In August of 2017, I had the pleasure of coordinating the wedding of Betsey and AJ. They were such a lovely couple to work with! They held their wedding reception at Michauds Event Center in Strongsville, Ohio. One of the fun things about Betsey and AJ, is their love of history, especially US Presidents, and visiting libraries and museums. They incorporated this passion into their table decorations at their reception. Each table was named after a specific US President, including the eights Presidents that came from Ohio. In my family tree, I am a direct descendant of the Nineteenth President of the United States, President Rutherford B. Hayes. He was one of the eight presidents from Ohio, hailing from the Fremont area, in Northwestern Ohio. President Hayes is one of Great-Grandfathers, a few generations back, on my mother’s side of the family. It’s pretty cool having this relation in my family. You can visit President Hayes’s estate and library, Spiegel Grove, in Fremont. You can also hold weddings and events there. I highly encourage you to check it out!
Many thanks to Betsey and AJ, for sharing their photographer’s fun shot of me!
We have been blessed with the opportunity to have an article featured in the October Celebrations Issue of Nanny Magazine!! Our topic was “Organized & Stress-Free Wedding Planning” on page 33. The layout is gorgeous! Thank you!
You don’t have to be newly engaged or planning your big day to know that people love giving wedding advice of all kinds. Whether it’s suggestions on color scheme or recommendations on vendors, friends, family and, well, strangers you meet truly enjoy sharing their insight and personal preferences with you to help you with all sorts of decisions you’ll have to make. But before you cling onto their words of wisdom, know this: Their advice might be well-meant, but that doesn’t mean it’s well deserved.
“The uniqueness of a wedding stems from the individuality of the couple, therefore taking advice from just anyone may not work,” explains Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events in Santa Monica, California. “Every couple has a different vision, budget and priority list so outside advice may be harmful rather than helpful.”
Here are some of the worst pieces of wedding advice people have received—and why you should be wary of following this “wedding wisdom.”
“Stick with tradition or you’ll regret it”
“I’m not a very religious or by-the-book person, but so many people warned me to keep my wedding as traditional as possible. They weren’t just talking about the white dress and vows—they were talking about everything, from the ‘something blue’ to the feeding each other wedding cake. I’m all for keeping certain traditions, especially ones I hold dear, alive, but this just felt too stiff and scripted for me.”—Kaleigh R.
The expert says: Do what feels right.
“Many old customs, traditions, and wedding advice are no longer relevant, or interesting to the current generation of brides and grooms,” explains Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. In other words, these days it’s more accepted for couples to make their own, unique decisions when it comes to planning their big day.
“Use all my vendors—it will make planning easier”
“I was the maid of honor for my best friend and I enjoyed her wedding, but when it came time for me to plan my wedding, she was all over me about using her vendors—from her venue to her DJ. It was just she wanted me to do a repeat of her wedding. While I appreciate her suggestions and I do know that she had the best intentions, I wanted to do things my way. Many of the people who attended her wedding would also be attending mine, so I wanted to make sure that they, too, had a different experience and I didn’t want them comparing the two occasions.”—Rebecca O.
The expert says: Do your research to find the right wedding vendors for you.
Your friend may have planned her big day, but that doesn’t mean she did so for two events—both yours and hers. “Recommendations for vendors are great and are a valuable resource for anyone planning an event, but her vendors may not fit your needs for your wedding,” says Lehman.
“You don’t have to meet all vendors in person—it’s a waste of time.”
“When a co-worker told me this, it took so much energy for me to not say something. What the heck do they even mean? I knew from being a bridesmaid for my friends that it’s important that you know who is running your wedding—from the florist to the lighting tech. I was happy that my fiance agreed with me, especially because getting to know our vendors was the fun part!”—Ginny V.
The expert says: In-person meetings are essential.
Be sure to talk to actual wedding professionals, those who have been in their field of expertise for several years, and have references of satisfied customers that you can confirm with, Lehman suggests. So many important topics you’ll want to touch upon with these vendors, including their prefered structure and workflow and the personal touches that will make your day special, are best discussed in person so no details are left out.
“Wedding planners are a waste of money.”
“I foolishly took this wedding advice when planning my own nuptials and it’s something that I regret. Sure, wedding planners might not be for everyone, but I seriously could have used one. My fiance and I are both incredibly busy and live in a tiny apartment in a bustling city. It was so hard to travel to meet our vendors and communicate with our parents who didn’t live in the city parameters. I wish we had someone who was a professional at handling everything overall—someone who would communicate on our behalf to our vendors and our family. It would have taken a serious load off.”—Jen R.
