Beating the heat (and other weather woes) on your wedding day

It's been a wild weather ride these past couple of weeks in Portland, Oregon. We've had a chilly and rainy early June 2017 and now as we approach July we're hitting 100-degree temperatures. This reminds me of the summer we did a wedding at Bridal Veil Lakes for almost 200 people that took us through the full complement of sun, overcast, and finally rain late in the evening. Thankfully, the couple had made weather plans: renting scores of white golf umbrellas from Barclay Event Rentals, providing tent heaters, using the site's two existing covered areas wisely, and checking the weather forecast regularly with the option of adding more tents if necessary.

Bridal-veil-lakes-portland-outdoor-wedding 

Image: EJP Events

 

Most of us often think of rain as the only thing to prepare for when planning an outdoor Portland wedding, but unusually hot temperatures can throw a monkey wrench into the works as well. Here's a hot-weather planning checklist for your outdoor wedding or event:

  • Make sure you have shade and ample drinking water for those warm summer wedding days. Visit the ceremony site around a similar time of day and see where the shade and sun tend to fall; plan your seating configuration accordingly.
  • Offer your guests parasols and hand fans for use during the ceremony.
  • If temperatures approach the 90s or >gasp!< even higher, rent portable A/C units and fans for un-airconditioned indoor spaces; or swamp coolers and spray misters for outdoor events (warning: misters cool well, but they will get your guests wet! So place them carefully). Large fans can also be good for bringing a breeze into a tent. Talk to your venue manager and rental company about the electrical needs of all these appliances and ensure that there are enough power connections and amperage to support this. You'll also want a way to hide all the cords and prevent guests from cord-trip accidents.
  • Have a "chilling station" featuring large tubs of iced washcloths, spray bottles with essential oils like peppermint and lavender, and iced water dispensers.
  • Keep a tent with breathable fabric shadewalls on reserve if you're planning a wedding in the summer months. If the weather is nice and you don't need it, you can always cancel it by the deadline for a nominal fee.

Hot-summer-wedding-weather-parasols-fans 

Image: Blaine and Bethany Photography

Whatever weather you're trying to prepare for, make sure to get your backup arrangements in well in advance, as many rental items sell out and backup venues can get booked up.

Don't forget, that even if your wedding is indoors, weather can affect the drivetime/photo schedule, your hair style, shoes, travel arrangements, and your comfort level. Plan for umbrellas from your favorite rental companies (I like Barclay Events and Bella Umbrella for umbrella rentals; and Luna Bazaar for parasols), perhaps consider valet parking or golf carts, and think about extra shoes and hair touchups.

Is there any possible way to know the wedding weather in advance? I recommend two great tools: The Farmer's Almanac for historical data, and also Accuweather.com for forecasts. If you pay for a premium membership, Accuweather.com will present a detailed, hourly 15-day forecast as well as give graphical historical data. No forecast is perfect, but I've found this one to be really close. On the day itself, the DarkSky app is great for realtime weather updates.

Here's hoping for perfect weather on your special day.

 

A version of this post originally appeared on the blog in July 2010. This post contains links to affiliate shopping sites and EJP Events may be compensated if you make any purchases after following these links.

WeddingWire Newlywed Report Exposes Some Harsh Truths About Planning

I was just glancing through the 2017 WeddingWire Newlywed Report – a market research report where recently-wed couples are polled for data. A couple of items really stood out to me:

  • 40% of couples underestimate their wedding budget. This means almost half of people planning a wedding have a picture in their head of their wedding, but an incorrect estimation of what it will cost. To me, this is a recipe for heartache and stress, and could be easily solved if instead of picking a venue or a design vision first, couples first took their budget and evaluated it line by line to find exactly how each item should be allocated. (This is something we do in our very first meeting with clients.)
  • 50% of weddings occur on just 22 dates of the year which are all Saturdays. This means that, for example, if you take the approximately 16,000 weddings that occur in Oregon each year, about 8,000 of them are vying for venues on the same 22 Saturdays. It seems like it would help to have an organized planner on your side to help you find the perfect location. (We have venue sourcing services that range in price from no cost, to a small portion of your wedding planning contract, so get in touch!) 

