Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Host a Couples Shower

I love the idea of a couples shower.  It's like a more relaxed version of an engagement party.  A chance for family and friends to get together with no pressure.

Who should Host?

The obvious answer is the bridal party.  All of the bridal party, groomsmen included.  This will be a fun way for the bridal party to get to know each other and bond over the planning.  The maid of honor (MOH) and the Best Man (BM) should take the lead, but tasks (and costs) should be spread out over the entire group.

Who to Invite?

Friends and families.  It doesn't have to be all couples, but if you invite singles, make sure that you '& guest' their invite.  Remember the rule of thumb, do not invite anyone who will not be invited to the wedding.  Always consult the bride and groom before finalizing the guest list.

Invitations should be mailed, digital reminders can be sent a week before.  Do not post it on the wedding website or Facebook page unless you have invited everyone on the wedding guest list.  Invitations should be mailed 4-6 weeks before the event.

When to Have it?

Typically couples showers are held on Saturday night.  But, with any shower it can be held in the afternoon.  Actually, it might be better in the afternoon, especially if it being held during a popular sporting event.  It would be fun to set-up a TV and let the conversations naturally flow.  Planning it at least 6 weeks prior to the wedding.

What to Serve?

The easiest idea is to host a good old fashion bbq.  No fuss, paper plates, easy clean up.  Put the men in charge of organizing the grills, and then manning them.  They should also be in charge of bar, task them with developing a themed drink, which will help you keep the costs down.


For this type of shower, with the bride and groom's approval, it is completely acceptable to state on the invitation "No Gifts Please" - if they do want gifts that is appropriate to.  If that is the case gifts should be opened in front of the guests.


Yes!  Divide into teams boys vs girls teams if you have some singles that are attending and go old school.  Think water balloon toss, three legged races.  The games don't have to be traditional, although how much fun would it be to watch the men put together wedding dresses out of toilet paper?  I'm just saying...

Theme Ideas

-Theme/Colors of the Wedding
-Stock the Bar (everyone brings a bottle)
-Fill the Garage (everyone brings a tool)

Please do not do the following:

-make it a potluck
-ask the guest to write their address on a envelope for the Thank you note
-send out a Facebook invite

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Personalized Favors

I remember when I was alittle kid I remember my favorite thing about going to a Wedding was collecting all the napkins, and matchbooks with the couple's name embossed in silver on them.  They were so fancy to me.  I couldn't wait to get married and order them for my own Wedding, funny thing is that I didn't order a single thing like that.

When it comes to Weddings, you can order just about anything personalized with your initials, name and date.  As a planner I have come to realize what a complete waste of money these items are.  Sure you need to have some favors, and it is nice if they have your name and wedding date on them, but you don't need napkins, matchbooks/notebooks, and favors.  It's a bit much.

Let's think about this 2 ways, one in terms of budget and one in terms of style.  Let's take napkins. Personalized napkins range anywhere from $26.00 - 50.00/per 100 napkins.  If you have 200 people attending your wedding, assume 2 per person.  That is $104 to $200 for throw away napkins.  That is money better spent towards flowers, or food.  In terms of style, everyone has a vision for their wedding, do 1980's style napkins fit with your vision or would plain (in the color of your wedding) work?

Personalized Keepsakes

There are also so many keepsake items meant for the bride and groom.  Everything from champagne flutes to cake cutting sets.  Do not waste your money.  Think about when or where you would ever use these items again?  When you are registering, register for a very nice plain set of champagne flutes and a cake cutting set.  Decorate (or ask your florist too) with simple ribbon and ask your wedding planner (or the venue wedding planner) to make sure that these are put back with the items you will take home with you at the end of the day (don't worry, they will be happy to do it).  The bottom line is that each time you use those flutes or the cake set you will remember that they were from your wedding, and the best part, you have added another $100 bucks back into your budget.

