Trick or Treat…Halloween Weddings

Next year, Halloween will fall on a Saturday – the traditional day to host a wedding. If you are thinking about having a non-traditional wedding, then maybe a Halloween theme is right for you and your fiancé. From pumpkins, fall colors and day of the dead traditions, you have lots to choose from when it comes to Halloween ideas for your wedding day. If you want a Halloween wedding, your wedding planner can work with you to come up with a Halloween wedding to fulfill your dreams – or nightmares!

Here are a few ideas to get you started for your Halloween wedding:

Remember, it’s Halloween. Give parents time to take their children trick or treating!

After all, Halloween is a kids’ holiday (even though many adults love it too!). If you invite children to a Halloween wedding consider a daytime wedding and reception so parents can take kids out trick-or-treating afterwards. Or, have an amazing candy bar set up at your wedding and give the kiddos a chance to get candy. Better still, have some time set aside at your reception to have the kids trick or treat at each table. Each table can have candy for the guests to give out to the children.

Stay classy, not tacky

Try to stay away from the plastic spiders and orange pumpkin buckets as your table centerpieces. Instead try to use some seasonal flowers like red spider lilies, mums, and witch hazel. Even the names scream Halloween! Adorable mini pumpkins can be used to hold your place cards and think about using ceramic pumpkins with tea lights inside them to set a romantic ambiance. Elaborate candelabras or lanterns with bare branches can add some elegant whimsy. Consider goblets and silver chargers as part of the table set-up to give a bit of an antique vibe.

Pick an antique venue or one rumored to be haunted

A great way to carry the Halloween theme through your wedding is to book a ‘haunted’ venue. In the D.C. area, the Omni Shoreham Hotel is rumored to be haunted; it even has a presidential suite called “the ghost suite” because of strange and spooky things happening in there. The Hay-Adams Hotel on 16th St. N.W. is said to be haunted by Marian Hooper Adams who wanders the halls whispering “What do you want?” As if that wasn’t creepy enough, the interior of The Off the Record bar is decorated with blood-red walls and wooden fixtures – a Halloween wedding here would be ideal!

Chose an autumnal color palette and lighting scheme

Fall colors can be absolutely beautiful as your bridesmaid dresses. Teal, peacock blue, gold, burnt orange and wine are just some autumnal colors to choose from. Dyed-to-match accessories like bird cages or boleros with jeweled spider broaches can round out the dresses.   Your wedding planner can help you design a lighting scheme to evoke a bit of a spooky feeling with purple and orange wall lighting. A projector over the dance floor can light up the floor with spooky Halloween images like spider webs. Work with your band or D.J. to have a fog machine on the dance floor and maybe play songs like The Monster Mash and Thriller.

Let your guests have some Halloween fun with costumes and a photo booth

Sure, photo booths are not a new concept, but they sure are fun! Take advantage of all the costume and accessories sales going on right now to save yourself some money for your wedding next year. Then, have a dress up box at your reception so your guests can take some great pictures and really get into the Halloween spirit.

 

Blogger:  Jennifer Armstrong, Perfect Planning Events

(photograph source:  thefhd.net)

An-elegant-Halloween-wedding-

Real Weddings by Perfect Planning…Pretty in Pink at Stone Manor Country Club

This summer we had the opportunity to work with a very vibrant couple and a very vibrant color palette, pink!  Our beautiful Bride knew exactly what she wanted and detailed to us everything that she wanted us to bring to life on her wedding day.  Elegance and attention to detail was most important for the Bride and she wanted her guests to have an “experience” on the day of her wedding!  From the lush color of shades of pink, to the intimate details in the stationery, to the activities that the guest would be able to participate in during the time they spent celebrating with our couple.

The color palette used was various shades of pink with hints of gold.  The color pink represents compassion, nurturing and love, as well as self-worth, tenderness, caring and acceptance.  A perfect color for such a romantic day and our couple!  The floral décor was a mixture of hydrangea and orchids which were designed by our friends at Tierra Floral Design.  The pink floral décor added the right burst of color for our outdoor ceremony as it politely blended itself with nature’s green color palette.  At the reception, pink was incorporated with the tablescape as a pop of color in the linen napkins, floral centerpieces, wedding cake, and printed stationery.  Gold came into play as the little intimate details using gold flatware, gold pebble base plates, and gold hand-crafted tables names that were done by my cousin in North Carolina.  The final touches on the tables were the table linens; we toned down the color, however, the texture in the extreme ivory linen gave it that added touch to compliment our elegant décor.

