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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Make it Easier for Guests to Find Their Place Cards

Place Card Distribution Table

Have you ever been to a wedding and when it is time to transition to the reception, you have to get in a huge line to find your name and then find your seat?

Here are some tips to make this process go more smoothly.

1.  Have signage behind or above the table that shows how you have the place cards organized.  *Whether you choose to alphabetize them by first or last name, you'll find that you'll have a lot more of one letter due to many family members attending.  Just play with the adjustment to reflect your specific guest list.  Preferably, divide the table into 4 segments.  It usually works very well to make your divisions relatively equal if you group the place cards by A-E, F-L, M-R and S-Z.

2.  Show the divisions between the sections of the alphabet.   On a table, you could even use rose petals to show where different letters begin.  The diagram below represents a ribbon or garland creating the divisions between the alphabetical groupings.

3.  Don't just put up the alphabetical divisions on a sign.  *Make it extremely clear by signage that the names are organized alphabetically by  first names or last names whichever you have chosen. The whole purpose is to make it easier to navigate quickly from the place card table to their assigned table and/or seat.

4.  You can use a round or rectangular table.  Some venues have large bulletin boards on the walls which are perfect if they are big enough to see from a distance and in a convenient location to the reception dining area.  You can make the alphabetical category signs large which are helpful to guests as they are standing in line.  Hopefully the lines will be shorter if they can quickly identify where their place card is.

5.  Below is just one example of how you could design a round table for place cards.  Please excuse the quality of the design due to time constraints.   You can get creative on the signage which should be elevated.  In this case the design calls for a centerpiece.  More people can navigate around a round table.

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Wedding/Event Planning and Design
Non-Denominational Wedding Officiating

As of January 2015 we will have a series of podcasts available on 52 different topics to help couples plan their wedding.  Be on the look out for "We're Engaged! Now What?"   We will be developing not only a series of podcasts but also webinars, tele-seminars, videos and live workshops.  We are using all of these methods because people learn in different ways!  Some people learn visually, by listening or having a hands-on workshop.  We will be developing at a later date private coaching programs.   Look up our special Facebook page "We're Engaged! Now What?" 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

One Thing You Must Never Do at Your Wedding!

Again, never!

There's one thing that many people do at a wedding that can lead to stress, heartache, feeling helpless and fearful of identity theft.   The saddest part is that it is totally preventable.

Do not ever have your table for gifts and cards that you receive by any door that can be accessed by the public.    Even worse is just outside the door in a hallway!  The same goes for your guests' belongings.  I know it's so convenient for guests to sign the guest book and drop of their gifts or cards at one place near the entrance.  The same would apply to guests' coats and their belongings.

There is a solution.  I want you to check out a company called Coat Check Complete and see if there is a similar service in your area.  Please don't rely on your friends to take on this task of the gifts and card management or the guests' belongings.  They might have the best of intentions, but they will sooner or later get distracted because they are your friend and their heart is where the action is at your wedding.  You can't blame them for getting caught up in things and without them even being aware of it, walking off for a few minutes or more.

At the very least you should have all of your cards, gifts, and your guests' coats, purses, umbrellas, and so forth in an area as far from any door as possible.  You might not feel that you have the budget for a service to keep an eye on everything, but we live in the world that we live in and the regret of stolen gifts, cash or gift cards that your guests have purchased with their hard-earned money is something you can't put a price on.  Your guests could be faced with a nightmare of trying to stay ahead of identity theft, closing bank accounts, stopping check which will add to their burden financially and increase their stress level.

People might want to place blame if something like this happens, but the bride and the groom are the hosts and they owe it to their guests to make sure that their guests are taken care of properly.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do You Know Your Bride Type?

Let's shed a light on it!


1.  Do you feel like a deer in the headlights?  Let's change that to dear in the headlights even though I think deer are very cute and sweet, too.  Maybe you feel blinded by fear or are paralyzed with indecision.  Maybe you have been stopped in your tracks by the bombardment of unwanted advice. Maybe you would just like to say "Beam me up Scotty!"

2.  Do you love all of the attention to be set on you?  You want nothing more than to be a prima donna, belle of the ball and it's all about you!  You are willing to push everyone aside so you can make your grand entrance during the whole planning process as well as the wedding.

