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Saying Yes to Wedding Insurance Again {Ask a Wedding Planner}

Today, we are pulling another one from the archives! Normally, we are not ones to recycle information that we have already put out there, but because it is something that we answer on daily basis, especially since Hurricane Irma blew thru last year at the beginning of Wedding Season, we figured it was time to revisit the super important topic of Wedding Insurance this month…just in time for 2018 Hurricane Season!  One of our most important jobs as Wedding Planners is to inform and educate the client and after speaking with a current client the other day who was thoroughly misinformed, we figured this topic could stand to be repeated and refreshed.  

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When Should I Book My Vendors? {Ask a Wedding Planner}

 Stephanie A. Smith Photography

Stephanie A. Smith Photography

It's been a while since we posted an Ask a Wedding Planner post, so we figured we would tackle a question we get asked rather frequently: "When should I be booking my vendors and in what order?"

The simple answer is as soon as you can, given your budget, available funds and planning time frame.  However, it isn't always a simple process.  Before you book any vendor, you should first choose your general location and narrow down a range of dates or the date, depending on what you want.  Some couples are dead-set on a certain venue and will choose their date based on when that venue is available; while others are set on a certain date and will choose the venue based on what's available for their date.  Once the date and location are set, you can begin to book your other vendors and build your vendor team!

We generally recommend that you should book your vendors in order of importance to you, just like you should allocate your budget based on what's important to you.  You can find lots of information on both of these topics, but the most important piece of advice we can give is to do what works best for you and your wedding.  Just like no two weddings are the same, neither are budgets or booking processes!  

 Esther Louise Photography

Esther Louise Photography

If hiring a wedding planner is important to you and an absolute must (we definitely think so), then this is one of the first vendors you should book.  We find that many clients will book our services at the onset of planning so that we can really help with the entire planning process, including helping find a venue sometimes.  Some clients wait to book us until after they secure a venue because many venues require a planner.  Regardless of when you book your planner, make sure to utilize them to the fullest by getting their input on vendor recommendations and when you should book said vendors.

While there is no set timeline for booking your remaining vendors, our friends at WeddingWire made this handy infographic that lays out a general booking timeline.  It is important to remember that this is just a general timeline and you should do what works best for you and your fiance.  Things like ordering your wedding dress and invitations will depend on where you are ordering from and may require more customization, so make sure you factor those things into your timeline. 

 Courtesy of WeddingWire

Courtesy of WeddingWire

Remember that some vendors only will take one wedding per day (i.e. Photographer, Videographer, DJ/Musician, etc.) unless they have a team of people, while others can take multiple weddings in a day depending on schedule (i.e. Baker, Florist, Hair & Make-Up artist, Officiant).  That being said, it important that if you want a specific photographer or musician for your wedding that you try and book them as early as possible.  Respectable, professional vendors are in high demand just like top venues, so be sure that yo do your homework and find out how far in advance you can book these vendors.  Be sure to utilize your resources when researching venues and vendors.  WeddingWire breaks down popular venues in each state and city to help couples find their ideal locations.  We love the  Florida wedding venues page for obvious reasons, but be sure to check out some of their other popular venue list for inspiration: NYC wedding venues page,.

Like we mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer when it come to so much of the planning process and that definitely applies here, so just do what feels right to you and your fiance.  You can drive yourself crazy researching timelines and when you should be doing things.  We suggest that you sit back, relax and do a little vendor homework (maybe with a glass of wine).

 Megan Ellis Photography

Megan Ellis Photography

Best of luck in the planning process!

-The Just Save The Date Girls

 

 

Shopping for the Dress: 7 Things You Need to Know {Ask a Wedding Planner}

Most little girls spend their whole life dreaming about their wedding day–the dress she’ll wear, the man she’ll marry, the venue where she’ll recite her vows. Shopping for a wedding dress should be one of the most fun, exciting, memorable moments of wedding preparation, but we all know it can also be one of the most stressful. Brides seeking out their perfect wedding gown need to come prepared with the right kinds of questions. What style and cut best suits your body type? Do you want a full train? What kind of gowns are trending this season? We know, it’s complicated and overwhelming, but that’s why we put together this list of helpful tips to make your wedding dress shopping adventures as painless as possible!

