Why "Day-Of" Wedding Coordination Is Anything But

Okay planning couples, let's have a serious chat about "day-of" wedding coordination and why it can't ever be "just the wedding day."  Don't get me wrong, the presence of a good professional coordinator, on the actual day, is included and is utterly priceless. However, every couple and every wedding is completely different! It takes time for said coordinator to truly understand your expectations and seamlessly execute YOUR vision and plans, with YOUR vendor team.

Dawn Sparks Photography

Dawn Sparks Photography

You've, no doubt, spent several months, and in some cases 1 year+, planning your big celebration.  The main reason (or hopefully) for hiring a coordinator for your wedding day is so that you can enjoy the beginning of your marriage with those closest to you! Would you honestly trust someone who has NO idea what you've put in place, to execute your vision to perfection, while you sit back and sip champagne? Without first communicating with you about every aspect of the day? I'm willing to bet the answer is, "NO." In order to do that you have to establish a rapport and have a trusting relationship with a procured professional. THAT TAKES TIME! Even professionals who offer their services as hourly labor need to have some sort of pre-communication and "big picture" idea to work with. 

In addition to communicating with everyone involved, beforehand, it's important for your coordinator to be included at the venue's final walk through (typically 30-45 days prior to your wedding day). Not only to fully understand how you expect the room to be set, but to clearly communicate that expectation to your vendors, well in advance of showtime. It is also at this point, that any changes to a standing rental order (i.e. tables, linens, chairs, centerpieces, etc...) are recognized, allowing plenty of time for those changes to take effect. 

 A professional coordinator needs to be fully informed, in advance, of any and all important times (i.e. ceremony start, reception start, venue access, etc...). You may have developed an extremely detailed timeline and shared it with vendors, friends, & family. Can you imagine if you didn't discuss any of that with your coordinator before the actual wedding day? He/she probably wouldn't arrive at the right time and/or be able to know if any of your vendors arrived at the right time. And, as detailed as your timeline may be, chances are, there are some "little" items missing that need to be vetted for your vendors to execute their individual responsibilities. For instance, what time should everyone line up for the ceremony? Who is cuing the musicians for song changes during the processional? Who is performing the welcome/blessing upon your introduction into the reception? When are you doing your first dance? Is it before or after you cut the cake? When is the band eating and taking a break? And on and on and on...

While I could talk, for literally hours, about why a "day-of" coordinator's responsibility really encompasses the month (or more!) before the wedding, I think you get the picture. As a side note to all of the above, I also highly recommend that you don't sacrifice the thousands of dollars you've spent thus far by skimping on the wedding day management of those dollars.

In an attempt to change the stigma and misconceptions of this commonly known service, when you contact Pink Champagne Events, you'll receive information about our "Wedding Day Planning + Coordination" services. I trust, based on several conversations with colleagues, that my fellow planners have already or will soon, change their service wording.

For more helpful hints to seamlessly communicate and transition your plans to your wedding day coordinator, check out this post

Until next time,

Cheers! 

5 Things to Consider BEFORE You Start Planning Your Wedding

Allow me to join all of your friends + family in wishing you congratulations on your engagement! You're embarking on one of the best whirlwind, emotion-filled, roller coaster rides of your life. It's seriously the best!

And while there are tons of great blog posts and pins that will assist in your first steps of wedding planning, the list below includes decisions and tasks to tackle BEFORE you commit to anything concrete.

Photo by James & Schulze

Photo by James & Schulze

1. Determine and discuss the most important elements of your wedding day, to YOU and YOUR FIANCE. Throughout the planning process, you'll be greeted with tons of ideas, feedback, and statements such as "you have to do this at your wedding" or "at my wedding, we did this, and you should too." Having a firm foundation for what's most important, you keep the focus centered on YOUR celebration and away from less desirable ideas, undoubtedly, coming your way.

2. When you know what's most important, you can move on to deciding where to host your shindig! Location can be a point of contention if you or your fiance, or both, are not natives of your current locale. Do you get married where you are now? And have guests travel to where your roots, as a couple, are growing? Do you get married in your hometown? Your fiance's? Or do you want your beginning as a married couple to be in an exotic location?

3. Once you've decided where to host your wedding, chat about whether it will be a big, over-the-top celebration or an intimate soiree with those closest to you. Whatever you decide will be a key component when it comes to discussing more important items like money allocation and overall budget.

