I really didn’t know.

Last Thursday, Rothweiler Event Design celebrated gay marriage becoming legal in New Jersey by giving away the first all inclusive wedding to a same sex couple. Over the past few months, couples would write in with their stories and talk about why they deserved the wedding of their dreams. On January 9, 2014, we put together a fabulous party at The Wilshire Grand to celebrate and announce our winner. 

Before gay marriage became legal in New Jersey, I had the idea to host this giveaway. I have a large group of gay friends, and I never understood why they wouldn’t be allowed to get married. I knew that when it became legal, I was going to want to celebrate and put together an over the top party. So, when the law finally passed, I got to working on the event, and the stories started pouring in. 

Each of the stories really touched me, and I wish we could’ve given a wedding away to all of the couples. My friend, and reality star, Danielle Staub was there to support the community and announce the winners, Kris and Wesley (pictured above). 

I knew this was important. I had no idea how important it was until Thursday night.

On Thursday night I was greeted by the couples, vendors, and many people in attendance, who all told me what this meant to them. I was told stories of how important this giveaway was, and how the support was incredible. I saw it on the faces of the finalists that this party, in celebration of equality, was a huge deal. 

It didn’t really click for me until then. It was always important to me, but I feel so moved, blessed and honored that I now understand, at least a little bit, of what it meant to the gay community in the room. I could never presume to understand the struggle of not being “allowed” to get married until recently, but I think I feel it more now than I ever did. While I could never put myself in the shoes of a same sex couple, the connection I feel to the cause is now even stronger than before. 

I want to thank all of the couples that shared their stories, and for each and everyone of you that talked to me on Thursday night about what it means to you. You really touched my heart, and I am so happy that I get it…even though I already thought I got it before.

Thank you….best wishes and love always.

Danielle Rothweiler

Black Tie Optional

You’ve been invited to a formal affair, and on the invitation it states: black tie optional. Now what? What’s acceptable? How dressy is this? Should you just wear a tux? We have your answers covered in this blog!

“Black Tie Optional”, according to Wikipedia, states that you “should not dress down for a black tie optional event, but you can choose to wear either full black tie garb (e.g. a tux for men and a floor length gown for women), or you can wear a nice suit for men and a very nice dress for women.”

This especially means, no jeans. No khakis either. Yes, gentlemen, you must wear a jacket!

We believe that it is always better to overdress than underdress. Think how silly you might feel if you choose something simple and not formal, and then you look around and see a sea of suits and tuxes. Always overdress to avoid this embarrassing moment! Should you decide to wear a suit, play it safe and wear black, or a very dark navy blue. A tie isn’t necessary but we strongly recommend one!

For ladies, a dress is the easiest way to go, and a floor length one at that. Of course, if you prefer a short dress, that is fine too, but it must be formal. Don’t forget to jazz it up with some blingy earrings or fancy shoes. The easy way out? Wear a long black gown. It’s classic and easy and every closet should have one. Don’t forget to match your purse with your ensemble to really pull everything together.

Incidentally, our cocktail party for January 9, 2014 is a black tie optional event! We recommend visiting Elizabeth Johns in Morristown for gowns or Robert’s Tuxedos in Totowa for suits and tuxedos. We will be featuring their designs in our fashion show that night, so feel free to stop by and pick up something to wear!

Element of Surprise

Last night at midnight, Beyonce released her brand new album. It’s not just the amazing music that makes this a cool announcement, but the way she did it: surprise!!

No one saw it coming, and then boom, brand new album from one of the world’s best performers. Today, the social media world is buzzing with how great the music is, and how crazy cool it was to be a surprise.

The element of surprise is something we see in the planning world. From a surprise proposal to a surprise party and surprise performances, everyone loves a surprise. A surprise is a great way to show someone that you think of them all of the time. A well thought out and surprising proposal tells your other half that you want to make them happy and take the time to think about what exactly will do that.

We love surprise performances at parties as well. Often, we find that our clients want to share the planning process with their friends and family. However, we like to keep guests on their toes and we think the guests of honor should do the same. A great way to really thank guests for coming to your party is to surprise them with a performance: singing, dancing, live music, acrobatics, whatever you can think of! The best part of a performance is to never announce it. Don’t tell anyone but each other and then watch how excited your guests are.

