I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, I was pumped. Seriously, I was like way excited. Maybe it was because the past few years I have been less than thrilled with the selection. Maybe it was because I loved using that color and already had ideas.
Or maybe it was because I placed a bet in October on what the color would be and won.
Greenery symbolizes new beginnings in the same way the green leaves in spring time do. I love using green in wedding and event designs because there is so much you can do. [tweetshare tweet=”There is a greenery for every bride and all styles of weddings.” username=”RothweilerEvent”] In fact, it’s more than just a color. It’s a feeling.
In this blog I am sharing a few ways I have used Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year in the hopes to inspire you for your wedding day. Don’t forget to pin the photos you love the most and comment the ways you’ll incorporate Pantone 2017 Color of the Year!
Boho Chic Ceremony Backdrop
Everyone’s seen Fern Gully right? Am I like super old and weird right now? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Fern Gully was a movie that took place in the rainforest. It was about deforestation and other depressing stuff, but the colors were bold and magical and (spoiler alert) the main characters lived happily ever after.
The whole wedding design from the beautiful colors to the heavy amount of natural greens we used reminded me of those beautiful colors from Fern Gully. The bride had a vision of hanging greens for the ceremony backdrop, and our florist created the best frame for their first married kiss.
These greens were a mix of bright and deep shades not unlike the leaves in spring that inspired Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. Putting aside the pinks, reds and oranges that made up the rest of the wedding colors and just using green for the ceremony made the space feel more intimate. There were no distractions and when the bride and groom became man and wife, it was a serene and beautiful moment.
Soft Green Garland and Banisters
If it hasn’t become obvious yet, I am a big fan of greenery used as garland. Don’t get my wrong, I love green as a color, but my favorite way to make it work for almost any wedding is to keep it as a backdrop. That doesn’t mean it has to literally hang in the back, but more so that it supports the rest of the design.
This farm location had a barn on site and whenever I see a banister, I feel compelled to dress it up. I totally blame “Father of the Bride” for this unhealthy obsession I have.
Soft and romantic, the green garland we used here was draped around the spiral banister from top to bottom. Like the ceremony site above, it was important to create a look as if the greenery just appeared there, naturally. As if it sprouted from the iron banister magically because that’s what Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year does. The final touch here was to incorporate the other wedding flowers, so we pinned everything together with some pink roses and dusty miller.
Mantle Greenery Goodness
Much like a banister, if there is a mantle at a wedding location, you will find me adding “we woke up like this” style florals to it. Mantles are more than shelves for photos and many are ceremony backdrops. As a designer, I like to incorporate the design into every corner of the space, and this is a big corner.
There are countless ways to dress up a mantle at your wedding, but it’s hard to do without greenery. This picture is from a wedding venue with multiple mantles. In fact, you can see all the gorgeous details here. Each mantle was different, but they all used the greenery found in the centerpieces to tie the look together. My favorites here were the hanging amaranthus and the eucalyptus because they added dimension to the piece and still looked formal.
Long Tables With Greenery
We all know that long tables are a hot trend and they have been for a few years now. These gorgeous farmhouse tables can cost a pretty penny if your venue doesn’t already have them included. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these without robbing a bank (seriously, they ain’t cheap), then greenery garland is a must.
This table was part of our design for The Knot Market Mixer last Fall. My favorite part about designing this event is being able to create whatever I’m dreaming of. In other words, I got to do what I wanted and what designer doesn’t love that?
I wanted to create a warm and inviting tablescape and have greenery be the base of the design. Working with my florist, the garland worked as an anchor for the rest of the flowers and draped down to the floor. I’d recommend using greenery like this to any bride worried that her guests won’t see over tall centerpieces.
Speaking of Tall Centerpieces…
The garden where this wedding took place was the inspiration for the greenery found in the centerpieces. Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is all about spring and clean starts, and this centerpiece is just that.
Besides the obvious greenery pieces (you know, the green leaves), there are more subtle ones as well. While the only two colors used were white and green, that didn’t mean green leaves and white flowers only. A popular flower for centerpieces (but not for bouquets so don’t please) is hydrangea. Hydrangea comes in a bunch of colors including white and…wait for it…green!
The clean look of the clear glass vase and candleholders with the greenery and white made this garden wedding the picture of spring….even if it took place in the summer.
Don’t Forget the Ceiling!
So, like, let’s all take a minute to recognize that not every piece of wedding décor is going to be at eye level. It doesn’t need to be at eye level and in fact, eye levels are different. Not that you’re inviting a bunch of NBA players to your wedding (or maybe you are and I should be planning it…) but creating designs from the floor to the ceiling makes an impact.
Signage is a huge trend and it’s not just limited to chalkboard and aisles. This lasercut sign is from our event with The Knot and is hung from fishing line. Really strong could rope in Jaws, fishing line. If you’re not onto how I work just yet, I like to make my designs appear organic. This is probably another reason why I am in love with Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. For this sign (and three others), I worked with my florist and asked them to drape greenery in a deconstructed way. I mean, it totally looks like the sign grew out of the ceiling. Score!
Wedding Walls and Backdrops
The floral wall is something that is popping up all over Pinterest, and we worked with Once Wed Walls to create this one for The Knot Market Mixer. Since I have been obsessed with greenery long before it was the Pantone 2017 Color of the Year, I wanted one using green as the base. The top was covered in more greenery and pops of pinks, oranges and cream flowers to match the rest of the room.
These walls are, bottom line, really awesome. It was a natural backdrop for photos all night and everyone was talking about it. A great alternative to a blank photobooth backdrop (or a photobooth in general) is using one of these walls. Since this can be a custom piece, the wall can be made to fit like a backdrop for people and as small as a backdrop for your wedding cake. If you’re on the greenery bandwagon with me (though I’ve been driving it since like 2007), you can keep a natural look using boxwood like this.
