A great read by Gail Kearns and Penny Paine from To Press & Beyond – a full-service book shepherding company that specializes in children’s and juvenile titles. They were invited by 30 Day books blog to give some actionable tips on how to market a children’s book. I think you’ll love these 6 powerful ways to spread the word about your kid lit.
I remember when having dinner at the local cheap and cheerful coffee shop my mother complained to me that her grandchildren were not very well behaved. Going out for dinner was a little challenging but I was a working mother and a meal out was a treat and babysitters were hard to come by. After all how would they learn to behave in such settings if I didn’t take them to any restaurants. I would go outside with a screaming child or beg crackers and extra milk cartons from the wait staff. I did have some control (I think) they were quite cute and charming and they would usually rise to the occasion and not let me down.
Certainly having your cute and charming young children with you at a wedding can pose the same problems. Waiting around being quiet and staying still are all skills that children don’t have. Parents need to consider their resources when they attempt such outings. Possibly the wedding planners have some activities or a child care area established but this is not always in their budget or even thought about.
Here are some helpful hints:
1. Have some activities that they can do that are quiet and clean and easy to keep in your handbag such as coloring, transformers, stickers, etc.
2. Ask if you can take along your teenaged babysitter, they have the energy to run around in the garden area or in the corner. The expense is yours and you do have a better time but the bride and groom do have to agree to an extra guest.
3. Take along some child friendly snacks that your child likes. Remember hungry children will misbehave more.
4. Take a few time outs with a book or a toy.
5. Smart phones and tablets allow a child to happily watch a favorite video/application, etc.
Lastly if you can all make it through the ceremony and formalities your children will probably love the music and dancing stage. This is when they come into their own and can let off steam safely with shoes off, sliding on the dance floor, entertaining everyone and dancing with the grown ups who are, of course, much more relaxed! Perhaps you have your own memories of family wedding events, the excitement of being with cousins and friends all full of energy and sugar, leaving precious memories of fun and festivity.
This week I was able to interview another wonderful wedding resource Kerry Lee Dickey, who is a long time professional wedding planner in Santa Barbara County, specializing in Wine Country Weddings. Kerry tells me that a few years ago she was one of a small handful of consultants in the area but now there are over twenty. Her observations both socially and economically reflect some of the changes that have taken place in the business over the past couple of years.
I asked Kerry in what way brides and grooms have adjusted to the economic times. She explained that weddings are still happening but brides trim their guest lists and they do a lot more DIY projects for the wedding rather than hiring professionals or purchasing items.
I also asked what most “exciting additions” she had noted lately. She tells me there is a relaxing “down” of all the pomp and circumstance. Keeping it rustic and simple, and this is not only economical, it is “in”. People are offering fewer favors and are more socially aware with donations to charities. It is actually not “pc” to have an over the top wedding in today’s economy and with so many people struggling.
Kerry works in some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. I asked her to describe the most magical part of wine country weddings.
She says it is nature’s backdrop with gorgeous lighting. It is a setting that does not have to be constructed. It is already there. Minimal decor is needed.
Of course I asked about flower girls! Did the brides she works with have flower girls? Kerry assured me that they did, 99% of the time, and even if there is no ring bearer, there is almost always a flower girl.
I am always looking for good reasons to reassure brides about children. I asked Kerry for her take as well. While she doesn’t recommend flower girls under the age of four, when brides do insist that an 18 month old – 3 year old walk down the aisle, Kerry always reminds the bride and the families that the little girl may or may not walk and we won’t know until the actual moment. Kerry says they get a plan in place – she (the flower girl) either walks down with her mom or the Maid of Honor can accompany her or an older flower girl. Some of the best memories are often when the little ones (toddlers) have their own agenda and it is very engaging what they do on the way down the aisle. (I always love the little ones who pick up the petals because they are taught to be tidy!)
I did ask Kerry, in her opinion, what was “the perfect style”. Her answer fits in well with my memories of cold evenings, no drinks, limited rest rooms, and too loud music. She recommends a style that is relaxed, but well thought out, taking the guests’ comfort and fun into mind. Special lovely touches but nothing over the top. Take the expense that you would put into over the top things and invest in comforts for your guests: extra heaters, maybe “favors” that they can take home or use the night of the wedding – pashminas to keep them warm, engraved glasses to use the night of the wedding and take home, etc.
