What a Tangled Web We Weave…A Jersey City Wedding Venue is No More

“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
-Walter Scott-

Those words aren’t exactly the ones that come to mind when you think about a wedding. But this week, there isn’t much else, as a popular Jersey City venue has closed its doors and countless couples have no place to say “I do.” It almost feels like a reality show or something you would see on Netflix…

…..I really wish it was.

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!
Justin Tinapay Photography

Just last week, Battello, a restaurant in Jersey City, reached out to their private event clients via email from their attorney. This email basically said that the space would be closed on September 15, 2017 with the anticipated reopening date being sometime in April 2018. I covered all of the details in a Huffington Post article which I would urge you to read if the team from Battello’s didn’t flag it to death to have it removed. But they have nothing to hide, hence the harassment on my facebook page from the chef’s wife, the flagging of my comments by their marketing director and the endless “no comments” they gave to reporters yesterday…

Whatever, I will repost it here and they can flag off.

Yesterday, Battello closed its doors at 5pm.

It’s. August.

Imagine being a bride, showing up to your venue 24 hours before your wedding and knowing that your venue won’t even be open in one month’s time. Now imagine hearing that your wedding won’t be happening either…as you drop off your champagne flutes, cake cutter and server.

What are you going to do?

Then there are the couples that probably breathed a sigh of relief knowing that their wedding was before the anticipated closing date of September 15, 2017. They’re out of luck too now.

My phone rang early Thursday afternoon about the couple getting married there the very next day. I reached out to every venue I could think of and every single venue that I reached out to via email called me back in under 5 minutes. All of them.

As I write this, that displaced couple is having their wedding day. For everyone else, I have taken the time to put together a “directory” of other venues as well as vendors that are willing to help out. For that information, scroll to the end.

After I wrote my Huffington Post article covering last weekend’s events, I was contacted by the media and countless couples with planned weddings at Battello.

The stories are intense.

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

The couples all seem to have one thing in common: they were not told about the closing of the parking lot and the patio on May 25th. The marketing director for Battello had sent me this letter earlier this week after we discussed the entire situation. But there’s no proof that it was ever sent to the couples. Furthermore, if this letter was sent, then why didn’t any of the couples say anything?

Oh what a tangled web indeed…..

As I mentioned in my Huffington Post article (the one Battello doesn’t want you to see) one of the brides I spoke to was also unaware of this May 25th letter. It was by her own outreach that she found out that the patio and parking lot would be closed. And she didn’t find out until July.

Another couple with a 2017 wedding was also unaware of this May 25th correspondence and spent all of July going back and forth with Battello once they did become aware of the construction on the pier.  This couple had a credit card payment charged just 72 hours before Battello’s attorney emailed everyone letting them know about the September 15, 2017 closure.

The daughter of two immigrants and a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, is another bride now without a venue. She and her fiancé are praying that Battello doesn’t declare bankruptcy because they haven’t received their refund and their wedding is in 2017.

On a twitter account associated with Battello, there is a job listing for a pastry assistant for a new pastry chef. The date? July 28, 2017.

Who knew what and when?

Who cares?

On May 25th they allegedly sent out a letter to couples about the closure of the parking lot and the patio. No one I have spoken to has seen this letter. I haven’t been provided with proof of receipt. Not one couple pulled from Battello or demanded an explanation when the letter was allegedly sent. However, they did start asking questions when they found out on their own in June and July. One of those questions was whether or not to find a new venue.

So, what should I believe? What should the couples believe?

The pier is not structurally sound and needs to be repaired. If couples were given this information back in May, with the option to walk away losing their deposit or stay and roll the dice, Battello would be absolved from all of this. Just as each couple chose Battello for their wedding venue, they should’ve had a choice here. Battello took that away.

That’s the problem.

It’s not about the pier falling apart or the alleged lack of communication from the landlord to Battello about the impending closure. None of the couples need to hear “we didn’t know either” from higher ups at Battello because it doesn’t fix it. You can’t fix this. Money doesn’t fix this. Time, the time you took away, wouldn’t fix this…but it would’ve helped.

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

As a wedding planner, I am usually on the side of the wedding professionals. For so many reasons that are too long and boring to explain, I tend to side with employees over clients. Believe me when I say that I did my due diligence to get their side and review with a fine tooth comb every last document their marketing team sent to me. I was desperate to find something, anything, to give me the ability to argue both sides.

I came up with nothing.

They didn’t handle this well.

When I interviewed with NBC News yesterday , the Battello pier and surrounding area was hostile. I was told, while sitting on a bench not on their pier, by their security guards, not to take pictures or film anything. Meanwhile, countless pictures have been taken in that exact same spot for years.

Reporters had to rely on the Jersey City Police Department, who allowed them to film off the pier but did not push them to the sidewalk. The second the police left, the Battello folks pushed them to the sidewalk. Someone approached me, claiming he was an investor of Battello, and practically went blue in the face insisting that they all were blindsided by this. That everyone is “really sorry for the couples” but they “didn’t know either.”

They still don’t get it and they never will.

“Your reputation is what others think of you, your character is who you really are. Battello lacks both.” – Former Battello Groom

My cell phone is basically a landline now as it has to stay plugged into my charger with all of the calls and messages I am receiving. Couples worry not only about their wedding details, but what will happen if Battello declares bankruptcy. As much as I would love to use direct quotes, every last bride and groom wants their money back first, because they are terrified they won’t see a dime.

The doors are shut, the staff is gone, and the promises of hearing from anyone inside Battello continues to be empty for every couple I have spoken with.

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

I was and am still overwhelmed with the support from my industry. The compassion and sense of urgency everyone felt and still feels to help out couples that aren’t even their clients, is amazing. I don’t personally have clients getting married at Battello, but this is what our industry is about.

No one should ever go through this, and below I have listed venues and vendors available to help, as well as contact information. I am putting this together in the hopes that it will be a helpful tool for those searching for a new venue and even new vendors.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope that every last couple will have their wedding day come together and that this will just be a story they can laugh about over holiday gatherings.

…..or one narrated by Morgan Freeman on Netflix.

Venues and Vendors

Please use this list to help you find a new venue and/or new vendors and don’t forget to mention that you are a Battello couple and you found this information on this blog!

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

Venues

New York

Breeze Hill Farm, Long Island, Waterfront, 350 guests max, 2017 and 2018 dates available, 917.821.1201, ask for Kathleen

Masterpiece Caterers at India House, 2017 and 2018 dates available, www.masterpiececaterers.com, 914-424-2921, ask for Drane

Houston Hall, downtown Manhattan, 2017 and 2018 dates available, 212-582-2057, ask for Lauren

Mr. Cannon, Manhattan, https://www.southstreetseaport.com/EVENTS/mrcanon.html, reference Marie Assante

Hudson Terrance, Manhattan, http://hudsonterrancenyc.com/private_events/weddings, reference Marie Assante

Sushi Roxx, Manhattan, www.sushiroxxnyc.com, reference Marie Assante

The Attic Rooftop, Manhattan, http://www.theattic-nyc.com, reference Marie Assante

The DL (85 Delancey), Manhattan, www.thedl-nyc.com, reference Marie Assante

The New York Botanical Gardens, contact john.garone@starrcateringgroup.com

New Jersey

Molos, Weehawken, Waterfront, http://molosrestaurant.com/parties, reference Marie Assante

Surf City, Jersey City, www.facebook.com/surfcitybar, reference Marie Assante

Zeppelin Hall, Jersey City, www.zeppelinhall.com, reference Marie Assante

The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial, Hunterdon County, 2017 and 2018 dates available, 250 guest max, contact Rebecca Ciraco at rciraco@thefarmhousenj.com

The Ryland Inn, White House Station, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Lara Nestler at lara@rylandinnnj.com

Fell Stone Manor, Hampton, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Heather at events@fellstonemanor.com

The Tides, North Haledon, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Tom at Tom@TheTides.com

The Ashford Estate, Allentown, contact Laura at LauraD@merrimakers.com

Maritime Parc, Jersey City, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Elizabeth Stacey at estacey@maritimeparc.com

W Hoboken, Hoboken, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Meghan Dennin at Meghan.Dennin@whotels.com

Westin Governor Morris, Morristown, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Julie Olsen at Julie.Olsen@WestinMorristown.com

Stone House at Stirling Ridge, Warren, 2017 and 2018 dates available contact Carissa at Carissa@StonehouseAtStirlingRidge.com

Connecticut

Club Getaway, Kent, http://www.clubgetaway.com, reference Marie Assante

Pennsylvania

Perelman Quad, Philadelphia, 2017 and 2018 dates available, contact Kate at kathryny@upenn.edu

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

Florist

Carroll’s Florist, 718.351.5206, ask for Chad

Band

EBE Talent, contact steve@ebetalent.com

DJ

Paul Anthony Entertainment, contact paul@paulanthony.net

Pure Event Group, contact joe@pureeventgroup.com

Photography

Studio A Images, contact Adena Stevens at adena@studioaimages.com

Timothy Glenn, contact Tim Camuso at timcamuso@aol.com

Officiants

Mitch Maged, contact Mitch at mitchtheminister@aol.com

Debbie Blake Rivera, dj_rivera.weddings@yahoo.com

Stationery

Darling and Pearl, lauren@darlingandpearl.com, contact Lauren

Bella Carta Boutique, jillian@bellacartaboutique.com, contact Jillian

Hair and Make Up

Up-Do Guru, theupdoguru@yahoo.com, contact Elizabeth

Battello Jersey City closes abruptly and leaves couples stranded! Follow the link to read more!

 

It’s Not Easy Being Greenery

Greenery is the 2017 Pantone “Color of the Year” and many brides and grooms started using this trend before the announcement was made. But it’s not always easy being greenery. What is there besides table runners? How do you work with the color for a fall wedding? Is there a difference between eucalyptus and seeded eucalyptus?

How to Use Greenery for your wedding day!

In this blog, we’ll show you how to use greenery in your wedding décor and design. There are ideas for brides and grooms of every season, and you can pin your favorites for inspiration. Read on to see how to make this trend completely original!

 

A Gorgeous Greenery Backdrop for the Ceremony

Gorgeous greenery backdrop inspiration for a wedding ceremony!

Nothing frames a first kiss better than an amazing backdrop. We were inspired by our bride and groom’s boho forest feeling and worked with a talented florist to hang greenery at the ceremony location. Perfect for an outdoor or indoor wedding, you can use all types of greenery to create this look.

