Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Brides Have You Made Guidelines For Your Bridesmaids?

The hot topic of the week is Brides who make contracts or set guidelines for their bridesmaids. OK. I can totally understand wanting everyone to wear the same dress, color, shoes and maybe even the same jewelery. It looks great in photos. When I was planning my wedding, I wanted the "Katherine Hepburn" appeal. Hair pulled back, long black gloves and a simple bracelet I had bought them as a gift. Everyone seemed to like this dress except for one person and that one person was my sister. Don't get me started on that story. Everyone has drama. Believe me when I tell you I had DRAMA alright. Starting with my grandmother, my mother, my sister everyone but my dog...I just began to let their comments slip in and out. What else could I do? If I let them destroy the celebration of an exciting union, why even have it? Brides, there is always going to be someone in your bridal party who does not like the dress, the shoes, she does not want to wear her hair up, she does not want a tan...whatever. I say choose your battles with this one. How important is it to ruin a friendship over hair up or down, fake tan or white as milk? Think about it. So what do you do? You have to work it out. These gals are probably people that have been in your life for quite sometime or maybe someone who you have a deeper connection with and have met maybe a year ago. Weigh it out. I know things can get out of hand when you all go out and choose a dress together, but I want to you give some perspective to what they may feel confident in. Aesthetically, we want everything to match. As much as you want this "universal" look, some bodies are not proportioned the same way as others. It may also make someone feel worse about a weight problem or " cleavage issue". I know the men don't mind the latter..LOL If you have weight as an issue with some and other problems with others wouldn't it be smart to set some guidelines as to what color you want, embellishments or not, length and let them find a dress that makes them feel confident and beautiful too? I know your bridesmaids want to make you feel proud. I get calls from bridesmaids all of the time asking me how do I tell "Cindy" this dress makes me feel fat? I feel so bad...But it does not look good on me. That's tough. I just thought I would give you something to think about. Isn't this day supposed to celebrated with our nearest and dearest? Give it some thought. If you get a chance, I have an article in the NY Times coming out this Thursday about how far one of my Brides went with this "universal" look. She lost 2 friends after 20 years...Sad!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekend Gossip and Class Information

I am so glad I did not work with any weddings this weekend. My team had 2 and I felt awful. The heat was intense. I cannot imagine what these poor brides felt wearing a heavy gown and being adamant about having the ceremony in the heat. If we are talking about makeup, it would have to be steamed on and then peeled off about 10 minutes later. I felt like a hermit inside, cool air and drinking cherry lemonade. Why should I want anything more? I cannot remember the last time I did nothing, I was struggling here at times but I made it. I realized I really am a work a holic. It's so easy to be like this when you have a passion for this industry. I always tell our new planners in the class to lay low in the beginning. You will beg for this time someday very soon. So here is my weekend gossip. I cannot mention names, but there were 2 emails I received that we should all address. 1. If you have a guest at your wedding who weighs close to 400 pounds and the chairs being chivari (hold up to 200) what do you do? Good question. I would suggest either using 2 covered "solid" chairs at each end of the table or I would rent a square ottoman or bench. I can understand how hard it would be to address this. Unfortunately this problem is not going to go away. You may also want to speak with the venue. I am sure they can help you with this. 2. Our budget is maxed and my fiance's step mother continues to invite more guests. His family is not contributing one dime towards our wedding. I guess we could take a credit card loan. How can I stop this? Well, let me say one thing. You both have full control over the guest list. As you get closer to your wedding you are going to have to worry about other areas besides the food. Try linens, floral and any other side item. If we read some of the Posts etiquette books, we would have to sit mom and dad down and say "we have a problem and we need your help". The other version may be listen lady..quit inviting your friends. They are not our friends and you have no right doing this so you pay! While it feels good to say it, you certainly do not want to start friction before the wedding. Trust me ever hear "were going to the inlaws"...Great....NOT. Well some of that is related to the planning of the wedding and not letting go of something ridiculous. If you do not choose to share this financial issue with his side, your going to burden yourself and your new life by having to pay credit card debt? Let's not assume that you will get checks to help pay for this. Don't you want to use that money for a down payment on a home or renovation..maybe a savings account for your baby? Whatever you do PLEASE do not use those credit cards. If you cannot afford it now, you most likely will be in the same boat later. This time you will sink because you only could afford one with holes in it. You owed too much on your credit card! See! This is what I am talking about. My philosophy on weddings is that simple and elegant can be established with any budget. I know this for a fact. I have planned weddings at any budget including $500. You ask what could I possibly do for someone who has only $500? That's going to be a whole different blog. But I did it. Thanks for writing in ladies. I hope I gave you some insight. Now for the class we are having on August 9th.. We only have 2 spots available. I have given information to at least 10 possible students last week. I am considering this to be still available. If you want us to reserve a spot for you, please call us or email ASAP. Our next class will be in 2009. The fee will be increased from $750 to $995. I am not sure about 2009 yet. I will post a date as soon as things slow down in the office. Sept starts wedding season again. We are filming with the Style Network in a few weeks for season 8. The couple is great. No major drama and all I can say is this wedding is going to be gorgeous. It will be at the Pleasantdale Chateau in NJ. I can't say when, but will post when it's ready to air. The couple is fun and adventurous. I decided no more obsessed fans..No more "Destination Samantha" shows. I have no idea how I attract this, but I plan to put the radar on going forward. I am not invincible or do I want to be. I want my passion to show through, I cannot do this with clients who do not fit with my personality. That's a large part of what we do...we are their new best friend when it comes to planning. I can deal with that. I want those fans to find someone that can fit the mold. I admit, I can't. I am sorry! What's scary is I received another call last week from a bride who wanted to come here next June. I found her a replacement where she lives and I am sure it will be a better fit. See, I am learning here. We all want what is best for our clients. Well it's getting late and tomorrow we have more heat to deal with. For the brides who were married this weekend I hope it was everything and more. I hope you stayed hydrated...I think If I was a bride, I would have ripped my dress off at the alter and wouldn't care if anyone saw my "muffin top" belly. Speaking of "muffin top" what an appropriate name for something so annoying. I love to hear that my stomach looks like food...Isn't that what I received for maybe eating too many muffins? Tell me how is one supposed to exercise in this heat anyway? I will stick with snickers bar in one hand along with a Diet Coke in the other! Have a good one! xoox Sam