That music comment it one we hear so often…Kerry said that the music that works best for the mainstream wedding event is to have instrumental for the ceremony – no vocals just classical guitar or classical music. Cocktail music should be upbeat in energy and most couples choose jazz/big band for cocktail hour. Dinner should be instrumental, easy going and relaxing background music. Dancing music should make the majority of guests want to get up and dance. While country is fantastic and may be a favorite of bride and groom, having a reception dedicated to 100% country music may not encourage all guests to get up and dance all night and leave the event feeling a bit flat so I recommend a variety of dance-able music for the reception.
Kerry reiterated that the most important part of a wedding to get right and spend the most on is the guests because these are the faces you will see forever in your photos and they make the day! So ensuring their comfort and good time means you will have the same. This usually boils down to a site that is event-friendly and supports large guest counts, restrooms, valet (if necessary) for comfort of guests, places for them to relax and lounge (rentals), heat lamps (rentals) and a timeline that allows for a great time, maximizes the day, all the vendors- and the guests’ comfort as well.
Lastly of course why is Kerry’s role so important? Well as if we didn’t know… it that wonderful credential experience! Kerry’s over 500 weddings and many years on the job means she will know what to look for to help prevent crises before they happen. This and a deep love of family and wanting to make each wedding day a great day for the couple and their families and guests.
Then I asked Kerry for her words of wisdom? Brides are always very anxious, they want this day (remember you have to get it right there is no rerun!) to be the best. I really encourage them not to over-think things because the brides who have over-thought everything and micromanage every detail obsessively and change things 100 times (things by the way that no one will notice but them – truly) not only ends up taking away from their sleep and valuable time on other priorities, but in the end, the details they obsessed about will not even show and no one ever notices. Worst of all, it can actually sabotage an event. Trust your professional event supplier team and what they have to share with you. You can’t go wrong.
Thanks so much Kerry…and if a Wine Country Wedding is in your future you won’t go wrong if you give Kerry a call!
Paper posie Knows That the Neat and Cool Things About Being a Flower Girl or Ring Bearer Can Also Be Scarey
As an author /designer and wedding industry supporter, I am sharing some of my guest interviews. Alexa Allen: Paper Posie’s very own CEO based in Boulder, a health conscious city and quite lovely when Spring arrives with glorious iris, peonies, poppies and hydrangeas to mention just a few flowers. Alexa spends a lot of time with other young moms and business women and is involved with baby “green” products. Alexa has designed and built an environmentally friendly line of furniture for children. When asked about the wedding markets she tells me that brides still leave things to the last minute and she gets overnight requests for product. Well we know children are often an after thought…after all the day is about the bride and groom, but better an after thought than not at all! Brides are definitely being more frugal and watching their expenses and they are much more interested in DIY.
Bonnie Yu, another colleague working in the fashion industry in product development is the bachelorette party expert of the moment! I asked her what brides were the most worried about regarding their upcoming big day? Bonnie says that the dress is first and foremost concern. Every bride wants to look their most beautiful on the big day she says and the dress has to be perfect. Second is probably weather because in so many places it can make or break the day! When asked what she really enjoyed at the recent bachelorette parties and weekends she said that a really well planned itinerary and good restaurant choices with interesting and good food made a big difference. If the group goes to a club, having bottle-service and VIP area is best. Bonnie has traveled to several destination weddings abroad. She said they offer a big perk for guests in giving them an excuse to make it a vacation and the destination can be and often is very romantic. For the guests especially the party doesn’t have to end after only a few hours, you get to hang out with your friends for an extended period of time Of course I am always interested in thoughts and comments about kids at weddings! Bonnie says she has no problem with involving children as long as the parents understand that the party can and probably will get noisy and involve drinking and dancing after all it is first and foremost a grown up event. Parents need to be prepared and not to have any unrealistic expectations or disappointments. Because Bonnie works in the fashion world I asked her what she thinks is becoming trendy. She says maybe sheer and short wedding dresses, lots of layers, open back, deep V’s, red carpet inspired wedding gowns, feathers and other designer inspired ornate trims and embellishments, bird-cage veils, vintage lace…ooohh…sounds wonderful… As far as décor Bonnie has noted that we are into soft, feminine, blush toned blooms, earth tones, and flower substitutes (ie succulents, herbs, branches, twigs)… and themed weddings. More soon…I am off to London for a couple of months. I always take some kids at weddings products with me just in case! Cheers.
