Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest!

Meet my Fearless Intern, Frances:

Every woman (well I can’t say every woman, but I will say almost every woman) has surely dreamed of being a Princess when they were a little girl. I am one of the few that will take those fantasies to reality.

Imagine! A single stemmed red rose encased in a glass dome at every table of the reception. Forest green vines lining the gates and archway of the outdoor ceremony. A kid-at-heart blushing bride in a yellow satin pick up ball gown with beaded embroidery.
Sound familiar?

Let me give you a hint: What bride doesn’t want to be a Beauty on her wedding day?

I know I’m definitely not the first to have thought of it, but I can promise you that I have thought about this fairy tale wedding since I first saw Beauty and the Beast on VHS at age 9.

How adorable would your flower girl be in this mini duplicate?

How stunning would your bridesmaids be in deep red?

Candles??? The possibilities are endless!

Oh the things you can do with red roses!


Of course the Bride’s bouquet will be the red roses, and the Bridesmaids’, the yellow. You don’t want the colors to clash with their dresses!

and who doesn’t just LOOOVVVEE what Etsy members come up with!

Last but not least! The guilty pleasure of weddings; delicious, sweet, scrumptious cake!

and maybe.. just MAYBE..

Too much? Yeah, okay. I’ll tone down the over the top enthusiasm.

All in all, it's the Disney Classic comes to life! Why Beauty and the Beast? Not just for the amazing dress, nor the fantastic advantages of red roses, or even the gorgeous color combo of red, gold, and green. I was never a big fan of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White. All three of them knew their Prince for less than 24 hours and fell in love. Belle fell in love with the Beast for who he was! No handsomeness, charming looks, royal status involved! Plus, Belle loves to read and doesn’t care if she’s the town queer. That’s real. Real and tangible is what a marriage should be. And where it all can begin, the Beauty and the Beast Wedding of my dreams.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Wedding Weekend & Cyber Monday Deals

I am a technophile. Okay, that is a massive understatement. Any new gadget,and I'm probably going to have a near-pathological yen for it. There I was, in front of the Apple Store at pre-dawn, waiting on the doors to open so I could get an ipad. Apparently Black Friday is the only day a year when Apple rocks the discounts. I would have gotten it online, but I had questions, I needed a case with a hand-strap, I needed to test it out. My husband laughs at me (as in, he's laughing at me, now), but it's really going to help for work, especially since I do so much on google docs. Instead of carrying around a clipboard, I can pull up a timeline, or any vendor information the ipad. And it's great for meetings, too. It's totally going to make me a better planner. And it fits in my purse, so yay! After the Apple Store, I went to Macys. And waited a half an hour for a pair of shoes, without ever getting to try on the pair of shoes. And then I left. The rest of my shopping this weekend was pretty much done online. Ooh, except for Sunday, when I went to the Gap with a 40% off coupon I found on slickdeals.net. Saving money at the Gap is seriously one of my favorite things, ever.

On Saturday, I met with MarchBride and MarchGroom, who officially became JulyBride and JulyGroom when they signed their contract at Rocco Room for their reception. We're still looking for a ceremony spot, but I'm determined to get that locked down by Christmas. Christmas, I tell you!

Today, I'm talking with JanBride about her wedding timeline, meeting with a potential bride at the Ebell this afternoon, setting up appointments for OctBride and JulyBride and JulyGroom. And working on the tomorrow's newsletter. Would you like to sign up for my newsletter? It comes out ever Tuesday and Wednesday, and click here to get started.

And, oh, that's right - Cyber Monday is here:

B & G Photography: Book by 12/1 to get 30% off all prints, $99 portraits and $350 portraits that include $350 in product.

Paloma's Nest: Save $5 on your order with the Code MONDAY

Print My Thing: 25% off your total order with the code CYBER25

Stella and Dot: Up to 50% off and a FREE ring with a purchase of $99 or more.

Get Married
: 15% off your purchase with the code BIGSALE10.

Wedding Sites
: Save 20% in the wedding boutique with the code "novthanks"

Emici Bridal
: 20% off everything in the store with the coed CYBERMONDAY

Enjoy, and I'll see you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday Round-Up

Molly at Luminaire Images took pity on me and sent over these much better pics from the Premier Bridal Event on Sunday. Yumminess is all by Cake Studio.

And don't forget - My open house is tomorrow from 10am - 2pm in Pasadena. Free half-hour consultations, but you must make an appointment. Email me at liz@silvercharmevents.com or text me at 310-801-3602.

Over at The Broke Ass Bride, I'm talking about DJ DIY, and here some more great resources I found:

Fehr Trade - Melissa breaks down how she did it, and adds a very valuable tip - lock your computer, ipod, itouch, whatever you're using, to prevent people from messing with your playlist. Plus, she has links to a lot of the songs she used, which is awesome for people like me with music compulsive disorder.

A Practical Wedding - Meg points out that you will have this playlist forever, so add one more thing that you get to keep from the day - Photos, husband, ring, playlist. Check!

Affairs with Elegance - List of all the different "event" songs you'll need for your wedding.

And, again, AMAZON. FREE MUSIC. GO!!!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Thursday, November 25, 2010

MORE Black Friday Deals in Wedding World!

First of all, Small Business Saturday is on the 27th, and I'm having an open house at the Courtyard Marriott in Pasadena, from 10am - 2pm. Free 30-minute Consultations and everyone gets a small gift for dropping by. What's bugging you about your wedding? Here's your chance to get your questions answered. This is BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, so email me at liz@silvercharmevents.com or send me a text at 310-801-3602 to secure your slot.

Lili Bridals in Tarzana is having a Black Friday Sample Sale with bridal gown discounts of 30-90%, including off-the-rack designer wedding dresses starting at $99! And go to this link to find out how to get a free cleaning of your sample sale gown! Call to Make your appointment, 818/774-9700 or email sales@lilibridals.com. Ask how to get your sample gown dry cleaned for free!

Weddingish is offering 40% off your entire purchase, all the wedding accessories you can handle, cake toppers, t-shirts, cake cutters and servers, flower baskets, personalized cookies, I love this place. This offer is good all day tomorrow at the store, 805 East West Hollywood at 624 N. Doheny Dr. or use the code "blackfriday" at checkout to get the discount online.

MGMart's shop on Etsy.com has a 15% discount on EVERYTHING they're selling, like these awesome fascinator.

New York and Co: 50% off everything on the website. They've got some very cute dresses that would work for your bridesmaids, and they're like, $50 with this sale.

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving, and I'll see you at the end of the aisle (and at the Marriott on Saturday!),

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Wise Wednesday - November 24

Every Wednesday, I bring you the coolest wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday - Welcome!

Coolest Wedding Thing of the Week:
Stormtroopers in Love. Star Wars Geeks Red and Johnny found these helmets while they were on their honeymoon, and well, as you can see, hilarity ensued.

Events = The Deals

Black Friday hits Wedding World. Well, Black Weekend, Actually...

The Ivory Suite Bridal Boutique
10:00am - 3:00pm

Sample Dresses Up to 75% off
803 Meridian Ave
South Pasadena , CA 91030

Winnie Couture
9393 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Friday: %30 off ALL dresses, Saturday - Sunday: 25% off all wedding dresses. Their 2011 collection is included in the sale.

Encore Bridal Salon

3215 Highland Ave (at 33rd street)
Manhattan Beach, California

Saturday - Sunday
11am - 4pm

Pre-owned couture wedding dresses all priced at $499-$999, about 80% off retail. A selection includes gowns by Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhuillier, Elizabeth Fillmore, Pronovias, and Alvina Valenta.

The Forever Fiance is offering free shipping on all Thank you notes through the weekend, just enter the code THANKSGIVING at checkout.

Zazzle.com: 75% off invites and Save-The-Dates, and free shipping on any order over $50. Thanks to @evoke_love for the tip.

Here's an idea - instead of disposable cameras at each table, how about a video camera at each table. You can just about afford it - Office Depot.com has a 5 megapixel baby for $40.00. Yeah, you heard me. GO.

And, if you are thinking about ipod'ing your wedding, or you just need some new tunes, Amazon is giving away a $3 credit to their mp3 store, click here and use the code GET3MP3S. Only Good through Monday, November 29th!!!

Etsy.com has their Black Friday Sale Preview Up. Lots of of good stuff, and you'll have to beat me to it, so good luck.

NEW FIND: BuyTheCase.net. And I can't even take credit for it, one of my grooms found it, when we were looking for bottles of hot sauce for their favors. Warehouse prices on tons of food and drink stuff. You're

Happy Thanksgiving, and I'll see you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bridal Show Review: Harsanik and Fancy That Event's Premier Bridal Show

I love going to Bridal Shows. It's the best way to see what's new in Wedding World, what everyone is paying attention to, and to scarf down as much free cake and desserts as possible. This is always a fantastic show, every year, made even more so by being at the Langham Hotel, which makes you feel richer just walking around it. Although I really need to remember to wear sunglasses next year, on account of being blinded by the bling. You've never heard so many "Oohs" and "Ahhs" and "Wows!". It was a total eye feast. What's sad is that my iphone picture taking skills haven't gotten any better, so check out Harasink.com for better pics.

This was Frances the Fearless Intern's first bridal show, ever, and if anyone else was having more fun, I didn't see them. If you follow me on twitter, you got to see a few of her antics yesterday.

When we walked into the ballroom, we were greeted by this:

Cake in a gilded cage. With a Chandelier! Completely insane, over the top, and yet somehow so simple. This was by Cake Studio, and the cake is really good, too. There was so much cake floating around that I made Frances do a Red Velvet taste test, and she thought Cake Studio's was the best. If you're going to do a cake test, you really do need to try it twice during a show, once when you're coming in and again before you leave, to make sure that it's still moist. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Cake studio was working with My Flower Guy - you can't tell, but those aren't real candles. They're plastic (although I'm sure there's a better word for that) and they flicker just like real ones. Great way to get past the restrictions that a lot of venues have about lit candles. It's no surprise, but owner Doyle Borden is a featured designer on Platinum Weddings, too.