Your wedding budget is just like your household budget, every little place that you can save a couple of hundred bucks is huge.  It is always amazing at how quickly costs add up for wedding, and that money will be better spent somewhere else.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let the Groom Help?!?

This is my Groom, isn't he handsome?  How lucky am I?  Right.  Great Husband.  Terrible Wedding Planner.  It's not like he didn't care or didn't want to be a part of it, it was just not something that wasn't in his comfort zone.  He was great with do you like this entree or that entree.  He picked the venue, and hotel.  I used him like a sounding board (oh, and a checkbook too!)

Planning a Wedding is not for everyone.  With busy lives, and the stress and events that a Wedding and impending new Marriage brings up, it just seems like there is not enough time to get it done.  A bride could use some help.  I think it is great that more grooms are getting involved with the planning process.  As with everything the more cooks that you get in the kitchen, the more likely dinner is going to be a mess.

That is not to say that they cannot be a help to you.  So, before you have a Groomzilla on your hand, let's figure out a plan for getting the busy Bride alittle help.

What to do Together:  Big Tasks

Pick your venues
Pick your date
Decide on colors
Honeymoon location

Let Him Help with:

Honeymoon Details
Bar Menu

I never expect that Bride would make big Wedding decisions without talking to the Groom and the same rules in reverse.  Working together is the best thing that a couple can do, it really helps you understand how you work as a team.

Regardless of who does the majority of planning the big key to a successful Wedding and then Marriage is to support each other through the process!

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Get the Reception Started!

Well, the hard part (the ceremony) is over, now it is time for the fun part!  Get your reception off to a great start.

First, you want to pick a really good song to play as the bridal party and parents are introduced.  It should be something meaningful (and clean) and something that is just too fast to be your first dance.  Introduction order should happen in this order.

Parents of the Groom
Parents of the Bride
Flower Girls and Ring Bearers
Bridesmaids and Ushers (paired off)
Maid (Matron) of Honor and Best Man
Bride and Groom

All the members of the Bridal Party should go directly to their seats, so that the toasts can begin.  Please make sure with your coordinator that everyone has a glass of champagne prior to the introduction of the Bridal Party.  The suggested toast order is.

Father (Parents) of the Bride
Father (Parents) of the Groom
Best Man
Maid (Matron) of Honor  
Siblings - Other Bridal Party Members (if they wish to speak)
Others (Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles)
Bride and Groom

The Father of the Bride should welcome and thank the guests and the Bride and Groom should also end with thanking the guests.  After the toasts the Bride and Groom should move right to cutting the cake so that it can be served with dinner.  The cake should be wheeled (if possible) to the middle of the dance floor so that all the guests can view.  Right after the cake cutting, dinner should be served, starting with the Bride and Groom, Bridal Party, and then the families.

After dinner, the coordinator will let you know when, it's time to dance!!  The suggested order is.

Bride and Groom
Bride and Father - Groom with Mother
Bridal Party (including parents)
Couples Dance
Something fast to get everyone moving!

I love the idea of the couples dance, because it will bring a large number of guests to the dance floor.  If you then move into something fast more people are likely to stick around and really get things going.  I would wait for about an hour before doing the garter and bouquet toss, just to give alittle break.


Happy Planning!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ask CW: Reader Mailbag - Wedding Questions Answered

Each week I receive emails from brides all over the country for answers to their most stressful wedding questions.  Here are a couple I thought I would share.

Dear Cyn:  We are hosting a wedding where the majority of the our guests are from out of town.  I feel like we should invite as many of them as possible to the our rehearsal dinner so they will not feel left out and not be stuck in the hotel with nothing to do.  What are the rules on who should be invited?


Dear HG:  The rule is this, you can invite whoever you want to the dinner following your Wedding rehearsal. Do you need to, not necessarily. I've written in the past on who needs to be invited, after them you can invite whoever you would like. Your guests might be excited to explore a new area or town while the bridal party and immediate families are at the rehearsal and the dinner following.  Provide a list of activities and restaurants for them check out.   