Rustic Initials for a Dreamy Escort Card Table

Rustic greenery inspiration for your escort card table! Create a display using your initials made completely from greenery like we did here.

Perfect for a rustic chic or farm wedding, these initials created in moss were the perfect touch on the escort card table. Who needs fancy linens when you create a greenery piece like this? We also added in pops of color, to really surprise the guests as they picked up their seating cards.

Garland Draped Along the Stairs

Mix up your greenery like we did here on this banister for a barn wedding in Westchester!

What better way to make an entrance, than to walk down a beautiful staircase adorned with greenery touches? We mixed greenery types here to add texture and added pops of blush pink for added romance. Even if you’re not coming down any stairs, this look will definitely give your guests something to talk about!

Romantic Mantle Design

We mixed different pieces of greenery and pops of purple, white, red and blue for this elegant mantle design for our bride and groom.

Create an elegant and timeless look with a mantle design and plenty of greenery! A mix of ivy, eucalyptus and hanging amaranthus, created a textured look for this rustic chic wedding we designed at The Ashford Estate. To pull everything together, our florist added flowers that were in the centerpieces for the reception.

Greenery in Glassware

Use green glassware to wow your guests during cocktail hour and your reception. This unexpected and a great way to put a unique twist on a big trend!

For a unique twist on a big trend, we used green glassware to take these wedding guests by surprise. This tented wedding was full of bold and dark colors, so we couldn’t use clear basic stemware. This little touch was a luxurious statement against wood farm tables and sparkly black runners.

Wedding Cake Greenery Goodness

We used greenery to cascade around the wedding cake for our bride and groom that got married at The New York Botanical Gardens.

The wedding cake for this garden wedding included greenery cascading around the entire design. Our bride and groom got married at The New York Botanical Gardens, so we incorporated their flowers in this romantic design. A wedding cake is traditional, but your design doesn’t have to be!

Dramatic Ceiling Designs

Create a dramatic display using laser cut signage and greenery to frame the design!

At the Market Mixer we designed for The Knot, we wanted to create an upscale and rustic design. We used gold laser cut signage and draped greenery to frame the whole look. These ceiling displays were the perfect contrast against the warehouse where the party was held. Don’t forget to ask your venue if you’re allowed to hang things from the ceiling before you start creating!

Elegant Centerpieces

Greenery inspiration for your wedding centerpieces that is both elegant and classic. Perfect for a garden or outdoor wedding.

Wondering how you can bring the greenery element to the flowers people will see the most at your wedding? These elegant centerpieces incorporated various types of greenery, but also used pops of white. The flowers were delicate and traditional and created an upscale look for this formal wedding.

Unique Table Names with Green Touches

We incorporated greenery into the table names at this New York Botanical Garden Wedding for an added special touch!

Coordinating with her garden theme, our bride created these table names instead of using standard numbers. We love the added touch of greenery under the names and how she used locations that were meaningful to her and her groom. Even the menus that were tucked in the napkin fold had touches of the greenery we used throughout the wedding design!

Jaw-Dropping Floral Walls

Get inspired with this greenery flower wall we created for our market mixer with The Knot! The perfect backdrop for photos at a wedding!

This amazing floral wall was created with boxwood by one of our favorite designers for the Knot Market Mixer. It served as a perfect backdrop for photographs and was something different for guests to talk about. Using laser cut signage pulled the overall look together and complimented the ceiling décor we created!

Whether you’re having a rustic farm wedding or a chic black tie affair, greenery can be used in many different ways. Share in the comments below if you plan on making this trend a part of your big day!

 

10 Romantic Rustic Ideas for Your Wedding Day

Rustic, organic, boho and rustic chic weddings are all trending in the wedding world right now and we’re showing you 10 romantic rustic ideas for your wedding day! To get even more inspired, head over to our wedding gallery after you read the blog below!

Farmhouse Tables

10 Romantic Ideas for Your Rustic Wedding!

The biggest and best of the romantic rustic wedding ideas is to use farmhouse tables. Sure, you could use long tables and drape a linen over them, but a classic farmhouse table is the glue that holds the rustic chic wedding together. Do away with any round or square banquet tables and be sure to rent these tables that you can push together or keep apart.

Animals (That Aren’t Your Dog) 

10 Romantic Ideas for Your Rustic Wedding!

If you’re the lucky bride or groom getting married on a working farm, odds are there are plenty of animals hanging around the grounds. Check with your coordinator to find out what you can and can’t do, and if possible, leave some time for guests to explore and find the animals on their own. Of course, if there’s a chance to use the animals for pictures, don’t forget to have your florist create something special for them to wear too!

Hanging Lights

10 Rustic Ideas for your wedding

Part of having a wedding outside means creating your own design including all of the lighting. Whether you’re working with a tent, a canopy of trees or a wide-open area, up the romance factor by stringing lights everywhere. Market and bistro lights work well for those boho chic summer weddings, while lanterns are perfect for a fall bride and groom. Just make sure there is enough light for everyone to see where they’re going!

Farm to Table Menus

10 Ideas for your rustic chic wedding

More and more, couples are making food a top priority when planning their weddings. The farm to table trend is sticking around and is perfect for rustic weddings. Mixologists are getting in on the action now too, offering organic drinks and sustainable herbs and fruits for garnishes. The display for your wedding menu should also have a rustic chic vibe, so work with your event designer and caterer to put together something unexpected for you guests.

Garland Table Runners

10 Ideas for your rustic wedding

Just another reason that farmhouse tables are a must have, are those gorgeous garland table runners. Greenery is Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year and has been breaking into the wedding scene for quite some time now. Farmhouse tables call for low centerpieces and a garland table runner is super chic and elegant. The best part about these runners is that you can incorporate whatever colors you want by having your florist introduce blooms into the garland.

Special Invitations

Inspiration for your rustic chic wedding!

Rustic weddings aren’t necessarily less formal just because the invitation makes no mention of “black tie”. Even though you won’t want to use extra thick, letter press invitations (or maybe you do, who knows?) that doesn’t mean you can’t work with a stationery designer to create something beautiful. Gold foil is super-hot right now and combined with laser cut décor, it will take your rustic wedding to a whole new level. Work with your designer and explore other options like darker envelopes, floral liners and wax seals.

Deconstructed Flowers

10 romantic ideas for your rustic chic wedding

Flowers are more than just centerpieces. Consider your bouquets, ceremony décor and anywhere else you can add flowers and keep the whole look “organic”. Rustic chic weddings are not the place for tight balls of garden roses placed on top of a trumpet vase. Work with your florist to use flowers that look more natural and keep the designs loose. Don’t forget to add florals to sometimes forgotten spots like mantles and banisters.

Live Music

Inspiration for your rustic farm wedding!

There’s something just not quite right about an outdoor ceremony with DJ Awesome mixing the beats. Even if you have a DJ for your reception, keep the ceremony and cocktail hour filled with live music only. Whether that means a string quartet, a singer with a guitar or a steel drum for those rustic beach weddings, the choices are endless. Planner tip: Hire professionals (always) for this job, even though the price may be higher than you expect.

Lace Wedding Gowns

10 ideas for your rustic chic wedding!

When rustic first started trending in the wedding world, it was all about burlap, mason jars and lace. Lace runners, lace around the mason jars, lace wrapped bouquets…too much lace basically. Ditch the lace décor and opt to include a little or a lot in your wedding gown. There are many options including the always gorgeous French lace to choose from, so make the look truly your own.

Tractors

10 romantic ideas for your rustic chic wedding!

With larger farms there’s always the question of how guests are going to get around. Let’s face it, no one wants to walk up and down rolling hills while dressed up for a wedding (especially the fancy ladies that wore heels instead of wedges because they missed the whole “farm” memo). When scouting your wedding location, find out what options you have for moving guests to the ceremony and then from there to cocktail hour and your reception. Just don’t ask anyone to sit on hay.

Romantic Rustic Ideas Round-Up

There are plenty of ways to go all in with the rustic vibe, and these are the top 10 on our list. Are you hosting a rustic chic wedding and doing something crazy cool? Share with us in the comments and inspire other couples getting married at the farm!

 

NYC 2018 Bridal Fashion Week: Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends

Fashion can be a funny thing and people tend to have very strong opinions on what they like and don’t like. Rompers anyone? But no opinion is stronger than a bride to be searching for her dream wedding gown. The perfect place to look for the latest wedding gown trends? NYC’s Bridal Fashion Week, of course!

Overall, the Spring 2018 shows featured a wide variety of designs with no shortage of non-traditional dresses to choose from. Here are my Top 10 Hits and Misses of NYC’s wedding gown trends to inspire you for your own big day. Don’t forget to comment below with your favorites!

 

Wedding Gown Trends: Hits

Liancarlo

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Romantic and elegant are the two words I would use to describe this show. These gowns had delicate details that would be perfect for the bride hosting her ceremony outdoors. From a classic strapless gown with buttons to the lacey open backs, it’s hard not to fall in love.

Sabrina Dahan

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Get ready destination brides, because Sabrina Dahan has you covered…or uncovered if you prefer. Not every beach bride wants a sheet of chiffon and those woodsy brides sometimes want a ballgown. Dahan’s collection was widely varied, complete with sheer details and plenty of tulle. Any bride taking her wedding outside should seriously consider these gowns.

Carolina Herrera

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

The queen of classic did not disappoint with her 2018 Spring showing. Each gown was iconic in its own way, and the presence of her signature bows was in full force. If you’re creating a modern vibe or tying the knot in a swanky hotel, there are countless options from this collection to choose from.

Sareh Nouri

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

A collection that has it all for every style of bride? Right here. Incredibly well-rounded, my favorites included ones with heavy beading and intricate detail. The combination of old-world glamour and classic lines, make these gowns unique and ones that your guests will talk about for years to come.

Amsale

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Timeless, but with a twist, is how I see this collection. Just when you expect the dress to look a certain way, there is a pick-up at the bottom, or an illusion at the top. Each gown was interesting, but traditional and may just be the perfect compromise for a bride and her mother wanting two very different things.

Wedding Gown Trends: Misses

Christos

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Ever read a book where you can’t seem to get to end of the first paragraph and then have to start all over again? That’s how I feel about this collection. I like the dresses, but I don’t love them. The details are simple, which is fine, but I’m bored with this show.

Viktor & Rolf

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Layers are great for haircuts and wedding cakes, but I’ve never loved them on wedding gowns…especially when they are as pronounced as these were. The simpler gowns from the collection seemed to be lacking something, while there was too much going on at the other end of the spectrum.

