sunshine. it’s all we need?

Today is the last day in January and I’m sitting in a local coffee shop on an incredibly sunny winter day which is very uplifting during the current world climate. And I’m not talking about temperature here. We’ve gone through one month of the new year that people hoped would bring change from the tumultuous 2016. Here we are. There’s something new to protest every week. Drastic actions keep hitting us like bullets. Uncertainty and fear fills the minds of individuals in America and all over the world.

Remember at this time of year when people were only worried as they start to judge themselves on keeping up with their new year resolutions? I try not to put too much focus on year to year because time is continuous. I typically try to make daily resolutions versus one at the new year.

We must understand that this new year isn’t going to be the great change we were hoping for as we rang it in with our fireworks and noisemakers. It’s going to be transitional. And with any transition, comes periods of terrible and periods of progress. It’s vital that we support each other, spread love, stay informed, and spend days simply enjoying the sunshine.

2017 Wedding Trends

Happy New Year! In anticipation of seeing what 2017 has to offer I’m laying out a few wedding trends for the new year.

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Natural Elements in Floral Design

First off, using greenery is cost-saving because they don’t cost as much as flowers. Bonus!

In 2016, we were seeing lots of greenery, woods, and other plants besides flowers in our designs and this will be here to stay. They bring an airy element while still being romantic. It will be very common to see greenery in bouquets, boutonnieres, hanging floral designs, and for centerpieces.

Bold Copper Bridal Inspiration with a Dripping Cake - photo by Sarah Libby Photography http://ruffledblog.com/bold-copper-bridal-inspiration-with-a-dripping-cake

Metallic Elements

You are sure to see a lot more of gold, copper, and other metallic finishes show up in wedding designs. While I’ve never been as big of a fan of gold for my own personal style, I do appreciate it as a complementing element in many designs if used in moderation.

Geometric designs like in the photo to the right is often seen in combination with the metallic finish. However, you can incorporate this element in other ways, such as in your glassware, silverware, ink choices for paper goods, favors, tea lights & vases, chair covers, and many more!

I also enjoy these finishes because you it can work for many different styles. If you are looking to glitz out your big day then adding these elements will certainly add the glam and elegance. They also work to complement industrial or rustic environments if used in a more subtle way to dress up an old warehouse loft or barn.

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Non-Traditional Furniture/Decor Elements

This trend will certainly add a personal touch to your event – especially if you’re using items that you already own (cost-saving!) While it’s great to follow trends, you want to choose items that represent you and your partner as a couple. suitcase

Crates are a great item because they can be transformed to be used in a variety of ways. Stack them at different heights to create an amazing visual display for your sweets table. Or use them to hold ceremony programs, photobooth props, favors, you name it!

Suitcases are also a trend that has been around for a while for a good reason. They can be used in a variety of areas throughout your event. But since this trend has been seen on many occasions try to only use it if you and your partner really love to travel or the suitcase means something to you – like it belonged to a family member who couldn’t be with you that day. Otherwise, try to find another item to incorporate into your design.

Activities For Your Guests

Who says you have to have a traditional reception party? Drink, Eat, Dance, Stumble Home. Let’s be unique people!games

If you know your crowd isn’t the dancing type or if you want to avoid any boring lulls in the night (TIP: hire a planner and you can avoid these!), then supplying your guests with other things to do is a great gesture. Party board games or giant Jenga can entertain your guests for a while and encourages a group of people to mingle together. These also provide an alternative to the traditional photo booth that has almost become a staple at weddings. If you’re having a casual, outdoor wedding then a beanbag toss is a fun idea that everyone will be getting in line to play!

Keep in mind that if you provide these types of games, while fun, are going to have to be cleaned up and taken home at the end of the night. So if you don’t want to end up missing all the pieces to your Monopoly then consider table games such as Couple Mad Libs or Crosswords. This will be a personal way to include your guests in your new partnership and keep them occupied as they sit through toasts or wait for their next course.

There will be many more trends to come – as I see more that I like then I will be sure to share!

Photos courtesy of:

  1. Ruffled: https://www.instagram.com/p/BPTXvOGBZut/
  2. Ruffled: http://ruffledblog.com/bold-copper-bridal-inspiration-with-a-dripping-cake/
  3. Style Me Pretty: http://www.stylemepretty.com/vault/image/3390387
  4. Ruffled: http://ruffledblog.com/galleries/vintage-ranch-wedding/?pid=39097
  5. Martha Stewart Weddings: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/231796/delaney-and-austin-nashville#103215

Proposal Season!

