Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Duties of a Venue Coordinator vs. Those of a Wedding Coordinator

by Sameer Ahmed

Make sure you’re ready and prepared through every step of the wedding process. Knowing that all aspects of your wedding have been planned seamlessly will give you the sense of reassurance and ease the stress that comes with planning the big day. Throughout this article you will discover the several benefits of having your wedding coordinator present throughout each step of the way.

According to Every Last Detail, venue coordinators are simply there for the venue, not the bride. However, a wedding coordinator is there for the sole purpose of the bride. While the venue coordinator will coordinate and ensure the seamless processes of everything provided by the venue including food and setup, your event coordinator would be there with you every step of the way to ensure that everything is executed to your specifications. The venue coordinator does not coordinate the wedding. However, they do manage the venue, keep the kitchen on track, and prevent the disruption of any of the policies kept by the venue.

The jobs of a wedding coordinator vary. From managing the timeline: telling you when the cake will be cut, the bouquet will be tossed, toasts will be made and more, the wedding coordinator will be there throughout the entire celebration to decorating the venue and pinning the corsages. Wedding coordinators are there to work for you, and you only, and will help you through every step necessary to ensure that the wedding turns out just as you had desired.

Venue coordinators typically do not stay for the entirety of the celebration and do not provide the personalized and individualized support and attention that is shown of a wedding coordinator. Keep in mind that the venue coordinator is there to represent the venue, and not the bride and groom entirely. Venue coordinators may also be managing more than one event at a time, so you may only see them for a brief period of time on the day of your event or they may even be touring other engaged couples on the property. Knowing that you have your Wedding Planner to be there beside you will give you the peace of mind necessary for the big day.

Every Last Detail provided a prime example that may assist with the distinction of the duties of both coordinators. As stated by Every Last Detail, “A wedding coordinator contacts your vendors before your wedding to make sure everyone is confirmed and knows what time they will be arriving. A venue coordinator may contact vendors that have to do with setup of the reception, but it’s not common. Other vendors, like your photographer or hair and makeup, would not be contacted by your venue coordinator.”
Planning a wedding requires teamwork and professionalism. Dance for Joy Events will simplify every process and be a tremendous help along the way. You can trust Dance for Joy Events to plan a joyful occasion while also helping you to sparkle in the spotlight when its time to kick up your heels and dance because Dance for Joy Events has merged with The Wedding Dance Specialists! Please feel free to contact Deborah at or 703.626.7016 if you have any questions.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Cost of Attending a Wedding

According to The Knot, the most trusted wedding brand and marketplace used by 8 in 10 couples, unveils wedding guest spend from gift spend to travel, bachelor and bachelorette party costs, and more. Here's what guests are spending per wedding celebration according to The Knot 2016 Wedding Guest Study:
  • $888: Average wedding guest spend per wedding
    • Wedding gift spend: $118
    • Wedding attire: $81
    • Wedding travel: $321
    • Wedding accommodations: $322 
  • $1,154: Average bridesmaid & groomsmen spend per wedding
    • Wedding gift spend: $177
    • Wedding attire: $207
    • Wedding travel: $342
    • Wedding accommodations: $293 
  • Wedding gifting...
    • Nearly half of Americans (47%) report needing help to figure out wedding gift etiquette
    • Once ready to make a gift purchase, wedding registries continue to be the most popular place to select a gift
      • 37% of wedding guests and attendants purchase a wedding gift directly from a registry
      • Cash and check are also popular gift options, with nearly one-third (29%) of guests gifting either cash (21%) or writing a check (8%)
      • One in ten (10%) wedding guests and attendants provide the couple with a gift card and 7% contribute funds to the couple's honeymoon
    • To make gifting easier for guests and allow couples to register for any type of gift imaginable, The Knot Newlywed Fund is now available
      • In addition to providing traditional retail registry options and charity registry choices on The Knot, the Newlywed Fund helps couples build their new life together, whether they want cash for honeymoon excursions, a nest egg to buy a home or funds for date nights to come
      • Couples can now register for anything on The Knot and guests can shop all of a couple’s wedding registries in one place on the site!
    • Millennial guests want a gift that gives back. Wedding guests ages 18-39 are more likely than guests ages 40-64 to donate to a charity the couple has included on their registry, rather than buying a traditional gift
      • The majority of millennial wedding guests (93%) are also more likely to purchase a gift from a couple’s registry if a charity contribution is included free of charge.    