4. Set up an email account to be used solely for the wedding. When you begin contacting potential vendors and signing up for the latest wedding trend emails, you don't want your personal or work inbox to be overrun. By creating a wedding-specific email account you can keep all things wedding separate from that super important project at work. It also allows you and your fiance to have one, shared source of communication for vendors + wedding related tasks.

5. Hire a wedding planner! Contrary to popular belief (and, ahem, popular wedding websites), we are a necessity vs. a luxury. And, I know I'm not alone, when saying, that your planning process is much better when we can be involved from the very beginning. There can be financial advantages to hiring a planner, but most importantly, a couple benefits from our expertise and network of vendors. In most, not all, cases a professional wedding planner is doing his/her gig full-time. Much like you're a full-time, valued professional at your job/career, a good planner is an invaluable resource and critical piece of the wedding puzzle. Choose someone you're comfortable with, locally, or in your destination city. We'll be working together, closely, for an extended period of time. It's important that we jive on a personal level and can trust one another.

I promise, by thinking and talking about the items above, your planning process will run much smoother and everyone involved, including you, will appreciate your thoughtful legwork.

Until next time,

Cheers!

{A Note} My "Why?"

Photo by Laura Gravelle

Photo by Laura Gravelle

Recently, as a happy result of numerous, potential client consultations and guest speaking opportunities, I've found myself talking about...well, myself and why I do what I do. It got me thinking that throughout a potential client's decision process, I rarely, if ever, talk about myself. And that, my friends, is exactly why a client should choose me over one of my colleagues. So I'm taking the opportunity to share with you, a bit more about me and my "why." This post is a bit longer than normal, but I tried to keep it light and entertaining!

Without getting into too much of the boring, took-two-years-off-from-college-went-on-a-soul-searching-journey-to-end-up-back-where-I-started, mindless rant, that's exactly what I did. When I finally surfaced, I decided to enroll at Johnson & Wales University (go Wildcats!), here in Denver, to pursue a degree in Hospitality; capitalizing on some past customer service experiences and feedback that I should do something involving people.

While going to school, I was working at a country club, close to where I was living. Fast forward a couple of years through some perseverance and promotions, I decided it was time to move on. BUT, not before gaining a TON of high-end event planning, fine-dining, food & beverage, catering, and business experience. Not to mention, amazing industry contacts and one of the greatest friends I've been lucky enough to have (you know who you are!).

After my time at the "club," as we often referred to it, I was hired to plan events for a well-to-do corporate company in Westminster. My daily duties revolved around planning exclusive in-house corporate events & meetings, luxury employee events such as holiday parties, exotic retreats, sales incentive rewards, and quarterly customer workshops. While this was a lucrative opportunity for more than 3 years and advanced my career even further, it was no longer a good fit. And that's where Pink Champagne Events was born! But first..

During my time as a corporate planner, I was fortunate enough to marry the man of my dreams. And here's where my "WHY?" comes in.

Embarrassingly, I admit that I did not hire a wedding planner/coordinator. Why? Because I was a corporate planner and could do it all myself. Right? Wrong!! And let me tell you, it is one of my biggest regrets to this very day! While there is far too much to list, I'll touch on the most important and where, I feel, a planner would have been the most helpful in providing guidance.

1. Our venue had amazing views, a perfect space for our guest count, was in our price range, and available on our chosen date. To top it off, they had an in-house planner that would assist with everything on the wedding day. What the sales rep failed to disclose was that the in-house planner wouldn't; a) dress our tables (put linens on them), b) organize and set up our escort cards, c) assist guests in finding our reception room (multi room, multi wedding venue), d) create/manage a wedding day timeline, e) feed our vendors while we were eating, f) work with the DJ to seamlessly execute events such as; pouring of champagne, toasts + speeches, 1st dance, father-daughter, mother-son, last call, g) confirm our limo arrived on time (it didn't and we were the LAST to leave!), h) assist in loading our gifts/cards into vehicles, or i) assist in packing up and loading personal decor.

2. Our "photographer" sold us with, what I now know is, a sample album, that wasn't even her work! After a devastatingly, disappointing performance on the wedding day, she then delivered our HORRIBLE pictures via USPS in a cardboard box. We literally have (2) 8x10's, (8) 5x7's, (10) 4x6's to remember our WEDDING DAY!! Side note: she's no longer in business.

