Tips & Tricks

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
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
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. 
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
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!".
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
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
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
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