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Some brides stress out about not having enough help from their family and friends during the planning of their wedding. Every once in a while though, there’s a bride with a BIG family and far too many offers of help.  I come from a large family and know how overwhelming (and sometimes overbearing) a large number of people can be. When they believe they are being a helpful, they are actually piling on the stress…

THERE IS A SOLUTION!

First, remember that your family loves you.  That is the only reason they would offer to help.  Consider yourself lucky that you have an overabundance of help, but then use these handy ideas to keep them involved, but still maintain control! 

There are plenty of big and small details that your large family can help with.   Trust me, spreading out portions of that huge to do list to your family will not only make them feel like they’ve played an important role in your special day, but it will also alleviate some of your stress.

Invitations

 

One of the most tedious and time consuming tasks in the wedding planning process is the stuffing and addressing of all of your invitations for the big day.  Your big family can be a considerable help with this daunting task.  Some brides choose to do invitations with a few glasses of wine in front of a good chick flick.  But why not utilize your big family in getting these invites out?  After all, they will be getting one themselves, why can’t they help?  Here’s an idea!  Have a family dinner and then after dinner make an assembly line to get those invitations addressed!  Sisters with their loopy scroll can address while the family members with questionable penmanship can stuff!  (The younger members can lick and stamp!)  It’s a great excuse to bring the whole crew together, but it also does two great things!  First, it gives everyone the opportunity to help, which makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Second, it gives you an open forum to dish on all of the great details about the wedding.  After all, the evening is in your honor!  Get to talking!  

 

Wedding Party

 

One of the most common ways that family members get involved in your wedding day is by being a part of the wedding party. Sometimes you are super close to these family members.  But sometimes your Aunt can be strangely adamant that their son should be your ring bearer.  When you’re trying to make everyone happy, the stress can get to you!  This is especially difficult in larger families.  You have 3 nephews, but which one should be your ring bearer?  You have 4 female cousins who all want to be bridesmaids but with your 5 friends, that number quickly gets out of hand.  Never fear! “Wedding Party” can mean more than you think!  Did you know that you can have 3 ring bearers and 3 flower girls?  Nothing is more adorable than an entire army of cuteness walking down the aisle!  And instead of having your cousins as bridesmaids, remember that there are always other “responsibilities”.  Ask eager to be involved relatives to be ushers or pass out programs prior to the ceremony.  What about being on hand to help people at the photo booth scrap book or your oober unique guestbook?  What about contributing to dessert time by making their amazing chocolate chip cookies?  This way they feel they’ve played an important role on your special day and you can relax, 100% in control!

 

End of Night Duties

Ever wondered how all those gifts and personal items make their way back to your home once you’ve made your getaway for the honeymoon? Typically parents or siblings take on the responsibility of collecting your things. Appoint one of those eager Aunts, Uncles or Cousins to help out at the end of the night and give mom and dad a break! After all they deserve to enjoy the evening their child gets married, too.  When you ask a family member to help with the end of the night duties, you will not only lift some of the weight off your parent’s shoulders, but that family member who couldn’t financially pitch in, will know they played a vital role at your wedding!

 

Hopefully I’ve given you some good ideas on trying to ease all that family helpfulness.  Just remember that at the end of the day your family loves you and for as crazy as they can appear, they want you to have an amazing wedding!

 

 Until next time, keep it classy Austin!

 

"E"

 

 

 

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Last year I had the pleasure of coordinating many amazing events!  Though on the surface they all looked effortless and seamless, the truth is that many of them had their share of mishaps.  Did the bride find out about them?  Sometimes, yes.  But most of the time she had no idea.  Why?  Because it’s when those inevitable mishaps occur that you need your coordinator the most.  We take on the stress of each unexpected item and handle it with ease and experience.

 

Right now we are in the middle of what our industry calls “Engagement Season”.  It’s predicted that 33% of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  Even though January can be a slow month for weddings, it’s a busy season for meeting all of the friendly faces we’ll be working with for the next year.  It’s also the time when we as coordinators, are grilled the most.  “How long have you been doing this?” “Where can I read your reviews?” “What does your package include?” “How much is the package?”  And then there is the reoccurring question that always seems to come up.  “Can you give us an example of something that went wrong and how you fixed it?” 

