Wedding Vendors

The Offline Wedding Challenge... Can YOU Do It??

What if you were brave enough or crazy enough or loony enough or coo coo enough to take your wedding and your wedding planning offline? Like no online anything... No online planning. No finding your wedding vendors online, no Pinterest (yikes!), no free advice (including mine, and I’d fucking miss you, but sometimes you have to let go of the people you love), nothing. I mean holy shit, how would that even work? How would you manage to plan your wedding without these tools, these helpful tips, these “things” we’ve become so dependent on? Seriously, how the fuck did our parents do it? And well? Right? But, something tells me you’d find a way, and maybe, just maybe you’d even like it.

Bridey, I realize what I am asking you to do. And, frankly, I don’t know how possible it is because we’ve all become so accustom to finding anything, and pretty much everything we need, want and don’t want with a swipe of a finger. Myself included!! So, why am I asking you to make it harder on yourself? How could I possibly ask such a HUGE “ask” of you during such a stressful time in your life? I mean, planning a wedding is hard enough, right? So much to do, so many details, so many things…

Well, I’m 100% convinced that taking your wedding offline will bring the humanity back into planning. You will have the opportunity to really connect with your vendors, your family, your friends and even your sig other. We have become so disconnected because of the ease of gathering information, that even a friendly phone call to inquire about flowers or catering or wedding cake can make you feel good about your choices; good about people in general. You’ll get a feeling that you won’t get by filling out a questionnaire online. You’ll get to FEEL. And, hopefully that feeling will be one of excitement and joy. It’s amazing what a good conversation can do for your soul.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and it was a fabulous day! I felt like a queen on FaceBook, my phone was blowing up with texts, I got some amazing presents, but my favorite part? My oldest friend, who lives across the country, called to wish me, “happy birthday”, and we chatted for over an hour. I have known her since I was six years old, and although we don’t talk often, she is somebody who will be in my life forever no matter how much time goes by… And, outside of it being a great day because it was my birthday, that phone call made me so happy. She absolutely could have texted me with birthday wishes, but actually talking? Amazing. Do I expect you to feel this kind of joy after you talk with a potential wedding venue? No, but it’s more likely that the person on the other end of the call will make you feel happy and excited about your wedding in a way that a questionnaire can’t. It’s more likely that you will make a connection on the phone instead of online. It’s more likely that you will feel joy from actually speaking with somebody about a pretty important day in your life as opposed to typing about it…

So, where do we go from here? How do we do this? Honestly? I have no fucking clue! Ask your mom! Somehow she managed to plan a wedding without Pinterest. Although, I think a great place to start is by picking up the phone and calling instead of picking up the phone and swiping, even if it’s only to one of your vendors. Or, call your friend and ask who did her gorgeous flowers instead of texting her. Allow yourself to get lost in great conversation. 

Bridey, is this whole offline wedding challenge logical? Doable? Manageable? I don’t know, but what I DO know is that taking a break from the continuous, endless web of choices might help connect you to your vendors, your family and your planning. Please, take this offline wedding challenge, and call it an opportunity to really connect instead of submit.

Has anybody taken this “old school” approach? How’d it go? Who’s willing to give it a try??

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

The Top Five Reasons Why Your Wedding Vendors Don't Like You

I was cornered, but completely fascinated. I was stuck, but I didn’t care. And I froze when she said, ‘I’ll alienate all of my clients by telling them the truth.” Upon digesting the breadth of her confession, I literally bowed down to her. And, after a good belly laugh, we toasted and I was on my way. Bridey, I LOVE when this shit happens, and frankly, it happens all the time. Fellow wedding vendors discover who I am, and the truth behind my blog, and then spill their innermost bridal-fessions to me. I swear, more often than not, I should be sitting behind a screen taking confession instead of sitting behind a computer screen! In this particular case, I was actually on vacation, tropical drink in hand, and happened to start chatting with a woman who shared my machoism for the hospitality industry.

Here’s the thing… I'm not afraid of alienation because I'm just being honest, and by now, you’ve come to expect from of me, right, bridey? And, since I started Bitchless Bride over five years ago, I cannot even begin to share the magnitude of comments, stories, and tales from wedding vendors from all over the county (and world) about what they hate about their brides. Curious? If not, you should be! C’mon, don’t you want to know the top five reasons why your wedding vendors don’t like you? Well, here they are whether your like it or not… Ahem:

1. You never want to pay us what we’re worth. It’s crazy, I have written about this a bazillion times, and every time I do, I get so fucking irritated. I simply don’t get it. In most industries, you pay what you pay, and that’s that. But, the hospitality industry? Well, somehow, our fees are a constant negotiation. Or, we’re expected to “throw it in” for free. Don't get me wrong, we all know that we're in hospitality, and service is our “thing”, but so often that service orientated behavior gets translated in the bridal filter from “this is my fee and I am worth it” to, “blah blah blah, cheaper”. Well, enough is enough! You want to talk about truth, bridey? Here’s one. You get what you pay for. PERIOD. 

