What a Planner Really Does

Part 3 of What I Learned from My Wedding 

I hope it’s safe to assume that you are looking for wedding tips because you are trying to plan your wedding.  Good job on researching and congrats on your engagement!  You can never have too much information when attempting to create this once in a lifetime event. Now that you have gotten the pesky little task of finding your life partner out of the way, it’s time to start getting your day in order.  A planner can ensure your wedding is successful, organized, that you stay on budget, and most importantly, that you and your partner enjoy you wedding day. Here are 5 important things a wedding planner can do for you:

    1. Handle your day of coordination – Many venues offer a coordinator as a part of their packages, and to the untrained eye, that is helpful.  Unfortunately, when you’re about to walk down the aisle, their venue coordinator is probably in the kitchen putting out fires, figuratively, hopefully not, literally.  I am not saying that they won’t be an asset on your wedding day, but their main concern that day is to attend to the venue’s needs.  Also, since your planner is involved in all aspects, unlike the venue coordinator, family or friends, they will be able to simply focus on your needs for this day.
    2. Fight for your vision – Weddings are incredibly personal occasions that people dream about for days, months, and even years. Our planner gave me an outlet to simply talk and obsess about the big day. If you are like me, you are all about the tiny details, and I warn you that it is incredibly easy to become completely engrossed in all things wedding.  Having a planner gives friends and family a nice break from discussing the nuances of your wedding. Also, having a planner gives you someone in your corner to back you when facing adversity, such as cancellations, vendors falling through, and lack of support from family.  Your planner will be there and keep your wedding dreams alive. 
    3. Make your wedding stress free – While many tasks of wedding planning are magical and enjoyable, like cake tasting and dress shopping, there are also not-so-fun tasks like vendor insurance liability, table layouts, and cutlery choices. Having a wedding planner allows you to delegate mundane tasks and frees you up to enjoy the planing process, however involved you chose to be. That is the beauty of a planner; you get to have someone else pick up the slack!  This is also extremely helpful when you and your partner are not super into specifics.
    4. Budget planning – Weddings are expensive!  Unless you have unlimited funds, you are going to need to budget for your wedding.  Because you are emotionally attached to your wedding, it is sometimes difficult to prioritize what is worth the money and what is unnecessary.  In addition to helping create a budget, a professional planner can aid with vendor discounts.  
    5. Ensures your flip is successful – Typically, couples use a venue that offers ceremony and reception space.  Aspects like chairs, floral, and drapery are used for both the ceremony and reception.  To ensure that theses details are correctly placed for both, it is important to have someone that understands your vision for your day.

It is crucial to have a support person throughout the grueling wedding planning process. It is always helpful to have someone handle all the little details that make any event a success. Wedding planners are great for both. I hope these tips help you find the right planner, so that you have the best time planning and enjoying your day. Weddings are personal, weddings are special, and most importantly, you want your wedding to be unique, just like you!

Celebrate!

Ideas for Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties and Other Celebrations

Who doesn’t love to celebrate?!?! I enjoy any chance to bring the people I love together, to eat, drink and be merry.  With any successful event, planning is key! When bringing a group of people together its important to factor in participation costs so everyone can partake.  Many of the following ideas are more geared towards bachelor and bachelorette parties but can be used for birthdays, random acts of bonding, and just because days. Wether you are planning to celebrate the end of your single era with your friends the day before or months advance, its always good to have the particulars figured out as early as possible.

One Day Celebrations

When celebrating a birthday, engagement or connecting with friends it is always great to have an activity. Some fun interactive activities are  going to a local sports game, attending a painting class or craft night (drinking and creating? yes please!), having an arcade night, or hosting a cookout.

If you are into a craft night like Cocktails and Canvases it is always helpful to check Groupon or Living Social since they are almost always have deals available.  Before buying any deal make sure you check what classes they offer to ensure you will enjoy the subject, and check the dates against everyone’s calendar.

