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Professional Wedding Vendors.. Who to hire & why

January 17 2014, Posted by Melissa

This year we’ve decided to not only blog about our fabulous couples and their weddings, but also include some (hopefully) valuable tips for our readers.  We’re also excited for special guests posts by a few of our associates so be sure to tune in!

Without further delay, our first FYI posts for the year.. What and who to hire for the big day.

Besides the obvious vendors, below are a few that we often see clients questioning.  As a newly engaged couple one of the first challenges to tackle is finding the perfect venue.  While many brides decide to hire their planner after booking a date and venue (if they decide to hire one at all), we say start with the planner!

1) Wedding Planner
Although many brides and grooms don’t realize it, a planner can make the entire process not only much less stressful, but can sometimes cover their own cost in savings they can help you with along the way.  Start looking into planners early on (even if you’re only considering a Finishing Touches package), you’ll be glad you did!
Why hire a professional?
It may sound like a great deal and idea to hire your friend the “wedding coordinator” or your aunt who is an “event planner”, but hiring a true professional can be worth it’s weight in gold.  A professional planner has the experience to steer you in the right direction with vendors and etiquette.  They can also save you stress, time and money in the long run.  It’s not just about setting favors, programs and menu, so trust us when we say our number one goal is to provide couples with an absolutely seamless day from start to finish.  And besides, don’t you want all of your friends and family to enjoy the day with you anyway?

2) Photographer
Let’s face it, these days everyone thinks they’re a photographer!  The truth is, in most cases, some of us (not myself) can really take some awesome photos.  That being said, just because uncle Bob can snap a few artistic photos doesn’t mean he has the experience to document one of the most important days of your life.
Why hire a professional?
Wedding photographers do more than take a few snaps throughout the day.  They are by your side the entire day taking thousands of photos.  They have the experience to know how and where to capture the moments that you will look back on for years to come.  On top of that professional wedding photographers are used to working with couples who may not be entirely comfortable in front of the camera, however they are not only able to get that million dollar shot, but they are also able to help guide you through the day.

3) Videographer
While many couples initially opt out of videography, we always encourage our clients to reconsider if their budget allows.  While photos are great and a must, I have to say that I personally watched my wedding video many more times than I expected.  Not only is it a quick click and a 5-10 minute highlight reel to relive the entire day, but you also get to see much of what you missed on the day.  Brides, remember that you are the last one in the processional and grand entrance which means you miss it all.  You won’t see the look on your groom’s face as he waits for you at the altar or the silly dance moves your bridal party makes during the grand entrance.  On top of that, the day goes by so fast that chances are you’ll see moments you might have otherwise forgotten the first time you actually watch the video or see the photos.
Why hire a professional?
What many people don’t realize is that a wedding video isn’t just about filming the day.  Although it takes talent and experience to get the shot, the other part of the equation is the editing.

4) Hair & Makeup Artist
Let’s face it, the wedding is about the couple, but all eyes are on the bride.  That being said, who wouldn’t want to look their best?  You might have a friend that is great with makeup and a stylist that is great at cut and coloring, but are either of them  familiar with doing hair and makeup for an entire bridal party?
Why hire a professional?
Professionals are not only experienced in making the bride look beautiful, but they are also familiar with schedules and timelines.  They usually have additional stylists based on the number of services that need to be completed within allotted times.  Hair, makeup and getting ready take up the first half of the day and really set the tone which means a delay there causes a delay in the whole day.  They can also make recommendations on hair and makeup that may work best with your particular look or style.  On top of that, they have the professional products and tricks of the trade that might keep that gorgeous look and style in tact all day.

5) DJ & EMCEE
It’s true that we’ve actually had some pretty great receptions with friends emceeing, but that isn’t always the case.  The personal touch of having a friend emcee your reception might seem like a great idea, but it could also lead to some interesting or awkward moments.  Other than the bride & groom themselves, the DJ & emcee really set the tone for the reception.  They can make the difference between that awkward silence or a fully packed dance floor at the end of the evening.
Why hire a professional?
As a coordinator, the DJ/emcee is one vendor that we work side by side with during the entire reception.  A professional DJ not only has the correct equipment, but the ability to read their crowd when it comes to music and energy level.  It’s not just about fading in and out or playing your playlist, they really can make or break that packed dance floor at the end of the evening.  Along the same lines, a professional emcee also has the ability to read their crowd.  They fill in the gaps and know how to transition when needed.  Most importantly the emcee is always on deck for the next reception activity which means your friend who is emceeing will constantly be up and about rather than enjoying your big day with you.

6) Florist
We all know the DIY trend isn’t go anywhere, but one of the last vendors we highly recommend is a professional wedding florist.  Making your own centerpieces or personal flowers might sound like a good idea in theory, but unless you’re planning on something extremely simple or you’ve done it before, I’d leave it to the professionals.
Why hire a professional?
While Pinterest might provide some great ideas and truly pin-worthy photos, it’s the execution that you’re paying for when it comes to a professional.  Just a few things that are often overlooked when you plan to make your own flowers.. Will they bloom or wither in the time between putting them together to the big day?  How will you plan to transport everything?  Where will you store everything?  Who will put them together?

