Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekly Round Up: What a Week

Despite all the snow and rain and generally over wintery weather, its been a week. On a personal note, the path that I thought my life was heading down changed - my husband and I have spent the last few months gearing up to move outside of Manhattan into a home and after putting in an offer on a place, my husband has decided he doesn't want to leave the city. So, now we're looking to move within NYC ... now, I love NYC but I was so excited at the prospect of driving to the supermarket and having a backyard for Maxwell and Lulu, so I am a bit bummed out. But, hopefully we'll find a new fabulous apartment and my dreams of a country rustic home will be realized in a few years.

I also had the chance to attend a fabulous workshop hosted by Emilie Inc and Splendid Communications - I am still digesting it all! I made some fabulous new friends, met friends that I've only known online and had a fabulous experience. Emilie blogged about it while the workshop was happening - her studio is so sweet, I was envious!

Here are some good reads around the wedding world:

Destination I DO Magazine announced their new destination etiquette guide - check it out as it contains really helpful information for your destination wedding!

The City Bride posted about the word cheap and weddings. She's spot on, read it here.

Denver Photog, Katie McLain wrote a great post on wedding coordinators - its very poignant and love her perspective!

And, Laura Hooper, the talented stationer, wrote a wonderful post on how to address your wedding invitations - really helpful advice in here from a calligrapher!

If you're in the Northeast, good luck digging out!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Business & Wedding Planning: Interviews

We've all been through interviews. Some people are very good at talking about themselves in a positive and non-bragging way and they thrive in an interview setting. Some people get so nervous they aren't able to communicate how amazing they are and they flounder a bit in interviews. And some people just need interview training. But, its a fact of life, in order to get hired for just about any position, you must interview.

The same reality applies to your wedding planning process. You as a bride and a groom, must interview venues and vendors in an effort to find the best fit for the role they will play in your wedding. You can think of a vendors webpage as their resume - it showcases their 'objective', lists {via image and text} their accomplishments and their bio section is much like a cover letter. If you like everything you see on "paper" you contact them for a consultation {which really is a fancy way of saying Interview}.

Keep in mind though, that your consultation is a two way street {much like a job interview} just as you are assessing the vendors skill level, expertise, experience and what they can offer you, the vendor is also assessing you as a potential client. They are noting how easy or difficult they perceive you to be to work with. They are determining what role you want them to take on at your wedding - are you looking for someone passive or aggressive? Lastly, just as you are evaluating the fit of this vendor with you and your personality - they are doing just the same. Like wants to work with like - just as an employer does when looking for a potential employee.

And, like a post Interview must do - thank the vendor in a follow up email {or hand written note} thanking them for their time, the vendor should do the same. And, if you decide to work with someone else, notify the other vendors of your choice - its common courtesy.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wediquette: Can You Cancel a Vendor Contract?

After signing a contract with a vendor, we're now feeling like we need to cancel the contract. Is this even a possibility? How would we go about cancelling a contract?

Firstly, you need to have a concrete, viable reason for wanting to cancel the contract with the vendor. It could range from your engagement ending, wedding date changing, wedding location changing ... those are all valid reasons for wanting to make your contract with a vendor null and void. {There are non-valid reasons as well - I am sure we all know what they are}

Secondly, read your contract. There are cancellation terms in there that you agreed to when you signed it, which means, your vendor is under no obligation to change those terms for you after you claimed to have read the contract and signed it. Your vendor probably has various dates and percentages of payment that go along with cancelling - 6 months out, 3 months out, less than 30 days out etc. Figure out where you fall within the parameters first. Then, figure out what amount you owe the vendor. If you are merely changing the wedding date or location - you may not need to cancel the contract. Your vendor may move with you to the new date and location. If you really just want to part ways with the vendor, put it in writing and submit it to them - if you'd like to negotiate the amount of money you are owe them or are forfeiting, ask if they are amenable to that. If your reason is valid enough and there is a high chance they will re-book that date, you may be in luck. Keep in mind that no vendor must give you back money simply because you ask.

