Let Them Eat Cake!

I have been doing some thinking about cake toppers after a recent incident at a wedding a few weeks ago.  

Maggie was a very nice bride.  She had a wedding and reception that was just her style, simple and on budget.  The bride and groom were very in love.  Planning with them was a breeze and their families got along great.  This was a great match and beautiful event. 

There was really nothing to tell you all about her until I saw it.  I was doing a final check on the room before letting Maggie and her husband into the room.  I walked by their five tier cake and had to do a double take.  Both the bride and groom are white, but sitting on top of the cake was a white groom and Hispanic bride.  I went to talk to the caterers to see if they placed the cake topper, which they had not done.  

So it was moment of truth time, I mean it isn’t like the bride wouldn’t notice that on top of her cake is tiny Hispanic woman looking lovingly into the eyes of her handsome Caucasian groom.  I knock on the door of the room that Melissa was waiting in before the wedding ceremony began.

“Um, hi Melissa, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure!” she said.

“I think we might have a little mix up that I wanted to talk to you about.  We have time to make the correction, but I thought I should let you know.  The cake toppers are wrong, I have one of my staff people headed out to the store now to get a new one.”

“What do you mean they are wrong?”  she huffed.

“I know, I’m so sorry I just noticed.  The groom is fine, but the bride is Hispanic on your cake.”

“Oh that!” she laughed “When I was at the craft store buying them, I grabbed the wrong one and I didn’t feel like returning it.  I thought she looked like me with a tan.”

I have to say I was a little speechless.  I honestly couldn’t believe that she didn’t just pay the $10.99 to get a correct representation of herself on her wedding cake, but, to each her own, right?

This got me thinking about all of the different cake toppers I have seen in my life as a wedding planner.  I don’t think that you would believe me, so I have copied a few pictures for you to see the many different options for brides and grooms to choose from.  There are so many beautiful, elegant and classic toppers out there, but there must obviously be a need for these, because they are mass produced!  I guess I take love too seriously, but I just would never want some of these adorning the top of my wedding cake, and some of the others, I just don't understand.  I will admit that I did chuckle when I saw some of the pictures below, but really, on your wedding cake, in photos that are supposed to last forever.  Let me know what you think and please feel free to add funny cake toppers you have seen too!

Cute and different, if you are into Legos.  At least this company is keeping it tasteful, just a little nerdy.  I give it two thumbs up for being different, classy, creative and true to themselves.
Do I need to remind you that your mother, father, grandparents and children are in the room.  Give me the benefit of the doubt that I know you plan on consummating your marriage tonight, but can you not do "it" ON the cake??
I absolutely hate these cake toppers and anything else that is similar to this where the woman is dragging the man to the alter.  It is creepy and degrading to women I think.  Not all women are so desperate to get married that they drag someone to the church.
Really?  Mermaid Mice.  Really?  Again people these are mass produced with a price tag of over $30! Wow!
So, aren't spies not supposed to tell you they are spies?  Maybe this is their way of sharing secrets with friends and family.   "My job as a data processor is going well Uncle Sal."  Hint, Hint, Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink.
Really?  This is what you choose to be on top of your wedding cake.

It is unfortunate the number of the butt grabbing toppers, it was hard for me to choose just one, so I have shared two with you.

Ok, maybe I don't get the European Humor here, but do I need to remind you that your mothers, fathers and grandparents are here.  I would be so embarrassed.

This one was actually called "Groom and Stripper."  Who are you Stu from "The Hangover."  Are you so excited that you married a stripped that you put it on your cake?  Again, I would have to pass on the cake, especially if the strip club where they met was doing the catering.

I almost didn't include this because I didn't quite "get it," but on closer examination, I do believe that it is the bride and groom on top with chainsaws chopping up the men and women trying to get to the top.  And if you look closer, there are actual blood splatters on the cake.  I would not have been able to choke down a piece of that cake.