I heard another “can you believe it” wedding story the other day.
A good friend shared that she was thrilled to be invited to a destination wedding in Italy. One of those once in a lifetime events for the guests as well as the happy couple and this was a no expense spared celebration.
Of course with this level of exquisiteness and planning the wedding invite did state no children but (remember some guests don’t read or don’t think it applies to them) a couple showed up with a baby. The baby was young and I know for many brides, especially those who have not had children, it is very hard to understand why this happens. Like why can’t they leave baby behind with a baby sitter? All I can say is yes but…and sometimes it is hard if not impossible to do.
In this case the baby was young and it was fussy, and my friend who is an understanding grandma, said that the frustration for her was not that the baby was fussy but that the new mother did not have the courtesy or sense to go out and move away from earshot. So the advice is that perhaps in this type of situation a little reminder for the mother and father should one show up plus child…a little permission as if you like might prevent the possible interruption. Remember the English officiant I mentioned in an earlier blog, the one that reminded everyone present that if needs be “Feel free to leave and take the child or children and feel free to come back if they are calmed down.”
For brides I might also suggest that they welcome a helper as a guest in the case of a very new mother, a nervous mother or perhaps one that has a child that cannot be left with someone? A helper or a parent. If this guest is or guests are special person (s) in your life this albeit generous offer and expense might be more than ok. I do know that some brides set up childcare with qualified sitters and this is great idea but consider this would the baby understand Italian and perhaps it has never actually been away from the parents, and so on. I was not a wealthy mom by any means but I did pay my teenage babysitters to come to events with me with permission from the event host first, of course. They were there to help me and to remove my child, watch and play with my child if needs be while I was participating and it was important that they be close by. I also did this because I think that children do need to learn how to be in company and to participate.
So once again, you heard it here, many children attend weddings…Paper Posie has quality products and books that help keep them occupied and creatively take the educational moment ! Check out the website www.kidsatweddings.combe prepared and have a happy wedding.
Ok, yes, we all heard the statistics released this week, more than 50% of US women ages 18-45 are not married. The highest ever…we are catching up Europe where weddings and the institution of marriage have been out of fashion for some time.
My UK attorney, likes to refer to the father of her grandchildren, her daughters partner, as her son out-of-law.
Today’s new wave of fewer weddings in the US has some obvious indicators like duh,we are in a recession. No doubt the birth rate will drop too…why in the last recession my husband was working in rehabilitation and he pointed out that people even had fewer strokes! For couples the housing crisis, high unemployment and the actual cost of a wedding is giving rise to delays. Yes, the flood of weddings we have seen in the last ten years was fueled by lines of credit and credit cards. So yes the numbers are down and anyone in this business will concur.
Kids at weddings were a “niche within a niche” and a small but worthwhile population for Paper Posie’s books and activity kits. And now they may have fallen off any brave bride and groom’s radar screen…or have they? Well I have pointed out before that when families gather they invariably have children with them…smaller family style weddings are children friendly so I am hoping that brides and grooms, the wedding party and even wedding coordinators do find our products. How charming so many say when they see the ways that children can be involved, happily and as quietly as possible!
I went to visit Miss Kitty today, the Santa Barbara bride’s best friend. I say this because she will help brides and attendants look more shapely than they ever thought possible. Her Santa Barbara store Purrmission sells the very finest lingerie, and has just what is needed to tuck and lift both body and spirits. When it comes to fitting Miss Kitty is very skilled at getting it right or should I say “them” right and let’s face it whether you are the bride or the bride’s grandmother who couldn’t use a bit of reshaping!
“Brides,” Miss Kitty shared, raising her eyebrows, “tend to balk at spending money on foundation garments. They just don’t think they need it especially after they have blown the budget on the wedding dress. But it is the little details that are important.” We chatted about the best and the worst brides, attendants and those poor left out grooms and that the day really isn’t only about the bride? Or is it? Well, of course, it is a pretty special day, but I do agree that the little details are so very important for the bride and for everyone else at the wedding.