One of my favorite floral designers, Sky Events and Productions, was there, too. Lilit was just on Housewives of Beverly Hills, as the florist for Taylor's daughter's birthday party.

What I was amazed at was all the stuff I'd never seen or thought of before, like for instance, an upside-down cake hanging from the ceiling? This was by Raffi's Cakes- I look at this as a prime example of where the cake cutting fee is really worth it!

There were two fashion shows, both by Jobyna's Bridals. Ten minutes before the noon show, the models posed on the couches in the front of the room:

What's New:
Pinkberry is catering! They had a table in the show, a very popular table. A fro-yo bar at your wedding would be pretty cool (so to speak) - they bring all the toppings, set it up for you, manage it, the whole nine. email them at catering@pinkberry.com or call 323-932-6800.

What was cool:
Two bars. My first thought was - at noon? But Harsanik knew what they were doing -I talked to one of the bartenders and saw it myself - they were VERY popular with the grooms! For that reason, I think every bridal show should have a bar. If they have to be there, at least there's a way to relieve the pain. :-) I joke. Sort of.

My favorite thing: This arrangement, by Magnolia Flowers. Simple and elegant. I'm not a huge fan of the shiny, but I love the classic. Beautiful.

France's Favorite Thing, on the other hand:
High-heeled shiny by Addicted 2B Jeweled. What are the odds that they're comfortable, too? Yeah, me neither.

It was a great show, very well-run, but my first rule for Bridal shows is still the same: show up early! You'll get in quicker, and have to deal with less people as you move around. You want to get in a full circuit before it gets really crowded, plus you'll get a chance to talk to the vendors you're interested in.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Wedding Weekend

Truthfully? I kind of blew off Saturday. Hung out with the husband and the dog and the television - exactly what I was in the mood for on a rainy day.

But, Sunday? Ohh, Sunday! Harasanik's Premier Bridal Show was at the Langham Hotel, and "Premier" doesn't even begin to describe it. Luxurious, extravagant, and downright gorgeous would just about cover it. Just look at that cake! I'll have a full review of the show tomorrow.

One of my weekend rituals is to read the Sunday paper from cover to cover, and I found this great article in the Los Angeles Times about Anna Post, Emily Post's Great-Great Granddaughter, who's taken over the etiquette legacy. Anna Post say: No cash bars. Which I'm fine with, there's always another way, just a matter of managing expectations.

Ooh, and Huffington Post has a break-down of how William and Kate's wedding can apply to all 20-somethings that are thinking about taking the leap. And I agree with all of that one, too.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Friday Round-Up

Kate Middleton's engagement ring (courtesy of CNN.com). It's the ring that Charles gave to Diana, and I'm assuming it reflects William's love for his mom more then his Dad's love for his mom? Is that an "ouch" comment? I mean, we all know how that went down, so I found the choice, as the English would say, rather odd. But then again, who doesn't want Princess Diana's engagement ring? Damn thing's gorgeous enough to make any "curse" worthwhile, you know? I like him and I like her, and, of course, I wish them all the best. And if they need any extra hands, I'd be more than happy to help out.

As an addendum to my post on The Broke Ass Bride today, here's another cocktail for you called The Wedding Cake Martini:

1 part Vanilla vodka
1 part Amaretto
1 part Coconut rum
A splash of White chocolate liqueur

1 part Pineapple juice
A splash of Cranberry juice

Powdered sugar
Using either water or sweetened condensed milk coat the rim of a martini glass then coat the rim again with powdered sugar.
Shake the rum, vodka, amaretto, white chocolate liqueur, pineapple, and cranberry juice and strain into glass. Slice a strawberry and place on glass.

Mmmm. Thanks to @nataliebradley for the find.

Events to Remember:

Harsanik's Premier Bridal Event is Sunday from 12 - 5pm, at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena. Now this is a "Beverly Hills" Bridal show, so don't bother eating before you go. Use the code MARRIAGE to get $3.00 off admission online. I'll be checking in on Foursquare, so if you're there, find me!

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you at the end of the aisle (and at the show on Sunday)

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events - www.silvercharmevents.com
Follow me @lizcoopersmith

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding: Venues

Here's the transcript of the teleclass I did last month on Wedding Venues, with Erin Baagason of Calamigos Ranch:

What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding: Venues

Wednesday, October 27th, 7pm

(Transcript edited for pacing, emphasis and clarification)

© Silver Charm Events, 2010

Liz: Excellent! So, as I said, we’re recording this, thank you all very much for calling. Most of you know me from my newsletter, I’m Liz Coopersmith from Silver Charm Events.com, welcome to What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding. Today we’re going to be covering wedding venues with Erin Baagason - I’m sorry, I always have trouble pronouncing your last name...

Erin: It’s Baagason [Bog-gah-son].

Liz: Baagason [I completely pronounced this wrong again, by the way] of Calamigos Ranch. Erin, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Erin: Thank you! Thank you for having me. My name is Erin Baagason, I’m the director of special events at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu. I’ve been working at Calamigos Ranch for ten and a half years, I love my job, I love where I work, I love getting to work all different brides and couples and vendors as well.

Liz: Great! Yeah, we get to work on two weddings together next year. So, how does a typical first meeting with couples work with you?

Erin: You mean, a first visit?

Liz: Yes.

Erin: Well, usually, they come and see the site anywhere from six months to a year and six months before their wedding date, most of them are already engaged, some aren’t even engaged, yet. And I’d say that most couples come to Calamigos and Malibu as their number one first location, so we're their first stop on their location search. And I think a lot of that has to do with word of mouth, knowing a lot of friends who have attended weddings with us. And I think a lot of our couples have attended wedding [themselves] at our location in Malibu.

Liz: So, how many weddings do you guys host a year?

Erin: Well, we host over 300 weddings a year. We host a wedding almost every weekend day, we also do quite a few weekday events. We have a lot of destination couples, so everyone’s coming in from out of the country. So, in those cases, we do Tuesday weddings, Wednesday weddings, Thursday weddings, any day of the week is a possibility.

Liz: One of the things I talk to couples about as far as saving money on their weddings is to have it on a day other than Saturday. Do you actually offer discounts for that at Calamigos?

Erin: Yeah, basically anything for Fridays or Sundays, we offer a discounted rate - $10 off per person for Fridays and Sundays. And if you’re looking at Monday – Thursday, more during the work week, we have more flexibility on pricing, but also more flexibility on timing, like if you’re looking to start at 3:30 in the afternoon, rather than having to start at 6 at night. There’s just a lot of flexibility overall for Monday through Thursday dates.

Liz: Great. And I just want to let everyone know that if you do have any questions for Erin, you can text them to me at 310-801-3602, or email them to me at liz@silvercharmevents.com. So, when you meet with couples, what are the three questions that they ask you right away?

Erin: Usually, everyone wants to start off with how much does it cost, which is a very, very good question, but it’s kind of tricky to get into that question once you realize that everyone does their pricing differently. With us, it really is all-inclusive price. So, we’ll start off with pricing and tell them that it starts at, say $90 per person, but they don’t realize that includes the venue, the food, the bar, the staff. And then [all they have to do] is bring a photographer and a DJ. Some people think that that’s just the food price, which is how it tends to be with other venues.

Liz: You also include the cake as well, right?

Erin: Right, and we don’t charge a cake cutting fee, that’s all included in the pricing. Every site also has a dance floor, so you don’t have to bring that in, and a choice of table linens. Each package also includes a dressing room for the bride and groom, and two hours set up time. It also includes a rehearsal time during the week. And for couples that have their own outside coordinator, we provide an assistant to help direct the processional. But it’s nice when couples have their own outside coordinator, because they can work as a team with our staff.

Liz: What do you feel are the questions that couples don’t ask, that you feel that they should ask?

Erin: They should ask what’s included in each package, before they ask about the pricing. I also think that it’s important for couples to find out where the hidden costs are. At Calamigos, we try to avoid any of those, but a lot of places you may have extra charges for things as basic as restrooms - some places will change you for a restroom attendant. Some places will charge a cake cutting fee. Parking fees can be very high, depending on the location. Calamigos has a complimentary parking valet at each site, and there’s no charge for that. We offer 12 different linen colors, and that’s included. And then bar services. [Our] basic bar package includes beer, wine and champagne unlimited for three hours, and we do offer the option to add hard liquor. So, we try to keep it as flexible as possible to accommodate every couple and their needs and budget.

Liz: So, going on with that, after everyone has booked – I know that you have a payment plan, and I think that one of things that people need to know [wherever you’re booking] is that you never have to pay everything all at once, you break it down into several different payments in the months leading up to the wedding.

Erin: Yeah, we usually break it down into four different payments.

Liz: Go into what the questions that come up at the second meeting, or before the tasting, stuff like that?

Erin: I think that a lot of the magazines and all the TV shows do a very good job at freaking our brides out – I’m sure Liz would agree with that! I think they do a very good job of scaring our brides into buying more magazines and books. I think you’re better off having a knowledgeable coordinator or a knowledgeable vendors to help you figure out what you really need to do. But checklists are good. So, at the second meeting, we’re usually giving vendor referrals, and getting into details about the theme and style. A lot of couples are looking into lighting companies, which go hand and hand into hiring a dj or band, and a coordinator can help you pull that all together.
and put together a wedding team. All of your vendors, especially if they don’t know each other already and if they’re willing to take the time, should get together and get on the same page.

Liz: So, what do you feel is the biggest challenge for couples?

