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The worst wedding day phone call ever

The worst phone call in the world

I did a wedding recently that was…AMAZING!  It was beautiful, the venue and food were fantastic, the couple is SO in love, and the guests were ready to PARTY!  However what most people don’t realize is that behind all of that there were a good deal of major issues during the day.

Before I launch into the story, let me assure you that this bride was ON TOP of her planning – she plans events for a living so it’s no surprise that her skills carried over to some very effective wedding planning.  But a whole lot of what went wrong that day were things that were totally out of her control, things no one could have predicted, things that would have ruined her day if she didn’t have BDP and her other awesome vendors there to take care of the problems.  To go through them all would make this post 4 pages long, so let’s just talk about the biggest…

The day started at 9:45am with THE nightmare phone call… “Jennie, the photographer has the stomach flu.”

Yep.

Let’s just stop there.

Interjection…. I can tell you that for anyone in our industry, THIS is their worst fear; waking up in the morning with the stomach flu.  We work tired, we work injured, we work sick, we power through just about everything.  Waking up and being physically ill and having a fever is one of the few things we can’t always “work through”.

So we got on it – phone calls, texts, Facebook messages – her photographer and I raced through the Metro-Detroit wedding industry to find someone that happened to have a Friday in July off.  We found someone in the wonderful, talented, John Richmond of John Richmond Photography. Long story short, the original photographer powered through until after the post-ceremony photos and then broke down into fever again.  John stepped up, took control, and ran through the rest of the evening like he’d been involved from the very beginning.

I want to give a special shout-out to John, of course, but also to her original photographer – the talented Roni Rose with Roni Rose Photography.  She had driven out from Chicago to do the wedding and was cursed with the flu that morning.  As I mentioned, this is a worst fear of anyone in our industry but she handled it like a champ.  She rose the alarm, got help finding a replacement, and even sucked it up and did the photography through the first half of the day.  She did everything anyone could have asked of her and I applaud her for all of her efforts.  I hope that our paths cross again soon and can’t wait to see her amazing images from this wedding!

Lastly a huge thank you to our bride and groom – thank you for trusting me and BDP to help with the wedding.  Also thank you for trusting me to deliver you back to the hotel at the end of the night – our shuttle abandoning the couple doesn’t usually happen (especially since I specifically told them not to leave you behind…), but I still enjoyed the chance to escort you and your new husband to your hotel at the end of the night.  I truly enjoyed working with both of you and hope to see you again soon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to these amazing vendors that made the day great!

Roni Rose Photography

John Richmond Photography

The Colony Club (love you, Bertha!!)

Visi Productions

Parsonage Events

The Kilted Magician

Red House Salon

2016 Wedding Trends!

Who’s ready for some new wedding trends to steal?! The Knot just released their 2016 wedding trend report, and I must say their wedding cake video projection idea is catching our attention.

Here is what we can look forward to this wedding season:

Two-in-one dresses-These offer more bang for your buck and can take you from ceremony elegance to reception party ready!

Floral dresses- Not sure if I’m the only one who paid attention to upcoming spring trends during bridal fashion week recently, but florals are in (and I’m loving every little detail of it). Not only are floral printed gowns taking the stage and altar, but we can also expect traditional dresses with 3-D floral details flooding bridal runways. Pretty cool right?

(Photo above is Hayley Paige’s gown at Hayley Paige’s actual wedding)

Satellite bars- Sometimes one bar just isn’t enough. Couples are setting up two (or more) bars to accommodate guests, but keeping the usual mixed drinks, beer and wine setup at one bar and using the “satellite” bar for a designated signature cocktail, spirit, or wine tasting ☺

Contemporary choirs and late-night karaoke- Now this is a new and fun one! You may be thinking choir?! And trust me, so was I at first, but picture this: 20-person marching band or gospel choir performing your favorite rock ballad for the walk down the aisle or an a cappella version of your first dance song. Talk about show-stopper. If an after-party is in the works, karaoke and some photo booth props make for a fun night cap.

Dessert upgrades- If you’re looking for a new twist on sweets, but still want a wedding cake, you can now use video projection onto wedding cakes to give them an entirely new look. The plain tiers of the cake act as a canvas for projecting video displays. Also heating up are donut displays and mini icepops with the couple’s name on the stick.

Total personalization- Weddings are beginning to tell the story of a bride and groom’s life together. Some examples include serving their favorite dish from a local restaurant, having an ordained family member officiate the ceremony, or decorating tables inspired by their favorite movies.

Locally sourced food- Wedding menus are mimicking the offerings at your local farm-to-table restaurant. Today’s wedding menu goes far beyond the standard chicken or fish choices as more and more couples are opting to serve guests high quality farm-fresh local ingredients.