Oh I get it, the old ball and chain bit, but really? Nothing like starting your life off together on a positive note right?
Yes, you are correct, that is a bride, groom and deer on the top of the cake.  She is a very proud supporter of her man's huntin' skeeels.

Is he stopping her from running away or trying to trip her - either way, is that funny?

I guess this is the reverse of the topper above - the run away groom?  Stay Classy!

Marry me, or else!?!  Wow, nothing screams "we are in love" like a shotgun wedding.

"Hey Babe, It's me. Can't wait to get Married.  I'll call you right back I'm getting another call"

You do not need to have your eyes checked.  Those are two horses cuddling.  This was one of over 100 "animal themed" cake toppers ranging from cuddling animals, like above, to animals kissing to animals doing things that shouldn't be displayed anywhere except for on the National Geographic channel. Weird!
"For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health, Til Death Do is Part."

I have no words. 
 I think that somethings can really set the mood for the future of a marriage, and the cake is most certainly one of them!

I Do Expert

We Are Family!

Have you ever heard that song “We are Family” by Sister Sledge?  Probably if you have ever been to a wedding reception in your life, you have heard it at least once, which is why it is on my ever growing list of songs that will absolutely not be played at my wedding reception when that day comes).  Sing it with me now….. “We are fam-a-lee! I got all my sisters with me. We are fam-a-lee! Get up every body and SING!”

Well when I met Stacy and Robert, I was in for a huge surprise about their families.  So meeting with the two of them, was pretty typical.  They wanted a platinum wedding on a bargain basement price, but there so so much one can do to make a wedding spectacular and still remain within a budget.  I can get pretty creative.   I put Stacy and Robert in touch with the I Do Decorator (we wedding professional have to stick together!).  

Stacy called me and said that rentals are far to expensive, she can buy floor length linens, chair covers and sashes for 350 guests off of eBay much cheaper than she can rent them.  I expressed my concern with doing that, as any good wedding planner should.  Not because I want her to do business with my friend, but because so much goes into preparing linens for an event and sometimes quality can be questionable when you buy a thirteen cent floor length linen.  I asked her to please consider the cost to have everything pressed, cleaned, delivered and placed versus the cost to rent them and have someone else doing the placing of the linens.  She was still convinced that the discount linens were the best option.  I reminded her that the reception hall provided linens, so maybe she should use the reception hall white, lap length linens and spend the money on buying floor length white polyester linens on something different to accent the table.  Nope!  Floor length, white polyester linens from eBay it is!

Stacy also believed that she had seen enough pictures and reality shows about weddings that she could make all of the flower arrangements and bouquets.  Again, I expressed my concern that it may be worth spending a little more money on having bouquets created by a professional in order to alleviate some of the stress and timeliness that comes along with working with fresh flowers.  So she decided to order flowers, exotic ones of course, from Discount Bob’s Floral Emporium online.  

So finally the big day rolls around.  It is the day before the ceremony and reception; I meet Stacy and Robert, along with a dozen friends ready to help with the setting up of linens for the reception.  

She has everyone unloading the boxes of linens and chair covers from the truck she rented to get everything to the reception hall in.  Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for….drum roll please…………the first linen is pulled from the box (which means she didn’t have them cleaned or pressed, just took the word from someone on eBay that they were clean just like buying a pair of underwear and not washing them before the first wear; just because the tags are on them doesn’t make them clean!).  She fluffed it out and it landed on the table perfectly, at a lap length.  It was most certainly not floor length.  She tried another…..lap length.  Her maid of honor tried one, because “maybe the bride was doing it wrong” (P.S. How does one incorrectly put a table cloth on a round table?)  And to Maid of Honor’s surprise and shock…it was lap length.  

The profanities were flowing out of the bride’s mouth as quickly as the tears were rolling down her cheeks.  She couldn’t believe how the person on eBay “scammed” her and that she needed to get to a computer immediately to report the seller to the internet auction giant.  

