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For Your Consideration

You’re so excited.  The question was popped, the answer was yes, and now you’re on the whirlwind ride that we call engagement.

You’re overwhelmed.  Opinions from all angles are swirling around as you start to climb the mountain of decision-making known as wedding planning.

You’re resolute.  You know exactly what you want your big day to be like, and all you need is for everything to be perfectly as you designed.

Image Photography 039

However you’re approaching your matrimonial celebration, allow me to let you in on a little trade secret.  Your vendors — those you hire for the goods and services associated with your event (florist, photographer, cake baker, etc.) — are human beings.  I know, I know — it sounds obvious, right?  But you’d be flabbergasted at the countless, true stories that would provide substantial evidence to support how often that fact is forgotten.

That’s not to say that all brides, grooms, or their families behave in ways that seem dismissive of the lives of their trusted vendors (far from it), but it happens often enough that I have to wonder how many people outside of the event business are aware of the way their words or actions come across.

For example, I recently heard about a wedding vendor who had an extremely ill child, which set this vendor back on the designated timeline, although not to any real detriment of the services provided; the couple demanded a full refund, and when the vendor gave the very good reason for the slight scheduling setback, the couple’s reaction was not one of compassion but, “that’s not our problem.”

True story.

Not all such tales are quite as horrifyingly unfeeling.  Most could be characterized as simply inconsiderate.

Another story I’ve heard goes like this:  one of the vendors of an upcoming wedding had a parent pass away, to which the mother of the bride responded, “well you’re still going to be doing this wedding, right?!”  The implications being, of course, that vendors aren’t allowed to deal with their own lives like the rest of the world, and that they’re somehow in danger of forgetting their work obligations.

Regardless of what life throws their way, all that anyone hired to shoot your video or plan your day or arrange your flowers wants to do is put forth their best work.  Their name is on it.  It will represent them in the future.  They will do everything in their power to give you everything designated in their agreement with you, and then some.  I also don’t know of any vendors worth their salt who would enter into a contract if they weren’t able to fulfill it to the best of their abilities, no matter what’s going on.

The most classic case of ignorant behavior towards hard-working vendors is — you guessed it — pregnancy.  A female vendor “with child” can expect (no pun intended) to be on the receiving end of countless comments relating her gestation once the bump is no longer hide-able.  And, yes, I know vendors who will go to great lengths to hide their pregnancy for as long as possible for this very reason.  Some comments are intended to be jokey, while others are just downright impertinent and rude.  In any case, it’s clear that the old common sense rule of “think before you speak” is woefully absent from the minds of many.

Not too long ago there was a vendor that I know who told me that instead of being congratulated on her soon-to-be motherhood, a family member of a wedding in May said, with actual concern, “It won’t affect the wedding will it?”  Her due date was in January.

The all-too-real stories happen all-too-often.

So please consider, through your excitement, stress, and determination leading up to (and on) your big day, giving some consideration to the people you hire to help you have the event of your dreams.  A little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

As the saying goes: remember that your pants go on one leg at a time just like everybody else’s.

Or, less colloquially, abide by the Golden Rule and all will be well.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Featured Wedding: Tom and Natalie, July 3, 2015

One year ago today, Tom and Natalie exchanged their vows in front of loved ones from near and far on a picture-perfect late afternoon on the vista.  Their infectious euphoria at becoming husband & wife rippled through each guest’s face, resonating in the notes played by the string quartet and wafting in the gentle breeze.  Invitees marveled at the elegantly blithe flourishes, accented by delicate yellows, brilliant blues, and stately golds.  The classic yet distinctive dressing highlighted the Mansion’s beauty, while also creating a tailor-made backdrop to the couple’s design.   From lawn games and photo booth fun to an exquisitely delicious cake, it seemed these two thought of everything to surprise and delight their friends and family.  With their first dance saved until after dinner, they momentarily broke away only to pull everyone out onto the terrace to join them, where the DJ held the dance floor in hypnotic jurisdiction for the rest of the evening.  If we didn’t know better, we’d swear they’re out there dancing still…  Happy First Anniversary to Natalie and Tom!

