Blog

Apr
15
Tips & Tricks

What Goes on a Welcome Table?

What is a Welcome Table? First thing's first. What exactly is a welcome table? It's one of the first things a wedding guest sees when she walks into the wedding. It's a strategically placed table that allows a guest to leave a gift, find the seating arrangements and more (we'll get to that in a minute). The fun part about these is that they can display whatever you want. Make one for both the ceremony and reception, and the more personalization the better! Ceremony Welcome Table You can have a ceremony welcome table visible as guests walk over to the ceremony site. Think about what your guests would need for the ceremony: - Programs - Bubbles/wands or something interactive that you'd like them to do after you are pronounced married - Fans if it's a warm day - Tissues for happy tears - Non-alcoholic beverages like water or lemonade for warm outdoor ceremonies     These are just some things to think about. Of course, you don't have to have any of them. You many not even want programs for your ceremony, and that is totally fine. Another idea is to make it completely personalized. Add photos of loved ones who are no longer with you. Display a "Welcome" sign on a decorated easel (we can later move this sign to the entrance of the reception as well!).     Reception Welcome Table We can also create a welcome table for the reception. So what should go on this one?   - Card box - Place cards or seating chart - Favors - Photos of the 2 of you - Your version of a guest book or alternative - Decor to compliment your theme or overall look and feel of the wedding   Just to name a few! Again, these are completely optional, but a good place to start if you're considering having a welcome table.             This is just another way that you can let your personalities as a couple shine bright! Get creative, and most importantly, have fun!   Happy planning! xo
Mar
17
Tips & Tricks

7 Wedding Traditions That Are on Their Way Out

We LOVE working with couples who aren't afraid of breaking traditions and creating their own memories for THEIR day. Just because things have been done a certain way for a couple hundred years doesn't mean YOU have to do it that way. Here are 7 wedding traditions that we have seen a decline in over the last few years. 1. Cake cutting. Some couples are still choosing to have a cake, but they are opting out of the tradition of a formal cake cutting ceremony. This is usually when the DJ makes a big announcement that the couple is about to cut their cake and for guests to get their cameras out. There's usually a specific song the couple chooses for this event and oftentimes they feed each other and even smoosh cake in each other's faces. Sounds fun, right? Well, this isn't the norm anymore. The couple may quietly take a minute with their photographer to get some sweet photos of them doing the cutting, but they don’t want to make a big thing about it and get guests off the dance floor. Other couples are foregoing the wedding cake tradition altogether. Instead, they are having dessert bars where guests can pick and choose what they’d like, as well as “grab and go”. They can choose from an assortment of miniature desserts, eat a little and get back down to partying.     2. Favors. Wedding favors have been a thing since forever. It was a nice way to thank your guests for sharing in your special day. But things have changed. Favors are often left behind and money wasted. Instead, couples are choosing to involve more entertainment in their weddings to make it more of an experience or add things like a late night snack.     3. Bride’s Side/Groom's Side Bridal Party. Today’s couples like to think outside the box. Not to mention the increase in same sex weddings, so to have a bride’s side of all bridesmaids and a groom’s side of all groomsmen has started to go away. If the bride’s best friend is a guy, put him on her side and call him the Man of Honor. If it’s 2 men that are getting married, mix up the bridal party according to who’s which groom’s friend. While we’re at it, let’s nix the tradition of a bride’s side/groom’s side in the seating of guests at the ceremony.
   4. Garter/Bouquet Toss. This tradition of singling out your single friends has been declining over the years. Couples don’t want to stop dancing to make a spectacle of their unattached friends. Not to mention the awkwardness of your new husband climbing up your wedding dress to fetch the garter in front of all your family and friends, only to have one of the male guests place the garter on a potential female stranger’s leg.     5. Matching Bridesmaids Dresses. Gone are the days of ugly bridesmaids dresses that your friends will never be caught dead in again. Most brides today are thoughtful of their girls’ budgets and styles. They’ll usually give them a color palette and some guidelines (i.e. knee length, formal, etc.) and the girls can choose a dress to fit their body type and style within those guidelines. Bonus: the bridesmaid will want to wear the dress again if it’s more her style.
   6. White Wedding Dress. The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress came from Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. At the time, the color white was a symbol of wealth. It later was thought of as a symbol of the bride’s purity. Well, that was a LONG time ago and times, they are a-changing. If you want to wear a pink or blue or purple wedding dress, go for it! Just another example of how it’s YOUR day and you can do whatever makes YOU happy.   7. Bride’s Family Pays. With more and more couples waiting until a little later in life to get married, many are paying for their weddings themselves. It used to be tradition that the bride’s family paid for everything, but with weddings averaging over $36,000 (and I’d say that’s even on the low side for CT), that is unrealistic these days! If you’re lucky enough to have your parents contribute anything to your wedding, be thankful because let’s face it, this stuff adds up!
Mar
15
Tips & Tricks

6 Things to Keep in Mind When Budgeting for Your Wedding

One of the less fun and exciting things to talk about in wedding planning is money and budgets, BUT it is probably one of THE MOST important. Things add up very quickly. It can be a sensitive subject to some, and oftentimes, couples planning a wedding for the first time have no idea what these kinds of services cost. Allow me to break it down for you, and give you some pro tips along the way. 1. Venue. Listen, we understand that you want the wedding venue of your dreams, but sometimes those dreams come with a hefty price tag. If you’re in Connecticut and surrounding states, there are so many gorgeous venues to choose from, but many of those are DIY. That means that you have to first pay the (usually exorbitant) fee for rental of the facility, caterers, staff, food, alcohol, tables, chairs, plates, glassware, decorations, linens....the list goes on. The types of venues that are currently trending are exactly these types of places. Tip: Don’t spend so much money on your venue that you don’t have money for anything else. You still have to feed your guests, pay a photographer, entertainment and many, many other things. 2. Catering. I’ve been hearing horror stories about “caterers” lately. My experience is telling me that people are spending extraordinary amounts of money on their venues and don’t have enough in their budget for a professional off-site caterer. This is not something you want to skimp on. The food and service is something that your guests will remember for quite a while.Tip: Choose a caterer that is familiar with your venue and who specializes in off-site catering. Tell them what your budget is, and keep in mind that they are most likely not only supplying the food, but the staff and everything else mentioned in #1. You will need to pay for all of that. 3. Photography. Photos are another biggie. They’re going to last a lifetime. Make sure you hire someone with wedding experience, not someone who just shoots pretty pictures of landscapes. Mountains don’t move. You do. And things like the first kiss happen so quickly that it can be missed by an inexperienced wedding photographer. There are no do-overs.Tip: Save some money in your budget to hire an experienced wedding photographer. 4. Videography. I did some actual research in the Facebook wedding forums recently, and one of the biggest regrets of newly married couples was not hiring a videographer. Try to make room in the budget for this, even if just for the ceremony. Photos are beautiful, but the memories that a video captures are irreplaceable. The day goes by so quickly, but having it on video will make it last a lifetime. Tip: Hire a film student at a local college if you can’t afford to hire a professional wedding videographer. Normally, this goes against everything I believe in, but I think having a video is so important that you should try get it no matter what. 5. Hair and Make Up. Invest in the Hair and Make Up trial. This is your wedding day, not just another night out. You want to look and feel your best. Book the trial and make sure you leave satisfied. If you’re just feeling “meh” about your look, communicate with the artists and stylists about what it is you don't like. Chances are, they will want to fix or change it to appease you.Tip: Schedule the trials on a day that you have a big event (i.e. engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette) so that you can enjoy the look for a while! 6. Wedding Planner/Coordinator. Of course we had to get this one in. With the increase in DIY venues, wedding planners and day of coordinators are being hired more than ever (up 10% since 2009, according to TheKnot). Think about all that you are planning and all that is involved. If you haven’t done this before, chances are you’re not entirely sure what you are doing, and you want to get it right. Wedding planners can be an invaluable source when it comes to hiring vendors, reviewing contracts, or just being a sounding board or tie-breaker during a disagreement (supported with logistical facts, of course). The truth is that wedding planers are becoming less of a luxury and more of a must have.Tip: Even if it’s not in your budget to have a full wedding planner, hiring a day of coordinator is still a good idea just to have someone take over the day and have one main point of contact so that you can relax and enjoy it. FYI we do both and everything in between!
Mar
13
Wedding Highlights

Sam & Rob's NYE Wedding in Newport

When Sam’s mom, Sandy, called me based on a referral from a bride 5 years ago, I was so excited! First, because my bride of 5 years ago is still referring me, and second, because the wedding was going to take place in Newport, RI on New Year's Eve! Sandy started telling me about the wedding and everything that they had already planned, and it just sounded so magical! Sandy lives is Cheshire but Sam and Rob actually live in Newport, so we made plans to meet in my office the next time that Sam was in town. Shortly after our meeting, Sandy contacted me to tell me they would be hiring me! I was so excited! And what a perfect way to end such a fantastic year! As part of any of my services, I go on a walkthrough with the client to see the venue and get their vision. On a beautiful day in October, I took a ride out to Newport to meet with Sandy, Sam and to meet Rob, and also to see the gorgeous Newport Beach House. It was my first time there and it was absolutely breathtaking! There are 2 rooms - the Surfside (first floor) and the Eventide (second floor). Each had a lovely terrace, and the Eventide had a deck as well. Sam and Rob's reception was going to be held in the Surfside room. After seeing the venue, we went to check out the church for the ceremony, Jesus Christ Saviour. It was a beautiful, old looking church not far from the Beach House. When the time came, I was so excited to kick off such a fun holiday/wedding weekend! My assistant, Liz and I hit the road on the morning of 12/30 so that we could be there in plenty of time to check into our hotel, check out the venue to make sure the rentals arrived and to get to the church to coordinate the ceremony. By the time we got to the church, everyone was so happy and looking forward to the wedding. We practiced walking in and out of the church, and the priest went over the ceremony and mass. On the day of the wedding, Liz and I got up early to check in with Sam and the girls in the hotel to make sure that hair and makeup was well underway. This was nice to see, as we don't normally go to the hotel while the bride is getting ready because we figure this is her time to relax with her girls, and oftentimes, it can be a bit packed, so we don't want to be an extra body in the way. But for this wedding, since we were staying in the same hotel as the bride anyway, we thought it would be nice to pop in and see if they needed anything. Sandy did make a few requests, so we went off to run a few errands for her, since we had time to kill anyway. When we returned, it was time for the first look and some bridal party photos. How stunning are these?             After that was done, we went to the venue to begin setup. Julianna, who works for the venue, and her staff were amazing. They helped setup everything that Sam had dropped off the day before (menu cards, favors, table numbers, card box, etc.). We also made sure that the flowers were delivered on time and delivered the boutonnières to the guys at another hotel. Once we knew everything was running smoothly and on time, we made our way to the church. There wasn't much that we needed to set up there because being a few days after Christmas, they still had holiday decorations up. It looked beautiful! When we returned to the venue to confirm the reception was ready to go, everything looked stunning! There were some really great speeches given by Sam's Dad, Rob's brother and Sam's Maids of Honor.   Then it was finally time to party!   And what's a New Year's Eve wedding without the new year countdown, complete with confetti?! This was one of my favorite weddings ever! What a party it was! We are so blessed to have such amazing clients like this!  Photography: Hilary B PhotographyVenue and Catering: Newport Beach HouseChurch: Jesus Christ SaviourHair and Makeup: Allison Barbera BeautyFlorals: Sayles Livingston DesignsDJ and Uplighting: DJ FlipBride's Dress: The Plumed Serpent BridalWine Cork Guest Book Sign: Nob Hill JaneRentals: Peak Event ServicesTransportation: Fisher Bus and BuzzbusDay of Coordination: Pink Olive Events
Mar
08
Tips & Tricks