Vera Wang

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

How dare I….right? I’ve never been enamored with Vera Wang’s wedding gowns, and definitely not with an entire collection. In fact, my favorite gowns of hers were all custom jobs. The collection looks lost to me and just when I think it’s a conservative choice, something is falling off a shoulder or cutting down to the navel.

Marchesa Notte

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Holy Coachella, Batman! The boho, organic, whatever you want to call it, trend is still going strong and I am a big fan. However, I feel that extremes, in anything, aren’t a good thing. A wedding gown has to be timeless at some level and between the fringe and the flowers, the collection was anything but.

Zuhair Murad

Top 10 Wedding Gown Trends from the 2018 NYC Bridal Fashion Week: Hits and Misses and Wedding Gown Inspiration

Come. On. I am generally not a conservative person and I am come from the school of “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” However, on your wedding day, no matter how perfect your body is, I just can’t get behind this lingerie trend that just won’t go away. Turning it into a pantsuit doesn’t make it any better either.

That’s a Wrap!

What do you think? Are there some designers that you think I missed? Did you want to scream when I insulted your favorites? Share with me in the comments below and don’t forget to grab your free copy of how to find your perfect wedding gown!

How To Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

Many brides think that it was easier to find “the one” than it will be to find the one perfect wedding gown they will wear on their big day. A lot of my clients ask me how will they know and I always say the same thing: You will just know. Nevertheless, it can be pretty stressful searching for a wedding gown, which is why I have put together this blog with tips how to find “the one”!

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

 

 

Don’t Stress

Easier said than done, right? Whether it’s extra yoga, or extra wine, do your best not to let this part stress you out. You’ll hear plenty of really helpful comments like “It’s just a dress” and “You’ll only wear it once”, so try and block those out…trust me, you’ll be getting comments like this throughout the entire wedding process.

I like my brides to take care of the venue and the dress before anything else. If you have the venue locked down, then it’s time to go dress shopping next. It’s important to leave enough time to go dress shopping and to place the order. Ideally, your dress should be ordered at least one year before your wedding date. Some designers need less time, but I wouldn’t leave less than 9 months if possible. The more time you have, the bigger the selection you will have.

Style 101

There is a silhouette type for every body type, and every silhouette has tons of variations. Beyond the actual shape of the dress are smaller details like the neckline and straps versus no straps. Many brides will have a definite opinion about the neckline before they go shopping, but the shape of the gown that they choose isn’t always what they predicted.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

Fitted gowns such a mermaid and trumpet style will hug the body and then flare out between mid-thigh and just below the knee. If you’re looking for a dress to show off your figure, these styles would accomplish just that. No matter what though, these are never forgiving and rarely comfortable.

A-line, empire and ballgown silhouette are all more relaxed with the waist-line varying between right under the bust to below the natural waist. These styles are perfect for the bride that wants to twirl on the dance floor. You can select anything from simple to cupcake with these lines.

Necklines can make you love or hate a dress instantly. The sweetheart neckline is super popular, but there are countless options here, so don’t cross this off your list without seeing them. You may not like a deep sweetheart, but you might love something a little less pronounced or with an illusion.

Straps, strapless, sleeves from cap to long, this is another element that you really need to try on to see what you really like. I’ve worked with brides that fell in love with a gown that was strapless and then they added sleeves to make it their own. Of course, the biggest concern brides have with strapless gowns is the thought of pulling it up all night…a good seamstress can make you comfortable, so shop at salons that have them in house.

Where to Look for Your Wedding Gown

Go beyond Pinterest and pick up those things called “magazines”. Use the advertisements as a springboard to Pinterest and the internet in general. There are 1-2 page spreads for wedding gown designers and the ones in the ads are the ones the designers want you to see…because advertisements are expensive. If you like what you see, jump on google and type in the designer name to see their collections.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

Beyond the advertisements in magazines are the real weddings which are a great resource for everything wedding. Look at these spreads, make notes of the weddings you like and head over to the vendor credits within the same article. In those credits you’ll find the designer of the bridal gown and you’ve now seen it on a real person instead of a 15 year old, size 0 supermodel.

Be True to You and True to Your Wedding Style

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

You don’t have to know what type of wedding gown you want before starting the shopping process, but don’t forget what your own style is. Your wedding day is not the time to be something you’re not, so don’t convince yourself that you need a couture gown if your whole closet is full of J. Crew. You’ll feel uncomfortable trying on dresses that aren’t “you” and a bad gown experience is no bueno.

If you already have your venue, use the style to influence your wedding gown. Odds are you won’t go for a big ballgown if you’re getting married on a beach, any more than you would pick up a lacey mermaid for a vineyard wedding. Don’t let your gown be the puzzle piece that just doesn’t fit the whole puzzle. Incorporating your own style with the vibe of your venue will help you select the perfect dress for you.

Make it Your Own

Just because a dress is shown one way, doesn’t mean it’s shown your way. Perhaps you love the neckline on one gown, but the skirt of another. Consider customizing your gown so that you can have both. If the neckline needs to be deeper, or the skirt needs to be less full, ask your consultant what your options are to achieving that look. Keep in mind that not every designer will allow design alterations like this, so if you think you might go down the custom path, be upfront about that.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

Smaller details like your veil, shoes, train, belt and even buttons, can make your gown truly yours. The look of a veil can drastically change the overall look of a gown, so when you’re shopping, be sure to put those veils on at the same time. The train of a gown can be shortened or extended depending on the designer, so don’t rule out a dress just because you don’t like the train length. Then there are the accessory items like changing out the button covers, adding a different belt and selecting your shoes. The dress is so much more than just the dress and that’s important to remember when looking for the one.

Just Say “No” to an Entourage

You’ve all seen “Say Yes to the Dress” and yes, it is that bad when you bring 593 of your best friends. Everyone suddenly has an opinion and they want to be heard. Nothing is worse than finding a dress you love and having your group of girls say how much they hate it. You’ll never buy the dress and you’ll resent them for speaking up. Plus, many salons will not allow you to bring more than 3 people with you, so find that out when you set up your appointments.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Gown

Get Off Pinterest

Once you have the dress, stop looking. Seriously. There are other things to do and I guarantee you will find a gown that you will think is better than the one you already bought. Nothing good can come from window shopping post-purchase, so delete those wedding gown boards and start looking at flowers.

Conclusion

Finding a wedding gown can be an exciting and crazy process, but it should always be a happy one. It took you years to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with, so have a little patience when looking for the gown. It will all be worth it.

How to find your perfect wedding gown

The Secret Destination Wedding Location And How You Can (Finally) Get Married There

When the Beach Boys wrote the lyrics:
 
“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya to Bermuda-”
 

They should’ve stopped there… and then removed Aruba and Jamaica. I have no idea where Kokomo is and I do not care. Why? Because about two weeks ago I spent time at Coral Beach & Tennis Club in Bermuda to learn more about this new and secret destination wedding location you can finally get married at. While there are plenty of photos in this blog, make sure you check out the full behind the scenes video here, on my YouTube Channel.

Now, when I say “new” I don’t mean just built with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Coral Beach is a members only AKA private club that has been around longer than I have been alive. What that basically means is: no membership, no wedding.

But that has finally changed as Coral Beach will be available for up to 15-16 destination weddings each year. Only this time, part of the package, is a membership to this upscale club. Why would you want a membership? Glad you asked.

Maybe you didn’t grow up belonging to a country club. Or maybe you did, and like me, you were bored out of your mind attending countless dinners and seeing the same (boring) people and eating the same (tasteless) beef, chicken or fish. If you’ve got a vision of Gossip Girl episodes in your head when I say “country club”, then dismiss those immediately because that is not what this is.

On my trip, I saw first hand what life would be like as a member of this club. It meant coming with your family to the beach for a BBQ on a Tuesday night in May. It meant running around in the sand with the multiple families you’ve become friends with over the years. It meant what many of us fantasize about, for ourselves and for our children as well. 

When you get married, you are opening the door to a new chapter in your life. For the first time, Coral Beach is giving you the key. The odds that you’ll go back for dinner at your reception hall are not in your favor and may not even be possible. But at Coral Beach, you start that new chapter and the pages will fill themselves up because you can return…. as newlyweds….new parents…..grandparents…. See how this works? In a time with so much uncertainty in the world, where stability is a luxury and marriages are constantly challenged, there seems to be a chance at serenity here. A chance to lay a solid foundation before building a home.

What about the wedding part though? How does this one place stack up against the rest?

As a wedding planner I always want to know about the newest whatever that no one knows about yet, and that goes double for venues. My clients, not unlike most couples, are always looking to make their wedding day unique, even though they hate using that word. If you’re planning a wedding, there’s a good chance that you’re also attending 900 of them as well. You’ve seen it, you’ve done it. All of it. 50 times.

New Bermuda Destination Wedding Location and How to Plan Your Wedding Weekend There!

Often times, couples feel that there just isn’t a banquet hall or barn that they haven’t been to and there’s isn’t a version of Caprese salad they haven’t had. It’s all the same and it’s all on Pinterest, and the ability to make a wedding as individual as the couple, can be an Olympic feat. The easy answer is to have a destination wedding.

The hard question is: Where? I don’t believe you can learn enough to decide your opinion on a venue by just reading some details on a website and looking at a few pictures. This is why I hopped on a plane to visit Coral Beach!

Let’s start with the flight. I can basically see Bermuda from my office in New Jersey. It’s like, right there. I’m a classic east coast girl that went to an east coast college and have been on vacation and spring breaks in the typical areas. It never occurred to me, someone who really hates to fly, to go to an island that I could get to in less than 2 hours.  Once I landed in Bermuda, I was shocked at how quickly we arrived. You don’t really understand a less than 2 hour flight time to a gorgeous island until you actually do it. Two hours to fly to some business meeting in that Central Time Zone can make you feel like you slipped into the seventh circle of hell. Two hours to Bermuda?

Take my money. So if you haven’t gotten the point by now, let me drive it home: your guests, your wedding party (not just you two) when given the choice between connecting at The North Pole and potentially losing their luggage on the way to your “guacamole goes on everything” Cancun wedding or taking a direct flight on a legit airline to a wedding that will blow their mind in Bermuda…well, I think you know what wins here.

Ok, now let’s talk about actual Bermuda.  Bermuda is this super small island divided into sections. Each section is a “Parish” and each Parish offers a wide selection of food, activities and style. The island appeals to the rustic bride just as much as it appeals to the elegant chic bride. There are countless churches to host your ceremony including a gorgeous building, pictured below, The Unfinished Church.