At the very least, have a consultation with a wedding planner. “They can suggest several choices of vendors that will match your needs and budget and can also give you ideas and wedding advice to get started in your planning, such as color combinations, flowers in each season or a checklist of planning tasks,” says Lehman.
Any wedding planner or person who’s walked down the aisle can attest to the fact that there’s no such thing as a wedding going perfectly as planned. There will be bumps in the road to planning and executing your big day. And, while many of the obstacles that may arise can be overcome, others may be completely out of your control, for example postponing a wedding due to weather.
Most winter brides, especially those located in northern regions, are aware that their designated wedding date comes with the chance of snow, but those getting married during the three other seasons usually don’t have the slightest concern over anything more than rain preventing their wedding bells from ringing.
As we’ve come to realize, however, especially in recent years, natural disasters are happening more and more frequently. For this reason, it’s important for brides and grooms, as well as their families and friends, to be prepared for the unimaginable—and uncontrollable.
“It’s important to have a backup plan year round,” says Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events in New Orleans, Louisiana. “You could be contending with any kind of weather on your big day—it really varies depending on the region and situation, so it’s wise to have these conversations about the possibility of postponing a wedding with your wedding planner or coordinator prior to your wedding date.”
While having a plan B, C and even D early on is helpful, not all brides and grooms will—or can—be completely prepared. So if you get to the point in your wedding where postponing your wedding is imminent, here are expert strategies for how to handle the situation.
Step One: Ask for help
Even the most precise, organized and by-the-book wedding has its share of missing components. This means you likely won’t be able to handle all the tiny to-dos yourself. And this is especially true when dealing with something as catastrophic as a natural disaster. “If you are also personally affected with the crisis of a weather-related scenario (like we had here in Texas recently where bride’s home and her wedding venues were under water), you’ll need to enlist supportive help,” explains Cheryl Bailey of Yellow Umbrella Events in Austin, Texas. “Ideally, get the help of someone who’s not in the same situation as you, like your wedding planner or a friend or family member outside of the affected area, who can help you make decisions and start emailing and making calls.”
“The sooner a couple gets in touch with their venue, the more options they will have surrounding the cancellation and hopefully not lose out on their deposits,” says Wendy Collins of Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Remember that your venue is at the very center of your big day, as it will virtually house all of the rest of your vendors, like your DJ or band, florist, officiant, etc. Bailey suggests working out a plan with your venue in regards to how you should move forward when it comes to postponing your wedding. For example, moving your wedding to the night before or the next day. If this option isn’t available to you, Bailey recommends choosing an entirely new wedding date and time. “It’s important to try and secure this new date immediately, as other weddings will likely be in the same situation as you and the next available dates may fill up quickly.”
Step Three: Contact the rest of your vendors
Once you’ve established a plan of attack, and have a new wedding date secured, email all of your vendors and make them aware of the situation. “It’s easiest to email the entire group of vendors at once with a blanket statement about what is happening and then all vendors can be in the loop,” says Bailey. “Most vendors are very understanding when it comes to a weather-related situation that’s out of your control and will be very accommodating if you need to reschedule, as long as they have your new date available.” Do remember, however, that some of them may be booked on your new date, so you may lose your security deposit. “If you should need to book new vendors, such as a DJ or a photographer, your wedding planner can help you find the right ones quickly through their extensive network,” adds Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio.
This one will likely be the most time-consuming, since you’ll likely have to reach out to certain friends or relatives via telephone as opposed to easier methods like email or social media. Bailey suggests starting by including as many guests as you have emails for on one email with information regarding the cancellation of your wedding and including information for a contact person they can reach out to in case they need further assistance.” Don’t hesitate to use your social media network, too. “Social media is your friend when postponing a wedding” she says. “You can always post on Facebook to let guests know what’s happening, or even start a private Facebook group where you add all of your guests, and even vendors, with the details of the cancellation and the reschedule date and details.” And be sure to update your wedding websitewith any updated information.
Step Five: Take a deep breath
By this point, overwhelmed doesn’t come close to describe how you and your partner are feeling. But, Bailey points out that the most important thing is that you and your guests are safe and out of harm’s way. “Stop, breathe deeply and calmly and focus on yourself and your partner and the fact that you are both together and able to handle this situation as a couple,” she says. Hold hands, hug, cry, laugh, pray—whatever you need to do to get by until you finally get to say say “I do!”
I am simply blown away by Lauren and Brandon’s gorgeous styled session! A real couple who were the perfect fit for this surprise engagement brunch with friends and family on the side. Lauren loves bold, and bright colors so a Lilly Pulitzer theme was perfect for this brunch. The color scheme of pink, magenta, and marigold really added to the overall classy and sophisticated vibe of the garden setup in Sippo Lake Park, Ohio. That adorable table setting that matches their bridesmaid’s gifts is also noteworthy! Brittany Shelley Photography did a great job of capturing the essentials of this styled engagement brunch, so if you want to see it all, scroll away!
