Be A Nice Bride: Review Your Vendors

It's time for another installment of Be A Nice Bride and this time, we're talking about reviewing your vendors after your wedding day! I'll keep this one short & sweet, as it's such an important, but simple thing to keep in mind.

Andrew & Tianna Photography

Andrew & Tianna Photography

Think back to when you were initially choosing which vendors to hire to make your wedding dreams come true. What helped you decide who to inquire with? Was it their beautiful website, their presence on social media, a referral from a friend? For me, and for most of my brides, a solid review of a vendor's services goes a long way to convincing me to work with them. Word of mouth is such a strong form of marketing, and who better to advise you of a vendor's work than another bride who used them for her wedding?

When you work with a wedding vendor and have a first-rate experience, leaving them a glowing review on any of their online platforms is the best form of thank you. They don't have to be lengthy or detailed, outlining every aspect of how the vendor made your day everything that it was meant to be. A few simple sentences explaining the service you received, the communication that took place between the two of you, and the feelings that the vendor left you with of your wedding are all it takes to give a fellow bride a little insight. Those reviews go so far in booking more of our ideal clients....clients just like you!

Be A Nice Bride: Keep Your Guests Informed

Hey ya’ll!!  Happy Thursday!  It’s almost the weekend and we are gearing up to head out for a styled shoot with some amazing vendors on Saturday. Keep an eye out for some behind-the-scenes snaps from the JDE team.

In the meantime, I wanted to share another “Be A Nice Bride” post with you.  This time it’s all about the importance of keeping your guests informed!

Save the Dates are the best way to give your guests a heads up if your wedding will be out of town or on a holiday weekend.  Since traditional invitations aren’t sent out until 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding day, this gives your guests a little extra time to make travel arrangements, book hotels, find childcare, and request time off work.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Henson Photos
Your Save the Dates are also a great place to include your wedding website, which can serve as a hub of valuable information for your guests.  You can share some background on the area for your out-of-town guests, like the best places to eat and what attractions they just have to visit before they head home.

Your website is also a fantastic place to share your wedding registry info.  Emily Post holds to the opinion that registries should never ever be shared on your wedding invitations, and I couldn’t agree more.  To avoid any awkward conversations with guests about where you’d like gifts from, share this info on your website.  And remember to keep it to a maximum of 3 stores...more than that and you start to look a little greedy.

Another valuable bit of info to include on your website is what your guests should expect on the day of the wedding.  What time will the ceremony start?  Are there special instructions for parking?  Will the party be in a field and should they leave their heels at home?  Will there be a cocktail hour or will they need to entertain themselves between the ceremony & reception?  These are all things that will help your guests come prepared and able to really relax and enjoy the day with you.

Photo Credit: Kirstyn Marie Photography
Wedding programs are one of my very favorite details about a wedding day.  Whether you have individually printed programs or a stunning chalkboard sign at the entrance to the ceremony, providing your guests with a few details about your ceremony goes a long way!   You can introduce your bridal party to everyone with little snippets about how you all know each other and how they have supported your relationship with your fiance.  Your program is a great place to explain any special readings or unity ceremonies you might be including in your ceremony since some people may not be familiar with them.

Your program is also a really wonderful place to honor lost loved ones.  I’ve seen some of the most touching tributes to grandparents, parents, and siblings in wedding programs and I always enjoy seeing the guests’ slow smiles when they read over them.

Photo Credit: Shannon Moffit Photography
Taking these extra steps to make sure that your guests are well-informed really does make a huge difference in their experience on your wedding day.  And happy guests mean a happier day for the new couple!!

Be A Nice Bride: Review Your Vendors

Hey there friends!!!  Today’s Be A Nice Bride post is going to be short & sweet.  I just wanted to put a little reminder out there about how important it is to review your vendors after your wedding day.

So much of this industry is built on referrals and word of mouth.  And writing up a little blurb to post on The Knot or WeddingWire….or even on your vendor’s Facebook page, goes a really long way with helping their business grow!  It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy or detailed.  Taking five minutes to craft a quick note about how they met your expectations and made your wedding experience great really does mean the world to them.  We each put so much heart into what we’s always so awesome to hear that it meant something to our couples.

Reviews not only help your vendors book more business….they also help other brides-to-be book the RIGHT vendors.   A glowing review of how your photographer captured every important moment and emotion throughout your wedding day could be the difference between a bride booking your amazing photog and having an incredible experience….or booking a photographer that costs less but may not give them the warm & fuzzies on their wedding day.

So after you’re back from your honeymoon and working on those thank you notes...take a couple minutes to shout it from the rooftops that your vendors were fantastic!

Photo credit: Andrew & Tianna Photography // Thank You Sign: Water's Edge Design

Be A Nice Bride: Be Considerate of Your Coworkers

I'll be the very first person to admit that it's so easy {and wonderful!} to become close friends with your coworkers.  You likely spend 40+ hours together every week, you recap your weekends, you chat over lunches, you share a lot of the same stressors throughout the week.  You may even go out for a cocktail after a rough day.  You start to depend on each other and slowly, you become friends.