Often times, destination wedding clients never become destination wedding clients because they know it’s a hassle to have a religious ceremony. But in Bermuda, not only are countless religious houses available on the island, many of them rival the ones you’d find back home in terms of physical appearance alone. 

In addition to that, it’s my experience that not every beach destination couple wants to get married on…wait for it…the beach. Believe it or not, many couples feel their wedding will become a cliche if they live in a state with a beach, and then ask their friends and family to get on a plane and watch them get married on a different beach. Bermuda, in general, is lush and vibrant. There are gardens and arboretums and a lot more grass takes up the island than you would probably guess.

Being a small (wicked small) island, space is a major commodity. Guess which place has plenty of it? If you’re that couple yearning for that destination wedding on an island sans sand, the grounds of Coral Beach have you covered. Besides being secluded, the grounds themselves are reminiscent of Wonderland and include a wedding lawn surrounded by sky-sweeping palm trees. The lawn is available for any or every part of your wedding celebration and can be tented as well. Bonus? There’s electricity. Try finding that at other resorts or even at your local beach. 

Destination Wedding in Bermuda and How to Plan Your Wedding Weekend at Coral Beach
Christian Oth Studios

Past the amazing wedding lawn, there are both beach and terrace options overlooking the water like you have never seen before. The reason you’ve never seen it like this before, is because you’re at the top of a cliff. Depending on the time of year, the sunrise and the moonrise will be something you will never forget.

In regard to the beach, no matter what you use it for: first look photos, wedding reception, rehearsal dinner…whatever…it’s an extensive beach. You know what you don’t have to do? Search for an area where you won’t be photobombed. It’s a private beach and your photographer will rest easy not having to hold people back or needing to retouch them out of every last beach photo. 

Destination Wedding in Bermuda and How to Plan Your Wedding Weekend at Coral Beach
Christian Oth Studios

One of the most important factors of a destination wedding is creating the experience for your guests. Let’s be honest right now and talk about how you’re not leaving most of the resorts you’ve stayed at before. Because safety. If you aren’t leaving, then neither are your guests. But a destination wedding is more than one day.

With a Saturday wedding, the couple would arrive on Monday/Tuesday, with wedding party and immediate family coming in between Tuesday-Wednesday. Guests come in Wednesday-Thursday and remain until Sunday…Monday….That’s a week’s worth of events, not just a wedding, for about 120 people. Now what?

Take Coral Beach. All of it. They will literally hand you the resort and every last room for your wedding. 

Guys. Let that sink in. I can wait.

When immediate family and wedding party members arrive, there are countless activities and things to do around the island. It’s also ridiculously easy to get around the island and the residents of Bermuda are about the most gracious I’ve ever experienced. No matter what your style is, there are things to do for everyone. A calm sail around the island, or a jet ski race…and anything in between. Hiking in the woods to hidden caves and caverns?

That too.

And there are no ticks on Bermuda.

How does this place even exist?!

Unlike other locations popular for destination weddings, a couple in Bermuda can create an experience for their guests that reflects who they are. In addition to the fun you can put together for your immediate family members and wedding party, you can design the “wedding weekend” to be just as amazing. As destination weddings go, guests arrive in advance of the wedding and you can create an “itinerary” to enclose with the invitations. 

On the first day, it’s a great idea to keep things casual, give people a chance to get to their room, and then join in on the fun. With the entire resort reserved for your wedding guests, you can arrange for everyone to be picked up at the airport and brought to the little slice of paradise that is Coral Beach. You can set up to meet everyone for afternoon tea, or Dark and Stormy’s on the beach terrace before going on a welcome cruise around the island.

The day before the wedding is a great chance to let your guests take a minute to realize they are in this unforgettable place. I can tell you, first hand, that room service breakfast on your own private patio is insane and unreal. French toast just tastes better when you’re watching longtails fly over the ocean. It does.

You should never make your itinerary “mandatory” and it’s good etiquette to let your guests know about any activities they can enjoy on their own. Tennis and squash lovers will feel right at home at Coral Beach, and other guests can enjoy the private beach, a game of croquet, a garden tour or some beach volleyball. 

For a group activity, getting back to those hikes and caves…the water in Bermuda is all connected and there’s something romantic and spiritual about that. A destination wedding is all about connections. The connection between the couple and their connection to everyone attending the wedding. Whether you choose to bring everyone on a hike that ends at a lake in a cave, or at any of Bermuda’s famous beaches for some cliff jumping, it’s obvious to include the gorgeous water as part of the wedding weekend. 

Of course, at the end of the day before the wedding, a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is a must. Normally, I would never tell my couples to have their rehearsal dinner at the same location as their wedding. Who wants to see the wedding venue, two days in a row? 

But, just like you can use multiple areas for the different parts of your wedding at Coral Beach, the same thing can be done for the rehearsal dinner. Formal, sit down wedding dinner with specific wine pairings, means fish and chips picnic with plenty of rum for the rehearsal dinner. Oh, and did I mention they can customize any menu for your events and their sommelier’s name is Vincenzo?

I meant what I said earlier that Bermuda is a really unique place. The one word I hear the most from brides when describing their ideal wedding is “unique”…and that’s not easy to do. Destination weddings are the hardest weddings to make unique because you’re dealing with the unknown and plenty of restrictions. 

At the core of every wedding I plan, is the story of the couple I am planning with. Those stories are unique and a wedding should show that. Frankly, in a world of cookie-cutter, done to death, Pinterest popular weddings, it’s refreshing and rare to put together something different. It’s an Olympic sport to make that happen for a destination wedding. 

Bermuda and Coral Beach take the gold. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Create Your Wedding Day Guest List

As a wedding planner, I have personally witnessed couples lose their minds so much that eloping sounded like the best idea ever. These meltdows didn’t happen while looking for a venue or the perfect wedding gown though. In fact, that hard stuff is really nothing compared to the endless hours it takes most couples to figure out how to create their wedding day guest list.

Determining a guest list for a wedding is one of the more annoying tasks in life. It’s right up there with filing your taxes and getting your passport renewed. You’d think it would be easy since it’s simply listing people you want to spend time with. But it’s so much more than that.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!
Timothy Glenn Photography

There are plenty of charts and guides to help you decide which people make the cut, but it’s not just about inviting someone because they invited you to their wedding. Regardless of your invite rules, there will always be exceptions to juggle.  Combine that with the people your parents would like to are making you invite, and pretty soon it’s a three ring circus.

But you can avoid flying through the air without a net by eliminating the guests with toxic behavioral traits. In my most recent YouTube vlog seen here, I talk about these guests, so make sure you check that out. Identifying people you know with these horrible traits (and not inviting them) is how to create your guest list for your wedding day. Sadly, sometimes that won’t be possible…

Below are the 10 types of people not to invite to your wedding, and what to do if they show up anyway (because sometimes that happens):

1. The Thunder Stealer

You probably already know the exact person in your life that would not think twice about making your wedding day about them. These are the guests that think nothing of proposing during your reception or taking a pregnancy test in the bathroom and asking your MC to announce the results. Maybe this doesn’t make your skin crawl, but I personally think it’s tacky and would’ve gone full on linebacker had this happened at my own wedding.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

While it might not be possible to keep this person off the invite list, you should make sure they aren’t in your wedding party. Nothing makes taking the spotlight away easier than standing next to the people who are in it all day. Assuming they are just a guest, make sure it’s known how you feel about those “bouquet and garter tosses turn wedding proposal” videos you’ve seen.

Then take it one step further and instruct whomever controls the microphone to not allow anyone to use it except for those you know about. In advance.

Oh you’re pregnant? Sorry, can’t hear you.

2. The Guest That Wants You To Fix Everything

This helpless soul makes you wonder how they survive getting through the day. Prior to the wedding, they might ask how they should get a hotel room when the block is full. Meanwhile, it’s full because they procrastinated and missed the cutoff date. During the wedding they could expect you to fix everything from an incorrect food order to your sister’s attitude problem.

There are several ways to prevent having to hold this person’s hand while simultaneously planning and/or enjoying (God Forbid) your wedding day. In the instance of a hotel block, make sure that your RSVP date coincides with the date that the hotel rooms will be released. You can read more about how to do that here in my wedding planning timeline blog.

From not securing their hotel room in the block you set up, to expecting you to handle their super specific vegan, gluten-free, no carbs entrée request, there is nothing they will not ask of you. This is why you make sure that they ask someone else. Discuss, in advance, whom is responsible for handling Aunt Sally’s complaints about everything under the sun.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

3. The Photographer

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how wedding guests lose all common sense when it comes to taking pictures at a wedding. I have seen wedding guests turn into Stretch Armstrong and reach across an aisle to take the picture of the couple’s first kiss. Meanwhile, they completely blocked the photographer and now he doesn’t have one of the shots you really wanted.

Thanks Aunt Sally.

It’s impossible to keep these people off your invite list (because it’s everybody), but you can take preventative measures. Consider having an “unplugged” wedding, where guests are asked to not take pictures. If that is too extreme, you should at least do this for your ceremony. You can guide your guests with signage, notes in the program and even announcements made by your officiant and MC.

[tweetshare tweet=”Most importantly, communicate to your guests that no pictures are to be posted onto social media until you and your spouse want them to be.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]This can mean no posting until the reception as long as they use your hashtag, to nothing posted until you get your professional photos back. Guests should respect your wishes here, but they need to know what those wishes are.

4. The Illiterate RSVPer

Somehow, sending back the RSVP card is basically the absolute hardest thing in the world for some people. When you create your guest list, this is a personality that will be tough to avoid. In fact, you probably can already guess which people will fail at RSVPing correctly. Now add 10 more people to that list to even come close to being accurate.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!
Justin Tinapay Photography

I have seen cards come back without names on them, with additional guests added (up to 5), questions handwritten to the couple and just missing information in general. Everytime I see a response card come back late and/or with missing and/or incorrect information, I am reminded why certain warning labels exist.

Be sure to develop a wedding website where guests can constantly access information and put the web address on your Save The Dates. The invitations should have all of the information needed but be designed in a way that is easy to read. If you’re having a black tie wedding without children, putting that in fine print buried under calligraphy is a great way to get people showing up in jeans with their little ones in tow.

Once you receive the responses, both the late ones and ones missing information, reach out to those people immediately. One week prior to your RSVP date, call every single person that you don’t have a response from yet. You’ll get the inevitable “but the RSVP date isn’t until….” nonsense, but you can’t wait until then to call so just ignore it.

