To Buy or Not to Buy: Wedding/Event Insurance

Welcome Back! It’s been a while since I have written to you. I’m still here but have been observing some disturbing things. As this virus comes and goes couples and their weddings are left in a state of confusion. Some have lost large sums of money due to the closing or cancelation of their venue. Couples are left without the ability to have the wedding of their DREAMs. As a Planner/Consultant, I advise my clients to invest in insurance. Some take advantage of the advice others don’t. Although it is written for planners, I found the following article, by Lindsey Nickel of Lovely Day Strategy for Wedding Planners, to be one of the best and easiest reads I have found. With her permission, I am sharing it with you in its entirety.

Even though engaged couples don’t want to think about the worst-case scenarios for their wedding, the truth is worst-case scenarios do happen. As a wedding planner, it is your job to be informed and help them to protect their wedding investment. 

One year I had a couple that called off their wedding about five months before the wedding date. She had a wedding dress, the venue was booked and the vendors had all received their first payments. They had not purchased their wedding cancellation insurance yet (though not all policies cover “change of heart”), so they were not able to get back any of the money from their vendor and venue deposits. That same year, there was a planned power outage and the power was out at the wedding venue starting three days before the wedding. The father of the bride rented at $10,000 generator. They had wedding insurance and were able to get some, if not all, of that cost, covered.

There are basically two types of wedding insurance: liability insurance and cancellation insurance. Liability insurance helps to protect against financial loss from a wedding accident, damage, or incident. Most venues require clients to have liability insurance for their wedding. Cancellation insurance is for canceling or postponing your wedding. 

Why might a wedding be canceled or postponed:

  • Death (a fellow planner had a groom die suddenly a few months before the wedding)
  • Illness (sudden illness ranging from cancer to shingles can cause a wedding to be canceled or postponed)
  • Injury 
  • Natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes or an avalanche. During the 2017 fires in wine country, wedding venues burned down, vendor’s homes and studios burned down.
  • A venue shuts down
  • A vendor closes

Also, consider these scenarios:

  • The bridal shop with your dress burns down, damages or losses your wedding dress
  • Gifts and cards with cash are stolen
  • The groom’s custom tuxedo is lost by the airline on his way to the wedding
  • The photographer loses the film with your wedding photos or the memory cards with your photos are damaged

Basically, wedding insurance provides peace of mind for the unexpected. Like any insurance, you purchase it hoping you will not have to use it.  Be sure to check the contract with the venue to make sure that you are purchasing the correct amount and type of liability insurance. Buy early! The sooner you purchase the insurance the sooner they are covered from a worst-case scenario. Update July 2020: COVID-19 and shelter at home are not typically covered by cancellation insurance, so be sure to ask about those before purchasing. Every wedding and insurance policy is different. Be sure to do research and talk to an insurance provider.

The take away: buy early and purchase both liability and cancellation insurance.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected]


How do I say thank you, is one of the most frequently asked questions by my clients regarding the people who will participate in or attend their wedding extravaganzas! It is because of questions like this, my staff and I spend time looking through gift sites. Other times we are contacted by gift sites; in either case, to be sure of what they offer is worth my clients time, but more importantly, their money; I often will ask for or purchase samples. I refuse to recommend a product that is either too expensive for what they are offering or an economical but cheaply made, products not worth the money spent.

Another question we are inundated with is, “Do I have to have or give favors and what’s a good one that’s not a waste of time and money?” My answer to this question is typically, “The more PRACTICAL the thank you gift the more it is appreciated.” By this I mean, if your guests can either eat it or use it then the gift is appreciated if not it will be tossed into the circular file right after the event. After all, what are you going to do with that bell with the couple’s name on it after you finish ringing it at the reception? Is it cute? Yes, was it practical? Welllll (in my best Samantha Stevens’ voice) not really. It was useful for making the couple kiss but beyond that….nothing. It is another dust collector.

