Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Flowers

Flowers are a huge part of most weddings, but aside from the basics, a lot of brides look for help in this area. Whether or not you can tell a peony from a ranunculus, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about wedding flowers. 

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers is in this blog, including advice from wedding florists for all engaged couples. Find out how to make the most of your floral budget and how to prepare for your appointments.Flowers play such a major role in weddings, that the couples I work with, frequently have more opinions in this area than many others. Sure, the venue is important and I guess the wedding gown is kind of a big deal too…but couples are intense really care about those flowers. Not only do they care, but sometimes brides are so passionate that I forget we’re talking about centerpieces and not politics.

One time, I was discussing the options of centerpieces and watched my bride have a stroke at the mere mention of low centerpieces. It was like we had stopped talking about her wedding flowers and started discussing North Korea. She had a huge aversion to mixing low and high centerpieces because she attended a wedding, was sat at a table with a low centerpiece, and took it personally.


To each their own…

The point is, brides (not really grooms, let’s be honest here) have a thing with wedding flowers. When I first start working with a couple, we chat about flowers without going into too much detail. We discuss the general look and feel of the wedding. As we move forward, questions get more detailed like:

Do they have a color scheme?
Are there any flowers they want to avoid?
What are their “must-have” blooms?

For those couples that are opinionated but clueless, I like to know about previous weddings they have attended. If you’re one of those brides that doesn’t know what she wants, but has to have what she wants, this is a good starting point. 

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers is right in this blog! From deciding your entire style to how to make the most of your florist appointment, we've got everything brides need here.

One of the florists that we work with, chimed in on this as well. When I asked Chad from Carroll’s Florist how he works with couples that aren’t sure where to start, he recommends gathering pictures:

“By sharing photos of florals that appeal to you, a florist should be able to get a sense of style that you prefer.”

How To Find Wedding Flower Inspo Photos

It’s not necessary to know the difference between boho and rustic, so stop driving yourself crazy trying to label your wedding style. Instead of trying to use those types of words (that are completely subjective), use words that you actually know and understand. For instance, if you want the flowers to reflect the season you are getting married, use that for your search on Pinterest i.e. “Fall wedding”. 

Tips and tricks for engaged couples on how to select flowers for a wedding and what will help keep the cost down. Read the blog for everything you need to know for your big day!

If you have an idea about your colors, use that when doing your search. Don’t forget to include gold or silver if you’re thinking about incorporating one of the two. For the brides that either don’t care about silver or gold, or want to leave them out of the search completely, try searching with your colors along with things like “clear holders” or “mercury glass”. 

By using specific colors instead of vague flowery language, (no pun intended) you’re more likely to come up with inspiration you actually like. You also should avoid using catch phrases like “boho chic” when initially speaking with a florist. One person’s “boho chic” is another person’s “French vintage”. Let your pictures do the talking. After all, those alone are worth 1,000 words.

See what I did there? I know. I’m so clever.


Don’t restrict yourself to just Pinterest either. While that is seen as the place to search for wedding inspo anything, it’s not everything. Be sure to check out Instagram for wedding flowers and use hashtags like you would use on Pinterest to search with. Don’t ignore regular search engines either as you can use the “images” search feature to come up with more flower inspiration for your wedding. 

Wedding Flower Lies

Oh they’re out there…new ones are being made up everyday. But the biggest lie myth about wedding flowers?

“Asking for seasonal flowers doesn’t always mean cheaper!”

Everything a bride needs to know about picking flowers for her wedding day. Find out what to ask a florist and how to save on costs in this blog!

Amanda of Twisted Willow Flowers hears that from brides all the time. In reality, you aren’t guaranteed to save money just by using flowers that are in season.

I know, insane right? Your entire life you’ve grown up knowing one thing to be true: on your wedding day you will have seasonal flowers because they are less expensive.

Sorry to destroy your world. 

It’s a myth that is reinforced not just by the moms and grand-moms of the brides getting married, (sorry ladies) but by the internet and countless wedding publications. In fact, some wedding websites allow you to search for flowers based on your season, while in another article they’ll tell you that it really doesn’t matter.

