The brilliant and lovely Elle Shapiro of Survive Wedding Season just informed me that I’m one of her top five experts of 2010! Wooo!
A million years ago, I mean January of 2010, I wrote an article on affordable yet meaningful gifts to give to brides and grooms during the 2010 wedding season. Elle told me that she actually used some of my ideas at the (I believe) 8 weddings she attended this year.
Survive Wedding Season is a unique blog aimed at guests (and bridesmaid & groomsmen) and focuses on etiquette, culture, attire, and other useful tidbits of information for attending such monumental events.
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 hotels.com 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.
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.
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.
Back in June I spent a day filming with The Knot as the “Insider’s Guide” for Los Angeles. I was able to show off some of my favorite venues and vendors! I don’t have the embedded links yet to be able to paste here, but you can click on each link to see the videos.