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Choosing Your Vendors: Pro vs. Pal

It can be tempting to ask friends or family members to provide services that are normally provided by a professional, but is it really a good idea? The answer is yes…or no. It all depends.

YES, if your friend is a also a pro

Even though your pal Sarah is super crafty and your brother-in-law Sam takes amazing Instagram pix, that doesn’t mean Sarah knows how to make centerpieces or that Sam has the slightest clue how to photograph a wedding…nor is he likely to have the right equipment. If your sorority sister from years ago makes a living as a wedding photographer and you love her work, by all means, book her for your wedding. But if your spouse-to-be’s college roommate is in a struggling garage band, opt for a professional deejay who can give you a custom play list that is exactly what you want in terms of music while also expertly keeping things on schedule with trained emcee skills.

NO, if you wouldn’t get over a mistake

We’re all human and nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s heard of collapsing wedding cakes  and disastrous bridesmaid dresses.If Uncle Terry videotapes your wedding and then accidentally erases it before the night is over, you’re still going to have to see him – and be polite- at family gatherings for the foreseeable future. At least if a pro makes a mistake, you can get a full or partial refund.

YES, if you are prepared to treat your friend like a pro

If your friend is a pro and you are confident in his or her ability, then you need to handle this as a professional relationship. Which means, be on time for consultation appointments, provide accurate and honest direction, and above all, don’t ask for a discount (though it’s okay to accept one if offered).

NO, if you are settling for something you don’t really want or going over budget.

You can appreciate cousin Megan’s  skills, but if her invitation designs are not to your taste, don’t feel obliged to hire her. And if your neighbor Antoine’s floristry is to die for but completely out of your budget, it’s best to look elsewhere.

How to ask a friend or family member to be one of your vendors:

  1. Give plenty of notice. Assume that he/she has many clients and may be booked on your chosen day.
  2. Be clear on what you are asking. “Would you be part of our wedding?” could mean many different things, while, “You know how much I love your work – I hope I can book you for our March 23rd wedding” is perfectly understandable.
  3. Don’t ask for a discount or suggest that your friend work for free “as your wedding gift.” Wedding vendors make hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars per event, and your friendship probably would not survive your request for a $500, $900, $1500 – or more – wedding gift.
  4. Be gracious if they decline. Even if you are prepared to handle the situation professionally, your friend may prefer not to for any number of reasons. Simply thank them anyway and ask if they can recommend an alternate.

How to decline a friend or family member who offers to be a vendor when you don’t want or need their services:

  1. Thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness.
  2. If you’ve already chosen a vendor, say so – even if the contract is not signed yet.
  3. Insist that you and your spouse to be want the person to be a guest, not a worker, at your wedding.
  4. If the person won’t take no for an answer, find a safe alternative role. For example, if Grandma wants to make your wedding dress, it’s okay to say you’ve already put a down payment on one, but perhaps she would make the flower girl’s dress. Or, if your Aunt Bessie wants to bake your cake, let her know that you’ve already arranged for that, but if she would be able to help make favors, you’d be beyond grateful.

Whatever decision you make, ensure that your relationship will stay intact, no matter what happens. That way, everybody will be happy.

 

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This entry was tagged #Complete Music, #Complete Weddings + Events, #deejay, #dicey situations, #friend, #friendor, #photographer, #Pro or pal, #pro vs. pal, #vendor, #wedding, #wedding vendor. Bookmark the permalink.

First-Rate First Looks

First Looks have become an important item for today’s brides and grooms to add to their wedding day. It’s a great idea for several reasons. First and foremost, it produces some of our favorite portraits of the happy couple! It also gives the pair a private moment to celebrate the vows they are about to take together, and it can serve as a much-needed pause in the middle of a busy day. Finally, it frees up the couple to have all the formal portraits with the wedding party taken before the ceremony, so they can get right to the celebration afterward.

We’ve been through a lot of First Looks, and the ones have some planning behind them are always first rate. Here are our tips for making it an extra special moment.