Laser Beam
3.  Are you ultra focused and you know exactly what you want and you are afraid to let anyone help you?  Maybe you know exactly what you want and are blinded by the lack of a limitless budget.  You might even be doing some damage being so focused that you refuse to listen to suggestions to guide you away from costly mistakes.


4.  Do you feel like you need to find out who's going to get you?  Do you feel that everyone is going to rip you off?  Are you wondering where you will find the vendors that make you comfortable, match your style and fit your budget.  Maybe it feels like that there is no one out there who "gets" your vision.

Mood light 

5.  Do you want your wedding to ooze with ambience, romance and glistening light and sparkles everywhere?  You can never have enough bling.

Let's shine a light on why all of this matters!

Okay!  Why is all of this important for a wedding planner to know?  We need to know who we should suggest for vendors who get you!  I guess you could say we need to be able to find your "Vendor Type" not just find a vendor in any particular vendor category and not just someone who could do the job. Our goal is to match ideal vendors with ideal clients.  That is exactly why we like to know many vendors and stay from preferred vendor lists.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mistakes That Will Increase Wedding Costs, Part 5

Planning Weddings and Events with Less Stress: Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Pa...: Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 5 "Weddings and Media Influence, Unrealistic Dreams-  Maybe Not!" ...

Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 5

Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 5

"Weddings and Media Influence, Unrealistic Dreams-  Maybe Not!"

We can all dream as much as we want.  You and I both know how extravagant the shows on TV portray weddings.  Perhaps you can afford to do the same at your wedding, but chances are that your budget is far less that what you see is available for a TV production.

1.  Don't feel bad if you can't afford everything you want.  Just like they say in interior design, "If you give a limited budget to a designer, you will see them sweat genius!"   Creativity does wonderful things and who doesn't like a challenge when you hear, "Sorry, it's outside of your budget!" 

2.  DIY can be the costliest way to go!  You really owe it to yourself to explore further options.  If you really hate the feel of paper, why should you torture yourself with making your invitations?  Also, without knowing what other options are, you should at least compare prices from various suppliers or vendors to see what will give you the biggest bargain.  Often, time and money are both difficult things to come by in the amounts you need for planning a wedding so measure the value of both.

3.  Here's a important story for you!  In 2008, during the economy's rush to the bottom, many couples decided to "just have a backyard wedding" because it would be cheaper.  Research showed that during that time, the travel and hospitality industry was being hit especially hard.  I was approached numerous times by hotels which ordinarily would not even want to touch weddings, and they literally begged for the wedding business!  Their corporate meetings were taking a skydive and people could get some amazing packages at hotels during that time for weddings.  

The reverse side of that was finding out that families with the backyard weddings, who "saved money on food" were working their fingers to the bone and emptying their pockets with every move they made in preparations for the wedding.  There seems to be an unavoidable urge to do more than host a wedding.  For example I heard people who would  get new carpet, paint the interior and/or exterior of the house, re-do the guest bedroom, re-landscape the yard and even put on a new roof!  The thought of all that stress on top of planning a wedding makes me cringe.  I've been through both!  Saving money was the goal.  People would say, "At least the house is nice now!"   I just hope they aren't too exhausted to enjoy it!

4.  Something great things you should take from the shows!  Have you noticed that they often end up with weddings in some really unusual venues?  In the wedding industry, we can take entire classes on holding events at unique venues!  Doing this meets two common goals for a wedding.  Most people want something that hasn't been done before and often they are less expensive than standard venues.

5.  Don't be afraid to ask for even a little bit of help from a Wedding Planner!  Many Wedding Planners have specific planning packages that involve a consultation and then researching for particular vendor categories that you are tearing your hair out trying to find.  It is one of the least expensive ways to get help from a Wedding Planner.

6.  Set your priorities and stick with them.  If you absolutely fall in love with one particular idea you obtain from a TV show, by all means see if it fits within your priorities and try adopt that idea for your wedding.  You can put less emphasis on the things that don't matter to you.  

