I’m not going to sugar coat it. Wedding planning can be overwhelming. Along with all the decisions you have to make, there are all those parts you have to keep organized to make sure everything is covered and nothing is forgotten. Keeping your wedding planning process as streamlined as possible is so important to me. What better way to do that than with an online planning portal that both you and I can collaborate on together. It is completely customized based on your needs and is user friendly. It will help keep everything together and easier to manage as you plan your wedding day. This planning tool is included when you book with me no matter your planning package. Whatever I can do to help you will make my job easier, and make the entire day seamless.
YOUR WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST
Whether you have a year to plan your wedding or only 6 months, this customizable checklist will help keep your wedding planning moving forward. With assignments and comment capabilities, all communication can be focused on the task at hand. Check things off as you go and watch as your completed percentage increases with every checkmark. It’s quite satisfying.
As you plan your wedding you will have tastings, meetings, fittings, and so many other appointments to make. Keeping track of your schedule is easy with this calendar. You can see your appointments, assignments, and even when payments are due. Plus it is easy to sync to your mobile device for easy access.
DESIGNING YOUR WEDDING
Keep track of and share your inspiration, sketches, and favorite images for your wedding. You can even create your own color pallet to help guide your choices. This is something that can easily be shared with important people that are helping with wedding planning. It’s also an option to add your wedding day team members to your project and work together there to bring it all together.
WEDDING GUEST MANAGEMENT
The Guest List tool helps you to keep track of each invitation, all guests information, RSVPs, meal choices, allergies and special requirements, gifts, thank you notes sent….phew. Everything and anything you need to make sure that your guest list is organized. It also correlates directly with the Seating Tool, but more on that in a second.
COLLECTING ONLINE RSVPS
If you’re looking to be economical, you can email RSVP requests to all or specific guests and have them automatically updated on your guest list. This means less work for you! You can also use this tool to send general messages and information to your guests. It’s simple to use and helps take your event to the next level of organization.
WEDDING GUEST SEATING TOOL
I know a lot of people hate the idea of having to make a seating chart. But it really is SO essential to your guest’s enjoyment. And making a seating chart has never been easier. Just type in a name to each table and it marks them off on the right, that way you know who has been seated and who hasn’t. You can also use the groups feature to see relations and friendships, this helps ensure each table works for each guest.
This is the tool that I use to easily create a floorplan of your entire event. It will include all tables and areas for guest enjoyment. It makes sure that you not only have enough space but ensures the room flows well. And as you seat guests in the seating tool you will be able to visually see where your guests will be seated.
WEDDING DAY TEAM MANAGEMENT
Keep track of all of your hired wedding professionals, their contact information, and important documents. You can also enter invoices and payments that automatically update your budget. With reminders as well as when things are due so you are never late on a payment. This is also where I will share with you my recommendations for professionals that I feel will do a fantastic job on your wedding day.
WEDDING PLANNING BUDGET MANAGEMENT
One of the first things you should do, besides creating your guest list, is to create your wedding budget. It is so important to set that early and stick to it, and the budgeting tool helps you do just that. Keep track of the money spent and what you have left. It comes preloaded for you with recommended ranges for each category and easily adjusts as you plan so that you can reallocate funds to different ones.
EXTRA HANDY NOTES
Within your notes, you will find places to put all of the finer details, like music lists and packing lists. I always put in here the important documents for working with me and tips and tricks that can help you along the way with your wedding planning.
As a wedding planner and wedding officiant, I have seen my fair share of wedding ceremonies. One thing I have come to learn is that a lot of couples like to have a unity ceremony, but tend to stick to the traditional sand pouring or candle lighting. And while both are great options, there’s so many more out there that can be more personalized for your wedding ceremony.
It’s a great way to show the blending of your families so you might as well make a big deal about it. My couples are all about making the day personalized and a reflection of them. A unity ceremony is a perfect way to do that. Take a look at this list on different ways to incorporate a unity ceremony into your wedding ceremony.
Unity Ceremonies for your Wedding Day from a Wedding Officiant
Wine or Beer Mixing
Who doesn’t love a good drink, especially when you’re celebrating and especially when you are standing in front of a bunch of people. Now you can have your unity ceremony and drink it too. You could mix your favorite white and red wine, mix up a cocktail using your favorite liquors, or even make a Black & Tan. It’s a fun way to show you are coming together and get a little refreshment too.
Love Letters in a Box
Going along with the wine, perhaps you would like to each write your own love letter to each other to be opened on your first wedding anniversary. It is something beautiful to display in your home and a wonderful thing to look forward to. Then on your anniversary, you can relive the magic you were feeling on your wedding day. Keep it going by rewriting a new love note to each other and open them again year after year. And don’t forget the wine!
As I mentioned before there is the traditional sand ceremony, where you have different colored sand and you mix them together into one container. It’s really popular and simple to do, but as a wedding officiant, I don’t prefer them. If the container is not sealed or moved properly then the original design gets mixed and it doesn’t look as nice as the first pour. Instead, look into glass pouring. It is where you take small colorful pieces of glass and mix them like the sand, but afterward, you get the colorful mix turned into something for you to display.