Erin: You mean, when, they’re looking at other venues as well?

Liz: Yes.

Erin: The trickiest thing is pricing, definitely, no venue is going to have the same prices or the same packages. Hotels are more geared to corporate business, so most of what they offer is a la carte, from the bathrooms to the hours, to every table and chair. Where other venues will have some of those things included, but some might need to be outsourced. So, when we meet with couples, we always give them a sample invoice up front, so they have something they can walk away with when they try to compare other venues, apples to apples. You want to be able to factor in the possibilities, and figure out what else you’re going to need to bring in.

Liz: I always tell my couples that one of the things they should ask any venue is what’s not included. Most venues should be able to tell you that. Like with Calamigos – what’s not included is you’re going to have to get a DJ, you’re going to have to get a photographer, you’re going to need a florist. If you want extra lighting, you’re going to have to get that.

Erin: Right.

Liz: So, that’s another good tip when you’re meeting with a venue. Once they finish telling you what they do offer or what they have, is to ask them what they don’t.

Erin: That’s a very good question.

Liz: So, you should be able to take that and say, oh, okay, well, if I have a certain budget or I need this and that, what am I going to have to provide or bring in?

Erin: Exactly.

Liz: So, as far as a time line for the day, can you shoot me throughout what the set-up looks like, what a typical day looks like for a wedding, and then we can go from there to extrapolate to other places.

Erin: For a typical event, a wedding starts at 5:30 or 6, and goes until 11:00, so you can have a full five and a half hours for the party. For any event, we allow two hours set-up prior, and that would be for dressing room access and for all the vendors, the florist, the DJ, etc., to come in and set up. And most of our couples use that two hour time for photos. Which means that the bride and ladies have already had their hair and make-up done off site or at their hotel, and then they arrive for 3:30 for a 5:30 wedding. It’s very relaxed, and they can take pictures on site, and avoid rushing around. And each side [bride and groom] has their own hotel-sized room.

And the time frame for the wedding, in all honesty, the ceremonies are usually 15-20 minutes max. I’ve seen ceremonies that an hour and a half, I’ve seen ceremonies that are two or three minutes long. That can vary quite a bit, they’re usually fifteen, twenty minutes, and then goes right into the cocktail hour. A lot of times, now, the bride and groom participate in the cocktail hour, and you can get some great pictures of them with the guests. And then they move into the reception,so you can start the reception as early as 7:30, but it really depends on when the ceremony starts.

Liz: So, if you’re talking about starting at 7:30 or 8pm for dinner, and they have the venue…?

Erin: Until 11:30. At 11:30, we’re breaking down, and the couple and family might still be there to say their good-byes and get their things out until midnight, but the event has to officially end at 11 o’clock. But [there’s no real rush] ,we rarely have to shoo people out.

Liz: And, one of the things you should ask, if you think your set-up is going to be complicated [or time-consuming], is to ask how much time you’re going to have on either end, because those are the two things that are usually set in stone!

Erin: Yeah, that’s so important to ask! And we also really try to steer brides away from doing too much themselves. You don’t want to miss out on pictures because you’re folding place cards. The last thing you want to do is miss out on those wonderful moments because you’re hanging lanterns in a room. So, even if you think you’re going to be saving money, think about what you’re missing as far as time with your new husband or your family members. It might be better to hire a professional to do those things.

Liz: Yes, like the place cards, and favors, definitely. Do ever help out with that?

Erin: We can help with place cards and table numbers, but they have to be alphabetized, otherwise we’ll have no idea what to do with them!

Liz: Do you allow people to store their set up items on site?

Erin: Yes, at the rehearsal. They bring in the table numbers, place cards, family photos, stuff like that. As long as it’s in boxes and stack-able, we can store those in our offices. No wedding dresses or wedding rings, though! [Laughs]

Liz: How long can you store that for?

Erin: Well, you know, a couple of days. Most people have their rehearsal on a Thursday. Not too early, because we try to designate storage space for each wedding site.

Liz: Also another thing you can ask your wedding venue. Anything that you don’t have to carry from point A to Point B on the day of your wedding, go for it!

Erin: And I’ve helped out at a lot of weddings at hotel, and most of them won’t let you leave anything, not even a box, because they don’t have any place to store it.

Liz: And they have so many people coming in that they can’t even insure that it’s going to be there or where it’s a couple of days from now. But it’s also good to check. One of my rules is that if you don’t know something, you should ask. Even if you think it’s crazy or outrageous, or they’re never going to be able to do it, just ask. Because I’ve found that most venue managers – at least the ones that I’ve run into – want to help you if they can.

Erin: Yup.

Liz: And if they can’t, they can tell you what an alternative is.

Erin: Exactly.

Liz: And I know that it’s kind of weird because when you step into Wedding World, and you don’t know exactly what’s going on, and you don’t know how this works, you might feel a little tentative. [Laughs] But it’s your wedding. It’s your day, it’s money, and just asking a simple question – the worst thing anyone can say to you is “No”. So you might as well find out what’s possible.

Erin: And there is an alternate plan for just about everything, so you should definitely ask your vendors. [For instance] We had a very interesting situation this weekend, a wedding planner drove down from [Northern California] the day before with the wedding cake.

Liz: Wait, with the wedding cake??

Erin: Yes, she was the wedding coordinator and the Florist, and she expected us to store the uncovered wedding cake. And even if we had the space, it could get dropped, it could get kicked, it could fall over. There’s no place that wants to take on that responsibility.

Liz: So, what did you end up doing?

Erin: We just referred them to a company that had a refrigerated truck so they could store it. I mean, all the things that could happen to that cake just sitting out in the open, it’s just way to scary to think of. This was an entire day before.

Liz: Well, at least it was an entire day before the wedding! [Laughs]

Erin: It was the morning before, so it was 36 hours before the wedding.

Liz: Well, at least it wasn’t something like, two days before [or the day of, when they hadn’t told you that they were bringing it in or needed to store it]. So, did you have the refrigerated truck on the property?

Erin: Yeah, we had to have someone bring it in. I mean, we have a huge walk-in refrigerator, but hadn’t reserved the space for that cake, and we have 25 chefs walking in and out of there. It was too scary to even think about.

Liz: I have to ask, though, because I’m hoping that no one runs into this problem, but how much does something like that cost? Like, per day? And to keep it on?

Erin: About $200., so it’s almost like going through a U-haul place? They’re really small. And it [the cake] could have potentially fit into an igloo cooler, if it wasn’t already put together, right? But the tiers were already stacked, so no normal cooler would hold it.

Liz: Oh, boy. So, tip to you, if you have a problem like this, or some sort of version of this, basically, if you have to store something out of the ordinary – and most people know when it’s going to be out of the ordinary [hint: if you have to ask yourself, it is] your first call should be to your venue manager. Did she give you a call before she came down or did she just show up?

Erin: She just showed up. And if she had given us a call beforehand, we could have been more help if we knew in advance.

Liz: Another thing that I should point out, because I run into this all the time is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions if something is wrong, or some thing's going to be a problem. And that goes with all of your vendors. Because we’re all there working for you, so if there is something that they’re going to have to deal with, then give us a call. We are here for you. And as much as I hate to pull out the Jerry McGuire quote, it’s true – help us to help you! [laughs]. And we want to help you.

So, when couples are getting closer to the day, what is that they need to know? Especially, what is it that they need to get to you as it closer to the wedding?

Erin: Two weeks before, hopefully we’ve gotten through most of the basic planning, so we’re talking about finalizing the timeline. We want to make sure that the brides are thinking about their guest lists. We really don’t need a final count until the Monday before, but they really need to start thinking about that two weeks prior. It’s really nice if you can get the DJ and the photographer together in some way so that they’re on the same page. Just getting the team together. And making sure the bride gets some time to relax, herself. I think that’s very important.

Liz: And for a bride that doesn’t have a coordinator, do you help her with the time line? Do you help her contact the vendors is that something that she’s going to have to do on her own?

Erin: We’ll contact some of the vendors as we get closer [but either way] we want to get a list of all of your vendors. Lately, a lot of people are bringing in lighting, and they don’t realize that we need to know what kind of lighting. You’d hate to blow out the electricity in your entire building, which does happen. The more information you can give us, the better. Nothing is too small.

Liz: Right. And that’s also one of the things you should ask each of your vendors. Ask they what they need as far as power.

Erin: And photo booths. They can take up a lot of power, too.

Liz: Right. Ask them what they need as far as power, as far as equipment, as far as space, and pass that on to your venue. Basically, you want to have as little to deal with on your wedding day as possible. Even if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, you still want to be able to enjoy the day. You want to make everything run on auto-pilot as much as possible, that’s what you’re aiming for. That everyone knows what they’re doing, and everyone’s on the same page, and everyone knows what its going to take to get the job done. So, find out what it is that they need and when they need it. It will just make things go a lot easier.

Erin: And not just for the venue, but the DJ might need to know about the lighting company and what they’re doing as well, because end the end everyone is working together. The photographer needs to know what the DJ is doing. The venue needs all the information, but it’s good to have a packet, you know. Liz has a packet that she shares with everybody, but it’s great to give that information to everyone. Even if you think it’s more than they need, it can’t hurt.

Liz: One of the things that I do for my couples, to keep them all on the same page, is that that I put that all into a google document. Google has a system where you can store a document online, so that anyone you give access can see it and comment on it. I put every one's information on there, all the vendors on there. So, you have the DJ’s phone number and email, you have the photographer’s phone number and email, so at any time, your vendors can contact each other. It is very important to keep everyone on the same page, but it can be a lot of work!

Erin: Yes, I use google docs all the time. You can do updates, and automatically send those out to everyone, too.

