Tips from our Friends at Groovy Groomsmen Gifts!

Let’s face it – most guys aren’t natural shoppers. They’re not really great at details and have a tendency to procrastinate, a few reasons why groomsmen gift shopping can be a challenge for most grooms. After all, time and sincere effort goes into selecting appropriate, practical, and memorable mementos.

In the attempt to come up with unique, creative ideas to thank their groomsmen, some grooms get often stuck in limbo. A misconception about groomsmen gifts is that it has to be either one of these: funny, unique, or functional. Truth is, groomsmen gifts can be all those three and more.

There is no single formula to scoring great groomsmen finds but the list of “to dos” definitely make the process a lot easier.

Opt for unique gifts

batmans-caricature_largeKnowing your groomsmen individually helps in making an informed gift choice. It is best for grooms to make the time to learn about each groomsman’s hobbies or interests. While it is no crime to consider coordinated and/or matching gifts, it is also worth noting that each guy is different. Finding gifts specifically for each individual shows the extra effort put into the gift-selection process. This caricature from Groovy Groomsmen Gifts can be a perfect gift for your superhero-loving buddy.

Go for gifts that have great practical value

cool-leather-travel-bag_largeMen are not the type to collect trinkets. As a fellow guy, the groom knows that men appreciate items that can be of use to them. Consider getting tokens built for function over gifts that have no more than a comic appeal. Should the groom prefer matching gifts for his groomsmen, it is best to go for something that will generally be useful to the recipient, regardless of his personality.

Give a thoughtfully written thank you note

Groomsmen gifts serve the purpose of being the tangible representation of the groom’s appreciation for his groomsmen. Although the item itself says a lot, it is always best to complement it with a handwritten thank you note. It adds a subtle but significant personal touch to the gift.

Wrap your gifts nicely

best-groomsmen-gift-ideas-ever_largePresentation matters when it comes gift-giving as this is the first thing groomsmen notice. Cool packaging adds to the anticipation of opening the unknown. It is also a great way to incorporate quirky, whimsical twists to groomsmen gifts. Look for gifts that come in special casing for the ultimate wow factor. This 3 piece gift in a box set also from Groovy Groomsmen Gifts makes for a great groomsmen gift idea.

Have your gifts ready at least a month before the wedding

We know that weddings can be overwhelming and both the bride and groom’s schedule become packed as days go by. Before anyone realizes, months turn to weeks, and weeks to days. Pulling of a task as important as selecting gifts for groomsmen requires time. A month before the wedding gives the groom ample time to look at options.

How my Fiancé Learned about Wedding Planning

Let me start this story with my wonderful boyfriend, now fiancé, is a coach and a math teacher. Seth thinks in terms of logical equations or playbooks and I love him for it. But when he started to plan his proposal, he got a small taste of what a day in my life of as a new wedding planner looks like.

For as long as I can remember 4th of July has been my favorite holiday, filled with memories of backyard barbecues, the smell of summer and sparkling explosions in the sky! So this past July when Seth told me he wanted to spend the day together and go watch a fireworks show, I didn’t think anything of it. After a day of relaxing, we headed to Kaboom Town in Addison in a borrowed truck from one of his friends. On the rooftop of the Intercontinental Hotel, during one of the best fireworks finale’s in the country, Seth said “You think those are pretty…check this out” and pulled a beautiful ring out of his pocket and proposed. What I thought what a photographer from the town of Addison, turned out to be a friend of his that captured the entire experience. Seth took my expectations for a proposal and blew them out of the sky…literally!

Great story huh? Good thing that’s not where it ends! We headed to our favorite bar to celebrate and meet his friend to give the borrowed truck back. When I walked into the room I was met with over 50 of my closest friends and family members. The word “surprised” doesn’t do that moment justice! After I cried, A LOT, and hugged as many people as I could I looked to Seth for an explanation of how he pulled this off. His response was “I had a lot of help.”

party entrance
Turns out the planning for this party started back in February and his first call was to a very close friend of mine who is also in the event planning industry. From there they created a team of friends, family and rockstar vendors to plan this party. Some of the main aspects are very similar to wedding planning, selecting a venue within a certain budget, finding food options that fit the occasion and creating the atmosphere you and your guests will enjoy most. But don’t miss the most important part of any sort of event planning – finding someone you trust to take care of all the details. Seth recognized from the beginning that he didn’t have the knowledge of the events industry to plan this to my incredibly high standards. And in order for him to enjoy the experience he had to have someone preparing and executing all the day of details.

party details

With a new appreciation of the world of events, Seth and I dove into to planning of our wedding…I can’t wait to share those stories with you! Watch for my next post about the mind of a wedding planner when she’s planning her OWN wedding!

Rachel Lynn

Common Misconceptions About Assigning Guests to Tables at Your Wedding

The date of your wedding is quickly approaching. Your RSVP’s are coming in, and now you are facing the question of whether or not you should assign your guests to tables or let them choose their own seats (“Open Seating”). Your Wedding Coordination staff will be the ones assisting the guests with finding their tables regardless of the set-up you choose, so here are some common misconceptions we hear from our clients, followed by the reality of what actually occurs as guests are finding their seats.

What You Think Will Happen: “If I assign my guests to tables, they will view my wedding as too formal and rigid and not have as much fun.”
What Actually Happens: Your guests will appreciate the thought you put into assigning them to tables with other guests with whom they will likely enjoy spending dinnertime. It does cause some social anxiety for guests to enter the ballroom and have to find their own seats without a table assignment. They don’t want to sit in the wrong place, and they don’t want to end up at a table with people far removed from their age group. How do we know this? Because we when we have Open Seating, as guests enter the ballroom and we tell them that it’s Open Seating, we hear about 75% of them groan and sigh in frustration.
Solution: Take the time to assign your guests to tables. You don’t have to pick their seats, but a table assignment reduces the time it takes for guests to enter the room and relieves social anxiety. Worried about the cost of creating escort cards and table numbers? Just do one card per couple/family in order to save cost. Also, you most likely already have a spreadsheet of your guests that you created to send invitations. You can buy an inexpensive set of escort cards from any office supply store and do a quick Mail Merge to import those names into the provided template. Just be sure and print their names in a font that is sized and designed for quick and easy reading. That gorgeous, small script font you used for your invitations is not easy to read when 200 people are trying to find their escort cards all at once.

What You Think Will Happen: “I don’t want to assign guests to tables because then they will feel like they have to sit there all night and have to hang around with the same people all night long.”
What Actually Happens: Whether you assign guests to tables or not, they are going to find a table immediately when they enter the ballroom and sit down in a chair in preparation for announcements, first dance, dinner, etc. They will sit at this table until dinner is over and dancing begins. Then they will be up and moving for the rest of the evening. Even if you allowed Open Seating, most guests will return to the table where they had dinner when they want to sit down.
Solution: Understand that your guests getting up and interacting with each other has more to do with the environment you and your Wedding Coordinator have created in the room with the timeline, room layout and, most importantly, the quality of the DJ or band who is providing the entertainment.

What You Think Will Happen: “We need to have an extra table or two for guests who show up who didn’t RSVP. And it’s going to be a big problem when those guests show up and don’t see their names on an escort card.”
What Actually Happens: You will have guests arrive who did not RSVP; however, you will also have guests who don’t come to the wedding who told you they were coming and for whom you have reserved seats.
Solution: If you follow up with every guest you invited to get an RSVP (yes, this takes time and is frustrating), then you can give your venue/florist/caterer a hard number of guests, knowing that 10% of those guests won’t show up and that 10% who didn’t RSVP will end up coming. With most cultures, it ends up being a wash, and there are always extra seats. If you know your culture tends to have a large number of guests who don’t RSVP and still come to the wedding, then planning for overage with tables, food, centerpieces, etc is a good idea. Also, hiring a Wedding Coordinator will give you a person to stand next to those escort cards and let the non-RSVPers know that everything is okay when they can’t find their escort cards and to just find available seats once everyone is seated.

What You Think Will Happen: “I have assigned everyone to tables. Our parents’ tables are most important, so we have assigned them to Tables 1 and 2.”
What Actually Happens: The table where the bride and groom are sitting is typically in the front and center of the room, often with the rest of the tables surrounding it in a U-formation. Tables 1 & 2 are usually at the far side of the room in a corner and couldn’t be farther from the center. The parents and the bride & groom get upset on the wedding day when they realize this mistake.
Solution: It’s a very simple solution but one that is often accidentally overlooked. Make sure and number the tables on your floorplan BEFORE you make your escort cards. Then you will see that your parents really belong at the tables nearest to the center, which might be Tables 11 & 12, as an example.

What You Think Will Happen: “I want to have Open Seating with just a few Reserved tables for family. I want to put “Reserved for Bride’s Family” or “Reserved for Groom’s Family” signs on these tables.”
What Actually Happens: You have an aunt/uncle, stepparent, etc who thinks he/she is supposed to sit at this table, but you did not intend for this. This person has to be asked to move away from the table. This is an awkward thing to request (We know, because we are usually the ones who have to make the request and see the expressions on the family members’ faces when we ask them to get up) and can cause family resentment for years to come.
Solution: Put the “Reserved for Bride’s/Groom’s Family” signs on the tables, but also put place cards at each seat for the family members you intend to sit there. This way the family members can see who was intended to sit there and there is less of an awkward situation created.

What You Think Will Happen: “If I have enough seats for everyone, when I do Open Seating, everyone will have a seat and no one will get upset.”
What Actually Happens: The majority of your guests will find a seat, but there will be that large group of family or friends who lingered too long in the cocktail hour area enjoying each other’s company. They enter a ballroom where most of your guests have picked their tables, assuming they will get to sit with their group of 6 with whom they spent time with during cocktail hour, only to find that there are only seats of 1 or 2 left at various tables around the room. They get upset and ask the venue staff or your Wedding Coordinator if they can attempt to move chairs from other tables and squish them into a table all together. Sometimes they even do this after you tell them not to.
Solution: Assigning guests to tables alleviates this problem.

What You Think Will Happen: “We will sit at a Sweetheart Table, guests and family will have Open Seating, and my Wedding Party will also choose their own seats. They are young and personable; they can mix well with anyone!”
What Actually Happens: The guests find seats. Your family finds seats. You have your Sweetheart Table for the two of you. However, your Wedding Party enters the ballroom last – right before the bride and groom. At this point, everyone is seated, and if members of your Wedding Party don’t have a date with the forethought to save a seat for them, they have to spread out and find available seats at tables, which usually have only 1 or 2 seats available. This is awkward and uncomfortable for your Wedding Party. Then, if you are dismissing to a buffet and are allowing the Wedding Party to eat first, now they have the even more uncomfortable situation of being the only one at their table with a plate of food, or their entire table has to be immediately dismissed to the buffet. This results in virtually the entire room being dismissed all at once and causes long lines at buffets.
Solution: If you are doing Open Seating, be sure to have Reserved tables for both your families and your Wedding Party. Be sure the Wedding Party knows whether or not their dates are to sit at this table. You can always make place cards for these tables as well.

At Significant Events, we know that smooth logistics and crowd control are absolutely essential to helping your event run smoothly and successfully. We take pride in placing ourselves in areas where your guests will have questions and answering the questions before they ever ask them. One of the best investments you will make in your wedding is having a strong Full Service or Day Of Coordinator to significantly reduce the stress of a potentially high stress situation.

Entertainment Agencies: Your Partner in the Planning!

Whether you are looking to hire a single party band for your wedding or multiple acts for a corporate tradeshow, working with an Entertainment Agency is a must! Entertainment Agencies screen, hire, and manage professional entertainers of all genres in order to provide their clients with a perfect match to entertain and delight their guests, whatever the occasion. Besides the fact that most professional entertainers work with multiple agencies, they also book themselves individually and maintain their own websites and bookings. For this reason they are often hired directly by DIY brides and other clients in need of entertainment. As professional event coordinators, Significant Events always works directly with an Entertainment Agency no matter how small or how large the entertainment needs may be. Why not just work directly with the entertainment, you may ask? A recent, real-life example illustrates our reasons perfectly.

Recently, one of Significant Events’ Preferred Venues had a wedding where the bride had booked a band from Louisiana to perform at her wedding. The bride and groom were both from Louisiana, and music native to the state was very important to this couple. The band did not leave for Dallas until the afternoon of the wedding. On the way here, their van broke down and they TEXTED (oh my!) the bride and groom that they were not going to be able to arrive until 2 hours after the start of the wedding reception. Talk about a crisis! Luckily the Maid of Honor had the bride’s phone and told the wedding photographer what was happening. In a perfect example of the value of the team work and strong vendor networks that event professionals work hard to build, the wedding photographer sprung into action and called a DJ colleague and explained the situation. The DJ colleague, who was unavailable to come and help due to being across town working another wedding, called another DJ colleague, and that DJ dropped everything and headed immediately to the reception, in time to set up and be ready for guests to arrive for a bride and groom he had never met. While this was an excellent solution to this problem and the DJ did a wonderful job managing the reception under difficult circumstances, it did not change the fact that the bride and groom were extremely disappointed at the unfortunate situation and the lack of live music at their wedding that they had counted on and paid thousands of dollars for.