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Girls Who Are Cheap....

I know you ladies can relate to this I have to air my thoughts... I went out to dinner last week with a group of gals for a good friends birthday. There were 10 of us. Once everyone that I knew arrived, there was a last minute gal who joined in. I have never met her, so out of common courtesy and to make her feel welcomed I introduced myself. Now I know you can relate to this. Did you ever meet someone who you instantly knew you were not going to hang out with, outside the group? A dinner or gathering with larger groups would be the only way you could tolerate this person. Maybe it was her personality, she did not smile, she did not joke around she just kind of kept to herself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as we cannot all have loud outgoing personalities. Yes. I am calling myself a bit more outgoing than the norm. I am not sure this is a good thing, but I can admit to that. Anyway, why is it when men get together they can all just get along and when the bill comes they just throw in money? They don't care of someone ordered an entree $6 more than anyone else. But put this same situation with girls. While most do this, there is ALWAYS that one person who has to see the bill. The worst part, it's someone who has the money. They just don't understand the concept that one day they will order the lobster and others will pay for it. Well, getting back to dinner with the gals. So we sit down we all order appetizers to share. I saw on the table they had VOSS water available ..You know that fancy clear bottle it looks delicious, but is probably tap water. I think most restaurants charge $10 for a liter. I know this is a ridiculous amount of money for water, but when your thirsty your thirsty. So I proceeded by opening up both the still and sparkling versions. I told everyone at the table if they had a problem with this it was on me. Help yourselves and everyone did. The new gal sitting next to me did not partake in sharing the water. When I offered it, she said I am not spending $10 for water. I said don't worry about it, it's on me please have some. I took the bottle and put it next to her glass. She got so weird about it, she picked up the water and said no thank you I will stick with the tap water from the restaurant. The way she picked that bottle up and pounded it down in the center of the table caused everyone to look at our end. I get this look like Sam, what did you do??....All I did was offer her water, is that a crime? So here is the worst part of the evening. We are getting ready to finish dinner and they begin clearing the plates. She shuffles to get her coat and we haven't even eaten dessert yet. Not a single happy birthday for my friend. She hands one of the girls a $20 and says good bye. WAIT a minute sister I am thinking. There is NO way she only ate $20 worth. So we all figure out at the end that each of us owes $60 each. I was like how obnoxiously rude. She did not even give the proper amount. I also heard she was not really friends with the B-day girl and kind of invited herself. Which makes this so much more aggravating. The girl dined and dashed us! Have you ever done this on a date? You know it gets weird at the end, because some men expect us to pay half. Not that I would care, I have paid half. It leaves me feeling less guilty if I decide not to go out again. ( I am married I am speaking as though I was single). Come on ladies have you done the 'I 'll be right back I am using the restroom bit"? :) How long do you hide out in the ladies lounge?? How do you know it is the right time to come out again? I guess you just do...Or hope. Why is it that some women have this thing about only paying to the dime. It takes forever to figure out a bill, you can't divide each piece of food that you shared and say OK, the 2oz of steak will probably cost me $10...Cause the meal was $40. Yucky! OK now it's your turn...What is your craziest girl story when it comes to going out as a group??? I know you tell me this about the bridesmaids and the issues that are similar...Maybe we can add some comedy to it so that you can reference back to this when you start getting upset.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How Do You Know If You Hired The Right Planner?

