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How to Add Dogs to Your I Do Day

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If you have pets, who are terribly important in your life and in your relationship, you should incorporate them into your big day. Whether it's family photos or an escort down the aisle, Lara with Doggy Social talks all about how to make it happen, the easy way.

WHAT IS DOGGY SOCIAL?

A pet sitting service that enables you to have your fur babies by your side on the day of your wedding. Obviously, I am not a pet person. But I whole heartedly support you having the most important people and pets by your side on your big day, this includes your dog, your cat, even your goat.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Lara meets your dog beforehand, but on the day of she will pick up your pooch, bring them to your photo locations, your ceremony and even stay with them during the reception. She feeds them, has a fanny pack full of treats and poop bags, and will even help them look at the camera.

Basically she's a trained professional to get the job done. You won't need to worry about inconveniencing someone, who you'd really rather be able to attend your entire wedding, to have them make trips back and forth between your house and your wedding.

Lara even offers a few services above and beyond what the neighbor girl could accommodate, listen to this episode for more and for an exclusive listener discount!

NEED MORE IDEAS?

Searching for more ideas on how to incorporate your pets? Check out this article, How to Include Your Pets in Your Wedding. And what about what they should wear? A floral collar? A bow tie leash? Check out Doggy Social MN on Pinterest.

RESOURCES:



A few doggy friendly wedding venues in the Twin Cities area:

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Renting Your Wedding Decor

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This episode is all about renting your decor and how Vanilla and Gold can help your wedding be extraordinary. If you are renting some decor, but then bringing some of your own that you've purchased or lent from friends make sure that you've got your shit together.

BE ORGANIZED

Don't just have a scratch of paper listing what items you've rented. It happens all the time that you brides and grooms keep all the information to yourselves (totally on accident) and then when it comes time to set up or clean up, nobody knows what the f*ck is happening because you forgot to tell them what is happening.

LISTS

I suggest having a list of all the decor that you have rented, including quantities and color description. If items are really similar to what you might be providing out of your own personal stores, then label what is yours or include a picture on the lists.

Don't forget to label where things go. You know that the memorial table goes to the left of the door because you talked about it during your walkthrough with the venue. BUT do you have a room layout? Did you label this on the box that the memorial table frames are coming to the venue in? Did you tell whomever is setting up that the memorial table gets 4 votives and 1 vase with white roses (that your mom is picking up in the morning) and does that person know which grandparents go on which side of the table?

**EXHALE**

It gets to be a lot, amiright? But the whole point is that you need to communicate ALL of this. Don't get lazy the week of your wedding and assume it will all get figured out. It will get figured out and you'll have to help with the figuring, INSTEAD of enjoying your wedding morning.

Don't just assume purchasing and reselling decor is the easiest and least expensive option. Cause it might not be.

Lastly, good luck! You got this.

RESOURCES:

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Everything You Need to Know About Tents, Tables and Chairs

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I don't just suggest getting a tent for your outdoor backyard wedding, I practically require it.

Yes, it might not rain, yes it might be the perfect 74 degree day with a low UV and no humidity.

BUT if you live anywhere outside of southern California where inclement weather is unpredictable and unenjoyable for long amounts of time, you want to be PREPARED.

NIKKI AGREES

I like my clients to book a tent + a restroom trailer FIRST. Since these are non-negotiable must haves, this will easily set the tone for your guest count and the other extras you want at your wedding, like flowers, catering, cake and entertainment.

But mostly guest count.

I've said it a million times but the best way to keep costs lower is to keep the guest count lower. And no, I am not your wedding Scrooge. Just a little dose of tough love.

WHAT IF MY DINNER ISN'T A SIT DOWN?

Do you need tables and chairs? YES but not as many. You still want guests to have the opportunity to mingle to eat while not standing, to rest. Have enough for at least 1/3 of your guests but supplement with high tops so people have a gathering space that they can set their drinks down on.

IN A PERFECT WORLD

There would be a security manned coat check for the ladies to put their purses. A charging station with cords so guests can easily re-up their batteries. There'd be a restroom trailer and not biffies. You'd have misters if it was too hot and a fan; you'd have heaters and blankets if it was too chilly.

Butler passed apps are a dynamite idea, and self serve drinking stations INCLUDING WATER will make guests so so happy.

MORE BACKYARD WEDDING ADVICE

Can be found here.

RESOURCES:

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The Best Client Management Tool for Wedding Planners

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Aisle Planner is the show sponsor for a reason. I find it to be an invaluable tool. One that I think you should use as well.

WHY SHOULD I USE AISLE PLANNER?