We’re All About the Details!
The Lilly Pulitzer Themed Table
Lilly Pulitzer prints have always been the star of vibrant fashion and merging it with the outdoor brunch design and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous inspiration.
Lauren loves bright and bold colors and this themed design is simply perfect! Filled with gorgeous flowers and printed table runners, this design would fit your desire for a vibrant themed outdoor brunch.
Lauren wore a blush embroidered dress that looks great with Brandon’s white long sleeve and his printed bow tie.
The Bloom Sign
The bloom sign is just a wonderful addition to their decorations. Literally saying that with this engagement their love is simply blooming towards forever.
About the Photographer
I’m a fine art portrait photographer for couples who are in love and what to show it through freezing time located in Clinton, Ohio. I specialize in engagement portraits. I value my clients and the love they have. I don’t just capture their love. I make it shine through the lens. I believe that love is the most powerful thing and my goal is to show how powerful it really is in imagery. My clients usually invests $300.00 for my services. If I sound like the right fit to capture your fairytale you can reach me at 330-209-0501. I love forward to hearing your story.
Take this Advice
Don’t stress about it! What is there to stress about? Love is all you need. Details aren’t as important as you two sharing your first kiss as a married couple. ~Brittany Reed/Photographer
There’s no arguing that social media and its many platforms and pretenses has forever changed the world of weddings. In fact, it’s even difficult for some to imagine a time when the only people who caught a glimpse of the bride and groom on their wedding day were the hundred or so attendees themselves—and maybe a lucky handful who spent some time on the newlyweds’ couch flipping through their glossy album. Nowadays, anyone in the world has immediate access to the attire, décor, location, and events that occurred at any given celebration. Even going into work once your wedding weekend or honeymoon has concluded isn’t the same—everyone has specific questions about “that view” or “those stunning flowers—what were they?” To dig deeper into the many ways weddings have changed thanks to social media, we talked to wedding planners who’ve seen it all.
Brides have exposure to a variety of different weddings.
The image of the modern wedding is no longer limited to what one sees in a magazine or on a television program, Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance points out. Now, the images are everywhere: on mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers. Think about how little you would know about weddings if you had to subscribe to a number of wedding magazines and wait every month to get your hands on the latest copy? Now, with consumer demand, countless wedding websites (like this one!) deliver instant information at your fingertips.
Expectations are set so high and can be unrealistic.
“The hard part that we’ve all found is that social media allows for brides and grooms to see other weddings and love what they are seeing without realizing the time and money it actually took to create the look,” explains Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned. “Unfortunately, there are so many unrealistic expectations that people now have for their day that they might not be able to afford, or won’t have the time to create if it’s DIY.” This isn’t to say you shouldn’t browse the web to storm up ideas for your big day, but it’s important to keep in mind your own limitations—which are totally okay to have.
Couples connect more with friends and family.
Chances are, not all of your friends and family will be able to make your big day. The good news is that social media allows them to feel like they were a part of the event even if they weren’t physically present. “Unique apps can transmit important information about your wedding to those who weren’t able to be there,” says Candice Dowling Coppola, owner and creative director at A Jubilee Event. “The one downside we’ve noticed, however, is that some couples crave a sense of privacy that social media makes it hard for them to have.” In her experience, she’s had to ask several guests and hired creatives to refrain from posting pictures of a couple’s wedding unless they’ve given consent. “Some couples prefer to have control over how their wedding day is shared with others,” she adds.
The bevvy of information and inspiration is limitless.
If you’re a bride-to-be who hasn’t scoured Pinterest yet, log on! It’s become the go-to resource for gathering ideas for planning a wedding. “Users can create virtual bulletin boards of their favorite flowers, dresses, cakes, poses for pictures, decorations, and more, as well as share pictures with others, and follow boards that have the same vibe as their own,” says Lehman. YouTube is another hot spot with thousands of videos of everything from wedding hair and makeup tutorials to heartwarming wedding films. “You can watch amazing choreographed wedding party dances, adorable flower girls and ring bearers as they attempt to walk down the aisle, and memorable wedding speeches,” says Lehman.
Virtual meetings avoid unnecessary travel.
Any bride- or groom-to-be knows that time is precious when you’re planning a wedding—especially when it comes to managing all of the various meetings you’ll have with vendors. This is when live streaming can seriously come in handy. Instead of commuting two hours in rush-hour traffic, or across the state or country if your wedding location isn’t nearby, you can set up a Google Hangout, Skype call, or any other live-streaming service to chat wedding details with as close to an in-person charm as possible.