1. TALK TO YOUR CONSULTANT ABOUT THE STYLE, FIT AND YOUR BODY~What style is best for my body type? This is one of the most important questions you can ask at your fitting. An experienced consultant can give you unbiased and objective advice about what kind of dress will make you look your best on your wedding day. Don’t be afraid to try on a variety of different styles, even if they’re not what you had in mind when you walked in the door. You might be surprised about what you end up loving, even if it wasn’t your original idea of the perfect dress.

 

As for styles, there are a lot of them. They range from a slinky evening-style number to a strapless ball-gown with a full skirt. I find that as gorgeous and romantic you want your dress to be, keep in mind the practicality of it as well. It will be very difficult to dance in a mermaid gown as opposed to a wedding dress that has more room at the knees. If you’re looking to make a statement on top, varying up the necklines of your dresses can be useful. Additionally, researching the length of your dress’ skirt and what sort of shoes you want to wear will help you figure out which wedding dress you want to buy.

It is also important to discuss what trends are in style for the season, since fads tend to come and go. The consultant can then steer you in a certain direction depending on whether you want a dress that trendy or classic.  Just remember that photos and videos last a lifetime, so make sure you don't go too trendy unless it completely fits your style.

Follow the golden rule for wedding dress shopping: Never judge a dress based off of what it looks like on the hanger, or in the magazines. And, as always, choose the dress that makes you feel the most beautiful and confident. Choose the dress that best flatters you. Love it, and own it, and don’t let the dress wear you.

 

2. SET A BUDGET AND DISCUSS ADDITIONAL FEES~In this world, nothing comes free, and the wedding industry is no exception. You will likely end up paying more than the price tag on the wedding dress for fittings and alterations, so ask about the salon’s various fees. Some set a flat rate, others charge different prices depending on the severity of alterations. Many often charge for bustling, storage and pressing. It’s hard to set a fixed rate on how much a wedding dress should cost, but do your homework and set a budget before going shopping.  Let your consultant know the amount you are comfortable spending and DON'T try on any dresses over that price point.

3. DON'T BRING TOO MANY PEOPLE TO YOUR APPOINTMENT~ Shopping for a wedding dress can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming.  While it might seem like a perfect opportunity to gather all of girls, your mom, grandmother, aunts and future in-laws for a day of shopping; however, we feel quite the opposite.  More people means more input and more opinions and most of all, more constructive criticism (and possibly more tears-good and bad).  

If you aren't quite ready for the massive amount of feedback you are bound to receive, then start small and go to your first appointment with 1 or 2 of your best friends.  Once you have narrowed down the style and fit that works best for your body, then possibly schedule another appointment and bring the rest of the entourage.  You may want to check with the Bridal Salon to see if they limit the number of people per appointment.

4. ASK ABOUT THE BUSTLE~Contrary to popular belief, bustles are not one size fits all. Bustles fill out the train, making it easier for the bride to walk and dance, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. A consultant should be able to tell you which bustles are appropriate for each style of gown, so don’t be afraid to ask! The bustle might seem like an afterthought, but you will be wearing it for the majority of the reception, so be sure to find that one that is comfortable and accentuates rather than detracts from your dress. Jot down notes or take a photo of the particular bustle you like so you can show your fitter at a later date and make sure it looks good with your dress.  

Also, make sure the bustle is reinforced (they frequently fall out or break).  Additionally, make sure your consultant and/or seamstress shows you and at least one member of your wedding party how to do the bustle.  It should be labeled appropriately for timely bustling.

5. DISCUSS ACCESSORIES~It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and finding the perfect dress, but don’t leave the appointment without discussing and/or trying on veils and accessories. Find something that will complement and enhance your overall look. Belts, headpieces and jewelry are just some examples of accessories you can add to your trousseau.

