CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PARTY

You have great candidates for your wedding party but you’re not sure where to start. Here are some of our tips to narrow your list and pick the perfect wedding party for your special day.

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WEDDING SIZE

If you are planning a small and intimate affair ten bridesmaids may be a little over excessive. If an extravagant event is more up your alley then ten may not be so bad after all. The average number for a wedding party is 4-6 people on each side.

FINANCES

Talk finance with your fiancé.  The larger the wedding party, the more you’ll spend on flowers, hair and makeup (if you’re covering this), gifts, and more.

MORE OPINIONS

Remember that the more people you include – the more opinions there will be about every detail of your planning. Think opinions on dresses, hair and makeup, flowers, and other items you may not want opinions on.

DON’T ASK PEOPLE OUT OF OBLIGATION

Choosing people to be in your wedding party is extremely meaningful because these are the people that you are asking to stand with your and support you on your big day. You don’t have to ask someone just because you are afraid that it will hurt their feelings if you don’t. Also, you don’t have to ask someone to stand up in your wedding just because they asked you. That being said, we do make an exception for your future in-law siblings. It’s always great to include them in the wedding if it’s possible.

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO INCLUDE YOUR LOVED ONES

From ushers and officiants to ring bearers and flower girls, many cultures and religions have fun and traditional ways for people to be included in your wedding. Even if your big day is not going to be extremely associated with you or your partners religions or cultures – do some research on the background of them and if you find an idea that you adore go with it! This will also impress some of your friends and family who may be heavily associated with it.

Toasting the Happy Couple

So, you’ve been asked to give a toast to the newlyweds on their wedding day.

It’s a huge honor that also comes with a large amount of pressure. With our expert tips we’ve got you covered to create a stress-free, memorable, and tasteful toast.

Do:

TELL A STORY  

Using your own personal experiences illustrate a story highlighting the couple and their relationship with each other. Just remember keep your speech appropriate by staying away from inside jokes and touchy subjects.

MAKE SURE TO BE YOURSELF

Whether you’re sentimental, funny, or serious, great wedding toast come from the heart and are a reflection of the person giving it. Don’t be someone you’re not.

SPEAK UP

While giving your speech make sure to project so all of the guests can hear you.

TOAST TO THE COUPLE

At the conclusion of your speech, remember to raise your glass and wish the couple happiness as they transition into this new chapter of their lives.

Don’t:

JUST WING IT

Come prepared with you have speech to be proud of. Practice it out loud in the mirror and for a friend who will be honest with you. This will make you more comfortable and also give you an approximate length. This is the time to really polish your speech.

GO OVER TIME

Long toasts can be deadly. Keep your toast to five minutes and under to leave the crowd wanting more.

RAMBLE

It makes you look unprepared and nervous. Write down bullet points on a notecard and use those as a guide for your speech.

HAVE TOO MUCH TO DRINK BEFOREHAND

Having a cocktail or glass of wine before the toast to calm your nerves is fine but pace yourself.  Alcohol + a microphone = saying things you may regret.

Keep In Mind:

Being chosen to make a toast is your chance to honor the coupled on their big day – as well as – sending them off into their marriage with your best wishes. So don’t let stage fright keep you from enjoying and cherishing this moment with them.

Note to the Newlyweds:

Remember to thank your guests! They took the time to travel to where you needed them to be in order to help you celebrate your wedding. Showing them that you appreciate them is not only important, but a must. Your toast does not have to be long, just get your point across and you’re golden.

Floral Fever

Have you ever looked at a flower and wondered “where have you been all my life?” We had heart eyes immediately when we stumbled across these amazing little “lunar buds”.  Their soft pom pom shape puts a smile on our face.  Lunar buds are members of the disbud chrysanthemum family and are a unique, flirty, fun floral to consider adding to your bouquets and centerpieces.  Disbud chrysanthemums are also available in a variety of colors and sizes.

We will admit that we were a tad taken aback when we heard the word chrysanthemum.  Known best for football mum corsages in Texas, the chrysanthemum is known for happiness and joy.  That’s what we felt when we found these!  How would you incorporate these into your events?

Real Wedding| Kari & Ryan

If you asked me what skills you need to possess as a good event designer and director, I would tell you that fluidity – the ability to change course on a dime – was in the top three.  Today, I did just that – I changed course quickly and left some heads {slightly} spinning.  We had prepared another blog post for today…. one showcasing smaller weddings…. one you will undoubtedly see later this week or maybe next.  But then, a Facebook memory popped into my personal page today that had me texting “Reschedule the blog post.”

You see, today is Kari & Ryan’s three year anniversary!  This past weekend I came across some of their wedding photos, perfectly shot by Chadwick Fowler of ModWed, and smile as I reminisced about this fun, untraditional wedding that was 100% a tribute to their story, their love, their life.  And this morning, when the memory popped up in my feed I just knew I had to share it with you.