Liz: Yeah, updates, and not only see the changes, but you can see when the last changes were made, too. And generally what I do is invite all the vendors to come in and make notes, and then about a week before the wedding, I finalize the timeline and let everyone know that that’s the final version. And with google documents, you just send out a link, or you can put the document itself into an email, whatever works for you. It’s just way better than trying to send out word documents. It’ makes things a lot easier.

Erin: Collaborative with everyone.

Liz: Yes, creative collaboration.

Erin: I just thought of two more things, if I have time to throw it in here. Linens, outside linens. You have to tell your venue if you’re bringing those in. With us, at least, we set up all the rooms, including plates and silverware, at the beginning of the day, so if you’re bringing in linens, then we have to re-set your whole room in the middle of the day. So that’s very important. We’re happy to set them up for you, but we need them the day before.

Liz: And don’t you have a final meeting before the wedding?

Erin: Yeah, we can as many meetings as the client wants, but sometimes even at the last meeting or at the rehearsal, couples forget to tell us about it. Not thinking about how much time it takes or that’s going to be a big deal.

Liz: And of course, you guys also trying to get everything set up as early as you can!

Erin: Right, and of course, and there is a certain order that things have to go, and you can’t set up the silverware and plates and centerpieces until you put down the tablecloths, so…

Liz: Yeah, and that’s another thing to remember, if you decide that you want to bring anything in, just make sure you let your venue know. So, your venue might not have to be your first call when that happens, but make sure that they’re your last call.

Erin: And we’re going to be the ones that the rest of your vendors are going to be checking in with, as well, and hopefully not bugging you or your family with questions. So, the more information we have, the more we can help.

Liz: Now, going back to storage – I’m thinking about couples who might have a lot of stuff left over after the wedding – do you ever let them keep it there until they can pick it up the next day?

Erin: We try to avoid that, but if there is nothing going on the next day, we’ll try and help as much as we can, find a corner where they can put it. We don’t lock up the room, but the property is locked up every night. But we just really tried to avoid that.

Liz: And I’ve found that it might be a little bit easier with the hotels, because most of the time you have a room, where you can put it, or the hotel can bring it up to your room. But either way, ask, Ask, ask, ask. That’s probably the theme of this whole discussion!

Erin: And we have events where they bring a lot of things, like we have events where they bring six foot trees in, it’s even really inexpensive to rent a u-haul truck to store it and keep it on site until the next day. Or rental furniture, any really big items.

Liz: If they need more than an couple of hours – something like that would definitely take more time – is that something that you’re flexible on?

Erin: Yes, now it would depend on the date, and what else is going on that day, but yeah. We just need to know so we can work on it logistically. You know, easy ways to get everything in and out, and we want to make it as easy as possible. Usually it’s not an issue at all.

Liz: So, if someone needs three or four hours, it’s okay. Or even they want to break it up into say, I need two hours here, or two hours there, they can break it up.

Erin: Yeah. And it’s rare that we have two events at a site on the same day, so we can make it happen. But something like – for instance, if a Florist is telling me that they need six hours to set up, it’s not because there are that many flowers, it’s usually because they have another job that they need to get to. So, that’s another thing to be aware of, and to ask about.

Liz: Right. And, since you have multiple sites, how many events do you do per site a day?

Erin: Normally, we only do one event per day per site. But occasionally, we do have a morning event at a site, a conference luncheon with 15-20 people, And we always leave a one and a half, two hour buffer between events, but it’s very rare that we have two events per day. But that’s a good question to ask. Also, we have a lot of picnics in the summer months, but those are always outdoors.

Liz: And I’m saying that because, from my experience, there are a lot of venues…well, I don’t know if I would say a lot, but enough venues that have multiple weddings at one site during one day. Definitely ask your venue about that, and ask them to keep you informed, if they do later book other events at your site that day. That’s going to affect your set-up time, it’s going to affect your break down, it’s going to affect a lot of things.

So, you we were talking to John Kinderman last week about catering, and all of your catering is provided. Do you want to talk a little bit about what you offer? You said that you also have bar [package], so do you want to talk a little bit about the difference and what to expect with in-house catering as opposed to when you bring everything in?

Erin: Sure. We’ve always done in-house catering, but the last couple of years, we’ve made the exception and allowed outside catering, mostly to accommodate for Kosher events, we do a lot of Indian weddings, but a lot of times couple do a blend of our catering and outside catering. Doesn’t always work with Kosher events, but definitely with Indian and Armenian, and a lot of other ethnic weddings. But each area has its own kitchen, you have your own chef on site, and you’re getting your food fresh off the grill. We also offer a choice of sit-down or buffet. We’re kind of famous for our buffet stations, around the rooms or around the deck. And you’ll have chefs at each station, sautéing, and there’s no lines, and everyone’s mingling, and it’s just a beautiful presentation. That’s another important thing as far as timing, when you’re planning to serve your guests. You can’t say, oh, dinner is around 7:30, but be ready to serve at 8, and expect your steak to be hot. You want your food on time. We also offer a lot of different hors d’oureves packages , and we’re doing a lot of hors d’ourves meals, where instead of serving a meal, they serve different heavy hors d’ouerves over a four hour period, you know, mix it up.

Liz: So, with buffet vs. sit down, is there a difference in price?

Erin: We charge the same. As a venue, with the set-up, it costs us a little bit more, but we charge the client the same.

Liz: So, with the buffet, do you always do the stations? Because I think that would be a little bit easier than doing the long tables, or something like that. Or do you do both options?

Erin: Well, we do stations because it’s a little bit easier than doing a double-sided table It also helps with lines and also for the look, we don’t want people waiting and standing in line for their food. Like, for instance, the salad bar is multi-level and people can be on all sides. And we have a chef’s pasta bar, where they’re sautéing and people can pick their ingredients and stand on all sides.

Liz: For some of the stations, how does that work, as far as staffing?

Erin: With the buffet staff, the salad bar is help yourself, but it’s constantly replenished, and you have chefs at the other stations, carving the prime rib, for instance, you have chefs with the side dishes, with potatoes, but you also have chefs back in the kitchen. And for us, it’s the same amount of staff, whether it’s a sit-down or buffet.

Liz: So, if you’re talking about 100 guests, what do you recommend as far as food? How many entrees, how many appetizers?

Erin: If you’re not going to have a long break of photos between the wedding and the reception, you don’t necessarily need hors d’ourves, but they’re fun at any wedding. People can be starving at that point, so what we do at Calamigos is to have the three passed hors d’ouerves, for an hour, you can choose your selections. And you have the staff out there with with trays of champagne, too, and we also serve wine and beer [at the bar]. A lot of people serving, a lot of people mingling.

Liz: But if couples want to serve beyond [the included hours in the bar], is it by consumption? How does the bar work with Calamigos?

Erin: We have the basic package, beer, wine and champagne for three hours, that’s part of the package price…

Liz: And how does that three hours usually break up? When does that three hours get used? I was just discussing this yesterday with another couple, and I think that a lot of people aren’t quite sure how that works out. They sit there and think, only three hours? Well, the wedding is going to be seven hours, or whatever it is, but how does that work?

Erin: I would suggest starting it right after the ceremony because that’s when everyone is expecting a drink. So, right after the ceremony, and then, we also do a champagne pass with the guests, everyone gets a glass of champagne with a strawberry in it. So, if you start the bar at 6 or 6:30, say 6:30, the bar with take you until 9:30. Most couples add an extra hour, to take you to 10:30, but even without that extra hour, you still have juice, coffee, tea service the whole time during the event.

Liz: And, if you’re talking about 6:30 – 9:30, and you add an extra hour…and if you don’t mind me asking, how much is that extra hour?

Erin: It’s only $5 per adult.

Liz: Okay, and if you add an extra hour, and if you’re shutting down things at 11:00, the one thing you want is for your guests to sober up before they get into their cars!

Erin: That’s a good thing, yes.

Liz: So, yeah, I really can’t emphasize that enough. So, don’t feel bad about shutting down the bar an hour before the end of your wedding. The shortest period of time I would recommend is 45 minutes before, but I feel better with an hour. And it’s just the DJ making an announcement that the bar is closing in 15 minutes, and then they’re done. Most people don’t expect a complete free for all. So, if you’re thinking, oh, I don’t know if I can tell my guests to stop drinking, most people like direction, plus you’re trying to keep them safe. So, yeah, 6:30 to 9:30 and you say that most people add an extra hour?

Erin: Or a half hour. But even if you end the bar at 9:30, it doesn’t mean that people can’t carry drinks around, we’re just not serving them anymore. So, before 9:30, they can get as many drinks as they want and drink them for the rest of the night. So, yeah, it’s nice to let them know that if they want to grab two beers instead of one, then go for it. But you might want to think about having a program or a sign at the bar that tells people what to expect.

Liz: That’s a great idea. So, this all being said, since we only have a few minutes left, do you feel that’s there’s anything else that people need to know, once they’ve made a venue choice?

Erin: Once you’ve made a venue choice, I guess, start with them as far as vendor referrals. At least here at Calamigos, we really want to help you find the best people, because the best people for the client are usually the best people for us, because they know what they’re doing when they’re here. And be wary to if anyone is getting any kickbacks, but here we really want you to have the best vendors, we want the client to be happy, because it’s also going to help us look good in the end, too!

Liz: Can you give referrals like, for instance, this photographer is really good and costs x amount, can you help them as far as what is going to work with their budget?

Erin: We don’t know all the facts about all the vendors, but the more that we work with a vendor, to an extent, we sure can. But another thing is that with coordinators, and I’m sure this is something that you know, is that even though the coordinator costs you money, they can save you money in the end, as far as giving you recommendations for vendors within your budget, because of the connections that vendors have with you.