How My Day Of Coordination Service is Different from Others

I want to talk for a minute about Day Of Coordination. What exactly is a Day Of Coordinator? Someone who coordinates your wedding day, right? Maybe do a little setup, make sure things are in order? But here’s my question: How does she know WHAT to setup? And WHERE to put it? And what exactly your ORDER is? Us Day Of Coordinators are pretty amazing, but mind-readers we are not. So here's some insight as to how my Day Of Coordination service is different from others and what they may be offering you for "less". Photo credit: Hilary B. Photography Anyone who tells you that she can just come on the day of your wedding (no prior meetings, no rehearsal, no walkthrough), and charge you just a few hundred bucks, is NOT going to make you happy. She is going to have a million questions for you on the DAY OF YOUR WEDDING (and seriously, we’re supposed to make your day LESS stressful, not MORE). When someone asks me if I “just do Day Of”, I tell them “Yes, but it’s my Month Of service”. They often get confused and say, “Well, I just want you to come on the day of”. So let me break it down for you: Well Before Your Wedding Day Any time after you sign on the dotted line, we are happy to go on a walkthrough at your venue with you. Whether we’ve coordinated a wedding there before or not, we want to see YOUR vision and how you see YOUR big day playing out. Photo credit: Brian Hatton Photography 4 Weeks Before Your Wedding Day Weddings are complicated events with lots of moving pieces and people involved. You’ve done the planning, booked your vendors, made your own DIY centerpieces and signage, but now what? Who’s going to set all this up on the wedding day and make sure things are happening on time? You’re going to be getting your hair and makeup done and enjoying a mimosa with your girls. Enter Pink Olive Events. We get that you wanted to plan the most magical day of your life on your own, but we also understand how important it is to ENJOY it. About 4 weeks before your wedding, we will have a detail meeting with you to go over EVERYTHING. This includes getting copies of ALL vendor contracts, going over a rough outline of your day (what time is hair and makeup starting?), your ceremony processional (who should my step-mom walk down the aisle with?), and going over what I like to call my “inventory list”, which is basically everything that you have that needs to be setup by us (favors, place cards, family photos, candles, gift box, etc), as well as where exactly they all need to go. Photo credit: Jessica Osber Photography After this meeting and in the following weeks leading up to your wedding, we contact all of your vendors to confirm logistics such as timeline, delivery and arrival times, hours of coverage, etc. This is when any discrepancies may come up that you might not have necessarily seen before. For instance, I’ve had couples plan for certain events to happen AFTER the photographer is scheduled to leave because his hours of coverage are over. We will make sure that all important events are documented before the photographer leaves. Photo credit: Hilary B. Photography We then take all of this information and put it into one big day-long timeline that, once approved by you, goes to ALL vendors involved. This is the timeline we ALL work from on the day of. If anything needs to be improvised, we make sure to communicate any changes to everyone. I’ve had a bride get sick during dinner and spend some time in the ladies’ room. This pushed back cake cutting and parent dances, so we had to make sure to relay this information to the vendors so that the bandleader didn’t call for any of these events to happen while she was in the restroom. Photo credit: Brian Hatton Photography Rehearsal Couples sometimes get so caught up in the fun of planning a wedding that they forget that the ceremony is really the most important part of the day. That’s why a rehearsal is so pertinent, and we find it just as pertinent that we be there. We make sure it’s included in all of our wedding services. If we have to coordinate any part of the ceremony on the day of the wedding (which is a PART of the the DAY, right?), then we make it a point to be at the rehearsal, too. You only get one chance to do it right. Photo credit: Hilary B. Photography This is also the time that we collect all of those items from our “inventory list” from our detail meeting. We check everything off as we get it and make sure that nothing is missing. The last thing we want to do is bother you on your wedding day because we can’t find your cake topper. If we can leave these things at your venue, that’s great, but if not, I take them with me and set them all up the following day. Finally, your family and bridal party get a chance to meet us in person and they know who to go to in case any issues come up on the wedding day. They know our exact role and why we are there, and it’s just a good time to put a face to a name before the big day.Photo credit: Jennifer Fiereck Photography The BIG DAY It’s here. The day you’ve been planning for months, maybe even years. You’re so excited! All the planning, organizing, stress and decision-making has culminated in what you hope to be the most perfect day of your life. But who will be the one to make sure all of that happens and goes according to your plan? A Day Of Coordinator is so much more than just someone who sets up your place cards. We’re one point of contact for all of your vendors, family and bridal party to avoid “too many cooks in the kitchen”. We’re a sounding board at 11:30pm the night before your wedding when you’re having a bit of a meltdown (yes, that actually happened, and yes I actually answered my cell phone). We’re there to make sure that you’re happy and that if anything goes wrong, you don’t know about it. We’re here to make sure you have an escape plan when you walk back down the aisle after saying “I do” because you don’t want a receiving line. And those are just a few examples. I could go on and on. Photo credit: Hilary B. Photography So what’s the point of this post? Like with anything else, do your research. Not everyone’s services are exactly the same. Don’t just look at the bottom line (price tag). Look to see what’s included. What are you getting for that price? I can’t stress this enough in the wedding world!  Happy planning!xo
Mar
06
Tips & Tricks

Can You Do Me a Favor?

I recently had a bride ask my advice about wedding favors. My short answer - skip ‘em. Put your money elsewhere. Weddings are expensive enough without giving your guests a trinket as a thank you for coming. Now get comfy for the long answer… If your mother or other family member is traditional and absolutely insisting on giving your guests a wedding favor, you’re always safe with giving something edible. Opt for: - Miniature bottles of booze. Think classy bottles of Rosé, Champagne or Prosecco. Make it more personal by customizing a thank you tag to hang from it. - A late night snack. These are becoming increasingly popular, and oh, so delicious! You can either have your caterer whip up some fun foods to be passed out later or bring in food from your favorite place (mini cheeseburgers, sushi rolls, pizza or anything else you love!). - An elaborate dessert bar. One of our favorite vendors for this is Perfectly Posh Candy Buffets & Tablescapes. They can design a beautiful dessert table that will have your guests talking for years! They can enjoy it at your wedding or bag up some goodies to go.   - Teas, coffee or spices. The favors at one wedding I coordinated years ago were mini bottles of spices, which was a recipe from the groom’s family. Cute, useful and personal! - Chocolates. Another wedding I coordinated recently had chocolates from a local shop. The groom was from the town the shop was in, and the couple now lives in Florida. Again, meaningful! Other Ideas: - Succulents or plants. This is something your guests can take home and enjoy long after the wedding ends.  - Shawls or blankets. If your wedding is in a cooler month, these are a nice touch!   - Donations. Put that money towards a cause that you are passionate about. Avoid: - Cheap trinkets that will get left behind. We’re often at the wedding until the end and helping to clean up. Trust me, these things get left. - Candles or anything with your name and wedding date on them. I know this seems like something you’d obviously want to include, but your guests don’t really want anything with YOUR name and wedding date on them. If you must include this, add a detachable tag your guests can remove and still use the favor. - Something meaningless. Don’t just hop online and buy something cheap in bulk. Put a little thought into it if you are going to give out favors. What is personal to you and your fiancé? The bottom line is, your guests will enjoy your wedding with or without a favor. No one is going to leave there thinking, “Gee, where is my cheap trinket I’ll be leaving on the table?”. Put your energy and your money into planning a great party for your guests, and they’ll be sure to remember it for years to come. Sans favor.  
Feb
26
Wedding Highlights

Ilana & Danny's Westport Wedding

I had the pleasure of coordinating Ilana & Danny’s wedding this past October. Ilana is the sister of Dara, who you may remember from Dara & Jared’s wedding photos, so I was honored to be chosen to coordinate another wedding in the family! Ilana & Danny were such a fun, laid back couple. They were simple, yet the wedding was elegant and incorporated their Jewish faith. It was quite a windy day, so we had to decide whether or not to keep the ceremony outside. It was supposed to be an outdoor tented wedding by the shore, but after some deliberating, we all decided it was best for everyone’s safety and comfort to move the ceremony inside. They did, however, get some amazing outdoor first look photos and portraits!   After some alone time and photos, they participated in the traditional Ketubah signing with their families and close friends. I really love this tradition.     The staff at the Inn at Longshore was amazing at helping with the last minute decision to have the ceremony indoors! We had to temporarily rearrange some tables so that we could have the ceremony on the stage and set up 200 chairs on the center of the room on the dance floor. Once the ceremony ended and cocktail hour began in a separate room, the staff, my assistants and I set everything back up for the reception. It really was a seamless process and the room looked amazing! The ceremony was beautiful. Family members walked in with the poles for the Chuppah. The fabric of the Chuppah was a family heirloom in Danny’s family, so we tried to be extra careful with it. Ilana & Danny did the traditional breaking of the glass, which I always think is fun!   After the ceremony, guests were led to another room for their cocktail hour where W Kosher Caterers put out quite a spread! Guests were then led to their seats back into the transformed ballroom where the ate, drank and danced the night away!   Photography: Brian Hatton PhotographyFlorals: Flowers by DanielleCatering:W Kosher EventsCake: W Kosher EventsUplighting: Vivid EventsBand: The Last NitesVenue: The Inn at LongshoreHair & Makeup: Stacie Ford WeddingsDay Of Coordination: Pink Olive Events
Feb
18
Tips & Tricks

When Should I Send My Save the Dates?

Save the date cards are the perfect way to tell your family and friends that you have chosen a date and place for your wedding. They have probably been asking you a million questions since you got engaged anyway, so this is a fun way to spread the word. And since this is a busy time for engagements and booking wedding dates, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some advice with you on this topic. You may be wondering when is a good time to send them out? Generally, I say the earlier the better (because I tend to get excited about things!), but here are some guidelines to follow when trying to figure out your save the date timing: One Year Prior 1. Holiday Weekends. If you are getting married on a holiday weekend, you want to give your guests as much notice as possible. Some people go on vacation during the holidays, so you want to let them know so that they can plan accordingly, especially during the summer months. 2. Out of State Guests. If a good part of your guest list is from out of state, you want to give them plenty of time to make travel arrangements. They'll need to take time off from work, and possibly book flights and hotel. As you know, this can get expensive, so giving them a year's notice will allow them to budget for all of this accordingly. 3. Destination Wedding. So you're going to Aruba to get married - awesome! Destination weddings are absolutely amazing, but again, your guests need time to make travel arrangements, budget their finances and take time off from work. You definitely want to send your save the date out a year in advance if possible. 8-10 Months Prior 1. If your wedding guests are mostly in the same state, usually 10 months is a good timeframe to send out your save the dates. It tells guests when the wedding is, but it's still far enough out that they don't quite need to make plans yet. A few side notes:  1. Anyone who receives a save the date MUST receive an invitation. It is in poor taste if you tell someone this way that you are getting married, but then don't invite them to the wedding. 2. Invitations generally get mailed out about 2 months before the wedding. If you wait less than 6 months to send out a save the date, it's kind of pointless at that stage. They will receive an invitation not long after that, so you might as well wait at that point. 3. Save the dates do not need to contain elaborate details about the wedding. They should simply have your names, the date and city/state where the wedding will take place. The phrase "Formal invitation to follow" is also a good thing to include so that they know this is NOT the invitation and they will be provided with more details later. If you have a wedding website setup by the time they go out, it's a good idea to include that on there as well. If guests would like to get information about hotel accommodations or specifics about the wedding, they can take a peek at your wedding website for now. 4. Have fun with it! A save the date doesn't have to be formal or even match the theme of your wedding. Include a picture of yourselves, or a fun background or design. Helpful tip: I recently had a client ask when she should send her save the dates for her October 2020 wedding. I told her a super cute idea would be to combine them with her holiday card! Why not? Save on postage and have a memorable and unique holiday card. 
Feb
12
General

