Words of Wisdom
We have done hundreds of Weddings and learned Hundreds of lessons on our Path.
Message from John Chapel
I would like to share our lessons learned so that you can have the very best event and make the most of all our services. We are fortunate to have so many over the top happy couples who love us and our services. But along the way we have the outliers who had challenges. I want to share those challenges so that you can have your very best event with us.
Don't go Cheap on the Important Stuff!
The reality is that in the wedding world there is a vast difference in the quality and price of services. We want you to have a great experience so we point you to vendors that have proven themselves to us over and over. W e can trust them to do a great job for your event, We do work with outside vendors but we can't guarantee their quality. When we started out many years ago we learned some very difficult lessons and watched some events struggle with late food, too loud music, no show officiants or unhinged bar service. We review your vendors with you to make sure we are pointing you in the right direction.
(I'm including stories so you can best relate to these lessons. Names are not used and facts are ubiquitous enough that specific clients cant be identified.)
One of the most stinging reviews, we ever received was from a bride who cut a lot of corners and used a bunch of discount vendors. We helped her line things up and told her that her quality would be compromised. Her family proceeded to go to vendor appointments and there were consistent problems as the clients family made more and more demands from discount vendors.The vendors repeatedly called us and told us how difficult the client was. Ultimately on the day of her event the quality was compromised and she was displeased. Then she left us a stinging review. And we said "boy, we never wanna do that again".
We offer full service weddings so that we can ensure the high quality of our events.
5 Brides maides, a bottle of wine and a Glue Gun.. What could go wrong?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding personal touches to your event and doing some DIY projects. Yet, be careful and have realistic expectations.
We had an event that the family had made the cake. There was a ruckus in the kitchen and raised voices. I went in to check and the family was upset because there was some damage to the side of the homemade cake. The family blamed our staff. After I had calmed things down they got the cake going. It was a multilayer cake with pillars. They asked for help and I told them our team couldn't get involved with a cake. Ultimately as they were putting the cake up it fell over. We supplied a tiered cake stand to hold the various layers of the cake. It looked great. Not what they planned but it went off without a hitch.
We will not touch your cake or decor. We leave that to the professionals.
Perfect is an Illusion
We cant promise you perfect. We will do our very best to make your day a big success. We line up all your services and vendors and help you pull it all together. If you want a day that is perfect then you need a planner, decorator or wedding professional to manage all the small details.
We don't manage your personal items and decorations. We can't take responsibility for your candles and party favors, ribbons and bows.
There is so much creativity in these aspects. We would not be able to meet a clients expectations regarding these creative choices. We also never want to be responsible for lost or broken items.
When we first started we had a bride come in for her ceremony. She wanted some rose garland on her arch. We had told her she could borrow some of our garland that we had in stock. On the day of her event she was disappointed that the garland wasn't on the arch for her. One of our staff told her that we don't do her decor for her but provided her the rose garland she wanted to borrow. She was upset and found me as I was setting up tables. I told her that, the staff was correct we don't arrange her decor for her, but that I would take care of putting up her garland.
Words of Wisdom: The florist does the floral and the decorator does the decorations. We want to help you but we let folks do their jobs.
We let the decorators do the decorating.
Review your printed proposal and personal event plan.
We write everything down and when there are changes we write those down. We document everything to make sure we are doing a great job and there are minimal misunderstandings. There are so many moving parts and pieces, we have to make sure that everything works together.
We had a beautiful party that went very well. It was coming to the end of the night as the party was scheduled to end at midnight. It was documented in the contract and on the printed event plan that the party would end at midnight. The family had paid for the DJ to go till 1AM. The host had asked the bar tender if they could go later. He answered that he would see what he could do and didn't give a clear no answer. Before it could be resolved the staff was being surrounded and verbally assaulted by a group of drunken men who insisted that the bar tender said they could go later. Ultimately they took all the money out from the tip jar.and we let the party go until 12:30. Yet everyone was unhappy and felt jilted by miscommunication.
Read all the details and make sure changes are in writing.
