Monday, November 9, 2015

Will Unplugging Really Solve the Problem?

Search the internet for the topic "Unplugged Wedding" and you'll find TONS of articles on how offended people are by guests taking photos at their wedding or in their way while while shooting photos at a wedding.  

Article by angry photographer showcasing guests rudely standing in the way of his photos 

Article by less angry photographer about the dos and don'ts of taking photos at weddings 

A Knot discussion on to ban or not to ban

An article on HOW to word the banning of phone photography at your wedding 

(Not a single phone to be seen!)

My feelings, as a planner, is that it isn't the phone photography that is the problem, it is the rude guest that is the problem.  There are always guests at the wedding who disregard etiquette and polite conduct.  This guests is the one who will show up late for the ceremony and walk right in the front door (usually in the middle of the ceremony) anyhow or the guest who will loudly complain when the bar closes for dinner (and demand someone get them a drink).  This person is the same person who most likely ignores polite conduct in day to day life as well.

I suggest we ban rude guests from the wedding, not photography.  We can ask that guests use some basic common sense at our weddings. We ask that they please regard this as a valued and important day to the two people who are joining their lives together.  We explain that the people at the wedding are considered the most important and cared for people in the bride and grooms lives and they should conduct themselves in such a fashion.  

Other suggestions would be that they stay quiet during the ceremony, that they stay present during the couples vows and that they pay attention to the day and what the bride & groom have asked of them.  

We ask that they show up on time, maybe even a few minutes early.  We ask that they sit where they have been escorted and take the programs, bubbles or rice without complaint.  We can ask that they not argue with the bartender over what liquors are/are not available at the bar.  We can ask that they enjoy the food and their chosen entree without expecting the staff to accommodate their change in mood/mind or taste in food (which somehow only applies to that evening).  We ask that they get up and show interest for the special moments of the evening, the cake cutting, the first dance and just a few others.  We can also ask that even if they don't like the favor, they take it at the end of the night, because someone picked it out in hopes that you would appreciate the thought.  

I don't think asking the guests to be unplugged is the answer.  There are so many times that my clients have been thrilled to see all the photos that their guests have taken of their big day.  The special view that someone was able to get, the secret look that another was able to catch and the fun interactions that your guests had together are all great things you'll miss when you insist on unplugging everyone. Even I'll follow the hashtag to see what is happening at the very wedding where I'm working.  I have the chance to see what guests are doing, what they are seeing and what they are thinking.  It's fun and these are unique photos that while they will never make it to your wedding album, will be photos that you cherish having.  

I think we need to expect more from our friends and family.  We should expect polite behavior, kindness and some common sense.  I don't think that's asking too much but I do think that's asking more from people than they are normally used to giving.  I'll start a hash tag for my weddings that would be as simple as #commonsensewedding or #myguestsdon'tsuck or #stopbeingsorudeatweddings (too long maybe?) 

What do you think?  What are your stories of your guests?  Was everyone amazing?  Was everyone involved?  Share with me, and let's start a trend of awesome weddings with equally awesome guests!

Happy Planning!

Brandi Hamerstone  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Venue Visit- Maltz Museum

Maltz Museum 2929 Richmond Road Beachwood, Ohio 

I had the pleasure of finally getting to stop by the event space at the Maltz Musuem and meeting with Sheri Stallsmith (formerly of the Akron Art Museum and Hale Farm).

The Maltz Museum is located on Richmond Road in Beachwood, which is the perfect location for access to hotels and things for your out of town guests to do so it is an optimal site for wedding receptions.

They have an open floor plan available and it is a clean space that is open to all styles and options of style for your wedding day.  The initial vibe that I would get from the space is more of a warehouse/modern style so you can work with that or just use the space and create what you want.  

You do not have to be Jewish to use the center or kosher, anyone is welcome.  They have ample parking, a great list of caterers to work with (A Taste of Excellence is one of my favorites and they are on the list!) and with such a great/central location you can use vendors from all around without travel issues.  Although, White Flower Cake Shop is right up the street if you are trying to stay local. 

I love the space and they are currently booking for July/August of 2016 so if you want to get into a widely underused location that will be a unique experience for your guests, this is the space.  Call 216.593.0595  or email Sheri now for more information or a tour of the space.  

Then call All Events Planned to help organize the rest of your day! 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Martha Stewart Weddings- Summer 2015- Read with me!

Don't have the time or energy to find the content among all those ads in this Summer edition of Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine?  Well then, read along with me as I highlight the highs and lows of what they have to offer in this edition.

First off, the cover of this edition is fabulous.  I love the coloring and while I'm not the biggest Sarah Jessica Parker fan, she looks adorable!

