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Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find Me a Photographer


This is the gypsy matchmaker from The Sims 2. Give her enough money, and she’ll find your Sim a life partner to make him or her happy. If you don’t have the simoleans for that, though, you can purchase a vial of Love Potion 8.5 to give your Sim a leg up in any potentially romantic situation.

But if you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve already found that certain, special someone. What you need is a little help finding the right vendors to make your day everything you’ve dreamed of.

OneWed.com has been helping couples find those vendors for some time now, but they’ve just launched an intriguing new free Matchmaker function called MatchMake.

You simply answer a set of questions about your wedding as regards the aspect you’re looking for help in (venue, catering, photography, transportation, etc.), and it pops out a list of vendors that best match your needs.

For instance, last night I sat down and played with the venue selection to see what I came up with. I gave them some real challenges (venues that feature purple, outdoor museum space, room for 150 for $500 or less) and they managed to come through with some options that – while not exact – did feature a fair number of the aspects I asked for. And I did some runs on the catering options, too, with similar results.

I really appreciated the fact that the questions included some fairly non-traditional options in the answer pool. For one thing, the religious affiliation question included the options of ‘atheist’ ‘Pastafarian’ and ‘Scientologist’ as well as more traditional possibilities such as ‘Catholic’ ‘Jewish’ or ‘Hindu’. Also, you could choose up to three. Options for the mood of your venue included things like ‘quirky’ as well as ‘romantic.’

All in all, I found this an encouraging place to look for the right vendors when you don’t know where to start.

The downside? Well, thus far it only shows vendors for the New York and Chicago areas. Bummer for those of you getting married in Maine or Texas. Still, as I said, this is a new program. I fully expect it to expand.

In the meantime, the site as a whole is brimming over with inspiration and options for the rest of us, including lists of local vendors in all walks of wedding planning, complete with user reviews. It just doesn’t weed out the ones that won’t work for you at all. Yet.

How To Get the Best Out of Your Vendors


Anyone who has ever read an article I wrote on this blog probably knows I’m a huge fan of the handmade, the homemade, and the alternately sourced in weddings. My own wedding was mostly done that way, and I would do it again even if I had a much, much bigger budget than I had back then.

All the same, when it comes right down to it, nearly every couple will hire at least one or two professionals. Whether they do flowers, food, photography, music, or just general bridal party wrangling, there are things you can do to make sure the experience is good for all parties concerned.

After all, you don’t want to be the cautionary boogeyman tale your caterer or beautician tells their colleagues!
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And So the Controversy Continues….


Some of you may recall a recent article in which I discussed that new professional in the world of weddings, the proposal planner. Some of you may recall I wasn’t too crazy about the whole concept. The three of you who responded were equally – if not moreso – unimpressed.

Well, it seems we are not alone. Proposal planner Michele Willamson has written an article for Huffpo defending her profession. It seems to Wiliamson that we just don’t understand her calling. If only we understood, we would change our minds and appreciate her services, even if we didn’t use them ourselves.

She answers some questions about her job… but frankly I find that her answers don’t actually make me think her business any more useful than I found it before. After all, she says she plans intimate, personal proposals as well as huge, flashy ones. But if it’s intimate and personal, why does the gentleman (and she does divide the world into ‘men’ and ‘females’ which is a nasty habit more and more people seem to be falling into) require someone to tell him what would be intimate and personal for him and his lady? Or gentleman? And the fact that Williamson says she is present for most of these proposals frankly kind of skeeves me out.

She says that she does a lot of research by talking to the man about his relationship with his female… oops, I mean his significant other. She prompts him to remember things and consider questions that may not have occurred to him. But has this gentleman no friends? No family members he might consult? Has he no skills to discover for himself what his love finds romantic? Is it never possible for a woman to propose???

After all, the best way to make the proposal romantic is to consider carefully the tastes and personality of the person being proposed to, as well as the history and structure of the overall relationship. If, for instance, a man knows that his lady always sighs happily at movies when an engagement ring is discovered in a glass of champagne, he knows she’ll find that romantic. If she laughs her head off and talks about wasting a perfectly good glass of champagne, chances are that’s not the way to propose. If the moment just seems right while lying in bed on a lazy sunday morning… then why not take the chance? Only if you know she wants the down on one knee approach and for you to ask her parents for permission to marry her.

There is no such thing as a universally romantic proposal. And unless you’re trying to arrange the practicalities of a Jumbotron, a marching band, and a host of celebrities showing up to urge your beloved to say yes… chances are you can work it out on your own. And even then? Yeah, guys have been working out the Jumbotron thing at sporting events for decades all by themselves.

Sorry, Michele, but I still don’t see a need for your service. And while I will refrain from personal abuse, I laugh soundly at what you’ve chosen to do with your life and the people who think they need it.

Quickie Question: Which is Most Important to You?


Professionals.

Weddings do usually require some professionals. Many use them for nearly everything short of reciting the vows – and that works for many couples just fine. Others, though, prefer to do most of these jobs themselves, or to have them done by volunteers. Some would prefer to hand it over to pros, but are forced by lack of funds to do it all themselves.