Kari and Ryan met at a beer festival in Northern AZ (Flagstaff to be exact).  She was standing in line behind him and, as we all often do, he turned around and she said “Do you like my eyes?”. He was hooked.  Who wouldn’t be?  She has a bubbly personality, an infectious laugh and they both love life and live for today. They are a perfect match.

When it came to planning their wedding, they knew what they wanted.  The details were in their heads.  They were uber specific.  But they needed someone to pull everything together for them.  That’s where we come in.

When Kari and Ryan shared their vision for a beer garden themed wedding, I think I may have clapped like a giddy school girl.  I love everything weddings but this was so unconventional, so untraditional that I knew we had to be involved.  They had already found The IceHouse and most of their vendors but still needed help with floral elements, rentals, layout and overall day-of coordination.  Our job, should we choose to accept it, was simple: think beer garden, incorporate chamomile and hops, and design a party that isn’t truly a wedding with a short (and I mean short) ceremony sandwiched in between a hopping cocktail hour and an honest to beer-centric party.

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The Cathedral Room at the IceHouse is a popular ceremony location.  Ivory drape was used to conceal the gray steel door that connects this open-air patio to the Silver Room.  Edison bulbs, strung asymmetrically on the drape added an ambient light at the altar. Al fresco lighting, provided by the venue, lit up the night and the aisle decor, consisting of oil lamp illuminated wax vessels, lit a path for Kari and her dad.

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icehouse phoenix wedding planner

The bride and her maids carried bouquets of white roses, white ranunculus, bluplerum and chamomile.  Boutonnieres of simple white ranunculus accented with a small sprig of chamomile adorned the left lapel of stunningly simple grey suit jackets.

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The 8-minute ceremony (yes, 8-minutes) gave way to a party that highlighted everything Kari and Ryan love. Seven microbeers on tap, street food style fare and an amazing kettlecorn truck provided all-night nosh opportunities.

Hoping for a rustic picnic style affair, mahogany farm tables provided by Encore Creative provided a base for whimsical centerpieces that featured galvanized buckets filled with chamomile and bluplerum situated amongst glowing wax candles and pillar candles atop hops, malt and barley.

icehouse phoenix wedding planner The crowning jewel of this event has to be the cake.  Not a fan of sweet frostings, Kari and Ryan opted for a naked cake and what a treat it was.  Three flavors offered something for everyone’s sweet tooth. We may have sampled a bite, or twelve, because we are all about quality assurance.

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Kari and Ryan dreamt of a wedding that truly reflected their laid back personalities and love of everything beer.  We think we nailed it.  Don’t you agree?

icehouse phoenix wedding planner

icehouse phoenix wedding planner

 

VENUE COORDINATORS vs. WEDDING PLANNERS

There is often confusion in what duties a venue coordinator performs and what duties a wedding planner will perform for you. Brides and grooms sometimes think that they may be paying double for the same service. A valid point, but perception is not the reality in this case. This is why.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Your venue coordinator is responsible for your venue (thus the title). He or she is there to make sure all of the venue employees are informed of your reception plans and to ensure that your vendors abide by the venues policies. Think about it: the chef, the serving staff, the setup crew, the landscapers, the hotel staff, the bartenders, the cleaning crew, engineering, maintenance department… just to name a few. Yes, they will most likely be there when your cake is delivered or when your entertainment arrives, but that is the easy part.

Your wedding planner is responsible for YOU, your family, your wedding guests and, ultimately, your wedding – from the minute the first person (you or a vendor) arrives on property until the last person leaves. We are with you the entire day after putting together a comprehensive master timeline that includes all of your plans that you wish to happen, all of the personal touches that you want from your ceremony all the way to the reception. The venue coordinator may not be concerned where your dance shoes are, whether Aunt Mary in a wheel chair is comfortable, if the flow of your reception is going smoothly or perhaps how your liquor tab is progressing. The bride and groom may still be bombarded with questions from vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). When we are there (or any wedding planner), we answer those questions so that you and your family can truly enjoy your celebration with your guests.

Venue coordinators are focused on doing their job… maintaining the integrity of the venue.  After all, that is what they are paid to do.  We, however, are paid by you, to take care of your every wish for an unforgettable day, from contract review and negotiation, the designing details, reviewing the flow, securing hotel blocks, monitoring your budget, answering etiquette questions, calming your anxiety to managing vendors plus so much more.

As former venue managers, we are fully aware of their importance and the role they play in making your wedding day successful.  We can’t lock the doors to the bridal suite to protect your personal belongings, access their liquor room and restock the bar, or find engineering when the ballroom is too warm.  But, to be real, your venue coordinator’s first concern at any given time is about the venue performing their contractual duties and it should be.

