Last Friday, our friend Marcy Blum participated in one of Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” (or “AMA”) sessions, an open Q&A forum where a Reddit user can offer to answer other users’ questions about, well, anything! This conversation focused on Blum’s vast experience as a wedding and event planner, and since she’s busier than many of us can imagine planning A-list events, this was a rare chance to hear from one of the industry’s most sought-after tastemakers. Users’ questions spanned a variety of topics, from food trends to celebrity splurges, and Blum provided honest, thoughtful and helpful answers. If you didn’t get a chance to tune in, below are some of our favorite highlights.
Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen at a wedding or party?
A: A long time ago, a very drunken groom punched me when I told him it was time to cut the cake.
Q: What do you think is the most important element of a wedding?
A: Food, music, fun [and] great guests.
Q: What is the most expensive wedding you’ve ever planned?
A: Let’s just say several million dollars—and worth every penny, of course.
Q: Are the celebrities, or well-known people, extra picky about details because they’re spending so much? Do you think couples on a budget can still have a great affair?
A: People on a lower budget (by the way EVERYONE has a budget of some sort) can absolutely have a wonderful wedding—the smart way to go about it is to have a smaller guest list if at possible and focus on the facets that will resonate with your guests—cut out all the nonsense items.
Q: What is the one thing a party needs that people usually forget?
A: So many things: inspired seating, enough bartenders, tons of coat check attendants, happy hosts. What is “inspired” seating? It means that the host sits with each person’s name and each table and decides what would make the most interesting group of people. Who would want to meet whom? Where should the various groups be placed in the larger room itself? It’s alchemy as opposed to algorithm.
Q: What’s the toughest wedding people to deal with? Caterers, florists, valets, musicians?
A: Nobody, when I get a hold of them. 🙂 Basically anyone who hasn’t received enough information, so we try our very best to make sure the entire team is on the same page.
Q: How do I tell friends and family that we’re having a smaller wedding and guest list, and they aren’t invited to our wedding?
A: You have to be very careful where you draw the line so that people aren’t upset, but if it’s clear, people are usually understanding. What I mean is, you shouldn’t invite two first cousins and not the third if you don’t want to make someone angry or hurt
Q: If you could recommend one item with a value exceeding its cost, what would it be? Wine? Music? Food?
A: Music! Hands down a great band or DJ can make an otherwise lackluster party be a rave!
Q: What are your thoughts on plated versus a buffet?
A: I like buffet stations because they give the guests the most interesting and varied food options. I don’t like standard buffets because there are inevitably lines. Don’t choose a buffet because you think it’s cheaper, that’s not necessarily the case.
Q: How do you feel on the cupcakes versus cake versus multiple small wedding cakes trend?
A: For my clients cupcakes have sort of jumped the shark as a wedding cake, but I’m a sucker for a big dessert buffet and guests always go gaga over one.
Q: What are you looking forward to in event planning in the next three years? What exciting changes are happening in the business that are inspiring you?
A: Clearly there are tech innovations happening that will enable us to do some outrageous things at less outrageous costs—innovations in lighting and video technology, for example. Also, I’m truly excited that people have started caring about the food they serve, as well as allowing us to create more and more entertaining and unusual scenarios.
Q: What are your thoughts on favors at weddings? And what is the best tip you can offer to brides currently in the midst of the planning process?
A: I like either really clever favors, e.g. a celebrity couple gave car air fresheners with their photo and signature, or favors you can eat, either when you leave the party and are a bit tipsy or for breakfast the next morning. One of my most well-received favors was a bloody mary mix paired with coffee cake for the morning. My best tip is—and I know it’s become such a cliche, but I mean it—stay nice and be kind and don’t think you get what you want by being nasty to your vendors, your family or your friends. People remember long after the wedding. There is no pass because you’re a bride.