The I Do Decorator was there decorating the ceiling for the bride.  We had been exchanging glances through out the whole debacle.  I Do Decorator said

“Stacy, what size did it say that the linens were in the description on eBay?”

“90 inches” the bride-to-be huffed.

“Well, 90 inches are lap length linens on the tables here, that is why I Do Expert and I kept encouraging you to ask us before buying linens.”

“But in the picture they were floor-length” she whined.  “I’m suing eBay for deceiving me!!”  

Good luck with that, I thought.  I can see it now, Silly Bride who didn’t listen to any of the experts giving her advice vs. eBay.  I don’t think Stacy would be happy with the outcome.  

Pushing my desire to dance around the room singing “I told you so” aside, I got the distressed bride back on track.  We finally finished placing all 38 special ordered linens and all 304 chair covers on and the room was coming together.  It was time for the I Do Decorator to do her magic and finish the décor in the room.  

When in doubt with linen sizes, trust the professionals you have hired and who work with these things everyday.

It was now two in the afternoon.  We decided to take a lunch break.  I declined Stacy’s invitation to join her and her group for lunch.  I wanted to go to the nearest watering hole and have some cocktails, but deciding that it would be considered slightly unprofessional to show up for the bouquet making with Stacy and the catastrophe that followed her, I went for the next best thing, a venti caramel Frappuccino.  

When we met for bouquet making, I waited and waited and waited.  I checked my calendar to make sure I was in the right place, and I was.  I waited another five minutes and then called Stacy. 

She picked up the call and all I heard was more sobbing and sniffles.  Surprisingly the flowers from Discount Bob’s weren’t going to be here until next Saturday.  Since, I was alone at the reception site, I did begin dancing my “I told you so!” dance while saying “Oh, I believe you that the fake roses you got from the Dollar Store’s 50% off bin look just like real flowers.”  Stacy decided that instead of taking the time to make bouquets for herself and the bridesmaids, they will each just carry one fake rose from the discount bin at the Dollar Store.

Remember, do not buy your flowers (or anything for that matter) online from a place that specializes in offering discounts, but that doesn’t have an address or phone number and that never sends a tracking number for your shipment.  Probably because they never shipped anything!!

Finally, we are at the rehearsal.  I have been given full reign over this part of the show.  I asked Stacy to tell everyone to be at the ceremony site at 5:00pm even though we don’t anticipate starting the rehearsal until 5:30pm.  Everyone was there by 5:30pm, well everyone except for the bride.  She finally rolled in a few minutes after 6:00pm and we got started.

“I need to get the mothers over here by me, along with the gentlemen who will be escorting them to their seats.”  Suddenly I notice that about a half dozen women get up and begin to walk towards me.  

“Oh Sorry,” I said, “Just the mothers of the bride and groom, not all the mothers in the room.”

“WE ARE!!!”  they all seemed to snarl in unison.  GREAT!!!!!!

So the divorce rate in the United States is what like 50% now, so there have been a few divorces in the family, unfortunately that happens, and I have been trying not to judge people, so I just tried to go with the flow.  

“Okay, so I need to get all of the mothers of the groom here and all of the mothers of the bride here.”  The masses of mothers split.  Now, how does one delicately ask for the “real” mother?

“I need you ladies to line up so that we have the MOTHER of each of the bride and groom last.”  

“What do you mean by mother? We are all the mothers! You are going to have to be specific.”

Ok, so I see we are going to take the classy way out of this awkward situation.  “I need to have the biological mothers of each of the bride and groom last in line, then you are going to line up in the order of marriage dates.  After the biological mother, I want the step mother who was married to the bride and grooms father next.”

Finally I got all of these women sorted out.  I wish I could have made stickers for them, “Mother of the Bride,” “Mother of the Bride 2 & 4” Mother of the Bride 3” etc.  