Contracts are in use to protect the vendor and to protect you. If you must cancel your contract, make sure you understand the terms clearly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oui Oui, Merci New York Chic Clutch Hunt

Merci New York is hosting the Chic Clutch Hunt - an opportunity to win a very fabulous clutch from Amanda Hunt.

The Chic Clutch Hunt Giveaway Guidelines {win a Le Pouf clutch, valued at $298}:

Visit the Amanda Pearl website and comment below with your favorite Amanda Pearl piece {it need not be bridal, so have fun perusing her entire line}!

To increase your chances of winning the Le Pouf clutch, there are four additional ways to enter this contest:
1. Tweet this: I just entered to win the @AmandaPearly #chicclutchhunt giveaway at Merci New York! Check it out here: {via @MerciNYC}. Then leave a second comment once you’ve tweeted.
2. Blog about the Chic Clutch Hunt giveaway {feel free to use our oh-so-pretty giveaway graphic!} and comment with your blog link.
3. Post about the giveaway on a message board and comment with your link.
4. Share the Chic Clutch Hunt giveaway on Facebook and let us know via a comment.
The giveaway winner will be chosen at random and announced via the Merci New York blog on Monday, March 8th at 8:00 PM EST.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings

"Cling to simplicity, sincerity, serenity, and the power of truth" I Ching

{via Marty Knapp}

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Round Up: Exciting Launches & News

We made it to Friday! My semi-exciting news is that hopefully *fingers crossed* we'll have figured out this moving thing in the next week or so and then I can rest easy. We're trying to test living outside of Manhattan in an actual house. I cannot wait. Its an old farmhouse and its darling and I can't wait to decorate it! But first, we have to finish negotiations.

But, moving on to wedding news! A few noteworthy things have popped up this week, check them out:

Urban Wed, the brainchild event of Brooklyn Bride was announced this week - if you are in NYC on either March 23rd or 24th, its a must do. I'll be there as well, if that makes it more enticing!

Paloma's Nest launched a new website this week - its simply fabulous. Caroline's creations are amazing and inspiration. Click here to peruse her shop and blog.

Every Last Detail posted a great piece on Why to Hire a Wedding Planner - its a must read.

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Business & Wedding Planning: Trusting Your Wedding Vendors

Most business relationships are built on Trust. Trust, according to the Dictionary is defined as "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence". When there is trust between two businesses or two people working together - you have the confidence that the other person or business will perform to the best of their ability. They'll get the job done, they'll be fabulous to work with. In essence - trust between colleagues or businesses means that each side will eventually get what they both want.

The exact same concept should be applied to your wedding and more importantly, your wedding vendors. Just as you trust your future spouse, you should have trust that your vendors will perform to the best of their abilities. You've met with them, accepted the proposal, signed a contract and you TRUST that on the actual wedding day, they will give you 110% in effort and execution. You trust that each vendor you've picked has the same goal as you - that your wedding is going to be awesome. If during your consultation, you get any sense from the potential vendor that their end goal is different - walk away. Vendors want to work with clients who trust them. Trust that they understand your vision. Trust that you as the client, believe in them. Believe in their knowledge and skill. Trust is a mutual feeling and should be treated as so. No one wants to work with someone who doesn't trust them.

If you don't get the sense that the wedding vendor you are interviewing is someone you can trust, don't move forward with them just because you're getting a deal or you like the price. You want to work with people that instill trust in you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wediquette: The Clueless Wedding Guest

My friends (both female and especially male) know nothing about weddings. We're talking not knowing who traditionally pays for what (no, I'm not covering everyone's hotel rooms) and the seriousness of the event (yes, you need to practice your best man toast ahead of time). And no one has offered to throw a bridal shower or bachelorette / bachelor party - even our bridal party. How do I educate our friends who will be guests at the wedding?

I've found that people's schooling in weddings is highly dependent on two factors: age and how many weddings they have attended. If your friends are on the younger side, they probably have not had that many opportunities to attend weddings or be in the bridal party {being a flower girl or ring bearer at age five does not make you an expert!} - which means they don't know how weddings work. This is your opportunity to educate them on proper wedding etiquette. You don't need to be over the top or forceful in your teaching methods - just stress the importance that this is a MAJOR day in your and your fiance's life and that their cooperation is expected. Toasts must be pre-written and rehearsed {if not, the one giving the speech is the one that looks bad}, and that 'surprises' and getting overly intoxicated at an open bar are not universally appreciated.

