Thursday, December 29, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Rental Services

Rental Services companies are your insurance to pull off the perfect wedding. They provide anything and everything you need for a wedding, they provide items in many colors, so you can decorate your wedding reception according to your color scheme you have chosen. Rental Services companies are particularly helpful when you have an empty banquet hall as your reception or have an outdoor wedding or use a wedding tent. Also they are helpful if caterers, reception facilities, or ceremony sites are short on supplies you need.

The way you should use a rental service company, is a little different than with other wedding vendors. Before you meet with a caterer, wedding reception facility, or a ceremony location, you should plan a day to visit rental service companies in the area of your wedding. Your visit is to check them out, see what they have, also if the company has a catalog or brochure of products and list prices for rent, grab it. Also to note, whenever you talk to a sales manager at these type of businesses, never bring up the word "wedding" or "marriage", use the word "event" or "party" instead. Many of these businesses have one brochure for weddings and one brochure for events. The same item often is listed at a higher price for weddings and the same item is lower for events.

Later when you meet with the caterer, reception facility, or ceremony location, if you find anything missing or you need your color schemed item, or an item lower in price you have knowledge of an alternate solution in the event you have an additional need. Take notes from your meeting with your wedding vendor and then you can take what you are missing and negotiate with rental service companies, make sure you compare prices and what services each rental company can provide.

To help you decide on which rental company to go with, the sales person you deal with is very important. Besides products a rental company has, you want a company that has been in business for a good while and you want a rental sales person who is knowledgeable, has a lot of training, and is a good communicator. You want a good salesperson who is focused on the needs of your wedding and not pushing you to rent or buy things you really don't want. Be careful of aggressive sales people.

The other item to be concerned about is to be sure everything is captured in the contract. When items need to be delivered and set-up and when items need to be picked up and dropped up. Also needs change as you approach the wedding day. Maybe you need more dishes and chairs or less dishes and chairs, adjustments may need to be made as the wedding day nears and the rental company needs to be a little flexible. Good questions in your interview are as follows

Interview Questions for a Rental Services Manager
1-Ask for a brochure, catalog, or flyer of products, list prices, and rental fees. What is the name of the company, their address, their phone number, and what is their website address?
2-What is the name and phone number and email or contact information of the person you are interviewing and if he/she has a post card ask for that too?
3-What would be the name, phone number and email or contact person who would be assigned to us for our wedding?
4-As you talk through each item, would that item be available for the date of our wedding?
5-Provide your approximate headcount, for each product that involves headcount, do you have enough of that item to cover your guest headcount? (sometimes you might need to include wedding vendors such as if they are eating meals with you you need dishes and chairs for them).
6-How long has the business been in operation?
7-What days of the week and hours is your business open?
8-What hours is someone reachable for your business? is there an emergency reach phone number?
9-Is the business a member of a business association such as the American Rental Association? (sets high standards for business rental practices)
10-How much experience does our contact person have? what type and how much training does he/she have? (you should try to meet up with this person to check out their personality and communicative skills)
11-If a problem should arise at our wedding, how would the situation be handled? (a buffet dish gets broken or we need 20 more chairs and place settings)
12-Are you familiar with our reception location?
13-Can you review the products you have available? equipment needed for the kitchen? food preparation equipment? storage supplies? serving dishes and utensils? tables and chairs? buffet tables? place setting needs? linen needs? accessories for the tables? (salt and pepper shakers, wine glasses, butter knifes, etc.)
14-Are their unique items your rental company offers? (guest sign in books, altar aisles, candalabras, photo booths, ice sculptures, candy buffet, coffee bar, chocolate fountains, etc.)
15-Does your business handle floral needs for the wedding? what do they include?
16-Does your business handle decoration needs for the wedding? what do they include?
17-Does your business provide hanging fabrics?
18-Does your business provide lighting needs?
19-Does your business provide furniture such as love seats, end tables, and coffee tables?
20-Does your business provide bar fixtures and bar glasses?
21-Does your business provide dance floors?
22-Does your business offer items for the wedding ceremony? (guest books, pew bows, church decorations, etc.)
23-Do you offer trash cans, containers, bags for clean-up?
24-Do you offer any rental items not discussed? (besides wedding tents mentioned below)
25-Can we inspect all items visually that we are interested in?
26-What is your rental fee?
27-Do you have, can you review the price list?
28-Do you offer an inclusive package? can you review it?
29-Do you provide delivery? how are items delivered?
30-For items that need it, do you provide setup?
31-Do you provide, take down and clean-up?
32-Do you provide pickup?
33-What happens if items get lost, stained or broken?
34-What happens if items are not returned clean?
35-Do we get to inspect all items before they are delivered or upon delivery?
36-Is there a late fee if we don't return the items by a specified date and time?
37-What happens if our order gets cancelled?
38-Can we arrange to have items moved from the location site to another as part of our order?
39-How long before the reception before the items get delivered?
40-What is the final cost? are there any hidden fees to be aware of?
41-How long before the event do we need to firm up a contract? (generally spring, summer, and New Years weddings 6 months before, fall and winter weddings 2 months before)
42-Can we take the contract with us to review before signing?
43-How much of a deposit or retainer fee is needed to secure the items? (usually 50% up front)
44-When is the final payment due? (usually 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding)
45-Can we get 3 referrals from other parties that have used you before?

Review the contract thoroughly before signing, make sure all is talked about is included in the contract, with so many things involved it is a good idea to bring someone along with you as a second pair of eyes, to insure all is covered and is there as an eye witness. Make sure the items are returned before the deadline. Rental companies make a lot of money off of late returns. Their excuse, we need the items for other events.

Wedding Tents

One of the items that you are starting to see more at wedding rental stores are wedding tents. Many styles of tents are starting to appear and many tents have built in protections from the environment and are as comfortable as indoor facilities. Flaps can be opened or closed depending on the weather, tents even have skylights and see through linings that look just like windows. The inside can be decorated to make the effect of the tent to look really stunning. Special lighting, hanging floral fabrics, hanging lanterns, and decorated tower vases can create the look of an unbelievable fantasy world.

There are basically five types of tents that are used for weddings, traditional, high peaked frame tents, traditional pole tents, high peaked tension tents (best suited for weddings), and clearspan structures (no obstructional poles). As for flooring you basically have the following options; nothing at all, astro-turf, carpet, sisal, matting, or hardwood floors. The grounds in which you are going to secure the tent needs to thoroughly inspected before erecting the tent. The ground should be level and all spots need to be checked for utility lines
no holes in the ground and no obstructions such as rock. Some tents are erected over asphalt or concrete.

A floor plan should be figured out before renting a tent, where tables, chairs, buffet tables go, entertainment groups will be located, dance floor placed, bartenders stations and food serving stations, all should be figured out, how will traffic flow go, all reception needs to be figured out before talking about what tent(s) to rent. Also beforehand you need to consider the type of weather the location has for the particular time of the year. Will the tent need to be more airy or need more walls, will you need air conditioners, heaters, or misting devices. In addition to the wedding reception tent, will other tent(s) be needed for cooking, food preparation, and food storage.

Where do you want to place the tent? Will it be in someone's backyard, at a rustic farm or field, on a lakefront, river, beach, ball field, an empty lot, or next to some landmark. You want to insure the location is not at a location in which water might gather, is level and the location is safe from wild animals, insects, or plants such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac. You also don't want to be mowing the grounds around an erected tent, grass leaves stains in the canvass and are very difficult to get out.

After you know your wedding tent requirements, you can then meet with your wedding tent specialist at your rental store. You will want to meet with a knowledgeable person that specializes in wedding tent rentals that can answer all your questions about your wedding and be able to explain the whole wedding tent process to you. The person needs to be well organized, is very knowledgeable about the equipment the business has to offer. The person needs to be a good communicator and be available to handle last minute needs the day of your wedding. You should also let the sales tent contact person know who will be your contact representative.

The person should meet with you at the spot where you want to erect the wedding tent, check out the location to inspect that it is a good location to be sure the grounds are safe, the ground is secure, and how easy is it to get the wedding tent and supplies to the site. Also he needs to review the site in to how to secure the site, will you a night watchman or have other security needs.

Questions You Need to Know Before Finding a Tent to Rent
1-Date of event.
2-How many guests are you expecting.
3-Floor plan of the space for the reception area.
4-Will there be a dance floor, d.j., or music band.
5-Do you need bars, drink stations, serving stations, or buffet tables.
6-What are the heating, air conditioning, misting devices, needs you might need.
7-What areas of the tent do you want open spaces, sky lighting, windows, and entryways.
8-What type of lighting needs might you want.
9-What type of decorations might you want.
10-What will be your catering needs? what spaces do you need for them?
11-What type of flooring do you want?
12-Will there be access to power or will you need a generator?