Food-inspired floral elements- bouquets and centerpieces are transforming from more than just beautiful floral arrangements…fruit and vegetables are making their way into the floral scene. Berries in bouquets, Kale or artichokes in centerpieces, you name it!

Stylish grooms- If us ladies can have two dresses and look absolutely stunning in each, it only makes sense that guys want unique reception looks too. Custom suits with embroidered monograms, velvet loafers and personalized cuff links give guys more style options than ever before. Some ideas include switching to a dinner jacket for the reception or making a wardrobe change to a different bow tie or pocket square. Another fun idea is rounding up the groomsmen and having a preceremony shave, guaranteeing a well-groomed wedding party and the opportunity for some fun photo-ops. Just be careful with the sharp razors!

So what do you think of these new trends?! We would love to hear if you plan on incorporating any of them into your big day!

2015 Wedding Day Saves!

It’s that time of year again!!  Time for my annual edition of “Wedding Day Saves”!

Year to year, this is always the most popular blog post we do because not only does it freak out even the most calm bride, but it also shows you just a small portion of what a good day-of coordinator will do for you!  So sit down, relax, read through just a few of our team’s 2015 saves, and then click here to find out how we can help fix these types of issues on your Big Day!

In 2015, The Tux Hated It’s Buttons

Every year we seem to have one thing that keeps going wrong – last year it was leaning cakes.  I preferred this year’s problem… buttons kept falling off of tuxes!!  Seriously, if I had a nickel for every button I sewed back on this year, I’d have like $1.00!

Don’t always trust the deliveries

I did a wedding this year at a very cool summer camp.  Luckily as I was leaving their rehearsal the night before the wedding I thought that I would just do one quick check of their glassware.  It had been delivered earlier that day and looked like everything was there… until I got into it.  Good news is they had 500 champagne flutes for 200 people… bad news is they only had 20 water glasses.  Spent the next two hours on and off the phone until they were delivered, at 10pm the night before the wedding.  Cheers!

MacGyver

We had a bride this year that had this awesome cuff-like bracelet made of metal.  Unfortunately, it got stretched a little bit too much and as a result became loose and was threatening to break all together.  The bride REALLY wanted to wear it so I told her I’d find a fix.  I have to admit, I’ve done some different things in my career (like hooking a mic up through a bouquet), but sewing a bride into a bracelet using fishing wire ranks up there in the list of “MacGyver” solutions I’ve come up with.

LIQUOR RUN!

With more and more “open concept” venues popping up it’s no surprise that some of our duties have morphed.  We did a lot of weddings at Packard Proving Grounds, or private residences, or Belle Isle Casino this year.  All of these venues are amazing but have one issue – if you run out of liquor / beer / glasses / plates, who is going to get refills?  We are!!!

I don’t think the beer cooler is supposed to do that…

I had the immense pleasure of having a keg cooler explode on me… twice… in one night.  Let’s just say there was a lot of lost beer on the floor, a few ruined linens, and a complex fix to get the beer flowing again.  But we did it and fortunately I didn’t get stopped by the police driving home.  Not sure I could have explained the beer smell….

Ring Bearer’s flower was bigger than his head

Most well qualified florists will ask you the age of your ring bearer (or flower girl!).  They aren’t taking a silent poll, they are making sure they size the flower right.  Unfortunately one of this year’s florists didn’t ask that – and instead sent a full sized boutonniere for the 3 year old ring bearer.  No joke… it was bigger than his head.  Good thing we could pull a small spray rose from an arrangement and make a new one, huh?

The rehearsal dinner arrangements were a great idea… except for that wind!

This past season we worked with a whole crew of our favorite vendors at the amazing Hilltop Manor Inn in Clarklake Michigan.  (Seriously, it’s an awesome place if you’re looking for something!).  As part of our coverage, we were on site to help with their rehearsal and to setup the rehearsal dinner.  One of our favorite florists, Kevin with Twigs and Branches, was on site to setup baby’s breath in wine bottles along a LONNGGG family-style table situated in front of corn fields.  Yes, you read that right and it would have been amazing… except the wind kept knocking over the bottles.  No matter how we arranged them or weighed them down, they just wouldn’t stay upright.  So we revamped and instead lined the bottles in a long row down the tables and made a runner with the baby’s breath.  In the end, it was SO much more beautiful than the original plan that we all had to take a second to pat ourselves on the back!

And because I can’t write up ALL of the saves we did – here’s a few more:

Apparently we enjoy working 18-20 hour wedding days….

That time your church coordinator made you cry

Flute down (CRASH!!)…. flute down (CRASH!)…. yep, another flute down (CRASH!)

Gotta setup (a lot) to tear down!

