Archive for April, 2009

364Next up in our series of How to Deal… the Slacker Bridesmaid.

When choosing your bridal party, you probably took great care to consider and choose your closest friends to stand by your side and participate in all the fun leading up to your wedding day. So if one of those carefully chosen friends becomes absent or disinterested, it can certainly be upsetting. But before you get worked up and “fire” a bridesmaid, take some time to consider the following.

  1. What’s going on in her life? Is she in her final semester of grad school? Going through a bad break up? Working overtime in hopes of a promotion? Her life may be just as hectic as yours at the moment, and she may need a friend to help out just as much as you do. Reaching out to see how you can help her will hopefully remind her to do the same for you.
  2. Were you clear on expectations? Not everyone has been in a bridal party in the past, and it’s entirely possible that your friend may not know what’s expected of her. Make sure you’re clear on the things that you feel are important for your bridal party to do: attending showers, ordering her dress on time, scheduling hair and makeup appointments, etc. Most of these things are time-sensitive (for example, you may need all the bridesmaids dresses ordered by a certain date to insure they are cut from the same lot of fabric), but if you’re friend isn’t aware of all of this, she may not realize that her procrastination is a problem. Also, make sure your expectations are reasonable. (For example, are you asking your recently laid-off friend to buy a $400 bridesmaid gown?)
  3. Provide an “out”. If it gets to a point where you’ve gone through everything with her but she is still not participating in the way you had hoped she would, talk to her and provide an opportunity for her to “step down”. You might say “It seems like you have a lot going on right now, or maybe you’re just not interested in being in the bridal party. It truly won’t hurt my feelings if you would like to step down. If you don’t want to step down, I need you to promise you will (order your dress, help with the shower, etc.) by (next weekend, tomorrow, right now pretty please)”. If she takes the out, great, you’ve eliminated stress from your life without having to “fire” anyone. If she doesn’t take the out, and she doesn’t keep her promises, then you have every right to inform her that you’ll no longer expect to her to be a bridesmaid, but that you look forward to celebrating with her and your other guests on the wedding night.

So in short, bridesmaids sometimes get a bad rap, but just like your Overzealous Mother in Law, they probably have the best of intentions. Despite that, you may have one friend who is simply unaware of how her actions (or inaction as the case may be) are affecting you and the rest of the bridal party. Give her the benefit of the doubt, talk openly and honestly about what’s going on and what you need, and if things still don’t work out, open the door for a drama-free exit.

[Letterpress Bridesmaid Thank You card by Cardiology Cards and available at Estilo Weddings]

Up next: The Uninvolved Groom

Gluten-Free Weddings

April 29, 2009

dsc07083Wedding season is in full swing at this point, and for me it is always fun to see how different each wedding is from the next. Today I had two tie-down meetings at two different venues for two different brides. Their weddings are very different but they share something very specific in common: both brides have conditions that require them to maintain a gluten-free diet. That means they can’t eat anything containing gluten, which is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. Gluten is found in many foods… including wedding cake!

While none of the major local bakeries are offering gluten-free wedding cakes at this time, there are alternate options for brides and grooms who have gluten allergies or Celiac disease. Cheesecakes are an option that are easily obtained just about anywhere. Locally, gluten-free cakes and desserts are also available at Moondance Heavenly Desserts and A Forkable Feast. While neither makes traditional “wedding” cakes, they can certainly provide smaller cakes that are an excellent replacement and can easily be dressed up with flowers or a cake topper to feel more fitting for the occasion.

If you have any food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance, be sure to discuss it with your caterer early on so that they can tailor the menu to your needs, and so they can plan accordingly to be sure that utensils and cookware used to prepare your food are kept separate from any foods that may make you ill, but that you may still be serving to your allergy-free guests.

monster-in-lawYour future mother-in-law… the woman who was kind enough to bring your fiancĂ© into the world. She’s so excited about the wedding. She adores you. She adores him. She adores weddings. Sounds great, right? But what if she adores it all a little too much? Imagine this familiar scenario: A girl, Britney, has been dating a boy, Kevin, for years. Kevin’s mother Julie is nice enough and though they aren’t especially close, she and Britney do get along. Then Kevin proposes and suddenly… Julie is omnipresent. She’s calling every day to check in on the wedding plans and giving loads of unwanted advice. Not just giving advice but making strong suggestions.

