When wedding planning, one of the biggest questions that will come up, mostly from others, will be “Are you having kids at the wedding?”. Let’s break it down this way, you’re going to fit into one of these two types of people:
ONE: Ah, the squeals and cries of delight as a child is twirled around the dance floor. That totally makes me smile.
TWO: If one more kid trips on my dress on this dance floor, or cries one more time, my head is going to explode. This is why I didn’t want kids at the wedding.
If you fall under group number ONE, please continue reading. If you fall under group number TWO, please stop reading and refer to my blog on how to properly tell your guests your wedding is adult only. The current wedding planning blog you are reading is not for you.
So now that I know I have the attention of the right couples, let’s move forward. While wedding planning, you have decided to have kids in attendance. Awesome. But you also know like most people do, that kids have the attention span of a gnat. (I am a mother myself so I can say that.) What do you do to ensure that they have a fun time, but so do their parents? You make them feel special and give them something to do.
Here is my list of things that you could do for the kids attending your wedding, be it your own child or someone else’s.
1. You plan to use bubbles for your exit of the ceremony venue, or maybe as part of your grand exit, what better way to treat the kids right then by getting them bubble guns. Young kids already have a hard time blowing bubbles, and bubble solution is like a magnet to dress clothing on anyone under the age of 18 (or over for that matter). So contain the solution and make it easier for them. BONUS POINTS if you get the ones that light up.
2. If they are your children or close to you, have them help with the ceremony. Be it as an assistant usher, or a reading/poem. Just including them in the wedding ceremony gives them something to look forward to. That means they pay more attention, not always, but it helps. Just remember that it will not go perfectly and you must have patience.
3. Have an activity table set off to the side for just the kids. Fill it full of crafts, coloring books, toys and puzzles. Things that will keep them coming back for more. TIP: When it comes to the crafts ALWAYS use self adhesive items, never glue. And NEVER small items that suck to clean up like glitter. You think bubble solution is bad, wait till little Bobby shows his mom his newly decorated tie with Elmers and glitter.
4. Don’t have room for a table? That’s ok. As you are shopping for your wedding items, keep an eye out for fun things they can do individually at their seat. Then you create a little box or bag that they can have at their table and play with in their seat.
5. If you have the space at your venue, have a separate room for the kids to disappear to. Fill it with fun, games and a movie. More importantly, have a babysitter that will be in the room so that parents won’t have to worry. It keeps them entertained and their parents can still kind of get a night off.
6. Desserts. What kid doesn’t love desserts, or more importantly frosting? I know my daughter could care less about the cake, all she wants is the frosting. So make it fun for the kids. Have an area set up when they can decorate their own cupcake. In fact, make your entire cupcake bar a DIY station and then all of your wedding guests can have some fun. In fact there is a company that does this for you. Their name is Crave Custom Wedding Cakes, and they do all the decorating, but your guests pick it all out. TIP: If you make the bar yourself, put down a drop cloth – tape down the edges if necessary. It will make cleanup a lot easier on you or the staff you hired.
7. Here’s something that will serve multiple purposes: a favor and entertainment for your guests. What I’m talking about is a photobooth. There are so many different kinds out there now that they can fit within anyone’s budget. Keep it simple with some DIY or go all out and get a Mirror Me Photobooth. Wedding guests of all ages will appreciate the fun this can bring to your event. Plus, with everyone getting a print of their images, that covers your favors as well.
8. You’re more than likely going to have a wedding toast done. Maybe by a wedding party member, or a family member, either way it’s pretty much going to happen. So instead of having the kids toast with their soda or water, give them something fun: Milk and cookies. Honestly, just give everyone milk and cookies. I like champagne, don’t get me wrong, but milk and cookies is so different and so fun, and who doesn’t like milk and cookies?!
9. Is your wedding outdoors? I know it’s not often in Ohio that we get amazing weather, but if you plan it right, you can have a lot of fun planning an outdoor wedding. Make sure while you’re choosing between wedding cakes and linens, that you fit into your budget something for yard games. Again, not only is this for the kids but for the adults as well. TIP: Get a bounce house. They’re cheap to rent and have a huge impact and if you get a big enough one, adults can jump too. In fact, scrap you’re whole vision and just do a carnival themed wedding and then give me a call so that I can be your wedding planner. I am so in!