  • Beyond the wedding day...
    • Bachelor parties cost 44% more than bachelorette parties, on average
      • Bachelorette party attendees spend $472
      • Bachelor party attendees spend $738
    • If travel and accommodations are required for the pre-wedding celebrations...
      • Bachelorette parties ring in at an average of $1,106
        • Party spend: $472
        • Gift spend: $125
        • Travel spend: $217
        • Accommodation spend: $292
      • Bachelor parties tip the scale at an average attendee spend of $1,532
        • Party spend: $738
        • Gift spend: $167
        • Travel spend: $356
        • Accommodation spend: $271
This article is compliments of

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Beauty of an Event Planner

Weddings are beautiful occasions. They represent a new life milestone worthy of celebration. However, they are recognized as one of the most stressful life events to plan. This reason is often why a number of people turn to event planners for help. Most people argue that event planners are not actually necessary… that is, until they are in the middle of their wedding day and the flowers haven’t arrived, their makeup is half done, no one has heard from the photographer, and the ceremony is supposed to start in an hour. For people who have an event planner, these are not problems. From beginning to end, event planners help the couple juggle the wedding details and reduce stress so that the couple can focus on each other and enjoying their momentous day. Here are a few more reasons an event planner will be your favorite wedding asset:

1.     Costs. Planners can actually cut the costs of the wedding. Not only do planners work to keep the couples in their budgets, but long-term event planners have established relationships with vendors and can work their magic to get a cheaper rate or simply help get more bang for their buck.
2.     Creativity. Planners offer a new level of creativity. Event planners work with multiple types of events, so they have seen many different themes and ideas that could improve your own wedding. Couples get an expert opinion on everything. They will also be able to plan out the small details that may get forgotten in the mayhem of planning.
3.     Troubleshooting. Event planners are experienced in the art of wedding planning and are knowledgeable about the things that can go wrong. This also means that they know how to avoid these problems or how to deal with them when they occur.
4.     Problem solving. Remember that photographer that no one has heard from? The planner is on top of it. The flowers that haven’t shown up? The event planner has a solution. A planner runs on a self-made, tight schedule that is designed to account for any mishaps or problems. If someone doesn’t show up, something breaks or can’t be found, or an order isn’t correct, the planner will have a solution or will be able to come up with one quickly and not have to worry the bride or groom.
5.     Stress reduction. On the day of the wedding, they keep the bride and groom from having to worry about any of the details. This includes set-up, decorations, the videographer, the ceremony to reception flip, and any other issues that might arise.

With an event planner, a wedding becomes a truly magical occasion that is enjoyable for the happy couple. They will be able to truly savor their big day and start their new life together without the burden of undue stress. An event planner makes sure that they are the shining stars and the day runs smoothly. No problem is too big or too small for the right event planner. Weddings are a time for joy and celebration. A couple deserves to be relaxed and pampered on this day and an event planner will make sure it happens. 

By Samantha Stichberry

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wedding Dance Bootcamp Dates & Details

Wedding Dance Bootcamp
Taught by National Experts, Husband & Wife Team!

Recommended by The Media, Wedding Planners & Celebrity Clients
Coached 10,000 engaged couples over 17 years!
Crinoline Dress Rehearsal
  • The original and only one of its kind in the DC metro area!
  • Learn a routine for slow or fast tempos.
  • Develop your individual composure as a dancer by learning foundation techniques.
  • Learn the fundamentals and secrets of partner dancing.
  • Techniques for travelling around the floor.
  • Brief overview of choreography concepts
  • Invite your parents and bridal party so they can prepare for the Honors Dances.
  • Get a head start on your private lessons or polish and reinforce what you've already learned.
  • If your wedding isn't for a while and you haven't chosen a special song yet, this is the perfect way to get your feet wet and get comfortable dancing around others!
  • Meet other engaged couples in the area!
  • Maximize your investment in private lessons by getting a head start with this comprehensive workshop.
  • Dance with your partner the whole time - no partner switching
  • Invite the parents and bridal party so they will feel comfortable in the spotlight too for the Honors Dances! 
  • Introduction to Roles, Technique, Tempo, Choreography, Floorcraft, Styling, Improvisation, Tips for looking natural and staying calm under pressure!