Interview Questions for your Wedding Tent Contact Person
13-Ask for a brochure or catalog, and ask what is the name of the rental service company, their address, phone number, and website address?
14-Ask for the person you are interviewing with, do they have a business card, get their name, phone number and contact number such as their email address?
15-If there is another rental service person that will be your contact, get their business card, name, phone number and contact information?
16-How long has the company been in business? (The best rental businesses have been in operation a long time, 10 or more years)
17-How long has our wedding tent coordinator been involved in this business? (You want someone who has five or more years, knowledgeable, is accommodating, easy to do business with, has lot's of training, and is a good communicator)
18-What days of the week and times is the rental wedding tent business open?
19-Is there an emergency contact number available at off hours?
20-What wedding tents do you have available to rent for the amount of wedding guests needed? What is different about each tent you have to rent?
21-Do your tents have tie-backs, removable walls, or skylights as an option?
22-What sidewall options do your tents have, solid, windowed, mesh screens?
23-What colors are available for each tent?
24-What is the age of the tents that are available to rent?
25-What size tents are available for the amount of our wedding guests?
26-What period of time can we get the tent for?
27-Are the tents deodorized? What do we need to do to prevent mildew from forming while we are renting them?
28-Can we see the tents we are talking about? can we inspect the tents just before we need them?
29-How early can we get the wedding tent to be set up so our wedding vendors can start setting up?
30-How much time will it take to get the tent set up?
31-How does the delivery of the wedding tent work?
32-How many people are involved in setting up the tent? do you erect the tent or do we? if we, are there instructions? do you have the people needed to set-up the tent or do we need to contract people?
33-How much time is needed for tear-down? do you tear down or do we? if we, are their instructions?
34-Does the company also clean the grounds or do we need to hire someone to clean?
35-How is pickup of the wedding tent handled? if you pick up the tent can you also take other rentals or do we need to handle that separately?
36-Is the company insured? are the people who work for the company insured?
37-What happens if we cancel?
38-What happens if the wedding tent gets damaged? gets rips or tears? gets stains from grass, candle burns, lighting burns? other stains?
39-Do we need to get a building, fire engineer to inspect the tent or do you handle that?
40-What is done to protect yard damage during installation?
41-How do late fees work?
42-What are the flooring options that go with the tent? (nothing at all, astro-turf, carpet, sisal, matting, hardwood floor, other)
43-Does the tent use a pole? is there an option with style of pole?
44-How does the wedding tent get secured? is spacing on the side of the tent needed for walkways?
45-How might the tent be decorated?
46-How might the lighting needs be set up?
47-Does the rental company provide generators?
48-What other tents do you provide for wedding services? (cooking, food preparation, food storage, etc.)
49-Does the wedding tent coordinator inspect the wedding location with us? what does he/she check out at the location?
50-What happens if an issue comes up with our wedding tent the day of our wedding?
51-When do you need the name of our contact person?
52-How much is the cost of the wedding tent?
53-Are there other fees associated with the wedding tent? (travel fees, set-up fees, take down fees, taxes, cleaning, gratuities, other).
54-Have we covered all the fees, might there be hidden fees?
55-How soon before the wedding do we need to book the wedding tent? (generally 6 months for spring and summer and New Year weddings, 2 months for fall and winter weddings).
56-How much of a deposit or retainer is needed?
57-When is final payment due? (Usually 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding)
58-Do you have pictures set-up inside from other weddings?
59-Can we take the contract and review the contract before signing?
60-Can we get 3 referrals from couples that have used your services? (check with at least 2 couples)

Tent Sizes to Consider for Outdoor Weddings

                          Square Feet                           3/4 Sections
Weddings For      Needed for Tent                Needed for Dance Floor
50 People                 20' x 30'                                  9 x 12
100 People               30' x 50'                                12 x 15
150 People               40' x 60'                                12 x 18
200 People               40' x 80'                                15 x 20
300 People               40' x 120'                               20 x 24

Review the contract thoroughly, make sure the dates and times and people are clearly stated in the contract, it is always a good idea to have another person along to check the contract along with you and be an eyewitness. Make sure the person you are dealing with has your interests at heart and is not pushing things you don't need and is responsible for handling wedding day needs as they come up and is a good communicator and you are comfortable working with them. There are other rental companies out there that would love to work your wedding.

Wedding Bartenders

When considering a bartender for a wedding, the important thing to know, it takes a lot of experience to be a really good bartender, a really good bartender doesn't have to think, he/she knows how to run the bar without thinking. The rule of thumb it usually takes about 10 years of bartending to really get good at it. A good bartender tends to be trained, certified, friendly, courteous, and knows how to read and handle individuals once they have reached their limit. For upscale weddings you want one bartender for every 50-60 wedding guests.

These are the attributes you want to look for in your search for your wedding bartender. A really good bartender arrives an hour early to ready the bar and dresses professionally. He/she has knowledge of all products, recipes, and can hold a good conversation. He/she prepares drinks using both hands with a defined. He/she is aware of etiquette of drinks, drinking, and service. Everything in the bar has it's place, a bartender knows where everything is without having to think.

A wedding bartender situates moving items within easy reach. He/she keeps their workspace clean of dirty glasses, has his/her turnover glass operation running smoothly. He/she prepares garnishments ahead of time with a good estimate on how much is needed. When taking multiple orders, he/she makes drinks that take the longest first, the quickest last. He/she understands the alcoholic mix component needed for the bar.

A good wedding bartender has mastered the art of remember multiple orders in their head at one time. Is aware of mixing methods (blend, built, stir, meddle, shake, layer, etc.). He/she knows how to change equipment rapidly, keeps track of sales, receipts, tabs, deposits. and inventory. Supports and acts professionally with staff at all times. He/she keeps cool, empathetic, and courteous under pressure from patrons at all times.

When finding bartenders to work your wedding, often you can save yourself a lot of money if you can bring your own bartenders to the wedding, facilities tend to charge double or more for their in-house bartenders, half or less of what they charge to you goes to pay the bartender and the rest what they get from you they keep for overhead. You can ask around to find really good bartenders at hotels, clubs, restaurants, golf clubs, banquet halls, country clubs, yacht clubs, and well run bars. Many couples ask bartending schools for a bartender but often the bartenders don't have that experience factor yet and don't have that built in knowledge needed to handle a wedding.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Bartender
1-Ask for their business card, who do you work for, name of company, address, phone number, and if they have a website note that also?
2-What is the bartender's name, phone number, and contact information such as an email address? do they have a resume to share?
3-Is the bartender available for the date and time of our wedding? (if not, can you recommend another bartender for our wedding, get name and interview is over)
4-How long has your business you work for been in operation?
5-How many years have you been a bartender?
6-How many weddings have you covered as a bartender?
7-Can you tell me about some of the places you have worked as a bartender?
8-How would you be dressed at our wedding?
9-What would you recommend for alcohol needs for our sized wedding?
10-What bar equipment and tools can you bring for our wedding reception? what equipment would we need to provide?
11-What garnishments do you generally prepare for your bar? (olives, lemons, oranges, celery, etc.)
12-How's your knowledge of alcoholic drinks to prepare, do you have them basically in your head or do you need to look up drink recipes occasionally?
13-Find recipes of three semi popular drinks, ( or other alcohol recipe website) can you give me the recipe of how you make these drinks?
14-How do you prepare the bar for a wedding?
15-Can you tell me some about mixing liquor methods? (blend, built, stir, meddle, shake, layer)
16-How good are you at remembering multiple drink orders?
17-At what time would you arrive at our wedding?
18-How do you tell if someone has had too much to drink?
19-How would you handle a drunk customer?
20-How do you handle a busy bar?
21-What drink do you serve first, the drink that is prepared quicker or prepared longer? (hopefully they answer longer)
22-How do you deal with an unhappy customer?
23-You have a problem with another staff, what do you do?
24-Are you tips certified? (training for intervention procedures)
25-Identify a color scheme of your wedding, using our color scheme, what signature drinks would you recommend we promote at our reception?
26-If it is needed, can you provide a custom cocktail menu?
27-How do you handle tips? (At weddings tipping is suppose to be a no-no, have a sign no tipping)
28-How much are your charges if we hire you for our wedding?
29-Do you and your company have liability insurance?
30-Do you have a contract or do we need to prepare and bring a contract?
31-Can you provide 3 reference? (Should contact 2)

After you interview the bartender, you should get back in contact in a week or less, let the person know whether you are contracting with them or going with another, just so he/she knows that date is available to work for somebody else. Keep the contact always positive, you don't want to burn bridges with any bartender, you never know, if another bartender becomes unavailable, you have a fallback bartender.

Wedding Wait Staff 

As for finding a good waitress/waiter to work your wedding, the key is to check their references and to see them in action if you can. You would like an individual that has some experience waitressing significant events. A good servant is one that is good at handling multitasking, can do several things at once without getting overwhelmed or forgetful of things. A person that is efficient at servicing guests, but is also a quick conversationalist. A person that notices table needs, clears dirty tables, asks for a refill, brings an extra plate if needed, prepares a box of leftovers, and insures guests needs are taken care of.

A good waitress/waiter is a good listener who knows how to read guests whether they are in a hurry or not in a rush. A waitress/waiter is observant that food is properly prepared, has a good memory, is organized in set-up, knows the menu, and is efficient at clearing tables and handling bills. The interview process is more like a conversation than an interview, basically asking about prior events they have waitressed and getting references and either seeing or having someone else you trust have seen them in action. A contract for waitress work is optional.

So that is the story of interviewing rental services companies and people!

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Limousine

You climb into your wedding limousine and then all of a sudden, the magic moment hits you. The biggest moment of your life is about to happen, the limo ride to the wedding ceremony provides you with a brief moment to reflect. You then realize, this is not just any old ordinary day, this is an extraordinary day. Your life is about to change drastically. It needs to start out with having the right wedding transportation.

