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Wedding Tips

Wedding Tips

Guest Post: Planning Your Wedding Menu – Simply Stunning Events

July 16, 2012

One of the biggest wedding expenditures (and often the one most enjoyed by your wedding guests) is the food. It’s been a long-standing tradition to serve a meal as part of a wedding reception and these days couples are getting creative and choosing menus that reflect not only the reception time of day, but the location, region, and their cultures and personalities. You can serve pretty much anything at your reception, as long as it’s tasty, filling, and reflects the formality of the party (meaning you wouldn’t serve casual BBQ at a black tie affair). What are some things to consider when creating your reception menu?

First you must decide if you (and your guests) would prefer a plated meal (in which all guests are served a plated dinner  at their tables), a buffet, action-stations (similar to a buffet but instead of one area where all the food is presented, the food is set up at various stations throughout the room), or some combination of all styles. You should also consider whether you’d like to serve appetizers during the cocktail hour (these can be passed or set up at a station), any type of dessert other than wedding cake, and finally if you’ll serve any additional snacks or treats at the end of the night.

Next, brainstorm different foods that you like as a couple and that your family and friends might enjoy and feel free to get creative! You don’t have to service the traditional beef or chicken with veggies and potatoes. The sky is the limit. You can incorporate any ethnicity or region in your menu, Italian, Asian, French, southern or mix it up for variety. At a recent catering meeting with a couple, they decided to each choose an appetizer that represents their heritage and background. For the groom from New Orleans, Cajun Shrimp Gumbo Shooters and for the Asian bride, Mini Pork Eggrolls. And who says you can’t serve more casual favorites dressed up a bit? A recent couple we worked with served the most amazing gourmet Gouda Mac & Cheese as a side dish in their wedding menu.

Create a budget of what you plan to spend on your catering menu. Keep in mind the more options you serve, the more it will cost. Prices vary by region but in Nashville you can expect pricing to start around $20 per person (for a very basic meal with no appetizers) and range up to $70 per person or more. Typically I find our couples spend an average of about $30 – $50 per person on the food. This per person cost does not include a 20% service charge or 9.25% state sales tax. Also decide whether this budget includes the rental of service ware, silverware, and glassware or if that is provided elsewhere (through the venue or renting from an event rental company).

Finally research various caterers in the area and ask people you know for recommendations. Typically if a company has been in business for many years and does a lot of events, they most likely do a great job. Keep in mind that you will most likely not be able to taste any food before placing a deposit (yes, this is a pain but consider that a catering company can’t give a free meal to EVERY person that is considering hiring them). So be sure to do your homework, read any reviews you can find, and ask for recommendations. If you hire a wedding planner, they will be able to recommend catering vendors that are reputable and fit with your budget and style.

A final bit of advice…keep in mind this is a wedding, not Thanksgiving dinner. You do not need to serve a Smorgosbord (yes I had to look up how to spell it) of food with tons of different choices and a million sides, just to please everyone. It’s just one meal that you are hosting with a set menu. Choose 1-2 meat options and 2-3 sides, plus 3-5 appetizers. Don’t worry if not everyone will like everything, if you’ve got picky eaters, that’s their problem, not yours.

Good luck in planning a tasty wedding menu!

Simply Stunning Events

Images by Phindy Studios

Wedding Tips

Popping the Question… To Your Bridesmaids! – Music City Events

March 16, 2012

Asking your bests to take a place of honor at your wedding might sound simple enough BUT if your loving groom puts so much thought into popping your question, why not do the same for your girls? It can be a lot of fun and absolutely builds the excitement from a mere question to embarking on an adventure!

Consider this entertaining way to pop the question – wouldn’t you love to have this show up in your inbox?

Create a fun and yummy-licious presentation with tiny banners that read “Will you be my bridesmaid?” and place your little banner of joy in their favorite flavored cupcake.
Image by Kupcake Spot
Have a friend who loves accessories? Find a fantastic headband and attach a little note that reads “Will you head down the aisle with me?” (or perhaps “I need help keeping my head on straight!), or pick out a lovely little hat box and fill it with ring pops – yes, those ring pops! – and ask away!
Create a Bridesmaid’s Survivor Kit by filling a pretty box with a compact mirror and lip gloss, measuring tape (for her bridesmaids dress), her favorite candy or gum, Tylenol (for all the headaches you are bound to cause!), travel sized fingernail files, bobby pins and other fun goodies or you can purchase one of these lovelies from My Wedding Favors. Something catchy like “How can I survive without you?” is a sweet way to tag this gift!
Whatever you do and however you ask, I’m sure your ladies will be ecstatic at your invitation and will happily say yes (just like you!).
Guest post by Music City Events
Wedding Tips

What To Look For In A Photographer – Nashville Event Planner, Simply Stunning Events

February 17, 2012

I meet with A LOT of photographers, more than any other vendor. Why? Because photography is most often the number one priority for brides and grooms. Everyone wants gorgeous photography, but not everyone understands how much that costs and what to look for when meeting with photographers. Especially in this digital world, there are so many styles and approaches to wedding photography, ranging from the very natural and simple to the very artistic and stylized. And the price? In Nashville good photographers can range anywhere from $1500 to $15,000 and more. Yes, you read that right. I always tell my clients to meet with at least 2-3 photographers to get a feel for the range of styles, prices, and personalities. Here are some things to look for and ask about when meeting with potential wedding photographers.