Part of the purpose of this podcast is to have more educated weddings in the world. I want brides and grooms and vendors alike to feel more confident and realistic in their expectations and their plans, and then I want them to hire me to execute it all. AHAHAHAA.

But really, a big part of that recipe is you the WEDDING VENDOR. I want you to be better at your life because if you are a better wedding planner than the collective idea of what a wedding planner does will be elevated, as the saying goes, "A rising tide lifts all boats". And if you're not a wedding planner you can still use Aisle Planner and be better for it.

And since I mentioned Rising Tide - - Society - - if you are in the Twin Cities area feel free to join me at the next Tuesday's Together St. Paul chapter. I'd honestly love to see you there and it's the best way for you to snag some face time with yours truly. Because I'm soOoo popular (being sarcastic, I swear.).

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF AISLE PLANNER?

The fact that there are templates and that all the things I want to remember are set in the checklist so that I can be reminded.

I also love that my clients love it. That it is helpful to them and, regardless of how organized or not they are, I am.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO GET STARTED?

I opted into Aisle Planner during my slow season, in Minnesota that's winter, and it was fairly seamless. I created a short email sequence and a few on boarding videos to help my clients get acquainted with it. I have found, that if I take the time to enter in the vendors they've told me about, the timeline they have thus far and check off the tasks that they've already accomplished, then I feel like they use it more and get more out of it.

This might just be because I am anal and I like when things get checked off.  

OTHER BENEFITS OF AISLE PLANNER?

There's a whole community for it. Including updates, often, via email, and helpful everything wedding planning. There's also videos and webinars. And the thing is, you can do practically everything for your business with Aisle Planner: invoicing, contracts, payment, lead generation, design, etc.

Woo hoo for one stop shopping.

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The Best Wedding Planning Tool (Ever)

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Listen up my friends! This is the best wedding planning tool ever. Not just because they sponsor the podcast, not just because the team is easy to work with and kind and loving and caring. Because this tool rocks and is efficient and pretty.

Listen to the episode, watch that video and check out these snippets from Tayler's brother's wedding.

BRANDI + JON'S AISLE PLANNER MADE WEDDING WEBSITE

View here. You'll notice that you can add events, like the rehearsal dinner or day after brunch. You can add accommodations and your registry. What more does a wedding website need!?

BRANDI + JON'S AISLE PLANNER MADE TIMELINE?

View here. Things to notice: there is contact information at the top for important things. The processional is listed in full, also view the separate ceremony note below. The ceremony and reception are boldly demarcated. There's also good details in here like the toast order, song selections and who is doing the things. Kudos Katherine Oyer, wedding planner extraordinaire.

IMAGE


WHAT'S THE DESIGN STUDIO?

A place to gather pretty things. Include snap shots of your wedding musing drawings.

SHOULD I SYNC MY CALENDAR?

You're asking me? I will say YES, yes of course. Why? Because it's rotten to forget an appointment, let alone a wedding appointment. And it isn't easy to reschedule when you are working off not just your schedule, but that of your fiancé, the vendor's and any other wedding persons that would like to attend (like your parents, your planner, your sister or your brother).

I also feel like when you put it all on the calendar you realize that this wedding stuff isn't as overwhelming as it feels. Check out this example:

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The One Where We Digress

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This episode was such a great reminder, for me, that your wedding day is a day to be enjoyed. Even though I have a hard on for timelines, the purpose of the timeline is not to dictate your every move, but to allow the opportunity for you (plural) to enjoy your day. For all the things that you've envisioned, that you've paid for and picked out, to have the space for those things to happen and be enjoyed.

Bear with me, standing on my soap box for a moment longer.

This is your friggen wedding day and regardless of what it is you want the day to look like and to feel like, you deserve to be in your day. This isn't a movie set or a photo shoot. The point isn't to go from one mark to another, look at the camera and pose, and then find you're next mark.

Kimberly reminded me of that, you should just go through you day, let me do the worrying, let me concern myself of all the things that have to happen on your day and when and how. You just do them. Just be. Just enjoy and Kimberly will capture it all.

Also, I second what she said about hiring professionals who can get you there with ease.

MORE REASONS WHY HIRING (HAPPY) PROFESSIONALS WILL MAKE YOUR WEDDING BETTER (AND HAPPIER)

  • Things will just happen without you having to make them happen

  • Example: Your reception room set up

  • All of the people will be in better moods, because they will be treated better, because happy people do nice things subconsciously

  • Example: Being greeted in the morning with smiles and hugs instead of frowns and hurry-ups and worrying looks

  • You can ask for referrals for vendors that you haven't booked yet and your wedding team will become even stronger

  • Example: When your photographer and videographer get along so well that your photos and video shine bright like a diamond.