Oh those farm and barn weddings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why should they? They totally rock. If you’ve followed my work at all, you know that I’m a big fan of non-traditional weddings. [tweetshare tweet=”Give me a mountain top and a fluffy white ballgown and I’m in.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
If you’re the bride that runs from basic bling and marble floors as fast as I do, then you’re probably considering a farm for your wedding location. Mega points to you for not being lame! More points if you find a farm with animals.
This final way to use Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year (though there are plenty more) involves a horse. We used an Icelandic horse on this farm to drape a eucalyptus wreath around and create total greenery magic. You could easily do this design on other animals including dogs, goats and alpacas too. This wreath was created on site, so it’s important to make sure your florist will have the time they need on the wedding day.
Using Greenery on Your Wedding Day
You don’t have to be on a farm to get the most out of Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. The bright green color will bring your centerpieces to life whether you choose tall or low runners. No matter how you use greenery in your wedding design, remember that the color represents new beginnings. If that’s not a good enough reason to use it on your first day as a married couple, then I’m not sure what is!
What do you think of greenery? Will you use it for your wedding? Share in the comments below your favorite idea or if you have one that we didn’t mention!
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.
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:
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. 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”]
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.
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. 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. Such 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.
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!
I recently wrote a blog about wedding contracts and the importance of reading every last word. If you didn’t catch the details, make sure you read all of them before continuing here. This blog will cover the vendors I didn’t talk about yet and how their wedding contracts can affect your wedding plans.
Side note: This isn’t meant to freak anyone out or send brides and grooms on a scavenger hunt looking for the “traps” in wedding contracts. We’re all friends here and as a friend (and a wedding planner), I want to make sure you know what you’re signing before you sign it.
Moving down the list of vendors you’ll typically encounter when planning your wedding…
The Stationery Contracts
Doesn’t matter if you are the type to get custom invitations or order simple stuff on the web. You sign a contract either way, whether it’s handed to you by a person, or you simply check off that you agree to all of the terms. And if you didn’t read those terms, then it will catch up with you down the road. What could I possibly be talking about?
Invitations, menus, programs and all other paper products have one thing in common: wording. You will have to get the correct wording to the person (or computer application) designing all of this stuff. This basically means getting slightly important details like your wedding date, time and location, all 100% correct. There will also be a deadline as to when this information is needed by. If you delay on doing your work, then the stationery designer will have to delay on doing theirs. Signing a contract here implies that you understand what happens when you don’t get the information sent in on time.
Another agreement you make when you sign this wedding contract is getting what you pay for. Revisions can be made but there’s always a limit unless you’re willing to open your checkbook. Don’t ignore the lines in the contract that tell you how many revisions you are entitled to. Otherwise, you’re bound to get pretty angry when you’re asked for additional funds because you can’t make a decision.
The Hair and Make Up Stylist Contracts
Quite often, brides will hire a professional team of hair and make up stylists for the big day. The stylists usually take care of the bridesmaids and mom figures as well. I book stylists for my clients at least 7 months prior to their wedding. This means they have to know how many people are getting hair and make up done wayfar in advance. I’ve seen brides ignore this contract entirely. Not good and here are two reasons why:
Every contract is different, but the information the stylist asks for, helps them create the quote and proposal as well as prepare for the day. Odds are, you will have to commit to the amount of people being booked and what services you will need. Right down to airbrush versus traditional and false eyelashes versus mascara, decisions need to be made in advance. Is there flexibility for a changed mind on the wedding day? Potentially. But it’s not owed to you since you signed off months earlier.
Prep details are included in the wedding contracts and these helpful hints often end up in the trash. Believe it or not, there is a reason that stylists want you and your ladies to read what they wrote. Included in these guidelines are mentions of how hair cannot be wet, that flatirons should not be used prior to hair services, and that anything more than moisturizer on a face is no bueno. [tweetshare tweet=”You’d think that much of this would be common sense, but I’ve seen things, let me tell you… ” username=”RothweilerEvent”] I’ve also seen a bridesmaid lose her mind when she was charged a fee for showing up without blow drying her hair. Yup.
The Hotel Block Contracts
If you’re setting up rooms at a hotel local to your wedding venue, you will enter into a contract that is duller than a book on tax law. Doesn’t matter because why? You need to read it anyway. Not only does this wedding contract affect you, but it also affects your guests. And this just in: guests tend to complain about wedding issues. Don’t give them ammo by ignoring this contract and especially these points:
It will be very clear in the contract when the rooms are no longer available. This doesn’t mean that your guests can’t still get a reservation, it just means that there are no guarantees anymore. So if a hotel releases the block of rooms to the public and Uncle Sal calls after the release date (that you agreed to), he might be out of luck. Trust and believe that you will hear about this and then expected to fix the situation. That will also happen less than a month before your wedding and ZOMG do you really want that kind of stress? Memorize that date and share it in your invitations so that you can ask Uncle Sal why he didn’t read everything, instead of him asking you.
Believe it or not, a majority of hotels will put in their wedding contract that outside alcohol is prohibited. That means no poppin’ bottles post reception in your penthouse suite. Nope. Not allowed. Can you get around this? Of course. Don’t make a bunch of noise on the balcony and party like it’s 1999 and things will probably be cool. The reason things go left is because the couple didn’t read that fine print and guests are calling the front desk to report the noise. Read the fine print to know what rules you’re about to break.
The Photobooth Contracts
Most times when working with a DJ, there will be a photobooth add-on option. There are also companies that exclusively handle your photobooth needs. Between the two, you really can have anything you want in terms of set up and photos delivered. Photobooths seem simple though so what could possibly be in a contract that even matters?