10. Your bouquet toss. Kinda fun and also kinda archaic. I remember being a single lady at a wedding and being pushed onto the floor to catch the bouquet, and frankly I found it embarrassing. It has honestly started to become a very old tradition, and not always done anymore. All that aside, whether you decide to through a bouquet or not, you should throw a candy bouquet for the kids. It’s like the wedding version of a pinata.
11. MY FAVORITE: Set up a photo scavenger hunt for the kids. Place a card at their seat and on it list items they must find at the wedding. There’s two ways to capture the images. If they have a phone, they can use that and have their parents send them to you. Or you could have disposable cameras. Now frankly, disposable cameras are so old fashioned and I never recommend couples put them on tables like they used to. All you get is horrible pictures with maybe 10 good ones and the rest was a waste of money. BUT for this instance I think they are very kid friendly for use and worth it. But again, if they have their own phones then you can save that money. On the list should be pictures that you want of your wedding day. Things like: a couple dancing, your dinner, someone wearing blue, someone toasting, etc. It’s kind of fun to see what the kids capture and it’s always from their perspective. It really can get you some fun pictures too.
Hopefully that gives you a few ideas as to what you can provide for your little guests at your wedding day. As a wedding planner, I say thank you for doing everything you can to help keep the children from destroying items you have rented. As a parent, thank you for giving me my sanity for the evening.
Donna & Steve Katko are an amazing couple. Not only are they both hard-workers, but they both have such caring hearts. Plus they’re pretty darn creative to boot. Donna is the lovely woman who created my ring for me that I wear every day, and I love it! The do handcrafted items that is perfect for wedding party and family gifts, and also just for yourself.
What is it that you do?
We hand make custom gifts using a variety of mediums including woodworking, metalworking, silversmithing, painting, and more. Our creations come in many forms, including, pens, bottle stops, serving ware, jewelry, decor, and more.
Tell my readers a little about yourselves.
We are a husband and wife team. Both of us graduated from the art institute of Pittsburgh. Steve has grown up around woodworking, and has integrated metal working and the repurposing of different industrial and mechanical pieces to create unique gifts Donna is well versed in mixed media, different painting styles, and sculpting. Her passion lies in jewelry design including stone setting, cutting stones, silversmithing, and advanced wire wrapping.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Being able to design a truly unique creation for each one of our clients to make their wedding day memorable.
What would be the most common mistake couples make when it comes to your business?
(i.e. booking late,etc.)
Not asking enough questions about our products and services.
What is your favorite thing to do, or place to go, in the Northeast Ohio area?
Going to local parks, museums,and local amusement centers: swings-n-things, Dave and Busters, etc…
Thank you so much to Donna & Steve for taking the time to answer a few questions.
If you would like to reach out to them to see what custom items they could create for you, please do so at:
Phone: (440) 379-0728
Photos by: Johnny Joo
So many words to say about this wedding, yet so little time to put it into words. Heather & Brandon were the lucky couple to be my last of the wedding season for 2017. I was so lucky to go out on such a high note.
When I met Heather it was just a little over a year from her wedding day at the venue she had booked for her wedding. We were talking about her plans and I shared that I had a wedding coming up on October 13th, 2016. Ironically her wedding date was October 13th, 2017. It seems to be my lucky day even though this year it landed on a Friday as well. Two weddings exactly one year apart in the exact same venue. It was fate.
We had such a wonderful consultation and just clicked. I knew this was going to be a dream wedding to help design and plan, and that it was. Heather had three things in her head that she wanted for her wedding. The first was sunflowers, the second was Beauty and the Beast and the third was touches of Friday the 13th (the day not the movie). I scoured the internet and Pinterest (yes, even as a professional I use Pinterest) for inspiration to go with my ideas. With my good friend Julie Elizabeth, I presented to Heather, Brandon and her mother our vision for the day.
It started with the sunflower and fall leaves for the ceremony. Her beautiful bouquets and leaves to be thrown by her adorable flower girls set the scene. It went so well with the pumpkins on the front steps. We added some small touches of luck with signs and pennies on every guests chair. “See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.”
After the ceremony the guests were invited inside to a Beauty and the Beast themed reception. Centerpieces were designed to reflect the main charachters. Hand beaded napkin rings to be able to fold them like the dancing ones in the dinner scene. Red floating roses and a gorgeous cake topper to match. To push it home Heather had some amazing signs created that really reflected the entire look and feel of the wedding.