11 pages in and we've got the table of contents.  Brides magazine has 28 pages of ads until you reach the table of contents, in case you were comparing.  

Page 74- Bridal Party Kids- From Darcy
The adorable part here is that there are some simple ways to do kids hair for the wedding.  You can grab a few of your flower girls and put together an adorable look!  Or, better yet, you've got some ideas to give to the awesome stylist you hire to manage all of the looks for you!
Great tips include-
Offering SMART snacks- Candy is going to end up making them sick and sugar drinks will do the same.  A cute little snack pack with granola bars, cheese sticks and some crackers will tide them over much better and you'll avoid the sugar crash later when you are trying to get photos.
Appoint a wrangler- Have someone either an adult or a babysitter that can manage all of the kids in the wedding party.  This is a task that occasionally falls on me, the planner but my time is better spent focusing on the wedding so have someone that isn't involved and will be free to run around and catch everyone.
Have ZERO expectations for success.  I tell all of my brides that this will be a hit and miss experience for the kids.  You'll either get perfection or a mess (sometimes something adorable in between the two) so don't get your hopes up so high that you let a screaming toddler ruin your day.  Hope for the best but be ready to nix the plans at the last minute if you've got a ring bearing tearing off his clothes and throwing things.  

Page 106- Tinker Taylor
I LOVE this idea and while I understand the pricing it makes it hard to justify asking your bridesmaids to participate.  

Page 110- Good Things
Hot Dog Bar!  What a fun concept for a summer wedding and with so many options on hot dogs (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) you could put together this station and please even the pickest eater!  We just did a hot dog station at a wedding a few weeks ago at the Akron Rubber Ducks Stadium and it was a hit! (pun intended) 

Page 164- The A to Z of DIYNow DIY in itself is a great concept but the IDEA of you doing all kinds of work and crafting on your wedding day or even the month leading up to your wedding (the most stressful time in the wedding process) seems crazy to me.  There are great planners, designers and studios that can put these looks together for you and unless you are a DIY master, the money you spend will be worth it for you and everyone you try to get involved.  

Page 185- The Planner- RentalsWhat a great idea to put together information and a pull out sheet on rentals.  This is the #1 issue that people run across when planning their outdoor, tent, backyard wedding.  Not to mention when you get a fantastic venue and have the budget to look into some real rentals (Borrow Rentals is amazing)
Assess your Needs
Spend Wisely
Get it in Writing (I say this about any vendor you talk with!)
PICK A THEME!  You can get carried away in these places (think: being able to rent everything that Pier One has to offer or Home Goods) so make sure you start with a concept, color, design and your space availability.  This way you don't leave with things that don't make sense (waste of money) or things that you'll end up not having room for (again, waste of money).  

Page 192- Ask Martha
How many bartenders do we need? 
Their answer is one bartender per 30 people.  I'm not 100% sure that is the actual number, it will depend on the level of alcohol you are buying, what you are wanting to provide to the guests, how many guests and their drinking level.  I would say that's the safe number but it seems like you'll end up with a TON of bartenders ($$) too.  If you are looking to save on cost, I wouldn't see 1 per 50 or even 75 depending on the bar.  

Page 194- Build a Better WebsiteI just want to touch on the idea of a wedding website.  You DO need one.  It should have all the details, hotel information, schedule of events for the entire weekend so people know where to be and by when, shuttle information and yes, even your registry.  Those are the basics, anything beyond that is just personal preference.  

The palette coloring this month is copper and white.  I'm not a huge fan at all.  

Page 224- Come on, Get Happy (Photo Shoot)Love this and normally I pass over photo spreads.  This has fun coloring, ideas and cute puppies.  What's not to love?

Page 246- Best Foot ForwardInterview with SJP.  She does not look as happy in this photo as she does on the cover.  That's that.
Page 276- 50 Born in the USA Favors 
Ohio got buckeyes.  Seems to lack some creativity that I would expect from the magazine since anyone could come up with that idea.  Would have liked to see something local or more original. 
Here is a list of products from Ohio-  
And when all else fails a Lebron Jersey will work and be appreciated.  #allin

Page 312- 20 Years of FavorsI like seeing all the favors over the years.  1995 Monogrammed Box of Fruit Cake (?what?) 2015 Hand Painted Cookies.
My take on favors is that unless they match with your theme, have personal meaning to you or are edible (HUGE hit) then don't bother with them.  As a planner, I box up and take home over half of the typical favors that are put out (because guests leave them behind) so don't waste money where it won't be appreciated.

I wasn't absolutely in love with any of the "real life" weddings they featured this month, normally I do love to hear the stores and see the details, but none stuck out.  I'll see you again for some wedding reading next time!

Happy Planning!