Monday, November 30, 2015

Be Our Guest…


There’s a reason why we’re called Knot Your Average Events…we want you to be a guest at your event.  After seeing events from several different perspectives over the past 15 years, I’ve seen a lot.  I want to share a few stories why we’ve started this year to add as many assistants as we do because it goes way beyond planning and coordinating when you hire us.   We want to create an experience your guests will speak about for years to come. 


I started out in my career as a site manager for a venue and the things I saw during those years still amazes me to today.  I am all for saving money but when your family and friends can’t enjoy the day; that kind of defeats the purpose.  I can't count the number of times I would over hear the mother of the bride calling to cancel her hair and make-up because there was too much left to do at the ceremony or reception area. Then as guests start arriving they would slip away to the restroom trailer to change and freshen up.  Between the stresses of not getting everything completed, lack of food or exhausted from running nonstop that week and day of that the family and friends are never 100% present during the event.  If they are not tired for setting up, they are already thinking of the tear down and what needs to be done next. 
Our staff loves helping couples and families enjoy their day by arriving early, and if you bring in a few more of us; we’ll even set up all of the tables and chairs then place out linens and place settings along with folding napkins.  Not to mention setting out menu cards, place cards and party favors. You never estimate the amount of time it takes to add each level of detail to each table.  Are you thinking about having chair covers?  Add another 1-2 hours depending on the team you assemble to place each cover on them and then tie the sashes.  It’s those details that get overwhelming to families and create a shortness of time and if you attempted to save money by renting a venue for 8 hours that means you have about an hour and half do everything.  We bring in a small army with those venues because you want everything set up before your first guest arrives.

Once we have everything set up, our team kind of plays superman…we go from “Superman back to Clark Kent” to blend in with the wedding guests.  Our team will traditionally dress in the event colors and “radio up.”  (All of our staff wears radios with headsets so that we can communicate with one another from across the, between parking and greeters and to let vendors know guests are onsite and prepare for their arrival.)  If our clients hires our full team for an event we will do everything from greet guests in the parking lot, welcome them and open doors upon their arrival, informed the of location of restrooms, watch over gift tables and let guests know where the ceremony areas are for a wedding.  We know you may have family and friends as greeters but sometimes they will run late or get lost in a conversation with a family member they haven’t seen in a while.   We still recommend to have ushers seat guests and hostesses to hand out programs and bottled water if the setting allows.  But by us being there, we can insure the ceremony starts on time with guests in their seats waiting on your arrival.

If there is a ceremony involved at the event, we are busy behind the scene lighting candles, making sure the catering company has appetizers displayed or ready to be passed.  We check in with the bar staff to make sure they are ready for a wave of guests at the beginning of the cocktail hour.  We also try and prepare to meet the wedding party and family with cocktails and bottled water following the ceremony.  And if there is a separate DJ or Band for Cocktail Hour we try and make sure they are all ready for once the ceremony is completed.  We try to create a flow without any dead air.

Still questioning why you should bring in a full service guest experience to your event…let’s talk about the reception.  That’s where we really shine and sparkle!  From assisting guests to find their seats, pumping up the wedding party before introductions, to opening
doors for the grand entrance, we even take the wedding party’s flowers to place them back into water.  Since usually no one remembers how to bustle the dress, we also help with the bustling of the wedding dress.  We personally like to serve our couple once they return from a restroom break.   We think it’s really important for them to eat their first meal together as a married couple.  Then we make sure any elderly or disabled guests are served at their seats by our staff while our lead coordinator handles tables to go through food lines or food stations to prevent long snake lines and running out of food while in line.  This allows the professional catering companies to focus on presenting great hot food, full buffets and/or food stations, and walk around with beverage services for tea and water.  Remember you are creating a guest experience and you want your guests to feel like they are guests.  Be thoughtful of what they also sacrificed to attend your event.  An average wedding guest spends over $500 to attend your special day and an average budget in our area of Alamance County is $154 per person.  If they are taking off from work, got a babysitter, traveling, booking a hotel, purchase a new outfit and bring a gift; that all adds up quickly.  You should return the favor and treat them to a great meal and night of fun and entertainment. 
Other little things we’ve been known to do during receptions are set up candy buffets, set out cupcake and dessert displays, and prepare for cake cutting...What? Someone has to cut and serve the wedding cake?  Yes there is correct way to cut the cake to get the most slices out of it...have no fear... we do that to so you don't have to add the cake cutting fee to your catering bill. 



