Guest Post: 10 Reasons Why I Wish I Hired a Wedding Coordinator

 

Ok, I know I haven’t updated in awhile.  I am really bad at this blog thing, but this article, written by a good friend of mine, needed to be shared!  I was lucky enough to stand by her in her wedding, and before you ask “Why didn’t you help plan her wedding?”, let me just tell you that I value her friendship too much to put the both of us through that!  Here’s hoping brides can learn from her experience and find this advice helpful!– Beth

 

I’m not exactly a Pinterest-style DIY gal, but I enjoy planning and thought I could manage my wedding on my own. I thought very, very wrong. While I interviewed a few planners, I decided to save some cash (weddings are expensive after all) and do it all myself. If you ask me what my one “big regret” of my wedding day is, it would definitely be not hiring a planner to help coordinate my wedding.

 

A lot of these are going to sound Bridezilla-ish and nit picky. Most of them are, and despite the chaos of my wedding day, it was all quite beautiful and there were many incredible moments. However, memories of the day are tainted by a number of unfortunate moments that mostly could have been prevented or minimized by having hired a coordinator. I’ve been to plenty of beautiful “frugal” weddings, and it’s certainly possible to have a great day without any outside help. But if you’re having a not-so-frugal wedding with vendors and a traditional venue, and you have a family that isn’t the “helping out” type, consider investing in a coordinator. I wish I did. Here are 10 reasons why I wish I hired a Wedding Coordinator:

 

  1. Weddings are Complicated Events — you may think you crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, but you will forget something. And that something will come back to haunt you, likely in the middle of your big day when you’d rather be focused on getting married. You may have planned cute ideas and made custom items to pull them off, and then kick yourself when you forgot to do them on your wedding day (yea, those Etsy “thank you” banners for your thank you note picture are still lost in a box somewhere at the venue, never used.) You don’t want to be stage managing your wedding when it’s happening, trust me.

  2. Paying Vendors Happens at the Wedding –– I hired an incredible string quartet to perform during my ceremony, but forgot to pay them in advance. So after my ceremony they wanted to leave, I was in the middle of newly-wedded bliss, and they had to awkwardly come up to me to ask for a check. The check got written, but it definitely took away from that moment. If I had hired a planner, all of the payments would have been managed in advance and I wouldn’t have forgotten that I didn’t pay this one vendor.

  3. You Need an Advocate with Your Vendors — chances are, you’ve hired a handful of vendors for your wedding. If you booked a barn with no furniture, hiring a coordinator is pretty much a must unless you’re going super frugal and you have a lot of friends and family to help (this works for some people.) If you have vendors, they’re people and people–even well-reviewed people–can screw up. Maybe they got lost on the way to the venue, or they forgot to bring something important. Having a coordinator may not solve every vendor problem, but at your wedding and leading up to it, you don’t have to manage every single problem yourself and go crazy.

  4. Where’s Grandma? Even if your venue has an in-house coordinator (mine did), they aren’t working for you, they’re working for the venue. When it comes time to take family portraits or introduce the wedding party and Grandma is MIA, a coordinator can make sure she is found and brought to the right spot without losing too much precious time on your special day.

  5. Something Will Look Funky — and you won’t want to climb up in your fancy dress and heels to fix it. I decided that after micromanaging my entire wedding, I’d trust my florist on her ideas and just let her run with some images I showed her of flowers I liked and designs for the arch that would look good. I showed her a few ideas with light, gauzy, transparent fabric draped over the arch. When I arrived at my venue, my florist was gone, and what I saw was very cheap, wrinkled fabric covering the arch and fraying at the bottom. A coordinator would have been able to help contact the florist to come back and fix this. Even my florist later told me I should have called her and she would have come back if I didn’t like it — but how was I going to call her when I was in the middle of my first look? A coordinator could have helped either fix the design or get in touch for the florist to return and fix it. Another issue was that my hair person left before my veil was put into place, and mother shoved it into my hair without paying attention where she was putting it, and I forgot to check – so my veil is crooked and causing a huge bump in my hair in all my pictures. Not the end of the world, but a coordinator could have fixed this.