As the wedding limousine pulls into the church or ceremony site, the moment becomes a surreal moment, it's like trumpets announcing the bride's arrival, and later the wedding couple's departure from the ceremony and again the arrival to the wedding reception. And even later, there may be the ride to the airport to set the newly married couple on their way to the honeymoon. Also there may be rides needed to shuttle out of town guests in a place they are not familiar with and in some cases there may need to be the ride on a party bus to keep the bridal party together and in good spirits if a little traveling is needed.

On your wedding day you need to be sure, you have dependable transportation, and image is important, to be sure everything runs perfectly you need to ask the right questions of your transportation company, you don't want your wedding day to be left in a lurch. You want your wedding limousine, to look like a wedding limousine, you want to be sure the limousine is less than 3 years old and it's in good working condition. After 3 years of age limousines start piling up the mileage, and the higher chances of a breakdown, you want almost zero chance of a breakdown. You need to ask the right questions to insure your special day goes off without a hitch.

You want to know exactly what vehicle you are having for your wedding, you want to inspect it the week before your wedding, you want it to be sure it's in great shape for your wedding. You also want to meet the chauffeur in person, someone who behaves like a chauffeur is expected to behave, is prompt, who knows how to follow directions and is a good driver.

You also want to leave your transportation company a map on how it's best to get to your wedding venues, how to get from the bride's house to the ceremony site, how to get from the ceremony site to the photo shoot, how to get from the photo shoot to the wedding reception, then how to get to the wedding reception to the hotel, bed & breakfast, or to the airport. The wedding couple should insure the transportation knows the directions and the times and should send a map of how to get from one place to another and get confirmation of the time. The bride and groom should keep a map and time on their person for the wedding day, this is for backup purposes, some limousine companies are notorious on changing schedules for drivers, if you should get a driver you aren't expecting, and does not have directions, your directions may have just saved your wedding day.

The only time you should allow transportation that is less than three years be allowed for your wedding, if it's a classic or antique car or a classic trolley. If it's one these cars you are using for your transportation needs for your wedding day, the week before your wedding, you should inspect the car thoroughly and insure that it's in good operating order and you get confirmation that the vehicle has been inspected and tuned up recently.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Limousine
1-If the company has a brochure, flyer, or a business card grab it, what is the limousine's company name, address, phone number, also Toll Free phone number, and website address?
2-What is the limousine's contact person's name and phone number?
3-What is the owner's person's name and phone number?
4-Is the limousine company properly insured?
5-Does the limousine company belong to any industry associations such as the National Limousine Association?
6-Does the limousine provide 24 hour coverage 7 days a week or other coverage? if no, what is the other coverage?
7-How many years has the limousine company been in operation?
8-What type of limousines does your company have? can you describe them?
9-How many vehicles does your company have in total?
10-How many people will fit comfortably in each of your vehicles? (remember you may need additional space for the wedding dress and possibly other bridesmaid's clothing)
11-What colors are available for each vehicle?
12-What is the year, make, and model of each vehicle? (remember you only want vehicles that are 3 years age or less unless it's an antique, classic, or trolley)
13-What happens should the vehicle break down?
14-Does your company offer any special wedding packages?
15-What is the price of each package and each vehicle offered?
16-How many hours are included with a package?
17-Is there a minimum number of hours required for the vehicles?
18-Do any of the vehicles have to be returned in time for another appointment?
19-If we get a package, what is the additional price per hour if we choose to keep the vehicle longer?
20-What color is the inside of the vehicle desired?
21-What amenities are included with the package? red carpet? champagne? glasses? just married sign? bottled water? snacks? decorations?
22-Does each vehicle have television? a CD or DVD player? air conditioning/heating system?
23-Are we allowed to drink alcohol or eat food in the vehicle?
24-Can we inspect the limousine in person at the time of booking and again the week before the wedding?
25-Can we get a record of the last inspection and tuneup of the limousine desired?
26-Can we get a picture of the limousines we will be using for the day of our wedding by mail or email?
27-How many limo chauffeur driver's do you have in your company fleet?
28-Can we meet in person, the chauffeur(s) assigned for our wedding?
29-What would be our wedding driver(s) name(s) and phone number(s)?
30-How many years of experience do each of our driver's have driving for the transportation company?
31-How many weddings has each of our driver's covered? in the past year?
32-What would our chauffeur(s) be wearing?
33-Is our chauffeur's gratuity included in the quoted price? if not, what should be added for the chauffer's gratuity? (standard practice is 15% - 20%)
34-Are there any additional charges? (tax, tolls, parking, fuel surcharge, etc.)
35-Are there special discounts offered by the transportation company?
36-Are there discounts if any additional vehicles are booked? (limousine for bridal party, party bus, shuttle or limousine to the airport)
37-Does your company have or get your hands on antique cars? describe them?
38-Does your company have or get your hands on classic cars? describe them? (BMW, Mercedes Benz, etc.)
39-Does your company have buses or trolleys? describe them?
40-Does your company have party buses? what amenities are included? lounges? full electronic wet bar? special leather seating? televisions? audio/video systems? CD/DVD player? Satellite system? coffee maker/coffee bar? refrigerator/freezer? party bus camcorder? party bus internet? party bus gaming system?GPS navigation system? microwave? utility tables? restroom?
41-Is the bridal party allowed to bring their own champagne? wine? bottle water?
42-How many guests could fit on the party buses? buses? or trolleys?
43-Are we sure to get the driver(s) specified in the contract?
44-Might our chauffeurs coming from another appointment the day of our wedding, such as taking or dropping somebody off or from the airport?
45-What do the chauffeur's do while waiting between destinations? (during wedding ceremony, during wedding reception)
46-For each person handling your wedding, ask, describe the worst wedding situation you have had? how did you handle the situation?
47-Is the chauffeur familiar with the areas being covered?
48-What type of outfit will you be wearing?
49-How far in advance do we need to book the wedding for our wedding date?
50-How much deposit is required and when is final payment due?
51-How can payments be made? (credit card, debit card, certified check, personal check, Paypal, cash. other)
52-Can you offer sedan or van airport transportation from the hotel/venue and back for wedding guests?
53-Can your company offer our wedding guests transportation from their residence to the airport in other cities?
54-Can we take an unsigned contract with us to look over for review?
55-Can we get a signed contract stipulating the date, time, all locations, prices, type of vehicle, including year, make, model, color, name of our driver(s), phone number, payment, deposit, and cancellation policy?
56-What is the cancellation policy? what is the fee for the cancellation policy?
57-Can we get 3 referrals? (should check with at least 2)

The interview questions are a guide to help you lay out questions for your transportation company. Re lay out the interview questions to fit your particular needs.

After your interview, you should interview at least 3 transportation companies before booking. Choose the company that you feel gives you the most for your money and in which you feel comfortable with the drivers. It is better to choose a company that is focused on weddings, some companies are more geared to business executives and to airport travel. Sometimes these companies are notorious for the wedding limousine sometimes may be diverted to catch an incoming flight leaving you stranded without a wedding limousine and they will leave you with some lame excuse.

Make sure you inspect the limousines and the chauffeurs beforehand, let there be no surprises. It's a good idea to bring along a friend for your appointments and make sure all that is discussed is in the contract, no contract no deal, you need protection in the event the company messes up. A limousine should not be asking for the full amount up front, they have no major expense to pay out of pocket beforehand. Get the transportation needs you can afford, look for discounts, at least arrive to your wedding and reception in a special vehicle.

Make sure maps are prepared and sent to the transportation company beforehand, and have a map on your person, in the groom's pocket and in the bride's bridal emergency kit, you never know the transportation company might send another driver, with no directions. GPS is pretty good, but not always accurate, on your wedding day, you can't take chances.

Make sure you include the magic moment in your wedding day transportation!

See you on the other side!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Dance Studio

Your wedding period is a great time in your life to learn how to dance. At your wedding, many of your wedding guests will be getting their first impressions of the wedding couple and if they see the couple's first dance working cohesively well together, the impression left behind is that the couple looks good together.

Wedding dance lessons should be thought about well in advance of the wedding. In this way, you can set a goal with your dance instructor to insure you can dance well at your wedding into a special event that you have always dreamed about all of your life. A first dance between the two of you that will become the center of your reception and the perfect beginning to your married life.

Wedding dance lessons normally concentrate on one particular dance, learning the dance well enough so both partners can be comfortable. The dance is learned in parts so that you both can learn it easily. In just a few lessons with focus and practice, you will be prepared to enjoy your first dance with your spouse and be an enjoyable experience. It will be a hit of the wedding party and a special highlight moment for your wedding guests one in which they will always remember.

The wedding dance you choose should be music that can be played by your wedding DJ or wedding musicians. It is helpful to know what type of wedding music choices you have before starting your dance instruction. Some wedding dance music you might consider are rumba, swing, fox trot, waltz, slow dance, country and western, country line dance, tango, alternative tango, mambo, salsa, cha cha, and wedding first dance choreography. A wedding couple might also want to include dance lessons for other wedding party members such as the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, or a choreographed bridal party dance with a grand entry, a recreation of the wedding processional.

Many wedding couples are hesitant to take dancing lessons, they think they are a couple who cannot dance. In reality, lessons show them they can really dance, they have just not learned how to dance. Wedding couples should take advantage of the time that are taking dance lessons and besides taking dance lessons for their first dance, can learn how to dance many different dances and learn to dance for many events in many years to come.