As guests entered the reception, they were embraced with sheer fabric ceilings, pink up-lighting around the room, and above the sweetheart table was the lighted design logo of our couple; lighting was provided by our friends at Washington Celebrations.

As the guests dined and celebrated with our couple, they were able to enjoy the entertainment of a gelato station, photobooth, the rhythmic sounds from Deejay Tye, live cocktail music from violinist Daniel-D, and the guys had the experience of a cigar and cognac bar which as a classic hit!  Couple months before the wedding the Bride wanted to do something special for the groom and her friends, so I suggested to her a cigar roller and cognac bar.  After extensive research we found the perfect match, engaging Cortez Cigars to assist with a cigar roller on-site to show the skills of how crafting cigars for the gentlemen on-site.  This guy was a true talent and exciting to watch.

We loved working with the color pink and loved one of our first ideas – the cigar roller.  Providing your guests with an “experience” definitely yields to a romantic and remarkable day of celebrating!

Special thanks to all of our wedding vendors:  The Venue – Stone Manor Country Club  |  Caterer – The Carriage House  |  Floral Décor – Tierra Floral Design  |  Photography – Inspired Photography by Susie  |  Photobooth – Photo In a Box  |  Videography – Understand the Vision  |  Deejay – Deejay Tye  |  Live Entertainment – DD Productions, LLC  |  Ceremony Musicians – JJ& Entertainment  |  Wedding Cake – Edibles Incredible  |  Gelato Station – Amore Gelato  |  Cigar Roller Company – Cortez Cigars  |  Beverage Service – Ye Old Spirit Shop  |  Portable Air Conditioners – Airpac  |  Linen, Charger Rentals – Select Event Rentals  |  Tent Liner – Lotus Productions  |  Lighting Specialist – Washington Celebrations  |  Stationery – LePenn Designs

 

Photography Credit:  Inspired Photography by Susie

Important Elements of a Wedding Planning Timeline

You found the perfect guy. He gave you the perfect ring. Now what (panic!)? Nope! Plan, plan, plan…..but where do you even start!? Don’t worry! Here we will give you a general overview of the important elements you need to cover when you are planning your wedding and when you need to do them. When you work with Perfect Planning Events, Tara will guide you through this process so that nothing gets left undone or left to the last-minute.

A timeline and organization in wedding planning is very important because it allows you time to breath. With a proper timeline all items for your wedding that need to be done get spaced out over the time and it helps assign key tasks to the couple or the wedding planner. Your planner will help to ensure that you are able to get your choice of venue and vendors because your planner will work to book your choices early enough during the planning process. Nothing is worse than not getting the venue of your dreams simply because you waited too long to book it!

Ideally you want at least 12 months to plan and prepare for your wedding day, but if you have less time, don’t sweat it! With a lot of organization, patience, support and help from the pros you can crunch the timeline if need be. Have fun planning your dream day!

8 – 12 Months Before Your Wedding

  • Book your wedding planner!
  • Scope out and book your ceremony site, reception venue and caterer. (Tip: If you are getting married in a church be sure to get your wedding preparation timeline from your officiant should they require special preparation.)
  • Shop for your wedding gown and place the order. (Tip: Pinterest is a great place to start getting ideas of what you like for your gown and every other aspect of your wedding day!)
  • Interview and book your photographer, videographer, ceremony musicians DJ/Band and florist.
  • Finalize your guest list.

6 – 8 Months Before Your Wedding

  • Contact rental companies now if you need rental items such as chairs or tents.
  • Send your “Save the Date” cards.

3 – 6 Months Before Your Wedding

  • Purchase your invitations and order plenty of extra envelopes.
  • Book rehearsal dinner site.

 6 – 8 Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Mail your invitations. (Tip: before you seal a single envelope, take the whole stack of an invitation to your post office to weigh it to be sure you purchase sufficient postage. And don’t forget postage for the response envelopes!)

1 Month Before Your Wedding

  • Have your final gown fittings for you and your bridesmaids.
  • Contact all of your vendors to make sure everything is in order. Confirm wedding night hotel room and honeymoon travel plans.

3 – 4 Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Finalize RSVP list (Tip: finalizing your guest list 4 weeks in advance allows time to contact guests who have not responded and to invite guests from a “B” list.)
  • Finalize your seating chart.

1 Week Before Your Wedding

  • Give caterer final guest count.
  • Put together an emergency kit for yourself and your bridesmaids (aspirin, hair pins, extra stockings, safety pins, tampons, mints etc.) and give to the maid of honor to have with her on the wedding day.