This is the time to share your experiences and knowledge to put your friends in 'the know' - you'll be setting them to be amazing guests at future weddings. And if none of them volunteer to throw you a bridal shower or bachelorette party - call me, I will. No seriously, ask a mother, sister or in-law if they would be interested or plan your own fabulous bachelorette party - that way, you get what you want!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Real Wedding: Jessica & Kip

If ever there were a cuter couple, Jess & Kip would certainly give them a run for their money. Seriously, every time I met with these two, all you feel is warm and fuzzy since they are so loving and generous. And it doesn't help that Jess is practically a model {and yes, she works at a modeling agency}. Their Brooklyn wedding was a day of warmth, love and close knit family. They chose to have their ceremony at Jessica's childhood church followed by a reception at My Moon, an amazing restaurant in Williamsburg. You must eat there. Soon. The pita will knock your socks off.

{one of my favorite wedding images ever!}

Venue: My Moon
Cake: Nine Cakes
Photography: Perceptions Photography

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day!

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

{via Snippet & Ink}

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Round Up: Wedding Advice Abounds

While the Northeast climbs out from its snowy overload, there's been some good advice flying around regarding wedding planning, check it out:

Google Docs and Style Me Pretty and Michelle Rago teamed up to create a suite of wedding planning documents for use on Google Docs. Where was this when I got married? Its an awesome tool, I highly recommend it!

Shape Magazine is launching a Shape Bridal website {and possibly a magazine as well}, since most brides decide they want to be healthy for their wedding, this will really make you work hard!

Stella Events wrote a brilliant post regarding the actual cost of having a tented wedding in your backyard. It's insightful and got some great points highlighted!

Every Last Detail has a great post on why you shouldn't hire the 'cheapest' wedding photographer - read it here.

For those in NYC this weekend, check out this fabulous opportunity from Christopher Duggan from Threshold Visions with Parris Whittingham Photography and R Wagner Photography. Chris is a dear friend and all three are incredibly talented photogs. This is not to be missed!

The Details:

• Any and ALL couples are welcome. Whether you be Newly engaged, newly wed, dating, married with children or married with grand-children please come out and spread the love!

The Meet Up?

• On February 13th, we will meet at Madison Square Park from 3:00pm-5:00pm
• The meeting point is famous 5th avenue clock (5th Avenue and Broadway) located between 23rd and 24th Streets
• After a brief introduction we will begin working on-location with with you

Next Steps…

• Each photographer (3 total) will have 5 minutes to work with you to conceptualize and document a unique image/moment
• On February 14th by 2pm, a single image from each couple will be posted independently on the wedding photography websites of: Parris Whittingham Photography, R Wagner Photography, and Threshold Visions.

The Contest

• Anyone can vote on their favorite image on each of the 3 sites
• Voting closes Tuesday February 16th at 9:00pm
• The selected images/couple with the most votes across all 3 sites will be declared the contest winner
The Grand Prize

The winning couple with the most total votes (from all 3 sites) will receive:
• A complimentary engagement session with the photographer of their choosing (over $400-$1000 value)
• $200 print credit
• $100 gift certificate to Mario Batali’s OTTO Restaurant

NOTE: All couples who participate (by working with each photographer) will receive a high-resolution files from their photography session. Couples must consent to signing a model release to have their likeness publicly displayed. Portraits will be taken on a first come first service basis. We suggest arriving slightly before 3:00pm. Friends, employees and relatives of the photographers are allowed to participate, however, they are not eligible to win the grand prize.

Have a fun snowy weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Business & Wedding Planning: The Elevator Speech

We've all heard it time and time again ... have a carefully constructed elevator speech that you can rattle off in a moment's notice about your job. It should be 30 seconds in length and should highlight what you do and why you are awesome. That way, when you run into someone who asks what you do for a living, you can give them the highlight reel without wasting too much time. The same is applicable to your wedding.