The evening was filled with laughter, dancing and fun filled photos from Magnet Me Now. When the end was near I know I was filled with mixed emotions myself. The wedding being over, my season being complete, is always bittersweet. Yet this amazing couple being so happy, being able to enjoy their day with their friends and family, still brings a smile to my face.
This even would not have been possible without the amazing work of the following vendors:
Photography: Johnny Joo
Venue: Steele Mansion
Hair: Katie Oskowski
Make-up: Lindsay London
Entertainment: Tommy Kozlovich
Photobooth: Magnet Me Now
Stationary: Megan Gesing & It’s All Personal
Wedding Signs: Lola’s Design Loft
As a lot of local wedding professionals, I am a member of a very large wedding resale group on Facebook. It’s a great resource for couples looking for advice and items for their wedding. A lot of the conversation is asking for referrals for quality vendors, and every time invitations come up, Diane Kostal of It’s All Personal is ALWAYS recommended by someone. She does beautiful work for any budget and does it with kindness. She is professional and will help guide you as you design your wedding stationary with her. I myself recommended her too.
What is it that you do?
At It’s All Personal we design custom wedding and event stationery that is Uniquely Yours. We want to set the tone of your event through our design. We strive for perfection and quality at a reasonable cost. We want to wow your guests with our designs and bring your ideas to fruition.
Tell my readers a little about yourself.
I am the mom of four amazing children, they are my world. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and an amazing extended family. I grew up Salem, Ohio a small town in Columbiana County and had a very large family. I am the youngest of seven children, and since there was a large age difference between myself and my siblings, I was pretty spoiled as a child. I have a love for family and a very large heart. In every job I have ever had, I achieved a managerial position, I take pride in all that I do, and I jump into a leadership/problem solver mode when necessary.
Why did you choose to do what you do within the wedding industry?
Wedding Stationery found me. I loved to scrapbook, and when the scrapbooking industry introduced digital scrapbooking I fell in love with it. I started out doing invitations for family and friends and as time went on my love for the art of design grew. I never dreamed of having my own invitation company, it just happened and I could not be happier. When a local design company reached out to me on Facebook and wanted to network, my business flourished and I left my full time job to make this new dream a reality and have never looked back!
What trends in the wedding industry are you loving right now?
Laser wrap invitations are so beautiful and add so much elegance to an event. I love metallic invitations, glitter and foil!
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Meeting couples in love, that are just beginning their journey and making their ideas come to life in my designs.
What would be the most common mistake couples make when it comes to your business? (i.e. booking late,etc.)
Often couples order extra Wedding Stationery because they do not have a clear guest list and are basing their order on the number of people they are expecting, rather than the number of couples/households. They order in bulk to save money, but then quickly realize how many invitations they are wasting and throwing away because they did not have an adequate handle on their guest list.
What is your ideal day at work?
My ideal day at work is designing an invitation that is Unique and wowing my clients with the finished product that exceeds their expectations.
What is your ideal day off?
My ideal day off is spent with my family. I am blessed to have four healthy children that hold my heart in their hands. A simple day, watching TV, cuddling with my children, walking in the park and holding my husband’s hand is all I really need to refresh my mind and get back to the daily routine the next day.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Hard-working, Caring, Honest
Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by other Stationery Specialists that have out of the box ideas. I love the work of The Pink Tomato. I love when vendors that offer the same services can brainstorm and work together to achieve greatness. I am inspired by people that are welcoming and open.
What are three things you cannot live without? (Not including humans and pets)
My computer, my paper/laser cutter, and my glue/tape guns
What are you reading, listening to or binge watching right now?
I am watching Four Weddings as I type this, I love the different ideas that the brides have and watching their ideas come to life. I also love Say Yes to the Dress, and Orange is the New Black. I will always change the channel if Friends is on, it is my go-to show!
What is your favorite thing to do, or place to go, in the Northeast Ohio area?
We love to go to Edgewater Park and take walks, we love the West Side Market, and driving through Downtown Cleveland. We love Wahlburger’s!
What would you tell your 16-year-old self if you could?
Follow your dreams, listen to your heart, and live life everyday.
What is your favorite dessert?
What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or non)?
Iced Tea, Coffee, and Kaluha
Thank you so much to Diane for taking the time to answer some questions. Also for all of her hard work that she does for her clients.
