Author Archives: Mesha Baylis-Blalock

Maid of Honor Duties

Maid of Honor Duties

She said yes! No, not the bride to be, the maid of honor. She has accepted the opportunity to be by your side as you prepare for your wedding. Because a lot of MOH’s don’t know what would help their bride’s out the most, we put together a top 10 list of duties maid of honor’s should do to help make sure the bride and groom’s day is one to remember.

1. Be there for the bride – To lend an ear or a shoulder, this is your most important duty. And because you are already the bride’s best friend, you are probably already doing this. The day of, is going to be especially important. If the bride forgot deodorant, you should have it ready, if she needs hairspray and bobby pins, you should have the extras. Her brain is going to be all over the place, and just having someone there who remembers the small stuff is going to help out a ton.

2. Offer to help the bride with any pre-wedding duties – If you hear the bride stressing about addressing and stuffing wedding invites, you should be the first to arrive with a bottle of wine and ready to start helping.

3. Bridal shower and Bachelorette party – The bridal shower, a lot of times, is co-hosted by the family members, but you should be there to help plan, invite and set-up the shower. As for the bachelorette party, you should be the leader and always keeping the bridesmaids in the loop to make sure the bride has as much fun as possible. Make sure you talk to the bride about what kind of bachelorette party she would like, is she more of a spa relaxation type of girl, or is she a “Let’s go to Vegas!” kind of girl? Whatever the answer is, be prepared to plan accordingly.

4. Hold the groom’s ring during the ceremony – Ring bearer’s are awfully cute, but leaving the grooms ring with the MOH leaves a bit less to go wrong. We recommend keeping the ring on your thumb to make for an easy transition for the ring exchange portion of the ceremony.

5. Prepare your toast – A touching toast to show how much the bride and groom mean to you is key to being a great maid of honor. She chose you because you are her nearest and dearest and hearing a few encouraging and loving words after she has been married will mean the world to her.

6. Get the party started – If the crowd seems a little shy to get on the dance floor, you and the entire bridal party should be out there shaking your groove thing. The more people on the dance floor = the more fun everyone is having!

7. Bustle – If you attended the brides dress fitting, the seamstress should have showed you how to bustle the dress. If you didn’t, have the bride show you before the wedding so you are able to help her. There are so many different types of bustles so make sure you know which kind your dealing with.

8. Help keep everyone organized for pictures – If the bride’s Uncle Joe has wandered over to cocktail hour when he should be taking photos, you’ll need to help corral him. The faster the pictures get done, the faster you (and the bride and groom) get to go in and party!

9. Keep the bride as stress free as possible – Light jokes, reminiscing and ensuring she has had something to eat and drink at least throughout the day will help the bride in more ways than she realizes. We recommend keeping the meals light, and a dress-friendly snack (i.e. grapes, saltine crackers, etc.) before you head out to the ceremony.

10. Assist with wedding clean-up, if needed – Ask the bride questions like does she want you to take her wedding cards/gifts at the end of the night, or are there any special mementos (i.e. toasting flutes, cake cutting set, etc.) she’d like for you to handle. She’ll be grateful that you’ve asked.

Equally as important, remember to have FUN! You deserve to have a good time at this wedding too, so be sure you do! You’ve been a great friend throughout this whole process and there were most definitely moments of stress for you. Get ready to dance the night away and celebrate a night of fun your best friend will be sure to remember for a lifetime!

If you ever have any questions about what your bride may want you to do, just ask the bride how you can help!

Photo Credit to Local Focus Photography

The Importance of Reading Wedding Vendor Reviews

Would you ever go to a restaurant that only had negative one-star reviews on Yelp? I sure hope not! No matter how cheap it is, I hope the fear of food poisoning or absolutely atrocious service would deter you away from going there. The same should hold true for your wedding.

In this day and age, you can review ANYTHING. This is an incredible benefit to the consumer and should definitely be used to your advantage when researching a vendor. If you can’t find the vendor The Knot, WeddingWire or Yelp, try their Facebook page or Google. Positive and negative reviews are easily distinguishable by the amount of stars filled in. It is incredibly important is to read a few reviews from reviewers with differing opinions (if there are any). Reading multiple reviews can help you grasp a better understanding of a vendor’s strong suits and weak areas. On occasion, a reviewer may be unhappy with something that is completely out of a vendor’s control (i.e. a client angry because their DJ can’t play during their outdoor ceremony due to a storm). Other times, negative reviews are completely warranted (i.e. your cake vendor doesn’t show up at all). It is important to approach different reviews with a realistic perspective.

