In 2011 I did a wedding at Adelphi Mill with the most lovely couple ever and don’t you know at exactly the same time of year I end up at Adelphi Mill again in 2012 with once again the mostly lovely couple ever who just wanted their friends to have fun, for one another to be happy and to enjoy their day. I love that. This was also by far one of the most DIY wedding I had ever done (check our her bouquet, yep, she did that!) and they did it beautifully and together. I asked them if they felt like it had been worth it in the end and they said a resounding yes and that they felt like it had brought them closer. When they started they didn’t know how to make paper flowers or anything about crafts really but they figured it out together and made a beautiful wedding full of personal touches.
One of the things I often hear from couples is "well, there is a venue coordinator, so we don't need a planner". I'm here to break down the difference for you between venue coordinators and event planners. Because, that is the first thing you should know...there is a difference. The second thing is that those venue coordinators, they will still tell you that you need a planner!
First of all, all the mad props and love to my venue coordinators, catering directors and on-site managers friends out there! These are highly skilled people who do an amazing job at their job and you need them. They know everything there is to know about their venue. They know it's quirks and how it is best set up and how it flows best when things are done a certain way. It is their domain and that should be respected!
However, while these same people very well may be seasoned event planners, it is not actually their job to create a timeline for you and your other vendors. They very likely have preferred vendors or even vendors they know and love to work with. It is not their job to negotiate contracts with those vendors on your behalf. They are not going to go to the florist with you, they are not going to deliver your cards and gifts back to your hotel room at the end of the night.
Of course they have the skills to do these things, but the fact of the matter is that it isn't actually their job. Not only that, it makes their job much easier when they do have a planner on site to place the escort cards and personal items, etc.
Don't cheat yourself out of the help you need during your big day because you think you already have it when you don't. On-site coordinators are amazing at what they do, but you still need a planner to fill the gaps for what they do not do! Make sure you are covered. Hire a planner!
Let me just hit the highlights of this awesome wedding. He was the park ranger at Prince William Forest Park, she was going for a hike, the rest is history, fast forward and they get married at the same spot and it included their dog as best man, bridesmaids in cowboy boots, a wedding pinata, a bonfire and square dancing. Enough said, like I said, this wedding rocked!
Father's Day is around the corner and has me thinking about how special that moment is when a bride dances with her dad. For those who are lucky enough to have a dad or father figure in your life or who choose to do the traditional (or non-traditional!) Father/Daughter dance, here are a few songs that you may not hear at every other wedding. What did you dance to with your dad?
Paola is the most lovely bride ever, who had the loveliest garden party reception with her most lovely new husband, David. What more is there to say? They are one lucky couple and I loved working with them and all of the vendors on this ever so lovely wedding!
Have you ever been intimidated by the size or nature of a networking event? Ug, networking can be hard work! That is why District Bliss was created, to be that networking space for creatives where you don't need to feel intimidated by a huge events or even a really intimate event. District Bliss events are usually 35-45 people depending on the space. They are held in DC, VA, LA and NY. They focuses on fostering a sense of community and they donate a portion of their ticket sales to The Women's Employment Network . What is better than that? You can network with awesome people, have fun and feel good about it!
If you are interesting in participating in an event as a vendor you can do that too! These events would not happen without the awesome participating vendors who take the pictures, plan the events and bring their beautiful and yummy sweets and treats!
I'll be there! And so will some awesome vendors like Meekly Yours, Adam Smith Music Services and Edward Underwood Photography. Plus The Outrage is going to be having an Outrageous Sale too! Ahhh!!! I might go broke their stuff is SOOOO fun!
Join us and get your low key, no-pressure, super fun networking on!
We finalize our week looking back on our favorite same sex couples in celebration of Pride Week with this favorite from 2014...
Jason and Joel were married this summer at Eastern Market, which I absolutely loved, not only because I live in the neighborhood but because it is an awesome venue. It has a neighborhoody, cool, very DC vibe, which I cannot get enough of. These guys just wanted to have a great party for their friends and family and did they ever!
Congratulations Jason and Joel!
This remains one of my favorite weddings simply because of how lovely the couple was and how incredibly in love they obviously were. They planned their wedding long distance with one in medical school and still managed to DIY so many beautiful aspects of their wedding.
I was amazed at the beautiful things they created while simultaneously working jobs, attending school and driving hours on end to DC occasionally to work out the details. They are a beautiful couple (seriously, how pretty are they!) who made a beautiful day!
