Monday, August 31, 2009

20 Things to Never Do When Planning Your Wedding

Earlier this summer, Terrica of Fabuluxe Events, Inc. shared her list of "20 Things to Never Do When Planning Your Wedding" and today I wanted to share this list with you.

Planning your wedding can be fun, exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, exciting and frustrating. Here are 20 tips that you should never do whilst planning the party of the year.

1.) Never book any venue without seeing it. My only exception to this is if you have a wedding planner working your behalf and doing the scouting for you.

2.) Never work with any vendor without a contract. Ever. This includes Aunt Jan and Uncle Marty. Contracts put everyone’s expectations and obligations on paper.

3.) Never start planning or interviewing vendors without a budget. You will waste your time and the time of the vendors you meet. Whenever a potential client says “There is no budget” or something similar, they are not impressed. The red flags go up.

4.) Never start your wedding planning in the “middle”. In other words, start at the beginning and work your way down with tasks and duties. Find a planning timeline to help you figure out where you should be in your planning process. Don’t start designing your floor plan when you haven’t chosen a venue.

5.) Never be afraid to speak up with your vendors. If you have questions or concerns, ask while changes can still be made as opposed to being stuck with something you will regret on your wedding day.

6.) Never take your family and friends for granted. Using the “But it’s my wedding” carte blanche will get very old, very fast. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will spend a small fortune to participate in your day. Please treat them nicely.

7.) Never believe anything you see on the wedding shows. Ever.

8.) Never choose a dress under the condition you will lose weight to fit in it later. Stress eating is a huge monster during wedding planning. It is easier to take a dress in than it is to let it out.

9.) Never forget what you are planning for—your wedding, which is the birth of your marriage. I encourage you to plaster pictures all over your planning binder of you and your honey. That is your motivation.

10.) Never pick a vendor that has poor communication skills or makes you feel silly, “cheap”, "spoiled, or otherwise about your choices. Period.

11.) Never put your registry information on or with your invitation. Times may have changed and “some” etiquette rules can be bent. I don’t feel this is one of them. You do not want people to feel like there is a cover charge for your wedding. This information needs to be sent word of mouth, on your wedding website/newsletter or with your bridal/couple shower invite.

12.) Never choose a photographer with your budget solely in mind. This is the only thing that will preserve your memories for your special day. Please choose someone with style, talent and charisma so that you can remember your day fifty years from now as if it were yesterday.

13.) Never go to your catering tasting starving. Everything will taste good. You need to be discerning with mingling flavors and scents…and be able to appreciate them.

14.) Never go to your florist without a concept. There are several breeds of roses, lilies, and orchids. Your floral designer will be more than happy to provide you with inspiration, guidance and ideas, but you need to know where the destination is before you get in the car.

15.) Never assume a vendor’s “retainer” is the same as a deposit. A deposit is refundable. A retainer is not.

16.) Never think you will be able to make everyone happy with your decisions. Don’t try to make them all angry either. Ask for ideas, and find ways to incorporate everyone into the wedding. Nothing will make your FMIL beam brighter than to point at something and say "I picked that!”

17.) Never try to micromanage your day while wearing the gown. The day will be a blur anyway, it will go by so much faster (and harder) if you are playing the starring role and the director. Enjoy your day. Save your sanity. Please get a wedding coordinator. If you do, let her/him do her/his job.

18.) Never withhold the final payment from a vendor with the belief that this will pressure them to show up. If you have chosen to hire professionals for your wedding, this will never be an issue. The wedding industry thrives on reputation, and several vendors have reputations that precede them. Many have the philosophy if you do not pay them on the due date, they will not be there, and you will be without the vendor anyway.

19.) Never lose sight of the fact that you will have several hundred people at your wedding with different tastes and likes. While you cannot make them all happy, as a host, it is your job to make it enjoyable and comfortable. Remember this when it comes to design, location and food.

20.) Never forget to read this blog. (ok, I was really running low. Shameless plug over).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

This afternoon I stumbled upon this adorable website, Flour Pot Cookies, a unique and decorative cookie gift company. The Flour Pot specializes in handmade cookie gifts and party favors. They offer a wide selection of cookie favors for all occasions {as seen below}, but perhaps my favorite item are their adorable Bridesmaid cookies. Each bridesmaid cookie comes individually wrapped in a super-cute polka dot gift box for only $10! These personalized cookies are the perfect way to ask your girlfriends to 'Be My Bridesmaid'. Best of all, The Flour Pot is based out of PA and ships nationwide! Check out their website for ordering details.

Photos courtesy of The Flour Pot.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Real Weddings 2009 :: Sarah & Pete 08.01.09

Sarah & Pete tied the knot in an outdoor ceremony overlooking the scenic country side at Armstrong Farms. Immediately following the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails on the porch of the newly renovated Fieldstone barn. Following cocktail hour, guests were invited inside the barn for a country chic themed reception complete with a sit down dinner and an evening full of dancing. Mid way through the night, Sarah's Father surprised the guests with a picture slideshow of Sarah & Pete. The slideshow was extremely fun to watch and brought on quite a few tears from both of their families. The weather was absolutely beautiful the day of their wedding and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! Congratulations again Sarah & Pete! I hope you had a fabulous time in Hawaii on your honeymoon...I wish you two a lifetime of happiness together!