Wedding Day

  • Make sure best man has the rings.
  • Relax and have fun!
  • Get married!!

 

 

Blogger:  Jennifer Armstrong, Perfect Planning Events

 

Wonder What Will Go On Behind the Scenes On Your Wedding Day? We’ll Give You a Sneak Peak

If you and your fiancé hired Perfect Planning Events to coordinate your wedding day, rest assured that the team has you covered! As a client, you won’t need to worry about making sure everything is perfect and done according to your wishes; or any unforeseen issues come up that you will need to deal with because Tara and her Perfect Planning Events team members are there to handle it all and to keep the day rolling. When you walk into your wedding venue, you will see all of the planning and preparation come to fruition as everything is in place and just as you had envisioned.   As the Perfect Planning team blogger, I had a chance to interview Tara’s assistants to find out what they do to prepare themselves for your wedding day. Here are some details to give you a glimpse of all that goes on behind the scenes to make your wedding day your dream day!

The wedding day coordinators will take the time to prepare themselves prior to your wedding to understand the timeline for the day, familiarize themselves with your special requests, vendors and the venue. Tara will provide the coordinators with the outline of the day’s events and a diagram of the venue so they can ensure the correct table placements for cocktails, buffet bars (meals, candy, cookies, ice cream and/or cigar tables should your wedding include these), the gift table, escort cards, guest seating and any other special set-up requests.

Tara assigns the coordinators to either the ceremony or reception.  Nykeba Law, Lead Coordinator with Perfect Planning, explains a team member is assigned “to stay with the bride and bridesmaids or to be with the groom and his groomsmen. During this time, we make sure that the bridal party is comfortable and direct them to the appropriate place and time for the ceremony.” Kendra Johnson, Lead Coordinator with Perfect Planning for 3 years says “When I arrive to the venue, myself and the other coordinators working, make sure we have everything we need to set up efficiently and in a timely manner. We typically set up everything from the escort card table to the guestbook and gifts table to placing menu cards at each place setting. We also connect with all the vendors onsite to make sure we greet them and review all the details with them to ensure we are all on the same page. Before guests arrive, we do a final walk through to make sure everything is set and ready to go because once guests arrive there is no time to do anything but to take care of the bride and groom as well as their guests and to stay on schedule.”

The coordinators work hard to ensure that the wedding day events schedule is adhered to as best as possible. As needed, they will also help get the party started by leading your guests in fun dances! They also make sure that you and your fiancé are completely taken care of during the whole day and that neither of you need to lift a finger or deal with any unpleasantness. Nykeba states “We may have guests with special requests and we try to be as accommodating as possible. It is our duty to be seen but unseen at the event. Even though the couple and guests know that we are there we do not want to be seen as a focal point or spotlight.”

Towards the end of the evening, the coordinators will begin to pack up the couple’s keepsake items, gifts and cards give them to a previously designated person to take with them at the end of the night. Some couples may have a lover’s basket which could include wedding cake, cheese, and champagne or wine) that the coordinators also make sure is packed and ready for the couple upon departure. If the couple will be spending their first night in the venue of the reception, the Perfect Planning team may even set the mood in the couple’s room! Kendra gives some final insight into the behind the scenes wedding day coordination “this is also a time where we can tell if everyone had a great time because they are usually still hanging around deciding on where they are going next (usually an after party) and as they are leaving they are thanking us and telling us how great of a job we did. By this time, we are all tired and our feet are so sore to the point we can barely walk, however, hearing these kind words and seeing smiles on the bride and groom’s faces make it all worth it.”

Blogger:  Jennifer Armstrong, Perfect Planning Events

Below are some photographs of the team in action:

Real Weddings by Perfect Planning Events…Desi & Marilyn…Celebrating 25 Years

It’s not that often that you hear of couples celebrating 25 years of marriage.  For the team at Perfect Planning Events, we had the opportunity to celebrate and applaud this magnificent milestone with Desi and Marilyn Crouther on August 23, 2014!

*Connecting silver to the 25th wedding anniversary may have originated in Middle Europe, specifically in the Germanic region, according to Hallmark’s website.  Traditionally, a husband would give his wife a silver garland marking 25 years. The silver symbolized the “harmony” that people believed a couple needed to sustain a marriage for such a long period of time.* (*from Hallmark.Com and EHow.com)  The 25 Year Celebration of Desi and Marilyn was one that centered around a foundation of love and family which was shown throughout the planning of this wonderful celebration.  Marilyn contacted me within 45 days of the day this was all to occur and asked that our team to carry out the details and the design of this remarkable day.  Marilyn, a business executive, was planning this 25 year milestone as a surprise to her husband and mums the word!  Imagine carrying this secret event without him finding out – it was a major task that we definitely accomplished!