  6. Your Venue Will Lose/Break Your S#*t — most venues require that everything be out shortly after your wedding ends. It’s no fun to follow up an evening of celebration with figuring out where your shoe went (how did it get in the bathroom?) I learned the hard way that even venues that are more flexible with their policy on “when to pick up your stuff” are more than likely to lose things that are meaningful to you. My husband and I had a “glass pouring ceremony” in our wedding, where our parents joined us to pour colored glass into a vase (provided by a glass artist.) We were supposed to send that glass out to a company that turns it into a vase as a keepsake. The venue somehow lost all of the glass, the vase and the other materials that were used for that ceremony. They also lost the bag for my wedding dress, a bunch of unused programs that we custom printed for the wedding (valued at $100), and a few other important items. Even if the venue claims they will gather your things and you can pick them up later – they are not responsible for your items. A coordinator will make sure your valuables do not get broken or lost.

  7. Your Bridal Party is Hangry — ok, maybe I’m just a bad planner, but I forgot about feeding my bridal party the morning of the wedding. I didn’t really forget — I thought about it — then ran out of time to coordinate getting food. A few friends ran out to get a plate of sandwiches, which was very nice of them to do, but they weren’t enough for my bridesmaids who were starving by the time our limo got to the venue. I was literally calling places on the way from the limo seeing if we could stop and get some food. A coordinator would have handled this and made sure no one in my bridal party was starving.

  8. Family Driving You Nuts? You Need Help — maybe you have a lovely, caring family that wants nothing but your special day to be perfect. But odds are you have someone, or someones, who are determined to make your wedding day a nightmare. I had one close family member nearly ruin the day by yelling (screaming) at a few people, including my makeup artist, the venue manager, and my three-year old ring bearer who was in a cranky mood, as three year olds often are. While a coordinator wouldn’t have been able to keep this relative entirely in check, a really good coordinator would have been able to diffuse the situation so I could avoid having to step in and get involved.

  9. Your Bouquet is Where? Did aliens steal your lipstick? I took most of my pictures without my bouquet, because I was told to go to the photo location and someone would bring my bouquet (but never did.) We weren’t even able to get a picture of the whole bridal party because no one was helping coordinate this, and the parents of the younger members of the party weren’t informed to bring their kids down to our photography location. Meanwhile, just before I was about to get in place for walking down the aisle, I realized all of my lipstick had come off. I had given my lipstick to a bridesmaid who gave it to her husband to hold and he forgot and took it with him to the ceremony site, leaving me with barren and rather dry lips and a 5 hour wedding in front of me, to be documented by a professional photographer at every step. Admittedly, I had a big of a panic attack at this point, threatened to not walk down the aisle if my lipstick wasn’t found (bridezilla moment for sure), and my poor bridesmaid – who felt horrible and who I apologized to later – scrambled to figure out where the lipstick went. Crisis was averted, but that moment could have been avoided with a good coordinator who helped keep makeup for touch ups in a safe place.

  10. Your Dress May (Strike That. Will) — Rip. Or stain. Or both. — Don’t ask me why, but I decided to move a couch for a photo opp. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when my dress that was altered poorly (and too tight) ripped the second I bent over. At my venue, one of the assistants actually was able to help pin my dress back together (so much for that beautiful low back), but in many cases venues won’t be able to help and you’ll need a coordinator for those “I spilled something” or, in my case, “ripped something” moments. Your coordinator will be there with you as your advocate, your therapist, and your repairman throughout the evening. The best coordinators enjoy managing the details of your wedding, so you don’t have to!

 

Looking back on my wedding, spending the $5000 on a coordinator to help with planning and day-of coordination would have been the most valuable expense or all the many expenses. Unfortunately, there are no do overs (well, I love my husband, so there won’t be for us!) — However, if I can help a future bride not made the same bad decision, perhaps some good can come out of the chaos of our wedding day!

 


Marriage Equality

While working on an upcoming photo shoot and answering the many requests for upcoming weddings, I received a blast email talking about how 47% of same sex couples in the US are afraid of facing rejection from wedding professionals even with the Supreme Court ruling in 2015.

That email got me thinking about the wording of my website.  We are all so stuck in “Wedding lingo” that its not something at the forefront of our “to-do”, but I am going to make it a priority now.