  • You'll feel like you are getting more BANG for your BUCK

  • Example: Need I?

Expansion: There are different levels at which we function as it relates to the competence hierarchy (remember AP Psychology and our friend Abraham Maslow?). Initially we are unconsciously incompetent, you've heard me say many a time, 'you don't know what you don't know'.

Then, we might have this recognition that what we are doing isn't quite right, and we might want to get better, thus we are now consciously incompetent.

So, we work hard to do better and to be right or good or correct, we are consciously competent, we must concentrate to achieve this level of skill execution.

Lastly, with enough practice, those skills become unconsciously competent. If you're still with me, this is the best kind.

This is what you want at your wedding, a bunch of vendors who excel at what they are hired to do, but they do so without even giving it a second thought. Their skill is so second nature, it's like scratching an itch or repositioning in your seat, you just do it and you didn't even know you were doing it.

A RECAP OF WHAT I JUST SAID, BUT I'M SAYING IT AGAIN

There are different types of photographers. This is a given. What might immediately come to mind? Dark and moody. Bright and airy. Heavily retouched. Completely unedited.

What Kimberly brought to mind was a difference in shooting style. Candids versus posed.

Of course, today, a little thing called Pinterest makes wedding photos a bit more posed, because you want to get. those. shots. The veil draped around you and your fiancé, a close up forehead touch, the groom crying when he sees the person he's about to be married to for the first time in hours.

Kimberly's style is much more spontaneous, less regimented and kind of a breath of fresh air to the stressors of having a picture perfect day.

Hiring a professional who is curious and who wants to stretch their creative freedom can be to your absolute benefit: see Studio KH on Instagram.

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Wedding Flowers: All the Basics

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FYI: I did get a clematis diamantina.

DURING THIS EPISODE I OPEN-MOUTHED-CLOSE-EYED LAUGHED. A LOT

Did you know that... Minnesota has a short growing season, so your wedding flowers may be shipped in from Holland or other locations that are not where you live. This episode was all over the place, just like how your flowers come from all over the place, in the best way possible. Hence, these show notes are a mirror of the madness that happened in this wedding podcast.

WHERE CAN FLOWERS GO AT YOUR WEDDING

  • In your hair

  • Hanging from the ceiling

  • On the walls

  • At the bar

  • Near the entrance

  • On the floor

  • At the tables

  • On a car/trolley/boat

  • Atop the fireplace mantle or hearth

  • On an arbor

  • As chair swag

POINT: they can go practically anywhere.

BEST KINDRED BLOOM TIPS:

  • Keep your flowers in water as much and as long as possible

  • Greenery is actually a really great budget booster

  • Ask for a little bit of breathing room before you make a hiring decision, take the time to review the provided information, like a style board, before you sign your contract.

  • A minimum of 5 votive candles per guest table. MORE is MORE.

WHAT DOES CONTROLLED ORGANIC LOOK LIKE?

HOW DO I HIRE A FLORIST?

Take a gander at their portfolio. Do you love it? Do you want your wedding to look similar? Do you want your wedding flowers to be inspired as such? Hiring a wedding florist whose portfolio (and not just one picture of their work) you LOVE is going to result in wedding flowers that sweep you off yo' feet.

That's the nicest way, that I can mange, of saying: don't, opt for a cheaper florist than what your vision desires, but expect them to accomplish something that is completely different than what they have in their galleries. I've seen it before and it equals BUMMER TOWN. Yes, I realize that this paragraph is a grammatical cluster and I don't mind if you glazed right over it.

Seriously, Alexia and Emma of Kindred Blooms, really impressed upon me the difference between intuitive and intelligent vendors, and the other ones. They know their shit and you don't need to micromanage or fret (ie, waste your time).

In case you couldn't tell by my pussyfooting - being good at your job and being kind persons with good intentions are not qualities found in all wedding vendors.

HOW CAN I REUSE MY CEREMONY DECOR

If you must reuse (which I say you must!) be sure to be thoughtful in the transition. Kindred Blooms begs you to NOT reuse bridesmaid's bouquets for anything at all. But aside from that, here's what we brainstormed:

  • The back row of ceremony chairs' swag >>> head table chairs

  • A greenery only arbor garland >>> head table greenery runner

  • Your ceremony arbor >>> photo back drop or sweetheart table frame

  • Boxed arrangements down the aisle >>> sweetheart table

A quick argument FOR sweetheart tables can be heard in this episode, and I completely agree!

