Wedding Insurance

insuranceFrom today’s email:

I am getting married in 2010 and a friend mentioned to me wedding insurance. What is your opinion on this?

Typically wedding insurance covers the vendor deposits if the wedding has to be canceled because of illness, military action, weather or the vendor not showing up or other uncontrollable instances. I have not found any insurance that covers you if you are unable to pay for the services that you contracted because you were laid off or got cold feet.

When entering into any contract make sure you read the wedding insurance policy thoroughly and if you don’t understand something ask the agent, before you sign! The few wedding insurance policies I have seen are full of exclusions, so while you may think you are covered on something you may not be. Always read before signing on the dotted line.

Wedding Coordinators What Is Their Job?

This subject is very relevant to brides, grooms and their families getting married at the Notre Dame Basilica! Getting married at the Basilica is a magical experience for any Notre Dame Alumni and if you are lucky enough to get a date  Basilica Day, then congratulations! So that the day flows smoothly and is as magical as you have dreamed of and the planning process is as painless as it can be, we here at Notre Dame Weddings strongly recommend hiring a wedding coordinator to assist you with the wedding.

A wedding coordinator, wedding planner or wedding producer do many things. During the time leading up to the wedding they maintain your budgets, recommend vendors that fit your personality, offer advice, impart their knowledge and experience, advise and so much more. During the day they are there to ride herd on your vendors (and be the heavy if needed so the bride is can enjoy herself), assure that you are where you need to be on time and handle the little problems that may crop up during the day and implement back up plans if need be. They are there to make sure that your wedding day experience is as stress free and magical as you imagined it to be.  But not all planners are equal and hopefully with the example we have found our readers can learn and be better prepared to find a wedding coordinator that will meet all their needs.

As anyone who has had experience with Notre Dame, you know that Notre Dame has it’s rules period. Live with them or leave is usually your only choice. That is no more true than for a Saturday Wedding in the Notre Dame Basilica. You must abide by the rules at the Basilica and so must your vendors, with four weddings a Saturday going through there, there are no excuses!

A Wedding Coordinators, if knowledgeable and trained can see and anticipate potential problems that may crop up and not only head them off but save you stress and raw emotion. They also know the vendors they have worked with before and can recommend ones that will be team players and more concerned with you the customer than their own egos. Especially in a destination situation that is Notre Dame, listening to your wedding coordinator about who they recommend as vendors is very important. You need someone who works within the restrictions and as will be shown below vendors outside of the area may not ” get it” .

Our example:  This morning I was doing my regular twitter wedding surfing when I found a link to this blog post . Honestly I am in shock! Shocked! I read this blog entry as a complete failure on this coordinator’s part to do her job properly and to have the proper planning in place!

Let’s look at a couple of the major points: poo-pooed the timeline and kept insisting to the bride that she didn’t need any timeline; she was the bride and they could not start the ceremony without her.

Here is where a local vendor that the coordinator knew and was aware of the situation that is the Basilica would have been a good send. But since the customer was set on their favorite out of town vendor there are things that can be done.

I see this as the first breakdown of communication between the hair stylist and the wedding coordinator.  At this point, when the attitude of this hair stylist first was on display the coordinator should have immediately taken steps to firmly point out that it was not a question of when the bride would arrive, it was a question of if she would even get married, if she was late. The coordinator’s job is to do what the bride or family otherwise would have to do, be the heavy! I have heard of coordinators picking up the hair spray, and brush and shooing the entire lot into the limo for completion at the destination. They stylist may have an ego but the coordinator’s job is to ride herd on the vendors, to make sure everything gets done properly and on time.

However, I can’t shake the question, why did it reach this point in the middle of the preparations ? Why wasn’t this attitude and the need to be on time made clear long before the day of the wedding to this stylist and not the day of! That is part of the wedding coordinator’s job, inform vendors of problems they may face or requirements they need to meet before they even step foot in the door!

When I got firm with the hairdresser insisting that he needed to hurry, I got the same “poo-poo” and the same ‘they can’t start the ceremony without her’. There is a very good answer to this: No they won’t start without her, they will cancel it and she won’t be getting married. Obviously firm wasn’t firm enough. I was in a wedding once where the coordinator kicked the groom and his groomsmen into the limo in their underwear to get them to the church on time. The men weren’t happy about it but after the wedding my friend the bride, was very thankful for her guidance!

Also, where was the backup plan!?! Shouldn’t it have been kicking in as soon as it was obvious that things were heading to a melt down. You hire a coordinator for their knowledge and trouble shooting abilities, none are displayed in this tale. To me this is where a backup plan should have been kicking in. Call in a local, pull the stylist out of the room and read them the riot act. Do what needs to be done to get the bride where she needs to be, now! Why is this coordinator complaining that her time line wasn’t being followed by the client, when she wasn’t doing her job! “Timelines aren’t in place to make you miserable, they are there so that your wedding takes place the way you (and your venue) had planned.” That is wrong! The coordinator is there to enforce and execute the preplanning and handle problems that may crop up, not to beg the bride that she needs to follow the time line. Sometimes a firm hand is needed with the customer too. In the end they’ll be thankful for it, it is after all what they are paying for, to make sure their money doesn’t go to waste.

