Wedding Contracts: Not A Dirty Word

 Contract is not a dirty word! 
Contract is not a dirty word! 

Contracts are not a dirty word. They protect all parties!

— Ashley Radosav

We are surrounded by contracts every day and there is no real end in sight. We live in a “I’ll sue you!” wold, thus our lives now revolve around everyone covering their butt ALL.THE.TIME. Here is a list of the daily contracts we enter without even thinking about it: Cable, Internet, Cell phone, Car loan, Mortgage, Gas, Electric, Amazon Prime and so many more. When it comes to arguably one of the most expensive parties of your life, having and reviewing wedding contracts are a necessity. 

This is NOT a post about prenuptial agreements! 

Finding all of your wedding vendors can be hard enough. Once you find them, they shove these legal papers in front of you and make you feel as if you are signing your life away a little at a time. Wedding contracts do NOT need to be scary or overwhelming. Arguably, these are fun and exciting things that you are agreeing to (Photo, Video, Bar, Lighting, Flowers) and not something overwhelming, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is a simple agreement: Here is the product or service I provide, this is what and when you will pay me for it. 

Making sure that you sit and speak with the vendor to explain in detail what their contracts mean is very important. The basics of a wedding contract include the names of the people entering the contract, the event date, the times of provided service and what the outcome will be. For example, you sign a photography contract and you will expect to have him/her onsite with you for 8 hours and in 6-8 weeks you will get a beautiful wedding album. My contract for example basically says, “be a nice human being, I will be nice back.” Please feed me, this is what you will get in return…fairly simple. 

 Google Images
Google Images

Here is a brief run down of the key elements to a successful wedding contract:

  1. Make sure that all of the wedding/event dates are the same. I have caught more than once a wrong event date as I reviewed my client’s contracts. 
  2. Make sure your guest count is the same. The worst thing ever would be to have 225 guests and only food for 125. Double check your numbers…OFTEN!
  3. Make sure the timelines are corresponding. If you sign an 8 hour photography package, make sure all of the important events (ceremony, cake cutting, first dance) all happen within that 8 hour window. Otherwise, you will be missing some key elements of your day in the album you receive after the wedding. 
  4. Follow up and confirm with all vendors a week or two prior to the wedding day to fill them in on any last minute changes. A wedding vendor will always refer back to their notes or their contracts if something goes awry. If you do not inform them of changes, these vendors are NOT mindreader! 
  5. Hire a wedding planner to help catch some of these common mistakes. At the time of signing a wedding contract, there might be some gaping holes in your timeline, this is quite common. However, that is something a wedding planner can help fill in for you and make sure your other vendors are all kept up to date! 

I hope this shed a little bit of light on how to approach a wedding vendor’s contract and have them break it down into simple easy to understand language. You are getting married, not trying to pass the bar. Have them (or a planner) break it down for you!

If you have other questions about wedding contracts, send me an email at Hello@AshleyNicoleEventsInc.com and I will be happy to help!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

5 To-Dos For Your Summer Wedding

 Photo Credit: K+B Photo
Photo Credit: K+B Photo

If you are getting married between June-August, here are 5 things you should have completed or are at least thinking about in the next few weeks at the time of publication, (this is the end of March) Some are obvious, some, maybe not so much.

  1. Wedding Venue – believe it or not, I have heard around town that some couples are still looking for wedding venues…and their wedding is just a few months away. Absolutely everything is dependant on the venue. How many guests are you able to hold? What is the style or feel for the venue (barn, industrial, banquet hall, backyard). The list goes on and on. For the love of Pete…find a venue. The rest gets easier after that. 

  2. Invitations – At this point, if you are getting married in the next 2-4 months, you should be either finalizing or sending out your invitations in the next little bit. In my experience, and I am not sure why, invitations seem to be the most time consuming and stressful part of the planning process. I can’t put my finger on why! Perhaps, because it sets the tone for the entire event. Or perhaps, you now have a very opinionated fiancee, who didn’t care about the invitations until you were knee deep in paper selection. Whatever the reason, make the decision and get them sent out!

  3. Schedule Hair and Makeup Trials – TRY your exact wedding hair and makeup PRIOR to the big day. Take some selfies. Remember, you will be standing with your right side facing your guests. Make sure you love your hair from the right side. Do you normally wear little to no makeup? Seeing yourself with a bright bold lip might catch you by surprise and you do not want ANY surprises on the wedding day. All professional hair and makeup artists will suggest a trial, take them up on it. Some HMUA might charge extra for this, others it is built into the overall package. Ask questions and make sure you feel comfortable.

  4. Solidify Rehearsal Dinner plans – Who is hosting the dinner? Will it be a formal sit down dinner? Something more relaxed at a pizza parlor? Top Golf? Traditionally, the Groom’s family foots the bill, but with tradition out the window, anything and everything is possible. Make it something fun for your nearest and dearest to kick back and relax before all of the real formalities take place the following day. Do yourself a favor, don’t over indulge in food or beverage. No one likes the hungover look.