This past summer we had the honor of witnessing a bride and groom be surprised by their family. The bride’s sisters put together a music video that was creative and hilarious. It was so much fun to see all of the work that the family put into the video, but not as much fun as watching the faces of the bride and groom. They had no idea it was coming, and all eyes darted from the movie to them. 

We’re happy to work hand in hand with our clients to surprise their guests or each other. The best part of having a planner on board is that you always have someone you can talk to when you just cannot keep your mouth shut. Not only will we help you surprise someone, but we can keep a secret.

What is the biggest surprise you ever saw at a party? Are you planning one right now? Share in the comments below!

Oh, and we might have a surprise coming on Monday, so be sure to check back on our facebook page for that!

It’s a Nice Day for a…..Barn Wedding

It’s a hot new trend and it is here to stay: barn/farm weddings. We are approached by many couples looking for that rustic feel and barn atmosphere for their big day. From cowboy boots to mason jars and wildflowers, a barn venue is the ultimate is rustic chic.

The barn pictured at right (photo by Quincy Adam Photography) is a beautiful venue that we are currently planning an August 2014 wedding at. Finding this venue was no small task, so I thought I could write up a little blog regarding the tricky-ness (is that even a word) of securing that perfect barn venue for your wedding day.

First of all, many barns are small. They’re barns. It’s not that easy to find a barn that can accommodate a 150 person or more guest list, and the average guest count for a New Jersey wedding sits around 180 people. Spacing becomes an issue once you request a sit down dinner and a dance floor. If you add a band, that’s even more space being cut into, and don’t forget that your cocktail hour will probably be in the same space, so no “surprise, look how pretty my reception room looks!”.

Another issue is that the temperature outside, is also the temperature inside. Many barns do not have air conditioning and even less have heating. Of course, air conditioning can be brought in, but you have now added an extra expense.

Speaking of extra, keep in mind that many of these venues are just a barn. That’s it. No catering, no alcohol, no tables, linens or chairs. You might be responsible for the rental of all of these items, the delivery of same, the return of same and so forth. If you truly love a blank canvas, then this is something that is welcome, but it will keep the price high.

If you really love to party, we recommend finding an “after party” location as well since many barn properties turn off the music anywhere between 9 and 10pm. This can be a buzz kill for many couples, but with proper planning, an after party for those interested can be easily arranged. 

Truth be told, I love a barn wedding. I find the atmosphere is more interesting than a typical banquet hall, and who doesn’t like “something different”? But there are challenges, and while we recommend a wedding planner (duh) in every instance, this is one of those instances that you would have a hard time staying above water without one. We know the tricks to make it easy and can find you that perfect barn that you are looking for. Plus, we’ll handle all of the rentals (bathrooms included) so that you can just show up and get married. 

One thing that should be said though: these are the expensive weddings. Barns require a lot of work and will be pricier than your average banquet hall. If you’re looking at a barn or a farm to keep costs down, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. In the New Jersey area, it is difficult to keep venue costs under $30,000 for a barn wedding and that’s just for the venue and food; not the rentals, alcohol or any of the other basic necessities. Just like the “natural” look takes more time and effort than the fully made up face complete with a smoky eye, a barn wedding takes more money and work than the halls surrounding you. 

I hope I have given you some insight into planning the perfect barn wedding. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below!

R.S.V.P…..lost in translation?

Répondez, s’il vous plaît….maybe we should be writing this in English instead? Is that where everything falls apart?

There has not been a single wedding or event that I have thrown where I haven’t had to chase down invited guests to find out if they planned to attend or not. And, if they were attending, were they flying solo or bringing a guest? Oh, and what are they eating? It always amazed me at the amount of people I would have to call, email, or text to find out what their plans were.

My clients, especially my brides, are planning huge events that require a lot of time and energy. There are frequent tough decisions that need to be made and in that last 6-8 weeks leading up to the big day, there can be some major stress that they have to deal with. The absolute last thing my clients need is to be finding out what the final headcount is. Hence, I do it for them. 

