Wedding Planning Tips from Blissful Weddings
HRM Photography & Blissful Weddings are delighted to unite to assist brides with their planning woes. Wedding planner extraordinare, Jennifer Eaves will be posting blog articles with wedding trends & bridal style tips, inspiration boards, local upcoming wedding events and even answering questions from YOU our readers! If you have any questions regarding etiquette, wedding dilemmas, budget concerns, family conflict or even style trends please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jennifer would be happy to answer your planning questions!
About Jennifer Eaves & Blissful Weddings:
As a certified wedding planner with extensive experience in the wedding industry, my goal is to offer happy couples peace of mind and ease with their planning process. Bringing creative and unique concepts to their head table all while keeping it personal and intimate. I am able to customize packages, checklists, timelines and vendor referrals to tailor to each individual couples wedding needs and desires. I also offer personalized save-the-date web pages and even wedding websites!
Planning together, we can make this upcoming wedding season beautiful blissful and stylishly stress-free!
I look forward to hearing from you!
Jennifer Eaves, WPICC
*** Please note, original sources for the images provide in the planning tips below can be found on the Blissful Weddings Pintrest Page. The images displayed in our planning tips have been sourced to aid brides with planning inspiration, only those with HRM logos are HRM Photography images.
Great Tips From The Wedding Pros!!
As a wedding planner, I get to work with such amazing and talented people! They’re always keeping me informed with the latest trends and tips in their fields. I decided to ask a select few of the top-notch wedding vendors to share their greatest wedding tips…with YOU!! Enjoy!
- Jennifer Eaves, Blissful Bookings
“One thing I can mention from a DJ perspective that gets missed more times than not is positioning. The closer the DJ is to the dance floor (the crowd) the better! There’s nothing worse than getting to an event and being stuck in the corner 30 feet away from the dance floor. Another thing is the seating of the elderly people in conjunction with speaker positioning. My five cents!”
- Rob Aitken, Music Central Entertainment | www.musiccentral.ca
“Don’t settle for ordering anything from a catalogue, try on your tuxedo before you rent to ensure you get the style, comfort and fit you are looking for”
- Mark Brunnenmeir, Bud Gowan Formalwear | www.budgowan.com
“When reciting your vows, take a breath, sink into the moment and take your time! Really say it to your new spouse as you look in their eyes. Speed talking just doesn't have that same meaningful effect. Aside from having a beautiful moment, sincerely spoken vows will also help your wedding filmmaker craft you a truly memorable film in which you can relive that fleeting moment over and over.”
- Greg Idasz, AV Artisan Wedding Films | www.avartisanproductions.com
“Mixing different styles (modern, glam, classic, vintage) rather than picking just one creates a more authentic and interesting look”
- Jackie Phillips, To Suit Your Fancy | www.tosuityourfancy.com
Plan your Photos!
“Always devise a list of groupings for the family photos prior to the wedding day. This will help ensure you get everyone you wanted in a photo and not forget anyone! This will also save time so you can enjoying more of your wedding day!”
- Niki Patel, HRM Photography | www.hrmphotography.com
“Establish trust in your caterer. Make sure you get a tasting once your menu is set!”
- James Meadows, Catering By James Meadows | www.cateringbyjamesmeadows.com
“An inspiration board is a wonderful tool that helps me as a designer to understand the overall mood of your event and ensures we are visually on the same page. Before meeting with any of your vendors, I recommend that you spend some time on research. Go online (Pinterest is a great source) or pick up some magazines and collect pictures of everything that excites you and speaks to you. Organize it in a binder, or make your own inspiration board! This will be very helpful in your meetings so everyone you speak with will have a better idea of the look you're going for!”