My staff and I found Forever Wedding Favors. I have written about its sister site previously, see my February 2019 post. At that time I was searching with a purpose, to find great gifts for guys. This time we were searching for more general gifts; ones that say thanks for participating and favors for those attending an event. As I perused the site more thoroughly I found a myriad of gifts to fit most people’s pockets and tastes. From Bohemian to the classic styles, this site finds the little things you have been searching for but couldn’t find.

As promised, I tried some of their gifts and found them to be just they are presented. Nothing flimsy or cheap. They had ideas I hadn’t considered. As a former avid card player, who would have thunk they would have so many choices of playing cards for favors. I loved it! Looking for something different? Check out this site You won’t be sorry. Need more ideas? Contact us at 216.672.5451.

Financially Surviving Wedding Season as a Guest

Hi Readers!  I must apologize for the delay in publishing.  Since excuses are tools of the incompetent, no excuses will be offered. The following article written by Laura Gariepy, was originally published on PenguinThoughts, provides a different perspective, that of your wedding guests.  Sometimes, I choose to share articles I find or have been shared with me I believe will assist you; no need to reinvent the wheel, this is another one of those articles.  

According to the New York Times, the average wedding guest spends nearly $900 to partake in the festivities. That price tag can make your wallet want to say, “I don’t!” — especially if your wedding season dance card is full.But don’t worry. Charlie knows a bunch of money-saving hacks so you can catch the bouquet without breaking the bank!

Set a Budget and Prioritize

Take a peek at your finances and determine exactly how much you can spend on the occasion without wreaking havoc on your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to create a spending plan.

You can stay near the venue in style, rival the bride for beauty, or be the best gift giver ever — but you may not be able to afford to do it all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some trade-offs to stay within your set limits. For example, if you want to give a lavish gift, that could mean forgoing the expensive salon visit the morning of the ceremony.

Tip: Charlie can help you plan ahead by starting a new savings goal called “wedding.”

Pool Resources

Try going in on wedding attendance expenses with family and friends. You can split the cost of lodging, transportation, and even the gift. That way, everyone saves some cash and can still fully take part in the experience.

Beautify Yourself (or Find a Deal)

If you’ve got the skills, skip the pricey salon and do your own hair, makeup, and mani-pedi. DIY’ing your beauty regimen will save you some serious cash. (You may even already have the supplies on hand!) Afraid of looking like Elizabeth Holmes? Ask a friend to help paint your face and braid their hair in trade.

If you really want to be pampered, check Groupon to score a deal on the service. You can also reach out to local beauty schools. Often, their students will gussy you up for much less dough than a pro.

Re-wear or Rent Attire

There is zero shame in wearing a killer dress (or suit) twice. So save your wallet and rock that outfit again! You can also raid a friend’s closet to wear something that’s new to you. But — if you must wear something brand new, consider renting your ensemble for a fraction of the price of buying it off the rack.

Make Your Gift

If you’ve got the talent, why not use it to make something heartfelt and budget friendly? Your newlyweds will appreciate the gesture and will likely cherish it over another set of wine glasses.

Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Sing a song at the reception
  • Make the centerpieces on the dinner tables
  • Offer to photograph the event
  • Create a scrapbook about their relationship
  • Knit a blanket for their couch or bed
  • Paint their new family portrait

Still feeling uninspired? Pinterest has got you covered!

Just Say No

Although it hurts to check “will not attend” on the RSVP card, remember: an invitation to a wedding is a request, not a requirement. Sometimes your wallet just can’t swing it and that’s OK. If that happens, confidently decline with your regrets and send a little (perhaps homemade) gift in your place.

Final Thoughts

Being a wedding guest can be crazy expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. Every element of the experience can be optimized to fit your budget. So go ahead and feel the love while enjoying your fatter bank account.

Tell Us: What’s the most you’ve ever spent as a wedding guest? Was it worth it?
Please note: We don’t have an affiliation with or personally endorse any of the services linked to in this post. We’re just trying to give you some ideas. But,  if you want ideas we are able to give you them, contact us, Dream Event Services, schedule a call or appointment to discuss some ideas.