However, I had to write a blog about this, because I wanted there to be an understanding about R.S.V.P’ing. When an event is planned, the caterer or the venue needs a final headcount typically between 10-20 days prior to the date of the event. This typically means headcount along with what everyone will be eating. A phone call to a bride 72 hours before the event to RSVP just doesn’t fly. Especially when the bride has ordered linens which are based on the table size which is based on the headcount which was needed 2 months ago.

Then there are the hotel blocks and the transportation needs. For a wedding, there are typically a block of rooms set aside for guests. The hotel holds these rooms until a specific date (which was probably included in the invitation or on the wedding website) and after that, the rooms go away. I cannot tell you the number of phone calls I receive from my brides 1-2 weeks before their wedding because Aunt Millie called them to say “the hotel is out of rooms, what am I supposed to do?” Should’ve thought about that sooner, right?

Of course, typically my clients go another step to think even more about their guests and provide shuttles and transportation. The transportation companies sometimes request that these shuttles are booked months in advance. This means that you cannot suddenly decided on the day of the wedding that you’re going to hop on board. If there is no room, sitting on someone’s lap isn’t cool either. Yes, I have seen it almost happen.

I guess this blog is a desperate plea. Please, if you receive an invitation to any kind of event, but especially a wedding, RSVP right away. Like, while the invitation is in your hand. Just walk on over to the calendar (I still have one hanging on my fridge) and see if you can make it. Then either pick up the phone and RSVP or send in the RSVP card (do what the invitation asks…because sending a text to say that you are coming when you are supposed to mail back the card that they paid to have put together is not acceptable). Then, boom! You’re done! You have RSVP’d, it’s on the calendar and you have made my clients very happy. Oh, and me too. I know we probably won’t even meet until the day of the event, and maybe not even then, but trust me that I’m thankful. 

Please do not make my clients or me chase after you. There really is no reason for it. It’s awkward. Like walking in on someone using the bathroom and that someone is your ex’s new significant other, awkward.

RSVP. Please.

…and thank you.


Same Sex Wedding Giveway- NEW JERSEY!

YES! New Jersey finally made it legal for our gay friends to get married! We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this than to launch a contest and giveaway an all-inclusive wedding to one lucky same-sex couple in New Jersey! Rothweiler Event Design has partnered with the amazing Wilshire Grand in West Orange, New Jersey, and along with very talented vendors, will be providing a dream wedding to a couple in 2014! This wedding will include everything from catering to decor to music to photography and more than you can imagine! You can nominate yourself and your special someone, or you can nominate a special couple that you feel deserves this amazing prize! Don’t wait! Share this everywhere you can because the contest ends on December 13, 2013! Below are the rules and how to enter! Good luck!

Full Contest Rules:

1. Contest is open to all same sex (man and man, or woman and woman) couples that reside in The State of New Jersey and are engaged to be married. Couple must not already be married in New Jersey.

2. Couples must each be 21 years of age or older as of the launch of the contest (November 11, 2013).

3. Couples must write an essay of approximately 500 words in length as to why they deserve an all expense paid wedding package. Pictures of the couple are also required and should not exceed 3 total. Video submissions are encouraged and can be submitted via YouTube. Essays and photographs must be emailed directly to info@rothweilereventdesign.org on or before December 13, 2013 by midnight. Any entries received after this time will not be opened.

4. Couples agree to allow their essays and photographs to be published on the Facebook page of all of the vendors that are giving away their services. These pages include, but are not limited to, Rothweiler Event Design and The Wilshire Grand. Couple agrees to allow all of their video submissions to be shared.

5. Couples are encouraged to direct their friends and family to “like” their stories on the Facebook pages of the vendors involved. A complete vendor list with their facebook pages will be available at www.facebook.com/rothweilereventdesign.

6. Finalists will be contacted on or before December 17, 2013. If, for some reason, any finalist is unreachable, or unable to be contacted by noon on December 19, 2013, they will forfeit their spot and another couple will be selected.

7. All contestants must follow Rothweiler Event Design (@RothweilerEvent) and The Wilshire Grand (@WilshireCaterer) on Twitter. Each contestant must mention both Rothweiler Event Design and The Wilshire Grand on twitter after submitting their entry by using the hashtag #samesexweddinggiveaway.

8. Each contestant agrees to be present for the announcement of the winner on January 9th at 7pm at The Wilshire Grand in West Orange, New Jersey. The couple must be present at this cocktail party to win the grand prize. If the winning couple is not present at the cocktail party, a runner up will be selected.

