Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why You Need A Wedding Planner For Your Sanity

Janet Marhover, Guest Author

It’s the big day! You’ve booked Val Vista Lakes (Gilbert, AZ), the best wedding venue in Gilbert, Arizona, and you’re ready to say “I Do.” But, the florist hasn’t arrived yet, some people have shown up who were not invited, the mother-of-the-bride is trying, but failing, at setting up the centerpieces, and all you can think about is how you should have called that wedding planner last year when you had the opportunity to get some professional wedding assistance. Unfortunately, it happens, and it happens quite a lot. The unexpected will occur on your wedding day, and sometimes it’s a bit easier to deal with if you have a professional wedding planner handling everything.

ValVistaLakesYou might be thinking to yourself right now, “I don’t need a wedding planner. We can organize everything and manage everything ourselves, and it will be loads cheaper without one.” Sure, you can organize everything and manage everything up to the day of your Arizona wedding, but when that day arrives and you’re worrying about the small details, you’ll be reconsidering that decision.

Let’s take a moment to really think about this. Every great event, from Broadway shows to the neighborhood carnival, has a planner, a project manager – one person who knows the secrets, the tricks, and the most efficient ways to get it all done. A Gilbert wedding planner is just that – someone who can do it all more efficiently then anyone else. They have the experience, and often times they have the know-how to get you a better deal on many crucial elements of your Gilbert wedding.

Connections: If you have the right Gilbert wedding planner, they have the right connections. They know the vendors who will deliver at a good rate. The Val Vista Lakes website features some of our favorite local vendors, and a wedding planner will take those connections to the next step by getting you awesome services or products for even better prices.

Foresight: An experienced Gilbert wedding planner has this amazing ability to see your wedding, in it’s entirety, before you even have an idea of what it’s going to look like. One of the greatest and most unappreciated gifts and talents that a true wedding planner has is the keen ability to see your wedding, in it’s full glory with theme, colors, flowers, attire, music, and so much more, in complete clarity. This insight gives the wedding planner the facility to incorporate new ideas that you’d like in a way that fits into the overall theme.

Skills: If you understand the business of, well, business, you know that one person cannot do it all. There are experts at certain elements in life, and there are amateurs. A wedding planner not only knows who the experts are in each individual task, a great Gilbert wedding planner will cater to each vendors strengths and avoid their weaknesses. It can be difficult to give up control of your wedding, but if you can find a wedding planner whom you trust, whom you can communicate effectively with and who completely understands you and your partner, it’s best to let them to their job. They are the professionals.

Stress: As the Val Vista Lakes wedding coordinator for many years, I can tell you with 100% honesty – weddings can be stressful for the groom and bride. With juggling family, flowers, vendors, fittings, tastings, invitations, seating, and so much more, the stress can occasionally take away from the excitement of the big day. In some cases, even causing young couples to forget the whole thing and run to Vegas. Wedding planning is stressful, so let the professionals do the stressful stuff while you sti back, relax, and revel in the fact that you are getting married!

Copyright © 2014 – Janet Marhover. Janet is the Wedding and Events Coordinator at Val Vista Lake Events in Gilbert, AZ. Val Vista Lakes Events offers waterfront elegance, sunset draped mountain views, green scenery and distinctly personalized service. They are more than just an Arizona wedding venue; Val Vista Lakes offers a classic ballroom for any occasion, from receptions to baby showers and everything in-between. Larry James is one of Val Vista Lakes’ “Preferred Wedding Vendors.”

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Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Before You Book Your Wedding Venue…

Filed under: Receptions,Wedding Tips,Wedding Venues — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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First tip: Bring a camera with you to every wedding venue you visit. Second tip: Bring a notebook and take copious notes. The photos and notes will help with the final decision making process.

It’s no secret that wedding planning is full of surprises and hidden fees. If you haven’t hired a wedding consultant (I recommend that you do – call me for recommendations), it can be hard to know how to avoid bumps along the way, especially when choosing your wedding venue.

ChoosingWedVenueAsk if you can check out the venue during another wedding – from a distance, of course. It’s not nice to be a wedding crasher. 😉 You can get a feel for the place with a bar, tables and maybe seeing the guests will give you an idea of how the setting will look with your guests. Always ask permission.

