Monday, December 31, 2012

Your Three Wedding Things. YOURS, that is. (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

My article, re-printed from The Broke-Ass Bride- 8/5/11

Greetings from Haverkamp's Wedding!
I’m a big fan of lists. But, anything more than five check boxes and you’re risking a sprained brain. When it comes to weddings,  it’s so easy to get overwhelmed anyway, so do yourself a favor and stick to just choosing three priorities you have to have on that day.

My friend Haverkamp’s wedding is this weekend. She wanted to: 1. get married in D.C. (which is where I’m typing this right now), 2. in the church she attended when we both lived here five million years ago, and 3. get her cake from the bakery she used to work at even longer ago than that. Sound simple, except, well, she lives in Malaysia right now, her family is in North Carolina and his is in Wisconsin. And if you’ve been reading my posts for  awhile, you know my 3 things for my own wedding.
What are the three things you really want to have at your wedding? Don’t know?  Start with the three things you absolutely don’t want. Disco? Carnations? Cannolis? What’s going to replace them? The Big Three is what is going to make your wedding unique, what’s going to make it YOURS.
Whoa, alright, let’s ease up on the pressure for a second. It’s okay if there’s just two.
 Sorry, I read that all back to myself and realized that I was starting to sound like those articles that demand that you get your invitation addresses calligraphed. Yeah, I checked, “calligraphed”  is a word.

My point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to have the wedding you want, and what you want at your wedding. Every day, my brides ask stuff like, “I don’t want cake, I want macaroons, Can we do that?” “I want to invite all of our guests to join us for the first dance, can we do that?” “Can I cut the cake during dinner?” “Can I serve ice cream sandwiches instead?”  “Can I have succulents for centerpieces?” “Can I get married at Comic Con?”  Like there’s a list of rules somewhere. There isn’t. All you need to get married is you, your fiance, an officiant, and a marriage license. The rest is up to you. And even if people don’t agree with what you’re doing, they are always going to remember it. And so will you – as the wedding you wanted.
Do me a favor? Go for it.
So, what are the three, two, or even one thing that you wanna have at your wedding? Share in the comments below. And if you’re trying to figure out how to pull it/them off, just ask below, too.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, December 28, 2012

Let Them Eat...Well, You Know (Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator)

One of my favorites. That's the solar system etched carefully behind Beverly and Jean-Luc. Inaccurately, as one of the guests pointed out to the Physicist/Bride. Yeah, thanks, Dude.
Friday! I'm heading out the door for a catering tasting with one of my July Brides, which includes cake. Yay! I was skimming through the "archives" and came across something I wrote about wedding cake a little while ago. Enjoy:

I'm a big fan of Bridal Shows as a test kitchen for cakes, for a couple of reasons: 1. Lots of selection and lots of deals, for those of us on a budget. 2. How the cake tastes at the show is a good reflection of how it's going to taste at your wedding. Observe: It has been baked the night before, assembled that morning, delivered to the venue, and set on the table. In other words, it's been hanging out for hours. How does it taste?  Dry? Chewy? Crumbly? Keep moving. No matter how pretty it looks, or how cheap it is, bad cake is just sad.
Now about those leftovers. Not everyone is going to eat the cake. I know, it's heresy, and I feel the same way. But they might be full from dinner, or drinking, or simply will not tear themselves away from the dance floor. Or just don't like cake.  I couldn't tell you my last wedding where the cake was completely gone by the end of the night.

In one way it's kind of like the bar - you want to make sure there is more than enough for everyone. But in another's a waste. Couple of tips: Let your baker know if there are less guests than expected, and talk to them about going the next level down (say, 125 to 110). And let your guests (or your wedding planner) take some with them. Ask your bakery if they have any extra containers they can give you, and place them strategically on each table. And take a couple of slices with you back to the hotel. Nothing says breakfast pick-me up like Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, right?

How is your wedding going? I would love to talk to you about it and see how I can help make sure you have YOUR best wedding. I'm around Saturday or Sunday, just email or call, and we'll set up a time to talk. Have a great weekend!

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wedding Wise Wednesday - December 26th (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

Style Me Pretty Once Again Brings the Pretty.

Hmm. I this. It makes me want to go find some gold paint, buy some mason jars on Amazon, and figure out where they got the cotton balls. And chop down the tree in my backyard. Or, you know, find someone to make this for me. :-) Check out my Cool Wedding Tips and Tricks Board for more of this type of stuff.

The Events:
Bridal Shows? Next Weekend. This week? Recover from Christmas and prep for New Year's Eve. Happy Holidays!

The Deals:

Make your Wedding Day One Big Yay!
Silver Charm Events: Check out my Wedding Wire Profile and save $200 on Day-Of Coordination - BUT you have to give me a call this week to set up an appointment - 323-592-9318, End 2012 knowing that your wedding will run flawlessly, and all you'll have to do is just enjoy the day...

Bride Rush - 4-hour photo booth for $795? YES. 

My Wed Deal - 4-hour DJ for $950? DEFINITELY.

Crane is having their annual clearance sale this week. How big is this sale, from THE premier stationer? Box of 10 printable invitations is only $8.00. GO.

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

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ask Liz: Your Guest List vs. Your FMIL's Guest List. GO! (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

Aww, she’s not going to be so tough! (Photo by Ryan Price Photography)
Dear Liz,
Hi! My problem starts with the fact that my future hubs has a lot of guy friends from high school. All of the moms (including his) get together every month to catch up, which is super sweet. Apparently they also throw/host a bridal shower for each bride-to-be of their sons, which is also very kind of them. There are only 3 of these moms that I have met (their sons are the ones my fiance is closest to). There are 9 moms in total. When his mom sent me a rough draft list of their guest list, all of these moms (plus their husbands) are on there. She told me she doesn’t know the etiquette about inviting those who host showers. Neither do I. I’m not a stickler for Southern wedding etiquette, but I don’t want to be rude and just invite some moms and not all. But I don’t want to have to leave them all off because of this. Our guest list doesn’t need to exceed 100 and his side is almost 90!! This is all very frustrating.