9. The winning couple will be selected by the participating vendors. All decisions are final and may not be questioned.

10. The winning couple agrees to work with each individual vendor that is giving away their services for their wedding day. This includes, but is not limited to: music, photography, decor,  catering, officiant, etc. No outside vendors will be allowed to participate in the wedding planning or wedding itself.

11.The winning couples agrees to allow their wedding to be photographed and published in multiple media outlets.

12.The winning couple agrees to allow their wedding to be recorded for future media and television use.

13. The winning couple agrees to hold their wedding on a date already selected in 2014. This date is non-negotiable. Should the winning couple not agree to this date, they will forfeit the prize, and another couple will be selected.

14. The wedding guest count will not exceed 70 guests, which will include the couple as well.

15. The winning couple agrees to be interviewed for the media and multiple publications regarding their wedding planning, their relationship, etc.

16. The winning couple will be awarded various prizes that will total a complete wedding package. The prizes given from each individual vendor are already decided and are non-negotiable. 


What’s in a Day?

Full planning, partial planning and the mysterious “day of” coordination. What does it all mean? What do we offer? How do you decide what you really need and want?

Let us help you out!

Many couples decide that want to bring on a wedding coordinator for the entire deal. This means, full planning, and translates to, we will get everything for you….venue to flowers, officiant to photographer, honeymoon to cigar bar, soup to nuts….

Partial planning is for the couple that has the venue set up, and a few vendors already booked, but needs the rest put together.

Day of Coordination is included in every single package, and also stands by itself. This package alone is perfect for the couple that did all of the planning and just wants someone there to direct the final package in the 8 weeks leading up to the wedding (i.e. the most stressful) and on both the rehearsal and the wedding day. 

But your venue comes with a wedding coordinator?! No, they actually don’t. What your venue comes with is a “venue coordinator”. This is not the same as a wedding coordinator. We coordinate the entire wedding, while they coordinate just the venue. Which means that if your limo doesn’t show up, or gets lost, they aren’t calling your “venue coordinator” (that came with the venue free of charge…big deal) they are calling you, your groom, your parents, your maid of honor, or anyone just to figure out how to get you to your wedding on time. Sound like a good time? We didn’t think so.

Not only do we make sure that not a single vendor is bothering you, your family or any of your guests on the wedding day, but they will be leaving you alone in the two months leading up to your big day. This means no nagging phone calls about your song list, no life or death questions about a flower change, no random “where do I deliver the linens” voicemails…all of that, goes to us. So go ahead and have that bridal shower, bachelor and bachelorette party, spa day(s), whatever you want!

Rothweiler Event Design will step in 2 months before your wedding day and coordinate with all of your vendors and your venue. Here are a list of things you also get with your “Day Of” Coordination package with us:

1. Unlimited text, phone calls and emails that will all be answered within 12-24 hours, if not sooner. Try getting that from anyone else….
2. Assistance at your final dress fitting so that we can bustle your dress on the big day.
3. Assistance at your final walk through at the venue to go over the entire layout and where you want everything from your escort table to the DJ to the seating chart.
4. Pick up and delivery of every single item that you will need to be set up at the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception site…and after party if you’re having one.
5. Final payment reminders for all of your vendors.
6. RSVP follow up to those guests that just can’t seem to remember to call and let you know if they are coming to the big event.
7. Timeline set up for you, your partner, the bridal party, and anyone else involved.
8. Rehearsal dinner set up, reservations and maintenance.
9. Scouting for locations to take pictures on the big day, and securing any and all permits necessary to take pictures in those picturesque locations. 
10. Confirmation conversations with all of your vendors to finalize each detail from deliveries to timing of such and everything in between.
11. Timeline set up for everyone from the stylists to the transportation to the photographer and straight through the entire reception.
12. Two coordinators with you for both your rehearsal and your wedding day.
13. Pack up at the end of the night everything from envelopes to top cake tier, and delivery to where ever you need it to be.
14. Day after check in and pick up of your wedding gown to bring it to be preserved…and we’ll take care of your flowers too.