I am not talking about having an elevator speech that highlights the where and when of your wedding - I am talking about a short summary regarding what your wedding vision is all about. When you meet with vendors, you need to be able to give them a quick rundown on your vision, so that they get a glimpse. Ours went something like this: "old english garden setting with an ethereal feeling - soft colors with the ambiance set by lots of candlelight. our goal for the wedding is for everyone to feel the love we have for each other and our guests". Off the bat, any vendor we are talking about knows this about our wedding: we're looking for a romantic intimate setting and friendship is extremely important to us. After you've given them the highlight reel, you can get into the nitty gritty, but your vendor is starting off the conversation from exactly the same place you are.

Your wedding elevator speech doesn't need to be an overly detailed or descriptive 30 seconds, it needs to be insightful and to the point. Spend some time crafting yours and I promise, your vendor meetings will start off very smoothly and you'll all be on the same page from minute one.

{via JCriley}

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wediquette: The Forgetful Gift Givers

My fiance and I were married last weekend and we had 10 guests give us nothing, not even a card. I know gifts aren't necessary but they could have at least picked up a 99 cent card! My fiance and I paid for everything ourselves. Our guests were served a sit down meal and had top shelf open bar all night. Several of the guests that didn't give a gift have since called us to let us know it was the nicest wedding they have ever been to, do I send them a thank you card? Thanking them for attending?

Firstly, don't invite guests simply to get a gift from them. Invite guests because you want them to witness your vows and your becoming man and wife - which to me at least, is much more meaningful than a gift. Yes, a gift or some token of appreciation is expected but its not a requirement for attending your wedding. The general rule of thumb is that guests have from the time you get engaged through to your first anniversary to purchase you a gift {Emily Post disagrees and says you have until three months after the wedding - most people prefer the one year rule}. That is a long time for people to forget, especially with their daily lives occurring at the same time. While one hopes that a guests manners aren't so crass; these things happen and instead of whining about how so and so failed to give you a gift even though you feed them and provided an open bar for five hours just move on with your married life. At the end of the day, experience and memories far outweigh the zebra print platter that someone gave you that now resides at the bottom of a cupboard never to be seen again.

If and when you do receive a gift, quickly write a thoughtful thank you note to the giver - just don't note that you had been waiting for it for ages!

{via Love To Know}

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Real Wedding: Lauren & Leon

When I met Lauren, the first thing that struck me was her warmth - she literally is one of the nicest and most generous people I've ever come across. Now, the fact that she was marrying a fellow South African ... she earned even more brownie points in my book!

Lauren and Leon chose to have their wedding at Battery Gardens for its simple beauty and downtown location. Its an inviting space and you can create whatever you want in terms of decor simply because the space is a blank canvas - perfect for Lauren's dream of a fall themed day. Their wedding day had beautiful sun and warm-ish temps despite it being November!

Venue: Battery Gardens
Flowers: La Jolie Events
Photography: Lina Jang
Cake: Nine Cakes

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Musings

Congratulations New Orleans Saints!

{via MSNBC Sports}

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Round Up: Snowy Weekend Forecast

Don't you just love that all the weather reports of the 'paralyzing' winter storm headed towards the Northeast? Anyways, in an effort to embrace the cold, the husband and I are headed to Vermont to hit the slopes - but before we head north, here are some truly fabulous finds this week:

Nonpareil Magazine launched this week - its simply delightful and beautiful AND full of amazing ideas for your wedding. It is the mastermind of ladies behind The Inspired Bride and Paper Crave - two very talented women, so be sure to check it out.

The Wedding University happened last weekend in San Francisco and there are two fantastic write ups regarding the day - a female perspective and a male perspective. For those that missed it - it was an educational day filled with insider information on how to plan a fabulous wedding day and not go nuts during the planning process.

The ever inspiring Nancy Liu Chin wrote a great post on what you get for $1000 when it comes to wedding flowers. Check it out to see the realities of what is available in that price range.

And last but certainly not least - my best friend Aliza Werner, a budding photographer in Milwaukee has officially launched her lifestyle photography business! She got talent, so spend some time on her on blog and her portfolio's this weekend!

