10 Crazy Amazing Wedding Gifts (And Where To Get Them)

As a wedding planner, I am always asked about wedding gifts. The bride wants to know something crazy amazing to get her groom. The groom wants to know what to get that isn’t jewelry. They both want to know what to get their wedding party and their parents. A lot of my couples start this search early because leaving it to the last minute is like leaving holiday shopping to Christmas Eve, which everyone hates. Well if you’re looking for such a gift, check out the list below of 10 crazy amazing wedding gifts and where to get them!

Check out these 10 crazy amazing wedding gifts and where to get them in our blog right now! Perfect ideas for brides and grooms looking for a unique way to surprise each other, their wedding party and their parents.

My couples know that when they work with me as their wedding planner, they have access to all of the advice they need. As their planner, they can trust the advice that I give them because it stems from real experience. The amount of surprise gifts I have helped plan with my brides and grooms is more than you could ever guess. 

Amazon is Amazing for Wedding Gifts

I am a firm believer in the art of gift giving and taking the time to find something amazing. Whether it’s the couple buying something for each other, gifts for the wedding party or their parents, it’s a way to say “thank you” to these people. But what can you buy that isn’t some version of something you’ve already bought before?

Amazon is the website that has it all. Seriously. Like, everything is there and yet none of my couples consider this resource (until I tell them). They even have those wedding gifts that are on a totally different level like…

1. Rolex for Him

Everyone knows that a watch is the classic gift for a bride to give her groom. Of course, if you’re me, your husband doesn’t wear a watch because “Why should I wear a watch when I have a cell phone?” So, this wasn’t something that I could’ve considered and if you’re in the same boat, there are other options in this list, don’t you worry. 

If you know the groom will love a watch as a wedding gift, but you don’t know how to compete with his already massive collection, this is your answer. First off, it’s a Rolex, and even those groom’s that already own a Rolex will want another one. Second, it’s likely to be different than anything else he already has, and a watch collector always appreciates diversity. This amazing wedding gift is one of a kind and will remind him that you are too.

2. Rolex for Her

If you’re that couple that first bonded over your love of watches, then obviously the perfect wedding gift is a watch. For the bride I am obsessed with this Rolex and the details like that pink dial.

This watch is perfect for any bride, whether or not she is a collector. It’s a classic piece that she can wear everywhere from the mall to the first wedding you attend as a married couple. What truly makes this an amazing wedding gift is that she can wear it everyday, which means she’ll be thinking of you just as much.

3. Personalized Frame for Mom and Dad

There is a reason that many of the most popular wedding gifts involve some level of personalizing. It shows time and thought went into the purchase of the gift and it also means that no one else has exactly that gift. Total home run for parents of the bride and groom, trust me.

This wedding gift can be given to mom and dad before the wedding or after as a birthday or holiday gift. If given before, you can include photos from a special day you had together. After the wedding, this can be given as a little extra thank you with your professional wedding photos that you know they want to display at their home. 

4. Tried and True Wedding Gift: Those Hangers

If you haven’t been in a wedding party and been given one these hangers, I know you have seen them before. Maybe on Pinterest, maybe in someone else’s wedding photos, but you have seen them. 

This wedding gift is a trend that I have loved as a wedding planner since the day it became “a thing”. The bridesmaids all need a hanger for their dresses and gifting them these hangers with their names is a beautiful sentiment. Bonus? They look great in photos, unlike whatever random hanger your girls bring on the day of. 

5. The Tote Every Bridesmaid Needs

Let’s be honest, ladies stuff their purses with plenty of stuff daily. This means on the wedding day, when they can’t fit everything into their dress pockets or itsy bitsy clutch, they will need something to hold their stuff

I always loved the idea of the bride presenting a few small gifts to her bridesmaids instead of one big ticket item. It’s a more thoughtful wedding gift when there are a few small items like this tote. If you’re the bride that wants to select the necklaces that your bridesmaids wear, you can even use this tote to act as the packaging. Surprise! More stuff!

6. Shave and a Haircut

Assuming the groomsmen have been in a wedding before, or are over the age of 21, it’s safe to assume they all have flasks already. Even if they don’t, unless you have some weird concealed alcohol bond with your guys, a flask is a wedding gift that is done and over.

This shaving kit is such an awesome wedding gift for your groomsmen and even the father of the groom and father of the bride. On the day of the wedding, while the ladies spend 17 hours getting ready, I recommend to my groom that he takes the men in the group for traditional shaves and haircuts. It always results in great pictures and amazing memories. This is the perfect wedding gift whether or not you decide to hit up the barbershop on the wedding day, and one your guys will appreciate.

7. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Jewelry is the number one wedding gift from a groom to his bride, but after the hardship of selecting the perfect engagement ring, most grooms are done. No matter what your bride wears, if that engagement ring is a diamond, you can bet she’ll wear that same stone in her ears too.

The grooms I work with all want a piece of jewelry that their bride can wear down the aisle. Common concerns? That she won’t like it and then won’t wear it (or will wear it and be miserable). Grooms also worry that their jewelry wedding gift won’t work with the gown, or that the something borrowed will be worn instead. Diamond earrings are classic, so they go with any gown…just check in with mom to make sure you’re not competing with her wedding gift.

8. Spahhhhhh

Being a bride can be stressful, but being a bridesmaid can make any girl lose her mind. Between attending vendor appointments with the bride to paying more than they thought for the dress and that bachelorette party in Miami you just had to have, it’s not always easy being part of the squad.

Let your ladies know that you appreciate their efforts and you recognize things weren’t always easy with this super cute Revel and Glow wedding gift. It comes with fun bath bombs and anti-wrinkle under eye masks for those tired eyes. This product can check off boxes in the organic, natural and vegan categories too, which means it’s not just an amazing wedding gift, but a really thoughtful one too.

9. Tears of Joy

The one item that I have to replace in my emergency kit after every wedding are the tissues. While the bride and groom might cry, it’s the parents of the couple that tend to shed the most tears. Show how much you know your parents and present them with something they can hold onto all night to wipe away their tears of joy.

You can use the words provided, or you can use your own to be printed on this personalized handkerchief. It’s the perfect accessory for a parent of the bride or the groom, and something they will cherish long after the big day is over.

10. For the Romantic Marriage Ahead

When the wedding is over and the honeymoon has ended, many couples go through a stage of sadness as their is suddenly nothing left to plan. If you spent the better part of a year (or longer) planning your 5 hour party, there’s always a let down when it all comes to an end. This is why I love wedding gifts that can be used for your future.

This picnic bag is the perfect wedding gift for a bride to give her groom or vice versa. Complete with a wine bottle holder, plates, utensils and even a blanket to sit on, this bag has everything for the newlywed couple and the couple going on 20 years. Every time you use it, you’ll think back to your wedding day and be able to look back on how far you have come as a couple. 

What wedding gifts are you planning to give? I’d love to hear what creative ideas you all have so be sure to share in the comment section below!

 

Why You Totally Need an Engagement Photo Session

If you’ve ever been invited to a wedding, at some point in the process you probably received a “Save the Date” card in the mail. That card is sent out before the invitations, roughly 6-8 months prior to the wedding date. Many couples choose to be informal and use one of their engagement photos for the background along with general wedding details. But that’s not the only reason why you totally need an engagement photo session prior to your wedding…

Wedding Planner Tip: It's super important to schedule an engagement session with your photographer before the wedding. Read our blog to hear why this needs to be on your to-do list and get inspiration for your own photos!

**Please note there are affiliate links within this blog post which means I may receive a small percentage of the price at no additional cost to you. No worries though, as I never endorse anything I don’t absolutely love**

As a wedding planner, I am always encouraging my couples to schedule an engagement session with their wedding photographer. Besides the fact that you’ll receive great photos of the two of you, there are multiple other benefits to consider. There are also things to consider as well as some misconceptions that I am going to share in this blog. If you are engaged and on the fence about setting up an engagement session, not sure about the details or just totally clueless, then read on!

10 Favorite Wedding Gowns Our Brides Have Rocked

Our brides have rocked some of the most amazing wedding gowns we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a LOT)! Check out 10 of our favorite wedding gowns from the weddings we have planned over the years and pin your favorites!

These gorgeous gowns were featured in the fashion show during The Knot Market Mixer that we designed in New Jersey. The beading and the detail are so amazing and perfect for that chic bride and glam wedding day!These two wedding gowns were featured in the fashion show during The New Jersey Knot Market Mixer that we planned and designed. Between the ornate detail and intricate beading, it’s hard not to imagine making a grand entrance in either of these! Extra points for the illusion neckline and the three-quarter length sleeves that really make these two gowns perfect for the chic brides!