If you would like to reach out to Diane to talk about what she could create for you, please do so at:
Flowers, Decor and Linens by: Amour Floral and Decor
So as a wedding planner, I get asked a lot of questions and this is one that I have seen asked again and again on local wedding boards. I’m very honest with my couples, so let me be honest with you. This should be a no-brainer. Your vendors are working hard for you all day. Would you want to go without a meal while working?
My boss doesn’t pay for my meals, why should I pay for theirs?
You are correct! Your boss doesn’t pay for your meals, instead you get 30-60 minutes to go and get your own meal to eat. So when would you like me to dismiss the DJ and photographer? I’m sure you won’t miss the music or holding up your dances till they get back.
Seriously, vendors are human too and they want to eat. It’s often time even written in their contracts that you must provide a warm meal and a place for them to sit. So that’s my first piece of advice, check your contracts and see what it says.
My second piece of advice is to talk to your caterer and see if they offer “vendor meals”. Sometimes they can give nice pasta instead of the filets you are serving, and this is acceptable! Some give a discount on vendor meals to be nice to you for serving your vendors. If anything, giving them the cheapest option of the meals you are serving your guests is completely acceptable!
My caterer doesn’t give a discount but said they can make boxed lunches for the vendors.
OK, while yes this is food, and yes it is at least something, it is not a nice thing to do to your vendors. Boxed lunches are generally made well before other things have been made. Now you are serving stale bread with turkey, cheese and potato salad. Maybe a bag of chips. If your caterer only offers this or your full priced meal, then pay full price. All this will do is aggravate your vendors and they will not work as hard for you as the night wears on.
Your wedding photographer is probably working 10-12 hours to capture your day. Your DJ shows up well in advance of your cocktail hour for setup and doesn’t leave until about an hour after the shindig is over.
As a wedding planner, I can tell you that I am the first in and last out. I work on average of 12 hours on the day, sometimes more. I usually have a great breakfast because I know I am not going to eat until dinner. When I remember I get to shove a granola bar down my throat with a bottle of water sometime between 12-4pm. It is exhausting to work weddings and it takes a lot out of you. Being given a nice warm meal with a table to sit at makes you feel appreciated and will help keep you going for the last 5 hours or more.
Wait, should I put them at a table with my guest? How does that work?
This can vary per wedding. The best thing you can do is to have a table at the back of the room specifically for your vendors. No decor needed, so don’t worry about the extra money on that. If you can’t put them in the room, then they need somewhere close enough to know what’s going on.
I always recommend sitting the photographer at a guest table if this is the situation because then at least they are still in the room to capture anything that may happen. Some DJs like to eat at their booth, some like to step away. I personally don’t care where I sit as long as I have a seat. I tend to take a few bites and then go back into the main room to make sure things are going well. When I am in wedding planner mode, I tend to not stay away for long, it’s just not in my nature. Again, check your contracts, it’s probably written in there. It’s not? Then ask your vendors!!
So who all do I need to feed then?
In short, anyone that is working your wedding through dinner.
The long list:
- Wedding Planner & Assistants
- Any other vendors that will be there through dinner, that are not attached to your caterer. The caterer generally feeds its own staff if they need to be fed.
When in doubt, ask your vendor. It’s just the nice thing to do.
And speaking of food, let’s talk about lunch. You’re going to a salon and will be eating lunch afterwards, great. You’re having someone come to you for wedding day hair and makeup, and will be eating lunch where you are at? Offer them food. Keep your vendors happy and they will go above and beyond for you.
I don’t want my vendors to miss anything, when should they eat?
When you do. If the food being served is in a buffet line, as the wedding planner, I will make sure you and your party are taken care of and then I will send the vendors right behind. Depending on the time, I may send VIP family first. If your dinner is being plated, your caterer should know where the vendors will be eating and have the food to them right after you get yours. Seeing a pattern here?
This is really important because your vendors need to be ready to move as soon as you are. And shoveling food into their face just to get something down because they were only given 10 minutes to eat, is not an ideal thing. As the wedding planner, I know that I need to be available at all times, hence why I have an assistant. This is for many reasons, but one of those reasons is so that my assistant can eat while I watch the floor. Then when she is done I go eat. Sometimes I don’t eat until after all the events have happened and the dance floor is open. Everything gets planned and scheduled and worked out before the wedding day so that everyone is fed a proper meal that night.
You want to add a cherry on top of the awesome meal you just served? Make sure to offer your vendors cake during the night or have some boxed for them to take home. It takes a bit to unwind after a wedding, so a late night snack is always something that is appreciated!