Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ask Liz: Be Nice, Please.

A little reminder can help. Print by Etsy seller Hairbrainedschemes

My friend Mindy is a Disney wedding blogger, and during her Q&A on Periscope (@MindyJoyM) yesterday, a bride asked her if she should cut one of her bridesmaids. It wasn’t working out. Her bridesmaid didn’t seem to be into the wedding and all it entailed, should the bride let her go? What would the best way to do that?

First off? There is no best way to do that. There is no clean getaway at the end of that scenario, where you tell her she’s out, she breathes a sigh of relief and gives you a big warm hug, and you walk away from the coffee shop hand in hand. No, the odds are that shock will be expressed, feelings will be deeply hurt, and that coffee shop will be the last time you see her for a while. I mean, come on.

This is a problem I’ve noticed over the years. It’s not just wedding party problems, it’s people screaming at their parents. Anger at the limo driver or the rental company. Convinced that everyone they’re dealing with either doesn’t care, isn’t doing their job, or is taking advantage of their rapidly declining good well.

Look, weddings come with a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure. Yes, most of it is on you, it’s your wedding. You’ve invested a lot of time, thought, and lot of money into creating your vision of a wonderful day. All the people around you want that the same thing you do, I swear. But, they don’t live in your head, so they don’t always know exactly what you’re looking for or what you need. Plus, everyone — including you — is trying to pull this thing off while they’re also managing the rest of their lives. Nine times out of 10, whatever they’ve done that’s pissed you off was not deliberately done to you. They might not even realize it’s affecting you at all. Most of the time, you can take a deep breath and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not doing it on purpose. As you would want anyone to do for you.
You would want them to talk with you before making any snap decisions or judgements. You would want them to ask you what’s going on, listen to you explain, and to figure out what the next step is. And, yes, this all sounds so very rational, but it’s also the truth. Look back on any conflict you’ve had with a family member, a friend, heck, your fiance, where you’ve felt that a finger was being pointed at you. Wouldn’t you have appreciated the opportunity to explain instead of an ultimatum and the door? I know I would have.

Your feelings (and you do have them) are valid. With specific situations, I usually recommend letting it go instead of getting into it. But, sometimes you are just GAHHHHHHH!!!! You have to say something, but be nice, be nice, be nice. Not only will you feel better about the situation, you’ll feel better about yourself. Plus, the story and the memory of how you were not nice will follow you around forever, both inside your head and in everyone else’s. Wedding planning lasts a short while, the rest of your life is much longer.
So, bring it up, but say it nicely. Thank them for making the commitment in the first place — don’t treat them like you’re doing them a favor — and then be specific about the stuff that’s bugging you. “You didn’t get your dress/come to my bridal shower/reply in the group emails I’ve been sending for weeks, is everything okay?” And then listen to what they say, and ask if there is anything you can do to help, including setting specific deadlines. It could be that it is all overwhelming, or that she does need to back out, but it’s better that she comes to that conclusion rather than that you do. Have the discussion before you make the decision, please.

This tactic works with anyone you’re having a conflict with wedding-wise. A vendor, your family, the doorman who doesn’t know where the venue manager put your favors. Tell them what’s going wrong, ask them what’s going on, and figure out how to fix it. Nicely.

Ooh, and you can follow me on Periscope, too @SilverCharmLiz.
See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
Schedule your complimentary wedding consult today:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wedding Wise Weekly - August 19

Every week 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:

Push-up confetti by Thumbress on Etsy I love this idea for a grand exit, or to shower the wedding couple on their way to the getaway car . Awesomeness, but make sure your venue is okay with it. Also, check out the blog I found this on, 34 Things That Will Make You Say “I Wish I Did That At My Wedding!”

The Events:

And a deal, apparently. Copy, snap, download, and or print this coupon for free admission for you and 5 others at the Bride World Expo Downtown this weekend. You are welcome!

Required Reading:

Ask Liz: Your Wedding vs. Their Wedding. 

Your priorities were different, so your weddings are different. This is what it means to be a bridesmaid...

Dear Liz,
I’ve gone from being a Broke Ass Bride last year to  a Broke Ass bridesmaid this year, and I’m having a hard time with the transition. I’ve never been in a wedding before,so I have nothing to compare it to really, except for my own wedding.
 I had to beg, borrow and steal to pull off my wedding, and we managed to do it, with an open bar, for $16,000. We saved for 18 months, I worked for my florist to bring down the cost of our flowers, I worked as a prep cook at our venue, and I still do tech support for the salon that did our hair and makeup. I got my wedding dress from a non-profit that donates dresses to military brides whose husbands have been deployed to the Middle East. Our photographer was an ex-coworker of mine from Apple. I worked every angle.

This Bride is my sister-in law, and she has asked me to be her Matron of Honor. Her parents based  her wedding budget on how much my husband and I spent on ours, but they keep focusing on how they can do everything for “cheap.” And they are determined that she doesn’t spend a dime of her own money.
The budget is supposedly $15,000, but then a week later she drops $10,000 on her venue and $1,200 on a dress. She keeps pleading poverty, but she’s gone on three vacations since she got engaged. ... have tried over and over to give her advice about saving money, but it’s all been ignored. Am I being a bridesmaidzilla? Is this just part of the gig? Do you have any advice?  I don’t know how to handle this, and I’m really drowning here!