I find this the saddest. but not before the bride was in tears, her mother was visibly upset . Such a sad situation. Over the few years I have been involved with this industry I have spoken to a lot of wedding coordinators. Lou Barry, Cynthia Basker, Weddings Inc in Chicago and many others, all top notch wedding planners and coordinators. The one common thing they all agree on, if the bride ends up in emotional distress on the wedding day that isn’t a product of her own doing and is due to vendors then they have failed in their jobs. Wedding coordination is not easy, in fact it is very difficult. One Chicago coordinator once told me they are the shrink, the financial planner, the creative designer, the fountain of knowledge, the trouble shooter, the time watch, the heavy and so on. The biggest job of the coordinator is to deal with the problems that crop up behind the scenes, get them handled and never let the happy couple and their families even know that there was a problem if possible.

It is About Communication!

I see several failures in this blog entry. The first, the belief that a time line is some sort of answer all. Time lines are really only a backup for faulty memories, a planning tool handed out days ahead of time so everyone is on the same  page the day of. Something that fixes in place all the planning that had gone on before. Trial runs, meetings and phone conferences are much more important than time lines! It is the wedding coordinator’s job to make sure the time line is followed.

Make requirements known ahead of time in the planning. Obviously it was not made clear to the stylist ahead of time, at least not enough to sink in, how important it was to get the bride to the church on time. If the poo-pooh attitude had been displayed, in the planning process, then steps could have been taken to head it off before the wedding day. But this should have been headed off long before it became a day of problem!

Failure to plan properly: My assumption is there was only one stylist and from the blog entry that is impression, in the planning process this should have been fixed!  Cynthia Basker of Celebrate Events recommends what she calls a bridal stylist for the bride only . Occasionally this bridal stylist will work on the mom or a flower girl, but his or her main purpose is to get the bride styled to perfection and only the bride so that she is on time.  Depending on the needs of the rest of the bridal party one stylist to every two women is a good ratio. Obviously if there was only one stylist for the whole bridal party as this blog entry implies then failure for proper planning was the problem!

Don’t stress out the client, needlessly. The bride shouldn’t have been in tears if this had been planned out properly by the coordinator ahead of time, but at the same time the coordinator should have done everything possible to handle this as discretely as possible. But with the begging that a time line is your friend in the post, to the brides, I have a feeling the coordinator was in over her head.

A time line on paper is not a substitute to proper planning and communication!

Our recommendation at Notre Dame Weddings, hire a coordinator knowledgeable about weddings in the Basilica. Interview them! Find out how firm they are with vendors and how they run the day (note: they don’t just hand out a time line and then complain about the vendor or client not following it). Ask them what they would do if faced with the situation portrayed by this wedding coordinator.

Photo Booths Are Fun At Weddings!

Add a sense of childhood nostalgia to your wedding reception and send a keepsake home with all of your guests, by renting a photo booth!For the last two years photo booths have been increasing in popularity at weddings, with the advent of the digital photo booth. While they will never replace a professional photographer (just try dancing your first dance in a traditional photo booth to get some pictures, not going to happen) a photo booth at your reception will add fun, be a conversation piece and can be enjoyed by everyone!There are two types of true photo booths.The traditional or classic photo booth which uses chemicals to develop actual photographic paper with four pictures on it. The classic photo booth is slow to produce the strips, anywhere from 90 seconds to 7 minutes, which decreases the amount of photos and times the guests can enjoy the experience. The classic weighs anywhere between 300 to 900 pounds so transportation cost is a factor.The digital photo booth is the modernized version of the classic. Portable, quick to set up and just as easy to use. Digital photo booths offer a lot of options their classic cousins just don’t have. Not only can you have the traditional vertical stack of four images, taken one after another, but you can have the sheet customized to reflect you or your wedding! The digital photo booth also offers the ability to print out a post card shape strip instead of the traditional vertical.

Is there a picture that you or some of your guests would love to have a 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 made of? Most digital photo booths store the images for reprinting later on. Some rental companies offer montages, set to music of the images or the original digital files, on DVD.

Another advantage of digital photo booths is the ability to share with everyone on the outside what is happening on the inside! Some booths offer the ability to play back as a montage all the images taken as soon as they are taken. So you can see that crazy face your best friend made before the image is even printed to paper.

What to look for in a photo booth.

With the popularity of the photo booth increasing lots of people are calling things photo booths that just are not a photo booth! We all know what a photo booth looks like, every time we go to the mall there is one there. They are a box with a camera on one wall, a small bench on the other and most can fit 4 people comfortably. You step in, sit down and pull close the privacy curtain and hit the button to start the pictures. Limited space is half the fun! In college I and my girlfriends decided to see if we could get 15 of us into one picture in a two person photo booth. We managed to get 8 heads and a half in one picture. (Wish I could find my copy of that strip today.) That is what I consider a photo booth, not only are photo booths where you throw inhibitions to the wind and get funky, but where the challenge can be getting everyone in the picture! The memories of high school and college.