3. We didn't hire a transportation provider for wedding party, family, or guests. This led to unnecessary stress for myself, my hubs, and our wedding party.  Have you tried to carpool with 20 of your friends at the last minute? Not fun, right? The end result was an upset wedding party, several guests who got lost showing up frazzled and annoyed, and a wedding ceremony that started 20 minutes late. When dinner was over, guests left early to get back to their hotel while it was still light enough to see, effectively killing any sort of mass celebration we intended to have.

4. We didn't plan ANY weekend activities for our family + guests from out of town. Therefore, we spent ZERO time, outside of the rehearsal dinner + brief reception, with anyone that traveled long distances to celebrate with us. What we didn't know was that it didn't have to be anything organized. We could have said, "hey, we'll be at super-fun-awesome-restaurant-and-pub from 6pm-10pm, if you want to stop by and say 'hi.'"

5. While my husband was an innocent bystander, I committed to far too many DIY projects. Looking back now, as a professional, I can't help but laugh at the things I thought I had time to do, or would actually be interested in taking on! These are also the items that I strongly advise against, and know that had I hired a planner, he/she would have told me I was nuts to think I could do. {Ahem}...stationery, flowers, ceremony music, transportation, hair + makeup, etc...Some of these items, I finally relinquished to others' plates. The others, regretfully, I pursued. Good thing I don't have pictures to remind me, ha!!

 With all of that being said, my hubby and I still look back on our wedding day with happiness, because it was the day we committed our lives to each other, in front of God, our family and closest friends. And while we, and those that stuck it out with us, eventually had a great time, our day is forever stained with regrets. 

So, 7 1/2 years and 8 wedding seasons later, that's why I do what I do. There is no better way to assist other planning parties than to share with them my expertise, past experience, industry knowledge, industry connections & partners, my professionalism, and my sense of humor. Hundreds of clients, over the past 8 years, decided that Pink Champagne Events was of benefit to them and I intend to, God-willing, be a benefit and partner to hundreds more.

Thanks for indulging me and allowing me to share why I'm passionate about this industry and the couples and vendors that I'm fortunate to work with! And, if you're considering a planner for your wedding or event, I hope this post gives you insight as to what makes Pink Champagne Events one-of-a-kind.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Always a Bridesmaid...

Photo by Drake Busch (Drake + Co)

Photo by Drake Busch (Drake + Co)

Now that you've asked your besties to be part of your big day, it's time to think about what they'll be wearing. No matter how many gal pals are standing by your side, there are a few, important things you'll want to consider, for their comfort, while helping you get hitched!

1. Skin Tones. We all have that one color that makes our eyes pop or gives us that sun-kissed tan in the middle of winter. By the same token, we know what colors to avoid. Because your friends know the colors that suit them the best, ask them! Not that you'll be able to grant all their color wishes, but your question will show that you're truly interested in helping them look their best on your big day.

2. Season does matter. If you're planning a summer wedding, you probably don't want the ladies in heavy fabric and long sleeves. Instead, opt for a light fabric, such as chiffon or tulle with beautifully detailed straps. For a winter soiree, don't choose knee-length and strapless. And think about adding a warm accessory, such as a shawl or faux-fur stole. The same considerations should exist for their shoes. Don't plan peep-toes in January when there could be sub-zero temperatures and snow. 

3. Continuing the shoe talk; Is your ceremony and reception planned in a downtown ballroom where stunning stilettos can be donned in comfort? Or are you planning a mountaintop celebration where a fabulous flat makes more sense?

4. 'Maids come in all shapes & sizes. We all know that every woman has her own curves and...ahem, "problem areas." If you're opting for a uniform look and not giving each 'maid the opportunity to choose her own dress style, make sure you think about ALL of your gal pals when shopping for gowns. For instance, one friend may be a large D cup, while your sister is barely an A. Choosing a strapless bustier will mean both will struggle with potential wardrobe malfunctions for obvious reasons. And let's be honest, when you're not comfortable in what you're wearing, you're not as happy and carefree as you could be. Don't let that happen to your bride tribe!

5. Your venue and ceremony start time should depict the level of formality? As you may or may not know, an evening ceremony and reception begs for more formality than a morning ceremony and luncheon reception (see last post here for more info). Keep that in mind when selecting bridesmaid and groomsmen attire. Also think about your venue...again! Barns (especially popular in Colorado and on Pinterest) are very different than a gallery in the Arts District, which is different still, from a revived industrial space in an up-and-coming neighborhood. You'll want your wedding parties' duds to play nice with their surroundings. If they don't, it can end up looking like you didn't plan wardrobes at all and you'll have the memories (pictures) forever!