Gift certificates available.
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bootcamp Dates: 
March 4, April 1, May 6 and June 3, 2017
Time: 3:30 - 6:45
$30 per person per hour = $180 total for the couple

Register: Click here

Contact Us: or 703.626.7016
Private Lessons: Click here
Stay in touch! Like our Facebook page.

Let us help you start your marriage off on the right (left) foot! :) 

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Blue Haired Bridesmaid and the True Blue Bride

Another wedding planner reached out to me for advice and asked: "The MOB just called me to ask me what they should do about a bridesmaid situation. Evidently the bridesmaid has dyed her hair blue and is not going to go back to her natural color prior to the wedding. The wedding is going to be a formal affair and the bride does not want blue hair in the wedding. What do you suggest I tell her? The wedding day is not until October. Thanks in advance."

Here is my advice:

The only thing worse than a Bridezilla is a self centered member of the bridal party. Wedding etiquette exists for a reason. Wedding planners can't just make it up as we go along. That is not what we are paid for. We are paid to inspire and empower, anticipate problems and manage crisis. Ideally, both parties should be educated about wedding etiquette at the onset so situations like this can be avoided in the first place. There are several wedding etiquette books that I recommend all planners have in their arsenal to deal and PREVENT exactly these types of scenarios. 

When looking at wedding photos of blue haired bridesmaids, I have to say I was very distracted by the blue haired bridesmaid in the picture above and spent more time looking at her than anyone else. I assume when the bridesmaid was invited to join the bridal party she did NOT have blue hair so I can imagine how shocked the bride must be feeling. Obviously her appearance will change over the course of the year in many ways but just as the bride may select the hairstyles, gown style, color, shoes nail polish or jewelry, drastic and unnatural or distracting topics such as tattoos or radical hair color changes should also be on the table for discussion. Manners and etiquette are timeless and span across all geographic regions so it is important to have clear guidelines from the beginning so everyone is on the same page. It is inappropriate for the bride to dictate every detail of the bridal party appearance but the bridesmaid chose a dramatic change that she can easily modify or alter to support the bride's vision and compliment NOT compete with her for attention. It is important to respect the bride's wishes above all as she is spending thousands of dollars on the photos and videos and the blue haired bridesmaid will dominate a lot of those photos. Bridesmaids are not supposed to upstage the bride with outrageous fashion or hairstyles. This is basic etiquette that all the guests observe which is why certain colors and dress styles are generally avoided. 

A lot of bridesmaid drama can be prevented with a simple conversation about expectations, etiquette and responsibility in advance and topics like drastic/distracting hairstyles or hair color should be addressed BEFORE accepting the role. The bride had no way of anticipating this so she failed to ask if her friend is comfortable with the limitations and boundaries or giving them some time to think about it. Sometimes bridesmaids accept the role without understanding the sacrifice, cost, inconvenience or considerations involved. Being a member of the bridal party does not mean a strut down the runway and a free for all. This is where the event planner could have helped prevent misunderstandings and offered valuable expertise. If the bridesmaid is not willing to make a simple compromise by wearing a wig then perhaps she can be honored in a less high profile manner or she can volunteer to play a bigger role in planning one of the festivities where more casual pictures are taken. I think coordinators can be particularly helpful in this area by teaching wedding etiquette, creating guidelines, anticipating this common type of problem in advance and having a script or mock conversation with the bride and groom so they feel comfortable discussing parameters with their bridal party. 

