When you are just engaged you will be searching for your vendors and the best way to do that is to attend a bridal show. Bridal shows have many different kind of vendors that attend. Most are well established, some are just starting out, and some are not that great. Create a plan! When the bridal show starts to fill out their vendor list they will provide a website with most of the vendors information. Check to see which vendors provide a website and I mean a REAL website. Not a Facebook page. Most vendors who are established will have a website. Here are some steps: Make a list of who you need in terms of vendors for your wedding Check out their websites and Instagram pages and see if they have listed any deals they will be showcasing at the show. Create a separate wedding email. Then print out labels with your name, phone number, wedding date, and email. Come to the show with a plan in place. There will be a ton of vendors coming in with a solid plan will keep you from wasting valuable time. Visit each vendor. Use your label to fill out any forms, contests, etc.. also, find a rep. from the company and ask as many questions as you can. If you book at the event make sure to grab a business card for contact information you may need later. After visiting your planned vendors. You can now spend this time to go enjoy tastings, enter other contests or go home, and kick up your feet, and relax. With these steps you will be able to relax and not become overwhelmed. Don't forget one important step. Create that email! Comment below if you have any questions or more tips to offer. #wedding #weddingplanning #bridalshows
Some Must-See Non-Traditional Wedding Guest Book Ideas
These days, we have seen more and more creative ideas for a wedding guest book than just a collection of your guest's signatures in an autograph book. Which you will never see again. Couples are starting to personalize their weddings and this detail is not left behind. Let's check out some very fun interactive, fun, DIY, and memorable ideas. 1. Jenga Wedding Guest Book This idea is perfect for the couple that love game night. A simple and fun idea to engage with your guests. Guests sign individual Jenga blocks so that you can put together your custom Jenga set. Every time you play the game you will read all the notes from your friends and family. 2. Thumbprint Wedding Guest Book This is a meaningful guestbook that can be framed as wall art after the wedding. This interactive guestbook is so much fun! Guests use an ink pad in your favorite color and place their fingerprint on the strings where balloons would be. The guests will sign their name over their "balloon" this becomes the artwork in your home after the wedding. 3. Signature Shell Wedding Guest Book This is the perfect guestbook for couples that love to DIY. You can also buy kits online if you aren't too creative. The purpose is to have enough shells to be filled by your guest's signatures. It's a fun and interactive guestbook and one that you can treasure in a shadow box in your home for a lifetime. 4. Music Themed Wedding Guest Book If you two are all about the music, old records might be a perfect wedding day guest book alternative. This will be even more meaningful if you use albums from songs of your wedding dances, like your first dance, father-daughter dance, etc. 5. Signature Tree Wedding Guest Book This is the perfect guestbook for couples who don't have a creative bone in their body but want something different. You can buy these prints online. The purpose is to have the leaves of the tree be filled with your guest's signatures. It's a fun and interactive guestbook and one that you will sure to treasure for a lifetime. 6. Date Night Guest Book Idea This is a time to let your imagination run wild. If you can sign it and it works with your theme. Go for it! Like this date night guest book. Have your guests give you date night ideas that you can use all year long. In the end, it is completely up to you. Go for whatever you think works for you. and Happy Planning!
