Who is taking care of you on your wedding day?

Your wedding day is huge!

It is a big day, and you are a big deal. If you are used to being the go to person for everyone else, this is going to be extremely hard for you. Have someone help you, and make sure that person is an expert at delegating. I am not talking about a maid of honor, or Best Man here, I am talking about the person keeping them on track and on task. I am not talking about your wedding planner, and I am not talking about the venue contact or coordinator. Your point person is good at delegating. They are there to take care of you on your wedding day.

You need a CEO for your wedding day.

The wedding planner sets things in motion and executes the plan. You need someone who can catch things that fall through the cracks, or handle situations that come up. Why? Because you are the center of attention. You are a celebrity for the day. To some that will sound exciting, to others it will sound exhausting, and still others have no idea what that means. people and activities will pull you in a half dozen directions at all times on your wedding day. You will see guests you haven’t seen in years, you will meet some for the first time, you will want to catch up with people , and of course you will want to dance!

Go ahead, pull that thread

A simple single issue is no problem, but think of these problems like loose threads. pull on one and things begin to unravel. you stop to say goodbye to a relative. Like a snowball they start coming over one after the other. In the meantime you are missing sunset photos, or your favorite song on the dance floor. Your wedding CEO will keep you on track. Perhaps your bustle is not cooperating. Wedding CEO to the rescue. You have someone ready at the last minute to grab the errant relative who didn’t think you needed them in the picture. Your wedding CEO will run and grab the jacket, or corsage, or purse, or show aunt Matilda where the special seat is that was reserved for her. You are now prepared to be pampered!

Oh, like that’s gonna happen…

You may snicker or scoff at these, but that is the point. You don’t know what last minute thing will need attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you have a go to person for that? Maybe it’s an in-law, or your mom’s best friend whom you call aunt.   No matter who you choose, all they have to be is loyal and super dependable. There is no other requirement. Your wedding CEO will help the officiant run the ceremony rehearsal. Have your CEO arrive early to the ceremony site, and to the reception site. Your wedding CEO should ensure favors are laid out, the gift table is just right, the guest book table is properly set up and adorned. They can even make sure the champagne is poured for the toast.

That’s a wrap!

Decorating the reception hall or ceremony site yourself? Put your wedding CEO in charge of decorating and cleanup. This is your day. Unexpected things happen. The more things you can prep for ahead of time, the more distractions and interruptions you can avoid when you delegate someone to take care of it. Enjoy your wedding day to the fullest, you’ve prepared for it properly, and you’ve earned it!

Now, if all this feels a bit overwhelming, perhaps it would help to consult a professional Wedding Planner.  They’ve been there, and seen it all. Some of my personal favorites are:

Paula Cano/ A Family Affair – https://www.afamilyaffairmaine.com/

Meghna Torrieri/ B Merry Events – http://www.bmerryevents.com/

Lani Toscano – https://www.lanitoscanodesign.com/

Pinch Me Planning – https://www.pinchmeplanning.com/

Wendy Caron/ Dragonfly Events – http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/

Catherine Fairbanks Cliffe – http://www.destinationmaineweddings.com/

 

~Mike

Wedding budget part 2

In my last post we walked through the budgeting process. There were many great tips on wedding budgeting and links to my favorite wedding coordinators. I also listed the budget numbers for a real Maine wedding. In the interests of full disclosure, that example was my wedding in 2014, and represented a fairly basic, no frills wedding. In this post we are going to look at another wedding, more typical of my clients in many respects. I will point out some differences and some reasons why you may make different choices based on your wedding priorities.

