It's that time of year again – love is in the air! Though many people regard Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark Holiday," or one only celebrated so that major corporations can make money, it maintains its romanticism for most of us. Even if you don't do gifts, who doesn't love an excuse to have a "just-the-two-of-us" night with their sweethearts?For a lot of couples, though, it's a lot more than just flowers and candy. According to a survey, some 4 million Americans expect to be proposed to on February 14th. There's nothing wrong with popping the question on the most romantic night of the year – you just have to make sure you do it properly! Here are some things you should know.Have the Conversation PriorIt sounds like common sense, but plenty of boyfriends out there have done it: never propose without having had the marriage conversation before. Though where and how you do it should be a surprise, the fact that you're planning on eventually marrying this person shouldn't.Book Reservations Long, Long in AdvanceA lot of people can't have a romantic evening without a meal, but a survey from last year showed that 44% of couples are planning on going out to dinner that night, and 53% said they make reservations more than a week in advance. If you wait too long, you're going to have a hard time getting a reservation – especially because it falls on a Friday in 2014. Don't miss the boat!Pop the Question in PrivateConsidering so many people are expecting to be proposed to on Valentine's Day, it's safe to assume that it's a romantic gesture. That being said, 69% of survey respondents said it's cheesy to get down on one knee in a restaurant full of people. Our advice: go out to dinner and have a nice night together, but wait until you're home or somewhere private (or with friends and family) to actually do the asking. Plenty of other people are celebrating the romantic holiday in the restaurant on that night; your proposal likely won't go as planned if you do it at dinner.Don’t Overspend on a RingIt's important to research a retailer before making a ring purchase, especially around Valentine's Day. According to the Better Business Bureau, some people complained that their rings weren't delivered on time for Valentine's Day, that they got scammed by "too good to be true" V-Day sales, or that the company jacked up the price closer to the holiday.Every year, people sell their pre-owned (but often never used), gemologist-certified jewelry on Have You Seen the Ring. Because of our process for selling an engagement ring, you're always getting a legitimate diamond ring for a fraction of the cost of a jewelry retailer (see the process outlined in our free eBook). That's one option you can use to avoid scams and get amazing jewelry at a fraction of the cost of buying from a jeweler.
By Victoria Bauer, Owner of A Bride’s Ally
Your vendors are the glue that will hold your wedding day together. They are the experts who take the vision in your head and make it a reality. And, while they may be working for you, it’s in your best interest to keep them happy. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.
Here are some tips for working with you vendors:Do your research and sign contracts. Before hiring any vendor, it’s important to do your homework. I'm a big fan of going with vendors recommended by friends/family or other vendors you’ve already hired and trust. If you’re looking at someone who hasn’t come by personal recommendation, take the time to look up reviews on their work. The best places to find reviews are The Knot and WeddingWire. However, remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. If a vendor has 2-3 bad reviews, but 15-20 positive reviews, odds are other factors were in play. Once you pick a vendor, it’s crucial to have some form of written contract or order form from them, especially if they require a deposit up front.Keep up your end of the contract. You expect your vendors to provide services as promised without exception, and you should do the same. Create your own binder, calendar, or spreadsheet that shows how much money you owe each vendor and when your payments are due. Also, be sure to list any information they ask for and when they need it by. If your DJ says your song list is due 30 days before your wedding, don’t email it to him 3 days before and then get annoyed because he couldn’t get all of your songs. Contracts aren’t just about what your vendors are supposed to do for you, they’re also about what you’re supposed to do for them so they can provide you with the best possible service.If you’re not happy, say so! Vendors are not mind readers. They are also human. If you are unhappy with any aspect of service a vendor is providing, it’s important to speak up and say so. As a vendor, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a bride tell me everything is great, just to go online later and read that they were unsatisfied with some aspect of my service. Don’t get an attitude, don’t be rude, but do be tactfully honest when the service provided is not what you expected. Give them the opportunity to make it right. Getting a partial refund or some other kind of compensation after the fact is not nearly as satisfying as having the vendor fix the issue before it becomes an unhappy memory forever linked with your special day.Feed them and review them! One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “What are the little things brides always forget about?” Number one on that list is feeding their vendors. Any vendor who is present during the reception should be fed (DJ/band, photographer, videographer, photo booth attendant, wedding planner, etc). Many vendors request in their contract that you provide a meal for them, but many brides still forget. Most caterers offer a vendor meal option or a discounted regular meal option that doesn’t include the bar fee (if you see one of your vendors knocking 'em back at the bar, you have bigger problem). Also make sure you have a place for them to sit when they eat their meal!
After it’s all said and done, it’s also important to review your vendors online, especially if you had a really good experience. Most are quick to review if they had bad experience, but it seems getting someone to write about a good experience is like pulling teeth! Ask your vendors if they have any online profiles where you can write reviews. Not only will you be helping them, but you’ll also be helping future brides looking for good vendors, just like you were at the beginning of this article!Victoria BauerOwner/ConsultantA Bride's Ally314-560-4138
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