Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Should I really be spending this much?

Weddings are not cheap. Or from a previous post I should say inexpensive. I had a long talk today with a family that is planning a wedding for next July. They are having a hard time justifying even having a wedding at all in this economy. They really considered just getting married in the pastors office with their parents and all go out for a nice meal. They said that they are just afraid of what ifs. While planning the wedding now they have money, but if anyone that is helping with the wedding looses a job is it worth the money they are putting out.

I can see the trouble they are having. In one week I will celebrate my one year anniversary from loosing my full time job of eight years. I was not expecting to loose that job, but I did. Its worked out for me, but what about planning a big event like a wedding? Should you really spend that money?

First make a budget of what you can afford now. Not what you hope to make over the next year. This way you are spending money you have.

Then highlight the items on that list that are must haves. Like your wedding planner/Coordinator :-) I kid a little. A good planner will save you money in the long run, but that's your call. Do photographs mean the world to you? Then mark it and know that is one place you won't scrimp on. At the same time maybe you are happy wearing any old dress and a family member has one just your style you can have or buy for cheap.

Then looking at that list decide what are non-essentials. One place brides are saving money is favors. Why have them? To thank your guests sure, but if you have to cut your budget this might be someplace you can make some wiggle room.

Give yourself time. If its not too late and your date is not set yet, try to give yourself at least a year. Why? Because you can buy things in season rather then out and spread your decoration purchases over many months. Also take advantage of after holiday sales. And give yourself time to shop for a deal.

Consider how much you can do yourself to save some money or what amazing talented family members you have. My mom made my wedding cake and it was as nice as anything i could have bought and I think it tasted better. Oh and we decided against a grooms cake just to save some money.

Be prepared and have a plan B. So you do get the news someone has lost a job, what now? Have a plan B that if this happens what is the option you have. It might not be perfect but what can you choose to do now that its happened. If you plan this before the time comes you can be prepared and not have to worry about it when you are in the midst of that new stress.

I hope and pray no one has to face this, but even in this economy with jobs coming and going its okay to still want your party, just make sure its one you can afford.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Your Fired Update

Well in sharing my Brides story I think we have a solution already found. Another DJ I am working with out of Austin has offered her his services and is traveling to San Antonio for the wedding. He has offered her a deal on his services. Yep he is working this for free. Now the couple has to meet with him still wot work out details and make sure they mesh, but I have a feeling that won't be a problem. So for a few days of stress about this and some wonderful generosity I think that the problem is solved and the bride and groom with be in great shape. Once everything is in place for sure I will reveal the DJ that is fixing the problem.
Oh and I have found out this was not the first couple he canceled on because of the same thing. SO he really needs to find a better way to do business, or get out of business. You have to have a little bit of thick skin in the wedding business and you have to know that in Central Texas there is lots of competition and yet its still small enough that people talk.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary

To ME and my wonderful husband.

Its been seven years (4/27/02) that we got married. I can honestly say that I would do it all over again. We did not have all the bells and whistles that some weddings have now, but we are not bells and whistles people. The goal of the day was to marry the man I was so in love with. To this day I have to say I am still so in love with him. We fuss with each other, we fight, we disagree, but we also love, laugh, play, sing, and support each other. I promise you that I am who I am partially because of having Allen in my life. He also is the reason this company, Stress Free Events is so successful. He encourages me to do what I need to do and what I enjoy doing. I love that.

So let me see if I can recap some of the wedding planning from seven years ago.

Okay it was a DIY wedding to an extent, but those who know me well are not surprised. I know what I want and have a way of making it happen. I am pretty crafty. I wanted simple so it was easy.