Liz: And as far as the help that I can give with vendors, there are times when you have your heart set on a particular venue or vendor that might be more out of your budget, is that if you’ve decided that is what you’re going to spend $5,000 or $10,000 more on your venue, keep in mind that is going to take up about half of your budget. So keep in mind that you need to slash your budget in other areas. So, you need to find a cheaper florist, you need to find a cheaper photographer, and that’s definitely something that I’m good at. And you can cut out this, you can do that, and don’t get frustrated. Believe it or not, you have time. Every florist in Los Angeles, is not booked on your wedding date, Every photographer is not booked on your wedding date. And there are tons of good vendors out there. What you’re looking for is out there. But, it is 7:57, so I want to thank you for coming on.
Erin: Thank you for having me.

Liz: One of the reasons that I’d asked Erin to come on was that she’s just wonderful at customer service.

Erin: Well, it’s wonderful when you love your job and love what you do, right?

Liz: Exactly. Erin has been doing this for ten years, what did you say, 300 weddings a year?

Erin: Yes, I’m up to about 10,000 weddings.

Liz: Wow, so you definitely know the ins and outs of how to get the most out of your wedding venue. So, if you’re interested in talking to Erin, can you give them your best email address?

Erin: erinb@malibuweddings.com

Liz: And is that that the website for Calamigos, www.malibuweddings.com

Erin: Yes, or www.calamigos.com

Liz: Well, thank you so much. Our next session is next Wednesday, November 3, when we’re going to talk about Wedding photography with Jen Berggren of B & G Photography, and registration is still open.
And, of course, if you would like to talk to me about helping you coordinate your wedding, I’m not taking on any more full-service clients until December first, but I am still booking for Day-Of Coordination. And I said in my newsletter, that I actually don’t have any weddings in November or December, so let me know if you need help. You can find out more about what’s included at www.silvercharmevents.com/Services.html, and then email me from the website to schedule your complimentary appointment. I look forward to finding out what your wedding looks like, and how I can help. Have a good evening, everyone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wedding Wise Wednesday - November 17

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events, and deals in Los Angeles and around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

Sigh. This is April Bride and April Groom, at their engagement shoot with B & G Photography. Now you know why I'm a fan, of both them AND the photographers. Go to B&G's Facebook page for more.

And here's my fav blogpost of the week, from UK site Staggered: Top 5 Reasons You Don’t Need To Be Jealous Of The Royal Wedding. I have two June weddings, it will be interesting if William and Kate's date falls on either of those, right?

The Events:
Sunday, November 21st
The Premier Bridal Event
The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa
1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue
Pasadena , CA 91106

Hosted By: Fancy That! Event design & coordination
Price: $15 - BUT Marriage.com is sponsoring a $3 discount, just enter MARRIAGE at check-out. I LOVED this show last year, and I'm going again on Sunday. This is the one where instead of having a runway show, all the models sat and posed on stage so people could actually see the dresses. So looking forward to it!

The Deals:

Wedding Outlet is offering free shipping on any order over $25, which will take you like, two minutes to reach. Use the code Freeship25 at checkout.

The Garter Girl over at Etsy.com is having a massive sale on her hand-made garters. Thanks to the Broke Ass Brigade Newsletter for the heads-up.

Bridal Beauty Savings Alert! Get your free sample of Jergens overnight repair here:

And last but certainly not least - At Starbucks, from 11/18 – 11/21, between 2pm – 5pm, you can get a FREE holiday drink when you buy 1. That's Thursday thru Sunday. It's on my calendar, go put it on yours. NOW.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There's That Plastic Surgery Booth at the Bridal Show. Again.

This is one of my more popular guest posts on The Broke Ass Bride, THE best place for wedding inspiration on a budget. I got a bunch of comments on the original post, but definitely let me know what you think now.

May 14th, 2010

Somewhere in this room is another attack on your self-esteem.

I started writing bridal show reviews about a year ago on my blog, and even now I end up going to one a month. Since all of you have likely been or will go to at least one, and between the lot of you, you’ve been to all of them. So you know that there are three types of shows, which (and you locals will appreciate this), I’ll call Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Downey.

You can tell by the registration fee how many vendors are going to be at the show. You can get usually get into Downey shows for around $7 (buy online for a $1 discount!), there will be at least three rooms of vendors, packed wall-to-wall, and still not enough space to walk or breathe. No one knows where anything is, like the bathrooms, and suddenly you find yourself lost in the lower levels of bridal hell with your fiance, who isn’t quite sure what they’re doing there in the first place. You know, other than being supportive.

Culver City shows will cost you less than $15 to get in. It’s a pleasant place, maybe two rooms including the one with the fashion show, and a lot more space to actually talk to vendors and get the information you want.

Beverly Hills shows are the big jump. At least $20 per ticket, one large room (the best in the hotel), full of vendors, cool swag bag with actual stuff you want in there. The last one I went to set me up with makeup for a year. And don’t plan on eating after or before the show, because you are going to get lunch and drinks and dessert right there. Beverly Hills shows are better than Costco for that.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed that all of them are starting to have in common – the plastic surgery clinics, pushing a new and better you at every show I’ve been to lately.

Now, I expected it in Downey, I have to admit, where all the show was obviously trying to do was make as much money as they could. But I didn’t expect two of them. One of which was for a gastro-freaking-bypass clinic in Tijuana. In Culver City, I was a little surprised, and somewhat taken aback, by the foam nipple squeeze toys the clinic was handing out. And then one showed up in Beverly Hills, and I just started wondering what the heck was going on.

But, that is a rhetorical question. I know what’s going on. The economy still sucks, and the bridal shows need to fill space, and they figure it’s your choice to either visit those tables or not. The clinics know that brides want to look as beautiful as they can on their wedding day, so they’re pushing their candy right in the playground. I usually do about three laps at each show, so I can tell you that these booths don’t get nearly as many visitors as others, mostly hit-and-run pick-up-a-flyer-and-hope-no-one-sees-me traffic, and of course, the foam nipples are very popular with the guys. But they must get enough business from being there, because they keep showing up and grossing the hell out of me. I get it, but I don’t have to like it.

My discomfort exists on several different levels, none of which are, “how can anyone have plastic surgery??” (Oh, except for Heidi Montag, because that girl is a hot mess.) You know me… I don’t care what you do, as long as you’re happy. And that’s the main word here – “happy.” I work with brides every day. I try on dresses with them, go to vendor meetings, tastings, all during which they face some sort of pressure to do x, y, and z… and I’m constantly saying stuff like, “Caroline, what do YOU want? If you don’t want this, don’t get it. Don’t just do it because someone is saying you need to have it.” Whether you succumb to it or not, I hate to see you guys faced with any more pressure. It really pisses me off. God knows we all have our body issues, and the plastic surgery booth is not another mirror check that any of us need, in addition to the constant refrain that women hear every day anyway, that says, “you’re not good enough, you could do better.”

Or that maybe he could do better, another implication that enrages me. Look, you had that bump in the middle of your nose and those love handles before, and he still asked you to marry him, didn’t he? And he likes it when you can wrinkle your brow at him when you think that he’s crazy. Did you hear him mention something about getting a tune-up before the big day? Just like you love him for him, the way he is… he loves you for you, the way you are. He’s got you, and he’s doing just fine.

I might be a little judgmental here, but, seriously, KHANNNNNNNN!!! Gah – What do you guys think?

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Wedding Weekend

Saturday, I had a meeting at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, and they ALWAYS have the best centerpieces in their lobby.

Sunday I went with JuneBride and Groom to Calamigos Ranch in Malibu for their tasting, and another site visit with both the Moms. Gor-geous...I posted this pic on Facebook, and one of my friends asked, "What, you're on Pandora?" Just about as close as you're going to get in Los Angeles.

Every meeting I have with every bride ends up with half a page of checkboxes to cover, so that's what I've been doing today. The chicken, they decided, might need some hot sauce for the Louisiana folks, so...why not get little bottles of hot sauce as favors? I've got a brand, I've got a price, and I'm checking on it next week. I'm also following up with their photographer to schedule their engagement shoot, and with their stationer to see about those pesky invite inserts.

Tomorrow, tomorrow is custom-fitting JanGroom's tux at Ric Dukar,which I'm sure is going to lead to even more check boxes. :-)

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Round-up

First of all, my weekly post on The Broke Ass Bride is up - To see or not to see - Meeting your Guy BEFORE the end of the aisle.

Speaking of Bridal Beauty, Living Social's Deal today is $20 for an ultra-pedicure at the Painted Nail, Antioxidant Soak, Cuticle Care, Nail Shaping, Massage, Polish, Scrub, and Complimentary Coffee or Wine. If you're not familiar, Living Social is like Groupon, except their deals are usually good for a few days. I've had really good experiences with them - massages and movie tickets. Unfortunately, I just got a pedicure last week, but this shouldn't stop you.

Vera Wang Up Close:
Her store is having a preview trunk show of her Fall 2011 collection. Fall 2011? Hmm, is that right? At any rate, Call 323-602-0174 to schedule an appointment, the store is at 8445 Melrose in Los Angeles.

So, what are you doing about your wedding this weekend? I'm working on two, myself - meeting April Bride2 at the Rocco room in Pasadena for a potential site visit, Saturday I have a first consultation in Burbank, and then on Sunday, back to Calamigos Ranch for June Bride1's first tasting. Busy is so much better than not being busy. I have space this weekend for more first consults, especially on Sunday, if you're interested, just shoot me an email at liz@slvercharmevents.com or call or text me at 310-801-3602.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Loving Etsy is Easy, 'Cause It's Beautiful

Oh, my God, squee, squee, and SQUEE. Etsy is seriously the reason that I'm thinking about a vow renewal. Lionsgate Design made this beauty, and could you just not die?