The venue, Magnolia Farm –  their retirement home, which was named after the state flower of Mississippi which is where Marilyn and Desi originated and graduated college, Mississippi State.  Marilyn thought the farm was an excellent location because the farm wasmississippi-state-bulldogs-script-logo-primary4079205966_c5df7a03c2 her husband’s inspiration for their continued future to relax and enjoy their life, and he (Desi) was celebrating his retirement from work one day before the big day!  The barn was the backdrop and focal point.  The decor represented a rustic theme surrounded by things that incorporated the love of the couple and their family.  The table decor incorporated willow twist and natural yuma linens, mason jars for the southern sweet tea accented with chevron straws, natural floral decor with wooden boxes, sage candles, drift oak farm chairs, and gold trim base plates.  Additional decor, we provided the guest with a taste of vintage Coca Cola (Marilyn’s favorite beverage).  As the guest arrived, a vintage hot rod was at the entrance of the barn which greeted guests as they arrived.  Also as a guest entrance, Marilyn showed me a picture of a sign that she liked, so we created our own sign that incorporated some of the couples favorite love songs.

The celebration began with the ceremony.  The morning of the wedding, Desi, finally knew that something more was going on – he thought the celebration was a small gathering of close family members – however, when he was introduced to the complete production, he knew and he was excited about re-creating the love he shared with Marilyn.  The ceremony attendants were dear and special to their hearts, their kids.  The guests included 80 of their closest family and friends.  The ceremony was held outdoors under the tent with the Virginia Mountains in the background; our altar incorporated lush floral atop vintage wine barrels.  Later the guests were transitioned to the barn where they enjoyed a scrumptious array of food (all of the couples favorites) and desserts (German chocolate and red velvet cake, vanilla butter wedding cake – favorites of the couple) provided by Tasteful Affairs and Edibles Incredible.  Toasts were presented by some of their closest friends followed by a welcome toast of love by the couple.  Marilyn and Desi then presented their original wedding party attendees from 25 years ago with gifts of appreciation of their support throughout the years.

Once dinner was completed – it was time to party!  The guests were then escorted back to the tent to move and groove to the sounds of Lugo Entertainment.  Desi, Marilyn, their kids along with family and friends danced the night away celebrating what really was the foundation of their life – Love, Family, and Friends!  BTW, don’t you love the cowboy boots that completed Desi and Marilyn’s attire!

 

Special THANKS to the following wedding professionals that helped to make this day a success:   Us – Perfect Planning Events (decor design)  |  Tasteful Affairs (catering)  |  Lugo Entertainment (deejay)  |  Michael’s Flowers (floral decor)  |  A Perfect Image (photography)  |  Edibles Incredible (cakes)  |  Select Event Group (tent, chairs, chandeliers)  |  DC Rentals (base plates)  |  BBJ Linens (linens)  |   Curtis Taylor Quintet (ceremony and dinner entertainment)  |  Joy Burgess (soloist)  |  Susan Carter (soloist)

Photography Credit:  A Perfect Image Photography

10 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Wedding Planner

According to a survey conducted by TheKnot.com, the average wedding budget in 2013 was $28,000. The Washington D.C. area ranked at the 13th most expensive city to get married in with an average wedding costing $37,500. The invitations, reception, flowers, limos, rings, THE DRESS, hair, make-up, photography – with wedding budgets pushed to the limit, why hire a wedding planner?

Many DIY brides feel perfectly capable and very excited to handle every single detail of their wedding and are great at handling all the stress of juggling vendors, schedules and budgets and successfully forgo hiring a wedding planner. But, some brides may not have the time or the know how to handle it all and find the process overwhelming. And yet other brides simply need help keeping mom happy and out of the process!   Whatever the situation you find yourself in, we have 10 reasons why you should consider making some room in your budget to hire a pro.

Connections, Connections, Connections

Just like location, location, location is the mantra for real estate, connections, connections, connections should be the mantra for wedding planners. A good planner will be able to make recommendations on reputable vendors to help create your perfect wedding day. A great planner has experience with a variety of vendors and can recommend one who bestajw_0218 suits the needs of their bride.

How Much Will That Cost??