A wedding couple needs to know the right questions to insure them they get the right studio and right instructor. Some things to know, many dance studios offer very inexpensive specials to get you in the door, like 1/2 hour instructions instead of an hour. Dance instruction lessons are advertised as an hour, in reality studio lessons tend to be more like 50 to 55 minutes, translating that fact if you are getting 10 lessons you are losing 50-100 minutes of instruction. Many people when they first learn to dance, they think the whole world is watching them and they become self consciously embarassed. Usually to feel this way is very normal and after a few lessons this self conscious fear goes away as one becomes more confident in their dancing.

The rule of thumb in learning to wedding dance, five lessons are sufficient for learning the basics to your wedding dance, ten lessons should get you pretty good for your wedding. While you are at it and if it's in your budget you may learn many different dances and you and your partner will have a dance skill that you can dance many types of dance at many events in your lifetime.

You want to be sure your dance instructor is qualified, has a degree in dance and an education from an accredited institution. A great dancer does not necessarily translate into making a good instructor. A good instructor needs to know how to deal with different personalities, what to teach, when to teach, and how it should be taught. Does the dance studio have a syllabus and lesson plan for each dance?

A quality dance studio tends to provide a clean, neat, and safe environment, have a nice waiting area, full-length mirror, plenty of floor space, a lighted parking area, nice bathrooms, a nice library of music, and plenty of seating in vision of the dance area.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Dance Studio
1-See if the dance studio has a brochure, grab it, doe it have a business card, grab it, get the name, address, phone number and website information of the studio?
2-What is the name and phone number of the owner of the studio?
3-For every instructor that teaches you a dance lesson get their name and phone number and contact information such as their email address?
4-For each instructor ask how long they have been teaching dance? how long have they been teaching our wedding dance? how long have they been teaching each dance we are learning?
5-Can the dance studio teach our wedding dance with the budget we are working with?
6-Can we get the wedding lessons in by the time of the date of our wedding?
7-Can you to us a wedding dance with the music our DJs or wedding musicans play?
8-Can you teach to dance to our wedding song?
9-Can we see your teaching certificate?
10-Are you a member of a dance teacher's organization?
11-What's your certificate of completion of a dance level? (a.k.a. bronze, silver, gold)
12-Can you give us a little background about yourself?
13-What days of the week are your dance lessons?
14-What times of the day are your dance lessons available?
15-How does your dance program work?
16-How many lessons are part of each program?
17-What dances do you teach at the studio? rumba? swing? fox trot? waltz? slow dance? country and western? country line dance? tango? Argentine tango? Mambo? salsa? cha cha? other?
18-What dances does your studio specialize in?
19-What happens if we should miss a lesson?
20-About how far do you live from the studio?
21-How many couples have you taught this wedding dance in your life? this year? how many couples have you taught dance to in your life? this year?
22-Are our dance lessons private or is it public with others?
23-Can we get dance lessons with no one watching?
24-Our wedding song we would like is ' xxx ', would it be a good song for our wedding or would you think it would be too difficult?
25-Can we receive private dance instructions in our home?
26-How much dance music does your dance studio have in it's library?
27-What makes you a good dance instructor?
28-Can we get a discount if we can bring family or friends along to join?
29-Do we get undivided attention in our lessons or might their be interruptions?
30-What type of clothing and shoes do you recommend we wear for our dance lessons?
31-Do you use flotation floors? (flotation floors are designed to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries)
32-What is the final price if we sign up for wedding dance lessons? what is the price for other dances?
33-Can the studio teach bride-father dance? groom-mother dance? bridal party entrance dance?
34-Are there hidden costs we need to know about?
35-What payment program options do you have?
36-How can we pay? (credit card, debit card, certified check, personal check, cash, Paypal, other)
37-Can we take a contract with us to look over and review before signing?
38-Once we get good at dancing, can we video our dance steps?
39-Can we get 3 referrals from your studio that has taken these lessons? (contact 2)

Other Things to Consider in Choosing your Dance Studio
40-How far away is the dance studio from your home?
41-Is the times offered for the dance lesson a convenient time for me and my spouse?
42-How clean, neat, and roomy is the studio?
43-Can they teach me how to dance to first dance and other dance lessons we are interested in?
44-Does the dance studio provide a wall mirror and elevated dance floor?
45-Does the studio provide a good break area, nice sized entrance way, and nice bathrooms?
46-Is the location in a good lighted area, with good parking, and a safe area?
47-Will we get undivided attention from the instructor or will there be interruptions from others?
48-Does the studio allow privacy to our dance lessons at the beginning?

Your Dancing Progression and the Amount of Lessons Depends on these Factors
How good do you want your dancing to be?
Have you had much dancing experience you have had before?
What physical shape are you in?
Are you quick at learning new things?
How much incentive do you have to learn dance or wedding dance?
Do you want to learn just the basics or learn more?
Do you want to impress your wedding guests, with a choreographed routine?
While you are at it, do you want to learn a number of different dances so you will be comfortable with various types of dance with your partner for your life events?

At least learn the basics so you will be ready for your wedding dance, if you can work it in your budget go further and learn to dance to other forms of dance. Consider dance lessons and make it a good time and take lessons with close friends to have a last hurrah with them. Some wedding couples take dance lessons in secret and blow their wedding guests at their wedding reception with a memorable wedding dance that leaves a lasting impression with guests that they will always remember.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Musicians

Wedding musicians help make an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary event. Wedding musicians specialize in being able to play a number of musical instruments that an ordinary person can not play, music that is heard rarely, creating a musical mood, a mood that makes the special occasion more memorable.

Wedding musicians include flutists, pianists, organists, harpists, violinists, brass bands, jazz groups, show bands, string quartets, guitarists, and vocalists. These musicians will either play for your wedding ceremony or wedding reception or both. At the ceremony musicians might play prior to the start of the ceremony, to play music for guests while being seated. They traditionally play music to accompany the entrance of the bridal party and bride as well as recessional music at the close of the ceremony. They may also play hymns or provide accompaniment for singers during the ceremony.

At wedding receptions you might consider groups or bands of performers that might include several types of instruments and vocal performers adding a touch of sophistication and class to complement the wedding experience in order to make your wedding a luxurious and memorable event in which will evoke a memory your wedding guests. An event which will always be remembered and put the wedding couple into a romantic mood that was created from a musical mood.

There are many music groups that are great, but be wary some music groups are not so great. some provide music that does not match the musical tastes of the wedding couple and wedding guests, some music is not appropriate for a wedding, and some groups might be good but don't act in a professional matter which is expected at a wedding. The right questions need to be asked, sometimes music scores requests need to be verified, that the musicians are capable of music requested, the musicians should be checked out in person, that they put on a good performance and act professionally at all times at your wedding, they are not a group that is more focused on break time than in entertaining your wedding guests.

Make sure what you are looking for from the wedding musicians is stated in the contract, it's not just a verbal agreement.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Musicians
1-Get a business card if you can, what is the name of the musician's agency or studio, their address, their phone number, and their website address if they have one?
2-Who is the wedding musician's point man, what is his name, phone number, and an email or other contact reach number?
3-Is the wedding musician's available to play the date of our wedding? (if not can we change the date of the wedding, if not the interview is over)
4-What type of music do the wedding musicians play? what type of music is the music group capable of playing?
5-What type of musical instruments is in the musician's repertoire?
6-How many years has the agency or studio the wedding musician's have been working been in existence?
7-How much experience does the point man have? how much experience does each musician have?
8-How many weddings have the wedding musicians performed at in their career? in a year? in a week? the week of our wedding?
9-How many people in the music group? what are the names of the people in the music group? (names asked often people ask about contacting musicians and sometimes equipment is accidentally left behind)
10-What percentage of your business is dedicated to weddings versus other events?
11-Do they work full time or part time performing weddings? if part time, what else do they do in the time they are not playing weddings?
12-How much time do the wedding musicians spend practicing together? do you have a set time for practicing?
13-Do you guarantee that they're the ones performing if we contract with them?
14-Can we see the wedding musicians perform in a live performance? can we see a video of them in action?
15-Do the wedding musician's have specials need at a venue? do they need special lighting? certain type of electrical outlets? any other needs?
16-Are the wedding musicians familiar with our wedding ceremony site or reception facility? should we meet together to review positioning and setup needs?
17-What is the musicians playing time and time between breaks?
18-How many sets do the wedding musicians play at a wedding reception?
19-Are you willing to play extra sets? how much money is required for overtime?
20-Is the music group capable of playing recorded music during music breaks?
21-What is the normal time for a wedding musician's gig? (normally 4 hours)
22-Is there a chance the musicians will be playing at multiple gigs the day of our wedding?
23-How much time is needed for the wedding musicians set-up and take down?
24-How are the wedding musicians typically dressed for the wedding? how are they dressed when setting up before the wedding?
25-Can they play specific requested selections from the bride and groom? might we need to purchase music sheets that we are asking for them to play selections at our wedding?
26-For requested music, can we hear them play the music a week or two before our wedding?
27-Can they play specific requested selections by our wedding guests?
28-Can they review the music selections with us that they plan on playing at our wedding?
29-Do the wedding musicians use a cordless microphone?
30-Are they willing to play to play both at the wedding ceremony and wedding reception?
31-Can one of the wedding musicians act as master of the ceremonies?
32-Can the wedding musicians provide additional entertainment? games?, jokes?, dance-offs?
33-Can the wedding musicians handle the first dance? bride-father dance? groom-mother dance? bouquet throw and garter throw?
34-Can the musicians handle both indoor and outdoor weddings? do they have specific needs to handle outdoor weddings?
35-Can the musicians play any time of the day or night?
36-What is the minimum and maximum amount of performance they require?
37-In the musician's repertoire, do they have special music for children?
38-Do the musicians have access and can they provide a dance floor if asked?
39-How many musical selections or songs in their music library?
40-What would be the costs for their performance? any hidden fees?
41-Are there travel costs for the musicians? do they expect tips? how are tips distributed amongst the musicians?
42-Do the musicians expect to be fed and provided with drink before or after the reception?
43-What would happen if we backed out of the contract?
44-Does the wedding group offer discounts? bridal discounts?
45-Does the contract include a 3 day cancellation clause?
46-What is the latest date to book the wedding group to insure they can perform at our wedding?
47-What are the payment terms and down payments required and when is final payment due?
48-What forms of payment due they accept? (credit card, debit card, certified check, personal check, cash, Paypal, other)
49-Does the agency or studio and musicians have liability insurance? can they provide a guarantee they will perform at the wedding?
50-Are the musicians members of any professional organizations?
51-Can we see and take a contract home to review it before signing it? if yes, how many days do we have to review the contract before signing?
52-Do you have backup equipment?
53-What happens if one of the wedding musicians gets sick or has a personal emergency the day of our wedding?
54-Does the music group display a banner or sign during their performance? (for a wedding this must not be allowed, it's a wedding you don't want advertisements showing up in wedding pictures?
55-Does the music group want to hand out business cards or offer to sell a CD at the wedding? (you should let the music group advertise business cards once midway through their performance kept in an index card box, CD's can be advertised at the same time, all kept neatly near where they are stationed)
56-Can the music group provide 3 referrals that have used them in the past year? (Need to talk to 2)
57-If the wedding reception facility allows it can we have a "crash the wedding party arrangement"?*