Last engagement season’s answer was a long story about a little wedding in a cave that was RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME.  But when a lightning strike rendered the lift (that delivered items into the cave) inoperable and the half mile uneven hike into the cave and out complicated our set up time, coupled with the caterer who showed up 15 minutes before dinner in a pair of shorts and 1970’s Superman shirt, we knew it was going to be a long night.  

This engagement season’s answer though hits a little closer to home for most clients because it involves the cake, a traditional item found at most weddings…

 

I worked with a couple for close to a year planning their beautiful wedding.  They were married at a local church and their reception immediately followed at a very nice hotel.  After the ceremony the bride and groom stayed behind at the church to finish photos while their guests headed to the reception.  Their guests enjoyed appetizers and beverages for one hour at the reception without the bride & groom at “Cocktail Hour”.  Meanwhile the bride and groom finished their remaining photos at the church and then arrived at the reception ready to party! 

Just before the ceremony, I get a text message from the hotel banquet manager that the cake had not arrived yet.  I thought “Not possible, I work with this baker all of the time! They have never been late a day in their life!”  But she was right.  No cake was to be found.  So after sending a beautiful bride down the aisle and smoothing out the train of her dress, I then start my phone-stalking process outside of the church.  No answer.  (I mean, why would they, they are out delivering, right?) 

Me (on the outside to guests coming in late):  Hi! *smile* Please enter to the side doors so you don’t interrupt the service.

Me (on the inside to guests coming in late): OMGOMGOMGOMG I need a cake!!! OMGOMGOMGOMG

Fast forward to cocktail hour.  There is still no cake.  Thankfully, the bride is still taking photos at the church.  And let me make one thing very clear…. This is NOT something you want to tell a bride if you can help it.  So instead of throwing up my arms and saying, “Forget it! Sorry, there’s no cake and there’s nothing I can do!”  I start phone-stalking every other baker in town with the banquet manager.  “Please tell me you have some sort of cake available.” 

God must have smiled on us that day because we found an amazing baker that actually had enough sheet cake for the guest count. 

Me: Let me get the credit card! Wait, what we do we display??!  A-ha!  Let’s use one of your display cakes for the presentation!  Then we can put a small round cake on top as the top layer.  Then they can cut something in front of their guests!  Then the hotel can cut the sheet cake in the back before serving and no one will know!

Me (on the side):  Phew…. 

My credit card was out and ready when the baker pulled up outside of the reception.

Baker: “I’m so sorry! I got lost on the way to the venue before you and have been stuck in traffic all the way here. I’m so so so sorry!” 

Me (on the inside): Honey I don’t care, just give me my cake!

The baker starts to bring the cake into the reception for all of the guests to “Ooohhh” and “Aaahhh” over.  My blood pressure finds a small reprieve until I get a call from the bride.

Bride: “Hi Stefanie, we’re around the corner.”

Blood Pressure: Up.

Me (on the inside): NO!!! THE BRIDE CAN’T SEE THAT HER CAKE IS BEING DELIVERED NOW!!! SHE CAN’T KNOW!!!

Me (on the outside): “Yay!! It’s time to party! Have the driver deliver you to the front of the hotel, instead of the ballroom.  That way we can get you upstairs to your room, bustle your dress and touch up your make up! I even have appetizers and your signature drinks being delivered to your room!”  *Enter stern eyes at the banquet manager, who understands what I’m saying and sends someone up immediately with those items.*

Bride: “That sounds amazing!! I’d like to reapply my lipstick before the introduction anyways.”

So, up to the room we go!  My assistant is down with the baker the entire time, waiting for the cake to be fully assembled.  While bustling the bride’s dress in her room, I am getting continuous feedback from my assistant.  “She said 10 more minutes.”  “She’s putting the flowers on now.”  “She’s leaving and we’re ready for her!”