A Disney inspired wedding we designed at The Ashford Estate with our bride in a custom Reem Acra wedding gown and our groom in a classic black tuxedo.When you can’t find the exact gown you want, what do you do? Get one custom made of course! Our fairytale bride loved the top of one Reem Acra gown and the bottom of another, so she put it together to create this romantic vision. Complete with an illusion neckline, delicate straps and a long, flowy skirt, she was the absolute belle of the ball!

This sweetheart neckline on this mermaid wedding gown was brought to a new level with a rhinestone piece that any princess bride would love!As if this fitted mermaid wedding gown wasn’t perfect enough with a deep sweetheart neckline, our bride rocked a bunch of bling and officially made it next level. The fit through the bottom showcased our bride’s knock-out curves, which we’re always a fan of! Wedding Planner Secret: This wasn’t the first gown our bride was originally going to wear…but we can’t even remember what the other one even looked like!

The perfect lace mermaid gown for a country farm wedding. We love how our bride paired it with a romantic super long veil!This fitted all lace gown was super dreamy for this country barn wedding we planned for this bride and groom. Of course that incredible veil made the whole look go from rustic to rustic chic…even if she was wearing cowboy boots underneath it all! You can see more of this gown and the entire wedding in the New Jersey Bride feature! Spoiler alert: Our bride grabbed the cover of the magazine.

Our New York City bride rocked this vintage wedding gown and we are swooning over the beading and detail!When you get married in New York City, you have to rock something amazing! Our bride didn’t disappoint in this classic wedding gown with vintage touches and plenty of bling along the bottom. As host to Bridal Fashion Week, New York City is a great place to see what the best designers are showing and what dresses are on trend. You can come along with us to get a taste of the big week right here!

Our Dancing With The Stars Bride, Lindsay Arnold, looked stunning in her all lace fitted gown and flowy super long veil!She is rocking “Dancing With The Stars” right now, but Lindsay Arnold really rocked this all lace wedding gown with scalloped details down to the bottom. Her rustic chic style came together with a crazy long veil, which we are always a fan of! For those brides that can’t decide between strapless or sleeves, check out these delicate cap sleeves on this Moonlight Bridal gown and don’t be afraid to try it on when you go shopping for the dress of your dreams!

This Sareh Nouri gown had so much detail on the skirt and was perfect for our country bride! Who says you can't wear a ballgown to a farm?Speaking of New York Bridal Fashion Week, this gown was designed by one of our favorite designers, Sareh Nouri. More than just a ballgown, look at the detail in this skirt and how the bodice hugs the bride! Romantic and airy, this gown was the perfect choice for a rustic chic wedding at a quaint bed and breakfast near New Hope, Pennsylvania. 

The back detail of this Pronovias ballgown was super chic and elegant for our Westchester bride's Spring wedding. If you like back detail, this corset design is perfect!When most brides look for a gown, they focus only on what they look like from the front, which can be a big mistake. From the walk down the aisle to each and every dance, most guests will see the back of the gown more than the front…give them something to talk about and rock out a classic corset like our Pronovias bride did here! Wedding Planner Tip: Leave plenty of time to lace this baby up so you can get to the ceremony on time!

This wedding gown was super dramatic and then when we bustled the train it was brought to a whole new level of amazing! A twist on the Grace Kelly style and our bride rocked it!When shopping for a wedding gown, it’s important to consider not just the train, but what the bustle will look like. This Grace Kelly inspired wedding gown, complete with three-quarter length lace sleeves had a super dramatic bustle. With plenty of tulle, this bustle was designed to go outside instead of underneath, giving the dress and totally different look after the ceremony. 

Crazy gorgeous back detail on this rustic chic elegant wedding gown! This dress would be perfect in a ballroom, but we think it looks even better on a country farm!We clearly love details on the back of a wedding gown and our last favorite has plenty of them! Just look at the beading and design on the bride’s back and the full illusion covering. This dress would be perfect in a ballroom, but it really rocks in the country barn setting. The super airy skirt only adds to the romantic style that designer Ever After Bridal is famous for. If you’re a bride wearing a gown with a detailed back like this, putting your hair up is a must, so work with your stylists to find the perfect look and grab some inspiration from our real weddings on our Pinterest boards!

No matter the style you’re looking for, there is a wedding gown out there for every bride. You might fall in love with two gowns and bring them together, or you might choose something you never thought you’d love. It’s important to take risks and trust your bridal consultant’s suggestions. Just don’t wait too long to go shopping and leave at least 9-12 months before your wedding date to find the perfect gown. Trust us, you will know when you’ve found the one that rocks.

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!