What to do, and more importantly, how to do it? Find out what I told S.O.S., on the Broke-Ass Bride.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wedding Wise Wednesday - December 19 (Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator)

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!
Christmas is almost here! Time to put down the wedding planner and pick up the egg nog. But not quite yet...

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

This is one way to take advantage of all that rain on your wedding day! This is a recycled light bulb, but I bet you could do the same with something a little less...breakable? Thanks to Natalie Bradley for the find. Knowing this exists just made my day.

The Events:
It's Christmas! You've got nowhere to go except over to the tree for some more egg nog. 

The Deals:

Etsy - $16 for these Blue "I Do" Wedding Shoe Rhinestone Appliques. 

SaveOnCrafts -$17 for this  set of 10 Vintage Calligraphy Script Mini (4") Paper Lanterns with Lights. $15 if you buy 3 sets at a time

Silver Charm Events - Yes, Me! Happy New Year. Print out the coupon on my Wedding Wire page, and get $200 off any Day-Of Coordination Service. But, this goes the way of the Dodo on January 1st, so print it up and contact me to schedule our complimentary consultation.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

18 Things That Always Surprise People About Weddings (Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator)

I love being a wedding planner. It’s a great gig – it’s fun, it’s prettier than anything, and at the end of each night, I’m surrounded by love, joy and I'm in the middle of a really great party. But I am always surprised by what surprises people about weddings, theirs and everyone else's. Consider yourself forewarned and thus, fore-armed:

1.     How much weddings cost. Perspective: you’re feeding 100+ people. Starbucks, alone, would  would throw you back $500, plus tax. See: The Olive Garden Rule
2.     They don’t have to cost as much money as you think they do. You don't have $100,000 to spend on your wedding? Then don't spend $100,000. It's easier than you think, and you will (not "can") have a wonderful wedding. ASK ME HOW. :-)
3.     Your family members are not going to become entirely different people just because you’re going to get married.
4.     You and your fiancé are not going to become entirely different people just because you’re getting married.
5.      Or after you get married. Do not count on it getting any better than this.
6.      (Dear Guests - Someone is paying for you to come to their wedding, for what I call the pre-requisite $79.95 per person. Try and keep that in mind when you're deciding whether or not to show up.)
7.     Some of your guests are going to disregard #6 and not show up. And not let you know that they’re not showing up. Just like with any other party.
8.     The laws of physics, the weather, and the logistics of traveling from point A to point B will still apply, even though it’s your wedding day. Don’t assume/pray otherwise.
9.     If you want to stick to your budget, then you have to stick to your budget.
10. It is entirely possible to stick to your budget, no matter what that is.
11. “Expensive” doesn’t determine “Quality.” You know what determines “Quality”? Quality.
12. There are only three “needs” in weddings: You, your fiancé, and an officiant. Everything else is a “want.”
13. I’m a wedding planner, not a marriage recruiter, I swear. If you don’t want to get married, or don’t believe in marriage, that’s cool. Refer me to someone who does.
14. You will be charged sales tax on whatever it is that you buy or rent for your wedding.
15. Your bridesmaids are never going to wear that dress again. It is a bullet they are agreeing to take.
16. Planning a wedding is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. 40 40-hour weeks, they say. This is why I have a job. Having help makes it a little less stressful to stay on track.
17. But you can still plan that puppy in less than a year.This is also why I have a job. :-)
18. How nice, kind and loving people can be leading up to your wedding day, #3 and #4 not withstanding. “Wow, this is awesome” nice, even. So, Watch for it, okay?

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wedding Wise Wednesday - December 12 (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:
It's a trip in the wayback machine, but it's definitely new to me - The Original Wedding Runner Company's beach wedding runner:

The cure for the common beach wedding.  According to the bride, it looks completely real, and it lets you wear your heels on the beach. OWR is one of my favorites, and the only runners I've ever seen that won't trip you up. GO.

Wedding World is SLOOOW this week, so I will leave with this, this week.  I have a big wedding related rant coming up later today, so stay tuned...

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Myth of Wedding DIY (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

She did these herself. But she'd done it before.
I ran into this issue a little bit this weekend, so I thought it was a good time to re-run the article I wrote for the Huffington Post Weddings section a few months ago:

I hear it all the time:

"I really love this bouquet I found in a magazine, but I think I can save money by going down to the flower market the day before my wedding and making it myself."

"I don't want to spend money on a DJ, so we're just going to hook my iPhone up to a boom box and play it for the reception."

"I'm going to design and print up my own invitations -- it will save us tons of money."

"I want cupcakes instead of cake, so I'm going to make them all myself."

The Myth of Wedding DIY is that it's going to save you time, it's going to save you money, and it's as easy as it looks. Build it yourself and it will come out just as great or run just as well as if a professional has done it. And I get it. You don't think you'll be able to find what you want, or at a price you can afford. And it does seem so easy, doesn't it? The flowers wrapped in ribbon, fashioned in the exact right way.

But a florist knows what the best cuts of flowers look like, when and where to get them, and, most important, how to arrange them. They have all the materials they need on hand, so there's no scramble if something is missing or if you want to change how it looks. And, at some point, you're going to want to change how it looks. The DJ knows when to fade the music out, when to turn it up, and if you go up to them and want another song other than the one that's about the play, it happens seamlessly. Someone needs to be in charge of the music, and just the music, at all times. Trust me on that one. Stationery stores are responsible for all the typesetting and all the printing for your invitations, and they're responsible for whatever it takes to make that happen. And do you really have the space to bake and hold 300 cupcakes? Time and experience -- and, yes, storage -- are what you're paying for in order to get a perfect result.