Remember in the last blog when I said that the wedding contracts affect each other? Here is a classic example: the photobooth. Just as you might think this contract is no big deal, this vendor is viewed as lower on the totem pole by industry people. Probably because everyone and their mom has one now and it’s not considered an essential wedding item like you know, food. That doesn’t make the contract any less legally binding, so read it and pay attention to anything regarding a power source and table. Odds are, you will be asked to make sure there is a certain amount of electricity and that it’s only 20 feet away from their set up location. Photobooth vendors always ask for a small table as well, and it’s your responsibility (because you agreed to do it when you signed their contract) to make sure it’s there.
Photos from a photobooth can be delivered hundreds of ways. You will have the option to decide on the size of the photos, how many copies are printed, and if you want them all on a flash drive at the end of the night delivered via giraffe…Kidding, I just put that in there to see if you were still reading.. Before you even decide which company to book, you need to know what your options are. Once you agree and sign, there is no “Oh I thought everyone got a copy” on the day of the wedding when you and your 20 bridesmaids pile into the booth. Wording can be tricky here so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification until you’re all on the same page.
Those are the vendors involved in most weddings and some highlights of their wedding contracts. Depending on the details of your wedding you might hire others including an officiant if you’re outside a religious house for your wedding. The contract with an officiant is generally simple, but just as important as the rest. [tweetshare tweet=”Because if the officiant doesn’t show up because you moved your ceremony time and didn’t tell him, then ain’t no one getting married that day.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
For anyone getting married at a location that doesn’t provide catering, those couples will enter into a wedding contract with a catering company to handle food and beverage. Yes, this does also mean alcohol, so read that contract twice. Common things brides and grooms have said “but I didn’t know that” about on their actual wedding day? Oh, just little details like how they were supposed to provide ice, or that they were responsible for getting the food orders from their guests before the wedding day.
No matter the vendor or how long and boring the wedding contract is, read it and read it again before signing on the dotted line. Nothing is worse than arguing with a vendor and having them quote the contract that you didn’t read. It’s a pain in the ass and watching paint dry is more entertaining, but if the booze is warm, the DJ doesn’t have enough electricity to play music and the venue refuses to let a vendor in because they have no insurance, you will remember your wedding day for all the wrong reasons.
And since we really are all friends here, be sure to share that time you signed a contract without reading it? What about those of you that did read the contract but were surprised by what you read? Share in the comments below and let’s see even more reasons why reading a wedding contract is mandatory.
Be honest. You have signed a contract before that you didn’t read. Or maybe you read most of it, but then figured it was just standard legal stuff to ignore. Too often contracts are treated like those annoying “terms of service” boxes where you just scroll down, click OK and get on with your life. But the simple reason behind why you want to not only read, but understand the contracts you sign while wedding planning, is because they all affect one another
I cannot tell you how many times I have been hired in the middle of the wedding planning process. A couple has picked the date and the venue and perhaps a handful of vendors. Maybe they were getting overwhelmed or just tired of planning, but quite often I have been asked to put on my planner hat halfway down the aisle.
The first thing I ask for when working with partial planning couples is to see a copy of every contract they have entered into. I can’t change what has already been agreed to, but I need to have a foundation for the house I’m trying to build. Too often, I have said to couples, “Did you read this?”
And I already knew their answer.
So if you’re getting ready to plan the details of your wedding day, then this is mandatory reading material. No, you won’t have to sign anything and there won’t be a quiz at the end. But you can bet your sweet little white dress that once you realize why reading is important, you’ll be more likely to actually do just that. I’ve broken this up into two parts, so make sure you read both in order to be fully prepared to do battle…or…um….plan your wedding.
Here we go!
The Venue Contract
The venue will have the longest contract and is almost always the first item checked off the list when planning a wedding. After all, you can’t really give anyone a date if you aren’t even sure what is available. [tweetshare tweet=”As easy as it would be to assume it’s allowed if it’s not written, make sure to discuss it with a sales or venue coordinator first.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]I’ve worked at and researched thousands of venues both locally and internationally, and regardless of location, many contracts are similar. Here are a few major details to look for in a venue contract and the reasons why you need to know them:
How many other events might take place before, during and/or after your wedding? Most brides don’t want another wedding going on while they are having their own, but they almost never think to ask about what happens before that. If a venue can host an event prior to your own, they are likely to do so unless you purchase a “buy-out” of the entire space. If an event doesn’t get booked for the earlier the same day, there is still a chance that your venue will not be open until the 2 hour mark before your wedding begins. This means that not one vendor, including your florist, will be able to set up until that time. So if you’re going crazy and pinning elaborate floral displays, slow your roll since there might not be enough time to get that done. If a buy-out isn’t in the budget, keep reading. Regardless, make sure you know how much time you really have.
Speaking of vendors, the rules that a venue has alwayscome first. Sometimes that grand entrance complete with dry ice isn’t going to be allowed. If you have your heart set on anything that will take place at the venue, look and see what the contract says. As easy as it would be to assume it’s allowed if it’s not written, make sure to discuss it with a sales or venue coordinator first. It’s also worth mentioning that the answer from the venue is the final answer. Even if you hear from someone that got married there or a vendor that has worked there in the past, and they say that what you want can be done…if the venue said “no”, then take them at their word. A few things that are “pin-worthy” but not always venue friendly: dry-ice/smoke, hanging anything from the ceiling, candles that aren’t covered, and wish lanterns.
Another issue that tends to come up when I get brought on mid-planning is the set up for the day. Your florist is responsible for their stuff, but for items like pictures you want to display or any signage, it’s important to discuss if the venue will handle that or not. If the venue will take care of things like placing 250 chair covers, double and triple check if a labor fee will be added on with your final bill.
