Submit your questions via Instagram/Twitter #AskArielle, or the Let's Chat! pop-up below.
Q: What do I need to know about venue contracts?
A: That venue contracts aren't the only contract you should be concerned with. Conversations are usually had about the extras, but the assumed basics are, sometimes, turned into premiums or additional service fees. Therefore, have contracts or agreements with all vendors associated with the wedding who are responsible for multi faceted services and/or roles.
Venues: Key things to confirm are your times…time allowed to set up and who sets up, times of use for the event, cost of exceeding the defined time for the event, and time allotted to break down and who breaks down. Beyond that, there are other facets such as server/guest ratio, valet, coat check, bathroom attendants, and any fees and gratuities associated with each. As well, elements like dance floor use, outdoor area access, and/or a suite or room where the couple can freshen up and/or change into departure outfits.
Rentals: Key thing to confirm, again, is the timing. The rentals, if not provided by a venue, must be dropped off and picked up within the times dictated by the location or you may be liable for overtime usage charges by location. Additional things to confirm include the condition of the rentals that will be used: will the chairs be freshly painted and the cushions cleaned; will the tabletops be smooth and the legs level. As well, if you have an ‘out of the way’ or difficult to access location, will delivery charges be increased… i.e. if a larger delivery truck can’t easily access the location they may need to break up the delivery into multiple drop offs – and/or have more men to unload and pick up.
Caterers/Staffing: First, after choosing a caterer, are tastings going to be included or are they additional? Also, how many tastings are there? Traditionally there are two. Not all weddings run on time, so making sure the caterer understands that it may start late and finish late, will help determine the most cost effective use of time - as it affects food preparation, rental breakdown time, and other facets. Also, are there any really time sensitive items on the menu i.e. puff pastry type hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour, soufflés for dessert? If so, how fluid is the menu service time? Additionally, if the location/venue doesn’t provide the foodservice they usually don’t arrange the staff so, then, the caterer usually does. Staff, whomever provides them, will arrive in time to meet their responsibilities based on the set start time of your event – hours in advance if on the set up and kitchen team, well in advance if servicing the event in ‘front of house’ roles. Regardless, you are paying for their time based on defined start and finish times and any overtime – as well as providing gratuity. Discuss that timing and staff count with them.
Flowers: The florist is one of the only vendors that, traditionally, service both the service and reception locations. Make sure to confirm times they can set up at both – and making sure they adhere to those times. Additionally, if the flowers from the service location are going to be used at the reception location – who will move those? Also, is the florist responsible for decorating the cake table and what flowers are needed for that?
There are many, many items that need to discussed, confirmed, and in writing. Following a timeline, like the one laid out in Perfect Little Planner, keeps you confident, on track, and in control. Bottom line, check the fine print and ask lots of questions.
Q: My lifelong friend is getting married and assigned a 16 year old as Maid of Honor; I am a bridesmaid. Clearly, the 16 year old cannot handle the responsibilities of the role so my friend has unrealistic expectations of my role - and expects that I pick up the endless slack. I would be eager to do all she needs however, I live out of state and am unable to do it all. She has now removed me from the bridal party - what do I do?
A: Be grateful. Getting married is stressful and ones ability to handle that stress is indicative of how they will function in a marriage - as marriage is filled with far more stresses. That said, your friend is just projecting on the one closest to her. Unfortunately, this kind of reaction does shows a lack of maturity on her part, which raises the question: have outgrown the friendship? ...Move forward, if your friend truly is your friend - and a mature individual - she will catch up to you. Don't look back.
Q: I want an outside wedding but am afraid it may rain, how can I proceed with confidence?