Once you, your fiancé and/or parents settle on a budget; you need to make sure to stick to it. Your wedding planner can help you allocate a percentage of the budget to each vendor you decide upon for your nuptials.   When choosing your wedding location and vendors, your planner will keep the budget in mind to recommend vendors in your price range. Your planner can also keep track of deposits paid to your vendors and remind you of when the next payments are due so you are never late.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! Oh Wait, Your Planner Does!

Have you done a Google search for florists in your area? The numerous results can be daunting. Not to mention you still need to research each potential vendor to make sure they are reputable and won’t leave you hanging! Not everybody has the time or the patience it takes to handle each and every detail of planning a wedding.

Because You Can’t Clone Yourself! A Planner Make Choices for You When You Don’t Have the Time

As you work with your wedding planner they will get to know your taste and can help make certain decisions for you to free up your time. When you are running really short on time and just can’t make a meeting with potential vendors, your wedding planner may be able to attend the meeting in your stead and make informed choices for you keeping your theme, budget and taste in mind.

Enjoy, Celebrate, Love

Your wedding day will be over before you know it – all the more reason to be fully present in the moment and celebrate to the max. However, on the day of your wedding there are so many moving parts to make your special day come together; which means there were many, many things that could go wrong! But with a wedding planner, you, your fiance and your family can sit back, relax and enjoy because the planner will handle any issues that come up and they won’t bother you with the details.

Etiquette Minder

Your wedding professional can assist you when it comes to etiquette questions and proper wording for your invitations. They can also, tactfully, handle moms and to-be mother in-laws who want to have their two cents taken into account. Your planner can not only get the moms off your back, but it can also save a lot of hurt feelings and disappointments when a pro can handle the situation with grace.

Your Best Friend Will Get Sick of Hearing Wedding Details

From card stock choices for your invitations, to the infinite choices of dresses in the bridal magazines; your best friend will eventually tire of all the wedding details. Help save your friendship by avoiding dumping all of your ideas and stresses on your bridesmaids and talk to your planner. As the bride, you need a dependable outlet for all of your wedding energy. Your wedding planner is your judgment-free partner in all of the wedding chaos.

Makes Your Dream Comes True

Some brides have had every details of their wedding planned since they were a little girl. Others need some help focusing their vision. And that’s ok! Your wedding planner can workajw_0706 with you on taking your sources of inspiration and turning them into your dream wedding.

What Did I Just Sign?

Did you hear the one of the hotels in New York charging the wedding couple $500 per each bad review guests leave on Yelp? Many vendor contracts are long and boring and tend to be glazed over by many. It’s important to read your contracts and find any ‘unusual’ terms. Your planner can not only help you navigate the contract language but also negotiate on your behalf to get extras included. Your planner will work for your best interest.

Beat the Clock

Your wedding professional can space out everything that needs to be done before your wedding day over the time so that you get the vendors you want and don’t stress out about time or have to crunch to get everything done in a few short weeks because you procrastinated.

Whether you chose to plan your whole wedding yourself, hire a professional for all the planning, or even hire a planner for the week before and day of your wedding, make sure to enjoy the process of planning your special day. Your wedding will be over in the blink of an eye.

 

Author:  Jennifer Armstrong, Blogger, Perfect Planning Events

*Photographs are real weddings of Perfect Planning Events provided by Paired Images*

Real Weddings by Perfect Planning Events…Florn-Cacioppo Wedding

The love and energy that transcended with this couple was infectious!  Jim & Angie, a vibrant and active couple began their courtship with each other on a century ride (100 mile bike ride) from Washington DC to Dewey Beach, DE.   During this 100 mile trek, Angie encountered several mishaps with her bike and Jim was there to the rescue each and every time.  After Angie’s long uneventful bike ride, Jim offered to take her home, and from there their love for each other began to blossom.

Angie wanted to incorporate their personalities within their wedding day from the feel of the decor to the beginning of the day with sentimental vows based on the childhood character, Dr. Seuss!  And Jim, a craftsman by trade, was an excellent artist in creating the wine box that was used during the ceremony which stored special love notes they had written for each other, to the wood table numbers that were on the guest tables during the reception.  Angie requested for a purple-eggplant decor, so I incorporated a creme cameo leaf check table linens with a hint of shimmer sparkle with eggplant moire linen napkins, with the cake table with an elegant romance champagne crinkled textured linen, topped with rustic wood framed chairs.  Upon producing an inspiration board for Angie and Jim, she indicated she had a friend that was a floral designer that she wanted to assist with the florals for her special day.  Angie’s friend, Stacy Gaudutis was spectacular at providing a whimsical design of floral bouquets for the ceremony and reception which matched perfectly with our rustic design.