Don't get me wrong, I've worked with couples who've created gorgeous DIY wedding projects. Luxurious centerpieces, jaw-dropping table numbers, and beautiful invitations and programs, many of which are now hanging on my office wall.

But everyone had one thing in common: They'd done this type of thing before. They knew how long it would take, how much it would cost, and they were eager and excited to devote the time to work on it.

Where are you on that?

If you have never attempted any of these projects before, now might not be the time to start.
You can do it, but my point is that you really need to think about whether you should. There's a delicate balance between saving money and setting yourself up for disappointment while driving yourself nuts! This is what you know about doing anything new: It takes time to learn how to do it, and even more time to learn how to do it well, and that means spending money on supplies over and over until you get it right.

Another option is to go partial DIY. Instead of making the invites yourself, consider buying an invitation kit. The kit has enough invites for 100 guests, plus all the inserts and envelopes you're going to need. You can find them at any stationery store, or even Target, for that matter. Simple: You print them up with your information, then mail them out. Remember to get an extra box for practice and mistakes, and extra ink for your printer. There is nothing worse than being 35 straight, centered invites in when the black ink starts to get blurry.

Instead of an elaborate centerpiece, you could find ready-made non-floral centerpieces that you can just pick up and drop off. And bake or cook your favors -- they're smaller.

Do the research -- and a run-through -- before you decide. Keep looking for vendors that fit into your budget before you decide. Figure out what you're getting into -- and then decide.

And if you do decide to go  DIY, live by these three words: Practice, practice, practice.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, December 10, 2012

"My Favorite" Monday - Wedding Ring Shot

I love what photographers can do with wedding ring shots. This is my favorite from the past couple of years:

This picture is the home screen on my ipad. I love this because it is completely describes Shari, the bride. She is the DIY bride. She made her centerpieces, she made her favors, and their house is filled with her paintings and projects. Even her paper clips are artistic, so what better to showcase her ring? Check out the rest of her wedding pictures, here.
Never shy away from the personal touches, those things that make your wedding yours. Someone, somewhere, will be gushing over it for years.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
Just let me know what your wedding needs...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Ask Liz: Chairs and Buggy SILs (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

Every Friday, I write an advice column for The Broke-Ass Bride, one of the best places on line for wedding planning, spend splurge or save:

If you don’t want her here, let her know. (Photo by Beth Herzhaft)
Dear Liz,
My fiance and I just got engaged at Thanksgiving, and although we’re probably looking at a year and a half before we get to walk down the aisle, we’re already having discussions about our wedding party and other ceremony things. I told him that I’ve already asked my sister and my best friend to be my Maid and Matron of Honor (my co-MOHs, if you will), and three close friends from college to be my bridesmaids. He comes from a large family, and has three brothers and one sister. In the past year or so, his 19-year-old sister has become “obsessed” (his words, not mine) with me, following me around and texting me for hours on end. She’s even made plans for us to have a girl’s day over her winter break from college. We’re not super close, but I don’t mind hanging out with her, and I understand that she probably just wants a girl to hang out with since she still lives at home with two of her four brothers. My fiance is very understanding, and says I don’t have to hang out if I don’t want to, and tells me its ok to not respond to every text.
My fiance’s two best friends and three brothers will be his groomsmen. However, the problem is I’m kind of worried that his sister is expecting to be a bridesmaid. While we were discussing our party, he asked me if his sister would be one of my bridesmaids, and I just said I wasn’t sure. She is a nice girl, but she’s still very immature. She’d rather stay buried in a book or glued to a video game than socialize with people, and is very prone to yelling and tantrums. Sometimes if she gets even a little upset with one of her brothers, she’ll slap them on the arm and storm off. Any non-traditional idea I’ve mentioned about the wedding or, really, anything in general, she says is “weird.” Basically, she acts much younger than 19 years old. 
I would like to have her participate in some way at our wedding, and have her there for a little bit while I’m getting ready with hair, makeup, etc. But, I just don’t see her as a bridesmaid. I want to be able to enjoy our wedding day with all of our party, but it would be hard to do that with one bridesmaid critiquing our plans or attached to her Nintendo DS, making it an awkward situation for the rest of my bridesmaids. Should I ask her to be a bridesmaid and hope for the best? What should I do if she’s already expecting to be one?

Growing Older But Not Up

Click here to find out what I told her to do. Are you in a similiar situation? Go to the comments and let us know how you resolved it, or what you think of my advice.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Moxie Bride, Part 2: How to - and How Not To - Plan Your Long-distance Wedding

 Part 1 is here. My chat with Renee, The Moxie Bride, continues:

Big this up here
Liz:  I’m working with three brides right now that are also doing the "reverse commute". They live in another state, but are planning their weddings here in Los Angeles, where they're from. What’s been the biggest challenge in trying to plan a wedding on the East Coast from here? 
Renee: For us, there’s been two. Or, I should say, for me there’s been two – I’m really type A, so I’ve been doing most of the work. Sometimes I say to Bob the Builder, “do you like this? Okay, great,” and then I just move on. That’s just the truth.

But I don’t know Philadelphia really well, to be honest. I’ve been there several times, but I don’t know the…map?...of Philadelphia. Looking for a venue, Bob the Builder would say, “That’s not really in Philadelphia.” Well, it says Philadelphia! (Laughs) I wasn’t clear on the neighborhoods and where everything was. And even though we’ve booked our venue, I’m still having problems with that. Like, I’m  looking for a wedding rehearsal space – I’m constantly mapquesting the distance between my venue and all these different restaurants and the hotel. Can we walk this, do we need transportation? It’s been a little bit of a stumbling block. 

