Powered by Blogger
Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Create Memories, Not Regrets:

Hi! Susan here. I'm pleased to have Mary Jo Rulnick, a wedding planner as today's guest! I saw Mary Jo on Pittsburgh's morning talk show and knew she'd make a great addition to our blog.

Here's Mary Jo...

Eight Tips to Keep Wedding Planning from Becoming Stressful
By Mary Jo Rulnick, founder of www.GoodBrideBadBride.com

1. Know your personality and the way you work. Knowing the way you work will help you plan your wedding day more efficiently and it will be less stressful. Do you get excited, jump into action, then lose your interest as time goes on? If so, tackle the most time-consuming tasks in the beginning and work your way to the easier ones. For brides who are perfectionists and never seem to finish a job, ask your groom to give you a deadline or a stopping point. Now, if too many decisions overwhelm you, ask mom or another trusted person to narrow down your options. With only three or four choices, it will be easier to handle. For brides who want to make everyone happy, you'll have to remember this is your and your groom's day. Thank family and friends for their suggestions and tell them how much you appreciate their interest, but do what works best for you and your groom.

2. Know the vision you both want for your reception before booking vendors. Sometimes couples start booking vendors and such without grasping the vision of their wedding day. What do you want to remember? What do you want your guests to remember? For instance, if the bride and groom, as well as most of the guests, are reserved, your reception might be more like a dinner party with a jazz band in the background. If you’re both outgoing, your entertainment needs to be as lively as the two of you. This is crucial if you plan to dance the night away. Maybe you’d like to bring in your ethnic background. Besides the typical parts of a ceremony and reception, what else might you want to include? This includes everything from favors to shuttles to welcome bags for out-of-town guests.

3. Know where to spend your money and where to cut back, according to your priorities and budget. Once you know your vision, you’ll know where your priorities are. There are numerous web sites and books that recommend a designated percentage of the budget to various categories. Rather than follow the predetermined percentage, prioritize the wedding categories. Then, divide the money in your budget accordingly. Also, take a look at what you have on your list, and then consider how you can do it for less. You might have in your head you want a slide show of your engagement, but it can run upwards of $900. You can still have a photo montage without spending a lot of money. A digital frame set up near the bar area can achieve the same result on a smaller scale and it can then be incorporated into your home. Or possibly a friend is a graphic designer and would love to create a slide show as his or her gift to you. And always ask the venue what equipment is available.

4. Read contracts thoroughly. If you don’t read the contract thoroughly, it could cost you extra money you hadn’t counted on spending. For instance, do you need to supply a hot meal for your photographer or other vendors? Does your band/DJ charge per hour or for the night? How many breaks will they take? Are your floral vases rented and must be returned? Are there additional charges for set up and break down?

5. Put a twist on the traditional. Instead of having the typical guest book or other wedding items, put your own unique spin on it. For anyone who was engaged in Disney World, consider buying a Disney, Disney World or Florida book and having your guests sign it instead of the traditional white bridal guest book.

6. Avoid turning a theme into chaos. Choose a focus with one or two additions to the reception. Instead of trying to do every unique thing, such as an ice cream bar, wine tent, photo booth, or artist, you’ve seen at a recent bridal expo, use your escort cards, guest book and favors to carry out your theme. For a chocolate theme, escort cards can be created with mini candy bars, skip table numbers and name the tables after favorite chocolates, and make your cookie table a candy table. Then, if you still want something different, add one "fun" thing to the reception.

7. Realize you don’t have to do everything. Initiate a task list for family and friends to help alleviate some of the responsibilities and stress. Give others, from your parents to your future in-laws to friends, tasks to do. If you’re searching for favors, see if a computer savvy friend can surf the Internet for the best company and price. Enlist help for tasks such as calling venues and vendors, making signage, stuffing invitations, organizing the cookie table, baking cookies, and dropping off items at the reception place.

8. Create a timeline. There’s a lot to accomplish during your reception, which is usually five hour time span. Work through your timeline with your banquet manager, venue coordinator, photographer and DJ/Band. Plan what you want to accomplish from what photos you want taken to when you want to cut the cake. Make sure someone, a coordinator, trusted friend or a hired planner, is overseeing this timeline. Two things can happen if you don’t. One, you take too long at the front part of reception and have little time for the socializing, dancing, and enjoying the night. Two, you’re so caught up in the festivities that you wait too long for the traditions, such as father/daughter or mother/son dance and most of the guests have departed before you get around to it.

Mary Jo Rulnick coordinates more than 50 weddings a year from budget conscious to high end. During her fifteen-ye ar career as an events planner, she has organized more than 400 events for all ages including White House staff members, NBA families and NFL players. Mary Jo is the author of The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Feeding Family and Friends (Grand Central, formerly Time Warner Book Group), co-author of The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Life (Grand Central), The Frantic Mom’s Countdown to Easter (Amazon Shorts) and The Frantic Cook’s Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner (Amazon Shorts). She’s a regular TV and radio guest, appearing on stations across the country and has been quoted in national magazines, such as Allure, Better Homes and Garden, Family Circle, Real Simple, and Woman’s Day. Visit Mary Jo at www.GoodBrideBadBride.com or www.MaryJoRulnick.com.


Blogger Susan said...

Mary Jo

Thanks for visiting today! This will give our guests a chance to ask questions!


February 25, 2009 at 4:34 AM  
Blogger Myrna Mackenzie said...

That was so helpful. I love the timeline idea!


February 25, 2009 at 5:06 AM  
Anonymous Mary Jo Rulnick said...

Thanks for the invite Susan. Myrna, the timeline definitely keeps your day on track. Not that a bride wants to look at her watch all day long. However, have a friend do so. One thing to keep in mind, introductions (usually parents, wedding party, bride and groom), couple's first dance, welcome (usually father of the bride), 2 toasts (about 3 to 5 min. each) and a blessing take about 30 minutes. Dinner takes about an hour. The cutting of the cake, father/daughter and mother/son dances will take about 15-20 min. So, that's a good amount of time out of the reception.

February 25, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

In our area, DJ's frequently take charge of the timeline. Interestingly, I guess because they have the microphone, they announce the arrival of the B&G, the first dance (with introductions), toasts, cake cutting...bridal dance.

I'm guessing it's becuase they have the mic!


February 25, 2009 at 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Mary Jo Rulnick said...

You're right Susan. Band leaders and DJs usually announce each part of the reception beginning. Brides and DJs/Band Leaders should work together on the timeline. There are times when the Band Leader/DJ are hesitate to be responsible for the events mentioned earlier. They'll announce the introductions and then wait until they have a cue for the bride, wedding planner, banquet manager, or parents.

February 25, 2009 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Mary Jo Rulnick said...

Susan, to add on to the above comment. It's very important for brides to discuss this very detail with her DJ/Band to make sure everyone is on the same page. Another thing to consider, if a bride has hired a friend to act as DJ, she needs to come up with an alternative person to make announcements if the DJ seems reserved or hesitant to be in the spotlight.

February 25, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Having done an East coast wedding and a west coast reception on my own, your tips are great Mary Jo! I'll have to google escort card though. I don't know what that is!

February 25, 2009 at 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Mary Jo Rulnick said...

Thanks Melissa. Escort cards, also know as reception cards, placards or table seating cards. Different people call them different things. However, think of it this way, when you pick up your card, it escorts you to the table where you will be seated. :)

February 25, 2009 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

It was great to have you here with us, Mary Jo!

The blog is archived, so your information will be available to all those crazed brides looking for help!

Thanks again.


February 26, 2009 at 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Mary Jo said...

Susan, thanks for the invite! I'm happy to help.

February 26, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home