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Wedding Registry Tips

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

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Creating a wedding registry can be an overwhelming process. If you haven’t created one yet, you might be feeling pressure from your friends and family. Your wedding guests will want to get you something and will need a little guidance. Here is some advice for putting together your wedding registry.

Why You Should Register

Without a registry, you can end up with items you already have or ones you don’t need. Guests are by no means obligated to buy you something from your registry, but it does give them a good place to start.

When to Register

Try to have your registry completed at least four months before your wedding date. If you’ll be having an engagement party or bridal shower, consider having your registry completed before these events.

Where to Register

Select two to three stores to give your family and friends more options. If you register at more than one store, be sure to check your lists to make sure you haven’t registered for duplicate items. Here are some questions you should ask the retailer before registering:

  • What is the return/exchange policy?
  • How will the store keep track of your registry?
  • How quickly will items be taken off the registry once purchased?
  • How long will the registry remain active after your wedding date?
  • What kinds of services does the store offer if you register with them (online shopping, discounts, reward points, etc.)?
  • Are there any service charges or extra fees (e.g., for wrapping and shipping gifts)?
  • Does the store offer “completion deals” or other incentives? (Some merchants will offer a generous discount on unpurchased registry items.)

What to Put on Your Registry

If you have been living with your future spouse for a long period of time, you might feel like you already have most of the kitchen and household items you need. Are there any items you can upgrade? For example, are you using an old hand-me-down suitcase that weighs 13 pounds even when it’s empty? Think about items you can upgrade or items you wish you could replace.

Don’t feel obligated to register for traditional items (like china) if you think you won’t use them. Think about your everyday life and the items that will get the most use. A quality set of everyday dinnerware might be more practical for you, and that’s totally fine.

What will your future look like? Do you and your spouse plan to entertain or host holiday dinners? Do you plan to go backpacking or start a new hobby together? Think about things you like to do or are planning to do in the future and what kinds of items you’ll need for those activities.

Review your guest list and select a variety of gifts in different price ranges (under $75 and over $200). Generally, pick more items than you have guests. Some guests may opt to give a group gift, so don’t feel bad about picking big-ticket items.

It can be very tempting to go crazy with the bar code scanner, but be sure to research the items you are choosing, especially big-ticket items, so that you select quality items that will last.

How to Let Wedding Guests Know Where You Are Registered

Your wedding website is a great place to tell people where you are registered. Also tell your immediate family and everyone in your wedding party; they can help spread the word to your guests. It is poor etiquette to put your wedding registry information on your wedding invitation or save-the-dates—don’t do this!

Alternative Registries

Times are changing, and while it’s still considered poor etiquette to ask for money, financial registries are becoming more popular and make your guests feel like they are contributing to a specific purpose. Here are some financial (or “experience”) registries to consider: Tendr, Traveler’s Joy, NewlyWish, Honeyfund.com, and Zola. If you’d rather ask guests to donate to a charity, check out JustGive.org.

Remember…

Write thank-you notes! Keep track of the items you receive and who gifted them to you so that you can write personalized thank-you notes. The sooner you send them out, the better. You can wait until after your wedding to send them, but don’t forget!

Photo by Brooke Lark

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Weddings by Kathleen Honored for Excellence with 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award®

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL – January 10, 2017 – WeddingWire, the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and event industry, announced Weddings by Kathleen as a winner of the esteemed 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® for Wedding Planner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

The Couples’ Choice Awards recognize the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. The prestigious awards are given to the top local wedding professionals across more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Weddings by Kathleen. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency, and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

“The Couples’ Choice Awards’ ninth year features one of the most impressive groups of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals yet,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “It is our honor to work with high-caliber merchants, such as Weddings by Kathleen, who not only make a couple’s big day possible, but also contribute to the more than 2.5 million U.S. reviews represented on WeddingWire. We congratulate all of this year’s winners on their achievements.”

As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, Weddings by Kathleen is highlighted on WeddingWire, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals in the United States.

Weddings by Kathleen is thrilled to be one of the top wedding planners in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on WeddingWire. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We truly value all of our clients and appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn a 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award. Learn more about the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® here.