How do you know if you hired the right planner? Good question. How do you know if you bought the right car? These 2 questions have one thing in common, they both require preference. When you apply for a job, one might suggest that you should come prepared with questions that pertain to the company. Maybe their philosophy on productivity or open door policy when it comes to ideas. Whatever the position is the key factor is to ask questions that will assist you in making the right decision long term. When clients come to us wanting to understand our philosophy or how we work with clients, we are also making sure that we are asking the questions. This information is crucial in that it provides us with tools to make sure we are able to service the need of the client. One thing I have learned is that you do not want to promise things that you are not 100% confident you can deliver. How do you know if the Coordinator is a good fit for you? Well, do you know the things that are most important for you on the day of your wedding? If you don't, you should really write down your "needs" so that you and your planner are on the same page. Try not to visit a planner unless you are sure of what you hope to accomplish. This will ensure a productive meeting. It will also save you time in making the right decision. Another area that's extremely important is that his or her personality must compliment yours. They must be able to visualize what you want. You are building a relationship with a person who is going to share the responsibility of something that is very important to you. I may ask someone if they consider themselves to be an A type one who likes to stay in control or B maybe a bit more passive. While some people like the passive trait, it may not get the job done. Especially if you are the driver. I have had many clients that have the passive trait and have basically left everything in my hands. While I appreciate the compliment, it is somewhat stressful. What if they say do what you want I like your taste, and they end up disliking your choice? All fingers pointing on who? Us. Last year was a very strange one speaking of passive clients. I had one couple who basically just wanted to show up. It came time to start design and she would always procrastinate. I realized she was just so overwhelmed she wanted to just be a guest and not worry about anything. It was 2 weeks before her wedding and she was supposed to visit the florist to review contracts and have a last minute showing of her centerpiece. I get a call from the florist telling me she missed the appointment. So I called my client in a somewhat frantic state asking what happened?? She began by explaining somethings came up and could I just meet with the florist for her, I know her taste. I have to tell you as much as I felt honored to do this, I was scared to death! Cliff note version in the end, she loved the design and I was really lucky. Mentally my brain felt fried. I knew at that moment I would never do that again. There are no guarantees that even though she likes my taste with some of weddings we have done, that she is going to like my choice for her wedding. This experience told me I cannot handle that type of pressure! I needed clients that want to be just as involved as I am if not more... I hope this helps answer your question!

