Unique Guest Book Ideas

July 21st, 2017

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Photo: CHARD Photo

A guest book is a great way to look back and remember the people you shared those special moments with on your wedding day. Traditionally, couples have a sign-in station where wedding guests write a sweet note of congratulations. But what happens to these guest books after the wedding? Often, couples store them away on a bookshelf which isn’t a great way to remember your big day. Now, though, couples are personalizing this wedding detail by transforming it into a fun activity that makes it memorable for not only the couple but also the guests!

Whether you and your groom are film buffs, world travelers, or board game enthusiasts, incorporate your favorite activities into your guest book. Love jet-setting around the country? Ask friends and family to write their well wishes on a globe. Adrenaline junkies, have guests sign skis or a skateboard that you can display on your living-room wall. Or let your guest book double as home decor by asking guests to autograph a panel of wood that could later serve as the centerpiece of a picnic table or the seat of a backyard swing. And if you’re tech savvy, create a photo booth with a Polaroid camera or an iPad where guests can take fun snapshots and leave video messages for you and your groom.

With these fun takes on the guest book, your most cherished wedding-day moments will be remembered for years to come. Ready to create your own guest book? Click through to see a roundup of 20 creative guest books.

Brooke & Reece’s Nashville Symphony Wedding

July 20th, 2017

Congratulations Brooke & Reece! This sweet and beautiful couple were recently married at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville. Their wedding was timeless and elegant. There was even a sweet surprise: Reece surprised his bride with an adorable puppy! Check out these preview photos from their big day taken by Kristin Vanzant. It was a beautiful day, and we can’t wait to see more pictures!

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Vendors:
Venue: Schermerhorn Symphony Center; Photographer: Kristin Vanzant Photography; Videographer: Zane Karl Studios; Ceremony Music: Weddings Musicians Company; Reception Music: 24/7; Draping: Visual Elements; Rentals: Please Be Seated; Florist: Lauren Marie Atkinson Designs; Catering: Chef’s Market; Baker: Jay Qualls Cakes; Bridal Gown: Posh Bridal; Hair & Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty; Breeder: Road River Retrievers; Transportation: Matchless Limo

20 Ways to Throw the Best Wedding Ever

July 18th, 2017

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Photo: Krista Lee Photography

Ultimately, your wedding day is about celebrating the love between you and the person you’re about to marry. But there’s another goal at hand: throwing one seriously epic party that your guests will talk about for years to come. But how do you make your big day stand out amongst the throngs of weddings your family and friends have attended in the past? While there are many ways to upgrade the standard nuptials, we made a list of 20 easy ways you can get the party started (and continuing!) right.

To start, think about the wedding experience as a whole. Sure, your nearest and dearest are elated to watch you marry your longtime love, but sitting for an hour-long ceremony is not their idea of a celebration. Remember that many of your guests have traveled to spend time with you, not watching you, so ensure the evening is interactive. This way they’ll feel like an important part of the proceedings.

And while the night should certainly cater towards your preferences, think about the total experience for your guests, too. You may love soft jazz music, but that won’t fill your dance floor, so consider those tunes for cocktail hour and have your DJ amp up the playlist after dinner.

To help you plan and execute the best wedding ever, we outlined 20 sure-fire tips that will leave your guests impressed. We promise, including even just a handful of these standout ideas will turn your wedding day into an event to remember.

How Real Brides Uninvited Wedding Guests

July 17th, 2017

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Photo: Getty Images

Once you’ve sent out the “Save the Date” card, isn’t it too late to rescind an invitation? Not necessarily. These real brides dish how, and why, they uninvited guests.

“I uninvited my mother. We’ve never been close but when your information is on Facebook you can’t not include her. During the planning process she made it plain she didn’t have money for the plane trip ‘and needed help.’ Our wedding was on an extremely limited budget; we couldn’t afford her ticket. She called crying, having ‘been drinkin’ moonshine,’ saying how sad she’d be to miss the wedding. I did my best to assure her it wouldn’t be a big deal. In reality the wedding was pretty special — and we didn’t have to play nursemaid to my drunk, over-emotional mess of a mother.” – Maigen

“It was an easy decision to uninvite Chelsea, even though she was scheduled to be a bridesmaid. A month before the wedding, she hit on my fiancé!” – Gina

“Three months before the wedding my fiancé’s cousin was arrested for armed robbery. Even though he was out on bail, I felt no guilt calling him to say it was best he not attend. He understood — there were other things on his mind.” – Nancy

“My sister and a close friend got into such a terrible fight six months before the wedding they couldn’t be in the same room. My friend made it easy for me to uninvite her — she said, ‘My wedding gift to you is not forcing you to be stuck in the middle.'” – Beth

“Believing my parents were going to help out with the cost of the wedding, I invited two co-workers. Then my parents said they’d reached their financial limit. I was forced to explain that I couldn’t afford to have anyone but family and close friends. Luckily my co-workers were sweet about it — even throwing a bridal shower in the office.” – Sue