Me: “Alrighty! Let’s get you to your party!”

And the rest of the night went off without a hitch.

The end result?  As we said goodbye at the end of the reception, the bride cried because everything was so perfect. Little did she know, right?!  In fact the bride had no idea that ANYTHING happened until she returned from her honeymoon and her mom mentioned it to her.  Right on cue, I got a concerned email from her.  By that time, I had already contacted the baker during office hours and discussed the situation.  They already had a partial-refund waiting for her. 

Now when I talk to the bride, all she can say is “THANK YOU for not telling me about what was going on!!  THANK YOU for handling it!  You’re amazing!!!”

Me: *blush*

That’s what I do.  That’s what we do.  We can’t promise we’ll always be able to hide the mishaps from you.  Sometimes we will have to discuss something with you, your fiancé or your family.  But as the professionals you hired for your wedding, we DO promise to handle everything with you AND your emotions in mind.  If my client had known that the cake was missing, I knew she would have been a hot mess and wouldn’t have been able to enjoy her ceremony OR day!  So instead, we handled the situation for her and made sure everything in her eyes was 100% seamless and her perfect day was amazing.

Do you have someone who will go to those lengths for you on your day?  If you don’t… then you should.

Happy Planning! ~Stef

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Last night I was watching some re-runs of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  It was the episode where Cynthia married Peter.  The part of the episode that sparked my interest and got the wheels turning about my own experiences, was during the pre-ceremony minutes before Cynthia is about to walk down the aisle. This is when Cynthia’s mother and sister realized that the marriage license was not at the museum. This meant that that they would not be legally married, if the license wasn’t signed and sent in for that day.  Neither the mother nor sister said anything to Cynthia. You might think that they were being respectable and not worry the bride on her big day, but really both mom and sis despised Peter and they were using this as a way to plot and break the couple a part.

Of course you watch shows like this because you get sucked into the drama and all of the ridiculous interactions and events.  However this episode is relatable to many weddings that I have had the pleasure of coordinating.

The sad truth is that family drama is one of the number one issues that I deal with at events. Unfortunately not all families and friends are as excited as you are about your engagement to your fiancé.  There are many reasons that can cause their distaste: race, religion, recent divorce, social class, or even jealousy. However with these easy tips you will be able to dodge, leap and jump over all issues, in order to have an amazing day and marry the one you love!

             

Race/Religion

The Situation: You are a Caucasian Catholic and he is an African American Buddhist. Both sets of parents are upset. You are from a small town in the south that is still stuck in the 1950’s.

The Solution: First, take some time to yourselves to celebrate your engagement.  Second, remind your family that this is the 21st century and you are a part of a different generation where race is not an issue. Although you respect where you came from and their beliefs, it is still ultimately your decision. Each of you should speak with your parent’s separately, in private, so any argument that may ensue doesn’t hurt your fiancés feelings.  Remind them that ultimately it is your day and you want them to be there with you to celebrate this special moment in your life.  Do not be surprised if they threaten to not attend the wedding.  Be assertive and hold your ground.  Hope that at the end of the day they will set aside their own beliefs and feelings in order to support you both!  While planning the wedding, offer to compromise and incorporate both of your cultures in a non-denominational religious ceremony in a way that will still acknowledge your bond with God, your family and your marriage!

                         

Recent Divorce

The Situation: Your parents have been married for 30 years and they just sat you down to tell you that they have decided to get divorced… 2 months before your wedding.  Mom and Dad are not on speaking terms.  Both are coming to you asking for you to take sides and dis-invite the other.