5 Things Women Really Want for Valentine's Day

Love is in the air! Valentines Day is just 2 days away. Have you gotten your girlfriend/fiancé/wife a gift yet? If not, you’re in luck. Flowers and chocolates are nice, but find out what she REALLY wants this Valentine's Day. A Spa Treatment. Us women are usually running around doing a million things during the day, especially if we have kids. All we want is a little “me time”. Go to her favorite salon or spa and treat her to a massage, makeup application, facial, or mani/pedi. When we feel good, we’re in a good mood. It's a win-win. Wine. Wine is always a good option. What’s her favorite kind? Find the best one out there and buy it. I’m sure she’ll appreciate “the good stuff” as opposed to her usual “every day” wine. A Night Off. Make #2 extra special by pairing it with a home cooked dinner that she didn’t have to make. Get in the kitchen and surprise her with her favorite meal. We would all love a “night off” from cooking and other household duties. Comfy Sweats/Socks/Slippers. When we’re home and relaxing, we want to be comfy. There’s nothing better than getting home from work on a cold day and slipping into a warm, soft pair of sweats and curling up on the couch with a good book or Netflix. A Quick Getaway. Everyone could use a few days of downtime to escape reality. Take a quick road trip for the day or even a long weekend if you can swing it. Make it even more special by surprising her and making plans along the way (favorite restaurants, flowers or champagne waiting in the room). Guys, trust me, if you do any of these things, you’ll have a very happy girl on Valentine’s Day! No matter what you do, make sure that you show her you love her all year long, not just one day of the year.
Feb
07
General

Tim & Bria's Love Story

How We Met I met Tim almost four years ago through work, and we were friends for about a year and a half before we started dating. We both work retail and, at the time, for the same company. We were both chosen to open up a new store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (important detail for the proposal) and he was the first person I met that day as I walked up to the store. We very quickly became friends – he can make me laugh like no one else – and we started hanging out outside of work, eventually growing even closer. At the time, I had given up on my dream of singing opera and was trying to decide if I should give it another shot. Tim pushed me to try again and has been one of the biggest supporters of my musical journey! Soon after Tim and I started hanging out, I was talking with my sister, contemplating life, and said, “Why can’t I just date someone like Tim?” Meanwhile, Tim was talking with his friends and they asked him what he was looking for in a girlfriend, and he said, “Literally, Bria.” I’m happy to say, shortly after, we started dating. Right after I met his parents for the first time, he was super cute and asked, “If I would be his girlfriend?” Tim also likes to say that the minute he asked me that question, he knew we would be getting married. Fast-forward three years, different jobs, pursuing opera singing, tons of travel, and countless laughs, he finally asked me to spend our lives together! Engagement We had a planned trip back to Connecticut for that weekend and were planning on leaving on a Friday, but had taken the day off before to spend time together. Tim woke up SUPER early on Thursday, and started running around, tidying up the apartment, and packing. I have no idea what was really going on that day and was trying to figure out why he was packing when we weren’t leaving for another day. I slowly got up, made coffee, and jumped in the shower, under the assumption we were “going out to lunch” as he had said. When I got out, Tim had packed a bag for me and was super quiet. We finally get into the car and head to Brooklyn’s waterfront, where the “restaurant” is. Once we get to DUMBO, he’s on his phone “trying to find the restaurant” and we start walking towards the water, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.   We finally we hit a point where there are no restaurants, it’s just Manhattan’s beautiful skyline and a small patch of grass. I started to realize what was about to happen and immediately felt excited even though I could tell how nervous he was. Tim grabs my hand and brings me to the middle of the grass, takes off my sunglasses, and asks me, “Are you ready?” He pulls out a piece of paper and tells me the sweetest things I’ve ever heard, but most importantly finished with, “Bria, will you marry me?”   Of course, I say, “Yes!” and as he’s putting on the ring, I hear the clicking of a camera. I turn around, and Jess, a photographer who I’ve worked with professionally before, was there. This immediately made us feel at ease having worked with her because she is so great to work with. We ended up spending the next couple of hours all over Brooklyn doing a surprise engagement shoot, which was amazing. Our families do not live in NYC, so it was a thoughtful way of making sure they could see the day and be a part of it. Tim actually tried to propose to me THREE times! It’s like they say, third time’s the charm. The first time, was July 13, 2018, which would have marked 1,000 days of our dating. The second time was October 17, 2018, which marked our three-year anniversary. And the third and final time, was October 25, 2018. The issue all three times was the ring. I apparently was kind of vague, but somehow super specific, at the same time. I told him that I disliked the majority of diamond shapes, but that I wanted a solitaire, and it had to be on a gold band. He totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to locate the stone and kept having to move the proposal. Thankfully, one of his best friends’ family is a well-known jeweler in Connecticut, Michaels Jewelers, and once the stone was found, they were able to rush to have the ring set and ready for the big day. Tim absolutely nailed the ring and ended up finding the most perfect kite diamond. At the end of the day, this is the ring I never knew I wanted, but it fits me perfectly… exactly as Tim knew it would.   At this point, I think the day is over, but Tim has us rushing back to the apartment to pick up our bags, and we’re back in a car, heading towards Williamsburg, the place we first met and fell in love. I’m still in shock and am not really processing things, but we pulled up to The William Vale, which is a few blocks from where we originally had met. We had the most beautiful room (with the most gorgeous floral arrangement from Rosehip Social (another important detail for later), looking at the Manhattan skyline, and had some time to ourselves to enjoy the moment and also call our family + close friends to tell them the news. Tim also had coordinated our absolute favorite sandwiches from Depanneur in Williamsburg to be delivered to the room, which was such a sweet touch since we went there all the time when we first met.   That night, we continued the celebration at a restaurant Tim had set up for dinner. After we were done, we headed back to the hotel and I asked him if we should stop somewhere for a glass of champagne to celebrate. He suggested we go to Westlight, the roof bar at The William Vale. We walked in, and low and behold, all of our close friends were there and we had a mini-engagement party.   The next morning, I tried to take a few flowers from the floral arrangement with us, and Tim was insistent that we leave them all in the room. I was devastated that we were losing the gorgeous, meaningful floral arrangement. Tim finally told me that he had arranged the hotel to bring the arrangement downstairs and it was going over to our friend, Lacie, at Framed Florals! Lacie makes the most incredible pieces of art, by using pressed flowers from floral arrangements. I had been dying to work with her on something and I was blown away that he incorporated it into the proposal.   Tim literally thought of every single detail of things I love, had mentioned wanting, and things he knew I would want. The whole day was uniquely us and I couldn’t have planned it better myself. It was the most magical day I’ve had so far, and I can’t wait for our wedding! All photos by Jessica Osber Photography  
Jan
24
Tips & Tricks

10 Ways to Trim Your Wedding Budget

We're all on a budget, we get it. Planning a wedding can really add up quickly! Based on our 11 years' experience, here's 10 ways to trim your wedding budget. “Whatever You’re Drinking” Toasts  Instead of serving champagne only for toasts, ask guests to toast with whatever they’re drinking. If you go with this option, allow a few minutes before the toasts to allow guest to refill their drinks. In-Season Flowers  Certain traditional bridal flowers are difficult and expensive to find out of season, like lilies of the valley and peonies. If you’re confused or unsure, you can always ask a florist for advice. Favor Place or Escort Cards Using favors as place or escort cards kills two birds with one stone. Use favors for seating with table numbers by the entrance to the venue or use favors as place cards with guests’ names at the tables. Off-Season Wedding  Vendors and venues will generally discount rates if you choose a winter date for your wedding as opposed to a summer or fall date. Limit the Bridal Party  The bigger the bridal party, the more you’ll spend on gifts, flowers and transportation in the long run. Minimize the Guest List  To reduce your guest list decide if you wish to invite children (other than immediate family), coworkers and friends’ casual dates. Something Borrowed Borrow your wedding jewelry from friends and families as opposed to buying it. This will help reduce your cost and help include someone special in your big day. Prioritize Sit down with your significant other and prioritize areas of your wedding that are important to you. You can then choose to splurge in some areas and not in others. Samples  Make sure to discuss samples with your make-up artist either through your contract or in person. Have them leave samples of the make-up they use on you, if possible. This will allow for touch ups throughout the night without buying the full size of the product, such as lipstick. Registry Instead of registering for plates and kitchen wares, ask guests to donate towards your honeymoon or vendors. Many vendors (Us Included!) allow for their services to be registered for.
Jan
23
Tips & Tricks

6 Questions You Should Ask Every Vendor You Interview

With the beginning of wedding planning season in full effect, you're probably starting to look for your wedding vendors. This could be a daunting task if you're not sure who to hire, so let us help! Reception Site How many wedding do you host per day? At one time? Do you provide linens/centerpieces/plates, silverware, etc.? Do you provide catering? If so, is everything cooked on-site? Can we do a tasting? What is your maximum capacity? What kinds of decorations are allowed (candles, confetti, etc.)? Do you provide bartenders and all beverages (alcohol, soda, etc.) Photographer Do you specialize in weddings? Do we receive an album with our package? Will YOU be my photographer on the big day? Will you have an assistant or second photographer? How long after the wedding will my photos be ready? How many weddings have you photographed? Do you shoot candid/photo journalistic/posed? DJ Do you specialize in weddings? Will YOU be our DJ? Is there a time limit for coverage on the day of the wedding? Will you announce the bridal party for the formal introductions? Will you be as involved or uninvolved as we’d like you to be? Will you take requests during the reception? Videographer Do you specialize in weddings? Are you able to work well with our photographer? Will YOU be our videographer? What is your shooting style? Will you provide us with a microphone for the ceremony? How long after the wedding will my video be ready? Florist Do you provide a breakdown of the cost of each item (bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, etc.)? Can you provide items such as an aisle runner, candles, etc.? Do you charge a delivery fee? How far will you go and how many stops will you make (church, reception site, etc.)? Will you provide a “toss” bouquet? Will my flowers be fresh? Will you preserve my bouquet after the wedding or know someone that will? Wedding Coordinator Do you specialize in weddings? Yes, and I have been doing so for over 10 years! Can you arrange for vendors to work their prices into my budget? Yes, or I will recommend vendors that are already in your budget, however, many of the vendors I work with are willing to offer my clients a small discount. Will you do the set up and decorating for me on the day of the wedding? How about the breakdown?Yes, part of our Month Of package is setting up any of your personalized decor items. We will be there to pack them up at the end of the night as well. Will you communicate with my vendors so that my day runs as smoothly as possible? Yes, we speak to each vendor prior to your wedding day, and distribute a timeline to every one of them. We work alongside them to make sure that we follow the scheduled as closely as possible, and communicate changes as needed. Do you work alone or with an assistant?I always bring at least one assistant with me to every wedding (sometimes 2). Will you do a site visit if you have never been to my venue before? Yes, even if I have been to your venue before, I usually like to attend a site visit with you to understand your vision. We welcome any other questions you may have and are happy to answer them all in a complimentary consultation!
Jan
10
Tips & Tricks