The day began with a magnificent weather and a beautiful view overlooking a breathtaking Virginia landscape.  As guests arrived they were entertained with the melodic tunes from local guitarist, John Ware.  After completing their Dr. Seus vows and saying, “I Do”, they welcomed guests with a special dance choreographed by Jim and Angie to the sound of “In the Mood” by the Glenn Miller Band.  Surrounded by family and friends, they celebrated the night away full of joy and love.

And as their vows to each other based on Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You Will Go”, I will leave you with their special saying from the first and last verse:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Special Thanks to the Wedding Professionals that helped to make Jim and Angie’s day a success:

Event Planning – Perfect Planning Events  |  Photography – Paired Images  |  Ceremony & Reception Venue – Sunset Crest Manor  |  Officiant – Wedding Ceremonies by Jeff  |  Catering – Legends Catering  |  Floral Decor – Stacy Gauditis  |  Deejay – DJ Dark Fader  |  Ceremony Musician – John Ware  |  Bartending Service – ProBar Serv  |  Wedding Cake – Fluffy Thoughts  |  Make-Up Artist – Dawn Newsome  |  Transportation – Reston Limousine  |  Linen & Chair Rentals – DC Rentals

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT:  Paired Images

Unplugged Weddings – How to Control the Cyber Frenzy

blog picture 3Hyperconnectivity – this term is becoming fairly common now that most people have smart phones, tablets, and digital cameras with Wi-Fi. These days it’s common to sit through a meal or special event with family and friends where someone pulls out a device to check their email or update their status on a social network. While some brides welcome the numerous devices capturing their special moment, the “unplugged” wedding is gaining favor with the newly hitched.

Unplugged weddings started with celebrity couples getting married and wanting to keep the details under wraps in order to have some privacy during the ceremony, and some even to sell the images from their wedding for large sums of money. Now the trend is trickling down to the non-celebrity bride. The Huffington Post, The New York Times, ABCNews and others have covered the unplugged wedding trend. While an unplugged wedding may not be for everyone, some brides simply want to be the first to post the best possible pictures to their social networks rather than a play-by-play by their guests.

From a photographers view-point, an unplugged wedding can be game changing. A professional photographer knows how to set-up a shot and capture the best from the subjects. They have high-quality equipment and know how to use it. The average wedding guest snapping away pictures on their mobile phone camera and instantly uploading them to Facebook and Instagram can not only be a distracted guest and a potential distraction to the wedding party, but they are also uploading low-quality images to the web. These guests could also be getting in the way of a shot the paid photographer is trying to get, or worse, have their phones or other devices up to their faces in a shot that a photographer is tryingblog picture 2 to get of the guests. A photographer can do very little about an overzealous guest who gets in the way of pictures or uses a flash which causes the professional image to be washed out.

So, how does a bride politely ask a guest to put their phone and camera away during the ceremony? First thing would be to make an announcement on your wedding website. Spread the word through your guests so they already know to expect the unplugged policy. A nicely worded and decorative sign and a note in the program at the ceremony serve to gently remind guests that you want them there enjoying your special day with you and not documenting it. Or, before your nuptials, the officiant can ask guests to put their cameras down and be completely present during the ceremony. Offbeatbride.com offers some great tips on wording so you can still get the unplugged wedding you want and not alienate your guests.

The flip side to the unplugged wedding is the very much plugged in reception. This can even take place of the cheap and terrible quality disposable cameras on the guest’s tables and allows guests to participate and take pictures from their view-point. You can encourage your tech-loving guests to take as many pictures as they want during the reception celebration blog picture 1and then share the pictures with you using hashtags or on your wedding website – thus controlling the cyber frenzy. Many photographers now offer digital copies of your wedding pictures that you can share with your guests. Regardless of whether you feel that an unplugged wedding is the way to go or a connected wedding is right for you; remember that your wedding day is about you and your fiancé and the love between you both – your guests will fall into the vibe you set and celebrate along with you both.

Author:  Jennifer Armstrong, Blogger,  Perfect Planning Events

Real Weddings by Perfect Planning Events…”Summer Love, Sarah and Russ”

We were humbled to be a part of the Mastrorocco-Sprunger family when they asked us to assist with coordinating Sarah & Russ’ wedding day.  This happy couple was filled with love and with an infinite burst of happiness each and every time you saw them.  What started as kindred friendship as graduate students at Kellogg Northwestern University, evolved into a bright future for this couple.  Strong family backgrounds and family bond from each side of their families bridged a fortress of infinite support and love for Sarah and Russ.