The Rehearsal Dinner: This was one of those things that was almost better then the wedding day (almost). After a run through we went out to a friends house out in the country. Those with trucks hauled tables and chairs from the church. My dad bar b qued and a friend of the families who used to be a Cajun caterer made all the sides. I begged for some dirty rice and he did not disappoint. I remember my grandfather prayed before the meal and it was so sweet I teared up. After dinner my soon to be husband had been practicing for months to sing a few songs with a little band made up of him my brother and two of my brothers friends. He even did a song that he wrote for me. I teared up again. After the dinner we went back and dropped of the chairs at the church and my grandfather asked me to meet him at the hotel he wanted to give me my gift early. He gave me a full set of china (over 12 place settings) that was given to him and my grandmother for their wedding. He saw I did not register for China and hoped I would enjoy it. And I have.

The Day of the Wedding:

It started early with me fixing hair for my sister and soon to be sister in law and then to get my hair done at head west salon in San Marcos.

The ceremony was at Calvary Baptist Church. And the reception was there as well.

Unity Candle was a gift and made by my friend Gail Daniels.

My bridesmaids were in Navy.

Church was decorated otherwise with garlands and candles I got at craft store.

Flowers Huge arrangements and personal flowers bigger then I imagined were from another friend Joe with Flowers and Friends. I was so happy with them.

All food was provided by Sam's and HEB and friends and family helped set it up.

Tables had simple white cloths on them with ivy bowls with yellow floating candles in them.

My cake was made by my mother. It was three tiers with queens anne lace and yellow roses.

Allen created all the music and put it together on the computer. My brother set up a sound system to play it on.

I know I am missing details but its because now they don't matter. I just know now that seven years ago, I married the best man out there. I am blessed by such a wonderful husband, who took me out to dinner last night (and only texted about the NFL draft choices once or twice) and a movie and then stayed home today from church with one of our kids that was not quite himself. Yep I love that man of mine.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Your Fired!

Yep that is in essence what one of my brides heard recently from her DJ.

Did he fire her (ok cancel her contract) because she was too demanding, wanted too many personal request, wouldn't let him put his cards out? wouldn't let him play the hokey poky and chicken dance? Refused to let him have a tip jar? No.

He said he could not work with her because she told someone he was cheap. Her wedding is still eight months away and I am sure she will find a new DJ (I am willing to pull out the stops to help her here) but this is crazy. Here is how I understand it happened.

She posts on the local chat rooms of a popular national wedding planning website. She tells everyone that she did not want to pay an arm and a leg for a DJ, and she found a great cheap DJ. She said positive things about him and recommended him to other brides on that board.

What happened next is a little sketchy and if my bride wants to post clarification feel free, but I otherwise will keep your identity secret. He either heard of this post from another bride or he was reading the posts on this board. Which is tacky anyway its a place where brides go to get honest opinions on vendors and so they talk openly, I remember I was on there once, but I avoid it now for their privacy. So he reads where my bride post that he is cheap. He goes off in email on a tirade about how much he spends on his equipment and this and that and if she thinks he is cheap he can't work with her.

I say good riddance. We live in an economy where every little bit counts and we want to save where and when we can. As a bride planning her wedding I know you want a good deal. You want professionals that are good and inexpensive. Sometimes we use the word cheap its easier to type :-) I as a planner know when a bride has a budget. I know where their priority items are and where their we have to have it, but lets get the best price we can items are. I have looked for and used "cheap" vendors in the past. Hey if it wasn't for cheap vendors I would have never had the wedding I had seven years ago. I understand having pride in what you do, and not wanting to be tacky, but cheap is not a bad word and I read her post it was positive and recommended him. We all charge what we charge because its what we can afford to charge for whatever reason. I feel he should have been glad to be getting a shout out at all. Now his name is mud on those boards and its hard to recover from that.