Dear Cyn:  My parents and I are fighting over having a cash bar at my reception.  They are completely opposed to it and I think that it would be a great way to save money in the budget, who is right?


Dear DB:  I hate to tell you this, but your parents are right.  Never fear there are ways to save some money here.   By limiting the bar and the contents you can still save.

-Create a signature drink, and limit the alcohol behind the bar to what is required to make it.
-Close the bar during dinner.  Most venues give you the option to serve wine only during dinner.

For other money saving tips please see my 10 Favorite Ways to Save $$$ on your Wedding 

If you have any questions I would love to help you answer them, please feel free to reach out to my at

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Your Wedding Coordinator v. The Venue Coordinator

I will never forget when I was getting married and I told my Mom about the venue and the coordinator, "His name is Frank" and she said "Frank as in Franc..." (in the movie Father of the Bride, they hire a Wedding coordinator who goes by Franc, and it is played by Martin Sheen and it is hilarious - it is a must see for those planning a Wedding - it will make you feel better). Needless to say, it became an on-going joke that revealed ALOT of stress at times.

Many think that because your venue has provided a coordinator and therefore there is no need to hire one of their own, and nothing could be farther from the truth.  The venue's coordinator is just that, they simply coordinate activities that have to with the venue.  When the ceremony starts, when cocktail hour begins, and when to start dinner (the one really nice thing - they make sure your drink is ALWAYS full)

Here are the things they will not take care of.

  • Creating and Making sure welcome bags are distributed to the hotel guests
  • Establishing a timeline for your Wedding Day
  • Directing the Wedding Rehearsal 
  • Calling the Florist when they are late
  • Reminding the Bridal Party that people are waiting to eat, and to speeches do                           not need to be 10 mins (nicely, of course)
  • Making sure that Aunt Sue is in the family picture

The list goes on, your Wedding Coordinator will work closely with the venue coordinator to make sure that that the timeline and events go smoothly and they will work on any issues together with the venue.

Happy Planning

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My 10 Best Ways to Save $$ on your Wedding

There are a million ways to save money while you are planning your Wedding.  These are my favorite, and will potentially save you the most.

1.  Have your ceremony and your reception at the same site.  This saves you on site rental fees and transportation costs for family and the bridal party.

2.  Limit the Bar.  I am a firm believer in an open bar for Weddings.  Where you save money is limiting the alcohol  that you serve.  Wine and beer should always be included, but think about limiting the other alcohol a signature drink, this will limit the amount you will go through and save top shelf prices.

3.  Serve Cake.  Most venue caters literally throw the cake in for free.  Sure if you want an upgrade (trust me - skip the fondant) there might be an upcharge, but it is a good (and free) starting point.

4.  Skip the Second Meal.  I know that it really, really trendy to serve your guests a 'snack' towards the end of the reception - I feel like this completely unnecessary.  If you insist, think about a lighter snack like a chips and salsa bar or cheese and fruit plate.

5. Rent a Car.  Instead of hiring a limo, what about renting (or borrowing) a convertible to use when you make your get away from the reception?

6.  Assemble and Address the Invitations.  Do not hire someone else to do this.  If you are considered about your handwriting, ask a bridesmaids/friend to help.

7.  Let the Music Flow.  Is there a local music school in town?  Check with them and see if they let students play for events.  Use them for both the ceremony and the cocktail hour, this will save on the hours you pay a DJ.

8.  Pick one Hotel.  If you have alot of out of town guests, give them one option (please make it a responsible one) depending on the # of nights in your stay, and your guests stay,  you will gain lots of bonuses, like free transportation (to and from) the wedding site, and free nights for the bridal party.

9.  Have a Vegetarian option.  These dishes have come along way and will be a hit even with your non-vegetarian guests.  It helps with the budget because these meals are typically cheaper, so offering one meat dish (chicken is typically the safest) and a veggie will help with the catering budget.