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers around the world are able to read over 3 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses globally. It provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including Bodas.net, Casamentos.com.br, Matrimonio.com and more. The company employs more than 800 and maintains global headquarters in Washington, DC and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

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Things Guests Don’t Like About Weddings

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

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Simply put, Wedding Guests don’t like these 17 things about weddings…

  1. Bride and Groom asking for CASH Gifts
  2. Very Specific Dress Code
  3. Too large of a gap between the Ceremony and the Cocktail Hour/Reception
  4. Wedding date planned during a Holiday Weekend
  5. Long Readings at Ceremony
  6. Social Media Bans
  7. Long Lines at the Bar
  8. Outdoor weddings planned mid summer
  9. Too many speeches and never ending speeches
  10. Receiving lines
  11. Seating guests with complete strangers or with guests who have nothing in common with them
  12. Too many Traditional Dances
  13. Bad Music, No Music, No Entertainment
  14. Really Loud Music
  15. Poorly Timed Cake Cutting
  16. Games or Slideshows (Save those for showers and Rehearsal Dinners)
  17. And Most Importantly, NEVER getting an opportunity to speak to the Bride and Groom

Photo credit: Domino Arts Photography and Video

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Seating Your Wedding Guests: Open Seating or Assigned Tables?

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

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Open Seating

Open seating at weddings means there are no table or seat assignments. Guests will enter the reception room and choose a seat at any table.

Open seating may seem as if it would be fun and spontaneous for your guests, but you don’t want your guests to feel stranded without somewhere welcoming to sit, or rushed into claiming their seats. With open seating, it will take longer for your guests to seat themselves. If you choose to have open seating, I would highly suggest having at least one extra table for every 100 guests or at least 4-6 extra place settings (per 100 guests) than the expected guest count. This allows the last guests who enter the reception room to find seats together and avoid any awkwardness.

Assigned Tables

Many couples have assigned tables for their guests. The bride and groom create a seating chart or provide escort cards that assign a specific table for guests to sit at. For example, a seating chart would have the name of each guest with a table name or table number listed next to the guest’s name. The guest would go to that specific table and choose a seat.

A Wedding Planner’s Recommendation

As a wedding planner, I encourage clients to assign tables. I recommend you use table numbers and escort cards and plan a seating chart for your wedding guests. Guests will feel more comfortable knowing where they are going to sit. Having a well-thought-out seating plan helps avoid the “running of the bulls” moment or a mini family feud as guests scramble for their seats.

Figuring out where to seat guests is probably one of the hardest tasks of planning your wedding. And you are the one who has to do it, since it would be difficult for a wedding planner to assign guest tables or seats, since we don’t know the relationship you have with your guests or the relationship they have with one another. It may be much easier to just have open seating, but it will be well worth your time and effort to assign tables and make a seating chart.

Your main goal is to make sure your guests are as comfortable as possible and are having a good time. A well-planned seating chart can help you accomplish this.

Seating Chart Tips

Make a seating chart according to your venue. For help, you can go to theknot.com and weddingwire.com; they both have great online charts you can use. You can also do it the old-fashioned way, and just get a large poster board and Post-it Notes, draw out a diagram of your venue (your venue can often provide one for you), and then label each table with a number. You will need to know how many seats will go at each table, and then start putting names to each table with the Post-it Notes.

Start early. You can always start to put your seating chart together as your RSVPs start to come in. If you know which guests are definitely going to be at the wedding (e.g., immediate family, the wedding party), you can start early with those people and then add the others as your RSVP cards arrive. Or if you prefer, you can always just wait until you get all your RSVP cards to start your seating chart.

Know the difference between escort cards and place cards. Escort cards tell your guests which table they are sitting at (e.g., “Mr. & Mrs. Ken Smith Table No. 1”) and are usually placed just outside the reception room entrance. A place card assigns your guest to a specific table and seat at that table; the place card is to be placed directly on the table at the guest’s actual place setting. If guests have chosen a specific dinner entrée on their RSVP card, their entrée choice is often shown on the place card with a small icon or a specific color. The catering staff will use this information to serve the correct dinner choice to guests. Place cards are not necessary, though, and another thing to keep in mind is that they don’t always allow your guests to sit by who they want to sit by at their table.

Assigning seats. When you sit down to make your seating chart, try to seat guests at a table with at least one person they know or with people they may have something in common with. Avoid putting a single guest at a table with all married couples. Try to put college friends together, uncles and aunts together, and so on. Always be aware of who you are putting in the corners, the back of the room, close to the bride and groom’s table, and near the band or DJ.

If you are having children at your wedding, make sure they are close to the dance floor and with their parents or an adult.  You can seat children together for everyone’s benefit, but make sure they are under adult supervision. A great idea is to give small children something to entertain themselves with at the reception tables (e.g., coloring books, crayons, stickers). Get creative and give them a small box or bag of goodies to help entertain them during the wedding. Try to stay away from food items such as crackers or cookies that can make a big mess, or any kind of candy or food containing lots of sugar.

