Monday, July 27, 2009

Real Wedding: Melissa & Andrew

I am beyond excited to share this post with you. Melissa & Andrew are such a gracious, nice and beautiful couple and I was honored to be their Day Of Wedding Coordinator. Their wedding was quintessentially "them" ~ having traveled to Africa, they aptly held the ceremony and reception on the rooftop of the Hotel Giraffe in Manhattan. Melissa planned such a detailed and beautiful wedding that my day was actually quite easy!

They met with the amazingly talented Cappy Hotchkiss to take photographs prior to the ceremony around Manhattan. I just love these shots:

The incredibly talented Shawn Rabideau was the floral design guru for the day and he was able to incorporate Melissa's Hawaiian heritage into the design, while also capturing their NYC flair. For their ceremony, he draped a large mirror with lush flowers and greens. The bride's processional was to Out of Africa, performed by The Devonshire Players, who were so serene. I loved that Melissa and Andrew chose to face their friends and family during the ceremony, it definitely made their vows and words much more meaningful.

Shawn's design for the dining room was seriously breath taking. We had extensive lighting done by Bentley Meeker to make the room softer and cozier. Each table was strewn with a pin tucked green satin table cloth and adorned with several arrangements varying in color and sizes. The overall affect was one of sophistication, romance and pure beauty.

Overall, a very NYC wedding! Congratulations Newlyweds!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Being the Organized Bride

After a fantastic flower consultation yesterday, I feel the need to discuss bridal organization with you. Firstly, I can completely empathize with the brides and information / inspiration overload that happens during the planning process. With bridal blogs, magazines and etsy, its so easy to find a million and one ideas that you want to incorporate into your wedding day. While not all of them will be used {that's why there are vow renewals and lots and lots of dinner parties at your home after the wedding to use them!}, you need to come up with an organized way to keep everything together. While Hazel+Russell have a fantastic bridal binder {as well as all the other retailers that sell them}, its not necessary to purchase a made for wedding planning binder. You can easily create your own.

You'll want a binder that is pretty roomy, some page dividers with tabs and some dividers with pockets. Since your binder will be "wedding information central", you're going to want to keep it safe. Print out copies of all the contracts you receive, plus any proposals or other information that a vendor gives you. Use the tabs to make a section for each vendor category: Ceremony, Venue, Florist, Catering, Planner, Song lists etc. This is also a good place to keep any swatches of fabric you've received for your dress, bridal party attire, linens etc.

Now, what to do with all those 1000's of inspiration images you've collected? Print them out or cut them out and either make a collage for different genres {dresses, flowers, place cards, transportation, signs etc} and then file away or just organize each print out and file them away. This way, you'll always have your inspiration available for any meeting you may have with a vendor. Showing any vendor {rentals, cakes, florist etc} any visual aids is BEYOND helpful. Words can only be so descriptive, images can really hit home what you are looking for.

Happy Organizing!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner: In their Own Words

I stumbled upon this article this morning {thank you Twitter!} and thought that the insights included in it were invaluable. The wedding planners interviewed shed light on some very pertinent details regarding how functional a wedding planner can be in ensuring that your day runs as smoothly as possible.

Check it out here via MyDeejay!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding Etiquette

While I actively agree with not following all the traditional aspects of weddings {I did not throw a bouquet at my own wedding}, there is one large tradition of weddings that I just can't do away with: traditional RSVP response cards.

My husband and I were recently invited to a wedding and when I opened the envelope it felt a bit lighter than usual, and then when I pulled out the invitation, not much followed ... which I thought was interesting. I read the main invitation and then moved along to see the rest of the suite and lo and behold ... there was a card with the reception time & address and then an email address for people to RSVP to! That was it, no response card fill in and return.

While I understand that the additional cost of postage and printing of cards and envelopes can be costly and make a dent in your overall budget, its one of those expenses that need to be incurred. The RSVP card helps set the overall tone of what is in store for the wedding day and also allows your guests to interact slightly in the whole wedding planning process. By eliminating the RSVP card and replacing it, you're sending a very different message to your guests. Also, what if some of your guests are not tech savvy and don't have an email address? How would you like them to respond? Would you provide instructions on the card for those guests?

There are so many ways to re-invent traditional wedding etiquette to make it more 'you' and more modern and up to date, but your guests RSVP just isn't the place to try something new.

Do you agree or disagree?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hiring Vendors

While we've covered many different aspects of hiring the right vendor for your wedding throughout my posts, Liene Stevens of Blue Orchid Designs has created a comprehensive guide that I wanted to share with you ...