And the time difference, because, you know, I’m not a morning person. But I’ve had to get up at 6 am to Skype with my photographer, because that’s the beginning of her day. So,  I’m there in front of my computer, with two cups of coffee, and a list of questions. Because I knew if I didn’t write down the questions, I wouldn’t know what to say, because I would be half-asleep! We made a lot of great vendor choices, but it’s been a little tricky. And, then there are things like my wedding venue being sold. I didn’t hear about it when it happened, because I wasn’t there to read the paper in Philadelphia. 
But after I sort of lost my mind and my head spun around like the Exorcist, they called me and we talked about it. It was not my finest moment!

Liz: How long did it take you to find a venue in the first place, from so far away?

Renee: Well, we got engaged in April, and we were already planning a trip to Philadelphia in May. We were going for a college graduation. I didn’t waste the trip and not do any wedding planning. So, really quickly, I emailed three or four places that looked really great and asked if we could see them when we were in town. We didn’t have an idea of what we were looking for, we didn’t have a budget, we were just seeing what was out there. Which I don’t really recommend, to be honest. Because we went shopping without a budget, and it was awful and awesome at the same time. The place we fell in love with ended up being at the tippy-top of our budget. And then we had to have a serious discussion, is this really what we want, at the beginning of our married life, to be just slightly in debt from our wedding. And the answer, of course, was No. 

So, we saw three venues on that trip. When we got back to L.A. I decided that I needed to go  to Philly over the summer, and I need to get a place before we’re at the year mark. We need to figure it out. My fiancé couldn’t come with me on that trip but my father – who is very graciously hosting our reception – said, “I want to come with you.” So, we made  five venue visits in one day. I didn’t schedule a lunch break or anything! I said, “we’re going to Starbucks for breakfast, we’re going to see five venues, and then we’re driving back to Connecticut. Don’t do that, either!  My Dad was great, he didn’t complain.

Liz: It was like the best Father-Daughter day ever, though!

Renee: It really was. And I keep asking him, “are you going to cry, Dad? Are you okay?” Because it was a Saturday, and there were weddings going on at each place. And every time he would see another Father of the Bride, he would go up to them and say, “These are good days. These are good days, man.” Which was so sweet. But the other fathers would be like, “Great, it’s nice to meet you, stranger. I’ve got to go set up for the wedding now.”(Laughs)  It was really funny. But he wanted to have a moment with the other Dads. 

What was good about it – so, maybe I would recommend it – was that we got to see all these places side by side by side. The first place was in a weird neighborhood and we didn’t like it. The second place was a little small. The third place, ehh, felt like an office building. And by the time we got to the Down Town Club, my Dad and I were walking around for five minutes. He gave me this side glance and said, “I think this is the place.” And I said, “Okay, Dad, let’s see.” But, yeah, it ended up being the place. Even though it got sold, it’s still the place. It’s actually a good thing, because we’re getting a slightly better deal than we had before, which is unheard of. A little blessing. 

Liz: Sometimes I think it’s better. Of course, there’s the whole worry that you’re going to do this guerilla day, and see all these places and still come away with nothing. But what I found is if you set your mind to it, it eventually works out. And another thing is finding out what you’re capable of, of as well. It was a crazy day, but you approached with an open mind, and a determination to figure it out.  Which is the best way to tackle any of this wedding world stuff. And you didn’t go in blind. You know where the venue was, the basic costs, you’d talked to them. You were prepared. 

Renee: Exactly. I did a ton of research online. I didn’t put any place on that list of five that I wasn’t totally psyched about getting married at, just by the photos online. There were no places on the list that I was sketchy about. I’m sure if we lived in Philadelphia, I would have dragged my fiancé all over town, “Let’s go see this place!” But we didn’t have that luxury of time. 

I’m a fairly decisive person anyway. I know what I like and what I don’t like. It really helped to stay focused on that. As the day went on, my Dad and I would walk into a venue and he would say “Nope,” and it was like, yeah, you’re right, this is not the place, just in a few moments.

Liz:  Was there anything else that worked out, because you were 3,000 miles away?

Renee: I sought out a wedding planner pretty early. I think the job that you do is invaluable. I know that it might not be in everyone’s budget, but I needed the help. I reached out to a wedding planner in Philly, and we talked for two hours on the phone. She understood where I was coming from, and I understood what she was about, and then she emailed me a bunch of recommendations. I’m not going to pretend that I know the area better than someone who works there. I basically booked my vendors from her recommendations. I didn’t have the time to go around all of Philadelphia looking for vendors, it would have been exhausting. It was a step that I was able to skip. I looked at her list, DJs, florists, photographers, chose who I wanted to talk to, and went from there.

I know I wouldn’t have done that if we were getting married in Los Angeles. Here I would have been like, “Oh, I have a friend, who knows a person,” you know. But everything has to be more decisive and clean cut when I’m dealing with it 3,000 miles away. And the other thing, too is that if I email or call someone and they don’t get back to me in a timely manner, then they are out. So, it’s been interesting to see how some people run their businesses, whether they were able to embrace modern technology and roll it with it, or if they were like, “well, I need you to come in.” I can’t come in, I’m in Los Angeles! “Oh, you can’t sign your contract over the internet.” Really?

Liz: So, customer service has been really important.

Renee: I didn’t anticipate it being so, but it’s incredibly important to me.

Liz: I run into that here in L.A., too.   If you can’t call someone back or email them back, then that’s kind of suspect. And, you know, we don’t have to talk now. We can set up a time to talk later, just let me know that you got my email and you’re available on my date! Emails can also just be placeholders. “I saw it, yay! How can I help you? And can I do it later?” (Laughs)

Renee: Exactly.