Sassy Diva Designs and Events is proud to serve couples regardless of sexual orientation.  Love is love no matter what, and I am proud to stand by all my couples.  So watch for things to change on my site (slowly as I have two young boys to care for as well as a busy business!).

Thanks to all my couples who have trusted me to make their day special.  I look forward to making so many more dreams come true!


Hold the presses!

Over the years, I have worked on some pretty amazing weddings. Recently, two really special weddings have been published in various blogs.

The first was in 2015 and it was not only a gorgeous wedding, but a same sex wedding that happened to be on the day the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriages throughout the country. What a momentous day that was and it made that day even more special! Check out the spread on page 68-69 of Gay Weddings Magazine Special thanks to MIRA Events and Design for having me do florals and assist on this amazing wedding!

The second was published in the blog Borrowed and Blue. I talked about this wedding in my last post (I know they are too few and far between! I plan to work on that! The setting was Stonepine Estates in Carmel and it was stunning. Beautiful weather, a wonderful couple and great vendors including Andrew at Studio MSV, musical stylings by The Klipptones, scrumptious cake by Cake Done Right and make up by Soyi Make-up and Hair.

One more wedding left in 2016. It was an amazing year with some amazing couples! Next post will be highlights from all the weddings! Looking forward to what 2017 has to bring!


Stonepine Estates in the Carmel Valley

Last week, I met with a couple looking to get married on June 12th!  With a little over four months to plan everything, we quickly started the search for their dream venue.  Their requirements were a private estate that their overseas family could stay in and they could rent for the weekend.  My very first thought was the stunning Stonepine Estates in Carmel Valley which I had the pleasure of working at many years ago as a wedding planners assistant.  Thankfully they were available that weekend, and after some negotiating, we are set to go!

Seated on 330 acres of land, this venue has it all.  A gorgeous chateau, and three guest houses for a total of 16 onsite rooms, a state of the art equestrian center, pool, golf course, archery, and so much more.  A perfect venue for a weekend wedding or an offsite meeting facility.

I am so thrilled to be working there again!  Here are a few photos of the wedding I worked on many years ago.  17532_418403745351_4096427_n 17532_418403690351_90264_n 17532_418403005351_3964337_n 17532_418402365351_2325868_n-1 17532_418402615351_4367633_n-1

 

 


The Problem with Peonies

Peonies.  Fluffy, romantic and ever so trendy right now.  9 out of 10 brides I talk to tell me that they “love peonies”, and whats not to love?  They are soft and feminine, very romantic, and come in some yummy colors.  Pinterest and bridal magazines are filled with peonies which of course, makes them very desired by brides.

If you have your heart set on peonies for your wedding, there are some considerations you need to make and also realize that they might not always meet your expectations.  Here’s some thing to know about this very popular flower:

Availability.  In California, these flowers are usually available from March to mid-July with a prime grow season of April and May.  Other places that grow them are Alaska (June-September), Chile and New Zealand (October-December), and Holland (September/October).  There are also some farms in Canada and a few other places, but not as big of a production as the others listed.

Size.  All the pictures show the big, beautiful, snowball-looking blooms, but those are only available in the prime grow time.  Most peonies are about the size of an egg when they first start to open.  Still beautiful, in their own way, but they aren’t always as big as you see them in pictures.  Definitely something to remember if you are hoping for a bouquet of all peonies.

Price.  The cost of these flowers is almost ridiculous.  Wholesale, the least I spend is $36 for 5 flowers.  That is about $7-$8 per flower.  Then factor in the shipping costs of the flowers from other countries, and you are looking at about $10 per flower.  The only way for florists to make any money off of them is to charge 3-4x the going rate.  Now you may be asking, 3-4x the amount!!!  Thats $30-$40 per flower!  Well, getting them ready for the big day takes some work.  They arrive in tight balls that we need to pamper and coax open.  Usually takes about three days of constant care for these flowers.  Then there are the buds that never open which means we have to buy extras to make sure you get the big fluffy flowers.  Once open, they also tend to have a short shelf life, so we have to time the opening just right to get it into the bouquet and then quickly get it in a cool environment so they can stay nice and fluffy for the wedding.