2. You constantly tell us how to do our jobs. Bridey, I think the easiest way for you to feel our pain here is to give you an example. Have you ever had to report to a new boss in a job you’ve had for a while? Sucks, doesn’t it? And, you know how sometimes you’re dying to roll your eyes because they don’t know shit about the project or culture or whatever, and yet suddenly you’re being told to about how to do something you’ve done a million times? Welcome. Welcome to the life of a wedding vendor. Your micromanagement is annoying and unnecessary. If you’ve done your homework in choosing the right vendor, then you shouldn’t feel the need to tell us how to do what we do. So, just don’t.

3. You don’t listen to our advice. This one really pisses me off. Seriously, I hire people to help me do things I don’t know how to do (or don’t do well), and I listen to them because they are the professionals, and I am not. It’s as simple as that. Or at the very least, it should be. Bridey, you hired us. Therefore, you need to listen to us. And, no it’s not an ego thing, it’s an experience thing. We’re either trying to save you time or money or both, and you waste all of it by not taking our advice. The worst part is that it burdens everybody when you stray from the people you hired to trust. So, please listen our advice! 

4. You stalk us a year before your wedding, and then drag your feet when we need you to stalk us. This is one that truly baffles me. One year before your wedding you are literally in constant contact. Whenever you have a weddingy thought, you call or email us. Whenever you have a weddingy idea, you call or email us. Whenever you have a weddingy “epiphany”, you call or email us. But…. two weeks before your wedding, when shit gets real and we need you to respond, you’re MIA. I don’t get it. I really don’t. I know that you’re busy solidifying the rest of the details, and that you’ve got a ton on your plate, but radio silence? Totally brutal for wedding vendors when it’s crunch time. Depending on our craft, we need final numbers for food, flowers, tables, lighting, etc., and when we can’t find you, the whole process comes to a complete standstill. Your silence impacts the timeline, staffing, and much much more! So, please communicate with us closer to your wedding instead of a year out, okay?

5. You bring people to your appointments. Bridey, do you bring your friends with you to your dentist appointment or waxing appointment or meetings with your financial planner, realtor, or accountant? Probably not. So, please don’t bring your friends to meetings with your wedding vendors unless they have a role in the wedding (and even then, that can be tricky). Why? Well, sometimes we have to talk about money, and it can make it uncomfortable when we don’t know if the person you brought is privy to your budget. But, the biggest reason? I don’t give a fuck about their opinion, and neither should you. This is your wedding we’ve been planning together, and when you bring in “outsiders” it opens the door to suggestions and opinions that are not your own. And, depending on how close we are to your wedding, these opinions have the potential to undo so much work that has already been done. So, unless this person is crucial, meet them afterwards. 

Bridey, these are only the top five reasons pulled from five years of comments, stories, anecdotes, etc. from Bitchless Bride’s inception. If I took the time to sit down and pool all of information? Well, let’s just say that next time, it’ll be in a book, not an article.

Photo by Scott Webb

Don’t Force a Square Peg in a Round Hole! 5 Ways to Hire the Right Wedding Vendors for You!

Every now and then I get an opportunity to "go corporate" or work with corporate clients instead of brides. Usually this means that I'll do some event consulting, or plan a large meeting/event/gala, etc., and it's while it's definitely a nice break from wedding planning, it's still a lot of work (sometimes in a super concentrated amount of time). And, if you're not a good fit with their internal team, life can be totally brutal. I mean… No matter what you do for work, bridey, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been in a situation that sucked the life out of us from the get-go because the team was doomed from the beginning. It’s funny, I’ve been around the block enough to know that when the fit is wrong, everything else becomes difficult. Even the things that should be fun or simple are trying and painful. 