The Wedding Budget

Wedding Service Actual
and/or ProductsBudgetPrice
CEREMONY  
Ceremony Site Fee (Courtyard) included in pkg
  
Officiant  $400.00
Marriage License $40
Music (incl in venue pkg)  
   
Catholic Church $600.00
catholic marriage prep $100.00
church tips & Music. Piano 175, singer 150, Fthr, dan 125, alter server 20  $470
RECEPTION  
Room Rental Fee  Included
Venu & Food & Beverage / Vista (F&B $13,000++)$10,000.00$13,250
Wedding Night Suite incl in pkg  Included in pkg
Cake included with venu  Included in pkg
Specialty Linens  Included in pkg
Flowers $1,072.92
Photography $2800
Videography $2,900
DJ/MC – Lighting Technician (delivery, setup, & strike) 4 Intelligent light fixtures, 10 LED lights, 2 truss pillars covered with spandex featuring pillar up-lights (4 Hr Pkg), Add’l Hr(s)(1) – $850.00 Star Maze(1) – $350.00 LED Light(s)(10) – $1,000.00 Video Screen & 3000 Lumens Projector w/ Dress Kit(1) – $1,000.00 (4 to 10 pm) $2,507.35 pkg price
Invitations & Save the dates DIY $525
Stamps $175
Guest Book/Cake Knife/Glasses  
Gown / Veil /  Accessories (not to include in budget) $1,083.00
Rings/bands $1975
Bridal party gifts/groom part gifts $175
Tuxedo Rental $175
Valet Parking   Included
Vendor Meals  Included
Limousine $600.00
Make-up  $500.00
Hair  Included w/makeup
Favors $183.00
Wedding planner $1,200.00
Dance Floor  Included
Cash Bar & Champagne Toast  Included
Honeymoon $2,687
wedding website $0
save the dates $0
   
GRAND TOTAL $33,418.27

Where did the Money go?

This was a bigger wedding, with about 175 guests and a budget of $30,000. It was also an off-season date wedding, so they were actually able to get some great deals. In fact, between the venue, DJ, Photographer, and Videographer, they were able to save nearly $8,000.00. All of their chosen wedding professionals, including the venue were well established professionals referred by friends. The only thing they went over budget on was the venue, and it was well over their budget, but in the brides words “Once we saw it, there was just nothing else that would do”. The best part for them is that the videographer was a gift from the parents, almost certainly made as a concession for having 2 wedding ceremonies. The rest of the overage was made up with wedding gift money.

What is Off-Season?

Off-season dates vary around the country, but November through April are generally considered off-season dates in Maine, as well as Fridays, Sundays, Holiday Mondays, and select dates such as the weekend prior to Christmas, or the weekend after Thanksgiving. This wedding was the week before Christmas at a resort hotel.

As I mentioned, the couple in this example were catholic with may non-religious friends, so they had 2 ceremonies. Beyond that, and the lighting effects they chose, there is very little that could be considered extravagant. They had a cash bar that was included in the hotel’s package with a minimum total tab, which was cleared easily. Champagne toast was also included in the package offered by the hotel. Check out my Money and Alcohol blog for more tips on saving at the bar while treating your guests right.

The venue costs how much?!?!

When pricing a venue, always ask what is included. This is what makes the comparison of this wedding with my own so illustrative. We paid $1,500 just for a location for our wedding to take place. Everything else was extra – the caterer, linens and associated rentals, decorating, everything. Our wedding had 100 guests with a total venue, catering, rentals, bar & champagne costs of over $9,000.00. This wedding had a space with everything included for 175 people for $4,000 more, and the majority of that cost is for feeding the extra 75 guests. Some of that fee my hinge upon food choices.

How many guests are you expecting?

The number of guests you invite is the biggest variable cost of your wedding. Double your guest count, and you will significantly increase the cost of your wedding.  It will double your invitation costs, your food costs, sometimes it affects facility cost. Doubling your guest count will double any costs presented to you as a per person cost. If you can DIY any of these, invitations, place cards, favors, seating charts, etc, you can save a nice bit of money that could be put to a static or fixed cost.

Fixed costs

We’ve discussed variable costs, the costs that rise and fall based on your guest count. but what about fixed or static costs? Your Videographer, Officiant, Photographer, DJ, Limo, wedding dress, photo booth, and so on. These are the same price no matter how many people are invited. There may be slight variations, but nothing like the variations that come with per person pricing. With these, choose based on quality, value, and priority.

More to come..