Now don’t be discouraged!  You too can have peonies in your bridal bouquet.  You just have to be prepared for the cost and, if its off season, be thrilled if your florist can get their hands on peonies or be willing to have a second choice.  Let me tell you, it is a miracle to find them off season!  If you aren’t able to fit the cost of a peony or two in your budget, then think of garden roses.  They are a little less expensive then peonies (but not much!) and give you the same soft, fluffy, romantic look.

Good luck with the planning of your wedding!  If you are interested in finding out more information about peonies or my services, contact thesassydiva@sassydivadesigns.com!


Giving Thanks Workshop!

A few years ago, I had the idea to do a hands on workshop right before Thanksgiving and donate the proceeds to a local charity, however, lacking the space to hold a workshop, it fell through.
This year though!  I am almost completely moved into my studio, and there is plenty of room for classes, so the Giving Thanks Workshop is on for this year!

I started looking around at different charities in the area and started putting out feelers.  After talking to a few groups, I decided to go with  Muttville Rescue in San Francisco.  Muttville’s mission is to change the way the world looks at senior dogs and help them find homes to live out the rest of their years.  A few years ago, we took ownership of a senior dog, and he has been such a great dog.  Bullitt is now 15 years old, and still going strong and has so much love to give.

The date is set for Sunday, November 22nd at 2pm.  I will walk you through all the steps of putting a long and low centerpiece to be set on your table for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Cost for the workshop is $85 which includes materials.

If you are interested in signing up, you can email me and send a check, or you can visit PayPal here which will automatically sign up.  There are only 25 spots available, so reserve your spot today!


Are artificial flowers less expensive?

Hello!  Its been a busy couple of months for this Sassy Diva.  My amazing crew and I had the pleasure of working on five weddings in the past four weeks!  I will be posting pictures of previous weddings in the next few weeks.  Until then, I wanted to share a little something with you about artificial flowers.

There are pros and cons to using artificial flowers for your wedding bouquet or centerpieces, but before I get into that, let me erase a common misconception.  Silk flowers are not necessarily cheaper than real, fresh cut flowers.  In fact, if you want quality blooms, silks can be more expensive then the real deal!  Shocking, I know!

Now for the pros and cons:

PROS:

-Artificial flowers will last forever.  They will be the same on your 25th anniversary as they were on your wedding day, although they may collect some dust if not properly cared for!

-You can find silks any time, whereas some fresh cut flowers have seasons, like peonies.

-If you or one of your bridal party has allergies to cut flowers, you won’t have to worry about that with silks!

-There is no worry about wilting in the heat, or if the arrangements are out of water for any length of time

 

CONS:

-I may be a bit biased, but there is absolutely nothing like a fresh cut flower.  The fragrance, the texture and the overall look is much more flattering with live flowers than with silk.

-Like I mentioned earlier, the cost of a silk flower can sometimes be 3 times more expensive then a live flower. They may last forever, but unless you want a dollar store bouquet, silks won’t help keep the cost of flowers down.

 

Ok, so you may be saying “There are more pros then there are cons!” but when you factor in the cost of artificial flowers, I think you will find that to be a BIG con.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use silks ever!  If you are dreaming of having gorgeous, lush peonies in your bouquet during an off-season time period, you can find silk blooms any time and have your florist add those into your mix of fresh cut flowers.  Or say, you want hydrangeas in summer, silk hydrangeas will definitely not wilt like fresh hydrangeas are capable of doing (however, if they wilt, your florist didn’t do a proper job of processing them).

I hope you find this helpful while you are searching for your florist!  Don’t be afraid to ask about silks and see what the cost would be compared to a fresh cut, or see if you could add a few here and there for those tricky flowers.

Stay tuned for a bunch of picture updates!!!  Happy wedding planning to all my Diva’s!!!


The Silver Anniversary!

I love love love when a client tells me, “Not sure exactly what I want, surprise me” and gives me full license to play. And play I did for this sweet couples 25th anniversary on the beach!

With my friend Miranda from MIRA Events and Design at the planning helm, I got to come up with a gorgeous coral cascading bouquet and play with a floral crown.  The pictures by pro, Jason Cardoso Photography are simply breath taking!  Enjoy!jasoncardosofoto5 jasoncardosofoto6 jasoncardosofoto3 jasoncardosofoto2 jasoncardosofoto1