5. The Passive Aggressive Guest

Maybe it’s just me, but nothing makes my head explode more than someone being passive aggressive. I’m a super direct person and it’s challenging to call these people out since their response is frequently “I didn’t mean it like that”.

When you know they did.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

A passive aggressive wedding guest will express themselves during your wedding planning by using words like “interesting” to describe your venue, your dress, your everthing. It’s not a negative comment but it’s also not positive and needs to exit stage left from your guest list.

When they aren’t commenting on how interesting everything is, they are side-stepping you by calling your mom to confide in her about how your lack of a “plus one” option has hurt their feelings. They always make sure to preface everything with “don’t tell” while full knowing that it will be told to you. Which, of course, wasn’t their intention…except it was.

If you can’t leave this person off the guest list, you have two options about how to deal with them. You can choose to appease them in their requests delivered third hand through your mom and just let it roll off your back. However, if you know this will start bothering you, anticipate the behavior and let mom (or whomever) know that you expect them to diffuse the situation and not take it you. It is very important that you have a support system while planning your wedding, so ask for one.

6. The Competitor

Know someone that just got married? Do they consider themselves a wedding expert? Are they always reminding you how fabulous their wedding was? Leave them off your wedding guest list.

Look, it’s fine to look back on your wedding day and how perfect it was. However, recent brides (and even some grooms) can take it to Level 11 by giving you a steady stream of unsolicited advice and then backing it up with evidence from their own flawless wedding day. If you’re able to roll your eyes and laugh with your fiance about this, then just ignore it. If not, you can limit your interaction leading up to the wedding day as well as on the actual day of.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

On the flip side of that is the bride that offers advice to you based on the mistakes she made that she doesn’t want you to make. I’m a big believer in not giving advice unless it’s asked for, so if this scenario bothers you, speak up. You don’t have to be a mean girl about it either, and a simple “thanks, we’re good so far but will let you know if we need anything” will suffice.

When designing your seating chart (a whole separate type of hell), place this person with people she either knows and that can handle her, or with people she doesn’t know at all. If she is with people she doesn’t know, she might think twice about talking about how fabulous her own wedding was while attending yours.

7a. The Guest That Doesn’t Care Where She Sits (Except She Does)

If you haven’t reached the point in your planning where you are designing your seating chart, it’s not possible for you to imagine how tortorous it can be. Somewhat of a juggling act, you’ll have to contend with people that don’t like each other, people that don’t know each other and people that will be offended if they aren’t sitting near you. Those are just three of the hurdles.

A little different than the passive aggressive wedding guest, this person is only concerned about one thing and it’s where she is sitting. Some of my couples have told me stories of guests asking where they would be sitting before the invitations were even sent out. Presumptious much?

Passively, this guest will tell you that it doesn’t matter one bit what table she is located at, but just in case you were curious, here are 40 places she would prefer not to be. Unlike the next example, she will sit where she is told, but best believe you will know she isn’t happy about it. This is also another reason not to have a receiving line aka an assembly line of complaints passed off as concerns by your guests.

It’s always a good idea to leave whiny brats off your guest list in general. If you find yourself contending with one and stuck in a conversation of where an appropriate seat for her would be, how you react will set the tone going forward. If you can brush it off, just do that and go about your business of wedding planning. If you can’t, depending on your relationship, you can either be upfront with how this discussion is stressing you out or you can use sarcasm and suggest a seat on her couch for the evening.

7b. The Guest That Plays Musical Chairs

While the guest mentioned above has a full understanding of sitting where you’re supposed to sit, this guest is YOLO about the situation. On many occassions, I have been approached by guests that when they walk over to me look like they are going into combat. As I hold the seating chart in my hands during the cocktail hour, many want to know where they are sitting, especially if they can’t find their escort cards.

But then there are those guests that aren’t satisfied with the answer. Instead of looking at the escort board or cards on their own, they usually want to see the list I am holding which shows each table and the names of the guests at each one. Typically, I just ask this guest whom they are looking for, tell them the people at their own table and call it a day.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!
Justin Tinapay Photography

Whatever the approach, many guests have asked (rather, told) me to switch their seat. It never matters how hard the couple worked to create the seating chart or that it’s their wedding and their call. It also never seems to matter that this could affect the place settings, the food orders, or anything else. They just need to be moved and never tell me why.

Spoiler alert: I have never moved a guest. Ever.

Do not feel pressured to cave to this guest’s immature and unreasonable request. Should they approach you directly or through someone else, you say nothing more than “I will see what I can do.” Then do nothing. The bottom line is, this guest is an adult and they can find ways to avoid the table unless it’s time for dinner by visiting the dance floor or the bar.

Not your circus, not your monkeys.

8. The Really Bad Gift Giver

I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but let’s go there anyway.

When you are planning your wedding, part of the floor chart for your reception will include the placement of the gift table. This is typically a small table, anywhere from 30-48” (or if you’re a certain bride of mine, 6 feet and she’s lucky I adore her). On this table, you will place a card box/birdcage for guests to place their cards of well wishes.

Typically, this table is near the cake table and sweetheart table, and there is no room for large packages. However, some people think a card and a check is just unacceptable and that you would much prefer a hand cut, 450 pound, crystal Waterford vase that looks like something in your grandmother’s house that she got at her wedding. This box will also come wrapped in really tacky and usually reflective wrapping paper.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

Being that the gift table is only available during the reception (usually), there is no opportunity for guests to drop their cards until that time. This means they will carry it with them during the ceremony and the cocktail hour. Envelopes fit easily inside purses and suit pockets. Not so much in the case of the vase that you don’t need.

To avoid watching Aunt Betty (because let’s give Sally a break) walk around with a package that seems so heavy her hips might break, hide all of your wedding registries the day of your bridal shower.

Guests sometimes refer to these registries when they want to actually give you something and when they see they no longer exist one of two things will happen:

  1. They ask your mom (sorry moms) what happened and what to get you. Prepare mom to say something like “they’re all set really/honestly a check will be just fine.” Be prepared to say the exact same thing should you be asked directly. You might still get a gift, but at least you tried to avoid it and hopefully the receipt is included.

Or

  1. They shrug their shoulders and just go the check in card route.

Of course, there is also the option of having a registry for your honeymoon through sites like Honeyfund where guests can purchase excursions and such for you in advance. If you think your guest list is chock full of people that have to buy something because a check is so not personal (like my mother), consider setting up something like this so that everyone’s happy.

9. The Financial Analyst

Weddings are expensive and even though people never like to talk about money, that awkwardness about the subject seems to vaporize when people want to know what you spent on the big day. Whether it’s a direct question or beating around the bush, you will likely have a guest or two want to know what everything cost.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

Now, to be fair, many wedding guests want to know what you spent per plate so that they can cover that cost in their gift/check in card. However, with some venues starting at the $200 per person plus plus mark, it’s not likely that information will help as I know of few wedding guests cutting $400 and $500 checks.

For whatever reason, you will be seen as rude if you don’t answer “how much were these flowers?”. There isn’t one good reason to give an answer and you wouldn’t believe how offended some guests get when they found out what you spent. I mean, no one is questioning the amount of money Aunt Sally is spending on her sterling silver collection, so…

Dance around these questions with non-answers. If you’re still planning, then just say that the final bill hasn’t come out yet. Follow it up with a playful, “Why? Do you want to cover it?” That should shut it down moving forward.

When the questions come past the point of knowing what everything costs, say anything but a number. Phrases like “we got such a good deal”, “so much less than we thought” and “I can’t even remember anymore” are good pacifiers. But never ever give a number and remind yourself that it is inappropriate for anyone to ask in the first place.

10. The Drunk

It happens. It’s a wedding. Weddings have open bars (the good ones at least). You can’t keep this person off your guest list, but you can keep the wedding going without being kicked out. Assuming this drunk or the drunks are friendly and not bitter angry drunks that want to smash centerpieces, here are a few preventative measures to take:

  1. Give a head’s up about guests you’re worried about to your venue, the catering staff and anyone handling liquor such as the bartenders. Make sure you understand the shot policy and that they have the right to cut people off, and make sure they know you would like that strongly enforced.
  2. If there isn’t a “no shot” policy, make it one
  3. Don’t service any alcohol prior to your ceremony.
  4. Keep these people out of your wedding party if possible.
  5. Have a strict list of people that are allowed to use the microphone and give a copy to your MC, wedding planner and venue coordinator. No toasts unless you’re on the list.
  6. Ask a few people close to you to keep an eye on anyone you’re worried about and if they see things getting out of control to speak to the coordinators about how to handle the situation.

Designing your guest list can be a nightmare and should be one of the first items on your to-do list. If there are guests you are on the fence about, push them onto a B list or off the list completely. A great group of guests can make or break a wedding day and there are no do-overs. It’s perfectly fine to be cut-throat when making final guest list decisions.

How to decide whom to invite to your wedding and which guests should be left off the list. Click to read the tips and tricks and see the vlog where I discuss the 10 worst people to ever invite to your wedding!

But if you can’t remove everyone you want to, now at least you’ll be able to handle them.

What guests are you worried about attending your wedding? Is there a type that I missed and you want to warn other couples? Need more advice? Leave me a comment and share your stories below!

 

 

The Rest of the Real Wedding Planning Checklist

Welcome to the rest of the real wedding planning checklist. If you missed the first part, make sure you read this first!

In Part 1, I talked about some bigger items like selecting your wedding venue and hiring your photographer, band and of course, wedding planner. In this part of the blog, I will finish off the rest of the wedding planning checklist and tell you when to book everything from lighting to restroom trailers.

Lighting and Other Décor

What your lighting will look like will depend on what your venue offers. If you’re working with a venue with an in-house lighting designer, then their availability is less of a priority than if you were to bring an outside vendor in. That said, as a designer, I like to handle all of the aesthetic components at the same time since they all work together. This means lighting is done on the earlier side.

If you’re looking for basic lighting features like wall washes and monograms and you’ve booked a DJ, there’s a strong possibility that they can handle those features. However, if you’re looking for things like pin-spots and hung lights, then a lighting designer is essential.

How to create your wedding planning checklist whether you're getting married in 2 minutes, 2 months or 2 years! Pin now and read later!

Good lighting designers can be few and far between, so if you have the time, start your outreach 5-7 months prior to your wedding date. Pressed for time but lighting is a priority? Before selecting venues to tour, be sure to find out exactly what they offer and definitely what they allow. Give priority to venues with in house lighting designers in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.

Other décor like furniture rentals, linens and signage can frequently be combined with your other vendors’ services. Check with your florist for their rental list and your stationery designer for signage. Bonus: the more you book with one vendor, the better that vendor can do on their price.