But today, to make a quick buck people are throwing the label photo booth on just about anything. Last year I saw a supposed photo booth, it was a section of pipe and drape (nothing boothy about it) against a wall and opposite it a camera hooked to a cheap printer. The photographer then stood there and told everyone to smile. Not a photo booth.

Then there was the ad I saw recently touting the “photo booth that can fit as many people as you want”. Once again it was pipe and drape, but this time at least in the shape of a rectangle and again a camera on a tripod with a cable run to a printer… Blah! Not a photo booth.

Then there is a company offering the “Open Air Photo Booth”, two boxes stacked, one with a camera, the other a printer, no “booth”. Just slightly above the camera on a tripod.

So if you are going to spend $1500 renting a photo booth, I recommend making sure it’s a real booth, hard sided rectangular with a bench and curtain and not something that should be hanging from your windows. Oh and the photo trigger at your touch, not someone standing outside with a laptop telling you to go “cheese” and clicking a mouse…

Digital photo booths don’t use chemicals and photo paper, but any printer that can interface with the software. So this means the photo strip can be printed by a laser, inject or dye-sub printer. Talking with a few photographers and doing some internet research it looks like a dye-sub printer will be the closest experience to chemical printing. Dye-sub is long lasting, comes the closest to looking like photo paper and truly prints a 2×6 strip of paper if you want the classic feel. All other options must be manually trimmed to feel like the classic strip. Also the dye-subs are very fast, approximately 30 seconds.

As with any service or rental you have on your wedding day, make sure you have a contract and that the vendor has liability insurance. Then step inside, pull the curtain close and get FUNKY and have fun!

Oh and still not convinced you should get a photo booth for your reception? The photo strips make fantastic party favors for your guests that they will treasure for a lifetime! Rent a photo booth for your South Bend wedding reception today!

Wedding Advice

Q: My father and I keep going back and forth about having a DJ vs a band. I want a band and he insists a DJ is good enough and that bands are too expensive. Which would you suggest?

A: Susan, this is a tough decision. We love bands and orchestras! Nothing can beat the energy, excitement or fun that a good band brings to a wedding reception. No DJ can beat a good to excellent band in crowd response or energy level, there is something about live music that will always be best. However a bad band will have your guests headed to the doors as fast as a bad DJ will.
What you have will depend on your budget. A good disc jockey in the South Bend region will cost between $1000 to $1500+. To find a good band you are going to have to go outside the area to Chicago or Indy and that is going to cost you starting around $8000. An orchestra has enough members that they don’t need to stop the music and take breaks every 30 minutes will cost you $10,000+. We really recommend finding an orchestra over a band. An orchestra will have enough members that they will be able to rotate out singers and players to take breaks but keep the music playing and the guests energized. When a band takes a break, many guests look at this as an opportunity to leave, so the more the music is going the better.
So it all depends on your budget. Do you have enough room to spend the thousands a good orchestra requires? If not then we recommend you check out the DJs listed in the wedding essentials area of the site. The good ones like the Music Machine, River City Music and the Hitman will keep the party going and approach the energy a band and not take breaks.

Simple Beauty Tips

For Bright Eyes

1. Stick to matte shadow and blush, nothing shimmery.

2. Opt for Mohogany, charcoal or navy eye liner rather than black or dark brown which may look too harsh on camera.

3. Apply at least 2 coats of waterproof mascara using an eyelash curler in between.

For Radiant Skin

1. Get a good nights sleep.

2. use a ligth dusting of bronzing powder on face and neck for a warm glow.

3. Blend cream or powder blush in a rosey hue on the apples of cheeks.

For Luminous Lips

1. Choose lip color that is a bit bright. Nude shades can make you look washed out on camera.

2. If you use lip liner, make sure it matches the shade of your lipstick exactly, even a slight shade difference will be more pronounced on video.

For a Flawless Finish

1. Don’t tweeze brows the day of your weddings to prevent redness and swelling.

2. Use a primer as a base beneath your foundation to even out skin tone.

3. Apply concealer to any blemishes with fingertip & dust with a translucent powder.

4. Blend, blend, and blend again. Any make up lines will be more noticeable on film.

South Bend Weddings

South Bend Weddings,  and Notre Dame Weddings are easier to plan with South Bend Weddings, the best resource for brides and grooms planning a wedding in South Bend or at the Notre Dame Basilica of the Sacred Heart and surrounding area.

On our site you will find some of the best wedding vendors in South Bend that are talented, creative and can help you create a dream wedding comperable to those in the big cities. South Bend wedding vendors for all of your wedding needs including, South Bend wedding reception sites, South Bend cakes and bakeries, South Bend invitations, South Bend flowers and florists, South Bend photographers, South Bend video, South Bend disc jockeys, limos, tuxes, wedding gowns, and gifts. Please tell the vendors you call that you were referred by South Bend Weddings.