RESOURCES:

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Wedding Dos and Wedding Dont's

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DOS and DONT'S and then some more blog posts for you to learn from. Knowledge is power!

DO. HIRE A PLANNER.

DONT. Be bossy to the ones you love.

DO. EMPTY YOUR POCKETS

DON’T. Carry your phone in your pocket or really just have it with you at all.

DO. BUFFER YOUR TIMELINE.

DON’T. Have a ridiculously long cocktail hour.

DO. HAVE A TIMELINE.

DON’T. Have a photo shot list that is unrealistic for either your timeline or condescending to your photographer’s skill level.

DO. HAVE SOMEONE ELSE BE IN CHARGE.

DON’T Forget to consult and compromise.

DO. HAVE USHERS OR GREETERS.

DON’T save a lot of work for last minute, like selecting ushers and asking them to dress a certain way.

DO. RESERVE CEREMONY SEATS.

DON’T. Forget to involve important people in your wedding somehow.

DO. BE STINGY ABOUT WHO GETS INVITED.

DON’T be ungrateful.

DO BE ORGANIZED.

DON’T. Wing it when it comes to DIY.

DO. TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE.

DON’T. Forget to be in love.

MORE BLOG POSTS:

DO hire a wedding planner (Studio KH), do read your contracts (Bridezilla), Don’t give up when you disagree (what to do bridezilla), dont neglect your napkin (blog), dont think a backyard wedding will be easier, do make a list of who gets flowers,

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Do I Need a Wedding Designer

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Annie and I implore you to have a better plan for what to do with the flowers you have at your wedding. This is the best way I know of to start the show notes for this episode. Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate to hospice (NC Little in Edina is a good one) or a nursing home

  • Let guests take home flowers*

  • Take them home yourself **

*Make sure your flowers are in take home vases or plastic containers

**Make sure you have car space and sober drivers. Also make sure you aren't leaving for your honeymoon immediately afterwards

WHAT PURPOSE DO WEDDING SIGNS HAVE?

Signage is like a fancy visual butler, it provides your guests with a tool to know where to go and when. A weird thing happens when your guests are knowledgeable. They tell other people the things and they answer questions from other guests who might otherwise feel inclined to ask you, the bride or the groom (whichever one you are).

And we all can agree, you have already reached your wedding question quota. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Read, How to Keep Your Cool While Planning Your Wedding.

REMINDER:

Hire A Vintage Touch Weddings + Sixpence Events & Planning. A wonderful combo.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I CONTROL THE DESIGN OF MY WEDDING?

Creative freedom is a real thing. When you hire true professionals, real artists, you can sit back and then be A-MAZED at the results. While I understand the need to have your hands on all wedding things, there are certain aspects which we all openly give up control.

Like your cake. You might go to a tasting and submit design ideas, however you do not ask to look at the recipe, nor do you give Pantone color chips for matching jam hues. Well, you might do the latter for frosting, but the point is, you keep your hands off the cake. When it comes to hiring a designer you need to trust that they will deliver.

Trust. It's not just for high school bonding moments.  

WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS?

I think it starts with a Pinterest board and a good vendor search. You'll want the vendor you hire's portfolio to match what you've got pinned, otherwise what are you doing in life? Once you meet with and hire your wedding designer you'll sit down and have a meeting to determine what you need in terms of design and how it will come to be.

Style boards or mood boards are literally the best. They'll give you an idea of what your wedding will look like. They are not, however, an exact blueprint of what your wedding will be. Your wedding will be unique and one of a kind and fabulous.

DESIGN TIPS

  • Be sure to communicate with your venue the needs of your designer: early access, electrical, parking and load/unload.

  • Give your designer the information they need before they need it: guest list, table seat assignments, room layout, color selections etc.

  • If you hire a designer, don't add your own DIY items to the mix. Keep it cohesive. Exceptions: guest favors and things that will not be placed within the mix like wedding party gifts or the flower girl/ring bearer sign

  • Wedding design and rentals can be enhanced with linen, stationery and flowers. Be sure to show your mood board to those vendors so that they are all on the same page.

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How to Make Your Wedding Legally Binding

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Not gunna lie. Amy's voice is rather soothing. Also, she is SO knowledgeable and is about to lay down the law as it pertains to making a marriage legal and binding.

WHAT DOES AN OFFICIANT DO?

An officiant makes your marriage legal. An amazing officiant will also

- run your rehearsal

- make announcements to guests

- step out of the way during your first kiss

- ensure that guests can hear your vows

WHY HAVE A REHEARSAL?