So, when the last company I almost worked with said they had some concerns regarding my chatty and gregarious personality (how could they?!!), but still wanted to pursue my services, (something I found to be completely ass backwards, but anyway…) it got me thinking about why hiring the right wedding vendors is so important when you’re planning your wedding. I mean, I could have worked with this client, but if I can't feel free to be myself, then inevitably it would have been a rotten fit and awful experience. That said, I turned down the “opportunity”, but gained great insight into my strength and then reflected on times when I should have turned down working with certain brides and vendors alike. 

So, how do you know when you have found “the one” or the right vendor? Here are 5 ways to weed out the best wedding vendors for you! 

1. Bridey, you have to trust your gut! It seems painfully obvious, right? Well, for some, it’s not when it comes to hiring the right person to DJ, photograph, cater, etc. your wedding. We are wired in a way that usually steers us in the right direction, and you should absolutely trust your intuition. Don’t overanalyze. I know, you’re a bride, that’s what you tend to do, but don’t. Don’t ruin it if it’s right or feels too easy. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Ease of conversation… How’d the meeting go? Did you feel comfortable? Were immediately drawn in? Awesome! Then fast forward to your wedding day, a day when feeling comfortable with the people in your immediate circle is of the utmost importance. Is this somebody you want to see and communicate with on your wedding day? Or, perhaps this is that last person you want to see on your wedding day or ever again for that matter. Either way, don’t overanalyze it. Just go with it.

3. How do they fit in your budget? Bridey, this is a tough one. Because your gut will likely push you towards the most experienced, most celebrated and most award winning vendor, and sometimes that means that they are also the most expensive. So, what’s a bride to do? Determine which service is most important to you, and spend accordingly. For instance, if you LOVE music, and want your guests on the dance floor the whole night, then decide to hire the best band or DJ, and then make monetary cuts elsewhere. Those of you with a big ol’ budget can have it all, but most of you will need to prioritize where you spend your money. So be fucking smart.

4. Still not sure? Then ask for referrals from other brides/couples or even other vendors they’ve worked with. I’d say go to Yelp!, but I because I feel like that kind of review site is totally one-sided, I’d much rather have you speak to somebody who experienced their services first-hand. 

5. Trust the timing of your life. Wow! That sounds so trite, but things really do happen for a reason. And, as I approach 40 fucking years old, I can honestly say that I should have trusted myself and my situation more than I did. So, if you know that you found the right wedding vendor for your needs, don’t question it, go with it. Trust the way found each other and trust your own judgement.

Bridey, I can’t tell you how fucking important it is to have a strong group of vendors that you trust on your wedding day. These people can literally make or break your event, so, trust yourself, trust your gut and trust the timing of your life. Got it?

Image via Toothpaste for Dinner

Deals and Discounts... Should You be Asking Your Wedding Vendors for a Discount?

Bridey, I’m friends with pretty much all of my wedding vendors on FaceBook, and recently, a fellow vendor posted about how it’s almost inescapable for a bride and groom not to ask for a discount these days. Somehow, it’s become instilled in their DNA because of all of the free (and usually shitty) advice out there suggesting that couples must immediately ask if vendor pricing is flexible. Seriously, I’d say that at least 60% of recently engaged couples come out and ask for a discount before learning what they are receiving. They gear up for negotiation as if they are walking into a used car dealership… Like as wedding vendors, our prices are fluid, and adjustable and if they’re not, then they should be. But, why? Why has this become the “norm” in the hospitality industry? I mean, has it really come down to the fact that if we don’t automatically offer a discount, then we’re not being hospitable? Well, fuck that.

Look, I have said time, and time again, that, “if you don’t ask (for a discount) then you don’t get”. And, I still believe it. But, just like everything else in wedding planning and in life for that matter, one must use advice carefully and thoughtfully. Seriously, maybe I should have added the caveat that you must listen and understand the terms of the provisions before jumping the gun and asking for a discount. Perhaps once you learn more about what the vendor you are considering hiring for your wedding is offering, it won’t occur to you to ask for a discount simply because their pricing is fair for what you are receiving. Forgive me… I really thought I didn’t need to highlight this particular point, but apparently I should have. 

Bridey, think about it like it’s foreplay… Give your wedding vendors a chance to finish before the encore. Plain and simple. For example, the FB friend I referenced? He said that, “Couples always ask for a winter/off-season discounts. Don’t you think that this (winter) weather might be a little bit more stressful than a nice summer or fall day?” Bridey, really think about this… Picture your vendors driving to the wedding venue, loading in (and out) their equipment, and then safely getting home… in a snowstorm. If anything, you should be paying more for “off season”, not less. 

