Monday, July 29, 2013

The Edited Workbook

Dear Brides and Grooms,

I'm back! :) (In fact, I've had two weddings already over the weekend, so yes, I am once again on full work mode. :)

Kindly let me know if you'd like to have a tele-con or an online meeting regarding the contents of the workbook prior to filling out or while you're in the middle of writing down ideas. That way, we get to clarify matters right away. :)

God Bless
Darlene

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Sense of History

As we explored the USS Missouri yesterday, I thought of how we can use the process employed by the ship's staff to keep guests entertained during the cocktail hour, ie prior to the reception program. 


People appreciate stories. 

It's always a good idea to let people know of the love story behind the union. However, the OBB AVP is just one way of letting them know of your story. 

You can let them know of snippets of your love story through your table frames. Instead of just putting a number there or a table name based on a certain theme, why not encourage guests to walk around and talk to others by having your story in snippets -- one snippet per table. 

Most of the time, guests get bored during cocktail hour because they get their table number and sit down right away. They are always looking around and hoping the program would commence so that the buffet would be opened already. 

Let's take a cue from the other nationalities. They don't get bored as much because they walk around and mingle. Let's encourage our guests to do the same instead of badgering the coordinators about starting the program or opening the buffet. 

Start your story sharing with the first snippet at the registration table. Inform the guests they can get to know the whole story if they will walk from table to table starting with VIP A or table 1. You can also give them a hint that you will have a game later and the questions are based on the snippets. That way, they will be more interested to go around. It can also be an actual game on its own with guests having a story sheet they need to fill out while going around. You can pick around 5 winners later, after coords have checked the answers, and they have filtered out those who made mistakes. 

It will help if: 
A) your venue is not too tight -- perhaps, you have around 150 guests at a place that can technically accommodate up to 220 guests
B) your caterer can lend you table frames and even print the pictures and story snippets for you 
C) your coordinators can cheerfully encourage guests to go around -- aside from having a sign at the registration area 
D) your emcee can also encourage guests via the mic to go around and read up on your story 

Bottom line: Don't scrimp on the cocktail hour, and don't forget to plan it well. Your plans there can spell the difference between a good pictorial for you or one that's frequently disturbed by calls from elders to start the program. Moreover, if guests had a great cocktail hour, they will know you prepared well; thus, they ought to stay. Because they are happy with the first hour, they probably won't go into "eat-and-run" mode. I noticed that guests who wait long during cocktail time with nothing to do often end up disgruntled even before we can start the formal program. 


Oh and if you really have lots of space, you can do frame exhibits also. Put your memorabilia inside a frame. That way, you can take it home and display it there as well. This is a good way to keep your movie tickets, among others, from fading or getting lost. Seeing familiar movies, a seemingly mundane candy wrapper, or a first gift box can make guests connect with you more -- at least enough to keep them till the end of the dance set :) 





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Think Useful, Think Details Part 1

Details shouldn't just be pretty in pictures. They should be useful, too. That way, guests will take a second look and all the effort would not be for naught. 


June 15, 2013
Jon and Iggy, Splendido 

I did not get to take as many pictures of the details of this wedding, but definitely, there were a lot! Look at this bridal bouquet from Vatel Manila. I think it encapsulates what I used to tell my brides who booked me for coordination. You may give Dylan a peg of what you like but let him work his magic. He knows flowers more than we do and if we restrict what he will come up with, we might just end up losing out on the creativity that comes with booking Vatel Manila. 

I think all Vatel Manila bouquets serve to educate guests regarding the variety of flowers and fillers that can be combined to make bouquets. 


There were two letters that greeted guests at the entryway -- effectively telling them where the reception would be held. I saw a lot of guests taking pictures here, too. The set-up is not just cute, it serves a directional purpose, too. 


Centerpieces are conversation starters especially if they are as well-planned as this one -- different flowers, a dainty frame, and a lamp. Personalized giveways also give guests something to talk about and take home. Look at the candy jars that Iggy and Jon distributed as souvenirs. 



If you're getting a really tall cake, you don't need to adorn it with too many flowers. The height alone will already catch the attention of the guests. 


The registration area had several items -- one of the most noticeable was this candy jar. Guests really took time to guess, and yes, the winner did get the whole jar of candies at the end of the programme. So the jar isn't just decorative, it serves as a contest and prize, too :) 

We also gave an award to the one who posted the most creative instagram photo. It was so easy for everyone to know there was an IG contest because this frame with cute flowers greeted them upon entering Splendido. 

This framed list of names made it impossible for guests to miss out on knowing their table numbers. This set-up was placed in front of the door. Oh! And they took pictures here, too! Talk about dual purpose -- information and additional activity during cocktail hour! I guess it also helped that they had a Flipbooks booth nearby. Guests who were waiting for their turn had time to take pictures with the details at the registration area and of course, partake of cocktail items passed around by the waiters. 


