Why Wedding Vendor Discounts Should Be Cancelled

Why Wedding Vendor Discounts Should Be Cancelled

Wedding vendor discounts…let’s talk about it!   Everyone loves to saves money.  We all want a good deal. A bargain. The best value. However, value is relative and comes in a lot of forms. What we offer our clients is a value because the service is impeccable. We provide a client experience, not just a service for a day.  But a bargain?  Now that’s a little different.  When I go to Nordstrom Rack, I feel good because I didn’t spend as much on those Michael Kors shoes as I would have if I had gone to the Michael Kors store on Michigan Avenue.  However, we all know the shoes I got at a lower prices were from last season. They were discounted because they aren’t not the best that MK currently offers. And that’s how discounts should work. Discounts are provided when the quality is not the same or the service is pared down.

Now, even when potential clients want to pare down services for a better rate, it still makes me nervous for them. Sure, you are a year from your wedding. You are on cloud nine. You want to do this. You can do this… let’s go!  Until the bubble bursts when you hit that three month countdown.  Everything within you and everyone around you will be begging you to hire help. As a professional planner, I’ve seen it time and time again.  The emotional toll is exhausting.  I’ve been doing this for quite a while now, and I know what it is that you are needing in those moments and even before they hit. However, we cannot pare down our service or process.  By doing so, we would lose our quality, your day would suffer, and ultimately, our own reputation is at stake. Our vendor and venue colleagues expect a certain level of service when working with us, and we aim to provide it; mainly, because it is what’s best for you.

If I’m honest, I get a little offended when I’m asked to give a discount.  I mean, I get it.  Blogs and social media train couples to ask (and trust me, vendors are fighting back really hard).  So I don’t take it take it personally, but it does make me shake my head a bit.  Can you imagine if I were to walk into my dentist and ask for a discount? That’s just not how things work. As vendors have overhead: rent, staff, taxes, marketing, office supplies…the list could go on and on.  So it’s a bit jarring to me that one does not think to ask for discounts on goods, but expects it on services. My product and ‘good’ is my time, experience, knowledge and service. No, you can’t hold it in your hand like you would those MK shoes, but it is just as valuable. Cavity free teeth…. a smooth wedding day — can you really put a dollar sign on those things?

I’ve said a lot here, but here’s my point…I don’t ask my vendors for discounts. * GASP *  I know…I know…you’re probably ready to stop reading, especially since The Knot, WeddingWire or some random person on Instagram told you that a planner should be able to pull in some amazing savings & discounts for you. Here is the deal though, when asking a vendor for a discount, this is what they hear, “I do not value your service” and this is what they do – provide weaker service.  Sure, some of my go-to vendors are able to provide some discounts or savings because, with my leading the team, they don’t have to do as much leg work and can eliminate some of their hours, but it’s not really a discount. They are simply not having to do some of that work; so they only charge you for what they do have to do.

The best way for me to save you money is for me to do my job – connect you with the right vendors. The ones with the best price points (with quality) for your needs, budget and expectations. Ironically, cutting the vendor search is one of the first things people ask me to shave off or they say “I already booked my major vendors. So I don’t need you for that.”  However, apart from catching your planning mistakes down the road, finding the right vendors is the biggest way I can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

The bottom line here is that when you value your vendors, they value you and put your wedding first. Your goal is to be someone’s priority and being that means making them a priority as well. As great as they sound in theory, I promise you, discounts will kill your wedding day. Things will go wrong, and a fellow planner said it best, the response from the vendor will be “well, I gave you a discount… so I didn’t think the expectation was as high.”  (True story… it happened to her client.)

While I think it’s important to educate you on how discounts can negatively impact you, I also think it’s important for you to know that your vendors are real people with real hearts. We really do care! We aren’t ‘no’ people, and we want to help. We may not be able to give discounts, but talk to us about your hesitations.  We may have some other tricks up our sleeves that can still accomplish your goals. Remember, the better your wedding day is for you, the better it is for us. Talking about money is hard.  We all have financial constraints, and no one is special because they are on a ‘tight’ budget (which so relative by the way; I’ve heard that from 5k brides and six figure brides!), but the reality is, we are all on the same team. We want to create an amazing day for you.  Plus, we have way more fun when you are happy!