The exception? Wedding venues. Yes, you should still listen to their offerings, and not rush into asking for a discount, but in my experience, venues such as hotels, country clubs, etc. would rather provide a discount and have a wedding as opposed to no wedding at all, especially in their “off season”. Why? Because at the end of the day, these venues are a corporation with bosses to answer to, and monetary goals to meet and achieve, not an individual wedding vendor whose profession puts food on the table for their children. It’s a completely different animal. Usually, your photographer, videographer, DJ, invitation designer, harpist, pianist, wedding planner, etc. are one or two peeps trying to make a living. And, when you ask for a discount (immediately or not), you’re completely undermining their bottom line.

So, where does this leave us? Plain and simple, bridey, do you homework. Find out what the appropriate range for each wedding vendor, and then meet with them to find out why they fall on either side (or the middle) of the spectrum. If you love them, but they are truly out of your price range, then, and only then, ask if they have flexibility with their pricing. But, don’t be surprised if they don’t, because just like you, they have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Got it?

Image via Info Asuransi

***FLASHBACK*** Does Hiring a Wedding Planner Really Save You Money? The Real Answer to That Burning Question...

"Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Bridey, this is probably one of the most asked questions in the entire wedding industry. "Does hiring a wedding planner save you money?" Well, and this one, "Why are wedding planners so expensive?" And, you know what? There really isn't a "clean" answer to these burning questions. Just a bunch of industry professionals feeling like they have to justify why they are 100% necessary in the grand scheme of your wedding. So, I thought I would jump in and explain it. No bullshit. No smoke and mirrors. Just plain ol' facts. Ready?

Quite honestly, asking if a wedding planner will save you money is somewhat of a loaded question. Do wedding planners know all the right people in a world that you don't? Yes. Will that save you tons of time, and anguish as you narrow down your wedding vendors? Absolutely! Think about it... We have spent years cultivating relationships with our vendors, which should make you (bridey) more comfortable with our referrals. Because not only do "our" vendors not want to disappoint you, but they definitely don't want to disappoint us. Sounds so badass, right? But, it’s true. Personally, I have vendors who I LOVE LOVE LOVE, and who LOVE LOVE LOVE me back. And it’s not because of the money, it’s because of our history and relationship.

Think about it like this… A wedding planner will bring the right vendors, to you, as opposed to you having to do extensive research, and find them on your own. You will choose from a short, tried and true, list of vendors, instead of a long, quite possibly, shitty, list of vendors that you found from several different websites. Right there? That's time back in your life. Time that you didn't waste looking for the right fit because it was delivered to you. Plus, your planner will then sweat the nitty gritty and make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride. Ted Bauer said perfectly, "It's no longer 'time is money.' Now time is literally the new money." I couldn't have said it better myself (so I didn't!).

But, here's the thing that really gets me upset. Accountants, realtors, and even used car dealers do shit for people all of the time without justification. But, wedding planners? We always seem to have to justify our professional existence. What the fuck? Right? I mean, for years, I did my taxes myself, and you know what? For years, I fucked them up! (Seriously, I don't know who I thought I was to be responsible for my taxes!!) And, that was something that was annual, not a once in a lifetime event!! But, when I hired an accountant, not only did he fix all of my previous mistakes, he showed me where else I could be doing better. Same goes for realtors... I could sell my house by myself, but why would I, when I could pay somebody who knows what the hell they're doing, to do it for me? And you know what? No justification necessary. Just get 'er done! Sell it!

So, will a wedding planner save you money? Yes! But, probably not the total cost of their fee. But, they will save you a tremendous amount of time (the new money), and all of your sanity… How can you put a price tag on that?

Image via The Context Of Things

Bitchless Bride is Speaking at the Elite Workshop!! Go Register!

From the founder: These workshops are designed to fuel creative individuals — professional or newbies. The goal of our workshops is to share an abundance of knowledge on each topic. We help cultivate a community of the most talented professionals as we come together to share our stories — the good, bad and ugly — as well as offer a light and newfound creativity. You will leave with brilliant ideas and relationships, and most of all, inspiration and support.

This is the project I am most proud of because we are giving you the opportunities to learn from some of the great ones. As professionals, we are given the gift of experiences and our skills. Helping others start building their businesses and feeling good about who they are and the brand they represent is the true gift!

Soooo... What are you waiting for? If you're in Boston or the surrounding area, then go register!!! Just click here!