Notable programme details were: 
a) the song number of their daughter with the groom/her dad -- they were accompanied on guitar by her "Toti", the groom's brother whom she has fondly called Toti instead of Tito ever since she was young

b) the name that tune game with Uno Ritmo which really caused a lot of reactions from guests -- they were teasing each other regarding their respective generations, cheating by "trying" to look at answers of other tables, etc. 

c) the couples' "compatibility" game where one of the questions was: who is better at candy crush? We had an elderly couple in the game and their responses were different: the wife said she was better at it, while the husband said he was better. I asked them to defend their answers. The wife brought the house down when she said that her husband didn't even know what candy crush is. :)

Bottom line: Details can truly serve as ways to help guests enjoy the party -- don't just go for cute, go for "useful" as well. :)


Think Useful, Think Details Part 2


Details shouldn't just be pretty in pictures. They should be useful, too. That way, guests will take a second look and all the effort would not be for naught. 

Silas and Joanne
June 30, 2013, Enderun

Joanne truly deserves the DIY Queen tag -- what with all the details she painstakingly produced prior to the wedding. Check out the escort cards below. She prepared each one!!! Can you imagine how much cutting and gluing she had to do just to come up with all the escort cards on this registration table? (I'm so sorry I didn't get to take a picture of this when I arrived -- they were set up alphabetically then.) 


These pictures weren't just for show. Guests were encouraged to leave notes on the pictures using the markers and pens on the table. Those who didn't want to write on the sides of the pictures -- perhaps due to the length of the messages they would like to leave -- had the option write on the actual guest book. This kept guests entertained as they waited for the bride and groom to finish their post-ceremony tasks. 


This set of signs truly lets people know of all the things they can do within the cocktail hour. It was as though boredom would actually be the fault of the guest already since there were so many things one can do while waiting -- have pictures taken at the photobooth, eat candy till their teeth hurt, write on the message cards/guest book, and take photos of themselves outside (and post on instagram). 

This was their candy buffet. Tip: Ask the photo/video team to send in one rep to take a picture/footage of the buffet before you open it for guest consumption. You may not be able to eat any of the candy, but at least you have a memento of how it looked. :) 


The theme was starry, starry night. Thus, there were silver stars on the tables of the guests. The cake also had stars all over. :)



The couple's area was a sight to behold!!! Just look at all the details that went into preparing it. Guests actually had fun taking pictures of the area right before the couple's grand entrance. 




Because Vatel Manila bouquets are gifts themselves, check out the entourage bouquet below. I dare you to name all the flowers in this bouquet. Haha!

This was the bridal bouquet -- after all the pictorials of preps, ceremony, and post ceremony. Still very dainty and lovely... :) 


Notable programme details were: 
a) the grand entrance song number which they choreographed as well, so they really owned the whole atrium as they sang and danced to the guests' delight!

b) the entourage who gave their entrance segments their best shot -- each small group had a different choreographed mini-dance prior to posing before the cameras! 

c) the damsel in distress game that had our "The Prayer" singer going for the kissing challenge -- talk about opposing programme roles!  

Thank you, Silas and Joanne, for all the goodies!!! :) 


Vacation Notice


Don't worry! This is just for around 15 days. After, you may call and send an SMS anytime. :)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You've got the ring? Now what?

After the proposal comes the daunting task of preparing for a wedding. This isn't something you do everyday. The education system doesn't prepare you for this as well. So what do you do? You certainly can't mope and moan all day. Buying all the magazines at all nearby bookstores might confuse you as well. So yeah, what do you do?

You can buy a magazine with a chart on what needs to be done prior to the big day. You can join online communities like the weddings at work community and ask fellow brides (and grooms) regarding the steps they took, the suppliers they booked, etc. You can also surf the net endlessly to get the 411 on various suppliers.

Ultimately though, you will have to inquire and talk to suppliers to find those whose services suit your needs -- those to whom there would be minimal explanation needed since you seem "to speak the same language". The most common way of inquiring is via e-mail. However, you may also call or send an SMS. Since the inquiry is the first stage, and both you and the supplier are sizing each other up, it would be best to keep these tips in mind.  

a) Politeness goes a long way. 

Your inquiry is your self-introduction. In the same vein, the supplier knows that his response is his way of introducing himself to a potential client. 

b) Be detailed. 

Include the following details: 
b.1) your names (groom & bride)
b.2) your date (indicate if definite or tentative) 
b.3) your time and venue of ceremony
b.4) your time and venue of reception
b.5) your estimated number of guests. 

Don't worry, most suppliers won't unscrupulously jack up rates just because you stated your venue/s and/or the number of guests. The info above just helps them assess whether they are indeed available on your date -- given the time constraints, travel requirements, # of personnel to provide, etc.

Stating your names will not necessarily cause problems as well. If ever, it may even jog a supplier's memory of a family member or friend, and cause you to suddenly get an unexpected discount. 

c) Promptness is key. 

Remember that you may not be the only one inquiring about a particular date. Thus, if you wish to book a supplier, do so promptly. Some pencil book for a few days; others don't apply the said practice. Do respect the supplier's policies just as you would like the suppliers to respect your wishes and requests. 