- Elena Sebekos, Paperboat Creations | www.paperboatcreations.com
“Quite often I see couples with full guest lists and more “conservative” wedding budgets. With all their plans and desires such as; open bar, cocktail hour, 3 course sit down meals and dancing into the wee hours…a small wedding budget is not realistic. There is a real art to calculating and distributing your wedding budget so you get the best bang for you buck! Your wedding planner should be able to help you allocate your budget accordingly, so you know exactly how much you need to spend on each vendor based on your guest count. The costs of a wedding can be overwhelming and quite often, many couples end up very stressed out and find it hard to stay on budget. Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful, if you have the help of a planner to guide you through the entire process, planning your wedding can be very blissful”
- Jennifer Eaves, Blissful Bookings | www.blissfulbookings.com
“Many times when choosing florals for a wedding, brides rely on photos from magazines or celebrity weddings to inspire their vision for the colours and theme of the decor for their wedding. Quite often these photos are unrealistic in the flower types, size and fullness that an average bride can afford. It can be very scary to find out what the actual cost of getting EXACTLY what you see in the photos ends up being. Brides can easily be turned off the entire process, feeling that their vision is simply unachievable. Rather than choosing photos of what you want, consider choosing photos of inspiration - and decide on a realistic budget. I always tell girls - figure out what you can spend per table rather than just lumping a single figure together. Once you know what you have available to spend on each guest table - a good florist should be able to recommend a suitable substitute to your inspirational photos, or suggest what they have in their inventory to provide a similar look for a lesser cost. If large show-stopping centerpieces are what you're dying to have, consider spending more money on those tables, and sacrifice for a much more simple arrangement on the other tables - to still get that 'wow' factor when guests enter into the reception.”
- Natalie Webster, Village Vines Florists | www.villagevinesflorists.com
Wedding Cakes on a Budget
“If you are hosting a large event/wedding on a budget you still have options! Cupcakes make a fabulous budget friendly alternative to a wedding cake, and the great news is that cupcake displays are super trendy right now. Another bonus about opting for a cupcake display is you also forego the "cake cutting fee" (yes, most venues charge to cut your cake into perfect portioned slices). If you had your heart set on a cake, well it’s your wedding - have your cake and eat it too! Order a cake you can afford (either a smaller size or a less detailed design), then order cupcakes to fill the rest of your guest count. This gives you; your cake to cut, and your guests will love to have the option - a slice of cake or a cupcake. Let your baker know your budget and see what kind of options they are able to provide you with!”
- Chad Hamilton, Chick Boss Cake | www.chickbosscake.com
The Perfect Wedding Gown
“Searching for your perfect wedding gown can be an emotional time. When you don’t know where to start or options, trust your sales consultant. He or she will be your confidant and should be there along with you every step of the way!”
- Anna Giannopoulos, Nicholas & Elizabeth Bridal | www.nicholasandelizabeth.com
The Fun Factor!
Your wedding is one of the BEST days of your life!! However, for your guests…it can be long and unfortunately…boring. To help keep your guests happy and entertained ALL day try some of these great ideas….
Envious Entertainment! Having a good band or DJ is key for a fun-filled evening. You can also add some excitement to your wedding by adding some professional dancers, a fun video or inclusive games. Something that will keep your guests amused and chatting about your wedding day for years to come!
Frisky Photo Booth! Photo booths are very hot these days. It’s fun for your guests to get dressed up and take wacky photos of themselves! Keep your photo booth in theme with your wedding…or do something completely outrageous like your adding your hubby’s favourite sports teams jerseys or hats. Want to incorporate some culture? Add clothing or fun props that represent your home country!
Fun Favours! You could hire a caricaturist to draw pictures of your guests. Perhaps you could come up with an exciting way to give out all of your centerpieces…a putting contest or even a dance off? You could get really creative and have a “favour station”!! A little area set up for your guests to decorate their own favours! Don’t forget about the craft corner for the kids!!
Editable Urges! Once the party picks up…you don’t want your guests to head out. Have some really great late night food and drinks…and make sure you have a menu set up so they’ll stay for it!! Think ‘comfort food’ when you’re considering your late night food. FOOD TRUCKS!! Get your favourite food truck to make an appearance with poutine, sausages and tacos!! Your guests will definitely stick around to have a taste of that!! Don’t forget the slushies and ice cream cones!
It’s All About YOU!! Most importantly…make sure YOU have fun!!! If you aren’t in the mood to party…your guests won’t be either. I know it can be a really long day, and you just want to go snuggle up with your new hubby…but mingle, dance and have a blast at your OWN wedding!! Once it’s over…it’s over, so make sure you make the best of your big day!