Couples now “brand” their wedding.
Who knew hashtags would allow you to collect all of the photos and videos from your wedding so easily? “When friends and family upload their pictures to a social media site, they will add the special hashtag so everyone has access to all of the posts in one spot,” Lehman explains. Companies and vendors are also catching onto the trend. “If a couple is looking for a photographer in their hometown, they may use a hashtag such as ‘#ChicagoWeddingPhotographer,’ and the search will deliver listings for wedding photographers in that area.” Can’t come up with a clever hashtag idea for your big day? Try one of the many wedding hashtag generators available online! There’s social media doing its thing once again!
The second most important event of your wedding weekend will undoubtedly be your rehearsal dinner. Typically, this is a less-formal event during which close friends and family come together (generally following some form of wedding rehearsal) in celebration of the big event. It’s especially beneficial if many of your guests are coming from out of town, as it’s a nice excuse to spend more time together.
“The rehearsal dinner is one of the most anticipated and cherished traditions of a wedding celebration,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “For many couples, this will be the first opportunity that their friends and family members will have to meet each other.” To make the most of this treasured evening, we asked twp wedding planners to explain how you should go about selecting the right venue for this important pre-wedding event.
First and foremost, figure out how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you figure out what kind of event you’re able to have, and how many guests you can invite. Setting your budget also means figuring out who will be shouldering the cost. “Traditionally, the groom’s parentsare the hosts of the rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Today, however, as more couples are paying for the expenses of the wedding themselves, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is often included in the overall budget.” Be sure to allow enough time to scout out the perfect venue, taking into consideration the overall cost of enough food and drinks for guests.
Step 2: Settle on a theme.
This is the fun part! Just as you likely chose a theme for your wedding, be it nautical, vintage-traditional, or rustic, you can have fun with the vision you choose for your rehearsal dinner. The food you choose can play a role in this effect as well. Are you big on Italian food? A lover of guac and chips? Don’t feel the need to go fancy just because your wedding day is upscale. “A rehearsal dinner can also be as casual as a pizza party or barbecue in the backyard of the couple’s home, or a local park,” says Lehman. “Generally, whoever hosts the dinner has creative control, taking into account their budget, and the tastes of the couple, aesthetically and gastronomically.”
Step 3: Find the right venue.
The rehearsal dinner is often held at a local restaurant or country club, but Lehman points out that any location will do. “A rooftop with a great view in the city, a nostalgic bowling alley, a private home, or a clambake or a bonfire on the beach are all great ideas,” she says. Though she does warn that it’s wise to choose a venue that’s close enough to the wedding ceremony that it provides guests the convenience of not having to travel too far. “Visit several venues to see if there are enough areas for seating and standing, clean restroom facilities, and friendly, well-trained wait staff,” she adds. Will the venue allow the wedding party to bring in decorations, entertainment, and catering as needed? Will the venue be able to accommodate special dietary needs of guests? Will there be a dress code? These are all things she suggests considering when finding the right venue.
Just as your guest list for the big day is important (and likely involved some cutting), you can expect the same when it comes to your rehearsal dinner. “If you’re having a traditional rehearsal dinner, your guests are your VIPs: your immediate family, bridal party, and their dates,” says Tessa Brand, wedding and event planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “A party this size should be able to fit in a private room in a restaurant.” However, if you are extending the invite to all guests, she says this is more of a “welcome party,” which means you will need a larger space. Knowing your approximate guest count will help you determine the price per guest. “Keep in mind, that even if you invite all your wedding guests, the acceptance for a welcome dinner will be lower than your wedding, as people arrive from out of town at different times.”
Step 5: Pick your ideal menu.
“The menu is probably the single most influential factor when debating where to have a rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Many couples choose to host their rehearsal dinner in the location they met or where they had their first date.” This is cute and all, but remember that your rehearsal dinner can hold as much or as little meaning as you want. After all, you have a whole wedding dedicated to your love for each other the following day. Have fun and be adventurous! “Sharing the experience with those closest to the couple is what it’s all about,” Lehman adds.
Step 6: Plan your décor.
Once you’ve locked down your rehearsal dinner venue and selected from the menu options, your next to-do is décor. Brand suggests going with a completely different color scheme for your flowers, and switching up the décor from what you’ll have at your wedding. “While the idea of having one cohesive wedding weekend may sound ideal, it is much more fun to switch it up and will show you put thought into each event,” she says. “Plus, this leaves an element of surprise for your guests to see on your wedding day.” Floral additions are great, too, as they will easily last a few days and can be repurposed for a farewell brunch at the end of the weekend.