Gifts for the Guys in the Wedding Party

Finding gifts for the guys in your wedding party can be a daunting task. You find yourself thinking, “I want something that will thank them for being a part of our special day but I want the gift to be cost effective, usable and practical.”  How many times have you participated in a wedding and ended up with something you’ll NEVER use again; may not even know what it really is or it’s so cheap it breaks or fall apart before the wedding weekend is over?

It is not as difficult a task to purchase gifts for the women in the wedding party.  You simply buy the jewelry you want them to wear for the ceremony. The guys on the other hand, are a different story.  What gift can you give them that thanks them for putting on a suit or tux that they are not crazy about, wear rented plastic shoes and walking down the aisle with a woman they may have only known for about five minutes before having to dance with them.  I found a website that solves this problem, it is called Groovy Guy Gifts.  The gifts on this site are for the men in our lives. But it doesn’t HAVE to be for a wedding. These items can be given anytime you need to give a gift to a man.

My Experience:  Finding a Gift for a guy 

I needed to buy a gift for a male cousin, one of the pickiest guys I know. Since I was given the opportunity to choose a gift from  Groovy Guy Gifts as a promotional gift, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to tryout a new company. The choices were amazing in their variety from the traditional beer stein/mug ($19.99) to a three types of travel bags ($49.99). All purchases at or over $50 are personalized  and shipped at no additional charge.  I chose a personalized wallet with its own engraved box, since he needed a wallet. The ordering process was simple; my package arrived within three weeks via standard shipping.

I was really expecting something cheesy, but was pleasantly surprised to receive a well crafted leather wallet in a beautiful wooden box. I wanted to keep the wooden box for myself and just give him the wallet, but I didn’t. When my cousin opened his present, he immediately loved his new wallet, emptied and tossed his old one then proceeded to put only the things he really wanted into the new one.  I tried talking him out of the wooden box but he refused to give it to me.  These actions spoke volumes to me. 

I don’t often tout websites or products but I can’t help it with the products from the  Groovy Guy Gifts  online shopping.  They have all kinds of gifts and gift ideas for reasonable prices.  Check them out.  If you want more ideas or would like some assistance,  schedule a complimentary consultation with us at  Dream Event Services.  Happy Shopping!

QUIZ: Who Should Make the Guest List?

Who should be on my guest list? How do I decide who to eliminate? Don’t pull your hair out trying to figure it out!  Know that you are not alone.  These are two of the most frequently asked questions by clients during our initial consultation session. My answer is: the engaged couple along with both sets of parents should create their DREAM guest list. Eliminate no one but realize your parents and you may have some of the same people on their lists.  That’s okay. The next step is to have everyone put a star next to the guests who MUST be there and a triangle next to the ones you would really like to be there.

Create your master list by starting with the starred names, then based on the room left in your budget add triangle names.  Be sure to take triangle names from each person’s list to be fair.  In doing so, you will be less likely to be accused of being biased towards anyone. Most people know you are not purposely trying to hurt anyone’s feelings by excluding them but not having an unlimited budget means somebody will not receive an invitation. It has been my experience, clients using this method have an easier time creating their final guest lists.

In addition to the strategy explained above, the following quiz from this month’s TODAY’S BRIDE  may assist you in figuring out who is your triangle and who is your star.

How do you know them?

  1. They’re a friend.
  2. They’re a colleague.
  3. I don’t really…my mom does.

When was the last time you spoke?.

  1. Last week
  2. Within the last few months
  3. Good question

Have they met your fiance?

  1. Yes, many times.
  2. I think once or twice
  3. Not yet

Were on their wedding guest list (or were you in the wedding)?

  1. I was in the wedding party.
  2. Yes
  3. No

Would you invite them over for dinner?

  1. Sure, why not
  2. Yes, but I would make something quick to eat
  3. If I was forced

Do you talk about your wedding a lot in front of this person?

