Thursday, August 23, 2012

Going the Extra Mile for Guests

I've had my share of clients who go the extra mile for their guests. They are the ones who give their weddings their best shot... and I'm not talking about expenses. I'm talking about how they go to great lengths to personalize and make the travel to their venues worth the guests' time and effort. Brides usually go for DIYs, little things that guests can take home, creative stuff that guests like to take pictures of, prizes for games, etc. Grooms, on the otherhand, usually go for program changes, program add-ons, etc. Some even volunteer to perform! :)

Let me talk about what I've witnessed so far:

1) The Medley Dance
   
This happens right after the entrance. Prior to the big day, the bride and groom choose around 3 to 5 songs for the medley. The songs chosen usually represent different generations, that way everyone gets to relate to the dance at a certain point.

Some brides and grooms even involve me by giving me the songs they like so I can combine all mp3s for them. Sometimes, they tell me where to cut, but sometimes, I determine how many seconds per song would be performed. Either way, we ensure a lot of applause... :)

2) Dancing down the aisle

One of my couples really did this! They launched into the dance while walking to the real dance area in front of the guests. They really surprised their guests, who, in turn, cheered them on... :)

Tip: You can do this, too, if you have a long aisle.

3) The Romantic Duet

This one entails that one enter before the other depending on the lyrics. Usually though, it's the groom who enters first. My husband and I did this for our wedding. We asked Sound Salad to sing while my students did their ballet number at the center. As the voice changed, the guests realized my husband was coming in singing. After he sang, I came in and sang as well, then we gave Sound Salad the floor to finish the song. My students also finished their choreographed number.

Tips: 
a) print the lyrics so the parts are clear -- who sings what part (bride, groom, professional singer) 
b) have the musicians play the song, that way, they can adjust the tempo a bit or sing for the bride/groom in case something unexpected happens
c) have the coord check the path of the bride and groom (if in case there are obstacles along the way)   -- in my case, as I sang, I could not find a clear path to the center since I had tables of guests as well as the cake table in front of me. 
d) remember that you (as bride/groom) are holding the mic for a reason, i.e. upon being called, you are supposed to sing (not enter and wave to the crowd while your song is playing in the background... hehe!) 

4) Romantic Duet and Dance

Sometimes, brides and grooms opt to do a dance using the same song as their duet, because when they get to the center, they can give their mics to the coordinator or the emcee, and do the waltz as the singer of the band/quartet takes over.

5) Dancing with the Entourage

This one has to have the "connivance" of the entourage. And contrary to what most people think, it consists of simple steps; thus, it doesn't require a lot of rehearsal hours. All they really need is this immense love for the bride and groom... wink!

At a certain part of the song, the bride and groom can come in and join the entourage. Some even choose to "run in"... but that depends on the weight of the gown and the shoes the bride is wearing, also the layout of the venue.

Prior to the start of the program, we collaborate with the entourage regarding where they can stay while waiting for their cue. We also talk about where the couple will come from and what they need to do after their final pose, i.e. to walk down the side aisles so that they don't block the camera as the bride and groom begin their romantic waltz.

Yes, usually, the dance with the entourage is followed by the more traditional waltz. :)

Other ways by which the couple can surprise the guests are as follows: 

a) a choreographed dance of the bride with her father (and/or the groom with his mother)

b) a choreographed family dance

c) a flash mob type of dance to end the program with the couple

d) joining the couples' game

e) having a raffle

f) preparing AVPs that have actual stories and/or messages

The list goes on. I'm sure there are more and more creative couples out there who have surprises up their sleeves... :)



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another touching message... :)

Architects living and working in Singapore don't really have a lot of free time; thus, I am truly thankful to Anna and Dennis for taking time to write this note and for even sending all the links to their albums and videos. They are indeed one of my sweetest couples. :)

I coordinated together with my team and emceed her program... If she had asked, I probably would have taken on other roles as well... She's the kind of lady I can't say no to because she is just so nice. :) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thank you, Team! :)

Last March, my teammates surprised me with a birthday cake and a frame which had reasons relating to why I am a perfect boss, friend, planner, etc. It was an effort on their part to collate and layout the responses, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the perfect boss; thus, I am truly grateful. :) 

Since I decided to go on hiatus (coordination) and focus on emceeing, I have not seen most of my teammates for a month now. I truly miss them, so today, I'd like to make my top 10 tribute for them.  