Not everyone is bridal party material. There are TONS of ways to be creative and flexible about accommodating bridesmaids attire, makeup or jewelry but something as dramatic as unnatural shades of hair color may be non-negotiable for the bride. This is why it should have been addressed beforehand. It's not appropriate for the bride to control her decision to color her hair or demand that she change the color but it is appropriate to request she wear a wig, dress modestly or cover up tattoos for pictures and inside her house of worship or at a religious ceremony where certain codes of dress are considered offensive. Its not about the hair, it's about respect and deferring to someone else's wishes for just one day. Other examples of altering one's appearance out of respect is when a friend invites you to visit their mosque or Budhist temple where everyone is expected to remove their shoes or in a synogogue where every male visitor covers his head or in a Catholic church were strapless sun dresses are innappropriate. This is  the most  joyful, profound and spiritual day of the bride's life. It is not just an 8 hour party. It is also the most visually dynamic moment of the couple's life representing their public image. They spent thousands of dollars on photo shoots and video and the average metro wedding for 100 guests is $25,000 including feeding Bluebelle. A very simple compromise is a wig and it costs the bridesmaid nothing but would be a valuable gift to the couple demonstrating that respect is more important than vanity. 

I live in the DC metro area which is extremely politically liberal but where official diplomatic and military protocol is understood and practiced. Being part of a bridal party is NOT about political correctness, making a unique statement about how special, trendy, fashionable, hip or liberal one is. It is about loyalty, sacrifice and a small degree of CONFORMITY to reflect the couple's public image in the spotlight in accordance with THEIR vision. Just like performers have costumes and are expected to look uniform, a wedding is a production with plenty of costumes, lights, camera, action too! That is why everyone looks SIMILAR. If not IDENTICAL. If our blue haired beauty wants to look radical in a classic themed photo lineup then she belongs as a part of the audience not the bridal party. I personally think blue, pink, purple and rainbow hair is gorgeous when done well but it is definitely not in line with a CLASSIC look if that is the bride's goal...AND it can be distracting. Ms Bluebell's choices will demonstrate whether her vanity is more important then being in the bridal party. The good news is there are many helpful roles she can still play while simultaneously showing off her locks!. She can assist with hosting an engagement party, bachelorette party or bridal shower when the paparazzi aren't being paid through the nose to capture formal portraits. She should not think of it as a demotion but  simply being re-cast to a role she is more comfortable and willing to play. There are lots of creative solutions to this problem.

In sum, a strong friendship does not have to be sacrificed although the bridesmaid was ill-informed or is behaving selfishly and seems short sighted. The best solution is for the bridesmaid to select an elegant wig that can be worn on the wedding day to cover the blue. Someone needs to explain to the bridesmaid that blue hair is a trend that is not conducive to natural, timeless and classic photos and actually distracts attention away from the bride in every photo. If she opposes then perhaps they can compromise and allow her to show off her blue hair during the last two hours of general dancing once all the major pictures are taken. If she does not agree to this then she loses her privileges to participate in the bridal party but the bride will still have a beautiful, unique, expressive blue haired, trendy guest at the wedding and the bride should make sure to include her in less formal guest shots and take special time out for shots alone with her taken. 

Some say, what is all the fuss about? It's just a 8 hour event? Lighten up! I dont see the wedding as just a 8 hour event. I see it as a day she has fantasized about her entire life, planned for over a year, spent $30,000 on and her only memory of the event is her photo album which will be viewed by anyone special and important to her in her life. Since the issue was not properly addressed to prevent the incident in the first place, damage control is the only option. A compromise is in order if the bride is uncomfortable. Maybe ALL the bridesmaids and groomsmen could wear blue or rainbow wigs to fit in and abandon the silly, boring, classic theme all together to accommodate the bridesmaid instead?

In retrospect, a bridesmaid etiquette and responsibility handout could have avoided all of this in the first place...


Emily Post Wedding Etiquette
The Bridesmaid Guide

The Wedding Dance Specialists is the premiere national expert of the wedding dance industry and a certified event planner.  Deborah Joy and Brian Block founded the company in 2000, while engaged and preparing their own "First Dance." Year after year, The Wedding Dance Specialists remain the most recommended wedding dance company according to engaged couples, wedding vendors and the media.  The company has taught over 10,000 engaged couples. Appearing repeatedly on Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network, The Wedding Dance Specialists and their students starred on an episode of "Real Weddings by the Knot", the nation's first wedding reality show. In addition to attracting celebrity clientele, The Wedding Dance Specialists were the nations original wedding dance company and have since inspired an entire niche industry that has expanded worldwide! Wedding Planning Services are available through their Dance for Joy Events division.