How to Prepare for a Bridal Show

Whether you are attending your first Bridal Show or your 10th, it’s always best to go prepared. The more you prepare beforehand, the less stressed you’ll be during and after the show, but most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! Before the Show Do your research Caterer, DJs, Photographers, Venues, etc. Get a list of vendors who will be at the show and visit their websites prior to the show. What packages do they offer? Where are they located? Etc. Have a list of questions you’d like to ask them. Pre-print labels with your name, address, email and phone number. Almost every vendor will have giveaways which require you to fill out a form with your information. Having these labels printed out already will give you more time to connect with vendors and visit every table. Bring a small planner/notebook and calendar. After the show, all of the vendors will seem to blend together. Take small notes or circle dates which are important. Dress for comfort You’ll be on your feet for a while, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. You may also want to have a quick snack before the show (if there is none being served). During the Show Manage your time wisely. Allocate a certain amount of time to visit each vendor. Don’t spend too much time talking to one. Sample questions to ask: Have you worked with my venue before? How many weddings do you do per year? Would I need any special permits? Who will I personally be working with? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions? Do I need to book you now? May I have your contact information? (if you’re interested) Take notes! Use the notepad/planner and calendar you brought to write down things that interest you and deter you from a certain vendor. Keep an open mind.   After the Show Give yourself time to process all of the information you just obtained. Later go back over your notes. Review pamphlets/brochures and contact information. Narrow down vendors who caught your eye. Follow up with an email to the vendors who interest you (the sooner the better). Organize each vendor on your list to make it easier to refer back to. Their contact information, things you liked about them, prices, etc. Share this information with your wedding planner, fiancée, family, etc. to get their opinion. Maybe they have a question that you haven’t thought of yet to ask. They may have experience with a vendor. Now that you’ve got a game plan for preparing for a bridal show, you can be confident when speaking with vendors. Whether it’s your first bridal show or not, it’s important to be prepared. Also check out our Bridal Show Pros & Cons.
Jan
09
Tips & Tricks

Bridal Show Pros & Cons

It’s Bridal Show season so we thought it would be a good time to give you some of our best Bridal Show tips so that you don’t go in blind-sided! Bridal shows can be great insight to the beginning of your planning, but like anything else, there are positives and negatives. We’ve detailed them out for you to help you understand the ins and outs of bridal shows. Pros: You have access to almost every resource, so USE THEM! This is the easiest way to get a brief look at all vendors. You can compare each vendor in the same industry together. This gives you an idea of what this type of vendor offers. What you do and don’t like about certain ones. Shows you the types of packages that are offered. You can network with other brides. Ask for their opinions. Do they have experience or knowledge with a specific vendor? Have they been to a venue you’re looking at before? There’s more information at booths than on the vendor’s websites. Look around at pictures, testimonials and brochures. Ask them questions you have prepared beforehand that aren’t answered on their website. This will give you a better feel of who the vendor is as a company, which is hard to do when just looking at their websites You can trust them! They were invited to the bridal show for a reason. They have probably worked with the host of the show before, which means they are reliable.  Cons: You may feel overwhelmed. This can be avoided if you prepare and do your research BEFORE going to the bridal show. The prices aren’t in your budget. Many vendors and event planners will work with you and offer specials, deals and packages that will save you money in the end. You don’t want to get bombarded with annoying emails after the show. Give vendors your contact information anyway You can always opt-out of their email list if necessary. TIP: Create a special wedding email address that you can check only when you’re focused on wedding planning. You can delete it after the wedding. Now that you have the pros and cons of attending bridal shows, you can be prepared when going to your first or brush up if you’ve already been to one. How to Prepare for a Bridal Show.
Jan
03
Tips & Tricks

Should We Have a First Look?

What is a First Look? It’s a private moment where the bride and groom get to see each other prior to the ceremony. It’s often captured by their photographer, and family and the bridal party will look on from a distance. Sometimes, they even join in for photos after the “big reveal”. Are you trying to decide if you should have a First Look on your wedding day or not? Answer these 5 questions below to decide. Q1. Do you have time to kill between your ceremony and reception? Answer: Yes. If you have multiple hours between your ceremony and reception, then you should NOT have a First Look. Instead, use the time in between for photos. Don’t worry about what your guests are going to do. They will either stop home or at their hotel if they are from out of town to change, or find a local bar to stop by and have a drink. Use the time that you have in between to take your formal photos with family and bridal party.  Answer: No. If you are already rushed between ceremony and reception or if both are at the same place, you can save time and enjoy your cocktail hour by having a First Look. Photographer: Brian Hatton Photography Q2. Are you traditional? Answer: Yes. Traditionally, the groom does not see the bride until she is walking down the aisle. If you want to keep this sense of tradition, opt out of a First Look. Answer: No. If traditions are the least of your concerns, then a First Look could be a good option for you! Photographer - Rod Jovanelly, The Pros Q3. Do you want to join in your cocktail hour? Answer: Yes. Formal photos are usually taken during cocktail hour. If you opt to not have a First Look,they will be done during cocktail hour and most likely, you will not have time to join in the fun.  Answer: No. If you want to remain unseen until your formal introduction into the reception, then you can take your formal photos during cocktail hour and not have to worry about having a First Look! Photographer: Brian Hatton Photography Q4. Do you want to do all of your formal photos before the ceremony? Answer: Yes. If you want to get all of your photos out of the way early, then having a First Look is the way to go. Once that takes place, you can have the rest of your formal photos with your family and bridal party and not have to worry about not seeing each other before the ceremony to get those group shots together. Answer: No. Again, if you have time to kill or you just don’t want to see your future hubby until the ceremony, then don’t choose to have a First Look.  Photographer: Kevin Kelley Photography Q5. Is your ceremony time late in the day and after Daylight Savings Time ends? Answer: Yes. If your ceremony is scheduled for late afternoon or early evening in the months of November, December, January or February, then you might want to have a First Look to optimize the use of the daylight in your photos Answer: No. If you’re having a daytime wedding, then you might not have enough time in the morning for a First Look and you don’t have to worry about it getting dark out anyway! Photographer: Jessica Osber
Dec
20
Tips & Tricks

Guide to Wedding Planners, Designers, Coordinators, and On-Site Coordinators

What's the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator? Do I need to hire a Wedding Coordinator if my venue has one on-site? Many think that these titles are interchangeable, however, they would be very wrong. Read on to find out the differences and when you should hire which? Wedding Planners: -What they do:Wedding planners are all about the logistics and planning. Some may also provide design services or styling services that will help with the creative specifics of your wedding day. -Typical duties:-Put in the most hours helping you plan.-Provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts, schedules and attends all vendor meetings.-Creates detailed timelines, floor plans and schedules.-Helps determine and manage your budget.-Attends site tours and menu tastings.-Brainstorms style ideas and coordinates design details.-Coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation.-Manages the rehearsal.-Oversees everything on the big day (makes sure everyone sticks to the timeline, handles issues, manages all the vendors, and executes your wedding vision on-site). -Hire if:-You have the budget for it.-You want the smallest amount of wedding-related stress possible.-You have no free time because of a demanding job.-You have no clue where to start and your organizational skills aren’t the best.-You have a very short timeframe for planning and executing.-You’re hosting your wedding in an unusual venue (not in a hotel, restaurant or banquet hall). Wedding Designers/Wedding Stylist/Wedding Architect: -What they do:A wedding designers job is purely aesthetic. They work on the overall style and design for your wedding day. -Typical duties:-Creates the wedding’s design concept.-Provides color scheme or palette guidance.-Oversees the décor budget and vendors (your florist, rentals and lighting).-Sources special props and equipment.-Attends a site visit to visualize where you want everything to go, devise a layout and identify potential problems with the décor.-Creates detailed floor plans.-Ensures all of the décor elements are in place on-site for the wedding. -Hire if:-The décor is the most important element of the wedding for you.-You’re confident in your organizational and logistical skills, but your creative skills are lacking.-You’re trying to pull off a very specific theme or you have a million weddings style ideas that you can’t narrow down. Wedding Coordinators: -What they do:Wedding coordinators as like wedding planners, but on a shorter timeline. They usually come in and help you a month or so before the wedding as well as functioning as the point person on the big day.-Typical duties:-Meets with you 4-8 weeks before the wedding to get a handle on what you’ve planned thus far.-Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics.-Creates detailed timelines and floor plans.-Completes a final walkthrough of the ceremony and reception sites.-Addresses any overlooked details (like forgetting to hire a coat check attendant or a tent rental).-Manages the rehearsal.-Oversees everything on the big day.-Hire if:-You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but would like someone to take care of the last minute details and make sure you haven’t missed anything.-You’re extremely organized and detail oriented.-You don’t have the budget for a full service wedding planner. On-Site Coordinators: -What they do:On-Site Coordinators are responsible for everything that specifically deals with the venues. They are not wedding planners or designers or coordinators, they will not help you plan your wedding. They are there to ensure that the venue is doing what the contract says. -Typical duties:-If the venue provides catering, make sure there are kitchen and wait staff scheduled to fit the needs.-Will possibly provide you with a list of preferred vendors.-If catering is provided, they will create a timeline for the catering staff.-Be there during your wedding to make sure that venue provides what was contracted for.  
Dec
18
Tips & Tricks

Who Gets Invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?

How do you avoid inviting your entire wedding list to the rehearsal dinner? Should I invite my extended family? Should children be allowed? Follow this guide and it should help to reduce the amount of guests.   1. Parents. The very first people on your list should be your parents (and/or step-parents). Not only because they may be the ones footing the bill, but because they have supported you for your entire life, will be present at the ceremony rehearsal and for the simple fact that they brought you into this world. Photo credit: Powerstation Events   2. Siblings. You grew up with them and they may even be a part of your ceremony. They get invited. Photo credit: Brian Hatton Photography 3. Grandparents. If you are lucky enough to still have your grandparents in your life, invite them. I'm sure they would be more than thrilled to be a part of not only the wedding, but the rehearsal dinner and other wedding festivities as well! 4. The Bridal Party. Obviously, the bridal party will be at the ceremony rehearsal, so it only makes sense that they would be invited to the dinner afterwards. Don't forget their spouses or significant others!   Photo courtesy Kevin Kelley Photography   5. Out of State Guests. If you have any out of state guests coming in for the wedding, they should get an invitation. They are spending money on travel, accommodations, and more. The least you can do is invite them to dinner.   6. Officiant. The person who will be marrying you is a pretty big part of your wedding! He or she should definitely be invited as a courtesy. Most of the time, they won't come, but it's nice to extend the invitation. Photo credit: J. Fiereck Photography
Dec
12
Wedding Highlights

Love Is Love

This past September 15, 2018 was particularly special to me because it was my first same-sex wedding! I had been wanting to coordinate one for a long time and Erin & Diana were the perfect couple to work with! Erin and Diana were a client of Spice Catering Group. We met them at a bridal show at the beginning of last year and they were looking for a caterer for their September wedding at the Webb Barn. Of course, Spice Catering Group was a great choice! We came in to coordinate all of the details and planning that Erin & Diana had done. They were very DIY, which we love! It's great to be able to take a client's vision and make it happen! They were pretty happy with the way everything came together. After the first look, Erin & Diana had the most beautiful ceremony under the large tree behind the barn. Two very special and meaningful things that they did were 1) they each had their fathers walk them down the aisle we created and 2) they had a mixed gender bridal party. Not to mention how incredibly sentimental their vows to each other were! Judith Thompson did an amazing job officiating their ceremony. After the ceremony, Spice put out a delicious spread of food and cocktails. Everyone absolutely loved the mini passed sliders! Bethany Florist & Gift Shoppe did a beautiful job with all of the florals, from the centerpieces to the bouquets and boutonnières. She even made a stunning floral crown for Erin! A delicious plated dinner was served by Spice Catering Group after some heartfelt, yet witty toasts by the Fathers of the Brides and Maids of Honor. Followed by a fabulous cupcake tower from one of my all-time favorite bakeries, J. Cakes! After dinner and dessert, Anthony from Digital Tracks Entertainment rocked the dance floor until the end of the reception! This truly was a wedding I will remember for a very long time, and I wish Erin and Diana nothing but the best always! Photography: Jessica Osber PhotographyCinematography: Zephyr WeddingsFlorals: Bethany Florist & Gift ShoppeCatering: Spice Catering GroupCake & Cupcakes: J. CakesDJ & Uplighting: Digital Tracks EntertainmentVenue: The Webb BarnLighting: MJ DecorationsJustice of the Peace: Judith ThompsonRentals: Connecticut Rental CenterHair & Makeup: MBD BeautyDay Of Coordination: Pink Olive Events
Dec
04
Tips & Tricks