That’s just a few of the things that come with your “Day Of” Coordination package. We’re there with you every step of the way, and no venue coordinator can replace that. It’s also important to us that your guests, family members and bridal party have a good time and don’t have to work on the wedding day. Let us take care of it for you,  you have planned enough by now!

Interested? Want to know more? Thinking, “OMG I didn’t even know this existed and I totally need Rothweiler Event Design to be there with me!!!”? Awesome. We want to hear from you too!

Email us to set up a complimentary consultation at info@rothweilereventdesign.org. We’ve seen and fixed it all. Don’t feel that you need to worry about anything…we will handle everything.

Danielle Rothweiler
Rothweiler Event Design

Web MD: Cancer

We know you have choices for all of your wedding vendors, and that includes your wedding planner. Frequently we’re asked “why is a wedding planner/photographer/DJ….etc so expensive?” Well, while we cannot justify the rates of other vendors, we’d like to take a moment to discuss wedding planning in general.

Wedding planning is a full time job, and we take our job very seriously. You absolutely could hire a “planner” for Day Of Coordination for $500. And you would be wasting your money. 

Day Of Coordination with us (and many other planners) begins weeks before the actual day. We spend 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding day consulting with your vendors, setting up timelines, scouting photography locations, and so much more. In fact, the 6-8 weeks before your wedding is the time your planner will work the hardest and have the most to do. We also attend your rehearsal with two coordinators and your wedding day with two coordinators. Oh, and we don’t do that “10 hour day” thing. We’re there, all day, sun up to way past sundown. 

$500 for Day Of, equates to $62.50 a week. That’s $8.93 a day. Not an hour, a day. So, if you’re paying a planner $500 for their Day Of services, that means you are paying them $8.93 for your actual wedding day. What kind of service do you expect for less than $10 a day?

We pride ourselves on our experience, ratings, references and services. There are many planners to choose from, and while not all will suit your style, we recommend choosing one that does, even if that means going with one that charges a higher rate.

After all….hiring a cheap “planner” is like consulting Web MD instead of going to your doctor. The answer is always the same: cancer. 

Vintage and Rustic Goodie-ness

This past weekend we celebrated with Lisa and Ted at a beautiful venue in Lambertville, New Jersey. The bride and groom were vintage perfection, and they got married in a beautiful garden. Following the ceremony was an outdoor cocktail hour and a tented reception.

The decor was absolutely perfect and truly reflected the interests of the bride and groom. Vintage and antique fanatics, their tables were adorned with burlaped mason jars, wildflowers and antique cake toppers. Even their table numbers were held by bent forks that just completed the look!

Opting to go with a very popular trend, the reception held all long tables with white linens and a burlap runner. They focused on yellow and gray, and used a pop of yellow for their napkins and on their menus. Everything pulled together beautifully. 

If you are looking to do something different, we offer floral design such as what you see pictured in this blog. We’ll work directly with you on your decor and put together your arrangements for your tables. Longer tables can hold a variety of centerpieces, so wildflowers, peonies, sunflowers, and even roses will stand out and look stunning.

Congratulations to this fabulous couple! We were so happy to work with you on your special day!

Rothweiler Event Design

Fall Inspirations

Wow! This summer went by in a blink, and we’re so excited for the fall. From the warm colors, to the firepits and s’mores, it’s no wonder this season is full of parties, celebrations, and of course, weddings. The humidity disappears, the temperatures cool off and the smell of the leaves changing fills the air. 

We are so inspired by this season. One of the favorite things we like to do is to incorporate fruits with warmer colors into centerpieces. As seen in this picture, we used oranges (some halved) along with deep purple grapes to add something a little different for this fall wedding. Fruits and vegetables to be considered? Artichoke hearts, grapes, pomegranates and yes, even blood oranges. Work with your florist to pull these items together with the flowers you want to use.

Think back to those campfires with friends…remember how cozy the firepit was? Think about having one at your reception, complete with hot cocoa and s’mores. Let your guests put the marshmallows onto sticks and roast them over a warm fire before placing them between chocolate and graham crackers. Want to skip the mess, or don’t have room for a firepit? Consider giving away pre-packaged s’mores as your favor for guests to enjoy later in the season.

What about the fall inspires you? How will you incorporate the season into your big day? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Danielle Rothweiler
Rothweiler Event Design