And one more word of advice: don’t tell anyone their assigned seats before the wedding; let them be surprised!

Happy planning!

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Bridal Party Roles

Posted by on Jul 16, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

bridal party roles

Your bridal party is the supporting cast of your wedding. Each attendant has a specific job and obligation to fulfill. Here is a breakdown of the traditional roles for everyone in your bridal party.

Maid or Matron of Honor

Your maid or matron of honor (MOH) is your main bridesmaid, and she will give you the most help during the planning of your wedding and on your wedding day. Traditionally, your MOH will coordinate a bridal shower and bachelorette party for you. She will help you shop for your wedding gown and attend dress fittings (and learn how to bustle your gown). She will also help keep all of your attendants in the loop. On your wedding day, she will help you get dressed, arrange your veil and train during the processional and recessional, and hold your bouquet during the ceremony. She will sign the marriage license as your witness after the ceremony. She will also help bustle your gown after the ceremony, and she may say a toast at the reception.

Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids help the bride and maid of honor with wedding-related duties as needed. For example, they may help the bride with her invitations (e.g., addressing and stuffing envelopes), any DIY projects for the wedding, and shop with the bride for her wedding gown. Bridesmaids typically help plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party with the maid of honor, and they may be expected to help contribute to the cost.

Typically, the bride’s attendants are responsible for paying for their own attire, lodging, travel and transportation costs, and hair and makeup.

Best Man

The best man is responsible for holding the wedding rings at the ceremony. He’s also in charge of organizing the bachelor party and helping the groomsmen coordinate their formalwear fitting. The best man will sign the marriage license as a witness and may say a toast at the reception. The groom may delegate other tasks to his best man, such as taking the groom to the ceremony or reception site, making sure the newlyweds’ transportation is ready, and packing or returning items after the reception.

Groomsmen

The groomsmen will assist the best man in planning and hosting the bachelor party, and they may be expected to help contribute to the cost. Groomsmen can act as ushers and can greet and seat guests for the ceremony.

Typically, the groom’s attendants are responsible for paying for their own attire, lodging, and travel and transportation costs. They all need to be fitted for their formalwear and pick up their clothing from the formalwear shop.

Flower Girl

The flower girl (usually 4–8 years old) walks ahead of the bride down the aisle. She may drop flower petals down the aisle, or she may carry a small bouquet or basket of flowers.

Ring Bearer

The ring bearer (usually 4–8 years old) walks down the aisle alongside the flower girl or alone right before the flower girl. He can carry a sign or a ring pillow with fake bands tied to it.

The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer are expected to pay for the children’s attire for the wedding, and the parents are invited to the rehearsal dinner.

Junior Bridesmaid

A junior bridesmaid (usually 9–13 years old) will wear a dress that is age-appropriate and usually in the same color and fabric as the bridesmaids’ dresses.

Junior Groomsman

A junior groomsman (usually 9–13 years old) will wear attire that matches the groomsmen’s clothing.

Junior bridesmaids and groomsmen typically do not attend the bachelorette or bachelor parties. Their parents are responsible for their costs to be in the wedding.

As the bride and groom, you should be flexible and sensitive to your attendants’ time and expenses. Don’t be upset if you do not receive a gift from them; remember that they are already spending a lot of money to be a part of your wedding. Be extremely grateful, honor them in the ceremony program, and give them a thoughtful thank-you note and gift.

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

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Priceless Moment, Priceless Memories, Key West, FL, June 2016

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

Wedding Photo

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Kathleen from Weddings by Kathleen celebrates 38 years of marriage in June, 2016, and visits the place she and her husband were married in 38 years later to the day, in Key West, Florida. Priceless moment, priceless memories!

 

 

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Weddings by Kathleen at Work

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

Weddings by Kathleen at work (click on link to see photos). Weddings by Kathleen will organize, attend and run your ceremony rehearsal with or without your wedding officiant  so your wedding ceremony is picture perfect in every way.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1195602297139328.1073741845.243873272312240&type=1&l=7ef6832e99

 

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Wedding Planners, Wedding Designers & Wedding Coordinators: What’s the Difference?

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

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So many titles and different job descriptions… what is the difference between the three?

Wedding planners are all about planning the logistics of your wedding. They start with you at the beginning of planning your big day. They help you select your venue, work on your budget, handle all your vendor contract negotiations, and execute your wedding vision on the day of your event.

Wedding designers work specifically with you on your floor plans, flowers, linens, wedding attire, lighting, furniture, and décor. Their job is all about the aesthetics.

