QMEP Blogs So You Can Party
Many receptions have a point when the Wedding DJ invites all the single ladies to the dance floor for the bouquet toss. Naturally, some ladies are not so willing to be "singled" out of the entire wedding party. Everyone is staring at them, the photographer gets ready and suddenly these ladies are thrust into a competition at what was supposed to be a nice, elegant evening of dinner, conversation and dancing in their lovely cocktail dresses!
Then it's the guy's turn to dive, jump or wrestle over the garter often in a drunken stupor. Even worse, I've seen weddings, in a moment that seems to occur in slow motion, where the garter slowly floats down to earth after being tossed by the groom because no single man makes any attempt at catching it, preferring to watch it land before simply walking away.
How can we avoid these awkward moments? We call it "The Dance Through The Decades". This dance will encourage participation, evoking the spirit of true support and recognition while creating a sentimental mood of love involving many more of the wedding guests.
The DJ will request all "Married Couples" to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. Being invited guests at the wedding, most couples will certainly comply. As a result you'll have immediate participation. As everyone makes their way to the floor, the DJ plays a nice romantic tune. A few moments into the dance, the DJ makes a request: "If there are any couples that have been married for less than one day, please step to the side".
The response may be surprise, but the guests will soon catch on. After a few moments more of dancing, the DJ makes another announcement: "If there are any couples that have been married five years and less, you may have a seat as well. Thank you for participating". Now everyone will realize what is happening. Conversation grows as the dance continues, with everyone trying to figure out which couple has been married the longest. The DJ continues as the music plays, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and so on.
As the dance gets closer to highlighting your longest married couple, the DJ should encourage the other wedding guests to applaud each couple as they are eliminated. Having performed this event for over 18 years now, I have often finished the dance with couples who have been married for over 50 years!
Once the longest married couple has been determined and everyone is cheering, the bride presents her bouquet or a special toss bouquet to the winning couple. Sometimes we include the garter as well, just depends how you feel about it. The DJ acknowledges all the participating couples and can even ask the winning couple to offer some advice to the newlyweds. The Dance Through The Decades usually only takes a few songs, which is nice. It creates a special moment, without taking over your wedding.
There are so many elements and details that go into planning a great wedding. From the timeline that creates the right flow and rehearsal setting the tone with your bridal party to the design you've always dreamed of having and coordinating with your vendors so they know what to do and when to do it...it can be overwhelming.
The most important thing is that you are able to enjoy this moment in your life, relatively stress and drama free, with your friends and family. It's better to hire a professional event planner rather than leaving your wedding in the hands of an unexperienced person with good intentions.
Of course, there is always QMEP and we're great but there are some other event planning companies in the Bay Area that do a great job as well. Here are a couple that I recommend considering;
Dreams on A Dime www.dreamsonadime.com
A Monique Affair www.amoniqueaffair.com.
The San Francisco Bay Area even has some great caterers in the East Bay that feature legitimate and experienced professional event planners.
We have always enjoyed working with Karen Zachary from Miraglia's Catering (www.cateringandmore.com) in San Leandro. We know that if Karen is planning an event, there is nothing to worry about. She is great at taking care of all the details and touching base with the vendors. She is a true professional.
The talented Amanda Fabbri from Carrie Dove Catering (www.carriedovecatering.com) in Emeryville is also a QMEP favorite. Amanda goes the extra mile for her clients and does a great job working with other vendors to make your vision a reality!
Imagine you're at a wedding and the DJ goes to introduce the Best Man to give a toast, but for some reason your glass is empty! As you look around you notice everyone's glasses are empty and most of the people are wandering around. The photographer is nowhere to be seen and their is a surprised look on the Best Man's face. Now, he's uncomfortable and we don't know what's going to come out of his mouth because he just got put on the spot. Now imagine thisis your wedding.
Does this really happen? Yes, it does. How? Simple. The "friend" who has always wanted to be an event planner has told the DJ it's time to do the toasts without taking the necessary steps to plan for the moment.
A professional event planner is going to make sure the caterer has poured drinks or invited guests to the bar if they are not pouring to the tables. The planner will also let all the vendors know the toasts will be happening in X amount of time and where they will be taking place.