While it varies in terms of amount needed and which vendors need to provide what, the venue will always ask that insurance is provided. At a minimum, your florist, photographer, cinematographer, all music and your photobooth will have to provide what is called a “Certificate of Insurance”. If you’re bringing in outside food and beverage, they are in the same boat and lately, many venues are asking that all outside vendors provide this document. It sounds scarier than it is as every professional vendor already carries this. Just make sure you know what the venue’s requirements are and ask for this document as soon as you book your vendors.
The Photographer/Cinematographer Contract
Selecting someone to capture the details of your wedding isn’t always easy. There are countless photographers available at the click of a google search, and separating the professionals from the wanna-bes can leave you too tired to read the details of a contract. Even though you now know better than to skim and sign, here are things to look for first:
The amount of hours that a photographer and/or cinematographer is on-site can be anywhere from 6 to 14. While it’s not always possible to decide the exact amount of time you will need until you’re closer to the wedding date, you want to factor in for possible overtime costs. 8-10 hours usually is just fine, but if you can land a package of 10 hours, I’d suggest doing just that. Always confirm if travel time is included and what the actual per hour (or half hour) overtime fee is.
While your BFF may say to not sign with any photographer that won’t hand over all raw images and the rights to your photos, that is something you won’t always get. In fact, many photographers refuse to deliver raw images to their clients as they don’t want any modifications made including 500 different Instagram filters. Don’t even ask about owning the rights. Listen very carefully to what is included and then read about it twice.
Pay close attention to how your photographer is your only photographer for the day. There are variations with this clause, but the main point is that there will be no one else taking photos or shooting video. Couples generally glaze over this because they cannot imagine how this would be an issue. Let me tell you where the issue is/why photographers put this into their contract: DJs. You’ve been to the weddings where photographs from earlier in the day are shown on big ass flat screens, right? Well, sometimes the DJ brings a “photographer” for those images. This is a whole different subject to delve into, but just know that this is why the issue exists. Respect it and handle it before you sign a contract with your DJ.
Like any other vendor present during your reception (wedding planner, music vendor and photobooth usually), the photo and video crew will get hungry. These people are human (except for a few I’ve dealt with) and the human body requires food and water. Most contracts will state that a vendor meal must be provided and even if it’s not written it still has to happen. Because common decency. Yes, it’s an extra cost, but it’s for food not a brand new Prada shirt, and plenty of vendors will bounce from your reception to pick up pizza if you don’t feed them…and it will say so in their contract.
The Florist Contract
Picking a florist is usually a fun task for my couples and usually they go with one that has similar floral designs on their website as the ones they want for their wedding. However, there is more to think about than if someone is good with peonies or not. While a contract will not be the first piece of paper you receive from a florist, it will be second only to the proposal. That proposal will be put together after a consultation where you will discuss what you want and the rough quantity needed. [tweetshare tweet=”It’s important to know from the florist if they can accomplish your vision and if they will need extra staff (AKA: more money) to do it.” username=”RothweilerEvent”]A common misconception is that the first appointment will include a sample centerpiece, so don’t go into that meeting expecting to see one. Here is what you can expect to see in their contracts though:
The payments you will make will be broken up, but that last payment could end up being a full 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding date. Flowers get ordered at different times, and many florists need 14 days to make sure the order comes in correctly. Some florists will let the final payment go until the wedding day, whereas others will want the money before they make the order. Either practice is fine, but make sure you know when your payments are due.
Going back to the venue dilemma and having limited set up time, make sure you clear with your florists during the consultation exactly what they are working with. If the venue has a set of rules for florists, make sure to provide that along with any timing restrictions. It’s important to know from the florist if they can accomplish your vision and if they will need extra staff (AKA: more money) to do it.
The DJ, Band or Both Contract(s)
No matter if you have a DJ to handle all of the music, or a band to handle the reception with a bunch of violins for the aisle walk, these contracts are just as important to review before signing. Just like the vendors mentioned above, all of these people will have to provide insurance documents, guaranteed. There are differences between their contracts, but here are two similarities to look for and talk about:
A major reason that insurance is required from your music vendors is that they could potentially use a ton of electricity. Once you are under contract and in the music planning stages, there will be a discussion of where the band/DJ is placed and where the closest power source is. Even if you are in a standard banquet hall, it’s really important to look over the contract in regard to how close your music vendor needs to be and what happens if they are too far away. Bands and DJs do not bring extension cords or generators with them, and adding stuff on like that last minute is going to cost you.
Pay careful attention to what is actually included and what will cost you more. As a planner, I know what will be needed and what the right questions are. Brides, however, do not. A question to ask here (should it not be outlined in the contract) is: what microphones do you include? It’s a thought that doesn’t cross a mind until no one can hear the vows or any of the toasts, but by then, it’s too late. Don’t wonder or assume anything about microphones. Check the fine print because it might be addressed while you weren’t looking.
The Transportation Contract
If you need shuttles for guests or a bunch of limos and party buses, you will probably work with one transportation company. A big “however” here though, is if you are setting up a hotel block (addressed in the next blog) and they provide a shuttle service. There probably won’t be a contract here, but an invoice and some fine print is typically what you would receive. Whatever you book, read what you are given and look out for this:
Overtime hours and costs associated with any transportation provided outside of the standard 3-3.5 hours should be considered. You might not think that this will be an issue, but when you’re running late or sitting in traffic or take more time with photos than expected or….or…or….. No one likes paying bills after a wedding because that’s like dealing with student loans. The party is over, the bills should go away, right? Make that happen by putting together a package for the time that you need and be realistic about it.[tweetshare tweet=”Ask about this before you book as it won’t come up (probably) and then it will be buried deep in the invoice…so deep that you won’t see it. ” username=”RothweilerEvent”]
You won’t ask because everyone assumes, but 9 times out of 10 you cant eat or drink in the limos you book. That’s right, no champagne on that party bus is a total possibility. The thing with this is that no one realizes the reality of this situation until the bride is jumping into the limo with her bridesmaids and a bottle of bubbly and the limo driver says “no drinks allowed”. Ask about this before you book as it won’t come up (probably) and then it will be buried deep in the invoice…so deep that you won’t see it.
