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5 Steps to Postponing a Wedding Because of Bad Weather

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Sam Stroud Photography

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.”

Step Two: Contact your venue immediately

“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.

Step Four: Reach out to your guests

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!”

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How to Choose the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Plus, other planning tips.

Contributing Writer
natalie jamey rehearsal dinner tables

Photography by: KT Merry

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.

 

THE ULTIMATE WEDDING REHEARSAL AND REHEARSAL DINNER CHECKLIST

 

Step 1: Determine your budget.

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.

 

LITTLE WHITE LOOKS FOR EVERY WEDDING EVENT

 

Step 4: Finalize your invite list.

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.

 

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6 Steps to Finding the Right Wedding Officiant for You

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Andrea Hallgren Photography

 

On the long, seemingly endless list of decisions to make about your big day, figuring out how to find a wedding officiant and choosing the right person for the job are pretty big ones. This person will not only officiate your wedding ceremony, but he or she will work with you in the months leading up to your nuptials to ensure that you’re ready for those wedding bells to ring. Some officiants even take engaged couples through what is similar to premarital counseling, which has shown to be an important part of the wedding process.

For many couples, finding the officiant that will marry them, is a task that is often overlooked until the last moment, but as Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out, it’s a decision that should be made early on—at least eight months before the big day. Doing so not only helps you plan for the kind of ceremony and wedding you will have, but also the kind of marriage you are both hoping to have.

To help you choose wisely, we talked to wedding experts to uncover how to find a wedding officiant.

Decide whether you’ll be having a religious ceremony.

More and more weddings are taking place in non-religious or neutral venues, such as banquet halls or hotels. But this doesn’t limit you in choosing to have your officiant be religion-based. “If you decide that a religious ceremony is right for you, the first step is to seek an officiant from the pool of people already in you lives,” suggests Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York. This could be a rabbi or pastor at your place of worship, or perhaps someone you used to attend services with when you were younger. If a couple decides to have a non-religious ceremony, there are many officiants who are not affiliated with a particular religion and can perform secular ceremonies.

Do some research on potential officiants.

When it comes to figuring out how to find a wedding officiant, there are many ways to go about this process. Unless you know your chosen officiant well, be sure to check out the credentials of those you may consider. Lehman suggests seeking out the references of other couples who’s this person officiated. “Additionally, make sure that they have the necessary licensing from their local community, and the state of residence,” she adds. “Too often, I hear stories about how an officiant performed a ceremony, and then the marriage was not considered valid since the person was not legally registered in their state.” Also, ask if the officiant has any advanced training or academic degrees in their field. The latter is not always necessary, but can be an asset. Be sure to use WeddingWire’s wedding officiant finder to read reviews of officiants in your area.

Confirm that he or she is a confident speaker.

“A good officiant is a good orator,” says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. “They have confidence, speak clearly and understand how to create dramatic tension when necessary as well as levity, taking everyone on a journey with their words and voice.” While your ceremony is, indeed, about you and your spouse-to-be, and the love you share between the two of you, your officiant will be the ‘host of the show;’ the show being your wedding. “You don’t want someone who is overly dramatic, as they can drag everything down into the realms of parody,” she says. “Try to see them ‘in action’ either at a service or in a video from another wedding to gauge how strong their presentation skills are.”

Get to know your officiant on a more personal basis.

This individual is not only going to play an important role in your wedding, but the rest of your life, too. You will always remember the person who stood in front of you as you said your vows and put a ring on each other’s finger. For this reason, as well as many more, it’s wise to spend time getting to know this person if you do not already. “It’s impossible for me to imagine officiating at a wedding without meeting with the couple at least four times,” says Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, rabbi of the United Synagogue of Hoboken. “This is in part because of the large number of questions and issues that must be discussed when planning a Jewish wedding, but it is also because I want to make sure to really know the couple if I am going to be accompanying them at such a special and holy moment in their lives.”

Figure out is any planning obligations are involved.

“Most officiants require couples to fulfill a certain set of requirements and planning obligations,” explains Lauren Chitwood of Lauren Chitwood Events in Louisville, Kentucky. “The first, of course, is financial, but some officiants require premarital counseling, online training sessions or one-on-one meetings to determine if the couple is ready for marriage.” For this reason, it’s smart for couples to determine early on if they’re able to attend all of the necessary premarital meetings and fulfill the officiant’s requirements.

Rabbi Scheinberg, for example, requires that the couples he marries go through a sort of premarital counseling with him. “Considering that the marriage will last tens or hundreds of thousands of times longer than the wedding, it would make sense to devote much more time during the months leading up to the wedding to planning for the marriage in addition to planning for the wedding!” he says.

Make sure their values line up with yours.

Especially when it comes to religious ceremonies, values and levels of conservative or orthodox policies can cause issues when not ironed out early on. “A more conservative priest or minister may insist on including ‘obey’ in the bride’s vows or readings that have the wife as a subordinate to the husband, which can make a more modern bride’s blood pressure rise,” notes Banting. “If you’re a regular attendee of your house of worship, you likely will have an idea of what ideals your clergy holds and if they reflect yours, but if you’re not familiar with your potential officiant, be sure to ask for their ceremony script, complete with vows and any readings they want included.”

 

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AUGUST 14, 2017

What to Do If You and Your Partner Disagree Over Wedding Planning

Don’t let it get the best of you!

Contributing Writer
Couple Arguing

Photography by: Getty Images

Disagreements and arguments are normal—even healthy—aspects of any relationship. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with something as stressful as planning a wedding. Appeasing both families, creating the guest list, and choosing the venue can leave you feeling pitted against each other rather quickly. “Emotions are running high, way too many people are meddling in your life because of the event, and the logistics are crazy-making—if you didn’t have a fightbefore the wedding, it would be unusual!” says April Masini, New York-based relationship and etiquette expert.