  1. They’ve heard almost every detail.
  2. They’ve overheard me talking about it in the office or on Facebook
  3. They might not even know I’m engaged.

Imagine your wedding without this person. Which statement best describes it?

  1. It won’t be nearly as fun
  2. I’ll feel guilty all night
  3. Thank goodness, I won’t have to avoid him/her

Will you talk to this person 5 years from now?

  1. Yes, probably.
  2. I’m not really sure.
  3. Most likely not

Key if your answers are mostly:

  • 1’s then that guest should receive a star
  • 2’s then that guest should receive a triangle
  • 3’s why are you wondering if they should receive an invitation?

Deciding whether or not to invite children and who should get a plus-one can be sticky subjects. Check out our upcoming blogs as we continue discussing what you need to know about guests.  If you would like more information or would like to talk, our initial consultations are complimentary.  Call us at 216-672-5451 to schedule your consultation today!

Music: Prelude to The Kiss

Music is the prelude to the kiss, which seals the commitment.  Your choice of music should be personal and deliberate for your ceremony as well as your reception.  Music sets the tone, enhances the setting and creates the ambience, which puts people in the mood.  Music says a lot about the people celebrated.  Too often, when we inquire about the ceremony music, we hear, “Just pick something nice.” Okay…but that says nothing about the events to come or the mood the couple is trying to create.  We decided to share some of our suggestions for setting the mood and questions to ponder in order to help you decide.

Prelude Music

The Prelude is the music that sets the tone for what is to come.  The time length for this set should be approximately 15 to twenty minutes in length. While played as your guests enter, your choices tell your guests, without words your expectations.  The prelude should begin by creating a feeling of excitement and/or anticipation.  Your guests are arriving, they are excited about your nuptials and the music should build on that feeling. As the time draws closer to your ceremony start time, the music should become more romantic, softer and the words (if there are any) should tell a love story.  As the music softens, your guests will reflect this mood change their chatter will become softer in anticipation of the ceremony.  The last song of the prelude starts the ceremony with the entrance of the Pastor and the entrance of the family. Followed by Groom escorting his mother.

Mothers’ and /or Groom’s Entrance 

The mothers’ (his first then hers) entrance should be dramatic yet reflective.  The words, if there are any, should speak about letting go…a new beginning…or a song of praise. This music is especially important if the groom is escorting his mother into the ceremony.  We encourage the groom to have his own entrance so he too can share some of the spotlight.

Wedding Party Entrance

The bridal party song or songs should lead the guests to understand the love shared by the couple.  “Do the songs have to be slow…or should they be set to a march?”  Our answer is YES.  Then we remind our clients music dictates the mood.  Ask yourself, what is the ambience we are trying to convey? Do we want our guests to settle in and relish the feelings or do we want them caught up in the drama or do we want little of both?

 The Bride’s Entrance 

The bride’s song, chosen to tell her groom what she has in or on her mind, how she is feeling or is a song that reminds her of him. Similar to the couple’s first dance song, which we always ask our grooms to choose independently from the bride then tell her why he has chosen that particular song while on the dance floor.  This secret is their first as a married couple.

The Recessional Music

The Recessional is the last ceremony song. Its importance lays in being the song that transitions the guests’ emotions in moving to the next mood- the Reception.  It can be reflective (“At Last”-Etta James/Beyonce); declarative (“The Girl is Mine”-Michael Jackson/“We are Family”-Sister Sledge) or start the P-A-R-T-Y (“I Do”-Colbie Caillat/“Celebration”-Kool & the Gang).

The bottom line is your music needs to reflect you.  Need help or want more ideas?  Feel free to contact us Dream Weddings & Events, LLC. 

