Category Archives: WEDDING ADVICE

Hotel Room blocks for weddings

A few things you should know about booking room blocks in LA for your wedding:

1. When people come to stay in LA they have an image in their head of the ocean and the Santa Monica/Venice boardwalk. If your wedding is nowhere near the beach, you might want to think twice about creating a room block near your wedding venue.
2. Resorts and popular hotels many times make you sign a contract stating that you are liable for all of the rooms pulled off of the market  (meaning, if you have a block of 30 but guests only book 20, you still have to pay for 10 rooms), but many times guests don’t use the room block because they find a cheaper rate on or similar. 
3. Hotels will give a bit of a discount for you when they set aside 30 rooms, but not much because they’re taking them off the market and not booking them their normal way. Depending on what is going on in the area (such as a convention nearby), they could get a LOT more money per night for the room, but they’re obligated to give you the room at the rate they signed a contract with you one year ago. The contracted rate is to protect both you and the hotel, NOT to give your guests the lowest rate
4. Many brides & grooms do not know the above before they jump in and sign contracts with hotels, and many times the contracts get a bit snarled. By getting too involved with their guests travel plans, they inadvertently become the travel agents for their guests. 
5. Many hotels will let you have a complimentary room block of up to 9 rooms that you do NOT have to sign a contract for.
My advice?   
I recommend talking to your immediate friends/family and finding out where they want to stay, then moving forward with a small (complimentary) room block at that hotel. For all other guests, you can use your handy dandy wedding website  to give the names & price ranges of hotels both near the beach and close to your wedding venue. 


Does the word "wedding" double the price?

This clip from British comedy series Man Stroke Woman, while hilarious, is sadly what many people assume that the entire wedding industry is like. Granted, there are crappy people in every industry who are out to rip people off, but most of the people that I meet in this industry are passionate about what they do and the clients they serve.

As shown in this clip, there is this myth that if you put the word “wedding” in front of something, the price will double or quadruple immediately. I called one of my bakers, Joeleen from A Sweet Design and asked her how she prices her cakes. She told me that she bases her pricing on: number of people it will serve, the filling and flavors (BTW, Red Velvet is the most expensive cake to make because of the ingredients) and the design. To most brides, the design is the key component in a wedding cake, and that’s where the dough (literally!) comes in to play. She told me that a simple 3 tiered cake to feed 100 would range between $350-700 from her bakery. So yeah, $350 sounds insane for a cake, right? But look at it this way: if you ordered 100 Cappuccinos from Starbucks, what would that come in at? She also mentioned that her 3D cakes frequently tend to be pricier than tiered cakes, so groom’s cakes, 1st birthday, Sweet Sixteen, etc. cakes that are complex 3D cakes can run much, much higher than a 3 standard tiered wedding cake.

Recently Joeleen made a cake for one of my brides and the the labor alone of replicating the pattern of lace on my bride’s dress took 5 hours. Pause for a moment and realize that 5 hours is almost an entire work day.  What is your work day worth? Joeleen’s 5 hours of decor does not count the time that it took to bake the 3 tiered, multi-flavored cake, pack it up for delivery, transport it, and set it up.

The wedding world is its own universe and there are reasons why things are priced what they are priced. Planning a conference for a company is light-years away from planning a wedding. Trust me, I’ve planned both.

Rentals or "tables cost HOW much???"

A few weeks ago when I wrote the (awesome!) 3 part series on venues in LA, in Part II on off-site venues I promised I’d devote an entire blog to the beast that is rentals. This blog even bores me, but I made a promise, so here’s some reading if you  have insomnia.

If you have rented an off-site venue to hold your wedding, you more than likely have to bring everything you need for an event in: tables, chairs, linens, napkins, flatware, glassware, etc. Some bare bones venues don’t even have a kitchen and so the catering company has to build one on site. Most catering companies don’t just own this equipment, so stoves, grills, hotboxes, pans, and trays also have to be rented. Many sites also don’t have lighting, power or restrooms, so all of that also has to be rented.  Then you have pretty stuff like lounge furniture and decor that can be brought in. 

What you need in terms of rentals is going to be determined by your venue and your chosen caterer. There are quite a few rental companies in this area, and of course, the higher end companies such as Classic Party Rentals and Town and Country are not only going to have the biggest selection but also the highest prices. Lower end companies such as Pico Party Rentals or Burbank Party Rental will have a much more limited selection, but more affordable prices. Usually, my clients tastes in chairs and furniture determine the rental company we go with. Even with the affordable rental companies, for a wedding of 100 people, I rarely, rarely see a rental bill under $3,000. See, you don’t have the capability to wash glasses at off-site weddings, so you have to order plenty of glassware for a bar for 4+ hours. That’s a lot of wine glasses.

Not only do the actual items you are renting (ex: 100 spoons at $.47 each) add up, but so does the the labor, set up, tax, and same day pickup. And when your rental guys come to pick up, they do not pack up the items–they expect to have all plates scraped and placed back in trashbag lined crates, all silverware sorted, all glassware back in the crates, all linens bagged, and so on. This is something that the catering staff is responsible for. If a couple goes with a low end caterer or a restaurant that is not prepared for this, the couple is either going to get a massive labor bill or that couple’s family will be scraping plates.


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