Wedding-wire-market-research

 

Hope you find the report as interesting as I did, and that it helps you in your planning!  – Emee

Budgeting for your wedding

A harsh reality of planning a wedding is creating a budget. It may not be the most romantic aspect of your nuptials, but it’s crucial, in order to reduce stress and not overspend. Here are some helpful ways to plan your budget:

  1. Talk to all the contributors. Maybe the couple is paying for the entire wedding themselves, maybe one family is footing the bill, or maybe it is being split between many parties. Whatever your situation is, make it clear from the beginning how much (and on what aspects of the wedding) each group is willing to spend.
  2. Decide what your big items are. For some, this is the venue, for others they want to allot a large percentage on food. Deciding on these big-ticket items early on will allow you to budget for the others.
  3. Remember what is important. It can be easy to get focused on getting the vendors their checks, and picking the right DJ that fits your budget. Remember at the end of the day, you’ll be celebrating with your partner and guests, and that will be the most important part.

How-to-set-your-wedding-budgetImage by Mark Sebastian on Flickr licensed by Creative Commons

Finally, the actual numbers. There are a number of budget spreadsheets available online, but my favorite way to get the rough numbers is to ask:

"Picture the meal and setting that you would have for your reception and try to match it to a restaurant you know. Now – what does this meal cost if you were to go out on any regular evening?"

Take that meal cost and multiply it by two to four times, and you have a range of per person cost for your reception. Mutliply THAT by your number of guests and you have a good estimate of a reception budget.

For example, if you like the atmosphere and food at Portland restaurant Ned Ludd, take your per person cost for dinner there (including apps and drinks), let's say that's $85 per person. Multiply that times 2 or 4 to get the range. Your per-person wedding budget range is $170 – 340 per person. If you expect 100 guests, you should budget $17-34K for the wedding reception.

Keep in mind that, the lower the meal cost goes, the less accurate this may be, since you may have venue costs or rental costs for a private venue that far outstrip the cost of a casual meal for 100. Also, while this is a great way to estimate per-person costs, it doesn't address big-ticket budget items that aren't used by guests such as the wedding clothes, honeymoon, or rings. Sometimes the only way to do it is line-by-line.

What method are you using to estimate your budget? Please leave us a comment with your thoughts!

– Malia Exo-Robinson and Emee Pumarega contributed to this blog post.

Steps to Planning a Wedding, or “I just got engaged, where do I start?”

After the initial thrill of getting engaged subsides, you now realize that there's some planning to do! This time can easily feel overwhelming as friends and family barrage you with questions: Have you set a date? Where will the wedding be held? What's the theme? Where should I get a hotel room? !!!

Steps-to-planning-a-wedding-start-here
Fear not, there's actually a pretty organized system for thinking through the steps to planning a wedding that I can share with you in a few sentences. And no, it doesn't start with setting a date! Read on…

Phase One – Design, Budget, and Team  << START HERE!

The first phase of planning is for you to sit down and figure out how much you are willing to spend on the services needed to put on your ceremony and reception. Once that is done, you decide on a "look and feel" for the wedding – the wedding design. Only then can you start looking at venues and dates, and the vendor team who will provide the services and physical elements to make your vision into reality. Phase one is over when you have booked each vendor entity and/or assigned all major services to someone in your group.

Phase Two – Refining the Design

So you successfully completed Phase One and have your venue and vendor team together. Most of them will have had an initial contract that you signed that commits them to appear on the day of, or to provide a service during planning such as making the invitations. But what invitations? Which fonts and colors? What paper type? Detailed decisions must be made all the way down, for every vendor. Your second phase of planning is all about pushing each vendor or entity doing something for your wedding (including friends and DIY!) from the initial idea/contract to a final product or final order. Yes, you selected the florist, but don't stop there. Now it's time to pick out which flowers, which colors, and how many of each. It may seem daunting, but a good vendor will walk you through this process so you definitely won't be on your own.