10.  Research.  Do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.  If you are set on one vendor that doesn't offer something you want, tell them.  Most Wedding vendors are flexible especially when it comes to making a sale.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to Expect at your Wedding Rehearsal

The day before your wedding is when the nerves really start to kick in - once you see everything coming together and you can really visualize what could go wrong.  It is also a really fun time when all your out of town guests start showing up and you have a million to-do's running through your head.  All and all it's crazy!

That all being said you want to get through the actual Wedding Rehearsal as quickly and efficiently  as possible.

Who should be Invited

  • Parents (including Step Parents) & Grandparents 
  • Bridal Party (they should be allowed to bring a date)
  • Parents of the Ring Bearer and Flower Girls (if they are not in the Bridal Party)
  • Friends/Family who will be participating in the Wedding 
  • Officiant
  • Wedding Planner
Anyone invited to the rehearsal should be invited to the dinner following.  Siblings (including step) who are not part of the Wedding should be invited to meet up at dinner, as well as any Aunts and Uncles or close family members you would like to invite.  Keep in mind that children of the Bridal party and others participating should also be included in the dinner.   

When Should it Be

The ideal time is the late afternoon before the Wedding.  Schedule it for about 4:30 and give yourself 30-45 minutes at the venue, and then travel time to the restaurant.  Dinner should be schedule for 6:00, so if you have guests invited to dinner that will not be attending the rehearsal you can inform them when to be there.

One thing that could easily happen, is that there is another event schedule at your venue the night before.  If that is the case schedule it for the closest time before the actual day of the Wedding (not in the morning before) and have as many people attend as possible.  Think Thursday night, or earlier on Friday.  Make sure to inform the Bridal Party in case they need to schedule the time off work.  The Officiant or the Wedding planner will discuss with the details and walk those who could not make it on the morning of the ceremony.

Who Should be in Charge

Ideally, the Bride and Groom have a enough going on they shouldn't have to be in charge of the rehearsal too.  This should be the responsibility of the Officiant, the Venue Event Planner and your Wedding Planner.

Walk through the ceremony a few times at the rehearsal, this is not as important to those who have been in Weddings before, but for the children in the Bridal Party this will be important.

Come Organized

Bring your binder, which should include a copy of your ceremony, review it before things get started so you will know what (and who) should be where and needs to be reviewed.

Have a little fun, and try to relax this is meant to help people really focus on making the ceremony go smoothly.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shopping for your Perfect Wedding Dress

Remember before you were engaged and you would dream about your perfect wedding, and that dream included the perfect wedding dress?  Well, when it all starts to be reality, it can seem like an over whelming nightmare.  Don't worry I'm here to help.

Before you Go:

Do your research.  

Seek inspiration from Pinterest and bridal magazines.  Don't be afraid to rip out pages and bring them with you to show the store's staff.  

Plan your visits.

Many stores will only show dresses by appointment, so make sure that you research the stores and make the proper appointments.  Don't limit yourself to one store.  Look around, even if you visit them just to look around before you actually try anything on.  Do check yourself a favor and do a quick check on the shops you are looking to visit, an internet search and Better Business Bureau search might save you heartache down the road.

Get a lingerie fitting.

Take the time to visit a lingerie store for a fitting to make sure that you are buying the proper size which will only make your dress fit better.

Gather your Girls.

Dress shopping doesn't have to be a mandatory bridal party function, but you should invite those closest to you (and those who will give you a honest opinion) to share in the fun.  Remember, this will (and should) take more than one day, so not everyone maybe able to go to each store.

Determine your budget.

Right now the average wedding dress will cost you around $1300, and another 300-500 for alternations.  Most bridal stores will require at least half of the purchase price down, if not full payment when you order.

What to Take with you:

  Something with a similar heel that you would like to wear on your wedding day 

Something to put your hair up
   If you haven't decided on up or down yet, bring a comb or ponytail holder, just in case

Appropriate Shapewear and Undergarments
   The sales clerk will be helping you into those dresses and you don't want to look presentable.