We FINALLY made it through the rehearsal, and everyone (all seven mothers, four fathers, seven siblings, nine step siblings, and quite honestly I lost track of the number of grandparents in attendance) moved onto the rehearsal dinner.  Again, I declined the kind offer to join this brigade of “family” to what I am sure was an awesome rehearsal dinner.  Part of me did want to get to see who picked up the bill.  But maybe it was every man for himself with the bill since they did rock things out on the classy end of things by going to an all you can eat, $8.99 per person, buffet.  I, one the other hand, went home and had a drink. 

The big day was here, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits, well as good as it can be when most of the mothers don’t speak to one another.  We start gathering for the ceremony processional. 

I had an intern with me for this event, who wanted to see what it was like to be a wedding planner, we will call her I Do Intern.  Today, she is manages a five start restaurant.  Honestly, I would have chosen that too after what was about the happen the night of this blissful matrimonial celebration.  

I charged the I Do Intern with rounding up the mothers while I worked on getting the bridal party members in place.  Anytime I would pass her, she would say, “I am missing the mother of the groom in brown.”  We would find said MOG and place her in her designated position.  As soon as we would turn around, the woman was gone.  I am not sure if she was channeling David Copperfield, but this woman was good!

I found her outside smoking.  “Ma’am you are going to need to come inside and stay in your position so that we can get started.”  

“Fine!” she shouted. 

“You will be in your seat in just a few minutes.”  I said.  She responded by shooting daggers at me with her eyes.

“We are all here and accounted for!!”  I Do Intern says with a proud smile.  

“Ladies!  Gentlemen!  We are ready to start!”  I say in my best cheerleading voice to get everyone excited.

“Where’s! My! Purse!”  I heard someone shouting.  I look over and it is Mother of the Groom in Brown, Queen of Daggers, shouting.  

I cue the pianist to continue with the fluffy music he is playing.  “Your purse is safe in the room where everyone got ready.  It is locked and you can get it after the ceremony, but we are already running late and we REALLY need to get this going.  Guests have been patiently waiting.”

“I!!! NEED!!! MY!!!! PURSE!!!!” She shouted and by the time she finished, I Do Intern was already sprinting to retrieve the purse which I expected to be made out of platinum or housing a dozen gold bars.  She had her purse and we were underway. 

We got everyone successfully down the aisle, married and onto the reception.  Things ran fairly smoothly at the reception.  Everyone was through the buffet line, the toasts had been completed and things were going really well.  

I sent the I Do Intern home, she had experience a lot at her first wedding, thus leading to a phone call saying she had made a career change.  

I was getting ready to head home when I heard a commotion.  I head a woman yelling and someone crying.  I grabbed a security officer and headed to investigate what was going on.  

I see a young girl crying (who I remember being the Groom’s half sister) and Mother of the Groom, Queen of Eye Daggers, with a death grip on the young girl’s arm.  

“Is everything ok?”  I said calmly looking only at the girl, who was probably 12 years old at the very oldest.  

“It’s none of your business!” The mother said.  It was my business.  The girl was reaching for me, it was my business.  

“You are NOT living with HIM!!” the Dagger Wielding Mother said.

Running out of the room was the Father of the Groom.  “Queen of Daggers!  Stop it!!  Leave her alone!” he shouted.

“Ma’am, let the girl go and you and Father of the Groom need to step outside to take care of this matter.”  I Do Officer said.  She looked at the I Do Officer square in the eyes, and pushed the girl against the wall.  I ran right over to her while the I Do Officer grabbed the Queen of Daggers by the arm and escorted her out of the building.  

“She made me choose…..She made me choose.”  The girls kept sobbing.  So, here is what lead up to showdown.  While the slideshow of pictures of the happy couple with all of the parents, grandparents and siblings through the years and sappy music was playing, the Mother of the Groom, looked at the young girl and said, “Your dad and I have something to tell you. We are getting a divorce and you need to choose right now, before we go back to the hotel, who you want to live with.”  Obviously, the girl chose to live with her father.  Poor thing!  I wanted to sweep her up and take her home with me.  

We got everything taken care of.  The Queen of Daggers was escorted to the hotel by the I Do Officer and while at the hotel, the I Do Officer grabbed all of the girl’s clothes and belongings and brought them to the reception hall.  