Here are the rest of my etsy wedding finds for the week:

Bridal comb magic by SkyBlueDesigns2

Now, THIS is a gift card box, Handmade, beautiful,personalized, totally something you could keep and use in your house after your wedding.

See you in the pretty,pretty, pretty at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wedding Wise Wednesday - November 10, 2010

Every Wednesday I bring you the coolest wedding stories, events and deals I find in Los Angeles and around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Coolest Wedding Thing of the Week:

I just love it - no one brings pure joy and happiness like kids do. Thanks to Niche White Bridal Loft for this quick grin

The Events:

Until Thursday, November 11th

Couple of great events going on today and tomorrow in honor of Veteran's Day tomorrow. Between today and tomorrow, Jobyna's Off the Rack in Glendale is offering free Wedding dresses to the first 50 military brides that come in the store - and they haven't reached 50, yet. Show up yourself or pass this along - either way, you need your military ID!

Alfred Angelo is also doing the same thing in Savannah, GA and Colorado Springs, CO, so again, if you know anyone, let them know.

Saturday, November 13

And speaking of telling people about really cool deals across the country, four words: Vera Wang Sample Sale. At the pre-requisite 20 - 70% off! In New York. I know! (pic courtesy of the New York Post)

Meanwhile, back in Southern California:

The Cannery Wedding Show
Price: Complimentary
3010 Lafayette Road
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 566-0060
Find your vendors, have cake, and see pretty, pretty dresses at one of the most beautiful event spaces in Orange County. Have fun!

The Deals:

Skybox Events is offering 10% off everything in their store, including this cheese grater favor that's currently cracking me up today. No code necessary, even. Thanks to the Broke Ass Bride Brigade newsletter for the tip.

Bridal Beauty Deals:

$10 off any $30 purchase at Bath and Body Works (that won't be hard)

Free Teeth Whitening Kit from GoSmile, while supplies last.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding: Photography

Been having difficulties with Google doc links (Gah), so I thought I'd put the transcript of Wednesday's talk with Jen in my blog, instead. Enjoy!

What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding: Photography
Wednesday, November 3, 7:00pm
(Transcript edited for pacing, emphasis and clarification)
© Silver Charm Events, 2010

Liz: For those of who stuck around, I’m Liz Coopersmith, here with Jen Berggren (Burr-grin) of
B &G Photography. Welcome to the last tele-class of What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding. And today we’re going to deal with photography. Jen, why don’t you introduce yourself.

Jen: Hello, I’m Jen Berggren of B &G Photography. My husban Nate and I run it, and we’ve being doing it for about seven years and we love it, we shoot weddings and families and kids and all sorts of fun stuff.

Liz: So, what is your customer service philosophy when working with Brides and Grooms?

Jen: I come for a long background of customer service, and I’m in constant contact with my clients. I’m really about always being available. You know, some people get upset about spending too much of their time, but I really like to spend my time with my clients, I want to know who they are. I find that the stronger my relationship is with them, the better pictures I’m going to take of them, so I’m really about always being around, email phone, however, and trying to spend as much time with them as we can.

Liz: Great. So, I figured that we’d start with the standard questions - one of the points of this is to let people know what to expect when they walk into a meeting with a photographer. So, what are the three things that couples ask you when they initially meet with you?

Jen: The three big questions, yeah. The number one question is “how much?” [Laughs] Which, of course, people are planning a wedding, they’re spending thousands of dollars - some people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these events - and it’s going to be an issue. I totally get it. And I think that what people need to think about is what really goes into photography on a wedding day. And I think that most photographers base their costs and prices on a couple different things. And one is what is the quality of the product that they’re giving you? Are you getting photo-printed, leather bound, heirloom albums, or are you getting off-set printed albums that look more like a book? Another thing is experience, how much experience do they have. Are they just starting out, have they been doing this for a long time? Is it their full-time job? And the other thing is demand - are they getting calls to shoot ten weddings on one day, as opposed to barely getting anything. All three things factor into cost when you’re talking to a photographer, and that’s why prices are all over the place. You’re going to have photographers that are $1500, you’re going to find a photographer for $50,000, and one thing might not necessarily have to do with another. But I think that in a major city, like Los Angeles or New York, the average price for a good photographer - one that’s going to give you a nice package, engagement, 8-10 hours on your wedding day, and a nice album - you’re looking right around the $4-6000 range. And that doesn’t mean that they can’t do something for you for $3,000 or for $10,000, it really is a matter of what’s going into the package and their experience.

Liz: In talking about what is in every package - everyone offers engagement pictures, right?

Jen: Not everyone does that. Some people offer engagement sessions, others don’t. Some create packages,others do everything a la carte. You really need to do a little research with each photographer, and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples, the same value of stuff in each package. With us, we like to include some kind of album, and most of our packages include engagement sessions.

Liz: So, what are the benefits of doing engagement sessions. I’m working with a couple of brides who just DON’T want to do them.

Jen: I think that the biggest advantage to doing an engagement session is that it helps to build your relationship with your photographer. Your photographer is going to be the one vendor that you’re really going to be spending the most time with on your wedding day, even more than the coordinator in some cases. People usually book us six months, a year out, 18 months out, so all that communication time before the wedding, after the wedding. Building an album can take months. So, we’re spending a lot of time with people.

I call engagement sessions “bonding sessions”, it’s time for us to hang out before the wedding, really get to know each other, have a little fun, and get to know each other. And for most people, this is one of the few times that they’ll get to work with a professional photographer, so why not take advantage of it? Go get some pictures taken of yourself. So, when we show up at your wedding day, we’re not total strangers. You’ve gone through the whole experience of having your picture taken, because it can be a daunting experience for some people,it’s a little scary having this big piece of glass in your face. With an engagement session, it’s not so scary, you’ve had fun, you’re comfortable with this person behind the camera, you just relax more on your wedding day.

Liz: When we were prepping for this call, we were talking about how most people don’t realize what the process is, what the time line is for photography. They hire you, you do an engagement session for them, they meet with you a couple of times before the wedding to figure out what pictures they want on the day of. Do they ask about when they’re going get their pictures after the wedding?

Jen: Yes! [Laughs] “When am I going to get my pictures?” There’s a whole process after the wedding. We’ve shot for 8,10, 12 hours, and we’ve got thousands of images that we need to now go through. And if we handed couples those raw images, their brains would literally explode!

Liz: [Laughing]: And how images are we talking about?

Jen: On the average, we shoot about 3,000 images. That’s a lot.

Liz: That is a lot.

Jen: And there will be some duplicates in there, too. Like for the family shots, you’ve got to shoot a bunch, because when you’re shooting a lot of people, you have to make sure that everyone’s eyes are open, that kind of stuff. We’re going to go through and make sure we’ve got the best of the best. So, there’s a whole editing process, we’ll go through and make sure the colors are all perfect, that the contrast is perfect. We shoot in digital, which makes it easy to turn some pictures into black and white, we can do that. And just organize everything into a chronology of the day. I may have a second shooter, so I have to amalgamate two shooters worth of files.

Liz: Do you always have two shooters?

Jen: There are very rare occasions where I don’t have two shooters. If it’s a very small wedding - we’ve done weddings with 12 people - two shooters is overkill on that. But in most cases, 98% of the time, we have two shooters. So, it’s back-up, it’s editing, it’s the online gallery, we create proof books for our couples, and all this stuff takes time. So, on average, it takes about 4-6 weeks before we’re able to hand over proofs.

Liz: Color correction. Most people don’t think about that, flaws, zits or whatever.

Jen: Right.

Liz: For those of you who read my newsletter, the picture of me? Jen took that, what was that, in January?

Jen: Something like that, it was a while ago.

Liz: Yeah, Jen could tell you stories, but she’s not going to. [Laughs]

Jen: [Laughing] Liz is a dream to photograph, come on, you’re wonderful to shoot.

Liz: Liz was like a shy five-year old to work with! Anyway, I just remember, I had, seriously, this really big zit. And told your husband, Nate, “ I’ve been putting on make up and I have this huge zit”, and he said, “That’s okay, I have photoshop.”

Jen: Yeah, photoshop is the miracle worker!

Liz: So, what Jen is saying, and I agree, is that you don’t want the raw files. You do want your pictures as soon as you can get them, but you don’t want the raw files, you want something beautiful that you can give your family, that you can put into an album.

Jen: And that’s the difference between an amateur and a professional, really. An amateur will just hand over whatever they put in their camera. A professional wants to work on it until it’s art. I think I gave you this analogy before, and I’m at all comparing myself to Picasso, but you wouldn’t go to Picasso and ask him for a canvass and paint. You would wait for the final portrait.

Liz: Right.

Jen: And that’s what we’re doing, we’re putting our magic on it [Laughs] , and making it look it needs to look.

Liz: Right. So, you’re saying it takes 4-6 weeks to get it up to an online gallery, is that 4-6 weeks to get it on your blog?

Jen: Yeah, some photographers will blog immediately, I like to put a few teaser pics up on Facebook. Here’s a few shots from the wedding, get excited! And then I’ll go through and really spend time on everything. I don’t like blogging right away, because I want to spend time with the images, I don’t like to rush my work. So, we get your online gallery and the blog, and we usually like to surprise people with a little slideshow as well, and that will be about 4-6 weeks later. And when we’re done, we’ll print a proof-book, we have a little 8X10 contact-sheet style book that takes a couple of weeks to get made. So, our clients get all of this within two months.

Liz: So, people can buy shots in the online gallery? Do they have to order it?

Jen: Yes, the online gallery is for sharing and for ordering pictures. You can order pictures, you can order albums. I prefer couples to come in for a private viewing if they want wall pieces or albums, just so we can go through a design session with them, but the online gallery is perfect for buying prints, if you just want to give them to family and friends. And it’s great to share the link with everyone who was at the wedding, as well, if they want to buy pictures of themselves, so the bride and groom don’t have to be responsible for that. You know, if Aunt Flo is like, “get me that picture of you and the cake!” she can just do it herself.

