Monday, March 7, 2011

Weddings at Costco - Seriously?

With the change in the economy over the past couple of years, many people are venturing out into the job market to make an additional income or perhaps looking for a full time job to replace the one they lost.  Some are even looking to start a new career in a completely different market and unfamiliar territory.  The same holds true for businesses.  Many business have noticed consumers cutting back on their spending.  With the decrease in consumer spending, businesses are looking for new ways to get the customer back into the store and spend more money.  Here is a good example of a business going into a new selling market because they want to get their customers to spend more money - - Weddings at Costco -

Would you trust your dream wedding to a warehouse store?  As a professional wedding consultant, I have an opinion about Costco's new venture and here are some reasons why you might want to think twice before you book Costco to handle your big day.

1) Costco's area of interest is warehouse / bulk shopping not weddings.  Is the new trend to sell bulk weddings on Aisle 7?
 * Solution:   Leave your wedding to the professionals.  Weddings come in all sizes and prices.  Wedding professionals can give you suggestions to keep your wedding under budget and still be perfectly unforgettable.  Remember - you get what you pay for.

2) Costco offers Wedding Flowers!   Costco doesn't have in-house floral designers that creates the wedding flowers in the back room of the warehouse. Instead, they deal with vendors that are not even local to your area.  Wedding flowers are shipped to your house or location and are not delivered by a local florists.  Centerpiece
Simply Elegant Wedding Rose Collections  Solid Colors
flowers don't come with vases, (that cost extra) but instead you will need to put everything together.  Do you really have time on your wedding day to arrange your wedding centerpieces? What happens if the flowers arrive wilted or damaged? Can you get these flowers replaced in time for the wedding?  Probably not.  Costco states on their website that the flowers will arrive in 100% perfect condition.  I find that a little hard to believe, especially since flowers are so fragile to begin with and placing them in overnight shipping containers is adding to the risk that they will incur damages. 
* Solution: Save yourself the headache.  Work directly with a local florists.  Local florists can offered advice on flowers that are in season and options to keep you on budget with your wedding flowers. 

VeryVera  Coconut Layer Cake3) Wedding Cakes by Costco!- Costco now offers brides the option to order tiered cakes for their wedding.  Are you getting nervous yet? I am.  Unless you are a professional cake designer, I would highly discourage you from buying tiered cakes at Costco for your wedding.  Cakes can only be picked up at the local Costco store or shipped to your location.  Cakes are not personally delivered.  Are you ready to set up your wedding cake on your wedding day? Are you absolutely 100% positive that the cake wont' fall over or get damaged in the shipping process?  Instead of getting your hair and make up done the morning of your wedding, you are going to be very busy arranging flowers and setting up the wedding cake.  You thought you were stressed planning the wedding, your "stressed out" day has just begun.  Your perfectly unforgettable wedding has now become a perfect nightmare.
* Solution:  Work with a local bakery or cake designer.  Once again, like all local vendors, they can offer you options to help with your cake budget.  The local baker will also personally deliver and set up the cake to perfection.  No worries about the tiers falling or the cake getting damages in the shipping process.  FYI---The wedding cake photo in this blog is a Costco  wedding cake. It sells for $65 and feeds 16 people.  That is over $4/slice per guest.  You will pay more for your wedding cakes at Costco then working directly with local baker.

The moral of this story - let the local wedding professionals help with your wedding details.  Otherwise, if you decide to have Costco plan your wedding, you might as well stop by the medicine aisle and buy bulk aspirin because you are going to need it! 

Local wedding vendors are highly skilled in their profession and can save you time, money and headaches. You are already spending the time and money to plan your wedding, why not just add a few more minutes to research wedding vendors in your area.  No matter if your wedding is 200+ guests or only 35 guests, let the professionals assist you with making your dream wedding perfectly unforgettable.    

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wedding Tradition - Tossing of the Bride's Bouquet

The tradition of tossing the bridal bouquet dates back as far as the 14th century in ancient England. Back then, weddings were not the elegant affairs they are today. Instead, they were often rowdy drunken parties and it was believed that it was good luck to own a piece of the bride’s wedding gown. So when the ceremony was over, single women would make a mad dash to tear off pieces of the bride’s gown to keep for good luck.

