Posts tagged chagrin falls wedding planner
2015 Photos Filled with Love!
At the end of each year, I have the great joy of getting photos from all of my client's weddings.  I LOVE this process, much more than I can explain.  I love reliving the day, seeing their joy and happiness over a successful and stress-free wedding!  The photographers are always able to snap photos of things, I didn't notice, or expressions I never saw and it just makes me so happy to witness it all over again.  With some of the best photographers, I can even feel all of the emotion that was there on their wedding day and I even find myself tearing up.  Posted below are some of my favorite photos from 2015.  I didn't pick these because they had the best lighting or the best angle, but because they conveyed the love that day, in a way that I saw it, through the planner's eyes!  

And those are the photos that I loved for 2015.  Hopefully you felt the love while scrolling through.  Can't wait for a new round of wonderful clients, amazing weddings and lots and lots of love in 2016!

Happy Planning!

Martha Stewart Weddings- Summer 2015- Read with me!
Don't have the time or energy to find the content among all those ads in this Summer edition of Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine?  Well then, read along with me as I highlight the highs and lows of what they have to offer in this edition.

First off, the cover of this edition is fabulous.  I love the coloring and while I'm not the biggest Sarah Jessica Parker fan, she looks adorable!

11 pages in and we've got the table of contents.  Brides magazine has 28 pages of ads until you reach the table of contents, in case you were comparing.  

Page 74- Bridal Party Kids- From Darcy
The adorable part here is that there are some simple ways to do kids hair for the wedding.  You can grab a few of your flower girls and put together an adorable look!  Or, better yet, you've got some ideas to give to the awesome stylist you hire to manage all of the looks for you!
Great tips include-
Offering SMART snacks- Candy is going to end up making them sick and sugar drinks will do the same.  A cute little snack pack with granola bars, cheese sticks and some crackers will tide them over much better and you'll avoid the sugar crash later when you are trying to get photos.
Appoint a wrangler- Have someone either an adult or a babysitter that can manage all of the kids in the wedding party.  This is a task that occasionally falls on me, the planner but my time is better spent focusing on the wedding so have someone that isn't involved and will be free to run around and catch everyone.
Have ZERO expectations for success.  I tell all of my brides that this will be a hit and miss experience for the kids.  You'll either get perfection or a mess (sometimes something adorable in between the two) so don't get your hopes up so high that you let a screaming toddler ruin your day.  Hope for the best but be ready to nix the plans at the last minute if you've got a ring bearing tearing off his clothes and throwing things.  

Page 106- Tinker Taylor
I LOVE this idea and while I understand the pricing it makes it hard to justify asking your bridesmaids to participate.  

Page 110- Good Things
Hot Dog Bar!  What a fun concept for a summer wedding and with so many options on hot dogs (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) you could put together this station and please even the pickest eater!  We just did a hot dog station at a wedding a few weeks ago at the Akron Rubber Ducks Stadium and it was a hit! (pun intended) 

Page 164- The A to Z of DIYNow DIY in itself is a great concept but the IDEA of you doing all kinds of work and crafting on your wedding day or even the month leading up to your wedding (the most stressful time in the wedding process) seems crazy to me.  There are great planners, designers and studios that can put these looks together for you and unless you are a DIY master, the money you spend will be worth it for you and everyone you try to get involved.  

Page 185- The Planner- RentalsWhat a great idea to put together information and a pull out sheet on rentals.  This is the #1 issue that people run across when planning their outdoor, tent, backyard wedding.  Not to mention when you get a fantastic venue and have the budget to look into some real rentals (Borrow Rentals is amazing)
Assess your Needs
Spend Wisely
Get it in Writing (I say this about any vendor you talk with!)
PICK A THEME!  You can get carried away in these places (think: being able to rent everything that Pier One has to offer or Home Goods) so make sure you start with a concept, color, design and your space availability.  This way you don't leave with things that don't make sense (waste of money) or things that you'll end up not having room for (again, waste of money).  