Because you forgot your overnight bag 45 minutes away

Washington Twp to Marysville to Washington Twp to Marysville to Macomb to Marysville to Washington Twp

When your venue decided, on the day of your wedding, that they wouldn’t setup your favors after all.

Those times we ended up making your floral centerpieces at the last minute… twice.

Because if your bartenders are running 45 minutes late, we can setup your bar for you.

Heard enough?  Then click here to find out how we can truly make your wedding day stress-free!

My favorite 2015 Bride Wedding Quote

We had the great pleasure of working with some really great couples last year.  They were down to earth, happy, relaxed brides and grooms who truly enjoyed their wedding day.  But my favorite quote from the year comes from one of my best brides and went something like this….

I walk into the room where she’s getting ready.

Bride : “Hi Jennie.  Everything going ok?”

Me: Smiling… “Of course, things are great”

Bride looks at me for a second and goes “Who am I kidding?  It’s not like you’d tell me if it wasn’t”.

Nope.  I wouldn’t.  You’re 150% right about that.  And why is that?  Because you had the foresight to hire someone to worry about everything for you!

That’s something you can’t put a value on.  And guess what?  It usually costs about the same, or less, than your wedding cake.  Don’t believe me?  Click here, check out the info, and let’s chat.

Still not convinced?  Wait a day or two and then read our 2015 Wedding Day Saves blog post – coming up shortly!

Introducing….MEGAN!

I’m thrilled to finally (have time to) share with you that BDP has yet another permanent team member!  Megan Owens joined our crew as a summer intern last year.  As has happened in the past, she immediately blew us away with her work ethic, attention to detail, and overall awesome attitude.  Because of this, we knew we just had to keep her!!

Megan has a Bachelors of Arts in Education from MSU (GO GREEN!) and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Marygrove College.  She has two fantastic children and may or may not be dating one of our favorite photographers! 🙂

Besides her love of Pinterest, Megan also has a hidden talent for ping pong and spent some time working as a special education teacher.  Like so many people in our industry, she developed a passion for weddings & events and decided to gain some experience in the field.  We are SO pleased to have her join our team as an official Wedding Assistant and can’t wait for her to continue to grow and expand her position with BDP!

Reasons to hire a wedding planner

Over the years, I’ve seen (and written) quite a few posts about all of the reasons you NEED a wedding planner.  However recently my friend Shannon with Clicking Through Life Photography emailed me her own list and asked me to proof-read it.  I read through it and realized it was one of the most accurate, and concise lists I had ever read.  So of course, I asked if I could share it with all of you.  So here it is… the top 10 reasons you need a wedding planner!

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner 
10. Sounding Board — Wedding planners are a huge creative resource. They listen to your vision and dreams for your wedding and bring their creativity to the process to help your vision come alive.
9. Big Picture — When you pick a venue they often give you a “wedding coordinator” from the venue to help coordinate the day. This person is NOT the same as an independent planner. He or she is the venue’s catering manager and their job is to make sure that everything having to do with the facilities runs smoothly. While they are helpful, they do not cover the scope of what an independent planner does.
8. Budgeting — Wedding planners have been in the industry for some time. They know what things should cost and the difference in value. They can help you navigate the often confusing waters of wedding industry price tags and balance your budget around YOUR priorities.
7. Enjoyable Process — I’ve observed so many brides through the process of planning their wedding and when they do it without a professional planner, oftentimes by the time the wedding comes around, the process has been so stressful that they just can’t wait for it to be over. Planning your wedding is supposed to be an enjoyable process. A good wedding planner helps you enjoy the journey.
6. Mediator — A good planner serves as a buffer in tricky relational situations. It’s a known fact that it’s impossible to make everyone happy when planning a wedding. A planner is a safe neutral person to point to for direction. It’s easier to tell your future mother-in-law, “My planner thinks we need to….” instead of “I think we should….”
5. Timeline — Your wedding day will involve numerous vendors who need to work together to insure that the day goes smoothly. A planner understands how each vendor relies on the others and serves as the team captain who coordinates the complexities of the timeline with all its moving parts.
4. Knowledge Base — This is likely your first time planning a wedding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude. They are a HUGE and readily accessible resource for education.
3. Background — In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge, planners have been in the industry long enough to know who the players are — which vendors can be trusted and who has the best business practices. A referral from someone who has roots in the industry is GOLD when you’re having to place such a high level of trust in those you previously had no knowledge of.
2. Save $ — I have had the planners I’ve worked with tell me that they can actually help their clients save enough money on their wedding to cover the cost of hiring them! How unbelievable is that!?
And the #1 reason to hire a wedding planner is…
1. Stress — The difference in the stress level of a bride who has a professional planner and one who doesn’t is palpable. When it comes to the day of your wedding, the most important thing is that you are able to relax and enjoy it. You are the bride. You don’t want to end up being the point person for issues and questions that will inevitably arise. Hiring a planner frees you and everyone you love to live in the moment on your wedding day.
Thanks Shannon!
Featured image care of www.clickingthroughlife.com

A New Home

Believe it or not, we’ve been in our office almost a year now.  It was our first “home” and it was a trail.  We wanted to see if it was worth the expense.  Did we really need somewhere to hold meetings, or did it make more sense to go back to Starbucks as our “home base”.