In time, as wedding gowns became more expensive and to prevent herself from ending up in tatters on her wedding day, brides started tossing other things instead to keep them at bay. Flowers were a good choice as they symbolized fertility, are perishable and no longer used once the wedding was over. Tradition says that the woman who catches the bridal bouquet will be the next to marry!

Today's bridal bouquets are expensive and brides are chosing to preserve and keep their actual bouquet.  Since many brides don't want to throw their actual wedding bouquet, the florist will create a less expensive "throw bouquet" with the same wedding flowers and colors.

Can I skip the bouquet toss tradition at my wedding?  Yes, you certainly can skip the bridal bouquet toss if it's just not something you want to do. Instead, you could give your bouquet to a special friend or relative, or break it into smaller bouquets and give them to a few special wedding guests. Some brides opt to do the Anniversary Dance, where all married couples join the bride and groom on the dance floor as the bandleader or DJ plays a song and eliminates couples depending on the amount of time they've been married. The last couple remaining on the dance floor, the one married the longest, would then be presented with the bridal bouquet, or another special gift.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tossing of the Bride's Garter

Today's popular wedding traditions have evolved over hundreds, even thousands of years of people joining together in some form of matrimony. Some wedding traditions that have endured are based on blessing the couple with good luck; others are a means for the couple to convey their feelings for one another. Regardless of the wedding tradition itself, all wedding traditions share the same essential symbols of unity, happiness and prosperity; messages that stand the test of time.

The garter tradition originated back to the 14th century. In parts of Europe the guests of the bride and groom believed having a piece of the bride’s clothing was thought to bring good luck. They would actually destroy the brides dress by ripping off pieces of fabric. Obviously, this tradition did not sit well with the bride, so she began throwing various items to the guests – the garter being one of them. It became customary for the bride to toss the garter to the men. But this also caused a great problem for the bride….sometimes the men would get drunk, become impatient and try to remove the garter ahead of time. Therefore, the custom derived at having the groom remove and toss the garter to the men.

Satterlee / Sullivan Wedding
Some brides have shunned the "garter toss tradition" because they feel it makes fun of their single friends and family members in a negative way.  However, many brides still like the idea of incorporating the garter toss into their wedding day. The garter toss is a fun and exciting tradition that will definitey draw a crowd - no matter if your guests are married or single.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top Reasons Why You Should or Should Not Hire a Wedding Consultant

Hiring a wedding consultant used to be something that only very wealthy couples did. But today's busy couples know that the right wedding consultant can not only save you stress and aggravation, but also save you money. If you're even vaguely considering hiring a wedding consultant you should decide that first. The more involved in your wedding the consultant is, the more likely it is that she can save you money and hassle.

So for the many brides who are tossing around the idea of “I do" or "I don't"  need to hire a wedding planner?” Here are two funny but true answers to your questions. I stumbled across this a couple of years ago. Since that day, I now have these printed and included in my bridal packets.

Top Reasons You Should Hire a Wedding Consultant by Amy Marvin

# 1 - Consultations: Most consultants do not charge for an initial client consultation. Give them a call to see how they can help! You don’t lose anything; if anything you gain some ideas and maybe an advocate for planning your big day.

#2 - Services: Consultants will share with you their “menu” of services. It can be “Full-Service” or anything from initial planning of your theme or colors, to assisting you with drafting a budget, and of course the “day of” service, so you and your family & friends can fully enjoy your wedding day.

#3 - Budget: An extension of the services menu is budget. To stay within your monetary boundaries, consultants will work with you to best meet your goals and hopefully get the most “bang” for your buck.

# 4 - Resources: Why go all around town, making your head spin when you can tap into your wedding consultant for vendor recommendations. Not too impressed by their list, or looking for something different? —Your consultant will make every effort to help you find it.