How early can arrive on site to set up and will they have people to help you? Reception halls generally allow you ample time for this.

If you’re booking a large wedding, will there be more than one event scheduled on your day. How many events do you host a day? It’s important to know if there will be another wedding or event held on the day of your wedding. If another reception is taking place at your site, ask what steps the staff takes to keep the parties separate. Will the wedding coordinator be present to supervise your wedding? If not, who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Ask to meet them.

What is the maximum number of guests they can accommodate? Often the maximum number of people is based on fire code.

Will they provide a shuttle to and from a nearby hotel for your guests to the ceremony and reception? If not, you may need to rent your own shuttle service.

Do they provide a coat check service (especially important for winter weddings)? If not, is there an area that can be used and staffed for that purpose?

Are there any additional costs – cleaning fees, insurance – fee waivers, etc.? You don’t want any surprises. Asking for references can be helpful. It allows you to ask specific questions and get an unbiased answer.

chairbacksAre their any restrictions you need to know about. For example, candles are gorgeous and most brides would love candles all around their reception room. Are candles or other open flames allowed? Some venues restrict things like throwing rice or confetti, or bringing in outside beverages or rental items. There may be rules about decorating, like no hanging decorations or fabric from the ceilings. Ask about time restrictions. Some sites charge up to $500 an hour for overstaying.

Be sure to get a list of all the things that are NOT included in your venue package. Ask about extra items that could mean additional costs, such as a corkage fee for the champagne. Request that they eliminate features in your package that you don’t want. If they can’t be taken off the list, ask for a discount.

Some venues will expect you to use their caterers, florists, etc. If you are buying an all inclusive package and after you have interview one of the vendors find out they are not a good fit, can you bring in your own vendor? Your venue will probably give you some information on the food and beverage details up front, but hidden costs are very likely when dealing with food and alcohol. If your venue does not give you the food and beverage minimum up front, always ask for it. Most venues have something written into their contracts to ensure your vendors get a meal, often at discount prices. Make sure to ask about the price of these meals. If you are required to pay the full cost of the meal, you may want to factor that price into your budget. It is a common courtesy to invite the wedding officiant and/or minister to enjoy a meal at the reception.

What is their food and beverage minimum and what are the consequences of an overage?

Are there rooms available where the bride, bridesmaids and groomsmen can get ready before the ceremony?

If its an outdoor location, do they have any back-up plans for rain or other inclement weather?

Do not assume that parking is included in your cost. Most venues charge a fee for their valet service as well as their parking garages. Will there be ample parking for your guest list? Will it be complimentary or will the guests have to pay to park?

Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible?

Does our venue have liability insurance? If someone gets injured during the reception, you don’t want to be held responsible – if the site doesn’t have insurance, you’ll need to get your own.

WedTastingIf they have there own in-house caterer, or cake baker, will there be a tasting? Is a tasting included as part of the wedding package? Is a tasting available before you book? Who can participate beside the bride and groom?

If your venue is a hotel, do they have any special discounts for rooms for your guests? If a country club or golf resort do they have any affiliations with local hotels for wedding guests?

Do you have to be a member of a country club to have your wedding there? Since country club memberships are usually very expensive, most clubs let outsiders hold events there if they are sponsored by a member. Before you even visit any club spaces, inquire about the membership requirements.

What security services do they offer? Do you need to hire your own security guards, or does the site hire them or have them on staff? In general, you should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests. Gifts have been known to disappear from the gift table.

Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my wedding and reception?

Is a dance floor included at the reception? If not, what is the cost? What is the size?

Do you have a recycling policy? It’s not easy being green. 😉

Are there any sound equipment restrictions (e.g., noise ordinances) that you should know about for your band or disc jockey? Event spaces, like ballrooms and country clubs, often have built-in speakers, so all the band will have to do is bring their instruments and plug in. Most DJs have their own sound equipment, lights, etc.

If you are looking for other wedding vendors, ask for referrals. Your venue probably works with specific cake bakers, rental companies, wedding officiants, photographers, etc. Some venues will give you a list of “preferred vendors,” if not ask for specifics. When they recommend a vendor it usually means that the vendor already knows the lay of the land, has worked there before and has a good working relationship with the site coordinator. I recommend hiring a Wedding Consultant to assist with the many details of your wedding that you may never have thought of.