When planning an outing to a professional sports game to minimize costs it is good to try and go to soccer, baseball, or rugby games. These are typically the least expensive professional sports in most areas.  You can typically get tickets under $15 at most baseball stadiums, if on a budget stay away from Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium they are some of the most expensive tickets in the league.  Fun facts; the cheapest tickets in the league, Angels at $9.80, parking Tampa Bay at $0, hot dogs Cincinnati at $1, and the cheapest beer in the league is a tie between Cleveland and Arizona at $4.  Also if you are looking for atmosphere and not the big name athletes take in a minor league game or look into off-season

Something like a potluck or game night is also a great way to have fun and be budget conscious. When hosting an event at your house, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help, small things like bread, salad, beverages, and side dishes add up.  If one person doesn’t have to take care of everything the host/hostess is more likely to enjoy themself and not be ridiculously stressed.  Unless you are me; and then you will probably be stressed no matter what, but love every minute of it.

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Cocktails and Canvases in Denver, CO

Budget Friendly Trips

A trip is a fun way to “trap” people you love into a location and force them to do all the lame things you love, right? Or it could be a great time to have an adventure with some of the most important people in your life.  When planning a budget friendly trip for a group of people keep the following tips in mind.

Find Local Beauty

Instead of going to Las Vegas or Miami, try somewhere else just as beautiful and exciting.  Most people live close to a local beauty or a water source like a beach/lake, camp site, or mountains that will provide a wonderful backdrop to a trip filled with great memories.  If most of your people are in the same state road tripping is a convenient way to make it accessible to a lot of people. Also who doesn’t love a good road trip?? Another positive is that people can carpool which helps with keeping costs low.

Rent a House

Look into borrowing a friends second home or look into renting a house thru Airbnb, VRBO, Home to Go, Home Away or other house-rental sites.  Renting a house and splitting the cost between all guests can help make a weekend stay cheaper than one night in a hotel.  Another way to save is to rent a house during the off-season, also there will be less tourists around to photobomb your pics.

If you haven’t guessed it I think the best way to save money on a trip is to find ways to split the bill multiple ways! I was lucky enough to have a friend let me use her family cabin in Idaho to host my bachelorette, it was the perfect backdrop for relaxing, being silly, and enjoying the outdoors.

Food

Eating and drinking out can really make a trip or outing expensive.A good rule of thumb to ensure you don’t spend a fortune on eating out is to plan meals ahead and stock the fridge.  Eat out for one night only and savor it.  Partaking in nibbles and drinks at home really help with costs and saves everyone from taking taxis!  I love those intimate moments when you stay in with friends and create a meal together, no rush, just having great conversation and yummy food.

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Friends Family Cabin in Idaho

So, remember, when gathering your loved ones for a celebration, it’s best to start early to give everyone time to plan. Get creative with budget friendly options; everyone will be grateful for this! Plan activities that everyone can enjoy and partake in. Don’t be afraid to delegate small tasks when people ask if they can do/bring anything. And most importantly, remember to have fun and don’t sweat every single, minute detail. Your friends are there to celebrate, not to judge you for buying a pie crust rather than making it by hand!

New Wedding Trends of 2017

It’s a new year, which means it is time for new wedding trends!  It is always great to see the different takes on weddings that emerge with each new season. From decorum, to color palette, to food, these are some of my favorite trends that are happening in 2017.

Let’s get inspired!

Local Fare

It’s your day to celebrate you! Why not also celebrate your local area by highlighting local vendors and talent? The farm to table movement has taken the culinary world by storm; what’s a better time to indulge your taste buds than your wedding?  Supporting your community is a great way to show off your town and maybe even get a discount ( locals only). Local food is almost always much tastier because it’s been harvested at its peak, handcrafted, and created with love. Have I sold you yet???

Metallics

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Metallic bridesmaids dresses, so much glittery goodness

Whether it’s gold, copper, silver, rose gold, or bronze, metallics are sure to add an extra dimension to your affair. Great for accent pieces, bridesmaid dresses, and accessories to add a sparkle. Metallics are extremely versatile, shimmery goodness that work with multiple color palettes and lend themselves nicely to many different styles. From casual to black tie, metallics will help any event pop.

Neutral Colors

Nothing says understated like a neutral palette. Whether it’s greys, nudes, or creams a natural palette helps to create a classic feel for your event.  An all white wedding is always romantic and airy and works for all seasons. By keeping the color scheme in the nude, grey, white, or cream range for your decor, you and your partner remain the focal point and gives your day a touch of modern elegance. A neutral bouquet can also add a lightness to your day that lets you and your joy shine through.  If you are looking for a way to make the focus your venue, or if you simply love a clean look, a neutral color scheme will work great for you!\

Drama

Who doesn’t love at little drama?? At least when it comes to decor 😉 . A fun way to add some drama to your wedding, that doesn’t involve tears, is hanging floral arrangements.  They give a room a sense of flow and are sure to be a conversation starter.  Adding height and points of interests at different levels keeps your guest engaged with the decor.  