Everything got calmed down, no one really witnessed the scene.  The groom didn’t find out until the next day, and all was well in wedding reception land.  As I said my good-byes to the bride, groom, mothers, fathers, and siblings, I was laughing because at that time, the unknowing DJ began playing Sister Sledge.  

“We are fam-a-lee! I got all my sisters with me. We are fam-a-lee! Get up every body and SING!”

Oh Sister Sledge, little did you know how ironically funny that song summed up my entire trip through the planning process and down the aisle with Stacy and Robert.

With Love,
I Do Expert

Faux Pas

When I first met Belle and Michael, there were no red flags. They were a cute, young couple who seems so in love and excited to be married that it oozed from them. I pegged them as a simple, chic and classy wedding from the beginning. They hired the I Do Decorator for all of their décor, the I Do Florist was coming in to do some fresh flowers, there was a complete host bar and everything seemed to be coming together smoothly. I didn’t have any problems with either Belle or Michael while planning the event. They were nice and generally even tempered with very few “bridezilla” moments. Actually, very little of the whole planning process even sticks out in my mind. I don’t remember much at all, except for one faux pas, and in my professional opinion a huge one!

I don’t know if you will find it in etiquette books or not, but it has become very popular for brides and grooms to have gifts for each on of their guests who attend the wedding reception. The expense of the favors as well as the type of favor varies quite dramatically from reception to reception. Sometimes it is a box of candy with the newlywed’s name or monogram, sometimes a picture frame or a donation to organizations special to the bride, groom and their guests. Belle and Michael decided on a glass frame that matched the color scheme for the event with the words “Thank you!” in the picture area of the frame.

I know, you are all reading this thinking, everything sounds so nice, I wish I could have attended. Wait for it…..wait for it……

At the center of each table, on top of the linens, next to the centerpiece was an envelope. Each table had one envelope labeled simply with the table number on it. The guests noticed the envelopes as they sat at their tables. There were no directions.

Wait for it…..wait for it….

After everyone had taken their seats, the surprise was revealed.

If this were a scene in a movie, a black screen would pop up and in big white letters it would say “Three Days Earlier.”

During a meeting we were doing a final meeting to go through the timelines and details for the big days ahead.

“We are NOT doing the dollar dance.” Belle blurted out with a tone of disgust.

Good, I thought. I know it is come to be a “tradition” of sorts at wedding receptions, but I am not a fan of the dollar dance. You are in a room surrounded by family and friends who you have invited to spend your special day with and who have also likely sent you a gift or brought one that night for you (not to mention gifts to your bridal showers, engagement parties, or gifts just because) and you are asking them to give you money to dance with you. Please. I have never participated in a dollar dance and don’t know that I will. I get the idea behind it. Help the poor newlyweds start their lives together with some money, or give them spending money for their honeymoon, but isn’t that want the birdcage jam packed with envelopes filled with money are for?

Sorry about that, let me get a ladder to step down off of my soap box to continue the story.

After Belle announced they were not doing a dollar dance she continued,

“But we have come up with something really fun! Instead of having to dance with people, we are going to put envelopes on the tables. We are going to have the DJ announce that everyone at the table is supposed to pool money together to put into the envelope and the table with the most money will get to go through the buffet line first.”

I think that I sputtered a series of “Um” and “Hmmm” statements while picking my jaw up off the floor and trying to form any sort of complete sentence.

“Well not first, but first after the bridal party.” Belle corrected herself.

Phew!!! That makes all the difference in the world Belle! I was of course most concerned about the etiquette of you going first through the buffet line after you have asked your guests to PAY for the chance to go through after you, but before all of the other guests.

I was beside myself. Actually, anytime I think of this story, I just get so embarrassed for the couple.

If I would have been a guest at that wedding, I would have gotten up, dug through the gift table to find the gift I brought and left.