6. WHEN AND WHERE YOU HAVE YOIR WEDDING PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE~When you talk to your consultant, make sure you let them know how many guests there will be, where you’ll be having your wedding, what time you’ll be having your wedding and your general theme. All should play a role in the style of dress you end up choosing. Typically, a dress for a Saturday night black-tie wedding and a Sunday morning backyard wedding are very different. Your consultant can help you differentiate between options and help you choose what is most appropriate for your specific vision.

7. ASK ABOUT DELIVERY TIMES~The amount of time it takes between ordering and receiving your dress depends on each designer. Give your consultant a timeline so they can help plan accordingly. Ask about delivery times–that way you will have an estimated arrival date.

We hope these tips come in handy when you visit the Bridal Salon and that your shopping experience is everything that it should be~ fun and successful!

Happy Shopping!

~The Just Save The Date Girls 

How To Get Your Marriage License Revisited {Ask a Wedding Planner}

Today, we are pulling one from the archives! Normally, we are not ones to recycle information that we have already put out there, but because it is something that we answer on daily basis and, after speaking with a current client the other day who was thoroughly misinformed, we figured it could stand to be repeated and refreshed.  

 Esther Louise Photography

Esther Louise Photography

It might be the most important question we get asked by our clients~"how do we apply for our marriage license and what are the rules for obtaining the license?" Without this super-important piece of paper (ok...we know it is a official document, not just a piece of paper), your marriage will not be legal or officially recognized.

The quick answer is, you must have a Florida marriage license if you plan to get married anywhere in the state.  Couples wishing to get married in the State of Florida can apply and obtain a marriage license at any County Courthouse (or Government Center) in Florida for use anywhere in the State of Florida.   Florida residents require a three-day waiting period unless you have attended a premarital class and can show certification of attendance (see below for more information), so you will want to take this into consideration when planning.  Non-residents do not require a waiting period, so out-of-state couples can go to the Courthouse to obtain their license up to the day of their wedding, as long as it is not Saturday or Sunday, since the Clerk of Court's office is closed.  

In Monroe County, the Clerk of Court's office is located at the Key West Courthouse.  The Clerk of Court's office also performs this service in Marathon (Marathon Branch Courthouse) and in Plantation Key at both the Clerk of Court Office and the Upper Keys Government Center (near mile marker 88.5).  You can visit the Monroe County Clerk of Court website for the addresses and phone numbers of these locations.

Here are the quick details on tying the knot in Florida (legally)~

General Information: In most counties in Florida, the Clerk of Courts Office is the issuing agent of Marriage License for the State of Florida. You can obtain your Marriage License from any county within the State.  In Monroe County, the Clerk's Office provides this service at the following locations:

Identification: Both of you must bring a valid photo ID with date of birth shown. It can be a driver’s license, passport, student ID card, state ID, military ID or Alien Registration Card.  There is no residence or citizenship requirement.

Proof of Age: You must be 18 years of age.  Sixteen (16), and Seventeen (17), year olds must have both parent's consent. If you are younger, parent's consent/consent of a County Judge, and proven pregnancy may apply, depending on the age and situation. Both applicants must appear in person at the time of application.

Prior Marriages: If either applicant has been previously married, the exact date of the last death, divorce, or annulment must be provided. You should bring a copy of your divorce decree with you at the time of application.

Cost: The fee for a Florida marriage license is $93.50.  The exception is if both parties are Florida residents, and have both provided proof of a premarital class, then the cost is $61.00.

You must show up in person.  Both of you must be present to apply, sign the application, and take an oath that you have given correct information.

Who can marry us?  Any ordained clergy, public notaries of the state of Florida, judicial officers (this includes retired judicial officers) and Clerks of the Circuit Courts, as well as Deputy Clerks.