Why do they do this? To appeal to every single bride so those brides will keep reading, and so that advertisers will keep advertising. Because money. But that’s another blog for another day…

Everything a bride and groom need to know before selecting their wedding flowers. Plus tips and tricks about your wedding flower budget in this blog!

The bottom line is that it’s not as simple as picking in season flowers to keep the cost down. If it was, then brides getting married in Minnesota the month of January would have to resign themselves to holding a bouquet of snow. 

Another myth about wedding flowers concerns the centerpieces. Some of my brides want the tall skyscraping centerpieces because they are hosting their reception with a ceiling in the stratosphere. It’s not necessarily that they want all tall centerpieces, but rather, that’s what they think they’re supposed to do. 

“Many couples assume that with tall venue ceilings, all centerpieces need to be tall. Although a couple may be able to afford 20 typical tall centerpieces, that same budget can be used to create 10 stunning tall centerpieces accompanied by 10 shorter centerpieces.” -Chad, Carroll’s Florist

Just because your venue has a high ceiling, doesn’t mean you are required by law to have all tall centerpieces. When I work with my brides, we always discuss the option of having centerpieces that vary in height. When you look at your reception, the room will always look more interesting this way. Does that mean you have to include short centerpieces that make your guests feel less important?….Not at all. You can work with your florist to have tall centerpieces and ones that are shorter but not low and against the table. 

And if your guests sitting at those tables feel less important, then you invited the wrong people to your wedding. 

Everything a bride needs to know about wedding flowers. Get advice from two of our favorite florists how to get what you want and not go over budget.

Wedding Flower Trends

I’m not a huge fan of following trends in general. I wore Keds all through high-school. But I’m a badass like that. A badass that had to look up if “badass” was one word or two, but a badass nonetheless. 


The problem with wedding trends is that what is trending now might not be trending by the time your wedding date rolls around. I always advise my couples to stick with classic styles. You don’t want to whip out your wedding album for your kids and show them how mommy wore a crop-top dress down the aisle. Well the same is true for every other aspect of your wedding, including flowers. What’s on trend today may not be on trend for your wedding day and most certainly will not be trending 30 years from now. 

The point is: don’t pick anything for your wedding just because it’s on trend. OK?

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about what actually is trending and of course, what’s not.

Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers is tired of seeing one thing: greenery garlands. Even if you just got engaged, or maybe you’re planning your “one day wedding” on Pinterest, whatever…you all know what those greenery garlands looks like.

Everything a bride needs to know about wedding flowers including what's on trend for 2018 weddings and how to stay under budget. Read the blog for tips and tricks from us and two of our favorite florists.

With outdoor, barn, farm and generally rustic weddings taking over the past few years, this has been a super popular design. Typically draped down the middle of long tables, the garland would act as a centerpiece and could be accented with anything from candles to flowers. 

Greenery was actually Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2017, which only made this trend that much more popular. This year, however, Pantone’s Color of the Year is ultra-violet. You can actually get ideas how to work that color into your wedding in another blog we wrote right here. We started seeing purple and even blues talked about at the end of 2017 and Twisted Willow Flowers is seeing purple color schemes starting to pop up again. 

Dessy Group

Another trend that should disappear according to Chad of Carroll’s Florist?

“Crystal everywhere. Every time I think it is going away, I get 5 brides in a row looking to drown themselves in crystal.”

With the rise of rustic weddings, it almost appears as if some brides are digging their rhinestone heels into the ground just to prove they are not that. Ironically, it’s easy enough to combine crystals with rustic and get a gorgeous upscale wedding look. But for some brides, that rustic thing is never going to happen for their wedding. Chad’s advice for them?

“Less is more.”

If Pantone’s “Color of the Year” isn’t your favorite (and believe me, I work with some brides that hate purple more than their future mother-in-law), but you want to incorporate some trends, all hope is not lost. When speaking with his 2018 couples, Chad says he is seeing plenty of textured flowers like dusty miller and that the color pallet with greens, grays, dusty blues and whites is on trend right now. Also making a huge comeback? Candlelight.