Wedding Vendor Hiring Guide

Keep it close to ensure that when you interview vendors, you are asking the right questions and getting all the answers. I always recommend interviewing three companies in each vendor category, you'll get a wide variety of ideas and a better understanding of what you want and what is available to you. You'll also get different pricing, but as I always stress, do not pick your vendor based solely on price. Pick your vendor based on a combination of elements. Do you like what you are being offered? Do you like the person you're going to be working with you? Do they understand your vision and style? Are you going to be excited to communicate and work with them during your planning process? While price obviously is a factor, don't always just look to the bottom line. Sometimes the value of intangibles you'll get with a vendor (unlimited communication, fast response time, always willing to listen, hours they will be with you on the wedding day, any 'extras') may far outweigh the tangibles that the price will get you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wedding Day Expecations

Throughout the wedding planning process, its easy to become consumed with all the details and lose sight of a very important aspect of the planning: the actual wedding day!

As you get closer to the actual day, you'll probably be overwhelmed collecting RSVPs, getting escort cards completed and putting together welcome baskets and favors. Try to remember that these are all important details, but by no means the end all be all of your wedding day. The best aspect of weddings is that your guests have no clue what you've planned to notice if something is awry or didn't happen as expected. Use this insight to lose control on your wedding day. While you've picked all your vendors, details, logistics and everything else, there really is only one thing you can't control: the weather. And since you can't control it, just go with it {par example: my outdoor, tented reception took place during a full fledged hurricane. we didn't care because there was nothing we could do about it. but, our guests loved the added drama and it makes for great memories}.

Since you have no control over the weather or how your guests will act throughout the day, just roll with it. Get caught up in the moment of marrying the love of your life, not that your bridesmaid walked too quickly down the aisle. You want to remember all the amazing aspects of the day: your vows, the words your officiant said about you, how your new spouse looks during the first dance, the speeches and toasts made, don't worry about anything else. Its not important.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


My very close friend is getting married today in Milwaukee! I am thrilled to be a Chuppah Holder for her wedding and I know it's going to be an awesome day. The very fabulous Monica of The White Box of Wedding Design is coordinating, so I know we'll be in great hands.

I will be tweeting all day with tidbits from the wedding, so be sure to follow along!

{Here we are from my rehearsal dinner last year, Aliza was a bridesmaid, she's also a burgeoning wedding photographer, as soon as she launches her website, I'll let you all know!}

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fancy Friday: DIY Weddings

It's our first "Fancy Friday" on the blog ~ I find so many amazing things around the web on a daily basis {job hazard!}, so I decided to designate Fridays as the place to showcase all the things I've found and Fancy this past week ...

DIY is certainly becoming more and more en vogue in the wedding world. Without getting into the debate on whether or not DIY is good or bad {thats up to you, the DIY'er}, I did come across some great sites and projects this week to share:

super cute projects for weddings & life in general
Flights of Fancy
a whole section of fun and practical projects
Leo on the Loose
love the freakin never ending to do list template

Enjoy all your newly found DIY projects!

Also, check out Sunday Suppers, I stumbled across this site, the recipes and images are just mouthwatering!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Time Management

If anyone has followed me today on Twitter, you'll recognize why I am writing this post!

When it comes to wedding planning, it takes time. For however long it is between when you start your wedding planning process and the actual wedding date, you'll have lots of decisions and choices to make, which all take time {see my 30 days guide here for the decisions and choices involved}. You have to make time to in order to bring your wedding vision to life.

Now, don't panic! Regardless of how full your daily schedule is, you have time to plan the wedding, it just means being smart about it. Firstly, realize that planning a wedding is an involved process. Even more so, if you have to travel to the wedding destination or want to do lots of DIY projects. There's research involved, meetings to be held, proposals and bids to look over and decisions to be made and ideas and concepts to be pulled together. There's also lots of time to bond with your future spouse and millions and millions of amazing and fantastic resources to scour on the Internet.

Limit yourself to certain times of the day / week to do research on vendors and ideas. You don't want to upset your boss by always being on a wedding blog, so either start subscribing to your favorite blogs, or utilize Google Reader and read it once a day. Read your wedding magazines on your commute {obviously not if you're driving} or instead of watching TV. Carry a notebook around with you in case any ideas pop into your head, so you can quickly write them down. Maintain a notebook or inspiration board with images / ideas / concepts.

Try to arrange your meetings for evenings or weekends, so you have time afterwards to digest what you learn. Either make a commitment to have "wedding planning weekends" where you cram the entire weekend full of wedding related moments, so that the rest of the month is free, or choose to have meetings when you have free time.