“Our wedding venue was not child friendly. My husband explained the situation to his brother (best man) but he and his wife insisted on bringing their infant and wouldn’t accept our accommodations of an on-site sitter, who was also a registered nurse! They even called the venue behind our back — not believing children weren’t welcome. My husband flat out uninvited the baby, knowing his brother wouldn’t come!” – Solange

“An elementary school friend I kept in touch with via Facebook got all excited when I posted about my wedding. Since she lived across the country and clearly wouldn’t come, I figured I’d be nice and invite her. Then she accepted! I called and said my budget was small (true!) and I had to rethink my invites. I felt terrible and she unfriended me. But I wasn’t sorry she wasn’t at the wedding.” – Deb

“My fiancé invited his ex-girlfriend, thinking I’d be okay with it, as they’d broken up a decade before. I knew she wasn’t a threat but having her there on my day of days made me uncomfortable. I asked Rich to uninvite her, making me the fall guy and that’s what he did.” – Wendy

“In the mad rush to send out wedding invitations we allowed everyone to bring a significant other. A girlfriend was dating someone I’d never met, with a shady past, who’d been accused, though never convicted of a sexual crime. I called and said though I loved her, I hoped she wouldn’t bring this person I don’t approve of. She made a fuss but left him home.” – Sheri

This article was written by Sherry Amatenstein for Brides.com.

Listen Up! Here’s a Playlist of the Best Recessional Songs

July 14th, 2017

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Photo: Love Be Photography

Picture this: It’s your wedding ceremony, you and your fiancé have just been pronounced husband and wife, you share a passionate kiss and your guests go wild. Pretty amazing, right? Now, what song do you imagine playing as you take your first steps as a married couple for your recessional? Unless you have a special tune picked out already, it can be daunting to find just the right music to set the mood for that all-important moment. Now that traditional recessional music, like Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” isn’t the only option, the choices can get downright overwhelming. For your listening and selecting pleasure, we curated a special playlist of wedding recessional songs on Spotify of more contemporary recessional songs for you to choose from!

Motown hits are always full of joy and celebration and are perfect for the moment. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s duet “You’re All I Need to Get By,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” and Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us” are infectious and upbeat. More modern picks, like Regina Spektor’s “Us,” Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life,” and One Republic’s “Good Life” would sound great either played over a speaker system or performed by a live string quartet. Dance your way down the aisle with hits like U2’s “Beautiful Day” or Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Crazy in Love, “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros or “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence + The Machine.

The Spotify playlist also includes fun classics such as Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good” and sweetly romantic melodies such as Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing” and Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing.” Vintage hits “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Gimme Some Lovin'” by The Spencer Davis Group and King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” round out our picks for recessional songs with a twist.

Whether you find “the one” for your recessional or stumble upon the perfect first-dance song, we know you’ll enjoy these tunes.

This article was written by Terri Pous for Brides.com.

Katie & Jose at Schermerhorn Symphony

July 13th, 2017

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Photo: Erin Lee Allender Photography

Angela Proffitt. Where do I even begin to describe how wonderful this woman is? I am the girl who was planning her wedding at 5 years old, so my expectations for a planner were astronomical. Angela, Alison and their wonderful team surpassed anything that I could’ve hoped for in a planner. They made my dream wedding even better than I could’ve imagined myself. She is the only one to make your wedding absolutely perfect, and she does it with grace, confidence, and professionalism.

In your first meeting, Angela asks you to describe your vision in 3 words. She takes this vision and makes it happen with the best vendors possible for what YOU want. She also keeps everything within YOUR budget. She reminds you of the “needs” and the “wants” when making financial decisions, and if you have to sacrifice something, she finds a way around it to make it even better.

It is true what they say… SOMETHING will go wrong along the way. And it did. Without Angela, I don’t know what I would’ve done. With her, it was as if the random issues before the wedding and the issues the day of the wedding had never even happened. My dress didn’t have the correct beading when it came in. Alison, Angela’s assistant, called Kleinfeld and had it shipped back and fixed immediately. My bridesmaid’s dresses came in GREEN instead of charcoal. Angela contacted the manufacturer (while she was sick in bed!) to make sure that every single dress was replaced before the wedding. We had sound issues the day of the wedding, and I didn’t even know about them until a month after the wedding!! Angela took care of them! These are some examples of the ways that I would not have survived my wedding without Angela and her team.

Angela’s brides are happy brides. If you want stress-free planning, you need Angela. If you want to truly enjoy your engagement and indulge in being a client, you need Angela. If you want to have a FUN and absolutely AMAZING wedding experience, you need Angela.

Feature: Special Events Magazine

July 12th, 2017

It is such an honor to announce that I have been named a “25 Young Event Pros to Watch in 2017-under 40” from Special Events Magazine. Every year, the Advisory Board of Special Event Magazine & The Special Event Conference and Tradeshow points out 25 young event pros —all under age 40— to throw the spotlight on their talents and plans. Thank you to Tami Forero of FortéEvents.com and Aubri Nowowiejski of Student Event Planners Association for nominating me!