Here's the deal. Your wedding party does not want to mess up, they'd like to be told what to do and they want to do it they way you want it done. It's simple. Without a run through, directions or a choreographer,  your wedding party has no clue of what to do. Particularly if this is their first wedding that they've been in.

When you have your officiant or wedding planner run a rehearsal it establishes who is in charge and whom they can go to with questions. It also keeps you from being the one to shout and scream and wrangle and herd. Let someone else wear the bossy pants.

WHAT THINGS CAN THE OFFICIANT ANNOUNCE?

  • IF there is a receiving line, a dismissing line or if guests should just immediately vacate their seats in search of libations and mini morsels of food

  • WHERE immediate or extended family photos will take place and when

  • WHAT is happening during cocktail hour, what time dinner is, where they should go for all of that joyfulness

  • IF there is a processional hurrah (petals or bubbles or kabuki streamers), the officiant may want to alert your guests to get them ready (and to not aim for your newly married faces as you recess down the aisle)

CEREMONY OUTLINE

Are you planning on writing your own vows and ceremony? Here's a sample outline:

Guest arrival

Prelude music playing

Processional

Welcome

Invocation or prayer

Readings/song/poem

Questions of intent/declaration of intent

Affirmations

Message

Vows

Rings

Announcement

Pronouncement

Kiss

Recessional

#WIN

PRO TIP

Be mindful of how willing your readers are to read. Don't force it upon them if they have stage fright or just seem completely uninterested.

FYI: you as a couple are responsible for getting your marriage license. Your officiant is responsible for getting certified (applicable for MN) and mailing it in once signed.

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P.S. I grew up near the Tulalip Indian reservation, so that's the word I used in the episode, Indian and not Native American or Indigenous persons. No offense meant.

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Wedding Contracts for Wedding Vendors

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Have you ever been in one of those Facebook groups for wedding business owners and you notice that often there's a thread or two (per day) where the vendor is complaining/confused/panicking about a negative client experience?

"I gave my client all of their images but they have yet to pay me, what should I do?"

"I had a client write a negative review about something that I didn't do, but I don't do that thing..."

"I have a client who keeps rescheduling their appointments last minute..."

"My design/images/something-I-created-and-own was stolen, what do I do!?"

In the most haughty way possible, whenever I see these comments I quickly mute notifications and might just leave the group. Because ain't none of that in my pool of 'things to worry about ever' because I opted for a lawyer to create my business contracts.

To me, these cries for help all point to one answer: Wynne Reece. In this episode, a small business and creative's lawyer extraordinaire is breaking down why you need a professional contract.

Do not copy/paste one from the internet.

If you already did, well then, amend that goof up immediately. Take the time to elevate your game, to realize that if you want to be a business professional you need more than just business cards and an info@biz.com email address. You need a contract and insurance and likely an LLC (remember: this is just legal information and not advice). With that artillery and through listening to this episode you will realize that a strong contract will increase your confidence and it will banish those client quibbles that are filling your Facebook group feeds - FOREVER. I think.

Again, this episode does contain legal information, but not legal advice. Wynne is talking to the collective you and not you personally. Contact her for your specific needs, you won't regret it.

DO I NEED A PROFESSIONAL CONTRACT?

**rhetorical question**

WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR CONTRACT?

Uh, that's the whole point of this episode, so press play. However, let me tell you some of the things that brides and grooms could use reminders about, because they don't all read what they are signing before signing it.

Vendor meals. A given for you, not for them. Like why do they have to feed you? Nordstrom didn't provide me a meal when I worked in Men's Furnishings for 8 hours.

Who owns those images/that video. Because they don't understand copywriting or creative licenses or what ever. They feel like if they hire you, they buy what you make, if this isn't the case, tell them.

Arrival and departure times. If you think there is an industry standard for what time the DJ arrives, what time photographers leave, or how long the florist stays on sit, well, there ain't. Ever-y-body is an individual and differs in the services they provide and the way they provide them.

"YOU SHOULD BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR CONTRACT"

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Expert Insights on Wedding Contracts

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DISCLAIMER: we chunked our recording session into two episodes, the first part is all for brides and grooms, and the second part is for you wedding vendors. If I were you, I'd watch the whole thing - and not just because of the boys shoes or sports bras.

Brides and grooms! Protect yourself!! This episode is filled with legal information (not advice) on how to properly prepare for the wedding vendor booking process, specifically what your signing and committing to for the rest of your natural lives.

WHAT IF I NEED LEGAL ADVICE?

Easy, scroll down to the resources section below and call on Wynne to give you hand crafted, real, applicable legal advice for you and your wedding.

