Buyer's Remorse

Have you ever purchased something and then thought you shouldn’t have gotten it?  I have!  I love accessories – a girl can really NEVER have too many – purses, jewelry, hair things, sunglasses, scarves, hats, shoes, etc.  If buyer’s remorse was a town, I would likely be the mayor.   

I am someone who tends to give more than purchase things for myself, so when it comes to spoiling me – I have a hard time.  Everyone though has a friend who can help you justify any purchase you make.  Mine is one of my oldest friends – let’s call her Little Black Dress (LBD for short).  I could be across the country, buy something and our conversation would go a little something like this.

Me: “Um…..I might have just purchased a Tory Burch T Stitch Tote.”

LBD: “What color?”

Me: “Black.”

LBD: “Oh my gosh, think of all of the things you can use it for! It could be your carry on for a trip to see me, it could be for work and you will easily be able to dress it up or dress it down.”

Me: “You think?”

LBD: “Honey, you are money.  No worries – keep it and love it!”

What would I do without her?  Something else I value about LBD as well as all of my other closest and dearest friends is that they would all tell me if I made a bad purchase.  So it was surprising to me when I had a conversation with a bride on a Monday about her wedding that Saturday.

We met to go over some last minute details and I asked how she was doing.  She proceeded to tell me that she put her dress on the week before and was unhappy with how plain and boring it was.  She kept going on and on about how plain it was and the back was just a “U”-shaped back with no decorations.  

She assured me she had the “problem” taken care of.  All that kept running through my mind was please don’t tell me you glued rhinestones and glitter to your dress with neon puffy paint you found under your bed from 1982!!  

Then it happened!  She lowered the hoodie she was wearing to reveal a huge tattoo.  Smiling from ear to ear she said

“Since my dress was so plain, I decided to get this!!”

I was utterly speechless.  Hoping it was a joke, I didn’t say anything.  I just stood there, waiting for a camera crew to jump out and tell me I just got punked, but that didn’t happen.  

“So, what do you think?”  she said.

“Well, that’s permanent!”  was all I could say. 

Where were her friends?  Her mother?  Her sense of self?  I am not anti-tattoo, but I am opposed to getting a tattoo that spans your back in order to accessorize your wedding dress.  How about a backwards necklace, a bow, puffy paint from 1982? 

I am still just surprised that anyone could go through the following thought process:
            1) Try on wedding dress.
            2) Boo! Wedding dress is plain and I am unhappy with it.
            3) What should I do to make this dress less plain?
            4) I know – I am going to get a tattoo that spans my entire back a week and a half before my wedding!

Who does that?  I hope and pray she doesn’t wake up with a huge case of buyer’s remorse, because not only are diamonds forever, but so are tattoos!

I Do Expert

Respondez s'il Vous Plait

I think that the art of the R.S.V.P. has been long on my generation. I notice that people in my parent's generation are quick to respond to a party with regret or with attendance, but I see people struggling with their guest count on a daily basis when planning for a wedding. I inevitably get the question from brides, "Is it OK to call people who haven't replied?" I always ask myself W.W.E.P.D? (What Would Emily Post Do?) Duh!

What a sad state of society that people, who you care about enough to invite to your special wedding day and they cannot even return the card or postcard that the bride already stamped? How hard is it – check yes or no – just like the notes in grade school – do you like me, like really like me?

I had a bride and mother of the bride who took personal offense to those who didn't RSVP. They gave a list to one of my staff members and had her check off names and number of guests as they came in. If the name was not on the list we were instructed to turn the guests away or pull them out of line and consult with the mother of the bride. This was NOT a Hollywood movie premiere, this was NOT the Queen of England's grandson's wedding, this wasn't even a local TV reporter's wedding – this was Jane Doe from Nowhere, USA. She was not a celebrity, she was not even a local a radio or tv personality and from what I know of her, I am guessing she wasn't in the popular group in high school either. It was weird, but in this profession, you have to handle brides, and mother of the brides, with kid gloves, so we proceeded to check guest's names off the list as they entered and most were appalled.

"Hello, can I get your name and number in your party to check against our guest list?" my cute little college co-ed staffer said to what appeared to be the Duggar family, you know from TLC's "19 Kids and Counting."