Happy Planning!

 


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11 Steps to an Easy Wedding Rehearsal

11 Steps to an Easy Wedding Rehearsal

In our blog Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal, we debunk some myths about rehearsals and answer some frequently asked questions.  Today, we’re going to give you 11 steps to an easy and efficient wedding rehearsal.

 

7 Things To Do BEFORE the Rehearsal

Hire a wedding planner (or coordinator)
I’m sure you’re thinking “of course she would say this. She’s a planner.”  While this is true, having a professional planner execute your rehearsal will help things go SO MUCH smoother.  Not only does it keep couples from stressing out and being seen as “bossy,” it also helps to keep those “helpful” know-it-all family members and friends at bay, eliminating lots of confusion.

Pair up your wedding party
Before the rehearsal figure out who you want to walk with whom. Whether it’s by height or relationship, have an idea of who will walk together. Unless there’s a married couple in your party, we typically suggest pairing the couples by height.  This eliminates the awkwardness of your 5’9” bridesmaid (before heels) walking with your 5’5” groomsman.  Other considerations are personalities and past relationships.  If you’ve got exes in your party who aren’t cordial, it’s probably best not to pair them together for your wedding.

Decide how the wedding party will enter
There are a number of ways your wedding party can enter the ceremony.  Unless dictated by your faith or place of worship where the ceremony will be held, this is totally up to you.  You can have all the pairs walk in together, OR the best man walk in with the groom, the pairs enter together and the maid/matron of honor walk in alone OR have all the men at the altar and all the ladies enter alone.  There’s no right or wrong here.  Just go with what feels best for you.

Determine what order everyone will enter
Now that you know who’s paired with whom and how they will enter.  The next step is to decide the order for the rest of the processional.  Traditionally, the groom enters, the grandparents, and then the parents.  Following them is the wedding party, maid/matron of honor, ring bearer, flower girl, and of course the bride.  This is 100% personal preference.  So again, go with what feels right for you.

Decide who will walk the bride in
Tradition says that a bride’s father will walk her down and give her away.  However, this isn’t always possible or the best option, whether because of death or simply the nature of their relationship.  Some brides have asked their mom, a close uncle or sibling, even their children.  Whomever is chosen, be sure to ask them with love and appreciation for what they mean to you.

Let your readers/singers know what they will be sharing
If you’re having a reader recite a poem or scripture or other text or a singer/musician performing a musical number, be sure to send this to them with ample time for them to prepare.  If someone is reading text, send them the passage in large easy to read font in a format that they can print with ease.  Be sure to have an extra copy on the wedding day.  I also highly recommend sending these to your planner as well, just in case.

Review the order of service with your officiant
Some officiants choose not to attend rehearsals since much of the time is spent walking in and out.  However, regardless of their attendance, you and your spouse to be should meet with your officiant to talk through the events.  They can share with you how they normally run a ceremony, and you can share with them your desires and plans – personal vows, unity ceremony, readers/singers, etc.  Be sure to ask any questions you have and work with your officiant to make your ceremony as unique and personal as possible.  Your ceremony should be a reflection of your personalities.

 

5 steps to make sure the rehearsal runs smoothly…and quickly

These are typically done by your planner/coordinator, but it’s always good to have an idea of the most efficient way to execute a wedding rehearsal.  Talk to your planner to make sure you know what to expect going in.

Start by lining up your wedding party on the altar
It might sound counterintuitive start at the front, but one of the most time-consuming parts of the rehearsal is figuring out where everyone will stand.  So do the hard stuff first.  Place your wedding party in the positions you want them.  Now, take a step back.  Make sure you can see everyone because your photographer will be capturing this image.

Recess out
Play your recessional music and have your party walk out – newlyweds, wedding party pairs, parents, and grandparents.  This lets everyone know what order they will leave at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Process in
We started rehearsal midway the ceremony, with everyone in their places.  Now we’re going back to the top; how they will come in. Play your processional music and allow your families and wedding party to enter in the order you decided on.  This allows them to see where they are coming from and going to.

