6 tips to hold off wedding day disasters

Good questions on weddings – how do you prevent wedding day disasters? While we can’t control the future, we can certainly put some things in place to mitigate. Here are some thoughts.

  1. Don’t create an unnecessary emergency!
    “I know we have a lot of brides who wear a size or two smaller because [they think] I’m going to lose weight,” says Megan Nolde, lead wedding consultant for OurWeddingDay.com. “Don’t do that! It’s cheaper to try to take it in than to take it out.”
  2. Take time when choosing the right vendors.
    “When an emergency happens (I’m not thinking 911 here) – don’t panic,” says Amy Child Marella, owner of the Hidden Garden in Los Angeles and the contributing floral/wedding expert for Inside Weddings and Better TV. “As long as you have hired competent vendors they will handle the problem and 9 times out of 10 the bride/groom won’t even know that something happened (if you have the right vendors).”
  3. Mention your top priorities to the wedding planner.
    “I had a wedding where the cake was the most important thing,” says Samantha Goldberg, Wedding Event Designer based in NY-NJ and a regular featured host/planner on the Style Network’s “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway” and “Married Away”. “The maid of honor called me and said the cake is falling apart. But we made it work.” Let the planner know which areas of the wedding are most important to you for your big day so they can be sure to pay extra attention to make sure things run smoothly.
  4. Have extra people to help.
    “On your wedding day if you ask for someone for help it really helps you because you don’t want to worry about getting cards in alphabetical order this way you can really relax and enjoy the day,” says Nolde.
  5. Try to keep the bride calm.
    “The bride is already stressed,” says Nolde. “If something does go wrong, try to converse in a different room. Stay calm. If you make it a big deal, she’s gonna get panicky. Help out wherever you can. Chances are it’s not a big deal and can be solved.”

  6. Try to keep the bride calm.Wedding Day Emergency Kit
    Designed to meet the needs for every emergency, the wedding day emergency kit is great to have on hand…just in case! Here’s a list of what to choose from so you can make one for the bride here.
  7. There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding.
    “Perfect is a perception. What’s my perfect might not be your perfect,” says Goldberg. “Remember it’s just ONE day. Don’t worry about it going wrong – if the day goes wrong, it’s not a sign for a destroyed marriage.”

– Susan

Cruising for Christmas

One of our staff is going on a cruise over Christmas.  She’ll be in warm weather, we’ll be here in Minnesota.  The good news is it hasn’t snowed here (Minnesota had two servings of winter last year, so it looks as if we may be evening out for the 2011-2012 season).

The better news is that our team member is checking out this list of special things to pack on a cruise.

Special Items

  1. Big items
    If you’re bringing bigger items (golf clubs, scuba gear, strollers), check with the cruise line to see if these items are available to rent. It might save you some extra room and travel expenses.
  2. Extra cash
    Bring plenty of cash for your end-of-cruise tips. Some cruise lines will add suggested gratuities to your onboard account which you will take care of at the end of the cruise. Check with your cruise line’s policies so that you know when and what will be charged.
  3. Be sure to pack a good watch.
    You’ll need to watch the time on your shore excursions in order to make it back to the ship on time.
  4. Small day bag.
    Also, consider packing a small day bag to use just for your shore excursions to carry your money, ids, camera and any other essentials.
  5. Pack a carry-on bag just for the boat
  6. When you check in to the ship, your bags will go through security and might not be brought to your room until a few hours later. Pack all important items that you might need in your carry-on (meds, special needs, swimsuits, other entertainment items).
    • Do NOT put valuables in bags you are checking (electronics, jewelry, camera, money, credit cards, etc.). Put them in your carry-on if you can.
    • Bring all medications in your carry-on. They should be in their original labeled container. Bring prescription copies as well as a list of the generic names.
  7. Be sure to leave room in your luggage for souvenirs, clothes, gifts, etc.

Have fun if you’re cruising this holiday season!

Snow in the Southwest

Here in Minnesota, we drive on ice and snow most winters (OK, not this one, a reprieve after last year’s mammoth storms). We were reading through the weather report (yes, that’s what we do) and have some tips for the Southwest pulled from a larger article on driving in snow.

  1. If you must drive, clear off your windshield, windows, mirrors, headlights and brake lights (no one can see covered snow or ice covered brake lights).
  2. Make sure your wipers and headlights are turned on.
  3. Be patient – don’t rush! Remember, everyone else will be running late, too!
  4. Drive for the conditions. Go well below the speed limit – ice, snow, traffic and poor visibility will require longer following and stopping distances (allow at least 8 to 10 seconds for stopping).
  5. If you do come across a snow plow or sand truck, don’t panic, drive slowly and give them the right of way.
    • Drive slow, leave plenty of room for stopping distance (at least 150 ft.) and pay attention to the snow plow and what it is doing.
    • Snow plows and sand trucks may stop, back up or turn around suddenly
  6. Stay in the inside lane (the one furthest away from the curb) on multi-lane roads. Single lane road? Drive closer to the middle of the road. Why? Snow tends to drift and pile up on to the sides of the road.
  7. Drive in tire tracks that have already been established.
  8. Don’t changes lanes unless it’s necessary – you could catch a wheel in the heavy snow or an ice patch and lose control.
  9. Watch out for black ice. Black ice is common under bridges and overpasses. It’s called black ice because it’s dark and hard to see.
  10. If you need to make an emergency stop, don’t pump the brakes if your car has an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS). When you release the brake, your car’s brake system will turn off and on.
  11. If you are stranded or stuck in a snowbank, do the following:
    • Using the shovel in your winter car emergency kit, clear away the snow from around the tires, under the car and near the exhaust.
    • If you have sand in your car, scatter it around the front tires (for front-wheel drive cars) or around the rear-tires (for rear-wheel drive cars).
    • Put the car in a low gear and go SLOW – do not spin the tires! This could ruin your clutch or transmission and create ice under your tires.
    • If the situation allows (and it’s safe), try to slowly “rock” the car back and forth to build a small amount of momentum.
    • Call roadside assistance if you are unable to free the car.