- Jennifer @ Blissful Bookings
Inspiration for your Winter Themed Wedding
1. Expand your colour palette! Think outside the box when it comes to the colours you’d like to incorporate in your wedding. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you must follow the traditional red and gold Christmas theme or blue and silver winter wonderland theme. There are many rich pseudo neutrals that will warm up any winter wedding! Consider emerald green and gold. Chocolate, dusty rose and bronze or charcoal, burgundy and silver, eggplant and gold.
2. Don’t forget the props!! Winter photography can be utterly amazing!! Get creative and bring along some fun mittens, fur coats, hats and boots. Have fun with it!! Perhaps bring a toboggan or items to create a snowman, glitter and food colouring to write love notes in the snow or have a snowball fight with your wedding party!
3. Set the mood! If your venue allows you to have candles purchase some great aromatics that tie in with your theme. Evergreens, Cranberry, orange spice or chestnut and clove! Even if your venue doesn’t allow candles I’m sure they have outlet you can use to plug in some warm and jolly fragrance plugs! Don’t forget to dim the lights!
4. Comfort Food! Need I say more? Not only is it the most important day of your life but ‘tis the season where comfort food is at it’s best! Tie your meal in with your theme and style! Rich and creamy soups, hearty tenderloin with root vegetables and decadent death by chocolate desserts. Indulge!!
- Jennifer @ Blissful Bookings
DIY: The Succulent Wreath
Cost: $20 / Time: 1.5 Hours
Materials: Wreath frame, Sphagnum moss, Fishing wire, Bobby pins, Succulent clippings, Pencil
Images & Source: Prudent Baby
Tip: The wreath IS alive so be sure to spritz with water and to put it in the sun until you use it on your BIG day!!
Step 1: Place the moss on the wreath frame and secure it with fishing wire.
Step 2: Use the pencil to create a hole in the moss.
Step 3: Place a succulent clipping into the hole and secure it with a bobby pin.
Step 4: Arrange the succulent clippings around the wreath! The fuller the wreath looks, the better!
This wreath is gorgeous for any type of shabby-chic, rustic, garden inspired, country-style, barnyard or outdoor wedding. You can create a larger wreath to hang as a focal point behind your head table or a few smaller ones to place throughout your venue to create that beautiful outdoorsy feeling.
Eight Unique Guestbook Ideas
1. Puzzle Pieces: Select your favourite puzzle and have your guests choose a piece to jot a message on. You can even frame it as a keepsake!
2. Typewriter: If you're planning a vintage theme, this is a fantastic idea. Have the typewriter available for your guests to type individual messages on!
3. Message Tree: Choose cut outs that cater to your style or theme and have your guests write a note and hang them on a little tree!
4. Wine Bottles: Perfect for couples who are fond of wine. These also make great keepsakes for future anniversaries!
5. Guitar: Wonderful for couples who play or love music. Absolutely beautiful!
6. Pebbles: Great for beach, rustic or outdoor weddings. Invite guests to write a message of encouragement on pebbles you gather. Afterwards, you can keep them in a vase or even your garden!
7. Wood Piece: Perfect for rustic, barn or woodland themed weddings. You could even mount it on your wall for everyone to admire!
Photo credit: Etsy.com
8. Letters: Simply divine for intimate weddings. Have envelopes available for guests to deposit their notes in!
Photo credit: Meg Ruth
Latest Wedding Linens
Believe it or not, one of the latest 2013 wedding trends is table linens! It seems like a small piece of the puzzle and is often over looked but the right linen can add romance, sophistication and will set your wedding apart from others. Here are a few examples of some of the table trends we'll see this season.
1. BURLAP: Perfect for anything rustic, woodlands, shabby-chic, vintage or southern-style. This is great for barn yard weddings but can also be used indoors too! Make sure you get your burlap from your florist or decorator, you don't want to use anything that is untreated. Untreated burlap can carry an unpleasant order and even cause some guests to have an allergic reaction.
2. CHIFFON: Chiffon can make or break your décor so proceed with caution. Being that chiffon is light and airy it is a beautiful choice for spring and summer weddings. It comes in a wide variety of styles and colours. I wouldn't recommend going with chiffon if you you have a chiffon wedding gown or bridesmaids dresses. That can become a little bit overwhelming. Done right, it can be a beautiful and glamourous adding to your special day.
3. DAMASK: Super duper chic! This Parisian inspired pattern is sophisticated and elegant. Again, it must be done the right way. Too much of a good thing can become quite wrong! Just add bits and pieces of this gorgeous print throughout your décor for an innovative feel. Damask works best in either black and white or a muted two-tine print.