The contracts I spoke about above are ones that pretty much go with every wedding, no matter the guest count, location or style. In “Part 2” you’ll see the other things to look out for including a deadline in stationery contracts that most couples never read. Until then, please share your thoughts in the comments section! Did you ever sign a contract without reading it and, if so, what happened? What language in your venue and vendor contracts are you glad you saw before you signed? Tell your story and come back for more in the next blog!
“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9
This has been quite a year. I don’t know about you, but on my personal Facebook page, my newsfeed is littered with comments about how everyone has hated 2016 and is ready for it to be over. Truth be told, 2015 was pretty damn annoying for me, and I was feeling better in 2016. But, looking back, well damn…this year was a challenge plenty of times- both personally and as a wedding planner.
There were times that I stopped and wondered WTF was going on and if Mercury was in retrograde for like the 900th time, but I am a firm believer that you have to learn from everything and that experiences help you grow in life. You may not be able to find a reason for things happening, but sometimes you don’t find out the reason for years. And sometimes the reason is that some people are just stupid and that’s that.
So here we are, creeping up to Christmas and on the express train to 2017. I close my office the week between Christmas and New Year’s because generally it is a quiet time of year and frankly, I want to see my friends and family members that I haven’t seen since like February because work. As much as I love my job and am a self-proclaimed workaholic, even I know that you have to take time away and spend it with people you love. After all, my job is all about love, so I would be an idiot not to cultivate it in my own life.
2016 has been a rollercoaster and here I am, still in love with my job, still in love with love, despite the crazy that was this entire year. This, is my year in review…
This year began quietly as for the first time the bulk of my weddings and events were slated for early Fall and through November. Typically, I am booked with weddings from April-October and have other events sprinkled in between. Most of my couples have engagements that last anywhere from one to one and a half or maybe two years. That means that I start working with them exactly that far in advance.
Not in 2016 though.
I am about to share with you something that I have never shared with any of my industry colleagues:
I went into 2016 with 1 booked wedding.
You wanna know what panic feels like? That.
Let me give some context as to why that was terrifying to me…
For close to a decade now, I have booked anywhere from 10-14 full planning weddings per year and, as I mentioned before, those were booked anywhere from 1-2 years in advance. This meant that as I went through a wedding season, I already had weddings lined up for the following year and a handful for the year after that. But this year, I had one. One single wedding for 2016 as I entered 2016.
Here I was, the most experienced I had ever been, countless publications under my belt, national recognition and a celebrity client roster and I had one couple book with me to plan their wedding. Something wasn’t adding up.
I reached out to people in the industry that I consider friends, and very talented ones at that. Turns out they were all in the same situation and getting booked by clients that wanted to get married within the same year.
None of them were worried. We were in engagement season and pretty much all of them were chill with the weird AF situation. No one was trying to offer deals or negotiate their prices, even though they were all getting hit with unreasonable requests like full planning for $1,000 (that’s unreasonable by the way so yeah).
But I was nervous because this was (and is) my full time job and has been for quite some time. There is no side hustle, there is no anything other than this. My inquiries were few and far between and many that came in wanted me to work for next to nothing.
This is why 2016 became the year that I started caring about demographics and sociology in general. I’ve heard and used the word “millennial” more times than I can even believe. And why? Because it’s real and because the big wedding names like “The Knot” and various publications had already realized it was a factor to consider. The thing was, they realized it before the rest of us did, and then they capitalized on exactly what that generation wanted, or at least what the internet told us they wanted.
This led to a late night (until 4am) couch conversation with my husband about how I was ignorant to think that demographics didn’t apply to me or my job. It also led to reading a ridiculous amount of articles about this group of people that statistics say make up over 90% of the engaged population.
As I changed my advertising tactics and learned about a group of people that on paper I couldn’t relate to (even though I’m not that much older than them and in fact fall into their category in certain studies) I started booking more clients.
Before I knew it, I was back up to my normal numbers. And since I increase my rates ever year, I reached my annual goal and then surpassed it as per usual.
What wasn’t usual? That didn’t happen until mid-March.
That’s right. Every single wedding I planned this year, aside from one that booked in December of last year, was a full planning client and they all got married this year.
The challenge with signing new clients at the same time, is that they will all have the same needs at the same time. There are ebbs and flows in wedding planning and sometimes you need to make 5 decisions at once. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything. But when everyone books you within a 2 month period, and you have under a year to plan all of these weddings, well…let’s just say that caffeine and I went from casual to exclusive really fast.
Since I had “nothing” to do until the first weekend of September (you know, since wedding planners don’t do anything until the day of the actual wedding, right?), I did what I always do: fill my plate with a ridiculous amount of things like styled shoots and new projects. You know. Cause why be bored?
My clients were all pretty different from each other in what they wanted for their weddings, if they even knew what that was. Priorities ranged from food being creative to everyone being on the dance floor all night. A common request I heard from most?
The millennial couple is characterized as not wanting to waste anything and the two categories that applied to were food and flowers. This year yielded more requests for the ability to donate food not eaten than all my other years as a planner combined. When that request couldn’t be fulfilled (seriously, the hoops you have to jump through are basically on fire) the answer was always to limit the amount of food being served. That was a direct conflict of what the parents wanted which was an open top shelf bar and enough food to feed the entire planet.
