Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Congrats Delaware!

Love is love is love.  As a very special congrats to the state of Delaware for recently legalizing civil unions for the gay and lesbian community, Felicity C Weddings is offering a 35% discount to the FIRST gay & lesbian couple to book any of FCW wedding packages!  Delaware has so many gorgeous sites for weddings (beach, country and city venues, oh my!) and the first state is very close to its surrounding states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for easy access to gay & lesbian couples who don't want to travel to Massachusetts or DC to marry.

Every couple faces challenges during wedding planning; whether it be logistics, design, vendors or trusting that everything will fall into place on the big day.  I am here as a resource, a wedding professional, a friend and as overall peace of mind.  I am thrilled to embrace each of my clients' visions and bring to life the details of their relationship, families and friends.  Please check out the package details on the Felicity C Weddings website and as always, feel free to contact me directly with any questions or to set up a meeting.  Happy planning!      


Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Industry Can Help You Plan Your Next Event

While most people think of event planning as orchestrating large scale events, event planning is a part of everyone's calendar throughout the year.  Birthdays and holidays, family vacations and even setting up a girls or guys nite out require some planning.  And we all know that there is usually one friend who is saddled with the task of heading up the whole event.  Not surprisingly, I have happily taken on that role for my family and friends- I planned a surprise bar crawl with matching t shirts & bar specials for my boyfriend's birthday a few years ago and last year a surprise weekend trip to Cooperstown, NY and for my sister, a surprise ghost tour outting for her last birthday.  But what happens if you want to plan something different but don't know what to do or where to go?

Enter the newest & fast growing industry which makes event planning easy.  Companies like LivingSocial & Groupon merge social media marketing with coupons/sales deals to offer a new level of convenience to consumers as well as a whole new marketing approach for businesses.  Yes it is convenient that the service is free and you can sign up for as many geographic areas as you want to receive daily deal emails for, but it is so much more than that.  I love that more & more diverse companies are offering deals and more importantly, getting their service out to the public.  There is even a family division for specific family friendly activities.  Planning a girls weekend- how about a winery tasting and spa treatments?  Have an adrenaline junkie brother- how about drag racing lessons for his birthday?  There really is no range for what type of services are being offered, today I received a deal for a glass blowing class in Baltimore.

I will admit that while I don't buy most deals, at least a couple times a week I file the daily deal email to save the activity & company info for later.  Skydiving, brewery tour, large inflatable outdoor movie screen company, a hot air balloon ride and a pirate cruise ship are just a few of the great activities I'm now keeping in my back pocket.  There is no minimum amount of deals that you are required to purchase and if you don't like the deal, just delete it from your inbox.  If you do like the deal but don't have an event coming up, saving the daily deal emails will save you from brainstorming later.  By looking into different cities, you can plan a trip around an event that you would not normally hear about in your hometown.  And last but not least, as an added bonus, if three of your friends buy your deal as referred by you, you get your deal for free on LivingSocial! 

Still, there will always be logistics for your designated friend/family planner to sort out, but this emerging market is a great solution to branch out of your typical activities and take the brainstorming out of small scale event planning.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The New Way To Wow With Flowers

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones.  I worked a wedding with Sascha's Catering this past Saturday in Baltimore, MD and now I'm obsessed with re-creating the floral arrangements.  This look is clean, classic and understated with a huge impact yet versatile for many weddings.  Flowers submerged in water with a few candles around the vases for a glowy effect.  So simple, right?  I am always seeking out alternatives for my clients, both aesthetically and financially minded.  I have a feeling this obsession will stick around for awhile, it is cost effective AND fits most decor themes.  Hint: If you want to add an extra punch, dye the water.  If you tell your bridal party early on to keep an eye out for gorgeous clear vases, you'll cut the cost and worry of renting from the florist.  Also, this is a really great DIY idea for brides- aside from buying flowers from your florist & cutting out the arrangement fees, you can search local flower farms and even grocery stores for in-season blooms. 

And the beauty doesn't stop with flowers- you can alternate centerpieces with fruit!  My favorite is lemons, maybe because I adore adding pops of yellow anywhere and everywhere.  Tree branches, moss and leaves are also a great focal point for a nature wedding.  With the immense variety of options, you can tailor your decor to any theme- cherry blossoms for an Asian wedding, roses for a classic wedding or add seashells for a beach wedding.  I hope this helps you think outside the box, I've of course added some images for inspiration.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Royal Wedding Watch- The Creative Ways The World Is Celebrating

So it has been awhile since any huge royal wedding news broke.  With the BIG day only weeks away, American companies are jumping into the excitement as Dunkin Donuts announced last week that they are going to have a special "Royal Wedding Donut" on sale April 24- April 29th nationwide.  At 89 cents, this is one way we all can share in the William & Kate's joy without jumping across the pond.  If donuts are not your cup of tea (insert British joke here), Baskin-Robbins, is introducing a commemorative Royal Wedding ice cream cake topped with white and blue roses. The cake is styled after "an English Garden."

