For a less stress Wedding…

Hello Brides and Grooms. The busy wedding season has been a blast and I have to say that for my first season I have seen more things than I thought were possible. I can talk centerpieces, party favors, bouquets, buffet setups, seating chart ideas, and even dress styles for hours. Over the summer I have paid attention to many things in regards to the planning process on the Bride and Grooms side. Being in my position my attention to detail has to be immaculate and over this season I have defiantly been able to dial it in. Checklists, post-its, email and phone reminders, hands covered in pen, everything short of tying a string around my finger has helped in developing my process.

One think I would like to chat about is organization on the other side, the side of the Bride and Groom (or mainly the Bride) in regards to keeping all the ducks in a row. As soon as one of those ducks run off it can cause all kinds of chaos. One of the best ways to keep all those little guys walking in that straight line is a checklist. Not just any checklist, but a checklist that breaks everything down to the itty bitty pieces that most people would say, “really? You need a line item about checking your email?” Seems like some stuff should be common sense, but when you have a million things on your mind those little things can slip away. The better the checklist , the more smooth things will go.

After looking at multiple websites, magazines, and talking to wedding planners/coordinators I have narrowed down a handful of great checklists. Seems like there would be one hidden somewhere that would top them all and unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it) the ones which are the easiest to find are also some of the best ones out there…..and they are free. has a great one that allows you to put your date in and it automatically breaks it down into what needs to happen in what months and such. It allows you to add items, remove items, etc. Complete customization is a great feature and the fact that they have thought of things that need to be there is a great starting point. is a very good checklist that is similar to the Knot and allows you to add items and breaks everything down by month. The interface is a bit easier to read than the Knot, but the functionality is very similar. has a basic one (not as good as above), but if you are looking for something that will get the job done and doesn’t make you customize anything, this is the one for you. has one but they have been under construction for a couple weeks now and I have not been able to play around too much on their site. Once it gets up and running I feel it will be a good one as well.

The importance of having a checklist and continuing to update it is the main point of this post. The more organized you are the less chaotic things will be as the date gets closer. Planning your wedding is supposed to be fun, exciting, and easy. I do not want my Brides to be stressed, as the more stressed they are the more stressed I will become. Being stressed out is not needed in any aspect of life….especially when planning your wedding. It’s a day of celebration not headaches.

So remember Ladies and Gentlemen, be organized, be stress free. Happy Planning!


Let’s Dance!

Hey Y’all!

After being involved with many weddings this year already I wanted to throw something out there.

Myself being a huge fan of the art of dance love the tradition of the first dance. The sensation during this first dance has to be breathtaking, getting lost in each other’s eyes for the first time as Husband and Wife. Forgetting all the craziness the day brings and allowing the feeling to settle in as you dance, just dance. Kind of sappy I know, but you will see what I am talking about during yours. Of course the first dance is also what sets the mood for the evening. With this said let’s move on to the real topic of discussion, first dance songs.

Being present at the majority of the weddings we host at the Pavilion I have witnessed my fair share of first dance song choices of many Brides and Grooms.  I have heard everything from “At Last” by Etta James to “Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye. This sparked my interest to see what was topping the charts as most popular first dance songs and this is what I found:

The Knot lists these as the top most popular songs chosen by Bride and Grooms for their first dance song

      1)      “At Last” Etta James (classic)
      2)      “As time goes by” Frank Sinatra (gotta have some Sinatra)
      3)      “Come rain or come shine” Ray Charles
      4)      “Because you loved me” Celine Dion (this cd brings me back)
      5)      “Can you feel the love tonight” Elton John (Yes Lion King!)

Offbeat Bride decided to break it up into categories. I am not going to list all the songs, but definitely take a look at their full list. (Not sure if these are actually the most popular or just a list someone put together)

      Oldies but Goodies, “God only knows” Beach Boys
      Sexy Romantic, “In your eyes” Peter Gabriel
      Wonky ’n Fun, “I wanna grow old with you” Adam Sandler
      Upbeat Swingin’, “All I want is you” Barry Louis Polisar just has a list of about a 1000 songs in no particular order for you to spend hours listening too. They have everything from “All my life” by K-Ci & Jojo (who remembers this one in middle school??? This guy does…prime time slow dancing. YES!), they even have songs such as “Hungry eyes” by Eric Carmen (nobody puts baby in a corner).

