Friday, July 24, 2015

Ask Liz: No Gifts and No Ideas on Guest Seating

Yes, "Ask Liz" is back for the rest of the summer on www.thebrokeassbride.com. If you have a question about your wedding, send it to info@brokeassbride.com. The team knows where to find me. 

But in the meantime, follow me and join me on Periscope @LizCharm at 4pm Pacific time today, for a Q&A on Wedding guest management. Managing your guests means managing your stress. Bring me your questions and I'll show you how to do both. 


Photo: Lucky Photographer


Dear Liz:
We had a small ceremony a few weeks ago, and we're sending out our wedding announcements now. We don't want anyone to send us gifts, how do we word that on the announcement?
Signed, 
No Swag, Please

Dear Swag,
Okay, so wedding announcements are a little different from wedding invitations. Traditionally, you're not supposed to mention gifts on your invites at all — it’s rude to tell your guests that you expect them to get you something. This is why you put your gift registration on a separate card, or on another page of your wedding website. Never shove the gimme-grabbing in people’s faces. If you don't want gifts, you can write something cute like, “No gifts, your presence is present enough” on a card or website, which, to be honest, causes my teeth to ache a little bit. I'm a bigger fan of not putting registration info in either, at all.  If someone asks where you're registered, you tell them that you don't want gifts, just guests (wince). Odds are, a few people won't read or notice the omission, and will end up giving you cards with cash or checks in them. And the only response to that is “Thank you.”

But, since you're sending wedding announcements, instead? Don't mention gifts at all, unless someone asks, in which case you tell them, “No, we don’t want/need gifts, but thank you!” Always end with a thank you.

Dear Liz, 
Our wedding is in two weeks and we're really struggling with how to seat people. The tables fit 10 people and we have 125 guests. Are there any “rules” for who should sit where? 
Signed, 
Table Tied

Dear Tied,
Ooh, most of the time I stay away from seating arrangements, because you know your guests,  and their various relationships with each other, and I … don’t. No one has an easy time doing it, though, if it’s any consolation. Start with who absolutely cannot be at the same table with each other — divorced couples, divorced parents, known mortal enemies, etc. Let’s call them the problem children. Put them at separate tables. Move on to your family and wedding party. Do you want your wedding party all at one table ,or is it okay if they are scattered around? Remember, couples and other family units should sit together. So, by now you have five or six tables of people who should and can spend an evening together, so just fill it in. Go over it at least three times (sorry), if you're not sure, ask whoever whatever questions you need to in order to make it work , and try not to overindulge the problem children. You can't make everyone happy.  Once you've got the table seating down, work on where each table should go in relation to all the others. It’s not uncomplicated, but it’s definitely doable.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
Grab my wedding Tip Sheet, "The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding":
www.silvercharmevents.com
Contact me for wedding availability and tell me what you need:
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ask Liz: Buyer's Remorse and How to Swing It

This wedding advice column I wrote for BAB a while back has been re-pinned from my Pinterest feed 638 times. So, if you're worried that you made the wrong decision, and you have to make it right again, you are not the only one. I hope this helps, and if you need more advice, call me...


Dear Liz:
Our caterer completely screwed up our wedding. The menu was supposed to be 100% vegan and gluten free and was neither. My groom and I, and many of our guests, had nothing to eat. They’ve offered a refund of 50% of the food (about $700) but I feel like that isn’t enough. How do I handle it?
Signed,

Post-screwed

Dear Post,

You're right, it’s not enough. Come up with a number that you think is fair, and it’s okay if that’s 100% of the bill. Explain to them calmly, why that’s fair: You and your husband, the people that paid for the catering, didn’t have anything to eat. AT YOUR WEDDING. The majority of your guests had nothing to eat, either, and this was not your fault. Tell them how surprised you were that this happened, especially given their reputation (if that’s valid and you can back it up. Personal referral? Yelp or website review? Don't try and sell a lie, it’s harder). And then give them the amount — not a percentage — that you feel should be refunded. And then don't say anything after that, just get their response. If they don’t agree to it, and come back with $700 or another number, tell them you can't (not “won't”) take that. Their reason will probably be that they did provide enough food for x number of people, and they have to cover their expenses for that or whatever. Reiterate that you and your guests went hungry, and on top of that, it was incredibly embarrassing. If you're okay with getting a little less back, counter with a number closer to your original amount. So, your first number was $1400, they come back with $700, you counter with something between $1,000 — $1250. Pick a number, not a range. I suggest the high end of that, so you have more negotiation room. Again, remind them that you and your guests had nothing to eat, and this created a humiliating situation ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.
If it’s a cash flow problem on their end (which it might be),  be willing to take the refund in separate payments. Do not take it in credit or trade.
Don't do this over email, do it over the phone or in person.
Don't get angry.