When you are there:

Don't take any pictures before you ask.  They are so temperamental about that.

Try on as many dresses as you can.  This process is as much about knowing what you don't want as much as what you do want!

Don't order anything on the first day.  Keep going and see all the stores (and dresses) that you originally wanted to see.  It will be there when you go back.  

Relax, have fun - this is suppose to be fun!  Princess for the day!

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Save Money on your Wedding Flowers

Flowers are a wedding must have.  The smallest of Weddings still has flowers.  The experts recommend that 8% of your Wedding budget should go to flowers.  There are so many ways to save on flowers - below are my 5 favorite tips for saving money on your flowers.

1.  Do Some of the flowers yourself.
  • Flower Girls. There is no reason that the flower girls should be throwing real flower petals.  Actually, it is probably better for you (and your dress) if those flowers are artificial. All of the major craft retailers sell petals in almost every color that you can imagine.
  • The Toss Bouquet.  All you really need are a couple of silk flowers (matching the flowers in your carry bouquet) wrapped together with wire (make sure the sharp edges are tucked) and tied with ribbon
  • Aisle Runner.  Again this can be easily purchased (at a fraction of the price) from a craft retailer or on-line.
  • Pew Bows.  I tried to tie my own and had a melt down (my one DIY fail of my Wedding) and asked the florist to do it.  At least give it a try.
  • Flowers for the Mothers.  One of my favorite Wedding traditions is to have the Bride and Groom deliver flowers to their Mothers.  These can be put together as easily as the toss bouquet. 
2.  Limit the Amount you order.

Back in the day, everyone in the Bride and Groom's family would get a corsage or a boutonniere.  Times have changed.  Limit these to those parents, grand parents, god parents, and those how are speaking in the wedding.  I snapped the picture below after a Wedding (I know they are fake, but someone still paid for them) of flowers that weren't picked up or used.  Wasted money.

Other Places you don't need flowers:*
  • Pew Bows
  • Buffet Tables
  • Cake Table
  • Restrooms
  • Favor/Gift Table/Seating card table 
* if you really feel these areas need flowers, please see below or think about using the toss bouquet

3.  Reuse the Flowers

Ceremony Flowers can be re-used at the receptions in lots and lots of different ways.
  • The Bride's bouquet and the Bridesmaids bouquets can be used to decorate the head table.  Just buy some inexpensive vases.  Pew bows can also be attached.
  • The Bride's bouquet and Bridesmaids bouquet can be moved around for photo opportunities (like cake cutting) or placed by the place cards until the guests have been seated. 
  • Alter Flowers from the ceremony can be used to decorate the entry to the receptions.

4.  Get the standard reception flowers.
Most reception venues have a standard package for table decor.  Stick with that.  We have all been to weddings and after the first course is served, the table is a mess of favors, and food, glasses, purses, you name it.

5.  Substitute the Bridesmaid's Bouquets.

I went to a fabulous wedding where the bridesmaids carried custom clutches that the Bride had made herself. Please do not go with the the classic umbrella ....

Bonus Tip!  

Dry your own Bouquet.

I just recently found out that the florist will do this for you.  This is a definite DIY.  It's simple, hang the bouquet upside down with string from a window sill, once dry store in wax or tissue paper.

PS  - don't forget the Groom's boutonniere

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My 5 Best Vacation Planning Tips

I love Summer.  Summer means long evenings, fresh air and the beach!  The beach is my family's favorite vacation destination.  You could drop us off at the beach and come back in 7 days to pleas of "we aren't ready to go home yet."  We do like to vacation as a family (for at least the first 5 days ...  lol) so below are my best planning trips to make your vacation special (and relaxing.)

1.  Research Activities before you leave.

The idea is to come back from vacation rested and relaxed, not needing a couple of days to rest before you go back to work.  That being said, sometimes it rains at the beach, so know where the museums, movie theaters, malls and arcades are.

Vacations are also great for teaching history and geography lessons.  Exploring a new area of the state or country can cure "I'm so bored" blues.