Canvas Art or Paint Pour
So before you freak out about the mess this could make, there are ways to do it where your attire will still stay safe. Small squeeze bottles instead of cups. Putting a catch under the canvas to collect the paint. Using a brush to paint the canvas in an eclectic way, instead of pouring it on. Doing something like this can be very colorful, easy to include multiple people like children, and creates artwork to hang in your home.
Take it up a notch and allow your guests to add their own flair to smaller canvas that you can hang with your joint one. Now you have a conversational piece.
This unity ceremony is more traditionally used for those couples who wish to include their faith in their wedding. It’s used to show the joining of two people and god into their marriage by intertwining the ropes together. Having your wedding officiant give a blessing on the ropes or pass it between family members before braiding can add an even deeper element of love. Another way to use this is to include your children in the ceremony. You would each represent a rope, and by the end, you have blended your family into one.
Handfasting/Tie the Knot
This is a traditional Celtic ceremony in which your hands are joined and wrapped with rope, ribbon, or even an heirloom fabric. With blessings given over your hands by your wedding officiant, it can create beautiful imagery. Candace and Josh did this in their wedding ceremony and used a special hand-tying formation that when released and pulled it actually tied the wrap into an infinity knot for them to display in their home.
Remember, this is just a small list of ideas for your unity ceremony. You are only limited by your imagination as to what you can do for yours. Take a look at your relationship, your favorites, your interests….how can you take those and turn them into a unity ceremony. Something so personal like that can really make your wedding day a unique reflection of you as a couple.
Many people opt to have a signature cocktail or two on their wedding day for guests to enjoy and I fully support this decision. Not only is it a great way to save some money if you wish to limit your bar, but it’s a fun way to connect to your guests. ESPECIALLY if you make them personal.
How to Personalize Your Signature Cocktails
If you wish to have two cocktails available, pick two drinks that each represent you. It can be your favorite drink or something you come up with. The most important thing is what you name it. Use your Alma Maters, your favorite TV shows, your Hogwarts House or even just your names. Call it something that people will see and immediately relate it back to you.
You can also just have a single cocktail option and then name it after something that represents you as a couple. The sweetest version of this I have seen was a cocktail created with the couples two favorite alcohols and then titled “The Barretts”.
Top 5 Signature Drinks
Here are my personal favorite signature drinks for your wedding day. They are simple, classic and easy to incorporate. You can find these recipes and more on my Pinterest page too.
Everyone loves a Mojito. It’s refreshing and tastes great, but it’s also light. There are so many flavor options you can add to it too.
Apple Cider & Fireball
So simple, few ingredients which keeps the cost down, and it perfect for a fall wedding.
Again, many flavor options to pick from so it doesn’t have to be orange juice. Especially because orange juice can become heavy. This one with pears is unique and light on the tummy.
My personal favorite is Whiskey, and you cannot go wrong with a Whiskey Sour. Add cranberry for the holidays or keep it classic.
From Halloween to Christmas to something Patriotic, you can find any yummy signature cocktail themed to match.
As we have all learned more about how our everyday lives impact the Earth, a lot of us have started to change our ways to have less of an impact. But large gatherings like weddings can have a huge impact on our environment. Even a simple change can help so much. Here are my top 5 tips on how you can make your wedding more eco-friendly.
Avoid Single-Use Paper and Plastic Items, Rent or Use Biodegradable
Paper plates and napkins are very common for more DIY weddings because of their cost and ease of use. But renting dishes can still be affordable and removes a lot of extra waste. If your caterer is providing paper or plastic, ask them for biodegradable ones. Skip the cocktail and dessert napkins, they’re extra and not really needed. Or again, cloth or biodegradable ones.
Donate your Wedding Flowers
Flowers left at the end of the evening make up a considerable amount of trash and they could easily be recycled. In Cleveland, there is a fantastic company called Big Hearted Blooms that does just that. They will take your flowers and then repurpose them into arrangements for those in care facilities in need of a lift. Let your wedding flowers live longer and bring happiness to others.
Pick Alternative Wedding Invitations
Engagement Announcements, Save-the-Dates, Pre-Wedding Party Invitations, Wedding Invitations, RSVP Cards, Thank You Cards…..all adds up to a lot of waste. But you don’t have to go digital if you don’t want to. Just make sure to shop with eco-conscious brands or ones that use recyclable materials. Another option is plantable paper. Not only is it gorgeous as an invitation, but your guests can plant it and have beautiful flowers after. Lastly, if you’re not worried about a paper invitation you can create beautiful PDF invitations to be emailed to your guests.
Choose Caterers that Support Local Farmers & Businesses
It’s important to eat locally all of the time as that helps reduce the carbon footprint of shipping food across the states. It also helps support your local economy and small businesses. Spice Catering Co is a local catering company that not only supports other local businesses but has their own farm where they get food and inspiration from for their dishes. Also if you can find a caterer that composts their waste (or is willing to bag it for you to add to your compost) that has an even bigger impact on your wedding waste.