We really love the next part of what we do. Want a full dance floor but don’t know how to get that? Hire us!  We’ve got all kinds of tricks to fill the dance floor.  Don’t know the
fun participation dances that your guests are waiting to jump on the dance floor to do?  WE DO! And we love teaching couples, family and friends…Grandmas are our favorite still to this day. Some just want to learn so they can be a part of the party.  Once they are all a part of the party, which is all they will talk about around the water cooler on Monday at work.  Trust us, there are so many weddings we wish there was a video camera present to catch how much fun the guests had. 
We encourage more fun with photo booths and props. With the right group of guests, parties could go on all night although most around here last between 3-5 hours max (depending on time of day, music and alcohol).  However, not every guest stays from start to finish and most of the time they may not get to tell the couple goodbye, have no fear our staff are strategically placed to be spread out in order to tell guests goodbye, thank you for coming and safe travels home.  Our goal is to welcome each guests as if they were our own family coming, make sure each one has a great experience and that someone thanks them from coming before they leave.

While the party is whining down, we’re usually blowing out candles (so that the wax doesn’t spill on the tablecloths when we are breaking down), and prepping for your exit. 
You usually don’t want to set out your exit items until it’s time to go.  However, we encourage signs letting guests know what’s going on and where everything is located.   So you have to think about who is going to unwrap sparklers, set out sand buckets,  who’s going to hand out those exit items (bubbles, sparklers, ribbon wands, glow sticks, etc.), and the biggest part….who’s going to explain the exit to your guests to insure your receive your security deposit afterwards. 

As the smoke from the sparklers settle and your parents hug the final guests as they
depart, my team of “magic elves” (as they’ve been called) break down and pack up centerpieces, check out vendors as they leave, and help pack family and friends’ cars of gifts and d├ęcor items.  We typically treat each venue as if it was our own by going room to room checking for anything left, pick up trash, sweep floors and make sure our clients get all of their security deposit if possible. 

I bet you thought that is where we ended our relationship…we hope not!  We hope it’s just the beginning.  We’ve been specializing in Caribbean Honeymoons with Sandals Resorts and Beaches Family vacations.  We hope you allow up to plan the celebration of your “I DO’s” too!  Allow us to help plan you Caribbean honeymoon, anniversary trip and when the kids come…allow us to plan your first of many amazing Sesame Street characters meet and greet family vacations too~

Friday, November 13, 2015

Love at First Sight



 
                 When it comes to your wedding day, the biggest request we hear over and over again is: “we would like to spend as much time with our family and friends as possible and not feel rushed throughout the day.”  Our number one response is: “have you heard about first look photo sessions?”  For those of you that may not have ever heard of these…we think they are amazing.  Usually we will set our couple up to see one another prior to the ceremony.  This allows to take a huge portion of photos prior to the ceremony and more time with the majority of your guests after the wedding ceremony.  Plus, you are marrying your best friend right?  That probably means you definitely want to spend more time with them.  Why wait all day to see them? 

Are you worried you want have the same feeling seeing one another for the first time at opposite ends of the aisle?  Don’t worry, you will!  There is something magical that happens at that moment.  Plus by doing the first look prior to the ceremony in a private area only involving the couple, photographers and videographers.  I truly believe this is a moment just for the couple.  I typically set it up, fluff the dress (if necessary) and walk away.  Once I’m out of the frame, they can share a few minutes taking the day in.  I personally think this is one of the biggest stress relievers because you already know the other person is there, the excitement of the day can be settled and you can spend a few moments alone together.  Because it may one of the few minutes you two get to do that, once the day is in full motion everyone is going to be demanding your attention. 



Traditionally here is the list of photos (short list)

·         Bride alone, then bride with bridal party (for same sex couples one usually goes before the other) if they don’t see one another prior to ceremony…then with parents & siblings

·         Groom alone, then with groomsmen, then with bridal party, following his parents and siblings and ushers

·         Following ceremony the couple and their parents & grandparents, with parents then add siblings, don’t forget the extended family and  other important guests (greeters, program attendants, readers, soloists etc.)