4. GLITTER: Sparkle and glitter will most likely be one of the more popular choices when it comes to the linen trends this year. It's absolutely gorgeous! If you want to add some glitter to your reception but feel like it's too much to add it to every table, perhaps just have it on the head table, cake table or candy bar. It is a very expensive piece of linen so use it sparingly to keep your budget in check!
5. LACE: Lace is all over the place in 2013! It timeless, romantic and works with almost every style and theme. My only piece of advice is to make sure you choose a more modern style of lace or else you risk the chance of it coming across too Victorian. No doilies!
6. PATTERNED: Patterns and embellishments can add a beautiful feel to your wedding reception. I prefer light, neutral patterns with a muted motif. If you decide to go with a patterned linen please keep everything else in the room simple. Keep the focus solely on the table cloths – and you of course!!
7. STRIPES: This is going to be another very popular choice this year. I really like the subdued feel of the two-tone print. It's classy and chic and works best with elegant themes. You can't really go wrong with a stipe…just don't go crazy with the choice of colours!! Less is more!
8. TEXTURE: If you want to add a wow factor but are a little hesitant of the over-the-top linens opt for a textured linen! It's super modern and extremely charming! If you choose a textured table linen select a sleek chair. The contrast makes for a very contemporary experience.
Money Saving Tips For Frugal Brides
1. Embrace The Off Season!
Wedding off season, typically November 1st – May 1st, is becoming more and more popular and with good reason! Many vendors offer specials discounts, packages and rates during the off season - sometimes up to 30%! If you have family from out of town coming in for the holidays, it might be nice just to have your wedding while everyone is off work or school and is already paying the airfare ticket – saving them more money…perhaps to put towards your gift! How beautiful would it be to throw a Christmas themed wedding? All your décor is already up at most venues saving you extra cash in the flower/décor component of your budget.
2. Plan A Brunch Wedding!
What to instantly save a ton of money? Cut out the booze! I mean, it's still a wedding so offer a mimosa, sunrise or mojito but most guests will call it quits after one or two if you plan an early morning celebration. Not to mention, you'll save on the food! Offer gourmet crepes or a build your own omelette station. Way less cheaper than buying everyone a prime rib dinner! Of course, your day will have to start fairly early but then you can capture that beautiful morning sunrise, plus you'll get to see your soon-to-be hubby all that sooner!
3. Be Strict With Your Guest List!
We know that we want to shout it from the roof tops and share your wedding with the whole world, however, reality sets in when you look at your budget. Another way to keep your costs to a minimum is be meticulous with your guest list. Nothing is wrong with having an intimate 50 person wedding, in fact it's becoming more ideal. Make a must have list (parents, immediate family, wedding party) and then add in those friends and extended family members that you'd like to have there. Fewer attendants means less money spent!
4. Opt For Seasonal or non-floral Bouquets!
You can save a few extra dollars by choosing seasonal and local flowers for your bouquet and centrepieces. Ask your florist for a list of of their seasonal flowers and how they fit with your wedding's theme. You can save even more by bulking up your floral arrangements with extra greenery, plants and non-floral accessories. Be creative and see how much you can save on your flower budget by just tweaking a few little things. Maybe go with less flowers but add in extra banana leaves, pins, feathers, fruit or even…candy!
Five Styles of Bridal Show Stopper Shoes!
1. SPARKLE: Designer high-heels, necklace-straps, rhinestones and BLING!
2. BLUE: Blue suede shoes are a super hot trend this year!
3. PRINTS: Animal prints, stripes and even floral shoes are super modern!
4. VINTAGE: The roaring twenties and old Hollywood inspired shoes are very chic!
5. TEXTURE: Unique details, embellishments, feathers and LACE!!
Questions from our Readers!
I LOVE helping out brides and grooms and assisting them with any wedding questions that pop up along the way. Here are some of the most recent questions that I have received.
How do we cater to the vegan guests (won't eat any meat, cheese, fish, eggs, etc.) that are attending our wedding?