Any personal items that are important to you, need to be assigned to someone.
You will want to bring all those special touches to your event. That may be a special vase, an heirloom necklace, a special letter etc..
There are so many people and moving pieces on your day that these items may easily get misplaced. We do a few things to minimize problems.
Clean up the Bridal Suite after the Ceremony.
We provide courtesy boxes when you are tidying up to put your things away and ready to go home with you.
Remove your personal items at the end of the Evening, Don't leave anything important.
Assign someone to take care of your important items so they are not misplaced.
We don't provide any storage for items and will not take any responsibility for left behind, misplaced items.
There have been so many instances that items have been misplaced and the guests held us responsible. I'll list a few so that you have some reference for your event.
The week following an event we received a call from the brides aunt. They had left some wine and wanted it returned. At that point some of the wine had been used by another event and they were angry that the bar would use their wine for another event. We paid for the wine to resolve the problem.
Leftovers from the caterer were not available at the end of the evening. Host blamed our staff and insisted staff had taken the leftovers. I told them that leftovers are not touched by staff yet the groom was angry. I told him I couldn't take responsibility for the leftovers.
Member of ladies bridal party, couldn't find her new makeup case that she had recently purchased. Insisted that staff must have stolen it. Ultimately it was found in another member of the bridal parties belongings.
Remove your personal items at the end of the evening.
Last minute changes are very challenging
Wedding preparation times, and taking care of all the setup details takes much more time than what you would expect. We have often accommodated changes yet it definitely causes things to be glitchy. Make sure all changes are at least a month in advance and in writing.
I was made aware that the bride was unhappy that her bridal party didn't have their bouquets. I looked at the floral order. She had changed the order from bouquets to wrist corsashes. She had apparently forgotten that she had made the change.
As we were setting up food service the host asked why were we setting up a buffet. She had ordered buffet service but now wanted plated service. We brought in several servers to make the unanticipated change.
Mother of the bride on the day of the wedding changed table and chair setup and ordered an additional tent. It caused setup to be behind, then she left a review complaining about the delay.
All changes are made in writing at least a month before the event.
Family is an essential component of your celebration
There is obviously a lot of family politics on your day. We have learned some difficult lessons regarding your family management.
If you anticipate your family is going to have challenges then you should hire a wedding professional to manage all those dynamics.
We can not make significant changes as instructed by family members. We will stick to the plan and only take instruction from the event hosts.
We have had requests for significant changes that we have had to decline simply because the changes would have caused a level of challenge that would have compromised the quality of the event.
All changes are made in writing at least a month before the event.
Food and Bar are Generally where we experience the most challenge.
We do several things in order to avoid bar problems.
We appoint a bar ambasador. We ask for there to be a person to be assigned that all bar problems can be managed through. Such as cutting guests off who are over indulging, supplies provided by host running low, slowing down drinks for guests.
Bar service hours are determined in the written event plan. Bar is closed a half hour before the end of the event.
Think about how long your guests will be drinking. Perhaps end alcoholic beverages at 10 PM and serve soda and water at the end of the party.
Remember it is a very long day. The ladies start at dawn and are occupied all day with preparations and photos and social interactions. Think about this, when you are considering the end time for your party.
We Think the ideal end time is 10PM. If dinner was served at 5 then your crowd has been drinking for 5 hours.
If you want your party to go late then consider an after party for your friends.
Don't let a rowdy guest put a stain on your day.
Stick to the Plan
We put a lot of effort into creating your event plan. That plan starts with your initial contract and then is developed further through your design consultation, bar consultation, floral consultation, catering consultation, DJ consultation and cake consultation.
Each one of these vendors is a professional who gets it right consistently. They each write down the individual plan for your event. This includes the work order and arrival times.
We communicate with the client and each vendor to confirm the details. We write it all down and put it into your event plan. This timeline document includes "everything". It is sent to you digitally and printed out for you and all the vendors on the day of the event. It is our master plan that keeps everything on track.
The written timeline is dispersed to the host and all the vendors. We reference it to make sure your deliveries are on time.