Another great way to add some drama to your wedding is to add a bold color to accent your special day.  A vibrant color can bring brightness and playfulness to your wedding.  A splash of brightness works especially well as an accent color to offset a neutral palette. A bright color is sure to keep you guests captivated throughout your wedding.

Tiered Cake

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Tiered cakes are back!!!! And, I love a tiered wedding cake! This doesn’t mean you have to give up your s’mores bar or other yummy goodies; it’s just a great center piece that, to me, screams wedding.  This classic wedding staple has gone from intricate, to simple, to simply forgotten.  While I love a great wedding cake, it doesn’t need to be towering, pure white, or super fancy; there are great versatile wedding cakes these days.  Some of my favorites are an almost-naked cake or one decorated in floral and greenery that creates a textures. Both of these styles are great for garden, vintage, and rustic themes (just to name a few). 

Photography

Photobooths have come a long way. Now you can do slow-motion, green screen, digital prints, and even animated GIFs.  If you don’t want a fancy booth, or it doesn’t fit into the budget, you can always supply props and a backdrop.  No matter what kind of photobooth you decide on, they are a great way for guests to interact with each other and create extra fun memories on your wedding day.

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Another great way to make your photo memories more unique is to try a new angle; photographers are starting to take photos from great heights.  Pics from way way up create these fun images that are great at capturing the celebration!

If visualizing your wedding is hard, look to to other sources, such as Pinterest, blogs, and weddings you have attended for inspiration. Just remember that this is your wedding, and it should be tailored to you and your partner. Don’t try to replicate other people’s weddings, because you both deserve a day that is unique and special, just like you.

Yes, I Hired a Planner

Part 2 of What My Wedding Taught Me

I like to think of myself as someone who thrives under pressure.  As a hospitality professional, I love the adrenaline rush that accompanies providing a service; I flourish during the toughest of situations.  However, I learned, while planning my own wedding, that one person can only do so much.  It was impossible to be in 15 places at once, make a million decisions by myself, and be my own day-of-coordinator while also getting married.

While trying to be a bride, fiancé, planner, and work full time I lost sight of the whole process.  After realizing I wanted to be present during my wedding, not running the show from behind the scenes, things came into perspective.  So I decided to take my wedding joy back with these 4 steps:

Step 1-Ask for help

Step 2-Learn to delegate

Step 3-Find a day-of-coordinator

Step 4-Take time to breath

Having someone handle the execution of our nuptials and the flow of the wedding day allowed me to take a step back.  Since I had handled most of the early details, when it came time to hand over the reins, our planner simply had to make sure the venue didn’t burn down.  She also gave me peace of mind that if any emergency did pop up she would handle it.  A planner does more than calm pre-wedding jitters; they fight for your vision, cover your day-of-coordination, make your wedding stress free, and ensure a venue flip is successful.

On my wedding day I was allowed to be present in the moment and not stress about each detail being perfectly executed.  This early wedding gift to myself saved my sanity and freed me, along with family and friends, from working my wedding.

**Keep an eye out for Part 3-What Planner Really Does

Rhea & Nick

Rhea and Nick were married on October 29th, 2016, in Jiquilillo, Nicaragua.  Rhea was escorted by her father down a picturesque beach to the sound of a mariachi band, walking to meet her soon-to-be husband under a  handmade canopy, the high tide lapping at the bride and groom’s feet.  They were surrounded by 30 friends and family members at the intimate sunset ceremony as they exchanged handwritten vows.  As the sun sank into the horizon, the bride and groom were surprised with a wedding bell piñata and started their marriage with a bang.  The ceremony was followed by music and dancing until dawn.

So many details in Rhea and Nick’s wedding clearly illustrated their individuality, from the barefoot ceremony and the map of Nicaragua in place of a guestbook, to the blue hearts encircling the ceremony site surrounding everyone in love.  Each unique detail allowed the guests to be a part of the love story that is Nick and Rhea.  A moment that brought tears to every guest’s eyes was the blessing of the rings, a part of the ceremony during which the couple’s rings were passed to each guest for them to say something about the couple, marriage, or simply to hold the rings to their lips.

