Be the Carefree Bride

Spotlight on...

wedding wire awardWhen I first began this blog my intention was to be like every other wedding blog out there…a lot of “oooh isn’t this pretty!” kinds of posts.  But it never really became that.  Instead it has always been more of an educational tool.  My goal is to educate couples on why they need a Day of Coordinator.  How anyone can be Carefree on their wedding day.  And sprinkled with  a few “oooh isn’t this pretty!” kinds of posts.

I’ve often mentioned that I am a big fan of WeddingWire (rather than the more famous the knot).  I love that when you visit a storefront on WeddingWire you get details about the wedding professional, you can see photos of their work, you can read reviews from former couples, and read vendor endorsements.  And that’s just the sourcing a wedding professional portion of the website!

WeddingWire is doing it so well that other websites (like the knot) have started following their lead.  And while I think nothing but good can come from that, I would like to share with you some lesser known facts about wedding websites.

Not all wedding websites offer free listings to wedding professionals. In fact, one of the reasons you will not find me advertising on the knot is they don’t offer a free listing option.  But the traffic on the knot is certainly high enough to perhaps be worthy of a listing…until you find out the cost.  I would have to significantly increase my prices to justify a listing.

But WeddingWire does offer a free listing and it is really good – some websites will only list your company name and contact information for free.  And although I recently upgraded my free listing to be more prominent, the content of my listing is no different than when it was free.

Which brings me to my next point: Featured or Spotlight status for a vendor is almost always paid for.  And this is the main inspiration for this post.  One day I was talking with my assistant and she didn’t realize that those vendors paid more to be first on the page.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best (it also doesn’t mean they aren’t the best) – it just means they paid extra.  Kudos to anyone that can afford that kind of placement, but if you take one thing away from today’s post please let it be this: Featured or Spotlight is not a designation awarded to a professional.

Speaking of awards, if you don’t advertise on a website, you can’t win their award…but advertising doesn’t guarantee you an award.  I would love to win a coveted Best of the knot award every year – but it is too expensive to advertise and I might not get one.  My listing was free on WeddingWire and I received a Bride’s Choice award two years in a row.  That tells me you don’t have to pay to win and they really listen to customer feedback. It should also be noted that I did not receive an award for 2013 even though I upgraded my listing last year…the quantity of my reviews (NOT quality) went down and I did not qualify this year – again telling me that paying doesn’t guarantee an award.  And as much as I would have loved a threepeat, it pleases me to know the award cannot be bought but must be earned.

So what does all this mean to you?  Why did I feel this was an important post to write?  It is important for you to know that not all wedding websites are inclusive – just because a professional isn’t advertising on the knot does not necessarily mean they aren’t great at what they do.  And a Featured or Spotlight listing doesn’t mean they are the best of the best – it just means they paid to have their name at the top of the page.  I’m not saying to dismiss them because they had the means to advertise – but don’t dismiss another wedding professional just because they didn’t.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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You’re engaged…now what?!

carefree brideIt’s the day of love – Valentine’s Day.  And hundreds – probably thousands – of couples are now engaged.  Maybe you are one of them – if so, congratulations!  This is such an exciting time for you!

But I know it can be stressful too.  You’ve probably never planned a wedding before and don’t have the first clue what to do next.  And I bet you have a full-time job too.  Wedding planning can be a full-time job (especially if you don’t know what to do) on its own.  So here is a little free advice…

…hire a Day of Coordinator or a Wedding Planner!  A Wedding Planner will plan every detail for you, with input from you of course.  She (or he) will set up meetings with florists, venues, caterers, etc and will even attend those meetings with you.  A Wedding Planner is perfect for the bride that has little free time (what’s that?) or just doesn’t have any clue where to begin.  Or maybe she does, and that’s why she is hiring a professional.

A Day of Coordinator is perfect for the bride that is looking forward to the planning process.  She has tons of ideas but maybe needs a little help sorting them out.  And although she may know a lot about weddings, she doesn’t know who she can trust to follow through with her plans on her wedding day.

Even better, a Wedding Planner or DoC can save you money!  You didn’t think of that, did you?  He (or she) can refer you to the best wedding professionals in your area and within your budget – saving you loads of time as well as money.  They can also help keep you on track with your budget and will make sure you don’t forget any essential items that may have slipped your mind.

And of course, a Wedding Planner or DoC is going to take care of all the details on your wedding day.  You won’t worry about a thing, and neither will your families.  And that is worth any price.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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Top 10 Wedding Planning Myths

cakeClicking around on the knot, I came across this topic.  Curious, I clicked to find out the Top 10 Wedding Planning Myths and wondered if I would agree.  Go here for the full article on the knot.  Below is a summary and my take on what they consider a myth…

Hiring friends is the same as hiring wedding vendors. Myth!  Let’s just start with your friends should be able to enjoy your wedding day.  And what if you aren’t completely pleased with their services – will your friendship survive that?

You have to wear a white dress.  Myth!  Not only do you not have to wear a white dress but I love the trend of adding color to the wedding gown.