Liz: And I’m sure that parents go crazy with that, too.

Jen: Absolutely! There’s always a few grandparents that we have to help out over the phone, but for the most part people can go straight to the online gallery. It’s really easy to use.

Liz: Now the albums. Those take more time, and most couples don’t understand why. Take us through the process, and why it would take more, when it would take less time. You told me that that the soonest you’ve been able to get an album out is in what, three months?

Jen: Oh, the soonest, the soonest. And the part that takes the longest time is the couples’ picking which images they want. So, the earliest you can go through what we give you and pick your images, then we can start turning things around. So, as soon as we get the list from our clients, then I can get an initial design to them within 2-3 weeks. I put everything online, which make it really easy to go through, as quickly or slowly as you want, or they can come in and meet with us in person, that’s fine, too. We include a couple rounds of changes, but every photographer is different, so you should ask what your photographer’s process is. So, after the review, clients will submit changes, they might choose a different picture than what they’d wanted initially, change the design around usually a couple of minor things, we’ll fix it for them, repost it online. And then, once it’s approved, it takes about two months to get done. It takes that long for us, because we use a company that does everything by hand. We get actual photographic prints made for the album, we don’t use off-set printing, and the company hand-binds everything. It is like going back to the 1800s, these guys cobble away on their leather. But it takes time, art takes time. So, from approval, it takes about two months. Now, if people are quicker about picking their images, then the whole thing can take around three months.

Liz: So how soon after the wedding do you contact them to start putting together their album?

Jen: We let them know that the online gallery is up, and that they’ll get their proof book a couple of weeks after that, and that’s when they should be going through and picking out what they want for the album.

Liz: And do you also eventually give them the raw files, or a dvd as well?

Jen: Well, no, I would not do the raw files, because they’re unfinished, but we do include jpgs of all the finished images, in our deliver-ables, and I give them to you when I deliver your album, or in six months, whichever comes first. And that’s a good thing to ask your photographer, it’s another thing that everyone does a little bit different. Some photographers will do a shoot and burn, where they’ll burn eveything to a CD or DVD without editing, but you get your pictures quickly. Not what we do. But most photographers will give you your jpgs, either way, it’s just a matter of when. Some people will do it in six months, some people in a year, it depends.

Liz: Why does it take six months to get the cd, is it because of the online gallery, because of the album, why six months?

Jen: The perfectly honest answer is that we’re hoping to make some print sales! [Laughs]But it is also going to be a lot easier for you and your family and friends if everyone can just get the prints they want online, rather than you having to send them or print them out yourself. That won’t happen if we hand over the disc, and if you get them printed at someplace like Costco, God help me. I’m joking about that, you’re going to get your files, and of course you can get them printed anywhere you want. I do, however, put a little note with the cd about where to go to get prints, because there really is a difference, we’ve done tests at Walgreens, at different “professional” labs, and there really is a difference, so that’s my bit of photo snobbery there.

Liz: Well, you are a professional photographer, it would be a little weird if you weren’t a little snobby about your work, if you were just like, “eh, whatever.”[Laughs]

Jen: And first of all, what are you going to do with your images right after your wedding? Why I say it’s totally worth it to wait, is that anything that’s ordered from when we open the gallery to when you get your files is re-touched. So, when we give you your proof stuff, everything looks great. But, anything that’s ordered from the online gallery gets another go-over, I’m going to make sure that the colors are perfect, that everyone’s skin looks fabulous, give it a little extra flavor.

Liz: Now, if you’re online right now, and you want to take a look at what Jen’s talking about, you can go to www.bandgphotography.com/blog. And if you have any questions for Jen or for me then you can text me directly at 310-801-3602, or email me at liz@silvercharmevents.com, I’ve got my computer and my cell phone in front of me.

Jen: You said that number too quickly, do it one more time!

Liz: 310-801-3602 or email me at liz@silvercharmevents.com, people have been texting me all day, trust me, they’re showing up.

Jen: I’ve been bugging her all day, it’s fine.

Liz: So, moving on, what do you think that couples should ask you [at the first meeting]?

Jen: There a lot of those! A big trend right now is photojournalistic, And that’s how we shoot our weddings, very candid, very unobtrusive, it’s now the cheesy shots with everyone looking at the camera. And the other side of that is, this is still a wedding. We’re not shooting a war, we’re shooting a wedding, we still have to do family portraits! So, making sure that you really like someone’s work, how they capture emotions, is really important. Ask them how they shoot families, as well. It’s really important. So, ask to see samples. The pictures should be well-lit, it shouldn’t be too busy in the background, it shouldn’t be too distracting, just something pleasant to look at. And the other thing is finding out how long the pictures are going to take, You’d be surprised, they take a lot longer than you think. I hear it all the time, “we don’t have that much family, there isn’t going to be that many people, there’s just my parents...and we each have one sibling...and my cousins...and my aunt and uncle.” [Laughs] And all of a sudden the list just gets bigger and bigger, and the more people you have, the longer it’s going to take, and you are just going to get exhausted from having your picture taken. So, decide beforehand with your photographer who it’s really important to have portraits with. And if it’s really important to have pictures with all your aunts and cousins, then fine, we need to schedule that time. But understand that there are some things you’re going to have to trade off. Like missing your cocktail hour, some people want to hang out at the cocktail hour with their friends, or we need to schedule a lot of time before the ceremony and have most of those pictures done. And it’s one of those things that’s becoming more common, having the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, and taking family pics, and I really recommend that people do that. You don’t have to go search and drag people back to take pictures, you can hang out, you can go to the bar, and then everyone can just enjoy the day. So, if we spend say, 45 minutes with the couple alone, 20 minutes with the wedding party, and then 20 minutes with family, you’re talking about a couple of hours, and that’s hard to get done during cocktails.

Liz: That’s true. And from the coordination end, whether you’re doing them before the ceremony or afterward, especially afterward, just keep in mind that someone has to track all these people down!

Jen: That’s why I stress that people do pictures beforehand, it’s just easeir to tell them to be at such and such at 4:30pm or whatever.

Liz: Rather than trying to track them down at the cocktail hour.

Jen: So much easier! You always lose Uncle Bob, and the groomsmen, the groomsmen are going to the bar, once that’s open. [Laughs] And it gets a little stressful for the bride and groom, so getting most of it done beforehand works better.

Liz: But if you do choose to do pictures after the ceremony, designate a runner! [Laughs] Someone who can find everyone after the ceremony.

Jen: You’re definitely going to need a point person to round everyone up.

Liz: I usually grab a bridesmaid! [Laughs] “Okay, you’re going to hang out with me while we go find everyone.” But thinking about the last wedding that I coordinated, people are getting more and more comfortable with pics before the ceremony. But there are some who just won’t do that. One of my brides won’t even talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance, so there’s no way. She’s so excited about her dress, and it’s really cute.
But I’ve found that if the bride and groom do choose to see each other before the wedding, that photographers are able to make that moment special, can you go into what that “First look” event entails?

Jen: Yup, totally. About 85% of our couples see each other before the ceremony. What we normally do, we show up about three hours before ceremony call time, “Call time”, like it’s a show.
Liz: Well, it is! And as a side-note, that’s actually how I got started as an event coordinator, I was stage managing shows in college, and you have a background in theater, too, don’t you?

Jen: Nate used to work in the industry.

Liz: Right.

Jen: So, three or four hours before the ceremony, I want to get the last shots of you getting your hair and make-up done, getting into your dresses and your details before anything gets on you, the anticipation that builds, the feeling beforehand, it’s a lot of fun. And then, after that, getting a few bridal pictures done, not too many. You know, your nerves are on edge, you’re super excited, I want to capture all that, and that’s what that’s all about. And Nate, or my second photographer, will hang out with the guys, with the groomsmen, you know, at the bar.[Laughs]

Liz: And just to be clear, if you’re looking for the groomsmen, they’re probably at the bar.

Jen: [Laughing] Right. And what we’ll normally do, is that we’ll go somewhere private, just the bride and groom. And, of course, if you want friends or family there, you can have them, but I like to go off somewhere private, with just the two of them, and set it up so that the bride sneaks behind the groom, there’s anticipation, and then they see each other for the first time. And the great thing is, they get to hang out with each other, they can kiss, you know, be with each other.

And I can’t tell you how many brides told me that it was the best time. Because when you first see each other at the ceremony, you have 200 eyes staring at you, and there’s just too much going on. And a lot of couples seem to really appreciate having that private time. So, I let them take that in, have that space, I shoot them when they first see each other, and then let them have a little bit of time to themselves, and then start shooting their pictures. Depending on where we are, we’ll cruise around for 45-60 minutes, and then we’ll bring in the bridal party, and then the family. So, people don’t need to be there super, super early, we’re finishing up with the family about half an hour before the ceremony. And we stow the bride away, so none of the guests have seen her, she’s still fresh and everything. The bride and groom get to relax before the ceremony, and then the day turns into the whirlwind that it is. So, it’s nice to have that time, the calm before the storm, so to speak.

Liz: So, do you help out with the timeline at all? As a coordinator, that’s what my focus is on. So, for someone who doesn't have a coordinator, how involved do you get?

Jen: I really like getting involved in the timeline for the day, if for no other reason than to make sure that there’s enough time to get all the shots that they want. If the client wants to get 40 family shots and we only have 15 minutes, that’s not going to work .
And I’ve been to a bunch of weddings, so I also know how receptions, especially, should flow, and that’s not something that everyone thinks about. You can’t just wing it. What I’ve found that really works is to have the Grand Entrance and then go straight into your first dance, it sets such a great tone for the day. So, I’ll help people put that together, make sure that it’s well-paced, not too dragging, not too many distractions, letting people have a good time.