If you find yourself as the “Britney” in this situation, here are a few suggestions on how to deal:

  1. Recognize. When those strong suggestions come up, give her recognition. That doesn’t mean you have to take her advice, just that you should recognize it. For example: “Thanks for the referral; I really appreciate you thinking of us. We are pretty set on the choice we’ve made, but we’ll definitely consider your co-worker’s husband’s nephew’s band should anything fall through”. Even if you have no intention of ever taking her advice, letting her know you’ll consider her suggestions will make her feel included.
  2. Delegate. Clearly, she wants to be involved. The more you say you don’t need her help, the more she is going to want to do something, anything. Think of something small that you can ask her to do to help you– but only if you truly trust her to handle it and are comfortable doing so. You don’t want to resent her more later if things don’t turn out how you expect.
  3. Redirect. Try redirecting the conversation whenever possible. “I feel like all we ever talk about is the wedding… what’s new with [your job, the house hunt, your book club, anything that has to do with HER not you].”

If your own version of “Julie” is truly out of control… way out of line, over the top, or even argumentative, these tactics may not help. Ask your fiancĂ© or future father-in-law (if appropriate) to speak with her and ask to give you some space. And if even that will not work, consider speaking to a therapist such as Leigh Finkel, who specializes in “smoothing the personal relationships and potential conflicts that inevitably arise” during wedding planning.

Now of course, not all mother-in-laws behave this way (many are perfectly lovely), and alternately not only mother-in-laws are susceptible to such behavior. You might have an overzealous co-worker, friend, sister, etc. Try to remember they have the best of intentions, and stay calm. Include them where you can, but stand firm on the things that are important to you and don’t hesitate to ask your other family members to help “diffuse” things when needed.

Next in our “How to Deal” series: Slacker Bridesmaids

In addition to my wonderful clients who I often become friends with over the course of their wedding planning, I happen to have many “non-work” friends who are currently engaged… so exciting! What can I say, I’m at “that age” where it seems like everyone is getting married and having babies. (I love it!). So, I’ve polled my friends to find out what you really want to know. With their advice in mind, I’ll be working on a LOT of great blog series to bring to you. Coming up first…

  1. How to Deal: Advice on all the characters you’ll experience during your wedding planning and how to not let them get to you (from overzealous future-mother-in-laws to slacker bridesmaids and everything in between!)
  2. Out of Town Guests: How and when to set up a hotel room block, ideas for out-of-town gift bags, and transportation options.

And much more after that… stay tuned! If there is a topic you’d like to see covered, please leave a blog comment to let me know!

ins

The best “insurance” for any event is of course to have a solid plan (and back-up plan) in place for all scenarios, which is something that is created over time. You can pull together a plan much more quickly when working with a wedding consultant by taking advantage of their experience, relationships and in-depth knowledge of your local events industry. But whether you are working with a wedding planner or not, formal insurance is another option you may want to consider, and is something I have mentioned this in the past. Lately I’ve had more and more clients inquire about wedding and/or event insurance, so I thought it may be time to revisit the concept. With a shaky economy and a higher risk of companies going out of business, many people are concerned about whether or not the vendors they’ve contracted will still be around by the time of their event, and what would happen to their deposits, etc., should their venue/caterer/florist/etc. close shop. This is a very valid concern, and I always advise considering insurance as you plan your wedding or event. It will become a small portion of your budget, and should anything go awry, it will be well worth the money spent.

Every policy is different of course, and it is important to read the fine print, but event insurance can cover things such as lost deposits if a vendor goes out of business or is a “no show” on your wedding day, or the cost of having to reschedule due to weather or due to the illness or injury of someone involved in the event. There is even a company that offers “Change of Heart” insurance, which is exactly what it sounds like. (Let’s hope you never have to use that one!)

If you are hosting a wedding or event at your own home, you might want to consider purchasing or increasing your liability insurance, in case a guest gets hurt or hurts someone else while on your property. You may be able to purchase this type of insurance as a rider on your current home insurance policy. Any venue that you rent should carry their own liability insurance.

All that said, purchasing a simple event insurance policy may be a wise way to avoid future headaches. Talk to your current insurance agent to get policy quotes and decide what type of insurance (if any) is right for you.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin