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Emergency Kit

There she was. Ready to walk down the aisle, literally the whole church waiting for her and it happened. The mother of the bride, giving her last advice, tripped and smeared lipstick right across the front of the pristine, white dress. She stood in stunned shock thinking, what am I going to do?

Luckily for her she hired me, an experienced event planner, and I ran up to save the day with my trusty emergency kit. Some secret serums later, (involving alcohol pads and baby powder) and all was well. If you knew to look for it you could see something, but her day and her photos were saved!

This is one of many reasons why having an experienced planner is essential, the key there is experience. We’ve run into it all, have a trick for everything and come prepared. In my emergency kit there is always:

  • Medication: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Imodim and Tums (there’s a lot of emotion at weddings! Our bodies tend to act up in accordance)
  • First aid kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins and straight pins
  • Hair accessories and hair spray
  • Clear nail polish (so many uses!)
  • Glue, hot glue and tape (had a bouquet ribbon fall off once)
  • Feminine items
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Pens and markers
  • Batteries
  • Those handy alcohol pads
  • Stain remover
  • Lighter
  • Snacks and candies (low blood sugar can get overlooked on these busy days)
  • Ziplocks baggies
  • Makeup
  • And of course, many many phone numbers of other vendors who could come in a moment’s notice if anything were to go awry

There is so much more I bring every time, but this gives you an idea of the power house you are bringing to your wedding day. I have seen, heard of and thought of everything so you shouldn’t have to. You just worry about how great it’s going to feel to walk down the aisle and say yes!

You’re Getting Married!

IMG_20161015_164331542Congratulations.You may be thinking of hiring a planner, and that is a great choice, it tells you, the universe and everyone coming that your day is very special.

Your day, your wedding, your event, is bigger than you and it deserves the professional organization only a planner can bring. But now you have the choice: an entire planning package or hiring the planner for just the day of. Well, what’s the difference? How does this decision make or break the biggest day of your life?

The planner is the lynch pin to your whole event. Probably the most important piece in this machine, after you and yours, of course.

First and foremost, the money. No one wants to spend more than they need to, and often people see the event planner as a luxury for the elite. No! A good planner should save you money (time and heartache too, to be quite honest). They have a working, symbiotic relationship with local vendors. They may have discounted rates for their preferred vendors, or at the very least are quite experienced at negotiation. A vendor would want to offer a discount with a planner because a happy planner means future business. And day – of they can manage their people they have a good relationship with much better than a group of strangers. Who will be where, when? What should the contract say and are you getting exactly what you want? You don’t want any surprises when you’re ready to experience the greatest day of your life.

Look at it this way, would you buy the best engine, good tires, a super fancy steering wheel and engine, then throw it all in a heap and call it a car or even expect it to run? Well with your event it’s the same. Well…Similar. If you spend the money on the whole package the planner can call in their favorite, tried and true vendors. They have a plan, a back up plan and a back up to the back up plan for every part of it.

A planner that only has control day-of is really just a chaos manager. Even if they’ve begin work a month prior, they are coming in to manage a situation rather than design and choreograph from the beginning. Let’s say that on the day of the event no one can get a hold of the caterer. Or, they show up not performing, you could put the planner on the case, but if she is just getting there she has as much sway and control as you, plus all the other things she’s trying to organize.

Getting the entire package doesn’t cost any more in the long run, and doesn’t take any of the ‘you’ out of your special day. Be the beautiful couple with nothing but stars and love in their eyes, rather than stress and anxiety. It makes for better photos. And happier memories.

About Me and Grand Expectations Events

I’ve been writing these blog posts for a few weeks now and decided it might be nice to know a little more about me and Grand Expectations Events.

My name is Kendra Ingram and I am the owner and wedding planner for Grand Expectations Events. I have been married since September 2014 and my husband and I were together 10 years before we were married. I have an adult daughter and my husband has an adult son. Both of us own our own businesses which keeps us quite busy. In addition to that we also renovate/restore old homes and rent them out. I enjoy DIY but doing the rentals has opened up a whole new avenue for that passion. As a couple we enjoy tackling the rentals and the time it gives us together. We are also big fans of Disney World!

The history of Grand Expectations Events began about 10 years ago with Lauren. When she decided to move on Andrea purchased the company and I was an intern with her for two years. Andrea then decided to move on as well and I purchased the company from her. I have been owner for a three years now and am LOVING it!

Wedding Stationery

There are so many details to know and remember when planning a wedding, stationery being among the most stressful. There are Save the Dates, Wedding Announcements, Invitations, Menu Cards, Place Cards, Escort Cards, Thank You Notes; its enough to make your head spin.
What are each of these and are they necessary? Well, that depends on the level of formality you have chosen.
Let’s start with Save the Dates. These are a must for all guests if you are planning a destination wedding or have a large number of out of town guests. If these situations don’t apply then they are used as a courtesy to those guests who you’d really like to attend. Not all guests need a save the date. The format and wording on a Save the Date is up for grabs. Generally a picture of the couple, the words “Save the Date” and the actual wedding date is plenty. If your wedding is out of town, please include where the festivities will take place and the date range. For instance, if your wedding is going to be in Jamaica and the travel dates for most guests is Wednesday-Saturday, include those dates on the save the date.
Wedding Announcements is probably a term most folks aren’t familiar with. These are similar in concept to a graduation announcement. It doesn’t serve as an invitation rather than an announcement of the wedding. The wording can be close to the actual invitation minus the requesting of their presence. You can even use the same format and formality as the actual invitation.
Your wedding invitations are the biggest part of your wedding stationery. The possibilities here are endless and can be quite overwhelming. Start with the level of formality you are comfortable with for your ceremony and reception and work from there. Hiring a wedding planner who is willing to work with the stationery company to determine the overall look and design is a great way to narrow down the choices. There are so many decisions to be made, be sure to take your time and only decide on a design that you as a couple can agree on.
Your menu cards, escort cards, place cards and thank you notes should be of the same quality and design as your invitations. They should carry on the theme, colors and feel of the ceremony and reception. And before you even ask, YES, thank you notes are a must. It doesn’t matter if you received a gift or just a card, send a thank you note.

Destination Weddings

I LOVE to plan destination weddings in the Caribbean!! Planning a destination wedding takes my love and passion for travel and combines it with my love and passion for planning weddings.
I currently hold the Palace Resorts, Palace Pro certification for weddings at their resorts and will be attending the Sandals & Beaches Resorts specialist class later this month.
Palace Resorts
Sandals Resorts
Beaches Resorts
If you are interested in holding a destination wedding anywhere in the Caribbean or Mexico these are the resort chains to look at. All the resorts are all inclusive so all your drinks, non motorized water sports and some scuba diving and some golf is included. Both chains offer great group discounts and incentives as well as a site visit for next to nothing!

Misconceptions About Wedding Planners

When you hear the words “wedding planner” what is the first image or word that comes to mind? Does “wedding planner” make you cringe or is it your new favorite phrase?
For me, Jennifer Lopez’s role as Mary Fiore in The Wedding Planner comes to mind, headset and all. This movie started me thinking about becoming a planner but it also terrified me. I knew that when I became a wedding planner I didn’t want to be thought of as a control freak who wanted to make other people’s weddings their own. I feel like that is the biggest misconception about wedding planners. So I’d like to try and sway at least one person’s opinion and jot down what a wedding planner truly is.
A wedding planner/bridal consultant is a professional who will help make your wedding as close to perfect as it can possibly be. Their goal is for you and your family to be a guest at your wedding. We are advisors, coordinators, supervisors, mediators and financial planners. There are various levels of assistance that any wedding planner will provide. We can be helpful as a consultant/advise giver; assist in planning every detail from beginning to wedding day; we can be hired to coordinate all vendors on the day of only. We are hired to work for you, not against you. Your wedding planner/bridal consultant’s style and personality should match yours, you will be spending quite a bit of time with them.
I hope I helped clear up what it is wedding planners actually do. If not, my future blog post will be a day in life of wedding planner on wedding day and maybe that will give a bit more insight.

Engagement Photos

I am neither for or against Engagement Photos, however, I do think they should be personal and reflect who the bride and groom to be are as a couple. The staged setting circa Olan Mills in the 80’s is, in my humble opinion, a bit flat. A great engagement photo should show the love between the couple and their personalities.
Some ideas would be to take the pictures where you had your first date or first met. Include your pets. Have a favorite sports team in common? Take pictures at their location.
Laughter is a great way to showcase your love for each other. Catching one person gazing at the other is romantic and special. Is there an activity you enjoy as a couple? Take photos doing that activity.
Here are some great sites to visit for more ideas.

Easy DIY

For the brides on a strict budget or who are crafty, there are many easy and inexpensive DIY elements you can add to your special day. If you’re not all that crafty, find some friends or family members who are. Lastly if you like the look of some handmade items, Etsy is a fabulous source where you can pay others to be crafty for you.

Here are a few easy DIY projects I took on for my own wedding:
Napkin rings – I saved the cardboard part of the toilet paper roll, cut them in half and hot glued ribbon to them. Making a nice clean cut was a bit harder than I anticipated but I got the hang of it after practicing on a few.
Table Runners – You can see from the picture above my table runners, these are super easy to do and take virtually no skill. I found the fabric and fell in love with it. This fabric ended up being the inspiration for my whole wedding. Fabric that is 45″ in width works best, all you would need is to finish the edges and cut to length. If you are a sewer then finishing the edges is easy with a serger or regular machine and making the hem. If you don’t sew, its still easy to finish by hot glueing ribbon on the back side to hide the raw edge.
Entrance Draping – Our wedding was outside and didn’t have a “door” for me to walk through. I solved that issue by making my own entrance. I took two big planters, filled them with concrete, stuck some PVC piping in then draped a white sheet down and across the top to create a “doorway”. The picture does a better job of describing it.