|Posted on September 16, 2020 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Okay my dears....my new full time job is staying up to date on the current NY COVID regulations regarding weddings so here is where we are at per the NYS Liquor Authority, Empire State Development and the NYS Department of Health. These are not suggestions...they are rules and we are mandated to follow them all.
1.) Maximum number of guests is 50. This is indoor, outdoor, venue, private residence, astral plain...doesn't matter.
2.) Ceremony: Inside a church/mosque/synagogue maximum of 50% capacity. The Roman Catholic Diocese is still maintaining a 33% capacity limit. Outdoor or at a non-religious venue 50% occupancy or 50 people, whichever is met first. Chairs should be grouped by family/household unit if possible, with 6 ft. between rows. We have been utilizing a 12' wide aisle so that bridal party members can walk without masks. Bridal party should walk up and back down the aisle independantly and spaced 6' apart. Your officiant, if not an immediate family member should be masked and spaced 6' from you as a couple. No shared items. Guests must wear masks when walking into the ceremony, but may remove them once seated. The specifics on masks when seated may vary in religious buildings. If a microphone is needed, a standing mic is recommended with a mic cover.
3.) Cocktail hour: Social distancing must be maintained when moving from ceremony to cocktail hour and masks must be worn in transit. Once they arrive, guests must be seated. Guests may stand to use restroom facilities and go to the bar, but must wear a mask when doing so. Guests at the bar must be spaced 6 ft. apart and the line may not have more than 5 guests waiting at any time. Stationary food is not recommened, but if you will offer this, the catering staff must serve the food directly and the food may not be in front of the guest.
4.) Escort Board/Placecards/Guest Book etc: Again remember the rule here is no shared contact. So this means that an Escort board should be utilized and not place cards that multiple guests could touch. Guest books are not allowed. Photo booths are permissable if they are "open air", no props are used (unless they are single use), guests must be seated in the booth if not wearing a mask and only guests from the same party may take photos in the booth together. The booth should be properly sanitized after each use and any attendant should be masked.
5.) Reception: Guest tables may not be greater than 10 guests and tables should be family/household units only if possible. Masks again must be worn anytime not seated and standing is limited to essential transit. Tables must be 6' apart. Rolled silverware and single use salt/pepper/condiments is recommended. For formal introductions, we recommend honored guests being recognized at their seats. Each venue has different ways we can accomplish this though, so talk to us first. A standing microphone with cover is recommended for toasts/speeches/blessing.
6.) Beverage Stations/Buffets: Only allowed if they are staff manned and the guests have no direct contact with any of the items. One table should be allowed to the buffet at any time and for beverage stations, no more than 5 guests at a time. 6' social distance must be clearly marked and maintained between guests. Sanitatizer should be provided.
7.) Dance Floors: Unfortunately, they are an absolute NO right now. We can, however still do 1st Dance, Parent Dances and Last Dance. The catch is that guests must stay seated and any guest table must be at least 12' from where these dances take place. You do not have to wear a mask for these dances.
8.) Garter/Bouquet/Anniversary Dance/Dollar Dance etc: Not allowed at this time
9.) Cake Cutting: Cake cannot be displayed ahead of time, unless it is in a location where the guests cannot come within 6' of it. Other than that, see the rules for Dance Floors (#7) for other regulations.
10.) Favors: Either at each place setting or the preffered method would be staff distributing upon guest exit while gloved and masked.
11.) All vendors and service staff must remain masked at all times.
12.) Photos: Check with your photographer, but most require any guests/bridal party members who are involved in group photos to be provided with full disclosure of the risks of doing so and most likely they will be asked to sign a waiver.
13.) Transportation: If it is a private charter, you may not have to operate at 50% capacity but this is different with each provider, so check first! All guests should be masked at ALL TIMES when on chartered transportation i.e. shuttle, bus, limo etc.
14.) Dessert Stations: Same rules as #6 and individually packaged desserts are recommended.
15.) Send Offs: This really has everything to do with the type of venue you have and if there is any possible way to space your guests out enough to be within the regulations.
|Posted on April 21, 2020 at 11:15 AM||comments (1)|
Oh my friends...I mean...this.
So we are literally updating everything every day...sometimes twice a day. The reschedule is real and though none of us want this to be a reality, at this point there is no denying it.
Understandably, many of you are absolutely devistated. How could you not be?? To date I have rescheduled 16 weddings, dozens of smaller social events and innumerable corporate gatherings. I completely empathize with the fears and stress that your feeling and I want you to know that I am here. I am here for you today and I will be here for you tomorrow. Whatever the next step needs to look like...whatever the hurdles...you are not alone.
We are going to get through this my loves and we are going to get through it as more than a team...we are a family. Marriage is a series of challenges, day in and day out and this is just another hurdle to mount. There could literally never be a better pre-marital counseling or prep course than this, right? Your relationships are strong, they are full of hope and love and YOU will get through this as partners, as friends and as support systems for one and other.
May the Force be with all of you my friends...and may God bless you all!
|Posted on July 25, 2019 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Love, love, love these two! After a year and a half of working with Jessica & Rob, they finally tied the knotlast weekend on the hottest day in 10 years! We had a great day though and I am so very grateful to have these two not only as clients, but now close friends. Congrats you crazy kids!
SEE JESSICA'S REVIEW AFTER THE PHOTO
CEREMONY/RECEPTION VENUE: A Wedding on the Hudson/Arts Center on the Hudson
OFFICIATE: Kirstin Knoblauch
PHOTO: Michael Forrest
DJ: Linda & Doug from Ecclectic Sound
CATERING: The Ugly Rooster
Jessica , married on 07/20/2019
5.0 View more
We cannot say enough about Mary! She was absolutely fantastic! From start to finish, she was there for us for everything. She helped us through literally every step, up to and including calming us after less than half the flowers arrived for the bouquets the day before the wedding to without blinking an eye being able to change seating and ceremony when key guests were unable to attend with short notice (one even as she was flipping the room for the reception) , AND to helping replace the caterer 28 HOURS before. Then, even the day of making dress alterations on not only a bridesmaid, but the BRIDE as well, and helping the groom with a defective necktie! All through the day of 107 degree heat, with a slipped disc, and on her own 10 year anniversary--you would have never known, she didn't miss a beat or any detail. Her professionalism and outright friendship has a very true and dear place in our hearts! No issue, no matter how big or small was ever an issue at all to her. Without her, our day not only would probably not have been as perfect, but we don't even know if it would have happened at all. PLUS, she has been a tremendous help to our photographer as he himself learns the business. From Day 1 Mary was an absolute joy to work with, and we would recommend her tenfold to anyone! We only wish there was a 10 star rating on here. We hope this review is at least a fraction of the amount of help that she gave us...WE LOVE MARY!!!
|Posted on July 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
What do you get when you combine 2 cultures, 2 religions, 2 Disney fans, 2 culinary backgrounds, 2 Harry Potter aficianados, a suit of armor made of tin foil, crazy musical talent and possibly the coolest bridal party of all time? Cathy & Kristin's big day!
I have to tell you their weekend was really challenging. We were dealing with an extremely disorganized and uncooperative venue who frankly failed on all counts to live up to their promises and I will be sure to avoid the location like the plague in the future. I was brought on for day-of coordination for this one, so the venue and most of the pros had already been hired.
We get to the rehearsal, which they wouldn't allow us to do until after 7:00 p.m. at night (there hadn't been events in there in weeks so why it had to be so late at night I have no idea) and immediately the shenanigans began. They refused to let the couple use the piano which had been promised to them (they did this the night before their wedding at 8 p.m.)-not really caring about the psalmist and pianist who were hired and paid for... They refused to remove the enormous sound system and speakers w/sound board on the alter where the couple would have their ceremony...which again, they had promised to do. Not to mention them deciding to add 12 additional tables, topped with teal linen (the couple's colors were plum, black and silver) because the owner decided she liked the way the room looked better with her own floor plan, not the couple's. Needless to say, myself and the catering team had to break them all down and start over all while being screamed at by this lady... I had to personally go through each and every chivari chair during the ceremony set up because the cushions were so disgustingly stained that we had to basically sift through to find the 80 that were the least gross.
Then right in the middle of their rehearsal, literally as I am about to send Cathy down the aisle with her father...this lady interupts and tells me that her dog has been found by the police department and she is leaving, telling me to "lock up" the building. Let me be clear...I have never ever met this lady as she lives in Florida and never showed up once until the rehearsal day and never responded to a single phone call or the 18 emails I sent...yelled at us and refused all promises...then asked me to lock up and close down HER BUILDING which I have never worked at and don't know in the slightest....wait, what????
Now here's me and the bridal party working out a plan to have the piano that Cathy has at her home (she is an incredible vocalist and musician) delivered to the venue in the morning. I contact my buddies from Sound Advice DJ who will be playing the next and get sound taken care of for the new additions. I reach out to Beth at Candidly Beth who will be shooting the wedding and talk about the way the shots will have to be cropped to deal with all the extra crap and about 100 other last minute adjustments at 11:00 p.m. All while reassuring the couple that no matter what, everything will be made right.
The next day everyone was let into the building by some staff person, who then disappeared. We were completely on our own in the venue, with no single person from their staff present at all for hours and hours. So this meant when all the toilets in the ladies room were clogged and over flowing...that's right, yours truly went in with my trusty plumbers wrench and fixed them all and emptied the trash cans and dusted... When it became clear they were not going to be helpful in any way with the items they promised, I removed all of the cords from their systems and draped everything. We moved mountains all day long, dealing with power that was surging and almost blew out the DJ's systems, homeless people trying to get into the catering tent which had to be set up outside because the venue refused to let them used the FULL COMMERCIAL KITCHEN downstairs...the list goes on and on.
This particular venue holds its own liquor license, so they catering team was not serving alcohol that day, just the venue's (2) bartenders. I have never met more aggressive, disorganized and frantic staff in my career. These two were fighting with everyone all day and at times flat out refusing to perform the services they were paid to do. Now as someone who spent 20+ years in catering, who is always the first to defend and work shoulder to shoulder with service staff...saying something like that quite literally breaks my heart.
I'm not even going to freak out about how they apparently didn't know how to use their own systems and were running the heat during the ceremony instead of AC and almost killed all of us...on one of the hottest days of the year. Thanks guys, now they building will be a furnace all day...awesome.
Or, how about the sign just outside the front doors (the old style one where you can change out the letters to say different messages) had appartently said "Happy Holidays" as some point...which no one ever bothered with again since December and now all the letters left read "Happy Ho"...I wish I was kidding...truly. These people even refused to take that down. Swear. To. Goodness.
So ultimately what happened??? Thank the good Lord we had an incredible team of Friendors that day and so when all of this started to go down, we got together, circled the wagons and decided that we were going to protect the couple and fight what ever fight needed to be fought to make their day incredible. And that my friends, is exactly what we did. These two magical pixie horses had an incredible day, enjoyed their friends and family and we even got a lot of great laughs out of all of the nonsense. Especially the moment where the venue owner asked me if I was interested in running her property after all of this lol. No thanks.
See Cathy & Kristin's Review after the photos!
- Ugly Rooster Catering
- Sound Advice DJ
- Candidly Beth Photography
- Lance Wheeler Photo
- Renaissance Hall (Schenectady)
Title or Position Bride (Cathy Kenny-Wilkerson)
I truly do not have the words to describe how amazing Mary is. You can tell she loves what she does because it shines through in her work. She is extremely detail oriented, leaving nothing overlooked, but she doesn't lose the big picture. She saved our wedding from one disaster after another, from making boutonnieres on the floor of the church the morning of the wedding because they didn't come in with the rest of our floral arrangements, to sewing my dress after the bustle broke, to arranging last minute table designs, running interference with a less than stellar venue, to so much more that I probably don't even know happened because she's just that good. She does all this with a smile on her face and a pep in her step even when we were all melting from the heat. She was such a blessing to have on our side. This anxious bride felt supported and calm despite unexpected challenges because Mary was right there whenever needed, usually before I even knew I needed her. Before the end of the night just about every member of our bridal party was asking for her business card so they could hire her for their weddings. I didn't know I needed a coordinator until I had one and I couldn't think of a better one than Mary. If you want a wedding planner that treats you like family and always has a hug and a kind word ready, then you need to have Mary on your team. A million thank you's to you Mary! We love you!
|Posted on June 29, 2019 at 12:50 AM||comments (1)|
When a couple loves Star Wars as much as I do...you know the wedding is going to be epic! Some wonderful details from this unique and soulful celebration that I really loved are the "smudging ceremony" performed by their maid of honor, a personalized slide show and story book from the bride to the groom and the completely non-traditional, but 100% Shana dress!