# 5 - Theme: You have likely spent your entire life up to this point, envisioning the perfect wedding with that special someone. Your consultant can help you fill in the gaps by providing some ideas that you may not have thought of, and take your dream wedding “to the next level”.

#6 - Organizational Skills: I have yet to meet a consultant who didn’t possess some level of amazing organizational skills. You’ll want someone to keep you on task…planning a wedding is no easy feat, especially if you are organizationally challenged.

#7 - Time Management: Let’s face it. Who has extra time anymore? Yeah, you’re getting married, but you’re probably also working, or going to school, or both—and more! Your consultant can save you precious time by making the phone calls, coordinating meetings, drafting contracts, etc.

#8 - Guest Care & Accommodations: Your consultant can help you with your out of town guests. Details such as travel, car rental, entertainment, and hotel accommodations will be helpful to your weary traveling guests.

#9 - Worry-Free Wedding Day: Did I mention “Day-Of” services? Believe me when I say that you need to be free of the nagging details of hosting a major event. You are the bride, you should be primping, preening, and gazing into the eyes of your new spouse, not directing the caterers to take out the trash or reminding the guest book girl to keep her feet off the table.

#10 - SANITY: And the number one reason again? Keep your sanity, and enjoy the process of planning a wedding. Your wedding consultant will be there every step of the way, and provide you the joy you deserve at this special time in your life…. who knows, you’ll likely end up with another best friend!

Top Reasons You Should Not Hire a Wedding Consultant – Carol Botthe

# 1 - Control: You want to control everything. You are the type A person that thinks everyone will mess it up if you leave the job to anyone else to plan or manage. It doesn’t matter that you will be worried at the reception that the cake is not being cut at the right time or that the DJ is taking too long on his break. You need to have your hand on the pulse of the wedding.

#2 – Interview Vendors: You want to interview all the wedding vendors. You have tons of extra time in your life to call many vendors and determine if they fall in your price range, are available on the date that you want, might have the items that you need, and will work with the style of your wedding. You are all about spending every weekend planning the wedding. You just love the thought of sitting in traffic or getting lost trying locating the best vendors in town.

#3 – Tons of Free Time: You want to spend the morning of your wedding setting up the reception area. You don’t really want to spend the morning of your wedding relaxing, getting your hair done, making sure you look rested and having fun seeing family and friends that are in town to see you. Instead you are going for the lack of sleep, over stressed, bridezilla look for the wedding. You don’t want to socialize with your guests but instead want to manage and coordinate all your vendors. You are all about timelines and will be watching the clock every second on your wedding day to make sure everything stay right on schedule. No extra kisses for the groom because you are running late to toss the bouquet.

# 4 - Resourceful: You know exactly where to find those cute little wedding favors that everyone is talking about. You are an expert with vendors and know how to save money on the purchase wedding items. You also have the time to put them the favors together and make sure they get to the reception site and get set out beautifully.

# 5 – Expert Wedding Consultant: You’ve helped your sister, cousin, friend, aunt, neighbor, etc plan their weddings. The only difference is this wedding is yours. You have a huge emotional investment on this one day, but you are willing to take the emotion out of purchases when a vendor is trying to up-sell you something that is totally useless.

#6 – Contract Guru: You know how to look for something strange in a contract. You’ve looked at wedding contract before and know what is standard in the industry and what is just plain false. You are a great negotiator and knowledgeable about the areas you can ask for a discount price or reduced fee. Attrition is your new contract friend.

No matter if your answer is “I do” or “I don’t” need a wedding consultant, when it comes to planning a wedding or event, think “Dollars and Sense.” A wedding consultant is part of your budget and not an extra expense.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wedding Budget Etiquette - Who Pays for What?

A smiling happy couple has just announced their exciting news to friends and family - We're Engaged!  Shorly after their happy announcement to the world, their smiles turn into confusion.  A perfectly unforgettable wedding needs to be planned, but before anything can be done a big question needs to be answered - Who Pays for What?

Tradition states that the bride’s parents are responsible for fronting the bill for the wedding reception; these days, the bride’s parents, groom’s parents, and the couple themselves all contribute to the wedding pool. That said, it helps to come to the budgeting table prepared with the traditional list of which side pays for what.