Skip the Favors, Offer Food Items or Make A Donation
At the end of your wedding day, when everything is being cleaned up, all of the favors that were left behind end up in the trash or boxed up for you to take back home. And it happens A LOT. I always recommend for couples to just skip the favor. If you still would like to give your guest something I highly recommend something food-based. People will eat it while they’re at their seats before dinner and it won’t go to waste. If that’s not your thing then make a donation in your guest’s honor to an organization you wish to support and make sure that your guests know. A simple sign for them to read or if you are doing a thank you speech, make sure to mention it.
Just think if you changed nothing, how much garbage and waste would end up in the landfill? Weddings create a lot and the bigger your guest list the more waste created. There are other options and ideas I haven’t even listed here. Take a few moments and think about where you feel the biggest impact can be made on your wedding day, and come up with some ideas on how to change that. Need more ideas? Reach out to me and set up a complimentary consultation and we can come up with ideas together.
Choosing a bridesmaid dress for the females in your wedding party is no easy task, but it can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process. Inviting the special women in your life to be your bridesmaids; your sisters, your lifelong friends, your cousins, and special family friends; is a way to seal important friendships during this very special time in your life.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bridesmaid Dresses
Naturally, it’s the couple who will be the focus of attention on the wedding day, but it’s important for the bridesmaids to look gorgeous too. Choose something simple and not overdecorated or detailed, but which will make your bridesmaids look elegant and sophisticated.
It’s important to choose a dress style which will flatter everyone’s figure. This is never an easy task, but empire waists and A-line or princess skirts will tend to suit most shapes and sizes. A very nice alternative, and one I recommend, is to choose the fabrics and colors and allow each individual bridesmaid to choose her own dress style. Separates are definitely an option too. Mixing and matching separate tops and skirts makes it easier to find a style that suits each individual bridesmaid.
Always keep a budget in mind for your bridesmaid’s gowns. Some times you can find sales or dresses even cheaper if you go to the right store. If you have your heart set on a more expensive gown, or one of your bridesmaids is financially unable to purchase the gown, you might consider helping out or give another dress option. Having someone be a part of your big day is more important.
Classic Looks for Bridesmaids
Any kind of formal gown, semi-formal, or evening dress can be chosen as a bridesmaids gown, so you have literally thousands of options. Satin, organza, chiffon, georgette, tulle, lace, brocades, and crepe are all classic fabrics for bridesmaid dresses.
You should think about the time of year you plan to hold the wedding, and how this will affect your gown choices. Choose lighter fabrics for summer, and a sleeveless or even a strapless dress style. If your wedding is planned for a cooler time in the year, long skirts and sleeves are best, or include a shawl or wrap as a gift.
Though a lot of people tend to choose their colors according to the time or season of the year, it’s not really necessary. If you want a color that isn’t typically seen in the winter, do it anyways. My only recommendation is to make sure they match your floral choices so your gowns will tone in nicely with the bouquets. Discussing your color ideas with your florist will make the job of choosing colors much easier. In the end, black never goes out of style.
Accessories for Bridesmaids
The simplest look will tend to work best, so accessories should best be kept to a minimum. Often a simple pair of earrings or necklaces are all the jewelry you’ll need. If you want to give a gift and keep things uniform, you can also gift jewelry to your bridesmaids to be worn on your wedding day.
Keep comfort as well as style in mind when you choose shoes for your bridesmaids. Very high heels may be uncomfortable to stand in for any period of time. I once wore 3.5″ heels and personally was in pain because I don’t wear heels regularly. So keep that in mind as well as the fact that the bridesmaids will most likely be wearing the shoes for the wedding ceremony and the reception. Choose shoes which will be comfortable to wear all day, then dance away the night.
I know you’ve been looking forward to your wedding day for some time now. Planning has taken you months, if not years. From your venue to your first pick photographer to the DJ that will keep the dance floor hopping. The perfect stationery and the flowers to match. The hairstyles, the outfits, and even the favors. Everything has been meticulously picked and put together to reflect your vision.
As the day gets closer you start to get back your RSVPs and you get a little more excited with each one. You slowly start to see everything coming together and everyone there that you love celebrating you two. Then one day it’s all gone.
My Heart Goes Out To You
This pandemic has come at the worst possible time for weddings in Ohio. It impacts so many and you are one of the hundreds if not thousands of couples who will be affected by this. Whether you have already made the choice to postpone or are patiently waiting to hear if your wedding day will move forward. My heart goes out to you.
I know you are probably working through so many emotions right now. Anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness. You are crushed and at the same time feel guilty. Your wedding day is the most important day for you right now, but people are losing their jobs and even their lives. Don’t get me wrong, yes it can seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but you are valid in your feelings too.
I can also tell you that it’s going to be OK. Your perfect person will still be there with you at the end of this. Your big day will still happen. It may not be on the date you picked, but it will still be on a perfect day. Your family will have even more reason to celebrate with you. You will come out of this stronger and even more ready to get married.
I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that things seem really hard and heavy right now. I know that you’re heart may be breaking, but take a step back and breathe. Look over at your perfect person as you read this and remember the real reason you are doing this. To marry them. Although it may not be exactly as you have envisioned, it will still happen and it will be just as perfect.