6 Tips for hiring an amazing DJ
Your wedding entertainment is one way you can make sure your guests have the most fun at your wedding. It can also be another way of adding your own personal touch to the wedding. Your wedding a party! You want to make it the best party that your guests will speak of for years to come. Whether your goal is to get people moving on the dance floor or to just have some great music. Hiring a wedding DJ can be a great option. Unlike a live band, a DJ can play the music that your guests love and make smooth transitions between songs so there is no weird silence. The DJ also works as you MC and keeps your event moving smoothly. Hiring a great DJ depends greatly on what kind of music you want. If you want to dance all night or just want background music. Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a DJ. 1. Know what to look for and where The most common option is to go with a DJ whose primary business is weddings. Wedding Dj's know the ins and outs of weddings which make them very popular when trying to find a DJ for a wedding. If your focus is on having a party where your guests will be dancing all night, you may consider a DJ who has experience as a local club DJ. These Dj's may actually even have experience with weddings. To find one you can start by asking your local event planners or local clubs. This is the most ideal option. 2. Ask to hear samples of the wedding DJ's work Once you have found a DJ or two that fits your wedding vibe ask to see videos of their past performances or sample playlists. 3. Give the DJ your playlist and your do not playlist If you are set on a playlist, discuss it with your DJ and make sure they understand what you want and don't want. Professional DJ's will more than likely ask you this question well in advance. 4. Does you DJ MC? Having a Master of Ceremonies is very important in a wedding. I have heard some DJ's refusing to do this. Recommend all couples to ask their DJ if they will be an MC. Otherwise, you will have to find someone else to perform this service. 5. Get a contract As with all vendors, you should get a contract. Don't work with anybody who won't provide one. This is a huge red flag! 6. Don't DIY You need a professional DJ to have music or even a dance party. You can set up the sound equipment and have a playlist ready. But there is no one to crossfade the songs or be in charge of watching the vibe of your guests to see what songs will get them on the dance floor. We have a very detailed list of highly professional DJ's in the DC, MD, VA area. If you are looking for a DJ please contact us. #weddingdj #wedding #weddingplanner #DCweddingvendors #DCDJs #MarylandDJs #VirginiaDJs
How to get the most from your cake tastings?
Out of all the steps put into wedding planning, cake tasting is the most fun. Don't let the excitement of eating cake distract from the questions you need to ask. Ways to prep for your tasting consultation 1. Know your budget beforehand 2. Bring examples of designs you like 3. Book your baker 3 to 6 months before your wedding date 4. Find out if you need to provide a cake stand 5. Fresh flowers or confection sugar flowers 6. How many slices do you need 7. Be sure to get a sketch of your cake design 8. Find out when they will deliver your cake 9. Eat, before going. So that your hunger doesn't make decisions for you 10. Cleanse your palette before each cake flavor Then just enjoy it! #caketasting #weddingcake #weddingblog #cakeflovor #cakesteps #weddingplanning
What to include in your wedding details
My favorite photographs after weddings are detail photos. They capture the specific details that each couple has handpicked to encompass their unique style together. There is a neverending spectrum of color palettes, textures, mementos, invitations, heirlooms, antiques, and so many other items that can really make detailed photos all their own. How do you choose the details that capture your personal style as a couple? 1. Use your wedding invitation Use your wedding invitations, save the dates, envelopes, stamps, and anything you used. Your invitation suite will be the backbone of your detailed photos. 2. Personalized items Personalized items are what really make these photos yours. Include all accessories that you'll use for the big day and then some. Items like shoes, earrings, bracelets, perfume, veil, hairpiece, garter, ring box, family heirlooms, vows, and rings. 3. Flowers Make sure to include your boutonniere, bouquet, loose flowers to your detailed photos this will make all the difference. Blooms add color and tie in your wedding colors for a cohesive look that will compliment your pictures. Another great detail shot is your reception room shots and centerpieces before they are disturbed by your guests. Bonus So that you are well prepared make sure before the wedding, take all your details and place them inside a shoebox. This will make it easy for you and your photographer and help you stay on track. #weddingdetails #photographydetails #wedding #weddinginvitations #invitation #flowers #weddingflowers #jennifersimmonsphotography #tpozphotography