We’re not saying that these are the only professional vendors needed or that you are required to book them, but these are just a few that we often see couples questioning.  We’ve worked with both professionals and great non-professionals in each of these categories, but no matter who you select be sure that they will be there on the big day.   Remember to always sign a contract and keep a copy.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask if they are licensed with liability insurance since many venues require it.

Happy planning!

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Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays :: Fun + Easy DIY Gift Idea

December 25 2011, Posted by Melissa + Elsa

Merry christmas & happy holidays from ME Events!! This year we thought that we would share a fun and easy holiday favor idea for those of you who love DIY gifts. You can use your own special recipe or the one listed below.

COOKIES IN A JAR

What you need to make a dozen jars:

  • 12 quart sized mason jars
  • note: these can be purchased at your local grocery store, target or even costco
  • 12 tags
    note: this is where you can get creative with your own personal touch.  on the back of the tag, you will need to leave instructions with how to bake the cookies
  • 9 yards of your favorite 3/8″ ribbon
    note: swap this out for another ribbon and it could be a baby shower favor, bridal shower favor or valentines day treat!
  • 15.6 cups of rolled oats
  • 6 cups of packed brown sugar (about 3 bags)
  • 6 cups of white sugar
  • 6 cups of chopped pecans (about 2 bags)
  • 12 cups of semisweet chocolate chips (about 6 bags)
  • 15.6 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 12 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 12 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of salt

Prep:
Fill each jar with the following ingredients in the order listed below. Be sure to pack each layer as you fill the jar with ingredients (you’ll need the space!)

1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

On the tag include the following instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in the entire contents of the jar. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing. shape into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. transfer from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. You should make about 3 dozen chocolate chip pecan cookies.

To decorate the jar:
Simply tie on your personalized tags with double sided tape, wrap your favorite ribbon on the lid.

ENJOY!

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Newly Engaged… What To Do Next?

March 16 2011, Posted by Melissa + Elsa

Congratulations!  You are about to embark on an incredible journey that words cannot describe.  Now that the man of your dreams has asked you to be the Mrs. in his life, there is a lot to think about.  Here are a few simple things to keep in mind that should help get you started..

1. Enjoy the moment with each other. It’s easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles, but remember the meaning behind the madness.  Of course the  brilliantly shiny ring on your finger and the elaborate wedding you are already planning in your mind are exciting, but the true significance is in the fact that you get to spend the rest of your life with your soul mate.

2. Announce your engagement to those that matter most. Social media is definitely everywhere and although you are excited to announce this to the world, think about who you want to tell before it goes viral on Facebook.  Inform your parents, siblings or best friend. Chances are, they have been waiting to celebrate this milestone with the two of you and will appreciate the fact that you thought of them at such a special moment.

3. Now that your family and friends have all congratulated you. It’s time to start planning.  Get started with setting a preliminary budget.  Figure out what you and your fiance are ready to spend and whether family will be helping.  Visiting venues and meeting with vendors are important, but setting a preliminary budget can really help you stay on track.  Your budget will most likely fluctuate, but it will give you a great starting point.

Tip: general rule of thumb: 50% of your total wedding budget is typically spent on the food and beverage and venue.  The best way to keep cost down is by trimming the guest list.

4. consider a coordinator. No, we’re not just saying this because it is what we do.  planning a wedding isn’t an everyday task, so guidance from a professional is a logical step.  Hiring a coordinator can be beneficial in many ways including saving you money and unnecessary stress.  Researching on your own can be entertaining, but can also leave you feeling inundated with TMI.

Tip: don’t completely eliminate the idea of hiring a coordinator because you want to plan on your own.  Planning can be fun, but the final details can really take a toll on your sanity.  consider a month of coordinator if you plan on doing most of the leg work on your own.

5. Set the date and look into venues. Selecting a date can be a huge task with so much daily hustle and bustle.  Be sure to look ahead. Take holidays and personal schedules into consideration.  Being flexible with a general frame of dates can help you in finding the perfect location.  Although dates like 9.10.11 and 11.11.11 are fun, it does limit options because of their popularity.  Unless you are taking this into consideration and are looking ahead, setting your heart of such a date can leave you disappointed.

Tip: be sure to take the proper precautions before signing the contract and placing the deposit with your venue.  Check out our previous post on finding the perfect venue for more tips.

6. Start thinking about who your attendants will be if you haven’t already done this. You probably have an idea of who the best man and maid of honor will be and possibly even the entire bridal party.  Be sure to take a few moments to think.  How many attendants will you have?  Although being a part of the wedding party is a huge honor, it is also a huge responsibility. Think about who you are selecting because your bridal party will be a an extremely important support system during this time.

7. Consider having an engagement party. Whether you want to go grand or simple, an engagement party is a great way to celebrate the excitement.  What better way to get started with the celebration than to kick off the festivities with your loved ones.

There are definitely numerous other elements that go into planning a wedding, but hopefully this helps get you started.  Congratulations once again!!

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