"Jim Bob Duggar and there are 19 in our family," the patriarch stated.

"Hmmmmm. Let's See. Okay, here you are, but it looks like you RSVPed for only 12, so I will have to ask you to step aside while I get permission from my boss to let you all in." The check-in girl proceeded to call me on the radio and explain the situation. I checked with the mother of the bride and our conversation went a little like this:

"Teresa, we have the Duggars at the front door with a party of 19, but you only have 12 on the list, should we let them all in and change the tables a little to accommodate the extras, it shouldn't be a problem at all."

"If they RSVPed for 12, then only 12 can attend," the mother of the bride said gruffly and matter of factly – no thinking it over or anything.

"Are you sure?"

"I am positive. Please go now!" 99% of me wanted to curtsy and say "Yes your royal highness"

As I head to the front door, I am trying to think of a way to tell this family that only part of them can attend the reception. "Hello, I'm the I Do Expert, and I understand that we have a little problem here with the guest count for your family." Jim Bob does the explaining and counting of all of the children and pregnant wife.

"Well, I have spoken to the mother of the bride, Teresa, and she is only allowing me to admit 12 members of your family to the reception since that was the number that you returned to her. I'm sorry, but only 12 can come in." I felt mean and rude just even having to utter these words to someone. How terrible! I am turning people away from a wedding reception not the hot new nightclub where Justin Timberlake is performing.

After some discussion, 12 Duggars entered and 7 left. I am glad that they were kind to my staff and myself about it, knowing that it was not our decision, although part of me wished that they all would have loaded into the RV and left.

While checking on the progress of the reception happenings, I got another call on the radio from the young woman at the door checking names. I went to the mother of the bride again.

"Teresa, sorry to interrupt your conversation, but I need to steal a word with you. We have your cousin Mary at the front door with her husband and two children. Since you haven't seen her in four years and you were the best of friends growing up, she wanted to surprise you."

"Are they on the list?" she snarled.

"No, she sent a regret so that she could surprise you and....." I was quickly interrupted.

"I don't care if it is the President of the United States, if they are not on the list, they cannot come in."

"Are you serious?" I said. I know! It slipped! I shouldn't have said it, but I just popped out. I was disgusted by this woman. Who doesn't something like this?

So I had to go back to the front door and break the news to Mary, who by the time she walked out of the door was in tears and handed me a gift to give to the bride and one for the mother of the bride.

"Are you sure?" I said.

"Yes, the gift for the bride is something I made for her with all of the photos of all of the women in our family in their wedding dresses and the gift for Teresa is a picture of the two of us when we were 7 playing dress-up as brides. Thank you!"

I couldn't believe it. I would have touch-downed the photos in the parking lot and then run them over with my car.

At the end of the evening, the mother of the bride went to the caterer and said, "I am not paying for all of the food bill"

The head caterer said "Was something wrong?"

"No," she said "but I saw your staff sitting down and eating and I am just not paying you to eat the food that I paid for."

Calmly the caterer said "Ma'am, I am assure you that the food we ate you are not charged for. We always made extra so that our staff who are on their feet for eight hours,serving your guests, can have a bite eat. All of the extras are boxed for you to take home, so you actually get more than you paid for."

"Well fine, as long as I am not paying for you people to eat then that is fine."

Emily Post, the queen of etiquette, and one of the people who fascinates me the most, once wrote that "anyone receiving an invitation with an R.S.V.P on it is obliged to reply, and breaching this standard is inexcusably rude."

I wonder what Ms. Post would say about turning away guests from a party you invited them to for bringing too many people or for trying to surprise you with a reunion four years in the works?

People never cease to amaze, surprise and shock me.


I Do Expert

Father Knows Best

Most relationships develop over time.  You learn to love your friends as family and trust your siblings with your deepest secrets, but the relationship between parent and child has a unique dynamic that you are literally born into.  

It is amazing to see my friends become parents.  They have all told me that they didn’t know they could love someone so much.  One of my friends recently posted on her Facebook that she loves her daughter more and more everyday.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house where love, respect, trust and honesty were the foundation of my life.  It is the job of a parent, I believe, to be brutally honest with their children, because if you cannot believe your parents’ honesty, who can you trust – especially in relationships.  