Wedding Costs Paid by the Bride and/or Bride’s Parents
* Ceremony rental fee
* Bride’s dress and accessories * Ceremony flowers and décor
* Bouquets for bridesmaids and flower girl
* Photography and videography
* Engagement party
* Bridesmaids’ luncheon
* All vendor services for reception, including food, beverages, décor, and entertainment
* Groom’s ring
* Invitations and stationery
* Transportation for bridal party to and from ceremony and reception

Wedding Costs Paid by the Groom and/or Groom’s Parents:
* Marriage license and officiant’s fee
* Groom’s attire
* Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres for ushers, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers
* Honeymoon Travel
* Rehearsal dinner
* Bachelors’ dinner
* Both of the bride’s rings

Costs Incurred by the Wedding Attendants:
* Their own attire, including shoes and accessories
* Bridal party hosts bridal shower and bachelorette party
* Groom’s party hosts the bachelor party

The above conventional “rules” can then be adjusted according to the financial situations of the responsible parties.  When the time comes to finalize the wedding budget, the Wedding Budget Etiquette can be a helpful resource in making those critical budget decisions. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's Eat Cake!

A wedding or a party wouldn’t be a celebration without dessert. Guests always look forward to the party’s “sweet treat” Until about 10 years ago, a wedding wasn’t a wedding without a traditional tiered wedding cake. The cakes were generally dry in texture and covered with tons of butter cream icing. Cakes were known as a show piece for the wedding and not a wonderful tasting dessert. The only highlight of the cake tasting portion of a wedding was to see the bride and groom smear cake all over each other. Today, brides are thinking outside the box and getting creative with their “wedding cakes” or desserts. Traditional wedding cakes are now being replaced with tiers of yummy cupcakes, mini tortes, cheese cake, fruit tarts, tiramisu, chocolate fountains, and ice cream sundaes. There are endless possibilities for that special bride looking for an option for the “non-cake” wedding cake. For the bride looking to stick with tradition, today’s cakes are more elegant and moist thanks to fondant. Fondant (play-dough for cakes),  is an almond and marshmallow type dough that is used to create a smooth effect on cakes as well as it can be used to create bows, swags, figurines and other décor features on a wedding cake. Fondant covered cakes are beautiful and some are even a work of art that look too beautiful to eat.

Not everyone likes the taste of fondant and most guests will peel it off prior to eating the cake. A bride looking to choose a fondant covered cake has one question to ask herself prior to making her final decision – can my wedding budget afford a fondant covered cake? A fondant covered cake is more expensive than your tradition butter cream icing wedding cake. Wedding cake prices are configured based upon the type of cake a bride wants and the number of wedding guests that will be attending the reception. For example- a bride will tell a cake designer that she wants a 3-tier wedding cake for 150 guests. Based upon this information, the cake designer will know the size each tier will need to be to accommodate 150 guests. Additional fees for a cake include custom sugar flowers, special designs on the cake, custom cake flavor & filling requests and travel to the reception. A standard 3-tier wedding cake covered in butter cream icing with basic designs could cost $2.50 - $4.00 per slice, totaling $375-$600. Most fondant wedding cakes will cost an additional $2 - $6 a slice depending on the level of detail a bride wants on her wedding cake. So instead of a $2.50 per slice cake, you now have $4.50 - $8.50 per slice of cake, which totals to about $675- $1300 for the wedding cake for 150 guests. The increased price is due to the higher cost of the fondant and the labor time it takes to create a fondant cake vs. only butter cream. Imagine a wedding with the guest count of 250-400 guests. The cake cost is now a couple of thousands of dollars. Most brides on a tight budget will want to think twice about their cake costs if they choose a fondant cake or they will need to get creative and lower other wedding expenses.