Liz: And you’ve got a 24-48 hour window, well, it’s 2012, so more like 24 hours to get back to me. And, right now, I’m working on a bunch of weddings that still need caterers, photographers. And if I email you, and I call you, and I email you again, and I don't hear from you, then I can’t really recommend you to any of my couples.

Renee: Yeah, if I can’t get a hold of you now, what about when it gets closer to my wedding day? What about on my wedding day? It’s not going to work. Communication is huge, especially at a distance.

And another thing about email that I love is that if you send me your package, then I always have it. I have it on my phone, I have it on my desktop. I can send it to my father and my fiancé. But you have to send it to me! And Skyping! I’d never skyped before, but now I’m skyping like crazy.

Liz: It's Great, it gives you a chance to talk to all these people face to face.

Renee: Yeah, we were talking to the DJ, and he asked if we could Skype. And then they were able to show us their whole office, and they have an area where they show you all the different lighting possibilities, “this is a red wash, this is a blue wash.” They basically took their laptop around and showed me their office. Which was really cool. And then you feel like you know them better.

Liz:  So, what is the next step for you? You have the rest of the holidays coming up. Is there anything else you have to knock off your list? Are you going to visit your venue again?

Renee:  We are going back over there around Christmas. My fiancé hasn’t seen it. We took pictures, of course, and I have a horrible, really shaky iPhone video that I took of it! We have a few things. We haven’t picked a florist, yet. I don’t know a lot about flowers? I know what I think is pretty, but I’m not clear on the names of things! I’ve pinned a lot things to my Pinterest board, but I haven’t really reached out to anyone. And my Dad had an idea for wedding favors that have to be made by a chocolatier, so we’ll have to find one of those. I like edible favors. Not a big fan of like, salt and pepper shakers, or whatever.

Liz: Yes, those are the best. They’re the only things that I know I’m not going to have to dispose of at the end of the night!

Renee: There you go. I’ve been to weddings where they give trinkets with their names on it. And I think that’s really cute, but I don’t know how people use those after the wedding. So, we’re either going to do something edible, or a donation. Something practical

Liz: At a wedding I did last summer – speaking of flip-flops – they’d given everyone a pair in their wedding colors, and those disappeared pretty quickly! But anything that you put your name on or personalize with your wedding date is going to be left behind.

Renee: And it’s a waste of money that could be put towards something else.

Liz: Edible is good. I have a friend who’d been living in Kuala Lumpur with her fiancé, and I helped her with her wedding last year.  They gave out these colorful wrapper containers of spices, and that was a hit, too. 

Renee: That sounds great. So, yeah, something like that.

Liz: But there was one other thing that I wanted to ask you about – your dress. What did you decide to do about that? Well, first explain what I’m talking about! (Laughs)

Renee: Well, I decided to do something a little controversial. I’m having my dress, by Jasmine’s Bridal Shop, which is a replica dress company in China. I had been saving money for my dress even before we got engaged, a lot of money. But when I started trying on dresses, I felt bad about spending so much money on a dress! I went to Kleinfelds, I went to two other really high-end salons in Los Angeles, ready to buy, but I was standing there in these beautiful gowns thinking,“ Yeah, that’s really a lot of money.” (Laughs) I guess I’m just too practical for my own good.

So, basically what I’m doing is taking two different dress styles, and asking them to make me a "Frankenstein" dress. And they’re going to do it for around $1,000.

Liz: How does that work? Have you already put in your order?

Renee: I haven’t put in my order, yet, no. They don’t have dress patterns, so you send them photos of the dresses that you like, and then they send you a sketch and layout, and you go back and forth until you’re satisfied with the design. It takes about 10 weeks to produce the dress. So, I give them my measurements and a 50% deposit, and 6 weeks out they give me mid-production photos, which I get to approve, or make any changes. It’s very collaborative. And once you approve the final dress, you send them the balance, and they ship it to you.

I don’t know, I feel very good about it. This company has a lot of good reviews, if you go to Wedding Bee or Wedding Wire. On Wedding Bee there are whole threads on their dresses and they look really nice. The dress that I’m getting replicated, it’s inspired by two Jenny Packham dresses. They were around $6,000 each. I feel okay spending $1,000. $6,000 made me think of people around the world who can’t afford to have dinner. I couldn’t wrap my brain around spending that much money on one thing that I was going to wear for a few hours! I didn’t think I was going to have that particular hang-up, but apparently I do.

Liz: No, I understand. I rented my dress.

Renee: You did? I love that. 

Liz: Yeah, I planned my wedding in five months, so I was moving pretty fast, too. And I tried on these dresses, like you said, that were thousands upon thousands of dollars! And I went into this not knowing anything about the wedding industry, and how much stuff cost. I just knew what I was willing or able to pay for it. Plus, I didn’t have the time left to order it in time for the wedding. There was a place down the street from my house, on my way to work, that rented wedding gowns. And I tried on this beautiful Italian silk fluffy princess dress , and I was done[scroll down to the bottom of the page]. They altered it and handed it me with a veil and tiara, I brought it back a few days later, and it was less than $1,000 out the door. Of course, that was 10 years ago, but I get the whole thing about being comfortable with how much you’re spending.

So, when are you going to actually get your dress?

Renee: Well, here’s the thing: In China, they have a national holiday where everything closes down for two weeks. So, I’m going to put in my order right before the holiday, so I’ll be the first one they’re working on when they get back! (Laughs) So, I’m going to place my order in February, I should get my dress in late April, early May? And that should be plenty of time. I’m probably going to have to get it altered even after I get it in. I’m giving them my measurements in January, but I’m going to be losing weight and working out, so I’m hopefully going to be a little smaller by the time the dress gets here. But I already took the alterations into account, as far as the budget, so I’m okay with it.