Officiant

I am always majorly surprised when a couple contacts me for full service and they haven’t considered something very important: the person performing the ceremony. If you’re not getting married in a religious house, you will need an officiant to make the marriage, you know, legal.

Depending on the state you’re in, a friend and/or family member might not be able to perform this service. Truth be told that’s not always a good idea anyway, but I digress…

Since it is impossible to be in two places at the same time, officiants, especially the good ones, book up a year or two (nope, not a typo) in advance. Along with wedding gown and venue, I always make securing a wedding officiant a major priority. If you’ve got the 12 months, then use them and if you’ve got more, use those too.

But if you’re working with much less, use whatever you have. To speed up the process, ask for recommendations from your married friends and family, get on google, talk to your venue about their vendors…basically do whatever you have to do and get this done.

This can be time consuming because yes, you will actually need to meet with these people. A skype or phone call won’t cut it here and officiants tend to be busy on weekends with…wait for it…weddings. If possible, block out a weekday and meet with a handful all on the same day. To narrow your choices down, look for or ask for videos of the officiants presiding over weddings so you can see them in action.

Wedding Wardrobe for Everyone Else

Bridesmaids and groomsmen all need stuff to wear and let’s not forget the groom and sometimes parents that are looking for assistance. Just like stationery, this timing will depend on what you’re looking for and just like a wedding gown, timing depends on designers.Not sure when to tell your girls to buy their bridesmaid dresses or when the groomsmen should get their tuxes? Read now and pin later this ultimate wedding planning checklist.

I personally believe and always suggest that my brides have at least an idea of what they want their bridesmaids to wear before I set up any appointments. To save time, look into stores that have similar styles to what you want and only make appointments with them. It should also come as no surprise that weekends book up first and if you can handle this on a weekday, you’re likely to get an appointment much quicker.

The bridesmaid wardrobe process should start much earlier than you think or have been told. Got 9-10 months before your wedding? That’s perfect as some designers take 9 months to get their dresses in. Most other designers will take at least 6 months and a select few will take less. But unlike your wedding gown, you can’t grab samples of these because you likely need more than one.

If you don’t have the time, treat this like your wedding gown shopping and talk to stores in advance about what they have and how long everything takes to come in. Be transparent about the time you’re working with and visit stores with the best and most options. To really cut down on time, go to the stores to select the gown or gowns yourself and then leave it to your bridesmaids to only deal with getting measured instead of giving opinions.

For the boys, your options are renting or owning (sucks to be a bridesmaid…for now…subscribe to my YouTube Channel to find out more) and less time isn’t always a bad thing. The more traditional you’re going, i.e. black tuxes all around, the easier and less time consuming this will be. A word of caution in regard to timing and tux rentals: prom season is going to get in your way and you’ll have to factor that 1-2 month period into your planning timeline.

Should you not be going down the black tuxedo route, there’s a chance that you’ll need custom suits. If you want anything from what you think is a gray tuxedo or a blue tuxedo, or any other color, then you actually are looking for a suit. For more about that, be sure to check out my YouTube video discussing the difference between tuxedos and suits.

Custom suits require a 4 month window of time, so if you have that, you’re golden. You don’t necessarily need more than that for rentals, but if your groomsmen are spread out geographically, the more time you can give, the better. Typically, this isn’t an area of concern even with shorter engagements, but a common mistake I see here is couples leaving it as one of the last things to do.

Transportation

When to book your limos, shuttles and all transportation for your wedding day!

Limos, shuttles, party buses and magic carpets should be booked 8 months prior to your wedding or earlier if possible. Just like tuxedo rentals, prom season severely affects the availability of transportation companies. You don’t want to use multiple companies (seriously, do not do this) so it’s important to get this done early on so that you have choices.

Less than 8 months to check this off your list? You’ll likely be doing multiple vendor bookings at the same time, so add this one to the list. Save yourself some time by figuring out exactly what you need, for how long and from where to where. Consider how you and your fiancé will be traveling, as well as your wedding party and any immediate family including parents and grandparents.

If you want to provide transportation for your guests, booking shuttles is the way to go. These vehicles vary from 14 passenger vans to 55 passenger buses and should be booked early with the rest of the vehicles. Before you commit to transportation for your guests from a separate company, you should talk to your hotel block about their options. Speaking of which…

Hotel Blocks

9 times out of 10, and I actually think it’s more like 10 times out of 10, I set up hotel blocks for my couples. This might seem like something that can be done quickly, but take my word that it can be fairly complicated.

Because I like to handle transportation 9-10 months prior to the wedding and some of the transportation will be affected by a hotel block, I do these at the same time. I give automatic priority to hotels that offer shuttle service in house and that don’t have a financial obligation.

Unfortunately, both of these things have become close to extinct which only means you will need more time to find these dinosaurs in the first place.

If you’re not looking to shuttle your guests on the wedding day and you have only a few months to plan, typically 4-5 months out will be good enough to set up a block. It’s important to note that most blocks expire a full month before your wedding though. If you’re getting married around the holidays or other “hotel worthy” dates like Valentine’s Day, President’s Day Weekend, etc. then set up your block as soon as possible.

I mentioned that setting up a hotel block isn’t as easy as it seems and besides not being easy, it tends to be frustrating. Your time will be consumed with finding out the policy of each hotel and if you want to actually speak with someone there, good luck as they all hold typical 9-5, Monday through Friday hours.

A great way to save time and avoid a massive headache that will turn any normal bride into a zilla, is to use a service that does it for you. There are plenty available out there, but when I’m not handling the blocks myself, I like to use “Where Will The Stay?”. You can hear more about them and what they can do on my favorites segment here! Oh, and it’s free.

Hair and Make-Up

It probably feels like I am suggesting to do everything immediately if you’re getting married in less than a year. If it doesn’t feel that way yet, it’s about to.

When to hire your hair stylist and make up artist for your wedding day.

Hair and Make-Up services are something I try to book 6-8 months out if the couple has the time. Stylists book up quickly and are majorly affected by peak wedding season. Ideally, you’ll be hiring a company that will bring multiple hair and make-up stylists on the day of the wedding for the bride, bridesmaids and anyone else who needs it.

It’s important to leave time for a trial which you can have before booking or after…though I typically recommend before. Trials are another one of those “weekdays are better” things since stylists are busy with weddings and working in general on the weekends.

With limited time, consider hiring someone you have worked with before and see if they are able to put a team together. I would also recommend asking your photographer if they recommend anyone since it’s not a horrible idea to book these two vendors at the same time.

The Other Stuff You Didn’t Think Of (But I Did Because It’s My Job)

Everything I have discussed so far covers the basics that every wedding day needs. But what about those weddings that take place at venues with in-house nothing or just in-house a few things? What do you book when?

Outside Food and Beverage

If you’re dreaming of a “grow your own venue” deal where you get to bring in an outside caterer, then get ready to plan this 9-12+ months out. This falls in line with when you would book a venue since many venues include food as one of those essential things. Plus, when you bring in this outside service, you might need things to put the food on like plates and silverware and glassware is always nice to offer your guests.

More than 12 months to plan or at least 9 months and you’re in a good position to have choices available. Wrenches will get thrown into your planning timeline here around the holidays when caterers are super busy and wedding season can be a tough time to pin them down as well. You should consider that when deciding when to start the search.

When to book your wedding venue and everything else when wedding planning. Pin now and read later.

In general, I would recommend to couples with limited time to use a venue with as much stuff included as possible. But the heart wants what it wants right? Put this at the top of your list of things to do regardless and save time by asking for referrals from the venue you book as well as from friends and family.

Get on the same page with your fiancé in regard to type of food and style (sit down, buffet, etc.) that you want before making any phone calls. Liquor laws vary from state to state, so make sure you know if BYOB is an option or if your caterer will have to provide the liquor and only talk to caterers that can handle playing by the rules. To save even more time, work with caterers that will handle bringing in tables, chairs, linens and all of the basics so you don’t have to rent anything.

Restroom Trailers

Barns and farms are great (they are, don’t be a hater) but very few have indoor plumbing which means bringing in restroom trailers. These should be booked at least 5-6 months out, so a short engagement doesn’t usually pose a problem here. When searching for venues, find out whom they recommend (they should absolutely be able to tell you this) and what their electrical and water hook-ups are like. The trailer companies will need this information to give you pricing and let you know if they can even handle the venue’s property.

Cigar Rollers, Photobooths, and Other Fun Vendors

Novelty vendors such as these are a dime a dozen, though the best are frequently booked up in advance. Many of my couples don’t decide that they want vendors from the “fun” category until we’re within 6 months or so of their wedding. By that time, it comes down to having some extra money in the budget or suddenly realizing they always wanted something. I’ve never had an issue booking that close to the wedding date, so don’t panic if you’re tight on time.

Honeymoon

Saving the best for last, I always recommend a travel agency for my couples to work with for their honeymoon needs. Of course, I am able to make recommendations, but for truly personal attention and to save time, working with a travel agency is the best way to go.

I don’t handle this until about 6 or 7 months prior to the wedding date, but if I’m able to, I will get it done earlier. Travel agents frequently have conferences throughout the year and if they are away, they won’t be able to get back to you quickly. Put together a wish list of places if possible and find an agency that has specialists.

If you’re not working with a travel agent or if you’re going to honeymoon during a popular vacation time such as spring break or the holidays, start the process 7 months out. Not possible? Consider having flexible travel dates if you can and try to give yourself a minimum of 4 months before the wedding date.

Another option and one than many of my couples explore, is taking the honeymoon a few months past the wedding date. This gives them and can give you extra time to pull this all together either with an agency or on your own.

Wrapping Up

When to book everything when planning your wedding. The ultimate guide for engaged couples. Pin now and read later!

I know there are countless wedding planning timelines available to you and many come in a pretty printable template too. But wedding planning isn’t easy, which you may already be finding out. There are times of the year to always be aware of and in general, the more time you have, the better.

Unlike all of the timelines out there, I am completely aware that no two engagements are the same and 12 month timelines doesn’t always exist for everyone. You can’t book your venue 9-12 months out with less than 6 months to plan. I hope my wedding planner secrets gave you ideas on how to increase the time you do have instead of working with the time you don’t.

Are you planning a wedding with less than a year to get it all done? What advice do you have for other couples with short engagements? Share what you’ve done or what you wish you had done differently in the comments section below!