DO I REALLY NEED TO READ MY CONTRACTS?

FUCK YES. Read those papers as though your life depends on it, because your wedding does. They aren't nearly as boring as you think they will be so don't be an uninformed consenter.

And yes, if you are my client (or client to be) I will be reviewing that 6 page packet with you, in person, briefly. Because there's some really good parts in there that protect you, and me, and are designed to make our relationship stronger and better, and our communication clearer and better, and our lives (yours separate from mine for the most part) more lovely and better.

SCARED SHITLESS TO SIGN ANYTHING?

Don't fret. Read this article that I wrote, in layman's terms, for additional legal information (NOT ADVICE), just something to help you feel more confident.

WHERE CAN I FIND INSURANCE?

I find it imperative to first check with your regular auto/home/renters/life insurance provider to see if they offer the service. Or check out the following regularly used and widely trusted companies:

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6 Wedding Planning Pain Points and How to Avoid Them

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Upon hearing that I am a wedding planner people are immediately intrigued. They ask about what it is I actually do, since J Lo and I look practically like twins, I can see how people might revert to The Wedding Planner depiction of what it is I do...


JLO giff

Which isn't entirely accurate. I don't fall in love with the groom after nearly being rolled over to death by a dumpster, I don't wear a head set on the day of (although I do fanny pack), and I do not wear a 1990's chic suit skirt paired with a power bun (my buns are much more friendly and my blazer much more modern grandpa than airline stewardess).

Inevitably the comment I often hear, 'I could never deal with all of that stress and all of those bitchy brides'.

Ain't none of my brides bitchy. Well, maybe just one of them, but they were super sweet and kind and nice to me!! The point is, weddings can be stressful, and there are a lot of pain points that contribute to the deterioration of that pre-wedding bliss. This episode is all about preparing yourselves for some of them and making a plan for success!

BEST PRACTICES FOR LOWERING STRESS?

SLEEP

HYDRATE

EAT YOUR VEGGIES

GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME

COMPROMISE

LISTEN

HAVE A PLAN + GOALS

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO PLAN MY WEDDING?

Because a lot of the wedding planning pains that I see in my couples come when they have a lot left to do in a little amount of time, I am a huge proponent for setting a wedding date far, far in advance. Check out this blog post, Why You Should Wait to Get Married.

Remember, weddings are no joke. They are a lot of details, a lot of people, and a lot of emotions. They also require a lot of time to plan (i.e. more than a day, more than a week, likely, more than a month).

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO DESTRESS?

When it comes to planning, I like to do all of the things I just said you should do. But I also like taking walks to clear my head. Maybe I listen to an Amy Porterfield podcast, maybe I just walk unaccompanied by any noise. GASP! I know, but silence can be so clarifying.

I also think, 10 hours of sleep can really make you feel like a superhero, like you can conquer anything, including that mountain of a guest list that you need to shave down to a mini-mound. Peel yourselves away from electronics and get a little extra sleep.

More ways to relax: a hot shower, yoga, essential oils, watch Pride and Prejudice or Ever After or Last Holiday, go for drinks with a friend you haven't seen in forever. Number one way to avoid the wedding planning woes: remind yourself that EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE OKAY.

You get to get married and that, in and of itself, is enough. Without the maroon napkins, without the four tiered naked cake, without the string quartet - you get to be with the one you love, committed, for ever and ever.

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How to Make Final Confirmations with Your Vendors

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You guys. This episode is muy importante. Haven't pressed play yet? I'll tell you why you should. Your wedding is a giant labyrinth of details, last minute RSVP changes and last minute choices will make what you initially told your vendors outdated, and they need to be up to date about ALL of the wedding things.

Basically planning your own wedding transforms you into a boss, in charge of a mini-tulle and copper covered industry. You now have 'employees' (not in the legal sense of course, this is just a regular Josey tangent). You have people who are looking to you for you to tell them, a) what you need and b) how they are to provide it for you. Without the final confirmation you may find yourself

  • short 4 table linens

  • with a room layout that can't accommodate your expected guest count

  • with the wrong song for your ceremony processional

  • having to do the first dance with your dad that you agreed you'd forgoe

  • having to cut your own wedding cake and serve it

  • toasting with water instead of champagne

  • running out of ice before cocktail hour ends

To be frank, without your final confirmations you, your wedding guests, your mom and dads, your officiant, your wedding vendors, you naggy Aunt Helen, confused on all fronts. ALL of the fronts.

WHEN DO I MAKE FINAL CONFIRMATIONS?

