Interview with Janyce Robins Granoff
author of Wedding Place Settings with Divine Disposables
Morgan James Publishing (2007)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (6/07)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is delighted to be joined by an expert on wedding preparation, Janyce Granoff. Janyce is here to talk about her new book “Wedding Place Settings with Divine Disposables.”
Tyler: Welcome, Janyce. This is perfect timing for us to discuss your book since the majority of weddings take place in summer. To begin, would you tell us a little bit about why you decided to write “Wedding Place Settings with Divine Disposables”?
Janyce: Thank you Tyler for asking me to be here.
Let me ask you if you have ever found yourself fuming over something you read that you knew was wrong but didn’t know what to do about it?
This is exactly what happened to me and is how I ended up writing this book. So… let me tell you how I ended up helping brides make their own dreams come true.
To help me stay abreast of any new trends that I might need to translate into affordable options for brides on a budget I read/peruse practically all the bridal, fashion and decorating magazines from cover to cover.
Anyway, last year in an editorial question & answer type etiquette column in one of the magazines, I read an answer to a question from a bride (in obvious pain) that made my blood boil! What I read made me so upset, so hurt for the bride who wrote the question as well as for all the brides who I knew would be devastated by the answer. I searched for some way to make all those brides feel better, and that’s when I decided to write this book.
The Bride’s question: My family and fiance have very little money but I want to have a beautiful reception. We need to use disposables. Do you have any ideas that will help us?
Answer: Using disposables is the worst idea. Disposbles are tacky and you (the Bride) would be better off asking friends to borrow their assorted china and glassware for your reception rather than use flimsy picnic plates.
My reaction, in addition to my anger at the writer’s insensitivity, was to wonder how was it possible that someone in the wedding industry could be unaware of the fact that hundreds of thousands of brides use disposables each year and have been for at least the twenty-five years I have been in the business. In other words, it is not a new concept and I was amazed that the magazine writer did not seem to recognize or care that she was disenfranchising a whole segment of her own customer base. I was also shocked to realize that this writer apparently had no idea there existed a whole array of products that could not be considered to be anything like your grandmother’s picnic plates. This was a revelation to me and offered me a challenge and I hope, an opportunity to ease some of the hurt feelings caused by that writer. So I wrote this book.
Tyler: Wow, Janyce. The writer of that answer sounds like she’s out of touch with reality and the cost of a wedding. I have been to many weddings with disposable plates, but typically plain white styrofoam or plastic ones. So, Janyce, just what do you mean exactly by “Divine Disposables”?
Janyce: I have been in the business of discovering, and sourcing disposable products that mimic the real thing (Waterford, Lenox, Wedgwood etc.) for the past 25 years. I know all the manufacturers, the major public and international companies as well as smaller “mom and pop” companies with vision. These manufacturers also know me and that I am on the look out for “divine” products that allow brides and their moms to feel confidence in using disposables if that is their best choice.
Years ago, my job was not easy. But today, all these manufacturers have come to recognize that millions of brides want and need a fashionable, serviceable, throw-away product. And so, in these last few years, through my websites, I have been helping thousands of brides and event planners, nationally and internationally, to succeed in making their dreams come true by assuaging their anxieties about using disposables for their receptions. I have been able to do this by exposing them to the “divine” array of products now available and showing them how they can use disposables to have an extraordinary wedding reception that will make their dreams come true.
After you see my book and the product, I think you will agree that these are not your grandmother’s picnic plates, but rather “divine disposables”!
Tyler: Obviously, the primary reason a bride would choose disposable wedding place settings is because of the cost (another being that she may be having an outdoor reception). What is the cost range of the divine disposable settings in your book?
Janyce: The costs for the astounding 100% disposable place settings in the book range from around $7 to $14 per guest, not including the centerpieces or favors. However, on my website, I offer alternative products that can take the cost down to $2 per place setting. I advocate that you can achieve the same luxurious elegance using a less expensive product as long as you include all the details one would find at any high-end extravaganza. The elegance is in setting your tables and in including the details, I promise you!
What I wanted to add though, was that when considering your savings, you also include avoiding the stress of arranging to have someone to receive rentals, the labor cost/facility of cleaning and returning them, not to mention the cost of replacing broken or misplaced items.
Tyler: I understand that twenty-four different place settings are described in “Wedding Place Settings with Divine Disposables.” Would you describe a couple of these settings for us?
Janyce: Sure! Regal Sapphire dispels the myth about using disposables, it starts with a dark blue “linen like” table cover that sets the stage for elegance and includes coordinating table runners and full size dinner napkins in beautiful napkin rings, a silver charger, pure white plates bordered in silver and cutlery that fools the eye it looks so real. Plus Champagne flutes, water glasses and red wine glasses. I always include a nut cup, a fancy butter presentation and a delightfully wrapped favor. It is formal, sophisticated and stunning.
Formal Fairy Rose creates an aura of opulence. It starts with “linen like” table covers and full size dinner napkins that mimic damask, and it includes a delicate rose print table runner that looks like translucent silk (made from banana fiber) I layer all my divine details until poof………you have a romantic table setting that will delight your friends and family. I, again, always include my famous amuses including a fancy butter presentation, nut cups and a coordinating wrapped favor.