Five Reasons This Bridey Went From Being My Favorite, to my Least Favorite Bride

When we first met, it felt like we were separated at birth. No, really... We were finishing each other's sentences, laughing at each other's jokes and rocked some serious chemistry. It was totally love at first sight. She was the best.bridey.ever. Until she changed. Until she morphed into what I call “the bridal transformation”. And, I 100% should have seen it coming, but I was way too wrapped up our honeymoon phase (no pun) to look beyond our initial attraction. And I paid for it…

Fast forward a year? I'd cringe at the sight of her name in my inbox, and then hold my breath as I read page after page of ideas and questions. I mean, you’d think we were plotting our next heist instead of planning a wedding! And the texts? Holy shit with the insane, almost drunk sounding steam-of-thought texting... UGH. So, what changed over the course of a year? A lot. Here are the top five reasons (there are several other reasons, but we don’t have that kind of time) why this bride went from being my favorite to my least favorite bride:

1. I hate to say this because I find a ton of inspiration on Pinterest too, but, damn if this bridey didn’t become Pinterested... Yup! PINTERESTED! That’s how I refer to brides who fall down the deep and very lovely Pinterest rabbit hole of wedding planning. She would fall in love with these extravagant, over-the-top and very pricey wedding scenes adorned with amazing décor, have her heart set on mimicking the feel, and then become completely deflated when I would rain on her parade with reality. Pricing. Everyday, I became the bearer of bad news. And everyday, she would be less and less excited to plan her wedding. I swear, Pinterest should have price ranges attached to each pin so that brides-to-be would know immediately if what they are seeing in the photograph is realistic (price-wise) for their wedding! 

2. In many ways, self education is pretty awesome. Right? I’ve learned how to do many things simply by watching a YouTube video or reading about what I am trying to learn. But, self education while planning a wedding can be dangerous because there is a lot of bad advice out there, and the pushback wedding professionals see because of this is insane. Our brides stop trusting our advice and experience because suddenly she knows more than we do. And, my bridey? Well… Girl went nuts with self education, and came at me for pretty much every decision we made instead of trusting why she hired me in the first place. For my experience and network of vendors who get shit done! I started to resent her for constantly questioning my judgement and therefore making everything so fucking difficult.

3. Wedding planners and event specialists at venues have established relationships with particular vendors for good reason, bridey. We trust them, and we know they will do a great job for you, and for us too. And, while you’re more than welcome to use a vendor outside of our network, one you find on your own, don’t look to us when things start falling apart. It’s a slippery slope, and it’s incredible how just one inexperienced vendor can wreck havoc on your wedding day. 

4. Anybody home? It was crazy, this bride went from being the most overly communicative bride I’ve ever worked with to pulling a disappearing act as soon as I needed answers from her. The venue would need meal counts or the photographer would need a final deposit, and I couldn’t for the life of me find the fucking bride. Honestly, this was a first for me. I’m pretty sure she was hiding under the covers wishing it all away, and I was seriously about to show up at her apartment, when she surfaced. Needless to say, when I found her, she didn’t like my tough love. But, when you don’t get back to your vendors a few weeks away from the wedding, it becomes very difficult to put on a successful event. So, please, don’t disappear on the people trying to help you!

5. Attitude. ‘Zillatude. Plain ‘ol bitchiness. Bridey, none of your vendors, bridesmaids or family members want to be around you or help you when you’re being a bitch. So, please lose the ‘tude. It just makes everything feel worse.

In the end, the wedding was beautiful and the bride was surprisingly relaxed and sweet on her wedding day. I got to see the girl I met a year ago, and it was a relief for all us involved in her planning. But, everything in-between certainly made the planning more difficult. And, really? Was it worth it?

Image via Casarei

Seven Essentials For On-Point Wedding Photos - A FAB Guest Post From a Photographer Who's Seen it All

This article isn’t about how to look natural when staring into your fiancé’s eyes or which poses are best for eliminating double chins (it’s one I affectionately call “chicken-head”). If you hired a professional photographer with a mind-blowing portfolio, they should take care of all that and make you look your best on your big day. It’s what we do. 

What I’m talking about below are the other things… the non-photo-related factors that can so greatly determine the awesomeness of your wedding images. These are the top seven things that you might not even realize can make or break your photos. 

1) Make sure you get good vibes from your vendors. 
In short, don’t choose your wedding vendors based on price alone. Now, I know cost is not a thing we can avoid. I want furniture from Pottery Barn, but I generally end up at Target. We all wish we could hire whoever we want, regardless of price. A vendor might have a "special deal only for you if you sign on the dotted line right this moment" but consider how much time these vendors will be spending with you, how credible they are and how much trust you are putting in them. I’ve seen DJs not show up, hair and makeup go hours late, florists bring the wrong color bouquets, videographers block the ceremony view from the guests, and I’m not discounting the great number of horror stories from my own profession as well.