4 Reasons Pinterest is Killing Your Wedding Planning

I'm going to be real for a second and tell you something you probably don't want to hear: Pinterest is the DEVIL of wedding planning!   Wow, that felt good to type (wipes sweat off brow). But seriously, let me get into this and backup that statement with cold hard facts.    1. It's Completely Unrealistic. These weddings that are being pinned are completely over the top. The photos make you fall in love with these elaborate centerpieces with a zillion roses that reach the ceiling, or a dress that you probably couldn't afford if you saved up for your entire life. Then, when you bring these photos to your florist/dress shop/wedding planner/photographer, your dreams are crushed when you hear the price. Stick to looking at photos at local vendors' Facebook and Instagram feeds. These are much more realistic. 2. It's Too Overwhelming. There is SO MUCH on Pinterest that you start to lose sight of your original vision (literally). What may have started out as a romantic, intimate wedding has now turned into a grand affair. You think this is real life and feel inclined to "keep up with the Jones'". It's YOUR wedding. Do what YOU want and never, ever feel like it isn't enough.   3. It's Addicting. It can be very time-consuming and addicting to be on Pinterest all the time. Studies show that this is often done at work. Not to mention, many fiancés get ignored during these pinning extravaganzas. Don't let it take over your life!   4. It's All Virtual. Get off your phone and actually go out and plan your wedding! Meet with potential wedding professionals. Taste the cake. Touch and smell the flowers. Listen to the music and have a face-to-face conversation with your DJ or wedding planner. These are things you can't do via the Internet. These experiences are going to make you feel so special and get you truly excited for your big day!
Nov
13
Tips & Tricks

Who Gets a Plus One for Your Wedding?

I recently had a Mother of the Bride ask me how to tell a guest (or guests) that they cannot bring a plus one to a wedding. This is a touchy subject for so many couples planning their wedding. Maybe it's just not in the budget to have all these extra people. Maybe their venue is limited on space and they simply cannot invite that many people. Maybe the guest isn't in a relationship, so the couple just didn't think to include a plus one. Whatever the reason might be, I'm going to address some etiquette guidelines of inviting a plus one.   1. Invite a plus one if the guest is in a long-term relationship. The rule of thumb is that if the guest is in a committed, long-term relationship, invite them both. There's really no way around this one. If your guest is engaged, living with someone, or has been with the same person for over a year, they both get invited. You'd want the same if the tables were turned.    2. Invite a plus one for each member of your bridal party. Even if someone in your bridal party isn't in a committed relationship, he or she should still be extended the courtesy of a plus one. Photo courtesy Kevin Kelley Photography   3. Invite anyone that has been invited to the bridal shower. Another standard rule is that if you invite someone to the bridal shower, they get an invite to the wedding. Keep this in mind when you are inviting the girl your brother just met at the bar to your shower just to get a few extra gifts. Will he want her at the wedding? Will YOU want her at the wedding? If not, better keep her off the guest list for both.   4. Address the envelope accordingly. When sending out the wedding invitations, the envelope should be the first indicator as to who is invited.  Mr. John Smith = soloMr. John Smith & Guest (or a specific name instead of "Guest" = clearly indicates that 2 people are invited. Also, on the RSVP card you can include a line that says something along the lines of "1 (or 2) seats have been reserved in your honor". If your guest is still insisting on inviting a plus one after all that, try saying something like this: "I'm so excited that you are able to make it to my wedding! I can't wait to see you! Unfortunately, we have a limited number of seats at the venue, and we are pretty maxed out. I don't think there will be enough space for you to bring a guest. But don't worry, I'll be sure to seat you with people that you know!".
Nov
04
Wedding Highlights

How I Planned a Wedding in 3 Months - Molly & Jalen

I met Molly's mom, Sandy, by coincidence. Her grandkids (Molly's nephew's) are friends with my boys. One day in July, I took my boys over to play and Sandy happened to be baby-sitting. We got to talking and she asked what I did for a living, since I was home during the summer. I told her about my business and how I had just opened up a new office in town. She had commented about seeing it as she drove down Route 10, and proceeded to tell me about her daughter who had just gotten married in a private ceremony at the beginning of the month. Sandy had wanted to plan a reception for her daughter, but wasn't sure where to start. I gave her my info and she said she would be calling me! A day or 2 later, she did. She wanted to come by my office and talk about planning the reception. When she came in the first time, she wasn't 100% sure that she wanted to have the wedding at her home. She asked if I could try to find a venue to host it. Seeing as it was July, and she wanted the second most popular date of the year, I had my work cut out for me. My assistant and I immediately got to work researching and calling and emailing, but to no avail. Being such short notice, we couldn't find a venue on that date that fit their requirements. Venues tend to book up for October a year or more in advance. So Sandy decided to host the post-wedding reception in her home. This meant we needed a caterer! And a tent, and tables and chairs and...so much to do in such a short time. It wasn't until AFTER Sandy had hired me that she told me who her daughter and son-in-law were. Their last name is "Rose", which didn't ring any bells to me because I'm not big into sports, but apparently, her son-in-law Jalen is a former NBA star who was a part of the FAB 5! And Molly is a host on "First Take" on ESPN. How cool! This is what had inspired our "Rose" theme for the wedding. The first phone call I made to begin the planning was to my friend Dan at Spice Catering Group. Not only because he is a big basketball fan, but because I knew he was perfect for the job. He would handle all of the rental needs, create a delicious menu, and his staff would take care of everyone professionally and courteously. They did not disappoint.   Next, we needed a photographer. Lucky for me, I know TONS of talented ones. Since this was not a traditional wedding (no ceremony and not too many formalities), Sandy wanted a photographer with a laid-back feel who would capture lots of candids of family and friends having a good time. I gave her a handful to choose from and she decided on Marissa from Wonderland Photography. I'd say an excellent choice! Entertainment was next. Since there were so many kids that would be at the event, Sandy wanted a kid-friendly DJ and also a bounce house. I knew that DJ Butters Entertainment could provide both, so he was our choice. He even included some fun lighting for when the party really got going! Sandy's husband, Dave, had a florist in mind for the centerpieces. Plumb Farmsis a client of his, so he chose to hire them to create the centerpieces that we had envisioned. The floral wreaths they designed for the lanterns that we purchased were amazing! The colors were vibrant and the flowers were as fresh as can be! The pop of red roses were the perfect accent for our "Rose" theme, with a hint of autumn.  What wedding is complete without cake? Sandy chose to go with cupcakes and a small cake for Molly & Jalen to cut at the reception. Kristin at Cheshire Baking Company was amazing to work with. She was so thorough and wanted to make sure she had all the details correct, from the flavors to the display and the cute little rose buds on top of the cupcakes. I'd say she nailed it all! The last little detail we wanted to incorporate was an ice sculpture with a frozen rose inside. Dan at Spice Catering Group has been working with Ice Matters for quite sometime, so they discussed this piece as the center of the Mediterranean station at cocktail hour. It really stood out and looked gorgeous! Hats off to all of the wedding professionals who made this day magical (and in a very short period of time)! I couldn't have done it without all of you! And thank you to Sandy, Molly & Jalen for entrusting us with such a beautiful day for your family! Congratulations to all! Photography: Wonderland PhotographyFlorals: Plumb FarmsCatering: Spice Catering GroupCake & Cupcakes: Cheshire Baking CompanyDJ & Uplighting: DJ Butters EntertainmentRose Ice Sculpture: Ice MattersFull Wedding Planning: Pink Olive Events
Oct
24
Wedding Highlights

Rebecca & Dale's Wedding Weekend Extravaganza

Rebecca originally contacted me in the spring of 2017. After taking a break from wedding planning, she contacted me again over the summer. We had a few phone conversations and exchanged lots of emails, as Rebecca and her fiancee, Dale, were busy business owners themselves living in Florida. We finally made arrangements to meet in person at her hotel when she came to Connecticut for a visit. She talked about the little bit that she had planned so far for her wedding and how she envisioned the entire weekend going. Her date was Labor Day Weekend, so she was planning an extended weekend in Connecticut with her family and friends. It sounded amazing and I so wanted to be a part of it! I later created a proposal based on what we discussed she would be needing. There was lots of planning involved with this client because she was out of state. I was looking forward to bringing it all together for her! Rebecca accepted my proposal and I got to work. Rebecca and her guests started the weekend off with a rehearsal dinner at Rocky's Aqua. Guests were welcomed to the beginning of the weekend ahead! Then on to the wedding day... First of all, when she told me her color scheme (fuchsia and navy blue), I couldn't have been more excited! I mean, anything pink is my jam. So, let's talk about these florals from Bethany Florist & Gift Shoppe. SO GORGE! Rebecca had a specific vision in mind for her bouquets and centerpieces, and Rachel completely nailed it! Since Rebecca and Dale were living out of state, they had a lot shipped directly to me that needed assembling. That included these adorable bonfire S'mores treats for their guests staying at the resort... And these very personalized hotel welcome bags. They were customized with a personalized cup, tons of snacks, Voss waters, adorable hangover kits, Westbrook stuffed lobsters, and a Westbrook guide. This arch and ceremony setup was everything! Another job well done by Bethany Florist & Gift Shoppe. Lisa from Chair Affair was in charge of the linens and the chair bling. And what a beautiful job she did! Totally transformed the room! Themes Come True was a vendor that Rebecca found to make all of her stationary. Everything from the invitations to the menu cards to the place cards and welcome bag itinerary. What wedding is complete without flip flops! Quintessential Design & Boutique made this super cute sign for the box I purchased! Just as the party started to kick off, there was an unplanned interruption... The fire alarm went off and the entire building was forced to evacuate. Rebecca and Dale were such troopers that they stopped to pose and take a few shots with the fire truck to document the event! :) After everyone was allowed back in, the party continued and guests had a great time with Luna Photo Lounge, and games and music from Boppers Events! Thank you to all of these fantastic wedding professionals for making the day so incredible! Photography: J. Fiereck PhotographyVenue: The Water's Edge Resort & Spa, Westbrook, CTVideography: MV Film ProductionsFlorals: Bethany Florist & Gift ShoppeCatering & Cake: The Water's Edge Resort & Spa, Westbrook, CTHair & Makeup: Kiss N MakeupDJ & Uplighting: Boppers EventsLinens and Chair Accents: Chair AffairPrinted Materials: Themes Come TruePhoto Booth: Luna Photo LoungeSignage: Quintessenial DesignsDay Of Coordination: Pink Olive Events    
Oct
10
Wedding Highlights