The idea that flowers “just die” was one that I heard on loop all year as well. It was very difficult for the majority of my couples to wrap their heads around the cost of the flowers that they wanted. As a planner, I generally will explain everything but with limits. Frankly, if I feel you’re going to argue with me, the professional you are choosing to pay because you don’t know zip about wedding planning, then I’d rather just not have the conversation at all.
Realizing that waste was a major issue for couples this year and knowing that donating food is rarely possible due to minor inconveniences like food safety lawsand all that, I frequently suggested that they consider donating their flowers at the end of the night to a company like Repeat Roses . Initially, they were all interested, until they realized they had to pay for the service. The concept of paying to be charitable (which meant you got the tax deduction) was ridiculous.
To all of them.
Meanwhile, this is a group that comes to your wedding once it is over, breaks down all of your flowers, and then repurposes and styles them before transporting them to places like nursing homes and children’s hospitals. So, yeah, you have to pay for it. But I digress…
As with most years, the couples that hired me were ones that wanted a creative wedding and generally wanted to stay out of the ballroom. Creating a one of a kind wedding that reflected them was what they all wanted and I’m good at stuff like that. While it would take some time to learn the idiosyncrasies of this new generation, I was pleased that I had in common (mostly) the one thing I need to have in common with all of my couples; and that is the understanding that a wedding is the celebration of the fact that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, and you found each other.
I can think of no better reason to throw a party than that.
Not unlike other years though, there are stories from a handful of weddings that would shock normal people. During conversations I had with trusted members of the industry, and even chats with good friends with normal and less dangerous jobs…like police officers and electrical power line installers…I would constantly get told “I don’t know how you do it.”
I mean, we all know Jesus turned water into wine when he was at a wedding, right?
All wedding planners are different, and for me, my emotions are deeply invested in every wedding I plan. I’m protective of my couples and I want them to know that I am there for them and them only. When I say “goodbye” to them, even if it’s more like “see you later”, there is a piece of my heart that I give away and never get back.
This year I was challenged more on my experience than ever before, to the point that I wondered why I was being paid when there were so many “brilliant” wedding websites out there not to mention best friends that just got married and now know everything. My patience (which doesn’t exist) was tested by a bride that sent upwards of 30 emails a day and then said to my face, “for the amount of money we are paying you, you should be kissing our ass.”
I had a bride that I was on the same page with until her mother swooped in and took over. Of course, I found out that same bride was badmouthing me to all of my preferred vendors on the wedding day, despite the fact that I had brought 6 huge umbrellas to shield her and her wedding party from the rain that her photographer kept her in for hours.
There was the wedding of a bride I adored that was called off with less than a week to spare, which shattered my heart. I’ve had weddings called off, but never so close to the wedding date and never with a bride that I connected with on such a deep level.
As with any other year there were difficult vendors that don’t know how to play nice in the sandbox, fires to be put out and the usual stuff that comes with the job. In between all of that were two styled shoots, the launch of my You Tube Channel, a celebrity baby shower covered by E! News, and an industry market mixer pulled together in under 4 weeks.
I am happy to say though that there was still a lot of love and I love that even though the “millennials” shook the wedding world this year, when it comes to love, they are no different than any other generation.
If you’re still reading, here are some highlights from each event…
Styled Shoot: Lamb’s Hill
Early in the year, I was doing my typical “new venue research” and came across a property that overlooked all of Duchess County, New York and basically the entire planet. Extremely rustic but very chic, the owner of the property had aspirations to have her venue featured in a well known publication. She already had the photographer she wanted but when she offered to handle the flowers, I took over in that department since styling is a huge part of what I do. We also brought in some vintage furniture pieces and I assembled the rest of a very talented team.
Using Pantone’s Colors of the Year we created a rustic chic and very romantic vibe that ended with a sunset straight out of the movies. BEAUTINI provided hair and make up for our gorgeous models that were dressed in gowns by EA Bridal. Alicia King provided photography and our friends at NST Pictures captured the day on video. Working with Darling and Pearl on all of the stationery pieces and Design Masters NJ for florals, the setting was purely beautiful. It was a long day (and a long drive) but the images are ones that we all swoon over still!
Styled Shoot: Through The Looking Glass
I am in love with the story of Alice in Wonderland. For years I have wanted to put together a styled shoot, but finding the perfect location and assembling the perfect team was not easy. I am happy, no, thrilled, to say that it all came together in late August this year. Behind the lens was a favorite photographer of mine Justin Tinapay and once again, Darling and Pearl provided the stationery, BEAUTINI handled hair and make up and NST Pictures put it all together on video.
As the summer came to a close, we moved into Labor Day Weekend and our events were full speed ahead.
Angela Simmons’ Baby Shower
As can be the case for a celebrity event, we had a little under 2 months to plan from top to bottom a baby shower for Growing Up Hip Hop star, Angela Simmons. With a Labor Day Weekend date selected, we went to work with the team at Sugar Factory NYC to create a royal themed shower for a prince on the way! E! News was there to see it all
Just one week later, we spent the weekend in NYC again, this time for a wedding that would take place at The New York Botanical Gardens. Originally wanting a wedding at home, plans quickly changed once the bride realized what an undertaking that would be in just 6 months time. With only five months to plan, we switched gears and started from scratch.The result? A wedding with 175 guests that took place at The New York Botanical Gardens complete with a string quartet for the ceremony and a lively band for the reception.
EBE Talent kept the crowd on the dance floor all night and Gabelli Studios was there to capture the details in both photographers and film. We worked with A Touch of Elegance to compliment the garden vibe at the venue and lush white florals and plenty of greenery could be seen throughout the space. Starr Catering provided the amazing food and the couple even stayed late for an after party with close friends and family members.