Their wedding day was a day of pure joy!  The smiles on everyone’s faces transcended from the start of the day til the end of the night.  The day was bright and shiny, perfect weather for a summer day!  The historic Cathedral of St. Matthew The Apostle in Washington, DC set the stage for Sarah and Russ to say I do!  The Cathedral provided a sense of serenity and a place of peace to celebrate the union of this lovely couple.  After pronouncing their love for each other and becoming one, they engaged with their guests for a family photograph on the front steps of the church and served them a summer tasty treat from Scoops2U!  Ice cream anyone?!

In route to the reception site, the newly married Sprunger’s and their close friends toured downtown DC for a some fun photo moments that were captured by Maria Vicencio Photography…what a way to take advantage of the District’s main attractions.

Sequoia Restaurant of Georgetown served as the host location for the continued wedding celebration for dinner and dancing.  Guests were able to engage in a romantic atmosphere provided by Sequoia with its multilevel outdoor terrace nestled on the banks of the Potomac River, and its creative nautical decor with its stunning fiber-optic chandeliers at center stage.  Oh and the cuisine was divine!  Guests danced the night away with the joyous sounds provided by DJ Juan Leon of MyDeejays.

Joyous Summer Love describes Sarah and Russ’ special day!  We were honored to be a part of their celebration and many thanks to the wedding professionals that helped to make their day a memorable occasion.

Russell & Sarah Sprunger  |  May 31, 2014

Special Thanks to:  My Team-Perfect Planning Events, Father Michael Kelly, Cathedral of St. Matthew The Apostle, Sequoia Restaurant, Michael’s Flowers, Maria Vicencio Photography, Video Express Productions, MyDeejay, Georgetown Cupcake, Roche Salon Georgetown, Prime Transportation, Reston Limousine, Scoops2U.

Photography Credit:  Maria Vicencio Photography

Ways to Save for Your Wedding based on Time & Flexibility

You’re engaged now and it’s time to plan your special day that includes celebrating with family and friends, and starting a new chapter in your life. There is so much to do and so many facets of planning that can be overwhelming to anyone. The first step in the process is to determine your budget to help guide you through the planning process. wedding-budget-6Without a defined budget, the planning can become a little chaotic. So, where do you start to determine how much of an investment you are willing to put forth? As a standard guide, food will be approximately 45% of your budget; the venue will be approximately 20%, floral and décor approximately 15%, photography approximately 10%, and so forth. Statistics for the wedding industry indicates that the average wedding is around $28,000*. Last year, the average cost of a wedding was around $30,000*; a record high and a sign that the economy was moving in a positive direction.  This average varies by geographical location. For example, comparing major metropolitan areas versus rural areas, New York City had the highest average of $87,000*, rural areas such as Idaho the average was $17,000*, and my local area Washington, DC the average wedding is around $37,500*.

With a little explanation of wedding costs and you have determined your budget, the next step is to govern the number of guests that will be in attendance which has a tremendous impact on your budget. Third, determine what is important to you to navigate the percentage that you will invest for items for your wedding. Fourth, be realistic and wise with your budget, and do not go into debt to have a wedding; invest in what you can actually afford. Last, relax and set guidelines to keep yourself on track.

Now that we have established guidelines for the budget process, let’s discuss avenues in which you can save money to plan your wedding day. In this discussion, I want to focus on, Timing & Flexibility, in the following possible ways to save – Venue, Food & Beverage, and Floral Décor – all which revolve around time and flexibility.

The wedding venue is the location in which you will say “I Do”, take your first dance, and celebrate the night away with family and friends. The wedding venue to most has sentimental value or has the romantic ambiance that you are looking for to host such a special occasion. To reduce cost in this area of planning, timing and flexibility, play an essential role to your investment. I recommend to aid in cost reduction to be flexible with your date in regards to the time of year and day of the week. Most venues have peak periods when the negotiation for cost will be very minimal, so ask your venue coordinator what are the non-peak periods in which the cost of hosting an event will fit more into your budget. Most non-peak periods are in the winter months, however, it does depend on the location; example the Mid-Atlantic area might be flexible during the winter months than areas like Florida when it’s warm all year round. Scheduling your wedding during a non-peak time could reduce the cost anywhere from 15-20%. Also 110213-Procopio Photography-Park Wedding-073based on timing, if you are flexible, is the day of the week. Traditional weddings occur on Saturdays (the most popular day), however, if you are open to a non-traditional day consider hosting your wedding on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. Weekday and Sunday weddings have become popular based on the premise of the lower cost to entertain during the week. The savings for weekday wedding range from anywhere from 20-40% – a huge savings if you are flexible to hosting during the week.   When speaking with your venue coordinator acknowledge your budget in the beginning of the conversation, next ask with your established budget how and where you can save to host your day at their location.