All of those factors lead to a lousy, frustrating wedding day, aka less-than-happy looking photographs. Determine your budget for each portion of your wedding day and then look at several vendors in that range. Take the time to meet with them and see if you mesh. If you find the golden vendor that is unbelievably affordable, it could totally be the real deal. Just make sure you do your research and listen to your intuition.

2) Consider hiring a day-of coordinator
In this DIY world of wonder, it's easy to feel like everything can be done ourselves. You're the bride - the last thing you want is to be checking your timeline and coordinating deliveries on your own wedding day. In the absence of a coordinator, too often the photographer gets tasked with keeping everything on track during a wedding day, and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have us doing what you hired us for – capturing gorgeous imagery. Make it easy on yourself and hire a day-of coordinator to keep everything going swimmingly. Even better: hire a wedding planner, which includes day-of coordination. 

3) Have an unplugged wedding.
Picture this: Great Aunt Sally. iPad with hot pink case. Center aisle as you’re walking towards your groom… Photoshop can only magic so much. Virtually every wedding we shoot these days has rows of brightly colored phone cases lining the edges of the aisle. Have your officiant make a quick announcement before the ceremony asking everyone to abstain from photos during that part of the day. Not only will you have infinitely better photos, but your guests will get to experience the ceremony fully and without distractions. 

4) Consider your wedding location and the time of year (aka, weather).
In my hometown of Las Vegas, summers are hot… like hairdryer on high, in-your-face hot. If you get married outdoors in hot weather, it’s likely you’ll be outside for hours during portraits – which means you might be sweating off your makeup and your groom might be sweating through his jacket. This doesn't mean you have to change your dream location or forget that perfect summer date you've always wanted, just make sure you’ve prepared. Choose your dress and tux carefully to make sure you won’t overheat, plan a break to cool off in between portraits and the ceremony, have fans, cold water, seek out shade and ask your photographer to have an alternate indoor location picked out. 

5) Make sure your hair and makeup artists have wedding experience. 
We all have undeniably amazing, talented friends who are makeup enthusiasts and salon stylists, but it’s vitally important (for the sake of your photographs and for your own vanity) to hire stylists with wedding experience. Two words are sacred to those who have worked with brides: waterproof and windproof. Wedding days have unpredictable weather conditions and emotional outpourings are no stranger to a bride and her entourage. No one wants tear streaks through their makeup or hair flying in all directions in their images.

6) Avoid getting too tipsy while getting ready for the wedding OR the night before the wedding. 
Listen, I love a double-mimosa just as much as the next girl, but you want to "feel all the feels" during the first look and ceremony. Getting too tipsy means you'll be a bit numb through it all. And even worse, you might feel hungover and headachey throughout your own wedding day. All of that totally reflects in your wedding photos and the emotions we are trying to capture throughout the day. Wait till after you say "I do" to throw back a few shots of Fireball… and let us document the shenanigans that ensue.

7) Hire a professional event DJ.
Using your iPod playlist or asking a friend who has speakers to play DJ creates all sorts of unnecessary stress for you on your wedding day, but you might not realize how difficult it also makes it for your photographer. In order to photograph things smoothly and get great shots of your guests going crazy on the floor, we need a DJ who… a) knows the flow of weddings, b) is an experienced emcee and c) knows how to motivate people to bust a move. I can tell you first hand: I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a premature grand entrance while setting my gear down in the other room, and I’ve sadly seen weddings clear out right after dinner because the music did not get guests dancing.

Pics + Post by the FABULOUS Kristen Hansen, Owner + Photographer, KMH Photography

**Flashback** ~ All Weddings Are Not Created Equal – Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Bridey, when it comes to what your vendors are going to provide for you, avoid comparing what you heard your vendors did for your best friend, sort of friend, acquaintance or somebody that you know. Because each circumstance is different... Perhaps the caterer threw in an additional passed hors d’oeuvre during cocktail hour for your friend because they received a shitload of short rib that they needed to unload or else it would go bad. Or maybe the florist your acquaintance used was late paying her rent for the very expensive studio she resides in and lowered her pricing so that she would win the business. Your friend got a free cheese display? Perhaps the catering manager at the venue comped the damn display because your friend is awesome and she simply wanted to throw her a bone. Or, you know what? Maybe, they’re all lying or embellishing the truth. Whaaaa? You don’t think that you girls are competing just a bit? So be happy with what you got because as Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the Thief of Joy".