Reading vendor reviews ahead of time can help stop potential wedding day disasters. Here are a few signs that a vendor might be worth looking into a bit more:

  • They have no reviews, or their reviews all sound very similar (like they were wrote by the same person)
  • Their prices seem too good to be true. While we’re all about getting a good deal – vendors that are cheap may have lower prices because (a) they do not have much experience (b) their quality matches their low price
  • A vendor’s reviews constantly hint at a repetitive problem (i.e. tardiness or long response time)

If in doubt, you can always ask the vendor to give you 2-3 references that you can contact for firsthand information regarding real-life experience.

Lastly, you can always use a vendor that you have seen work (i.e. at a friend’s wedding or a corporate event), or use a vendor that someone you trust recommends. There’s a reason vendors say the next best thing to a tip is a review and a referral – because people trust and listen to their friends. And if you’re still not sure which vendor might make the best addition to your dream team, ask your wedding planner!

Why I’m Hiring a Wedding Planner

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As many of you know, from the Love Marks the Spot Facebook and Instagram, one  of our assistants recently got engaged and of course has already gone full swing into planning her own wedding. Here’s her take on why she’ll be hiring a wedding planner.

Getting engaged was one of the most exciting things that has happened for me this year. Not only am I going to be marrying the person I’ve been with for almost 7 years, I get to plan my wedding. I love, love, LOVE planning weddings. The organization and creativity that goes into planning a wedding really makes me happy. I have attended and assisted in the planning of many weddings, but this one will be mine. Even though I’m fully capable of planning everything myself from the outside perspective, I will still be hiring a wedding planner. I won’t need an entire planning service, but I will need someone at the end of the planning process to tie up all the loose ends and make sure everything goes smoothly in those last few weeks and most importantly, on the day of.

  1. I want someone to be at the venue to ensure everything is set up, favors are out, escort cards are placed, the guest book and centerpieces are placed and everything looks the way I envisioned it. Because I will be busy preparing for the day, I won’t have time to run over to the venue and make sure all of that is going to be done. I’m also going to need someone to make sure the ceremony runs smoothly and people start walking when they are supposed to.
  2. If something goes wrong, I don’t want to know about it, I just want it handled. If the transportation gets in an accident on the way to pick the wedding party up, I want a person who has already been in contact with the driver and has a plan is in motion for getting us to the venue. If the caterer is missing a table, I want a person there who has already contacted the correct people and a table is en route. The cake hasn’t arrived yet! My wedding planner knows where it is, and she has a plan in place for it to be placed on the cake table before anyone realizes it wasn’t there. Having a person who is in contact with all the vendors in the event someone is late or something goes wrong will relieve an immense amount of stress.  (And all of these are real life examples that I have witnessed.)
  3. There’s no such thing as too many organized people. No matter how organized and prepared I think I might be, I want someone there who will remind me of those little things that may slip through the cracks. Someone who can be there as a gentle reminder, that if we want to stick to the timeline, we may have to speed up the post ceremony photos. I will want someone there who can say, “I just spoke to the driver, he is five minutes away, we should be getting ready to leave soon.”
  4. I’m getting married in Ohio because that’s where my family, as well as my fiancé’s is from and also where we’ve lived for most of our life. Planning a wedding is hard enough, not to mention planning a wedding from a significant distance away. A wedding planner will help make this a little more stress free.
  5. I want my friends and family to enjoy the wedding day, not be stuck working it. Many people assume they can just delegate tasks such as: being the point of contact, packing up gifts, DIY centerpieces and the guestbook, set-up and break down crew, rehearsal coordinator to a friend or a family member. However, that’s not really fair to a guest of a wedding. They are there to celebrate your marriage and to have fun, not to make sure the flower girl is holding her basket of flowers. Or that the seating chart is matching the diagram.

These are just five of the reasons, I’ll be hiring a wedding planner. I don’t look at it as a luxury item, I look at it as a necessity.

 

Tipping Etiquette 101

San Diego Wedding PlannerA very common question clients often ask, is “Do I tip my vendors? And if so, how much? And which ones receive a tip?” That being said – this blog is dedicated to answer your frequently asked questions about tipping!

My personal and professional advice is that tipping is up to the discretion of the couple. A couple should never feel like they are expected to tip a vendor out of obligation. This is not like going out to eat at a restaurant where it is expected and often considered a social faux pas if you don’t tip. If a couple feels a particular vendor has gone above and beyond their expectations, or if they have enjoyed working with a vendor – they are more than welcome to give them a tip. If not, they should never feel bad about choosing not to tip.