Venue: A Wedding on the Hudson/Arts Center on the Hudson-Mechanicville, NY
Caterer: Ugly Rooster Catering
Music: Art Fredette
Photo (not this one!): Dyan Holt Photography
|Posted on January 31, 2019 at 2:00 PM||comments (2)|
OOOOKKKAAAYYYY folks...let's chat about making decisions.
I get it. You start by Googling, which leads to Wedding Wire, which leads to The Knot, which leads to you realizing it's 3:00 a.m. and you have clearly gone off the rails. There are about a bazillion wedding professionals out there Then, you go to a bridal show and your brain almost explodes because you get information from another 10 million people. You can't remember who was who, who you loved and who you hated. Everyday 37 peopole that you work with or know give you unending suggestions and recommendations because they played someone's wedding or holiday party...they are a friend of a friend who promises a "great deal". You sit at your kitchen table with stacks of information, with absolutely no idea how to decide even where to start.
What you need is someone who knows these people and businesses. You need honest answers to questions like "Is this guy a hot mess?" or "Who is actually in charge over there?". The things that are most important like...is this pro going to play well with others, show up on time, answer emails and phone calls, lie to us or make the event about themselves....nobody tells you. Guess what kids...I do. It took me years, as a young venue manager to realise that when I would ask questions like these from planners the responses I would get like "he's unique" or "she is very pleasant" really meant that they were going to make my life miserable and should be black listed forever.
But as a couple....how in the heck would you know that? And here's the thing...there are soooooo many amazing wedding professionals, here in Upstate NY and beyond, who just kick butt and will knock your wedding or event out of the park! But just like in every industry, there are some that are challenging. And most importantly, not every personality is going to work together just like in real life. There may be a DJ that one couple loves, that another couple absolutely hates...that is OKAY. What is important is that you have help in navigating those personalities so that you don't get burned or seriously annoyed on your big day.
|Posted on January 31, 2019 at 1:45 PM||comments (1)|
I see it all the time...a couple decides to do a tent wedding in an open field or a barn. Then they hire a catering company and pick a package without bringing the caterer to the venue or property first. After a while, a site visit happens and the reality sets in...you will now need $5,000 in rental equipment, tents and generators to accomplish the menu you have selected and accomodate all of the vendors you have hired. Or, worse...the caterer tells you that it is simply not possible to accomplish your dream with what you have provided them. and you don't have any more money in the budget to fix it...now what?
Well....if you don't know The Doctor or Marty McFly...some changes are going to have to be made and fast!
If you are dreaming of a barn or tent wedding and haven't gone down the rabbit hole yet....
1. INVOLVE YOUR CATERER FROM DAY 1! If you want a 5 course menu and delicately assembled platings, then make sure you have the budget and space to give them the tools they need.
2. ASK THESE QUESTIONS about rentals, kitchen space, power supply available, potable water., restrooms, noise ordinances, parking restrictions, rain plans, insurance riders..the list goes on and on...BEFORE you give a deposit anywhere.
OR......HIRE A PLANNER BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THIS AND THE ISSUES WON'T ARISE. Trust me when I tell you that I have a list of about 200 items I check on every time I go see a venue. Someone needs to be able to help you establish how much and what kind of power is needed where. What tent sizes to use and which ones won't work. Do you know what size kitchen tent suits what kind of menu? Did you know that many venues are banning industrial coffee urns due to the amount of power they pull and how to deal with this? Soooooo many things to think about and soooo many catastrophes that can be avoid if all of the plans A, B, C-Z are put into place ahead of time.
|Posted on May 11, 2018 at 12:10 AM||comments (1)|
Oh the timeless question of "What do we serve for dinner?" The truth is that the unending options are mind boggling and can overwhelm even a seasoned vet. So where do you start? Well...here are my top 5 tips for picking an appropriate menu:
- Mind your own budget! Keep in mind that Off Premise catering is always more expensive (so if you are getting married in a tent or venue that does not offer catering on site). So before you start thinking food, make sure the venue you choose allots for enough money to feed everyone. Keep in mind that the bar accounts for 25%-40% of your per person price, so before you add that top shelf open bar make sure it doesn't force you to serve pizza and wings.