Remember that you have nothing to lose by trying to get what you deserve.

Dear Liz,

I am getting married on November 3rd. I went to David’s Bridal and tried on a dress and fell in love with it. Of course it was out of my budget. It was gorgeous,  all lace with beaded applique. I didn't get it because I couldn’t pay full price for it, and I didn't want to finance my wedding gown!  I went to a consignment store and found one that was very pretty. I got it and the veil, and paid less than $350 for them both. I  have tried it on a few times since, and  for friends, and now I've realized I don't like it. I've searched and looked and can't find one that I like that’s in my budget. What do I do??

Signed,
Undressed

Dear Undressed,

Babe, you're just going to have to keep looking. First of all, take the dress you bought back to the consignment store and ask if you can either return it in full, or sell it back to them.
Bridal show season is gearing up again, so the second thing is to check and see if there is one in your area that is having a dress sale, which is becoming really big these days. 

There’s also Brides Against Breast Cancer, a national traveling dress show, and their dresses start around that, too. I Googled “bridal dresses for charity” and came up with a list of other organizations, too. Do the same search and add your closest metropolitan city, and see what comes up.
You've got more time than you think, but it’s important to see as many dresses as you can. I know it’s really frustrating, but it’s important that you believe that you will find what you want. Because you will.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz  Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
www.silvercharmevents.com
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wedding Wise Weekly - July 16

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

Amy and Nick's Wedding Dance Extravaganza:


Photo: @thatguysev

Amy and Nick got married on Sunday at Rancho Del Cielo in Malibu, and I had the best time working with them, and, as you can see, they had the best time at their wedding! Amy is a professional dancer, and Nick learns really, really well. I wish I can take credit for this picture, but it was taken by one of their guests, @thatguysev. I reposted it sooo fast! If you would like to see more pics from their wedding, search for #AmyNick2015 on Instagram. Ooh, and if you want to see pictures from Ally and Brian's wedding on Saturday at Adamson House (two weddings on one weekend, why why, yes, I am a Rock Star), search for #McDermottsinMalibu. 

Required Reading:

Welcome to Wedding World. It's Crazy, You're Going to Love It. 
Via Etsy Seller Party Lab
So, a couple of Fridays ago, Wedding World opened up to a brand new batch of #TheEngaged. Congratulations, and Welcome Aboard. As BAB’s resident wedding planner, I wanted to offer you a few quick start tips about wedding planning. Sticker shock isn’t the only thing that’s going to surprise you in the next few months.

1. It’s Your Wedding, You Can Do What You Want.
Every couple asks me if they can do such and such, and is that okay? Of course it’s okay. The question is never, “What can I do?” it’s “How can I do this?”  And you have a million resources for that, including this website. And in response to the noise you might get about spending sooo much money on one day? Instead of being ashamed, be grateful that you have it or that it was given to you. And, please:  Never apologize for throwing a party.

2. Extrapolate from the Real World.
Next time you you eat out, pay attention. Tables, chairs, plates, glassware. What are they each used for, and how many did you use that night? The restaurant has more in the back just in case you break or drop something. And they are not serving your dessert on your dinner plate. Get realistic about how much things are going to cost. Check it out in your city, but a comparable wedding dinner at the Olive Garden here in L.A. — appetizer, salad, dinner, dessert and a drink will cost you about $50 per person, plus tax and gratuity/service (25% ~30%). That’s $5,000+ for 100 guests. At Olive Garden. Don’t count on your catering costing less than that. Go to the florist section in your local store and see how much the arrangements cost, then multiply by 10 tables. Always remember that you are buying nice things in bulk. You get to decide for how many people, and you get to decide how “nice” you want it to be. And just about everyone is going to charge you tax, a delivery fee and a service fee.




The Deals:
Oriental Trading Company - Paper Lanterns, Backdrop lights and monograms. Aisle runners, candles, string lights. If you need it to make your wedding pretty, Oriental Trading Company has it. And if you use the code OTCBRAND15 at checkout, then they'll even ship it to you for free. You're welcome!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
www.silvercharmevents.com
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com

Grab my free wedding tip sheet, "The Ten Things You Have to Know About Your Wedding" and find out how to avoid the common mistakes other couples make when planning their Big Day.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Wedding Wise Wednesday - July 8

Every week I bring you the coolest 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:

Wedding Hula Hoop, anyone:

Photo by Christy Tyler Photo


Wedding Hula Hoop, anyone? @glosite  posted this awesomeness by @christytylerphoto on their Instagram today. It makes me want to plan a vow renewal just I can do this. I think I can still do this...