Who to tip? From my experience as a Planner, I often times pass out the tips to different vendors. I commonly give tips to: photographer, videographer, DJ, catering staff, transportation drivers, (if it isn’t already a part of their contract) and wedding planner. I’ve also on occasion seen tips given to both the florist, the baker, or to a vendor’s assistant.

So if everyone loved the music the DJ was playing, he kept the reception between classy and fun and kept your wedding guests on their feet all night, you may decide to give him or her a tip.

How much to tip? Again – this is up to the discretion of the client. Some people prefer to tip between 10%-20% of the vendor’s total charge, while others may choose to tip more or less. The most important thing with tipping is that the couple does it because they feel like they actually want to, not because they are expected to or it will be rude if they don’t.

Note that some vendors that work in a group setting (i.e. caterers) may also split the tip. Our Assistant, Mesha used to work for a catering company, and was kind enough to shed light that the staff would split the tip at the end of the event.

What if a tip just isn’t in my budget? If you really want to tip a vendor but can’t right away, you can always send a tip to the vendor later. However, if you don’t think it will ever be in the cards, every vendor also really appreciates a great review. If they are on The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp, or Google, take some time and give them a great review to let others know just how much you loved working with them. Mention specific reasons why they are getting a five-star review from you and everything you possibly can to let the world know just how awesome your vendor was.

Hopefully you’ve found this to be helpful!

Meet Our Wedding Planning Assistants

Love Marks the Spot would love to introduce you to our Assistants! They are responsible for helping plan, coordinate and set up the weddings for the couples that Nicole has the honor of working with.

About Nini:

Where are you from originally? Augusta, Ga. I am a southern gal at heart.

What brought you to San Diego? I came to San Diego by way of the Navy in 2011.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego? My favorite thing to do in San Diego is of course hang out at the beach. It’s the ideal setting for taking a nap : ).

What made you want to help plan weddings? I’ve coordinated and helped plan many military events and come to find out that I have a real niche for it. It grew from just volunteering to becoming a real passion of mine. I then decided to take the necessary steps into making event planning a career. Once I started to actively seek ways of getting involved into the business, an opportunity was presented to me to work with Nicole. After helping with my first wedding a year ago I have fallen hard for wedding planning.

Favorite married celebrity couple? My favorite celebrity couple is Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. They have been married for 17 years now; one of a small group of celebrity couples that have kept their marriage going. I read in an article not too long ago that Will Smith stated that their marriage has died many times but they found new ways to revive it. I admire the old school mentality of fighting for the marriage.

Give us one completely random fact about yourself! I used to dance ballet and, I would love to start back.

About Mesha

Where are you from originally? I have lived the majority of my life in Columbus, Ohio. (And I’m not a Buckeye fan, Ohio University Bobcats all the way!)

What brought you to San Diego? My boyfriend and I have talked about moving to San Diego for years, once we both finally graduated college we decided to make the dream a reality. We were done dealing with the -20 degree winters and the seemingly endless feet of snow.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego? I’m still very new to San Diego, I’ve only been here for about two months and so far I love it all. One of my favorite things we’ve done so far is walked around Balboa Park. I would love to hear suggestions for what’s the best thing to do in San Diego though!

What made you want to help plan weddings? I LOVE weddings. Probably a little more than most people should. I have three Pinterest boards dedicated to something about weddings. Yes you read that right three. When I Iived in Ohio, I had the opportunity to cater weddings and I just love how happy everyone is at them. They are so much fun because everyone is celebrating that couple’s love and commitment towards each other. I realized that my passion was to do something where I could be involved with weddings in every way possible, so I decided to learn the wedding planning business.

Favorite married celebrity couple? I’m going to have to say Beyonce and Jay-Z. They have been married since 2008, they have an adorable baby girl and they are both successes in the entertainment industry. I love the way they support each other and when you look at them, you just know they are in “Crazy in Love”.

Give us one completely random fact about yourself! I am terrified of birds. I don’t know why and I don’t know when it started. But birds weird me out beyond belief.

So there you have it folks, an introduction to our very lovely Love Marks the Spot Assistants. It’s very likely that if you want to work with us, you will get the opportunity to meet them! If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them as a comment below!

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Love Marks The Spot | San Diego Wedding Planner
San Diego, CA 92101