Wedding coordinators specialize in day-of or month-of service. They come in after you have secured your venue and vendors. They create a detailed wedding day timeline; confirm all your vendor contracts; and coordinate with all your vendors, the venue(s), and the entire bridal party to ensure a flawless, smooth wedding event. They focus on all the details to make sure everyone is on the same page and on schedule. A wedding coordinator gives brides and grooms the opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy their wedding day stress-free.

Photo by Ben Rosett

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Blocking Hotel Rooms for Your Out-of-Town Guests

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

IMG_4650If you are planning a wedding, you most likely will need to block hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests. I’ve found a company that has created a highly customized no-cost service that oversees the hotel room block process on your behalf. WhereWillTheyStay offers two types of services, as follows:

Their Signature Service is a free service. They will identify and negotiate rates at up to 5 hotels for clients, and these options can include your requested properties or ones they identify based on given parameters.

They  also have a Premium Service for $149. This service level includes looking into up to 15 hotel options, in multiple rounds if needed.

You would need to block at least 10 rooms per night to qualify for the discount pricing that they would offer.

They will do all the research and work for you, and they will send you a customized proposal. Once your hotel agreement is signed, you will receive a complete “Where Will They Stay” packet with specialized booking instructions that you can send to all of your out-of-town guests.

To get started, go to their website and fill out their Request-ionnaire. Please let them know that Kathy Kepler, Wedding Planner, from Weddings By Kathleen referred you. My email address is weddingsbykathleen@gmail.com and my phone number is (954) 434-9029. They will take good care of you!

Here is their link: http://wherewilltheystay.com

Happy Planning! :)

Photo by Markus Spike

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11 Tips from a Pro Wedding Planner

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments

IMG_4429Planning a wedding is expensive. You want everything to go perfectly, and you want your guests to have a great time. Here is a list of tips from a seasoned wedding planning pro to help you during the process.

1. When selecting your wedding date, think of your guests. Planning your wedding on a holiday weekend might seem like a great idea, but your guests might think the date was inconvenient.

2. Hire professional vendors. Keep your friends and family as guests at your wedding, not as your vendors.

3. Don’t use your ceremony chairs for your reception or spend money to hire people to move the chairs, just rent a second set of chairs. You don’t want your reception to start late because the chairs have not been set up in time.

4. Try to avoid a cash bar at your wedding. If your funds are limited, offer a signature drink, champagne or prosecco for toasts, and wine and beer for the reception. Your guests should not have to pay for anything (including bar tips) at your wedding.

5. When creating your seating chart, it is important to try to sit guests with people they know or have something in common with if at all possible.

6. Limit the number of toasts to a maximum of three or four. Ask that toasts be no longer than three minutes. Wedding toasts are a special part of your wedding, but too many toasts that seem to never end will quickly bore your guests.

7. Find a videographer you can afford and book one. Once your wedding is over, you will have the memories and the photos, but there isn’t anything to replace a video of the entire event, you saying your wedding vows, your first dance, etc. The wedding will go by quickly, and you will be able to relive it all over again with a wedding video and see things you may have missed on your wedding day.

8. Make an effort to say hello to each of your guests and thank them for coming to your wedding. People have traveled far and spent a lot of money to attend your wedding; they deserve a personal hello and thank-you from the bride and groom. Just don’t get held up with one guest for too long so that you have time to greet everyone.

9. Hire a professional for your hair and makeup. If there is one day in your life to do this, it is on your wedding day. Don’t forget to include a trial run to make sure you get the look you want.

10. Make sure you hire enough staff. For example, if your caterer or wedding planner suggests hiring two servers per 10 guests, then hire two servers. You need enough staff to serve food and drinks, as well as handle clearing the tables, making sure glasses are full, etc. If you want your wedding to run smoothly, then make sure you hire enough staff to help make that possible.

11. Hire a wedding planner. Okay, I may be biased on this, but trust me, not hiring at least a Day of/Month of Coordinator is a bad idea. A wedding planner will work with you and your vendors very closely to design a detailed time line from beginning to end. They will be on-site for the entire day to make sure everything you planned for your wedding will go off without a hitch. Word to the wise: do not hire anyone who offers to be there only on the day of the wedding. A true Day of/Month of Coordinator needs to be involved months before the wedding so that they can be useful on your wedding day. Anyone who just shows up on the wedding day will have no idea what is going on. Also, don’t confuse a venue coordinator with a wedding planner, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

The success of your wedding depends largely on whom you decide to hire as your vendors and keeping in mind your guests to ensure everyone has a great time. If you have questions or need help planning your South Florida wedding, contact Kathy.

Photo by Ben Rosett

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