Chiaroscuro means the use of only black and white. My version delivers a sophisticated and dramatic presentation. I start the background with a stark white “linen like” table cover and dinner napkin in a crafted napkin ring. Then, here instead of a table runner and traditional centerpieces, I use rocks painted black interspersed with very inexpensive cubed corsage boxes and pillar candles that look just like the pricey glass cubes you see in hi-end department stores. Black and white plates, flutes, water and wine glasses…. and of course, I include all the little luxurious amuses I talk about in the book to surprise and entertain your guests with.
Tyler: Janyce, do you personally have a favorite setting?
Janyce: Asking me which is my favorite place setting is like asking me which is my favorite child! They are all different and I enjoy each of them for their unique qualities. That being said………I love Legend’s Roses. It was inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s “Legendary Ball” which honored the women in her life who inspired her. She wanted to lavish these women in well-earned luxury like I want to do for all my brides!
Tyler: Do the settings vary depending on the size of the wedding, where the event will be held, or the season?
Janyce: Well all those things count, but I always ask my brides what their vision is and what their color preferences are first. I can always work around their budget and venue problems. The most important thing for me is that they don’t settle for ordinary because they think they have to.
Tyler: So, in other words, Janyce, you have not simply written a book about wedding place settings, but you actually help brides plan their weddings? Will you tell us a little bit more about that work?
Janyce: Well the book includes some of my personal philosophy that strives to empower women to make their own dreams come true. I caution them not to disown their thoughts and feelings. That giving in to the pressure to conform to “ordinary” breeds disappointment, resentment, a negative self-image, and most importantly, it doesn’t permit their own dreams or visions to come true!
In all of the twenty-five years I have spent working with my brides, I have never had anyone tell me she wanted to have an “ordinary” Wedding Reception. So to help my brides create an extraordinary wedding, an “Extravaganza” that will get talked-about and appreciated, I always ask my brides the most important question first: “Are you willing to break away from the pack and do something different?”
If they are, then even with a limited budget, I show them how they really can have an extraordinary Wedding Reception. I advocate that they include all the details one would find at any high end event, the most important being, setting their dining tables. I show them how doing this does not cost more money.
I caution them: “The biggest challenge you are likely to face has nothing to do with time, money or your own creativity. It will be to have enough confidence in your own dreams that you can dare to be different.”
In other words, be a Big Girl! Or, to rephrase two of my favorite retailer’s tag lines…Nike and The Home Depot: “Just do it!” and “I can help!”
And I do help by giving my brides free access to an on-line interactive workbook that allows them to register their family, friends and professional helpers. It takes them through the process of organizing and managing their whole presentation.
Tyler: What do you tell the brides you feel is the most important aspect to consider in choosing a wedding setting that is disposable?
Janyce: The most important aspect to consider in choosing any wedding table setting, whether rentable or disposable, is that it entertains your guests and shows them that you went to a lot of effort to show that you appreciate their effort in being there. With the divine disposables I offer, these considerations are actually the same…color, menu, and the bride’s vision and dreams.
Tyler: I’m curious that you mention only the bride. Have you had many grooms make the choices, or at least be involved with the bride in the choices?
Janyce: Actually, in my experience, there are not many grooms or dads who participate in the wedding planning process.
Tyler: Have you had any feedback yet from people who have used any of your settings?
Janyce: I have hundreds of letters just like this one from brides all over the country in every socio economic strata:
“Just a quick note to let you know that the wedding came together and was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! I was so pleased with the way everything turned out!!!
Tyler: That’s wonderful that you get notes from satisfied customers. Have you had the opportunity to attend many of the weddings you’ve helped to plan?
Janyce: Well, not customers’ weddings, as they are held all over the world.
Tyler: In Michelle’s note above, she said she looks forward to doing business with you in the future. Once she’s married, isn’t that it, or do you help plan other events besides weddings?
Janyce: After the wedding, there is the couple’s first Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. and unless they have received multiple sets of dishes, glasses, cutlery and table linen as gifts……….they come back to me for help. Then comes the Baby Shower, the Christening and a First Birthday. So yes, I do help plan other events besides weddings. In fact, I am working on my next book ” Family Celebrations with Divine Disposables.”
Tyler: Wow, Janyce. You are busy changing the way we celebrate our special occasions. Janyce, where can materials for your place settings be purchased?
Janyce: You can find all the pictures of the place settings and all the disposables for sale at divinedisposables.com. We have no minimum order and we sell directly to the public. If you are having a large event, and can buy full cases, you can even buy the product at wholesale prices.
Tyler: Thank you, Janyce, for being here today. I’m sure many future brides and grooms will find your book very helpful. Would you let them know where they can find out more about your book and how to purchase a copy?
Janyce: Well you can buy the book through the site divinedisposables.com, amazon.com or the other .com bookstores. But you can find out more about the book’s message and recommended wedding reception production directions in my free interactive workbook on the site. This is not your traditional planner but a step by step workbook written to empower women to make their own dreams come true. Soon you will be able to request the book be ordered from your local bookstore.
And thank you so much for this opportunity for me to let brides and grooms on a budget (or who are planning destination weddings) know that their dreams can come true.