Honoring Loved Ones

 Honoring loved ones who have passed may be one of the hardest, but at the same time, most rewarding parts of a any celebration; especially a wedding celebration.  Often couples come the realization their loved will not be a part of their celebration in my office. This often leads to tears.  I can truly relate to these couples.  In my head I knew my own father’s illness (Alzheimer’s) would not allow him to walk me down the aisle.   I had always dreamed of that walk with my father.  The realization of it not being able to happen didn’t hit me until I said it aloud.  And it broke my heart.  So I made a list of ways to celebrate/honor him, which I am happy to share them with you.

At/during the Ceremony

  • Special Candle.  Place a single candle for each honoree on a separate table from the other celebration candles (i.e. the Unity candle).  This is an opportunity to give a family member the opportunity to participate in your celebration in an easy but important fashion.  This person will be light the Memory candle at some agreed upon point in the ceremony, i.e. at the start of ceremony.
  • Seats of Honor.  Reserve seats in the front of your ceremony.  Hang the names or a picture of those who are being honored/remembered on the seat back in such a way it can be seen easily.  During the service lay a single flower or small bouquet on the seat of the chair, thus bringing attention to the person being honored.
  • Family Processional. Prior to the mothers’ entrance, have pictures of those who you wish to honor brought in individually and placed on a special table or in their own seats.  Do you have people you want to have a part in your ceremony but no place to put them?  This is wonderful way to accomplish this quandary.
  • Special Table.  Place a table in a prominent space, place your loved ones picture on the table with a single candle.  This should be already in place and the candle lit when your guests arrive.

At/During the Reception

  • Special Table.  Place a table in a prominent space, like next to your guestbook and place your loved ones picture on the table so that it is already in place when your guests arrive.  Be sure to create a name card for each picture so your guests will know who your loved one is.  To make it even more special write something about that person on their name card.  This allows YOU to walk memory lane with that person as you write and honor your loved ones.
  • Table of Honor.  Set up an extra table in the front of the room.  Decorate it the same as the others including place settings.  Place your loved ones picture at the table so that it is where their plate would be.  For one wedding, I turned the pictures throughout the evening so that they faced what was going on.  For example, during the couple’s first dance all pictures were facing the dancefloor and during dinner they were facing each other as if they were talking with one another.
  • Special Candle.  Put a single candle for each person to be honored on a table with the Unity candle such that the honor candles surround the Unity candle.  This represents the couple is supported and surround by the warmth of family love.
  • Shadow (father-daughter or mother-son) Dance.  If you are brave and don’t mind others seeing your emotions.  Dance with only a picture of your loved one for a time.  Too long would be too dramatic.  Finish the song with a special relative.

It is surprisingly cathartic to include your ancients/loved ones/elders, whatever you call them, in your special day.  We encourage you to be innovative in including them, then please, come back and share your ideas. Or if you are looking for ideas, feel free to contact us or via email [email protected]

Emergencies On Your Wedding Day? Be prepared!

Wedding Day emergencies are inevitable. Are you prepared? At Dream Weddings & Events, LLC  having a kit is a mandatory tool; no different from wearing your communication device. After seeing a question in the Facebook Brides Group about what goes into a Wedding Emergency Kit, we knew we needed to share.  Therefore, here is our professional opinion on what we strongly suggest to be in your Wedding Day Emergency Tool kit and in some cases why:

  • Advil, Tylenol
  • Antacid
  • Antihistamine
  • Aspirin- low dose for Heart or Stroke emergencies
  • Barrettes
  • Clear nail polish- stops runs in stockings
  • Cough drops
  • Dental Floss
  • Deodorant travel size (spray)
  • First aid kit  band aids
  • Gum-calms nerves
  • Hair and bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Handy wipes (baby wipes or freshen up cloths)
  • Kleenex
  • Lotion
  • Makeup remover pads
  • Masking tape- repairs hems or seams
  • Moisturizing Eye drops
  • Nail polish remover
  • Peppermint or breath mints
  • Pepto-Bismol or Imodium
  • Powder        
  • Safety and straight pins
  • Sewing kit w/neutral colored thread
  • Straw-to avoid smudging lipstick when drinking
  • Sunscreen
  • Tampons/pads
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Wash cloth