Everything engaged couples need to know about wedding flowers. How a bride can pick the right flowers, what to expect at a florist appointment and tips to stay under budget. Check the blog for all of this now!

What You Need To Know About Wedding Flowers

Still feeling unprepared? Not sure how to take the next steps and find your wedding day florist? Having your event colors is a big help according to Chad, as he can help couples decide on a style, on a budget, on particular flowers, but “color is a personal selection”. Do your best to select colors before meeting with a florist, even if that means eliminating what you don’t like.

You know you’ve seen stuff you hate at other weddings on Pinterest. Start there. 


A word of caution with Pinterest: it can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to fall down the “it’s already 3am and I have to get up in 2 hours so just 5 more minutes but not really” rabbit hole that is Pinterest. Pretty soon you’re pinning random stuff through your squinted eyes and you have an inspiration board with dragons on a beach. Pinterest is chock full of inspiration but it’s not all for you. Keep your searches narrow and don’t rely on that “more like this” feature too much. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that Pinterest showcases styled shoots. That means you are looking at wedding pictures that aren’t from a wedding, but from a properly timed and properly lit shoot. There are no guests, time doesn’t exist, and it’s not reality. In reality, your guests have to sit at the tables and eat. In Pinterest land, guests don’t sit because the couch is stuck where it is and they don’t eat because flowers are spilling over onto the plates. 

So how can you use this site without getting overwhelmed?

“Find your trend through those photos you see and really focus on letting that inspire the theme/direction of the wedding.” -Amanda, Twisted Willow Flowers

Every single thing you need to know about wedding flowers including how to find your wedding day style and stay under budget. If you're engaged, don't meet with a single florist until you read this first!

That’s the key word: inspire. Think about it this way…if you take a picture of Kim Kardashian to your hairdresser and say you want to look like her, is that going to be possible with a pair of scissors and some hair dye? Or would you also need some plastic surgery to accomplish said goal? Pictures should be used to inspire, not to copy. Besides, why would you want the same styled shoot wedding you (and all of your friends getting married saw) on Pinterest?

Be better than Pinterest.

Coping With The Cost

And now, what you’re all really here for: how to deal with the cost of wedding flowers. I know, your best friend’s cousin’s penpal had a 400 person wedding, used all tall centerpieces and only paid $2,000.

No she didn’t so stop listening to that noise. Even if she did, that is the exception and not the rule…and there’s probably more to the story that has been edited better than any episode of “Real Housewives”.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers including 2018 trends for brides and grooms and how to stay under budget.

Flowers cost money. They do. Frequently, my couples will ask me why flowers cost so much. My answer always starts with “do you really want to know?”. Because, let’s be honest, no one wants to waste their time with an explanation only to be told they’re still wrong. So, if you really want to know, this is where you’re going to find out.

If you don’t want to know, then scroll for a bit to the next heading.

When I asked Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers what the one thing was that she wished engaged couples knew, this is what she said:

“How much time really goes into the florals. From the start to the finish product.”

This includes meeting or meetings, proposals (there’s always more than one), edits, samples, flower processing, cleaning, arranging, set-up, pick-up and clean-up.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers including trends for 2018 and how to stay under budget. Check out the advice our florists are giving brides and grooms in this blog.

Now, as a wedding planner, one of the questions I get at every last consultation pertains to what I actually do. It’s a fair question, especially since every planner is different and none of us are J.Lo.

It’s a fair question to ask a florist too, but instead of asking that question, most couples just want the price to be justified. Well, everything that a florist does justifies the price. In addition to paying for the actual flowers, you are paying for the time of a professional…time that was spent with you or on your wedding and not with someone else or on anything else.

Dessy Spring Style 2013

You are paying for the talent behind the bouquets and the labor that goes into it all. 

Consider also that you likely don’t have experience with the cost of flowers. “Knowing” what your friend spent, what your mom thinks is fair, or what some wedding website has come up with, does mean you know what flowers cost.

Everything you need to know about wedding flowers, how to stay under budget and what to bring when you meet with your florist for the first time. Engaged couples need to check this blog out!