Being a part of their special day was such a blessing.  Their tranquil destination wedding was filled with so much love from friends and family and was an adventure that brought together an amazing group of people from around the world in celebration of their marriage. Their wedding was a beautiful start to their lives together and bearing witness to this beginning was incredibly special.

 

 

Lets Pick a Venue!

You have just gotten engaged, congratulations!  Now that you have found your person, how do you start the process of getting married?  Almost everything about your wedding revolves around the venue; your date, color scheme, vendors, style of dress, and decor.  Of course you are going to have a tentative date set in mind but locking in the venue means you have a starting point for which the rest of you plans take-off from.  The most important factors that will help you decide your venue choice are price, location, amenities, and style/vibe.  So get out some paper and lets starting comparing venues!

When looking at a venue you gotta see whats included in the fee!  Budget is the most important factor when planning any event, so be realistic when deciding on your venue.  You may find the most amazing location but if you can’t afford to feed your guests it is not a practical choice.  When looking at a venue price it is important to consider what is included, because additional costs can add up.  Basic chairs and tables are usually included but if you find a venue that includes set-up, clean-up, linens (that you actually like), it is extremely helpful to a budget friendly wedding.  Since budget usually runs the whole wedding its essential to ask questions and know all the costs included.

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Venue in Huntington Beach, CA

Location! Location! Location!  Where do you want to get married??? In the mountains? On the beach? Downtown?  So many options!  Your location will most likely fit into your style of your wedding, if you are thinking rustic you will probably lean towards the outdoors.  If you are thinking outdoor or an unconventional location, remember that you may have to create a venue yourself and rent table, chairs and even tents.  You should also consider how accessible the site is for your guests, looking into providing a shuttle or locating hotels nearby the venue is super helpful for your guests to have the best time possible.  Having shuttles to where the majority of our guests stayed was important to us because our venue was located off a windy unlit road and we didn’t want to endanger our guests leaving our wedding.

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Monty’s Beach Lodge, Nicaragua

Besides looking great a venue needs to give you a little more!  Seeing what a venue have to offer can really sway one’s decision on whether it is going to work for your special day.  Amenities that you need to be on the look out for are parking options, venue capacity (gotta be able to fit your guests), DJ set-up  (do they have an installed sound system?), kitchen options, ceremony space vs. reception space vs. flip options (sometimes you can save costs by only using one site and flipping the space from ceremony to reception), getting ready space (its more efficient for a bride to ready onsite), and most importantly all these amenities need to come in the form of a site that you love!  It is important to find a venue prior to finalizing other vendors because some venues charge extra if you use caterers, photographers, and DJs that are not on their preferred vendor list.  We almost changed our caterer because of extra fees (they were not a preferred vendor) in the end we kept them because finding great gluten free Italian food is hard to come by.  There is a benefit to using preferred vendors, they know the location inside and out.  No matter what venue you choose you need to make sure that it provides the services that you need to have a great wedding day!

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Boettcher Mansion in Golden, CO

Wedding decisions are emotionally based, I mean this is a big deal and its going to be an emotional filled day (all good emotions I promise).  When you walk into a venue how does it make you feel?  What are the feelings that you are hoping to evoke from your guests?  Keep these answers in mind when choosing a venue.  If your wedding is suppose to be modern, a cabin will definitely work against you.  You can always take a blank space and build on it, but it is incredibly hard to turn a a rustic cottage into a classic elegant space.  I am not saying that it is impossible to do but it will take a lot of cost, decor, and time to switch up the space to work for you.  Your wedding should feel like you both as a couple, so be honest about who you both are and the experience you want your guests to have on your wedding day.

Your venue sets the mood and is a huge deciding factor for your wedding.  Now that you have your partner, make a list together to prioritize your wants for a venue so that you are both on the same page.  Once you both have an idea of what you want, research your little hearts out!  This will make it easier to compare each venue focus in on the perfect place.  Good luck! May the best venue win!

Beach Wedding Tips

The sun on your face and the sand in your toes are wonderful additions to any wedding day.  Part of what makes a beach wedding so fantastic is that your guests get to go on a mini-vacation with you, whether it is a destination wedding or a local beauty.  There are many aspects that require attention; public vs private beach, bare-feet vs sandals vs heels if you are adventurous, and how you are going to keep your guests from melting in the sun.  If you are looking to have a beach wedding, I hope these tips help with the planning of your special day!