Whatever the case may be, bridey, I just can’t listen to it anymore! Remember when you told your mom that the whole class failed that stupid fucking geometry test and her retort was that, ahem (imagine your best mom voice), “I don’t care about the rest of the class, I care about you.” UGH! But, you totally remember, don’t you? Well, that is essentially what I am saying to you. When you approach your vendors with deals that they may or may not have made with your peers, it does nothing but piss them off in the same way it pissed off your mother. Because each circumstance is different!!! They are focused on what they are providing to you. And all weddings are not created equal! And frankly, all brides are not created equal. And... you guessed it! Not all "deals" are created equal!

Bridey, if you want a freebie, the worst possible way you can go about asking for it is to say that of your friend, or whomever, got a deal and therefore you want one too. Seriously? That’s just annoying. Be straightforward. Be nice. Show some respect for the vendor with whom you are working, and leave everybody else out of the equation. If something is out of your budget, tell them, and if they are in a position to discount it or offer it to you complimentary, so be it, but let it be their decision. No matter what, if you have been a delight to work with thus far, anything is possible. I told Elizabeth Vargas that when we sat down for a chat. Basically, we (vendors) want to go above and beyond for those clients who treat us with respect. 

Got it? 

Good.

A Lovely, Laid Back and Rainbow-Tastic Colorado Wedding

Since BB's inception, I've written quite a bit about what it means to be a good bride. I mean... Bitchless Bride has dedicated over four years to educating brides all over the world on basic (and sometimes extreme) bridal etiquette, how to behave as a bridey babe, and what it means to be a favorite amongst your wedding vendors, all while still achieving those bridal milestones. So, when I put it out there that I was looking for brides who were easy to work with, totally "bitchless", and a photographer FAVE, I received this fucking amazing, rustic chic wedding of Michelle and Patrick. 

As you scroll along, it won't take much for you to see why I love the M+P so much. For starters, I love that Michelle had her bridesmaids wear whatever the hell they wanted! I know that's not for every bride, but let's be honest, we all know what looks good on us, and what doesn't, so wearing a kickass dress that you feel good in certainly allows a true glow to shine through in photographs. That coupled with the low key yet totally rusticy, barn wedding (with an A MAZ ING wedding cake!) had me love them even more. Plus, we all know that when it rains on your wedding day, it's good luck. Luck or not, it still fucking sucks. But... It doesn't suck so much when you get two rainbows out of the deal! Right? Totally deserved by the B+G! Enjoy!

Seriously? Can we please talk about how fantastic these bridesmaids dresses are??

Damn, girl! You look great!

Woidneck_Kieffe_Susannah_Storch_Photography_susannahstorchphotography24_low.jpg

This is what boys do before they get married...

It really doesn't get better than this!

Totally love this badass shot!

Simple. Fabulous.

Whoa. Those clouds mean business! But! Look down!! DOUBLE RAINBOW!!

I can't...

Lovin' the escort cards and guest book!

Doesn't the space look exquisite? So simple, and yet so elegant... BTW... Those are bottles of hot sauce!

Um, hi. Holy hell with the ruffled cake! 

Hooray!!!

Thank you for sharing your FAB wedding with BB! Totally love you two!

Industry Peeps:

Photographer: Susannah Storch Photography
Venue: Raccoon Creek Golf Course

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Bridey, It's Time to STOP Apologizing! Except When You do These 10 Things...

I've stopped apologizing. Seriously. I'm done apologizing for stupid shit. Sure, if I make a mistake or if I owe somebody an apology, then I will apologize to them, but other than that? I'm all done. I'm done apologizing when it's unnecessary. And you know what, bridey? You should be too. Seriously, ever find yourself in somebody's way at the store and realize that your very first instinct is to say, "I'm sorry"? Have you ever stopped and wondered why? Because, are you really sorry for looking at the same t-shirt or cereal as somebody else at the same time? I'm not. But, we are wired to think that we are inconveniencing somebody somehow simply by standing where we're standing. And lately? If I'm not done looking at the t-shirt in question (or reading the cereal box), then I'm not moving, and I'm not sorry. Good for you BB, but... how is this relevant to wedding planning? Well, bridey, you do it all the time! You apologize unnecessarily, and then you don't apologize when it's necessary!