The Solution: First off, tell both parent’s that you love them both and that you understand this cannot be easy on them.  Then explain that you want both of them to be present at your wedding and to respect each other while there.  They need to realize that the day is more about you than the ending of their marriage.  Try to make them as comfortable as possible at the wedding.  At the ceremony, make sure that you sit each parent on a separate row.  Since your dad gets to walk you down the aisle, let mom sit in the first seat on the front row and put dad in the first seat on the second row.  While taking photos, take pictures with your mom and dad separately so they have a keepsake from your special day.  But don’t forget to take one with both of them.  Warn them about this photo before the wedding so they can deal with their emotions beforehand.  Remind them that though their marriage is over they are BOTH still your parents and this photo is important to you.  During dinner make sure that you have assigned tables. Seat both parents at separate tables.  In order to further avoid drama and temper tantrums, divide up all of the family between the tables evenly so that each parent still feels special. Lastly, if you are really worried about a parent making a scene ask another family member to just keep a watchful eye on said person. This will help ensure that your wedding will be drama free!

                          

Social Class

The Situation: You met the love of your life while working at a coffee shop as a barista, where he would come to get his morning cup of Joe before heading to the hospital.  His family thinks you are a gold digger because you never attended college and are a free spirit; while he attended a 4 year university before going to medical school and becoming a doctor.  Your fiancé wants to give you your dream wedding and has offered to pay for everything.  However, his parents continue to not acknowledge you and have threatened to not attend the wedding.  They are even insisting that your fiancé makes you sign a pre-nup.

The Solution: “Man up” and confront the situation over dinner one night.  Tell them that you understand that they have their son’s best interests in mind, just as parents should!  But remind them that you love their son too and will soon be a part of his life full-time.  Tell them that you are willing to do whatever necessary so they can get to know you too.  How can you do this?  Invite each parent to a one on one dinner or event for them to get to know you better.  If his dad loves sports, take him to your cousin’s peewee football game or offer to play tennis with him.  You can take his mom to your neighborhood where you grew up, show her your school, and all of your hangouts.  While you show them a little bit about yourself, ask them about about themselves.  “What’s your favorite sports team?”  “Where did you grow up?”  Strip yourself from all materialistic things and let them get to know the real you.  Show his parents all of the qualities that made your fiancé fall in love with you.  In the end, kill them with kindness and keep in mind that their problem probably stems from something other than you!  If that doesn’t work, consider a smaller intimate wedding with close friends, or a destination wedding! When it comes to prenups, this decision should be made between you and your fiancé.  You two must come to an agreement on this subject.  His parents may view this as “protection”, while you view it as a pre-cursor for divorce.  This conversation should not be held with his parents.  This conversation should be between you and your fiancé. 

                   

Jealousy

The Situation: You just got engaged and you are the first grandchild in your family to get married! Now it is time to select those special people that will stand up with you at your wedding! Unfortunately you come from a huge family, and you have 2 sisters, 3 female cousins, and 10 female nieces.  Your family expects you to include all of these women and girls in your wedding party.  You are not really close with all of these family members, but you have decided to include them since it is important to your family. However, two of your cousins are older than you and single. All of this attention you’re getting from your family is making them bitter and they act out by showing up to showers late and complaining every time you talk about the wedding.  They have even asked if they can choose their own bridesmaid dresses which they want to be white. Of course. 

The Solution: Before you lose your cool and explode, invite both girls to dinner or happy hour. Tell them that you are not only thrilled that they want to share this special day with you, but that you WANT them to be bridesmaid’s (even if you really don’t).  Hopefully this pep talk will inspire them to put forth a little more effort and be respectful. If they continue to disregard your feelings and cause drama, inform them that although you originally wanted them to be bridesmaids you instead need their expertise and skill to be hostesses at the wedding and your go-to girls at the end of the night when it is time to pick up presents and get personal décor taken home. This way the girls are still involved in the process and feel special, but you don’t have to worry about them stepping on your train when you walk down the aisle!

                                     That’s a wrap from K-CAT!

                                            

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From learning the inner-workings of the wedding world to creating memorable details unique to each bride I couldn’t have asked for more from interning with Your Wedding, Your Way in 2011. Not only do we get to work with amazing Austin companies, we have the best brides & grooms EVER.  Why do I love them?  Because they incorporate so many fun surprises. I wish I could give shout-outs to all of the little WOW factors I’ve seen.  But unfortunately I didn’t get to work at all of our events through this crazy wonderful year, but here are a few highlights…

Amy & Ryan were two of the sweetest and loving people I’ve ever met! Their AMAZING videographers (Spinning Leaf Films) made a perfect day-of video for them to view during their reception towards the end of the night. It made their very special day that much more meaningful because they got to share that emotional moment of watching their day for the very first time with their family and friends!!!  See it here!