Good luck during this holiday travel week!!

– Susan

3 Quick Tips for Traveling with Pets

Lots of people bring their pets on vacations.  There’s a lot to remember, but here are three of our favorite tips from over the years:

I like to take out and measure each meal of food for the dog and put each meal in a small, resealable plastic bag. I know if I just grab one of those bags it’s the right amount of food and I don’t have to bring a measuring cup.
– Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President of National Programs and Science Advisor and owner of a dog, two cats and some fish.

A change in the water might cause diarrhea and intestinal distress for the pet. If you’re going to a different area, use bottled water. Also, your vet may be able to prescribe an anti-diarrheal medication or suggest a brand of canned food for your pet to prevent loose stools.
– Lisa Peterson, AKC Director of Club Communications and owner, breeder and handler of Norwegian Elkhounds

And this one is just plain smart:

Phone Number
Have a little tag made that has your cell phone number on it (many pet stores have machines that do this) – stick that on your dog’s collar when you’re traveling. If your dog gets away, they’ll call you at home but you won’t be there!
- Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President of National Programs and Science Advsor and owner of a dog, two cats and some fish

More tips here.

Vacation? Check These 6 Things

Go through this list and make sure you’ve got the names, numbers, dates, emails, and documents you need for  vacation.

  1. Hotel: Reconfirmed – Online confirmation printed or saved in phone – In person reservation? Get the name of the person you spoke with and the date – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
  2. Airplane: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Confirmation number(s) – E-Ticket Printed or in Phone
  3. Car Rental: Reconfirmed – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed or in Phone
  4. Train: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Confirmation number(s) – E-Ticket Printed or in Phone
  5. Driving to your vacation destination? Call ahead and reconfirm: Your Arrival – Date/Time of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirming (and printing) route you’re planning to take
  6. Re-evaluate itinerary. Make any necessary changes. Leave a final copy with a friend, family member or trusted neighbor.

WHN TIP – At the Office: Leave your itinerary with a co-worker. Why? Often the first sign that something may be wrong is when someone doesn’t show up at work when they are due back.

Blizzard Coming? 2 Things to Remember

When a blizzard or winter storm warning is in the forecast, it’s a good thing to know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children’s school or child care center, as well as other places where your family spends time (i.e. church, gym, rec center).

If you need to go get a child, friend or family member, be sure your car emergency kit is ready. Include water, first aid, and a way to signal need for help, flashlight & batteries, warm blankets, a shovel, and a battery-operated radio.

More here.

‘Kids and Cars’ Safety Tips

With the kids back in school, you’re probably driving a car load of kids to soccer practice, ballet classes, baseball games and more.

Here are some kids and casr safety tips to share with all of the kids you’re taking around town.

  1. Never start the car until EVERYONE, including yourself, are buckled up.
  2. Remind children not to distract the driver while the vehicle is in motion.
  3. “Everyone must buckle up, no matter how short the trip,” says Jennifer Huebner from the AAA’s Traffic Safety Programs. Setting a consistent message each and every time reinforces the safety habit.
  4. “Everyone should have their own seat belt,” says Amanda Giruzzi, a representative of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Children should also be reminded to never sit in the car unless there is a seat belt for them. If there are only three seat belts in the back seat then only three kids should sit back there.”
  5. “Even if they’re riding in someone else’s car, they need to buckle up,” says Huebner. If kids feel like they are in an unsafe vehicle, like being asked to ride in the bed of a pickup, or if the driver seems unfit to drive, “your child should never get into a vehicle if they feel unsafe.”

Here are more tips on kids and car safety.

Demi-Ashton Divorce?

We’re reading about another possible celebrity divorce…Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

If you’re thinking about divorce, we have advice from readers who have been through it. This is Divorce/Admin 101 – the administrative things you should be thinking about if you’re heading down this path.

For instance – one of our readers said:

“I took a two full weekend afternoons to pull together my system. I gathered up all my financial records, home inventory papers, budgets and monthly financial statements, and went to my office and sat in a conference room. I spread everything out to become familiar with each element.”

Here are more ideas on Divorce/Admin 101.

Minnesota Wildfires

A 100,000 acre wildfire in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area (called the BWCA) is being fanned by winds and dry wood, according to the state’s largest newspaper, the Star Tribune.

What began as a mid-August fire erupted in the past day or so when strong wind. The Star Tribune reports that the US Forest Service models indicated a .2% chance of the fire reaching the size it is now.

Authorities have begun evacuations in key areas. If you’re ever asked to leave your home right away – here’s a list of items to take with you from our Grab-n-Go kit.

Experts + Real People = Advice for You