Most importantly, make time for family, friends, fun and exercise! This is not the time to let stress get in the way of your normal life. Being healthy is of the utmost importance! Being organized throughout the process while ensure that you are calm and relaxed for the actual wedding. You don't want to look like this:

{courtesy of Bridal Party Tee's}

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wedding Coordinators: The Differences

I recently had a discussion with my husband {of all people!} regarding the differences between wedding coordinators and thought it was an interesting dialogue to share! We mainly discussed the differences between hiring your own wedding coordinator / planner and working with the in-house coordinator that is so oft provided by a venue.

Firstly, a small disclaimer: Obviously, I am an independent wedding planner BUT I fully support a client's choice to use an in-house planner versus an independent. Its the clients preference and needs that should dictate this decision, above and beyond any additional costs that would be incurred.

So, what are the differences in terms of 'work'? An in-house wedding coordinator will provide all the logistics related to the venue, if the venue has a preferred vendor list, they can help you navigate that list to choose the correct vendor for your needs. They will help guide you through the menu process and let you know how set up and break down must occur. They should liaise with your vendors in regards to logistics and on the day of, be there to provide on-site management. An independent wedding coordinator will research and suggest vendors and venues appropriate for your needs and budget, they will help you navigate all related logistics: creating a timeline, finalizing details with vendors, providing tidbits & advice {i.e. etiquette} when needed, and on the day of, managing your vendors and venue as well as ensuring that you arrive on time, you are relaxed and you have everything you need. {this is a very abbreviated list of what either wedding coordinator can/will provide}

The differences really come down to this: your independent wedding coordinator is YOURS. They were hired by you, for you and they are your advocate / team player. The in-house wedding coordinator has the venue's best interest first, your's second. While they know the in's and out's of your venue, they probably haven't spent as much time with you to know your in's and out's.

Choosing which option is ultimately your decision, as only you know what works best for you. Do you want to trust your day to the venue's pick for a wedding coordinator, or do you want to pick?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saving the Date

While more modern wedding enthusiasts may disagree with me, I still love the Save The Date. I love receiving them, its the first hint into your wedding and gives your guests a taste of what's to come! I think that they are especially important if you are having a destination wedding ~ it signals to your guests that they need to start planning in advance, and gives you an opportunity to share your wedding website, where you can include travel, transport and accommodation information.

Where I deviate from the Save the Date tradition is that it doesn't necessarily need to be done in an old fashioned manner, or relate to the rest of the printed goods that you will have created for the wedding {invites, programs, menus etc}. It can fun, whimsical, endearing, cute. Let your creative juices flow ~ a boarding pass for a destination wedding, a postcard from the city that the wedding will be taking place, a photograph of the bride and groom ~ let your imagination run wild!

Just keep in mind that you don't need to put a ton of money or effort into your Save the Date. This should be a low key project out of all your wedding planning!

{courtesy of The Stylish Scribe}

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reshaping the Blog

Hi Readers!

I really hope that you enjoyed my first 30 Days Series. I had a blast writing it and I hope it was informative. I also hope that you had a fantastic July 4th experience {I am still in shock that we are already half way finished with 2009, but ... I digress}.

I want to hear from you as to what you'd like to see next on the blog! Please leave comments about topics, content choice, anything, I'd love to hear from you! I write this blog for you, the reader, so I want to ensure that you're reading posts that you want to read.

Two new additions to the blog going forward! We are going to start having a guest blogger writing every few weeks ... I'll keep you in suspense on who it'll be! And secondly, we are going to designate Friday as "Fancy Friday", where I share things that I've found throughout the week related to weddings that I Fancy, whether its images, experts, tips, articles, anything!

It's going to be a busy few weeks with weddings, so stay tuned!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spotlight: The Back Porch Shoppe

I recently came across Darline's amazing signs on Etsy and I just had to share them with you. They are such a sweet detail to add into any wedding, I wish I had known about these a year ago when we got married.

About Darline's creations, in her own words:

"I've always loved to re-create things....using vintage findings, taking things apart and making something totally unique out of the bits & pieces. My "Vintage Inspired" signs, of course, are all of brand new wood! After I design the signs' shapes and decide on wording and colors, my husband cuts all of the signs out for me, sands them and base coats them too! Then each sign is given lots of TLC on my 'back porch'...that's where I got the idea for my store name!

Whenever we travel, my eye is looking for a new sign design....I see sign shapes in furniture, kitchen items, and even door mats! As far as the signs' designs'...that comes from only making what I would buy myself. I only design what I like, and it has to pass inspection from my own critical eye ... "

Check out her out at The Back Porch Shoppe and Etsy for more fun and whimsical creations!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July 4th!