Liz: So, how is it that you’re feeling about your wedding right now? What is that you would tell other brides?

Renee: I feel really calm and good. I feel like we’re totally organized. And, I’m okay with taking the next month off from it. There’s life happening and holidays and all that good stuff. My biggest piece of advice is that you can only benefit by being organized. Even if you’re not an organized person by nature, figure out what works for you. For instance, I don’t like having pieces of paper around, so everything is either on my phone or my laptop. So, figure out what makes you feel the calmest and head towards that.

I’d done a little bit of event planning before this, and I thought, “Oh, I know what I’m doing, I know how to do this.” But I still hit some pockets where I freaked out. They come every two or three months. “Oh my God, OHH my God,” you know. But then I’d figure it out after a couple of days, and move on. I don’t think you can plan a wedding without being a little stressed. But for me, organization was definitely the key.

Liz: And, it is a process. You start out looking at all this stuff, thinking, I have no idea how what to do. And you have to keep in mind what you want your wedding day to look like, because it’s actually going to happen, and it’s going to be a great day. So, give into the process. Like, you said that your wedding had three different incarnations. And, it can get kind of frustrating, when you say, “This is what I want,” and then you see what that’s actually going to look like and what you have to do to get it, and you realize that it isn’t what you want, at all! And there’s the feeling that you have to go back to the drawing board, and back to the drawing board, and back to the drawing board.

Renee: And sometimes, you just change your mind, too.

Liz: Right, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that, either. With something that is this big, and this social, and really, has this many moving parts, it’s okay for you to change your mind, as you figure out how everything is going to fit together. Everyone does. And it’s so funny, because I’m sitting here saying, “Yes, this so stressful! But try and have FUN!” (Laughs) But you should always remember that there are so many options out there, and it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to not find what you’re looking for. So many things to do, add on, take away, you just have to keep open to the possibilities. They’re out there. That’s my little lecture.(Laughs)

Renee: I love it. One other piece of advice that was really helpful to us. Really early on, I asked Bob The Builder what was important to him. And he told me, “the music, the venue, and what I wear. Everything else can totally be your decision, and I don’t care.” And it wasn’t like he didn’t care about the wedding. We have similar tastes, he trusted me to handle it. But it was really eye-opening for me, because I made sure we made the decisions together on those things that were important to him. But he doesn’t care about the flowers, because, you know, he just doesn’t care. (Laughs) But just because he doesn’t care about doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about me or our wedding. And that’s one of the biggest lessons I learned from all this. Just let them care about what they care about. That’s enough.

Liz: Definitely. Find out what he cares about, first off. I did the same thing to Zane, and he said, “I want to get my suit made, and I want to eat steak.” Excellent, done and done! And then he just left me alone for five months. (Laughs)

Renee: I just told Bob that it was time to figure out what he was going to wear, and he got all excited. And I love it when he gets excited. Whatever you want, let’s do it!

Liz: And, if at some point they jump into another area of the wedding and say, “No, I want this to be like this or that or the other,” and you feel like, “but I’ve been working on this, and you disappeared and now all of a sudden you want to change this.” Take a deep breath and keep in mind that it’s his wedding, too. And it’s a good way to figure out how you’re going to manage your marriage after the wedding. Because trust me, I’ve been married for ten years and these things come up. All the time. (Laughs)

Renee: A wedding is a little microcosm of your whole relationship.

Liz: Yeah, so save yourself the grief and figure it out now!
Renee, thanks for being such a great sport. You can follow Renee down her road to the end of the aisle at  

See you at the end of the aisle, 
Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wedding Wise Wednesday - December 5 (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

Awesomeness via Style Me Pretty. Easy Craft Store Magic. Love it!

The Deals:

Original Runner Company - Their annual sale - 25% off! -  ends TOMORROW. This is a picture of the beautiful runner they did for one of my weddings. What design do you want? Go to, call 973-744-7070 or email

Mary Me Bridal - Their annual sale? 50% discount on off-the-rack gowns.2922 East Chapman Avenue  Orange, CA
(714) 744-1655

Alfred Angelo- Their Annual Sale? 25% off all discontinued bridal gowns and 50% off clearance accessories. Royal Gor Video, one of my favorite videographers, is having an amazing deal if you're getting married between February and May of 2013. $1,000 off their regular prices. 
And I also have a great deal on Day-of Coordination from January - March, so check that out, too!

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Moxie Bride and the Fine Art of Guest Maintenance

This past weekend, I had a great conversation with one of my favorite wedding bloggers,  Renee, the Moxie Bride ( Renee is an actress, singer and entrepreneur in Los Angeles, who is, well, planning her wedding 3,000 miles away in Philadelphia. And that's where things get  interesting. Here's a transcript:
Liz: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me. Renee and I have met a couple of times before. The first was during my #AskLiz twitter chat last month, with @brokeassbride.  You had a question about - well, (laughing), maybe you should explain it.