Celebrity Weddings and Gold Events

Most American brides today, look to magazines for inspiration regarding the style and feel of their upcoming wedding. I am not sure if you remember Jessica Simpson having a beautiful hard cover book that discussed her vision and wedding. I think 90% of our clients brought her book in for some idea they wanted to incorporate into their special day. There are many ideas that can be made to look "celebrity " but not cost celebrity. I am a firm believer in trying new ideas. While it's nice to mimic another's style, I love to make weddings special for each individual. It shows off who you are and your creative side. Trends are started by those who reach deep down and "own" their wedding. There are many brides who have started trends without even realizing they did. Thanks to bridal magazines and their "real weddings" section you can come up with some great ideas. Ok...I know you have been writing in and here is the cliff note version of what we are doing... It seems as though my secret with planning celebrity weddings is out of the bag. For years I have kept this as a secret to honor our clients privacy. It's hard enough to keep our own clients ideas hidden to prevent things being overdone. Celebrities are just like us, they want privacy too! I do not advertise this, there is no point. I want to keep the doors open for anyone who is in need of our services. Yes, we are working on some celebrity nuptials this year. I have received numerous emails about Malinda Williams lately. She recently announced about our working together and is currently writing a special blog with Essence magazine to keep her fans abreast of her planning thus far. So if you really want to know her taste and thoughts about her upcoming wedding to Derrick Jones (D-Nice), take a peek on line. Malinda is definitely true to to her style in keeping everything simple but elegant. She is a very genuine down to earth person. I would describe her as someone you could walk up to and she wouldn't snob you. Derrick is exactly the same way. It's nice to see a groom who is involved during the entire process. He may not have much to say when it comes to design, but he is very savvy when it comes to music. We are going to try hard to keep him as the guest instead of the DJ if he'll let us! Unfortunately at this time, I cannot tell you when or where they are tying the knot it's in 2008. I can tell you that. I promise to keep you in the loop with her style and some little peeks here and there with ideas they have chosen. Essence mag is going to do a beautiful exhibition of their wedding when that day arrives! We are currently working on more celeb nup's, but cannot share at this time due to our clients request. When I get the heads up you know I will share! One person emailed us and asked if Kathy Griffin was going to be the officiate (that's funny). No. I think Kathy is going to stay with comedy. She did an excellent job with the couple from Queens. It was a great honor to work with her and I know the couple had a great time. How could they not?? It was an experience that not many will have in their lifetime.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kathy Griffin's My Life On The D List Our Episode Aired Tonight!

Tonight was the night! Our show with Kathy Griffin officiating a wedding on Bravo aired tonight. IT WAS AWESOME! I loved every minute of it. First of all, Kathy was awesome. She is a fellow Mid-Westerner from Oak Park IL. Once you get 2 people from the same area in the room you can't shut us up. I always thought we were similar in that we do things to get a reaction. We speak from the heart, but we do shove foot in mouth too. That is not always the best thing I agree. However, you will never have to fear we are not telling the truth when you do ask for our opinion. http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2008/03/09/2008-03-09_comedian_kathy_griffin_weds_couple_in_qu.html The entire show was a blast. I love that she made me look like the "annoying planner"! I definitely will work with her again. I hope the couple liked the experience. It was nuts trying to rearrange a room, deal with reporters and plan around the couple. I wish the couple could have seen what we had to go through! Jenny Orsini and I worked our buns off along with her team. They did not show that and THAT pissed me off. I wanted to show the couple how hard we worked that day. I guess only we will know that. This was right during my Heparin scare. I was exhausted. It was right after another hospital visit. But it was worth EVERY minute. I loved Tom...Ha I called him Todd on accident..Sorry Tom! I know Kathy teased you about that. Anyway, I have some great shows in the works...Not with Style. But with some interesting adventures. I cannot figure out what I want to do. I love my clients! I am not sure if I can ever give them up. My day to day activities are even better with calls about silly bridal drama and we always laugh about it. I may not be for every bride, but the ones we have we LOVE YOU! They always make me laugh and on their wedding day, they are calm, collected and ready for the bigger picture. I am so proud of you all! And for the planners and brides or just viewers THANK YOU for being there for me when you see I am not at my best. We all have what we call bad hair days..... Its nice to know I finally was portrayed in a funny sense. Most people would never look at this as funny. It is due to the fact that the planning of your wedding is taken too seriously. You are not having fun. Do you actually think a planner would be rude on someones wedding day? Come on!! I look at weddings with fun, admiration for the relationship and the love for what I do. Shouldn't that be enough? We always ask at the end of the day what is the prize? Your new life with someone who is VERY in love with you! How lucky is that! Have a great 4th everyone! If you are getting hitched this weekend Congrats! To our 4 bride and Grooms we are going to have a fabulous time! xoxoxx Samantha
I devote my time to ensuring our clients recieve fab service. There's another "calling" for me. To give back to my peers that aspire to be the next "best" fancy pants somebody! Those who play it safe standing behind me, will fail. I do serve as a warning to others and yes, I'm nutty. It's who I am & it's not going to change, as it works. Feel free to comment & join me on what could be the best road trip EVER!

Not That Sassi Planner Again???

Bling and Pearls Can Be The Icing on The Cake!

Bling and Pearls Can Be The Icing on The Cake!
Too Good Too Eat.

Just admit it, I say off the wall things...And it works!