 

Those Wedding Planning Checklists and Why They Suck

Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!
Justin Tinapay Photography

If you’re engaged, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably visited a wedding website or 50 and come across their version of a wedding planning checklist. What you don’t know is why those wedding planning checklists totally suck.

You know the type of checklists I’m talking about: what to do first through what to do last and when to do it. They all start the same way telling you to get that gown and venue somewhere between 9 and 12 months before your actual wedding date.

But what happens when you have a 6 month long engagement?

How can you secure your wedding venue and your wedding gown 12 months before your wedding when your wedding is only 6 months away?

It’s basic wedding math.

Actually, no, it’s just basic math. Because 12 is bigger than 6 and that’s just 1 reason why those wedding planning checklists suck for 2 people getting married.

And I’m going to tell you all the other reasons these checklists suck in this blog. So get ready to delete those sites you’ve bookmarked and remove all of those planning checklist pins. This is what you really need. Straight up, no chaser.

To make this easy to apply to any wedding, I have listed some basic wedding planning “to-do” items and when to do what. I am also sharing my secrets that you might never have thought about. Because, yes, despite what those self-proclaimed number one wedding websites say, it actually does matter when you get married.

Disclaimer: I am already going to assume that everyone reading this knows that figuring out your budget is the first step to any wedding planning ever. Know your numbers before you do anything.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Those Standard 12 Month Out To-Do Items

The Wedding Gown

Picking out the dress is almost always done first when planning a wedding. Of course, this is primarily because it’s basically shopping. However, it’s shopping for the most important piece of wardrobe you will likely ever own. Getting the gown makes the engagement feel “real” for many brides.

Ideally you should purchase the gown a full year prior to your wedding date. Many designers will need upwards of 9 months to create and send the gown to the store. Then you have to account for any time needed for alterations. Personally, I like to add in extra time in the off chance that my bride either has buyer’s remorse or something goes wrong with the order.

Something frequently ignored by these wedding timelines is the very real time it takes to actually get things done. In this case, it’s important to consider the time it takes to actually find that gown. I mean, if it takes over 20 years to find the groom, then it’s not going to take 20 seconds to find the dress you want to wear when you marry him.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

There are so many moving parts to consider when figuring out how much time you will need to shop for your wedding gown. First and foremost, weekend appointments book up quickly, and it can take up to a month to secure a date. You also have to consider the schedules of anyone you want to have with you when you shop. Lastly, if you think you’ll need multiple shops to visit, you’ll also need multiple days for said appointments.

These are just some of the reasons why the wedding gown should be ordered one year in advance. Obviously, that isn’t always possible if your engagement is shorter than 12 months.

It’s not hopeless if you’re engaged in January and getting married in June though. You should make finding your gown one of your three first priorities (the second one is next), but you don’t necessarily need a full year. Here are a few wedding planner secrets:

Purchase a sample or “off the rack”

When you go to try on wedding gowns, every gown you try on is considered a sample or “off the rack”. Many times these gowns will be available for purchase at a reduced cost. The three things every bride should be aware of are:

  1. These gowns are sample size i.e. 10-12 dress which translates to 6-8 real size. It’s a lot easier to shorten a gown and make it smaller than it is to add length and let it out. It’s also less expensive.
  2. Sample sales are typically final, so if you aren’t in love with it, don’t buy it.
  3. Since these gowns have been tried on, there will be imperfections and not all of those imperfections will be fixable. Sometimes this will be as minor as a hem needing to be re-stitched and other times it’s major like missing beading.

Set up your appointments on a weekday if possible or a weeknight as a second option.

I’ve already mentioned this, but weekend appointments are hard to come by since people, you know…have jobs. If you’re in a rush to say “yes to the dress”, a weekday appointment will be available sooner and you’ll likely not be rushed through the appointment and able to try on even more gowns.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Bring only 1 other person with you

I am 110% against entourages when shopping for any wedding wardrobe, but especially when looking for a wedding gown. Your bridesmaids aren’t “like that”…until they are. Opinions always fly and all they do is take up time during the appointment and delay your ability to make a decision. You also have to work around their schedules and pray you can find time when you’re all available. If you really need your crew (which many bridal salons don’t allow FYI) then bring them to show them what you’ve already chosen.

Look for designers that can turn a dress around quicker than average

Not every designer needs 9 months to deliver a wedding gown. Before you crack out on Pinterest and need to have a dress by a certain designer, find out what designers are available at your local salon and when their gowns come in by. Hint: Pronovias frequently can turn around a dress in under 6 months and I’ve also had luck with Moonlight Bridal.

Speak to the wedding salons about rush orders

If you’re really in a bind or fall in love with a designer that takes longer than you have, speak with the salons about paying to rush your order. Sometimes this can buy you as much as a month, but coupled with buying from a designer that’s quicker than the rest, you might be good to go.

Go vintage

Just like buying a sample, you can go the vintage route and pick up a pre-worn gown. I do not, like really do not, advocate buying your wedding gown online. However, you can find some really beautiful vintage wedding gowns at reputable small stores. In fact, there are stores literally dedicated to selling vintage gowns. If you’re wedding is incorporating this hot-never-going-to-die trend, then look around for a shop like this.

Attend trunk shows

Trunk shows are great for two reasons. The first reason is that you can get anywhere from 10-20% off of the gown’s full price. The second reason is that you can see an entire collection from a designer as opposed to the 3-10 pieces the salon currently has. This is perfect for the bride that wants a specific designer’s wedding gown as it takes away the need to bounce from store to store looking at options.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Your Wedding Venue

The second major priority when planning a wedding is finding the venue.

Duh.

Sometimes, 12 months isn’t enough time to get this done though. With wedding season spanning the months between May-November and peaking in September and October, your dream venue might be booked up to two years in advance. I cannot tell you how many couples I have worked with that had to make the decision whether or not to extend the length of their engagement solely to get their venue of choice.

If that’s not an option for you, then it’s best to be flexible with your venue choices. Not just normal flexible either. More like Gumbi flexible.

The venue is also going to set your wedding date. I know, you thought you had control over that one didn’t you?

Believe me, most couples contact me with a wedding date picked out and don’t have a venue locked down yet. Then they have to decide if they want to see venues that aren’t available on their “date” or if they are open to that date solely representing the time of year they want to be married.

Because the venue essentially sets your date, you should always venue shop and venue book before going dress shopping.

When you make appointments to go try on wedding gowns, the first question they will ask you (besides budget) is your wedding date. Don’t make the mistake of giving them a date you’ve selected, only to purchase a wedding gown and then have to scramble when the venue you want isn’t available for that date. You might find yourself needing a second gown (like a sample) because the first one isn’t coming in on time if you end up booking a venue for an earlier date than your original date.

You know…the date that wasn’t real because you didn’t have a venue yet…

If you have over a year to plan, don’t sleep on getting the venue. Just like it takes time to shop for wedding gowns, you will need all the time you can get to find a venue. Odds are, you will need to coordinate schedules with your fiancé and possibly both sets of parents. Weekend appointments book up first and some venues won’t tour if a wedding is taking place on the same day.

All of that adds up to needing a ton of time to find the venue for your wedding day. Of course, if you can schedule tours on weekdays and look at venues that are in close proximity, you’ll need less time than normal.

Also helpful is to do as much research on these venues before committing to an appointment. It’s not always possible to get pricing from a venue without setting an appointment. In fact, one of the many reasons to hire a wedding planner is that we tend to have that information already or we can get it without much struggle.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Wedding Planner

Before you do anything past establishing your overall budget, if you’re going to hire a wedding planner, that is your Step 1 in the planning process. So, if you have 1 month or 1 year, do this before the rest of the tasks. A few reasons why:

Reputable and professional wedding planners book up to if not over a year in advance, especially for peak wedding season dates. Many planners, myself included, will not take on more than one wedding or event per weekend.

Hiring a planner for full service means they can do all of the work for you including finding the perfect venue and vendors. That’s right, you basically just have to tell them what you want and just like magic, options will appear.

A full time planner can speak with venues and vendors at the hours that you can’t. You know, like 2pm on a Tuesday. This means that more planning gets done in a shorter amount of time because planners have the same hours as venues and vendors. No back and forth voicemails and emails needed here.

If you’re only looking for someone to handle “Month Of” Coordination, many planners will not book that package until you’re under the 6 month mark. To be blunt, most planners would rather hold out for a last minute full service client than to lock up a weekend with a smaller package. The good part here is if you are a couple with a short engagement only looking for this type of help, you could easily have some solid options to choose from.

All that said, the number one way to get your checklist all checked off? A professional wedding planner…as soon as possible and before anything else.

The Big Ticket Vendors: Photo/Video, Music and Florals

Photo and Video

Always listed on wedding planning checklists around the 6-8 month mark are your photographer, videographer, music and florist. On average, most couples will have at least 6 months to plan. However, just because they have 6 months, doesn’t mean getting these vendors booked will always happen at that time. Remember how venue and gown come first?Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Many photographers and videographers will only be available for one wedding per day unless they work like an agency. It’s very important to meet these people before hiring them. I know, you totally do not have time to do this, right?

Make time.

Invent it if you need to.

Your photo and video team will be with you almost the entire day of your wedding. If you’re not comfortable with them, it will show in those photos and videos you get back. There are no do-overs and it’s not enough to just love the work or the product.

In addition to meeting/interviewing these people, I always recommend an engagement session with your photographer because that’s basically practice for the real thing. The real thing being your wedding day.

As a planner, I like to book photo and video 9 months to one year in advance. I know, that’s totally not what the internet tells you to do, right? Silly them…

If you plan to do an engagement shoot (I mentioned you should and I meant it), odds are your photographer will have more availability on a weekday. Since weekdays are a problem for many couples, then you will need a weekend and guess what tends to be a problem for wedding photographers?

You guessed it: weekends.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

This means that you could be waiting months to take your engagement photos and if you want them outdoors, you’ll have to leave time for rescheduling in case it rains. You also won’t be able to shoot outdoor photos for a handful of months if you live in a state where winter exists. Pretty soon you’re taking your engagement photos 1 month prior to your wedding and that is no bueno.

If you have longer than one year, start this process at the 9 month to one year mark. This is especially important if you are getting married during peak season since you might get a lot of “sorry, already booked” responses. If you are pressed for time, then shop for both photo and video simultaneously (a general rule of thumb anyway) and line up appointments via Skype if that’s the only way you can schedule a weekday.