- What kind of feeling is your event? So for instance, if you are getting married in a formal ballroom...a BBQ buffet where guests are eating ribs with their hands is really not appropriate. Match the level of formality of your menu to the level of formality of the venue.
- Food Counts are going to drive you nuts. If you decide to give your guests choices (your remember from every wedding in the world...beef, chicken, fish...ugh), remember that you will be responsible for not only getting all your RSVP's together, but also getting the exact number of each food selection to provide to your caterer. Now of course, a great wedding planner will take care of that for you...but overall it's annoying and not to mention do you think your guests really want to decide what they want for dinner 2 months before they eat it? If you really have your heart set on a "Plated" option...go with a Duet Plate...you'll thank me later!
- Food Stations are super fun and SUPER pricey. Stations Style weddings can be an absolutely great way to blend different cultures, tell the story of your relationship or just keep the night more relaxed and fun. They can also bust your budget wide open. Get all the details of pricing from your caterer before you set your heart this type of service. Buffets can do a lot of the same things at a much lower price. Be sure you work with your venue and caterer TOGETHER. Just because you want stations, doesn't mean they will fit in your room with your guest count, bars, memory tables, photo booth etc.
- Finally...Mary what is your favorite type of service???? Hands down, Family Style Dining is my absolute favorite for weddings. In this type of service, each table gets serving platters/bowls of multiple items to pass, share and enjoy. You get all the benefits of a buffet, in a more formal manner. This is a great way to get guests at tables to talk and engage each other and you still don't have to deal with specific food counts...win, win!
|Posted on March 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
We always say that the ceremony is the reason that a wedding day even exists, so in turn is the absolute most important part of the day. Having said that, once your vows are said and the beautiful moment when two become one has ended, what follows should be a celebration! This means that you and especially your guests are expecting to CELEBRATE, with dancing, laughter and all the joy that comes with it. The key to making this happen is to allot enough time for guests to truly enjoy themselves and each other. Timing and editing can make or break the party portion of your big day.
So how do you make sure your guests have a chance to break out those dancing shoes? Keep an eye on how many formalities you intend to include. We sometimes see brides who can get so overwhelmed with ideas (it is so very easy to do with all the social sites, media, magazines etc.) and want to put as many into their day as possible. What we want to help our brides to do understand is that each moment of your day is special, unique and important and just sharing them is enough...not every second needs to be part of a pre-planned itinerary. Remember also that every formality takes time. Time to set up, time to carry out, time for applause...time.
A traditional wedding timeline can look something like this (remember this when you talk to your caterer)...when cocktail hour ends, depending on how many guests you have in attendance and how far they have to travel from one spot to another, it can take 15-20 minutes just to get your guests to their seats (even longer if your place cards/escort board is not out during cocktail hour or if your venue doesn't close the bar during this time). Formal introductions can take another 10-15 minutes (depending on how difficult your bridal party is to line up and if everyone has been located and is where they need to be). Then add first dance, toasts (let's say 2 for now), blessing....you have already used up on the low end 30-40 minutes and on the high end over an hour. Now dinner service begins and depending on how many courses you have can be another hour easy. Believe it or not, 2 hours left to dance is really normal and pretty standard.
Where we want to caution our brides is in adding all the extra's...some are good, too many will cut your reception short and leave you feeling like you never really had the party you dreamed of. Your family and friends want to be with you and make memories that last forever...not sit through 12 speeches, 8 courses, 6 dances, 4 exhibitions and a partridge in a pear tree...they want you. Keep this in mind during cocktail hour too...the later the bride, groom and bridal party run, the longer cocktail hour runs.
This is where the years of experience that our team has running these events, from not only a coordinator's stand point, but from an operational management stand point becomes a huge asset to our brides. Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn lots of additional ways to create your dream day!