Look, I promise to tell you when you need to apologize, but apologizing because you don't understand terms of a vendor contract or because you can't wrap your head around a service you are paying for? That's just silly! It's important for you to understand everything you are paying for and receiving, and frankly it's important for you not to apologize in the process.

Bridey, I know that I have spent a lot of time busting your chops for your sometimes entitled bullshit behavior, but I've also made it a point to educate you and stand up for you while you plan your wedding. Because I understand that it's difficult to plan a wedding on top of the countless other responsibilities you are busy juggling. I understand that most of you haven't had the pleasure of wedding planning, and therefore you have a lot of questions. It's normal, and it's okay. So, rather than apologizing for it, own it! You're not supposed to have all of the answers. You're not supposed to know what makes "the industry" tick or how attrition works in regards to food and beverage or guest rooms, etc.. So, it's completely acceptable for you to ask questions and get answers. No apology necessary.

When should you say you're sorry? Here are the top 10 moments when an apology is necessary: 

1. Apologize when you're being an entitled bitch. We get it, you're getting married! It doesn't give you carte blanche to be mean.

2. Apologize for getting pissed off because a vendor had the audacity to work on Saturday and couldn't meet you when you wanted them to.

3. Apologize for not being flexible with your vendors (see #2).

4. Apologize for being rude to your mom, sig other, MOH, etc. in front of your wedding vendors.

5. Apologize for monopolizing all of my fucking time going over and over the flowers, décor, linens, etc., etc., etc., once we've already made a decision.

6. Apologize for not being able to make a decision. Promptly.

7. Apologize when you miss an appointment because you had to get to the gym. REALLY!?

8. Apologize for keeping me waiting (see #7).

9. Apologize when you say you need a "quick minute to chat", and an hour goes by.

10. Apologize for paying your deposits, final payments, etc. late.

Bridey, this list could be a hell of a lot longer, but what I'm hoping you'll take away from this article is knowing and understanding when you should apologize, and when you shouldn't. Got it? Good! Stay Bitchless! 

Image via The Odyssey Online

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ A Bride Without a Ring, and a Wedding Without a Date

Bridey, have you heard the phrase, "No ring, no bring."? Usually this is in reference to whether or not one of your guests can bring a date to your wedding, but today, I am applying a new meaning to the phrase... How about, "No ring, no bring... YOUR ass in for an appointment. Because there is nothing I hate more than a "bride" without a ring. And, you know what? I'm not alone. Because all of us (your wedding vendors), have wasted a ton of time describing and selling our services, showcasing venue space, and bending over backwards for a "bride" without a ring. And guess what happens next? The "bride" doesn't get engaged, or the engagement is much further down the road than she thought, or the sig other wasn't "the one", blah blah blah...

Look, I know it's exciting just thinking about getting engaged, but it really doesn't count unless one of you has done the asking and one of you has done the accepting. Right? So, making appointments (or... eeeek, just walking into a venue without an appointment) is actually rude. I mean, it's like test driving a car knowing that you have another year on your lease or house hunting without establishing your budget. Honestly? It's a fucking waste of time, and just like you, wedding vendors are busy. So, if you're a future bride-to-be, it's totally cool that you're starting to explore weddingy things, and weddingy blogs, and all things weddingy, etc. because you're exploring on your own time, but when it begins to spill over onto my watch? Well, that's when you've gone too far.

Look, bridey-to-be, I'm not judging you, I swear! I get that you are excited about the next step in your life, and that you want to be prepared. It's a thrilling phase! And, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, so why not get a head start? Right? And, depending on where you live, securing a venue and popular vendors can be brutal. But, as much as I am not judging you right now, I will start judging you the second you make start making arrangements for your wedding without a date, as a bride without a ring. For now? Stick to Pinterest!

The worst part of this equation is that these bride-to-be wannabes are usually quite lovely, and are simply letting their anxiousness about getting engaged get the best of them. I know because I have met with these almost brides, and sadly, when I follow up with them, they're either still in a holding pattern or they've broken up. And as badly as I feel (particularly when it's the latter scenario), I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little piece of me that would be pissed off upon hearing the news. Totally an involuntarily feeling, but often, the first thought to cross my mind following the conversation. Because, no matter the situation, nobody wants to feel as though their time has been wasted, especially when there are engaged brides out there willing to make a commitment.

So, wannabe-bridey, thinking that your engagement is around the corner? Congratulations! But, hold the champagne, and the planning, until you've got a ring on it... Got it?

Image via Genesis Diamonds