So what’s it gonna be Ladies and Gentlemen? Are you going to go traditional classic style or modern indie? Let me know what you are thinking…if you have chosen what is it or if you haven’t, what are you thinking about? Gimme some good ones


If I had my wedding to do over again…

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. On June 1, 1996 we hosted our wedding ceremony and reception on my father-in-law’s property in Southern Indiana. Loyal readers of this blog have gotten tidbits the past few years about the things I would’ve done differently – like not letting my mother near my hair or make up. And don’t get me started on my dress…I wish to this day I would’ve gone store-bought instead of having my aunt make it.

Blair has nagged at me for years to see wedding photos (since I’ve griped so much about my day). I refused to share…until now. In celebration of our special day, I ripped apart our wedding photo album and scanned in images to share with Blair, and our readers. (Quite literally, I ripped the photos out of the album…it was pre-digital age, so everything exists only in hard copy. I haven’t told my husband about this yet.)

But what fun is just sharing pictures? I’ve woven in some thoughts and advice for those of you planning your special day:

We had a photo session before our ceremony, which is when this was taken. We had an audience, so I don’t feel like moments were really captured…everything felt very staged. (My husband – even then – was not this publicly affectionate; the photographer made him do it.)

My advice: Whether before or after your ceremony, arrange to spend time together, alone, with your photographer. The part of our day that remains dearest in my heart is sitting on the tailgate in the early morning hours on a secluded part of the property eating bagels together.

My mother-in-law wore white. This frosts me to this day – almost more than my new brother-in-law grabbing the mic during the reception to propose to his girlfriend. My MIL claimed it was the only dress she could find that was flattering. Right.

My advice: Obviously you have control over the color of your maid’s dresses (even if you just tell them to choose a dress within a certain range of blue). For others who are on their own (like mothers in law), consider tactfully having a conversation about an acceptable range of colors. This is not to suggest busting into a Bridezilla moment. Over a casual dinner, calmly discuss your colors and suggest that dresses be searched for within this range.

I was married young…I graduated from college and two weeks later got married. I attribute my age for why I lost control of my wedding. Still thinking of us as “kids,” we’d get calls from our parents announcing the things they’d purchased, vendors they secured, bands they hired, etc. These weren’t questions about what our preference was, mind you, but rather simply informing us how our wedding was going to be.

The one thing that worked out fabulously was the hiring of a French pastry chef. Instead of a traditional cake, we had a pastry table. It got rave reviews from guests, and everyone was able to choose something to their liking. (Mark and I had a small cake to cut into for that moment.)

My advice: When it comes to cakes and desserts, don’t feel trapped by tradition. In a recent post we showed you a couple that served their favorite desserts (cookies and donut holes). I think you’d be surprised to discover how much guests actually appreciate a departure from wedding cake.

Regarding losing control of your wedding…that’s a tough one. We were balancing divorced parents having to come together for the first time in 15 years, and very different family styles. The best thing I can say is to stay strong (again, not witchy) on the things that are truly important to you, but give a little on the things that may be important to your parents (especially if they’re footing the bill).

Just as we were young, so were our friends. Most of whom started drinking while Mark and I were enjoying our bagel breakfast. So by the time the toasts rolled around, our best man was more than little drunk. And his speech made absolutely no sense…this picture captured me not in a moment of wedded bliss, but laughing at how completely awkward the speech had gotten.

My advice: Talk to the folks giving speeches ahead of time. Are they comfortable? Or are they completely terrified to the point that a) thinking of that moment is going to ruin the evening for them, or b) they’re going to drink themselves into a stupor trying to summon liquid courage? Better to not have a speech at all than to have a Wedding Singer moment.