Meghan and Vinny
This wedding was all about fun and partying from the moment she said yes to the dress and even before that! Looking for a fairytale bash where they and close to 300 guests could cut lose all night long, Meghan and Vinny knew The Tides would be a perfect choice! Music being their number one priority, we knew that Adam Saber Entertainment was the right company for the job. Bringing in not just a DJ and Emcee, Adam’s set up was complete with plasma screens and a photobooth, as well as two live musicians that brought the concept of having a band and a DJ together as one. With such a huge guest list, we trusted RPD Limo to shuttle the guests safely to the wedding and then back to the hotel at the end of the night where the after party is probably still going on!
New Jersey Knot Market Mixer
In the middle of Fall-A-Palooza aka Wedding Season Madness, we were contacted by The Knot Magazine to design and plan their market mixer. We had less than four weeks to get together a team of vendors that we knew could rock the house and make this mixer extra special. Working in an industrial warehouse for a venue was something I always wanted to do and even though this was the craziest time of year for everyone, I was determined to make it unforgettable! Flowers from floor to ceiling, hot pink chairs and black lounge furniture, balloons, sparkle, a fashion show and so much more made it a night to remember. I still have no idea how it came together but make sure to come back and read the blog to get all of the amazing details and full vendor list!
Alexa and Michael
A true Cinderella and Prince Charming couple, these two were surrounded by an incredibly loving group of friends and family at The Ashford Estate. With an eye for design, the details were Alexa’s biggest priority and it was a dream working with someone so creative! From the bookmarks that served as escort cards to your Disney book table, to the four foot tall centerpieces, Cinderella carriage card box and spectacular custom linens, there was no detail overlooked. Make sure to check out the blog we wrote to see just how amazing everything was and why these two are totally living happily ever after.
Julie and Ry
Closing out the season is always bittersweet, but that’s even truer with a couple as wonderful as Julie and Ry. I will never forget bringing my bride to the limo before the ceremony and asking her if she was ready…to which she tearfully replied “I’m so ready”.
You’ll have to come back to the blog to hear the rest of her sweet words and see even more amazing pictures by Justin Tinapay. This woodland dream wedding took place at The Stone House at Stirling Ridge and we love working with their team. A Touch of Elegance created an incredible ceremony backdrop and put together three unique centerpieces for the reception. The bridesmaids wore an incredible fuchsia colored dress and the bride was a picture of radiance right until the last goodbye.
And Then There Were None…
I meant it when I said it is bittersweet to end a season. With each wedding or event that ends, I give away a piece of my heart that I will never get back. But when the season ends, it is the end of a year long journey. This year was a whirlwind of short engagements and super fast planning. I’m not sure I’d ever wish for a year like this again, but I hope that 2017 will have just as much love as these couples did…and maybe even more.
When I first met with Alexa and Michael, we sat in my office for over two hours.
I knew there was something special about this couple the minute we met. Their conversation flowed like they were already married and they had a connection that brought a huge smile to my face.
Huge Disney fans, they wanted to create a magical wedding at The Ashford Estate. Alexa had several hundred pins on her Pinterest page (seriously more than I’ve ever seen from a bride like ever), and we got to work right away.
Details and design are my favorite part of the job, but they can get crazy really fast. The thing that my couples struggle with the most is how to bring their vision to life without it looking like a Pinterest fail. A lot of my brides love different styles that just won’t work together, so it’s about making decisions and eliminating any inspiration that just won’t fit.
Alexa and Michael had their colors set and they were working with whites, creams, antique blue, purples and lots of greens. Carroll’s Florist did such an amazing job with their engagement party, that they were the obvious choice for their wedding.
Golds, pearls and crystals were incorporated into the design and there were three different style centerpieces for the 23 tables at the reception. The Ashford Estate has these incredible high ceilings, so skyscraping centerpieces were totally in order. In fact, when it came time to schedule the sample appointment, Chad of Carroll’s Florist suggested that we take it outside since my office ceilings were “too low” to accommodate what he was putting together. That was a first for me, but he wasn’t kidding!
The florals selected for this wedding are the ones that I have dreams about but rarely get to work with. They included amnesia roses and antique blue hydrangea. One of the wonderful things about working with this couple was their willingness to get creative and not be afraid to take the design up a level (or 20).
I’m a strong believer that your décor and design should be present in every room your guests enter. This includes each area they will be in both inside and outside. The Ashford Estate has multiple rooms within the main building, as well as a barn on site and the ballroom is actually separated and in its own space. This meant walking all of the spaces and discussing the details and what we could do.
What I mean when I say that we have to make your design “present” in every room, I mean things like florals in the fountains. Because why not? Alexa and Michael (especially Alexa) loved flowers and when I think “Disney” I think about flowers being everywhere.
We didn’t stop at the fountains though, because that would be ridiculous. Each mantle was adorned with different florals as well, and the couple included pieces they had either purchased or made. The tables held the centerpieces and a floral bunch was placed at each setting on top of the napkins we rented.
But design isn’t just florals, and Alexa and Michael had secured Papertree Studio to handle all of their stationery from invitations to programs. A beautiful invitation, worthy of a royal ball, was sent out to all of the guests but we were stuck on what to do for escort cards.
Foregoing the escort board option (because hello huge guest list and early RSVP date that would be necessary), Alexa had the idea to name each table after famous Disney couples. She wanted to have each table “number” be a book, so we came up with the idea of using “bookmarks” for escort cards. Then they added a quote from each story at the bottom.
The font had to all be the same to create a specific look, and their logo was no exception. Playing with lighting colors right up until the month before the wedding, Alexa and Michael chose a blue-purple hue to illuminate the reception space and placed their logo above the mantle. Candles were used inside the fireplace and throughout the room to up the romance factor.
Each table was draped in white linens and lavender napkins. I love drawing attention to the sweetheart, gift, escort and cake tables by putting different linens on them. Working with the placement of the tables is really important because it’s essential that the linens don’t “clash”.