Music

It doesn’t matter if you have a band, DJ or both, sometimes 6-8 months isn’t enough time to book. Like the other vendors that you will need at your wedding, many bands and DJs book up peak season 9-12 months in advance. If you want something specific, such as an electric violinist or a DJ that can provide live musicians to accompany his music, then I recommend shopping 7-9 months prior to your wedding date.

While I know many people (and many planners) will probably disagree with me here, I am going to say that seeing these people in person is essential. If you want a live band, there is no better way to hear what they really sound like than to attend an in person showcase. Sometimes, there will only be showcases available once a month or every other month. If you’re not available on the one date they have, then you’ll be forced to wait until the next one.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

If you’re going with a DJ, an in person meeting or interview isn’t mandatory but I wouldn’t recommend booking without a least a Skype or phone call. Any DJ worth hiring will be passionate about music and even more passionate about selecting the right music for your wedding. It’s equally important to know how the DJ works and to make sure the way they work is in line with what you imagine for your wedding.

For the couples with shorter engagements, it’s a good idea to get a hold of videos of past performances of bands and DJs. Showcases might not always be possible and you might not have the time to sit down and interview DJs. However, even if it’s 11pm at night, you should make the time to watch and listen to any recordings the music vendors can provide to you. Also consider looking into any bands or DJs you heard at weddings you attended and fell in love with.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Florists

As a wedding planner, I insist that my clients meet florists that I recommend before signing a contract. While it doesn’t matter so much that you’re vibing on a personal level, it is important to know that they understand what you want. It’s just as important that you are confident in their ability to create it.

You will never get that from an email exchange. Period.

However, most florists will only be available to meet on weekdays, which can make setting anything up totally impossible. If you don’t have 7-9 months before your wedding date (which is when I recommend securing a florist), then doing your homework prior to a meeting or in place of one is essential.

Before you go sending your 597 pins of centerpiece inspiration out to every florist within a 50 mile radius of your venue, narrow those pictures down. Way down. It’s more important for a florist to know your colors and the feel of your wedding. It’s less important for them to know the exact height you picture for each centerpiece and how if you don’t have peonies you’ll throw yourself off a bridge.Planning a wedding and not sure when to book your vendors? Pin now and read later, this ultimate guide to creating your own wedding planning timeline!

Another way to save time is to look at websites of florists and see if their work is similar to what your style is. If you find yourself drooling over a website but don’t see your style displayed, you can reach out to the florist and ask them for additional examples.

For instance, if you have a vision of greenery suspended from a tent, but don’t see it on a florist’s website, there is no harm in asking if they have done that before and if they have, could they share pictures. If you’re tight on time and having trouble choosing between florists, consider paying for a sample centerpiece to help make your decision easier.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? There’s a lot to this wedding planning stuff and knowing when to do everything can be a lot to digest. In order to avoid throwing anyone into a meltdown and running off to elope, I’ll continue the rest of this timeline in the next blog.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you’ll know when to come back for the rest of the to-do list and when you want to get started on those items. In the meantime, share below if you’re on the fast track to the wedding day and what you’re doing to check stuff off your list!

Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year and Ways to Use it in Your Wedding

I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, I was pumped. Seriously, I was like way excited. Maybe it was because the past few years I have been less than thrilled with the selection. Maybe it was because I loved using that color and already had ideas.

Or maybe it was because I placed a bet in October on what the color would be and won.

Whatever the reason, I was (and am) super happy that Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is “greenery”. Yes, that is a color and you can read all about it on Pantone’s official website right here.

Greenery: New Year, New Beginnings

Greenery symbolizes new beginnings in the same way the green leaves in spring time do. I love using green in wedding and event designs because there is so much you can do. [tweetshare tweet=”There is a greenery for every bride and all styles of weddings.” username=”RothweilerEvent”] In fact, it’s more than just a color. It’s a feeling.

In this blog I am sharing a few ways I have used Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year in the hopes to inspire you for your wedding day. Don’t forget to pin the photos you love the most and comment the ways you’ll incorporate Pantone 2017 Color of the Year!

Boho chic greenery framing the wedding ceremony as the perfect backdropBoho Chic Ceremony Backdrop

Everyone’s seen Fern Gully right? Am I like super old and weird right now? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Fern Gully was a movie that took place in the rainforest. It was about deforestation and other depressing stuff, but the colors were bold and magical and (spoiler alert) the main characters lived happily ever after.

The whole wedding design from the beautiful colors to the heavy amount of natural greens we used reminded me of those beautiful colors from Fern Gully. The bride had a vision of hanging greens for the ceremony backdrop, and our florist created the best frame for their first married kiss.

These greens were a mix of bright and deep shades not unlike the leaves in spring that inspired Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. Putting aside the pinks, reds and oranges that made up the rest of the wedding colors and just using green for the ceremony made the space feel more intimate. There were no distractions and when the bride and groom became man and wife, it was a serene and beautiful moment.

Soft green garland wrapped around the banister for this farm wedding was made even more romantic with the addition of soft greens and pinksSoft Green Garland and Banisters

If it hasn’t become obvious yet, I am a big fan of greenery used as garland. Don’t get my wrong, I love green as a color, but my favorite way to make it work for almost any wedding is to keep it as a backdrop. That doesn’t mean it has to literally hang in the back, but more so that it supports the rest of the design.

This farm location had a barn on site and whenever I see a banister, I feel compelled to dress it up. I totally blame “Father of the Bride” for this unhealthy obsession I have.

Soft and romantic, the green garland we used here was draped around the spiral banister from top to bottom. Like the ceremony site above, it was important to create a look as if the greenery just appeared there, naturally. As if it sprouted from the iron banister magically because that’s what Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year does. The final touch here was to incorporate the other wedding flowers, so we pinned everything together with some pink roses and dusty miller.

Romantic and elegant mantle design with greenery and pops of red, blue, purple and white

Mantle Greenery Goodness

Much like a banister, if there is a mantle at a wedding location, you will find me adding “we woke up like this” style florals to it. Mantles are more than shelves for photos and many are ceremony backdrops. As a designer, I like to incorporate the design into every corner of the space, and this is a big corner.

There are countless ways to dress up a mantle at your wedding, but it’s hard to do without greenery. This picture is from a wedding venue with multiple mantles. In fact, you can see all the gorgeous details here. Each mantle was different, but they all used the greenery found in the centerpieces to tie the look together. My favorites here were the hanging amaranthus and the eucalyptus because they added dimension to the piece and still looked formal.

Long Tables With Greenery

Chic long table we designed for The Knot Market Mixer complete with greenery runner details and gold candle holders We all know that long tables are a hot trend and they have been for a few years now. These gorgeous farmhouse tables can cost a pretty penny if your venue doesn’t already have them included. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these without robbing a bank (seriously, they ain’t cheap), then greenery garland is a must.

This table was part of our design for The Knot Market Mixer last Fall. My favorite part about designing this event is being able to create whatever I’m dreaming of. In other words, I got to do what I wanted and what designer doesn’t love that?

I wanted to create a warm and inviting tablescape and have greenery be the base of the design. Working with my florist, the garland worked as an anchor for the rest of the flowers and draped down to the floor. I’d recommend using greenery like this to any bride worried that her guests won’t see over tall centerpieces.

Speaking of Tall Centerpieces…

The garden where this wedding took place was the inspiration for the greenery found in the centerpieces. Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is all about spring and clean starts, and this centerpiece is just that.

Besides the obvious greenery pieces (you know, the green leaves), there are more subtle ones as well. While the only two colors used were white and green, that didn’t mean green leaves and white flowers only. A popular flower for centerpieces (but not for bouquets so don’t please) is hydrangea. Hydrangea comes in a bunch of colors including white and…wait for it…green!

The clean look of the clear glass vase and candleholders with the greenery and white made this garden wedding the picture of spring….even if it took place in the summer.

Lasercut signage hung from the ceiling and framed by greenery to celebrate Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year!Don’t Forget the Ceiling!

So, like, let’s all take a minute to recognize that not every piece of wedding décor is going to be at eye level. It doesn’t need to be at eye level and in fact, eye levels are different. Not that you’re inviting a bunch of NBA players to your wedding (or maybe you are and I should be planning it…) but creating designs from the floor to the ceiling makes an impact.

Signage is a huge trend and it’s not just limited to chalkboard and aisles. This lasercut sign is from our event with The Knot and is hung from fishing line. Really strong could rope in Jaws, fishing line. If you’re not onto how I work just yet, I like to make my designs appear organic. This is probably another reason why I am in love with Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. For this sign (and three others), I worked with my florist and asked them to drape greenery in a deconstructed way. I mean, it totally looks like the sign grew out of the ceiling. Score!

Floral Wall using Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year: GreeneryWedding Walls and Backdrops

The floral wall is something that is popping up all over Pinterest, and we worked with Once Wed Walls to create this one for The Knot Market Mixer. Since I have been obsessed with greenery long before it was the Pantone 2017 Color of the Year, I wanted one using green as the base. The top was covered in more greenery and pops of pinks, oranges and cream flowers to match the rest of the room.

These walls are, bottom line, really awesome. It was a natural backdrop for photos all night and everyone was talking about it. A great alternative to a blank photobooth backdrop (or a photobooth in general) is using one of these walls. Since this can be a custom piece, the wall can be made to fit like a backdrop for people and as small as a backdrop for your wedding cake. If you’re on the greenery bandwagon with me (though I’ve been driving it since like 2007), you can keep a natural look using boxwood like this.

A romantic farm wedding where we used greenery to drape around one of their beautiful horses with the brideGot Horse?

Oh those farm and barn weddings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why should they? They totally rock. If you’ve followed my work at all, you know that I’m a big fan of non-traditional weddings. [tweetshare tweet=”Give me a mountain top and a fluffy white ballgown and I’m in.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]

If you’re the bride that runs from basic bling and marble floors as fast as I do, then you’re probably considering a farm for your wedding location. Mega points to you for not being lame! More points if you find a farm with animals.

This final way to use Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year (though there are plenty more) involves a horse. We used an Icelandic horse on this farm to drape a eucalyptus wreath around and create total greenery magic. You could easily do this design on other animals including dogs, goats and alpacas too. This wreath was created on site, so it’s important to make sure your florist will have the time they need on the wedding day.

Using Greenery on Your Wedding Day

You don’t have to be on a farm to get the most out of Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. The bright green color will bring your centerpieces to life whether you choose tall or low runners. No matter how you use greenery in your wedding design, remember that the color represents new beginnings. If that’s not a good enough reason to use it on your first day as a married couple, then I’m not sure what is!

What do you think of greenery? Will you use it for your wedding? Share in the comments below your favorite idea or if you have one that we didn’t mention!