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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Handling Guests Who Don't RSVP But They Show Up Anyway!

This will be short and sweet!

First I would say, if you haven't received an RSVP from a guest prior to the week before your event or wedding...don't stress yourself out buy double-checking to see if they are attending.  Your caterer needs to know around this time how many people are going be attending to be able to order and prepare food for your event.

How do you handle those people who are inconsiderate and don't RSVP in any way shape or form....but then show up for your event expecting a seat and to be fed.

Here's my recommendation!  

1.  Set up one more table in the far back corner especially reserved for those who didn't respond with a yea or nay.  Don't bother having a centerpiece for this table!

2.  If you have an emcee, or DJ in the case of a wedding, instruct him or her to release that table last to go through the buffet line.   

3.  If you make it the highest number that is easier to keep track of.  Hmmm....I'm trying really hard not to call it Table #0.

4.   Instruct the people serving anything during the event to serve table last.  Same with the cake and champagne for toasts!

Chances are those unexpected guests won't notice what is happening.  Most importantly, if you take these actions you will make sure that the people who did RSVP will not be the ones scraping the bottom of the chafing dishes.  If anyone has to do that, it should be those who didn't RSVP!  

Wishing you the greatest of days!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Destination Weddings? Are They Your Ticket?

When I talk to brides who have gotten married in Las Vegas or at some other destination foreign or domestic, I'm not surprised with their stories.  For one thing, what they thought was going to be the easy way to go, hasn't always ended up being the easiest path to get to that aisle of "I do".  Perhaps in their minds, they were thinking that it was all just magically going to happen much more easily...someplace else.  I detect a little bit of denial that it's all going to be done by someone else. I'm not at all against destination weddings, but I don't think people are prepared for some of the extra challenges they might face with a destination wedding.

Here are 9 basic things that brides should consider when they are planning a destination wedding.

1.  Brides are likely going to be spending a lot of money on phone calls depending on their phone plan. They can also expect a lot of emails, even more so than planning a wedding near their home.

2.  Not only is there often a difference in time zones between countries, sometimes there just isn't the sense of urgency that we are accustomed to which can add to delays.

3.  Laws in other countries can put stipulations on how many days you have to be there before you can have a wedding ceremony and sometimes the hotel/wedding venue can make people wait even longer.  It has changed in Tahiti, but a bride and groom were required until rather recently to be there for the 30 days in advance of their wedding.  

4.  Brides and grooms are quite possibly going to be taking a lot of flack from family or friends, who would normally be within miles of where the wedding is, but are suddenly facing major travel expenses. Members of the bridal party, who are probably not yet as financially established as they would like to be, can really feel the pinch. Their normal investment would only be the standard gift, bridesmaids dress and so forth, and a plane ticket can feel like the cost of a flight to another planet.   Especially with the economy being what it is for the millenials.

5.  A bride would be doing well to be prepared for friends or family who can't afford or feel able to travel, to feel like they are nothing more than a solution to trimming a bride and groom's guest list. It's doubtful that that would be a bride's intention and she would probably feel horrible!  Brides just need to be sensitive to issues that are going to appear more prominently with a destination wedding.

6.  We all know that traveling is more of a challenge than it used to be.  Preparing to travel for a destination wedding is much different than taking a vacation or even for a business trip. It can make packing for any other trip seem like a picnic.  Brides should think seriously about this when purchasing a wedding gown for a number of reasons that I'm sure you can think of in just a few seconds.  It's also much easier to return home to pick up those forgotten items when you are within a short driving distance of your wedding.  If this happens, brides should make sure that they have a trusted someone back home who can arrange to ship items to your destination ASAP.  

7.  Destination weddings are the perfect solution for many brides and grooms and their friends and family.  It's absolutely wonderful when this sounds like a piece of heaven on earth for everyone. Often they are a wonderful vacation and an opportunity to get away to be with so many of their loved ones and get acquainted with their new family and friends especially if everyone has to wait a few days before the wedding.  However, this waiting time has caused some brides to be more stressed out before their wedding.  

8.   I've been to wedding receptions where people showed the video of their destination wedding and I'll tell you that people will often cry as much as if they were actually there.  That's actually good news!  You can try to have a very small intimate destination wedding followed by a reception back home which will make everyone feel included.  It all depends on what your reason is for having a destination wedding.

9.  I've save what I think is the most important for last.   For destination weddings, my biggest suggestion would be to find an independent bona fide travel agent! The ones that give you personal service.  Believe me, an agent like this is worth their weight in gold!  It's a completely different traveling experience when you do this! 

Okay, a little trivia here.  Did you know that 50% of the brides that fly to Hawaii to get married are from the Seattle area?  This is according to a very experienced Wedding Coordinator I know in Hawaii.  I would trust her to any of my clients and would say don't get married in Hawaii unless you speak with her first! Seriously!  

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You May Be Seated But How?

"Welcome!  Are there 150 of you dining this evening?  Would you like reception, plated, classroom, buffet or theatre?  One might be safe for you and one might not."    

You might be thinking, "She's really lost her mind now!"  But this is important information.  What I'm referring to are the different types of seating options for events.  Depending upon the type of event, you will have to decide which one best suits your needs.  I'm really trying to avoid puns here, but we'll see how long I can do that!

Let's say that you're having a wedding reception.  Reception style might be what you would assume, but in this case, you would not find a place to plant it!  Picture in your mind what it looks like when you're waiting for the doors to open for an event.  Everyone is standing around and there might be a few people sipping coffee, others not and you can see a cocktail table or two here and there.  That is what reception style is like.  Standing is the key word.  In fact if you've noticed on the walls a sign that reads "Maximum Capacity  150 people", they are referring to the number of people allowed with the reception style.  You would be disappointed if you were thinking it is perfect because you're inviting 150 people to your wedding reception, banquet, fund raising dinner, etc.  With Reception style seating think of S.R.O.- Standing Room Only. Taken out of context, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

Now, let's go to plated.  More than likely everyone has assigned seating in this situation, but primarily it means that there are complete place settings at a regular table when guests arrive.  Do you see how this changed how many people you can fit into a room?  At most receptions, it takes 100 square feet to seat 8-10 people around a round table with enough room for people to walk between tables, including wait staff.  You would need about the same amount of space for a buffet reception, but you would have to take into account that a buffet line takes up space in a room along with the seating.

Classroom and theatre seating are more common for seminars.  Classroom includes shallow tables to sit at so a person can take notes.  However, sometimes it is an option for a head table where the bridal party sits, or the board members at a meeting. Theatre seating is more like what you would find at a ceremony with one or more aisles separating the seating areas. 

Sorry, but I can't help but think of something we memorized as kids.  It goes like this.  "Ladies and Gentlebeans!  This Thursday which is Good Friday there will be a special fathers meeting for mothers only.  There is no admission, just pay at the door!  Pull up a seat and sit on the floor." Whatever!