Why A Caterer Can Make Or Break Your Event
You're planning your wedding reception and there's a lot to plan and organize. Wedding catering is a very important piece to your big day. Here is some reason why hiring the best catering is best for your event. 1. Food is one part that everyone looks forward to It's sad but true but the food is going to one of the most important aspects of your event. While you can't have the perfect menu that would please every single one of your guests. You can always have a well-thought menu and delicious food. Regardless of what type of food you would like to have in your menu, the best thing to do is to brainstorm what you would like. Finding the best caterer can be very daunting but all you have to do is contact local planners for a list of caterers in your area, in your budget, and the type of food you are looking for. Wedding Planners work hand in hand with caterers and know some of the best in the areas they service. 2. Wedding catering service is more than just-food Catering service for you event is all about the service! Don't compromise on service and hospitality. Catering staff plays a huge role in interacting with guests and keeping your event going smoothly and steadily. Don't hesitate to have a lengthy, consultation with your chosen catering service. 3. The help of staffing ready to assist you when there's a bump Catering staff makes up for the largest number of people working to ensure your event would go smoothly. It's extremely important that you don't compromise on service for exactly this reason. Trained staff would be able to handle a crisis well and ensure that guests would still have an enjoyable experience at your event. 4. Presentation and consistency Hiring professional caterers would ensure that your food not only tastes good for each of your guests but it looks superb! Having a consistent taste and look of your food is a huge winner for guests. 5. Most of all your guests will remember if your food sucks! or if you run out of food, or they got food poisoning. All likely factors when you don't hire the right caterer for your event. #catering #eventplanning #foodpresentation #food #caterer
5 Things No Couple Wants To Hear
It's no lie, wedding planning can be stressful. With an endless to-do list month to month, from the decor, dress shopping, wrangling of family members, it can all add up real fast. That said, there are a few things that no couple wants to hear on their wedding planning journey but you NEED to keep in mind. Save yourself the headache by knowing these 5 things! 1. Wedding Invitations I hate to tell you this, but these suckers end up in the recycling bin pretty quickly after your wedding. I am sure you have had a vision of a beautiful intricate wedding invitation. Your guests don't care. The average couple spends $500 on their wedding invites. There are many more affordable options that fit your budget. Story Time I was that bride who wanted a scroll wedding invitation until I saw the cost. The scroll itself costs $3.00 to create, $1.00 stamp, $1.00 box to send them in the mail. That came out to $5 per invitation. 95 invites would cost $475.00 and this is when I decided I needed to think of some other way to present our wedding theme and send it out. Solution These invites I designed myself on Canva.com they turned out amazing! On top of it all, they only cost $242.00. As a planner and designer, I know that not everyone is creative. We have added this service to our packages. So, if you are in the invitation hole just send us a quick message and we will send you a quick design that you can print yourself. Contact: Mike Oswald Photography 2. Ceremony Programs Same as invitations. They last maybe 30 minutes in the hands of your guests and then end up in the trash. Story Time Every wedding I do that has paper ceremony programs 95% of them get left on the ceremony chairs and then straight into the trash. In my eyes, it's a waste of money. Yes, probably will cost $300 to print and design all of them. Your guests don't care. Just don't print ceremony programs. Solution Instead, create a sign with all the necessary details listed on it. Something like the image below. 