Remember to not only look for activities at your destination, but along the way as well.

2.  Create a Binder.

Yes, I know another binder, but trust me, this thing is a life saver.   I keep directions (double check for the GPS), hotel, flight and car rental information.  There is a section for what to pack (or not to forget really) as well as things that need to get done before you leave.  It's a catch all that you can easily access the information that you need.  Be sure to make a list of the important things (tablets, cell phones, chargers, etc) you don't forget them when you leave home or when you leave to go home (I totally stole that idea from my Dad.)

Just a quick note, on the packing list tab I keep a short list of what is in what bag.  This is just in case someone needs a quick change of clothes, or there is a we have to go swimming right now emergency!  I don't list everything, but the important things.

Don't forget to have an "Activities" tab.

4.  Prepare to Come Home.

The trip home is always harder than the trip there.  One the way there you are excited about all the fun things and people you are going to see.  The trip home is less glamorous, and re-entering the real world can be stressful.  We always seem to be hungry when we get home.  I have no idea why that is, but we are.  I combat this be making something up, pasta sauce or a casserole before we leave and freezing it.  Then I just pop it in the oven while we are unloading and I avoid the grocery store (or more fast food) until I have more energy to tackle it.

5.  Don't Stress Out.

You will forget something. Or someone will have a tummy ache and you will not have anything to help.  That is why there is a Wal-Mart and/or a Target in almost every town in America.  Roll with it, and Enjoy your vacation!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Social Media and Your Wedding

These days you can't get away with not addressing your Wedding on social media.  With all of us on your phones and checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds all day it's bound to come up.  The real trick is not to annoy your friends or those people that you went to High School that won't be attending the Wedding.  You also don't want to many details to leak out about the Big Day because let's face it, the fun part of the Wedding is watching your guests react to all the fun and cool things that you have planned.


I love the idea of a closed Facebook group.  Make yourself and your partner both administrators and you can invite guests to join the group.  It would be a great place to store information like maps & directions, hotel information, where you are registered (with links), and date and time.  These are great because you can give almost real time information.  For instance, say that there is a flood and the church and you are moving the Wedding to the reception venue, you can pop that up on Facebook, and that will be a great way of notifying guest, although you will still want to make some calls.

Be careful to only share information on events that are open to the whole guest list, this will avoid 30 extra people showing up to the rehearsal dinner.

Twitter, Instagram

There is not a way to create a group in either of these applications.  You should however, create a hashtag to use throughout the planning the process, and that your guests can use the day of.  If these had been around when I got married I would have used : jcttobe519  (Jeff and Cyndi T to be 5-19), cute huh?  You could go as far as to create a user specifically for the Wedding, and then friend/follow guests.


With the popularity of Facebook, these are not completely necessary these days, but they are still really good for providing information and pictures.  Different from Facebook group, this is alot less private and your information is there for all the world to see. Check out and for free Wedding sites.

What to Post

Again, you don't want to leak too many details, but maybe some teasers (Be Creative!).
  • Picture of your one foot in your Wedding shoes
  • Engagement Pictures
  • Paint swatches with the wedding colors
  • Pictures for any Engagement or Wedding Showers
  • Something to tease at the theme

Day of Posts

There is ALOT going around now about the proper etiquette regarding Wedding pictures.

Should guests post them before the Bride and Groom have a chance to post pictures?  No, will guests post them first?  Yes.  Unless you don't want this to happen, the only real way to control this is to collect everyone's cell phones on the way into the ceremony.  Probably not worth it.

If you hire a coordinator, the first shot can be controlled by them, for you.  Give them your account user/sign-in and they can be snapping pictures all day and night and sharing them with guests.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know I am always here to help!

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Event Vendor Spotlight: Photographers

This picture used to hang in my parent's entryway, on the way below a bench.  When my niece was little should we climb up on the bench and ask my Mom why she wasn't in the picture.  Long story short she would arrive about 3 months after the wedding.  We eventually had to retake a family picture so she could be in it!