Renee: We’re getting married at the Down Town Club, which is right in the heart of downtown Philly. It’s a historic building, and they have all these sort of quirky rules? One of which is that no one is allowed to be barefoot or in their stocking feet, ever. Not even children. So, at our wedding, if someone decides to take off their shoes, the staff will tell them to put them back on! So, my question to you was, how do I tell people this, should I put it on the invitation? (Laughs) It’s not going on the invitation, we’re going to take your advice and put it on the website. But I was thinking we need to get something for people to put on their feet, because you know, you want to dance and you take off your shoes. Have you ever heard of that before?
Liz: No, I haven’t. And that's actually one of the reasons I love this gig so much. Someone comes up with something like this, and it’s like, oh, yeah, something else to think about! (Laughs) Generally, when I get a question like that, it’s because the venue is near the beach or on the beach, and it took a minute to realize that this was actually inside the venue!
Renee: It’s a ballroom! A high-ceiling gorgeous ballroom, and no one can be barefoot. I don’t know how it’s going to go down. I’m just waiting for someone to tell one of my aunts that she has to put her shoes back on and watch the Brooklyn unleash, “what are you talking to me about my shoes??” I’m just waiting for something to go down that’s not at all fun.(Laughs)
Liz: Are you going to have a videographer? Because, you know, you’ll get to capture THAT moment!
Renee: That was another question I was going to ask you. We don’t really have it in our budget to have a videographer, but we have a kick-ass wedding photographer.  We’re kind of on the fence. So, we’ve been looking other options such as Story Mix Media, and Wedit, where they give you a bunch of little video cameras and you give them to your guests, and then they edit them. What’s great is that we have a lot of friends in film and TV world who are professional camera people, so I think the quality would be good. I just don’t know anyone in real life who’s used them.
Liz: Neither do I, right now. I was impressed with how it works, though,and the price point. There's not a lot of room for disappointment. But, I think if you can’t fit videography into your budget, that it’s not going to be a problem committing your aunt’s freak-out to memory!
Renee: (Laughs) And that’s how I feel about most things, too.  I just sort of hope to be present that day, and not need to have a photo or video of every single thing. Although, people tell me that I’m not going to remember my day at all.
Liz: You probably will. But it does go by kind of fast. I tell all of my brides to just take a moment every once in a while during the wedding, and enjoy it. Look around, and think, “wow, this is so cool.” You’re surrounded by all the Pretty, and your family and friends and everything. And that’s what I do at each of my weddings, just bask for a couple of minutes. “Yeah, it happened! Look how happy everyone is!”
Renee and I met for the second time at Camp Mighty a few weeks ago. And everyone was talking, and Renee said, hey, I was the girl with the weird shoe question. And I was thrilled because I really wanted to know how that turned out! But, there are always things like that at a wedding that you can’t completely control. I get these type of questions all the time. Like the question I answered on The Broke-Ass Bride last week, where a bride was worried that guests were going to bring gifts to her wedding, and she didn’t want them to. And, you know, people are going to bring gifts. You can do the best you can, but someone is not going to get the memo, or not care about the memo, and bring gifts. Or babies are going to cry in the back of the room. You can’t get people to turn off their cell phones. Or even RSVP when they're supposed to. It’s human nature. So, you can only do the best you can and roll with it. But back to you! So, you’re from the east coast, how long have you been in L.A.?
Renee: 11 years. Like forever. Longer than I lived anyplace else, even when I was growing up! I was born in Brooklyn, move to Long Island in high school, went to Chicago for college, and then moved back to New York for a few years, and then moved to L.A. I was 25 and I thought, if I’m going to leave, if I’m going to live anyplace else, then I should do it right now, before I settled down. Let’s just go. I don’t recommend doing it that way!
Liz: Why?
Renee: It was all very capricious. “I’m moving to Los Angeles! Next month!” And everyone was like, “what??” Yeah. But that’s how I am, a little bit.
Liz:  But, now you’re getting married in Philadelphia. How did that happen?
Renee: My fiancé was born in Philadelphia, raised in New Jersey. Our entire family is east coast – New York, Conneticut, Staten Island, New Jersey, Long Island. And when we were dating, and talking about getting married, I’d planned this entire wedding at Union Station, in downtown L.A. “This is what we’re doing.” But then you meet your significant others' family, and you realize that there are some elderly people who aren’t psyched to get on a plane to go to Los Angeles. And that’s not really fair. So we realized that it would be easier for us to go to them. Well, easier for them! The wedding we’re having is actually the third incarnation of the wedding I’d planned. I thought, okay, we’ll just do it in the summer time, at a winery in New Jersey, under a tent, and it will be fantastic. But when I officially started planning in April and called venues, it was like, “Sorry, we don’t have anything until 2014.” What? I was shocked. You have to be kidding me. And, of course, they had the odd Thursday or Friday date, but that wasn’t going to work for our people. Okay, then, what’s the third idea? (Laughs)
And, you know, I’m a city gal, and Bob the Builder is a city guy, so what we’re ending up having makes sense. It’s a really urban city wedding in a traditional ballroom, with amazing city views. You know, we’re not really winery under a tent people. So, we’re ending up with the wedding we should be having.
Liz: So, even through all the three incarnations, what were the three most important things to you, for your wedding? What was it that you had to have?
Renee: We had to have the ceremony and reception in the same place, because we both hate that dreaded travel gap. We wanted a place that easy to get to with public transportation, since we have friends coming from Manhattan that don’t have cars. And, this was actually turned into a weird one because it was so hard to find in Philadelphia, we wanted to find a reception room that also had a dance floor in the same room. This was a no-brainer for me, because that's what every wedding I'd ever been to looked like. Fut there were so many places where they were like, “well, you eat here, and then you go dance over there.” There was a yacht, where you eat on the main floor , and then you go upstairs to dance.  I didn’t expect that to be a sticking point, but it actually was! Because - and I’m going to get a lot of flack for this - but I think that if you’re hosting a wedding, or just a party, a girls night at your house, that it’s important to be a good, gracious host.