Max & Ashley's Madison Beach Wedding

Max's mom, Cathy, contacted me about 2 months before Max & Ashley's wedding. She told me that they were hosting her son's wedding in their backyard, and while they had hosted parties there before, they were beginning to get a bit overwhelmed with this one. I told her that I was available on their date (8/18/18) and would love to help out! Max contacted me for a meeting shortly after that. Max and Ashley were the first couple that I met in my new office! I was so excited to meet them and of course, they were so sweet. We discussed their plans so far and what exactly they were looking for in a day-of coordinator. My "month of" package was just what they wanted. I sent over a proposal that night and they booked me soon after that! We scheduled our detail meeting soon after, and Liz and I went to the home in Madison for a walkthrough. It was beautiful! There was a large guest house where Ashley would get ready on the wedding day, and a big backyard that dropped off to the beach. The ceremony would be on the beach, and the cocktail hour and reception would be under a large tent on the grass. The day of the rehearsal, Liz, Diana and I set up all the tables and chairs that the rental company had left. We coordinated the ceremony so that everyone knew what to expect the next day, and where they needed to be and when. They had a (mostly) beautiful wedding day. There were talks of thunderstorms that day, and it had even rained the night before. Fortunately for them (and us!), the rain held off until after the beach ceremony and they were even able to get some great photos after the ceremony.   Didn't Max look handsome waiting for his bride? Here she comes! The clouds were rolling in... But it didn't last long. After a brief thunderstorm post-cocktail hour, my assistants and I hit the dance floor with some towels to wipe up the rain. Things did get a bit messy, but I'm proud of my team for stepping up and doing what needed to be done (including ruining a perfectly pair of comfy work shoes). It was all worth it to see these 2 so happy. They're absolutely adorable! Max and his mom, Cathy, had a completely non-traditional mother/son dance song. Look at them getting down! Oh, and Ashley's sister owns The Sugar Bakery, so how amazing do you think THESE were?     The evening ended with sparklers and lanterns. Perfect way to end a perfect wedding. Thank you to all of these fantastic vendors for making the day so incredible and stepping up when the rain started! Photography: Rod Jovanelly, The ProsVenue: Private Residence, Madison, CTVideography: Vlad Fridlyand, The ProsFlorals: Stop & Shop, MadisonCupcakes: The Sugar BakeryHair & Makeup: Blu Hair & Bridal StudioBand: Those GuysRentals: Abbey TentCatering: Fitzgerald's Fine CateringDay Of Coordination: Pink Olive Events
Oct
05
Tips & Tricks

5 Tips to Wedded Bliss

OK, maybe the title is a bit overkill, but you opened the blog, didn't you?   My 10 year wedding anniversary was yesterday and although I am by no means a marriage expert, I thought it would be fun to put together a few tips that I’ve acquired over the last decade.   1. Never stop dating each other. Even after the kids came, my husband and I always made time for date nights, and still do. We’re lucky enough to have plenty of family and friends nearby that love to babysit our kids. Even still, we sometimes hire a babysitter if no one is available and we think we are in need of a date night. I realized not everyone has the means to do this, so if going out isn’t an option, there’s other ways to “date”. Put the kids to bed and have dinner together in peace. Pour a glass of wine, share a meal and just talk to each other. Then snuggle up on the couch with a movie or good book. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.   2. Always say good morning and goodnight. My husband leaves for work pretty early in the morning, and let’s be honest, I’m still asleep 99% of the time. But I know that every morning before he leaves, he kisses me goodbye and says “I love you”. He has been doing this for 13 years (almost 3 years together before we got married). At the end of the day, we always make sure to say good night to each other too (even if we’re not particularly happy with each other).   3. Support each other. No matter what. Whether it’s work, personal or otherwise, support the choices your spouse makes. Find out how you can help so he or she will be successful. We have both been business owners and we have both worked for other people or companies for the steady paycheck and benefits. We have supported each other through all of it. My husband has hung lanterns at venues, and he’s driven to Maine to be my assistant when a couple changed their venue and I was 6 months pregnant. I’ve done marketing and promoted his business. And we were both there for each other when we decided we didn’t want to be business owners anymore, or wanted to change directions. Just be supportive.    4. Don’t take each other for granted. This seems like an obvious one, but it’s easy to let this happen. I know that my husband will do anything for me and our boys and I sometimes forget that he doesn’t have to do much of what he does. Be gracious towards each other.    5. Be friends. We have been best friends since day one. Tell each other secrets. Have an end-of-the-day drink together. Call or text each other throughout the day if your job allows it. Tell each other about everyday things that happen to you. Laugh together. Then go to sleep together at the end of the day.   I know planning a wedding is fun, but the real fun comes during the marriage. You'll go through many ups and downs (hopefully more ups), but if you take even a little piece of this to heart, you will be happy for many years to come!
Sep
18
Tips & Tricks

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner Before Anything Else

Not everyone is a wedding planner or knows one. Wedding planning is stressful and can be confusing. According to the Wedding Wire 2017 Wedding Report, the top stresses of brides planning their weddings are: determining budget, the guest list, finding their venue, finding the right vendors and managing RSVPs.Wedding planners can help you with all of these stresses and others that may arise during the planning process. Budget Insight. We will have an overall sense of what you can and can’t afford according to your budget. We will also be able to tell you where you could save and how you could splurge. We can help you weigh the time of year, day of week, location and if you should consider an all-inclusive venue or not.   Venue Selection. We will be able to explain (in detail) the differences, challenges and ideas they see among a selection of venues you are considering. We will be able to discuss with you what you will have to rent (from tables to lighting to bathrooms), how transportation will be a factor with a venue near the edge of town or in the middle of the city and back up plans for bad weather.     We Will Be Your Advocate. We will deal with all of the details and logistics with vendors. We will be your voice and liaison when booking venues, vendors, etc. We will also help you advocate for your vision and keep everything on track.   Better Connections. We know many people in the industry. We will be able to tell you the vendors that will make a good dream team and which vendors do great work. Additionally, we will be able to tell you who we did not have great experiences working with. Many times, a vendor that we work with regularly will offer my clients a discount. Inside Industry Knowledge. We will be able to help guide you in the right direction. If you’re a DIY bride, we will know where to get the cheapest materials, which wholesale retailers (usually florists) sell to the public and how to set up that dessert bar you saw on Pinterest. Because we have almost seen it all, we can answer any question you may have. Meaning you don’t have to spend hours doing research.   Planners are professionals that can answer any questions, concerns or problems you have. From proper etiquettes for your invitations, to how to limit children at your reception without hurting feelings, and when you should cut the cake or do the bouquet toss. Wedding planners are your secret weapon to helping you create the wedding of your dreams. We will do everything they can to make sure that your special day is the best day ever!   Contact me today to get started!
Sep
11
Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Embracing Rain on Your Big Day

Rain, Rain, Go Away! Rain on your wedding day may be a terrible thought for most brides. Will it dampen your dream day? Will it destroy all of your meticulous planning and details? Only if you let it. We've complied 5 tips to ensure that rain on your wedding day isn't the end of the world.   5. Use Rain for Creative Photos Make sure to ask your photographer and videographer if they have any ideas to make pictures fun, creative and beautiful. Rain can create natural and romantic pictures due to the soft lighting and shimmer of water on the ground. 4. Umbrellas Umbrellas can keep everyone dry and provide a fun prop for pictures. You can ask your guests to bring (or provide) a certain color or multi-colored umbrellas to create a sea of colors for photographs.  3. Tell Your Guests Let your guests know the plan with an "incase of rain/inclement weather" note in your invitation suite and/or on your wedding website. Guests feel more comfortable when they are in the loop.  2. Be Practical with Beauty Rain and beauty are not friends, think about runny mascara and eye shadow. This can be alleviated by talking with your hair and make up team. Whether it be waterproof make up, a messy hairdo or a flower crown that won't fall apart if exposed to wind and water. 1. Rent a Tent We can't express the number of times tents have saved the day. If you want an outdoor ceremony or reception, make sure to rent a tent to keep everyone dry. This will keep your guests happy as well as allow you to keep your ceremony/reception outside. If the venue doesn't rent tents, you should be able to find a vendor for last minute services.  BONUS TIP: The Blues It's perfectly understandable to be upset about the rain, but don't let it ruin your day. Your guests take cues from you, they will follow and minic your energy. If you don't let the rain bother you, it won't bother your guests. Happy planning!xo
Aug
30
Tips & Tricks

10 Ways the Groom Can Help with the Wedding Planning Process

1. Choosing and Overseeing the Groomsmen. The groom will usually be in charge of choosing his groomsmen. But to further the process he can also invite (if you're feeling fancy Pinterest has tons of ideas), keeping track of suit fittings and notify them of all wedding activities and schedules. 2. Help Plan the Guest List. The groom should provide his partner with a list of friends and family that he wants to invite with their addresses. He should also provide a list of who his parents want to invite with correct salutations and addresses. 3. Track Down Missing RSVPs. He can also be in charge of tracking down missing RSVPs from his side of the guest list. With their meal choices and number attending, if applicable. 4. Choosing and Giving Gifts to Groomsmen and Best Man. This is a chance for him to thank the guest for their participation, their friendship and their support. Popular gifts we've seen this wedding season are flasks, apparel (t-shirts, jerseys, etc.) and liquor with personalized labels. 5. Writing and Practicing His Vows. Please don't leave this till the last minute. Take your time to write heartfelt, meaningful vows in advanced. Be sure to practice reading or reciting them aloud before the big day. 6. Staying on Top of the Rehearsal Dinner. Decide on a place and a time. Make sure to tell both sets of parents and all bridal party members where and when to show up. This will take a task off of your partner's plate. 7. Styling His Wedding Day Look. The groom should pick his suit and make sure that he feels comfortable wearing it. It should also fit into the overall style of the wedding. For traditional weddings, grooms usually wear tuxedos. This wedding season, we've seen a rise in slim-fit silhouettes and shades of gray suits. 8. Getting a Haircut. We usually advise getting a haircut about a week before the wedding. 9. Making a Toast. Be prepared to make (and respond) to toasts at the rehearsal dinner and the reception. 10. Give the Bride a Thoughtful Gift. Get her something special, make sure its wrapped and has a touching note. You can exchange gifts the night before or have it delivered to her while she's getting ready. BONUS - Say It and Often - "I Love You." This is the perfect time to be romantic to the point of being cheesy. Leave notes around - post its, on a note in her lunch or slips of paper under fridge magnets, anywhere she'll see it. This will help keep your bride smiling and reminded of your love no matter how stressful the planning gets. Happy planning! XO
Aug
22
General

Guide to Wedding Planners, Designers, Coordinators, and On-Site Coordinators

What's the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Coordinator? Do I need to hire a Wedding Coordinator if my venue has one on-site? Many think that these titles are interchangeable, however, they would be vaery wrong. Read on to find out the differences and when you should hire which? Wedding Planners: What they do: Wedding planners are all about the logistics and planning. Some may also provide design services or styling services that will help with the creative specifics of your wedding day. Typical duties: Put in the most hours helping you plan. Provides vendor referrals and negotiates contracts, schedules and attends all vendor meetings. Creates detailed timelines, floor plans and schedules. Helps determine and manage your budget. Attends site tours and menu tastings. Brainstorms style ideas and coordinates design details. Coordinates hotel room blocks and transportation. Manages the rehearsal. Oversees everything on the big day (makes sure everyone sticks to the timeline, handles issues, manages all the vendors, and executes your wedding vision on-site). Hire if: You have the budget for it. You want the smallest amount of wedding-related stress possible. You have no free time because of a demanding job. You have no clue where to start and your organizational skills aren't the best. You have a very short timeframe for planning and executing. You're hosting your wedding in an unusual venue (not in a hotel, restaurant or banquet hall). Wedding Designers/Wedding Stylist/Wedding Architect: What they do: A wedding designers job is purely aesthetic. They work on the overall style and design for your wedding day. Typical duties: Creates the wedding's design concept. Provides color scheme or palette guidance. Oversees the décor budget and vendors (your florist, rentals and lighting). Sources special props and equipment. Attends a site visit to visualize where you want everything to go, devise a layout and identify potential problems with the décor. Creates detailed floor plans. Ensures all of the décor elements are in place on-site for the wedding. Hire if: The décor is the most important element of the wedding for you. You're confident in your organizational and logistical skills, but your creative skills are lacking. You're trying to pull off a very specific theme or you have a million weddings style ideas that you can't narrow down. Wedding Coordinators: What they do: Wedding coordinators as like wedding planners, but on a shorter timeline. They usually come in and help you a month or so before the wedding as well as functioning as the point person on the big day. Typical duties: Meets with you 4-8 weeks before the wedding to get a handle on what you've planned thus far. Checks in with your vendors to review the signed contracts and confirm logistics. Creates detailed timelines and floor plans. Completes a final walkthrough of the ceremony and reception sites. Addresses any overlooked details (like forgetting to hire a coat check attendant or a tent rental). Manages the rehearsal. Oversees everything on the big day. Hire if: You want to play an active role in planning your wedding but would like someone to take care of the last minute details and make sure you haven't missed anything. You're extremely organized and detail oriented. You don't have the budget for a full service wedding planner. On-Site Coordinators: What they do: On-Site Coordinators are responsible for everything that specifically deals with the venues. They are not wedding planners or designers or coordinators, they will not help you plan your wedding. They are there to ensure that the venue is doing what the contract says. Typical duties: If the venue provides catering, make sure there are kitchen and wait staff scheduled to fit the needs. Will possibly provide you with a list of preferred vendors. If catering is provided, they will create a timeline for the catering staff. Be there during your wedding to make sure that venue provides what was contracted for. Happy planning! xo
Aug
07
Tips & Tricks