* A crash the wedding party arrangement is if you have special band music such as a dance band, show band, big band music, or jazz group, to help defray costs and after the formal part of the reception is over, outside guests are allowed into the reception, only the amount that fits into the reception facility. A bouncer is usually hired to collect money of outside guests. Proceeds are distributed 4 different ways (1/4th goes to the bouncer, 1/4th goes to the wedding reception facility, 1/4th goes to the wedding musicians, and 1/4th goes to the wedding couple for their honeymoon). Wedding guests are allowed to indulge in leftovers (wedding cake, buffeted desserts, coffee, wedding punch). A sign should be put on a table stating what leftovers are allowed for party crashers.

Make sure what is agreed to verbally is stated in the contract before signing, no contract no deal. If a musician is asked to play certain music for the wedding ceremony, help in getting the sheet music for the musician and be sure to hear the musician play the music for you a week or two before the wedding, to be sure he has perfected playing the music, you want no surprises of a poor performance at your wedding. If the wedding musicians are really good, offer to write them a recommendation for their website or offer to do a "Youtube: if they ask. When you check the music groups out, note what behavior they have at break time. Do they remain professional or have bad habits. Are they good for your wedding or are they musicians behaving badly. Do they put in the required time it states in a contract or do they waste a lot of time. Last point, choose a wedding group in which you like the style of music.

See you on the other side!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Disc Jockey

The success of a wedding often depends on the type of music played. Hiring a professional wedding DJ can really enhance your special day but only if he/she provides what you and your guests with music you like and good music you can all dance to. A good wedding disc jockey are gifted individuals who know how to pick music a wedding couple really likes and has a natural instinct of "feeling the vibe" of wedding guests and influence the atmosphere of the wedding reception.

When questioning a DJ, you want to always meet them in person, not just over the phone. A 'gut' feeling is important when choosing a DJ, you just can't make a good evaluation until you meet them in person, but you can't let them influencing by letting them use pressure sales tactics with a hard close with a special rate that ends that day only. They need to give you a week or two before you make a decision, there are many other wedding DJs out there that would love to work your wedding.

What to look for in your questioning, the best wedding DJs have from 5,000 to 10,000 music selections covering a wide variety of music. Their music is played using computerized equipment. The wedding DJ uses high quality speakers, headphones, and wireless microphones. The names you should be hearing about that are top brands for DJs include Pioneer, Denon, PC DJ, Traktor, Serato, Electro-Voice(EV), JBL. Bose, Mackie, Rane, QSC, and Shure. If you hear other names for equipment, you should do some research to check the equipment out.

The best wedding DJs talk to the bride and groom and other family members before the wedding, learns about their musical tastes and builds a music list, and touches base steadily preceding the wedding. The DJ mixes the music well, some for the bride and groom, and knows how to vary the music at the reception for younger, middle aged people, and older wedding guests. It is okay to mix in some of their own specialty music. The DJ should dress sharp for the wedding, usually a tux indoors or a hawaiian shirt outdoors.

The DJ should also be able to act as the emcee if asked to, for the introduction entrance of the bridal party, and other special moments such as the announcement of the dinner, toasts, cutting of the cake, and the couple's first dance as husband and wife. The DJ should only drink socially, no more than two drinks and does not smoke at the event. The good DJ knows how to interact with the wedding guests and plays music at a comfortable pace and always somehow keeps the dance floor occupied. The good DJ always has a backup plan if problems ever should arise with any equipment.

The great thing about wedding DJs, they constantly entertain over a four hour period nonstop, except for an occasional bathroom break. About midway through their performance allow your guests to pick up their business card, kept in an index card box next to their station, many DJs survive on referrals. You must let them know, no signs or banners are allowed to be displayed at your wedding, you don't want them to be an eyesore that shows up in your wedding photography and videography. Also keep the DJ separated from your live musicians, if their mics get too close to one another you may encounter horrible screeching. Keep them in the vicinity of your dance floor.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Disc Jockey
1-Ask for their business card and get the name of their agency studio, address, phone number and website information (please note - some disc jockeys do work for a number of different agency studios, ask for information on the studios he/she works for)
2-Ask for the disc jockeys name, if he works out of his home, his home address, phone number and if he/she has a personal website, the website address?
3-Is the disc jockey available for the date of our wedding? (if no does he/she have someone to recommend, it does not make sense to extend the interview)
4-How many years has the disc jockey been working weddings?
5-How many weddings has the disc jockey worked in his/her lifetime?
6-How many weddings does the disc jockey work in a year?
7-Does the disc jockey work as a disc jockey full time or part time? if part time what does the disc jockey do when not working as a disc jockey?
8-What style of music does the DJ mostly play? what style of music does is the DJ capable of playing in his/her song list?
9-How many music selections do you have in your musical library? (the best DJs have from 5,000 to 10,000 selections)
10-How involved are we in making musical selections?
11-What type of turntable equipment do you use?
12-What type of speakers do you utilize?
13-What type of headphones do you use?
14-What type of microphone do you use? is it wireless?
15-Have you performed at our wedding reception location before?
16-Will you check out our wedding reception location before the wedding date?
17-What electronic outlets or other needs you require from the reception location?
18-Do you meet with the wedding couple to review the music selections (a good mix is 40% requested from the wedding couple, 30% requests from wedding guests, and 30% the DJs choice)
19-Are we sure you will be our DJ if we book with you?
20-Does your company have a dance floor or lighting equipment?
21-Do you have electronic messaging services that guests can leave messages in light from their IPhone or other gadget?
22-Can you play any CD's that we provide?
23-Might you perform at other events the day of our wedding?
24-What's your percentage of weddings you work versus non-weddings?
25-How would you define your "style" when making announcements?
26-What makes you different than other DJs?
27-How do you motivate the crowd when nobody is dancing?
28-When would we meet to review musical selections before the date of our wedding?
29-Where can we find a sampling or video of music that you perform at a wedding?
30-Can we visit you live at a performance to see you in action?
31-How is the disc jockey dressed for the wedding? how is the disc jockey dressed when setting up before the wedding?
32-Does the disc jockey employ any assistants that work beside him/her?
33-Does the disc jockey have a backup plan should problems arise with any equipment?
34-What would be the backup plan if the disc jockey becomes ill or has to handle an emergency?
35-Does the disc jockey have a need to advertise his business? (rule of thumb, let the DJ advertise his/her business by making an announcement in the middle of his/her performance, with business cards kept in an index box next to their station, help them a little in their referrals, announcement only one time at mid-break)
36-Does the DJ advertise with signs or banners? (preference is no banners or signs displayed, it's a wedding, you don't want ads to show up in wedding photography or videography, however, some DJs offer a big discount if they are allowed to advertise, it's the wedding couples call but should try as best as they can to not allow ads to show up in wedding pictures)
37-Does the disc jockey test their equipment before the wedding?
38-How long before the disc jockey performs does he/she need to set up? can the disc jockey be setup before the wedding reception part begins?
39-What is the basic fee the disc jockey charges for his services?
40-How does the disc jockey handle breaks? have any breaks? if so, what time is the break?
41-Does the disc jockey require food or drinks at the reception location? when would that be?
42-Does the disc jockey charge for overtime?
43-Might there be hidden fees that we don't know about? what are the fees?
44-How much of a deposit is needed and when is final payment due?
45-At what date must we book the disc jockey in order to insure you are available for our wedding date?
46-Can we take a blank contract with us to review?
47-Do you carry liability insurance and provide a guarantee?
48-Can we get 3 referrals from wedding guests in which you DJed their wedding? (talk to at least 2)

Review the contract and make sure everything talked about is covered in the contract. Most DJs are very good at what they do, about 75% are very good, there are about 15.000 wedding disc jockeys in the U.S. but should you get one of the 25% that aren't very good, they could really ruin a wedding. Inexperienced wedding disc jockeys, may not be well equipped with wedding etiquette and customs. Moreover they may lack the understanding of reading your wedding crowd and don't understand how to best mix music, and know when to cut off a selection when no one is dancing.