So I’m curious. Of the following list, which two items would you choose to have done professionally if the rest absolutely had to be done by volunteers?

Photography
Catering
Flowers
Set up and clean up of the site
Cake
Making wedding clothes
Music
Decorations other than flowers
Officiant

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer here. There’s only what works for you.

Guest Post: Lighting Guru Bentley Meeker On Lighting Design for Weddings

What’s this? Today’s post is written not by me, Christa aka Never teh Bride, but by Bentley Meeker, America’s premier lighting designer. I thought Mr. Meeker might have something to say on the subject of lighting design for weddings, as he has worked for over two decades in the event industry, creating extraordinary environments for the weddings of notable celebrities like Robert DeNiro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Chelsea Clinton. The images in Mr. Meeker’s post come from his book, Light X Design, which features a kaleidoscope of amazing lighting design for weddings and other events.

Wedding lighting design for ceremonies

Lighting is THE single most important visual element in your wedding. More so than flowers, decor, or even architecture and space. Yet, with all of its critical nature, so many brides, and even wedding planners, don’t consider lighting or budget for it at all. If so, it is often looked at as an addendum to the wedding decor budget.

With lighting setting the mood, it should be considered first and foremost once a space is chosen. Here’s why: One can transform any space with light, but one can only augment with flowers or decor.

On the practical side, there are three things that need to be managed when executing a lighting design for weddings:

  • The room needs to look beautiful
  • The guests have to feel good
  • Lastly, the guests, especially the bride, have to FEEL good

Lighting design for receptions, too

So in support of that, here are five things to look for when lighting a wedding:

1. Symmetry - Light everything evenly so that the room looks symmetrical.

2. Intensity - Dim the lights a little less than you think you should. Your eye adjusts to the lower light and it creates so much more atmosphere than you’d ever imagine. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Levels - Dim absolutely everything. Having the ability to dim the lights when the grandparents go home and set the mood for the kids is a pretty important thing to be able to do.

4. Color - Soft beautiful flattering colors (pinks, ambers, honeys and apricots) should be used wherever people are. While we love blue and green to look at, and we often want to go bolder with color, those colors make our skin tones sallow and pasty.

5. Angles - Be super sensitive to light in peoples’ eyes by angling things as vertically as possible. If your grandmother has a light shining in her eyes all night, chances are she’ll go home before the cake cutting.

There is also a 6th consideration, namely your lighting designer. Since lighting is often mysterious and unknown, and the bride and her family are often unable to see the full picture prior to their walking in, (decor, catering, etc. will not yet have been set up) it is very important that your lighting designer really get you and who you are. That’s personality driven and I think it should be considered right alongside talents and portfolios as a critical criteria.

~Bentley Meeker

Are you a wedding vendor who has some insight to share with brides-to-be and grooms-to-be? Send me an email to talk about the possibility of guest posting right here!

Unexpected Wedding Guests: How Common Are They Really?

Is everyone in this photo on the guest list?

So, unexpected wedding guests. Word on the street is that there are more of them than people thing. And I’m not talking about professional wedding crashers who are just looking for a good time. I mean friends and relatives who RSVP’ed no but decided to come anyway, invitees who never bothered to send back the stamped reply postcard, and wedding guests who arrived at the reception with one, two, or more people in tow. As far as I know, there was no one at our wedding who wasn’t supposed to be there, but since ours was a backyard family affair, I didn’t pay all that much attention once the day got rolling.

If unexpected wedding guests are more common than I assumed, are people taking them into consideration when giving wedding vendors those precious final headcounts? Is it better to pay for a few more chairs, entrees, and slices of wedding cake than to have one to few of any of these things? It’s a question I have trouble wrapping my brain around because I’d never in a million years attend a wedding to which I had not RSVPed or switch my entree choice at the last moment or *gasp* bring a few cronies with me to the reception so everyone could get boozed up on the cheap. But I know not everyone is as polite as I am, hence the poll. I want to know how you’re handling the possibility of unexpected wedding guests and, I suppose, whether you’re anticipating any!

Image: djprybyl

What If Your Wedding Vendor Doesn’t Show Up?

Choosing wedding vendors can be nerve-racking (or wracking, both are correct) because, after all, you’re putting your entire wedding in the hands of a handful of professionals. Are their picture perfect portfolio shots really representative of their work? Will they be on time? Do they really understand how important this is to you?

"Waddya mean the caterer is in Borneo?"

Maybe yes, maybe no. More than likely, however, yes. Your wedding vendors will show up, give you everything they’ve promised and you’ve paid for, and help make your wedding beautiful. But that doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen very, very occasionally to an itty-bitty handful of brides and grooms. It’s a difficult situation to contemplate, but maybe one that everyone who’s engaged should think about just a bit.

The question, of course, is what do you do if one of your wedding vendors doesn’t show up.

First, let’s talk about what you don’t do. You don’t, as much as you’d probably like to, panic. When you’re just about to leave for the ceremony and you find out that your caterer isn’t coming, panicking is NOT going to help. And if you’ve just arrived at the reception to find out that your cake isn’t coming, freaking out isn’t going to get you a cake.

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