4 Biggest Regrets from Real Brides Who Have Planned Their Wedding

I wanted to know what REAL brides these days regret about their wedding planning or wedding day. I posted this question on social media and watched the responses pour in. Future brides: don't make the same mistakes that these brides did. Get comfortable and read on! 4. Not hiring a wedding coordinator. This is the one I was hoping for (obviously)! All kidding aside, do yourself a big favor and hire a wedding coordinator. Even if your venue has one on-site, it's not the same as having your own personal coordinator that works for YOU instead of the venue. We provide very different services, and we can assure you that YOU are our number one priority on the day of your wedding. If your venue does NOT have a coordinator on-site, that is an even bigger reason to hire one. One of the brides who responded to my post said that she gave a "friend" her centerpieces to setup, but they never made it to the reception. The "friend" claimed she lost them on the way, so the tables were bare for the reception. Don't let that happen to you.Intrigued? Here's our Full Planning and Month Of packages. 3. Trying to please everybody else. There are going to be a lot of "cooks in the kitchen" when it comes to your wedding planning. Everyone is going to have an opinion, whether it is about the venue, the dress, the guest list, the seating chart, the bridal party...the list goes on and on. BUT...remember that it is YOUR day. The only ones you have to please are yourselves. Make the day truly about you and your fiancé and what you want.  2. Not spending enough on quality vendors. Ever hear the saying "You get what pay for"? Yeah, that's a saying for a reason. You want quality? You're going to pay for quality. Don't skimp on the important vendors like your photographer. They are going to be taking the photos that you will have for the rest of your life! You want them to not only be GOOD, but you also want them to know enough about wedding photography to make sure they capture the important moments like the first kiss. There are no do-overs.The same goes for your DJ. Anyone can press play on an iPod, but are they going to be able to read the crowd? Make announcements? Follow a timeline? Being a wedding DJ is so much more than just playing music and unfortunately, the "cheap" ones think that's all there is to it.When it comes to hiring a wedding planner, I may not be the least expensive, but my experience is priceless. I've heard horror stories about hiring someone with less experience "because they were cheap" and it was not good.  My advice is to decide what your top 3 priorities are for your wedding and put your money there. 1. Not getting the wedding video. Videographers, rejoice! The numero uno response that I got when asked what brides regret about their wedding is that they didn't hire a videographer. Listen, we know weddings are expensive, but we actually think this is an important vendor to somehow fit into your budget (also see #2). I have my wedding video that I've watched with my kids, and the fact that I have grandparents who are no longer with us on that video (along with their voices!) that I can point out and share with my kids is priceless. Happy planning!xo
Jul
24
Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Staying Organized During Wedding Planning

Preparing for your big day without organization of almost every aspect can lead to disaster. It may seem redundant at first, but writing every detail down (phone numbers, names, lists, etc.) will save you some hair pulling and unneeded stress throughout the planning process. 2. Make labels and tabs for EVERYTHING. This includes your invite list (names, addresses, and numbers of possible attendees), vendor options (photographer, caterer, DJ/band, venues, etc.), honeymoon possibilities, wedding shower details, invitations, thank you cards, bridesmaids and groomsmen information, etc. Excel will be your best friend. You might also want to check out Allseated.com for floor plans and guest lists! 3. Keep pictures of the venue, floral arrangements, invitation design, etc. Having pictures along with contact information (names, phone numbers, emails), this will help you remember who is who in the long run. It's also easier to toss designs or venues that don't appeal to you with visual representation. Or make a Pinterest board for each of these or put them in separated folders in your binder. 4. Create an email address specifically for all things wedding-related. This will reduce the clutter in your personal or work inbox and keep wedding plans in one place. Use this email address when you attend bridal shows as well. You will be getting lots of follow up emails from the vendors you spoke with! 5. Make sure to have a calendar. Whether this be your personal calendar or a specific one for your planning process, it's important to have. This will help you keep track of bookings, tastings, appointments and countdown to the big day. If you use a digital calendar, great. Old pen and paper work better for you? No problem! Just make sure you pick one or the other and stick with it. Things could get lost in the mix if you go back and forth. ***BONUS TIP*** Start planning EARLY. Not only will you get your first choice with your venue and vendors, but you won't feel stressed and on a time constraint to make decisions. Happy planning! xo
Jul
17
Tips & Tricks

The 411 on RSVPs

There's so much information that needs to be relayed in a response card. Who's eating what? How many guest responses are included on that card? It can get confusing, but keep reading because here's the 411 on RSVPs! The date on your RSVP card should be about 3-4 weeks before your wedding. There will ALWAYS be those people who you have to hunt down to respond last minute (BTW, DON'T be that person for someone else's wedding). Allowing a buffer of 3-4 weeks allows for those last minute slackers to respond and helps reduce your stress of having to put together a floor plan. Most venues or caterers don't need your final head count until 1 week before the wedding, so you should be ok there! Your little cousins are totally adorbs, but you don't want them at your reception. How do you convey this information nicely to your aunt? Simple! On the RSVP card, simply state "We have reserved 2 (or 1) seats in your honor". This should give them the hint that the children are not invited. *Side note: The outer address envelope should also read "Mr. & Mrs. Jones" as opposed to "The Jones Family". This is another indicator that it is adults only. With all of the dietary restrictions these days, it's hard to completely accommodate everybody (gluten free, vegan, lactose intolerant, the list goes on and on). Whether you are having a plated dinner or buffet, leave a line on the RSVP card to note any dietary restrictions. Your caterer or venue should be able to accommodate most. Want a packed dance floor at your reception? Your guests want to dance to the songs they know and love. On one side of your RSVP card, leave a line asking for your guests' favorite songs. If you love the info we share with you, feel free to share with others! Happy planning!xo
Jul
09
Wedding Highlights

Dara & Jared's Hyatt Regency Wedding

This wedding was so amazingly beautiful that I had to share. With 220 guests, this was one of the largest weddings I've coordinated in my 11 years in business. It was also one of the most involved in terms of numbers of vendors and moving parts, but my assistants and I totally pulled it together and the result was amazing!! I've known the father of the bride for about 5 years now. He owns a venue where I coordinate an annual post-graduation party. Last year, at one of the meetings with that client, he mentioned that he had a daughter who was planning her wedding (and another who was going to be getting engaged soon) and asked if I planned weddings as well. I told him that was actually the bulk of my business, so he asked me to give him a call. The rest is history... Fast forward to April 29, 2018: Dara & Jared were married at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, CT. Their first look took place prior to the ceremony on the balcony overlooking the Atrium, which would later be their cocktail hour site. Clearly, Jared was thrilled to see his bride-to-be. We can't over his expression! Pure joy and love for Dara!   They went on to take photos with their bridal party at Binney Park in Old Greenwich. They had the perfect weather!        They returned to take photos under the most beautiful Chuppah I have ever seen. I mean, seriously, this thing was amazing. Those colors. That setup. It took at least 4 hours to set it up. It was literally constructed on-site from scratch. I wish it could have stayed up for the entire wedding. It was set up in the temporary tent that they Hyatt puts up from April until October. This is where the ceremony took place, and the way a plain white tent took shape with the right chiavari chairs and decor was amazing.     Here comes the bride...    I thought it was absolutely beautiful the way that Dara circled Jared before they took their places under the Chuppah. This is a tradition with Jewish wedding ceremonies.         After the ceremony, guests were directed down the hall to the Atrium. This looked like a rainforest and was just the perfect setting for cocktail hour. Then came the reception in the ballroom. As amazing as this photo is, it's hard to convey how gorgeous this room looked. It went from a plain old hotel ballroom to a perfectly magical wedding. The uplighting was beautiful. The centerpieces, absolutely exquisite. Truly breathtaking.   Next came this work of art in the form of a cake. DiMare Pastry did a beautiful job with this 5-tier cake, garnished with beautiful flowers from Bride & Blossom. Swoon!     Finally, the 11-piece Eddie Bruce Band led the guests to dance the night away. They are insanely talented and the guests had a blast (obviously).   As guests exited the ballroom, mini S'mores favors awaited. When the reception ended, there was an after-party until 1:00 am! It was definitely a fun-filled day celebrating the love between Dara & Jared. We wish them all the best for a lifetime of happiness!     Photography: Brian Hatton PhotographyVenue: The Hyatt Regency, GreenwichVideography: Frank Ahn FilmsFlorals: Bride & BlossomCake: DiMare PastryHair: Styles on BMakeup: Stacie Ford WeddingsBand: Eddie Bruce BandRentals: MitchcoLighting: Vivid EventsDay Of Coordination: Pink Olive Events
Jun
26
General

Why Would I Work with a Travel Advisor for my Honeymoon?