After the wedding, if the disc jockey is good, be a referral for them, tell them you will be a contact and be willing to do a Youtube or write a recommendation for their website.

Get yourself a great wedding disc jockey for your wedding to make your wedding special!

See you on the other side!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Videographer

From a recent study, many brides were asked if they could do a redo and recreate their wedding all over what would they change? Most brides responded by saying they would have videotaped their wedding. Most wedding couples look for ways to trim their wedding budget and they think the logical thing is to cut the wedding video, but in doing so the magical moment is not fully captured.

Most good videographers provide wedding couples a priceless record of their wedding, shot with professional high-grade digital equipment, with their wedding beautifully edited to tell a story, a story that captures the faces, the sound, the mood, and the joy of the moment, so the wedding couple can share with friends on special occasions and to share with those they weren't there and to share your wedding with children and grandchildren that weren't born yet.

In your search for a good videographer, you want to find a videographer that can produce the style you want your wedding be, a videographer that communicates well in working with others, and producing a good video is an art that requires a lot of experience. The videographer has to have strong communication skills in order for the wedding couple, bridal party, wedding guests, and other professional vendors know what to expect and do for the video so the video comes out well. The video sequences are different than a movie, you can't yell cut and do the scene over, things have to come together in one cut.

Most wedding videographers worth their salt will present a ton of ideas as to how to shoot your wedding ceremony, your wedding reception and other wedding related events and present your ideas with themes, motives, and musical scores with meaning to your montage. The wedding videographers will set the scene by videoing your location and settings prior to your arrival.

You nay be asked to have a wireless microphone placed on your person. A popular wireless microphone used today is called a lavalier which clearly pickup the words you most want to hear, hopefully "I do". You want a videographer that works well with other wedding vendors particularly cooperatively with your still photographer to insure each captures optimum results.

When you meet with each videographer that you interview, ask for a demo tape from each and go through their portfolios thoroughly to determine whether they can shoot an entire wedding wedding with a style you like or do they just produce occasional good shots. Focus on style and how the videographer communicates with those around to create a special keepsake from your special day.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Videographer
1-Ask for a business card, what is the name, address, phone number, and website address of the videography studio?
2-What is the name and phone number of the videograper you are interviewing?
3-Are you the videographer that would be shooting our wedding or would it be another videographer person? if it's another get that person's phone and number?
4-Is the videographer available to shoot the date of our wedding? (if no, can we change the date of our wedding or the interview is over)
5-How long has the video studio been in business?
6-How many years has the videographer been shooting weddings?
7-How many wedding videos has the videographer shot?
8-Does the videographer do videography full time or part time? if part time, what does the videographer do when not shooting weddings?
9-When the videographer shoots weddings, how many assistants help him shoot weddings?
10-What would the videographer say their style is? (documentary, cinematic, other) explain your style!
11-What's the videographer's storytelling approach at the wedding?
12-How does the videographer communicate with the wedding couple? bridal party? family members? wedding guests? and other wedding professionals?
13-Is the videographer familiar with our ceremony site? reception location? wedding shoot locations?
14-Does the videographer visit the ceremony site, reception location, and other wedding venues before the date of the wedding?
15-Has the videographer worked any weddings similar to ours? does the videographer have any videos of their work that was similar to ours? if yes can we borrow the video to view how it went?
16-Can we see a demo of weddings and/or events you have worked before?
17-Who keeps the raw footage of your shooting? can we get a copy of the raw footage?
18-Can we see you in action and observe another wedding or event that you videotape?
19-What type of equipment, cameras, tapes, and microphones used in your video work? (After the interview, when you have time, research the equipment planned to be used)
20-How long will it take to edit the footage? how does the editing process work in the shop?
21-When will you arrive at the wedding and how long will you shoot?
22-How is the lighting handled when shooting the wedding? what if it's a dismal day? how is inside lighting handled? are bridal montages shot another day if there is inclement weather?
23-Does the videographer do his own editing or use an assistant?
24-What video packages are available? what are the prices for the packages? are there any hidden fees we need to know about?
25-Do we get to review the videos before they are finished? can we ask for any changes to the videos before the video is final?
26-Do the packages include titles for the videos? if not could a title be added? if so, at what cost?
27-Do the packages include music for the videos? if not could music be added? if so, at what cost? do we have a say on the music?
28-Do you bring along backup equipment in the event of any equipment failure? if so, what type of equipment?
29-What happens should you become ill for our wedding day or if you have a family emergency? do you have a backup person?
30-Are there any special electrical outlets you need for access for the wedding?
31-How does the videographer count overtime and how would it be calculated?
32-Determine the plan that would be best, what would the final cost of the plans we would be interested in? can we customize any packages to our wishes?
33-Do you provide a written contract and a guarantee? (written contract or no deal)
34-Can we take a contract home to review, before we sign it?
35-To insure we book you as our wedding videographer, what date must we book the contract by?
36-When would the videographer require a deposit and when would final payment be due?
37-What is your cancellation policy and are you insured?
38-What questions do you need answered from me, such as information on family members?
39-Can your videos include montages and predictions from family members, bridal party, and wedding guests of what the future holds for us 20 years out?
40-Does your company handle 3D weddings? if not, do you know companies in the area that does 3D weddings? (3D wedding equipment has come out, only a handful of companies do 3D weddings at this time)
41-Can you provide references of wedding couples that have made a video similar to ours? (try to get 3 and make contact with at least 2).

Use the questions above as a guideline for your interview, interview a number of companies before deciding which one to book and check the contract thoroughly, that all costs are understood. Find a videographer in which you like their style and you are comfortable working with and are good at communicating. Check demos out carefully. If you can't afford a videographer, which you should try to get, ask family members bring along their video phones and video cameras and ask if they can send a copy, at least you will have some video snippets from your wedding.

Make sure you get a good video group to tape your wedding!

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Photographer

What makes the best wedding photographers? The best photographers have these attributes; they have character, they come highly recommended, they are sincere, highly personable, they are perfectionists with attention to detail, have creativity, use state of the art equipment, and have excellent sales skills. When you interview a wedding photographer you should be looking for one that has these attributes.

Your photographer in which you hire for your wedding should fit right in with your family and would make a good guest at your wedding reception. Be careful who you book, don't presume all wedding photographers are good, just don't book anybody. There are many photographers that would love to work your wedding, but some are rude, authoritarian, lazy, distracting, don't take control, sloppy, or unprofessional. A bad one can ruin your wedding day.

Your photographs from your wedding are special keepsakes that will always be very special to you, from a very special moment in your life, the photographs must be close to perfect as best you can and it is the one occasion you can't take chances of using an amateur. The first step before deciding on a wedding photographer is to decide on the type of wedding style you want your pictures to be, you can get ideas from wedding photographers websites, looking at other wedding albums, and possibly stopping by photography studios.

Many wedding photographers have their personal style of taking photos, these styles could include traditional, photojournalist, creative, posed and formal, relaxed, candid, and others. As you meet with photographers you want to be sure their style is right for photos from your wedding. Many wedding photographers start out with a checklist of photos taken at a wedding and may review the list with you. You may have in addition some types of photos you may want to include from your photographer which may be an enlarged special portrait of you or you and your honey to hang on your wall or a candid photo of your bridal party jumping for joy.

Your photos may include pictures at the bride's house getting ready for the wedding, pictures prior to entering the ceremony site, pictures of you in the ceremony ceremony, pictures of the bridal party and family members at a photo shoot location, and pictures at your wedding reception. Before you get specific with what photos you want from your wedding photographer, you need to know what photos that both you and your spouse want and also photos to leave with your families. Do you need enlarged photos, photos for desks and walls for family members, do you need a wedding album for both you and family members from your wedding, smaller photos, engagement photos, photos to be included on wedding invitations, and photos for electronic albums and backups on CD to allow for reprints to be made.

On your meeting with your wedding photographer, he or she will present a number of packages that they offer and what is all included and not included. Remember as you meet with photographers, often photographers are trying to upsell and may try to influence you to buy everything in sight. You may find you need to stick to a budget, if your budget can handle what the photographer can provide that's fine. If your budget is tight and does not fall in exactly a package being offered, list only the pictures you absolutely want, can the photographer do this for you, if not, remember their are plenty of other wedding photographers that might be able to provide with you what you want, until you sign that contract, you have the upper hand.

In capturing photos at a wedding, many photographers usually take on average around 800 photos and in the photos you received back and finished on average expect to get anywhere from 225 to 300 photos back. The photos will go through an imaging process and through some editing procedures which may include cropping, adjusting for redeye, lighting enhancements, and other techniques and finally end up as prints. For every picture taken, the photographer may spend two to three times the amount of time than the photo shoot take, the photographer does a lot of work behind the scenes and even more if they are preparing a wedding albums in addition.