How could this situation been avoided with an Entertainment Agency involved? First and foremost, an Agency would have required the band to have arrived to Dallas the day before the wedding. That way if something like a vehicle breakdown did occur, there would most likely be time to fix the problem without the bride and groom even knowing a problem had occurred. Secondly, if for some reason the band was still not able to make it to the event, each Agency has a huge network of other bands who are comparable in style who could step in to play in the other band’s absence. The bride mentioned above was lucky that her photographer was so well connected and took the initiative to help her. Many would not be so lucky and would have been stuck without a band, without an emcee, without music at their wedding reception.

The fee you pay to an Entertainment Agency for booking and managing your entertainment is so miniscule compared to the peace of mind that is provided when hiring them. Events, such as your wedding, are far too important to leave to chance. Don’t underestimate the value of your event entertainment – it truly can be the “make it or break it” aspect of your wedding! Leave it to the professionals like the coordinators at Significant Events and the Entertainment Agencies we work with.

Real vs. Silk Flowers? Is There an Advantage?


2-Girls Flowers
It always surprises me when clients express an interest in using silk flowers for their weddings or events. You may be wondering, is there a financial advantage to using silk flowers over fresh? The answer is no. Here are some common arguments I hear in regards to using silk flowers.

While this is true, a skilled florist can treat your flowers and deliver them at the appropriate time to lessen the odds of them wilting. Your florist can also advise you about which types of flowers are most likely to wilt if you are having an outdoor wedding in extremely warm or cold temperatures, where flowers run the risk of freezing.

This is a common misconception. In fact, in most instances, silk flowers are more expensive. And then after your event, you are stuck with hundreds of silk flowers that you will never use again.

Perfectly understandable! Why not have your florist create a replica of your fresh flower bouquet for you to keep as a momento? Then you will have the benefit and beauty of a fresh flower bouquet for the ceremony and a silk bouquet as a keepsake. And, trust me, your bridesmaids are about as interested in preserving their silk flower bouquet as they are in rewearing their bridesmaid’s dress (no matter how practical you think that dress is!).

Fresh flowers can increase the elegance and beauty of any event, and silk flowers simply do not provide the same effect!

Budget Saving Strategies for Your Event

Now more than ever, keeping your wedding or event on a tight budget is the norm. Clients are looking for ways to save and find the magical combination of cutting costs while not sacrificing quality. This month Bridal Guide magazine released an article entitled “The 101 Best Budget Tips.” At Significant Events, we always strive to save our clients money so that they leave their event with a sense of euphoria rather than buyer’s remorse! Here are a few of my favorite suggestions from Bridal Guide’s list:

1. Rent a Public Space for Your Event
Dallas and the surrounding suburbs have some beautiful public venues, including parks with gazebos, public buildings for rent, etc. Usually these venues rent for a small hourly fee (around $100.00 per hour) and don’t require a food and beverage minimum. You are allowed to bring in your own catering and often your own alcohol at these venues. Some of my favorites include Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake in Lakewood, Myers Park Event Center in McKinney, and Haggard Park in Plano. My only suggestion is to have a coordinator present! Most of these venues do not have a a facility manager on site and, if a problem arises, you will be on your own without an event coordinator present.

Haggard Park
Haggard Park

2. Do All of Your Photography Ahead of Time
Actually, this one isn’t on the Bridal Guide list, but it is one of my favorite tips! I know it is untraditional, but setting up a special moment for the bride and groom prior to the ceremony and doing all of the formal pictures before the ceremony, actually saves you time and money. Since the pictures will be completed, the bride and groom can arrive at the ceremony at essentially the same time as the rest of the guests and start dinner immediately. If the bride and groom have to stay at the ceremony for 30 minutes – 1 hour after their guests leave, they will have to provide appetizers and additional beverages for their guests.

3. Hold Your Event on a Night Other than Saturday
Not only will your venue charge a higher rate for a Saturday evening wedding, your DJ, photographer, and caterer probably will too, just to name a few. If your event will not have a lot of alcohol served and/or not alot of dancing intended, there is really not a reason to hold it on a Saturday night. An event during the daytime can also get by just serving hors d’ourves rather than a full meal, which will save money as well.