Is this tacky?  Not as horrible as some of the actual products that have come out, you can be the judge of the weirdest one.  Top contenders being the engagement picture covered refridgerator.  Yes, you read that right.  And the Will & Kate nail decals, in case you want ten images of the royal couple staring back at you as you go through your day.  Or the royal wedding throw up bag, in case weddings really aren't your thing at all.  So now the donuts and ice cream cake don't seem so weird, huh?  So when you get overwhelmed with your wedding, just be glad that your face isn't on a throw up bag being sold internationally.  Perspective can be a great gift, thanks royals!

Drumroll... this is THE Royal Wedding Donut

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Look For Felicity C Weddings

As a business owner, I am always looking for ways to improve.  As a busy event planner, the advertising and marketing areas definitely end up taking a back seat to new & current clients as my schedule gets busier.  This weekend I was in Kent Island, MD for the Williams wedding which was amazing and I can't wait to get the professional pictures to showcase what a beautiful day it was.  I stayed at the same hotel as the wedding party all weekend which gave me the great opportunity to get a lot of company work done on my laptop (the freedom of being with my laptop alone without the distractions of being at home) and one of my accomplishments was finally conquering the navigation of my website options.  Hooray! 

I have given the Felicity C Weddings website a makeover, Oprah style, to lighten it up a bit as well as reorganize the pages and the info to make everything clearer.  I use Vistaprint for my website & materials and I highly suggest this company for any small business owners- it just takes time to sit down and evaluate your options. Until recently, my old format was the only option available with this design and I am so thrilled that VP has given me more formats.  In true makeover style, I am super excited to show this new website off and in contrast, I can't help but be a bit bummed that it took me this long to follow through with the update.   I'm sure that I will continue to make changes here and there but please take a look and let me know what you think of the new layout.  Enjoy! 

Here is a sneak peek, for the full tour go to the Felicity C Weddings website

Friday, April 1, 2011

The 411: Tipping Wedding Vendors

Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows the importance of tipping, but in life there are so many other times to tip.  In the service industry, 15-20% is the standard range for tipping; your waiter, your hairdresser and at the nail salon too.  But who gets tipped at a wedding?  And how much?  And when do you tip them?  Here is a quick cheat sheet to make sure the everyone is taken care of ahead of time so you can enjoy your day.

There are many articles about tipping, but the most concise is the one I found on Martha Stewart WeddingsMartha gives a breakdown of who gets tipped and how much which is to say that not every vendor expects a tip.  Vendors that own their own business and contract a specific fee such as photographers, videographers, florists, and wedding planners do not expect to be tipped.  The best tip that you can give these vendors is a great referral and/or a testimony for their website or a website like OneWed that allows brides to give vendor reviews. 

The vendors that do expect gratuity are: officiants, musicians (bands but not DJs), site staff, catering staff including catering manager plus servers and bartenders, stylists, make up artists, delivery people, hotel concierge agents and drivers.  Each vendor has a separate rule and some may put wording in their contract about gratuity so always read the contracts carefully.  For officiants you can make a donation to their organization separate from their fee, musicians who work independently booking shows should receive $20-$25 per person, delivery people, hotel concierge agents and drivers are all in the same group that should be tipped $5 minimum, and stylists as well as make up artists should receive the same as a regular appointment, 15-20%. 

The caterers & site staff should have a section regarding gratuity in their contract.  It is either included in the final price or it is not.  Gratuity is NOT the same as tax and different vendors separate gratuity from service charge so if you have any doubts, definitely reach out to your contact to confirm.  Or better yet, ask your wedding planner to confirm with the catering & site managers.  Confirm if the chefs are tipped separately from the wait staff, since this can vary from company to company.  Tipping for catering staff can be handled two ways; the tip can be 20% of the food and beverage total only or you can set an amount per server, starting with $20 per person.  Catering managers and site coordinators receive more, $50 is a good starting point and make sure you adjust if there is more than one catering manager. 

Last but not least, once you decide how much you are giving to each vendor at the wedding, put your payment along with a thank you note in a envelope and seal it up.  Make sure you know if the vendor is expecting the tip in cash or by check, specifically for caterers who may have a policy to tip their servers in cash the day of the event.  Write the name of the recipient on the front of the envelope but not the amount and give the envelopes to your planner.  Oh wait, you don't have a planner?  Here is the website of a great one ; )

Don't wait until the last minute
to calculate tips! Source