·         After all of those photos then it’s the full wedding party, followed by bride and groomsmen

·         Then finally you may have 5-20 minutes of time for photos for the two of you before introductions (remember most cocktail hours should only be 45 minutes to an hour max)

What if I told you could take all of those photos but spend more time with your loved ones?  It’s okay to break some traditions and see one another before you say I do!  Take thirty minutes of photos with one another, then add your wedding party.  You can take a ton of fun and formal photos all over your venue prior to guests arriving.  Then go ahead and take photos with your parents and siblings if you can.  Once that’s done plan to have a fruit and cheese tray with crackers for everyone to take a break together and snack on before the ceremony.  This gives you even more time with your family and friends while all of your guests arrive.  This is another reason why I encourage both ushers and groomsmen.   Once the ceremony is complete you can snap a few quick group photos with extend family members and grandparents.  Then you can take 10 more minutes and take a few photos of your wedding glow while guests find their seats back at the reception.  At the end of the day you’ll have even more photos than you ever thought you would have and you would have spent most of your day with your loved ones.  And at the end of the day, isn’t that really what it’s all about?  We think so.  
(Photo credit: Michelle Robinson Photography)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

At Last...

Each wedding we have the privilege of taking part in has a special place in our hearts. Jason and Beth's wedding on Saturday October 17th 2015 was one that was close to our hearts and very emotional. There was a time in the planning process when we weren't sure whether or not the wedding would get to take place when the groom, Jason, was diagnosed with leukemia early in the process. We were told there was a chance we might not make it to October. The couple kept their spirits up and never stopped fighting and on October 17, 2015 they had a beautiful ceremony on one of the most beautiful days I've seen since I moved up here. 

You really couldn't have ordered up a more beautiful day. It was chilly once the sun went down but the warmth from Jason and Beth's family and friends was always present. The two were married at the Burke Manor Inn which is a simply gorgeous venue with an outstanding staff. They provided the food and beverages and there was not one unsatisfied guest from what I could tell. The food was delicious, the venue was kept up beautifully, and the staff were helpful and always available. 

Not, a lot people know but Jennifer's mother has been battling with cancer since she was a little girl and this hit really close to home for her.  Jennifer told me she made a big care package for Jason while he was in the hospital for a while that had all kinds of things to cheer him up which, I think, really speaks to the heart of Knot Your Average Events. Jennifer and the rest of the staff are more than happy to go above and beyond for our clients -- they don't even think about it before doing it! I wasn't able to get to know Jason and Beth during much of the planning process but from the time I've known them I can easily picture the smiles on their faces in that moment because the two of them were all smiles on Saturday. 



There was so much love present on that day and it was truly moving to witness the ceremony. I won't pretend my eyes didn't water when Beth walked down the aisle with her dad or when the two recited their vows. I couldn't stop grinning that night simply because of the love story behind them and the even bigger one they get to write together now.






Here are a few pictures of the decor for the ceremony. If you'd like to see more check out their album on our Facebook Page or the posts on our Instagram from that Saturday!







Monday, November 2, 2015

Simple Elegance

We were lucky enough to be a part of two weddings this past weened again! From the pictures and stories I heard of the first, which was a brunch wedding, it was an absolutely beautiful ceremony and a great time. I was able to attend that rehearsal the day before and I could tell it was going to be an emotional day that was so full of love just by that rehearsal so I can only imagine what the actual day was like. Lachelle, who coordinated the day of, said 
it was wonderful.

The wedding I got to take part in was for Brooke and David at The Light Horse Plantation. You really couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day or a more enjoyable group of people.


Brooke and David were such a pleasure to work with and they had such great ideas about everything from the decor to their bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts. Brooke's bridesmaids got these adorable monogrammed swag bags when they showed up on wedding day.














David went above and beyond for his groomsmen as well. The guys walked in to see these:






Each box is genuine, from the Army Surplus and each of the groomsmen had their name on the box as well as their "position" either best man or groomsman.  




After a gorgeous ceremony, Chris May with Big Boy Productions really got the party started. He was one of the most energetic and enjoyable DJs that I've ever experienced at an event. He had us all laughing from the moment he picked up the microphone and we didn't stop until the grand exit. 

Johnny from Western Steakhouse catered the event and I am so glad he did. I've heard all about Johnny's food since the first meeting I attended back in August and I finally got to experience it. It was definitely worth the wait. He definitely gives you the most bang for your buck as far as the weddings I've seen. It's more food than you could imagine for one of the most affordable prices and the staff is such a pleasure to work with. 




The cake was beautifully crafted by April from Main Street Cake Shoppe. It was moist and delicious and a huge hit with the guests.







The rentals all came from TCS and Alamance Party Rentals and it all came together to create a beautiful, elegant decor for the perfect evening. 

 













It was such a pleasure to work with Brooke, David, their families, and the staff that worked this event. It was a beautiful night and a gorgeous wedding.