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Do I Have to Give My Friend a Plus-One If She Didn’t Give Me One?

July 11th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

When it comes to your wedding, you and your fiancé call the shots. But if your friend is in the midst of planning her wedding, too, you have to follow her wishes when it comes to her big day. That means, you may not agree with every wedding-planning decision she makes, but you shouldn’t start going tit for tat. Case in point: What if you give her a plus-one, but she doesn’t offer you one for your fiancé? An etiquette expert weighs in below.

Traditionally, you’re supposed to extend plus-ones to someone who is engaged, but sometimes a bride and groom choose not to. There are countless reasons why your friend might not have given you a plus-one to her wedding, but whatever the reason, you have to abide by her rules. It is their day, after all. Whatever you do, don’t be too hard on your friend. More than likely, your friend had a strict wedding budget.

This article was written by Mira Milla for Brides.com.

Ashley & Stephen’s Wedding Video

July 10th, 2017

Congratulations Ashley & Stephen! Check out their wedding video to see their sweet day. Thank you to the incredible team of vendors that helped make their day so special. It was an honor to work with you all!

Venue: The Metropolitan Club
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd
Lighting: Frost Productions
Florist: Glorimundi
Cake: Wild Flour NYC
Photography: Charlie Juliet Photography
Videographer: Zane Karl Studios
Transportation: All Star Limo

The 5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wishes Every Bride Knew

July 7th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

When you started planning your wedding, you knew your planner would be a wealth of information, both when it comes to décor and when it comes to the nitty gritty of a wedding day. But did you know your wedding photographer has some incredible insight, too? Just think about it: They’re behind the scenes just as much as your planner is, they’ll spend a huge chunk (most) of the day with the bride, the groom, and the wedding party, and they’re interacting directly with the couple and their guests constantly. So of course they’ll pick up all sorts of tips as they go!

We chatted with one of our favorite photographers, Kate Headley, about some of the wisdom she’s picked up during her years behind the camera and what she always shares with her brides.

When it comes to photography, you pay for experience.

“A more experienced wedding photographer with a beautiful portfolio is going to book up quickly and, as the law of supply and demand works, they charge more and are less willing to negotiate,” says Headley. “Experienced photographers can deliver beautiful work despite dark lighting conditions and bad weather, so remember that when booking someone new and less expensive.”

She advises asking any photographers you’re interviewing to share a rainy wedding gallery so you can see how their work stacks up. Whether you’ve got a darker venue or the perfect lighting situation, know that a little extra investment means you’ll be getting a beautiful product, no matter what.

Use the getting ready time to relax and put yourself together.

It can be easy to let the morning of your wedding turn into a rush of timelines, emotions, and possibly stress, so do everything you can to avoid that. “Getting ready with your 10 best pals sounds like a fun time, but I find the getting room to be the opposite of relaxing,” Headley explains. “When there are a dozen people all getting dressed with all their stuff around you, even a big hotel suite starts to feel small.” The clutter of suitcases, coffee cups, and accessories will show in your photographs, no matter how well-framed they are.

Headley has a totally calming alternative: “I often wonder if getting ready with one or two people in a clean and calm environment might help make a bride or groom feel more pulled together when they walk out the door. Instead, invite your bridesmaids to stop by at the end for a beautiful reveal moment.”

You aren’t wearing that dress tomorrow.

After all the time you spent finding, altering, and accessorizing your wedding gown, it’s tempting to want to keep it in pristine condition. But be honest: Are you going to wear it again? “If you’re wearing a long white dress, it will get dirty, even if your wedding is entirely indoors,” says Headley. “Don’t sweat a little dirt and don’t let it hold you back from taking in the sights and experience of the day. No one is looking at the bottom of your dress and it won’t show in photos, so relax and let it go.” Grab a bridesmaid to help with your train, and head outside for those gorgeous panoramas you really want!

Go easy on the posed shot lists.

“Don’t get photo fatigue by doing every combination possible: You just need a few key group shots and then go off to the party,” suggests Headley. “I’ve had brides make long lists and then as the night goes on, toss them out and realize what’s happening in that moment is more important. I completely agree, and try to steer my clients toward a less-is-more approach when it comes to posed photographs.”

Ask your photographer to help you compile a list of groupings they recommend, and trust their ability to order those groups for a streamlined portrait process. Then you can get to the party — those candid shots on the dance floor are the ones that will really bring back memories, anyway!

Weddings go by very fast, enjoy every second.

Even the photographer is exhausted when the day is over. “When I get home and crash after a wedding in my bed, I feel like I was just there waking up!” Headley says. “Don’t worry if something goes wrong on your wedding day or if the weather isn’t right. Hold hands with your new spouse and enjoy the party because it goes by in the blink of an eye!”

This article was written by Jaimie Schoen for Brides.com.

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