Page 192- Ask Martha
How many bartenders do we need? 
Their answer is one bartender per 30 people.  I'm not 100% sure that is the actual number, it will depend on the level of alcohol you are buying, what you are wanting to provide to the guests, how many guests and their drinking level.  I would say that's the safe number but it seems like you'll end up with a TON of bartenders ($$) too.  If you are looking to save on cost, I wouldn't see 1 per 50 or even 75 depending on the bar.  

Page 194- Build a Better WebsiteI just want to touch on the idea of a wedding website.  You DO need one.  It should have all the details, hotel information, schedule of events for the entire weekend so people know where to be and by when, shuttle information and yes, even your registry.  Those are the basics, anything beyond that is just personal preference.  

The palette coloring this month is copper and white.  I'm not a huge fan at all.  

Page 224- Come on, Get Happy (Photo Shoot)Love this and normally I pass over photo spreads.  This has fun coloring, ideas and cute puppies.  What's not to love?

Page 246- Best Foot ForwardInterview with SJP.  She does not look as happy in this photo as she does on the cover.  That's that.
Page 276- 50 Born in the USA Favors 
Ohio got buckeyes.  Seems to lack some creativity that I would expect from the magazine since anyone could come up with that idea.  Would have liked to see something local or more original. 
Here is a list of products from Ohio-  
And when all else fails a Lebron Jersey will work and be appreciated.  #allin

Page 312- 20 Years of FavorsI like seeing all the favors over the years.  1995 Monogrammed Box of Fruit Cake (?what?) 2015 Hand Painted Cookies.
My take on favors is that unless they match with your theme, have personal meaning to you or are edible (HUGE hit) then don't bother with them.  As a planner, I box up and take home over half of the typical favors that are put out (because guests leave them behind) so don't waste money where it won't be appreciated.

I wasn't absolutely in love with any of the "real life" weddings they featured this month, normally I do love to hear the stores and see the details, but none stuck out.  I'll see you again for some wedding reading next time!

Happy Planning!

Brides Magazine June/July 2015- Read with Me
Don't have the time or energy to find the content among all those ads in this June/July edition of Brides Magazine?  Well then, read along with me as I highlight the highs and lows of what they have to offer in this edition.

Well, 28 pages in through a majority of ads and a the table of contents, we come to this month's Question to the staff of Brides magazine.  This month's question:

Where's the most romantic place you've been?
(And let me just say this now, the staff at Brides magazine must be making a fortune because these are not your average locations for the average bride & groom to travel to for romance) Some of the answers from the staff were:
Como Shambhala Estate in Bali
Linda Vista in Costa Rica
Patricia, Italy

Le Sain Geran in Mauritius

I'm not kidding, their year end bonuses must be incredible to afford these trips.

PAGE 78- My favorite section is Ask Us Anything. I love wedding advice, especially reading the question and figuring out what advice I would give and then finding out what they say.  

Most Uncomfortable Question-One of my friends keeps asking me when I'm choosing my bridesmaids.  I already have...and she's not one of them, how do I break the news?

Yikes, that's a tough one and I can honestly say I was almost at a loss for advice.  Maybe avoid her forever?  I have uncomfortable situations, especially around weddings because everyone is so emotional when it comes to the decisions you have to make.  They offered some great advice to tell her ASAP and just let her know the bridal party is small and possibly offer her a role of a reader.  Still a tough situation.  

PAGE 82- Another favorite Brides Poll- This month, my favorite topic, working out/exercise.
They are saying that 4 out of 5 are working out but only 50% are dieting.  That process has to go together because all the working out in the world won't fix bad eating habits.  Trust me.  

PAGE 102- The After "AFTER" Party-
A whole article on having sex on your wedding night.  While some of you may want to shy away from this topic, it really is a valuable piece of information.  More than half of my brides end up saying they didn't have the time/energy to be intimate on their wedding night.  While we all know that the days of saving yourself until marriage are long gone (for some people) this is a really special day and the night should be just as special.  You spend that entire day with SO many other people, celebrating and talking, this night is just for the two of you to come together and enjoy each other, for the first time as husband and wife.  We won't get too much into the details of everything but you will feel like you missed out if you don't make this something of value.  Just have a little talk before about trying to leave a half hour early or start sipping water towards the end of the evening and be sure to have a late night snack before you head to your room so you aren't starving!  