Now we have the middle and lower middle tiers covered. I will do my best to furnish examples of a $10,000 wedding, as well as a $60,000+ wedding to round out the topic. and even more if I can get them. Remember I am including the costs of Honeymoon, rings, formal wear and wedding gowns in these examples. These are ancillary and not necessarily part of the average couples core wedding budget. When possible I am including these figures to give you a full picture of what a wedding costs.  These figures are provided by the grace of my clients, so I can’t predict specifically when I will get the next in this series up, but hopefully soon. In the meantime, stay tuned, as there is so much else to talk about!

What are your experiences?

I would LOVE to hear your wedding budget stories! Please let me know what experiences you have had, and any similarities or differences you may have had. you can send me your thoughts by email at mike@wickedgooddj.com if you would like. As always, the more information we can share the better. I can’t wait to here your story!

Setting your Wedding Budget

I recently revamped a 2016 post entitled /wedding-client-meetings/in honor of the new year. This was one of my first posts and the title no longer fits the article as it has evolved over the past 2 – 3 years. It started as a primer for client meetings, and turned into a primer for what to do from the moment you recover from saying “Yes, I Will marry you”. In that post, I mentioned my next post would be about money, the container for this one of a kind celebration you are about to plan. I’ve adjusted my strategy to better serve you. Instead of a single blog post, this is the first of several showcasing real Maine wedding budgets. My aim here is to help you see how others do it, and how your tastes, preferences, and needs can best be served.

Your Budget is your container

If that container is a glass, think about it as a glass of beer. I specifically use beer for this example because of the foam at the top. You need to leave room for additions, subtractions, cost over runs, and the just plain unexpected. So you have the actual beer that represents your ideal wedding budget, and the foam/suds/head, what ever you want to call it that represents the unknowns. Everything should have a range you want to stay in. So when you set a budget, have a buffer. On a $30,000 wedding (just below the current average of $35000, but easier to work with) Your buffer should be between $3,000 – $6,000 so +/- %15

The fun part

Start with the fun part. Grab a couple adult beverages, and let your imagination run wild with all you can ever want for your wedding. Load it right up, this is your fantasy wedding day, make sure to include the total number of guests you would invite if you could. When you have this list built, pick out the musts, the priorities. Things that will absolutely make or break your wedding day. This will become your first draft of your lower range. Once you have that lower range, sleep on it, revisit it and prioritize what order all of these items on the wish list should be in for you. This will come in handy as you revisit the list and have to subtract, or have found a way to add something to your must haves. Now I am going to politely crush all of your dreams with this….

A Real Maine Wedding Budget

We’ll do this with a very basic $18,000 sample wedding. Initial budget was $15K, mom gifted the honeymoon, and the rest of the overage was made up through wedding gifts. While this is about half the average budget, it’s a real look at a couple who just wanted the basics, but wanted them done right.

Venue 1 (church) $500 + Flowers $350 = $850 total

Venue 2 Room With a View at Portland Company Complex $1,500

Catering for 100 ppl including Hors D’ Oeuvres and rentals $6,000.00

Bar – Drink tickets for guests $800

Photographer $2700

DJ $1500

Dress $750

Groom suit $200

Limo $500

Honeymoon $2,200.00 (not including pocket money)

Favors, Gifts, & Misc. $1000

Total: $18,000.00

Priorities

Now of course cost and quality go hand in hand, and some people have different priorities than others. In the above example, the bride was not a huge fan of flowers, which gave her room to spend elsewhere. I’m sure this will apply to you as well. Book your priority pieces first, or at least make a significant effort to research the pieces you consider priorities to know how much of your budget that priority will consume.

Gifts

Sometimes a relative will gift a vendor to you such as Videographer, DJ, Honeymoon, open bar, etc. Whatever you do, make sure you are part of the decision to hire the person you want for that role. Remind the relative that your piece of mind is paramount, and while you appreciate the gesture, you want to meet and get a comfort level with the wedding professional they have offered to pay for so you can relax knowing that it really is taken care of. 

First Base

You can use this as a basis for your budgeting. Do a little research, and don’t be afraid to inquire with people you feel may be out of your price range. Sometimes the difference in in customer service. In other cases the difference is in technical expertise. Quite often, there are personalities that just connect, or don’t, and the decision is made right there. If at the end of the day you are comfortable with the choice you have made, that is what matters. The whole point is for you to enjoy your wedding celebration without worrying about anything but having a great time with your friends and family.

