this: there will be guests that arrive earlier than the call time on the invite, or the time you expect they will arrive.
After ceremony, many guests rush to their cars, and rush even more to the reception venue. Why? I HAVE NO CLUE. It is not a race people! The shrimp will not be gone by the time you get there. I promise! Also, many guests are too late to make it to ceremony, but too early for cocktail hour. Take a wild guess where they decide to go. Bingo! cocktail. No problem for us, we love you, and we love your guests. Our service is all about that... service. We are ready with setup no matter how complicated it is much before any guest ever arrives. However, this is annoying for those guests. Not only is the venue not serving food yet, but the bar is not open. To top it off, they don't know your plans for post-ceremony, so these guests are playing the waiting game from before cocktail hour begins, until we let them into the ballroom.
One, one-and-a-half hours, no problem, and widely appreciated. We have some cocktail hours going on for hours on end. Don't do this to your guests. It is something they remember that they didn't like about your wedding. You don't want that because they will be entering the reception with that bad taste in their mouths.
This is not a problem when you have chosen a photo-op location between your ceremony venue and your reception venue, or near to either one. Also, it is not to be considered a problem for 10 people who decide to skip ceremony and come straight to cocktail hour. They deserve to wait a bit before it starts! But it is a problem when you decide to go somewhere far for post-ceremony photos and delay the evening for the majority of your guests.
This bump has a solution, much like the bump above this one. One solution is (obviously applicable to those that don't see each other prior to ceremony) to provide a cocktail hour (we mean food and drinks) for the entire time we are 'holding' guests prior to allowing them to enter the ballroom. Entertainment of some sort at cocktail hour helps a lot. Another solution is to have something planned in the ballroom for guests, so we can let them into the ballroom in a timely manner. This provides a change of scenery for the guests, and they can spend some time in there without feeling the same anxiety as waiting at cocktail hour. Perhaps you can have some kind of atmosphere entertainers to greet them, etc. Maybe have the salads served?
We can handle all of the above for you. We always do, and we always will. Just thought we would share these things with you, to help you avoid some bumps in the road.
Lots of Love,