After the marriage, the person who performed the ceremony must return the license, within ten (10) days, to the marriage license section, where it will then be recorded in the Official Records. Until that license is received, there is no record of the marriage. After recordation, a certified copy will be returned to the newlyweds, by mail. The original license is sent to the OFFICE OF VITAL STATISTICS in Jacksonville.   The process takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

Is a blood test required?  No, Florida does not require a blood test for couples getting married.

Is there a waiting period?  Like we mentioned above, no, there is no waiting period for non-residents of Florida.  Residents of Florida have a three-day waiting period, so it is suggested that you visit the Clerk of Court's office no later than three days prior to your wedding.

How long is the marriage license valid?  Your license is valid for 60 days from the effective date of the license.

Fees, requirements, and locations are subject to change, so please visit the Monroe County Clerk of Court website (or whatever county you plan to obtain your license in) to verify the current information.

If you have any more question on obtaining a marriage license in the State of Florida or if we can assist you with planning your dream wedding,  please let us know.

~The Just Save The Date Girls

8 Tips for a Flawless Beach Wedding {Ask A Wedding Planner}

 Megan Ellis Photography

Megan Ellis Photography

Beach weddings have always been one of our favorite things, which is perfect since so many of our weddings happen on the beach.  Sandy toes, salty kisses, a warm breeze, the sound of the waves...what's not to love?!  There isn't much, but there are a few tips we would like to pass along as seasoned professionals that will help make your beautiful beach wedding go off without a hitch!

1. Timing is Key.  The optimal time for a beach ceremony is the late afternoon, preferably 90 minutes before sunset.  Most photographers refer to this as "the magic hour" because they are able to capture the best quality of light.

 Concept Photography

Concept Photography

2. Prepare Your Guests. Having a flawless beach wedding means informing your guests in advance that the wedding will be taking place on the beach so that they can plan their attire accordingly, most importantly, their shoes.

3. Keep Your Guests Comfortable (and hydrated). Help ensure your guests are comfy by providing a refreshment station with a variety of items like paper fans to help stay cool, frozen towels, bug spray and sunglasses.  A basket of flip flops and a shoe valet (and a paintbrush to brush the sand off) for those guests that need to make a quick change is always appreciated. During the cooler months, we suggest having a basket of pashminas available for the ladies to help keep the warm from the chilly breeze.  Order them in your wedding colors for a added pop! 

 Concept Photography

Concept Photography

Most importantly, don't forget the drinks, especially during the warmer months!  Flavored water or even champagne or a signature drink is a great way to welcome guests to the wedding and help keep them cool.

4. Don't Forget the Chairs. If you are planning on having a standing ceremony, have a few chairs on hand for older guests.  Unless the ceremony is super short, we always suggest providing chairs for all of the guests as it provides a cleaner look for photos and of course, will help make your guests more comfortable. 

5. When the Wind Blows, Bobby Pins are Your Friend. One thing you can always count on at a beach wedding is a breeze...sometime gentle and sometimes more blustery.  Because of this, the hair and the veil and the security of the two is really important.  We always advise brides that are getting married on the beach to make sure they choose an appropriate hairstyle that won't cause their hair to be blowing in their face.  Remember that bobby pins are your friend and that it is always helpful to have some extras stowed away in a purse.  Tacking down the veil with a few bobby pins will also help to not have it blowing in every direction.  If the wind is really blowing, we suggest that the bride and groom switch sides to avoid any blustery mishaps!  Wind should also be taken into account for dresses as well.  If your bridesmaids will be sporting a shorter dress, you may want to make sure the material is a little thicker so that it won't blow up in the breeze.

 Care Studios

Care Studios

6. Unity Ceremony Alternatives. Instead of a candle lighting ceremony...trust us, they won't stay lit, opt for another alternative...glass blending, a wine ceremony or of course, a sand ceremony, are perfect options and will help you create a lasting keepsake for your new home.