I remember being in the room when the DJ announced the “game” with the envelopes. Looking around the room, some people were mortified, shocked and appalled. I am guessing the only people who thought that this was a “good” idea were the bride, groom and possibly their parents (since they didn’t veto it from the beginning).

I am guessing that you could look in every etiquette book and will never find it acceptable to ask for people to pay to be at your wedding, pay to dance with you or pay to be the first to go through the buffet line. If you do find something stating that this is acceptable behavior by any adult, burn it!

I Do Expert


I have been milling about the following story I’m going to share with you for a couple of weeks now because I cannot decide if it is

                         a) kind;
                         b) weird or
                         c) kind of weird

You decide for yourself.

A few weeks ago I met with a woman regarding a wedding and reception for her daughter. This is not unusual to meet with the mother of the bride, especially because a majority of women getting married these days are also full time employees, so usually a mother who is retired or has a little more flexibility with her employer is tasked with finding out information on wedding planners, decorators, venues, churches, etc.

I sat down with Mother of the Bride, Marsha, to talk about general information about her daughter’s special day to give her an idea of the services I can provide as well as give her some other vendors information etc. Boy was I wrong.

Marsha proceeded to fill me in on the “fun” she and her future son-in-law have been having planning details of her daughter’s wedding. Oh how fun! I thought. It is great when you see a groom and future mother-in-law get along, let alone enjoy planning a wedding together. This may come as a shock, but not all grooms obsess about every details of the wedding and reception. Weird, I know!

Well then she hit me with this little number, “They aren’t officially engaged yet….”

“Oh gosh, that’s okay!” I said.

Then I thought to myself, Gosh, this girl must really have her heart set on a certain date.

“She doesn’t know when she getting engaged.” Marsha continued “It is going to be a surprise!” She was smiling from ear to ear like a Cheshire Cat.

“Well that is so much fun!!” I squealed.

“So after she gets engaged, her fiancé is going to bring her over to my house and we are going to show her all of the work we have done picking out a date, church, reception hall….” At this point, I almost reached for an umbrella because I thought Marsha was going to burst with excitement.

Suddenly this woman’s voice sounded like the teacher on The Peanuts and in my head I was screaming STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DON’T MAKE PLANS FOR HER!!!

I gritted my teeth and smiled through the urge to strangle her. I cannot imagine making these important decisions for someone, especially my own daughter! Without a thought or single bit of remorse, Marsha droned on and on about how she chose the date for her wedding…her daughter’s wedding, the location of the ceremony & reception, photographer, colors and so on and so on. I lost count of how many times she had to correct her self from saying "my wedding" to "my daughter's wedding." I tried reaching for the nearest airsickness bag, but we were in my office, not a 747! (Note to self: Locate barf bags with the "I Do Expert" Logo on them! That could be a huge hit for me as well as nervous brides and grooms - I think I am on to something here!)

I tried to recommend just putting the date on hold until the engagement and not signing a contract or making a deposit for me and other vendors. It isn’t like the date is next month – it is in two years!!!! But NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! She HAD to have the contract signed. I reminded her of my policies regarding no refunds and she didn’t care.

So I prepared a contract and handed the pen over. She returned it with a check (which surprisingly cleared the bank, because as I have learned when dealing with CRAZY, not all checks clear the bank).

It is official. I am involved in my first Surprise Wedding! I know, I can hear some of you already..."It is romantic!" and "Everyone loves a surprise!" My dissenting opinion would be as follows: Engagements are romantic, sometimes. Not everyone loves surprises, especially my dad. Surprises can be romantic. Choosing a wedding date, wedding location, reception location, colors, florists, photographer, bakers, caterer, wedding planner, etc is NOT romantic or fun!

I am I will keep you posted. I am afraid it is going to be a LONG two years with Marsha planning her daughter's dream wedding, scratch that, I mean Marsha's dream wedding.

The little voice in the back of my mind is questioning -
"What if he proposes and she says “No!”??

We will all have to wait and see!

I Do Expert