Things I’ve Learned Planning Weddings

Things I’ve learned…

I attend a lot of weddings.  Not only are my children of an age when their friends are getting married and we’re invited, but obviously I attend as a planner.  Here are three things I’ve learned:

One – consider heavy apps instead of a stuffy sit down dinner.  Guests love the novelty of uber fancy apps, and the freedom of roaming around visiting with other wedding guests.  And often, with a traditional wedding dinner, much is left untouched.  Your guests have already eaten too much during ‘Cocktail Hour’.  If you go this route, I would highly suggest having assigned tables so all your guests have a ‘home base’ to keep their belongings, and rest from dancing.

There is no reason you can't serve grilled cheese and tomato soup at your wedding! Fall is made for comfort food.

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Balsamic Strawberry Ricotta Crostini on a large wooden platter surrounded by fresh strawberries.

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Two: Your wedding dress.  I would go one of two ways.  I would suggest purchasing either a very inexpensive dress, (you are going to wear it just once anyway!), or do a complete 180 and have a bespoke gown made for you.  This is more reasonable than you would imagine.  Click on the following link if you’d like more information on this exciting option.  Nova McLaren

Above the lovely Olivia Humphreys, the creative genius behind the Nova McLaren label, makes final touches to the dress she created for the bride.   A bespoke, or made to order gown, could become a family heirloom!

Three:  Remember to thank your guests for taking the time to be part of your special day.  Some have taken a vacation day from work, others may have traveled a great distance.  All have made certain sacrifices to give to you, a gift of their time, a gift of themselves.  Thank them.  You can do this by making a speech, or toasting your guests, or by going to each guest-table and addressing them personally.  Either is lovely.

 

Wedding Wisdom from the Hair Salon

Wedding Wisdom from the Hair Salon?  That’s right…wherever women gather, that’s the best place to glean knowledge.  What better locale than a hair salon?

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I was relaxing at my most recent hair appointment, enjoying chatting with the young stylist who was new to me.  Sadly, my regular stylist moved and I to find another.  Ladies, you know this isn’t fun.  Luckily, Kayla was a delight, and was pretty handy with the scissors.  I admit…I’m a little bit of an eaves dropper…  And when I heard the stylist and her client next to us start talking about weddings, I had to jump in!  The talk had gone to the best wedding of the season – typical wedding season is April to October.  The stylist does a lot of wedding hair at her salon, in fact she did both my daughters’.  And apparently the client attended many weddings this season.

So, I jumped in, and asked, “So what makes a wedding a good one?  What makes it fun/a success?”

What they both answered surprised me.  I thought they may say extravagance, fabulous food and drink, over the top decorations and favors.  No.  Both ladies answered they wanted to get the party started.  They wanted to dance as soon as possible.  As soon as cocktail hour was over, and the bridal party announced, THE WANTED TO DANCE.

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So I am modifying the timeline I have historically recommended to my brides.  As soon as cocktail hour is over, begin your first dance as bride and groom, and then invite your guests to join you on the dance floor.  Then take a little break and hold the toasts. KEEP THE TOASTS SHORT.  Yes, I realize you don’t have much control over this, but plead with your toasters and ask them keep their speeches to 2-3 minutes.  Limit the number of people you ask to speak also.  Father of the bride, best man, and maid/matron on honor at the most.

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Then, dance!  Brief break again, and dance your “Special Dances” Father/Bride and Mother/Groom.  I suggest either sharing the dance floor for one song, (although I realize this is NOT an option for most), or dance to a truncated version of each song.

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Then DANCE!  Lastly, cut your cake, and keep it brief.

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Then you can get back to what the guests say they really want to do, dance, enjoy cocktails and visit with friends.  Hopefully you will get a few photos like the ones below…

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Photo 1 – Pinterest

Photos – 2, 4, 5, 8 – Patty Cloherty

Photo – 3, 6, 7, 10 – Hannah Colt

Photo 9 – Stage 6 – Media

 

Rustic Wedding Done Right

 

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I research a lot of weddings.  I attend  a lot of ceremonies/receptions.  But recently, I observed a wedding via Facebook…and well, I was just impressed.  It takes a lot to impress me these days, as I see it all.  I’m talking about the nuptials of Kate, the daughter of a “Facebook Friend” and up and coming author of the Maine “Clam Bake Series”  Barbara Ross – more on that later!  Above, the beautiful Kate in her bridal gown by: Amy Kuschel Lennon.  Photo credits for photos #1, #4, #5, and #6 are by Abby Lorenz Photography.  Other photos are contributed by family friends!  🙂

I think why I was so taken with this wedding was because Kate and her mom, Barbara, seemed to take all the bits and pieces of my favorites and make it  work.  I have long been touting the wisdom, and BEAUTY of dressing the bridesmaids in individual dresses, both in style and color.  Check — they did that; a beautiful success.  Notice the photo below.