 Concept Photography

Concept Photography

 Solaris Photography

Solaris Photography

7. Get With the Programs.  For couples who are wanting to provide a ceremony program or even a favor for each guest, it is recommended that you either use some sort of paperweight (i.e. rocks or shells or even sunglasses) or opt for a fan program, which kills two birds with one stone, just in case it is windy.  Rather than placing the programs and/or favors on a chair, you could designate a person to act as a greeter and have them pass the items out as guests arrive or have the items placed in a basket on small table for guests to grab at their leisure.

8. Always Have a Back-Up Plan.  When planning an outdoor wedding, especially a beach wedding, it is super important to have a plan b and possibly a plan c.  Monitor the weather the week of the wedding and utilize your vendors for their knowledge of the local weather during the month of your wedding.  Many tropical locations, Florida included, experience their rainier seasons in the summertime, so plan accordingly.  See if your Reception venue can provide some sort of back-up location in case of poor weather.  Purchasing some umbrellas and having them available is always a good back-up plan and if you don't need them for rain, then guests can use them to provide shade from the warm sun.

 Megan Ellis Photography

Megan Ellis Photography

If you take advantage of these helpful tips, you will be on the right track to making sure you have a flawless beach wedding.

-The Just Save The Date Girls

Wedding Hashtags {Ask a Wedding Planner}


Hashtags are everywhere and we make them for EVERYTHING #amiright?! It only makes since that you will want one for your wedding day and maybe something that can be used for the entire engagement season. We have come up with a few tips that will help you get the biggest return on your hashtag use.

 Photo Credit:  Concept Photography

Photo Credit: Concept Photography

Create something unique:

These days there are a ton of sites available online to help you come up with something that will be creative. By entering in some information about yourself and your fiancé and some details about the wedding itself, these generators can take the pain out of this creative process. After picking one out be sure to test the tag and see if anyone else is using it. The last thing you want is your photos all mixed up with some other couple getting married on your same date.

 Photo Credit:  Once Like a Spark

Photo Credit: Once Like a Spark

Use the KISS method:

"Keep It Simple Stupid" is a method that will help you through most situations in life but for this application we want to remind you of some hashtag don'ts. Don't make it too long #itwillbehardforyourgueststorememberanduse. Don't use words that are hard to spell #accidentalmisspellings can cause your photos to end up everywhere but together, might as well not have a hashtag at all. Don't forget to capitalize #WeDidIt is easier to read and duplicate than #wedidit. These few reminders will help the photos all end up in the same place! 

 Photo Credit:  Once Like a Spark

Photo Credit: Once Like a Spark

Make a sign:

Be sure that you have a sign of your hashtag so that guests will know what to use. Display it prominently at all of your wedding functions, put it on the koozies that you are bund to have custom made. Print it on your stationary, display it on your website. And of course use it yourself! It's all about making sure your guests know what you are using, if they don't know they can't play along.

Whatever you choose have fun with it! #weddingsarefun

~ The Just Save the Date Girls

Wedding Etiquette: The RSVP {Ask a Wedding Planner}


 Photo Credit:  KLK Photography

Photo Credit: KLK Photography

Invitations: sometimes the biggest source of argument for couples during the wedding planning process. Couples have to selectively, and sometimes painstakingly, pan through every person they have ever known deciding if they make the cut for an invitation.  This is even before you factor in lists from each respective family. Do they invite you, you and a guest, you and your children?

The answers will vary based on anything from budget to venue size. After receiving an invitation in the mail, the respectful guest will, hopefully, RSVP per the instructions on the card.

Here is where the work for the guest begins. Let's look at this example: Your invitation only has your name on it but you want to bring your boyfriend, so you RSVP for two people. You have now just taken a chair from another invited guest, and while you may think, “Oh it will come out in the wash, someone else probably couldn’t come," you couldn’t be more wrong!  Imagine for a moment you are one of exactly 100 invited guests who all have this same mentality, and who are ALL surprisingly free on the day of the wedding… your harmless extra person (along with the 99 other harmless extras) has quickly turned this into a 200 person event.  This will likely double the cost for the couple and perhaps, overflow the event space itself. This situation puts your friends in the awkward position of having to call and tell you that they will not be able to accommodate your boyfriend; or even worse, they may potentially have to make last minute adjustments to their budget and or venue to accommodate all the extras in order to avoid the awkward conversation.

