Valentine’s Day ~ Up Your Game <3

So today is Valentine’s Day…whether you will be celebrating alone or with a special someone we put together some fun ideas to up your game  that we think you will love

Herb, flower and fruit enhanced ice cubes – can make any drink super pretty.

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Beautiful ice cubes – so sexy and fun!

 

Perfect for the little kids in your life, these thumb print heart mason jars are sure to put a smile on your Valentine’s face….and so easy to make.

mason-jar
Show the love with these Thumbprint Mason Jars

 

Celebrating with a group?  Why not have a mimosa bar?  This is super easy and a great way to Up Your Game. Super easy what you’ll need:

Champagne, Variety of juices, Fruit, Glasses and Jars/Carafes

And don’t forget some cute decor….like this one from TomKatStudio.com

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If baking is your thing, try these amazing Red Velvet Brownies, pretty, festive and yummy from AverieCooks.com

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Another kid-friendly idea from b-inspiredmama.com Heart-Shaped Pizza!  We love this idea, many of us have kids and with Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of the week it’s hard to get out and celebrate.  So your kids (and you) will love this simple and easy dinner.

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Celebrating your last Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple? Love coffee?  These mugs are perfect!  From Etsy.

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Whether you are celebrating alone, with your kids, with your significant other or however you celebrate we want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.  We hope that everyone gets some yummy chocolate, coffee or whatever your little heart desires.

Until next time

Heidi, Meg, Grace, and Dee Dee

Wedding Planning is it for you?

So you just finished planning your wedding, you are coming off that huge high!  Everything was so pretty and perfect.  Down to the most intricate detail, everyone raved about the food, the decor and your beautiful DRESS!!  You did all of your centerpieces by yourself, you are so talented (well Aunt Bettie said so)!  Your mom agrees, she tells everyone that day that you should be an event planner you’ve already planned one wedding  – YOURS….so you know what to do, right?

wedding-forward

WRONG

So yes, you’ve planned one wedding, yours and that’s great.  Kudos!  Great job!  It takes approximately 250 hours to plan a wedding. That’s a lot of work. All of your evening and weekends are gone.  Being a wedding planner means you don’t have a 9-5 schedule.  Your schedule needs to be flexible, because your clients, most likely are working 9-5 so you will be meeting with them after hours. Plus 95% of weddings happen on the weekends.

Working on the wedding day is HARD work. Spending 10-15 hours on your feet and being mentally “on” is exhausting no matter how good of shape you are in. And it gets harder the older you get.

THE WEDDING HANGOVER – how you feel the day after a wedding. It’s like you ran a race then went out drinking all night. In reality, you are dehydrated, sore, and tired from working a wedding.

Working with clients means making THEIR dream and vision come true. This can be a challenge for some event planners who want to keep recreating their own wedding or imposing their vision on clients. You will end up planning a wedding that doesn’t fit your style or taste and you have to be okay with that.

It is NOT GLAMOUROUS.  I’ve been on my hands and knees, sweating. I sometimes have to count the napkins and linens before they go back to the rental company. One wedding a guest had a little too much to drink and threw up all over the most gorgeous silk table linen.  We had to wash them out into the sink…the stench, alone was enough to make us want to puke! Talk about gross!  And do you know how many port-o-potties we’ve had to unclog….way too many.

etsy

You wear a lot of hats!  Therapist, bouncer, friend, tough guy, parent, an artist, mediator etc.  With so many family dynamics you will have to be on your toes, always!  But remember who your client is, the couple. You have to be tough, thorough, organized and so many more traits. A wedding planned needs to be adaptable and often wear several hats at a time.

It is very different from planning your own wedding and moving to making it a career. Not every wedding is the same and it will become your job to personalize the event for your clients. This requires a lot of research and education. Taking some business management and marketing courses. Also hospitality courses will prove to be very valuable. In addition to understanding the details of planning the actual wedding, the many elements of starting and running your own business also require consideration. Aside from having the correct licenses and insurance, you’ll also need to market your business, determine pricing, invoice and bill clients, attend networking events, balance your books, advertise, hire staff and much, much more.

Regardless of whether you decide a career in wedding planning is for you, reach out to area wedding planners like Always and Forever to learn more about our internship and training programs.  Remember everyone has to start somewhere, even we did!

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Until next time,

Heidi, Meg, Grace & Dee Dee

 

Images: Wedding ForwardEtsyEtsyHi Miss Puff

Top Tips for a Backyard Wedding!

When it comes to getting married in your  backyard, do you want romance, do you want laid back, do you want comfortable, but just aren’t sure where to start?? Look no further than these great ideas for a beautiful relaxed backdrop for your special day!

Use what you’ve got! Say “I Do” beneath a beautiful big tree!

Tree
Photo: Pie Shoppe Photography
Use a window pane for an alternative seating chart!

Window Pane
Photo: Flavio D Photography

Loving how this bright colorful backdrop sets a fun tone for the wedding!!

Streamers
Photo: Joe and Marianne of Marianne Wilson Photography
Mason jars can be used for a ton of things to keep things simple and sweet!

Flower Vases
Photo: Katie Kaizer Photography
Keep your guests warm with some cozy blankets!!

Blankets
Photo: Michelle March
DIY a wood pallet for your menu!

Bbq
Photo: Josh Snyder Photography
Guest book? Why not Jenga?!

Jenga
Photo: Josh Snyder Photography
Share a sweet treat as a favor to remember the night!

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Photo: Vitalic Photo
Do these ideas look great to you? Have some ideas of your own for a backyard wedding? Whatever your wedding needs may be we are always here to help! We would love to be a part of your special day!