Talk through the order of the ceremony
With everyone in their places, briefly talk through the events of the ceremony.  Who will speak, sing, or read and when.  If there’s a unity ceremony, be sure the let the wedding party know if they will need to step back a little to allow you access to that designated table or area.

Have a moment of Q&A
At this point, rehearsal is done.  All that’s left is to answer any questions and make sure everyone knows where to be and when on wedding day.  This is also a good time to let the wedding party know where they should go after they recess out after the ceremony.

Check out Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal to get answers to some frequently asked wedding rehearsal questions.

Happy Planning!


For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal

Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal

After months, or years, of planning, it’s finally the week of your big day!  All the vendors are paid and you’re counting down the hours.   One of the last major milestones is the wedding rehearsal.  So let’s address a few myths and make some things clear about this wedding related event.

First things first.  Not everyone has be there.  Sure, it’s nice if the whole wedding party is present, but the fact is, all they’re doing is walking down the aisle and standing next to you.  I promise, if they can follow instructions, we can fill them in the day of the wedding if necessary.  Now, if you’ve chosen some intricate choreography to get them down the aisle, PLEASE, for the love of all things good and patient, teach them the steps (with the music) before the rehearsal. As a matter of fact, you probably should hold a couple practices to get those two left feet people together.

Next up, time!  Starting a rehearsal late can quickly become problematic.  Not only does it look bad on the couple and the planner, but it can easily cost you money.  Whether you’ve paid for the rehearsal space, have dinner reservations afterward, or you’ve got last minute tasks to complete, there’s simply a price to pay when the rehearsal runs late (don’t get me started on late ceremonies…cha ching!).  So when your brother texts saying he’s going to be 20min late or your friend is still on their way from the airport, don’t worry about it!  It’s better to fill them in later than to sit around and wait.  Plus, it’s kinda rude to those who arrived on time.

Third, location, location, location.  Your wedding rehearsal does not have to be held at the venue.  Of course that’s ideal because people don’t have to imagine where they would actually walk or stand.  However, venues often have other events booked the day before so it can be difficult securing time to rehearse (especially for Saturday and Sunday weddings).   That said, be flexible in location and/or day/time.  You may have to do a morning rehearsal, host it on a Thursday, or meet up at your parent’s house.  Either way, just remember that not everyone has to be present and not being at the venue isn’t the end of the world.  Just be sure to notify your ceremony participants as soon as you schedule the rehearsal to allow them ample time to plan to be there.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about what happens at the wedding rehearsal.  If everyone is engaged and attentive, a wedding rehearsal should be less than an hour.  Yep, I said it.  Less than an hour.  Find your positions.  Assign walking partners.  Walk in.  Walk out.  Talk through the ceremony.  Answer questions.  Done!  It’s not complicated.

I know a lot of couples put pressure on themselves and their planner to make the wedding rehearsal perfect.  Trust me when I say, it will be fine.  Wedding rehearsals serve as a guide, but they should be fun and easy.  Simply stay on schedule. Don’t worry about who’s not there, and focus on the joy that’s coming as you marry the love of your life!

Now, here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about wedding rehearsals:

Who all should be there?
The couple and all those in the wedding party.  This include ushers and parental escorts (whoever is walking mom to her seat), flower girls, ring bearers, sign bearers, and any other ceremony participants.   This can also include any readers or performers if you want to see/hear them do their piece.

Does my officiant have to attend? 
Officiants are optional.  Some like to be there to talk through the order of the ceremony itself.  Others choose not to and trust the planner to handle it.  Talk to your officiant to see what they prefer.

Does the DJ have to be there?
While it can be helpful, your actual DJ does not have to be present.  However, you should make sure there is a way for your ceremony music to be played during the wedding rehearsal to allow your wedding party and family members to recognize their cues.

What should I wear?
Wedding rehearsals are typically casual events.  So feel free to wear whatever is comfortable.  There are no rules.

What about a rehearsal dinner?  Do I need to have one & who attends?
Rehearsal dinners often serve dual purpose.  Traditionally planned and hosted by the groom’s parents, they are a welcome party for out of town guests, and a nice way to say thank you to all those participating in the ceremony.  As with many things in wedding planning, this is optional, but it’s certainly a nice gesture of gratitude for the support and love that’s been given.