The photos! Most importantly you should LOVE the final photos, since that’s what you’ll have forever. You should feel the emotion and the joy. The style and art should turn you on (hey, wedding photography blogs aren’t called wedding porn for nothing). Be sure to look through a full album so you can see the wedding day story from start to finish and how the photographer tells it. They might be great at posed bridal shots but can they capture the spontaneous moments beautifully as well? Also something to consider nowadays is the editing style. Some photographers heavily rely on Photoshop or Lightroom (and that might contribute to their artistic style) while some prefer to capture the photos “in-camera” only with very little post work.

Are you comfortable with this person? Do you like their personality? Do you trust them? These are all very important questions to ask because this person will be following you around ALL day. If you’re not fully comfortable with them, it’s going to show in the pictures.

Is the photographer organized and professional? Do they explain all their products well? Do they have a solid contract or letter of agreement? Recommendations? What type of cameras do they use? How do they back-up the photos? If their studio burns down, do they keep a second copy elsewhere? Do they belong to any professional organizations? Do they have a business license? You’d be surprised by all the “fly-by-night” photographers who decide they need a little cash so they buy a cheap camera, throw up a website with a few photos they took, and call themselves a wedding photographer. Very scary!

Along that same line is experience. What kind of training does the photographer have? Do they have a background in something relatable such as art or graphic design? How did they learn wedding photography? Did they second shoot or train with another photographer? Just because someone is a great photographer doesn’t mean they can necessarily shoot weddings well. There is a lot more that goes into shooting a wedding such as the timing, the ability to deal with hundreds or more people, figuring out how to light tricky areas, etc.

To most the biggest question is how much? Wedding photography is very pricy. Some people wonder why it costs so much for only one day? Well, for starters because it’s not just one day. You’re not just paying for the 10 hours or so on the wedding day, you’re paying for the 100 hours they probably spend editing, the countless hours they’ve spent training and getting experience, and not to mention the really really expensive equipment they use to get the perfect shot. Should you gamble and and go with a less expensive photographer? That depends, if you really can’t spend more than $2000 there are some great up-and-comers who are very professional. They may not have much experience or the same equipment as the more high-end photographers but some really do have natural talent and some training. This is one place it’s helpful to have a wedding coordinator who can recommend reputable and professional photographers in your price range without the risk of hiring someone who has no idea what they’re doing. If you do have the budget for a higher-end photographer, I highly recommend making the splurge. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $3500 – $10,000, but just think of it as an investment!

Be sure you understand the photographer’s packages and what you get for the cost. Often times it’s tough to compare photographers because you’re comparing apples to oranges. Does the package include an album? How many hours will the photographer be shooting? Approximately how many proofs will you receive? Will these be edited proofs? How will you see the final product? In a proof book or on a high-res CD? Do you get the rights to print the photos yourself? Or do you have to order them from the photographer? Will there be a second shooter? How much training and experience does that person have? Make sure you see a portfolio of the second shooter. What’s the point in having one if they can’t also take great photos?

And finally, is photography their passion? Do they love what they do and try to make each wedding a unique work of art? If every wedding they shoot looks the same, they probably use a similar formula for each one which lacks creativity. Find someone who loves working with brides and grooms and has a passion for weddings too!

Whew! That was a lot of info, but I hope it was helpful. In the next entry, I’ll give you a peak at some of my favorite Nashville photographers and maybe even give you a hint as to who we chose to shoot our wedding.:)

Guest post by Simply Stunning Events // Image by Phindy Studios

Wedding Tips

Mix and Match Fine China: How to Make the Most of Inherited Fine China

February 10, 2012

It may not have been your first choice but inheriting an entire set of fine china is truly a bonus. First it is important not to panic! Second, it is time to start finding ways to take that dated or “unusual” pattern from “what do I do with this?” to “where did you get those plates!” Be sure to take pictures of your inherited china and take them with you when registering for any accent pieces.

Plates by: Bloomingdales // Fishs Eddy // Bloomingdales

Plates by: Crate and Barrel // Bloomingdales // Barney’s

Plates by: Liberty // Bloomingdales // Bloomingdales

Wedding Tips

Finding The Perfect Hairstyle

January 19, 2012

Choosing the perfect wedding day hair style can be, like every other decision, overwhelming. Just like every other detail, it is important to take time to find a style that suits you. Before my wedding some people told me to go natural. While I agree with why this works, you have probably seen it in photos and liked it or it would not be your au natural, I did not wear it natural. Parted on the side, straight and flowing down my back would not have worked with my turn of the century fitted 3/4 length sleeved jacket. It all went up on top of my head to create the perfect lift for my simple veil. The point is to take time to decide what works with your
look. Look through pictures, find a stylist, and have a dress rehearsal for your wedding do! At a minimum have at least one dress rehearsal with your wedding day hair stylist. If you are undecided or still deciding do not hesitate to set up another run through. Your wedding day pictures are set in stone forever so make sure you feel comfortable with how your hair looks on the day of your wedding.

Images by Bride Hairstyle // Google Images // Model Bride // Jen Curtis // Carla Ten Eyck