Do we really need to feed our photographer and DJ at the reception?
Although they may not be guests, the people you have contracted to work at your wedding are performing a job during a time they would normally eat. You certainly don’t have to, but it’s a nice gesture, and would almost certainly promote better service from them. However read the fine print, as many wedding professionals have the provision that they must be fed written into their contract, so be prepared. If you still can’t stomach the idea of offering a $50+ plate of food to your DJ, coordinate a less expensive meal for them with your caterer. But under no circumstances are you obliged to offer them free alcoholic drinks. After all they’re on the clock, working for you. And nobody likes a drunken DJ, anyway.
How do I graciously decline the “donated” help of extended family members? I have one family member who likes to do amateur flower arranging as a hobby and wants to do my wedding flowers. I don’t want amateur flowers but I don’t want to hurt her feelings either.
It’s always difficult to tactfully turn down help, especially when you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. My suggestion is to thank them profusely, but say you and your fiancé have already contracted with a similar vendor based on your needs and budget. Ask if you can count on them to help you select the flowers at your local professional florist. This will make them feel appreciated without ever knowing your true feelings.
We plan to have an open bar at our wedding reception. Can we be held responsible if someone drives home drunk and has an accident?
You are off the hook. In Alaska, the person who is serving the drinks is liable for any situation that results in a drunk driving accident. Keep in mind that this scenario is rare because all servers and bartenders are required to pass an exam that teaches them the signs of inebriation and have been instructed on what to do if someone is getting intoxicated. Worth mentioning is the fact that some facilities offer free cab rides home in severe circumstances because it’s in their best interest to make sure that nothing happens to you or your guests. If these thoughts still keep you up at night, another alternative would be to provide your guests with a few bottles of wine on the table. It’s enough to celebrate the moment, but not enough for things to go south.
My bridesmaids are all different sizes and have very different opinions about dress styles. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make everyone happy?
So many brides think they have to dress their maids in the same dress, and with everyone having different body types, you will inevitably have one or two crying in their pillow at night or cursing you under their breath. One option is to take all your maids shopping at the same time and hope they all agree on the same style. If that doesn’t work, another solution is to go to a fabric store and select material that you absolutely love. Then send each maid five yards and instruct them to find a dress pattern they like that is appropriate for your ceremony (casual, formal or somewhere in-between). Once found, have them take it to a reputable seamstress. In the end the cost should be around the same as if you bought it off the rack (or possibly even less) and your girls will feel beautiful in a dress that’s flattering to them. It’s a win – win.
Do I really need a wedding planner? My mother says yes, but I have friends who say they can help. Who do I listen to?
Listen to your mother, especially if she’s offering to pay for one. Wedding planers are worth their weight in gold, whether you hire one from the very beginning or just for the day of your wedding. They can alleviate many decorating and logistic issues that need handling, take all the calls the day of the wedding and think of things you haven’t. If you choose a friend to help you with the details, they may not be able to enjoy the wedding due to all the responsibilities heaped upon them or, worse, may not live up to your expectations.
My fiancé wants to have an open bar at our reception and I think it’s too expensive. Is there a way to estimate how much it will cost?
Industry standard dictates that on average, guests will drink two drinks the first hour and one drink every hour after. So if you invited 100 guests and 80 percent drank, you would spend around $2,000 in alcohol alone. Also don’t forget: With hosted bars, there is usually an automatic 20-percent service charge with every drink poured. If a hosted bar is too scary of an idea, another option would be to purchase a set amount of beer or wine, and when it runs out, guests would start paying for their own drinks. Having a semi-hosted bar would ensure there wouldn’t be any bar tab surprises.
My fiancé and I come from two different spiritual belief systems. What kind of service should we have?
It’s always difficult to blend two cultures together and keep two families happy. Especially if they are polar opposites. The best plan is to sit down with your partner and talk about what is most important to each of you. Then try to combine what’s important in the ceremony. Another option is two ceremonies. This is often done to satisfy the families more than the couple but can help to keep the peace.