Then you get engaged and suddenly those lunch-time chats veer off into wedding land.  Your coworker is giving you feedback on your fiance's crazy, overbearing aunt.  She's weighing in on dress options, keeping you company while you run wedding errands on your lunch break.  She has now become pretty invested in your wedding planning.  And then comes the time when you're addressing wedding invitations....and your work pal notices they are not on your list.

Your coworker's feelings are inevitably going to be hurt if you involve them in so many of the wedding details and let them help you with planning, and then choose not to actually invite them to the wedding.  It's like having a friend over to help you cook a 5-course gourmet dinner, letting them smell the incredible food the whole time, and then expecting them to leave before appetizers.  OUCH!  If you don't plan to include your coworker on your guest list, DO NOT involve them in the wedding planning.

Another issue between work and wedding could arise when you use company time to plan your wedding.  This seems like common sense, but there's a good chance that, at some point, you could get caught up in making calls to vendors to set up appointments, sending emails to bridesmaids to coordinate bachelorette party details, and searching Pinterest for the perfect color of roses for your bouquet.  Before you know it, you've wasted the better part of a work day on wedding things and you're behind on your actual work.  This CANNOT HAPPEN.  We all know that wedding planning can be stressful enough without having to worry about getting reprimanded at work.  Or worse, potentially losing your job!

Do whatever you have to to set aside time specifically for wedding planning.  And make sure you have the resources to take care of this OUTSIDE of work.

One more thing to remember when you get engaged: Everyone is so happy for you.  And I mean that.  Your coworkers included.  However, no one wants to hear about your wedding plans CONSTANTLY.  Try to be considerate enough to ask your coworkers about things involving them as well.  Ask about their weekends, their grandkids, their trips with loved ones.  And LISTEN when they talk.  They'll be more apt to show their excitement for you too!

Be A Nice Bride: Be Kind to your Guests

You're getting married.  You have 157 people that have RSVP'ed that they are elated to be celebrating with you.  They're going to be spending money to take time off work.  They'll be purchasing dresses & suits to attend.  They'll be bringing a gift for you, maybe getting a babysitter, and booking a hotel room.  All to celebrate with YOU on your big day.

So....what can you do for them?  I've got a couple of ideas.

-  Don't keep them waiting.  Whether your guests traveled ten minutes down the road or took a day of flights to celebrate with you, you need to value their time.  Do whatever you can to make sure that they do not spend the majority of your wedding day waiting on you to show up.  This sounds like common sense, doesn't it?  But you might be surprised to learn that the most common complaint people have about weddings has nothing to do with the food or the bar or the music.  It's generally the fact that the couple was either late to starting the ceremony or took too long taking pictures between the ceremony and reception.  Be mindful of this.  Take measures ahead of time to talk with your planner and your photographer to minimize the time your guests are waiting on you to get the party started.  This is a bonus for you and your new husband too.  The sooner you get down the aisle and then to the reception, the sooner you can really start celebrating your new life together!!!  That's what this is all about anyways, right??

- Be prompt/sincere with your Thank You notes.  Yes, your guests know you've got a lot going on after the wedding.  But putting in a little extra effort and getting those thank you notes out in a timely manner {within 3 months according to Emily Post} really does make an impact.  People tend to remember the bride that was "too wrapped up in herself and her new husband" to write thank you notes when she should have.  Not only that, but make them as personal as possible.  Again, your guests know that you've got 157 notes to write.  And after a while, those words are all going to blend together and make zero sense to you.  But your guests can also spot a fill-in-the-blank thank you note from a mile away.  No they won't call you out on it.  But is that the impersonal impression you want to leave?  Probably not.

- Make sure they know what to expect.  Are you having an outdoor wedding in the dead of summer?  Or maybe an outdoor wedding on a brisk fall evening?  You may want to let your guests know so that they dress appropriately.  If you're having a wedding that is anything out of the ordinary {meaning not in a hotel ballroom}, do what you can to let your guests know ahead of time.  Female guests especially like to know what sort of footwear, dresses, coverups, etc. they should plan to wear.  Happy guests are the ones that are prepared and dressed for the environment they will be spending multiple hours in.  You can spread this information by including a small informative card in your invitations, adding a note on your wedding website, or even spreading it by word-of-mouth!

- Do what you can to keep them comfortable.  You've sent out the invitations and let everyone know that your wedding will be on the gorgeous waterfront in late August.  You're thinking incredible pictures on the dock and your guests are thinking sweltering heat and unrelenting mosquitoes.  If you have the means, be sure to prepare for things like this.  Rent misting fans to be spread out around your reception area.  Place bug spray in pretty containers near the bathrooms.  These tiny additions to your checklist will make a world of difference when it comes to the experience your guests have while they celebrate with you.