So, when you ask yourself if you NEED a wedding planner since you have a venue coordinator, think about the many details that go into your wedding – setting out place cards, placing gifts in the car, managing the photographer who wants an extra hour for photos, refreshing your cocktail, bustling your dress and so much more…. We will be in the right place at the right time to guide you throughout your day, from the moment you arrive until your grand exit as husband and wife.

KS and AR

 

 

Classic Garden Wedding | Montelucia

We love brides that give us their vision and let us run with the design.  Hannah was just that bride.  We aren’t going to lie, her vision for a garden inspired elegant wedding at the Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley, AZ, made us a little more than giddy.  From eucalyptus garlands adorning the ceremony chairs, to an elaborate floral treatment on the Valencia Lawn gazebo and a 42-foot (yes, foot) hydrangea runner down the bridal party table, we were in designer’s heaven.  We know you will love this wedding as much as we did!

Design & Coordination: Us! Stellar Event Management; Photography: Jennifer Bowen Photography

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Tips for Finding the Perfect Venue

No doubt about it, choosing a venue for your wedding is exciting.  After arriving at a date, it is one of the first decisions you will make on your wedding planning journey. But before you put down any deposits or form attachments to rustic-chic barns that don’t have electricity, there are a few things to consider. Here’s our best advice for choosing a wedding venue:

Estimate your guest list and budget. 

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Bowen Photography

You probably don’t have a firm grip on your guest list or budget just yet, but you’ll need to know roughly how many people you’re inviting and how much you can spend before you start drawing up your list of dream venues.  Both pieces of information are critical to keep you from wasting your time touring venues that are too small or outside of your budget.  Your guest list doesn’t need to be etched in stone at this point, but you should have a rough idea of how many people are on your list and how many are on your future spouses.  Be sure not to overlook parents….if they are chipping in part or all of the funds, they may have a handful of close friends they would like to include.

Consider the style of wedding you want to have. 

Whether it’s rustic, formal, boho, low-key, or a blow-out bash, the wedding style you and your partner envision will be a big factor in determining where you can host your celebration. Consider whether you want a traditional or non-traditional venue. There are plenty of venues that regularly play host to weddings — including barns and art galleries — but if you opt for a totally non-traditional venue that’s not equipped to host a party (say, an industrial warehouse space), you’ll be responsible for a lot more details. Wedding-ready venues often have tables, chairs, and linens available for your use and, quite often, a set-up and clean-up crew on hand. If you’re renting out a non-traditional space, remember to factor in all of those details and make sure they are in your budget.

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Bowen Photography

Slow down and consider the logistics. 

Once you have a list of possible wedding venues and begin to visit them, you may find yourself falling instantly in love with the aesthetics of a space. But be sure to slow down and consider the logistics of having a wedding at your dream wedding venue.  Don’t forget to think about available parking – is it on property? Is there a fee to park?  Does the venue have a liquor license? Is there a contingency plan in case of bad weather? Is there a required end time? All of these could adversely affect your budget if you aren’t prepared.

Think about how much control you’ll want to have over your wedding’s decor and details. 

Most venues are either full-service or not, meaning they either provide all tables, chairs, and linens…or they don’t. Find out what each venue provides, ask if the venue has any vendor restrictions, and decide whether or not you can be happy with those options.

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Photo Credit: Marry Jordan Photography

Consider your catering needs. 

Many of today’s couples are foodies and want to serve their guests a very specific menu. But not every venue will allow you to bring in your own caterer, and some may require you to choose from in-house catering menus. Discuss your catering needs before signing a contract to ensure that the venue matches your desires.  And be sure to schedule a tasting.

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Photo Credit: Foskett Creative

Visit your potential venue more than once.

Once you’ve whittled down your list of venue options to two or three frontrunners, go back and visit them again. Do they have the same charm? Do they fulfill all your logistical and stylistic requirements? Are they big enough, and will your party have a comfortable flow? If possible, visit the venue around the time of day you want to marry — if you originally saw the venue at 11 AM the first time you visited, you’ll want to see it again at the time you plan to start your wedding. Note whether or not the lighting and aesthetic of the space is the same. (This is also a good time to bring in your wedding planner if you’re working with one.)

Signing a contract.

Read the fine print!  Ask all of your questions before signing.  When you sign a contract, it is assumed that you read, and agreed to, every word.  It is also important to note that many vendors are not willing to modify their agreement so only ask if there is a clause that you simply can’t work with (i.e. the need for Kosher catering and there isn’t an option provided by the venue).

Once your contract is signed, you will undoubtedly want to show the venue to your family and wedding party.  An open house is the perfect opportunity for that. Remember that, while you have one wedding, your venue coordinator could potentially have over 50 events booked and several more pending so don’t just pop in!

Do you have questions regarding your venue contract?  We can help you sort out the details and let you know what you are signing before you sign.  Our hourly packages are designed for couples that need a little assistance with contracts. Email us for more info!

Now go celebrate and start your design board or call us and we will help you design one!