Your planner should be giving anyone who is going to speak about a 10-15 minute heads up so they can prepare and are not shocked when it's time to deliver that awesome toast in front of your guests. A professional planner will ask the DJ to make an announcement prior to inform your guests the toasts will be happening in about 10 minutes. The planner should also verify that the DJ actually knows everyone's name. All of these things should happen before the DJ ever introduces the Best Man or anyone else.
The toast is just one example of a small but important part of a wedding. Now, I ask that you think about all the other important moments, specific details and duties that will need to somehow be facilitated. You will need a professional.
Think about your other vendors for a moment. Who will they be comfortable working with? Will you be able to get the highest level of performance from your DJ, the best shots from your photographer, great sound bites from your video and great service from the caterer and bar if they can't rely on your event planner? The answer is No. The event planner effects everything.
Stay tuned. Part 3 of this blog will be posted in a few days!
As a professional vendor in the wedding industry for 20 years, I have experienced the friend, co-worker, family member or wannabe event planner that has been brought in by the bride and groom to help plan their wedding, many times. And for the most part, this has been a huge mistake.
If you think this will give your wedding a more "personal touch" or help with your budget's bottomline, it won't.
Hiring a professional event planner can save you time and money overall when accounting for industry connections, experience, knowledge and discounts. This is time and money you would unnecessarily spend due to a lack of those real intangibles.
Maybe you don't think a professional event planner is really needed. You wouldn't hire your cousin to extract your tooth, unless they were a real dentist, would you?
If you find yourself in a place where help is needed, and let's face it most people do need some help planning their wedding, it's always best to hire a professional.
So much time and energy goes into this special moment in your life, a day you'll always remember. Do you really want to leave it in the hands of a family member because they're familiar, your co-worker that seems "organized" or a friend who has always wanted to be an event planner?
It's not the same thing, not even close. It doesn't translate to running a smooth wedding and your wedding should not be a test dummy!
This topic will be in three parts. Part 2 will be posted in a few days. I will provide real experiences why hiring someone other than a professional is a bad idea.
In Part 3, I will provide a couple of great event planners that actually work for some of our favorite caterers here in the Bay Area!
These days caterers are stating they can do more and more services everyday. Some have even changed their names to include "Events" or "Event Planning". They will even tell you they provide lighting, decor or djs. In fact, many caterers don't even own really nice plates and silverware.
Yep, most caterers will actually rent things like linens, heaters, decor and other rental items from an actual rental company and receive an "industry standard" 20% discount. Sounds good right? Well, you need to keep reading...
The caterer will gladly add it to their own invoice but they will upcharge the rentals or even mark the items up further so they can make a nice profit! Instead of passing along the discount to you and your wedding budget, you end up paying more money. A lot more. How much cash are you giving away? If it sounds expensive, that's because it is!!
Ask yourself one question...is this extra cost worth it?
If it still sounds nice, going to a caterer who provides all these services (they really don't) and letting them take care of everything (they really don't) so you don't have to go to a rental company yourself, consider this; You really only need one professional for this, an Event Planner.
Now, when I say "industry standard", you should know the rental companies set it up this way so they don't have to deal directly with the client. They want to deal with caterers, venues and professional event planners.
The caterers know this too. They will now include a so called event planner. Really to get your rental business and keep you from getting a real event planner. The truth is most catering services hate dealing with outide event planners! Especially, the person who thinks they know what there doing because they've planned a bunch of family events or they loved helping their friends get married. These people have made it really hard for the professional event planners.
Anyway, the problem with this is the caterers' "event planner" really only has the best interest of the caterer, largely in part to their experiences with bad event planners. For the most part, they don't consider the logistical needs of the other wedding vendors.
For example, floor plans will be great for their wait staff to serve food but will not consider things like where the dj will need to put their speakers or keeping the photo booth in the party area. It's really not objective.
We recieve those same "industry standard" discounts as the caterers. The difference is we're not trying to make a profit on this. We take care of the services we know how to provide and give our clients the "industry hookup". It's simple, you save thousands of dollars with QMEP.
Here's an example: QMEP operates Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, Ca. In the past, we allowed our preferred caterers to handle the rentals. In 2015, QMEP has taken over the rentals. We have saved each couple an average of $475 just on linens! Think about the overall savings!