I was sitting at my desk one day when my phone rang.  

“Hello, I Do Expert, this is Mr. Roberts.  I’m Barbie’s dad.”

“Oh hello Mr. Roberts, I just spoke with Barbie and Ken.  I am excited for our meeting in next week.  The special day will be here before you know it!”

“Right, that’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.”  Mr. Roberts said in a very serious tone. 

Insert foot into your mouth, I thought to myself.  The couple must have broken off the engagement and the father is calling me because poor Barbie is crying her eyes out at her Barbie Dream Townhouse.  

“Oh gosh, what can I do?”  I said.

“Well,” Mr. Roberts said, “How long do I have to break up this relationship and still get my money back?”

Thankfully this part of our conversation was not in person, because I had to pick myself up off the floor.  I remember Ken telling me how he asked for Mr. Robert’s permission to propose to Barbie on a dream getaway in their pink Winnebago that they travelled across the country in.  

How could this father give his blessing to a man proposing to his daughter, let her get engaged and then weeks later turn around and ask me, the wedding planner, how long he has to break off the engagement and still get his money back?

I was flabbergasted and speechless, both adjectives I never thought I would use to describe myself.  I finally pulled myself together after what seemed like minutes of crickets chirping and tumbleweeds blowing across my brain.  

“Excuse me.  I think the phone cut out.  Did you ask me how long you had to break off the engagement in order to get your money back?”

“Yep, I sure did.”  Mr. Roberts said. 

“Well, I guess that the sooner the better.  All of the deposits that have been made to vendors are only refundable if they are able to rebook the date to another couple, which at this point is likely since we are a year out, but a decision needs to be made soon.”

I could hear him typing on the other end of the line.  “Can I come into your office?”  he said abruptly.

“Certainly, I said – I am here all afternoon, come on in.”

About 15 minutes later Mr. Roberts came to my office.  I escorted him in and showed him to a large comfortable chair, I took the matching chair across from him.  

After getting him a glass of water I said “I know it may not be any of my business, but did something happen?  Is Barbie okay?”

“Oh she’s fine.  I just don’t like that Ken Carson she is engaged to, he is such a dope.  I worry he will never do anything with his life except for continuing to be a model.  My Barbie has so many ambitions, she wants to be a vet, a teacher, an astronaut, a baby doctor, a ballroom dancer, a snowboarder, the lead of a rock band, a race car driver…the sky is the limit with Barbie – she can be anything she wants to be, but I feel like Ken is dragging her down.  They have been dating since grade school, and I want her to experience life without Ken.”

Mr. Roberts and I spoke for a while about Barbie, Ken, relationships, friends and life.  He loved Ken.  He knew that Ken was a good man and would make sure that every dream, wish and whim that Barbie had would be taken care of.  He knew deep in his heart that Barbie would have a very full life.  Barbie is the oldest of the Roberts kids.  Mr. Roberts was blessed with all girls, five of them!  This was the first time he was “giving his daughter away,” and that act is one of the most difficult for fathers around the world.  

A week later, I met with Barbie, Ken and her parents.  Ken and Mr. Roberts are all buddy-buddy, sharing jokes and pats on the back.    I don’t remember much about the rest of the planning because it was easy, elegant and fun – there were no fights and there weren’t any meltdowns.  The wedding was beautiful and so was the bride. 

I think my afternoon with Mr. Roberts was a culmination of stress, worry, caring, and love for his daughter.   It is a delicate dance that fathers and daughters do throughout life.  Fathers are the men that we love and we trust from the beginning.  They are the guys we call when we have a flat tire or a leaky pipe, but when those phone calls stop, it has to be awfully hard for a dad.  

But I do think of her often and hope that she is happy.  I hope that her life is filled with love and laughter.  I hope that her relationship with her father is as strong as ever.  

The week after the wedding, I did get a very large flower arrangement and kind letter from Barbie’s father thanking me for everything I did for him and his daughter.  I would encourage anyone thinking of being a wedding planner to also take a few psychology classes, some comfortable chairs in your office and a healthy supply of boxed Kleenex.

Until next time!

I Do Expert