Archive for 'Planning'

By Alicia French

Weddings are something that won’t go away, ever.  Regardless of the economic state of the country or various other trends, weddings are pretty stable.  People may scale back in times of economic slump, but weddings none the less still occur.  An average of 2.3 million couples get married each year in the United States adding up to around $72 billion spent on wedding festivities.  According to The Knot, the average wedding cost is nearly $30,000.  If couples scaled back by just 10% and donated that amount to charity instead:  weddings could raise $7.2 billion dollars.  Imagine what that could do for sick children, hungry families or cancer research.

Weddings are a celebration of love and agreeably one of the happiest days in a couple’s life.  I don’t denounce their importance or mean to suggest they should be eliminated.  However, if each of the 2.3 million people that get married each year agreed to donate just a small portion of their budget to charity or make choices that benefit charity, there is no question that lives could be changed or even saved.

Luckily, couples can contribute to change without any sacrifice on their part.  One way to incorporate charity into your big day is through vendor selection.  Instead of simply choosing a vendor based on talent or price, consider asking them if they are involved with any charities. You may be surprised to find out that many of the vendors or products you planned to buy anyway give a portion of their proceeds directly to charity.  ONEHOPE Wine, for example, gives a percentage of their wine sales to charity at no additional cost to you.  Additionally vendors like Reeves Photography and Tangled Lilac Photography (formerly Melissa Dunstan Photography) give actively to local charities both in time and in money.  Therefore, by booking them, you are essentially contributing to the charity that they support.  The fact that you even inquired about charity may inspire vendors to get more involved as they often base their services around the needs and requests of clients.

Why weddings?  Like I said, they will continue to occur and money will continue to be designated for the purpose and spent accordingly.  It is common to overspend while getting wrapped up in all the details which may cause some buyer’s remorse when all is said and done.  However, if you knew your photographer or florist contributed to the greater good you would have the satisfaction of knowing your purchase changed lives long after the wedding was over.  Imaging the impact if everyone just made a small step to incorporate charity into their wedding.  It’s just a small shift in perspective, really.  Would it change the world?  I don’t know, but I would be interested in seeing what it could change.

Alicia French is author of Giving the Good Life.

By Debbi Grogan

Traditionally grooms have been on the outside fringes of wedding planning.  They usually find things out when the bride shares her worries or her decisions.  Why is this?  It is his wedding, too.  He’s the leading man in this production and deserves to have more of a say than which cake tastes better or if he wants beef or chicken.  There are many areas a groom can help out:  I’ve just listed a few.

YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE.  How many brides have the time to put together a website for the wedding?  Is this an area in which your groom excels or something he might find challenging?  Giving your groom the job of setting up and maintaining the website is an excellent way for him to be involved.  After all, you both have to discuss content and how often to update.

TAKING CARE OF OUT OF TOWN GUESTS.  Who is taking care of all the maps and things to do for out of town guests, as well as negotiating with the hotel?  Is this really something you have to do?  Don’t you have enough on your plate?  Together you can discuss what areas you’d like out of town people to see, and then set him loose.  Let him be in charge of the social calendar for the week before and after the wedding.  Many guests see out of town weddings as a mini vacation.  Let your groom show his fun side!

SLIDESHOW.  Who is putting together the slide show?  Sit down together and pick out your favorite pictures and songs, and then let him show you just how creative he can be.  When you look at your reception you have a sense of pride that everything you picked came together beautifully.  Let him have the same sense of satisfaction.  Slideshows are fun for everyone attending, and to take that off your plate can be a huge relief.

RESEARCHING COSTS.   Is your guy really good at hunting out bargains?  Does he scour the web looking for the best deals?  Let him research costs.  Have your own personal research assistant that knows exactly what you’re looking for do all the leg work.  Together, you can look at the prices and each of you can discuss the options from an informed point of view.

I’ve met few grooms who are happy to take over all the planning and let the bride just show up, but I do see brides doing this to their grooms all the time.  When I’ve asked why they do it – the excuse is always the same, “He doesn’t care about this stuff.”  Is it that he doesn’t care, or is it that most grooms don’t feel safe speaking up?  Now I’ll admit most guys really aren’t into the color of the linens, the type of flowers, or what the bridesmaid dresses look like, but instead of just assuming they don’t care about anything having to do with the wedding, give the guy a break.  Actually, give the guy a job.

Debbi Grogan is Onwer of Peak Events LLC



Nov 02,12

Q: My fiance and I want a smaller wedding, but we both have hundreds of friends and a handful of childhood friends and over 15 couples have invited us to their wedding.  How do we decide on who comes and who doesn’t make the cut?

A:  It is completely appropriate to tell your friends that although you would love if everyone attended, you are keeping it to immediate family and your closest childhood friends.  Keep in mind, even though you were invited to a friend’s wedding, it doesn’t mean they automatically get invited to yours.  If you have it in your budget, host a celebration after the big day at your favorite restaurant or fun bar with those that weren’t able to attend – you don’t have to pick up the entire bill.  Give drink tickets and pay for the first round.

Q: My venue has an on-site person already that has been helping with my wedding, but my Maid of Honor thinks I should get a wedding planner.  What is the difference?

A:  Your on-site coordinator is a wealth of knowledge and we love them, but they are not a wedding coordinator.  Your on-site coordinator knows the venue inside and out.  They can also provide you with a preferred vendor list that features their favorite vendors to work with as well as help with some of your setup basics on the day of.  What they won’t do is review and negotiate savings with your wedding contracts, team you up with vendors that fit your style, budget and vision, assist you with your overall design, create a master timeline to send out to all of your vendors and family members, and help with last minute detail and design work.  Wedding coordinators are like personal assistants.  They can do everything from going to all your vendor meetings to post wedding services, like making sure all of your wedding items get returned to the appropriate place.  On-site coordinators love wedding coordinators and vice versal.  When you have both together you are guaranteed a flawless celebration.

Amina Michele is a wedding planner and entertainment & style expert sharing all her knowledge with you.  Ask her anything at