Phase Three – Wedding Day Coordination

By about 2 months before the wedding, I'm hoping you've completed the first two phases (That's what we do for all of our clients!). At this point you should have everyone hired (or friends selected for any DIY services) to do each and every task needed for the big day. You should have the menu picked out, the flowers selected, the flatware and linens selected, the music picked.

Now is the final phase of making sure to remind everyone of the overall vision and what the big day should look like. You need to put together a contact list of everyone working on the day of and all of their mobile numbers and emails. As well as a schedule of the day, from rehearsal time to setup times/ vendor arrivals all the way through ceremony/reception organized activities, and through cleanup. Finally there should be a checklist of all of your setup items and a description of each. Once you have this document and share it with everyone involved and reconfirm it, you are on your way to a relaxed and smoothly-running day!

 

Where wedding websites fall short

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Photo credit: Madeline Ball, licensed by Creative Commons

Newly engaged? If you've started planning, that likely means heading to the computer. What you’ll come across are many websites that provide some of the same things a coordinator does: a to-do list, a list of vendors, and hundreds of articles about anything and everything wedding related. If you're not sure if wedding coordinator is in your budget, or you want to take on the planning yourself, these websites are amazing resources. However, there are several things a website can’t do:

  1. Tailor a plan unique to you and your partner. A coordinator can sit with you and your partner—and your families if they are involved—and go over each individual detail of what you would (and really wouldn’t) like to see on your big day.
  2. Give you advice from years of experience. A wedding coordinator that has been at this for a while has seen a lot of weddings, and this means they can pass all of this knowledge along to you as a bride or groom.
  3. Provide day-of coordination. This is one thing that couples often forget. While some feel they can handle the preparation ahead of time, it’s easy to overlook how many things need managing on the big day. Hiring a coordinator means someone is assigned to this, and you and your family and friends can focus on enjoying yourselves.

If you have experience with planning your wedding over wedding websites, good or bad, let us know in the comments! 

— Malia Robinson-Exo and Emee Pumarega, May 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

{ Attire Tips } Try It On!

Dress-fitting-seamstress-alterations

You would never walk into a store, grab a dress off the rack, pay for it and walk out, would you?  No, you would try it on first!  Especially if it was for an important occasion.

The same should apply for your wedding day!  After witnessing a couple of “wardrobe malfunctions” this summer, bride and groom alike, I have to remind you all:  Please try on your gown or tux before you take it home for the last time!

Yes, you may have had several fittings.  But things can happen between the last fitting and the final pickup.  You could have shed (or stacked) a few pounds.  The seamstress could make a mistake.  The tux supplier could have packed an incorrect vest size.

Open that bag BEFORE you leave the store, and try it on one last time.  Or at least once you get it home. You do not want to open that bag on the day of the wedding to find out that something is missing or wrong.  It’s so much easier to make corrections or adjustments when you’re not under the gun.

(A version of this article originally ran in August 2008 on The Portland Wedding Coordinator blog.) wedding planning portland oregon hood river ejp events portland wedding coordinator design weddings vancouver wa camas washougal lake oswego

More wedding advice and tips available over at EJP Events’s Portland wedding planning website.

 

 

There’s no such thing as “just” when it comes to Wedding Day Coordination

I get a lot of requests for Wedding Day Coordination that begin: "We just really want someone that can keep the flow going and keep us on schedule."

Let's break this down:

Keep the flow going.

What is "flow" when it comes to a wedding, anyway? I interpret it as that magical mix of timing and logistics that makes your wedding feel joyful and unplanned, while at the same time using every moment allotted to you by the venue and your vendors to the best possible advantage.

How does flow happen? Well, it doesn't "just" happen. A wedding day coordinator will normally put in 20-30 hours of preparation before appearing at your wedding. This includes collecting all of your contracts and paperwork and reviewing all policies to ensure understanding of everything you have arranged and what you are entitled to; research into your wedding design; confirmation of venue and vendor policies; and understanding you and your families' preferences and decisions about what you want to achieve on the day. Often the coordinator will condense this information into an event plan. Twenty to thirty hours. And that's just pre-event.

Keep us on schedule.