My point is that photos from a wedding are very important that capture all the moments you don't want to forget.  Below are a some important tips for finding the right photographer for your wedding, including some questions that you want to ask.


In wedding photography you really do get what you pay for.  Expect to pay between $1,100 to $2,000 for a photographer worth their weight.  The price should include a standard bridal wedding album, additional prints and albums will cost you more.  What you get for the price is what you need to ask.

  • How many photographers?  
  • How many hours does that include?
  • Will they travel to multiple locations?
  • How many proofs will you receive (should be in at least 500-700 shots)
  • Album options (don't get too hung up on this, you can always do your own)
Digital Copies 

You want to own your proofs.  You will want to have a digital copy so that you can have prints made for friends and family or even 20 years later if you want.  Typically, you will have to meet a minimal dollar amount of prints to own your proofs.  Ask if you can pay to buy these outright.  

Shot List

I remember meeting with a photographer who told me when I asked about a shot list to "not worry about it honey, we do this all the time" - yep that interview was OVER.  Typically, they will have a standard list, but if you have several cannot miss shots make sure that you give them a list of those.  If you are hiring a coordinator, please make sure they receive a copy and have a rough idea of who everyone who needs to be in a photo is...

Other Questions:

  • Are they familiar with the venues?
  • Deposit and cancellation policies
  • Overtime policy
Be very upfront about what you are looking for.  If that means taking pictures while you and the bridal party get ready or staying until the last guest leaves.  You might have to pay for what you want, but being up front helps you compare photographers.

Like with all vendors, seek references from your family, friends, co-workers, your venue consultant. Most venues have a list of preferred vendors that they work with, the benefit to this is that they understand the space, it’s limitations and benefits.  Talk to at least 3 before you make any decisions, do not let them fool you with that "we need a deposit to hold your date" before you are ready to make a decision.

As always please feel free to send me any questions, I am here to help!

Happy Planning!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

7 Things I wouldn't have done differently from my Wedding

Last week for #WeddingWednesday I wrote about the 7 Things I would have done differently from my own Wedding.  This week, we highlight the 7 things that I would not change!

1.  Seeing the Groom before the Wedding.

Although I am a stickler on wedding etiquette, I didn't fall for some of the old wives tales.  We stayed together the night before, had breakfast together the morning of, and then saw each other before the ceremony to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and the wonderful light before our 6 pm wedding ceremony.  I love the picture before, in fact we have this hanging in our bedroom, it is a wonderful reminder of the him seeing me in my dress for the first time.

2.  Having Kids at the Wedding.

It was really not a choice for us for several different reasons.  The first being that we love kids and all of our family have kids and we couldn't imagine them not attending.  The second being that 90% of our guests were from out of town, and would you go to an out of town if you couldn't bring your kids?  Also, why would you not want to see the kids dancing around like this?

3.  Having it outdoors.

It's very risky, and I was would have been really upset if we had to go with our back-up plan, but the risk paid off.  I am not crying in the picture before, it was really hot and that is sweat, I know much less romantic, but the truth.

4.  Keeping the budget in check with my mad DIY skills.

I have a confession.  I had a mini-bridezilla melt done while attempting to make the pew bows.  Hubs, upon witnessing this, called the florist and asked them to do.  I did however have some wins.  I made all the jewelry that my bridal party, all the welcome bags and these nifty personalized water bottles.

5.  Having the ceremony and reception at the same place.

As I mentioned most of our guests were from out of town, so it just made sense to not make them drive all over the place they were not familiar with.  After the ceremony while we were making our dramatic exit, the staff of the venue was switching the ceremony site over to table and chairs, for the social hour, before dinner.  It was awesome, we had a few minutes in the limo to relax and everyone was there when we got back.