I was teasing with the wedding party at my last wedding. They were talking about hiring me for another event and I said yeah, hey look me up, I'm Cheap. They corrected me and said no not cheap just a bargain. I liked that. I also say I am an investment with a good return for those into the financial things. Still I know that I am not the most expensive coordinator/planner out there. I know that I am good at what I do. So if you want to post about me on a major wedding website and say I am Cheap then go ahead. Just don't say I'm trashy then we might have words :-)

And now I leave you with some alternative words and phrases in case you want to avoid telling someone they are cheap. Found Here

Main Entry: cheap
Synonyms: at a bargain, bargain, bargain-basement, bargain-counter, bought for a song, budget, buy, cheapo, competitive, cost next to nothing, cut-price, cut-rate, depreciated, dime a dozen, easy on the pocketbook, economical, half-priced, irregular, low tariff, low-cost, low-priced, lowered, marked down, moderate, nominal, on sale, popularly priced, real buy, reasonable, reduced, sale, slashed, standard, steal, uncostly, undear, utility, worth the money
cheap means relatively low in price or charging low prices,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Michelle and Patrick 4/18/09

The wedding day of Michelle and Patrick has defiantly been one I have been looking forward to with much anticipation. And I think to do it total justice it will have multiple posts over the next few days. Part of it is also to give the photographers present proper ado. So this post will only include a few of the set up shots that I took, but look for the photos from our other photographers very soon. I had a busy day and did not get a lot of pictures.

The day started out and ended smooth as can be. We had a few unexpected moments but I promised Michelle I wouldn't tell on at least one of them.

Let me run down the cast of characters here and give you links as I find them, if I have them. I can get you contacts for any of them, just let me know.

Venue: Oak Hills Country Club San Antonio Texas
The wedding ceremony took place outside on the beautiful green grass and under the large trees. White chairs were lined up for all the guest every other chair had a beautiful fan program (that I did not get a photo of, but will see if the photographers did). There was a table at the front for the sand ceremony and a gorgeous floral arrangement by Erin with Edens Echo. The aisle was also lined with ivory rose petals. There was a cocktail hour after the ceremony with a full bar, and passed apps and an appetizer station. The reception in the ball room was beautiful. Michelle knew just what she wanted. There were blue up lights all around the room and lighted white paper lanterns in three sizes and green moss balls over the dance floor and lounge area. Tables were filled with candle centerpieces in multiple sizes with ivory flowers surrounding them. handmade table numbers, gold chargers with ivory napkins on champagne satin table cloths. Cookies with their monogram all added to it. The gold chaviri chairs were also a wonderful touch. The staff at the club were so wonderful. I was at ease knowing that if we needed anything they would get it for me.

Floral: Was all provided by Erin at Eden's Echo.
I love working with Erin this was our second wedding and I look forward to our next. She really cares about the brides desires and vision and will do whatever she can to make it happen. Her work is remarkable. Just check out the photos. She took the floral petals I placed on the tables and added little flowers she had left over and made it beautiful and the mini bouquets on the brides and grooms chairs adorable.

Photographer: Karen Little with Winfield Little Photography. I need to get her second shooters name. He did a great job and he is moving from San Antonio to Austin so he will be looking for some Austin weddings soon. I will post another entry with photos they get to me as they have a chance to get them to me.

Second Photographer: Jenna Cole she is a fellow blogger from what I understand from Michelle that is just starting to build a wedding portfolio. I have seen a couple of pictures today on her facebook page and let me tell you they are awesome.

Band: Lost in Austin out of Austin. They rock the night away. I was thrilled with the excitement on the dance floor and they were so cool about showing up early to set up and then just hang out until they went on. They even came in early to turn on a microphone for some speeches. I told hubby when I was alive the next day that I want to go hear them in Austin sometime when I don't have a million things I am worried about and can dance and enjoy them. I think i will be dancing alone but its worth a try.

Lighting: Your Lighting Experts out of Austin. From what I understand this one was one of their first weddings, but you could have fooled me. They understood the feel wanted and made it happen. And as I told them anytime I am not on a ladder hanging lanterns its a good day. They were so easy to work with and I look forward to working with them again.

Officiant: Rev. Susan Ross out of New Braunfels. She was a hoot and performed a beautiful ceremony that was catered around the couple.

Cakes: Cathy Young. They were simply beautiful and delicious. Well at least the brides cake was and I did not hear any complaints from the grooms cake. I was only able to snag the one piece.