On the day of the event, in order to keep the flow going if it gets hung up or stops, a wedding planner may have to deal with a multitude of issues behind the scenes. Here are the most common ones:

prep time, especially hair and makeup, not going as scheduled
transportation and parking woes
decor issues: wrong color, wrong piece or fit
missing items and going back for them
lateness of vendors or bridal party

Even if everything goes 100% perfectly (and the reality is, it doesn't) a wedding day coordinator still must be constantly available to act as a surrogate host, direction-giver, traffic controller, scheduler, and people-mover. They must be on site well before you or any guests or vendors arrive, and stay on site long after everyone has departed. These duties will take 12-16 hours to complete on the wedding day itself. Not to mention 1-2 hours of rehearsal time explaining the procedures to the wedding party and family; and the little post-rehearsal errands that always seem to come up.

In sum, while your wedding day planner's job is to "just keeping the flow going and keeping everything on schedule", in order to do that, they and their staff must put in upwards of 48+ hours of solid on- and off-site work that culminates in your well-run wedding day.

{ Wedding Etiquette } Where can I tell my guests about my registry? {Sponsored}

Portland-weddings-gift-registry-etiquettePhoto courtesy asenat29 on flickr licensed by Creative Commons

Today I received a question from a bride who wanted to know how she should let her guests know about their wedding registry.

"We've been wondering how couples typically let their guests know about their registry. Is it a part of their mailed invitation, a word of mouth thing, or something else?"

Let it be known: it's generally frowned upon to put information about gifts or gift registries into the wedding invitation. The reason is that you would never imply that your guest wasn't welcome without a gift, right? Nor that attending your wedding comes with an obligation to give a gift. The focus of a wedding invitation should never be on gifts.

That being said, most everyone attending will want to fete you and shower you with blessings and gifts! So you should definitely register for gifts if you want them. But how to let people know, since you're not supposed to put it in the invitation?

There are two ways: old-school word of mouth, and new-school wedding websites. Both are etiquette-correct. Simply let your family and friends know where you are registered, and if a guest asks them, your besties/familia can pass the word along.

Or, list it on your wedding website on a secondary page, not the home page. This way, your wedding website acts as your etiquettely-correct, 21st-century word-of-mouth, since by clicking on a link to your registry, your guest is inquiring where you are registered and it's not you pushing the information at them. And you CAN include a link to your wedding website in the invitation, as long as, again, the focus of the website isn't the gift registry but information about the wedding overall such as maps, directions, and the like.

Our blog is sponsored by many great merchants. Feel free to click on the link below for some great deals from our merchant partners at Wedding Paper Divas.

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Top signs you do NOT need a wedding planner

I know, crazy, right? Why would The Portland Wedding Coordinator blog about not needing a wedding planner? The plain truth is, not every wedding really needs one. Here are some signs that yours might be one of them:

1. You are very laid-back about the look and feel of the wedding and don't need for things to turn out or look a certain way.

2. Your event has very little etiquette, protocol, or time constraint

3. Culturally, the expectations of family and guests of your ability to host a party experience are low.

4. Your guest list is small (less than 40) people, and you don't have friends and family coming from out of town

5. The how-this-will-all-come-together is pretty cut and dried. Logistics are really easy, and your vendor team has all worked together before in that venue. Additionally, you are not creating a script or schedule that deviates greatly from what's been done before.

{Wedding Attire Tips} Can I mix ivory and white at my wedding?

Today's tip is not just an attire tip, but it also touches on overall wedding design and colors.

I get a lot of clients every year who ask me if they can wear an ivory gown but have white tablecloths, and vice versa.  Or if they can use ivory and white on the same surface, for example, white tablecloths and ivory plates.  We receive so many inquiries like this that we decided to address it here on the blog at Portland Wedding Coordinator.
 
Some people seem to think that there is an etiquette or protocol issue at work here, but I have done some initial research at the Peggy Post and Martha Stewart sites, and to date have not yet found anything etiquette-related, except a reminder to guests not to wear white or ivory to a wedding.
 
So my feeling is that it boils down to your personal style and what you feel comfortable with.

Continue reading “{Wedding Attire Tips} Can I mix ivory and white at my wedding?”