RSVPs are quite possibly the most tedious part of the wedding planning process for any couple, but arguably, the most important one. As a guest, please be mindful with your response by making sure that RSVP by the deadline and only for the people specifically notated on the invitation. 

~The Just Save The Date Girls

The Importance of a Timeline {Ask a Wedding Planner}


 Photo Credit:  Studio Julie Photography

You spend the entire wedding planning process booking vendors and setting up appointments for your big day but then it comes down to the home stretch, and you start to freak out about logistics…when will the bartender arrive, what time are the centerpieces going on the tables, will there even be linens or better yet TABLES at the venue yet?! This is where having a great wedding planner comes in handy!

Your wedding planner, whether Day-Of, Month-Of or Full-Service, should, at the very least, offer day of timeline and management. This may seem like a no brainer to some of you super type-A people, but you have to remember that even type-A’s can’t be in two places at once, especially if you are the one getting married! We have an in-depth call with each couple in the weeks leading up the wedding to go over all the details and minutiae. From what time each vendor plans to arrive and what they are bringing with them, to what types of décor we will need to set up for you, to what time each formality is happening . This allows us to piece together the big picture. It all seems to fall into place like Tetris and in doing such, each piece of the puzzle relies on the other in order to fit in. It is important for each vendor and each wedding party member to receive the final timeline in order to know what time and where they are expected so that nothing falls through the cracks. Waiting on the band to set up after arriving late can sometimes push the time back for every other detail the rest of the day.

Again, communication is key and having the right vendor team on your side can help alleviate most of these issues… do your research and trust your professionals to work for you while you handle the business of getting married!

~Kelly & Leslie 

Top 5 Must Do's on Your Wedding Morning {Ask a Wedding Planner}


The morning of your wedding can be a very stressful time for every couple. It is the culmination of months of planning and a lifetime of anticipation. We have put together a list of five MUST DO's for your wedding morning, all of which are bound to help squash the stress and allow you to enjoy your big day!

Eat Breakfast

No matter how much you think "I never eat breakfast" or "I'm too nervous to eat," you NEED to eat breakfast on the morning of your big day! Some brides choose to eat a big meal with their maid of honor or all the maids but others choose to have a spread available for everyone in the bridal suite for all day grazing and some choose to have some alone time before all of the primping begins. Either way, you have likely never had an event that is this long and also requires you to be "on" the whole time. It is super important to fuel your body so  that you have the energy to go the distance! 

 Photo Credit:  Green Wedding Shoes

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

Stay Hydrated

Wedding weekends are a marathon!  You will likely be drinking and celebrating frequently on the days leading  up to your big day. You will also want to celebrate your entire wedding day, which is totally fine; however, you will need to pace yourself and remember to hydrate with actual water! Remember, this is the day you have dreamed about (and planned) for years and you want to be able to not only look your absolute best, but also feel your best.  We often share some helpful advice with our couples when it comes to hydration, especially in the warm Florida weather: drink a little slower than they would on a regular day and have one glass or bottle of water for every one adult beverage you drink.

 Photo Credit:  Romi Burianova

Photo Credit: Romi Burianova

 Photo Credit:  Romi Burianova

Photo Credit: Romi Burianova

Be Organized

Your wedding morning will be a whirlwind of things that need to get done and the best way to tackle this is to stay organized! Your planner should give you a timeline for the day, so you know when everyone should begin arriving in your suite.  Being familiar with this will allow  you to have plenty of time to get yourself ready. Make sure that you start with a clean room and have someone other than yourself who knows where all your things are for the day. Your photographer will come in mid-day and want to start getting some detail shots of all your trinkets, stationary and beautiful items. If you can, it is best to have you dress hung and all your new and sparkly jewels out and ready for the day. This way, you can sit and have your vendors work while you relax rather than scrambling to find the items they need as they arrive.