Yes, it's true, that things will continue to change as the countdown ticks closer to zero, however, there are specific tactics of decision that can encourage your wedding plans to remain unchanged. Plan to have all RSVPs returned 1 month before your wedding, giving the flip floppers 2 weeks to have some last minute change that alters their attendance response for your wedding. This means that at 2 weeks out you will know, for certain, your guest count, which means you'll know your meal count, chair count, table count, program count, place cards can be ordered, linens confirmed, favors finished.

1-2 weeks out is when I call all of the vendors and ensure that the plans have been properly communicated.

DO I HAVE TO CALL MY WEDDING VENDORS?

You don't have to do anything you don't want to, you are your own person. However, if you are also a smart person, you will call them. You might have your wedding vendor call them, but verbally confirmed they will be. This is my personal preference and it serves me right, I know it will serve you just as good... well... right...?

There are just SO many variables with your wedding, like who is providing which linens for which tables that go where? Is the caterer providing the water station or the bartenders and who is bringing the cups? If your caterer isn't baking the cake, are they cutting it? Serving it? With their plates and napkins? And on which table? What about coffee? What about a water station after the caterer leaves?

HOW DO I ENSURE EVERYTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE CONFIRMED, IS?

This one is tough, honestly, because I truly believe you can plan your own wedding if you want to (and have some experience planning things!).

BUT (and it's a big but) in order to ensure that everything is confirmed that needs to be confirmed, you need to have a professional by your side. Someone who understands the ins and outs and ups and downs and lefts and rights and wrongs of a wedding day. Someone who is an expert, a wedding planner.

CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A CONFIRMATION?

Surely! Check out this blog post: How to Confirm Your Wedding Vendors like a Pro, to read a sample confirmation call, but remember what I just said, hire an expert. Because your wedding is unique, it has its own quirks and its own variables.

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P.S. Header Photo by Alyssa Lee Photography of Champagne Press Stationery

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How to Plan a Destination Wedding

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Savannah is the sweetest and after hearting practically all of her wedding photos I can attest that the beauty of their wedding day was IMMENSE. Their day was heartfelt, it was precious, intimate and meticulously designed. It also happened at a non-wedding venue, 1500+ miles away from her home. SKILLS.

WHAT ARE SOME POTENTIAL DIFFICULTIES IN PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING?

For Savannah, and perhaps for you, not being able to go to the venue before the big day can feel like a huge obstacle. Not being able to see what is there or understand the layout or the dynamics of the space.

Try to visit at least once, maybe by pairing a trip with your engagement photos, OR hire a planner who knows the space well.

It's also imperative that you plan well, since you likely are not wanting to lug boxes and suitcases full of wedding decor on an airplane. Savannah made a shopping list, arrived early before the wedding, and took care of business before relaxing and enjoying the weekend. The details she picked were truly impactful, so I think the minimalist approach here will serve you well.

PLAN SMARTER, MAKE WISE DECISIONS

Even though Savannah and Matt's venue wasn't a wedding venue, they had hosted weddings on the property before, and they were set up for events. Meaning there were things like a small deck for the dance, lighting and speakers, tables and chairs. This always gets forgotten when thinking of weddings, Savannah forgot one other major thing - listen the episode to hear what.

Basically they planned a destination backyard wedding and if you are doing the same, be sure to read this blog post all about how to do it well.

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P.S. Photos by Betsy and John Photography, this wedding was featured on Wedding Chicks!

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What Does a Wedding Planner Do?

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You guys. Laine and Bre are honestly two of my very favorite wedding vendors, and favorite wedding planners for sure. And maybe that's weird, as a wedding planner myself, to have two of my biggest competitors on the podcast and to spout about how amazing they are, but I can guarantee you that even Kate Spade wears other brands and gushes about how much she loves them.

The important thing is that you listen to this episode (perhaps you hire one of us - or all three of us lol) and you have a better wedding because of it. One that is better planned, better prepared and all around better.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU GUYS AND THE COORDINATOR MY VENUE PROVIDES?

A lot. Besides our top priorities, also our availability. Your venue coordinator will not be meeting you at the hotel, setting up your detail shots, or placing your escort cards. Amongst other things. HOWEVER, some venue coordinators, AHEM David at Machine Shop and Tracy at Nicollet Island Pavilion, are incredible. They go above and beyond, they cue your ceremony, they make your wedding day slick and they work perfectly as a dynamic duo with your wedding planner. Or at least that's my opinion.

CAN'T MY MOM OR MY SISTER DO THIS?

Short answer: f no. Long answer: listen to the episode.