6.  Having only one hotel option for my guests.

It was so much easier.  Everyone was in one place, and it allowed the reception to spill over to the early morning hours.  The benefits we received we worth it for us and for our guests.  The hotel run a shuttle all night, bringing guests to and from, the venue without them having to get stressed out about finding the place.  It also made for a interesting reception since no one had to be the DD.

7.    Unscripted Moments like this.

I am a planner by trade and by nature, so I typically do not do will when we go off script or plan.  He will not admit to this, but he planned this.  We sent out Christmas cards the next with this picture wishing everyone a "Smashing New Year" - check out the look my niece's face...

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

7 things I would do differently from my Wedding

A couple of weeks ago, Hubs and I celebrated 7 years of wedding bliss.  It seems like those days have gone by in a heartbeat.  Every year I like to celebrate by looking through our pictures and remembering the day.  It was a beautiful day in May and we had such a great time, and these are not major regrets, but they bother the Wedding Planner in me!

1.  More Sand

I would have had more sand in our sand ceremony.  Big Vases too.

2.  Cake Tipping Worry

I worried through out my whole ceremony that we would go back inside and cake would be on the floor I don't know why it was tipped upward, but it was and it annoyed me.

3.  Better Table Decorations

 I went with the standard package, I let coming in under budget cloud my judgement.

4.  Provided the Photographer with a better shot list.

There were some pictures, like one with my husband and his Grandmother.

5.  Relaxed More.

I feel like I was preoccupied all day with details, and didn't really enjoy, enjoy the day.

6.  This goes hand and hand with #5, I wish I would have been nicer.  

I was alittle Bridezilla.  Mostly the night before and the day of.

7.  I would have hired a day of coordinator.

I know they would have pointed out that I needed bigger vases and more sand.  They would have been fixing the cake while I was saying my vows, and I would have assisted with the list for the photographer.  These little things would have helped me relax more and be less of a bridezilla.

Happy Planning!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When you should be live streaming your Wedding

This is an idea that I have been interested in researching for my brides for the past few months.  I think this is a great idea, if it's necessary.  What I mean by that is, I don't think that every wedding needs it.  I think it is a great idea for destination weddings where sometimes not all your family and friends are in attendance.  It's also a great idea for family members that cannot travel, and would still like to be a part of your big day.

Other than those reasons, I am not sure that I would add the extra stress of pressure on to your planning.  If you do decide go through with it.  Here is where you should start.

1.  Read this article 6 Ways to Live Stream a Wedding.  They break down all the options you have available.  I think the best option is YouTube.

2.  Talk to your videographer.  This might be something that they are willing to add to your package for an additional cost.  If this is the cases they should be providing you with the web address for you to provide to your guests.

3.  Do not include the web address in your wedding invitations.  The best idea is to follow up individually with each guest that you believe would like view the wedding.

4.  Only do the ceremony.

I hope this was helpful, remember I don't think this is necessary for every wedding, but it might be a great idea for yours!

Happy Planning!  As always, please let me know if you have any questions I am here to help!


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When and How to Announce Your Engagement

Announcing your engagement to family and friends is one of the most parts of getting married, and from the minute your engagement happens you want to start screaming it from the rooftops!  Before you make that status change on Facebook, take a couple of minutes to read and consider the following.

1.  Call your Parents (and your Grandparents)

Chances are that they already know.  But make it official call them and give the the awesome news. You should also call any other family that you are particular close to.

2.  Call you Friends

You don't want them finding out through Facebook.  Call them, don't text them.  I repeat.  Call them.

3.  Take a minute before you post to social media

Make it clever when you post to your sites.  If you plan on taking a picture of the ring, make sure you get a manicure before taking the picture.

Maybe you want to create a hashtag to use through out your engagement and at your wedding.

4.  Spread the word

I would give it at least 3 days before changing any status' or making any posts.  That way word will have spread to those most important to you and they will not be upset that they "heard it on Facebook"

Now the fun begins, get started with your planning here!

Have any questions about your engagement or wedding planning?  Feel free to drop me a line at and I will be happy to help!