Before booking a wedding photographer you should interview a number of photographers and choose the best and one that is in line with your budget. You want a photographer who is reliable, commands control of the your bridal party and guests, knows the ceremony and reception locations and has checked them out before the day of the wedding. A good photographer educates themselves on your family member structure, knows the wedding schedule, and has backup plans for weather conditions and has backup equipment.

In your meeting with the photographer, some ask that no other photos are taken while they are taking photos, this upsets family members at times. Try to influence the photographer to let him or her shoot photos first and then let family members shoot photos they want. The problem that happens often at weddings, if the photographer takes their pictures at the same time as others, the subjects end up looking in different directions, ruining the photographers photos. Explain the situation to your wedding guests. What happens sometimes at weddings, wedding guests become upset with photographers, because they can't get their own pictures from the wedding. Make it a point, have your photographer inform the wedding guests at each pose, first let me take my photos first and then you can take yours, leaving a nice compromise with your wedding guests leaving them happy.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Photographer
1-Ask for a business card, what is the name, address, phone number, and website if any of the wedding photography studio?
2-What is the photographer's name and phone number and contact information? (email, other)
3-Will the photographer use an assistance to shoot my wedding, if so what is the assistant's name and phone number?
4-Are we sure the photographer will be the one to shoot our wedding? (if someone else, get their name and phone number)
5-Is the photographer or someone else available to work our wedding date? (if no, unless the date can be changed the interview is over)
6-How many years has the photography studio been in operation?
7-How many years has the photographer been shooting weddings?
8-Does the photographer perform weddings full time or part time? (part time maybe alright, depends on high quality photos that they can show you)
9-How many weddings has the photographer shot pictures of?
10-Can you give us your background of being a wedding photographer? what's your education? what's your experience?
11-What would the photographer say is their photography style? traditional? photojournalist? posed and formal? relaxed? candid? other? mixed? can the photographer describe in detail?
12-How would the photographer describe their working style? (conventional, take charge, ready action)
13-Does the wedding photographer feature a specialty in any of their services they offer?
14-Does the photographer have a portfolio we can review? are the photos all taken by you? are the photos obtained by a website? are the photos recently taken?
15-What type of equipment do you use at the wedding? back at the office? (take note of the equipment and check it out and make sure it's state of the art)
16-Does the wedding photographer shoot in digital or film format? (not much of a difference nowadays)
17-Does the wedding photographer have equipment to shoot in 3D? (3D cameras recently hit the market)
18-Does the wedding photographer shoot in color? black and white? infrared?
19-Is the wedding photographer capable of producing a slide show of us growing up? if yes, what type of equipment do you have? how would it work?
20-How far in advance of the wedding do we need to book the wedding?
21-What information will you need from us before the wedding day?
22-When would we meet to finalize a list of photos that should be taken? where should we meet?
23-Does the wedding photographer have backup equipment should any equipment fail?
24-What would be a backup plan if the wedding photographer could not shoot our wedding in the event of sickness or a reason other?
25-If you use an assistance, what duties does your assistant perform?
26-Do use special lighting when you take the photos? what equipment would you use?
27-If the wedding plan is out of the area, does the wedding photographer charge a travel fee? how much?
28-Might the wedding photographer have other events the day of our wedding?
29-What type of outfits will the photographer and assistant(s) be dressed in? (better be professionally dressed)
30-Is it okay for others to take pictures after the photographer at each pose? (stress the bride or someone other will inform and instruct family members and wedding guests to not take photos the same time as the wedding photographer, take them after, try to get the photographer to agree to this)
31-Has the photographer ever worked our ceremony site or reception facility before? does the photographer plan to check out the venues, days before the wedding?
32-What time will you arrive at each of the sites? how long will you work the reception?
33-If the event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? is there an additional charge?
34-What would be contingency plans if inclement weather should happen the day of our wedding?
35-What print options does the wedding photography offer? enlarged prints? prints for albums? prints for desktops or walls? engagements photos? prints for wedding invitations? wallet size prints? proofs? photos on CD so we can make reprints? photos made available for a computer photo album? other prints?
36-How long after our wedding will I get to see the proofs? will they be viewable online? will they be on a CD?
37-Does the wedding photographer apply copyright protection on prints? how long does the photographer keep prints?
38-What photography packages does the wedding photographer offer? what do each of the photography packages include?
39-Can we customize a photography package based on our needs?
40-What type of album designs do you offer? do any assistants help you with the album?
41-What is the price of the different album designs?
42-What does your editing process entail? cropping? red eye? light enhancing? other?
43-Do you provide retouching? color adjustments? other correctional services?
44-What is the ordering process for the prints?
45-How long after the wedding should the photos be available? the albums be available?
46-Can we get the negatives or digital images and is there a fee for that?
47-Does your studio have available a photo booth? if we ask could you get your hands on a photo booth? what would be the charge of a photo booth? could the studio provide props for guests to take pictures or would we need to find props ourselves?
48-What is the total cost of everything we ask? can you break down all costs that are included?
49-How much of a deposit is required? when is final payment due?
50-What is the refund/cancellation policy?
51-Does your studio carry liability insurance?
52-What is the pricing of your different photography packages? do you offer a payment plan?
53-Can I take a copy of the contract with me for us to review before signing? (important tip - don't ever book a photographer or any vendor for a wedding who won't provide a written contract)
54-When would the contract need to be signed by to insure coverage for our wedding date?
55-What forms of payment do you take? (credit cards, debit cards, certified checks, cash, Paypal, other)
56-Can we get 3 referrals from prior weddings that you shot photos at? (contact at least 2)

Things to look out for, do you find yourselves comfortable and a connection with this wedding photographer? Are you comfortable with their personality and is someone who should work well with your bridal party and your wedding guests. Do you like this photographer's style, the photographer has listened well and has addressed all your concerns, does the photographer able to handle our budget and takes charge in a nice way and can accommodate family and wedding guests getting their pictures in too and would we be happy with the photos we can choose without severe restrictions. Is your photographer someone you won't worry about on your wedding day?

Remember these questions are a starting point, every situation is different, make adjustments to the questions as you see fit, you might leave a space for all questions so you can put answers right on the question sheet you should make.

Make sure you use a great wedding photographer!

See you on the other side!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview Questions for your Bridal Boutique

Before embarking on an appointment to find your wedding dress at a bridal boutique, bridal shop, bridal store, or whatever, you should have an idea of your wedding date and a ballpark figure of how much you can afford for a wedding dress and accessories. You should also have an idea of your arrangement with your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Can you afford to cover everyone's wedding outfits, go 50/50, or if the wedding budget is tight ask everyone to help you out by going dutch, purchasing their own.

Also remember, everyone has their own body type and a dress that looks good on one person won't necessarily look good on another person with a different body type. As with bridesmaid dresses, often you want to look for dresses that are to a specific color scheme or wedding theme, but also to help your bridesmaids out, it would be nice if you could choose outfits for them so the dresses can be used for other special occasions such as family reunions, dinner dates, or to go out clubbing. You should target trying to find bridesmaid's outfits that can be used for other occasions than just your wedding.

Usually when you meet with a wedding coordinator at a bridal boutique, most places require you to register and most appointments take about one and a half hours. At your appointments it's a good idea to either bring along a notepad and a pen or some type of electronic diary. You should bring along one or two special people in your life to help you make a decision on what dress to choose, it may be your maid of honor, mother, sister, a good friend, or a bridesmaid. Some places and some do not allow photographs and videos of your dress trying on session. Also bring along pictures of wedding dresses that have captured your attention.

Before trying on dresses, an appointment session often includes taking size measurements to help identify what dresses would fit you best. Jot notes down on the business name and contact information of the bridal boutique, on each of your measurements, the body type of dresses recommended, the names of designers that have grabbed your attention, other pertinent information that goes with each dress such as bustle information, and what accessories would go well with each dress. Often as you are trying on dresses, you will have gathered much attention with sales people hovering around. Some dresses require a number of people to help you put on a dress and sales people often are needed to monitor that dresses are kept clean and nice and insures nobody runs off with their expensive merchandise. Some boutiques lock doors and check each person upon leaving.

Before your appointment, bring nice undies, you should be freshly bathed or body odors could end up in the nice dresses, don't wear much makeup or perfume, and absolutely don't bring any food. If you bring anything at all, bring along a bottle of water or flavored water. A wedding boutique is not a place for children as children see a bridal boutique as a good place for hide and seek and could knock down displays or get dirt on expensive items. Also wear comfortable shoes that are easy to get into and out of.

Traditional American wedding dresses are white, ivory, champagne, or egg cream, however many other cultured women that have settled in the United States will wear wedding dresses different than white, they will wear colored dresses prevalent to their native country or parent's native country.

Your questioning of your wedding coordinator should include the amount of experience they have and also you should ask about the experience of the bridal boutique's seamstress specialists. Just to note, when deciding whether to choose a bridal boutique's seamstress person to do alterations on your wedding dress or not and also deciding on buying accessories at that store or not, bridal boutiques tend to be more expensive than other businesses that offer bridal dress accessories. If budget is a concern, look for a seamstress not connected to the store and buy accessories elsewhere. If budget is not so much of a concern, use the boutique's seamstress person and shop around for accessories that you like that compliment your dress.