The weather is getting colder, there is a bustle in the air of people running around holiday shopping, families are coming together, and yes people are popping the question!

The holiday season can be a great time to get down on one knee and profess your love. Christmas Eve continues to claim the #1 spot for number of proposals. Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and Valentine’s are also popular days for the big moment.

Here are some helpful reminders when planning that perfect proposal….

  1. Ask the parents: If family is important to your significant other then you’ll want to make sure you follow tradition and sit down to discuss your plans with the parents. Depending on how close you are to the family and how traditional they are will affect the degree of formality you need to take when you “ask permission.” In history, marriage was seen as a transaction and women were property. In modern day that belief has certainly shifted but it is still a nice gesture to involve the parents in the conversation. It will be a special memory that you can share and your significant other will appreciate you taking this step.
  2. Find the “perfect” ring: Maybe they’ve been dropping hints, shown you pictures, or you know their taste so well that you don’t need a guide. However, if you’ve never really discussed her ring type or jewelry is typically a foreign subject to you then you might want to enlist some help. There’s a good chance that she’s discussed her dream ring with best friends or close family members. Talk to them or take them shopping with you but only if they can keep a secret! Regardless, if this person really is the love of your life then they will be happy with whatever you choose. A classic choice like a solitare setting will always be safe bet and compliments any hand.
  3. Hire a photographer: What better way to remember the moment than capturing it on film!? You can either hire a professional or entrust a talented friend to hide in the bushes. You’ll get to relive that wonderful ‘just said yes’ reaction forever.
  4. Go private: Popping the question can be a nerve-wracking experience, even if you know the person is going to say yes. So forego the large audience and let this be an intimate moment between the two of you. After the shock of saying yes, it can be very overwhelming if a huge group of family members flocks to hug you before you even have time to process what just happened.
  5. Plan a few words: And that doesn’t include “Will you marry me.” You’re asking this person to marry and spend the rest of your life with you so I’m sure you can come up with a few words describing why you love them and what they mean to you. Plus, this will build the excitement so when you do reach the question and flash the ring, they won’t be able to contain themselves.
  6. Pause before you post: In the age of social media it is very common to see many marriage proposals throughout your news feed so of course you want to join in on the trend. But first, take a moment to enjoy your engagement on your own. Tell your family and close friends first – they won’t be thrilled if the first time they hear about your engagement is on your Facebook or Instagram page. Plus, this will give you time to take that perfect ring selfie!

Wedding Insights: Munchkins

Here’s the question…are you going to have kids at your wedding? There are a few things to consider when answering this question. I was recently assisting at a wedding that had 35 kids under the age of 18. Some of you may of very different reactions to that number as I certainly have mine. But, to keep this somewhat objective I’ve laid out some possible pros and cons for the general public. Don’t make fun of my pro-con lists, they work for Rory Gilmore, they work for me…

PROS

  • Cute Photos: Aren’t they just the cutest, with their sweet little smiles dressed up in pretty dresses and handsome tuxes? There are a lot of photo ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, or other wedding magazine sites for ideas of how to capture some cute moments of children at your wedding.
  • Flower Girl and Ring Bearer: There are traditions behind each and if they are important to you to incorporate in your ceremony then you might want to lean towards having them be a part of the processional.
    • Flower Girls have a few different origins from different regions. Many talk about her innocence and symbolism for fertility and prosperity.
    • Ring Bearers have less of a symbolic history, but the tradition has been traced back to different time periods. The main thought is that there must be a designated individual a part of the ceremony to protect the wedding bands because they symbolize the couple’s love and commitment for one another.
  • Whole Families Are Included: You may have a guest list with family members or friends that have children. It is a nice gesture to include the whole family if you can swing it. Especially if the children are close family members it is more common for them to be expected to be invited.

CONS

  • Cost: This can be a pro or a con by the way you look at it. If they aren’t babies, kids are going to have to be fed (obviously). But this is something that you’ll want to discuss with your caterer. Always give them a final count of how many kids will be at your wedding because they will deduct that number from the food and alcohol costs and instead charge you for kids meals at a discounted rate. So yes, nice that they cost less to attend than an adult but you will save more if you leave them off the list completely.
  • Babysitters NOT Guests: Whenever I’ve seen a parent with a child at a wedding, they’re typically not in the center of the action for the majority of the night. Instead they are hiding out in back stairways and hallways, calming their crying children or distracting them with games etc. Still, some guests would rather have their entire family in attendance so you can leave it up to them about how they want to spend the night. Or they can hire a babysitter and have an adults-only night out.
  • Life Of The Party: Another thing I’ve seen with children at weddings is that the dance floor somehow always gets centered around them. Again, this can be really cute but people might not be able to let loose as much, which then again might not be a bad thing.