That’s totally OK.

You’re not supposed to know what flowers cost and each proposal will be different depending on the specific details of the wedding. It is on the couple to work with the florist, communicate what they want and go from there. Have a number in mind? Great. Speak up before a proposal is put together.

Odds are you have a budget, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to share. I once worked with a couple that used the excuse they didn’t know what things cost, so they couldn’t give me a budget. Well, when the florist put together the sample of exactly what they wanted they loved everything…except the price. In fact, when they were told the price, they called it “ridiculous” and said they “weren’t willing to spend that much.”

Which meant they knew what they wanted to spend and simply kept it a secret assuming that the florist would come in under that imaginary number regardless of the details in the centerpiece. Makes sense right?

bridesmaid tote bag bride handbag

In the end, the couple ended up using a completely different florist who didn’t execute their vision and who they complained to me about all night. Me. The planner that brought in a qualified florist that did a sample for free and without a contract. My time and the florist’s time was wasted on not just the sample appointment but a meeting prior to that and countless phone calls, emails and inspiration board drawings.

Typically, you have to pay for that and that is just part of what you are paying for. 

It’s best to be honest about your budget, just as you should expect your florist to be. Chad explains that he is open about costs:

“After reviewing their dream florals, which we discuss along with budget, I let them know what the cost will be. I explain how the majority of floral expenses comes from venue decor and then try to get a better sense of what they are looking to achieve.”

What happens if the vision is right but the price is wrong?

“If a couple’s vision and budget match, everyone is happy. If it doesn’t, I explain why and offer a series of solutions that can make them happy both with their wedding day and their wallet.”

Looking to keep those floral costs down? Of course you are. So if the incorrect rule of thumb about using flowers that are in season won’t help, then what will? 


When meeting with your florist, they will be able to recommend flowers best for your overall design. If there are certain blooms that would push your budget, be sure to ask them for alternative options. Most importantly, you need to be open to their suggestions. Even if you are the bride that needs garden roses but can’t afford them and will die without them, listen to your options.

Once you have gone over all options and alternatives, as well as what the comparative costs look like, then you are in a position to make a decision. Maybe you’ll sacrifice your favors in order to afford the exact flowers that you want. Or maybe you’ll like what the florist suggests instead. The point is, you have to hear it all before deciding anything. 

“Make sure you have a comfort level with your florist. Give him or her a sense of the style you are looking for and try not to tie him to particular flowers.” Chad, Carroll’s Florist

Ready, Set, Flower

It all comes down to open communication and trust. Amanda from Twisted Willow Flowers says it’s important to “be open to suggestions” during the initial appointment, and to have a general idea of the colors and styles you would like to use. Don’t feel like you need to be prepared to make some grand presentation using inspiration boards and excel sheets. An experienced florist will use with what you give them and will know how to create your vision. A vision you might not even have yet. 

Everything you ever needed to know about wedding flowers including 2018 trends and how to stay under budget. If you're engaged, make sure you read this blog before you meet with a florist for your own big day!

Working with a florist is no different than working with any other vendor. It’s important to trust the experience your vendors have, instead of challenging them with stuff you read on some wedding website. If your gut tells you to walk away from a vendor, do it.

Just be sure it’s your gut talking and not a bridesmaid that just got married and now knows everything in your ear.


What do you think about the tips and tricks shared by two of our favorite florists? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other brides? Comment below with something you want every engaged couple to know before meeting with florists for their wedding!

CoolSculpting: The Hottest Wedding Trend for 2018

CoolSculpting: The hottest wedding trend for 2018 that you may have heard about but maybe not. Well, what if I told you to eat whatever you want during the holidays? What if I said you don’t need the gym in 2018? What if I said you could target problem areas without going under the knife?
No more “what if”, because now, you can
Forget sweating for the wedding! Cool Sculpting: The Hottest New Wedding Trend for 2018 and we tell you exactly where to go in this blog!
Justin Tinapay Photography
What Is CoolSculpting?