After you have established the location, it’s now time to determine the delightful part of planning, the food! There is an old cliché that says “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” – food! I say “the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach” – with food! The word food alone encompasses love, passion, sharing, and it’s always the perfect ingredient to have the perfect gathering. The first advice that I share in regards to food is to make sure that it is scrumptious, and that it feeds the heart and soul. Next I want you to consider time and flexibility (think non-traditional). The traditional wedding reception is the standard evening dinner that contains a beef, chicken, or fish entrée, preceded with the traditional hors d’oeuvre selections. Now think, non-traditional, consider hosting a brunch style reception starting around late morning or early afternoon. The style of service for brunch receptions can either be served, buffet, or interactive stations (omelet station, waffle station, potato bar). In addition, since this is an early reception you can also limit the amount of alcoholic beverages hosted since many of your guests will not want to indulge in heavy alcohol during the early hours of the day. Creative beverage cocktails that embrace tantalizing spirits can be Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bellini’s, Irish Coffee, etc.; these types of refreshments are light and refreshing for an afternoon brunch. The excitement around the brunch is that your guests that commonly attend events or weddings, have the opportunity to taste something different and have fun with some of their favorite breakfast treats. Brunch receptions that I have hosted in my market average around $85 to $100 per person versus a dinner reception around $175 to $200 per person. If you are flexible with the time of day for your reception, you can ultimately save, save, save.

To coincide with food, your beverage selection is another route to consider alternatives to reduce cost on your special day. My first suggestion in this area is to limit your beverage selection from a full bar to just wine and beer. To add a little spice to your selection, create 2 specialty cocktails in which its ingredients is one source of alcohol; have one cocktail for the gentlemen and one for the ladies. The second suggestion is to eliminate alcoholic beverages from the bar completely and have mocktails. Some mimosasflavorful and interesting mocktails are the Reno (a grapefruit based cocktail), Sweet Sunrise (similar to a Tequila Sunrise but hold the Tequila), and Virgin Mary. Have your venue or caterer to be creative with various types of punches, teas, and lemonades. Add a little sparkle or fizz to the drink by adding non-alcoholic choices such as ginger beer, root beer, or seltzer water. The third alternative, if you are hiring an outside caterer, purchase the alcohol yourself and purchase it from a beverage company in which you can return bottles/cases that have not been opened. You can save as much as 50% by purchasing the alcohol yourself rather than having the caterer to purchase the alcohol for you. This method only works with an outside caterer, unfortunately, you would not be able to purchase alcohol yourself when hosting your wedding at a hotel or a venue that does its own catering.

The last suggestion to help preserve your financial resources during the planning process has to do with your floral selection. As you have seen in my conversation there is a continuous theme, time and flexibility…time is key also when selecting flowers. Consider the time of year when selecting flowers; select flowers that are in season year round. Flowers in season include baby’s breath, calla lilies, carnations, gardenias, orchids, roses, hydrangeas. Although orchids are in season year round, phalaenopsis Pope Wedding342orchids are more expensive than dendrodium orchids. Same scenario with hydrangeas; your typical white or blue hydrangea is less expensive than a purple or pink hydrangea. When discussing flowers with your floral designer, inquire with them about what is in season, how you can achieve the same look that is cost effective for you (be flexible with the selection), and ask if their source is from a local grower or from a source outside of the area/US. Other options when working with floral décor is to re-purpose flowers from the ceremony to the reception. Be flexible with your design style. You may have the desire to want tall floral arrangements on every table, however, to reduce cost consider alternating high and low centerpieces for your tables, or alternating floral centerpieces with trio of cylinder vases with floating candles. Implementing some of these options can save anywhere from 10-20% off of your floral budget. Be sure to work closely with your floral designer and be open to alternative design concepts.

In summary, your wedding day is special because you are marrying the person that has won your heart and soul, and you are sharing the love you have found with your closest family and friends. If you are flexible with considering alternatives and flexible with time, you can plan the perfect wedding with the perfect budget!

 

Photographs of the table decor designs are real weddings by Perfect Planning Events; Photography credit – Procopio Photography and DHT Photography

(*Source – CNN Money – http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/28/pf/average-wedding-cost/)