All-in-all, think about the considerations you would appreciate from a friend, if you were standing in her wedding. Or maybe you already have experience as a bridesmaid and can appreciate the value in your friends' input!

Until next time,

Cheers!

 

Need Help with Your Wedding Style? Check This Out!

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding is a struggle most wedding guests have. You don’t want to over dress, but you don’t want to under dress either. As the bride, you can hint your expectations to guests through the invitations. The color scheme you choose, the venue, and even listing the desired attire on your invitation is great. From there, preferred dress can be based on geographical location, time of day, seasonal weather forecast, and your personality and lifestyle as a couple. As a guest, the attire communicated by the couple on the invitation can have you scratching your head about what to pull out of the closet. And if you're a seasoned wedding guest, it might be time to get shopping for something new. To aid in your final fashion decision, we have teamed up with The Black Tux to help decipher exactly what is meant by "semi-formal" or "black-tie optional."  See the guide below!

 

 

Once the proper attire has been decided, the final step is finding and purchasing the right outfit. Women, as we all know, have a knack for shopping. Most men, on the other hand, need a little hand holding. The Black Tux offers the perfect suit and tux for any occasion, with bonafide superior customer service. Whether you are in the market to buy or rent, they offer a wide variety of high quality products. Check out their site and let us know what you think!

Until next time,

Cheers!

9 Key Questions to Ask Potential Caterers

When it comes to your wedding day, or any special occasion for that matter, food & beverage is one of the most important elements. As we at Pink Champagne Events say, guests only remember above and beyond or horribly wrong. Asking questions and being proactive is the easiest way to avoid the latter. The questions below are certainly not the only ones you should ask, but they will assist in jump starting a productive and informative conversation with any potential caterer. Catering friends: feel free to add your input at the bottom!!

 

1. Does the catering company provide bar service? If so, your interview process just got a lot better!! By combining food and bar-tending service together, it is one less vendor to be concerned about. In addition to liability insurance, it is also important to ensure they maintain a current liquor license and TIPS certified bartenders. 


2. What is their average staff to guest ratio and does that change based on service style? When chatting with the sales representative, ask if staff costs will be broken down by line-item or grouped together. If staff is itemized, it makes it easier to determine appropriate tip amounts. (i.e. buffet, stations, plated, family style, cocktail reception, French etc...)

3. Do they have a pastry chef on staff, if so; are they able to provide wedding cakes? If they do have a pastry chef and are able to offer cake service, is it a requirement?  Or can you hire a specialty baker? Along those same line do they have a cake-cutting fee for outside products? Or is that service complimentary?

4. On peak weekends it isn't uncommon for catering crews to work more than one wedding per day. However, it is important to ask if your sales representative is committed to another event the same day as your wedding. It doesn't necessarily have a negative impact, if so. It is simply good information for you to have and be aware of.

5. What is the experience level of the servers that will be at your wedding? As with with any other industry, long-term employment is a sign of a great company. But - don't discount a company because of new staff. They may be in a position of growth, which is GREAT!

6. What is their average price per person and what is included with that price? Again, there are varying inclusions among all companies. For instance, one caterer's price per person includes silverware, china, glassware, linens, etc. Whereas, another caterer may not include those items in their per person price. When comparing costs, it is important that it's apple-to-apples. Along those same lines, ask if they provide complimentary tastings or if they charge for them and place that amount towards your final invoice if you book with them?

7.  Does the caterer offer a pre-set menu based on service style or can you create something custom? With hotels for example, you can choose a variety of dishes from pre-set menus. With an independent catering company, every offering can be customized to your specifications. Regardless of whether is is a pre-set or custom menu it is wise to confirm that they are able to design a similar cuisine for any guests with dietary restrictions. (i.e. vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, allergies, etc...)

8. Have they worked at your venue before? If so, they should be familiar with the proper load-in + load-out policies, as well as what is required of them for clean up at the end of the night. If they haven't worked at your venue, are they prepared to attend a final walk-through and familiarize themselves with the space and policies?  Will you, as the client, incur an extra charge for anything they deem "unexpected?" (i.e. trash cans, trash removal, prep tables, portable ovens, pop-up tents, extra linen, etc...)