Katie & Chase had a cute, cute, CUTE sendoff with paper airplanes! Different idea…yes, but perfect because Chase is a pilot! They incorporated many fun aviation details throughout the night from the groom’s cake to the serenading of Katie by himself and his pilot buddies!

Michelle & Scott’s wedding guests were such a fun crowd! Between all of the photo booth fun and everyone out on the dance floor (ESPECIALLY MichelleJ) it was impossible for someone to have a bad time at their Driskill Wedding!  I had a blast watching everyone enjoy the party.  But the night didn’t stop at the send off because their close friends joined Michelle & Scott downtown!

Cindy & Irvin had a funky, fresh twist on the photo booth at their wedding. Instead of the typical poses with props, they had a photo flipbook booth by On The Flipside!!! Everyone had a blast making their very own pocketbook movie that they could take with them and remember what a blast they had on Cindy & Irvin’s special day.

One of my favorite memories from Erin & Jud’s wedding is when Stefanie had an owl cake waiting for Erin at her seat as an inside joke.  Erin threatened her mom early on that she was going to have an owl-themed wedding.  She kept up the charade but ultimately did not choose to have an owl themed wedding.  But as a surprise to Erin, Stefanie made sure she had something owl-related at the wedding.. It was the cutest cake I’ve ever seen, we even decided to name him!  Thank you to Shary The Cake Bake Lady for the amazing cake!

There are so many other amazing weddings with tons of great memories to go with them, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what 2012 has in store for us! ‘Til next time…

Keep It Classy Austin!

“E”

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Courtney’s wedding was featured on Love & Lavender today!  Check it out! 

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Courtney & Nick are married! Yay!  I have to tell you, I L.O.V.E.D this wedding!  Courtney is a planner at heart and she did a great job coordinating the colors and design seamlessly!  These amazing photos go to show what a clear design concept, well thought-out plan, day-of coordinator and fabulous photographer can get you!  You did a great job Courtney!  

Love and hugs to Bend The Light Photography for sharing these amazing photos!  We L.O.V.E. the girls at Bend The Light!   Check out their blog for yourself and see why!  If you’re looking for a consistently fabulous photographer, these are the girls you want!

We also heart Eden’s Echo!  Erin and her staff create beautiful flowers within your budget, just like they did for Courtney & Nick’s wedding! 

Thanks to An Event to Remember in San Antonio!  They handled the rentals, set up, service, food & lighting like the pros they are!

Without further ado, I present… Courtney & Nick: September 24, 2010!

Totally loving the photo of her dress above and all of the details below!

If you’re still considering a “First Look”, please let these photos convince you!  Nick and Courtney decided to do a First Look and now they have beautiful bride & groom photos!  By sneaking a peak before the ceremony, they were able to spend some quality time with their photographers and wedding party and get the stunning photos below!  They did all of this without the stress of a hectic wedding time line… every girls dream!  A First Look lets your photographer catch every smile, laugh and even some of the tears!  Still not sure?  Talk to your photographer about a First Look and decide if its the right decision for you!

I’m in love with groomsmen socks… Details, Detail, Details!

Courtney’s look below makes my heart smile… and Nick’s smile makes it clear why she chose him!

The wedding featured colorful preset salads, photos of past family weddings and a full dessert bar in addition to the traditionally fabulous cake!

Her Bride & Groom cake top (seen above) was Courtney’s inspiration!  She had a graphic of the little bride & groom created, then placed it on their program fans for the ceremony!  Quick Tip: Find something that inspires you and spend your planning time creating fun ways to incorporate it in more than one area of your wedding!

Warning: Totally cute charcoal Maid of Honor dress below!

Congrats again you two!  We hope to see you at the next Mr. & Mrs. Club Event!

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