What is the staff’s dress code? What is the server to guest ratio?

receptionTableIs there an in house pastry chef? Is an outside cake allowed? Is there a cake cutting fee?

In your search for a wedding venue, there will probably be even more questions that arise for you personally. For example, you may want the menu to reflect your heritage, or with a large wedding party, you may need ample parking for limousines, trolleys, etc.

Request a proposal with all the pricing and policies, including the tax and service charge, so you have an idea of the basic cost. You will need a bottom-line fee. Never assume anything is included. Before you sign the contract, read it carefully. Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required? Your wedding date is not officially reserved until you sign a contract and, in most cases, give a deposit – even if the venue wedding coordinator says you don’t need to worry about it.

You may want to ask your venue for a sample contract before you sign your own contract.

It’s wise to document all your conversations in e-mail and keep your correspondence. Before you sign the final contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the wedding coordinator agreed upon. Ask about any other hidden fees. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out and signed by you and the wedding coordinator.

It may seem that there are a lot of questions to ask, but by asking, not only are you avoiding surprises, you are showing the venue that you are a serious customer and that they should treat you accordingly.

If you think of other questions that may be important to you, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trading Spaces

Filed under: Wedding Tips,Wedding Venues — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: ,

Every couple wants their wedding to be “unique” or “unforgettable.” But just a handful of couples go to great lengths to make their big day completely different from everyone else’s.

More and more couples seeking unusual settings, from treetops to airplane hangars. Unusual weddings can be a memorable experience for the bride, groom and all the guests. Here are a few ideas for several unique alternatives to the classic church wedding venue:

HotAirBalloonWedding

Candice King & Mikkel Hansen were married at 6,200 feet above Phoenix in a Hot Air Balloon at 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

• Your own backyard
• An Art Gallery
• A Vineyard or winery
• Lakeside
• In a loft
• On a boat
• In a Hot Air Balloon
• In a barn
• At a museum
• In a warehouse
• On the beach in Rocky Point, Mexico
• At a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas
• In a castle
• At a baseball, basketball or hockey game
• In your favorite department store
• At the Zoo
• At your favorite restaurant
• At victory lane at a race track
• At a nudist resort (or maybe not ;-))
• At the court house in the court room
• At a botanical gardens
• In a cave or cavern
• In a lighthouse
• At a hot dog stand
• On stage at a local theater
• At a park
• A chapel and alumni house at your college
• At the state capital
• At a Yacht Club
• At a Art Studio or Gallery
• At a Mansion or Historical Landmark Building
• At a Fire Station
• Exchange vows on a train or at a train station
• On a merry-go-round
• On a hay ride
• Pool side
• At an arboretum
• At a lake
• A local monument or attraction
• In a fancy lobbies in an office building

When you are planning a wedding at an unusual location, it is important that you understand all the rules, regulations and specifications of the wedding contract. Additionally, the arrangements should be made as far in advance as possible. Because some of these places aren’t used to having weddings, you might be able to snag them for a steal, though you’ll often have to bring in extra rentals (chairs, etc.).

Many of the locations mentioned here are not traditional places for holding a wedding. Finding the right wedding venue for you will take some checking around on your part, but in the end you will have a one-of-a-kind place to have a wedding.

There are many great places that you can have a very memorable wedding such as lush gardens or even in a forest clearing. Choose carefully. Plan in advance. Be sure to have your Wedding Consultant check out:

• Accessibility
• Parking space
• Privacy
• Facilities
• Presence of traffic
• Permits, fees
• Inclement weather (rent a tent or having alternate site)
• Noise levels

Check all restrictions that may accompany booking the venue. Some sites restrict practices like throwing rice or bringing outside beverages or rental items. There may also be rules about decorating like no hanging decorations or fabric from the ceiling. Some of the venue ideas may cause you to limit how many guests you have.

The most important thing is to have fun! AND hire a professional photographer to capture each and every moment.

Did I miss anything? Leave your ideas in the comments.

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

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