Copyright 2016 The Wedding Dance Specialists. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Symbolism of the Spotlight Dances for Same Sex Couples

Same sex couples like heterosexual couples are faced with the harsh reality that a wedding reception is a significant investment in many things that will only last one day but live on in your memories and photo album- with one exception - the dance lessons.  The cake will be eaten, the flowers will die, the attire will be preserved, sold or donated but learning to dance is an investment in your relationship which lives on. Dancing is a life skill useful for future special occasions or even just tender moments in your living room on a rainy night! Our students say their dancing date nights are the most fun and romantic time they have during the wedding planning process and our couples tell us that the First Dance is the most sentimental moment of the reception too!

Many same sex couples are realizing the importance of expressing their unity and growing closer through this unique learning experience. They are seizing the opportunity to proudly shine on the dance floor while personalizing their celebration through their own creative expression. For these insightful couples, the First Dance is often the highlight of the reception and the most vivid wedding memory guests recall since an image tells a thousand words. At first, there are nervous hesitations of expressing their physical affection in public or creating misperceptions about roles and gender identity but it is our job as dance professionals to guide same sex couples through the process that customizes their unique personalities and relationship dynamics so they accurately represent their signature style on their special day. The spotlight dances with the parents is also a sacred ritual to honor the parental bond and love and in return the parents are demonstrating public respect for their son/daughter, acceptance of his/her choices and pride in who their son/daughter has become. 

TWDS Students, Ken Patterson and Brian Burson, wed 9/14/13
There are lots of aspects of the wedding that can be outsourced - - the bakery, the caterer, the florist, the event planner. There are three vital components that only the couple themselves can execute in order for a wedding to demonstrate the strength of their relationships - - their vows and their First Dance and the speeches.  The public and legally binding vows verbally profess the couple’s intentions to be supportive and loyal to each other, the speeches commemorate bonds and the spotlight dances seal the deal with action. And actions speak louder than words. These public rituals are especially validating to same sex couples who have historically been denied the right to marry, felt shunned or misunderstood by family, felt stigmatized by religious organizations or marginalized by society or kept their relationships a secret from employers, colleagues, neighbors. 

Now that many states have legalized same sex wedding, more same sex couples are bravely putting their best foot forward because they realize that words alone do not a relationship make.  After all, successful relationships do not involve daily verbal vowal renewals and flowery speeches. Instead they require sincerity through your actions both big and small. Just as couples and their families attend a rehearsal to prepare for their ceremony, it is vital to dedicate some time in advance before making their public debut so everyone can sparkle in the spotlight. By exercising teamwork and patience during private rehearsals and ultimately for public display, the couple “moves as one” on the dance floor and a promise is sealed and delivered. For this reason, the "spotlight" dances are the most sacred ritual of any wedding reception regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple.

Since our doors opened for business in 2000 we have welcomed same sex couples to our studios because we believe everyone deserves the same chance to dance and romance! Our couples tell us with a little preparation the spotlight dances will transform the most sentimental moment into the most photogenic and memorable moment for them and their guests!

"We had a great time and learned a great deal! We recommend The Wedding Dance Specialists to other same-sex couples andopposite-sex couples whether learning to dance for their wedding or just for the pure fun of dancing! We give them all top scores when it comes to professionalism, quality of instruction, availability and ofcourse enjoyment! Dance lessons were definitely worthwhile and we did so much better than if we had tried to "wing it." Ken Patterson and Brian Burson, wed 9/14/13

The Wedding Dance Specialists is the premiere national expert of the wedding dance industry. Deborah Joy and Brian Block founded the company in 2000, while engaged and preparing their own "First Dance." Year after year,The Wedding Dance Specialists remain the most recommended wedding dance company according to engaged couples, wedding vendors and the media.  The company has taught over 10,000 engaged couples. Appearing repeatedly on Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network, The Wedding Dance Specialists and their students starred on an episode of "Real Weddings by the Knot", the nation's first wedding reality show. In addition to attracting celebrity clientele, The Wedding Dance Specialists were the nations original wedding dance company and have since inspired an entire niche industry that has expanded worldwide!