Envision it

Will the bride come up behind her beloved and do the old shoulder tap? Or will the couple back into the area with the help of their best man/maid of honor and turn around on the count of three? Do you want the wedding party there to witness it from afar? Or your parents/grandparents? Or do you want it to be a “just us” moment?

Place it

Choose a good location at your wedding venue with your photographer’s help. He or she can make sure you have adequate lighting and a good space for the photographer(s) to stand so every moment is recorded.

 

 

 

Schedule it

Allow 45-60 minutes for your First Look. Part of that time will be setting the scene so that there isn’t an accidental glimpse beforehand. Photos themselves will only take about 10 minutes, but it’s good to pad the time a bit in case somebody takes longer to get ready than expected. And if everybody’s on time, then you have a few more minutes to enjoy each other before everything else starts.

Relish it

We’ve never met a bride or groom who didn’t say the day went by faster then they realized. So protect this time and make sure that both of you slow down and celebrate each other. A bottle of champagne…a little snack…sharing pre-written letters to each other…exchanging gifts…praying with each other – plan something that makes sense to the pair of you.

Protect it

Both partners need to commit themselves to making this a positive moment. This is not the time for a groom to criticize the bride’s headpiece, and it’s not the time for the bride to nag the groom about his to-do list. Just enjoy each other on the biggest day of your lives!

Expand it

One of the hottest new wedding trends is to have several other First Looks: Parents of the bride, parents of the groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and ring-bearer, grandparents of the couple.

However you handle your First Look, make it a special reflection of who you are as a couple, and the photos will turn out great! Contact COMPLETE Weddings + Events Lincoln-Norfolk at (402) 434-2466 to be matched with a photographer who gets it – and who gets you!

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Going to weddings is a great way to plan one!

If you’ve RSVPed to a wedding this spring or summer (or two…or five, lol!) and happen to be planning your own wedding, use these as great opportunities to see what really matters most to the happy couple and to the guests at the event. While you’re sipping wine and enjoying the love-filled evening with your fiancé, validate some of your thoughts on your own wedding goals or look for details thatyou may be sweating over that just don’t really matter. You may conclude YES, it’s worth it to spend a bit extra on a same-day edit, but NO, you don’t want to use that famous baker after all, because while the cakes look great, they taste terrible.

We’ve listed a few thoughts and questions to think about at the next wedding you attend!

Ambience:

A unique venue may be worth it if you can save on decorating the space to create your ideal evening ambiance. Factors that can help fulfill your wedding vision could be moody dark linens and  uplighting or heavenly light linens and twinkle lights. What aspects of a wedding speak to you to set the mood?

Additional Roles:

Did the other couples list hosts, personal attendants or other roles on their program? Think of all the volunteers (along with their fancy titles) it takes to put on a wedding? Do you have enough people on board so you won’t have to worry about any details on your big day?

 

Decor:

Are there statement pieces that you notice more than others, or decor you barely noticed at all?Perhaps the centerpieces make the difference for you versus a highly-decorated dessert table. Maybe renting/borrowing an item (from someone who just had a wedding perhaps?) versus creating it on your own is the way to go.

Food:

Did other couples serve their food buffet or plated style? Were there options for those with a gluten free, vegetarian, or paleo diet? Did they offer appetizers or have a snack or candy table? Since food is typically a large percentage of the budget, decide your priorities. Should you simplify your food choices so you can swing a fancy decor piece or second photographer? Or are you a foodie who needs an awesome menu no matter what?

Fun:

What really made their wedding a blast for you? Maybe an interactive game, photo booth or ice breaker activity had the guests mingled and excited for the evening from the start. Did the DJ get Grandma on the dance floor?

It doesn’t hurt to do your research at an actual wedding.  Of course, be realistic about what can be accomplished in time before your wedding date and what fits your budget. But it’s fun to use every wedding from now until yours as a way to spark ideas and remind you of the true meaning and purpose of the day!

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