You are the perfect 10 teammates because: 

1) You give your heart and soul to every wedding. 

2) You work 14, 15, and even 18 hours straight during a wedding without complaining even if you have day jobs and I know there are times when you'd rather spend your weekend in bed -- getting extra hours of sleep and rest. 

3) You sincerely apologize when you feel you've made a mistake. 

4) You move fast even if we are on our 14th hour and we haven't had any decent meal since the previous day. 

5) You work like clockwork; thus, negating the dependence on 2-way radios. 

6) You give credence to my very detailed instructions by underlining/highlighting your parts and really striving to do each of them according to the given sequence. 

7) You have adopted the highest standards not just because you want to please me, but because you know a wedding is "once-in-a-lifetime" for the couple. You genuinely want them to remember the day with big smiles on their faces. 

8) You ALL work on the day. Walang coord na for display purposes lang. At hindi rin for display purposes lang ang clipboard na hawak niyo. 

9) As much as you can, you strive to avoid giving me excuses, rather you think of ways to achieve what the couple wants -- despite various constraints. 

For the 10th note, I'd like to go personal... 

Ari, I can't thank you enough for making things happen and for troubleshooting especially during reception preps. Even if you're given only 2 hours by certain venues, you strive to make it appear like you had the whole day to prepare. Thank you for reminding me when I forget things, thank you for giving me peace of mind that the reception area will be ok when guests arrive simply because you are at the helm. Thank you for giving your extra creative touch, and most of all, thank you for staying nice and polite even when the going gets rough. 

Ace, thank you for working hard at being a church lead. You don't just look for necessary individuals, you tirelessly orient them and make sure they know what to do. I used "tirelessly" because a) some don't remember what we told them when the cameras are trained at them, and b) some think they know better and would even give impolite responses. Thank you for doing your part all throughout the mass. I know even if I don't get to church on time, the march and everything else will go smoothly because you're there and you know what to do. 

Robin, thank you for the extra burst of cheer you bring to every wedding and for teaching all of us to do the tasks with a smile. Thank you for taking up the cudgels for Ari and stepping up whenever needed -- covering not only for your team, but for the people who go missing at crucial points. I know you strive hard to do what you're supposed to do and more. Thank you for that. 

Tine, thank you for being the right mix of kindness and "sungit-ness", your unique persuasive abilities have come in handy more times than I can count -- from church personnel to little bearers and flower girls, no one can resist your charm. Thank you, too, for being the ever trusty church second lead and property custodian. I know things will go from church to reception venue even if I don't double check. 

Warren, thank you for being there to take on different roles -- from taking care of the groom's side during preps, to doing various church and reception duties, to handling the sound system when the manong goes missing, to driving for everyone... Jack of all trades! When the going gets rough, I know I can count on you to be by my side -- "protector cousin mode". Thank you for that. 

John, thank you for taking your tasks to heart and for reminding others of their task lists when needed. Thanks for driving and meeting the pressure of time requirements vs. traffic head on. Although you argue with me, you've shown that in the end, you're my brother and you will be there to protect me and stand by me when the situation calls for it. Merely "standing tall" beside me is enough... Thank you. 

Queen, from giving your all to assist the bride to going beyond as you help sew problematic gowns, cut off brownish edges of petals (bouquets), and create personalized matches on the day of the wedding, you've really shown how you've taken weddings to heart. Despite extra heavy ruffled trains, dumbbell bouquets, and extra difficult pictorial areas, you've managed to smile and work through it all... Thank you for that. 

To all those who joined the team at the beginning and who are still there to help when needed, thank you so much... my appreciation for your efforts is really beyond words... :) 

Ari, Ace, Tine, Robin, John, Warren, and Queen, see you in two weeks! :)