If you went to their wedding you have to invite them to yours. Myth-ish.  You should never feel obligated to invite anyone to your wedding.  However if you think it would be detrimental to your friendship, and it is one you value, I would include them on the guest list if you can.

A wedding planner is too expensive.  Myth!  A wedding planner or Day-of Coordinator can actually save you money.

Going DIY will save you money.  Myth!  Sometimes it can but frequently a DIY project will cost you more.  What DIY can really do is allow you to personalize your wedding in ways store-bought just can’t.

You have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Myth!  I’d also like to add that it doesn’t have to be all ladies on one side and all men on the other.

You have to take out a second mortgage to pay for a wedding.  Myth!  Hire a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator first to help keep expenses in check.

A DJ will play too much cheesy music and a band will take too many breaks.  Myth!  A no play list for your DJ will prevent any cheesy music and your guests will welcome an occasional break as much as the band.

Wedding food always tastes bad.  Myth!  If the venue you want lacks delicious food, but won’t allow an outside caterer, re-think your venue.  There is a lot of great food out there! I’d also like to add that wedding cake doesn’t always taste bad either – you can find a beautiful cake that tastes good too.

All wedding dresses are created equal. Myth!  A $500 dress is not the same as a $1000 – unless you found a really great sale.  That doesn’t make the less expensive dress bad though.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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No Bridezillas Allowed

bridezillaYou’ve seen the show.  Admit it.  If only for a few minutes while looking for something to watch.  It’s so awful you can’t look away.  But you don’t want to be one, do you?

I frequently meet with brides that tell me they don’t want to be a Bridezilla.  Phew!  I don’t want to work with one!  Bridezillas have complete disregard for everyone else.  Here are 10 of my simple lessons to help you not be a Bridezilla.

1.  Remember the Golden Rule - treat people the way you want to be treated.

2.  Remember it isn’t ALL about you - after all, there is a groom!  Yes you have probably dreamt of this day much longer than he has.  But never forget there can’t be a wedding without the groom.

3. Get it in writing - I love the electronic age we live in.  Email is a great communicator – useful when planning your wedding during work hours (don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss).  Make sure all changes made, that are not in your contract, are in writing.  And make sure your professional has acknowledged it.  Even better…

4.  Hire a Day of Coordinator - and copy him or her on every email you send to your professionals.  Your DoC should be in the loop on every aspect of your wedding.  Then if something does go wrong, your DoC  can take care of it and you won’t have to.

5.  Don’t obsess over the details - I know you have envisioned EXACTLY how this day will look.  But it will not ruin your wedding day if you have pale pink roses instead of blush or the candles won’t stay lit.  Unless you let it.

6.  Trust your professionals - you did your homework and you chose the best professionals for your wedding.  Now trust them to do the job you hired them to do.  If you feel like you can’t trust your professional then you may need to reconsider who you have hired – but please do that BEFORE your wedding day.  You should know after a month of working with someone if they are trustworthy.  If not, then it is better to lose a deposit than spend 6 months (or longer) wondering if they will show up on time, with everything they are supposed to have, on the only day that matters – your wedding day.

7. Acknowledge others - a simple thank you goes a long way, both verbal and written.

8.  Eat - I know it is your wedding day and you may be nervous or excited (maybe both) but this is not the time for a crash diet.  I’m not saying go eat a gigantic four course meal but don’t starve yourself on your wedding day.  It is hard to be a nice person when you are starving.

9.  Don’t force participation - don’t make your bridesmaids stay up until 3am folding programs, adding bows, or creating custom somethings.  If they volunteer – great!  But not everyone is crafty (and please don’t do this the day before your wedding).  Don’t have monthly update meetings on the status of your wedding details…send an email if you feel they need to know.  Don’t insist upon a choreographed dance with the entire wedding party – unless everyone WANTS to do it.

10.  Relax - you have planned this for months, now is the time to enjoy it because you have hired professionals you trust, your DoC is taking care of those last-minute hiccups, and you are marrying the love of your life.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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LOVE your wedding professionals

Your wedding proIf you have already started your planning process, you know there are a lot of wedding professionals out there.  You’ve probably been given advice from everyone you’ve announced your engagement to: “I have the perfect florist!”  “My photographer was the best!”  “Our DJ rocked the house!”  “Here’s their contact information…”

Want one more piece of advice?  Love your wedding professionals.  There are so many of us out there, don’t settle.  Don’t hire someone because your cousin’s girlfriend’s best friend’s photographer is the best – and you can’t stand him (or her).  These are people that will be playing important roles in the biggest (most expensive) day of your life.  Do you really want someone that doesn’t mesh with your personality?  Move on to the next name on your list.  You will find the perfect match – someone that understands your style and isn’t going to force you into a mold that you don’t fit.

I end all of my first time meetings with couples by telling them this, “If you love me, hire me.  And if not, then I am not the right person for the job because you should always love your wedding professionals.”

Of course, I hope you love me.

Be Carefree,

Suzanne

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