Additional Items

There are additional items found in our emergency kits based on past need.  Some seem crazy, but after the second time of needing an item we have just included them. Consequently, we do not have to send someone to the store.  As a Wedding Planner, here are some additional items that are also in our kits:

  • Anti-Static spray
  • Bottled water
  • Batteries 2 of each kind
  • Cake knife set
  • Chocolate
  • Glucose tabs
  • Extra garter
  • Hair spray
  • Preparation H- reduces puffy UNDER eye swelling
  • Slice of white bread (in a plastic bag to keep fresh) removes fresh lipstick stains   
  • Small bottle of white wine- it removes red wine stains (along with cool water)
  • Vaseline-applied to the teeth makes smiling easier

We know it seems like this list is long; you might need a suitcase just for your emergency kit (that’s how we carry ours),  but take our word for it, to need one of these items and not have it could cause a lot of needless heartache or stress. While traditionally the kit is maintained by your maid or matron of honour; it is part of our service to our clients.  Until next time…….Keep DREAMing


If you want to know more or have other questions, feel free to contact Dream Weddings & Events, LLC at 216-672-5451.


Marriage License: Q & A on the Process

Questions regarding the process for obtaining a marriage license is one of the most popular inquiries posed by our clients.  Please be aware, each State and county within that State may have their own process; contact your County Probate Court for exact details.  The information presented in this blog is the process for those of you from the State of Ohio, specifically Cuyahoga County.  It is my goal for you to have a few less bumps in the road on your journey to marriage.

Where do we go to apply for our license?

  • A resident of the state of Ohio must apply for your license at the Probate Court in the county in which the Ohio resident lives.  If neither of you is a resident you must apply in at the Probate Court in the county in which you are getting married.

Can one of us just pick up the form, take it home to complete it and return the form during office hours?

  •  You must BOTH go to the County Probate Office TOGETHER.
  • In Cuyahoga County, you may pre-register online at Online Marriage Pre-Registration then bring in the confirmation number.

What do we need to take with us?

  • Birth certificate (or some proof of citizenship like a passport)
  • A photo ID (like a driver’s license)
  • Social Security card
  • Certified copy of the divorce decree  (if you have been previously married)
  • If you are under 18, you need proof of consent by a parent.
  • If either or both applicants is physically incapacitated, that person’s physician must complete an affidavit stating the physical disability, and then it is filed with the application for the marriage license.

How much does a marriage license cost?

  • The cost varies from county to county, as each county sets the cost.  The price ranges from $45 to $60.

Do we need to get a blood test?

  • No, not in the state of Ohio

How long is the license valid?

  • The license is only valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

For more details contact your County Probate Court Office.  We hope this blog assists you on your journey towards marriage.  Finding you need assistance making your DREAM day a positive memorable occasion? Contact us at Dream Weddings & Events, LLC 


Post-Wedding Checklist

Hello readers.  A post-wedding checklist is something I have often given my clients.  The following article, created by Ethan Lord Jewelers  goes into much further in depth.  I thought the article would be perfect for you, just click on the enlargement arrows to read it.    Happy reading.

The whirlwind of wedding planning is but a memory now. After months of meticulously mapping out every last detail, heartfelt vows and cherished wedding rings were exchanged, and your love was celebrated in style with family and friends.  Congratulations are in order … but there’s still more to do as you set off down the road toward wedded bliss. The accompanying checklist presents a dozen tasks to tend to in the aftermath of the wedding to make everything just right. There is gratitude to express, legal matters to labor over, and especially for sentimentalists, keepsakes to create. And there are plans to ponder to make the future even brighter.

Now that you are used to taking vows, check out this checklist to discover why it’s important to transform your “I do” to “We will … ” Take on these tasks as a couple for a picture-perfect way to wrap up your wedding-related activities. Be assured that the “thank you” cards in particular are most meaningful to the many who made your day so special.