3. Wedding Favors Engraved champagne flutes, customized wine glasses, and other novelty items are oftentimes forgotten by guests and an added expense for the two of you. Solution Make wedding favors that also act as your escort cards. For example mosaic-tiled coaster with their names on it. Not only does it tell them where to sit. It is something they take with them to their seat, and back home with them. Leaving you with just pictures of your favors instead of them sitting on your counter at home. Mike Oswald Photography 4. Wedding Planners are not weather gods I hate to admit it but we are not weather gods. No matter how bad we would love to control the weather on your wedding day it's a power we have no yet mastered. Story Like most planners, we usually have a plan in place for storms. We had a wedding in 2016 located at London Town Gardens which is off the water and completely outside in a tent. The weather a week before looked like a hurricane was in the works. My team and I called the tenting company, the venue, and the vendors to come up with a better plan if this were to occur. We put weights down on the tent sides, covered the walk-way so guests could get to the tent without getting wet. In the end, the storm passed us completely and it was an absolutely gorgeous wedding! But, what the bride loved the most was we had everything taken care of before she even figured it out. Solution The best thing I can advise is to trust your wedding planner. Most of all if they tell you, you can't have your wedding outside. Please trust them and don't get angry. They are telling you no because even if you tell your guests to sit in the drizzle, and you walk through the grass. YOU WILL GET WET! That's not our fault in the end. Blame it on the weather. #weddinglists #weather #weddingweather #ceremonyprograms #invitations #weddingplanner
4 Late Night Wedding Snacks
Late-night wedding snacks have been the new trend for the past 2 years. Guests enjoying being surprised with the snacks after a night of dancing. Check out some of our fun snack ideas for your wedding guests! 1. Milk Shakes To Go! Photographer: Angie Mcpherson 2. Indian Food with to-go boxes for your guests 3. Ice Cream Bars 4. Mini Burgers Don't forget to surprise your guests by providing them go-to containers. They will be so excited to have a late-night snack before leaving. #weddingplanning #icecreambars #strawberryshortcakeicecream #healthylatenightsnacks #toplanawedding #weddingideasfall #weddingblog #latenightsnacks #miniburgers #weddingcoordinator #midnightsnack #weddingplannersnearme #snickersicecream #apracticalwedding #offbeatbride #winterweddingideas #icecreamsundaebar #bestlatenightsnacks #dayofweddingcoordinator #goodlatenightsnacks #weddingeventplanner #weddingplanningwebsites #weddingcompany #theknotweddingplanner #weddingplanneronline #dayofcoordinator
How to avoid a DIY disaster? Personalizing your wedding has become a huge trend. Even more so the idea of DIYing elements into your own wedding. For some the thought of creating elements for their own wedding causes anxiety and for others, it seems like the right thing to do. We have listed out ways to still create your personalized details without running into issues. Your Ceremony Ceremonies usually last less than an hour, so for some spending $$$ for specialty arrangements gets pretty daunting. Instead, this is where your creativity can come into place. Do your own vows Creative unity ceremony The simple backdrop to your ceremony Baskets filled with locally grown flowers Candles lined down the aisle Ceremony program We created our ceremony backdrop by purchasing 3 wooden room dividers from Wayfair and renting tropical plants from B.Willow. Very simple yet exactly what we were looking for. Your Favors A quick way to save money on wedding favors is to add a personal touch. Edible treats are always a safe bet. Create a baggie of goodies that mean something to the two of you. Check out the image below. Our bride put together a baggie of goodies that represented their hometown Baltimore. Your Cake Please, please, we beg you do not make your own cake. Making a cake may seem easy for a smaller event. However; for a wedding, many other things need to come into consideration. For example; transporting your wedding cake without damaging it the day of, the temperature of the room where the cake will be sitting. If the price is a factor in not hiring a vendor for your wedding cake. Consider a dessert bar instead and a small cutting cake. Your Invitations & Save the Dates You can do this in 100 different way's and if you check out our wedding planning series of blog you will see how we do it. I definitely don't just get the paper and think that this will be easier to do. It