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.

ice-cubes
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

Ditch or Keep in 2017?!

2017 will be here before we know it!! Hard to believe it is already December! BRIDES recently chatted with David Tutera who is an amazing Celebrity wedding planner and he weighed in on what should be staying and what should be going for our 2017 couples!! Do you agree or disagree? What do you think will be trending in 2017??

While many couples have an after party after the party, David says the party should stay put! Keep the vibes up and keep the party going at the same location! You can keep the party up too with bringing in special late night bites or sweet treats!! You can even make them to go for your guests to keep them talking!

fries
Via Inside Weddings

With regards to colors and textures David had mentioned a mix of whites and metallics! The golds and silvers are out and the softer mix of color and metallic will give you a refreshing feel that is still hip and on trend!! Try using these as a mix with your chairs up to your lighting and extra decor details!

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Via Bridal Guide

Receiving line no more! This 2016 we were seeing less and less receiving lines as couples feel that it is too formal and would like to be able to use cocktail hour and see everyone in a more casual environment! David is on the same page with us and definitely thinks it is a trend to lose this season!

One thing to keep for sure are first looks! These are here to stay! A perfect way to enjoy that intimate moment and capture those photos that are ones to cherish for a life time!!

first-look
 Marianne Wilson Photography 

The last trend that we totally think is here to stay are the DIY unique special touches that our couples find to incorporate into their wedding! Wether it be including something that is special just between your spouse and you or if it is something special to give to your guests as way to never forget your wedding! We had a couple this year give our guests homemade moonshine that was made by them and we also had another couple use a SMORE’s bar for their guests to enjoy rather than having a wedding cake! Just be you. Make it special. And you will be sure to have the time of your life!

As always Always & Forever Weddings is always here to help  and guide you with whatever wedding planning needs you may have!

Until next time,

Heidi, Meg & Grace

 

Donut Worry, Be Happy!

Calling all donut lovers!!

Chocolate, Vanilla, Funfetti, whatever your pleasure we’ve got them! Well your wedding could have them!! The latest and greatest craze which we can’t get enough of, Donut Walls!! This just brings the desert bar idea to a whole new level!! Take a look please at a few of our favorite ways to do up your donut wall!

Donuts on Shelves!

Donut Wall Shelves
Photo by Troy Grover via The Knot 

Treat yourself with some of these!!

Treat yourself
Via The Bored Panda

This just melts our hearts!

Wedding donuts
Via The Bored Panda

Donuts for Days!

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Via The Bored Panda

We just can’t get enough of these new treats! There are endless ways to bring that extra little bit of sweet into your special day! Keep it unique. Keep it you. Keep it fun! Enjoy every  second of the planning process! As always we are here to help and help you make your wedding day a day never to forget!

Until next time,

Heidi, Meg, Taylor & Grace

 

Wedding Budget. What?!

Many times once we get that ring on our fingers the last thing we want to hear is BUDGET! However, this word BUDGET is actually going to help keep your eye on the prize and get you to your special day without spending a fortune! We all know how expensive all the unique and special details can cost! Let’s break it down with some simple tips to make sure you don’t too far out of your budget.

  • Scheduling Options
    • When choosing your venue and date and time, think about choosing an off season month or even instead of a Saturday evening, try a Friday night or a Saturday around brunch. It may also be good to think about a 3-5hr event instead of a 5hr or more event.
  • Music!
    • Consider choosing local students or perhaps your local University has students that just graduated! This may be just what you are looking for and usually at a lower cost then a 12 piece string quartet!
  • Stationary, Invites, Save the Dates
    • Make sure to look at all of your options with stationary. Sometimes this can end up costing ton of money where if you chose a simple paper design, you will be able to get the same effect just at a lower cost. Online RSVP’s are also an option too that more companies are starting to take advantage of!
  • Florals!
    • When choosing flowers for your event, it certainly can be very overwhelming. If you are able to choose flowers that are in season it will help to reduce your costs. As well as sticking to 1 or 2 types of flowers as opposed to 6 or 7 that you would like in your bouquet! FYI-Peonies are five times more than roses! (I know, we were shocked too!)
  • Food and Drink!
    • A few things to keep in mind are to try and limit the full bar to just wine, beer, and a signature cocktail! Also explore food options, if you were to go for comfort food, your guests will love it and it will be cheaper! Also skip the champagne toast!
  • Who wants Cake?!
    • Cake, yes, cake. If you are dying to have a beautiful cake, you can order a 1 or 2 tier cake to be able to cut and cute photo ops and then have a large sheet cake in the bake for everyone else! Simple is better, especially with add ons for your cake. Also reuse ceremony flowers for the cake table! No one will know the difference!
  • Last, but certainly not least think about the big picture! You want to enjoy your special day, party it up and remember that everything always works out even if you have a BUDGET! This graphic comes from Personal Capital  via http://www.personalcapital.com and has some very interesting facts about just how much a wedding can cost these days! A budget can certainly come in handy when you see some of these numbers!

    Cost of Saying I Do
    http://www.personalcapital.com

As always we are always hear to help! Whether it is making flower decisions, venue stresses, or you need another opinion on what band or DJ to pick! Enjoy the planning process! Any other tips or things you have found helpful? Let us know!

Until next time,

Your Team at A & F

Heidi, Dee dee & Meg

Tips come from Forbes, The Knot & Personal Capital

Tip Top Tips for Planning Your Wedding!

Got the ring. Now what? Where to begin. Let us help! Keep these tips in mind whether you are just starting the wedding planning process, hitting a rough patch deciding on a venue or working on the finishing touches! We promise these should make it a little easier!

  • Get organized!
    • Keep a binder with all emails, notes, and important dates for your special day! There are many apps that can help to keep you focused and keep your eye on the prize! Depending on the size of your event, keep Eventbrite in mind! They are a great resource for being able to organize your event and keep track of your guest list right on your phone! Check out their website and tips here: https://www.eventbrite.com/how-it-works/ and the event planning and management page is also very helpful! https://www.eventbrite.com/l/event-management-software/
  • One Step at a Time!
    • Take your time making your decisions and think about them logically and make sure you and your partner are in agreement! You will want to make sure you find a space before you book a band, and don’t hire any vendors before you set a date!
  • Prioritize!
    • When you are working on your budget, decide what are your must haves and what you are willing to let go of or maybe do a little less of. If you are dying for a fabulous designer wedding gown maybe decide what you would be able to cut back on! It can all work out, just takes a little time!
  • Keep it Honest!
    • When you are choosing a wedding dress make sure to bring your squad that is going to be honest and really help you out! It can be a lot of white which can be quite overwhelming!
  • Keep a handle on the number of guests!
    • Make sure that you are aware of how many guests you are going to have to ensure that the space is big enough! Keep in mind, dance floor, tables, waiters, and the band!
  • Keep Mother Nature in Mind!
    • You want everyone to be able to have the best time at your wedding! Keep in mind to not book your wedding during the hottest time of the year or the coldest! Also keep in mind if it is outdoors that you are prepared to keep all the bugs away! (As much as possible!)
  • Earn a little something!
    • Keep in mind if you can keep all wedding expenses to one credit card you may be able to earn some miles or fun rewards while you do it! Check into this before making any large purchases, it may have a great return in the end!

Lastly, enjoy it all! It may get stressful at times but this is such an amazing time that will be totally 100% worth it in the end! As always we are always here to help! No matter if you are just getting started or right in the thick of it! We can guide you through to make some of those hard decisions a little easier!

Happilyeverafter
Photo Via Best Bride

Until next time,

Your Team at A&F

Heidi, Dee dee & Meg

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