Essentially, CoolSculpting targets fat cells by freezing and killing them. There are no needles, no incisions and you are awake the whole time. It’s painless and a fraction of the cost of any invasive procedures. The best part? The fat never comes back no matter what you eat. Obviously, CoolSculpting isn’t just a hot trend for 2018, but rather, it’s the hottest

Can I Really Eat Whatever I Want?

It’s hard to believe right? When I visited with our partner, Below Body Bar, I had to ask Monica about 30 times to make sure I heard this correctly. While no one on their team advocates an unhealthy lifestyle, it is true that the fat will never return. Monica walked me through how it works and explained how fat cells stop developing after a certain age. Basically, if they stop developing, and you kill off the ones you have, you’ll never see more. Amazing right?

CoolSculpting: The Hottest Wedding Trend for 2018 and why every bride needs to try it!
George Street Photos
Wedding Trend Winner for 2018

When I was first introduced to CoolSculpting, I knew very little about it. Now, I can’t imagine why anyone would spend money for a surgical procedure when this is offered! There are no scars and no down time, and the procedure is relaxing and chill…see what I did there? You can finally spot treat problem areas so you look amazing in your wedding gown and on your honeymoon.

What About My Squad?

If you’re the bride looking for an amazing spa trip with your bridesmaids and moms, this is totally for you. Besides offering CoolSculpting, Below Body Bar has everything from Cryo-Facials to increase collagen and reduce fine lines along with an infrared himalayan salt sauna that burns up to 600 calories a session. You can create the ultimate girls’ night out and customize a package as Below Body Bar will close the spa for your private event!

CoolSculpting: The Hottest New Wedding Trend for 2018 and why brides and grooms need to make this their New Year's Resolution!
Images by Berit
How Do I Do It?

Our friends at Below Body Bar recommend visiting for a consultation early in the wedding planning process. During this consultation, you’ll discuss your goals and the staff will create a program just for you. With background in health and wellness, they also offer nutrition and work out counseling. Best of all your consultation is complimentary when you visit the website and enter the code: BFITWEDDING

CoolSculpting: The Hottest Wedding Trend for 2018

Whether or not you’re planning on making (and keeping those New Year’s Resolutions), coolsculpting will help you achieve your best wedding day look. From cryotherapy to cryofacials, you can create any kind of package with Below Body Bar. Don’t forget to use the code BFITWEDDING for your complimentary consultation with our amazing partner. Get that wedding day and honeymoon look you are dreaming of and tell them Rothweiler Event Design sent you!

CoolSculpting: The Hottest New Wedding Trend for 2018 and why engaged brides and grooms need to make it a New Year's Resolution! Read how you can look amazing for your wedding without the gym or surgery!

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!


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


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


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!


Carroll’s Florist, 718.351.5206, ask for Chad


EBE Talent, contact steve@ebetalent.com


Paul Anthony Entertainment, contact paul@paulanthony.net

Pure Event Group, contact joe@pureeventgroup.com


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

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


Mitch Maged, contact Mitch at mitchtheminister@aol.com

Debbie Blake Rivera, dj_rivera.weddings@yahoo.com


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


5 Affordable Ways to Make Your Wedding Invitations Stand Out

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. That said, if I say I love something, I really truly love it.

Many of my engaged couples are looking for beautiful wedding invitations at a low cost. The truth is, custom invitations start at $12 a piece and most average between $20-$30 each. If you are inviting 300 people, that’s 150 invitations and a minimum of $3,000. Now while I love me some custom stationery, I also love being able to afford things like food.Romantic and rustic, this wedding invitation suite is perfect for an outdoor or tented affair

What is wonderful about custom wedding invitations, besides being gorgeous, is that they are one of a kind. This means you will sit down with a real person who will design your invitations from colors to font to enclosures. And no one will have seen it before.

But for my brides and grooms that think their guests will trash the invitations, I need to offer an alternative. As a wedding planner, I recommend purchasing invitations online and creating custom stationery for the day of. Then again, if paper just isn’t a priority, many websites offer things like menus and table numbers that match your wedding invitation.

One thing I love about these websites is how far they have come since first becoming a thing. There are countless ways to customize your invitations and there are real designers involved as well. While you won’t be sitting down with anyone flipping through swatches, you will have plenty of options to choose from.