A: There is no way to guarantee a rain free day, that said - check the Farmer's Almanac. The Farmer's Almanac has an 80% accuracy rate which is remarkable when you consider that they develop their long range forecasts 18 months in advance. We do, however, suggest that you have a back-up plan. Look for an outdoor area that is close to a house, outbuilding or space and incorporate that space into your outdoor plans - it's always a good idea regardless to have an indoor space for those who can't tolerate sun or heat. Since you will plan on decorating that space, it can quickly become shelter if needed. Just make sure whatever you're serving can also be served as casual buffet style.
Q: I don't like the friend my fiance selected as best man, what do I do?
A: Marriage is about compromise. Understand your fiance likes this guy enough to have him fill the important role of Best Man, that said - you need to keep some separate friends, you cannot become one person or it gets old fast. Be diplomatic and don't say a word.
Q: I want to delay our wedding so we can save and have exactly what I want. How do I tell my fiance and family?
A: Trust us when we tell you, keep your wedding date - don't wait longer to save money that you will wish you had after the wedding. Make the wedding as beautiful as you can on the budget you have. Message us if you need any tips on how to save on, or substitute what you want to have the wedding you want!
Q: My fiance and I are getting married, we are both men and rather conservative. We want a big wedding but are concerned that guests may feel that it's over the top for a gay wedding, what should we do to get the wedding we want without worrying about what some guests may say?
A: Only invite the guests who you know will fully embrace your love and enjoy every moment. That's the only list that matters and whatever that number is the guest count you have! There is enough to worry about - being judged by guests shouldn't be one of them! Congratulations and Have Fun!
Q: My fiances family is very conservative politically, and mine - not so much. How do we avoid "passionate" conversations at the smaller pre-wedding gatherings?
A: Seating is one option. That way you can delicately separate the most "passionate" of guests. Additionally, you can have table "ambassadors" - a good friend, or family member who is gifted with the art of diplomacy and can steer or redirect conversation to keep topics free from political connotations.
Q: What if I can't afford to have a reception?
A: Ask a friend or family member to host it for you as their gift. They can make it a themed "pot luck" so all the foods work together and you have a complete event.
Q: Should I include my future spouses siblings in our wedding party?
A: This is a very political and frequent problem. If they have a lot of siblings, you have an easy out. If they only have a few, that's where the problems begin. Discuss this early with your fiance and see what they think. Also, another easy out would be to include the children of their siblings - while sometimes harder to manage, they usually don't have as lot of opinions.
Q: My fiance and I don't drink alcohol, do we have to serve liquor at our wedding?
A: Yes. Not drinking alcohol is your choice - which your guests shouldn't suffer the consequences of.
Q: Can I use your book if my wedding is sooner than a year out?
A: Yes. The book is set up as 52 week planner which, even with a shorter time window, allows you to catch right up doing things in the order and priority they should be done. This allows you to move forward confidently for the time you have left. Remember, you can always message us for help.
Q: Should I allow guests to bring kids to our wedding?
A: That all depends on what kind of wedding you want to have and the age of the kids. For a Rustic Wedding, or more causal event, older children wouldn't be out of place. For a more elegant or classic Romantic wedding, they may not enjoy it as much which means, with kids, that those around them won't be able to enjoy it. Whatever you decide - kids will add to the budget, require observation and entertainment, and detract from the enjoyment and experience of their parents.
Q: Can I have a Beachy Wedding in the Fall?
A: Yes. You can do whatever you want for your wedding. If you live in the West or the South, you may have Beachy weather all year long. If you don't, you can still do a lighter Beachy theme. As well, you can plan an Indian Summer wedding. That way, you can mix Beachy and Rustic - which makes for a memorable and unique wedding.
Q: Does my bridal party have to walk down the aisle together?
A: No, they don't. You can send them down alone, or not at all - they can be waiting at the alter for you. It depends on how traditional you want to be, and how long you want the ceremony. This is one of the areas that you can define and have fun with. Embrace it.
Q: My future mother-in-law keeps inserting herself into my wedding planning. My family is paying for the wedding, yet FMIL hasn’t committed to paying for the traditional obligations of the other side. How can I get her to minimize her input?