My thoughts:

  • Think about the kind of party you want to have. Having kids at a wedding can change the vibe or feeling of the event. Everyone will have a different opinion on whether that change is a positive or negative.
  • Keep it minimal. Have kids at your wedding that are close to you like your immediate nieces, nephews, or maybe cousins in some cases. You shouldn’t feel guilty about not being able to invite your friend’s kids. They should understand and will most likely enjoy the night out alone.

Inspirations

“ENJOY THE SMALL MOMENTS.”

This is one of the greatest pieces of advice that I could give to any client or friend during the process of planning for a wedding and marriage. It can be applied to any other context because it’s short, sweet, and to the point. I’d like to share it with you because it’s essential to keep in the back of your mind as life continues to throw things at you like a tennis ball launcher on everlasting energizer batteries.

Goal #1 of my life as an event planner.

Sometimes, people spend their whole lives figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. Everyone has dreams as a child and then those either come to fruition or slowly fade away as reality of the world sets in. During this time of social unrest and constant change, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate what makes you happy and how you want to serve your purpose.

Planning weddings and events may not seem as purposeful as some of the more notable professions out there but so far it is what has made me feel the most fulfilled in life. It’s not about the glitz, glamour, decor, etc. But rather, it is the look on your client’s faces when you know that you had an impact on one of the most important days of their lives. Sure, you can strive for everything to be perfect but there may be times that not everything goes according to plan. While it’s frustrating when that happens, I always feel accomplished if I am able to stay positive and solutions-oriented through it all. In a world of severe negativity and hate, I enjoy being an agent of love and bringing people together. As cliché as that may sound, it’s a part of the industry that some planners may eventually lose sight on. As for someone who is barely shy of being a virgin to the industry, I want to set the goal to never lose sight of my purpose. There will be trials and tribulations but as long as I can come home feeling accomplished then I will call it a success.

I will urge anyone ever reading this to do the same. Life is too short to not follow your passions, so follow your desires and enjoy the small moments along the way.

 

Wedding Insights: Know Your Guest List

You’ve set the date and you’re in full wedding planning mode! Of course, this is your day and your wedding should be fitting of you and your future spouse. However, one thing that some couples may overlook is the guest list, oh the dreaded guest list….Who is going to talk to who? Is there going to be a continuation of the fight from last Christmas?

These are things that you simply might not be able to control, and that’s okay! It’s important to set up yourself in a good environment to alleviate any of the potential stressors.

This can be accomplished by strategically thinking about your room layout, food selections, and setting expectations with guests before the big event.

  1. Room Layout
    • Seating Chart: Keep updating drafts of your seating and table chart. Even though it may seem tedious, you’ll want to revise it as those RSVPs roll in so you have the most accurate numbers. (Reminder: You will have to give your event venue a final count at least a week to a month beforehand, depending on the venue.) Next, think about who you want to place near each other. You may not want your rowdy friends from college sitting next to the table with your Great Aunt Edna.
    • Cocktail-style reception: This style is a great option for couples that may want to have a smaller food budget and it can be a great time with the right thoughts beforehand. However, it’s crucial to set expectations with your guests in your invitations about what a cocktail-style reception will involve. If it’s a smaller space there may not be enough tables for everyone to sit at the entire night. This is something to consider if you have a lot of elderly guests or individuals with mobility issues.
  2. Food Selections
    • This is a process that begins when you’re choosing your venue/caterer. As you attend tastings, keep in mind the people who will be in attendance. Yes, it’s your day, you should have the food you want but make sure there will be enough variety and choices for everyone coming to share in your special day. For example, any vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians, guests with food allergies going to be in attendance? Yes, it’s up to them to decide if your wedding will have the appropriate food items and to plan accordingly, but it is a nice special touch when you’ve thought about them in advance and made sure they’ll be comfortable.

The suggestions above are just a start. Carefully crafting your guest list is the next pertinent step in the process. You may want to invite 300-500 of your “closest” friends but are they really going to add value to your event or are you going to regret even thinking about inviting them in the first place. Be on the lookout for a future post where I’ll create a step-by-step guide into creating a guest list you can be happy with and proud of.