The Wedding Team

Wedding Planner Simply Perfect Weddings
Ceremony/Reception Armstrong Farms
Caterer Rania's
Photographer Kathryn Eileen Photography
Florist Reed and Petals
Rentals All Occasions Party Rental
DJ Pittsburgh DJ Company
Makeup Kiss and Makeup
Hairstylist Eden Salon {Patty & Tammy}

Photos 1-3, 8-9 courtesy of Kathryn Eileen Photography | Photos 4-7, 10-13 courtesy of Simply Perfect Weddings/Robert Schmitt Photography.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Skip the Champagne Toast!

I often get asked if the traditional champagne toast is necessary during the reception, and the answer is NO! While you probably still want to keep the toasting tradition, you can definitely remove champagne from the equation. Toasting with champagne can really add up when it comes to your alcohol budget, and the truth is, most guests don't even drink it! As a wedding coordinator, I see a lot from behind-the-scenes and too often I see guests take one sip of their champagne and then never touch it the rest of the night. Most guests will already have a drink in their hand; (whether it be from cocktail hour or wine during dinner) therefore, there is really no need to pay extra for champagne service.

What do you think? Will you skip the champagne toast for your wedding?

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

iDo Paper Grand Opening

I've been a fan of i Do Originals for quite some time now {infact, they designed my current business logo!} and was thrilled to hear that they recently launched a new division of their company, i Do Paper. i Do Paper offers an entire line of custom paper products at very reasonable prices! Their paper line includes a wide variety of items: ceremony programs, seating/place cards, table numbers, menus, and more! To kick off their newly launched sister company, they are offering a 35% discount to all customers who order before September 24, 2009. Check out their fabulous blog for more details.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Refreshing + Clean Wedding Design

I first saw these pictures in a recent Martha Stewart Weddings magazine and instantly fell in love with this green and white color palette. What caught my attention even more, was the use of ribbon in this table design. I love how this design is so refreshing and clean! The ribbon adds great dimension to the overall look and these place cards tie everything together perfectly.

For details on how to make these adorable ribbon-belt place cards for your wedding, click here.

Photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Real Weddings 2009 :: Kelly & Phil 07.25.09

Kelly & Phil tied the knot in a beautiful Catholic ceremony at St. Mary of the Mount atop Mt. Washington. Following the ceremony, guests headed downtown to The Pennsylvanian where they enjoyed cocktails & a string trio under the rotunda, followed by a stunning reception inside the main ballroom. I had the pleasure of working with Kelly & Phil for the past 13 months as we planned the wedding of their dreams! Kelly & Phil were definitely one of the most laid back and fun-loving couples I've worked with! Since Kelly & Phil planned their wedding from Washington DC, most of our meetings took place over the phone and through email...but one thing is for sure, they will be missed! Congratulations again Kelly & Phil! I wish you two nothing but the best as you begin your new life together.

The Wedding Team

Wedding Planner Simply Perfect Weddings
Ceremony St. Mary of the Mount
Reception The Pennsylvanian
Caterer Rania's
Photographer Pamela Marie Photography
Florist Blooms Florist, LLC
Linens Lendable Linens
Rentals All Occasions Party Rental
Lighting ADS Lighting
Band After Dark with 3 Rivers Entertainment
Ceremony/Cocktail Musicians Steven Vance Strolling Violins
Transportation Elite Coach Transportation
Makeup BEK Cosmetics
Hair Stylist On Location Hair & Makeup

{For more photos of their day, click here}

Photos 1-5, 9-10 courtesy of Pamela Marie Photography | Photos 6-8, 11 courtesy of Robert Schmitt/Simply Perfect Weddings.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recipe for a Successful Marriage

I've seen the recipe sharing idea at bridal showers before, but I really like using this idea at wedding receptions as well. As an alternative to your guestbook, or even as an addition to, prepare recipe cards for your guests to fill in their favorite recipes on. What better way to begin your new life together than with a bunch of delicious recipes to try after your honeymoon?!

For personalized recipe cards and boxes, check out Etsy!

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Light up Your Wedding :: Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are a quick + easy way to add character to any event! As you will see from the inspiration below, paper lanterns can be used for almost any wedding style you are trying to achieve...romance, chic, southern charm, rustic, or even contemporary. We've brought in paper lanterns to the design of several of our 2009 weddings, and we're continuing to use them throughout our 2010 weddings as well. Our favorite place to order paper lanterns is from Luna Bazaar. Check out their huge selection of paper lantern products here.

{Photo credits}
Photo # 1 - Romantic Glow
Photo # 2 - Chic Pavilion Wedding
Photo # 3 - Accordion Lanterns
Photo # 4 - Yellow + Lime Green Wedding
Photo # 5 - Rustic Wedding