Higher wedding budgets

More money gives you more venue options, allows for more guests, allows for options like photo booths or uplights, wedding bands, open bars, more flowers, you name it. I will be posting more Real Maine Wedding Budgets so you can get a sense of what is happening out in the marketplace. Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments.

If all of this is overwhelming, reach out to a wedding planner such as

Meghan Torierri – http://www.bmerryevents.com/

Catherine Fairbanks-Cliffe – http://www.destinationmaineweddings.com/

Lani Toascano – https://www.lanitoscanodesign.com/

Christina @ Pinch Me Planning – https://www.pinchmeplanning.com/

Wendy Caron http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/

Wedding Planners are not expensive, they are priceless. If you have a full time job, and your fiance has a full time job, hiring a planner can make your life so much easier. If you are from away and need a central contact who really knows the area and the offerings in that area, these planners are priceless. Please tell them I sent you!

Thanks for checking in, and I will see you in my next blog post

 

~Mike

Love in Lovell

Jill & Alex, How it all began

Jill & Alex meet in high school. All they knew at the time is that they enjoyed each others company. At one point Alex asked her out, and took her to a restaurant that had been a favorite of her families for years! From there things just kept getting better. In a quiet moment at home a few years later, Alex popped the question. He did it right, got down on one knee and surprised the heck out of her (in the best possible way!).

Pleasant Point Inn, When you’re here, you’re family!

Now here we are at the Pleasant Point Inn on Kezar lake in Lovell ME. The inn has been in Jill’s family since 1900! I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jill and Alex, but hadn’t meet them in person til this moment. They and their friends and family were so warm and welcoming. They made me feel right at home. Jill’s grandfather offered me a cookie when he greeted me at the door. I knew at that moment this was going to be an epic day 🙂

Jill was beautiful, and Alex was sharply dressed as well. I had the opportunity to work with the super talented Brittany Jones of 207 Weddings who, along with her team captured everything in amazing photos and video.

Lakeside Ceremony

The ceremony was on the side lawn of the Inn with the breathtaking view of Kezar Lake just feet away. The bridesmaids came down the aisle to an instrumental version of “A Day without Rain” by Enya. After a brief pause the brides dad walked her down the aisle to the instrumental version of Haley Reinhart’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”.

The ceremony was sweet and emotional with a few light moments courtesy of their officiant Price Hutchins. After a kiss The new Mr & Mrs England were formally presented to their guests and they walked up the aisle to an instrumental version of “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. It was a chili, but absolutely beautiful day. Even still guests were as much inside as outside enjoying all the beauty and elegance Pleasant Point Inn and Kezar Lake have to offer.

Let the Party Begin!

When the time came, guests were invited into the ballroom, champagne was poured, The bridal party was introduced with the newlyweds coming in to “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson. When they got to the dance floor the bride laid her flowers down on the table while the groomsmen did a sweet dance step with the groom, and then The new Mr & Mrs Alex and Jill England took to the dance floor for their very first dance as husband and wife to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce.

Deception at the reception

Alex handed his bride over to her dad for their dance. The chicken dance started, played for a few seconds, long enough for the bride burst out laughing, and the correct song began playing, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. It was a nice light moment. Next it was Alex’s turn to dance with his mom, and it was only fair that he get pranked as well. As they took to the dance floor, “Hit The Road Jack” began playing. Everyone laughed including his mother Pamela, while Alex looked a bit surprised, and the correct song began – “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. this was definitely one of my favorite parts of any wedding I’ve been in

To the Newlyweds!

The toasts followed. Best man Christopher Griffin began with a masterful presentation. Maid of Honor Emily O’Connor followed with a sometimes emotional, heartfelt toast. With that, dinner was served. A bountiful feast to be sure. The energy was high, and the guests would be ready to dance. Sure enough, as the dinner music gets more modern and peppy and we get into Motown and early 70’s toes start tapping, heads start bopping, and voila, they are dancing!