The past year has proven two things

  1. We NEED and WANT and WILL ALWAYS HAVE an office.
  1. We need more space.

If you haven’t been there, the current office is one large, kind of strangely – shaped room that’s about 350 square feet.  It’s good.. but not good enough.  We had too many times were clients wanted to meet at the same time and it’s not the format that allows us to hold more than one meeting at a time.  And we’re being overrun by all of our stuff.

So with great pleasure and excitement I’m happy to announce that BDP is moving….across the street.  We have a wonderful landlord and he had a perfect space available in the building right across the street from our current one.

And so we get to upgrade…. to nearly 900 square feet!!  A main meeting area (think our “BDP LIving Room”), a showroom, an office, another office, and best of all… a really large, walk in storage closet!!!  We are IN LOVE!

I’m so excited to post some pictures for all of you once it’s done.  We have a wall to take out this weekend, some crazy carpeting to rip up, a wood floor to put down, blinds to remove,  moldings to paint, a logo to post, well you get the idea.  It’lll take a few weeks to get it up to par.  But as soon as we do, you’re going to get to see it.  It trust me, it’s going to be amazing!!!

 

What dining style is best for your wedding?

Let’s talk food! One of our favorite topics, of course. More specifically, I want to focus on dining style choices because they can really have an impact on the timing and activities of the day. Below are some popular dining options, their pros and cons, and the amount of guests they are best suited for.

Buffet:

Pro’s:

  • less expensive than more formal dining styles
  • picky eaters can rejoice because they will have the choice of what they eat and how much they eat
  • quicker option than more formal choices (*as long as you don’t have too many guests)
  • offers more choices for guests with dietary restrictions
  • saves (some) money on catering-staff charges because guests are serving themselves

Con’s:

  • large guest counts may make buffets disorganized
  • buffets give guests control over the wedding reception timeline, which could throw off the schedule
  • one buffet table serves around 100 guests, so more tables may have to be added depending on how many guests you have
  • if you aren’t careful a buffet can become less budget friendly, as it may require a surprising amount of rental equipment

Price Range: affordable
Atmosphere: lively and energetic
Best Suited for: 60-100 guests

Family style:

Pro’s:

  • highlights the idea that two families are joining together
  • more affordable than plated dining style
  • less chaotic than a buffet because guests aren’t constantly leaving the table to get more food, which also makes for an efficient and somewhat quick dinner
  • this style lends itself perfectly to the trend of gorgeous large banquet tables
  • perfect for smaller, more casual weddings, as it can allow the guests to leave feeling very bonded with one another

Con’s:

  • you may need to increase your budget for rental items to account for additional platters and serving pieces
  • you may have increased food costs because your caterer will need to make extra food to ensure nothing runs out
  • if the caterer is not set up to properly organize a family style reception things can be disorganized. Ensure that this is something the venue, staff, and caterer are capable of doing.

Price Range: mid-range
Atmosphere: intimate
Best Suited for: 80-100

Plated meal:

Pro’s:

  • most formal dining choice and often the most elegant
  • the more formal the event, the more likely it is that guests will expect sit down service during the meal
  • allows guests the ability to sit and relax instead of worrying about how to get their own food
  • the larger the guest count, the more convenient plated dining will be because you won’t have to worry about crowds of guests trying to get their food
  • when all guests are seated it is easier to organize toasts and cake cutting, as opposed to people being responsible for getting their own food and holding up the schedule

Con’s:

  • staffing portion of the catering bill will be higher due to the need for a larger waitstaff
  • if you have a guest list with vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, and people who are gluten free, the plated style dinner can be very difficult to accommodate them
  • plated can take away from certain ambiances and make the reception feel more formal than you originally planned for it to be. If rustic and casual is the feel that you are going for, plated might not be the right option to fulfill that.

Price Range: a bit pricey
Atmosphere: elegant and formal
Best Suited for: 100+

This may just be the planner in me, but try to keep the timeline/schedule and guest count in mind when choosing a dining style. Parties that are significantly large, weddings that have a lot of activities planned, and weddings that are dependent on staying on time should be conscious of the amount of time certain dinners take.

Remember, you don’t have to be chained to one option for the entire wedding day! Feel free to combine styles. The salad could be family style, the main course could be plated, and dessert could be buffet! This is your day, have fun with it and do what you want!

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