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Love, LOVE the venue, “The Portland Company”.  It creates such a fantastic atmosphere of elegance with a rustic vibe, a lovely fusion.  Hard to accomplish, but when done right, not much can beat it.

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The overall appeal of this venue could not have been achieved without the artistic touch of the flowers, done by Flowers Broadturn Farm.   The flowers around the “stage”, where the bridal couple said their vows, takes my breath away.

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Below, the new Mr. and Mrs., showcasing my favorite thing…the wedding bouquet.  I have long held the belief that a bride should carry a bold bouquet of color to contrast nicely with her white gown. A  perfect snap of the whole family follows.  You know it’s a good wedding when everyone looks so joyous!

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The ceremony venue easily converted into the ideal reception space – perfect combo of rustic  elegance.  And who pulled this off, (with great input by Kate and Barbara, I’m sure), none other  than Wedding Planner, ‘Daisies and Pearls’.13232976_10154299626320962_1466302834382357038_nAnd PLEASE, don’t forget to check out Barbara Ross’ delightful “Maine Clambake Series”  I’ve read all three books, and each gets better…

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Money Saving Wedding Tips!

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Hannah Colt Photos

More Money Saving Tips !?!

I ran across an article on pinterest the other day. Storymixedmedia.com It was all about making your budget work for your wedding. As the mother of four daughters, I’m all for that! The author of the article made a few good points. I’ll address those here, and respond if they make practical sense in my experience as both a “mother of the bride” AND a wedding planner.

A lot of people ask me how they can save money so hopefully, this article will come in handy for a lot of you. One point that doesn’t come up in this post is the fact that a lot of people take out loans to be able to afford their dream wedding. One tip I can give all of you who are planning to do this is to make sure you have a low interest rate on the loan you take out. You don’t want to be paying for a wedding 4 years down the road! To get a low rate, you’ll need a good credit score. Some of you won’t have one so take a look for the best credit cards for someone with no credit. This way, you can build credit before taking out a loan for your big day.

  1. “…I ordered fresh flowers from a wholesale distributor and picked them up the week of the wedding.” FANTASTIC idea. A few things to plan ahead if you’re going this route: Make sure you have: A) A good Wholesale contact you can trust, B) someone reliable to pick up the flowers – it shouldn’t be you, C) somewhere to refrigerate the flowers, D) plenty of vessels to display the arrangements in and finally, and most importantly, E) someone to arrange them. This can’t be great Aunt Ethel. It needs to be a professional or at the very least, someone with some talent, (like my associate, Debbie), and who has no other role to play in your wedding. I also recommend a florist making your bouquets, boutonnières and corsages.
  2. “Be Your Own Wedding Planner” Another excellent idea…to a point. As the author of the article qualifies: you may “…find it worthwhile to hire someone to coordinate details the day of the wedding, so you don’t have 20 people tugging on your wedding dress wondering what to do next.” That is what I specialize in. Think about it. You’ve spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your “Once in a Lifetime” event. Don’t you want to insure that it will run without a hitch? YOU CAN NOT DO THAT, AND NEITHER CAN YOUR MOTHER, and ENJOY YOURSELF! 🙂

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Hannah Colt Photos

3. DIY Wedding Video – Apparently, this is how this works — you rent guest video cameras from a company, (info to follow), have them download an app to upload their footage to, and then you edit to create a video you like – you have control. I love this idea. From the article: “Once we’d distributed the cameras and told our friends how to use the app, we told them to go nuts and they didn’t disappoint. They gave us a ton of great footage to work with to create a really unique and memorable video that we wouldn’t have been able to have otherwise.” And what is this magical company? WeddingMix You may not want a video. My own daughters did not. They wanted to remember their weddings as they remembered them — not necessarily as they were… Your call!

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More next time!