Their “card box” was a Cinderella’s carriage that Alexa had painted gold, and that Carroll’s adorned with flowers. Because of it’s size, we needed a 6 foot table and it would have to be placed behind the sweetheart table. This means that the sweetheart table, card table and cake table would be very close to each other.
Going through a book of swatches, we selected linens with the couple that would be different from each other, highlight anything being placed on the tables, and that would work well together. A combination of sparkles and solids were selected and the newly married couple sat in vintage chairs that I stumbled upon months earlier. (Actually, I was at a floral meeting for another wedding I was working on, when I spotted them in the building and immediately snapped a picture and texted them to Alexa with nothing more than “how about these?” The rest was history and not only were they beautiful, but damn comfortable too!)
I loved working with Alexa and Michael and it was such a beautiful wedding that truly reflected their style. It is really hard for me to pick a favorite detail or moment from this one. Their cake, designed by Michael’s sister was just stunning, the music was sensational and their wedding party was so friendly that I felt like I was in a movie. This was also the wedding where I heard what is (and probably always will be) the best father of the bride toast ever. Seriously, other couples should hire Alexa’s dad to toast at their weddings.
Congratulations to Alexa and Michael and thank you for working with me! I am so happy we met and know that you will live Happily Ever After….
(yes…this was the only font that didn’t “go” with the rest…but it was a good call….)
I am always searching for the newest “off the beaten path” venue. You know the ones: the barns, the farms, the estates, and the vineyards. Those beautiful locations that no one ever thought to have weddings at…until recently.
I was born and raised in New Jersey and to many people that means that I must wear lots of animal prints and sequins. Truth be told, I own one or two pairs of leopard print heels and only break them out every once in awhile.
Being a non-traditional bride myself, I wasn’t “typical Jersey” when I was planning my own wedding. New Jersey has countless ballrooms to choose from and they all have the bling everyone sees on the Jersey based reality shows. The menus are standard Italian and there is always way too much food. Not knocking what some brides and grooms want, but it was never what I was looking for.
My style has been described to me (because I don’t really know what to call it myself) as very “California”. I love boho chic, but I’d hang a chandelier in a tree in a heartbeat. I’ve done the barns and farms before they were what everyone suddenly wanted and thus, I am over the burlap, lace and mason jars filled with “wildflowers”. What can I say? I’m just not basic ballroom bling.
I love vintage furniture and have a pretty sweet collection that includes dressers, couches and plenty of china. I rent the pieces out when I can, but not many couples realize what the expense will be (hint: a lot). Therefore, anytime I can use the pieces, I jump at the chance.
Over the summer I designed a styled shoot in New York State. For those of you that don’t know what a styled shoot is, it’s basically a bunch of creatives in the wedding industry getting together and showing off their talents. This shoot incorporated plenty of vintage pieces from my collection as well as a horse or two.
It wasn’t my intention, but while designing the colors and theme for the shoot, I kept going back to Pantone’s “color of the year”. 2016 was all about the watercolors of rose quartz and some light blue color. Honestly, I was never crazy about the colors or the combination for wedding inspiration, but I loved (seriously L-O-V-E-D) using them for this shoot.
We were fortunate enough to have not just photography but a videography team in place too. In fact, you can check out their amazing video right here: Video Coverage
The location was the highest point in Duchess County, New York, which made dealing with the light a little difficult. It was basically full on sun for the entire day. There were a good amount of reflectors and flashes being used to battle the summer sun and zero clouds.
For any farm or barn wedding, if there are animals around, I always want to incorporate them. I mean…come. on. How gorgeous does this model look draped over this stunning horse? This wedding dress was an airy ballgown with a crystal bodice and we designed a eucalyptus wreath for the horse.
As a designer, I fully believe in complimenting your surroundings and not competing with them. It would’ve looked ridiculous to have used bold and dark colors and over the top tall centerpieces.
In order to keep the natural feel without being too nature, nature, nature, we worked with long gray-brown farmhouse tables and a simple deep blue runner. I wanted to keep the rest of the table exposed to showcase the vintage china. Place settings are a huge deal to me and if you can work it into your budget, I highly recommend a floral and/or custom menu on each plate. It really is that extra touch and it “finishes” the look of the table, much in the way a charger would.
The runner was scrunched to give that “I woke up like this” look and the flowers were placed in a vintage silver holder. In keeping with that natural but beautiful wedding vibe I was going for, figs and artichokes were included in the design. Remember, if you’re on a farm, a great way to work with what you have is to use what they have.
We luckily had the entire day to shoot and were able to use the barn on site as well as the entire grounds. Even though the sun never hid from us, the light changed enough to give some serious contrast to the photos. You can also see some behind the scenes fun over on our YouTube Channel here: Behind The Scenes
Styled shoots are a crazy amount of work, but the end result is always amazing. When you’re looking for wedding inspiration, you’re most likely going to be pinning pictures from more styled shoots than actual weddings. It’s a great chance to see what vendors can really do and just how creative they can be. For more wedding inspiration from this shoot, make sure to visit our Pinterest page: Romantic Wedding Inspiration
Welcome to Wedding Wonderful! Your source for everything wedding! Whether you’re just engaged, looking for last minute ideas or just browsing to see what’s new and beautiful, I welcome you to my wedding blog.
My name is Danielle! I am a wedding expert, having attending numerous weddings and recently appearing on TLC’s “Four Weddings”.
I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad and the trashy. I know how crazy it can get planning a wedding and here you will find everything from advice on how to get along with your in-laws, to cakes that aren’t traditional, to venues that will blow your mind. I will be including pictures in all of my blogs and if you have any questions, you’re welcome to get in touch anytime!
So happy planning! I’m here to help and welcome to my blog.