9. What is their deposit, refund, and cancellation policy? In our experience, EVERY vendor is different with regards to this. It's important to do your homework and be fully educated.

While we chose to highlight some of the more important questions you should ask a potential caterer, again, there are several more to think about.

Until next time,

Cheers!

 

Pink Champagne Events' Wedding Day Specialist!

Wedding world & planning couples, please meet Madison Grosshuesch, our wedding day specialist!

She is a super sweet, easy-going, detail-oriented, hard working event professional that also happens to be a native of our beautiful Colorado mountains. She is a rarity in the fact that she is both a cat AND dog lover. While she doesn't yet own a dog (her cat Rue isn't complaining), she dreams of having a golden retriever in the hopefully near future! She loves to escape back home to the mountains to ski, hike, bike, camp, and attempt to play golf. Her most recent escape, however, is graduating from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality, concentrating on Event Management. In addition, she recently completed the Bridal Society's Certified Wedding Planner course.

During her time at Metro State she worked for Occasions Catering, one of the premier caterers in the Denver area. The time spent with Occasions helped Madison gain valuable knowledge about food service and prep, the importance of keeping to an agreed upon timeline, overall impact of setup and event flow, and back-of-house happenings. And one of the many reasons why I'm oh-so-happy she agreed to come on board and service the needs of our day-of clients!

She's still got availability for 2017 and is now booking for 2018! To our fellow vendors and colleagues, hopefully you'll have the opportunity to cross paths and work with our newest rock star soon!

Until next time,

Cheers!

7 Things You Shouldn't Do the Week of Your Wedding!

Now that all of your planning is done and you're less than 10 days away from marrying the love of your life, you have no worries, right?! Well, that's how it should be, in theory. But what about the things you wouldn't normally think of...especially, regarding your beauty routine(s)?  Below are some helpful ideas, to help keep your bride-to-be appearance in tip-top shape!

Images by Laura Murray Photography

1. Tan lines. No matter what style of dress you have (strapless, sweetheart, sheer, etc...), odds are that your fave tank will leave a line that doesn't quite match up. Avoid sitting in the sun for extended periods of time and changing that perfect, sun-kissed glow you've worked so hard to get!

2. Change Your Hair Cut, Style, or Color. As women we all know that a drastic change to our hair is the magic potion for curing most any ail. But, the week of your wedding is not the time for that change. You want your fiance and guests to recognize you! Not to mention the vendors that you hired and haven't seen for a couple of months. Stick with the basics of your normal hair color, a trim, and/or similar style.

3. Alter Your Skincare Routine. This is a BIG one! Any changes to your skincare routine can disrupt the natural oil balance in your pores and could lead to redness, dry & flaky skin, oily appearance, and even the dreaded "z" word. Keep things as routine as possible and don't forget to moisturize!

4. Whiten Your Teeth. Don't get me wrong on this one. It's definitely okay to get your chompers to a state of pearly white, just don't try to do it the week of your wedding. As the daughter of a dentist, I know that extreme and "flash" whitening can lead to unbearable sensitivity! Instead, plan to gradually whiten over the course of a few months, and on the big day, you'll be able to enjoy that cold glass of Chardonnay, sensitivity-free.

5. Wax. Let's be honest, you're going to do this the week of the wedding. My advice? Try to do it earlier in the week, as opposed to later, so the swelling and irritability goes away before any planned activities.

6. Diet and Exercise. So, every day of your 14-month engagement, you've done cross-fit, run 7 miles, eaten only fruits and vegetables, and ended with a Pilates session to get your body ready for the big day. Congratulations! For the week of the wedding, don't throw all of that out the window, but allow yourself some flexibility. With friends & family in town, it's next to impossible to hold the same schedule and diet discipline. Trying to do so will result in unnecessary stress and could actually make you gain weight.

7. Heavy Lifting, Moving, Physical Labor. If you're like me, you don't mind doing physical labor. But, if you're like me, you end up with bruises, scrapes, scratches, and mysterious marks on your arms, hands, legs, feet, and face. To keep your body in pristine condition for those wedding day portraits (that you'll hang on your wall, forever) try to avoid anything that could result in one of those awesome, yellow/purple/green bruises in the middle of your forearm.

Until next time,

Cheers!