Liz: During the reception, I know that your primary focus is on the bride and groom, but what are the shots that you make sure that you take, what else is it that you focus on?

Jen: You want to get the obivious things: the grand entrance, the father-daughter dance, the boquet toss, but what I really love doing is just following the bride and groom around, seeing where they’re going, who they’re talking to. Seeing who their best friends are, making sure that I’m getting shots with all the people that really matter to them. I also really like to follow the parents around, and seeing who they’re talking to and hanging around with.

Liz: Which, again, is why you have a second shooter.

Jen: Absolutely, you need two people , there’s no way for one person to get everything. I also want to find things that no one else is noticing. Kids asleep under the cake table, people having fun at the photo booth in the hallway, just kind of searching out what else is going on. And, of course, I want to get people on the dance floor, but not everyone is on the dance floor, and I want to make sure everyone is covered.
And that’s definitely another thing you should talk to your photographer about - how they shoot receptions. Some photographers will only shoot the bride and groom and the dancefloor. I’m really hyper-aware of shooting all of your guests, ALL of your guests.

Liz: And I concentrate on that with my time lines, too, I always try and get in some time where they can go to every table and say hi, or get pictures with all of their guests. So, when the bride and groom and guests do go to the online gallery, those memories are there. I’ve talked to so many people who were upset that they didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone, and that’s definitely something I want to make sure that they do. You were able to say hi, you were able to get a picture, that everyone feels included in the day. And I’ve said this five million times, anyone who reads my blogs, gets the newsletter. Your wedding day is obviously this day to celebrate your love with this other person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, but it’s also a wonderful, wonderful time to get together with all of your family, all of your friends, with all of the people you love and who love you. And it doesn’t happen that often. The last time I had all of those people in my life in one room was at my wedding, you know?

Jen: It’s weddings or funerals, right? And weddings are the happy times, so make the most of it.[Laughs]

Liz: [Laughs] Exactly. How many weddings do you do a year?

Jen: We stick to between 25-30. And I do that because I really want to make sure that I have enough time for clients. I don’t want to be so busy that I don’t have time to take phone calls and talk to people. That’s one of the advantages to having your own company, I can give my time to everyone. One of the first years that we started, we did 50 weddings, and I got to tell you by September, I was burnt out. Between the two of us, it was FridaySaturdaySundayFridaySaturdaySunday. And that’s not good for the clients, so we decided to limit the number of weddings we do a year.

Liz: Do you do one wedding a weekend, do you do one wedding a day? I know there are two of you, so sometimes you split up, how does that work.

Jen: It depends on the time of year, sometimes it’s one a weekend, sometimes one a day. We do split up sometimes and each take a second shooter, but we don’t ever shot two weddings each on one day.

Liz: [Laughing] No?
Jen: No, you couldn’t pay me enough to do that! You should see me at the end of a wedding, I’m done.

Liz: Yeah, I’m pretty much forbidden to do anything the day after a wedding. My husband freaks out if I even do something like go to the store, he freaks out about it, “No! You must rest!” So, I have my favorite part of every wedding, where I’m like, “oh, I love it when this happens!” What’s yours?

Jen: My favorite part is when the bride is getting ready. All the anticipation, all the excitement for the day, you haven’t seen each other yet, I feed off of that energy. She’s just gotten into her dress, that’s my favorite. And I have to say, I’m a sucker for a good Father-Daughter dance. I’m a total Daddy’s girl, and I have shed a tear or two, I’ve got to say. It always gets me.

Liz: My favorite part is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time, whether it’s the first look, or during the ceremony, that gets me every single time. I was at a wedding in San Diego a couple weekends ago, and just started bawling. And one of the guests said to me, “You probably go through a lot of mascara,” and I told her that I don’t even bother with mascara theres’s no point!

Jen: It shows that you love what you do. We’d be dead if we didn’t, and didn’t react that way.

Liz: It’s one of the best jobs in the world. You get to deal with love, you get to deal with joy, and you get to deal with pretty, and it’s awesome.

So, What other questions do you think that people should ask? What else do you feel that people should know?

Jen: Another question is, what is your photographer going to wear. For instance, if I’m going to a Black-tie event, I’m going to wear a suit. Or if it’s a casual beach wedding, my goal is to blend into the atmosphere. I would never wear sneakers or jeans, or anything like that, but I want to blend in. I’ve found that the photographer uniform, a good fall-back is that everyone wears black. But this is a good story, we were shooting a wedding in Palm Springs, and she wanted us to shoot the rehearsal dinner, and we showed up dressed in black - and it was a White Party.

Liz: Oh, no![Laughs]

Jen: Everyone was dressed in white. So, we were standing out like a sore thumb! So, definitely tell your photographer what type of party it’s going to be, and go over what they’re going to wear.

Liz: Is there any specific equipment or space you need when you’re at a wedding? Other than, obviously, a meal during the day.

Jen: Yeah, “feed me!” [Laughs]

Liz: Just to let everyone know, you’re going to have to feed your photographer!

Jen: I don’t have a lot of stuff, but I have enough, and DJs are usually pretty cool about letting me store it behind their table. But I’ll find a place for it. I want to keep it close by, but I’m definitely aware of not leaving it out in the open or in the way.

Liz: So, as far as working with other vendors, I always work very closely with photographers, because that’s one of the biggest moving parts of any wedding. And also with the DJ as well, as far as what’s going to happen when and when it needs to happen and when stuff needs to not happen -

Jen: Just as important.

Liz: Yeah, beause sometimes you don’t want to stop dancing to cut the cake. And sometimes you want to stop dancing in order to cut the cake, it depends on how things are going. So, can talk a little bit about how you interact with other vendors.

Jen: There are some vendors that I definitely interact with more than others. So, if there is a florist I know, I’ll come a little early to say hello to them, but they’re not usually there during the wedding. And I love talking with coordinators, and going over the schedule, and what happens when. But I also know that as organized as you can be, like y0u said, if people are dancing and having a good time, you’re not going to stick to the schedule and stop a good party. So, my advice to brides is to relax and let go of the day. Be as organized as you can be, but once you’re there, let whatever happens, happen. I tend to defer to the coordinator on that day, or the DJ, or whoever is running the day, and checking in with them every half hour or so - “Okay, are we on schedule, where should I be?” So, I’m not running off to the bathroom when they’re cutting the cake or whatever!

Liz: Wow, and it’s 8:02.

Jen: I can’t believe it, that was fast.

Liz: Is there anything else that you would like to say, as far as anything they should know?

Jen: Yeah, we covered a lot.

Liz: Is there anything else you would like to close with?

Jen: You know, I think that when you’re looking for a photographer, it can be overwhelming, because there are so many of us out there. You should start with picking a couple of sites at a time and going from there. Don’t even think about price at first, just see which images are really grabbing you. And follow through on three of them. Don’t interview 10 photographers, just go with three of them, find out where they are, their price range, figure out if it makes sense for you and your budget, and go from there. Everything gets so concerned about the cost, which is a totally reasonable concern, and you obviously don’t want to be looking at $20,000 photographers when you only have $5,000 but you should start with what you like, first, and then go from there. Everyone can find what they like in their budget. Meet with your photographer and make sure that you like them, not just their work. Because it really makes a difference, if you enjoy spending time with your photographer, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them.

Liz: That is a good point. These are pictures you are going to have for the rest of your life.

Jen: Yeah, and photography is one of the only things that you’re going to be taking away from your wedding. Not to belittle the other parts of it, because they’re all important, but think about it: your flowers are going to to die, you’re probably never going to wear the dress again. So, you’re taking away your marriage, your rings, and your photographs! And that’s it.

Liz: Yeah, you’re going to have your rings, your pictures and your spouse [Laughs]

Jen: You have to make sure you like them!

Liz: Because if you don’t like your pictures, you’re not ever going to like them. And as Jen said, very graciously, if you are concerned about cost, you should be able to find a photographer that fits into your budget, whose pictures you like. But you should with liking the pictures. And I also agree that you should start with three photographers, because it’s just so easy to get overwhelmed. And pick a photographer that you want to hang with. They’re going to be in your face all day, you’re going to be working on your album, you’re going to be spending lots of time with them.

Jen: Yeah, if you don’t like them, it’s going to taint how you see your pictures. Great pictures are important,but you need to like the photgrapher. I heard a horror story from a bride once about how she hated how her photographer acted on the day of her wedding, and now she can’t look at her pictures. And it just broke my heart, because you spend all this time and money and then to not be able to look at the pictures. It’s just very important. You need to love your photographer and you need to love your photography, they go hand in hand, literally.

Liz: Jen, thank you so so so much, and also for sticking through the technical difficulties.

Jen: Thank you!

Liz: I’m going to be posting the mp3 of this tomorrow, but I’m also going to do a transcript, which should be out by the end of the weekend, because I’ve found that the transcripts are a little easier for people to get through. Jen, can you tell me what your website is, again?

Jen: It is www.bandgphotography.com

Liz: And if they want to email you directly, it’s just jen@bandgphotography.com?

Jen: That’s right, and the phone number is 310-441-1581

Liz: So, once again, thanks for everyone for participating. And, of course, if you would like to talk to me about what wedding coordination looks like, you can call or text me at 310-801-3602 or email me at liz@silvercharmevents.com, and we’ll set up your complimentary consultation, and together we’ll figure out what you need to have the wedding you want.
My next newsletter are on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Friday is my weekly guest post on www.thebrokeassbride.com. I’m not sure what I’m writing about, but probably how important it is to get along with your vendors, I think that’s been a running theme through this teleclass!

Good night, everyone!