{Aliza and I at my rehearsal dinner}

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Business & Wedding Planning: Bartering

Every good business relationship is filled with some sort of give and take, a bartering of sorts if you will. I'll provide knowledge and expertise in exchange for something else. Its natural that in business, people help people or make a barter in exchange for something. So why aren't more brides and grooms bartering in their wedding planning?

In the past few years, every magazine and wedding blog has drilled into newly engaged couples that they should negotiate and they should ask for discounts. While I agree that negotiating is a great strategy - straight up asking for a discount isn't. Why? What does your vendor get in return from giving you a discount? And, why should you get a discount to begin with? Because you're engaged and planning a wedding? Vendors are providing their skill, knowledge, expertise and passion with you in their services ... you wouldn't walk into a shoe store and just demand a discount simply because you need a pair of shoes. All of the vendors that I work with and know aren't out to screw the engaged. I hear it time and time again at consultations "don't tell x,y and z vendor that its a wedding - they'll jack the prices up!" ... um, usually not so much. Vendors know their market, know what things cost and like every other company that exists, needs to make a little extra in order to actually stay in business.

If you really fall in love with a vendor but know you can't afford their services, sit down with them and be open and honest. Flattery does help. Offering a barter or exchange may work in your favor. Do you have amazing writing skills? Offer to re-write all their marketing material. Do you have the time to come in and cut flowers for them on the weekends? Let them know. Be offering something of yourself, you're much more likely to get a vendor whose willing to give you a break on the cost of your proposal, or at least work with you to bring the cost down. Use your expertise to trade with the vendor in an area that you feel they can benefit. In everyday life, we make exchanges with people based on our needs and their needs - this should apply to wedding planning rather than just demanding a discount.

Figure out what you have that a vendor needs and then exploit it! Bartering is a years old tradition and in many cultures is the way of life - time to employ it into your wedding planning process.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wediquette: Having Entree Options at Your Wedding

Question: We're only serving one entree at our reception, but there will be a few vegetarians/special dietary needs people in our group. If there's no meal selection option on the reply card, how does one handle this? Should you include a line on the reply card to contact us for special dietary needs? Just include it on the website? Or will special needs/vegetarian guests just know?

If you've opted to have a single choice for entree for your reception - there's no need to give your attending guests an advance notice that a) you're only serving one entree and b) that they can get something else if they 'require' it due to dietary restrictions. When your guests sit down at the reception, there should be a menu card that lists what everyone will be eating that evening. At the bottom of it in very small print, have a line that says "Vegetarian Choice Available" or something to that affect {its called having a silent option}. Prior to your wedding, when you finalized the menu with the catering company or chef, there should have been a discussion regarding special meals in case any of your guests cannot eat the entree choice. The chef will be prepared to handle these, so when a waiter comes around to take drink orders, a guest can request the vegetarian meal.

It is essential to have a vegetarian option available to guests that are unable to eat your entree - in this day and age, people's eating habits are very personal and just imagine how annoyed you'd be if you went to a wedding and the hosts didn't have a choice for you to eat so you can't eat dinner? Its common courtesy especially since more and more people are choosing for health or diet reasons to eat differently. Or, they are like me and if the only choice is fish {some of which I am allergic to} I have to have the vegetarian meal otherwise the reception won't go on when I have an allergic reaction!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Venue: Crosby Street Hotel

I was really fortunate to attend a lovely lunch and then a private tour of the Crosby Street Hotel last week - what an oasis in the heart of Soho. Recently renovated and owned and operated by a British couple {who owns 6 hotels in London}; The Crosby Street Hotel is the epitome of style and chic boutiqueness. Each of the 86 rooms are personally designed and no two are alike! They also have 3 private rooms for rental - beautiful, elegant and each very different. Perfect for a rehearsal dinner or small soiree. There's also a large bar area and a 99 seat screening room ... imagine the possibilities for a fantastic evening!

PS: They do a sophisticated High Tea in the Crosby Street Bar and lunch their was amazing and scrumptious.

Simply Divine!

{all images via The Crosby Street Hotel website}

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Musings

"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March"
- Dr. J. R. Stockton