Liz: What do you mean by that?
Renee: I just think that your guests should always be comfortable, and not be concerned about “where do I go, what should I do?” The best events that I’ve been to have been where I don’t have to think about any of that. You sit down and there’s a ceremony, and then you get up and there’s cocktails and food. It just flows smoothly. What I’m seeing, especially on wedding blogs, and all the things that get thrown on you when you’re a bride, they talk about making it your day, your day, your day. Well, first of all, it’s our day, myself and my fiancé, and you’re throwing it for other people, too, so you have to take that into consideration. And these venues would say, “Oh, it’s fine, people will eat down here and then go upstairs,” but we have a 90-year old woman coming, and I’m not going to ask her to go up and down a stair case on a boat.
Liz: Yeah, I’ve found that the more people you add to a situation, the more confusing it can become. You said you’re having 200 guests?
Renee: (Sigh) Yeah.
Liz:  (Laughs) Yeah.
Renee: We’re inviting 200 people. We’re both Italian and we have big families! And it’s a destination wedding for most of them, even though the travel time is short. I don’t know how many people will end up attending, but we’re inviting 200.
Liz: When you’re dealing with a lot of people, things can just get confusing. It’s a huge crowd of people who are all trying to do the same thing, and go to the same place at the same time. And you’ve got a limited number of space and resources  to figure out how to direct everyone. It’s a bad analogy, but it’s like trying to maneuver in a mosh pit.
Renee: Yeah, it is kind of like that.
Liz: So, at my weddings, my assistant and I always stake out the transition points. So, when people walk out, and they inevitably ask what’s next, we can just say, “You go that way.”
Renee: Exactly!
Liz: And, have someone at the place card tables. When you’ve got 200 people trying to reach for the same thing, they can’t find what they need as quickly.  I ask my couples to print out a list of all their guests by last name – always by last name – and by table number. So, if a guest can’t find their name on the table right away, we can look it up really quickly. Make it as simple as possible. But, yeah, when you tell them, “We’re going to go upstairs and go dancing,” that’s 200 people that all have to get up the stairs.
Renee: Yes, that’s what I was thinking! And, it’s a yacht, and there are two staircases. It was lovely, but there’s no way. And, we have children coming, and it’s all open, you know how boats are. There’s a little gate that corrals the side. And I thought, some kid is going to swing on it like monkey bars and then we’re going to be done.
Liz: (Laughing). Okay, that’s probably not funny, even though it sounds funny.
Renee: You're right, it’s not funny. I am so sorry, parents with children. That is why we’re not having our wedding on a boat. We’re doing you a favor.
Liz: (Laughing) People with no children. Anyone who would be offended anywhere. Renee and I are joking.
Renee: And on my blog, I’m like this, I’m so offensive, too. I’m sorry, general public.
Liz: That’s okay, why be boring. Boring is so, you know…boring.
Renee: Exactly.
Liz: But also, speaking of a general public announcement, if there are brides out there who are thinking, “Oh, my God, my wedding IS on a yacht,  or everyone does have to go upstairs,” or you’ve in another situation that is fraught with challenges. There are a couple of things you can do about it. Like I said, I appoint one my assistants to direct people. So, if you don’t have a wedding planner, or help, just go through your venue, and figure out where that type of assistance needs to be.
Renee: Everyone has a bossy friend, one who likes being in charge of things. Just ask him or her to be that person for a certain amount of time during the day. It makes sense.
Liz: And, place cards. Place cards, place cards. Alphabetized list, have someone behind the table to help send guests on their way. It makes it a lot less stressful for everyone.
Renee: That’s a great idea, like a cruise director for the wedding.
Liz: Exactly. And, they don’t have to be there for the whole time, maybe just through the last half of the cocktail hour. Because I agree that, the wedding is all about you, it is your wedding. But part of having the wedding you want is creating a situation where your guests are comfortable. You want to walk into the room knowing that everything is taken care of, and everyone is having a good time. You’re not going to have a good time if you think you’re guests aren’t having a good time.
But again, there are some things that you can’t control, like your aunt taking off her shoes when she’s not supposed to. You can’t really do anything about that!
Renee: Well, I’ll tell you what, since you wanted an update on that. My wedding venue was just recently sold. I found out about it on the internet. I'm going to blog about that [she did]. I kind of freaked out. It’s a whole new company, so I don’t know if they’re going to keep the same quirky rules. I don’t know if we’re going to need the shoes, we might be able to have a shoeless wedding. So bizarre. But, we also weren’t allowed to hang anything on the walls, people couldn’t order more than one drink at a time from the bar. Oh, and there had to be a baby sitter for the children, which I totally understand.
Liz: Oh yeah, that’s a good idea, especially since you’re going to have a lot of kids, right?
Renee: Yeah, there are going to be 10 -20 children on the wedding, so they need someone to watch them. I don't know what they're watching them for, exactly. Make sure they’re not scribbling on the walls, or something. “Don’t touch the fancy drapes!”
Liz: What strikes me about that rule is that, you know, if you tell people that they can’t do something, then it makes certain people want to do it more! Like, it would never have occurred to them to take off their shoes in the first place but now that they can’t, they really want to. That’s going to be interesting, I can’t wait to read that recap!
Renee: The other thing, too is, I’ve lived in L.A. for 11 years, and I don’t think I’ve worn a pair of pantyhose since. It’s L.A., no one wears pantyhose. But back east, everyone wears pantyhose, my mother wears them in the summertime, I think! So, everyone was saying, “just get some flip flops,” but I can’t because –
Liz: Everyone’s wearing pantyhose.
Renee: Exactly. I know my family, none of them are wearing flip-flops!
Liz: So, when are you getting married?
Renee: October 12, 2013. It’s Columbus Day weekend. We wanted a longer weekend, because of the travel. We wanted to give everyone a buffer day, in case they wanted to stay in Philadelphia an extra day, look around
Liz: Yeah, people are definitely going to be wearing pantyhose in October!
Renee: For sure. 

Stay tuned for part two of our interview on Thursday, when Renee and I discuss how she ultimately found her venue, and her keys to managing long-distance planning. 
See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events