Next time you sit down with your caterer, let them know that a few guests need special meals and discuss what options they offer for vegans. Include a couple of hors d'oeurves, an appetizer, an entrée, a dessert (vegan cupcakes) and something for late night that is just for them. They'll appreciate the extra thought you put into catering to their food preferences. Make sure the servers know who the vegan guests are so there's no mix ups!
We are having Mason jars for drinking glasses at the wedding, do we still need to rent wine glasses for wine at dinner?
It's worth investing in wine glasses for dinner. Many guests won't drink the wine if it's not in the proper stemware.
Who is supposed to do a speech and how long should it be?
Usually, the parents of the bride, the parents of the groom, the maid of honour, the best man and the bride and groom. I always recommend to keep speeches to 3 minutes a person or a combined total of 30 minutes. Guests, especially children, get restless if speeches are much longer than that!
For beer: kegs vs. cans vs. bottles for our outdoor wedding?
I wouldn't go with cans or a keg. I suggest bottles that the bartenders can pour into recyclable or biodegradable cups. You can even get cups with your monogram or wedding date on them!
I was thinking to save money, we wouldn't rent linen napkins, I'm really not going for a super classy look. I'm thinking of getting a bunch of paper napkins. Is this cheap looking?
Paper napkins are often done for less formal outdoor weddings. I recommend getting fun ones with a nice pattern or coloured ones that go with your colour, style and décor.
For our invitations, can our guests just RSVP to our website to save us on mailing costs?
If you add your website information to your RSVP cards, I also suggest adding an email (set up a brand new one up just for RSVPs) as well as a phone number. Not everyone has easy access to a computer. If it's a formal wedding, then I recommend sending out RSVP cards that include the website info along with envelopes that are pre-stamped and has the return address.
I love hearing from all of you! If you have any wedding related questions please email me at email@example.com and your question could be answered in the next HRM blog!!
Creating a Flexible Seating Chart
Martha Stewart and I both agree that this is the easiest, most efficient and organized way to tackle your seating chart project. The trick? POST-ITS!! This makes for a flexible way to maneuver guests from table to table without going through multiple sheets of paper, running to the computer or becoming super stressed about the task. All you have to do is gather multiple colours of good ol' Post-its, a large piece of bristol board, some pencils and you're on your way! Choose one colour for the groom's guests, one colour for the bride's guests, a separate colour for the wedding party and write each guests name on it.
Then, draw tables (the exact floor plan of the reception room) on your bristol board and post away! You can even take this one step further (which is what I personally did when I got married) and add Post-it Flags to the tip of each guest name indicating which meal they chose. One colour flag for beef, one for chicken, one for vegetarian, another for children and you can even have one for special orders or allergies! Check out Martha's link with a video of her explaining the flexible seating chart.
This method is perfect for any sized wedding, indoor or out. This will give you a visual idea of the layout of the room, who is sitting with who (does everyone at that table get along?) and where exactly in the room everyone is seated. Perhaps you don't want Aunt Sonja with her little 3 month old baby right beside the speakers, or someone with limited abilities far away from the exit. Not a problem, they can easily be moved by re-arranging the Post-its until the chart is exactly the way you envision it!
(Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings)
2013 Trend Alert!
THE DRESS: Lace, lace, lace! Lace is romantic, timeless and perfect for a casual or black-tie wedding. Other top trends are key-hole backs, deep-v cuts, sheer long sleeves, off-the shoulder necklines and even pastel gowns! Of course OTT (over-the-top) gowns are super stylish and will always leave a big impression with your guests…not to mention your groom!
THE THEMES: The top 3 wedding themes this year are vintage-glam (think the roaring twenties), green weddings (eco-chic & DIY's) and countryside fairytales!
THE MENU: Food bars! Move over candy bars and make way for the new hot trend! Bruschetta & caviar bars, mashed potato bars, pasta bars, pancake & waffle bars, taco bars and fruit & veggie bars are chic, fun and will leave your guests satisfied as they can customize their own plates! Coffee bars, mimosa bars, popcorn bars and even strawberry short cake bars are going to be hot this year!
THE CAKE: Lace Cakes! Inspired by the gown trend of course! Cakes are back and more glamourous than ever! Don't worry, cake pops, cupcakes and grooms cakes will still make an appearance!
THE COLOURS: The top colour of the year is emerald green! Tied for second place is mint green and lemon sorbet. Aubergine and bordeaux are next in line!