Better saved than SIL

And go to website to grab my my wedding checklist, The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding. And, let me know if you have any questions.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: The Best Place card Practices

Placecards. It's one of the last things on your list, but it's coming up. Weddings naturally lend themselves to a "herding cats" situation any way. Use this tips to get your guests to their seats and on their way:

1. Write your guests' full names on the placecards. No nicknames. So, no "Uncle Tipsy," make it "Marvin Howard." If it's an entire family at one table, it's okay to print "Peterson Family" on the placecard. A married couple should be written as "Patrick and Lynn Beard." 

2. Line the cards up on the table alphabetically by last name. This how we've all been conditioned to look for ourselves and others, and there's a reason for that - it's the easiest way.
Don't group the placecards by table number.  No one knows, going in, what their table number is, so you'll have 100+ people tripping over each other, going through every table looking for their name. Don't do it. 

3. Bonus - Print out a guest list, by last name and table number. At my weddings, one of my assistants stands by the placecard table to assist guests that are having trouble finding their names. If you don't have a planner, ask one of your wedding party or a family member to do this. 

Want more planning tips?  Go to my website, and click on Ten Things About Your Wedding on the top far right to find out how to avoid the mistakes a lot of couples make while planning the big day, plus you'll be signed up for Charmed Weddings,  my weekly wedding advice newsletter. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wedding Money Monday: Budget Bandages

Everybody has been there - you're signing contracts left and right, with a fairly good idea of what you're going to end up spending. Rounding up or down to the nearest zero as you go along. And, then, at some point, you sit down and add it all up...and realized that you are screwed, budget-wise. You've gone over your budget, maybe by a little, maybe by a lot, but either way, the overage is not an option. Here are five tips and tweaks for getting the bleeding under control.

Step 1: Decide how much much money you need to cut. $500? $1,000? $2,000? Pick your price.

Step 2:  Look at all of your contracts again,  note the deadlines. With very few exceptions, you don't normally have to pay any vendor their full balance when you sign a contract. There are a lot of final decisions to be made before you walk down the aisle, which could can affect how much you end up paying. When do you have to give them final guest counts, final hours, and confirm final services? You have time, you have options, which means you have flexibility.

Step 3: Cut your guest list.  Your catering takes up half your budget, so that's your next step.  If you haven't sent your invites out, cut a few people off your guest list now. Harsh, but effective. Every guest is 2-3 appetizers, 2-3 drinks, an entree, and a piece of cake. 10 guests is a table and a centerpiece. Two tables is a catering server. Deciding how to cut is a different animal, but alway consult whoever might be subjected to hurt feelings before you do it. If you want to cut your Mom's best friend from college, talk to Mom first.  Aim small before you go big, and always go in twos. Who are the six people you can cut? Are there four more after that? Reminder: This only works if you haven't sent out invites, yet. Have not. Move on to step 4 if that's not an option.

Step 4: Cut the Catering and Bar. Your catering takes up half your budget, so start there. Caveat: If you have a food and beverage minimum - how much you have to spend on catering in order to have catering - consult your venue manager before you make any decisions. Don't feel ashamed, or cheap, or poor - you are not the first person they have run into that had to back away from their pocket book. Ask what's possible. Can you serve two appetizers instead of three, or one instead of two, and still meet your minimum? If you're offering a meat, chicken and fish entree, are there less expensive versions of those? What happens if you serve a signature cocktail, or just beer and wine, instead of a full bar? Again, come to your catering manager with the specific amount you want to cut, and see what they can do. Oh, and cake? Keep it simple, make it simpler. One flavor, one filling, less decoration.

Step 4: Be honest about your rental list. What can you downgrade? Chiavari chairs are at least 3-4 times more expensive than wood lawn chairs. Black and brown wood lawn chairs are twice as expensive as white ones. Small dance floors look like a bigger party. That's a few hundred dollars right there. Salad forks are more expensive than dinner forks, so use them for dessert. Most of the alcohol you're serving can go into standard glasses. One heat lamp per two tables will do. Go over your menu and your bar list with your caterer first, and then with your rental company and, again, ask them where you can cut and be okay.

Step 5: Flowers and Decorations: Ask your florist how you can shave $10-15 off of your centerpiece and still get the same look. Is it changing the main flower, pulling out or adding in filler? Make the centerpiece smaller? Ask.

Honestly? Everyone has a wedding budget. Don't be afraid to protect yours.

For more ideas on how to create a fantastic wedding in Los Angeles, go to my website, and head to the upper right corner to grab my tip sheet, "The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Wedding," which will also sign you up to receive my wedding advice newsletter. If you have any questions, just let me know what you need.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wedding Wise Weekly - August 1

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!

First of all, I'm blowing up Periscope, so follow me @LizCharm and @SilverCharmEvnt, okay?

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week: 

From The Shabby Creek Cottage- They say it's a great groomsmen gift, but I'm betting your girls would appreciate this, too. You know?

Required Reading;

One of my advice columns from The Broke Ass Bride was printed in Huffington Post Weddings: Weeding out Your Wedding Nightmares. A couple of more reasons to stop worrying and look forward to your wedding day. It's going to be a good day. 

Where I'm at Now:

Speaking of Good Days, today is a wedding day for me! Emma and Ian are getting married at her parents house in Topanga Canyon and I can't wait to see what this is going to look like tonight:  

Lights in trees are totally my thing. I'm such a wedding nerd. Follow me on Instagram @LizCharm to get updated pics today and tonight. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Let's talk about your wedding: