Friday, October 6, 2017

Choosing The Perfect Planner for YOU!

Choosing The Perfect Planner
by Kashava Logan

You’re planning the perfect event, but where do you start? From determining the perfect venue, selecting the decor and creating a seating chart, there are many elements to be planned. The first step is to choose from the selection of advisors - event consultants, coordinators and planners - to coach you through making your event memorable.

Event Consultant
For the client who wants an initial consultation, consider an event consultant. An event consultant will be your triage consultant, prioritizing your ideas and game plan. The consultant will meet with you for 3 sessions to specifically review and narrow your plans, wedding design, budget review, and connect you with the best vendors in the Virginia area. The event consultant helps to bring innovative ideas while acting as your temporary assistant.

Event Coordinator
For the client who has planned their event  but require assistance with executing final preparations, consider an event coordinator. The event coordinator will provide you with month of and day of coordination to assist with completing the final details, initiating services 4-6 weeks prior to the event. Think of the event coordinator as the person who “ties up loose ends” while ensuring the event remains as scheduled.

Event Planner
For the client who does not have time or would like a full-time advisor to assist with stress reduction, consider an event planner. The event planner provides comprehensive assistance from the initial concept of the event through the very end. The event planner is the total package - your rainmaker, fairy godmother and ultimate stress reducer.  

Although there is not a wide-spread agreement on the terminology, review the responsibilities to determine how you would like your coach/advisor to assist you.

Event Task
Event Consultant
Event Planner
Event Coordinator
Wedding Design
Wedding Checklist
Budget Review & Budget Management
Vendor Referral
Ceremony & Reception Venue Selection Assistance/Site Visits
Food and Beverage Selection
Floor Plan
Review all contracts with wedding professionals
Style, design and wording of invitations
Seating chart & RSVP Tracking
Rehearsal Coordination & Ceremony Coordination
Reception Coordination
Wedding Day Itinerary Construction
Assist with vendor pay
Maintain timing of event

Honeymoon Check List

There are so many things to keep track of and checklists for the wedding but the honeymoon is just as important so keep these items in mind when packing!

  • Cellphone
  • Digital camera, batteries, manual
  • iPod/Discman/MP3 player, batteries, mini-speakers
  • Disposable underwater camera
  • Foreign-language dictionary or phrase book
  • Journal/notebook and pen
  • Maps and directions
  • Mini-DVD player or DVD-capable laptop and DVDs
  • Reading material
  • Travel guide(s)
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Band-Aids
  • Birth control
  • Bug repellent
  • Cortisone 1% anti-itch cream
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • For cruisers: Sea-sickness bands or pills
  • Lubricant
  • Pain reliever
  • Prescription medicines
Money & Documents
  • Addresses for sending postcards/e-mail
  • Auto insurance card
  • Business cards
  • Cash
  • Copy of marriage license
  • Copy of medical history, if necessary
  • Copy of vacation packing list
  • Driver's license/international driver's license
  • Emergency numbers and embassy address
  • Frequent flyer/frequent guest cards
  • Paper airline tickets or e-ticket confirmation
  • Passports and visas, if necessary
  • Photo ID
  • Pre-paid phone card
  • Travelers checks and receipt (keep separate)
  • Vaccination certificates, if required
  • Vouchers/coupons/tickets
  • Your itinerary
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Bubble bath
  • Crazy Glue
  • Currency converter
  • Keys
  • Luggage locks
  • Massage oil
  • Plastic Zip-Loc bags
  • Playing cards
  • Q-Tips
  • Scented candle
  • Sports gear (tennis racquets, golf clubs, swim goggles)
  • Sunscreen/SPF
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrella
  • Athletic shoes
  • Belts
  • Boxers / Briefs
  • Casual shirts
  • Dress shoes
  • Hat
  • Oxford shirts
  • Pants
  • Pajamas / Robe
  • Sandals
  • Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Sports jacket
  • Swim trunks
  • Tie
  • T-shirts / Undershirts
  • Workout clothes
Men's Toiletries
  • Comb / Brush
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Lip balm
  • Rogaine, if necessary
  • Shaving kit / Shaving Cream
  • Shampoo / Conditioner / Styling Products
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash
Women's Clothing and Accessories
  • Bathing suit and coverup
  • Bras
  • Panties
  • Lingerie/sleep shirt
  • Costume jewelry -- earrings, necklace, bracelets
  • Fake diamond engagement ring (leave the real one in a safety-deposit box till you return)
  • Dress
  • Heels
  • Pareo/sarong/big scarf
  • Robe
  • Sandals
  • Short/Capris
  • Skirt
  • Slacks
  • Slip/Bodyslimmer
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Stylish shirt
  • Sweater
  • Straw/wide-brimmed hat
  • Tank/halter/sleeveless tops
  • Thongs
  • Workout clothes
Personal Hygiene

  • Acne control product
  • Baby powder
  • Blow dryer/straightening iron
  • Comb/Brush
  • Deodorant
  • Depilatory
  • Eyeliner
  • Eye Shadow
  • Lipsticks
  • Blush
  • Mascara
  • Makeup remover
  • Facial cleanser
  • Moisturizer/SPF
  • Tampons
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash
  • Dental floss
  • Shampoo/conditioner/styling products
  • Scrunchies
  • Tweezers 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Yes it is possible - have a $5000 wedding!

Making a Dream a Reality: Planning a $5000 wedding.
By: Samantha Stichberry
            A wedding is well-known as one of the most expensive occasions in a couple’s life. I will be planning a wedding for 100 people, the goal being to keep it under $5,000. Tips on how to cut costs while still having a magical day will also be included, so, read on!
Because we are operating on a budget, there will be some things that we will not be able to have at this wedding. The most important rule about doing an inexpensive wedding is knowing your must haves. Some of the must-haves for the wedding I’ll be creating today will be:
-        A photographer
-        A DJ
-        Place cards
-        Gifts for the wedding party and parents
Venue: $900
-        Try to book your ceremony and reception at the same place. Quite often you can get a deal for booking both in the same area.
-        Keep the wedding small. Inviting only a few people allows you to look at smaller and cheaper wedding venues.
-        If you book at a hotel, ask for a lowered price in exchange for filling up some of the rooms.
-        If you’re fine with not having your wedding in a church, look for places that don’t normally host weddings.
-         Such as: a zoo, parks, stables, movie theatres, a neighbor’s barn or backyard, an ice skating or roller rink, a bowling alley, a car/history/art museum, or anything else your town has to offer.
-        If you take the time to apply for a permit, you can have a free reception at a national park. Beautiful scenery for free? What can beat that!
-        When planning your wedding, try to avoid prime wedding times, such as, Saturday evening. Opt for an afternoon wedding or a Sunday brunch wedding.
For our fictional wedding, we are going to budget $900 for an afternoon ceremony and reception venue.
Stationary: $75
-        Order your own stationary from Amazon or Staples and design and print them at home.
-        Cut costs by only sending out invitations. RSVP cards, save the dates, information cards, and paper menus add up quickly and are often unnecessary.
-        Don’t think you have the skill or time to make them yourself? Pay someone else to do it. Fivver is a freelance services marketplace where you could easily find someone else to design your invitations for as low as $5.
            Staples sells stacks of 8 1/2" x 11" Ivory 250/Pack card stock for $15. I can use the paper for invitations and place cards. By designing and printing everything at home, I save a lot of money. I don’t think I will need to cut my invitations but in case my design changes, my local Staples gave me an estimate of $10 to get them all cut. It costs $50 for the stamps to get them mailed out. Using a wedding website for RSVPs will cut down on extra costs. Final total is $75 for stationary.
Attire: $725
-        Dress: Ebay, Etsy, and large stores like Macy’s have great options for cheap prices. Try to stay away from things labeled “wedding,” because it often comes with a heftier price tag. Renting your dress is also a great way to go. If you want to do some good while getting a bargain, Brides Against Breast Cancer offers massive discounts on beautiful dresses. Part of the profits from the dresses goes towards breast cancer research. Finally, buying off the rack can get you great discounts and a dress immediately.
-        Accessories can add up quickly. Some money saving options are:
o    Use flowers to decorate your hair instead of a veil
o   Try to find a used veil or check Etsy.
o   Jewelry can be borrowed or found in thrift shops, on craigslist, and on Ebay.
-        If your fiancé doesn’t have a tuxedo or a suit already, renting is a popular option that saves money.
-        If you don’t already have your rings, consider online shopping. Etsy has beautiful, handmade options that have unique deigns for cheap prices. Opting for a gemstone instead of a diamond can save you big bucks too. Again, staying away from the word “wedding” will save you even more money.
-        Have your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and children who are in the wedding, pay for their own clothing. Pick easy colors to find and let them get something they will appreciate being able to wear after the wedding is over.
I found a dress through Brides Against Breast Cancer for $300, accessories for $100, rented a suit for $175, and found two unique wedding bands on Etsy for $150. All of this leads to a total of $725.
Food and Drink: $1,700
-        Picking an afternoon or brunch wedding with reduce food costs because you can pick cheaper options.
-        Homemade! Ask you friends and family to help cook things in the week before the wedding. Freeze as much as you can beforehand and thaw it out the night before.
-        Skip the cake. Seriously. If you want a big showstopper to put on display, build one out of cardboard (except the layer you have to cut) and decorate it with frosting and flowers or whatever you want. When the time comes, take the “cake” away and cut and serve a sheet cake from the back. It’s much cheaper and people won’t even notice the difference.
-        Try other desserts instead: donuts, cookies, brownies, pies. There are hundreds of other dessert options that are just as tasty and wont break the bank.
-        Get creative with cheap foods. Popcorn, bulk candy, meat and cheese trays, and cotton candy are some options.
-        Make-it-yourself-stations are fun and often cheaper than traditional options. Tacos, potato, salad, and ice cream bars have all had great success.
-        People tend to drink less at day weddings, but if you choose to have alcohol, choose a cash bar or buy alcohol from places that allow you to return unopened bottles such as Sam’s Club or Costco.
My afternoon wedding for 100 people will include a potato and salad bar, finger foods, meat and cheese trays, fruit trays, multiple dips, and dessert buffet that we make ourselves. Champagne is the only alcohol we would serve; bought at Sam’s Club for $100. Servers will be hired to maintain everything and keep our friends from to do anything during the wedding. All of this totals out to $1,500 with a $200 tip bonus for the servers.
Music: $300
-        Local colleges are an amazing place for cheap bands and DJ’s.
-        If you don’t want to bother trying to find a band or a DJ, just create a few CD mixes or a Spotify playlist (Ad-free for $9.99/per month) and have a friend man the music booth for the special dances, then just start up the play list and don’t worry about it.
For my wedding I hired a DJ from a local college who brought his own equipment for $300.
Decorations: $700
-        Skip the florist and buy your flowers wholesale in bulk. Have a flower arranging party to get everything put together. Groupon is a great way to find floral arranging classes or a discounted florist if you don’t feel confident in your abilities. Also, find out if purchasing the flowers yourself can get you a cheaper price with a florist.
-        Look for your table linens online and in thrift stores. Buy in bulk if need be and remember that curtains can double as table runners. Look for other brides who are trying to sell their wedding linens. has tons of brides trying to sell off their old wedding things.
-        For tables and chairs look to your local churches and community centers to borrow or get a reduced rental price. Estate sales and thrift stores are also a great way to get cheap and interesting seating.  
-        For dishware, ask around. Some people might have extra dishes they don’t want anymore. Thrift shopping for dishes is also an awesome way to save money and you get an interesting, eclectic look to your reception.
-        Be creative for signage. Go on Craigslist and look for free wood or other abandoned items that could work. Homemade chalk board paint can help you get cheap chalk boards for drink and food menus, seating charts, and welcome signs.
-        Do not underestimate the dollar store! Ribbon, burlap, tea lights, vases, and so much more can be found there for affordable prices.
-        DIY is your best friend.
For my wedding I need 10 tables, 100 chairs, 10 table decorations, three bouquets, three boutonnieres, 100 plates with cutlery, four signs, aisle decorations, and an arch. In the end, I ended up with $700 in costs. Here is the break down:
-        Tables: Borrowed/rented from local churches: $50.
-        Chairs: Borrowed from local church, estate sales, and thrift store finds: $50.
-        Decorations: vases and jars from thrift store and dollar store: $30. Table linens: $100. Candles, ribbon, and colored pebbles bought from the dollar store for centerpieces: $50.
-        Flowers for bouquets, boutonnieres, and aisle and reception decorations: Bought in bulk from Potomac Floral for $200. Floral arranging class for two people with a Groupon: $40.
-        Arch rental: $30.
-        Cutlery and plates: borrowed from friends and bought at thrift stores and estate sales: $130.
-        Signage: made out of abandoned wood found on Craigslist and homemade chalkboard paint for a total of $20.
Photography and Videography: $150
-        Again, local colleges are amazing for this! Photography and art majors are often looking for experience and more pictures to put in their portfolio, so they will do an event for a discounted price.
-        Try Groupon again for more good deals.
-        Ask friends and family if they know anyone. A lot of people will give you a discount because a friend referred you.
-        Try not to keep the photographer at the wedding all day.
-        Make sure to meet the photographer before the wedding to see if their style is something that you want for your pictures. A good way to find this out is by looking at their pictures or by booking them for an engagement shoot to test run.

Rehearsal Dinner: $200
-        Keep it small.
-        Homemade food reduces costs tremendously.
-        Doing it at someone’s house eliminates having to rent a venue
Spaghetti and Meatballs with sides, done at a groomsmen’s house averages out at $10 per person allows us to invite 20 guests; which includes our wedding party and some family.
            Gifts: $150
-        The dollar store and the internet will be your friends again. You can find cheap packaging at both, but the internet is the perfect place to buy the gifts. Etsy, again, has lots of unique and decently priced options.
-        Put your heart into these. Seriously. They are meant to be beautiful gifts that tell you wedding party and family how important they are to you. Handmade and handwritten can really show that off.
Gifts for both sets of parents and the bridal party totaled out to $150. Bridesmaids got bracelets and DIY’d spa kits for $15 each. Groomsmen got vintage shaving kits for $15 each. Both mothers received photo albums with each child’s favorite memories, hand written notes from both the bride and the groom, and spa kit at a cost of $15 each. Each father was gifted a personalized beer stein and handwritten letters for a total of $20 each. Both the flower girl and the ring bearer got personalized cups for $10 each.

All of this totals to $4,900; just under the target budget.  All of the prices I found were from actual websites for actual things, I didn’t just make up all the numbers. Most of the numbers are actually rounded up to account for inflation or shipping. So, as you can see, planning a wedding for $5000 isn’t as hard as it sounds. You just need to know what you want and what isn’t important to you. Research is the best tool. By looking around you can compare prices and options to get the best deals on things. Don’t stress if you can’t find something and remember to ask friends and family for help. Good luck and happy planning!

Wedding Planning Survival Guide

            You have the man and the ring. Life is great…until you realize there is now a ton of planning to do for your big day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by thinking about every little detail you will have to be on top of. Don’t worry though, here is a list of tips to help avoid the overwhelming stress of planning a wedding.
            Hire a pro: Once you get engaged, you should begin to look for and contact a wedding planner. Beginning your process with a wedding planner can help tremendously with your experience as they are the professional help that you need. Experienced wedding planners can help you find the most valued vendors for your money.  Wedding planners are there for you to help you create your dream wedding. They will be there with you for every step of the planning process to answer any questions you might have. Wedding planners are also very helpful on the actual wedding day as they are there to ensure everything is under control while you remain focused on your part in the ceremony. With a wedding planner to back you up, your job as the bride is a lot less stressful, so book a start-up consultation.
            Communicate with your team: Another thing you should do as part of the beginning process is to meet with the people who will be contributing to the cost of the wedding. Have a time where everyone can sit down and discuss what everyone believes the priorities of the event are. Prioritizing up front from the get-go will give you focus and an idea of where to start in the planning process.
            Stay flexible: While it is important to have a plan, we all know that sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to. This is why flexibility is key. This is going to be an important learning and growing experience for you as the bride so being open to alternative ideas and options will help your stress levels should a plan fall through or if your fiancé decides to take a different approach to something about the wedding. Also, being flexible and learning to compromise alongside your fiancé will strengthen your relationship.
            Define your signature style: Most importantly, make sure your wedding reflects who you are! You are unique and special so don’t hesitate to let your personality show in your wedding. Whether it is small touches like baby pictures with the centerpieces or dancing down the aisle, make sure it is something that you want! This will also make your guests remember your wedding because it will showcase your style. Of course, just be sure to run everything past your fiancé.
           Prioritize: While planning your wedding, remember the number one goal: to get married to the love of your life. Make sure you don’t lose sight of the whole reason you’re planning in the first place. Make sure to spend time with the love of your life throughout the whole planning process. All the stress can easily create tension and strain on your communication with your partner. Remember that you are there for each other! You are marrying the love of your life, don’t forget that and you’ll be sure to have the perfect wedding!

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