  5. Order imprinted items (anything personalized) – With just a few months left before the wedding, you want to make sure that anything that is getting personalized gets ordered. Mistakes happen. Remember this post about getting a wrong personalized bridesmaid robe? If things do come back a little wonky, you will have enough time to contact the vendors and get the situation fixed. It would be terrible to place an order and get a wrong name or wedding date printed on 2,000 beverage napkins.

If you want to find out the rest of the to-dos with a wedding fast approaching, shoot me an email and I can send you a complete list! 

 Hi! if you have any other questions on the world of event planning, drop me a line and we can chat! 
Hi! if you have any other questions on the world of event planning, drop me a line and we can chat! 

Need a Bridesmaid Gift? Look No Further!

Are you struggling to find something to gift to your bridesmaids? If so, keep reading!

 Photo Credit: Dave Pavlina Hair and Makeup: Gold Plaited 
Photo Credit: Dave Pavlina Hair and Makeup: Gold Plaited 

If you have been a reader for a while, you might remember that a few weeks ago, I was sent a groomsmen gift to review. The gift was completely free and I was only responsible for providing my honest feedback. If you missed the review of gifts for guys, you can click here. After I wrote my review for the Bleacher Buddy, Joe asked if I wanted to test out some gifts for the ladies. Of course, I would be interested! Did I mention, I love getting free swag?!?  I reviewed the website Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique and selected my item to review. Below are my honest thoughts for purchasing gifts for your best girlfriends from Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique.

Here are my thoughts:
 

Website: Very easy to navigate, constantly making updates and adding additional products to their site. Their products range in price from $11 to $285. Personalization is key with this company as your can put a name, monogram or face on pretty much anything they sell. Their selection of gifts at this point is not vastly different from other companies, but make it easy to select gifts that can be personalized. In conjunction with Groovy Guy Gifts you can find something for just about everyone in your bridal party.

Shipping: They have the standard 8-12 business day shipping but also provide expedited shipping (5 business days) for those couples who forgot that they need to get something sooner. These types of purchases can slip by without even thinking about it! Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique is currently running a sale for FREE personalization and FREE shipping on orders over $75. If you have a medium to large party, this will not be difficult as items can add up quickly. I love taking advantage of sales whenever possible!

Product: I selected the Timeless Collection Floral Kimono! The site offers several types of floral robes, but something about the navy option really spoke to me. I also know that robes are STILL a very popular bridesmaid gift. For me personally, when I get gifts like these at weddings, I am not a *huge* fan of personalization…some of your friends might be single or in the process of changing their name. A lot of people love doing this, so just take my opinion as that, opinion. You can also of course order the gift without personalization. I wanted to get the full experience, so I got my first name embroidered. 

 

When I ordered the item, I requested a navy robe with a navy inscription of my first name. I received a navy robe with my name embroidered in pink. I reached out to the company and they noted the error. They are in the process of shipping me out a corrected robe. I understand mistakes happen and we are all human. Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique gets bonus points for owning the error and immediately setting into motion the solution. *Another reason to not wait when you are getting gifts personalized.

Packaging: The box came very quickly! I was quite surprised. It was wrapped up in a nice gift bag. I rank the packaging a 10!
 

Review of Product: The Timeless Collection Floral Kimono in Navy is in general a good quality robe. The colors are vibrant and the garment is professionally sewn. Despite the embroidery color issue, they embroidered my name nicely and is of  good size. The robe fits well and states that it will fit most people. Even if you can not tie the robe, keeping it open will still be a nice option.

Overall Ranking out of 10: I rank this item and the website an 8.5 out of 10. Overall, great packaging, great design and excellent customer service from Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique. I did remove 1 star because of the unfortunate error in the color of my name. I am also removing a half star due to the common items on their site. I have been surprised at the improvements to the site since I last visited and look forward to seeing a wider selection of unique bridesmaid gifts. It is a brand new site, so in time, they will have as a unique selection as the Groovy Guy Gifts. I will add one star back once the corrected robe gets delivered! In general, a good way to buy gifts for anyone in your bridal party. I look forward to seeing where they take gift giving in the future.

If you know of other great gift ideas for the ladies in your life, send me a message and I will get the item and write a review of it for you! 

 

Can I Get Married Today?

 Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!   Photo Credit: authentic adventure co
Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!  Photo Credit: authentic adventure co

Marriages happen every single day of the year, all over the world. Whether you are a follower of a specific religion or someone getting hitched at the courthouse. Yes, even on a Monday! In the last 100 years or so, weddings typically began happening on Saturday evenings as this allowed bridal party members to have the day before and the day after to prepare, party and recoup all in one weekend. Weddings have come quite a long way from cake and coffee in the church basement following the ceremony. 