A: We all go through it, usually from both sides...You want to get married at your venue, she wants a church wedding...or you’re envisioning a vineyard wedding and she says, "You don't really want to get married outside, do you?”.
Weddings have changed a lot in the past decade and formality, sometimes, sadly, falls by the wayside. Your wedding will likely be very different from your parents' and your in-laws'—and that might take some getting used to by all parties. Whether you want your betrothed to wear sneakers or you're planning on skipping the cake-cutting ceremony, let your future MIL say her piece, and then smile and say, "You might be right. We'll totally take that into consideration." If she keeps pressing after that, get back to smiling and say, "This is what we have decided to do. We'd love your support."
Regarding the payment of traditional obligations which, in this case it would be the Rehearsal Dinner, Band and/or other musical entertainment, Rings, bouquet and/or boutonnieres, Post Wedding Brunch, and Honeymoon – make those her mission and live with her decisions. Turn every conversation to those events, with the inference that since they are her responsibilities that’s where she can be most helpful.
Q: I am a size 12 and want to get down to a size 8 by my wedding day, which is in six weeks. How can I do it?
A: You can't - in a healthy way. Before we go into ways you can achieve some results - let me remind you that your fiance asked for you hand at the size you were that day, after a relationship with you at whatever size(s) you have been. Your ffamily and friends are attending because they love you - not because they want to see a new version of you. That said, based on your dress' design, there are things you can do to enhance your appearance it in. If its backless: back toning exercises; Sleeveless: arm toning... are you seeing a pattern here? Do some cardio and toning exercises, and make healthy food choices - but do not crash diet or do anything drastic. Also, when you go for your final fitting - that's it, maintain from that point on. A dress at any size that fits well is better than a loose or tight dress. Also, if you ordered your dress in a 8, let the store know it's not going to happen and be prepared to buy a new one. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, you don't need to add stress to your life, or anyone else's - this is a time to celebrate and enjoy your new beginning.
Q: I really want a destination wedding but know so many people cant afford to come, how can I have the wedding of my dreams if the people I want there cant make it?
A: When you see the wedding of your dreams in your head, what stands out most - the location, the decor, or the family and friends enjoying it with you? There could be a destination that isn't too far - or too expensive that everyone can attend without breaking the bank. Marriage is about creating a family, having your family there will make it all the more meaningful.
Q: I have your Rustic book and my wedding is upcoming - I'm almost through my entire budget, how do I get there without going over?
A: Remember, the first thing we say is to define your budget and pay for the essentials first. So, without knowing what you have left to pay for, I would recommend
canceling anything you don't need and redirecting those funds to the essentials that you need to pull the day off. Then, go back and use whatever funds you have left for other items. You can also DIY extras, that will cost less than purchasing.
Q: I just got your book but found out the location we want isn't available when we were planning however, it is available 36 weeks from now. What do I do? How do I make it work?
A: Go back to the beginning of the book and do everything on the 'To-Do' list to get you up to date, and read the 'Tips' as they will be very helpful. Then go forward from there. Most brides have a year, or more - some only have a month, nailing the location is the hardest part so you're in good shape on that. The rest can be done in a week if you had to - so don't worry. DM me on Instagram if you have any other questions or if I can help.
Q: What are the essentials that should be paid for first?
A: Ceremony and reception locations, dress, rings, food, flowers, invitation needs, and honeymoon. These are the essentials and all of them can be expanded if, in fact, you have money left. You can always amp up the flowers, add more hors d'oeuvres, include escort cards or other needs, and/or add days activities to your honeymoon.
Q: How do I tell my parents they can't make the wedding all about them and invite all or their friends.
A: If they're paying for the wedding, really consider whether the argument is worth it - as long as it doesn't result in you having to reduce your list of friends. If they're not helping with the finances, then you have to let them know if they want more guests they'll have to pay for them - or just give them a serviceable number of people that you're comfortable with.