I had my first call with a new 2017 wedding client yesterday, and I have to say: I can’t wait to become best friends. Let’s call her Jane.
Jane is so excited to be getting married, so excited to start this process, and I’m so excited to help her through it. I after all was Jane less than three years ago. David proposed to me on Memorial Day, 2013, and once the adrenaline left my body and I got used to the sparkle on my left ring finger, I became entrenched in a process that I thought I understood first hand, having worked with so many brides to bring their own big days to life. I can definitely admit to myself – and to you – that I was wrong.
Before “Katz” became “Katz-Hackman”, I had been a vendor for my wedding clients – someone to plan the menu, arrange the rentals, and book the staff. I played this role well, and fulfilled my promises to execute the catering piece, but once I became a client myself, I realized that I wanted to be more than just a vendor: I wanted to be Jane’s best friend.
When I was planning my own wedding, I have to admit that while I had an experiential leg up, it didn’t stop me from losing sleep over what some would call “the small stuff.” Did I choose the right dress? Will there be enough options for my vegetarian guests? What if the centerpieces are too tall and Auntie Nancy can’t see Uncle Mike across the table? I probably don’t have to tell you that a year of perseverating over every decision does not make for a fresh-faced bride! I actually learned the word “perseverate” when my mom told me to stop doing it after the 12th conversation about if a fishtail braid was the right choice for my wedding hairstyle (it was)!
My mom and my friends did their part to quiet my concerns, but there was still a part of me that needed to hear from some sort of wedding authority that everything was going to be okay. I was fortunate enough to have brilliant coworkers to reassure all the second-guessing and slow my ever-turning wheels, but the colloquial Jane is typically not that lucky!
Enter: your best friend, the wedding caterer. Here are some other tidbits of wisdom I wish that MBFTWC had told me:
- Go with your gut when it comes to anything having to do with the aesthetic of your wedding, whether it be flowers, linen colors, or hair style. You know what you like, you know what looks good on you, and you know what you’re going to be happy to look back on in photos 50 years from now. Don’t let anyone make you question these choices!
- Don’t feel like you have to go so traditional with your wedding menu. Emily Post will not turn over in her grave if you skip the three-course seated dinner! Opt for fun and cool stations (Himalayan Salt-Cured Crudo anyone?), a collection of childhood favorites (no one in their right mind would scoff at a Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup combo), or a menu of only passed items (our Grilled Cheese does come in a mini version…). As long you’re giving your guests enough food to soak up all that vino, you’re doing your duty as host.
- No one will judge you for having a DJ instead of a band. You get to hear the songs as they were meant to be heard AND you saved about $10,000. Win-win? Indeed.
- Bring flats. Just trust me on this one.
- Read the fine print! Look out for added service or credit card fees and administrative costs.
- Ask for help. Find the happy place that resides between Bridezilla and Bridechilla, and enlist your trusted friends (and vendors) for advice when you need it… and then make the choice not to listen to them when you don’t like what they have to say. It’s YOUR wedding! Do what you want!
Since my own engagement, my approach to the Jane’s of the world has changed. It’s so important for a bride to feel like she has someone in her corner – someone who can help her to navigate all of the decisions she has ahead, with clarity and confidence. That is my goal every single day. I’m still going to execute a kickass menu and order the right number of plates, but I’m also going to make recommendations for other vendors that I trust, tell you the truth about that floral arrangement you’re unsure of, and remind you that regardless of your choice of hairstyle, you’re about to marry the person of your dreams, and that’s the most important decision you’ve had to make.
Eat, Drink, and Be Married.