True Story: A couple of years ago I had a bride that hired me to be her wedding coordinator for the day of the wedding. The bride had planned her entire wedding by herself but needed a wedding coordinator to manage the wedding day. Her original cake was a simple and elegant 3-tiered butter cream cake decorated with real flowers. Three months before her wedding, she attended a friend’s wedding and noticed the beautiful fondant wedding cake with sugar flowers. She loved it so much that she called her cake designer the next day to change her butter cream cake to a fondant cake as well as she wants sugar flowers instead of real flowers. She was so mesmerized by the fondant that she made the mistake of not asking the cake designer about the new final price. (During the original cake tasting, the bride had been told by the cake designer that there is a significant difference in price between butter cream and fondant.) Three weeks before the wedding she receives her final invoice from the cake designer. The bride was expecting a balance of $400, instead, she was shocked when her balance was $975. Her original $600 wedding cake had now become $1175. The final invoice was paid and the wedding was beautiful, however, the bride had to make some cuts & changes in other areas to accommodate her $1175 wedding cake.

The purpose of this week’s blog is to not scare brides away from fondant covered cakes but instead it is all about cost awareness. Most people are not aware that there is a significant difference in price between butter cream and fondant covered cakes. During your cake tasting with your cake designer, always ask price questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about additional design / cake filling costs, and travel fees. It is better to know these answers up front then to take things for granted and get a heart stopping bill prior to the wedding.

Know your cake prices upfront and “You can have your cake and eat it too!”

Monday, June 21, 2010

"First" Day of a New Blog

Welcome to the Creative Events by Design weekly blog. I am very excited about this new adventure for my company. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been planning events for over 13 years and Creative Events by Design has been in business for over 5 years. Time Goes By When You Are Planning Fun.” I’ve planned many, many, many different types of events over the years—some very simple, some a challenge, and some just crazy, but overall my events have been a lot of fun. What can I say---I have the best job in the world, I get to make people happy by planning their perfectly unforgettable event.

The goal of my blog is to pass along some of my professional event planning experience to my followers. I’m excited to read everyone's creative thoughts and comments. Some of the best ideas come from people thinking out loud. Each week there will be a new topic of discussion that I hope will be helpful so that you can use this information for future reference for your next perfectly unforgettable event. If you have a topic of discussion that you would like to see added to the list, please send me an email with your topics ideas. Submit all topic suggestions to

In honor of this being the “first” day of our “first” blog, I thought it would be fun to talk about memorable “firsts” in our lives. What better day to talk about “firsts” then the First Day of Summer. Today is June 21st and it’s the First Day of Summer. My favorite day of the year. I love SUMMER and the sunshine!! As adults, we have experienced so many “firsts” in our lives – first breath of air, first words, first step, first tooth, first day of school, first kiss, first date, first love…………. and the list goes on and on and on. With so many memorable “firsts” in our lives, my question to you is---“if you could pick a favorite “first” in your life, what would that be and why?” We all have a lifetime of “firsts” but there must be one that just sticks in your mind as your favorite.

To kick off the discussion, I will tell you one of my favorite “firsts.”

One of my favorite “firsts” is ---- the “first” time I bought a house. I was a single mother raising two wonderful children. Throughout most of their lives, I worked two jobs to make ends meet. I was working full time, taking care of two kids and a full time college student. I had a big load and it was one that wasn’t easy to carry. After graduating from college, my goal was to purchase a “real” home for my children.  Two years after college, I finally accomplish my goal – I bought my “first” home. I did this completely on my own without any financial help or assistance. On the day I signed the papers, I felt like I was worth $1million dollars because I just felt so complete inside myself. It was the most awesome feeling and one that I will never forget. I sold my “first” house a couple of years ago. Every now and then I will drive by the little house and remember the memories that me and my children created in that home and that wonderful feeling of accomplishment brings a tear to my eye and a big smile to my face.

Now it is your turn! I am looking forward to reading all about your wonderful favorite “firsts.”

Thank you for following the Creative Events by Design blog.

Happy “First” Day of Summer!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome to the Creative Events by Design blog. I am excited to begin this new adventure. Join us on Monday, June 21st for our first blog discussion. I think everyone will enjoy the "first" topic. I look forward to reading everyone's interesting comments and ideas.

See you on Monday!