7.  I have to repeat this advice from my other blog posts!  Don't be afraid to check out ice sculptures.  If you have one that makes an amazing statement, you won't need much else as far as decor.  You might even be able to get less expensive centerpieces by having a small ice sculpture than flowers!  What if you did you table numbers in ice with some LED lights in your wedding colors lighting up the middle of the banquet tables for your guests to enjoy?  They're just water, so that is why they aren't as expensive as you would think.  Sure it takes some amazing skills, but you owe it to yourself to learn about ice sculptures.

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Greatest of Days has been planning weddings and officiating weddings since 2007.  From 2011-2014 Greatest of Days was nominated for "Best Wedding Planner" in the King 5 Best of Western Washington Contest.

Feel free to go to our Greatest of Days website and find a hidden planning tip on each page of our website!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mistakes That Increase Wedding Costs, Part 4

Mistakes That Increase Wedding Costs, Part 4

"Familiarize Yourself with the Wedding Industry"

You can read online and get very well acquainted with all of the popular websites that are geared for reader's nationwide and beyond, but it doesn't give you any clue as to what a wedding will cost in your area.  There are sites that purport to tell you that you can narrow right down to your zip code what your wedding will cost.  I don't trust surveys when it comes to these kinds of details.   I have never seen anyone spend as much as they say a wedding would cost in my particular zip code.  That's not to say that it couldn't happen, but on an average?  No.  No two weddings are alike and no two couples are alike!

1.  It's important to have a basic idea of what you want.  It's a safe place to start and you can always learn about substitutions to reduce costs.  

2.  Don't be surprised when you find substantial differences between vendors.  
If you don't hire a Wedding Planner who will do their best to match you with vendors within your budget, I would suggest that you get at least 3 different proposals within each category for your wedding.  For example, floral designers, caterers, venues, DJ's, photographers.  Cheapest is not always a good value nor is the most expensive always the best quality.  This is the area where Wedding Planners save you a lot of money and quite often it is equal to the their fee.

3.  Ask your friends (newlyweds love to talk about their wedding) and get an idea of what they spent.  You probably have seen pictures at least of what they had in the way of flowers.  If you attended a wedding, you might remember the venue and what food was served.  The details of the photographer, DJ and other vendors will require more detailed questions.

4. Determine what time of year is the busiest for weddings in your area.  For instance in the Pacific Northwest, June is not the busiest wedding month, but the average person who lives here assumes that June is a busy wedding month.  Not so.  Save money by having an "off-season" wedding.

5.  Don't just rely on wedding shows!  They are a good place to get an idea things you will have to plan on for a wedding. The booth spaces are very expensive for businesses and many quality vendors don't spend their money on the shows or they pick and choose which wedding shows to participate in.  It also varies for each vendor category on how beneficial the shows are.  You might want to determine if the shows have a good mix of vendors.  I don't find many clients at wedding shows because usually people going to a show use a wedding show to plan their wedding.  I don't recommend planning a wedding that way because you are not getting the in-depth consultations at a wedding show nor a really good comparison of things you want.  You might be more comfortable with open houses that are held by venues or caterers.  Just search Google for local wedding open houses, show cases, etc.

6.  Attend local wedding planning workshops hosted by wedding planners.  There's no substitute for education.  One thing I have heard repeatedly from vendors is that they wish prospective clients came to them with more education about their services.  Live seminars will give you the opportunity to ask questions and learn from others who are planning a wedding.  Many times different vendors will actually participate in the workshops.   

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Greatest of Days (Event/Wedding Planning/Wedding Officiating)
Since 2007

We would appreciate your vote at the link below

Nominated for Best Wedding Planning in the 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 3 "Making Assumption"

Mistakes That Will  Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 3

"Making Assumptions"

This issue of assumptions is a big one on so many levels of planning!!

What first comes to my mind is wedding flowers.  The shorter the distance your flowers have to fly on a plane the better off your budget will be!  Nature only makes most flowers at certain times of the year and only in certain locations.  

The second thing that comes to my mind is, Venues.  Where do I begin because each venues can vary so much one from another.  The biggest word of caution would be when you hear the word provide.  That is the scariest word in wedding planning in my opinion.  That word provide can get you into so much trouble.  Why??  It doesn't always mean that whatever is provided necessarily comes with the price of the venue.  Look out for hidden fees!  I would suggest you read another of my blog posts to get an in-depth look at what I'm talking about here.  Here's a link to that blog post!  

