*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
Today is the best kind of day because I get to do a sponsored post for a brand new business that sprung from the APW community. I’m beyond thrilled to introduce Cindy and Julia (who you’ll remember from their APW Pride Week Wedding Graduate post), in their brand new wedding stage manager and custom wedding clothing business, Crafty Broads in Chicago.
As a theatre person, I’ve been hammering away at the idea of wedding stage managing as the no-nonsense alternative to wedding planning for years. I sold the APW Book partially based on the concept of Wedding Stage Managing, for goodness sake. So when I found out that Cindy and Julia were honest-to-god professional stage managers who were pondering going into wedding planning, I jumped up and down until they caved and officially started their business. And they’re also making custom wedding clothing, so they outdid my idea. Yayyy Crafty Broads!
Wedding Stage Managing
Already, Crafty Broads has worked with three APW couples, and they love you guys. Cindy said, “Planning weddings is something I’ve thought about doing for probably a solid ten years, but I was afraid of, well, crazy brides. A big part of the reason why we decided to go ahead with it now is because at APW there is a community of excellent people we want to work with. APW couples have their priorities right. The marriage is the thing that really matters, and the rest is details, and how we spend our money on those details matters. And also they are awesome people.”
And they know what they’re doing. Cindy says, “We’re stage managers. And because of that, we have technical and organizational skills (like we’ll be making an anal retentive timeline for your celebration, and we’ll be making sure people stick to it, and we can also run your light-board and troubleshoot your microphone), but we are also artists, and we know how to execute other people’s designs flawlessly, while still knowing how to tell you nicely when things are impossible. And we know how to work with difficult people, because hellooooo directors. And actors. And designers. And… you know what I’m talking about.”
But here is the amazing thing. I knew that Crafty Broads had stage managed long-time-APW-er Ms. Bunny‘s wedding, so I asked her opinion on twitter. And this is her totally unedited email:
When I hired Cindy as our stage manager, I had no idea it was one of the best wedding planning decisions I made during the whole process. Immediately she took the reigns. The woman knew what she was doing and she was ready to execute. So much of my stress subsided once I realized the coordination was in competent hands.
She reminded me of little things I overlooked like reserved seating for our family. Together she and our priest ran the rehearsal as smoothly as possible. Her suggestions about staging the outdoor courtyard were brilliant. On the day of the wedding, I couldn’t believe how hard she worked and how little I needed to worry about running the show. She cued our entrances perfectly, kept me calm when I started to worry about small things, and executed the setup of our chairs, tables, and the wedding wish table perfectly all while maintaining a cool head. She ran interference with our servers when the food wasn’t coming out quickly. The moment my feet cramped up in my high heels she was kneeling beside me helping me out of those monsters and into my comfy flats. The woman literally slipped shoes off and onto my feet. I don’t think you can ask for better service than that!
It was like having a good friend watch out for you and anticipate your needs. To top it all off, Cindy was celebrating our new marriage alongside our community. In fact, she had become part of our community. Cindy is worth every penny to help keep you sane and keep the event running without any bumps.
So for those of you in Chicago and the greater Midwest, book Crafty Broads now, now, now. They are just getting started and their rates are crazy-affordable, given their experience and talent. Day-Of Coordination prices start at just $300, partial planning starts at just $1,000, and full planning starts at $2,000. They expect to raise rates at the end of this year, but they are honoring these low starter rates if you book now, no matter when your wedding takes place (plus they offer a 10% discount for members of the theatre community and a 5% discount for non-profits, and 50% off their rates plus the cost of travel if you take them out of the US…)
Custom Wedding Clothing
And then… they started doing custom wedding clothing, too. Cindy says, “Honestly, we had zero intention of getting into the wedding dress business. And then Sarah saw our grad post, and emailed us. She said she hadn’t gone into any bridal shops and she just didn’t want to have to have that experience ever at all. She wanted to spend her money getting exactly what she wanted, and having the bulk of it go to pay small business owners a fair wage. So now we are doing this whole ensemble for her because she’s getting married in the winter—dress, sheer jacket in case she gets cold inside, and a winter coat that she’ll be able to wear all the time after the wedding, all within her original budget for just a dress.”
And again, theatre has given them crazy skills, “As costumers, we have made garments to fit all sizes of people in many different styles and periods from ancient Rome to modern times. And as a pair of two very different-sized and -shaped ladies, we have personally experienced the fit issues that abound at both ends of the spectrum. We are committed to making quality garments that fit you perfectly, no matter your size or shape.
In short, they are not doing wedding clothing for anyone else, except for APW-ers. They’ll work on your clothing, bridesmaid, or flower girl clothing, or make alterations to wedding dresses you already have. So Chicago? Why would you go anywhere else?
So go check out Crafty Broads, Chicago. I can’t wait to see your crazy-amazing collaborations.