Photo booth: TNT Photo booth. This was a huge hit. They had a great time with this and Nery and I even slipped in and took a photo and left it for the happy couple in a scrapbook with the other photos so that the happy couple can go back later and see everything. I heard they squeezed seven people in there so I am sure there are some fun photos.

Video: Rey Dominguez. He did a wonderful job. I have not seen the video yet but he was there for everything.

I am sure I am missing someone so I will go over notes and add details as I remember them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jennifer and Michael 4-11-09

This was a great wedding. Another one where the groom was very involved in the planning. In fact he was the one that called me. Jennifer and Michael live out of state and were planning a wedding in Austin that would host friends and family from 15 different states. They kept things very personal. Michale's brother performed the ceremony. I also thought the champagne toast at the end of the ceremony was great.

Here is the breakdown.

Stress Free Staff Present: Becky, Nery, Susan, and Dawn (Thanks Girls for all your hard work. Nery not sure how you always end up at the popcorn machine but you bag popcorn so well)

Ceremony Music: Mike Valliere (looking for guitarist check him out I was very impressed. I have his contact information somewhere. I am still looking for it. He did a great job. He has a great voice as well.)

Reception Music: Stretch Sound JT came through. He was hired to host the sound system and Jennifer and Michael would play their music from their Ipods. The week of the wedding Jennifer asked him to play for a couple of hours after all and he was more then willing. I think he ended up playing all night. I saw them rocking the night away several times.
Photographer: Adrienne Annas this was my first time with wok with Adrienne and I really enjoyed working with her.

Food: Prepared by Rudy's BBQ (served by Stress Free Staff)

Personal Flowers: Westbank Flower market

Check back soon for links to the above vendors.

Kristin and Michael 4-4-09

This was one of those weddings that I just stumbled across. Kristien's mother works at the front desk at the activity center where I work out. She found out what I do and started asking questions. Kristin and her mom Susan planned this wedding in a very short time. It was very much a DIY effort.

Event Held at Quail Creek Country Club San Marcos

Cake by The Cake Pan

Dinner by the family of the Groom

Decorations by the Bride and her mother.

They opted to not have a formal photographer for the day but asked all their family and friends to share pictures. I took as many as I could for them. It was such a joy to work with them.

Michelle and John March 28th 2009

This was such an awesome couple. John was at every planning meeting. He was very involved in the whole process and you could see how much they loved each other. They were so cute. I can't wait to get professional photos to share. Nery took some photos at the reception site for me, but I don't have anything with Michelle and John. I know I will get those soon. Again these are from my simple camera I can't wait for the professionals. I will link those soon. If you have questions about any of the vendors please let me know and I will be glad to share, they all did a fab. job.
In the mean time hope you enjoy these photos. The wedding was at Central Christian Church in San Antonio and the reception followed at the Pearl Stables. It was a fabulous event, and beautiful location.

My staff for this event were Nery Lauderdale and Della Uhr. Thank you so much ladies for all your hard work.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to Blogging

I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging sometime this week. I am three weddings behind. I am so sorry. I just wanted to get some great photos to share with you first. They have been great but busy weddings and I have not taken too many photos at them. But I still want to show you what is going on in the weddings of Stress Free Brides this month. I have another wedding this weekend and then I have a weekend off. So it will give me time to catch up if I don't get them all this weekend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Booking Specials

I have some specials for any brides booking their wedding with me this month. The wedding can be anytime in 2009, but if the contracts are signed this month then you can take advantage of the following specials.

1.) April booking vendor referral. This is a free help in locating one of your vendors. This only applies to couples using us for day of coordination services. I will give you the names of three to five vendors in your budget and available for your date that you can meet with and see if they fit your needs.

2.) Pick up/Return Service. We usually reserve pick up and returning of rental items or gifts, or anything like that for our full service packages, but we will make arrangements for one pick up and one return on your big day.

These services are in addition to the services you already receive and the use of any of the items we have in stock.

We look forward to working with you.