Til next time!

Your Team at A&F

Heidi, Dee dee, & Meg

Pictures also found at HuffPostWeddings

 

Beautifully Boho!

I just flipped when I found out that Free People has released a beautiful new line of wedding gowns, beautifully boho! Wow these dresses are unreal, full of unique details, romantic styles, and right on trend! These dresses can be the perfect addition to your backyard, garden, or rustic wedding! Take a peek below to see some favorites!!

Dress1

Dress2
The lace back and bell sleeves make this dress!
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Separates? Yes please!!

All dresses found at the FP Ever After City Bride Collection from Free People. Photos used from GreenWeddingShoes.com

These dresses also make us want to jump into this beautiful rustic wedding that has also given us Boho fever! Check out some of the photos below! Via GreenWeddingShoes.com

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Do you love these looks as much as we do? Let us make it happen for you! Will you be a boho bride? Let us know what you think!

As always we are here to help!

Your team at A&F

Heidi, Dee Dee, & Meg

Ring in the Spring with 2016 Wedding Trends!

Spring is here and so are the latest wedding trends!! This year we will see a lot of soft color palettes, interactive bars, playful flower prints, and fresh blooms! Oh my!  This wedding season will certainly be one to remember! Let us know what  you think of the latest trends!

  • Soft Color Palettes
    • Soft, whimsical, water colors are the perfect addition to a beautiful spring wedding! Whether it be with bridesmaid dresses, a beautiful cake or a beautiful print, these could be a beautiful accent to your special day! See some of our favorites below.

 From Left to Right: Mikkel Paige Photography; Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna                                          Morgan; Wedding Cake by Sugar Euphoria; Artbyash Photography; Print by Designsbybiancab via Etsy

  • Get Interactive
    • Personalized snack and sweet bars can give your wedding that extra special touch that you are looking for. The options are endless! Who doesn’t love cookies?!

      From Left to Right: Cookie Bar: AbbyRose Photography; Sweets Bar: Paper Antler; Crostini Station: The Melideos

 

  • Flower Power
    • The flower possibilities are endless! Whether it be printed bridesmaid dresses, bright fresh blooms on your tables, flower arches or spreading the flower power through your reception venue we love all of these soft romantic looks!

 

We are looking forward to seeing more of these trends this 2016 Wedding Season! As always we are here to help you!

Until next time!

Your team at A&F

Heidi, Dee Dee, and Meg

Why I Love Winter Weddings | Always and Forever – NYC and CT Wedding Planning

We often meet a lot of couples that are afraid to have their wedding in the winter. Due to the weather, the loss of light, their guests not being able to get to their venue because of the weather. However, there are a lot of positives of getting married in NYC and CT in the winter. Venues are not as booked as they are during peak times, so they will be more flexible with the timing of your big day; they also may offer discounts. Other vendors may also offer discounts as well because they are not booked either. Plus how awesome will your photos look in the snow!

Here are some of the awesome looks that we’ve come up with for winter weddings.

Love this photo with the snow.
Love this photo with the snow.
A great option for the chilly winter - this beautiful fur. #Pinterest
A great option for the chilly winter – this beautiful fur. #Pinterest
Beautiful Ceremony Details.  From Bridal Guide
Beautiful Ceremony Details. From Bridal Guide
Love this beautiful draping from Colin Cowie.
Love this beautiful draping from Colin Cowie.
This beautiful sparkle linen is perfect for a winter wedding. #bridalguide
This beautiful sparkle linen is perfect for a winter wedding. #bridalguide
Cannot do without a hot chocolate bar on a winter day.
Cannot do without a hot chocolate bar on a winter day.
Awesome idea for a favor.
Awesome idea for a favor.
Love these gorgeous berries for your winter wedding. #pinterest
Love these gorgeous berries for your winter wedding. #pinterest
Loving this cake with sugared cranberries - very wintery.  #pinterest
Loving this cake with sugared cranberries – very wintery. #pinterest
How cute are these white chocolate covered cherries.  #pinterest
How cute are these white chocolate covered cherries. #pinterest
How cute are these little fur heels - perfect for your winter wedding!  #pinterest
How cute are these little fur heels – perfect for your winter wedding! #pinterest

A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF US | CT’S PREMIERE WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNERS, ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LLC

This week has been a crazy one, but we love crazy!   Many people ask us how our days are spent, so here’s a little sneak peek into the life of planner during a week:

Monday – Prep for a 2013 meeting, design two inspiration boards, confirm meeting, get mom and bride’s cell phone numbers in case something comes up.

Tuesday – Prepare all documentation for March 2013 couple, meet with mom and bride for over two hours, talk about  what they like, don’t like, budget, venues, decor, wedding style, theme development, dresses and everything wedding related.

After meeting speak with DJ about another 2013 wedding to confirm details and secure contract.  Send three emails to another client and florist to confirm Skype meeting.

Wednesday – Respond to several emails, schedule a Friday morning appointment.  Continue to work on scheduling venue appointments for new March 2013 couple we met on Tuesday. Speak with a June 2012 couple and provide quote.

Thursday – Rework inspiration board for March 2013 couple, respond to more emails, and prep for Friday morning meeting.  Confirm rentals for a corporate event in June, blog

Friday – Early morning client meeting, blogging, prepare two quotes for client, prepare weekend to-do list, confirm venue meeting for the following week

Saturday – Try to accomplish some of the things on the to-do list, get organized for the next coming week, volunteer at a new winery, website updates

Sunday – Relax? Ha we never relax!