According to the Knot’s 2016 annual real wedding survey, only 26% of people getting married, are getting married in a Church or Synagogue. The rest, are opting for less traditional venues such as beaches, barns, museums, tents, etc.  The majority of couples today are choosing to forge their own path, while those opting to get married in a house of worship might not be aware there are wedding conflict dates. 

Disclaimer – By no means are these the only conflict dates. If you are looking to get married in one of these venues, please reach out to your specific parish, synagogue or temple for a complete list. Dioceses and individual churches may have other rules or regulations. If you have additional dates, feel free to comment below! #themoreyouknow 

 dates provided by  catholicweddinghelp.com
dates provided by catholicweddinghelp.com
 dates provided by  g  reekweddingtraditions.com
dates provided by g reekweddingtraditions.com
 dates provided by c habad.org
dates provided by c habad.org
 dates provided by  qual.org.au
dates provided by qual.org.au
 dates provided by  fpmt.org
dates provided by fpmt.org

Despite this list or other religious conflict dates you might discover, always check with your spiritual leader or house of worship. Special dispensations or allowances might be made. If you are thinking of having your ceremony outside of a house of worship, really, any date would be available for a ceremony. Just be considerate of your guests. No one wants to attend a wedding on a major holiday. Dates to avoid in general would be Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day. New Years Eve can be a hit or miss. You will most likely be paying a premium for all of your vendors and it might not be financially worth the extra expense. 

ANE Real Wedding: Leslie and Dave

In just over one month, Ashley Nicole Events will be celebrating Leslie and Dave’s 1st Anniversary!  I can not believe how time has flown by. It seems like yesterday that we were wrapping up the final details and practicing the long walk down the aisle. It was such a pleasure working with this sweet couple. Leslie and Dave had double the reason to celebrate as they would soon be welcoming their first son! Their adorable little boy is also the first ANE baby! During one of our planning sessions, Dave came to me and told me that he really wanted to hire a planner to take the stress off Leslie. They were both so busy with their jobs and with the joyous blessing of a baby on the way he wanted to do as much as possible to make the process easy and enjoyable for Leslie. It was so sweet to see him jumping into the protective father role, right from the very beginning. Dave and Leslie were surrounded by friends and family on the first of many joyous days together as husband and wife. 

We at Ashley Nicole Events wish Dave, Leslie and baby Jack a very happy first anniversary and many, many more to come!

Vendor Spotlight:
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events
Ceremony Venue: St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Wheaton
Reception Venue: The Haight, Elgin
Hotel: Courtyard Marriott, West Dundee
Florist: Laura’s Flowers
Photographer: Crane’s Photography
DJ: Quinn Bayola
Hair: Christina Sopata
Makeup: Erin Paul
Cake: Michelle Siorek
Catering: My Chef
Rentals: Windy City
Limo: Top Fleet Inc.

Be Not Afraid & Let Me Help Bear Your Load!

Are you afraid of your wedding? Are you afraid that your guests won’t have any fun? That you might step on your dress and rip it? Do you wake up in cold sweats having nightmares about messing up your vows? I am here to tell you: “Be Not Afraid” Never before in your life,  did you care about what shade ecru was, until now. Did you even know ecru was a color? If not, be not afraid!

When all is said and done, nothing will matter except you both are married and you are in love. Do not let the many little details that need to be done at the very last minute throw you into a stress-induced downward spiral. Your friends and family mean well, however, they are not the professionals. They have only their past wedding experience or their opinion. Trends have changed and etiquette is vastly different than it was 30 years ago. If having friends and family helping you begin to cause stress instead of relief,  perhaps you might need to look into investing in a wedding planner.

Wedding planners are an investment in your mental sanity. Wedding planners are here to make your life easier.  While it is an additional expense, let me give you a few tips on how to ease into the idea of hiring a pro!

  1. Find someone who you connect with. Do they get your sense of humor? Do you find them trustworthy? You will be spending a lot of time with this person.

  2. Make sure you understand exactly they will and will not help you with.

  3. Make sure you are aware if they take more than one wedding/weekend. You do not want to be splitting time with another bride on your wedding day.

  4. Find someone who will  be as involved or not as involved as you wish.

  5. Find someone who can help you manage your budget. Not having someone monitor your budget is the #1 way to blow the budget.

I am here to tell you, be not afraid! Wedding planning is tough but you will get through it. Even if you decide to not hire a professional, you will survive. You might wish the wedding to come and go as fast as possible, but you will survive. You will live to see another day. In the end, you will walk away a married couple and begin your new life…together.

If you are still waking up with nightmares, talk to your friends and family. They do not want to see you suffer. Yes, weddings are tough. They are usually the largest event you will ever host in your life. They are full of opinions, ideas and conflict. They do not have to destroy you. And if all else fails. You can always call me. I am happy to help bear the load. 

If you still have questions, scroll through some of my old blog posts. I have plenty of ideas on how to kick fear in the face by being prepared and planning an epic event. 

Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.

— Unknown