 
 Photo Credit:  Megan Ellis

Photo Credit: Megan Ellis

Wear Loose Clothing

You will most likely be having your hair and makeup done for the day and more often than not,  your dress will not be suitable for "normal" undergarments. With this in mind, you will want to make sure that you wear something with a wide neck, buttons or a zipper or maybe even a robe, so that you can get into your gown with little hassle without messing up your hair and makeup. Speaking of undergarments, you will also want to be sure that you don't have indented strap marks from wearing your everyday bra, or sock lines from your elastic socks once it comes time for those getting ready detail shots.

 Photo Credit:  Romi Burianova

Photo Credit: Romi Burianova

Have Fun

MOST importantly, you should HAVE FUN! This is a once in a lifetime experience, so we encourage you to surround yourself with people who you can laugh with, who can calm you when your nerves start to get the best of you, and who you love! Make a play list, dance around, pop some bubbles and enjoy your day!

~Kelly & Leslie

Feeding your Vendors {Ask a Wedding Planner}


A question we are commonly asked when we get into the home stretch of planning is which vendors will require a meal. To be honest, we actually LOVE hearing this question! This means that you are actually thinking about the people who will be with you for your entire day. You want to be sure that they are taken care of and can refuel at meal time in order to keep going the whole night with you.

Couples often overlook feeding their vendors because many think that there is always extra food and the vendors can just eat from the buffet after the guests are done. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; not to mention, there are a couple of flaws with this plan. First, if your vendors wait to eat until after dinner is over, then they are likely going to miss moments that they need to help direct or document. Secondly, having paid a lot of money for a carefully selected menu for your guests, that may very well be over $150 a person, the catering team is going to help protect your investment by not allowing non-guests to eat. Keep in mind that by no means, do you have to pay full price for your vendors to eat, nor do you have to set-up a table for them (you can...but you don't have to.)  Remember that each venue and caterer is different, but most of the time, the vendor meal is at a discounted rate and depending on what you are feeding your guests, may be a modified version or something different all together. This is especially true with plated meals, as each dish is cooked to order and accounted for. Most venues have a dedicated area where they will serve the vendor meals, allowing everyone to take a quick break while not being too far from the action. Don't be afraid to ask your caterer or venue what they provide for the vendor meals and the cost associated with each meal so that you can budget for this expense.

So, what is the answer to the question at hand? It's really quite simple... think of who has been working all day and will potentially be missing a meal. If your photographer arrives at 2pm and doesn't leave until 10pm, then they deserve to eat a dinner at the same time you do. Trust us, you don't really want photos of you and your guests shoving salads and steaks into your mouth, and they need that few minutes to sit, have a bite and down some water before getting out there to snap all those crazy moments on the dance floor! You will also want to consider your planner, videographer (if applicable) and your DJ or Band. Remember, that it is just as important to check and see if any of these vendors have an assistant with them, as you will need to accommodate these people as well. Don't forget to ask each vendor about any dietary restrictions (food allergies, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.) so that the caterer or venue can plan accordingly. 

One exception is the catering or venue staff. The catering team usually has meals built in for their staff and since they are there to serve you and your guests, they will not have time to eat until after the event is over. The same goes for venue staff (including Catering & Sales Managers, Banquet Managers, etc.). While it is a nice gesture to ask or offer them a meal, they will likely decline, because like the catering staff, they are often too busy assisting you and your guests to stop and take a break. Each venue is different, so you will want to double-check with your Venue Coordinator to see what is required.

As always, it is important to check contracts as well with your vendors to see what you are required to provide. While many vendors do not require a meal in their contracts, it is always a nice gesture to keep them fed and hydrated (with non-alcoholic beverages) because happy vendors make for happy guests and most importantly, happy clients!

~Kelly & Leslie