WHAT DO REAL BRIDES AND REAL GROOMS THINK ABOUT HIRING A PLANNER AFTER THE FACT?

They gush. They are so so so appreciative to have had someone to do the things, to be the person and to control all of it all. Click here to read what my clients have to say about hiring a day of coordinator. Then continue down the rabbit hole and check out their weddings.

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P.S. Funny, all three of us have blogs about why you NEED a DOC. Trust us, see the value, find yourself some help.

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How to Plan a Backyard Wedding

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This episode is all about how planning a backyard wedding can easily be a big beast you weren't expecting to have on your back. Deep breathe. Sign up for Aisle Planner. Hire me. And get to it.

DO I NEED TO RENT A TENT?

Hell yeah you do.

WHAT IF IT RAINS?

That's why you got the tent.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?

Everything.  You'll need tables and chairs, a dance floor a bar, catered dinner and lighting. You'll need to listen to this episode because it's all in there.

WHERE CAN I FIND A GOOD RECAP?

17 Steps to Having the Backyard Wedding of Your Dreams

MORE QUESTIONS?

Leave them below in the comments!

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6 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

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6 ways to save money on your wedding

  1. Invite fewer people, because weddings includes costs per person. Let’s list all the things that are per person: chairs, chair covers, chair sashes, place settings, invitations, programs, menus, place cards or escort cards, dinner, drinks, dessert, appetizers…

  2. For every 6-10 people that’s an extra table or row of ceremony chairs. Yes. You want your family and friends to celebrate your love, but yes you want to avoid being strapped for cash and completely broke before, during, and after the celebratory event.

    BONUS: Selecting a venue which is outside of the city or county owned may equal lower rental costs, which can help free up thousands of dollars for things like catering, bartending, rentals and stationery. Personally I think park recreation centers or public golf courses have some really awesome spaces, like Silverwood or Hyland part of Three River Parks.

  3. Discount wedding dress resources: Anomolie, Nearly Newlywed, Still White, Preownedweddingdresses.com, find sample sales. Local: Bridal Aisle, Bride to Be Consignment, The Wedding Shoppe has discounts often

    BONUS: Find an amazing alterations company in your state (COUGH JenMar), opt for a simpler silhouette and have a custom dress made for you from an antique dress from the 60s or 70s

  4. Favors...seriously - don't do them. Brittany opted to have cute little baggies and a candy bar.

    BONUS: Instead of mints and mini bubble bottles think about letting your guests take home floral centerpieces or left over cupcakes to keep from wasting those well spent wedding dollars

  5. Wedding stationery - Care less about getting invitation addresses hand calligraphied, or about having individual programs and menus. Repeat your invitation design elements in table numbers, one large program and one large menu (or one per table). Check out Canva to design your own or self print at Kinkos.

    BONUS: Register through a company like Zola so that guests can contribute to your honeymoon - honeyfund etc.

  6. DIY with caution

    BONUS: Have friends who are experts or really good at something do that thing for your wedding. Have a musician friend? I think they should play your processional music. Have an aunt who works for Bachman’s as a floral designer? I think she should do your flowers. Have a grandma who’s made cakes for literally every family event? I think you should have her make your cutting cake.

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How to Find the Perfect Ceremony Music

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Stop looking for a ceremony playlist. Stop listening to 5 seconds of songs you know you won't like. Instead, opt for a custom soundtrack for the most important day of your life. Think about Abiding Harmony, and how Bill can compose a song that is unique to who you are as a couple.

In this episode of the podcast we chatted about hiring live musicians for your ceremony, about having a song composed for your big day, and about the important of a wedding that everyone can hear.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LIVE MUSIC?

Certainly having live music instantly makes your wedding fancier (more about that here), but it also has this awe factor, and it gives your guests an added bonus of having RSVP'ed yes to your wedding: a free concert.

While you may be thinking of just going with a Spotify playlist and telling your buddy to press play and do a slow fade when you get to the front, I would strongly advise not doing that. Your ceremony is technically the most important part of your day, without a ceremony, it's just a party, so do it the right way.

Having live music also allows for some improvisation. If your processional is taking longer than what you expected, or more likely, is much quicker than what you practiced, you'll have some wiggle room with the flow. That's right, the flow from music playing, to music no longer playing and your officiant talking. I've seen it with my own eyes many times, where there are live musicians there is less stress.

HOW CAN WE USE CUSTOM COMPOSED MUSIC IN OUR WEDDING?

Besides for the ceremony, you can also use your unique, one-of-a-kind music for your grand march, for your first dance song, for your last dance song, or for your wedding video. You could even set it as a ringtone for your new husband/wife.

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