won't, it will cause so much stress to create invitations with stock paper and way too much time. Your Centerpieces This can be done when your centerpieces are simple. If you find that your idea of a centerpiece is more glamourous and requires you to pull videos of how to create a floral masterpiece. It's time to hire a florist. Not only will this save you time but in the end, it will save you money. Your Catering I have seen this as an option time and time again for couples on online forums. Without the consideration that it takes to a caterer to a large scale party. These are the reasons you should not DIY your reception food. Keeping food cold or hot throughout the event Who is going to serve the food? Who is going clean up dishes, trash, the kitchen, pack away food? Your Music It's very tempting to skip out on your DJ. We have seen this happen at so many weddings. DJ's keep the party going and control the mood of the event. When you don't have a DJ and just an iPod it turns into quite a fiasco. Your drunk friend will keep skipping through songs without considering the dance floor. Your event will end early, we can bet on it. #DIY #weddingideas #ettiquette #programs #papergoods #invitations #photo #weddingcakes #desserts #savethedates #DIY #weddingplanning #vows #weddingvows #diycrafts #diyprojects #diyroomdecor #weddingfavorideas #bridalshowerfavors #makepaperflowers #linkinbio #weddingblog #toplanawedding #weddingdiy #diyweddinginvitations #pinterestcrafts #weddingcoordinator #weddingpartyfavors
5 Steps To Manage Your Opinionated Family
Is there someone in your inner circle who claims to be the "expert" in planning weddings? Are you struggling to deal with this wannabe wedding planner? We have some steps to handle there overly opinionated family members and friends so you can have the wedding you've been dreaming of. 1. Prepare for that one person you know will be overbearing For example, your mom, just remember she is just as excited as you are about your special day. She may try and get too involved. That goes for your future mother-in-law as well, she will have a hard time letting go. You may have a best friend who just got married and misses planning her wedding, they may lose sight of who that actual groom/bride really is. Scope out who your likely suspects are before you even start planning and give them a task so that they feel involved but they won't be interfering in your plans. 2. Hire an actual wedding planner If you are dealing with too many opinions, it is important to have at least one person on your side. A wedding planner is a great supporter to invest in because they will execute your vision, and no one else's. When your family members start to weigh in too much you can speak to your wedding planner about ways to distract them or just plain vent to us. No judgment here. We have seen it all! We have also noticed family and friends are less likely to take on the role of Wedding Planner when you hire an actual professional. It's great! Interested in a Wedding Planner check out our services pages for more information. 3. Give them an assignment It can be frustrating, just remember that all your friends and family want is to be involved. To avoid drama as much as possible I say to always assign them with a task. This will give them a sense of purpose, but will also take one thing off your list to do. 4. Remember to breath The last thing you want is to let your friends and family create stress to a point that you explode. Many relationships have ended because of wedding planning stress. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Instead, take a deep breath and allow yourself to de-stress. Remember you can always use the steps above to handle the situation and everything will be ok. You never want to speak out of anger. 5. Stand up for yourself Make your feelings known. Make it clear that this is your wedding, and you have a vision in mind that you're not willing to compromise. It is very important to be firm but polite. But at the end of the day, this is your wedding and the final decision will be made by the two of you as a couple. Just remember your wedding day is one of the most memorable and happiest days of your life. Make sure things go according to your vision. In the end, the journey will be worth it when everything planned occurs on your wedding day. #Marylandwedding #motherofthebride #motherofthegroom #opionatedfamily #weddingplanning #weddingplanning #toplanawedding #weddingcoordinator #weddingplannersnearme #dayofweddingcoordinator #weddingeventplanner #weddingplanneronline #weddingideasfall #familymembers #weddingblog #offbeatbride #apraticalwedding
Wedding Rehearsal: How to Prepare?