Many formalwear companies for tuxedos and suits will offer the groom's tuxedo/suit for free if three or more groomsmen rent their formalwear from them for the wedding.  Don't go out and buy a tuxedo or suit if this can save you money.

DJ'S!!!!!  In my opinion this is the most important vendor at your wedding!  Again, this is the most important vendor at your wedding!  They will literally make or break your wedding day.  Get to know your DJ!  Will he or she be more like a club DJ?  That is not the kind you would want for your wedding reception who needs to be able to read the audience (your guests) who will be of all ages!  Does he address the issue of offensive language for young children and other guests who don't want to hear it.  Does he/she ask you many questions about your wedding?  They had better if they know what they are doing.  Do they ask about your story as a couple as well as individuals?


If you hear yourself saying, "I have a friend", "We know someone who..". "My cousin is really good with a camera".........please swallow those words right back into your mouth.  Pictures are the only thing that you will have left as a tangible diary of your entire wedding day that will last forever.  Photography is equally art and science.  It literally refers to recording light.  An experienced wedding photographer will be worth their weight in gold.  Do yourself a favor and talk to many photographers because if they don't make you smile during a consultation or an engagement shoot, you might not be comfortable with them on your wedding day!

Feel free to go to our Greatest of Days website and find a hidden planning tip on each page of our website!

As always....

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Please vote for us in the King 5 Best of Western Washington contest in the Wedding Planner category.  Thank you!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mistakes That Will Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 2

Mistakes That Will  Increase Your Wedding Costs, Part 2

This is something that can happen to anyone planning a wedding.  Most people would apply this behavior with the "Bridezilla" but there's a new term called "Chillzilla" (one who claims they don't really care or will say yes to anything).  I don't particularly like the latter term because this implies that they are temperamental, spineless or moody, and that's usually not the case.  So I will would prefer to create a completely different term for a bride or groom who displays this behavior...someday when I have time.   

There are two types of clients that can make wedding planning difficult.

1.  Bridezillas/Groomzillas who know what they want and do not want to accept the fact that their budget doesn't allow for everything they want.  When they become angry and blame everyone else for "destroying their dream", they tend to think that everyone should make an exception for them while not caring if a vendor would go out of business doing it!

2.  Bless or not bless their hearts, (temporarily called Chillzillas) but there are those just don't know what they want or can't decide between all of the options.  It's understandable, but when a bride or groom say, "I don't really care", that leaves us without a place to even start. This also can be expensive because time lost is money lost.  It can lead to changing one's mind a lot, too.  That doesn't make anyone happy!

My initial consultation form subtly lets me now what a client's personality type is.  That helps me help a client.  It also goes into style preferences, priorities and how they want to remember their wedding as well as their guests.  Once this indecisive client becomes comfortable with the fact that they do care more than they thought and aren't afraid to state what they want, the rest of the journey is easy!

Below, you will get something I don't just share with anyone!  Please let me know if this helps YOU!  This is one page from my initial consultation form.  I suggest that you choose among the following what is most important to you and rank them from 1-5 as to their importance to both of you as a couple.

Level of Importance     most <----------->least
Wedding and Reception Choices in Alphabetical Order
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Attendant’s Dresses
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Flowers for Aisle, Altar
1    2     3      4      5
Flowers for Tables
1    2     3      4      5
Flowers To Carry
1    2     3      4      5
Flowers To Wear
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Hair and Makeup
1    2     3      4      5
Honoring those who have passed away
1    2     3      4      5
Invitations and Save the Dates
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Photo Booth
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Slide Show
1    2     3      4      5
Table Decorations
1    2     3      4      5
Transportation ( i.e. Limo, classic car, horse-drawn carriage, etc.)
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
1    2     3      4      5
Wedding Dress
1    2     3      4      5

1    2     3      4      5

1    2     3      4      5

1    2     3      4      5

1    2     3      4      5

Feel free to go to our Greatest of Days website and find a hidden planning tip on each page of our website!

As always....