Explosive experience

We take a brief break as loud booms begin outside… Fireworks! The guests all head outside for an amazing fireworks display. Fairly short, maybe 10-15 minutes, but just awesome! Everyone came back in, Alex and Jill cut their wedding cake, and we danced like crazy people to everything from Grand Funk’s Some Kind of Wonderful to Prince Royce. It was a grand evening, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

Happily Ever After…

Congratulations Jill & Alex! Thank you for asking me to be a part of such a very special day. I wish you all the best and hope you will stay in touch!

~Mike

Married at Merepoint!

Setting the Scene for a coastal Maine wedding

It was early afternoon at Merepoint in Brunswick Maine early on September 15, 2018 for Ben and Grace’s wedding. There were orange tiger prints leading the way to the point, and the yacht club. The view of the Atlantic ocean on the point was breathtaking. Mostly smaller boats passed by as the warm sun beat down.

About 4:15, fog socked us in, and stayed for the duration of the day. It was a fitting setting for a Captain to marry his Clemson Tiger superfan bride. The energy was electric! You could feel it all over the point. Today was going to be an amazing day, and no amount of fog had any chance to stop it!

A foggy day in Brunswick town

Even with the fog, and in a rather enchanting way because of the fog, the setting for the ceremony was beautiful. Guests arrived by bus. The groomsmen gathered, and soft music played as we awaited the bridesmaids. There was no guessing on their arrival as the bright red double cab 4×4 pickup pulled up with the bright orange Clemson banner waving.

Ben and their officiant strode down to the tip of the point. The bridesmaids and groomsmen paired up for their journey down the aisle to the Piano Guys version of Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars followed by Grace and her dad, an equally ardent Tigers fan, coming down the aisle to The Piano Guys version of Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. After a beautiful heartfelt ceremony, the new Mr & Mrs Ben and Grace Bailey led the way up the aisle to the triumphant horns of You Are The Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne. They and their bridal party hung back to grab a few photos while the guests adjourned to the yacht club for cocktails.

The warmth of friends and family

The fog brought a chill with it, but friends and family of the newlyweds flowed freely as did the drinks and laughter, keeping the atmosphere light and warm. When the time was right, Alane and Nicky from Salty Sea event planning gathered all of the guests for photographer Sara Jane to capture a photo of everyone on the massive porch of the yacht club before everyone gathered under the beautifully lit and decorated clear tent provided by Robyn from Maine Event Decor.

Let the celebration begin! To the newlyweds!

Once the guests were seated comfortably, the bridle party and the new Mr & Mrs Ben and Grace Bailey were introduced to I Gotta Feeling by the Blackeyed Peas. Moments later, the Clemson Tiger Rag played. The father of the bride Mark Kirshe took the microphone for a dynamic, yet very touching speech and toast. The best man, younger brother of the groom, followed up quite nicely. Finally the Matron of honor, sister of the bride, herself just married in the same location 3 months earlier. Each gave a sweet, funny and not too long tribute and toast to Ben and Grace. Now it was time for Coastal Critters to take over, getting everyone fed, and not just fed, they were treated to lobster, steak and a plethora of grilled veggies, it was a feast for the ages!

Let there be dancing!

As dinner wound down, guests began filling the Yacht club. Soon after Ben and Grace took to the dance floor to You Make it Easy by Jason Aldean. Ben then handed his beautiful bride over to her dad Mark. They then danced to Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl. Ben then escorted his mom to the dance floor. They danced to I Hope You Dance by Leanne Womack followed up by one more rousing rendition of Clemson’s Tiger Rag! The already packed dance floor buzzed with energy!

There were a couple of breaks. One for the uncle of the bride to offer a humorous toast and presentation to the newlyweds. The other break was for the newlyweds to cut their wedding cake in front of the beautiful Yacht Club fireplace. After the cake was cut, dancing continued and the energy stayed high right til the very last song. What an amazing day from start to finish!

Thank you Ben and Grace for asking me to be a part of your wedding day. It was my honor and pleasure!

Sincerely, Michael J Mahoney, your DJ