Have any more questions?  Let us know in the comments.
To learn more about how to make your wedding rehearsal super easy and efficient, check out our 11 tips to make your wedding rehearsal a breeze.

Happy Planning!!


For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.

Wedding Day Packing Checklist

Wedding Day Packing Checklist

With everything that’s going on leading up to your wedding, packing for your big day can feel like a monumental task.  You want to make sure you have everything, but also don’t want to overpack.  On top of that, add “stress brain.”   You know it, when you feel like you’re missing something, but not quite sure what it is.  Well, we want to help by sharing this ultimate Wedding Day Packing Checklist.   From attire to emergency fixers, we’ve got you covered.   Since you also may be packing for your honeymoon, consider asking a trusted member of your family or wedding party to make sure this list is covered for you.  That will at least take one thing off your To Do list.

Wedding_Day_Packing_Checklist_SouthWind_Events_Chicago_Wedding-Planner

While this list may cover all the common wedding day needs (and mishaps), there may be some unique scenarios that aren’t addressed.  In those cases, reach out to your wedding planner for help.  They will likely have a much more exhaustive emergency kit handy or have the means to help or advise you in other situations.

Happy planning.


For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
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Your Wedding Day Look: How’s the View From the Back?

Your Wedding Day Look: How’s the View From the Back?

As couples prepare to walk down the aisle, they will often take a moment to face themselves in the mirror, making sure they look their best and reflecting on the new phase of life they are about to enter.  However, you need looking beyond what you see facing forward.  As you prepare to said I Do, consider your wedding day look and ask yourself “how’s the view from the back”.  You see, in a traditional American ceremony, guests will see the back of the couple more than anything.  So here are 5 easy tips to make sure you look your best, front and back, coming and going.

 

Make sure your gown fits properly.

Every lady wants to look snatched on her big day. So be sure to get a professional tailor to alter your gown.  You don’t want extra bulges of fabric around your waist indicating the dress is too big or have major back cleave between your shoulder blades because it’s too small.

 

Choose the right gown for your body type

I love you, so I’m going to be direct here….you have to know what style dress is best suited for your body type.  if you are a busty woman or are carrying a few extra pounds, a super low back dress may not be the style for you.  Not only do you risk exposing your undergarments (another no-no, let’s keep our secrets secret), but you are also risking sharing heaping servings of back fat with your guests.  Your future spouse may love all your curves and all your edges, but you don’t need to share them with your family and friends.

 

Tie up the loose ends

If you have selected a gown with a corset gown, please make sure the person tying you up keeps your lacing flat and equally spaced.  Also, remind them to tuck in the bunny ears and loose ends of the laces.  We don’t want draw attention to your bum with a big bow and long tails swinging behind you.

 

Wear an appropriate length veil (if you opt for one)

When you find the perfect gown, try on veils before your appointment ends.  Look in the mirror & see which length compliments the gown the best and hits you in just the right place.  I’m not saying you have to purchase the veil. Just check the length.  Here’s why….having a fingertip veil might look great from the front, but, if you’re blessed with curves & wearing a fitted gown, it might lay in a way in the back that will highlight all your “assets” for your guests.  The point, just make sure the length of the veil fits you as well as the shape of the gown.
Another point on the veil, on wedding day make sure your veil is pinned/clipped in your hair straight, centered & securely. You don’t want it falling out on your way down the aisle. (Yes, that actually happened!)

Check your hair

This one is a no-brainer.  Make sure you love your hair style and that it’s perfect from the front, sides & back. Ensure that any hair accessory or hair jewelry is placed securely & properly.  Oh, and can I be direct again?   Please keep in mind that it doesn’t take long for cheap weave to get tangled, messy, & matted.  So just like you’ve invested in your gown, shoes & jewelry, invest in good hair for your big day!  You don’t want folks to say that you only looked good from the neck down.

Happy planning.


For more tips, tricks & insight from your #WeddingPlanningCoach, check out our blog home page.
Like & follow SouthWind Events on Facebook and IG. Check out our website too to learn more about us.