Really review the purchase contact when ordering your wedding dress. Make sure everything is spelled out and be sure everything agreed to is in the contract, have your companion(s) look over the contract too. The contract should include a guaranteed date of delivery of the wedding dress. The contract should specifically state the dress is brand new, not used before, shows the size, and that the dress has no stains or loose strings or you will be entitled to get 100% of your money back. You should always pay your dress by credit card, not cash or check. This protects you in the event the boutique does not meet it's commitment with what is specified, you are insured of getting reimbursed, that's important because wedding dresses are rather quite expensive.

Wedding dresses can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months to get back from the manufacturer, in a few instances it may take 8 or 9 months to get back. As for alterations appointments, you should plan for two appointments and this may take a couple of weeks to set up appointments and make alterations. Wear shoes similar to what you plan to wear at your wedding and bring along undergarments that you plan to wear under your wedding dress. You should plan either by picking up or having the wedding dress delivered with the dress freshened up, ironed and protected 3 to 4 days before the wedding.

Interview Questions for your Bridal Boutique
1-Ask for a business card or what is the name of the bridal store? what is the address? what is the phone number? the website address if there is one?
2-What is the name of the wedding dress coordinator or floor sales person you are working with? is there a store manager, what is their name? what is wedding dress coordinator's phone number? what is store manager's phone number? what is a good contact number to reach the wedding dress coordinator such as email address?
3-You should be providing the bridal boutique with your targeted wedding date and a ballpark figure for your wedding dress, a figure for accessories, and if you are planning to cover bridal party outfits, what that figure is too. You should then ask can the bridal boutique handle the date of the wedding and able to handle the budget you are looking for? (if the boutique cannot handle your limitations, look somewhere else or try to find more funding to continue)
4-What are the hours of operation of the bridal boutique? (days of the week and times)
5-How many years has the wedding boutique been in business?
6-How many years has the wedding dress coordinator been working in the business?
7-How many dresses has the wedding dress coordinator think she has sold?
8-Is there a cost associated with an appointment with the wedding coordinator? if there is, what is it? does the cost get applied against the cost of purchasing a wedding dress?
9-What happened to make the wedding dress coordinator decide to get into this business? what is their background? what is their education?
10-For my knowledge, can you tell me what type of wedding dresses go with different body types?
11-After getting measured, what type of body type do I fit?
12-Can you show me your bridal boutique's dress size chart, inform me of my sizes and explain how you apply size in finding a dress for me?
13-What designer's do you carry in your bridal boutique? what designer's in my body type?
14-Can you explain to me what fabrics are used in each dress you show to me?
15-Can you explain to me neckline, bodice, bustle and particulars about each dress?
16-Does your bridal boutique also have seamstresses? how much experience does each have?
17-How much in general would I be charged for alterations? (remember to investigate charges of outside seamstresses before entering a contract, don't be swayed by in store sales practices until you know about other options)
18-Let the bridal boutique know if you are planning a weight loss or weight gain, and ask the question what do I and the boutique need to know should I gain or lose weight?
19-Are there brochures of pictures of wedding dresses of dresses you recommend for my body type?
20-Can we talk pictures of me trying on each wedding dress?
21-Can we take videos of me trying on each wedding dress?

Questions Regarding a Particular Wedding Dress
22-What style of dress did you bring out? (usually choices are; ball bridal gown, A-line princess wedding gown, trumpet(mermaid shaped), sheath bridal dress, empire waist, or other)
23-Who is the designer of the wedding dress?
24-Who is the manufacturer and model number of the wedding dress?
25-What year did the wedding dress first come out?
26-What is the size of this wedding dress?
27-What colors are available for this wedding dress?
28-What fabrics are used for this wedding dress?
29-Does the dress need a bodice? what type?
30-Does the dress need a bustle? what type?
31-What type of veils, if any, would go with this dress?
32-What type of neckline would go with this dress?
33-What type of waist would go with this dress?
34-What type of train would go with this dress?
35-What type of sleeves would go with this dress?
36-What alterations are needed for this dress?
37-What hair accessories would go good with this dress?
38-What earrings would go good with this dress?
39-What necklaces and jewelry would go good with this dress?
40-What gloves if any would go good with this dress?
41-What dress embellishments would go good with this dress?
42-What shoes would go good with this dress?
43-Does the bridal boutique offer a purse that go with this dress?
44-How much would the wedding dress cost with all costs included? (want specifics broken down including delivery charges, etc) (insist on no surprises)
45-Does the offer discount promotions, give-aways, places to find coupons, or offer other promotions?
46-Does the bridal boutique participate in any upcoming bridal shows or expos?
47-What would be a high level estimate of alterations done for this dress?
48-How much time in advance is needed to get an alteration appointment in?
49-How much time would it take to get the wedding dress from the designer or manufacturer?
50-Are we sure the wedding dress would be ready for our wedding?
51-Can the wedding dress be ready to be picked up, freshened up, ironed, and packaged 3 or 4 days before the wedding? can the wedding dress be delivered? any costs?

Repeat the questions for each dress presented and keep notes! After reviewing the wedding dress you may want to find what other options are available for other bridal party members. Remember bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos you probably can get a better deal at a prom store, department store, or tuxedo rental shop and accessories from a fashion jewelry store. You might also find white bridesmaid shoes and get the shoes dyed to the color scheme of your wedding. A bridal boutique will tend to have better quality of accessories though, your decisions should be based on your budget constraints.

Questions After Selecting the Wedding Dress
52-After providing your color scheme and/or wedding theme and maybe showing pictures of bridesmaids pictures that have caught your attention, what bridesmaids outfits does your bridal boutique sell?
53-What accessories that goes along with the bridesmaid dresses does the bridal boutique sell?
54-Does the bridal boutique offer alterations for bridesmaid dresses?
55-Does the bridal boutique sell matching shoes that go with the bridesmaids dresses?
56-Does the bridal boutique sell matching purses that go with the bridesmaid dresses?
57-What would the approximate costs be for specific bridesmaid dresses for the amount of bridesmaid dresses needed?
58-Does the bridal boutique offer tuxedo rental for the groom and groomsmen?
59-What accessories would be needed to go along with the tuxedos? (cuff linked shirts, suspenders, pocket squares, cuff links, etc.)
60-What would the tuxedo rental costs for the groom and amount groomsmen needed and all the accessories that belong with the tuxedo rentals?
61-Does the bridal boutique sell mother of the bride dresses? offer any accessories? what are the costs?
62-Does the bridal boutique offer flower girl dresses? offer any accessories? what are the costs?
63-Does the bridal boutique offer ring bearer tuxedos? offer any accessories? what are the costs?
64-Does the bridal boutique offer anything we might be interested in for the wedding such as flower girl baskets, ring bearer pillows, sign in guests books, or anything other? what are the costs?
65-Can we see a sample contract? can we take a contract with us home to review before signing?
66-Can we be sure that everything is written in the contract with no surprises, contract includes guaranteed delivery date is written in the contract, all dresses are brand new, not used before, all outfits have no stains or loose strings or we will be entitled to get 100% of our monies back?
67-What deposit is needed and when are subsequent payments due?
68-When would the dress have to be contracted for in order to meet the date of our wedding?
69-Have we covered everything that needs be talked about concerning the bridal boutique?
70-Are there any brides that have purchased dresses from your boutique we can talk to?
71-Is there a cancellation policy? is there an insurance policy should the dress be damaged by fire? water? catastrophe event? being stolen? refund 100%?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a Wedding Dress
72-Am I comfortable with the sales person or are they a little too pushy?
73-Does the sales person seem very knowledgeable when describing each of the dresses?
74-Does the wedding dress fall within my budget?
75-Do I feel pretty in the wedding dress?
76-Does the wedding dress accentuate my best features?
77-Do I feel comfortable in the wedding dress?
78-Does the wedding dress fit my personality or style?
79-Do my family and friends approve of the dress? (get their honest opinion)
80-Will I love my wedding day pictures, 30 years later?
81-Have I reviewed the contract thoroughly and understood everything in the contract? (have a second pair of eyes review the contract with you)

The experts state it is a good idea to have a 24 hour rule, think over your purchase and talk it over with the family before signing the contract for the wedding dress. Do you still love the dress as much the second day as the first? have you checked out other boutiques? you may find later, you like another dress better somewhere else. Some brides are not comfortable with all the attention when trying on wedding dresses, you are not use to all the attention, life does not have many special moments such as a moment when buying a wedding dress, enjoy the moment. Also, after your wedding fitting, try to maintain your weight, but if there is a change it is much easier to take a dress in than to let it out, the material used for dresses sometimes are delicate and if they are stretched they could rep. Some dresses may need maid of honor's or bridesmaid's help to get into and out of and may need materials buttoned, snapped or pinned.

Some other points, good deals of wedding dresses can be had buying dresses over the internet, but the down side is you don't get to get a close inspection of a dress and the dress can be off in size and have imperfections such as stains. It is better to buy a dress at a boutique and get the dress looking perfect. Only use the internet if you have to live with a very strict budget. Remember, not to invite too many bridesmaids or friends to your wedding dress appointment or you may find even nice girls offering differences of opinions resulting in a conflict. Only invite 1 or 2 and have bridesmaids appointments on a separate occasion.

Don't forget pictures and videos if they are allowed! Enjoy your special time!

See you on the other side!