If you want a supplier present on your big day, and you've done your due diligence in researching, including taking feedback with a grain of salt, book him or her right away, rather than end up knowing the supplier was booked the day before you finally decided. (Request for the contract and read it well, too.) 

In booking suppliers, even a few hours can spell the difference 
between getting the one you want and researching all over again.

d) Know when to double check. 

Do consider that sometimes, e-mails go to spam. Feel free to re-send the e-mail or send an SMS just to check if the e-mail was received. Keep in mind as well that Monday to Thursday would be the best days to send inquiries, since Friday to Sunday are usually work days. You may also check the respective sites of the suppliers so you'd know when their office hours are. 

If you're my bride/groom, do let me know if suppliers haven't responded -- especially if I recommended them. I can also double check for you so that you won't end up letting go of the chance to work with someone efficient just because your messages went to spam. 

e) To haggle or not to haggle? That is the question. 

It is all right to ask a supplier if he/she has on-going promos, discounts for members of certain sites, etc. However, do avoid badgering the supplier for a discount. 

Weddings are personal events. 
Efficient and caring suppliers take every wedding personally, too. 
Even if they've handled hundreds of weddings, 
they go into each event thinking that 
this is "once-in-a-lifetime" for their couple. 
They try their best to make it as magical and as close to perfect as possible. 

Do note that although there is a supplier - client relationship, the bottom line is: both the supplier and client are humans. Both deserve to be treated as beings with dignity. In other words, please don't haggle to the point that the supplier feels his skills are akin to fish being peddled on the street. If you do get the supplier to agree after haggling in this manner, will you be happy with your decision? Or will you end up questioning your decision, and why the supplier agreed to such treatment?

In the long run (and after your last guest has left, you will realize...),  price is only one of several parameters for deciding on suppliers. Think of it this way If you want to impress the girl of your dreams, you will not take her to the cheapest restaurant available -- even if the manager offers you a free long-stemmed rose. You will most likely look for a place that has class, efficient service, delectable food, and reasonable prices. It's the same way with suppliers. You don't want to end up booking just because of a freebie or just because of a discount. You want to book because you believe in the capacity of that supplier to help you achieve your dream wedding -- the free stuff or discounts are just icing on the cake. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Of weddings and kiddie guests... :)

Aside from having budget constraints, couples are sometimes wary of inviting children because let's face it, children are unpredictable. I've had my share of "kiddie moments"; thus, I thought of the following reminders: 
Look at how well-behaved these children were during the event.
They stayed seated outside the perimeter of the dance floor until
the time I ended the programme. Love them!
The Invitation: 

a) Brides and Grooms usually state the names of the invitees on the envelope. If they didn't write all names, but they took time to indicate the number of seats equal to that of the number of family members you have, then it is safe to assume that your children are invited as well. 

b) However, if the bride and groom wrote 2 on the slot for number of seats, it is safe to assume that the seats are really just for you and your partner. 

c) Before you ask if you can take your child along, do check if there is a notation similar to this: "an adult affair". 

d) If you asked the bride/groom prior to seeing the "adult affair" notation, do dress your child according to the attire request printed on the invitation. It's another way of showing respect to the couple who painstakingly thought of the theme as well as the motif of their wedding. 

e) If your child is a member of the entourage, he/she is automatically included in the invitation.  

The Meal: 
Usually kiddie meals are provided to both the kids and their yayas. Thus, it can be safely assumed that the buffet takes into consideration only the adult guest count sans kids and yayas. 

The Ceremony and Programme: 
Some couples provide toys, coloring materials, and the like so that children will be busy during the ceremony and the programme. However, in case they aren't kept busy by these things or they have grown tired of the games in your tablet or phone, do take note of the following moments: 

a) the vows - I'm sure you've heard of priests requesting that children be taken to the back of the church or to the garden when they start crying or arguing loudly as soon as the vows have started. 

b) the first kiss - It's really the couple's moment, let's give it to them.

c) the march down the aisle - Children running around the aisle should be brought to another area of the church so that they will have room to move without affecting the march.

d) the grand entrance - Usually couples take time to plan this; thus, they may be terribly disappointed if they are distracted by children playing tag or hollering at the top of their lungs.

e) the first dance - Again, some take time to choreograph their dances with their videos and pictures in mind; thus, responsible parents usually take their children to other areas in the pavilion so that the couple can have their moment.

f) the cake-cutting ceremony - Some children like cake and yes, it might be very difficult to take them away from the area. However, parents have shown much understanding and they do take their kids away before the kids start poking the cake while the cake cutting ceremony is underway. 

g) the speeches - It's distracting for speakers to have kids weaving between them and the couple while they are delivery their lines. 

h) the showing of the on-site photo slideshow and the same day edit - Kids like to stand between the projector and the screen because they like seeing their heads bob up and down or they have their own version of shadow puppets. Since most brides and grooms look forward to these two AVPs, the most polite response would be to avoid having kids near the said equipment when the emcee starts introducing the said AVPs. 

Brides and Grooms understand that children are children and they will always have their own ways of sharing the limelight. It's up to the parents though to ensure that children take their piece of the spotlight only during appropriate moments. :)