Copyright 2014 The Wedding Dance Specialists. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dance Studio Etiquette for Teachers and Students

by Deborah Joy Block, certified etiquette instructor and professional dance instructor/performer
There are lots of articles about social dance etiquette and a few about ballet student etiquette but despite the fact that ballroom studios have existed in this country for over 100 years it is quite rare to find an article on the subject. Some landlords question the need for guidelines because they assume the rules should be "common sense." Unfortunately history shows that without formalized rules, societies descend into chaos. Hence The 10 Commandments, The Bill of Rights, The US Constitution, International Human Rights Law, etc.. Therefore common sense certainly does not always prevail in a room full of “divas” who often operate on incorrect assumptions or whims - so official etiquette rules are required. These tips are designed to ensure a pleasant and fair work environment with satisfied customers enjoying high quality lessons. Studio landlords, feel free to copy this and post it or distribute it to your staff. I hope you will find it a useful resource to maintain a peaceful and pleasant studio atmosphere! Feel free to add your own etiquette suggestions (without specifically IDENTIFYING individuals as that is ALSO a breach of etiquette and your comment will be deleted.) Enjoy!
  1. If space allows, set up speakers & use mirrors at OPPOSITE CORNERS of the studio NOT NEXT to another lesson already in progress.
  2. Once all 4 corners are full THEN fill in the middle sections to avoid creating a crowded, distracting and dangerous teaching environment.
  3. If you need to play music LOUDLY or NONSTOP while rehearsing alone and directly next to ongoing lessons please use EARPHONES.
  4. GROUP lessons requires MORE space and are noisier so either rent the whole room or do NOT teach middle sections. Simply swap positions with your neighbors.
  5. If you set yourself beside a privacy curtain assume that your neighbors may expect you to use it or else switch places with them so others can take advantage of the amenity.
  6. Rent space during non peak hours (anytime BEFORE 6pm) if you are teaching tap or flamenco, drumming, zills or other loud percussive dances. Anything after 6pm requires that you rent the entire back room as you are making it IMPOSSIBLE for others to teach next to you.
  7. Be mindful of volume levels and speaker location/angle or take turns if nobody is able to hear their music. If your speakers are poor quality bring A/V wires to take advantage of the many speakers the studio offers. If the bass is adjustable set it to MEDIUM.
  8. Approach management with unresolvable complaints rather than gossiping or cyber bullying on social media as that damages the studio reputation and creates a toxic work climate.
  9. Ask permission before adjusting the teaching environment –curtains, lights, fans, borrowing speakers, using overhead speakers, adjusting temperature climate, closing or opening blinds or windows, switching music, etc…
  10. Due to the high risk, direct contact nature of our jobs, use sanitizer or wash hands frequently to prevent spreading germs around the studio.
  11. Turn your music OFF when not teaching or dancing to minimize the overall noise in the room. Don’t leave music playing unattended.
  12. Don’t leave your belongings around the studio to “save” a space indefinitely. Let your neighbors know when you plan to return.
If landlords avoid creating some structure and standard expectations for everyone using the studio then landlords are setting themselves up for a situation when a disgruntled customer has a complaint about the environment or another instructor's conduct and the staff simply replies, "Sorry, we have no rules here." or "Sorry, I don't know what the rules are here." or bombards your office with all their customer complaints because "It's out of my hands." or worse, "I agree with you but the management does not respect staff concerns so perhaps you should address them directly or write a review online to get their attention." Don't waste precious time putting out fires and reinventing the wheel when you should be focused on earning a great profit from a popular studio! Please use common sense and good etiquette to be part of the SOLUTION be creating a FUN environment for yourself, colleagues staff, renters and clients that is friendly and respectful so everyone will recommend and support your studio while sharing your passion for dancing!
Deborah Joy Block is a professional dance performer and has 17 years of teaching experience with over 10,000 students. Mrs. Block is an entrepreneur, supervised 30 professional instructors including world champions. and is a certified etiquette instructor from the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs Block is the  Director of Back to Basics Manners Social Graces Program teaching etiquette and social dance in the DC metro community, public and private school systems for 10 years. Deborah Joy Block, is also the Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and premiere national expert of the wedding dance industry who inspired the entire niche industry to expand worldwide. Mrs. Block is available for interviews, consulting, guest blogging and teaching etiquette and social dance instruction in the DC metro area. and