PAGE 116- Haute Inspiration-
I have to say I'm more of a classics style girl so the idea of feathers, pleats and 3-D floral for my wedding gown just doesn't appeal to me.  Maybe for a styled shoot but not for my actual wedding day.  

PAGE 141- Braid Upgrade 
There is nothing more that I love for hair than a braid.  I was so excited when this style came back and LOVE seeing how much can be done with the basic braid.  Up, down and to the side, this look always comes together perfectly for most brides.  Of course, my favorite is the picture they use for the main title page of Blake Lively, stunning! 

PAGE 161- 25 Ways to Personalize Your Party
I tell ALL of my clients, if you are going to spend this kind of money on your wedding day, make it all about the two of you!  Incorporate personal touches when you can without going overboard, but remember people are there to celebrate the both of you, let them know more about how you met, why you fell in love, etc...a few of the more original ones are- 

#2- Do a LAST Dance- I've had a few clients do this, and really it is more for the two of you, a way to wrap it all up.  This may even help with the "after, after party" plans as well.  

#21- Hand Painted Shoes- I had one bride do this for her wedding day along with her dad and they both had these amazing, personalized shoes to wear.  It was something special for them and an extra touch for the select few that pay attention to details, to appreciate.  

#24- Use Personal Photos- Love having photos of the two of you growing up, dating, travelling and just being a couple.  It is so fun to see the two of you in love and again, that's why the guests are there!

Then we pass through a few articles, photos shoots, travel locations, etc...nothing that appeals to me a ton in this months edition.  

Page 264- Their section of weddings they feature that are typically not your "typical" bride and groom.  This month has a Mexican model and her husband an equity manager.  Their wedding is, of course, lovely.  They, of course, had a wedding planner, yay!  

Page 268- What's your TOP Priority
Wonderful article on prioritizing your marriage.  I'll take the highlight from the article to give you an idea on why it is so great-
"I've seen beautiful couples crash and burn because they gave something else priority over their relationship and proved it one small choice at a time" 
That's how all relationships fall apart, one small thing at a time.  Eventually all those small things add up and start eating away at all the good things you worked so hard to have.  Don't let that be you!

Page 276- You're Invited
A Capital Affair- Stunning wedding with the most amazing color palette in DC!
Urban Oasis- A wedding held in my favorite, a clear tent!
Clear Skies in Seattle- A very brave wedding held outside without a tent?!?!  

That's it for this edition of Brides magazine.  Did you read on your own?  Have different feedback?  Love different articles?  Let me know!  Read along with me next month!

Brandi Hamerstone 

Budget Breakdown
This month's issue of Brides Magazine had a great breakdown of the "average" pricing that brides spend on wedding related items and since this is one of the first questions we review at planning sessions, I thought I'd share- Please keep in mind that these are averages/estimates so the numbers might be totally off for your region.  My feedback, the percentages seem right but the cost seems low in most of the areas.  

Venue, Catering & Rentals
$11,599 (46%)

Photography & Video 
$3,420 (14%)

Gown, Accessories & Day of Beauty
$2,348 (10%)

Flowers & Decor
$1,967 (8%)

Ceremony & Reception Music 
$1,747 (7%)

Event Planner (!!!)
$1,299 (5%)

Invitation Suite & Paper Goods
$806 (3%)

$752 (3%)

Bridal Party Gifts
$538 (2%)

Wedding Cake
$486 (2%)

I think for some of these items, you'll want to priorize in different areas.  You might really need the BEST music ever but not need to import fancy flowers, so your lineup will be different.  Actually, it will probably be different for everyone, but that's a good reason to get yourself a wedding planner so they can help you work through it!