No doubt working with a travel advisor saves precious time both during the planning process and during your journey. But that's hardly the extent of the value that a good travel advisor adds to your trip. In many cases, booking with us actually saves money in addition to providing you with amenities you can't get on your own or through an online travel agency. And, when planning this very special once in a lifetime trip, why wouldn't you want all of the extra attention and amenities you can get!!! If you've worked with me before, you know about my affiliation with the Virtuoso network, which makes me a preferred partner with the best hotels, tour operators and cruise lines in the world and provides exclusive benefits to our clients such as room upgrades, resort credits and breakfast included when you stay at a Virtuoso hotel. More than that, however, I cultivate strong relationships with my partners so that when I send my clients out into the world, I am placing you in the care of trusted friends. When my clients arrive, they are greeted as VIP guests and doted on by my partners. And if my clients do not receive exceptional service, I will find out the reason why and take steps to correct any issues while you're in travel. Good luck getting that from an online travel agency. When you work with a travel advisor, especially me....you should see a noticeable difference. The difference goes beyond Virtuoso, as we are members of just about every elite hotel amenity program there is. With Belmond's Bellini Club, you'll receive extra benefits on Belmond luxury trains and in their hotels. Membership in the Dorchester Collection's Diamond Club gives our clients gives our clients guaranteed upgrades at such hotels and the Plaza Athénée in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and The Beverly Hills Hotel. As preferred partners of Fairmont and Four Seasons, our clients receive VIP treatment at some of the most exclusive hotels and resorts in the world. Staying with such fine hotel chains as Mandarin Oriental, Jumeirah, Rosewood, Ritz-Carlton, Rocco Forte and Starwood, you'll enjoy complimentary breakfast, credits for use in spas or restaurants along with upgraded rooms and personalized welcomes from management. The same goes for collections such as Small Luxury Hotels and the Relais & Chateaux network of properties famed for their culinary quality and unique charm. You simply cannot reproduce the quality of experience that working with a Memorable Moments Travel, an affiliate of Largay Travel by booking on your own or through an online travel agency. Every step of the way, from planning to traveling to memorializing the trip of a lifetime, you are in good hands with real live people who are dedicated to making sure your experience is one you'll want to relive over and over. With my help, you'll be so thrilled with your vacation, you'll already be thinking about your next one by the time you get home.
Jun
25
Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Creating A Delicious Wedding Menu That Everyone Will Love

We customize all of our wedding menus, so that tends to throw couples off when we say, "We can make whatever you want". It seems like such an overwhelming task to build a wedding menu from scratch as opposed to having options handed to you. But don't you want your wedding to be a reflection of you and your fiancé? Shouldn't the food appeal to you and your likes? Although it sounds like a daunting task to build your menu from the ground up, here are 5 tips to help you through it. Decide on your style. Is it a backyard BBQ that you are going for, or an elegant plated dinner? Looking for something a bit more eclectic? We can do that too! Buffet not your thing? Let's create an action station. It just depends on your style and the vibe you are going for. Determine the formality of the wedding. Are passed hors d'oeuvres a must have? I'd say that's more of a formal quality. If you're having a black tie affair, passed hors d'oeuvres are a must. Stationed hors d'oeuvres make it a bit more casual and allows your guests to get up and mingle. Consider a fun action station if you are going for a more laid back feel. Create a budget. Think about what it costs you to go out to a nice meal with your fiancé. You order an appetizer, a few drinks, an entree and dessert. What is your bill at the end of the night? $100? $150? Don't forget to add gratuity! This is just a night out. Now think about what your budget should be for your WEDDING. I'm not saying it should cost as much as a down payment on a house, but consider the cost to treat all of your guests to a nice dinner, and set the budget accordingly. Consider the season. The weather in New England is so finicky, but you can rest assured that it is going to be HOT in July and August. Consider lighter fare during the warm summer months. Guests don't want to be eating anything too heavy, especially if they are outside. A summer gazpacho could be a nice refreshing treat. On the other hand, winters are know to linger in Connecticut. People want warm comfort foods during those months. Hot homemade dishes that evoke comfort are the way to go. Make sure you have plenty of food to cater to the masses. Chicken, beef, fish and veggies are just some of the popular categories, but make it fun! Your caterer doesn't want to make the same things over and over. Allow them to be creative and design a menu that is exactly what you envision on your wedding day.
Jun
24
Tips & Tricks

10 Tips for Creating Your Wedding Timeline

You can be the chillest bride in all the land, but you (and your vendors) still need a wedding day timeline. ALWAYS put an end time. That way there is NO question about when the reception is over. It seems like an obvious one, but you'd be surprised. There was one wedding I coordinated that the DJ, venue and caterer ALL had different end times given to them by the bride. In order for your event to flow effortlessly, this needs to be determined well in advance. Make sure that all of your main events happen before the photographer and/or videographer leave. Again, it sounds obvious, but not all photographers/videographers offer an unlimited amount of time on the day of your wedding. Make sure you don't have the cake cutting planned after they are scheduled to leave, for example. Plan your hours of coverage around the main events. Are the "getting ready" photos as important to you as those end of the night dancing photos? Be sure that all of the vendors' timelines correlate and that you can put it into one main timeline for the entire day. You don't want your photographer to plan on taking family photos while dinner is being served. Make sure that everyone's timing is the same, and if it's not, get it there. Put the timeline in order. Skipping around causes confusion. When everything is in order, you can check things off as they happen. Include the vendor's contact information right on the timeline. If someone is late and you need to call them, you won't have to search through your stack of contracts for their phone number. Leave a buffer. You should definitely leave a little extra time between things like your hair and makeup being finished and your first look, or the length of your ceremony. Things happen and sometimes things take longer than planned. Be prepared. Go with it. If all of your vendors are on the same page, but your timeline isn't being followed minute by minute, don't stress. As long as your vendors are working to improvise the timing together, and everything that is planned will get done, just sit back and enjoy your wedding day. I had one bride who literally looked at her watch the entire night, asking "Are we going to cut the cake soon?" when her dance floor was packed with dancing guests. The DJ and I were reading the crowd, and at that moment, guests were enjoying themselves and we made a decision to hold off on asking guests to sit down so the couple could cut their cake at that exact moment. Lines are KEY! If your caterer or the venue is providing table linens, these are one of the first items that need to be setup. The florist cannot set the centerpieces and the coordinator cannot set up any table decor if the table linens are not dropped yet. Plan accordingly. Get your vendors fed first, or at least when you eat. If they are served dead last after the guests, they barely have time to take a bite before they get back to work. You don't want cranky, hungry vendors on your wedding day. Most of the time, they have been on their feet for hours, and they're human too. They get hungry. Take this is into consideration when speaking with your caterer or venue. Tell them you want your vendors fed with you so that nothing is missed when it's time to get the party started. Distribute the final timeline to ALL vendors at least a week prior to the wedding to allow for any discrepancies that may need to be fixed. You don't want to be scrambling the day before your wedding to fix a major timing issue. *Bonus Tip: ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY! Don't sweat the small stuff. In 10 years, no one is going to remember that dinner ran a few minutes late or you didn't cut the cake immediately following dinner. Enjoy being surrounded by friends and family that are only there to celebrate the love you have for each other.
Jun
14
General

What DOES a Wedding Planner Do?

There seems to be some misconceptions or confusion about what a wedding planner (coordinator, consultant) actually does. Yes, I plan weddings, but I do so much more than that. I can't even count the number of times I've heard "I don't need a planner, I'm doing it myself". That's great! Of course we don't want to take away the joys and excitement of planning your wedding. But everyone needs a little help now and then. For starters, did you know that Pink Olive Events offers rehearsal and day-of wedding coordination? This allows you to plan your own wedding, but about one month before the big day, I come in and take care of those final details. I confirm with your vendors and create a detailed timeline for all to follow. I take charge on the night of the rehearsal to make sure that the bridal party processional and recessional flow and that everyone knows their place. Anything that needs to be set up on the day of the wedding is collected at this time so that you are not to worry about a thing that day! Once the big day arrives, I coordinate with all your vendors to make sure everything runs smoothly and I serve as that "go-to" person should any issues arise. For that couple who needs a bit more direction than this, I have a variety of services that can be customized just for you. I NEVER confine you to a package or make you pay for something you just don't need. Every couple is different and I realize this, so I am only as involved as you'd like me to be. If you are recently engaged or just don't know where to begin, I can help with this too! The full planning wedding services cover everything from soup to nuts. I will recommend and tour wedding venues with you, set you on the right track with your budgeting, recommend and meet with vendors with you, assist you with your invitations, and so much more! Speaking of vendors, did you know that I can help you save money in your planning? Many of the vendors that I work with on a regular basis offer my clients discounts on their services. In addition the all of the above, I also serve as that "go-to" person for you, your family, and your vendors. I act as that neutral third party when there are decisions to be made that family disagree on. And most of all, I like to think that we are a friend to many of our clients. They can call/text/email me at any time for anything! I ALWAYS offer free consultations, so it doesn't hurt just to come in to sit and chat! Relax with a cup of coffee and come tell us about your dream wedding! And yes, that is me, pinning the groom with his boutonnière because very rarely does anyone actually now how to do this!
Jun
14
Tips & Tricks

Do's & Don'ts of Giving a Wedding Toast

Weddings are a very emotional and sentimental for everyone involved, not just the couple. Family and friends often take the opportunity to offer a toast to the happy couple at the wedding reception. Now, let me tell you, I've seen and heard my fair share of toasts all the way from a quick congratulations to a 30 minutes slideshow, so please listen up as I offer the do's and don'ts for a wedding toast. Do: Make it meaningful. If you're giving a toast at a wedding, chances are you're very close to the couple. Make the toast special and meaningful to both. Put some thought into it. Don't just "wing it". Put some thought and consideration into what you want to say. This is one of the happiest days of the couples' lives. Don't stumble and "um" your way through a toast because you didn't prepare. Keep it short. I mean, 5 minutes, tops. Wish the couple well and move on. Address both guests of honor. There are 2 people at this wedding. Don't go on and on about what a wonderful person just one of them is. If you don't know the other one very well, just acknowledge what a great couple they make and how happy they are together. Don't: Tell inside jokes or talk about stories that only you and the bride or groom will understand or find funny. People get bored by this because they have no idea what you are talking about. Ramble. Make a few bullet points about what you want to say and stick to it. Your audience can tell when you are rambling just to fill your time with words. Read word for word. Again, make a few key bullet points and expand on them. Speak from the heart and to the couple. Nothing is worse than seeing the top of your head the entire time you are giving the toast because you are reading from a piece of paper (or your phone!). Look at the couple and toast TO them. Tell embarrassing stories. Please don't embarrass your friends on their wedding day. Their parents don't need to know about that time they were "soooooo drunk". It's embarrassing for all involved, so keep these stories to yourself. Keep it classy. Talk about exes. Exes are in the past for a reason. They don't need to be mentioned at a wedding. Clearly, everyone has moved on, so you should too.
Jun
14
Tips & Tricks

3 Tips for Staying Cool During Your Wedding This Summer

Wedding season is in full swing! But there is a lot to consider when planning your outdoor summer wedding. Here are 3 tips for staying cool at your wedding this summer! Looking Your Best The summer is definitely a great time to have a wedding, but the heat and humidly are not always hair and makeup-friendly. So how do you still have the summer wedding you dreamed about while still looking your absolute best? HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE! Make sure you consistently drink cold water throughout the day. This will cool your body down and also prevent dehydration. Ask your Maid of Honor or Wedding Coordinator to keep a cold bottle of water nearby at all times, especially if you plan to take photos outside. Water-based makeup is best matched with a light powder. Also be sure that your makeup and lotions contain a sunscreen to avoid getting sunburn. For eye makeup such as mascara and eyeliner, be sure to go with the waterproof brands so if you do sweat it won't run. Use a facial blotting tissue to blot away excess moisture without smudging your makeup. See if your makeup artist has a particular brand they suggest, or even if they have some samples they can leave with you. If you find yourself overheating make sure you apply a cold compress to the back of your neck and your wrists. This will help cool your body down. Attire If your wedding is during the hot summer months make sure your bridal party (and the bride and groom!) are comfortable. You can still keep some sort of formality for your summer wedding while remaining cool. Brides - you're not going to be cool and comfortable in a heavy wedding dress. Stick to something sleek and elegant. Guys can wear linen suits (or another lightweight material) to keep them cool while the maids can wear tea-length dresses or even something a bit shorter (but not TOO short, it's still a wedding after all, not a nightclub). If you're going for a super casual outdoor wedding let guests know on the invitations that khakis, Hawaiian shirts, sundresses, etc. are allowed by including something like "Casual dress" on the invitation or wedding website. The formality (or lack thereof) of the invitation should suggest this as well. Food Most people don't want to eat anything hot or too heavy when the weather is warm. Keep the menu to light hors d'oeuvres and refreshing cocktails. Fresh fruit is always a good choice for dessert, especially when added to the cake. #ThursdayThoughts #PinkOliveEvents #WeddingPlanner #WeddingCoordinator #DayOfCoordinator #Engaged #EngagedInCT #SummerInCT #SummerWeddings #StayCool #SummerVibes #ThirstyThursday Makeup Photo Credit: Tim Nosenzo Photography Food Photo Credit: Wonderland Photography CT