 

But even if it’s normal to disagree while planning your wedding, no couple wants to feel resentment towards their partner. To help minimize fighting, we reached out to relationship and wedding experts for their best tips for keeping the peace.

 

WHAT YOU & YOUR FIANCÉ WILL FIGHT ABOUT BEFORE THE WEDDING ACCORDING TO REAL COUPLES

 

Listen to one another.

This involves more than simply hearing what your partner has to say (even when you don’t like it.) You should also try to understand what your partner is trying to say and how he or she truly feels. “If you can’t listen to each other now, this will most likely be an issue in the future,” says Cristen Faherty, wedding and event planner at Cristen & Co Event Coordination & Design. And it’s not just about listening, but also about communication patiently. “This will help you better understand one another and resolve big and small issues quickly so you can move on to happier moments.”

 

Make a list.

“Whatever the topic of debate is, write it down,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “Break it down into sections for discussion and go over each subject individually.” For example, if the argument is over the budget, list out your individual priorities for the celebration and then discuss how you can come to an agreement on what’s most important. Another helpful strategy is to rate each item on your list on a scale of one to ten (ten being a very strong preference) to show its importance to you, suggests Claudia Six, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship coach. For example: “I want my ex-wife’s parents to attend, and that’s an eight for me. I feel pretty strongly about it.” The other person may say: “My objection to your ex-wife’s parents being there is a two, so let’s invite them.” You rate your preferences and go with the highest rated option.

 

Delegate whenever possible.

“There will be wedding-related tasks that one person, or both, just do not wish to take on, such as choosing table linens or floral arrangements,” says Lehman. Her quick-fix? Consider the interests of each partner and then divide and conquer. “If your fiancé is a fan of local breweries and pub food, consider having him choose a craft beer as part of the cocktail hour, or selecting favorite appetizers to delight guests with.” When neither party feels compelled to decide on a certain aspect of the wedding, be it the flowers or the napkin fold, divvy those decisions up to family. Bottom line: Not everything has to be decided together.

 

Take a break for a while from planning.

In addition to being exciting, wedding planning comes with its fair share of stressful moments. If you and your partner find that wedding stress is getting in the way, or leaving you with less time to enjoy being engaged, plan an escape. “This could be something as simple as a romantic dinner together or taking off on a weekend trip,” says Lehman. “Rediscover all of the parts of each other’s personality that made falling in love so enjoyable.”

 

Focus on the big picture.

“Remember that you’re planning a day, but it’s the life beyond that day that truly matters,” says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, a clinical psychologist and couple’s counselor. “This day is a celebration, and it is symbolic, but it is only a day, and the planning and execution of it is something that you are supposed to enjoy.” Her advice is to not let it create undue stress or drive a wedge between the two of you. Remember that it’s the rest of your life after that day that matters. “Keep things in perspective and don’t let too much weight be on this event, enjoy it, because hopefully you will only do it once.”

 

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MAY 12, 2017

Who Gets the Final Say in Wedding Planning When Your Parents Are Paying?

Whose wedding is it anyway?

Contributing Writer
196SHARES
brooke-shea-wedding-371-d111277.jpg

Photography by: Rachel Thurston

Ahh, wedding planning. It’s one of the most joyous and exciting times in your life, but it’s also stressful and exhausting. Planning your dream wedding almost always involves working together with your parents (and maybe even your fiancé’s parents) to get the job done. The only thing that can complicate things even more? Who’s paying. “When engaged couples have a certain vision for their wedding, but the parents are paying, there can be some tension involved,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. So what exactly do your parents have the say over and what’s left in your control when they’re writing the checks? We asked three wedding planners to weigh in.

 

TIMES TO INVOLVE YOUR PARENTS IN WEDDING PLANNING

 

Parents do have a say when it comes to venue.

If they’re paying, this is likely the biggest expense they will have throughout the entire process. That being said, it’s important that the couple is happy with the choice in venue. “You may go back and forth about certain aspects of the venue, but ultimately you should come to a compromise,” says Myriam Michel, owner of Boston-based M&M Elite Events. “For example, if the bride and groom are leaning more towards one venue, maybe give the parents more leeway to choose the food you serve.”

 

Parents don’t have a say in ceremony or vows.

It doesn’t get more personal or intimate than the ceremony and vows. “The support of a couple’s family is of the utmost importance, however, at the end of the day, the couple should decide what they say (and don’t say) in their vows,” says Lauren Chitwood, wedding and corporate event planner and owner of Lauren Chitwood Events in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Parents do have a say in the wording of the invitation.

When Mom and Dad are paying, they’re technically the hosts, which means they should be comfortable with the invitation that’s being sent out. “It’s important to work closely with parents on the invitation, as it sets the tone for your wedding and is sent to the entire guest list,” says Chitwood. “I strongly advise my clients to work with a credible stationer to navigate politics of how to word an invitation, especially when divorced families are involved.”

 

Parents don’t have a say in the attire of the bridal party.

The bride’s wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses are personal decisions. While they often end up being a collective decision because the bride wants input from her friends and family, she’s the only one who should have final say here. “The bride should be able to choose the dress she wants and how she wants her bridesmaids to look on her wedding day,” explains Chitwood. “That being said, I’ve never to see a bride make this decision alone—ultimately, parents, family and friends help her decide on attire.”

 

Parents do have a say with the wedding guest list.

“I think it’s important that hosts have a strong say with the length and composition of the guest list, however, the couple has the right to determine the size and scope of their wedding,” explains Chitwood. In other words, if the couple wants a small, intimate wedding, the hosts should grant that wish. “Inviting business contacts and family friends can be very important to hosts but doing so should not dramatically go against a couple’s wishes on wedding size.”

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