Here are 5 affordable ways to make your wedding invitation stand out without going the custom route:

This foil press wedding invitation with gold lettering is both chic and elegant

Foil Press

A great option for the bride and groom that love shine but not glitter is the foil press invitation. The background can be any color, but darker jewel tones like navy blue, deep purple or even black will really make the words stand out. This look is chic and elegant but is appropriate for a black tie wedding just as much as a laid back wedding on the farm.

This invitation sample is from Minted and like many others can be customized with various colors. The foil is a rose gold which is perfect for a romantic wedding at any location. Foil is available in rose gold, standard gold and of course silver.


Letterpress invitations are probably the most formal of all and perfect for a black tie wedding.This letter press wedding invitation from Minted is perfect for a formal and elegant wedding Not that you couldn’t use this type of invitation for a backyard bash, but that’s not where you see it most. Since it is the style used for those upscale and luxury weddings you see regularly on reality shows, it is also typically pricey.

Online wedding invitation sites absolutely offer more affordable options than a custom designer would, but letterpress will be the most expensive on the site. If you are having a formal wedding, this raised printing will let guests know that jeans are not an option. The printing isn’t just about the wording either. Letterpress can be used for any design on your invitation as well. [tweetshare tweet=”A word of caution though: stick to one or two colors with this style so that it looks clean and upscale.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]

Envelope LinersTake your wedding invitations to the next level by adding envelope liners in glitter!

Gone are the days of boring off-white envelopes that are simply used to hold the pretty wedding invitation. I love when the whole wedding “look” comes together and envelope liners are another way to get that job done. If you are all about the details then you will love this as much as I do.

Depending on your invitation colors and design, the liner to the envelope is available in everything from solids to sparkle. My favorite type of liner is a floral pattern in deeper colors, but you can really do anything. Sometimes when you receive your order, you will have to DIY the liners and put them onto the envelopes yourself. Before you decide to jump on this trend for your wedding, find out if it’s an arts and crafts project for you first.

Belly Bands

This is such a cute trend and there are about 459 different ways to do it. If you’ve never heard of belly bands, it’s basically stuff wrapped around the invitation suite. Add a belly band around your wedding invitation to keep all of the enclosures together and really be unique!That “stuff” can be anything from paper to ribbon, and it bands around the belly of the enclosures. Get it? [tweetshare tweet=”The belly band is seen as an accessory to the invitation and it really does enhance the entire look.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]

The reason I love this so much is because it works for all types of weddings. I’ve seen these done in nothing but glitter just as much as I’ve seen florals, solids and monograms. It’s also a nice way to present an invitation so when it’s taken out of the envelope, it doesn’t fall apart. Think about it, you’re sending an invitation along with a RSVP card, direction enclosures, RSVP envelope and sometimes more. All of that put into one envelope can be a mess, but a belly band will keep it all together.


My absolute obsession is lasercut anything. Unique and fun lasercut wedding invitations for the edgy bride and groomSuch a hot trend for over a year now, we are seeing laser cut cake toppers, laser cut signage, laser cut drink stirrers and of course, laser cut wedding invitations. You. Guys. Lasercut is amazing. Join me on my little freakout moment, won’t you?

This style is fun and funky but make no mistake, this is totally perfect for a black tie wedding too. It reminds me of those snowflakes you would make in kindergarten where you would fold a piece of paper and go crazy with the scissors. No? You know what I’m talking about right? Well that’s what this is and it looks awesome. So if you want your guests to say “oh that’s cool” when they open that envelope, go for lasercut and don’t look back.

Those are my top 5 ways to create a unique but affordable wedding invitation. If you are a bride or groom that doesn’t want to spend a lot on the paper part of your wedding day, check out sites like Wedding Paper Divas and get 20% off if you order before March 31, 2017!

I always say that it’s best to see invitations in person, so make sure you order a sample before committing to “the one”. Follow the link to get your three free (told you this was an affordable blog) samples from our friends at Minted.

Don’t forget to tell me in the comments what your favorite style is for your wedding invitation!