At the Pavilion, we’ve seen some doozies, including the maid of honor taking the opportunity to express her dislike and distrust of the groom. So carefully consider the decision to appoint people to speeches. It’s always an option to just open a mic up for anyone who has something truly meaningful and heartfelt to say – instead of pushing it on one individual.

In this last picture, I love the adoring way we’re looking at each other – but wish that someone would’ve been care taking my appearance throughout the evening so my hair got tucked back in place, and my shiny-made-shinier by the Indiana humidity face would’ve been blotted and powdered.

My advice: The evening is going to fly by. You’ll be swept in a dozen different directions…trying to spend a few moments with your grandparents, being introduced to the family friends invited by your parents, asked by the photographer for a special photo op…I’m normally pretty high maintenance when it comes to my appearance; I blot, powder, and lipstick a lot. Except on my wedding day – they’re details I just lost track of in the swirl of it all.

So appoint a bridesmaid, or another friend, to every now and again approach you with blotting tissues and your tube of lipstick, or to invite you to join her in the bathroom for touch ups. To be honest, I can’t even remember using the bathroom that day because we were so busy. (A whole ‘nother topic…)

Also, make it known to the photographer that you welcome advice on things like “you have some hair out of place…try tucking that behind your ear.” The photographer should function as a director in these instances, so choose one with a personality you can work well with.

I could go on and on…but you get the idea! As much as we girls, as brides, believe it’s The Most Important Day of Our Lives, it’s one day. Special moments will happen every day in the forever lifetime of your marriage. So on the one labeled as your “wedding day,” have fun, and don’t try not to take it too seriously.

Hip New Hairstyles

Stumbled upon this video from The Knot TV featuring fresh, new wedding hairstyles. What I love about this video is they have three different models with three different hair types (including short and fine!) styled in a variety of ways, INCLUDING non-traditional, funkier looks.

Click here to view the video.

Love, love, love this look in particular. It makes me want to chop my hair off and dye it blonde…

Ski Pass Giveaway from Winter Park & Rocky Mountain Bride

Just announced by our friends at Rocky Mountain Bride magazine:

Say “I Do” to an unforgettable mountain wedding experience at Winter Park Resort!

Pre-honeymoon while you plan your dream mountain wedding at Winter Park Resort! Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine and Winter Park Resort are giving away 2 FREE mountain getaways this ski season. Get a free night lodging slopeside in a studio at Fraser Crossing / Founders Pointe, 2 FREE lift tickets and dinner on us at the beautiful mountaintop Lodge at Sunspot.  Upon entering you will be automatically entered to win the Grand Prize of 2 FREE 2011-2012 Season Passes. Prizes will be awarded February 8, 2011. No purchase necessary, some restrictions apply, winner must agree to a tour at The Lodge at Sunspot and lodging accommodations. In order to win, you must register below.

Winners will be contacted via phone/email and will be posted here and include memorable photos from their skiing/riding trip at Winter Park Resort.

Click here to register.

Wedding Wit from E. Jean

I think I’ve mentioned before that I am hopelessly addicted to fashion magazines – Elle, in particular. One of my favorite features of the mag is the “Ask E. Jean” advice column.

The lead letter in January’s issue was relevant to us, and I found it hilarious. The summary is that the bride paid $5,000 for a photographer, and doesn’t “want a Sidekick LX to trump my investment with an off-center shot of me, or anyone else, looking less than fantastic.” She’s asking how to ask her guests not to take and/or post pictures of her wedding on Facebook and other social media outlets without sounding like a Bridezilla.

Here’s a snippet of Auntie E’s response:

“…if you want to come off as a backlit hissy twit, then go ahead: Outlaw cameras and give the “professional” the run of the place.”

Hilarious. Candid. Perhaps cruel. But everything we were  thinking while reading.

I posted a snapshot image of the full article below; I’d love to post a link to it here, but our town internet usage forbids me to visit…You can visit E. Jean’s website, though, by clicking here. Enjoy!