In honor of Pride Week, we continue to look back on our favorite same sex couples this week. Sarah and Kim had been engaged and waiting to get married for a long time. But Sarah is a Marine, so they were forced to wait until Don’t Ask Don’t tell was repealed. Knowing that was to finally happen in September, Sarah and Kim quickly planned a wedding for October. I get to witness a lot of marriages and meet a lot of wonderful couples and probably because of that privilege I no longer tear up at weddings. But these ladies choked me up more than once leading up to their wedding as well as on their wedding day. In working with them both individually they each in their own way expressed how much they just wanted the other to be happy and have what she wanted. You cannot meet them for more than a few minutes without seeing their love for one another.
Their ceremony was amongst my favorites because of their obvious love. I loved their non-traditional reception where we transformed a local gay bar into a fun reception space. Sarah and Kim are proof that good things are worth waiting for (including their two beautiful girls they have now added to the family)! Congratulations, Sarah & Kim, I was so proud to be a part of your day!
It's Pride Week here in the Capital and here at Events to a T we will be celebrating some of our favorite same sex couples. Jason & Joel love their family, their friends, their dog and each other! Not necessarily in that order! But those were their priorities for their wedding and this laid back couple kept it equally as simple for their engagement session.
When two beautiful over achievers come together and get married it makes for one beautiful wedding full of toasts boasting their achievements and friends who adore them, not to mention some pretty fancy dance moves.
Do you really read a contract when you sign it? I mean really read it? Many people do and some people don't...oops! We all know we should, of course! And then, there are the instances where we read it, I mean really read it, but maybe we don't know what everything means. Or, we read it, but in that moment, we can't really process how these little things might impact us, so we pay them little mind, right? Until one day they do actually impact your life and you are pulling that contract back out thinking "wait a minute, was that in the contract?"
Some items to take note of when signing vendor contracts...
Vendor meals, travel and parking
It is fairly standard that if a vendor is spending 6-10 hours at your event, they would expect to be fed (and it is proper etiquette to do so), however, some vendors have specific meal requests written into their contracts. Some will only eat hot meals, not "vendor" meals, for example. Paying for vendors to park while working your event or to travel to your event are also pretty standard. But sometimes it is written into a contract and sometimes it isn't. Just make sure you are aware of what extra costs you might accrue.
When you have to tell a caterer, a calligrapher or a florist how many people might be in attendance at your event, you want to make sure that number isn't set in stone. You obviously won't know your exact numbers until close to the date of your event. However some contracts will allow you to increase your number, but not to decrease it from the original quote you gave them. Make sure you have flexibility in your contract to make changes to your numbers.
Service Fees and Gratuity
We talked about this on the blog last week, so we won't go into too much detail here. But some contracts have a service fee, some don't. If your contract does not include a service fee or your service fee does not 100% go to the service staff, you might want to add gratuity. Some transportation companies will also add gratuity and some will not. You also want to make sure what is included in your bottom line.
Taxes, Shipping and Labor
These seem like small things that can really add up at the end of the day. Do you have to pay additional costs to have your escort cards shipped to you from the calligrapher on top of the quote you were given to have them made? If you want to have someone from the florist stay after set up so that they can move your ceremony flowers into the reception, is that an additional labor cost? What exactly on your contract is taxable?
Remember back in September when we had that really bad storm blow through around labor day weekend? Well Rebecca and James had planned to get married outside at Rebecca’s parents home and have their reception in a tent in the backyard. And have their reception in a tent in the backyard they did (well mostly at least). But that storm require them to move their ceremony indoors quickly. Despite the quick change in plan and rained out ceremony, they still had a lovely wedding and a great time!
Alex and Alex were married at Zaytinya and had their rehearsal dinner at Oyamel, they had an entire Jose Andres weekend. Zaytinya was originally built to be an art gallery so lends itself perfectly to a ceremony and reception, plus of course you get amazing food. The father of the bride played his harmonica with the band and their katubah was an amazing paper cut design of everything meaningful to the bride and groom. The couple was so relaxed and happy you would never have believed they were about to walk down the aisle. Despite the rain storm of the century that blew through 10 minutes before their ceremony, soaking guests and blowing away the patio umbrellas, the guests were also relaxed and everyone had a wonderful time celebrating Alex and Alex.
HYPHEN DC is an amazing art gallery in the newly hip neighborhood of Ivy City. They describe themselves as a place for multiple expressions — connecting individual articulations into a whole, as a multipurpose art and event space.
Events to a T is excited to be working with Hyphen to offer your their awesome space for events of any kind. The space is 3100 square feet and can accommodate up to 150 people for standing room only events. Configurations of all kinds are welcome and you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The space is perfect for pop up shops, music events, classes, performances, or celebrations.
Hyphen is lucky to have multiple parking garages in very close proximity, Union Kitchen for catering needs right around the corner, and new restaurants and distilleries popping up constantly. You can find whatever you need in Ivy City now and it is a fantastic place to host your next event! Contract email@example.com for inquires or more information.