Many of the brides that I have talked to over the years have said things like, “If I could do it again I would have much better entertainment.” or “I should have hired a really experienced photographer!” or “I wish I had included a tradition that reflected my own heritage.” And so on. It is hard for brides to get their heads around what is needed because appearance dominates, it has to be top on the list because all eyes are on the bride.
“Brides are not able to think very well about all the other things that are happening on that day, and that everyone, not just themselves, needs to feel valued and have a good time” Miss Kitty explained. I had given Purmission some of the Paper Posie products in case she could interest local brides in the very cute wedding activity kits or coloring books. “They just don’t see why they should be getting a book for the flower girl or activity kits for little wedding guests!” She said, “And I tried!” We laughed and sighed because we have heard it all before whether it is the bra, the kids or the parking valets…they are not, and I repeat, not on the bride’s radar screen!
But we both have great services and products and hopefully the stores that sell the dresses to the brides and the moms, friends and consultants who help out with all the planning will remind them, the brides, that it is what is underneath that is important, and that children can run a muck if not catered to just a little bit! It is the little things for the wedding, that make a big, happily ever after, difference. That way Miss Kitty and the Purrmission staff and all of us at Paper Posie, will be able to do what we do best and then we guarantee that everything about the big day will be just fabulous!
Yes, kids do go to weddings and by my calculations there might be as many as ten million children each year who participate in or attend a wedding. I know that there are brides and grooms who choose the “no kids” wedding route and for many couples this is both desirable and appropriate after all weddings are long affairs and children are quickly bored, they have too much energy and tend to make a mess. Mine certainly did. Yet today, little flower girls, ring bearers, page boys and butterfly girls are as popular as ever. Some children even come with the bride or groom, children of previous relationships they are part of the wedding party. Sometimes the couple has been living together and they have already produced a family. Many guests who are parents work all week and the weekends are the only time when children and parents are together. Lots of children are included as guests and family members. One bride called me the other day because she had thirty five children attending her wedding…” That sounds like a classroom to me” I said.
Weddings are happy events. Think back to the time you attended a wedding, most of us did at sometime or another. Cooing aunts and funny uncles, cool cousins that you didn’t know you had, family friends, and so on. I believe that children gain a key family experience at a wedding. Children of all ages quickly sense the connections, the likenesses, the belonging, security and love that families provide. Children are the reason we have marriage and although created in a different time societies worldwide still recognize the importance of the institution of marriage, established to protect the family and support healthy communities. Children at weddings observe a ritual that they will most likely replicate themselves and being a teacher I saw the possibility for the teachable moment so I designed the products and wrote the books. Goodness this all sounds so academic not at all romantic and glamorous!
Well today’s weddings are very glamorous, romantic, meaningful…and the hope is there in those little faces… cute ring bearers and flower girls. They add a special dimension to the day. While it is very hard to be still and quiet the effort is worth it and I am sure most little attendants and guests will agree with me. They get lots of pats on the head, hugs and kisses, gifts, new clothes and treats. They are fussed over, praised and talked about and eventually when the adults are all happy and relaxed they get to run around, slide on the floor and dance the night away! Well that is until they crash and fall asleep. But as we all know those same cute kids can also get overtired and cranky, they can make too much noise, hang on the drapes, upset the caterer, annoy their parents and other guests and generally become a complete nuisance and spoil the day.
Be prepared…that is my motto and an inexpensive wedding coloring book or some stickers might quickly calm things down. Getting temporary wedding tattoos to stick can divert the attention of most children, and they will work with spit or champagne! Perhaps making up a wedding fortune teller will entertain them for a while connect their little brains and fingers, and then give children an opportunity to interact with adults and each other in a more positive way. The scavenger hunt encourages conversation and observation and as an added extra, enterprising youngsters (there are plenty of those) soon find they can collect some serious pocket money with this game! Before the big day sharing information about what an attendant has to do and what a wedding is about in childlike terms helps take the worry away…and of course a cuddly teddy or two will help. There are more ways to address this event but suffice to say resources that relate to the day work…I know. So while the kids are not the first item on the list of things to do and consider for a wedding, I certainly think they are worthy of a little thought and preparation for if they are attending then “happy kids equals a happy wedding day for everyone” will apply.