1. Time it Right

If you are planning a beach wedding please have the ceremony take place during the day.  The view is the reason you picked this gorgeous backdrop, right?!?!?  Avoid busy times; take into account the time of year, especially if you are planning to get married on a public beach.  Also, try and avoid the heat by planning an mid afternoon to early evening ceremony.  Track weather and prepare for the instability of an outdoor event; wind, rain, tide and heat.  Always have a backup plan!  When combating the sun, some options to offer guests for protection are sunscreen, handheld fans, decorative umbrellas, or a covering so your guests can focus on your wedding and get a break from the heat.

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2. Beat the Heat

Take the heat into account when planning your wedding decor.  From your food to flowers, it is important to utilize heat resistant items.  Flowers like plumeria, orchids, and succulents are beautiful and will withstand the heat. Also consider using local floral; this will add to the authenticity of your wedding decor and is a great way to highlight local sources. Be sure to avoid hydrangea and roses, both will wilt in the heat and require a lot of water to maintain their beauty.  Using heat resistant candles, such as outdoor or flameless candles, is a great way to transition from ceremony to reception.  For dessert, try fondant in place of cream for your icing; it is less likely to melt.

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3. Be Heard

Crashing waves and that salty breeze are a big part of why the beach is so magical. However, the waves and wind make it hard for other sounds to travel.  Use a microphone for the ceremony so that guests can enjoy your ceremony, and have a sound system set up so your ceremony music can be heard.  If you plan on having live music, mic them as well.  Be sure to use a wind screen on your mic to spare your guests the sound of wind overpowering your vows. You can easily find a wind screen online for under $10, typically made of foam. Just place it over the mic to ensure your ceremony is heard by all.

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Feet in the sand

4. Dress the Part

Beach weddings tend to be more relaxed, especially with the sand, bare-feet and sunshine.  It is important to dress appropriately and comfortably so that you both can enjoy your day.  Silhouettes like an airy sheath cut work well with a beach setting, especially in fabrics like cotton, linen, and crepe.  Dresses in a blush or pale blue will pop against the beach background and work well for a wedding gown or bridesmaids dresses.  Be wary of elaborate veil styles; you don’t want it to end up wrapped around your face courtesy of a lovely gust of the ocean breeze.  If you have your heart set on a veil, save it for dramatic wedding shots with it blowing in the wind.  It will be easier to control in that setting as opposed to when you are walking down the aisle.

There are many factors to consider for a beach wedding including weather, clothing, and flower and food spoilage.  Seasoned vendors are sure to help you ensure that your day runs smoothly and beautifully.  No matter what, enjoy your day alongside the crashing waves; it’s your wedding day!

What My Wedding Taught Me

So, as a planner I thought doing my own wedding would be so much easier.  I knew a lot of vendors, I had done multiple events, I knew what details were important, basically I thought I could do it in my sleep.  Then I got engaged… And everything became real….

I realized that I couldn’t control EVERY detail, I could only plan and hope for the best.  As a perfectionist I thought I was the only one that could handle all the tiny tasks.  I learned to compromise, prioritize and most importantly breathe.  No wedding ever goes perfectly; somebody doesn’t show up, people are late, items are missing and you might even spill something on your dress…

The most important part, I realized, is that I had found my person, and I was able to be surrounded by a great group of family and friends.  My wedding was perfect, it showed me how blessed my husband and I are to start our life together.

So no matter what mishap occurs on your wedding day know that it is perfect because its your day, and its the start of something beautiful.  Cherish the day, every moment, it goes by in a flash.

5 Tips For Great Wedding Photos

Here are some useful tips that everyone can benefit from, whether it is for your big day or photographing moments at future events.
1. Hire a great photographer- seems obvious but researching the person you trust to capture your day will ensure that you are completely satisfied with finished product.
2.  Figure out which moments are important to the two of you and communicate that with your photographer.
3.  Think of the small things, like placing all the clutter in one corner so you can have amazing getting ready photos, or making sure you have a non-plastic hanger for dress.
4. Allow your photographer to be creative, you trust him/her so let them do their job!
5.  Feed them, a fed vendor is a happy clear headed vendor! Beside nobody needs photos of everyone stuffing their faces with the delicious spread you picked out.