 

Photography:  Alicia Ann Photography
Catering:  David Alan Catering
Flowers:  Ruth L Flowers
Videography:  StopGoLove
DJ:  Scratch Weddings / Thomas Burns
Cake:  The Great American Cake by Julie Deffense
Photo Booth:  Marx Entertainment
Transportation:  Jolly Red Trolley
Accommodations:  Sheraton Hartford South

 

FullSizeRender_8   FullSizeRender_7    FullSizeRender_3    FullSizeRender_4    FullSizeRender_2    FullSizeRender_5    FullSizeRender_1    FullSizeRender_6    Natalie and Tom terrace view downsized    FullSizeRender

 

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Mailbag #1 (Chuppahs and JPs and Tastings, Oh My!)

IMG_3066 We field many questions here at the Wadsworth Mansion — some big, some small (although when they’re about weddings, small is a relative term).  Here are a few of our recent, real queries:

 

Marry Me
Hi again —
We’re having a friend officiate the ceremony; I’ve looked in CT laws, and looks like we’re fine as long as they are credited through [American Marriage Ministries]– but just wanted to see if you had any additional information on this?  No biggie at all if not, but worth asking!

Hey [Bride]!
My understanding is that for a wedding to be legal in CT, a CT Justice of the Peace or Judge or active clergy member must be present to do the paperwork and legally witness your marriage.  I’ve seen couples have their friends do the ceremony with a JP present to do the legal paperwork parts; I’ve also known a JP or judge to do the legal marriage part first (tucked away somewhere) just before the friend does the big ceremony in front of guests and loved ones.  I can recommend several JPs who will happily help your friend marry you.  For a little further reading on legally marrying in CT, read here starting halfway down at “Connecticut General Statutes.”

 

To Taste
Hi Natalie,
We just had our tasting with our caterers and we’re a bit concerned. [My fiance] didn’t think his steak was cooked properly, and as you know having amazing food is a big part of what we want for our wedding.  I’m a vegetarian so I couldn’t taste it to give my opinion, but it was red in the middle…  Since they’re on your list, I thought we wouldn’t have any issues and that they would know what they’re doing, but now I’m worried that we’ve made the wrong decision about caterers.   We did like a lot of what they served (my entree was excellent) but [his] filet wasn’t well done.  Can you tell us how their food has been previously and if any other couples have issues with them?

Hi [Bride],
I’m sorry your tasting wasn’t quite what you hoped for!  I have to say I’m surprised.  I’ve actually never heard any negative feedback about [this catering company], nor had anything resembling a poor experience with them myself.  Have you let them know the exact things that didn’t meet your expectations?  You should — and don’t be bashful about it — because they can’t fix what they don’t know!  And remember that they are caterers; their job is to cater to your needs…which they can do well if you communicate those needs with them.  Tastings usually do go pretty smoothly, generally speaking.  But the reason they exist is to facilitate discussion about the menu and it’s appearance.  Let me also say that unless you’ve specified a particular desire ahead of time (like cooking filet mignon well done, which is atypical for that cut) the chefs will prepare the food to their professional standards.  So, give them a call and share your specific feedback, and continue to keep the lines of communication open with them.  I stand by their abilities to give you precisely the smooth (and delicious) wedding that you want, you just have to tell them exactly what you told me.  They’ll be more than happy to make any adjustments you need, I promise.  Keep me updated!

 

Got It Covered
Hi Natalie,
I was so excited to drop off our deposit and contract that I forgot to ask you about chuppahs when I was there!  Can you tell me where to get one? 

Hi [Bride],
Lovely seeing you today — and congratulations again on becoming our newest official Wadsworth bride!  In regards to finding a chuppah, florists tend to be the way to go.  Quite a few on our “Fabulous Finds for Wedding Planning” have done some really stunning ones here at the Mansion, so be sure to inquire with them.  But regardless of the florist you select, they’re the vendors to talk to about chuppahs (even if you want a very simple, traditional, non-floral one).  Happy planning 🙂
If you have a question you’d like answered about weddings or events, post it in the comments section below.  Maybe we’ll feature it in a future Mailbag Blog!
Happy Planning!
Natalie
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.
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On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001) Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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