Required Reading: 

I've got a couple of brides going through this week, so here's a little advice for when it's your turn: 




Ask Liz: It's the Week of My Wedding! What Do I Have to Do??


See you There!
Photo by Sherri J. Photography

Dear Liz:


My wedding is next Saturday, and my brain's freezing. Everything is taken care of, but I'm really afraid that it's not taken care of, too! Is there a list of things I need to definitely do this week?


Signed, 


Eight Days Out


Dear Out,

#1: One Word: CONFIRM. Call all of your vendors, and confirm: their arrival time, departure time, what they need (space, power, tables) to do their jobs, if there is a balance due, and both their best number for the day and yours. In other words, make sure you're not calling their office number when they're obviously not going to be in the office, and make sure they're not calling your home number when you're obviously not at home. Call all your vendors, every single one, including your venue.


#2: Guest stuff. Escort cards? Do them and put them in alphabetical order, by last name. My suggestion, in the interest of less chaos, is to ask someone to monitor the table during the last 15 minutes of cocktail hour. It's easiest if the person monitoring the table is the person who puts the cards out. Give them a list of everyone that lists what table everyone is at, again, but last name.


Click here to get a few more tips on how to win at Wedding Week

And if you would like more useful wedding advice, grab my tip sheet, The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding.




The Deals: 



Offbeat Bride - Free DIY Wedding Printables. GO!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
www.silvercharmevents.com
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Ask Liz: Nixing New In-Laws?

A few of my brides are trying to figure out how and if to politely cut their guest list. So, if you're in the same boat, here are some pointers from a BAB post I wrote a while back...


Only so many chairs...
Photo: B&G Photography


Dear Liz, 

My fiance and I are planning a wedding with an extremely tight budget and agreed that we would limit our guests to immediate family to cut cost. My fiance’s family is relatively small and scattered around the country, so most of them probably wouldn’t be able to make it anyway. By inviting only parents, siblings, and grandparents, I get pretty much everyone I would want to see on my wedding day, minus my step-cousin’s screaming toddler. Sounds like a great plan, right?

Not as easy as it sounds. When my mom remarried I inherited a large, unruly mob of opinionated aunts, uncles, cousins, and one particularly pushy grandmother. A few of my cousins have already asked me about the wedding date and sound like they’re planning to attend. But, I’m not planning on inviting them. I’m a people pleaser and I dread having to turn them down…so far I’ve just been non-committal, but I know that can’t last.
Do you have any advice on a tactful way to let friends and extended family know that they won’t be getting an invite?

Signed,
Guilty Conscience

Hey Guilty,

Start with your mom. Tell her that because of your budget, you and your fiance are only inviting immediate family. Make it CLEAR that this includes her and her husband, but doesn’t include her new extended family. Be nice, but stay firm. She will, hopefully, spread the word. If one of your new cousins asks again, tell them the same thing, that the wedding has to be small, so you’re only inviting immediate family. Be gracious and kind, in the “We wish we could invite more people, but we can’t.” If they keep pushing, repeat it, until you can safely change the subject.


Do you have a burning wedding question? Email me or give me a call and let me know what's up! And if you would like more useful wedding advice, grab my tip sheet, The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
www.silvercharmevents.com
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Wedding Wise Weekly - July 2

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:


The Pinterest Board I created for Nicole and John's wedding in October already has over 1,000 followers. They're going for a Boho pseudo-Alice in Wonderland theme, and the colors just pop pop pop. Check it out.

Required Reading:
Ask Liz: About Holiday Weekend Weddings

Photo: Lou Stein
Dear Liz:    

We live in Los Angeles, and got officially engaged last month. We finally decided to get married out here. Although we met in New York, he’s from Philadelphia, and my family is in Sacramento. We want to settle on a date before we start looking for places, and we were thinking either  Memorial Day or Fourth of July Weekend. I know lots of people have set holiday plans, so is that a bad idea? On the other hand,  it might be fun to have a “destination wedding” for everyone, especially since a lot of our friends and family on the East Coast haven't had the chance to make it out here, yet. Should we stick with that idea, or pick another weekend that’s not going to be as travel intensive?
Signed, 

Something Red White and Blue?

Read my answer on The Broke-Ass Bride

The Deals:

Etsy - $72 for a set of 12. I LURVE these.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding - Grab my tip sheet and learn how to avoid the mistakes many couples make when they're planning the Big Day!

I am around this weekend, so if you would like to talk about YOUR wedding, give me a call or shoot me an email. Happy Fourth of July!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
www.silvercharmevents.com
323-592-9318
liz@silvercharmevents.com