Your wedding rehearsal is a practice of your wedding ceremony for you and more for your wedding party. Traditionally, it's held the day before or two days before the wedding day. It is more convenient to do it at your wedding venue, however; a lot of times we see couples do it at their homes (because not everyone can make it to the venue). Following the rehearsal, a dinner or welcome party is planned for the family who has arrived a day early. In my opinion, I love the idea of a welcome party, it is more laid back and a lot less stress to plan. 5 things to do to prepare for your wedding rehearsal 1. Hire a wedding coordinator I am not just saying this because I am a wedding planner, I am saying it because they will help you walk through the steps to make it a lot easier. The coordinator helps direct the wedding party so that the couple gets to enjoy every minute and no feelings get hurt. 2. Pair up your wedding party The best way to do this is height. I hate to say it but it does matter in pictures what it looks like when all of you are standing at the altar. Once you have chosen who you would like to walk together let them know. This will make both sides happy. OH! and avoid pairing up people who dislike each other it will save you a lot of heartaches. 3. Decide how you want your wedding party to enter Every time I ask my couples this they give me a confused look. This is something to prepare for well in advance. Depending on your religious affiliation, make sure to ask your officiant prior to making a set-in-stone commitment. So that you don't offend anyone. Traditionally, there are two ways the wedding party can enter: Grandparents, parents, officiant, groom, followed by bridesmaids and groomsmen coming in together. Grandparents, parents, officiant, groom, groomsmen, and bridesmaids not coming in together but individually walking in together. 4. Are you going to have readers? Make sure they know beforehand If you are having readers make sure to type out exactly what you want them to say and send it to them. Make sure you give them time to practice. If you have a wedding coordinator make sure to send them a copy as well. Just in case your readers forget their copy. 5. Decide if you will have a receiving line following the ceremony A receiving line is an opportunity for guests to congratulate your new marriage and for you thank them for coming. I am not a big fan of these as they suck up valuable time for you to enjoy your wedding. However; if you do decide to do one make sure you inform your family that they will be part of the line. 5 ways to make sure your rehearsal is quick and easy 1. Start by lining up the wedding party at the altar I start this way first so everyone in the bridal party knows where they are standing before walking in. Position each person in the bridal party with equal space between them, and hands positioned the same way. Followed by the officiant and readers going through the ceremony. (not fully because some things should be left for the ceremony) 2. Run through processional and recessional Then I ask the bridal party to pair up and walk out (recessional). Followed processioning back into the ceremony. Usually, we only need to run through it one time. Which is great! 3. Run through the order of events for the wedding day Towards the end of the rehearsal. Before people leave I had out their VIP timelines. These are little pocket timelines that tell them their roles during the wedding day and at what time they start. So no one runs late. 4. Discuss where the wedding party will go after the ceremony This is key to make sure the run of events happens on time. Make sure to tell your entire bridal party where they should go for pictures after the ceremony. 5. SUPER IMPORTANT!!! Don't forget your wedding license for the wedding rehearsal. You will be handing that over to your officiant. If you are still looking for a wedding coordinator and can't afford a full coordinator. We have a small package just for you. Package includes rehearsal & decor setup & ceremony management. Contact us here! #weddingmanagement #rehearsal #weddingrehearsal #weddingcoordinator
Friendors...6 Reasons Why professional advise against it!
1. They might know you, but they don't know weddings Many friends don't have experience with weddings. Their own wedding does not count as knowing weddings. Every wedding is different and every wedding has its own issues. They won't know to cue the DJ or look for the signal of the caterer, They might get in the way of the photographer, they may even forget simple things. 2. They're not professionals Your friends are willing to take on a job at your wedding to build their portfolio because it is not their full-time job. As much as we want to support our friends in their new careers or hobbies ask yourself if your wedding is the best place for your friend to use their brand new skills. Instead, help them by finding another planner they can shadow and learn from. 3. They can make mistakes When you hire people who are not professionals the chances of mistakes happening increase ten-fold. We had a DJ -friendor who forgot to download all the songs needed for the wedding. I had to sit with them for 1 hour prior to download all the music. They thought they could just wing it. 4. What happens if you're not happy? If you were working with a professional vendor and were unhappy with their services, it would be fairly easy to mitigate the situation. What would you do if this happened with your friend? It can be really awkward to tell your best friend that they failed. You wouldn't want to hurt their feelings. 5. $$ and friendship don't mix This saying is so true! Many couples have a hard time discussing money with their vendors let alone with their friends. You might feel like you should be getting your flowers free or at a highly discounted rate from your friend but your friend is going to charge you 60% of their normal rate. What happens if that is too expensive for you? What if you forget to pay them? Do you really want your friend to send you a late payment reminder? 6. Your friends don't get to have fun When you ask your friends to work at your wedding. Trust me when I say they will not have time to enjoy your wedding. No dancing with you, no eating and drinking, no chatting with you. They will be running around making sure you are having the time of your life. While they put out the fires. How do you feel about friendors? Let us know in the comments below! #friendors #weddingvendors #weddings