Happy 4th to you all! I hope you have a safe, fun and relaxing holiday with your friends & family!

{courtesy of}

30 Days: A Guide to Stress Free Wedding Planning

Just a small disclaimer about my 30 Days: A Guide to Stress Free Wedding Planning series that we completed today ... this list of vendors / tips / ideas etc is in no way a complete list of everything that goes into wedding planning, I tried to touch on the main topics and give helpful advice when hiring vendors and bringing details together.

Best of luck in your wedding planning process!

Day 30: The Wedding Day!

Days 30: 30 Days: A Guide to Stress Free Wedding Planning

Congratulations! All your efforts in wedding planning have paid off and the big day has finally arrived!

Remember to EAT {even if you are so nervous / excited that you don't think you can}, and don't sweat the small things {like if you see a flower out of place}, the day goes by so quickly, you want to make sure that you really are in the moment and enjoying yourself, not worrying about a thing. Let your vendors worry about the details!

{courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings}

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 29: Making It Legal: The Marriage License

Days 29: 30 Days: A Guide to Stress Free Wedding Planning

Remember why you've been staying up late putting together welcome bags and choosing between gold and metallic gold cushion covers? You're getting married! The ceremony is oft overlooked in the planning part, but its the actual reason that you're hosting a fantastic and fabulous party on the wedding day! So, please keep in mind that without the ceremony, none of this would be happening. Its also the most meaningful aspect to the whole day.

Regardless of your faith or ceremony, your officiant will have done some pre-marital work with both of you {surprisingly enough, my husband and I thought we'd dread our counseling, but it actually was our favorite part out of the whole planning process!}, and you will have gone through the ceremony details during your planning. But, keep in mind that prior to the wedding weekend, you will need to have obtained a marriage license in the state that you are getting married in {not the state that you live in, as this may be different}. Also, if you are having a destination wedding, check with your home state marriage license office to see what requirements you must fulfill {depending on the country you get married in, the US may not legally recognize the union, so you may have to have a civil ceremony to make it USA approved}.

Marriage license requirements differ depending on what state you are getting married in, so you'll want to look into these early in the process. They may have a same day turn around once you've submitted the application, or it may be days or weeks, so you want to make sure you get the license in time for the wedding day! Also, check what forms of ID you'll need when you present your application as well as the cost of the license {most only take cash or money orders, so you'll want to be prepared}. Lastly, almost all states require both the bride and the groom to be present, so plan accordingly. I also suggest not going at lunch or on a Friday ... at least in Manhattan. Its a zoo then.

You'll want to bring your license to the rehearsal and give it to the officiant. The three of you can then decide when you'll want to sign it and have your witnesses sign it. Don't worry, even if the bride and groom sign it at the rehearsal, its not a legally binding document until your officiant signs it ... so you're still single that evening!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 28: Finalizing Vendor Commitments

Days 28: 30 Days: A Guide to Stress Free Wedding Planning

You've hired all the necessary vendors, kept up with payment schedules for all of them, you've gotten everyone attired, your timeline is confirmed, all the details arranged ... what's left?

If you've hired a planner, this normally falls under their jurisdiction, but if not, you'll need to confirm all the details with your vendors. Keep in mind that if the number of attending guests has changed in any way, shape or form, you'll want to notify the caterer and the florist ASAP! You don't want to get charged for food or arrangements for people who aren't attending the soiree. Make sure you confirm guest numbers well in advance of the last possible day you're allowed to. {Traditionally two weeks prior for the Florist, and 3-7 days prior for the Caterer}

You'll want to confirm that your vendors have received the timeline, they have the correct directions to the venue, they know any policies related to load in / load out, and most importantly, who the point of contact is for the wedding day {so when they are stuck in traffic, they can call and assure you they are on the way}. You'll also want to confirm if you are legally obligated to feed them during the event {check your contracts!}, so you can give this number to the caterer {vendors should receive a meal that is not what your guests are being served and is substantially cheaper than the meal you've chosen for your guests}.

This is also the time to speak with your vendors about any other pertinent details of the day {must play / do not play lists, any photographs you must have etc}. Don't wait until the last minute to get these lists / details out to a vendor or think you'll remember on the wedding day. You'll have enough on your mind that day!

This is also the right time to communicate with your bridal party about their roles and responsibilities on the wedding day as well as their wedding weekend schedule. You'll want them to know what time to begin getting ready and where they will be getting ready as well as any details related to transportation. This is extremely important especially if they have a spouse / guest that is not in the bridal party, so that they know what is going on as well and can be organized. Also, if any member of the bridal party is traveling to the wedding, you'll want their travel details as well.